Jackson shivered as he patrolled the gates of the village. A cold front was moving in, but his shivering was more from fear than the temperature. Pulling his coat tight, he tried not to think of the horrors that lay beyond the wall as he continued his rounds.
A few hours later, Marie came and offered Jackson a mug of coffee.
“You must be freezing tonight, Jack! Here, this will warm your bones.”
“Thanks, Marie. I always appreciate your thoughtfulness.”
He gulped down the coffee while Marie examined the gate before her.”Have you seen anything suspicious tonight?”
Jackson handed her the mug and adjusted his rifle. “I haven’t seen anything, but I’ve heard them. They’re gathering in the woods beyond the river.”
Marie clutched her shawl as she gazed in the direction Jackson indicated. “Why are they gathering so early? We’ve still got five days.”
“I don’t know. I only hope our new defenses get finished in time. We can’t have a repeat of last year.”
Marie and Jackson both fell silent as they remembered last year’s massacre. The town had lost almost 60% of its population in a single day, and it’s why Jackson was out here in the middle of the night patrolling the reinforced fence that surrounded the remaining buildings.
Marie patted him on the back as she turned back to the village. “God be with you tonight, Jack. I’ll have breakfast ready for you in the morning.”
Jackson thanked her and returned to his rounds, praying that he would live to taste Marie’s wonderful cooking once more.
The days passed quickly, and the noises from the forest grew louder and louder as the enemy gathered outside the walls. The new reinforcements were finally complete, and the entire town was beginning to feel safe for the first time all year. On their last day of freedom, the mayor hosted a party for the village. Everyone piled into the meeting house with food and drinks, and it wasn’t long before the sounds of merriment drowned out the noises coming from beyond the wall.
Right before midnight, Mayor Francis got everyone’s attention.
“Ladies and Gentlemen. Friends and neighbors. Tomorrow marks one year since that horrible day, and, even now, the enemy is gathering outside our walls and preparing for another attack. This time, however, we’re ready! Our walls are sturdy, our rifles loaded, and we now have the added security of trenches along the outer walls that are full of spikes. Our enemies are bipedal land creatures that cannot climb, as far as we know, and we should be safe if we remain within these reinforcements. However, we must be vigilant as the dawn approaches. Our enemy is full of tricks and deceptions, and every able person must arm themselves. Tomorrow, we go to war!”
Mayor Francis took a long drink from his mug before slamming it on the table, and the rest of the village cheered as they filed out of the meeting house and began gathering the weapons needed to survive.
Jackson was less optimistic, and he slowly finished his beer and slowly left to collect his gear. He and several others were keeping watch on the towers tonight, and he didn’t relish listening to the enemy as they chanted their war song.
Surprisingly, though, the air was silent as Jackson made his way to the gate. He climbed the tower and examined the scene before him, but it was also devoid of enemies. Was it this quiet before the attack last year? Jackson couldn’t remember. All he could do was clutch his rifle and wait for dawn.
Jackson awoke when a slight rustling caught his attention. Dawn was barely peeking over the horizon, and he silently admonished himself for falling asleep at his post. Jackson looked for the source of the noise and found himself staring into the beady eyes of the enemy. It was sitting on the tower railing, and Jackson trembled with fear as he slowly lifted his rifle and pointed it at the enemy’s head. Before he could pull the trigger, two more flew up and perched beside the first one.
That’s when Jackson knew they were doomed.
“THEY CAN FLY!!!!” He shouted as he pulled the trigger and cleanly shot the head off the first enemy, but couldn’t reload before the other two jumped on him and began tearing him apart with their pointy beaks. As Jackson’s world began to darken, he could hear the screams as the enemy flocked over the wall and descended on the villagers below.
Gathering his strength, Jackson reached up and grabbed one of his captors by its fleshy neck and brought it close to his face. With a ragged breath, he looked that thing in the eyes and whispered: “Fuck you!”
The enemy didn’t even blink as it replied with a very insulting “gobble” while Jackson succumbed to the darkness.
Before noon, the sounds of fighting had ceased. Bodies littered the village, each one bearing the bloody marks of battle. Their enemies lined the streets as the leader strutted through town, his feathers on full display for dead eyes to see. He led his followers to the town square and addressed their victory.
“Gobble! Gobble gobble, gobble, gobble gobble gobble, gobble. Gobble!”
The crowd erupted in celebration, and chants of “Gobble! Gobble! Gobble!” echoed throughout the land.
Finally, on the 397th anniversary of Thanksgiving Day, the Turkeys were victorious.
The prompt that inspired this story is “Write about Thanksgiving as if it were a horror movie.”
This is my interpretation. What’s yours?