Empire

Brass tanks steam-punked over vast dead land. Heaving and hauling they mauled and came crawling; clattering mud-spattered death. Half-shrouded in grey lazy fumes, they dragged their sulphur-stench smokewall behind them. The steel-slab chainlinks in their mud-caked tracks clank-clank-clanked into grey forever, crushing trenchman and horse corpse alike. Their enemies felt the cold wind and had no fight, and danced and jumped at the screaming lead in their meat, and lay down in the mud to look without seeing at the big white sky.

The tanks never stopped. No Man’s Land was a crawl in the park. Machine gun bullets that could murder a million only bounced off their armour in fairy-dust sparks. The shining hulks trampled all, and stamped and crumpled what was left. Leaving trails of mile-long gouges in the mud they punched their victory into the field, and turned their guns on civilisation. Their finely-wrought cannons cracked-vicious and spat death. The town toppled like sandcastles. Screams of life extinguished are hard to hear beneath the god-roar of guns. It helped the men in the tanks pretend it was only buildings they were killing. Another town reeled and tumbled at the shots, another patch of Empire freshly won.

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