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"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, February 9, 2009

Eternity Burning: Chapter 6, Part 3

Well, there it was. It had happened. Ben and Annie had given an old stewbum a good thrashing. It was a potential disaster that could shake the very foundations of what Victory was trying to do. He would begin taking matters back into his own hands.

Victory had been shadowing them all day, and was just preparing to give up when it had occurred. They had been walking down the street in plainclothes. The stewbum had been lying, asleep, on a vent. They had helped him to his feet and then taken him down an alley. Ben held him down while Annie punched him. When he went down they both started kicking him in the head. Victory had immediately rushed in and stopped them, nostrils flaring and anger welling up in him.

“What are you two doing!” he screamed, “This is wrong! It’s cruel. Not only that, you’re also hurting your own members. Don’t you realize you’re hurting the whole Fellowship? You’re dragging our good name through the mud.”

They both made irresolute apologies. Their only sorrow seemed to be in the fact that they had been caught.

“What were you thinking?” exclaimed Victory.

“Do you really want to know?” Annie asked.

“Yes,” came Vic’s low, angry, growling response.

“It’s like you always say, the bums are what’s wrong with America. It’s just as easy as getting rid of the bums to get rid of America’s problems.”

“That’s not what it means,” Victory stated, “It means we’ve got to work to eliminate homelessness, not the homeless. Christ, what is wrong with you two? Actually, I should have had more forethought. You two always had such hatred for the homeless. Always making jokes. That set off a warning buzzer in my head, but I ignored it.”

Ben shrugged non-committaly.

“You two grab this poor man,” Victory said, jabbing a finger at the unconscious bum lying on the street, “And let’s bring him somewhere to get care. I think there’s a free clinic nearby.”

As they shouldered their victim, Ben and Annie trudged along contemplating what their punishments might be. Ironically, Victory was contemplating the same exact thing. Finally they reached the clinic, but not before attracting a great deal of attention.

“This man needs immediate help,” Victory said to the receptionist on duty.

“I’ll get Dr. Tennett,” she replied.

The physician, Alexander Tennett, appeared from a backroom. He seemed agitated upon seeing the little group hauling the homeless man.

“Put him down on the floor, for the love of god, put him down. You may already have caused irreparable damage to his spine and neck. What happened to him?”

“My companions here beat him up," Victory said.

Alexander looked up at the two. He gave them each a scrutinizing look.

"You two have been giving me an awful lot of work these past few weeks. It's a shame most of it is in there."

Alexander pointed towards the door marked MORGUE.

"Will he be all right?" Victory asked when Alexander had finished his First Aid work on the man.

"He'll survive. He's got a concussion, a few broken ribs, and some other damage. But I'll take care of him."

"Thank you," Victory said.

"What about them? Do you want me to call the police."

"If you like. That's your choice. But as for my choice…"

Victory turned and looked at each of his once loyal followers in turn. They looked angry, but not at all regretful. Victory had no doubt they would do it again. But they would not ever do it under the auspices of the Fellowship.

"You two are out of the Fellowship," he said with supernatural calm, "The law can do what it wants with you, but I'll have nothing else to do with either of you. You disgust me."

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