Author : J.R.Blackwell, Staff Writer

The old man may have looked like Santa if he smiled, but red faced and spitting he was closer to a vengeful devil than the spirit of giving. The old man cornered Uill with his sizable bulk. “You are not a poet.” He said, stepping closer. He stunk of rotted food and oil. “You are The Krugar, a War Lord, the greatest military mind of my generation.” The old man gripped Uill’s lapels and shook him violently. “Snap out of it General! Come back to us.”

Uill trembled. “Mister, please just let me go, I’m going to be late to class.”

The old man kept one of his meaty hands on Uill’s thin shoulder and used his other hand to reach into his coat pocket. He pulled out a bronze metal and pinched it between his stained fingers. The medal had a half opened eye impressed on its surface. As always, these kinds of medals made Uill feel sad and angry, a press of emotions that intensified the stabbing pain in his head. The man shook the medal in front of Uill’s face. “I earned this after you commanded us on Mars. Do you remember Mars? You remember the Driell and the fire?”

Uill could feel the headache coming, the pain that always came when people talked about his old life. “I’m not The Krugar. I never commanded you. That man wasn’t me. I was reborn. Now I’m a student of poetry.” Uill held up his left hand, where his university glowed on his ring finger. “Look at my ring.” He waved his hand in front of the old man’s face. This is the Capital University student ring. The Krugar went to military school, right? I can’t be him. I go to Capital University.”

Shaking his head, the old man rummaged in his coat. “Don’t try to confuse me. I know who you are. I know what they did to you. I know they tried to make you reborn. But you are The Krugar. You wouldn’t forget, not with all the machines in the universe.” The old man pulled a knife out of his coat and flicked his thumb on the blade. The blade began to spin. “You’ve got to be in there somewhere. Maybe I can cut you out.”

Uill held up his hands. “Please. No. Poetry. I do poetry. Cloudless climbs and starry skies, suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, do not go gently into that good night.”

“Forget poetry Krugar.” The old man waved his hands around his head. “Forget it. Don’t you hear the news? The Driell are returning. They are coming back. Only you can beat them. Like you did last time, remember?” The man lifted his arms where the lights of the city sparkled against that velour sky. “There!” he said, pointing excitedly to a streetlight, dropping the knife. “That star! There, that glory star. ” The knife blade sparked on the pavement as it spun. The old man didn’t notice. “You remember the song, Glory Star?” The old man put both his hands over his heart and closed his eyes. Then he began to sing, his voice surprisingly clear. “Glory Star, Glory Star, bright and bold The Krugar’s Company.”

Uill knew the words. All eighteen verses. He heard them in his wild dreams, those spastic glimpses of long stretched hours of tension followed by moments of terror and then after, long, brilliant songs, his mind on fire. Uill ran out of the alley, back to the university, back home to his life.

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