Fires to Ashes

Smita Jain posted under Flash Fiction QuinTale-52 on 2023-05-23

The ticker went down. His heartbeats went up.  The bulls in the stock market were blazing infernos for most of the year, creating daily records. Their unbridled run lured many first-time youngsters to put their savings in the market and dream big about the returns. He was one of them. He started dabbling in the market six months ago. The long-term game was not for him. Instead, he devoted hours to understanding Futures, Options, Call, Put and other nomenclatures in the derivatives segment. The returns convinced him to leave his full-time job.  “You have lost your mind,” said people around him. He didn’t care. His ambition was a raging fire; he wanted to make as much in one year as his parents had earned in ten. No other job in the world provided that opportunity. The more money he made, the more he wanted to make. And the more he could put in the markets, the more the market would make for him. After exhausting his meagre savings, he first borrowed from his parents, then coaxed his friends for money. Neither the mortgage on his parent’s home nor the sale of his beloved motorcycle could hold him back from putting more money in the markets.  The market coursed at a pace many hadn’t seen in their lifetimes. The positive returns added fuel to the fire; there wasn’t a ceiling to his desire. He wanted to blaze in the glory of wealth. The market bulls had raged the day before and set new benchmarks.  But yesterday was history today. The tide turned. Some bank he hadn’t heard of went bust in another land. The bulls fell behind, and it was the day of the bears.  The market sank like the Titanic. Millions of investors’ wealth were wiped off, his included. The lifetime savings of his parents vanished in the blink of an eye; he had nothing to return to those who had lent him money. From a blue-eyed prince, he was reduced to a pauper overnight.  Disbelief, shock, anguish, heartbreak —a myriad of emotions seared him at the same time.  He had ignited the flames of greed in the past and was scorching in their aftermath at present.  The embers singed not only him but also spared no one near and dear to him. Friends disowned him, neighbours made fun of him, and parents ignored him. One by one, he had no one.  He burnt as if it was hell on earth.  “Enough is as good as a feast, while greed, like a voracious fire, consumes the hand that feeds it.” The words from his favourite school teacher rang in his ears, loud and clear. He still had his hands and legs, with a brain that was wiser from experience.  Like the phoenix, he would rise from the ashes by working hard and balancing his ambitions with love and care.  He looked at the mirror and smiled. His eyes shone with a fire he thought had died.     Penmancy gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!