Ok so this is my attempt at writting my first story on here. I'll post as much as I can with the time that I have but it will continue! Let me know what you think!
I rolled over in my cot. The sound of the shells pounding the floor of No Man's Land above was somewhat comforting. I didn't care how morbid or screwy that may have sounded but it was, in fact, nothing short of the truth. My brothers lay beside me each separated by two feet of mud and rats snoring away with the little time we had left. This wasn't how I'd pictured France when I enrolled but I was so damn sure of it that I'd ended up here. I couldn't sleep no matter how hard I tried. Chunks of earth had refused to stop pounding me on my head from the ceiling above, an endless tapping that wound drive a man literally insane unless he'd remembered his helmet. The whistle was blown in the distance. "Here it comes..." I thought to myself. I couldn't help but frown that the shelling had stopped but was now replaced with a new sound. The sound of bullets leaving the chambers of several .50 caliber machine guns. Yes, there was screaming, yes there was constant chaos. But the beast within me had kept me sane the past year in this sh*thole of a country. I don't remember why I signed up. I knew I couldn't be killed unless hit by a German mortar shell or a, God forbid, "potato masher." I guess I was trying to prove something to my father. He couldn't care less if he'd recieved a telegram informing him of my unforseen death. Hell, I bet if I didn't go , he would have killed me himself. I was nothing more than a monster to him.
"Sargent Fox!!! You and your men are up in those trenches in two! You got that?!" Captain Hawks commanded from the small dugout enterance.
The captain was a short fellow, somewhat pudgy, and a man without eyebrows. However, I and the rest dared not make fun of him or mock him behind his back. The man had ears from here all the way back home. He'd probably use us as the decoys if you even accidentally made a joke in bad taste...He must have been one angry child growing up. I stood up at attention and saluted.
"Sir, yes, Sir!"
Captain Hawks stormed out of the bunker and into the trenches of death. I looked over to Jeff, he was sound asleep. I've always wondered how he could do it. I sometime even observed him myself, foolishly thinking he had some seceret technique of falling alseep. The bible they'ed given to each of us at Basic was spread open over his eyes, the silver cross still tightly wrapped in his fist and held in his hand. I stood over him.
"Corpral McBride!" I called out.
McBride sat up with a deep breath after I called his name. "Ay, Sargent?" He asked looking around, somewhat confused and dazed.
"Get your gear and the rest of the men...It's time yet again." I told him, giving off a hint of a sigh with the reality of my words.
Of course the rest of my plattoon knew my little secret. They'd feared me possibly more than the Nazis. I couldn't blame them, the sight of a seven foot, white haired beast standing before them, staring them down with the golden eyes of mistrust and worry was something to be scared of. I looked over at Cesil, the thin, bony, and somewhat insane member of my plattoon who muttered nothing of sense in the situations at hand. He only spoke the words of the bible but ironically, he was the greatest damn sniper I've ever seen. He huddled in the shadow of the corner, his hands shaking as he whispered to the silver cross within his palm.
I took a final look at Cesil, his pale blue eyes met mine and he stopped shaking. "Hath thy time called upon me, Sir?" He asked his eyes going into a cold stare.
"Yes, Private. Get your gear."
He was immediately on his toes and running around the small bunker like a banshee from hell. I could only shake my head as I put the helmet on and strap on my belt of munitions. I took a firm hold of my Sten machine gun as I headed to the exit of my safehaven, into the blinding light of the day above.
Last edited by -Spike- (2008-10-27 23:01:46)
Very nice beginning, Spike! I very much enjoyed it. The scene didn't feel too rushed and I like the writing technique you gave your character - a little rough around the edges. I find that helps to develop a character better.
I also liked how his fellow soldiers knew about his 'furry secret' instead of him having to conceal himself. It's a little more realistic.
The only thing I would suggest is seperate the lines for everytime a different character spoke. That way, it makes it easier to know who said what.
Anyways, great work so far and post more whenever you can
To: Mr. Steven Douglas Fox
1456 Richmond Street
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Sgt. Ryan Kenneth Fox
Monday, June 5, 1944
3rd Canadian Division
Queens Own Rifles
Dear, Beloved Father
It's me, your son. you'll be happy to know that the squad and I will be stroming the beaches of France tomorrow. I'm sure we'll acomplish our mission with steadfast determination and success. Captain says the Germans won't even know what hit 'em. Not that they'll know we're coming anyway. Did you get my last letter? Anyway, I'm writting in regards to Samantha. I hope all is well with everything and I hope you didn't lose her medication schedule again. All is well with me and the squad. You'll be glad to know I was promoted! Don't ask how, I 'd rather not speak of that event ever again. Let's just say there's a fine line between bravery and stupidity. Oh, I almost forgot. The button you asked me about belonged to the sweater I got you for your birthday. Its in the front foyer in case you were wondering of it's whereabouts.
Father, before I end this letter I must speak of my other half. I know about what you said before I left but don't crumple this letter just yet. I'm learning to control it, Dad. However, I am starting to feel a bit...different at certain times of the day. The squad doesn't know about my secret and I fear they will soon find out. I don't know what I'm going to do...What will they think of me!?...What if they try to even KILL me!? I don't know if you'll ever respond to my letters, nor if you're even recieving them. I don't know what I'm going to do, Dad. I just know the wolf will break free once again. This whole thing was a stupid idea. For now, I'm holding myself together until we get to shore. I'll figure something out then...
Much love, Ryan
P.S: Send my regards to Samantha would you?
Last edited by -Spike- (2008-10-27 23:01:21)
It is the day we storm the beach. Everything they told us on the ship was a straight up lie. It wasn't a war, it was murder. The Germans were sitting and waiting, probably throwing a gently caressing barbecue while they waited. I watched as my fellow soldiers, platoon, and my friends were ripped to pieces before my eyes once the hatch fell onto the sand, now stained red. I leaped over the side of the boat and into the frigged waters of the Atlantic. I immediately sank. I held my breath for as long as I could, my lungs screaming for air. I pressed forward, walking along the floor until I was able to stick my head out of the water. I dragged myself onto the blood soaked sand and fumbled with my helmet. The screaming, the flames, the bombs, the bullets, and then...there was the blood. That's when it happened. It was like nothing I'd ever felt before more than twice. It was the thrill of the shift. It burned, it seared, and it renewed my body and mind. The longing sound of the contorting muscles and fusion of my bones was something to look forward to. I remember falling to my knees, at least hit with four or five shots from the murder holes atop the ridge. I couldn't feel it...I couldn't feel anything at all. It was almost as if I were breaking free from a cage that had held me prisoner for eternity. It was pure adrenaline, shock, and excitement. What's more? I wanted blood...The blood of my enemies.
I began to charge forward, a battle cry louder than anything I'd ever heard. Hell, even I was afraid. Now, every MG42 on the beach was pointed at me. I could hear the barking orders of the German commanders as their soldiers struggled to kill what meant their certain death. I could hear their hearts racing as I neared the barbed wire. Suddenly there was a sharp pain in my leg. The heat of mortar round going off next to me. They were everywhere, landing all around me. I could see it as if I could slow the passage of time as they fell from the sky at an alarming rate but to me they weren't any faster than the rate that molasses came from a jar. I watched as one fell in front of my face. He held out my claw and caught it in my grasp. I looked back up at the mortar crew, their faces white with fear and confusion. I pulled my arm back as far as I could, before heaving my arm forward, the round leaving my grip nearly twice as fast as it had entered it. The nest on the ridge went up in a cloud of dust and pink mist. The smell was intoxicating. I repeated the action several times, eliminating the shelling of the beach. Despite the fear and confusion of my comrades, They pushed forward, right behind me, working to clear the sand of obstacles.
I was charging the ridge and the bunkers. The soldiers begged for their lives and fell to their knees. The only response they got was a decapitated head. I wasn't necessarily proud of myself when I rammed my claws though the face of the German commander. In fact, I was more or less mentally violated. The human in me was screaming for the killing to stop, the darker side however, wanted more. I was completely out of control. After that, I blacked out. I awoke several hours later, the faces of my platoon staring down at my naked and blood soaked body. The stepped back in surprise when I opened my eyes, Jeff had the barrel of his rifle pointed three inches from my face. All I could do was put my hands up. To my surprise, the air began to get somewhat fuzzy. The faces around me began to fade out. It went black yet again and I felt someone yanking on me.
"FOX!!!! Wake up!!! I can't have you guarding the gorram holes if you're going to be snoozing!!!" The captain screamed into my left ear so loud, it caused partial hearing loss.
I rubbed my eyes and looked back over the ridge for less than a second. It was quiet out on the field. I held my gun at the ready and stared out. I looked around for the captain. Again, nowhere to be found, and found where not expected, I put my gun down and pulled out the small tin box from my bag. I opened my ration of Bully Beef and stuffed it in my mouth...It could've used some salt. An understatement, surely, it tasted like someone pissed on a rotten pint of Lager. I struggled to keep the food down and finally succeeded. I looked around again. My men awaiting their orders. I was awaiting the push into the city.
Last edited by -Spike- (2008-10-28 21:48:17)
wow, this was great, please continue.
The small tin case closed in my palms. I carefully placed the valuable back into my right breast pocket and began to fill my mouth and nose with the sweet rich aroma. It took all the worries of the world away for a brief moment as I lit the cigar between my teeth. It was the moment I was waiting for, I looked down at my watch for a brief moment and waited. The whistle blew. A cheer rose about the trenches; however, it was a dull cheer, a cheer that wouldn't raise the hopes of any lucky enemy sniper ready to pick off a target in the midst of quiet and not-too-subtle celebration. I threw the strap of my gun over my shoulder and began to relieve the space of mud to a new soldier in my place. I past my left shoulder, Jeff was speeding up to catch up to my quick pace.
"Is it really the day, Sarge?" He asked, his eyes filled with hope and contempt, looking away to watch his footing every second.
I nodded up and away at the bright sky above before deciding on my answer. "That is indeed correct, Corporal." I looked back at him smiling.
Today was the day. It was the day our squad was to be transfered from the trenches to the green fields of France to sweep the countryside of any forces that would try to pull off another assault. We both entered the small bunker that was no longer our quarters. Within the next hour we were packed up and loading the Duce. I was onto my third cigar by that time, the reason being it was the best day in a long time. We all piled into the truck, me, hopping in last. Willy up at the front took a few bangs on the roof of the cab. I sipped the dirty water from my canteen as the cloud of diesel engine fumes filled my lungs. I smiled, finally we'd be getting some action and where we were going meant woodlands.
The truck surged forward, a few of the men laughed as they shared jokes, attempted to pour cold tea into rattling cups, and juggle their weapons from the bumpy road. I sat expressionless. I was excited but I was also a bit skeptical of my emotions, I didn't know what I should have been feeling. Stress, fear, excitement,...Happiness? I couldn't decide. The next few days would be close range combat and walking. I didn't have a problem with that. It was a hell of a lot better than sitting in a trench waiting to be charged at or blown up. I was surprised. Ever since the storming of the beach, no one had asked my about the beast dwelling within me...Not even the Captain. That scared me. Jeff leaned over and tapped my shoulder with the end of his rifle in his effort for my attention.
"Watch where you point that rifle, McBride! It might keep you from blowing the head off the guy next to you." I said with a small teasing grin.
Jeff only smiled, but he knew I was dead serious. "I haven't had the chance to ask, Sarge. Where you from?" He looked at me curling his lip back.
I shot him a skeptical look as I took a puff of my hand rolled cigar. "...I'm from a small town in Northern Ontario...Bancroft." I was born there, spent my childhood there, and was made a monster there. After all, it was Dad's idea to move into Toronto.
"How old are you? What did you do for a living? Got a wife?...How did-" I cut him off mid sentence.
"Corporal, one question at a time. I'm 26, I was a grocer. And no, I have a finance. I suggest you save you breath because the fumes willll kill ya before I do."
Jeff chuckled and shrunk down in his seat. I stuffed a dry, and tasteless biscuit in my mouth before looking over the side of the truck, and inspecting the dead cows in the field. There it was again, the feeling. I took a nervous sip from my canteen and closed my eyes, trying my hardest to focus on something else. The ride was sure to be a long one.
The chilling breeze of the early morning had already barged its way into my tent. I could barely feel my toes despite the fact that I was wearing more than two pairs of socks; however, It was a quite the waste since Captain always kept reminding us to change our linens on a regular basis. I opened my eyes. It had been a considerable amount of time since I'd heard the beautiful songs of the early birds, blessing the new day. It was strange out here in the green fields of France...even somewhat...peaceful? I couldn't help but spit the word. There was no such thing as peace in this God forsaken place. Not after the horrors I'd seen.
"Sargent Fox!?" A familiar voice had called in the distance. The sound of heavy military issued combat boots, quickly stomping the ground in my direction. I sighed and pulled my pillow closer, trying not to breathe too much. It smelled of piss, puke, and hair.
"Sargent Fox?" The young voice called into my small tent.
"At what most urgent direction must I turn my attention to now, McBride?" I replied, uninterested and lethargically as I could make myself sound, still laying face down.
"The Lieutenant wants you to attend a debriefing of our plan of action for the day. He's most upset of your absence." He replied. My eyes burst open. I quickly sat up and took hold of my weapon and helmet. I walked past Corporal McBride and joined Lieutenant Wright at the table as he stood over a large map stretched across the table, a cigar, silently burning between his tight lips, frustration strewn his face. The sound of clanging metal ringing in my ear. I looked over to another table where two soldiers sat, sifting through a small burlap sack containing the blood stained tags of our fallen men. I returned my attention to Lieutenant Wright who was now looking deep into my eyes, still hovering over the map held down to the table by numerous pins and combat knives.
"Sleep well, Sargent?" He asked dully. I was getting a bit restless.
"Yes, Sir." I replied, looking down. I could tell we was about as tired as me. The bags under his eyes told the whole story. My mind was racing with what devious plan his ingenuity would come up with.
"Swell. The Nazis have occupied and fortified areas of interest here, here and here. You and your men will strike at this point..." He slid his finger across various points on the tattered map with accordance to his words. I tried to keep my distant attention focused on instruction but I digressed, missing some information that I was too afraid to think that was of great detailed importance.
As Dad always said, "if it's not important, there's probably no point in speaking." I shuddered.
I captured the gist of what my superior was ordering and accepted before returning the the squad. I kicked over a munitions crate and took a seat, setting down my Sten and helmet. My squad looked at me with curious eyes as some of them pressed mud covered cigarettes to their mouths. "Somebody wake Cesil up." I asked. Cesil was asleep holding his rifle in a position allowing it to support his head. He really loved that thing. Jeff nudged his awake and Cesil looked at me like the rest. I took a deep breath. "We're going up the middle into the city." The squad frowned and tossed the articles in their hands to the floor. Of course they knew this was the most dangerous position of them all. We would be in direct line of fire. But there was hope for them. They had the most secret of weapon of all. They had me...
(Edited, moved my critique to the sticky thread)
Last edited by isafos (2008-11-02 01:21:59)
I apologize for the delay. I finally caught up, however. I really like the storyline so far and I don't think it's such a bad thing that his platoon isn't fearful of him. Afterall, they've endured and witnessed death and now they have someone on their side who can scarecely be injured, being their biggest weapon. I think it's quite realistic that they have no choice but to be relieved of his ability and perhaps use it to his advantage.
The only hints of advice I could give you would be expanding on a few things. Maybe explain his surroundings a bit more and what Fox looks like, as with his close companions, but then again, that's just a suggestion.
I look forward to more
A bloodcurling scream broke the still silence of the night I sat upward breathing heavily, dismissing the sound as a figment of my dreams. But something else was wrong. It was as if my body did not seem to agree with my skin which seemed a few sizes too small. Again I rolled over and tossed in my bunk. How could anyone sleep with all this gorram noise? The shells falling from over a hundred miles away were lighting up the sky like thunder and lightning over the doomed cities fall off in the distance. I stood up and walked outside. The waxing crecent of the moon lit up the forest that surrounded the small clearing. I looked over to the dying fire that Cesil had started up not four hours ago...Which made me wonder. Where was he? I could think up any number of reason why he'd gone but I made it clear to the squad to never go AWOL under any circumstance...especially while on guard. I walked back into my tent and tok a seat down on the box I'd set up in front of the mirror. I removed my Zippo from my belt and sparked it up before setting it down on the small makeshift shelf under the tiny glass mirror. I figure I'd wait a bit before wandering off to find my sniper. My face felt like it was about to rip itself out from under the skin. I first looked at my hair, once blonde and curly was oddly stained a new shade of white. I stared down to the Zippo, transfixed as the fire danced about the whick. I returned my gaze into my eyes, I felt myself jump a little. My once liquid brown and charming eyes were now a shade of light gold and blue. It was beautiful yet scary. At least I still recognized my own face, the fine young man my father had raised me to be. I was still a little hesitant to check my teeth, it seemed to hurt alot more when I bit my tongue. I was afraid to sheck for anything else that would need to be changed on my recruitment application form. I took one final look at myself in the mirror. A tight grin formed over my lips.
I stood in the chilly wind of the night. Looking through the surrounding forest in all directions. Despite breaking my own rules, I felt extremely constrained to...run. But I had larger tasks to focus on. I had to find Cesil and figure out how I would scream at him this time. Then an idea stuck me like a .45 slug at close range. I began to focus all of my energy. I could feel the muscles quivering beneath the flesh all over my body. It was working, I couldn't believe it. Fine white hairs began to prick up and out of my skin. I felt the bones reshape and fuse while my muscles contorted and responded to the change taking place. My nose dtretching outward into a muzzle like shape. I didn't enjoy the sound of my clothes ripping to shreds though, the Captain wasn't going to be happy. I could shift at will. It felt wierd on two legs, but it also felt secure. I looked around, my ears pricking forward and back. My hands had been replaced with claws that could cut through steel. I kneeled down, touching the ground with my front paws, a growl echoed through my body. I couldn't help but feel some sense of accomplishment. My nose pointed forward and picked up something familiar. It smelled alot like Cesil too. I smirked. This was going to be alot easier than I thought it would be. I took off into the forest, picking up to speeds alot faster than the train I took to work everyday back home. I was free.
I was distracted often with the rivhch aroma of the forest's surroundings. I could see everything clear as day. I was dodging trees like they were nothing. Cesil wasn't too far away...but what the hell was he doing way out here? Then there was something that made me stop dead in my tracks. Footprints...not only that of a boot...but also of a claw as large as mine. For a second I figure it was mine, but the scent of it told me otherwise. I picked up a new scent...blood. It was Cesil's. I began to worry, letting out a small whine. I followed the trail. The spill of blood was a breadcrumb trail. It was smeared everywhere. From what I could tell, nothing was going to turn out alright.
I stepped in something wet against the cold har ground. It was warm and sticky, smelled of salt and rust, and belonged to someone I knew. I was too afraid to look. I wasn't sure where to look first. He surrounded me. Body parts littered the ground, the forest floor was painted red. My comrad was literally ripped to pieces. I could sense a precence but I was unsure of its whereabouts. I sniffed the corpse and looked around, listening for an enemy. One must have been nearby. I looked down at the stomach of my deceased rifleman and gagged. There was no way anything could have done this.,,unless...My eyes buldged. I was daunted by my surroundings. They were unfamiliar, unfriedly, and worst of all, decorated. I couldn't stop to think. I ripped the dog tags off my man with my jaws and took off. Sprinting through the forest. I was too afraid to stop or even look back.
I raced for the edge of the clearing. I cleared a small fallen tree before landing in the tall grass. I didn't stop running until I got back to the tents. I dug my claws into the earth, slowing myself down. I built up enough courage to slowly twist my head around. There was nothing but the calm shadows, peaceful fog, and a shaking tail between my legs. My white coat of fur now stained red. I stood up on my hind legs and removed the tags from my mouth with my claw. I dropped the blood stained tags of my fallen brother onto the dirt next to me. I couldn't feel anything but fear and pain. Reality began to cloud, my mind shut down, and I was unable to keep awake. I collasped forward onto the soft bed of grass outside my tent.
Last edited by -Spike- (2008-11-06 02:03:52)
Woot!! Keep it coming It had a great storyline!
oooo, a good long adventure.
Chapter 2: Somewhere outside Paris, October, 3 1944
“With all due respect, sir, I feel that I belong with my squad and nowhere else.” I struggled to get the words out.
I stared in the eyes of Commander Hanes as he sat at his desk. A very stern man with a face covered with scares that would be enough to make a mirror shatter. It looked like someone threw him through the engine of a P-51 and straight into a vat of broken glass. His one good eye stared me down.
“Sergeant Fox…Do you have any idea what you are capable of? That by doing that would be a serious misallocation of valuable military resources?” Hanes said back.
Hanes got up and paced back and fourth in front of me with his hands behind his back as if he were a child, hiding a broken instrument form his parents. He looked back at me with a half smile.
“There isn’t any room here for argument, soldier.”
“I understand that but may I just insist-.”
“Insist what, Fox? That I place you back in the trenches to be shot? You’re lucky you’re not being shipped off to God knows where to be tested on. You’re lucky I covered you up during the investigation.”
I was hesitant. I opened my mouth to object but there was no fighting with the Commander. Once a decision was made, it was made. No questions, objections, or anything for that matter. It is just done. I thought fast to replace my original argument.
“No, I just wanted to see to it that my men are taken care of during my absence.”
Hanes only smirked and lit a cigarette between his chipped teeth.
“You can expect them to be in good hands, Fox. I do admire a man with such appreciation for his fellow soldiers.” He chuckled.
I forced a smile as my grip on my helmet tensed. I remember back when I spent all my time back at basic with the squad. The memory of Cecil trying to climb the obstacle made me chuckle lightly. Commander Hanes looked up.
“Did I miss a joke, Fox?” His forehead creased.
I pursed my lips together, holding back my laugh.
“No, Sir.” But suddenly, the memory of Cecil’s death reminded me of what I should really be worrying about; those tracks in the snow. The thing that murdered my sniper and friend was loose and still posed a threat.
“Yes, Sergeant Fox?” He looked up
“I was wondering if the investigators found any tracks.”
“What are you talking about? We covered all the tracks you left at the scene.” He narrowed his eyes.
“Sir, I meant the one’s that didn’t belong to me.”
Hanes took a moment to register what I was saying, the cigarette dropped from his lips onto his desk.
He stood up from his desk and quickly walked out his office. He was nearly pushing people out of the way in order to get to a secretary sitting at a desk, typing documents, tapping away at the keys. Hanes whispered something into his ear. The secretary nodded and got up, walking more quickly than the Commander to the other side of the tent. They stopped at a telegraph and the secretary immediately began to send out a message. Commander Hanes returned to his office and shut the door behind him.
“Why didn’t you mention this earlier!?” He rubbed his temples in frustration.
“I…I don’t know, Sir.”
“Christ, Fox! Now the Goddamned crauts have a werewolf too and it didn’t occur to you to even bring it up!?” I shuttered at his words.
“…No, Sir.” I looked down. He took a deep breath and struggled to calm himself, pacing back and fourth.
“Listen, I will have this taken care of. In the mean time, I want you to carry out these orders and I will contact you later on the issue at hand.” He stood over his desk for a moment after he was finished speaking before sitting back down, flustered and unsure of what to do next. He pulled out a crumpled folder from a drawer and slammed it down in front of himself before looking at me. The smoke from his cigarette hid his face behind a cloud. Its sweet smell was burning my nostrils. He continued to look into my eyes as I stood before him as if trying to finding something hidden in the back of my head. After a moment, he went to scribbling something on a document.
“I’m transferring you to the Eastern Front. You’ll be placed into a new squad.”
“Do you know what the fighting conditions are like, Sir?”
He didn’t look up as he flipped through pages, licking his finger as he skimmed.
“Tight quarters, yard by yard operations…that sort of thing.” He said as he skimmed the pages making notes and signed where required.
I nodded as I leaned over his desk to see what was so important. He looked up at me. I flinched and stood at attention.
“What are you still doing here, Sergeant?”
“You’re supposed to be on the next train to the Front, Sergeant!”
I saluted him before turning to leave. There was a cold sweat on the back of my neck. I was upset, I was disappointed. I walk through the field command office, past all the busy soldiers mapping and tapping away on typewriters, slapping their heads in frustration and quickly rushing across to the room to a group of men in the corner who were carefully mapping while listening to static over the radio. I felt very strange at that moment. I felt as if I didn’t belong in this war. I didn’t belong on either side fighting with the allies or with Germany. I was an army of my own, fighting myself. I didn’t want this. I wanted to be like everyone else. I wanted to be ordinary.
I stepped outside into the rain. Men were rushing back and fourth with crates full of ammunition and supplies from trucks and loading it onto the awaiting train parked on the tracks at the end of the road. I adjusted my gun as it hung from my right shoulder. I looked up into the sky and opened my mouth to catch rain on my tongue.
“Sergeant Fox!?” Someone called through the thunder that ripped through the clouds.
I looked around to see a young man waving at me to go over and see him. I looked both ways down the busy road of soldiers and ran over to him.
“Yes?” I replied.
The soldier held out a bandaged hand. “Corporal Miller, 4th Infantry Division.” He lit a cigarette. “I am to understand you are our new addition.” He smiled. “We got a message from the Commander telling us we’d rendezvous here to find you. Let me introduce you to the gang.” He put his arm around my shoulder and we walked towards a damaged vendor’s cart pulled to the side of the road where five worn out men sat in relief to have finally gotten a chance to sit down. They shared jokes, cigarettes, and stories. They all looked up at me with withering eyes as I approached with Corporal Miller.
“Wake up fellas.” Miller ordered. He gestured a hand to me. “Meet Sergeant Fox., your new boss.” He laughed and looked at me to see if I’d laughed too. His smile instantly died. None of the men in the squad looked glad to see me. Miller pointed to the man as he stated their names. “Sergeant Fox, this is Gonzo, Hawks, Pyle, McHaggis, and that there is Clarke.” They all nodded in my direction. I took a good look at their mud covered faces.
“Take a seat, Serge.” Hawks offered. I flipped over a barrel and sat next to him. He couldn’t have been more than two years younger then I. He had light blond hair and startling blue eyes that seemed to penetrate anyone he looked at. His rugged face looked like it’d been chiseled by bullets. He pulled out one of his rations and stuffed a piece of Bully Beef into his cheeks. He offered me some. I shook my head. I couldn’t stand the salty dry taste of what was claimed to be meat. It made my stomach turn.
“So why the transfer, Serge? If you don’t mind me asking that is.” Hawks asked, looking at me as he chewed. I looked down at the floor and looked to make sure the others weren’t listening.
“As you’re Sergeant, this will stay confidential between you and I.”
“I’m a monster, Hawks…A beast. I’m the government’s final solution to the German War Machine.”
“What are you talking about, Serge?” Hawks chuckled.
“This is something that I cannot explain to you.” Hawks’ smug grin kept plastered to his face.
Nearly half an hour had passed before the delayed train arrived for the men. Hawks quickly packed up his deck of playing cards and crammed them into his pocket. We put on our helmets and stood up, gathering our belongings. I threw the Thompson around my shoulder and led my men to the train cars.
The train car was packed with as many as the capacity would allow. Crammed in like sardines, it was rather difficult to move around in. I guess I was lucky to get a window seat stuck next to Hawks. I was surprised no one in my new unit asked anything about where I was from or what I did for a living. I felt as if I wasn’t worthy of their trust whenever I looked into their dull eyes. I looked through the crack in the wall of the train car. I saw dozens of trees and cattle fly past with each passing second. The scent of manure and dead leaves seemed to cover up the smell of sweat, blood, and infection that would linger above our heads. A cough or sneeze would break the awkward silence during the long ride ever so often until Hawks looked at me and asked. “So what did you mean by monster, earlier?”
“This really isn’t the time or place, Hawks.” I replied, hoping he would just heed my advice and shut up but to my dismay, he continued on a different subject.
“Where you from?” He asked, trying to help pass the time.
“A town in Northern Ontario called Bancroft…and yourself?”
“Ottawa.” He replied.
I nodded, following a brief silence as Hawks looked away, as if trying to see past all the heads which blocked his view of the other side of the train car. Even if these men would be taking orders from me, I was relieved to somehow feel a sense of acceptance within the unit all thanks to Hawks. It’s been quite a while since the last time I felt satisfaction in what others thought about me, that I was recognized even if it was just because I was different.
Minutes had passed and I felt my eyelids getting heavier. Suddenly, I was falling, falling into a black abyss. I panicked as I knew my life was over, but instead of hitting the hard ground, I landed in a bed of bed of black ash as it calmly sprinkled from the sky like snow. I got up and looked around. The town was in ruins, the forest, ablaze. The distant sound of hundreds German bombers flying in order above the clouds, filled the air with the sound of death and destruction. I called out but it wasn’t my voice, it was a deep cut-throat roar. I took at my arms and legs. Torn through my brown uniform, dark fur and muscles bulged from all over. With nothing left but my helmet, dog tags, and my pants, I looked around once more. It seemed oddly familiar through the fire and flames. This place now burning in the fires of hell was my home. Hidden through the blaze and shadows hid those red eyes. The outline of a beast stood in the clear holding the tags of my men in one hand and a torn flag of the Wehrmacht in the other. I froze. Unable to move, the beast began its approach. He stood before me, as I feel to my knees. The black fur covered the body nearly double my size except for an area on his heart, a scare of a swastika brand. He extended both arms as if offering peace, a truce. But as I reached for the tags of my men, he quickly snapped away, holding out the flag instead. As my home burned around me, I had to choose. I had to choose to become one with the flag or one of the tags. Suddenly the earth shook. It shook more and more until I opened my eyes. I was back on the train.
“Jesus, Serge, You were having one hell of a dream. You had me scared.” Hawks explained.
I took a deep breath. “Yeah.”
He looked into my eyes, trying to see past the façade I was putting forth to keep him from the truth. I was struggling to hold onto reality which seemed to be slowly slipping away with each passing second. I felt delirious, insane, and scared. I was scared of what lay ahead. Scared of what lay beyond the heavy doors of the train and the new face of war.
I removed my helmet and wiped the sweat from my brow. I peered from out of the crack to the green fields, speeding by. In the distance, the soothing sound of artillery and gunfire broke the eerie silence of misery and fear. We were close and I was glad. I didn’t think I could stand to be in this train car much longer. I began to feel a bad case of claustrophobia, surrounded by bodies, quickly heating up, coughing, sneezing, and smoking. I dug through my pockets, searching to find something to distract myself with. I set myself upon a crumpled piece of paper after having forgotten I’d put it there shortly after receiving mail from home back at HQ. I unfolded the crumpled edges and read the print.
I hope all is well. I had just gotten your letter from earlier. I am glad to hear you are doing well and serving your country with steadfast dedication. Samantha still longs for your return, praying each night for your safety. I must tell you about the funniest thing that happened today. Charlie dug a hole under the fence and got into the Henderson’s garden again when I let him out. He trampled the flowers and Ms. Henderson put up the biggest fuss. It was funnier than anything else, I’d say. That crazy dog of yours still sits by the window, waiting for you to walk down the road and into the front door. Sometimes, Ryan, I doubt that you ever will. You are still my son and I want you to know that I still love you, no matter what. Learn to control the beast within and it will bring you home in return.
I stared at the paper briefly, studying his writing. I folded the paper back into its envelope and stuffed it back into my breast pocket. There was a loud screeching sound as everyone’s weight was thrown forward. I held onto the metal support beam along the side to keep myself on my feet. The train slowed to a stop and a final shift in everyone’s gravity. A moment passed before a whistle blew. The large wooden doors swung open, filing the car with the blinding light of day. The sunlight felt hot against my skin as a commanding officer gestured me out of the car. “You get your men organized and meet up with the rest of the units near the first checkpoint.” I nodded in response and turned to the rest of the dreary faces who were already hopping out of the train and settling down on the platform to rifle through their bags on the ground and get themselves in order.
I looked around the train station, appearing to be the only thing left standing in town. The empty, shelled out buildings that surrounded us creaked in the wind as their weakened supports crumbled. As allied air forces flew overhead, we marched through the empty streets toward the rallying point in a group now fifty strong while armored units rolled passed with those lucky enough to get a ride. I wiped my forehead with my sleeve. The light breeze was filled with the sweet smell of smoldering birch trees in the distant forest from the bombing. As black smoke shrouded the blue sky, we finally reached the checkpoint where several tables were set up with radios, ammunition, and, to my surprise, deli sandwiches served with coffee. We settled in and awaited our orders. I had suspected that Commander Hanes had a special duty assigned to myself the squad. I thought back to the dream I had on the train coming down. It scared me to think that I would not accomplish or even die trying to save my country from the German War Machine. All we could do was hope that we would accept nothing than a full victory. But for now, I was enjoying my coffee and sandwich too much to really think about something I was unsure of. God only knew what fate was in store for us.
I set myself down on a crate and looked down to see that my hands were trembling again. I didn’t know if it was fear or if I was coming down with something but it made me drop my sandwich and for that I was now upset. I bent down to pick it up from the blackened, dry dirt and inspected the grains of sand stuck in between the buns. I blew on it a few times only to fail to clean them out. I sighed and tossed it aside. I sipped my coffee that tasted like motor oil and ironically was just as black. I didn’t mind though because it was a lot better than drinking water that tasted like mud. I checked my watch and looked back at the group of men, eagerly awaiting their new orders by the radio post. I couldn’t help but smirk. I pulled a sad looking cigarette from my pocket and stuffed it between my lips. As I padded myself down for a light, Pyle was by and asked if I need one. I nodded with a smile and he pulled out a shiny brass Zippo with his name on it. “Nice lighter.” I commented as I took a drag. He looked at me with his blank face and simply nodded in agreement. Private Pyle was a heavy set young man with a face that seemed to belong to a child. He had short brown hair that hid beneath his helmet and light brown eyes that seemed to wander off on their own to find something more interesting than what was in front of them at the moment. The situation had just gotten awkward. He kicked a pebble down in front of him and watched as it bounced away. I looked into his eyes, waiting for him to look back at me. As the cigarette slowly burned between my lips, I narrowed my eyes. “You don’t talk much, do ya?” I asked a little annoyed. He looked back at me. “I’m sorry Sergeant Fox, I’m just a little shy is all.” He kicked another pebble. I found it a little amusing that he was still standing in front of me.
“Do you have something you want to ask me?” I asked.
“Yes…I mean no…Well there’s one thing…” he struggled to get it out.
I smiled. “C’mon, Pyle, you almost got it.” His lips began to move but there wasn’t any sign of words. It was like he was trying to pronounce a word in a foreign language. He finally gave up and ran off to regroup with the rest of my squad. It puzzled me as to why he couldn’t ask me a simple question. It puzzled me even more to realize that I wasn’t sitting with them across the road. Instead of getting up and joining them, I got up and walked over to the radio station where I was quickly handed a paper by a runner who quickly disappeared. I unfolded the telegram and walked back over to my squad. I looked at the sheet and then at them, as they looked on unenthusiastically and uninterested as to what they would be participating in to fight the war. I sighed and balanced the paper in my hand and looked around grimacing; just as I had expected from Hanes. “Form up, men, we’re heading out.”
Last edited by -Spike- (2009-06-11 00:33:43)
Very nice story. Reminds me of one I was planning on doing a few weeks ago, but that one was supposed to be about a downed WWII fighter pilot. In any case, keep it up.