Battlefields
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The soldier opened his eyes and saw hell.

The trench had been ripped open like a too-prominent zit. A crater the size of a house lay smoking in the center of it. Weaponry had been scattered, launched through the air in every direction, and lay twisted on the ground. Next to them were the bodies. Dozens of them, scattered just as randomly as the weapons. They were just as broken. Mangled, bloody, piled in mocking positions by the blast's whim. Some were still alive. They crawled through the wreckage in a daze, searching for help. One man was clutching a severed arm that he thought was his own and trying to shove it back into place. Another dug through a pile of corpses, calling out for his friend.

Something moved to the left. The soldier turned to look, and froze. Twenty feet away from him, crawling over the severed top half of a body, was a black, beetle-like insect the size of coffee table. Its shell was covered in black spikes almost a foot high. Red, green, and yellow lines ran across its back in labyrinthine patterns. Three antennae arced over its body, brushing the ground behind it. Its eyes were blood red. A cluster of six mandibles writhed in its mouth. As the soldier watched, it shuffled over the body, turning so that their mouths were even. The insect made a clicking noise, and shuddered. The body's mouth fell open. A dim light appeared in it, and grew brighter, until it was like a lightbulb in its throat. Two of the insect's mandibles shot forward, into the body's mouth, and squirmed around inside Iit. They emerged clutching a glowing stone the size of a grape. The soldier only caught a brief glimpse of it before was swallowed by the insect. There was a crunching noise. Then the screaming. It rose up from the insect, a wail that carried to the sky- the voice of the body.

There was another scream, to his left, and another behind him. The soldier looked. The insects were crawling all across the battlefield now. Straddling corpses, feeling out victims, yanking out crystals from mouths. He saw the ground churning, and one burst through the earth, shook itself off, and crawled over to a body.

He heard a skittering. To his left was one of the insects, closer than all the others, lumbering towards him. Its mandibles clicked. Its legs struggled to bear its weight. The sight of the clumsy bug made the soldier burst out laughing again, a laugh that was quickly stopped when he felt the first leg press down on his chest, followed by a great weight as the insect pulled itself onto him. It turned itself so it was staring down into his eyes. The soldier no longer wanted to laugh now. He wanted to scream. But instead, he clamped his mouth shut and tried to push against the insect. It wouldn't budge. Its mandibles reached out, stroked his lips. Then they shoved themselves forward, forcing his mouth open. He tried to flinch back, but it did nothing. He felt them wriggling down his throat. He felt them enter his stomach. He felt them touching some deeper part of him, a part separate from his body. He felt it being ripped out of him. Then he felt nothing.

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