Avarice - 1

Sorry for the delay. But know this, I will never compromise quality with quantity.

Tomorrow, the promotions shall be announced.
For two years I have been ignored despite being the most deserving. This year, I have worked my best. My name will definitely be on the list. 

So thought Cor, as he laid on his bed, trying hard to sleep.

In the city of Gyulir, Cor Raganor had a job of a factory worker. His factory produced jelly bread for a popular company called "Preciosa". He had joined this factory only five years before but he climbed the ladders of success faster than his peers. Within such a short span of time, he was already promoted thrice. Unknown to him, arrogance and greed kept growing with his success too. Inside he was highly ambitious, jeering and judging whenever any of his coworkers surpassed him in any feat. On the outside, he put up a friendly, sociable and merry mask to get close to his rivals and to delight his superiors.

Every winter, on the second Sunday of December, each year, the promotions of those workers who perform the best, are announced in the community hall of the factory followed by a lavish feast. Cor's name had failed to make it on the list for the past two years. This time he was highly hopeful.

I have worked the most hours, did all the jam-work with perfection, never gave my supervisor a chance to complain. Surely I will be the first pick.  He thought so.

The day arrived. Sharp at six in the evening all the factory workers rushed inside the community hall together and occupied the chairs. Everyone was excited about the names that will be called. They started making a few guesses themselves, predicting the most suitable candidates according to them. The function began with a ballet dance, followed by a piano tune and a short skit. No one seemed to be interested in these dull performances which increased their anticipation for the promo-list. Finally, at the end of the skit, Mr Drekick, the President of Preciosa Factory Committee, climbed the stage and stood at the podium.

Everyone started clapping for no reason. Cor sat still, his eyes fixated to the President.

"I want to thank you all for being a part of the rising successes of Preciosa Inc. This humble company was founded by Alan Fruer in the late '50s. Starting with a room full of men, it grew into an empire...."

The clapping slowed down as the speech turned boring. After twenty long minutes, the President ended his speech,

"Alright, I don't want to bore you all to death with the glories of this company. And now, I shall begin announcing the 15 lucky names who are going to be promoted this year!"

Silence swept the entire hall as the President fished out the list from his pocket.

"Ylvis Prins has been promoted to the rank of Manager of the packaging department."
"Folkert Peters has been promoted to Supervisor of the R&D department."
"Albert Boswel has been promoted to..."
One by one the names were called, Cor's hope diminishing after each name.

"...and that's the end of the list folks. You guys have truly deserved this. I know you all are hungry so without any delay, let's start the feast!" Mr Drekick ended his speech and everyone erupted in joy. Everyone, except Cor, for his name had missed the list, yet again. Amidst the rising crowd that went out to the dining area, Cor silently slipped away and returned to his home.

The next day, during lunch break, Cor and a few of his workers went to a nearby pub to have a few shots to get warmed for the next shift. While he was sipping Vodka, a friendly worker called out,
"Hey Cor! Didn't see you at the banquet yesterday. Where did you run off to?"
"Must have gone to piss and tripped over and then woke up the next day!" said another.
Everyone laughed.
"Man the wine was so, so, so delectable. This seems horseshit compared to that." a worker said, lifting the glass of vodka and pointing towards it. The pub-owner looked at him disgruntled.

"What's the matter lad! You have been quiet since long," whispered Andrei, who was a close friend of Cor.
"Tell me, Andrei. You too worked so hard last year. Weren't you disappointed when your name wasn't called last night?" said Cor, finally breaking his silence.
"Well I am certainly but what more can I do? All I can do is to cheer up with another four pints of this fine vodka and get back to working again, hoping that my name turns up on the list next year. You can't change what has happened just by sulking like this." Andrei whispered back merrily.
This didn't seem to convince Cor. He kept quiet till they finished drinking.

Back on their way, they met Ylvis who was promoted the day before. He had been a fellow companion of Cor and used to hang out with him during the lunch breaks. Now it seems that new friends had replaced the old ones in just a single day.

"Hey fellas!" he called out to the group.

"Hey Ylvis! Good to see how quickly you have taken up the job! How's it going?" Andrei replied.

"Ah! It's too tedious. Never knew I had to do so much work. I would have not taken it at all if things were in my hands. But you know how it is. Hey Cor! I am surprised that you were not selected man! You were at the top of the guesses last night to be on the list."

Started with the sympathies have we? 

"It's alright man. May be next time." Cor said, trying his best to hide the rage brimming up within him.

"No, I am serious! There must have been some kind of a mistake. I mean they picked that nobody, Hector! What is he good at anyway...?"

What were you good at fool?

"Perhaps, it's time for us to leave. You carry on with your work Ylvis. And don't think too much about me. It may affect your... efficiency." Cor said, too much impatient to bear any more words of sympathy. He left the spot in a huff.

That night, he couldn't sleep. The vodka which worked the previous night had no effect on him today. Nothing seemed to calm down his anger.

You fucking bastards! I did so much for you! Sacrificed my own pleasures to satisfy you. Did all your back-logged tasks when no one was willing to. Never whined about any task that you gave me! And this is how you reward my loyalty? Ignorance! For two years! Like I never exist for you. 

He smashed the bottle on the floor. Losing his balance, he fell back. Fortunately, he landed on his bed. He looked at the mirror across the room and saw his reflection.

You don't deserve me. 

He got up and looked inside the alcove for another bottle of vodka, only to find it empty. Angry, he rushed outside to go to the nearest pub, hoping to be intoxicated and calm his anger. In his haste, he stumbled across a person and tripped down.

"Watch where you are going fool! Ahhh!!" Cor shouted as he winced in pain.

The man had concealed his face completely with a scarf and a hood. Cor could only see his eyes. The man crouched beside Cor and sat that way for some time, perhaps observing Cor. After a few moments, he began,

"Something bothering you kid?"

You don't have the slightest idea. "Fuck off!"

But the man didn't budge. "Things didn't go as they should have been? You were not chosen for something that you were worthy of? Some one less deserving than you got that prize instead?"

Cor looked back at the man stupefied. "How do you know?"

"It's in your eyes."

He helped Cor get back up on his feet.

"Want to change things to how they should have been?"

"Is it even possible?" Cor looked at the man, intrigued.

"You are in luck lad. Today of all days. Just follow me." The man started walking.
Cor stared at him for some time. Then he ran to catch up with him.

After 30 minutes of walking, they arrived at a strange place. There were no signs of life or activity anywhere.

They entered one of the strange buildings. Cor thought it would be locked, but the strange man just pushed it open. They went inside.

To his utter amazement, there was a long queue of people right in front of him, what lay in front was obscured in darkness. There was a deathly silence except for short conversations that came from the front, periodically. The sound was clear, but Cor couldn't make out what was being said.

One by one the people in front of him went out and the queue shortened in length. Now only a few people were ahead of him. He could see and hear what was going on. A dark figure sat on a throne while the next person bowed to him.

"What do you want?"
"I want to be the richest man alive."
"Do you believe in me?"
"I do"
"So be it."

A man walked out, smiling with happiness.

"What do you want?"
"I want to be the most beautiful woman in the world."
"Do you believe in me?"
"I do."
"So be it."

A woman walked away, hiding her face with a scarf.

She looked like Martha... Cor thought about a childhood friend.

One by one, the people spoke to the one seated on the throne. Some spoke of wealth, others of strange powers and abilities. One asked to have the power to bring back the dead.

What's going on here? No sooner than he had thought this, the last person walked out of the room. All that remained in the room were Cor, the strange man who stood by the door and the dark figure in the throne.

"Go to him!" the strange man shouted from behind.

"What do you seek?"
Cor thought for a while... Can he really fulfil his wishes? "I want to know who are you first."
The figure chortled. "Fine then. Sink me in if you can," he said in another voice which was far from being human. Standing up slowly, he ambled his way to the moonlight. Now Cor could see him completely.

For sometime, Cor thought his eyesight has not yet been adjusted to the moonlight, but after staring at those empty eyes, he became certain they were completely black. Little by little, he came to know that the cloak he draped around were in fact, dark wings. In a sudden moment, he let open those wings to show him a dark armor that was so opaque, it looked like a shadow in the moonlight. The armor were in stark contrast to the icy white complexion of his skin, like that of a corpse. His entire figure emanated an aura of terror and raw fear, but his smile exuded a tantalising effect which every man or woman on earth would be jealous of. Cor had asked him to reveal himself, inorder to understand who he was, but he ended up confused and much more afraid than he previously was...

Through trembling lips, he asked, "Are you a demon?"

"I can be anything you desire," replied the being in a voice that was nothing like that of a human. "You will get to know more about me soon enough."

After giving Cor a few moments to register the intimidating form in his terrified mind, he asked, "Now tell me child. What is it that you seek?"

Cor thought for a while, thinking about changing the decision of the Committee and giving him a promotion. Then perhaps reading his thoughts, the devil replied,

"Choose wisely. You can have anything that you desire but you can choose only once."

"I want the power to control people's minds." Cor finally replied.

"Do you believe in me child?" the devil grinned widely as he spoke.

"I do." Cor said, half-heartedly.

"So be it!" and the devil vanished.

As he went out, the man patted on his shoulder. "Enjoy your newfound power." he said and closed the door.

As he came exited the area, he decided to test his power with the first person that he encounters. But a few moments later, five bandits surrounded him, armed with sharp knives and pistols.

"Give us all your money! Now!" one of them shouted.

Afraid, he fished in his pockets to find his wallet. But then he remembered about the devil and his power. Now was the time to test it, and the results would decide the fate of his life.
Bow to me. He thought as calmly as he could, his hands still stuck in his pockets.

"Be quick fool! Don't try to do anything sill-" the bandit stopped abruptly, his mouth gaping open. His weapon slipped down from his hands. Soon all the weapons dropped down from the bandits and they stood awkwardly for some time.

Then in unison, they slowly crouched and bowed to Cor.
He looked up and grinned wickedly....

Click here to read the next part

I have a small question for a few of my readers. If you understand it, then answer below in the comments. If not, then there's no harm done.

I met a crying bard by the side of a broken bridge. I asked him the cause of his worry.
"I am a soldier sir," he replied. "I sing for the glory of my comrades."
"We fought many battles together. Many we won, some we lost. But we made it through together."

"But alas, this last battle, I took an arrow and fell down. I told them to go on without me. But just as they left, the bridge exploded! They looked back, I smiled and told them to carry on without me."
"Now, the bridge is broken and I am too injured to swim across. Tell me, how will my friends hear my songs during their battles and meet me after it all ends?"
What answer should I give him?


  1. Grasping story. Eagerly waiting for the next part. The suspense is well created. Excellent work.

  2. Tell the bard to not worry, for if his friends truly cherish their togetherness as much as he does then they'll have reason enough to come back to him, victorious and glorious.

  3. Eagerly waiting for the next part😍


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