War: 8.6.1930

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He was a photographer, and he wanted to die.

The vehicle was mired in mud a half-day’s walk from the flesh-devouring train I had destroyed. It had been a wet night and the on and off rain that fell told me I was in for another unpleasant evening unless I could find someplace to make my bed that promised to be drier.

When I saw the vehicle, it was from the front. The front wheels were sunk to their wells, and the engine appeared to be dead. There was no stink of death or illness about the place, and that alone was worrisome. Everything in this version of the Hollow reeked of putrescence. Everything except for here.

With the BAR at the ready, I approached the vehicle carefully. A quick look in the cab revealed it to be empty, and so I walked in a wide arc as I made my way to the back. I found the rear doors thrown wide, and a shell-shocked man sitting there amongst the chemicals and gear of a photographer.

I was passing familiar with photography, and more than capable when it came to speaking German, which the soldier in the vehicle appeared to be.

When I asked him his name, he told me he was called Erik. When I asked what he was doing in the vehicle, he replied he was wishing he could die.

We spoke for a few minutes, and I learned of a new horror.

Erik was not only the photographer; he was the camera. Whatever fresh hell he saw on the battlefield, he transferred it onto film in an alchemical process I do not pretend even now to understand.

A lover of art and beauty, Erik had volunteered for the role of photographer, not knowing what it would entail. Not knowing that every image he saw would remain forever fixed in his thoughts, accessible at any time. When he closed his eyes, he saw the horrors replayed.

Again and again and again.

He had not slept for days. And despite his pain and his sorrow, he could not bring himself to commit suicide.

I blew his brains out with the BAR and everything he had seen flooded the forest around me. For a minute, I was awash in death and dismemberment.

Then, it was gone.

I will sleep beneath the vehicle tonight and burn it in the morning.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #death

Published by

Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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