In BURNT on January 28, 2011 at 8:54 pm


The night is deep black with only the hint of a moon hiding somewhere in the wilderness.  Guests aren’t allowed their own cars up here so Candace and Josey aren’t going anywhere until morning’s light.  Without a plan, they huddle close in the cold sweat lodge and wait.

Josey shuts her eyes tight, wraps her arms around her knees and pushes at the image of her drowning father, trying to force it out of her head.  Candace knows she has to start talking before the girl slips further away.

“Do you like movies, Josey?”  The girl nods slightly.  “I made one once.  I finished it for someone.  No one wanted to show it so I ended up buying the theaters.  Now I own a chain.”  Candace closes her own eyes.  “In the movie, there is an ancient race called The Builders.  Long ago, these beings gave Man all he needed to create a perfect society — will, intellect, individuality.  The Builders check in on Mankind from time to time to gauge their progress.  In the film, they visit us three times in our history.  Each time, the world is a mess ruled by a senseless mob.  And each time, there exists a single guardian of these sacred truths — a sole visionary who keeps the flame alive but at the cost of his own life.  The film ends in the future, when these martyred visionaries have triumphed and the Mankind has realized its full potential.”

It seems to be working.  Josey stops rocking.  Her eyes are open.

“The film is full of bad ideas.  I rejected them all as I rejected the man who wrote it.  But, somehow, I’ve continued to hope for a Utopian future.  I think that’s why I was so ready to believe in Lucas James and his vision of our world.  This mountain was my utopia.  I fell in love with everything about it.  I’ve spent months in libraries and classrooms, studying everything I could find about this land and the people who lived here.  Why, I…”

They listen.  It sounds like someone is moving around in the ranch house.  Josey closes her eyes again.  Candace lowers her voice and leans close.

“But that’s a boring story.  Let me tell you a good one.  Let me tell you the story of Sunday Warring.”

The Story So Far

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