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."

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Hussar 3

***Ah, yes. Lord Byron. Presumably this was written before I knew who the poet was. Or else I had heard the name and had no idea what he was. Enjoy. Or more likely, don't enjoy.***

The captain trotted up the steps to Byron's fortress trepidatiously. You either trotted up the steps to Byron's fortress trepidatiously or ecstatically. This was because bringers of news were either rewarded or killed, depending on what sort of news it was they brought. The captain was bringing bad news.

There had been a terrible defeat today on the Vonne River. The defeat was almost devastating. The division at the river had been commanded by a colonel, but their over commander was the marshal, Lord Byron. Byron demanded news from every division of his army.

Knowing what they knew about the way Byron treated messengers, the officers usually shot dice to see who would get to go to Lord Byron...or have to go to Lord Byron, depending on the situation.

The captain had lost the dice shooting. Lost by one! Can you believe it? The difference between the major's five and his four meant his death. The captain reached the door into Castle Byron.
"I'm here to see Lord Byron," said the captain to a guard.

The guard nodded and pointed up the steps. The captain took them two at a time, reaching Byron's chambers in record time.

As he was reaching the chambers another man was coming out of the chambers. The man was holding a badge. It was the rank insignia of a colonel. The badge that the man was wearing at the moment was that of a major's. The major had just gotten a promotion. Some good news from the front was it's cause, the captain assumed.

The captain stepped into Byron's chambers.

"Lord Byron?" he called.

"Yes, come in."

The voice dripped like honey, but had the backing of a bee's stinger. The captain shivered and stepped into the room. The captain saluted.

Byron was a handsome man. His carved features gave him the looks of an Olympian god.

Something sinister in his eyes, something about the way he acted, something made him seem evil, despite his features.

"News from the Franco-German border, m'lord," said the captain in strict military fashion, "A dragoon has defeated our troops there. We've been routed. The colonel has ordered a tactical retreat. We've taken a new position at Mount Brunwage and are preparing to counter assault. The colonel requests reinforcements."

Byron nodded with understanding. He brought from under his robes a dagger.

"Take a look out that window, captain," said Byron, gesturing to a picture frame window, "What do you see?"

The captain walked to the window and looked out, shaking quite badly now.

"I see soldiers, m'lord."

"What are they doing."

"Drilling, m'lord."

"Why are they drilling, captain?"

The captain was a bit taken aback by this question.

"To do well in battle, I suppose, m'lord."

"That's right. Troops don't drill to do poorly in battle. So why did I bother drilling your troops?"
Byron threw the dagger with all his might at the captain, catching him in the back. The captain stumbled forward, through the window, and plummeted like a rock. Byron heard a sickening thud a few moments later. He motioned to one of his couriers.

"The remnants of a division of our troops are at Mount Brunwage. I want those troops slaughtered to the man. Ready five battalions and send them to replace that division. I'll be going personally. We're going to counter attack a group of French hussars."

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