A legion of days has marched past me thus far in this war. I have counted every day, with baited breath, hoping that one among the thousands would end my entrenchment in these murky, blood-filled pools. Unlike some of my fellows, I do not harbor any hatred towards the boys across the way, the Germans, for they suffer as we do. Those in control are dastardly creatures for sure, and deserve no less than a bullet to the brain or a bayonet to the heart, but I do sympathize with the men. The simple men who would rather plow their land and tend to their families than be bunkered down with the vermin and the parasites. Those are the things we share the most, a fondness for our homes and revulsion towards these filthy creatures. The rats seem large enough to give a terrier a good fight, that is, if one assumes a rat would fight fair. No, the rats are easy enough really, dreadfully afraid of noise and have at least some sense of self preservation. No, the real demons are the lice. I have not had the misfortune of dealing with the blood sucking beasts for more than the time it takes me to brush them away. Some men however have extoled the horrors at dealing with lice, and have even fallen ill to their incessant march on human flesh.
The battle went well last night. A German dugout was captured and a few men, myself included, are being sent to inspect and determine its suitability for our troops. In crossing the war torn earth to the dugout, I saw numerous bodies littering the field. Most of these bodies were of departed German soldiers; this was not due to an overwhelming victory on our part. We were permitted to bring our dead back. The Germans had no such luxury for the dead cannot carry the dead.
We reached the dugout, physically no worse for wear. After a close inspection we determined the place suitable for our troop’s occupation. As officers, our belongings were not long behind us. We decided to stay as a sign of good faith to the regular army men and bunkered down for the night. As I lay down and closed my eyes to rest, what felt like a wave of the lightest electricity washed over me. For a time I sat idle, believing the strange sensation to be a settling of the nerves that would soon pass. When the sensation did not cease and instead gave way to a series of thousands of pin pricks, my eyes flashed open. I sat in a sea of lice. I arose almost in panic and brushed most of the vermin off. None had penetrated my clothing. Of that, I was thankful. I visited our medic and asked if there wasn’t something he could give me to repel the creatures. He prescribed an ointment and gave me some pills to help me sleep. I returned to my bed roll and after applying the ointment liberally, and taking twice as many pills as I ought to have, I dozed off. Within moments the lice had renewed the attack and seemed only invigorated by the ointment.
I awoke to screaming. I rose quickly to see what caused the alarm and was struck dumb by what I saw. I had lost my dugout and was standing in a field in which war was breaking out as it never has on this earth. Men of the strangest assortment of sizes were clad in armor and wielding every sort of sharpened weapon imaginable. Swords and spears, daggers and axes were being wielded with such a deftness that does not often grace our modern society. In fact if it ever graced our civilization, past or present, I would be amazed. What seemed like legions of these men, ranging from average height to what surely must have been dwarves, and if one looked carefully a people of even smaller size, almost that of half a man, could be seen fighting for their lives. The creatures they fought were almost too horrible to imagine. With sickly green flesh, mangled teeth, and eyes fixed with madness, they lurched like a sea of venom against the men. Both men and creatures were falling at an equal rate. As one group would seem to gain a lead, the other would redouble its efforts and gain the field once again. Men falling to beasts and beasts falling to men, it went on for what seemed an eternity. One of the green, evil, fanged creatures saw me standing alone and seemingly defenseless. As he began his charge towards me, I went to my sidearm. To my horror it had vanished. I had so set myself as the onlooker of this terrible battle that I had not seen the mortal peril I was in. The beastie lumbered toward me with great strides, carrying what I could only describe as a scrap of wickedly sharp metal, and when he came close enough to strike he went for my throat. In the moment that I was to acquire my first and last taste of death I was saved by the tiniest of happenings. A fellow of no more than a meter or so in height appeared as if swept there by some unseen force to bury his blade into the bowels of the beast. After slaying the brute and promptly removing his sword he turned to me and gave me a look I will never forget. In his eyes were so many uncertain feelings, feelings of joy, hope, of pain and despair, of battles won and lost and friends found and fallen; it was the look of a man who has seen the truth of the world. I waited for a word, a statement, a scream, a roar, anything that would let me know who or what this little man creature was, but instead he did the most uncommon thing I have ever seen. He smiled, turned, and charged back into the fray to join his friends, all of which seemed unbelievable glad to see him. Before I could begin to contemplate this any further a great thundering began in the lines of the men, dwarves, and tiny man creatures.
Within moments, a great white light began to form on the side of the men. As it came together it formed into the shape of what I can only imagine God would look like: a being of immense age and knowledge yet living untouched by time. Joined by a small gathering of every kind of warrior on the side of the men it marched across the field as if to deal the final blow to the horde of grotesque creatures. I found myself wishing with all my might that this would be the case. As the figure was about to deal an earth shattering blow that surely would have changed the tides, a wisp of black appeared, then a flame, and then a shadow began to loom over the battlefield. As if from the dark hearts of the creatures themselves a being of fire and shadow emerged from the air and collided with the brilliant figure of the men. It roared, and raged, and bellowed fire and darkness across the field enveloping all those in its path. From within this darkness emerged a blinding light echoing from the form of the figure in white. The darkness receded and the two sides seemed to be holding their breath before the final plunge. The creature of fire and shadow roared, the white god stood shining brilliantly in the sun, and then the world crashed in around me.
I awoke, feverishly, to being shaken by my fellow officers. The lice, after their feast, had left me with an illness and an enduring fever. I had the vaguest recollection of what I had dreamed, but within minutes none of the details remained. No, that is not quite right, I did remember one thing. I could not get the image of those small men out of my mind. Why such a small people would be participating in what I vaguely remember to be an extremely important battle, I did not know. I began to ponder how a person of that stature would see the world and I must admit I have become rather obsessed with the idea, in the way that someone who is suffering amnesia obsesses over their memory. I just couldn’t seem to let it go.
The war is not nearly over but I do imagine that if and when I return home I will still have plenty to think about concerning these most unlikely adventurers.