Sown, 1918

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My fate was not theirs.

The whistle was blown, and we went over the top, the artillery bombardment crawling forward and failing utterly to keep the German machine-gunners quiet.

The earth shook beneath our feet, and ahead of us, the unburied dead from four years of war were torn asunder and cast into the sky.

Unbeknownst to my war brothers on either side of me, the reapers were among us.

The creatures had shed their disguises. No longer were they clad in the raiment of men. They did not bother with flesh. Instead, they strode across the battlefield, the war shrieking through their bones as they swung long-handled scythes.

With every touch of that hideous tool, souls were rent from bodies. Skin burst open, and limbs were severed. Glancing blows were mortal ones, and I passed far too many men whose final words were lost beneath the cacophony of battle.

All of this would have been bearable, though, had the reapers not called out to me by name. Had they not hailed me as a friend.

Their scythes never came close to me, which is not to say that I went through unscathed, far from it.

But my wounds healed with each step.

Soon, I alone pushed across No-Man’s-Land. My only companions were the reapers, hideous grins upon their skulls. They knew what awaited the Germans.

When I reached the first machinegun nest, I killed all three men with my pistol, and then I was down in the trench.

I didn’t bother with my rifle.

I wouldn’t need it.

Instead, I drew my trench knife and went to work.

For the Germans, I was there to collect the butcher’s bill.

For the reapers, I was entertainment.

I was satisfied to be both.

#horror #fear #paranormal

Published by

Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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