Picture it and Write: Freedom
Hi there this is my offering for this week’s picture it and write for Ermila’s blog here. Once again, the picture is not mine, I only use it for inspiration. Incidentally, there is a new charity book out by ermilia available here. It is an anthology of twenty three authors including myself. If you like this, buy that. Anyway, Enjoy.
Marcus walked through the vast gardens of his estate. It seemed almost sysyphean to him, he could swear that there were hidden places that he had yet to visit. Occasionally, a groundskeeper or some other servant would appear in the distance, hurrying on some errand. They rarely approached him now, except when it was unavoidable. They were afraid of him. In the air, muffled by the vast distance, could be heard faint shouting, and chanting. He did not need to hear it to know what they were saying, what they were demanding. But he could never give them that, not now.
He sat on a bench and put his head in his hands, thinking. There was much he could do, almost anything in fact, anything that money could buy, but that had its limits. If only he’d known. If only that thing had….
Marcus took a look around to find that one of the roses, dying in the late autumn cold, had rearranged to form a face. It must have been listening to his thoughts. It looked at him and smiled.
“Master! I have given you two wishes. One more and I will be free.”
But what about me? Marcus wondered. He had thought himself so lucky when he had stumbled upon the genie. Compelled to give three wishes to whomever finds it the spirit would then be granted a thousand years of freedom only to find itself trapped again to wait a new master. It was a curse it explained and it came with the power it possessed.
Marcus was not one to sympathize with all powerful beings however. He thought only a short while before he made his first two wishes. He wished to be forever young and handsome and then to be the richest man in the world.
He then announced to his thrall that he would see how these two wishes went and then decide on his third. The genie grumbled somewhat. But it was immortal, like Marcus was now, it could wait.
If the first wish made a difference to his life, Marcus could not tell it, maybe he did feel a little chipper, looked a tad more fresh-faced than he had before. But it was hard to tell.
As for the second wish. The very next day Marcus found a lottery ticket in his pocket. It was a winning ticket, for over 200 million dollars, the largest jackpot in history. It did not make him the richest man in the world, but it was a good start. After he collected the winning cheque. A shadowy man visited his apartment. He had a card that said ‘G. Knee investments: we make your wishes come true’ and took the cheque off Marcus. Within days his 200 million began to aggressively grow. Companies taken over, funds raided, even some governments fell. Within a month, amid growing financial chaos, he was the richest man alive.
With that, the world was Marcus’ oyster. He bought estates, islands, yachts, whatever his heart desired. With the money came lackies to laugh at his jokes and tell him he was great. He even had romance. An ex who had left a hole in his heart begged to come back to him. He was happy.
But others were not. Many once powerful men, many more simple workers, had lost everything in lieu of Marcus’ meteoric rise to the top. There was a lot of resentment in the world and many who would have him dead. He had security of course, the best money could buy, but it was not perfect. Death struck at Marcus during an evening soiree in one of his penthouse apartments, with his family and oldest friends, everyone he cared about.
When they finally excavated the rubble only Marcus himself was alive. It was a miracle the doctors said, considering the state he was in. Even without a larynx with which to scream, the agony he felt must have been beyond the imagining of any man.
What happened next left the world speechless. What sorry pieces of Marcus were left began to slowly knit themselves together. Burns were healed, limbs and missing organs grew back. Even the pain, a constant companion for his many months a bed, began to ebb. Within half a year he was as good as new.
There was shock. There was disbelief. Some called him a god, others called him a demon. They were only half right. He still had his money, enough to keep him untouchable. But he was alone, feared by the outside world. Some wished him dead. But that would not happen. He even tried it himself. The snap of his neck on the rope only brought blinding pain and three weeks in bed for the bone to re-knit itself.
“Master” The rose continued speaking. “I know you are hurting.” But you have one wish left. If you wish well your happiness will return.”
But Marcus was not hearing any of it. He was tired of this imp and its meddling.
“I wish you would just die!” He shouted.
There was a jerk and the rose started to fall apart, the petals shifting into the sky on a non-existent wind. It was soon gone but not so soon for it to be unable to say a few final words. Words that would trouble Marcus for the rest of his eternal life.
“I have it! I have finally got it! Freedom! The ultimate freedom! I am free!”