Challenge #01888-E064: Before a FallsteemCreated with Sketch.

in #fiction6 years ago

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"I am unstoppable!!!"
slips on banana peel -- TheDragonsFlame

Hubris is always punished. It's a law of the universe. Get too egotistical, get too proud, get too vainglorious, and the universe will extract its taxes on your body, your soul, and everything you hold dear. Time is always good for this. Extracting the years day by day. Making those who were once strong, feeble. Making those in power jealously guard it until Death creeps up behind them and takes everything away.

But the usual ebb and flow of life's cycle and nature's check on megalomaniacs has fallen by the wayside in the modern era. Rich men ensure that their families are set up. Empires of economy are planned. Men and women alike play with the fates of their fellow man as if they were nothing more than counters on a game board.

So the gods had to show their hand more... forcefully. Such as the case of Malcolm Scase. Who now owned a majority of an entire nation.

He stands now, giving a speech on the steps of the former capitol building, with much fanfare and jumbo screens to show any in the back rows who was talking. He owns a nation - or might as well - he thinks that he is going to own the world.

"I promised that I would be the cause of great change in this nation, and I did not lie. I am changing things," said Malcolm. "The role of president is now defunct. I own the senate. I own the house. I own all the major pacs that went into fooling all of you into thinking that your vote mattered. So here I am. Cutting out the middleman. There is no president. There is no house. There is no senate. There are no more governors, no more mayors. Just the senior staff of the board, the managers, and me. The CEO of this entire damn nation."

The people were upset, but they were upset too late. Malcom had had a perfect array of distractions in the media to become the opiate of the masses. He was secure in his takeover.

"Yeah, yeah, boo. Hiss. You can't do anything because I decide. I decide who gets medicine. I decide how much - if anything - you get paid. This entire nation is my plantation and I decide who lives and who dies. Fuck, I might even make all marriages null and void. I'll decide on that later. The point is... I own you. I own where you work. I own the agencies that give you water and keep your streets clean. I. Own. This country. And there's nothing that's going to stop it. I'm a financial genius and this country is going to be made in my image." He smirked directly at the main camera. "Good luck. You're going to need it."

Some said that what happened next was an act of god. If so, it was one of the supremely merciful ones who actually listened to prayers. Others said it was karma, for once, not waiting for his next incarnation. Some said it was the collective will of those present for the event.

Either way, as Malcolm Scase stepped off the podium, he put his foot down incorrectly.

On the edge of a step.

On a patch of slick ice.

Right at the top of the grand, imposing staircase that was his stage.

He went down like a sack of rubber balls. Bouncing and rolling. Tumbling uncontrollably. Irrevocably down. And it sounded like he hit the edge of every step on the way down.

When he came to a halt, it was clear that he had also stopped his life with one misstep. The blood was a dead give-away.

His empire, built by his father, his grandfather, and his great-grandfather, gifted to Malcolm on a silver spoon, credited solely to his genius... fell.

It fell before the body grew cold. It fell before someone ran to try and assist him. It fell before people on the sidelines had stopped filming it. It fell, in fact, before the second, sickening crunch of bone meeting hand-carved marble as he tumbled to his death.

Malcolm Scase had barely been twenty-five. He had had three trophy wives and no children. They, and the executives under his command, fell upon his estates like ravening vultures. And they were almost too late. The staffs of his twenty mansions were already stealing anything they could grab before his feet had quite finished sailing out from under him.

The nation went mad. Without a governing power allegedly in charge, anarchy reigned. Those who needed a single excuse to kill their neighbour and take anything they coveted did so. Those who could fight, did. Those who could not, could only pray for mercy from the strong.

The nation burned.

Here and there, pockets of benevolence flourished in spite of the chaos. A new model of governing sprang up. A new way of running things sprang up. From insanity rose competence, phoenix-like, from the ashes.

In a way, Malcolm Scase had accomplished his lie. He had, indeed, been a cause of great change in this nation.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / alexkich]

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