“It is surely a most wondrous sight, is it not?”

The officer looked at his adjutant, and receiving no reply, continued: “The patterns of frost upon every surface, the delicate fibrillations of ice that grow as if by magic in the cool of the winter’s night…it is enough to make even the most hardened and godless man smile at the thought that his Maker is real and good and near.”

Smiling, the officer continued to look out over the shell-pocked battlefield, where frost clung to the bodies of his own men, and their enemies, locked together in a frozen hellscape of mud.

“We’ve done a good thing today, here, you and I,” the officer said, tapping his adjutant on the shoulder. “All these victorious dead, and enemies that shall not take up arms against us ever again.”

His adjutant again did not answer, for the young man had been dead for some time, carried away by a machine-gun bullet that had cleaved clear through his helmet. In fact, the officer that had led the charge was now its sole survivor, beaming at his handiwork stretching away through no-man’s-land, as the day began.

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