Unnamed Journal Volume 2, Issue 3 - Page 23

The Teutonic Beast It was a dead German soldier, shot to pieces and bled out of multiple wounds. His clothes were torn to ribbons and he looked diseased. Henry looked around him and saw that the fight seemed over. Within a moment his hearing came back to him and he heard something very like the howl he had heard before. But it was not the howl. It was his men, cheering. "We did it boys!" shouted Matthews at the top of his lungs "God have mercy, we fucking did it!" He did not mind the dead German. He had seen dead men in the last several days. But something in the cheering offended him. To be so oddly, brutally happy at butchering other men: Henry could not hide his revulsion at it. Gradually the men cottoned to this and stopped. "Is this your Beast?" said Henry sharply. He pointed at the German. "Look at him. A man, just like you." Donnelly spat. Harolds started to speak, but Matthews reached a hand to his shoulder. "Begging your pardon, sir, but this," said Matthews, kicking the German in emphasis, "is nothing like us." "Is this what you ran away from? Is this dead boy the embodiment of your horrors? You imbeciles. This is no more horrifying than you are." "You're wrong, sir." "I'm not wrong. And I'm going to prove it to you." Matthews' eyes went wide. "How?" "That was hardly a sustained attack. We didn't take a single casualty. That was a reconnaissance to see if this famous Suicide Ditch was occupied. They found out it wasn't." "How did you not see?" yelled Harold. He shook with rage with Matthews hand gripping his shoulder. "Jesus merciful Christ, how did he not see what that was?" "Get a hold of yourself, Harolds!" bellowed Matthews. "No, sarge! He doesn't believe us! They're never going to believe us! We're all gonna die!" Matthews backhanded Harolds across the face. Harolds went down like a lump, weeping. "My guess," said Henry, as evenly as though none of this had just happened, "is that the enemy will plan a large reconnaissance tomorrow night, now that he knows we're here. He'll also probably shell us like mad. So we're going to put the fear of God into him. We're going to find out just exactly what is in front of us." Matthew swallowed. "Don't say it, sir."