This night I will sleep soundly, the money I had robbed was safely under my bed. I laughed out loud, wringing my hands together, nodding my head madly. No guilty conscience and no law demanding justice from me, just as the devil had promised. The moonlight penetrated my thin, unkempt curtains, lighting the murky floor.
Tomorrow will be a different day, tomorrow I will not suffer from lack of fortune. I laid my head on the feather-starved pillow, pulling the moth eaten, dusty sheet -what I called my quilt- and tucked it underneath my chin. The night was chilly, but I felt relatively warm.
I sold my soul to the devil, I thought. Remorse was arising, but it was soon absconding. Its okay, I sold my freedom for the fortune in the first place. What is the big difference this time? I shrugged the thought out of my head and drowse into sleep.
I was a young man, newcomer to this isolated town. I had been call upon to meet my relative in her deathbed. I came reluctantly, but with good intentions: to grant the dying soul her one last wish. My relative was a great-aunt I had never heard of, nor was this town known to me. I was a mere scholar out of university, I studied journalism but was unsuccessful at it. I applied for many jobs but was declined or moved to the never-ending waiting list. Instead I ended up working as a newspaper "boy", my job consisted of standing in the corner of Main Street selling the Sunday's newspaper. I was not paid very well, I had only two change of clothes, and I could afford only bread for dinner.
It was one starry night, past midnight, which opportunity knock at the dilapidated door of my humble one-piece apartment. I was wearing a nightgown that used to belong to my mother. You see, my parents had shun me out of their lives because I was a "sour son", non-productive, and fruitless (economically) and if I was lucky I would live off their meager charity.
It was the postman with an urgent letter to me. I took the letter and thanked him but he did not move from his place. I bid him goodnight but he was still standing there. Postmen, I fumed, always wanting a penny for their deliveries. If only I got one from every customer who decided not get off their vehicles and have me approach them to sell them a Sunday's paper, I might as well treat myself better for dinner. I fumbled in my purse for some a pennies but much to my dismay only found a dime (10 CAD, USD cents). I gave it to him. There goes my dairy for tomorrow's breakfast. I saw the postman prance down the stairs, he was only a teenage boy.
That letter brought me to this forsaken town, in the middle of nowhere. What was the catch from the letter that made me come in the first place? The following lines: "We offer to pay the expenses for your trip and attach to this note we send some money for you to be able to take leave from work without compromising your well-being. Please do come, it is of utmost importance for your great-aunt to meet her great-nephew. We will lodge you in our home, we will offer food while in your stay..."
"Decent roof and food for a week," I summarized, "for free." I counted the money that was in the white envelope, ten paper money of the highest denomination (100.00). "This relative of mine must be a golden pot!" I exclaimed, "it won't due harm to visit her." And thus settled, I packed my scanty belongings and hired a carriage to take me to that town.
Upon my arrival I was received by two aging couple. They ushered me to my great-aunt death bed. Once I arrived, the pungent smell of death impregnated the room. I walked precariously toward the skinny figure, taking a seat in a stool next to her rather low bed.
She saw me through her cataract-filled eyes. I tried to deviate my eyes, but considered it rude and fixed my eyes on counting her wrinkles. She could not talk, only whisper. The old woman who had received me told me to place my ear on my great-aunt's mouth. I was disgusted by the idea, but was obliged to do so. Only breath brushed my ears, sending chills down to my spine. Then she was gone. I felt sorry for her, I prayed for her well-being.
The next day the family lawyer was reading her will to the town, I was there too. Apparently she was not very loved, the townsfolk only wanted their share of her belongings. With all her belongings gone, and half of the townsfolk back to their work, only something was missing to announce. The heir of her immense fortune.
I was awe-struck when I heard the enormous sum of money she possessed. How the hell did she earned so much money!? I was lost in thoughts.
Someone nudge my ribcage painfully, I turn and saw the old woman.
"Sir, they are calling you," she told me.
I gave her a funny look, and walk toward the lawyer. "Sir, you were asking for me?"
"Yes, I said called you three times, and to none did you answer!" It sure was a moody lawyer.
"I.. I am sorry," I stuttered, "what is the matter? I have been doing nothing..."
"I said you are the sole possessor of her fortune and wealth. She left her fortune to her great-nephew"
I was aghast and speechless. How did it had happened? So many places I could go visit, so many things I could possess!
"However, you can only claim your fortune if and only if you stay and dwell in this town for the rest of your life. Your fortune will not be effective if you leave, not even to visit somewhere else."
Freedom for fortune? I shrugged. "Deal, sounds fine to me," I said. I was rich, nothing else mattered. I grinned with delight and turn around giving the town a better look, "looks like a fine place to live."
The chirping of the birds woke me up. I yawned lazily as I placed my bare feet against the cold floorboards. What a dream, and a good remembrance. I wonder what deed am I to execute today to get my whole fortune back.