First day’s writing complete, a little alternate World War I steampunk-style war scene. The full story came in just under a thousand words. I don’t know if there’s enough story to it to consider submitting it somewhere or not. I’ll have to think about it.
Excerpt after the jump.
Edit – gah, sorry, some intertube gremlins ate the second half of my post. Should be good now. Well, visible, not necessarily good.
Gears in the Trenches
The rumble of artillery finally faded. After a hushed conference with his surviving companions, Private Dalton tightened his chin strap and crawled up the ladder to peer over the edge of the trench.
Dark, heavy smoke rolled across no-man’s land. The smoke clung to everything, gathering around dead bodies, debris, barbed wire, abandoned equipment, and obstacles. The midday sun did little to disperse the grime that hung in the air. Dalton looked down the stretch of trenches to either side of his position and saw other soldiers peaking out. Artillery was always followed by an assault. That’s how it worked. At moment now half a million Germans would come screaming across that barren patch of dead earth in front of them. Dalton waved to his comrades to join him, and in seconds the line bristled with rifles.
Dalton squinted down the barrel of his gun. Beyond the bayonet, small shapes began to skitter in the smoke.
“Did…did you see that?” Howie, the man to Dalton’s right, asked. Dalton heard the quiver in the veteran’s whisper.
“‘s just Germans, Howie,” Dalton whispered back. “You know the drill.”
Movement among the smoke ceased. Out of the corners of his eyes, Dalton saw the line of barrels waver, uncertain.
Then large shapes rose in the smoke, shuffling forward. Small pebbles beneath Dalton’s hands shook free of the dirt as the ground rattled. Larger than a man, and only vaguely shaped like one, with domed heads and stubby arms that ended in Maxim barrels, the Germans crept forward. Belts of ammunition hung from their armpits like cobwebs
“Panzer-Getriebe Soldat!” shouted Howie. The Armored Gear Soldiers.