Early Kills: The God of War

This was written as a submission to a college paper of some sort.  I don’t remember exactly how it came about.  Don’t think it ever saw print, although the editor claimed to like it.  It’s inspired by Jack Kirby’s Orion character from the New Gods series.  This was dedicated to Jack’s memory.

The God of War (Feb. 16, 1998)

Orion’s Log: Day 1,034 of the Second Great War.

Dawn. The first thing that greets my sight is not the sun, but the smoke and fire belched out by the apocalyptic war machines as they lumber over the horizon. Once more, I don the grim mantle and fierce visage of the hunter. I climb aboard my battered but serviceable chariot and ride off to meet the enemy.

The battle is long and fierce. The enemy savage. Their wardogs, mutated cyborg mockeries of animal life, stride across the field, rending and clawing at my comrades. I throw myself into the battle. My gleaming, silver helm is an omen of destruction. Shortly before dusk, the tide turns and the enemy is routed.

My comrades and I retire to our camp to rest and renew our spirits. Later, after the dead are buried, a fire is built. Praise is offered to All-Father for our victory this day. I do not join the others.

Instead, I return to my quarters and remove my armor. The last piece to go is the helmet. Before removing it, I check to ensure that no one is about. For I know that if my friends were to see my true face, that would recoil from me and flee in horror.

The peace we fight for is forever lost to me. Denied peace, and even love, my only solace comes in the slaughter of our demonic foes. I am a mad, tormented animal, howling to be free so that I may attack my tormentors. But in thise case, I am both prisoner and jailer.

Even in my sleep, I hear the taunts of Death’s Dark Legions. “Why do you fight us? You’re a savage, bloodthirsty beast! You’re one of us!” And I know in my heart that they’re right. This is the horror that grips my soul.

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