Gods’ Hollow Journal, January 21, 1890: Without Remorse


My mood is foul. I have lost my child, and though I knew him only for a matter of days, the agony is horrific.

My comrades here do not attempt to encourage a sense of false cheer. They too have lost. Some far more than myself. Bram lost his wife and four sons. Isaiah watched his own wife executed for the crime of protecting their daughter from the Tsar’s soldiers. The list, I am afraid, goes on.

I know that I will survive my grief. That will never be a question for me. I have lost a great many people I cared for, simply never a child. I did not, in all honesty, believe I could produce a child. Perhaps it is only with another who shares my curiously twisted heritage. Some perversity of nature which is, thankfully, exceptionally rare.

No, I do not ever doubt that I will survive grief.

It is others who perish when I grieve.

We were fired upon early this afternoon. Multiple rifles from a variety of locations. The unseen assailants killed three more of my comrades, bringing our strength down to sixty-eight. As my friends sought cover, I looked down at the dry ground and felt the wind at my back. From my knapsack, I removed flint and steel. Without a word, I struck it and watched with satisfaction as sparks leaped from the flint to the forest floor. Smoke curled up from oak leaves and I blew upon them, whispered to them, and watched the flames flourish, a physical manifestation of my anger and loss.

Within moments the fire raced down a long, thin break, built up and then, driven by the wind, sped towards our unseen enemy.

When we retreated to a safer course no bullets chased us, although the screams of the dying followed us for miles.

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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