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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."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Last War: Chapter 51, Part 2

It was closing on midnight, and the games were still on and the horses were still running. Torches lit up the grounds. It was difficult to see through the murk, but the Mongols were all burningly eager about seeing the Nadam Festival.

Colonel Bura Karakoram had been born and raised in Sühbaatar, and had never been to any other games except a campwide game one year when she had been stuck at the front during Nadam. The games went on in every city and shack in Mongolia, and there were often great rivalries as to which city had the better games. Supposedly the Ulan-bataar games were better than Sühbaatar, but she didn't think it was possible. She cheered suddenly as her chosen jockey won the race.

"I believe you all owe me something," she said with a smile.

The officers who had been dumb enough to bet against her grumbled as they passed the money into her waiting hands. On the other side of the playing ground the non-coms were also betting, cheering, and getting drunk, in a manner considerably more raucously than the officers.

Suddenly a dark sense of dread closed around her stomach. She looked off into the overcast night and the sense of foreboding slowly subsided.

"Emperor's Best is my bet for the next race," she said, rubbing her hands to ward off the cold as well as in excitement, "Any takers?"

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