“My God, Vic, what have you done to yourself? What have you done to your memory?”
Dina mournfully shook her head. Though she was alone in the dark and her eyes were blurred with tears, she still looked at Victory’s picture. She didn’t really need to see it; she knew every contour of his face by heart. Still, it was comforting in a bittersweet nostalgic way to hold his picture.
Her tears were the product of both sorrow and pain. Her sorrow was a constant, but since she felt it every day, it rarely drove her to tears. Tonight, however, the constant had been multiplied, and her depression reached record depths. The pain was a new factor in the equation.
The pain was a result of violence. Her arm had been broken and her head had been cut open. A few angry homeless people had found out she had been Victory’s girlfriend and had lain in ambush for her outside her apartment complex.
They’d attacked her mainly by hand, although one of them had a crowbar. He had given her the nasty compound fracture and the gash on her head. She’d been left to fend for herself with a shattered chunk of bone sticking out of her arm.
Dina had managed to stagger to her feet and make her way to the nearby free clinic. The receptionist had tersely turned her away. She was about to protest and ask if the receptionist was a human being when she stopped herself. The clinic she had chosen had been one of the chief victims of the October Massacre. The receptionist had recognized her just as the homeless people had. She managed to call for an ambulance before passing out.
While convalescing she pondered what had happened to the collective consciousness of the world in the twenty years since the fall of the Fellowship. Once upon a time it would have been a purely intellectual exercise, but now it was far closer to her own life. Many countries around the world had banned their Fellowship chapters. Legal intervention was hardly necessary, however. Almost universal public revulsion and hatred did the job better than the police ever could have. The Fellowship had become the ultimate Great Evil, the object of gnawing, angry mob justice. Cain had become a figure of almost mythical proportions, a new Satan. His bearded image had become almost synonymous with human perversity and insanity.
Victory’s story was pretty well known, although opinions on him differed severely. Some people said he was as bad as Cain, since he had created the Fellowship and had been so incompetent as to lose control of his creation. Others said he was a decent fellow, since he had opposed Cain and given up his life for his convictions.
What it really came down to, Dina realized, was the blue jacket. Whether a man or woman was personally good or bad, any association whatsoever with the Fellowship was a mark of disgrace and made him an object of hatred. That was the root of Dina’s problem. She had been close to Victory, and so close to the Fellowship.
In twenty years she had not been with anyone other than Victory. Her entire life had been affected by a brief, tumultuous period. Since then she had forgotten how to love.
"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."
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