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The Misfortunes of A Very Fortunate Madman

A short horror fiction for readers in need of a quick fix. A story of a man who came across a fortune who drove him to his inevitable end.

By E.AmaliaPublished 8 months ago 5 min read
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The Misfortunes of A Very Fortunate Madman
Photo by Stéphane Juban on Unsplash

Fortune made him mad — though he would not admit that to anyone. It was just that the fortune made him mad but that it was as sudden and as destructive as the butterfly effect.

His pockets were suddenly bottomless, and his defences were high. Not even his wife could persuade him down from his newly discovered mountain top.

Long is the drop from this tall climb to pride. So they say...or something like that.

He became a stranger on the outside, but to him, he was the same as he had always been. He couldn't quite grasp why there had grown such a vast distance between him and his loved ones. Friends shook their heads in disapproval. Others just winced away as they watched the inevitable fall of a poorly designed tower.

Mirrors only convinced him of his own belief that he, in fact, did not change one bit. Surely, he had only become an improved version of himself. Well dressed, handsomely manicured — he had truly become the best picture of himself. His reflection told him so as it grinned back at him from ear to ear.

Fortune made him mad — the old man. Even more than when he was young, and the fortune had come seemingly out of nowhere. He grew madder and madder as his wealth grew deeper and deeper.

His three children had everything, but his family was empty. His wife — adorned and constantly provided for. Although she was lonelier than the fallen tree in the woods. Though no one debated whether anyone could hear it when she fell.

She was found days later. The children were away at boarding school when it happened — when their mother tumbled down, down, down.

The madman's grief was real, though it was brief. Fleeting like those fateful butterfly wings. Wealth, they say, made him truly mad.

Then, one cold evening. The coldest of the season — brought with it a visitor. The madman sat enjoying the world's rarest and finest when a knock came at his door.

The rapping at the door sounded urgent but hollow. An urgency that was lost by the mad wealthy man.

A guest! How exciting. The old madman rose with a leap in his step. With his wife gone and his children away, he did crave the odd guest here and there.

He planned parties and grant events, although the attendants were scarce. His invites fell into bins backed with the odd excuse and a shrug, “must've gotten lost in the post,” They would say. "Strange indeed."

He approached the door, but before he could get a hand on it the door swung wide, and the visitor let himself in.

The madman put off, though not completely, led this odd guest back in through to the fireplace.

"Please have a seat." He said, preparing a glass for a pour of brandy or perhaps a dram of whiskey. "Please, please make yourself at home. What is your poison?" Nil response came from the visitor who stood staring into the fire.

The madman brought out an assortment of all sorts, but the visitor showed no interest. Denying every offer presented, the man grew tired of his mysterious guest.

‘Why are you here?” Irritated by the drab company of his guest, he no longer had the patience to be a generous host.

“Money? Is it money you want?”

Still no answer. The man grew increasingly perturbed. What kind of guest comes in unannounced and stands there like that? What kind of guest denies every offer thrown their way?

“Get out!” The man said, a furious ist on his chair. “Get out of my house right now!”

The guest stood unmoving — realisation hit — an epiphany, some might say. Suddenly man knew exactly who this guest was. He knew exactly who this guest was and why they had come for him. Knew exactly what they wanted.

The fall from pride, they say, is a long one. A deadly one even — for the unlucky few, that is.

There in the firelight, the man sat in his chair, not in a relaxed state but rather in a heavy slump. A lifeless, weighted slump.

The guest left having done her assignment. Days later, the madman would be found. No foul play. No evidence of a break-in — just a man who once stumbled across a forbidden fortune and claimed it as his own. Just a man who heeded no warnings and climbed to the top of a very dangerous mountain top. The kind of mountaintop that pulled him away from everything and everyone he loved.

Here came an end of an era. The end of a time. The end of a life.

The children, it is said, inherited richly. Although they knew too well what the fortune had done to their late father, it all disappeared. A conspiracy of sorts amongst the heirs to be rid of the curse of their father.

By Andrej Sachov on Unsplash

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Author's Note

This story was formed from an idea found in the midst of my crazy "idea" list. I can't remember what inspired it, but a note read, "The sudden fortune made him mad." Who knows what I was reading at the time or where I was when this idea needed to be written down?

I've thoroughly been enjoying the deep dive into the numerous ideas and lines I have written down. I felt like this one needed to take a Poe approach with the vibes that it gave.

I do hope you enjoyed it!

Let's Chat

What stories have you published or written from the depths of your idea machines, notebooks, folders, pages, etc? Are there any ideas that are still nagging you that you don't know what to do with yet? Let me know in the comments below! I love to connect with other writers and creatives — I'd love to know your process!

By kevin Xue on Unsplash

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About the Creator

E.Amalia

Hola! I'm E.Amalia. I've got a penchant for the macabre, weird, and spine chilling genres. Also I write poetry, also I'm a dragon for books.

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