Monday, October 9, 2017

Wendigo

Based on a prompt

We all wanted to serve so desperately. We were unfit, but given an option. This unit only takes volunteers, and your lame leg or poor vision won’t matter.

A wendigo has no body of its own. It needs a vessel. It needs a host.

The first host had been Smith. He’d been nervous, but eager. I think he was curious about how the officers would live up to their promise to make him strong. The next time I saw him was D-Day. He had his own landing craft, slightly ahead of the others. When the ramp dropped a long-limbed thing burst out, rushing up the beach, impossibly fast. It wrenched itself into a bunker and then there were screams and an explosion.

The second in line had been Martin. One of the officers showed him into the bunker. There was a lot of shouting, and we were all pulled away by the rest of the officers. I didn’t seem him again until Caen.

We were pinned down by machine guns, and the officers had brought forward an armored truck. Martin scrambled out as soon as they opened it, and this time I got a close look. Every part of him was emaciated except his belly. The skin on his limbs and head was drawn tight, outlining his bones, but his belly bulged. He appeared to have been gnawing on his wrists.

Then he rushed forward, leaping from the ground through a third story window. It sounded like he was bursting through the walls of the old houses, and we saw him pounce on one of the machine gun teams from behind. He killed at least thirty before a lucky hit from a Pak 38 cored him like an apple.

After that was Taylor, who tore the head from a tank commander, dove through the hatch headfirst and tore apart the crew inside. A Sherman had hit the tank seconds later, making mincemeat of him. Treblawny sprinted through a trench, killing as he ran, killing several dozen men before falling to sheer blood loss. Smith had dodged sniper fire until he got close enough to leap and knock the sniper from his tree, falling on top of him and burrowing into his chest with his fingernails. Smith had killed only two of the snipers who had ambushed us when he stepped on a landmine and lost his legs.

Now it was my turn. The officers took me to the chunks of bone and gristle that had been Smith. They reminded me, you wanted this, you volunteered for this.

I tore out a piece of his leg and began to chew.

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