April 3, 1948


Gas doesn’t work.

Oh, sure, it burns like hell, and it leaves me in a right foul mood.

But it doesn’t put me down. It didn’t in the Great War, and it sure as hell wasn’t going to now.

No, I was too angry for that.

The spring for the trap was well-hid. Had the trap not been old, I would have suffered far more than I did.

I heard the coiled spring click and leapt back as the gas canister launched into the air only a few feet from where my next step should have been. As the canister spun lazily in the morning sun, the metal gleamed, and then the gas hissed out.

A great, billowing cloud of yellowish-brown smoke spewed into the forest, and I dropped to a crouch as I drew my Colts.

I didn’t think the hunter I was after would be foolish to use so simple a trap, but someone did.

And they were going to pay.

Holding back coughs as mucus poured from my nose and my eyes watered, I waited.

The sound of someone muttering reached my ears, and a moment later, I saw a soldier making his way through the gas. He had a rifle at the ready and a gas mask to protect himself.

“Probably just an animal,” he said to no one I could see. There was a pause as he came to a stop. “Well, it’s not my damned fault Johann sets the triggers the way he does. Now we’re out another damned grenade.”

The soldier tilted his head to one side, and I realized he was using some sort of radio within the mask. If I used the Colts, the person on the other end would hear them.

I didn’t want anyone to know I was coming. Not yet.

I put the Colts back into their holsters and drew my knife. The soldier turned away from me, his shoulders and rifle sagging.

“Yeah, I’ll reset the damned thing,” the soldier grumbled.

When he did, I slipped the blade in between his ribs. There was a gasp as the mask caught his last breath, and then the man dropped to the ground with a thud.

I stripped him of his rifle and his ammunition, dragged his body off the trail and removed the gas mask. I found the radio he was using, but the wires ran from his throat to just behind his ear.

I tore the wires out, cast them aside, and chambered a round into the rifle.

There was still hunting to do.

#nature #horrorstories

Published by

Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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