Day 17

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A strange sight.

We came upon a large graveyard, one where the stones were upended and the earth churned. A large, iron door had been torn from its hinges, and a crypt was bereft of its occupants.

Mikkelsen set up a perimeter around the graveyard, for there was no other way forward but through it. With Marius at my side and my hammer in my hand, we moved forward. Marius held a cut-down saber, both edges sharpened and the point on it now barbed. In his free hand, he carried a small cudgel.

We needed to conserve ammunition and to kill as quickly and as quietly as we could.

The path led us deeper into the graveyard, and soon we discovered signs of a battle that was days, if not a week old.

The stink was horrific, and the maggots feasted upon the dead Skratti littering the ground.

Some were clad in Danish uniforms, others in the clothes of their kind. Few had succumbed to gunshot wounds, and all had been slain from behind.

I saw bones and old bayonets driven into Skratti backs. Heads were crushed in with chunks of stone. And the sign on the ground was too strange to read.

As we neared the center of the graveyard, we found Skratti with swords and spears embedded in them. Some lay dead with axes and maces near them.

Finally, as we climbed a short hill, there were Skratti, who had been killed by gunfire. Around them, though, were more bones and bits of metal.

Marius squatted down, picked up a piece of green-tinted metal, and shook his head before passing it over to me.

I accepted it, turned it over and saw it was a belt buckle made of brass. Emblazoned upon it was the black eagle of Prussia.

“Blood.”

I looked up and saw Marius walking toward a large cross set in fresh earth. Young trees had been planted around it, and newly cut greens lay upon the ground. Shining in the sunlight were bits of more metal.

In the center of the cross was a plaque written in beautiful German.

Here 100 Brave Danes Rest.

Marius and I left, pausing at the open crypt. I went up, closed the door, and read what was written in Danish upon it.

300 Prussians, Brave and True, Once Enemies but No Longer.

The dead had repaid a kindness.

#Denmark #supernatural #monsters #paranormal

Published by

Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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