The kilted bastards fought harder than most.
They’d hidden themselves well, looking like nothing more than bits of bodies in the carnage left behind by some giant.
There were other corpses – mangled and ground into the mud – and so I did not think that any might be playing ‘possum.
Pain helped me see my mistake.
The first one came at me from the right, and as I turned toward him, his bayonet took my eye from me, skewering the damn thing and flicking it off into the mud.
I don’t think he expected me to keep fighting after that.
But I’d lost an eye on more than one occasion, and while it’s a long, painful process as they grow back, grow back they do.
I caught his bayonet with my hand, ignored the cut of the steel against my palm, and jerked the weapon free. I had enough time to duck beneath a wild haymaker of a swing from him and then drive his bayonet up and into his groin as his comrade lunged at me from behind.
Despite the first man’s injury, he continued to fight, struggling to catch hold of me long enough for his comrade to run me through.
I shoved the wounded man’s bayonet hard up through his back, the tip of exploding through his neck and spraying his comrade with arterial blood.
The wounded man fell forward, wrenching the bayonet out of my hand as the blood-splattered man clambered over him, hands outstretched as he reached for my throat.
But my own blade was already drawn, and I slammed it into his chest, cracking the sternum and collapsing his lung. Twice I withdrew the weapon, and after the second time, I cut the man’s throat.
Blood, mine and that of the kilted soldiers, dried on my face as I sat down on the ground, cursing the two dead men.
It takes hours for an eye to grow back, and not a damned moment of it’s enjoyable.
Furious, I took out my pipe, packed it, and lit the tobacco.
There was nothing else for me to do.
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