The memory haunts me still… It was a clear day in Duckton on that autumn morning. A slight breeze blew from the south gently rustling the vibrant green stalks of grass. I was enjoying a quiet dip in the pond with my family, just another saturday morning in paradise. Or at least, thats what I thought…….

It was about 7am when we noticed a change in the wind. An eerie calm seemed to settle over the plain, and thats when we heard the warning siren….Da na na na na na na. We scrambled from the pond to our assigned stations. I was merely a Sgt. newley promoted to training instructor. I gathered my men and we nestled down waiting for our orders.

We could here rustling in the bushes around us but we had no idea which direction it was coming from. Following protocol, we had to send up a scout, it fell on me to choose who. Torn as all men are when they know they are sending a man to his death, I chose my fastest, Pvt. Paul Feathers, in hopes that he would make it back alive.

"Alright Feathers, you know the drill, you've been training for this since …. Survey the area, rapid back and forth pattern, use the trees for cover, and for god sakes quack so we can track you."

Wordlessly he nodded his head and took off. The only sound we heard was of his wings beating against his sides and his quack locator beacon. He was finished with his survey as was just about to gain altitude to direct us away from the danger when a single gun shot rung out in the crisp and frightful air……He seemed to be frozen, staring in the face of death, for what seemed like forever. He then spiral nose dived into the bushes 100 yards off. I can still hear the thump of his lifeless body hitting the hard, pixilated ground.

It took every ounce of me not to rush off and retrieve his remains but we all knew that any man who ventured out there would join him in his grave. With this disheartening event looming over our heads, we had to send out another scout. It took 9 more young men before we had a successful report. The scout reported that a brown monster was cutting through the rushes retrieving our dead and piling them near a clearing. Although he couldn't spot a gunmen, he knew that he must be in that direction.

With this new intel we devised a plan. We would have a two man cover formation pattern where we would try to draw the fire away from each other and escape into the clouds. The first few pairs seemed to work as the gunmen would lose interest after 3 shots. We could even hear what seemed to be the high pitched giggle of the brown monster, laughing at its master's ineptitude. We thought we were in the clear……

Then, things got bad. Only one of each pair would make it through alive. A fanfare of music would ring out after every ten man batch. This son-of-a-bitch was getting off on this. It wasn't war anymore, it was a massacre. Soon only one or two would make it out from the barrage of bullets whose accuracy seemed to be learning our patterns. It was after 3 hours and527of our bravest lost their lives that we finally had a reprieve. The sounds of the open fields seemed to halt and the rustling of the monster were still. We used this little time we had to devise an escape strategy.

We would use our same tactic of random directions and loud quaking noises while increasing our speed to expedite our retreat. Every soldier was assigned a civilian to guard during these maneuvers. I was assigned to my wife, Dana. It wasn't the safest option, but it was our only one.

As the plan took motion, we realized that it was working. The shots from the nameless assassin were coming too quickly and inaccurate to hit us. As we continued though, he adapted. The slaughter lasted through the night though the sun never set. Our body count was over 1,500 when my squads name came up. Only two of the 6 before me had made it out alive. I told Dana to keep low while I tried to draw his fire high above the trees. She was strong but I could tell the stress was getting to her, what with the molting and all. It was time.

We took off from opposite sides of the screen. I darted quickly into the open as I heard a bullet whizz by my feet. I stayed my course for another second then doubled back, climbing even higher, another missed shot! One more and we are home free my love…As I turned a strong headwind forced me to slow down and lower my altitude. I can't be sure but I could swear I saw the gleam in the killers eye as he caressed his trigger just salivating over the thought of my inevitable plummet to the ground. As he squeezed the trigger I saw something out of the corner of my eye. It was Dana. She was flying as fast as she could and before I could yell for her to get out of the way, she crossed my path.

I saw the light leave her eyes as she fell towards the unwelcoming earth. I tried to swoop down and carry her away but she was lost in the reeds. It was all I could do to continue onwards and leave her behind. Later reports would say that the death toll was 3,126 before the killer mysteriously left our land. Apparently the sick bastard earned some sort of point for each one of us he killed. The grief councillors, Mario and Luigi, offered help but nothing would quell the pain in my aching heart. I swore my revenge that day. "I will track down and kill him Dana, he isn't safe anywhere!" Thats when someone hit the reset button andmy story was lost to the ages…..