All quiet on the Western Front
A Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and All quiet on the Western Front Crossover.
Disclaimer: Buffy belongs to Joss Whedon, All quiet on the Western Front belongs to Erich Maria Remarque and his inheritors.
A.N.: My response to the “To boldly go … to the Movies” challenge.
Warning, it's rather dark and takes some descriptions from the book. And those weren't pretty, especially when you consider that 16-year-old youths saw them when they were thrown into the meat grinder.
Summary: Some things give even Vampires nightmares. A Vampire tells about World War I and what it entailed.
“1918, I do remember this year. War had been raging for 4 years in Europe. This wasn't like the wars of old. There were no glorious battles, no great fights of man against man. No, everyone on the front was in for a visit to the meat-grinder. There was no glory to be found on the battlefield. There was only endless death. People died by the thousands every day.
And those that survived? Many were never able to go home. I saw them, yes, their empty eyes, their haunted stares. They were forever caught in a nightmare. They would never leave the battlefield again. Even after they went home, they were still on these fields. Their pain and agony would live with them forever.
They couldn't forget the sound of artillery strikes, the clinking of a tank's threat. They always smelled the toxic gases and heard their friends dying. They heard machine guns in their dreams and the week-long artillery barrages. Rain reminded them of many horrible, horrible months. More than one came to me in these days, asking me to make the memories go away.
Before they died, they told me their stories. Or the stories of a friend that haunted them especially. They told me how they hauled their dead friends to a medic, desperately wishing that the friend still lived. They described the horrible sight of a body that had been caught in the gas clouds. They would never forget the smell of burning human flesh. They would never forget the sight of comrades desperately trying to hold their intestines in their body while slowly dying. All these and millions more such things haunted a generation. Some repressed. Some couldn't. Some sought out me. Some took the matters in their own hands. And some snapped and descended into insanity to have a way to deal with those nightmares!
I'll never forget the little Kurt, how he told me about his comrade Paul. Paul, who had survived against all odds, Paul who was still sane and dreamed of peace. Paul, who hoped for a civilian career. Paul, who was shot on the day the treaty was signed, with the German Newspapers printing “Im Westen nichts Neues”. All quiet on the western front. A single death, meaningless and not even worth mentioning.
They all had touching stories. And I listened to them and made their pain go away in the only way a Vampire can. I, the Mad Vampire Drusilla, gave these poor souls a peace their fellow man had robbed from them forever. Even if it was only death, they found peace in my arms and died peacefully. It was the least I could do for them.” Drusilla told the assembled people. “Now please, let Miss Edith return to me, so I might forget these horrible sights and times again. Or give me the peace I handed out 80 years ago, when even the Vampires shouted “Never Again!””