The Ravenous Teeth of Demons
A short snippet from a short story I'm writing about a serial killer in the trenches of the Somme. Here our shell-shocked screw-up anti-hero slides into a flashback as he sits out a barrage.
Mortar and artillery fire burst constantly as he made his way forward, it's point of concentration seeming random, a dull thump-thump-thump in No Man's Land one moment, an ear splitting crash on the ground between the trenches the next. These closer strikes seemed to suck the breath from your lungs and then explode with a furious roar, filling the trench with a storm of grit and smashed timber. The captain shrank against the wall, crouching and curling into a foetal ball to shiver and wait for the giant to pass him over and go thundering back into No Man's Land.
He stands again in No Man's Land, knuckles white on sweaty rifle grips, his men ranked behind him, waiting to die. Shells whistle unseen overhead and burst, shaking the shattered ground, rending flesh and spirit with a furious anger. Onward they tread into the nightmare chatter of machine guns, the ravenous teeth of demons snatching young lives and dragging them away into the fog of war. Yet there he stands, anointed with some unwanted charm, a curse, to watch untouched as all around him fall.