Prisoner of war

[ Read this in Dutch ]

Prisoner of War illustrationshort horror story

They were the enemy in a no-quarter war. The Junior war. No mercy, no prisoners. Except one day they took one… .

Publication history


SF Revu reviewed Space & Time Magazine:
The “Prisoner of War” in the story by Floris M. Kleijne is a boy who, like all the children, had become infected with something that has driven him mad, making him want to kill all adults. This has happened all over the world in what is called the Junior Wars. One day, our narrator decides to capture one of them, someone he knew before the madness started. I won’t spoil things further and just say this was an imaginative, well-told tale.

Safe and tranquil

In the story, protagonist Sam has a recurring nightmare in which a ‘nameless voice’ repeats this fragment over and over. The contest to identify the source of the fragment and the speaker is now closed. The lucky winner can read Prisoner of war in his own mint copy of Space & Time Magazine issue 116, containing the story.

Of course, the correct answer is that the distinguished actor Richard Burton speaks these words in Jeff Wayne’s musical version of War of The Worlds.

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Prisoner of war


Four-year-old Mira was coming towards our house like the wrath of God.

As she came closer it seemed that there was something profoundly wrong with her. Her hands, her bare arms, her clothes were black with dirt. I couldn’t see her eyes, but her brows were set in a tight frown of rage, and rage showed in the tense set of her frame, her strides, her balled fists.

Then my wife slapped her hand over her mouth and gasped through her fingers:


And I saw that it was.

Mira stopped at our house, raised her head and looked into our kitchen window. Straight into my eyes. I felt her gaze stab my pupils, my heart, my stomach. I wanted to close my eyes but I couldn’t even blink. For an endless moment, I knew nothing, remembered nothing, had no feelings but a deep visceral desire to kill, maim, destroy. The moment stretched and the feeling churned in my guts. Only the fact that neither of us moved could have told me time stood still, but I had no capacity for such observations.

The kid’s gone evil, I thought, but little kids aren’t evil, and I don’t even believe in evil; she’s just mad at your daughter, you’re crazy to think anything else, get a grip, Sam; but the blood, and that look, and her voice, Sam; something is wrong, Sam, something is wrong with Mira, and rationality be damned, I’m not letting her near my kids, not now, not like that.