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."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Eternity Burning: Chapter 2, Part 5

"I've never seen a dog work so hard in my life," Victory muttered under his breath, "In fact, most dogs that I've seen have been lazy brutes."

"Lazy brutish dogs impress me more than you have so far this morning," Daniel Sharp said.

Victory sullenly turned back to his job of pitching hay. Sharp had been outside the open barn doors and Victory had been in the hayloft when he heard Vic. Vic had learned that the old man was very perceptive. He had eyes like a hawk and could hear everything around. If it's true that the senses grow dull as one grows older, then Dan Sharp must have had unrivalled powers of sight and hearing in his youth.

"I'm finished, Mr. Sharp," Victory said, climbing down from the hayloft and approaching Dan.

"Go milk the cows," Dan said.

"How?" Victory inquired (he had been born and raised in the city, and didn't know much about rural life).

Sharp made some motions in the air, demonstrating the proper milking technique. Victory nodded and went off to find the bovines. He was fairly amazed as he walked through the farm. It was a sprawling and majestic patchwork of crops and paddocks, spread out over hundreds of acres. It was a relic of an earlier age, the illusion of which was shattered only by the modern harvesting equipment which dotted the landscape.

The air was fresh and clean. Victory's nostrils roared in pleasure at being freed from the vicious irritations of urban pollution. He was surprised at how little the various plants agitated his sinuses. In fact, he felt better breathing in pollen, which was almost unknown to him, than car exhaust, which was infinitely more familiar.

Victory reached his destination and sat down on the small three-legged stool which facilitated cow milking. He began to do it the way Dan had showed him, although the animal was clearly uncomfortable. Someone walked in. He was pleased to see that it was Dina.

“How are you doing, Vic?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” he admitted truthfully, “I don’t think I’m milking her right. She seems uncomfortable.”

Dina laughed.

“Of course the cow’s uncomfortable,” she said, “Think about what you’re doing to her. You’re doing it all right. Your form is bad, but it’s not exactly an Olympic sport, you know. Whatever works.”

“Thanks,” he said.

He continued working and she watched him. Aside from the squishing noises of the cow’s udders, and the spurt of milk into the metal bucket on the ground, the barn was silent.

“Hey, Dina…”


“How do you get people to back a cause?”

She gave him a queer look.

“Are you trying to start a cause.”

“Yeah, I guess,” he said.

“Well,” she said, digging back into her memory, “You need symbols, insignia, flags, songs. Things for the general public to rally around and something that you can wave and display. Your cause needs to offer something to people, even if it’s just personal satisfaction. That means you have to be careful in what you say. The written word can help, like in pamphlets or books or on the internet, but the main thing that will attract people is the spoken word. You’ve got to talk to people. That might mean giving a public speech, or it might mean just having conversations with friends. But the point is, you’ve got to sway people. You’re also going to have to actually do something, to demonstrate your good faith. Words and actions are the only way that you can affect people.”

Victory nodded. Symbols, words, actions…

“What are you trying to start?” Dina asked.

"I think unemployment's the root of society's problems..." he said.

"That's a pretty common philosophy," Dina mentioned.

"And I think we should for a society or something of citizens to stop unemployment, you know? Welfare isn't helping. There needs to be more than what the government can do."

Dina shrugged.

"Well, it sounds like a noble pursuit, Vic," she said, "If you can keep on track and not let your society get out of hand, or let your ideas take on a life of their own."

Victory nodded.

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