Nothing Left, 1918

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The staccato burst of machinegun fire was a comforting sound.

There is something undeniably personal in war, even in this war with its massive machines and unheard of slaughter.

The men I am with, they are my brothers, kin born of battle. There is a shared experience here that few others will know. It is among these men that I am most comfortable. Even when we take prisoners, there is a bond between soldiers, regardless of sides. We have suffered together.

Today, I was tasked with scouting the German lines. There had been a break in one section of the trenches, and I was able to slip through, easing my way as far back as I dared. I had no desire to spend the remainder of the conflict in a prisoner of war camp.

When I had reached the end of my tether, as it were, I heard the chattering of a machinegun. I made my way toward it and soon came upon the bodies of freshly slain men.

They had been torn asunder, from the inside out, judging by the way their ribs and sternums were exposed.

Keeping the sound of the machinegun to my left, I made my way to it saw a German gunner in a camouflaged hide. His face was a mask of determination as he traversed the weapon from left to right and back again, pausing occasionally to lay down heavier fire on one area or another.

When I looked for his targets, I was taken aback.

I’m not quite sure what they were, but they were not human. I suspect they were some form of fairy folk, and they were unpleasant as hell.

There were dozens of them, perhaps half a hundred or more. They tried to charge his position, but the gunner was too skilled, effortlessly adding a new belt to his weapon.

I settled in to watch, chambering a round into my Enfield and waiting to see if I would need to help the man.

I did not.

By the time he finished, the fairy folk were dead in front of his position, and his gun was glowing orange.

When I stood up, the man caught sight of me, and before he could draw his sidearm, I saluted him.

The German laughed, nodded, and returned the salute.

I took my time getting back to my own lines. There was, after all, nothing to report.

#horror #fear #paranormal

Published by

Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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