by J.E. Allen
Daily Flash Fiction Winner! - 2/25/18 - 300 Words.
|They arrived at the VanHousen mansion a little after dusk, and were escorted to the parlor by the butler James. The Widow Brooks, Doctor Embry, Attorney Alvin Baker, hotel magnate Alexander Touring and Investment Banker Anson Walker, exchanged ideas as to why they were called together, by the influential Edward VanHousen over glasses of wine.
“You can’t be serious?” Widow Brooks said. “VanHousen didn’t invite us just so he could announce his retirement. A rich old fart like that doesn’t retire,” she said with a chuckle.
“He has no relatives to leave his holdings to,” the attorney stated.
Alexander said, “I’ll gladly take his holdings. I’m always looking to increase profits. Butler, more wine!”
“Whomever receives his portfolio will become very wealthy,” Walker said.
VanHousen entered the parlor, shook hands with each guest and took position next to the hearth. He raised his glass and said, “Welcome to my home. I propose a toast. To friends and colleagues!” The entire party downed their glasses in unison.
“I have terminal cancer. I invited you each here, to make sure that I was able to exact my revenge. Widow Brooks, you and Mr. Baker murdered your husband, and my closest friend Julian out of greed. Embry, your incompetence lead to the misdiagnoses of my late wife’s critical heart condition. Alexander, you deserve to die because your unscrupulous business tactics lead to the closure of three of my factories. Two former employees committed suicide. Anson Walker, you’ve been stealing my money for years. The wine has been poisoned!”
Each guest died, choking on swollen throats and blood filled lungs. VanHousen died last, satisfied, having witnessed everything.
The butler left a package containing the recorded confession of his benefactor. He was now one of the wealthiest men in New England, VanHousen left him everything.