War, 1914


War brings monsters.

When Imperial Germany invaded Belgium to strike at France, I took a train up to Canada, found my way to Quebec, and I enlisted in the Valcartier Grenadiers. I’m not overly fond of the Quebecois, but I needed to get to the continent, and that was the quickest way.

Well, the quickest way I was willing to take at the time.

I knew – and do still know – that war is a magnet for creatures of foul inclination, both human and inhuman alike.

I didn’t have to go far to find my first one long before we boarded a ship and crossed the Atlantic.

I was encamped outside of Quebec when I noticed a peculiar odor. Following my nose one evening, I found a large fat man sitting in his tent with several of his mates. There was a wrongness about him, and as I listened and waited, I heard it in his voice.

While he was able to mimic a man, he most certainly was not one, although I don’t know what he was for certain.

Over the next few days, as we marched out to the firing range and back, I noticed how he shied away from the sun whenever possible and how he avoided the priest as much as possible.

The priest appeared to notice this as well, and this morning, the priest was found dead. He had fallen, or so it seemed and struck his head on a rock, his brains scattered about in the mud.

There was no mistaking the smirk on the fat man’s face when he thought his comrades weren’t looking.

It didn’t matter if they weren’t looking.

I was.

Later that evening, as he sat in his tent jawing with his mates, I waited.

Night crept on, and soon, he slipped out, disturbingly quiet for a man of his girth.

I followed him on silent feet, trailing him as he made his way to a pasture some miles away. Once there, he latched onto a sheep, sinking his teeth into its neck while the animal was incapacitated in some way.

I didn’t bother to ask how. Or why. Or anything, really.

Instead, I picked up a large rock, stepped up, and smashed in the back of his head.

The blow collapsed the skull, but it didn’t kill the fat man, and that was fine.

As he rolled onto his back, eyes wild, I smiled and raised the rock above my head.

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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