Jacques de Ris was the youngest hussar in his regiment. He'd been in the French army for two months, and had seen one day of battle. That day was yesterday. A stunning victory in your first battle would be enough to make any soldier cocky. De Ris was fantastically cocky.
"Just let 'em try to come back. We'll slaughter 'em just like yesterday! Won't we boys?"
No one in the regiment said a thing. They silently went about their work. Even de Ris' obsequiousness was dragged into the dirt by the air of fear. De Ris involuntarily shivered.
De Ris was always nice to his horse. He walked to his mount and stroked it. It was a fine animal, and it seemed totally oblivious to the soldier's mounting anxiety. Petting the fine white horse made him feel a little better.
It didn't make sense to the inexperienced hussar why his men would be in bad spirits. What made them think the Britons would even attack? And if the British shopkeepers did decide to attack, who was to say they wouldn't be scattered and trounced upon like yesterday.
Jacques hopped onto his mount and pulled a looking glass out of the saddlebags. He scanned the horizon for a moment.
"The English are no where in sight," he said to himself.
As if Providence wanted to contradict him, a huge force of British troops, including a good sized battery and some cavalry, came over the ridge of Mount Brunwage, off in the distance.
"Britons!" yelled de Ris, "I've got at least five battalions in my sights, coming over the mountain!"
The dragoon suddenly snapped into action. Piffling chores were dropped and horses were mounted. The officers rallied the soldiers, and the hussars scrambled to line into ranks. Bayonets bristled and gleamed in the hot noonday sun.
The grim certainty of battle gave sobriety to the drunk and even greater tension to the tense. The air became thick as whipped butter. De Ris gripped his rifle as though gripping it would help him keep a better grip on life. The British troops charged.
"Manuscripts don't burn"
- Mikhail Bulgakov
Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."
Enter your e-mail address in the box below and click "Subscribe" to join Stephen Kozeniewski's Mailing List for Fun and Sexy People. (Why the hell would anyone ever want to join a mailing list?)