Valkyries, by Bruce Corbett



Copyright  2002  Bruce Corbett


Smashwords Edition







Does hell exist? What is purgatory? Can one man’s hell be another man’s heaven? Here is one man’s adventure. This speculative story was published in the Spring 2004 edition of Gateway, a Christian e-magazine.




"Close up, Chetowsky!"

"Hey, Sergeant. I just found Wilson's replacement."

 "Then get him to his feet. I got a bad feeling. The Hairys are coming real soon!"

"Okay, Newbie. You heard the Sarge. On your feet!"

"Wow. I feel terrible. Where am I?"

"Time enough for that later, kid. Head for the open meadow - just as fast as you can!"

"Okay. Just let me grab my rifle!"

"Say kid, just what kind of shooter is that?"

"It's an M -19. It became standard G.I. issue a couple a months ago."

"That thing work on single fire?"

"Sure. Full-auto. Three shot burst, or single fire."

"Then put it on single fire, and do it now. Something tells me you're going to need it real soon!"

"Uh, Chetowsky, who exactly are we fighting?"

"They're big and hairy, and they stink. Don't worry about it. You'll know when you see them. And Newbie, when the Hairys attack, I want you to fire very sparingly. One bullet, one man. Got it?"

"It's Okay, Chetowsky. I got extra clips."

"What's your name, Newbie?"

"Parzelli, sir."

"Then listen to me, Parzelli. It's not okay. You're going to need every bullet you have. There's a lot more of them than us. One bullet, one man. That clear? They might shoot a few arrows or throw spears when they come, but that's just the preliminaries. 

They're going to take their casualties and then they're going to try and close on us. They use these big bloody swords and axes. They just love to cut us to pieces. We waste ammo, we get shredded. That clear enough for you?"

"Yah. Sorry, Chetowsky."

All of a sudden, the sergeant's voice boomed. "All right, you pansies, form up! Tight circle! Here they come!"

"Hey, Chetowsky. The guy is buck-naked, and he's waving an almighty big sword. Do we shoot him?"

"Newbie, he's a berserker, and you're close man. If you don't shoot him real quick, he's going to slice and dice you!"

The new recruit stood and emptied his clip into the wildly charging man. The sheer power of the slugs first stopped the charge in mid-air, and then sent the man hurtling backwards.

Chetowsky frowned. "Nice shooting, Newbie."

"Thanks Chetowsky."

"Course, you probably just condemned yourself to a very painful death. What's your caliber?"


"Too bad, most of us only have 7.63. Yep, you're going to be sorry tonight."

"So where can I get some more ammo?"

"You can't, Newbie. When you wake up tomorrow, you'll be re-supplied."

"You mean if I wake up. You just told me I'm not going to make it to tomorrow alive."

"That's not quite what I said, Newbie. I said that you're going to have a very painful death today."

"Then tomorrow really doesn't matter a whole lot to me, does it?"

"More than you know, Newbie."

The sergeant spoke. "All right, pansies! Here come the rest of the bastards!"

"Hey, Chetowsky! These guys look like a bunch of God-damned Viking warriors."

"Good guess, Newbie. Now shoot 'em, one at a time. If you run out of ammunition, fix your bayonet, and good luck to you."

The veteran soldiers stood shoulder to shoulder and calmly fired into the ring of attacking warriors. The circle held, though it was quickly surrounded by the bodies of dozens of fur-clad barbarians. At last there were no new targets, and the new man turned again to Chetowsky.

"Just where the hell am I? Why the hell are we fighting barbarians out of the Dark Ages?"

"Kid, you're going to know more than you want to by the end of the day. Sergeant?"

"Yeah, Chetowsky?"

"Can we call a break and give the Newbie lesson number one?"

"What the hell, why not? It's not like we got anything important to do. OK, you pansies, we'll take five right here. Corporal, I want four scouts out ASAP. On the double! Let's move!"

"Sarge, we did the entire party. We should have a while."

 "OK. Two scouts out."

The new man stared around in bewilderment. "What lesson you talking about?"

Chetowsky smiled briefly. "Just stay where you are and watch the dead Hairys, real careful-like."

"I don't see nothing. They're just lying . . . Holy cow! Where did those babes come from?"..........................................This story is available for purchase at, Apple eBook store, from Sony, Diesel, Barnes and Noble, and, soon, Amazon.