War: 8.17.1930

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She breathed fire.

I had hunkered down for a pair of days, the sounds of battle ebbed and flowed, letting me know that I was in a far more precarious position than I cared to be.

Unlike those years in which I fought in Europe, there were no safe lines for me to return to, not unless I retreated from the Hollow in its entirety, and that was not something I considered to be an option. There were far too many soldiers on the fields, too many monsters prowling about.

The list of those who needed killing seemed endless.

On the morning of the seventeenth, the sounds of war were faint and only carried to me when the wind shifted. The forest was as safe as it was going to be.

I ate a quick meal, shouldered my BAR, and set off in search of whomever I needed to kill to bring it all to an end. I followed the sun, sure that it would lead me, in time, to where I needed to be.

It wasn’t quite noon before I heard a woman weeping, begging to be left alone.

A man told her that no such option was available to her, and a moment later, she screamed.

A blast of heat accompanied the scream, and for a moment, I felt as though my skin had been seared.

Fortunately, it had not.

Sinking to my belly, I crawled forward and saw a small telephone switchboard. There was a group of officers in a dugout, and a soldier manning the wireless. Far ahead of us, an open field was burning. I could see a woman and several men. She was bound and held at bayonet point.

One of the officers leaned forward, took the telephone from the soldier, and ordered, “Again.”

She screamed,+ and a wall of flame burst out of her mouth, adding to the fire already blazing on the field. I heard her begging again, but the officers ignored her. They were busy congratulating one another on their successful creation of a weapon.

I took out my BAR, sighted the weapon on the woman, and shot her. When the round struck, she exploded in a ball of fire.

As the officers took shelter, I slipped into the dugout and with my knife, and gutted them all.

I paid no attention to their begging.

#horror #monsters #supernatural #death

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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