Manuscripts Burn


"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov

Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Monday, January 12, 2009

Eternity Burning: Chapter 1, Part 5

Dina didn't allow herself to be distracted by the door opening and closing. Whoever was walking now that she was almost finished her lecture was trying to be very quiet, but ended up sounding only as quiet as water buffaloes tap dancing. In an instant she knew it was Victory.

"This is, basically, the self-destructive path of bigotry. Once the first of these five phases begins, it simply can not be stopped. The other four phases will automatically occur, almost as a reflex. So, our job is to recognize and stop bigotry before it reaches Phase One. The process can only be stopped when it's just a few jokes and pranks and insults. My greatest fear is that humanity will never be able to stop the cycle. I'm afraid that people won't become aware that every part of the process is destructive. Even after the persecution is over it's destructive. In conclusion, I dread the possibility that the fire of bigotry will keep burning for eternity."

The class clapped and hooted and hollered. Then the bell rung.

"Remember to read the first three chapters of Mein Kampf by Monday. And have a good weekend!"

Some of the students groaned. But they all filed out of the classroom, under Victory's approving gaze. One of the girls, the last in line, stopped. She had a crush on him, based on the few times when he had seen her picking up Dina after class.

"Hello, Mr. Halov," she said.

"Hello," he replied, "How goes the matriculation?"

She blushed and giggled.

"It's all right. Good bye!" she said, and then ran out of the room.

Victory waved after her. He stopped because of a pain in his side. The source of the pain was Dina's elbow.

"Hitting on other women, dear loyal Victory?" she asked.

"They're only college girls," he said, putting his arm around his pedagogical girlfriend, "Of course they'd have a crush on a handsome guy like me."

"Of course. Come on, you dog," she said, and they walked out of the room together.

As she locked the door, she asked him how his day was.

"Exhausting," he replied with a yawn that was partly theatrical and partly real, "It was the same old thing as always. Pushing the paperwork for shipments of drugs and medical supplies way out to the boondocks. And after I worked all day some street rat started bothering the hell out of me. I told him off though. Now I just want to go home, get some food, and sleep."

"You can crash at my place if you don't want to drive all the way home," she said.

"Okay, professor," he agreed.

Their two apartments were in diametrically opposed positions in the city of Philadelphia. He picked her up from the Temple campus every day, even though it was a long haul to drop her off and then get back to his home. It was the bright spot of his usually dreary days just to see her, and it saved her from having to take the bus or the subway except in the mornings.

Dina had had a very nice car for a while, a used Chevrolet, but when it broke down she found out just how used it was. The old lemon still sat in her apartment building's parking lot, because she seemed to procrastinate about getting it fixed every single day. Public transportation and Victory took care of most of her movement needs, so she wasn't too worried about it.

Once he had pulled into her building's lot, it started raining. They both took off from the car and rushed to the entrance, where it seemed that her key had decided to stop fitting in the lock.

"Wow, Miss Sharp," Victory said, cold and shivering, "I can't believe I actually get to see the inside of your apartment. It's almost like you and I are going out or something."

"Oh, be quiet," she said with a smile.

Finally the fickle key decided to do them the immense favor of turning in the lock.

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