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- 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."

Friday, March 6, 2009

Eternity Burning: Chapter 15, Part 1

A series of loud, impatient knocks came at the door. They were back at Fellowship headquarters. It had been two days since what had become known as the "October Massacre", so dubbed by the local news reporters. The disappearance of all the homeless people in Philadelphia had been portrayed as a mass slaughter by one new reporter, and he had pointed the finger squarely at the Fellowship and Cain.

Cain had, of course, vehemently and brilliantly deflected all of the media's accusations. He had pointed out that not a single body had been found, and so mass murder was not necessarily what had occurred. He also pointed out that the mayor had declared a curfew for the night in question, and so perhaps he had connections with whatever party had been responsible for the disappearance.

The other TV stations (all of which were owned by Fellows which was purely a coincidence, of course) chimed in their unequivocal support of Cain and the Fellowship, damning the idea that the Fellowship could commit such an atrocity. The reporter who had coined the term "October Massacre" was forced to resign in shame, and the whole idea of the "October Massacre" was dubbed a hoax.

All in all, public support was for the Fellowship. They were, after all, Philly's favorite sons. In the eyes of the public, the Fellowship could do no wrong. And the eyes that didn't agree were gouged out.

What it finally came down to, though, was that Cain had the Philadelphia police in his back pocket. Almost every police officer was a member of the Fellowship, including the chief. And that was all that mattered, really. If the Fellowship wasn't investigated, the Fellowship couldn't be proved responsible.

The knocks came again, this time erratically.

"Answer that, please, Duke," Cain said, not wishing to get up from his desk.

Duke opened the door and nearly staggered backwards in surprise. There, grinning up at him, was the most loathsome band of misfits he had ever seen. Each of them almost without fail was wearing spikes, chains, rings in some orifice or other, filthy paramilitary jackets or simply T-shirts, and countless patches with the names or symbols of underground bands on them. The one in front seemed to be the most disgusting, and was apparently in charge to some degree.

"Who are you?" Duke said so slowly that the maliciousness in his voice was increased tenfold.

"Hey," the leader said, "I'm Jason."

"Jason what?" Duke said, with the patience of a wet hornet.

"Just Jason. We don't believe in last names. That would promote the idea of clans and families and nobility. Wouldn't want that."

"Of course not," Duke said, his minimal patience waning, "And what do you want?"

"I want to see your boss. I want to see Cain. We all do."

The rest of his band nodded in agreement.

"Get out," Duke said simply.

"Who is it, Duke?" Cain said, his interest piqued enough by Duke's absence to come to the door and see for himself.

"It's Cain!" Jason exclaimed.

The group, despite Duke's glare, crowded around Cain and started shaking his hands, clapping him on the back, and congratulating him.

"Should I..." Duke began.

"No, leave them be...thank you..." Cain said, a bit confused, but happy, "Who are you people? Thank you...what do you want?"

"We want the same thing as you," Jason said, "Freedom for the working classes from the oppression of the bureaucracy and the wealthy."

"I want no such thing," Cain said defensively, "I am proud of our free trade society. You sound like a communist."

"Communist? Hell, no. We hate the goddamn commies," Jason said emphatically.

"Oh, good..." Cain started to say.

"We hate capitalists, too, though. And monarchists, and dictators and everyone. All governments. All that shit. We're anarchists."

"Anarchy?" Duke asked in stupefaction.

Both he and Duke noticed suddenly the strong preponderance of anarchistic insignia on their clothes. The circled "A" which symbolized anarchy was very predominant in the many patches which the anarchists wore. There were also sayings such as "No government, no shit, no problems."

"You're rather organized to be anarchists," Cain said wryly, treating it as more of a joke, rather than a threat, as Duke was treating it.

"Don't confuse anarchy with chaos," Jason warned, "We are organized with the goal of the destruction of all forms of government. People should rule themselves. When you get Daddy in charge, all your freedom disappears in a puff of smoke. Money, morality, family, military, these are all the things which Daddy uses to exploit and oppress the working public."

It was fairly clear, to Cain at least, that Jason was just regurgitating things he had heard. People like this particular group of anarchists tended to be excitable and attracted to oversimplification.

"You're welcome to your beliefs," Cain said with some distaste, "But I don't share them."

Cain turned away from the group and brushed up against Duke, whispering ever so slightly in the German's ear, "Get your gun."

"But you do!" Jason exclaimed, and he ran up to stop Cain.

Duke inconspicuously exited the scene. Jason was holding Cain by the shoulder, and Duke didn't like it, but he'd been given an order and meant to follow through with it.

"The Fellowship and us are like peas in a pod, Cain!" Jason said, "We're all about people paying their own way, and being free to do so. You and me are both looking to build a utopia! Why shouldn't we work together? I'll admit I don't like the uniforms, but we can work around it."

"Why are you trying to make this alliance now?" Cain said, "Why in all the time the Fellowship has existed, do you choose this particular date to proposition me?"

"Because," Jason said confidentially, "Now we know what you did a couple of days ago."

"What's that?" Cain asked innocently.

"The October Massacre," Jason said smugly, "We know all about it. And we like it! You're right. The homeless are just as bad as the government. In the future, everyone will work their own farm, and we won't have taxes or any of that bullshit. I've got it all mapped out. And there's no place in any of it for bums."

"You mean our dreams overlap?" Cain said, turning away briefly to make a simple gesture to Duke, who had returned, to cover the front door.

"Yes!" Jason said, "Let's get together and iron something out. I mean, you must not like the government. They take away taxes from workers. That's your whole thing, isn't it? Rights for workers?"

"My 'thing'?" Cain asked, turning angrily now that he was satisfied with the position of the armed Ox, "You don't even know what you're talking about, do you?"

"Hey, calm down, man..."

"Shut up!" Cain exclaimed furiously, "You do not have the right to speak! You are a child, complaining about how the government has ruined your life, when in fact, the truth is you just never had any work ethic! You're either stupid or lazy, but you can't possibly admit that, so instead you blame your problems on the system.

"There's nothing wrong with the system, you asshole! Anarchy is for weak-minded fools! You enjoy making these ridiculous little plans about communal living and farming, but you've never considered what would really happen if there was no government. The government brings us police. In anarchy crime would be so rampant, everyone would die! The government builds the roads and the sewers, and takes out the garbage.

"Anarchy doesn't work, and it never did. Even cavemen had chieftains! You say our beliefs are the same? They're not even similar! Your belief is that the government has no right to exist. My belief is that men like you have no right to exist!"

With that, Duke opened fire on the anarchists.

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