panzer

Sea of Blood 2

It was early morning now. The rising sun was floating above The Titania, bathing it in much needed warm rays of light. Edwards glanced towards the sun. The red ball of light reminded him of the red eyes he had seen in the water yesterday night. They had appeared right next to Mr. Toobak’s body, peering from inside the water. They had appeared only for a brief instant, before they disappeared into the watery depths along with Mr. Toobak’s body, sending chills down Edwards’ spine.

Word of Mr. Toobak’s sudden disappearance had spread fast among the crew, causing panic. The entire night had been spent in calming everyone down, and getting everyone back to their jobs. Edwards was tired already, but he knew the day was going to be a long one. He still needed to have a chat with Alain. After, the disappearance of Mr. Toobak’s body, Edwards had quickly dragged Alain to the Captain’s Cabin. He bound his hands and feet and tied a rag of cloth to his mouth. Leaving the man tied to the bed in that condition, Edwards had gone forth to inform the senior crew about the events. However, he had left Alain’s part out of the story, fearing that it would contribute to the panic. However, now that the morale of the crew had been stabilized, Edwards decided he needed to have a talk with Alain, a long talk. Edwards made his way to his cabin. He entered and locked the door behind him. He turned towards Alain who was still tied to the bed. Alain looked back at him with his red eyes, which in Edwards’ opinion, looked a lot more red now. He removed the rag of cloth. Alain coughed. The rag had dried his mouth, very visibly. Edwards poured some water into Alain’s mouth and sat in front of him, fixing his stern gaze upon the pale man.

“I need answers; now. Tell me what were you doing there at night? And more importantly, what happened to Mr. Toobak? “

Alain held Captain Edwards’ gaze.

“Well, Captain Edwards. Looks like I have got to tell a whole tale to you. Let me start at the beginning “

Edwards nodded.

‘Many thousands of years ago, there existed a prosperous Island kingdom- the kingdom of Veluise. King Veluise II ruled his lands with an iron-fist. Without an heir for almost thirty years, the king was overjoyed when his wife, Queen Melvina gave birth to a child. The king was happy that he was blessed with a boy, the heir to the great kingdom. They named him Mer.  However, the king’s joy was to be short-lived.  When the prince was fourteen, an unknown disease started spreading in the kingdom. The people affected would show certain symptoms- red eyes and pale skin. They would soon find it difficult to breathe and succumb to the disease. People noted that this disease spread through contact or any exchange of fluid, making it highly dangerous. Soon, an epidemic broke out and as the death toll went on the rise, the hands of fear gripped the kingdom all the more tighter. Fearing for his people, the King decided to take extreme measures. He decreed that any person found to be affected by this disease would be tossed into the sea, fated to drown. Almost a year later, Prince Mer while on a hunting trip, came into contact with an affected person. And inevitably, he too started showing symptoms of the disease. His eyes reddened and he began growing paler by the day. The prince was bound in chains and was kept confined to his room. Being a man of his word, and fearing for the royal family, the king decided that the prince should be thrown into the sea, just like all the other diseased people. The King’s orders were swiftly followed.  On a full moon night, the Royal Guard took the prince to the edge of kingdom that overlooked the great sea. The teenage prince was then thrown into the sea. The king himself saw the prince drown under the pale glow of the moon. He had sent his heir to a watery grave.

Or so he thought. ‘

Panzer

The air reeked of a filthy stench. The stench – a mixture of smoke, blood and gunpowder ,  was the ever prevalent stench of any battlefield during the second world war. All soldiers were used to this stench just like a certain Corporal Gunn making his way through the war torn streets of Paris , the battlefield in focus. He and his remaining squad had been ordered to hold the invading German 4th Army division. The Intelligence Gunn’s squad had received , mentioned that the 4th Army was well trained and had great communication backup. However, the gradually closing cloud of dust suggested the report had been incomplete. The cloud of dust meant only one thing – Panzers, a foot soldier’s worst nightmare.

The squad waited, awaiting the next move of the Germans .The part of the city the squad was to hold had been bombed the same morning. This combined with the fact that Panzers were approaching informed the Allied troops that they were witnessing a Blitzkreig. As a confirmation to their informed guesses,  mortar shells soon began to fall around their position. The squad held on undeterred. Gradually, the shelling started becoming more accurate. The Corporal ,who had never experienced this kind of shelling soon began to panic. On seeing his squad disappearing behind explosions he began to lose his nerve. He broke cover and ran toward the main road hoping to cross to the other side, and hide in the yet untouched buildings. He made a quick dash ignoring the boutade of concrete bits and dirt all around him. Just as he reached the main road, a shell exploded just behind him . The explosion knocked him clean off his feet and he landed face down on the main road. The moment he came to he realized his vision was still shaky and there was a deep rumbling in his ears. Lying on the road, he kept his eyes closed until he was sure his vision had returned to normal. He opened his eyes , his vision seemed alright, but the rumbling still persisted. He got up and turned to his left and then to his right, trying to understand his surroundings. The moment he turned right however, he realized his ears were alright, the rumbling had been coming from a Panzer heading straight towards him . The Panzer seemed to notice the Corporal and turned the cannon towards him- BOOM.

Gunn woke up with a start. He was covered in sweat. Just a dream. A very bad dream. He got up from his bed and made his way to the shower room. He turned on the tap to  cold water and stepped inside the shower. Cold water always calmed him down. The war had ended 20 years ago. But, these dreams never ended. Some days they were bad and other days  they were worse . He had repressed all his memories from those days , just so that those dark times wouldn’t continue haunting him. It worked during his average, quiet and uneventful day. Nights were a totally different story though. The dream he had just woken up from , had been really vivid. He decided to take his mind off things with a strong cup of Irish coffee. He decided to go fetch the newspaper. As he walked towards his front door ,  he intentionally ignored the portrait his wife had had put up.

The portrait of Corporal Dean Gunn.