He folded the letter he had received from home and placed it in his pocket, right next to his sword.
“What news have you received from home?” An older man asked him, his stale breath causing George to wrinkle his nose. He was too close for comfort.
“Oh, nothing,” he lied. In fact the letter entailed details of a new girl who had recently taken residence in his old home.
The news infuriated him. The thought of another girl attempting to wash away the memories of his dear sister was sickening, and there was no chance of him ever thinking of this stranger of a suitable replacement.
He bit down on his lip, trying to seize the anger. Trying to gain control. He was the youngest in this carriage, he didn’t want them to think of him as an emotional nuisance. If the war had taught him anything, it was to keep a poker face at all times. Emotions could never seep through the façade.
Conversations were being held amongst the men, all of which were regarding the battlefield they had just left.
One man’s voice could be heard amongst the rest. His deep voice bellowed as he lectured those around him, in his own self-righteous campaign.
“Kill ‘em all I say!” He yelled, silencing the rest of the conversations. Realising he had captured everyone’s attention, he continued. “Men, women, and child! All need to be burned at the stake. Damn creatures of the magic realm. They need to know their place! If we leave the women to survive, they’ll only be more evil spawn like that. Imagine our children co-existing with them.”
Mumbles swept through the carriage, George had no doubt that everyone was agreeing. Saying otherwise would be treason.
The man pulled out a small blade and pointed it in front of him.
“Men, we came to do a job and I think we did it well. We caused those things to run back home with their tails between their legs.”
Everyone cheered him on. Clapping him for his speech.
He was basking in it now. His speech had brought about the admiration of the majority of the carriage.
“I only have one rule,” he ran his hand through his hair, showering his shoulders with white flakes as his fingers scraped the scalp.
“They work for us, or my blade works through them.”
That finished it. Yells and whistles came from all sides of the carriage. George bent his head, wanting to have no part in this. It was not just a mere blood sport for him, it was death after death, pointless killing. What enjoyment could one gain?
His held the grip of his sword and closed his eyes. In an instant he had been transported back to the battlefield, with the soft uneven crunch of bodies beneath him. The squelch of blood oozing out of the bodies as his feet pressed down on the corpses.
Something grabbed his leg.
His heart jumped from it’s chest as he faced the man. The foe. A creature of the magic realm. There was no thought put into the actions, just basic instinct. I must survive, he thought as he pulled his sword from its sheath, so they must not.
“P-Please, do n-not h-harm me,” the man stuttered.
With all his strength, he forced the blade down, piercing through skin and chipping bone. Everything was crushed. The force placed on the sword caused it to slice right through the man who held him, sparing no chance for survival.
It took more time to remove his sword from the grip of the man’s bones and internal organs than to place it amongst them. The blood that poured out spat back at him as if condemning him for his sins. He closed his eyes, the warm blood on his legs reminding him that he was still alive. This was just a Hell for the living, not for the dead. Yet.
When George opened his eyes, he was back on the carriage. Chills spread through his body as he tried to shake the memory away.
He pulled the letter from his pocket once more and rubbed his finger over the small print. Mother, Father, he thought to himself, give me sanity. Bringing the letter to his face, he risked a quick inhale of the scent, despite the eyes of all the other soldiers. The smell of home still lingered.