He had of course many trials to complete for the Corps to award him the enviable rank of Killer. The cadet should first of all be able to run off a wolf using nothing but the ferocity of his Scream, be able to stand fully immobile for a moon with his feet ankle-deep in snow, be able of course to neutralize a real target: a lot which sometimes the mystical omniscience of military bureaucracy might percolate to a citizen or even a comrade-in-arms. The cadet was to choose his own method, a common preference being the clubbing of the nape and spine. Besides a person, it was also required to kill a woman, as well as rape a rookie, the cadet thus closing one cycle of Apprenticeship and inaugurating another. Only then would they brand his neck with the terrible fish-sign of Ichthys– the coveted sardine. Then the oath ceremony: he’d have to execute with precision complex gun choreographies (of course, the firearm had been retained as a symbol of soldierly honor, wars being waged with weapons of mass or even non-physical destruction), popping and setting his shoulder at the rhythm of a bolt loading the chamber. Some might have decorated the Instrument with claimed ears and tongues, those of the hardest core even sewn the strap on their shoulders. And in the end all cadets would strike the ground with their their rifle stocks thrice exclaiming O SACRED MURDER, their nostrils intoxicated by the wafting smells of the valiant fallen in the massive cauldron of the Freedom Pyre.

The cadet overcame all challenges and everybody knew he had a glowing military career to look forward to. And so it was, and everyone was saying he’s the prettiest cadet, and of course, all this took place in peacetime, and he never had to go to war.


Stratos Moustakas
I have been writing for most of my life and currently do dark fiction, essays, and humor, and had my first publication last year on the website Vanity Projection. I can be reached and read on Medium and Twitter @stratosmous, and also blog at The Budafoki Amended.