April 12, 1948

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Well, that wasn’t nice.

The forest had given way to an open field, and I’d no sooner gotten into it before someone dropped an artillery round.

I heard it coming in, and, having an abundant familiarity with war, I dove for cover.

The round impacted a short distance ahead of me and shook the earth. As dirt fountained and rained back down, I waited to see if I was the target or if someone was merely shooting for the hell of it.

After a few minutes, I got to my feet, brushed myself off and continued on my way.

It was less than a minute before another round was sent my way. With an angry curse, I threw myself into the nearest dip of land.

This shot landed closer, though on the opposite side of the first.

The bastard was bracketing me.

I shrugged off the rifle, chambered a round and tried my damnedest to see where the fire was coming from.

I had no luck.

There was only one way to try and pinpoint where the cannon was, and that required me to present myself as a target once more.

I didn’t think the gunner would get me, and even if he did get close, I’d probably get some shrapnel.

But I didn’t want to spend the night waiting for my body to push metal out as I stitched up clothes that were more patches than whole cloth.

Muttering under my breath, I got to my feet and started once more on my path. When the shot went off, I was looking. Far off to the right, I saw the ground flutter, the distinct sign of camouflage reacting to a cannon’s recoil.

Again I threw myself down, but I kept my eyes locked on the location of the gun. As the earth shuddered beneath me, I lined up my weapon and let off four quick shots.

The response was instantaneous.

The cannon thundered, and rounds slammed into the earth. Above the ringing of my ears, I heard the cries of men and horses, and when I finally got to my feet, I saw a team of horses bolting with their cannon and their crew.

I let off a few more shots, but the distance was too great.

Part of me was tempted to follow and kill every one of them, but I’d still not found the person collecting scalps or putting a knife in my mother.

Both were far more important than the cannon and her crew.

#nature #horrorstories

Published by

Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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