Letters From The Front

Written by Eruantien

The Civil War Letters of Rev William Salt, still perfectly preserved

from Sergeant Amanda Davidson:

Dearest brother,
We’ve been here for about a week now and nothing has happened. The living quarters are the worst that I’ve seen for a long time, but despite that it’s looking like the nicest posting I’ve had. But enough of me; how are you? How’s work been treating you? How’s the compact machine gun coming along? I hope you get all the kinks worked out soon. Lay some flowers on father’s grave for me.
Love,
Amanda
PS. I do wish it would stop raining.

Dearest brother,
We were attacked last night. Lost most of a company. The Colonel reckons that they were just probing the line, I hope he’s wrong. Have you had any ideas for how to stop the rounds getting jammed when the bolt draws back to let the next one into the chamber? Oh, it’s still raining, the place resembles a bog more than a battlefield.
Love,
Amanda

Dear Richard,
I’m writing to you from the infirmary now, there was a bit of a scuffle this morning and I took a scratch. It’s nothing really, but the colonel insisted I went to the infirmary to get it seen to. I like your solution to the jamming autorifle. I’m so proud of you little brother, now we have a weapon that might yet turn this war around.
Love,
Amanda

from Private Joe Stanach:

Hey cousin, been here just over 3 weeks now. Krugan’s been making fairly regular probes at our lines, nothing too serious barring the first. Wilder’s boys got hit quite hard then. Since? Meh, a few of the guys from each company down. Steve’s currently in the infirm heaving his guts into a bucket. Glad I’ve been boiling everything. How’s life at the iron mine treating you? You get anywhere with that broad from Aravis?
See you, Joe

Shit cous, some of the kids in D panicked today. Col had no choice did he. Poor stupid fuckers. In other news, Steve is out of the infirm, replaced by what seems like half our unit.
Joe

Me again cous, Steve snapped this morning, the colonel and Sergeant Amanda took him down (I know, weird right? SERGEANT Amanda!). Amanda’s in the infirm now, took a nasty hit. Hopefully she’ll be right.
Joe

from Lance Corporal Bethany Wells:

Dear Mel,
God it’s awful here. It’s constantly pissing it down and the guys going home, well, I have never seen anyone so wet through. Apparently it’s been doing this for months. At least our postings finish about the same time this time, we can meet up with the others. Just like old times!
Hear from you soon,
Beth

Dear Mel,
We so should go to Richie’s restaurant, but I’ll have to stop Amanda telling him we’re coming. Oh, have you heard? He’s working on some kind of repeating rifle. Anyway, we lost most of C company in an attack a few nights ago. It seemed like a major assault but I overheard the Colonel and Amanda, and the Colonel reckons it’s just the start of a series of probing attacks. I never thought I’d say this but I hope he’s wrong.
Beth

Dear Mel,
He was right, as usual. I swear, the day he gets something wrong will be the day we collide with the sun. There’s been several attacks over the past few weeks, nothing as bad as the first, but that’s probably because we’ve been more prepared. Glad to hear things are going well on your end, keep hurling explosives at them! Can’t wait till we get to meet up again.
Beth

Dear Mel,
It doesn’t matter how incredibly hunky he is, he’s still my superior. So stop it Melanie, it’s not funny. There was an incident this morning, one of the guys in 4th plt went crazy and started shooting the walls, Amanda and the Colonel stopped him but Amanda took a hit. She’s in the infirmary now, let’s hope she pulls through.
Beth

Mel
I don’t know what just happened. Shit, I don’t think anybody does. You remember Joe Stanach? Something got inside him; he killed some of the others before me and the Colonel took him down, and then… I don’t know how to write this, but after he died, something burst out of his chest. It was awful, that thing must have been twice the size that he was. It would have killed us all, but me and the Colonel managed to lead it into the line of a machine gun nest. The damn thing just kept coming, I kept shooting, but it wouldn’t stop. It was only when the Colonel got a grenade under it that it finally went down.
Beth
PS. I don’t know if you’ve heard yet, but Amanda died a couple of weeks back. I’ve been trying to think of what to tell Richie but I keep coming up blank.

Mel
I don’t know what to say. Two weeks ago, some bodies blew up and these little monsters suddenly started attacking people. We lost John Thews and three others. Then yesterday the rifle regiment to our west pulled out, all six of them. I don’t know what they saw, but I know they didn’t see us as they walked past us.
Beth

final entries from the Colonel’s diaries:

1331-121
We’ve lost the front. We’ve been pushed back almost 20k, far beyond the reserve trenches.

I’ve never seen anything like it; huge hoards of monsters marching alongside the Krugan, from tiny little fuckers to towering monstrosities, bellowing their rage. Strange, repulsive horrors that deny description hurling fire and things, made of metal I assume, shaped like hounds. Most of the regiments were destroyed where they stood, I’ve got about a gross left of my fusiliers and half a dozen artillerymen we picked up in our retreat. We’ve been in this blasted forest for three days now, trying to keep ahead of the enemy, slow them down.

I’ve got Wells and a few others scouting ahead.

1331-something
There’s barely three score of us left, though I’ll admit, I’m surprised we’ve lasted as long as we have done.

Wells got back from scouting earlier this evening; they’ve found what seems to be an old fort in a natural choke point about 6k north of here. I saw something in Bethany’s violet eyes then that I had forgotten all about.

I saw hope.

The day after the previous entry:
With more men, and against a mortal enemy, we could probably hold this place indefinitely. As it is, well, we’ll last longer than we would have done otherwise. We’ve still got two machine guns with about a thousand rounds between the two of them, and everyone has got three dozen or so rifle rounds left. I’d like to have some of Beth’s hope, I seem incapable of creating my own.

Some time later:
So it begins. Movement has been spotted at the far end of the valley. This is the last stand of the Heinlan Fusiliers.

1331-167
I’m the only one left. The Colonel was killed when the gatehouse fell about 4 hours after the attack started. I led the few of us who survived the slaughter that followed into the main building of the fort. I reckon they found me about 3 hours after that – 3 hours of blood and terror. I’d only got a couple of pistol rounds left by that point and I nearly used one of them on the royal dragoon that found me in the wine cellar two days ago. I won’t lie, I was intending to keep the other one for myself. The general has written, or rather rubber stamped, the letters and I’ve asked to deliver the Colonel’s personally.

Corporal Bethany Wells VC

Tales From The Front can be found in full at http://creativewriting.freeforums.org/tales-from-the-front-t1579.html

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4 Comments

  1. […] Eruantien’s action sequence is a little different to our usual Inkblots content. Serving the purpose as a short snippet and nothing more, we understand the level of dedication these men have to their duty and to the fights they undertake. We don’t need to know a back story to their characters, this is a snapshot of another life – what we may see when looking at a picture from the 1970′s, for example. Eru’s piece was written as part of an exercise to understand swordplay and improve his action sequence writing – it’s clearly worked as we’re hooked! If you’d like to see more of Eruantien’s writing, check out “An Address to the Coconut” and “Letters from the Front“. […]

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