Battle Cry

The sun was setting over the grassy field. As shadows lengthened, furtive movements caused the long grass to sway. Dozens of forms crawled toward the border, intent on having their revenge on their hated foes on the other side.

Grunts and whispers heralded their coming as they struggled over the uneven ground.

“Silence,” a hoarse whisper from their leader. “The enemy is near.”

The grim force closed ranks as their scouts finished cutting through the metal links of the border fence.

“Tonight we avenge our fallen brothers,” the leader whispered.

With a roar the members of the combat force, a score of warriors, rose from the grass and charged through the opening in the border fence. Their blue and orange shirts rippled in the breeze as they charged. Their red Phrygian caps flapped behind them and their bushy beards and hair gave them the appearance of angry lions as they rushed across the grass of the enemy territory.

The enemy force turned from their contemplation of a pond. Their eyes widened in shock and then quickly narrowed in anger. Voicing their own roaring battle cry they charged with their traditional blue Phrygian caps flapping behind as they ran.

The two forces met half way between the pond and the border. Screams filled the night as the equally matched forces battered each other with fists, feet and teeth.

A blue cap was first to fall as his head was crushed under the bright red boots of a red cap. A scream of dismay rose into the air and three of his brothers leaped upon his murderer. Soon a knot of struggling forms rolled back and forth over the fallen warrior’s corpse.

Arms were torn from their sockets, legs shattered and throats crushed. Carnage filled the night.

The red caps fell steadily; it appeared the blue army would win the battle when a trio of forms lumbered from the deep gloom beneath a mossy oak. Their clothing was gray and black and was badly worn. Their black Phrygian caps were covered in cobwebs and moss. Maggots crawled through their beards. The spectral creatures staggered into the battle and ambushed the blue leader from behind. One’s ragged teeth tore through the leader’s skull while the others chewed on an arm and a leg apiece.

“Zombies,” screamed a blue cap.

In moments the near victory turned into a rout. The blue caps fled the field of battle with no thought for tactics, honor or their fellows. Each ran screaming toward the opening in the border fence. The surviving red caps and the zombies followed. They never made it to the safety of their picturesque cottage beneath the maple. Silence descended across the field of battle.

The sun rose as usual. People woke in their beds, yawning at the new day and prepared for their daily toil.

George Smith exited his house, briefcase and travel mug in hand. He stopped on the steps of his home, confusion twisting his face. His beautiful garden was torn asunder. Lawn statues lay shattered across the grass leading to a rent in the chain link separating his yard from Bill Peterson’s.

He heard his neighbor’s door open.

“Hey Peterson,” he said. “Look what someone did to my lawn.”

Bill Peterson, also dressed in an office worker’s uniform, clutching a briefcase descended to his front yard and turned around in confusion. Shattered blue and red garden gnome statues littered his grass. Of his collection, only equaled by his neighbor’s, only three red capped gnomes were intact.

“Did you put your stupid zombie gnomes in my yard?”

“Of course not, George. God damned kids; no respect for people’s property. Look, we can both clean up this mess later. I’m going to stop at the garden center on the way home from work and pick up some new gnomes.”

“Yeah, me too.”

The men departed for their respective jobs, vowing to replace their shattered garden statues.

The red capped heroes of the battle watched the humans depart. New recruits and new enemies would soon come; they bided their time knowing that they would once more answer the call to battle and this time their victory would be complete. This time they would take steps to ensure that no replacements would be brought to challenge them. This time they would take their battle to the houses.

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