Hold on to your head, friends — it’s easy to lose it on a day like this.
The Hessian spat out the blood that filled his mouth, hefting his saber for another attack. He was standing in ankle-deep mud, his uniform stained with grime and gore, and the men he faced were poorly trained Revolutionaries. Their main advantage was the fact that they knew the territory well but the Hessian also knew that a man fighting for his home and family was given extra strength and ferocity.
The Hessian roared, stepping over the severed limb of one of his compatriots. He approached an opponent from behind, reaching around with his blade to slit the man’s throat so deeply that the head was only attached to the body by a thin strip of gristle.
The rain had begun again and the roar of thunder, coupled with the sounds of battle all around, made it hard for the Hessian to focus. He dodged the thrust of a young man’s bayonet before finishing the youth with the point of his sword.
It was moments like these that filled the Hessian with joy. Unlike many of his fellows, he had volunteered for service, rather than being conscripted by Landgrave Frederick II. He was a soldier in wartime and a killer in peacetime. The names mattered little to him. He had grown up the youngest of six bloodthirsty brothers, trained to be rabid murderers by their drunk of a father. The only thing that the Hessian enjoyed as much as battle was sex, and both were done with equal amounts of violence and glee.
He whirled about, eager to kill again. He was not a handsome man and he currently looked even more nightmarish than usual. His longish hair was caked with blood and his right eye, marred by a small scar that ran underneath the bottom lid, was bloodshot and slightly bulging. Earlier in the battle, he had come into close quarters with an enemy, biting off the man’s earlobe. Now blood stained his teeth and dripped from the corners of his mouth.
He saw the enemy on the hill, packing one of their cannons for another shot. They were a motley group and their weapons misfired as often as they worked. But the Hessian knew that his own regiment was not faring well. Of the 80 men they had begun this battle with, less than a fourth were still standing.
Charging towards the hill, the Hessian hacked his way through those in his path, friend and foe alike. A well-placed shot from that cannon could end the battle and he could not allow that. He screamed a German battle cry and then stopped in his tracks, eyes wide. It was too late, the cannon’s fuse had run out.
An explosion of fire and smoke accompanied the launching of the cannonball. It soared straight towards the Hessian, who was suddenly frozen with the realization that his life of brutality was about to end. The cannon smashed right through his skull, leaving his body standing in place. It twitched and danced for a long moment, as if it hadn’t quite realized yet that its head was gone. The torso twisted and the hands reached out, as if in hopes that it could find its missing top.
The Hessian’s body spun about and crashed to the mud, coming to rest no more than four feet from the remains of his head, which smoldered in the rain.
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