Day 13

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It was a trap.

Including Pedersen, we’d lost eleven men the day before, and three more were wounded. Their rations and ammunition were shared out, the weapons kept in reserve.

We decided to rest for a day. Not so much to mourn our dead, which we did, but to clean our equipment and gain some much-needed rest.

Patrols were sent out, and after noon one of them found the boat.

An old sergeant informed Mikkelsen, Marius and myself of the boat and the man sitting forlornly in it. The boat lay on the beach, the man looking out over the water.

None of it sounded right.

“He’s just sitting there?” Marius asked.

“Aye.”

“Take me to him,” I said, knocking the tobacco out of my pipe.

With my Colts on my hips and the hammer resting against my shoulder, I followed the sergeant out of our encampment. He glanced at me several times but said nothing.

I didn’t mind.

When we reached the road following the line of the beach, I saw the long boat ahead. As the sergeant had told us, a solitary man sat in it. The other four men of the scouting party were advancing on the boat, rifles at the ready and bayonets glinting in the sunlight.

“Come back here!” the sergeant ordered, but the men ignored him, weapons lowered.

Swearing, the sergeant raced after his men, but when he was within a few steps of them, he slowed down and straightened up. He drew his saber and fell into lockstep.

I stayed where I was.

Something wasn’t right.

The men reached the boat, and I saw the man in it turn to face them.

A heartbeat later, he exploded. Miniature Skratti landed on the heads of the soldiers and tore into their faces. Clawed hands were thrust into eye sockets and mouths, and not a single man fought back as they sank to the beach.

It took only a moment for the creatures to see me and to come racing across the road.

I struck the first one with the hammer and knocked its head off into one of its companions. It caused them to pause, and then I was among them. My boots broke bones, and my hammer shattered them.

When I finished, I gathered up the weapons and ammunition and left the bodies where they lay.

Graves could be dug in the morning.

#Denmark #supernatural #monsters #paranormal

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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