Strangers: Soldiers


They shook the land as they thundered into Cross.

The tank stormed out of the Hollow, took a sharp left onto North Road, and came in search of me.

It had been a long time since I had heard the rumble of treads, but not long enough for me to forget.

I stood on my porch, Colts holstered, and a sawed-off double-barrel shotgun in my hands. The gun wouldn’t do a damned thing to the tank itself, but it would wreak holy hell if I managed to get a shot into the belly of the beast.  

Standing there, I listened, and I waited.

I heard the groan of the tank as it turned; imagined the tearing of road and trees as it shifted toward my home, and I knew I had to take the fight to it.

Leaving my porch, I walked to the drive, stepped off to the right, and moved through the shadows and the woods. I heard men calling out to one another, and for a moment, I was afraid there was more than one piece of armor moving towards me.

There was not.

The fools weren’t buttoned up.

The commander was yelling down to his men, the language undeniably one from the Hollow.

As the tank neared me, I hunkered down and got a good look at the machine. It was painted a dull ochre, and the fumes stank of a curious mixture of whale oil and diesel. The tank commander was standing in the turret, and I blew his brains out with a shot from a Colt. His body slumped to one side, and yells of angry confusion escaped as the tank ground to a halt. I saw the body jerk as I sprinted toward the tank.

Before they could pull the body down and close the hatch, I was on the tank. I shoved the barrel of the shotgun into the opening and emptied both barrels. Screams erupted, and a small hatch opened near the front machinegun. I killed the gunner, reloaded the shotgun, and fired again.

I heard what sounded like pleas for mercy from within the tank, but the only mercy they found was a quick death.

The bodies went to the hogs, and I’m disassembling the tank, although I am tempted to take it to the University.

Mightily tempted.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #death

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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