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."

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Eternity Burning: Chapter 18, Part 3

“Check this out, Brother John,” Charlie said as Rahowa walked into New Fellowship HQ.

Rahowa looked at what Charlie was trying to show him. It was a black man tied to a chair.

“What the hell?” Rahowa exclaimed.

Racism was not one of the Fellowship’s pillars. In fact, the Fellowship opposed racism. So why the hell was Charlie abusing some black guy? Then an idea dawned on Rahowa.

“He’s not a god damned bum, is he?”

“He wouldn’t be breathing if he was,” Charlie said, matter-of-factly, “This guy here was a member of the original Fellowship.”

“He’s got an original jacket and everything,” one of the other New Fellows put in.

Even as Charlie handed Rahowa the man’s wallet, he started yelling at him, saying, “You shithead! So fucking what? Ten percent of the world’s population was in the Fellowship in it’s heyday. This guy could’ve been any stupid shit…”

Rahowa stopped dead in mid-sentence. He had opened the wallet and now looked at the man’s ID. Rahowa grinned. This man was very important, but he didn’t want to let that on to the other New Fellows, and he certainly didn’t want to let on to the man himself that he knew who he was.

“You said you’ve got his jacket?”

Someone handed him a folded up blue jacket. He took a look at it. It was similar to the what they were all wearing, except it was very old. He checked the tag and was satisfied that it was made by the original producers of Fellowship jackets.

“Why do you still have this jacket?” Rahowa asked, “They had bonfires ten fucking years ago to burn all the old Fellowship stuff.”

“Seemed like a waste. Original Fellowship stuff will be worth something someday to historians,” the man said, although Rahowa knew instantly he was lying.

“Is that all? Just kept it as a collector’s item?”

The man nodded.

“Then why keep your Fellowship ID? You can’t sell that to anyone for anything.”

Rahowa waved the damning card in front of him. The man shrugged.

“You know, I think you kept this stuff because it means something to you. I think you didn’t want to get rid of it because you’re still chasing the dream, like us. Guys, this is Greg Barlow. You don’t know who that is, but I do. He was instrumental in developing Cainism. As a matter of fact, he introduced Adrian Cain to Victory Halov. You might even say that without this gentleman, there would never have been a Fellowship.”

Many impressed little noises came from the group of New Fellows. They freed Greg’s bonds and tried to shake his hand, but he would not take any of their hands.

“Get off of me!” he said.

“Settle down, Mr. Barlow,” Rahowa said, “I know conventional society would treat you like shit for being a Fellow, but we’re smarter than that. You were there when the struggle that we’re fighting began. You saw the rise and fall of fucking gods! We adore you, sir.”

“You sick fools!” Greg exclaimed, “I made a mistake more than two decades ago that cost thousands of lives, and you adore me for it? You want to know why I keep this old stuff? It’s to remind myself never to make such a monstrous mistake again. I’m a broken old man. Just leave me alone with my guilt.”

“But you’re a hero to us! You’re a champion of our cause! There’s so much you could teach us, and we could make you a hero again,” Rahowa said.

“No!” Greg yelled, “I won’t make the same mistake twice. I realized Cain was evil. I realized it too late, but still, I realized it. And I killed him! I was the one who stabbed Cain. Because I could no longer live with what I had done, I struck him down. Now I have to live with not just his sins, but my own, because I killed him. I don’t want anything to do with the Fellowship, new or old.”

Greg left the stunned group of New Fellows. They would go on as the shattered shell of the once powerful Fellowship. Greg would go on as a disillusioned human being.

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