IN FLANDERS FIELDS THE POPPIES BLOW

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1915

The powder keg that was Europe finally blew, spreading war throughout the lands like a plague. Death claimed the lives of millions, all thanks to the advent of the machine gun and trench warfare. These advances in war fighting were responsible for untold deaths, many of whom never got a proper burial; those poor souls were doomed to anonymity beneath the blood soaked mud.

It was no surprise that the abominations were also drawn to the conflict. The scores of dead attracted ghouls by the hundreds while other menaces lurked in the shadows and preyed on unsuspecting soldiers. What better way to conceal wanton carnage than amongst the casualties of war?

In response to this epidemic, hunters were sent out to assist in the war effort. Edith and Clara had joined up as nurses and served at a field hospital near the front. Day after a day, they were faced with a deluge of wounded and dying.

While tending to the living, they kept a watchful eye for things that lurked in the shadows. The nurses had to pay particular attention to the wounds; it was not always obvious if shrapnel or fangs had caused the injury.

Clara felt like a bystander as the war raged on over the horizon. The flashes of bright light were always accompanied by a thunderous bang. Sometimes the shelling would get so close that the ground shook.

When the war entered one of its rare lulls, Clara often sought out the comfort of men. Even if the offers were plentiful, the services rendered were always poor. The hurried undressing, the awkward positions, heavy breathing and her partner's quick crescendo meant she rarely got anywhere near the finish line.

Still, it temporarily provided her with a reprieve from the horrors she witnessed. For Clara, that seemed to be a better way of hiding from the world than resorting to drink or morphine. She needed to keep her reflexes sharp, since her enemies would not show any leniency nor allow her buzz to wear off.

This evening marked her second Christmas spent near No-Man's-Land. When the war began, everyone thought their side would be victorious before Christmas. This year had dredged up much of the same talk and Clara suspected they would bring up the same tired topic next year.

Despite the horrors witnessed, people still expected a quick end. Their hope was spent on waiting for that singular break in the enemy lines. The one which would permit them to push deep into their territory.

There were countless others from the Tower; some were even posted to the front lines. Snipers proved effective at culling any strays looking for a fresh meal. However, that tended to be dangerous work since the enemy liked to shoot back.

From time to time, Edith and Clara were called in for a specific mission. They would set aside their blue uniforms adorned with brass and white aprons in favour of male uniforms. A bit of padding to conceal the hips, wrapping for the tits, and cigarettes to harshen the voice did wonders to pass them off as young officers. As an additional precaution, these missions were always conducted under the cover of night.

The girls hid their change of clothes in an abandoned farmhouse near their camp. Clara often enjoyed the male uniform, which enabled her to carry her pistol openly while hiding a few surprises under all that padding. As a precaution, she opted to bring her derringer, a bayonet and some throwing knives.

They had been given little warning tonight, nor was there much intelligence as to the nature of their mission. Edith put on her uniform adorned with two pips, which was one more than Clara had. The selected ranks were senior enough to allow independent movement without arousing suspicion for their youthful appearance.

Edith examined the map with her compass in hand. She looked so different in an army officer's uniform, that Clara sometimes forgot who this dashing young officer was.

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