05 Feb Our Leaders are Sacrificing Us to an Evil God
“Our Leaders are Sacrificing Us to an Evil God”Written by Cesly1987 Edited by Craig Groshek Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek Narrated by N/A
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⏰ ESTIMATED READING TIME — 36 minutes
Our leaders are serving a malevolent entity in a desperate attempt to guarantee the survival of our species. They have been secretly paying tithe to it with the blood of our youth, the blood of our warriors.
This sadistic ritual has been occurring since the late ‘40s. The first major world war caught the Dark God’s attention. The second World War left him wanting more.
Through the veil of reality, the thing could somehow feast on our suffering. There was so much suffering during those times that he could taste it from his forsaken corner of reality.
He grew gluttonous and spoiled. Man’s inhumanity to man excited him to a level he had never felt before. But when the bombs fell and the war ended, he was cut off from the outpouring of pain coming from our dimension.
At first, he started taking people from our world into his. But even this wasn’t enough. It wasn’t the same butchering terrified animals. He wanted the excitement and heartbreak of war. He wanted to see our fighting spirit strong, before we were crushed.
He let us know all of this. He spoke to our world leaders at the time. He proclaimed the existence of a portal in France. This portal would be his gateway into our world. He would bring with him the war he wanted. It would scorch the land and boil our blood.
But we could stop him. Well, more like slow him down. Postpone the inevitable by entering the portal ourselves to do battle with him in his own reality, his own hellscape.
For over 70 years the armies of the world dedicated troops to enter the portal and fight back the demons hellbent on killing all of us. We kept the Dark Lord out, and he got his bloodshed. A couple of hundred lives a year was a small price to pay next to annihilation.
I will tell you about the day the rules changed, and how your life will change with it.
Teleportation was called “ jaunting,” or a “jaunt.” Some smartass lab tech was a fan of Stephen King apparently.
On the other side, we had established three defendable bases. The biggest was Vaux, surrounding the portal exit on the hell end. Also, the only way the walking nightmares could get back to Earth.
Further out was Thermopolylae (Thermo for short). About 5 miles out from Vaux with impenetrable defenses. No enemy had breached its position in 30 years.
Last and farthest out, was Alamo. This outpost was lightly manned, operating as an early warning for the other two bases. If overrun, the occupants could use a teleport to retreat back to Thermo or Vaux.
The teleport at Alamo wouldn’t go directly to Earth. You had to “slingshot” back to the larger Vaux base, and use Vaux’s power to Jaunt back to Earth.
The layout of the surface was simple, mockingly so. Great clouds of acidic gas surrounded Vaux base, marking the perimeters we were supposed to stay in. You could only go forward for 20 miles before the ground turned to sludge.
The gas was clear enough to create a strip of land to easily defend. And the gas never shifted or moved. It only hung thick and ghostly in the air, ready to melt anything that ventures into its domain. We’ve all been issued gas masks regardless of the behavior of the fog.
In 69 years the enemy never flanked us from the sides, by using the gas as cover. The enemy always performed frontal assaults, running down the 20-mile alleyway of gunfire and artillery towards our portal leading home.
So now you are caught up on the situation. Any other question I’m sure I answer further down.
My men and I had already jaunted to Vaux base from Earth, and were now waiting for the technicians to start the portal back up to slingshot us to Alamo on the front lines.
“Captain, our Jaunt is minus 30. Intel advises danger close from friendly artillery as soon as we enter back into real space,” my second Lieutenant yelled to me over the whine of the portal starting up.
“Why is artillery dropping so close to the LZ?” I yelled in reply.
“Because the position has been overrun. The closest Germans units have fallen back to a secondary defensive position, refusing to go in unless we secure the site first!” He yelled, from behind the 25 of us soldiers, packed tightly together in the small circular tunnel.
“If we can retake the trenches, German command will call off bombardment. Best they can do is a 5 minute ceasefire while we are retaking the bunker from the hostiles!”
Damn Germans! They got all of us into this mess with their two world wars stirring up the Old One. Now they retreat and make us do the dying in the trenches! But it wasn’t anything me and Charon Team couldn’t handle. We were experts at clearing tunnels.
The static electricity feeling rippled all over my body, making my hairs stand on end. It was the portal activating. It was a feeling I had experienced countless times.
“Attention! Immediately close your eyes and hold your breath. The jaunt will commence in 5 seconds” a prerecorded voice said over the intercom.
I did as commanded and within 5 seconds a flash occurred so bright, it was still brilliant through my closed eyes. It was accompanied by heat, like a microwave radiating all over my body. I knew the protective gel we were all sprayed with did its job and took the brunt of most of the heat. But my exposed skin would always be sunburnt bright red, no matter how many times I did the jaunt.
I opened my eyes, protected by UV goggles, and turned to check on my team. They all seemed good to go, with the gel now steaming off their bodies and gear.
“You know the drill, Gentlemen. Weapons hot! Clear your sectors and call em out!”
With that I pulled the lever to open the hatch at the end of the metal tub we were all packed in. It opened upwards and I racked my shotgun. I pivoted right, like we had planned, taking the furthest right of the three tunnels that appeared in front of us.
6 men followed me, 7 went up the middle, and 7 went down the left, 4 stayed behind to defend the portal.
I hurried through the underground tunnel, boards underneath my feet creaking and dirt falling from ceiling above me. I could only see every couple of yards ahead due to the weak halogen lamps hung intermittently down the corridors.
“No deadies yet, Captain. What the fuck!” said Pvt. Bowing behind me. He was echoing my thoughts exactly, but I couldn’t show the team I was just as worried as them.
All bunkers were mandated to be constructed the same by any deployed military units on this side of the gap. It made them easier to clear and provide support to foreign units when needed. Right now, all teams should be making their way towards the main underground chamber, or command post. None of the men on the other teams had made contact with the enemy yet either. The last reports from the KSK guys said they were being overrun! What was going on?
My fire team was the first into the spacious command bunker. I signaled for my men to fan out and take cover where applicable. The other two fire teams (Bravo and Charlie) arrived shortly from separate passageways.
“No sign of the freaks,” Lt. Durge said as Bravo Team filed in. “I can’t even smell them.”
I looked around the command post. Nothing seemed amiss. Tables with maps and radios, coffee cups and ashtrays, crates and cots. The smell of cigarette smoke was still fresh in the air.
The big room was getting crowded with all of us crammed inside, feeling just like the teleportation portal. We were in a kill box if any deadie came knocking. God forbid if one with a flamethrower found us.
Lt. Durge slung his M1 and pushed past his men to the tables to begin reading the scattered paperwork, putting his German classes Uncle Sam paid for to good use.
“I don’t like any of this,” I said loud enough for all my men to hear. “Bravo, stay behind and get what you can from those documents. Keep an eye out for our kraut friends, if any survived. I’ll take Charlie with Alpha to check it out topside!”
I keyed up the mic on my lapel to speak with the four guarding the portal. “Something is wrong up here. I don’t know what kinda game the deadies are playing, but keep sharp. We may need to make a rapid retreat.”
I had left the newest members of my squad defending the portal. They were too inexperienced to be on the front yet. They were too acceptable to the pull of madness here in No Man’s Land. I had to wade them into the deep slowly. I have seen too many of my men succumb to suicide or psychotic breaks, killing their own squad mates.
The four men at the portal were also the only ones with modern weaponry. Protecting the portal was paramount. If the deadies broke through, the four had to defend the portal until the explosives were set. We would destroy the portal before these un-godly horrors breached onto our world.
As for the weapons, the deadies could somehow mimic and manufacture anything we left behind. They already upgraded their weapons from the WW1 era to WW2, and we didn’t need them upgrading any further.
The four men at the portal had the modern M4’s, grenade launcher attachments, and even a heavy 50 cal turrent to defend the 3 passageways. It was cumbersome, so it was also rigged with a thermite explosive to melt it before the enemy could capture it. The last line of defense.You didn’t want to be in the tunnel when that bad boy went off, unless you hated your sense of hearing.
I was leading Alpha up the tunnel to the surface. Leading from the front was not common for Captains, but it emboldened my men, and I had my own secret reason for doing it.
I could see the dark sky from the opening to the surface at the end of the tunnel. I could feel the bitter cold. As we made it to the surface my men did as trained and spread out. Makeshift bunkers, sandbags, machine guns, and mortar emplacements decorated the area, but no eyes on any German soldiers.
The surface was as dour and awful as it always was. Flat plains scarred with deep craters from constant artillery bombardment stretched on past the razorwire perimeter, before turning into a sludge like mud. The mud ocean going on forever. The sky was always dark and the air was always cold. Thick with the kind of chill that sunk into your bone and sapped your strength.
It was always night here, with no stars or celestial bodies to light up the sky. Only the constant flashes of heat lightning strobing in the distance. Our flanks obscured by thick unmoving fog. Nothing much to look at on the ground.
But we all knew not to look towards the sky for too long, because sometimes the lightning illuminated a dark form stretching upwards from the horizon line. It was something massive, spiraling endlessly into the sky. Its size unfathomable, gently swaying, like the tentacle of a gargantuan horror trying to strangle the world we stood upon.
Looking at it gave intense stabs of pain behind the eyes, and left them itching with the desperate urge to scratch them out.
We all knew the thing as The Dark God, The Old One, the asshole and the reason we had to come here. We all knew this was his realm, and he invited us in, all the while despising our presence.
So it was best to keep your eyes low and your mind focused on the task at hand. But you could only ignore the strangeness of this place for so long. The dread had a way of creeping in regardless, just like the cold.
No wind blew across this bizarre landscape. It was like a walk-in freezer, with the unnatural chill just hanging thick around you, weighing you down, sapping your strength. When the wind did pick up, it usually heralded an attack. Bringing with it waves of malformed creatures charging the wire.
You could hear voices in the wind if you listened close enough, which was not recommended. The voices whispered dark and taboo things in the voices of the men that had died on this damned battlefield.
If soldiers listened too long to these ghostly voices, they would eventually crack. There were 3 main outcomes to listening too intently to the whispers on the wind. Suicide, panic attacks, or turning their weapons on fellow soldiers were the most common, and sometimes all 3 happened at the same time.
You had to have a strong mind and mental fortitude to work out here, but that didn’t mean we weren’t issued a little extra help. All my men had taken calming/anti-psychotic meds before we jaunted through dimensions. Also, my guys were mostly mentally hardened veterans, having made it through multiple combat cycles with me.
We weren’t staying here anyways. We were only babysitting outpost Alamo for the regular German army to come in and secure.
All twenty of my men were topside and I told them to spread out and fire off flares to illuminate the dark battlefield.
“Notify command,” I barked at my radio operator. “We have taken back the outpost with no resistance. Still no sign of the previous occupants. Most likely KIA.”
The Corporal with the radio swallowed deeply. He was scared, but just the right amount of scared. The kind that keeps you alive and doesn’t freeze you up. But I would have to keep an eye on him. If he started talking to himself, or swaying slightly, I’d have to detain him or kill him before he could turn on us.
The Corporal himself would have been a strange sight to any regular soldier not privy to the situation. He wore a standard kevlar helmet and digital print BDU’s. He had cold-weather gear, entrenching tool, and night vision goggles. But his weapon and ammo was decidedly uncommon, being a M1 Garand with bayonet attachment. Atop the rifle he had affixed an ACOG scope.
I don’t know if this broke The Brass’s rules about not bringing modern weaponry to the battlefield, but I had never noticed the deadies to worry about precision aiming. I would be sure to inquire about the Corporal’s break in uniformity when we were back across the gap.
I stared out over the trenches and embattlements. The Germans had constructed multiple hard points, kill boxes, and overlapping fields of fire. There should have been around 50 of them embedded here, but now they were AWOL. Not even any spent brass around the turrets.
“Get the drone in the air and dig into defensive positions,” I commanded on an open channel to all units.
I watched my men do what they had been trained to do. They fortified the outpost and prepared to repel any signs of attack.
Our job now was to hold the outpost until HQ sent our relief. We were a quick response team, not meant for sitting out long engagements. We were just babysitting until the parents got home.
“Captain, the drone has spotted something about half a klick out in No Man’s Land,” a soldier told me in my earpiece.
‘No Man’s Land,’ It was a moniker used for the flatland a hundred meters past the wire, stretching out into the endless dark. We could dig and defend trenches in the dirt, but the stubborn rock turned to a mushy quicksand half a klick out.
The mud further out was impossible to move in, and it’s also where the deadies came up from. The enemy rose up out of the mud like some unnatural spawn being birthed from the dark sludge.
The deadies would amass out of range to launch their attack. A frontal assault is where the attacks always came from. That was one of the only certainties in this God-forsaken place.
“Pull the drone in close, and begin zeroing in the artillery on its position!” I said as I tapped to activate the touch screen on my wrist. I didn’t know what we had yet, but it was certainly dangerous. Everything out here was.
The screen on my wrist showed the visual feed from the drone buzzing around in No Man’s Land. The bright shades of greys and white of FLIR vision glared back at me from the screen.
I immediately saw what the anomaly was. It appeared to be bowling ball sized rocks stacked on top of one another to form a crude pyramid, about 4 feet high. The circular “rocks” glowed brightly with an inner heat. They weren’t rocks. They were something else.
“Oh, God! Oh, Lord Jesus!” I heard my Lieutenant speak across the open channel. I was about to chastise him on his lack of bearing when he interrupted me, saying, “Enable audio! I want to hear what’s going on out there!”
Whatever soldier was operating the drone controls complied, and the static pop of audible feedback emitted from the screen on my wrist. I went to turn down the audio manually, but it was too late. The noise blared, echoing around the outpost from every soldier with a wrist mount.
The undeniable cries of moaning and pleading came from the stack of rocks. Many voices all pleaded at once in a cacophony of suffering. Like animals on the brink of death, wanting a finishing blow to end their suffering. Worse of it, I realized the voices were pleaded in the German language. The pyramid was the stacked heads of the missing soldiers!
My men around the camp that had been working had frozen in fear. Some crowded around the nearest soldiers with a wrist mount, others stared nervously out into the dark abyss, as if they could spot the pile of heads with their own eyes.
“Turn that noise off!” I shouted into my mic. “Eyes up, Gentlemen! Prepare to repel hostiles!”
The cold wind began sharply whipping through the trenches, as if activated when we stumbled across the pile of horrors. The whispers came also. Sharp hissing whispers, speaking blasphemy and cruelty in a constant unending fury.
I watched the feed from the drone while everyone else followed my orders, disregarding the horrors unfolding in the dark. Now that I knew they were severed heads, I could make out their details better. I could make out their uniform short length hair, the ghoulish dark around their eyes marking cooler spots, and their mouths opened in screams.
How were they still so warm? How were they screaming? Where were the bodies? What the hell did this to them?
I got the answer to my last question quickly. Two long spindly arms shot out of the muddy sludge in front of the severed heads. The arms were longer than any human’s I had ever seen, flat black like they had been burnt, long fingers writhing in the air like hypnotic vipers.
The arms continued reaching skywards out of the muck, at least 4 feet high. The fingers suddenly became rigid, as if struck by a rigor mortis. The fingers thrust back into the ground, clawing deep to pull the rest of its body out. Boney shoulders and torso emerged.
From what I could see, the thing had no head, just a neck and lower jaw. On the jaw protruded two wicked fangs stabbing upwards, like the jaw of the long-dead sabertooth tiger.
The thing pulled itself out of the mud to stand tall, about 8 feet, blackened and skeletal, skinny and bipedal. Long narrow swords and daggers crisscrossed through the thing’s body like some strange voodoo doll.
It reached its long hand out to pick up a screaming head from the top of the pile. Cupping it with both hands to place it on top of its neck, similar to how someone would put on a motorcycle helmet. The head continued its awful screaming as it was jostled on top of the neck on top of the bestial lower jaw.
The headless abomination must have realized it wouldn’t fit, so it held the head out in front of itself. It put the fingers of one hand in the screaming head’s mouth, gagging it. With a sickly and sudden jerk the thing ripped the lower jaw off the head. Once again the now jawless head was placed on top of the neck, and this time it stayed.
The thing craned its neck to look up at the flying drone with its new head. I felt like the thing was staring into my soul through the monitor. The camera feed cut out, and I knew the creature was coming for me.
“Contact left! 9 o’clock!” came the warning from one of my men over the radio. It was immediately followed by the thunderous repeating boom of an MG 42 mounted machine gun going full auto.
“Multiple contacts across the wire!” announced another soldier’s voice, as the cacophony of small arms fire rippled down the line.
I grabbed my binoculars and stood up to look over my sandbag emplacement to survey the situation. Turns out I didn’t need the binos, because the enemy was already almost on top of us.
Ghouls, zombies, deadies, whatever you chose to call them. Hundreds of them were sprinting right for us. Twisted versions of humans, with glowing red eyes and abnormally extended mouths, filled with rows of sharp teeth. Some wore digital camo, some wore German helmets from both world wars, some were naked, genitals swaying back and forth as they threw themselves into the barrage of bullets.
They were all misshapen and wrong in some way or another. Some had too many limbs, or too little, or both limbs on the same side. But all had gaping mouths full of fangs. They were false humans, they were homunculi. They were a mockery of the human form. It’s like an alien tried to create a human from memory.
They must have been coming out of the mud as we were distracted by the stacked heads and the headless creature. They had mustered just out of range for a sudden charge, an onslaught of flesh. It was a degree of planning I had never seen from them.
“Lt. Durge, get you men and your ass up here!” I yelled to my Lieutenant still trying to make sense out of the documents down in the bunker.
Lt. Durge and his men barreled out the underground tunnel to see what horror awaited all of us. To their credit, they showed only a moment’s hesitation before they took a defensive position.
Most of the deadies were mowed down about 50 meters from the wire. As the slain fell, others trampled over their bodies to be cut down only inches closer. Little by little the endless wave of attackers got closer to the defensive perimeter.
The mortar teams worked quickly, dropping one shell after another into overheating tubes. The explosions rocked the landscape with brilliant flashes of red mist and body parts. A sense of panic was rising in my battle-hardened soldiers, as the wall of flesh and teeth inched closer, slow and steady.
The deadies were getting close enough to lob grenades into our midst before being shot down. I saw one of my machine gunners get flung sideways from a grenade that landed in front of the trench he was firing from. The shrapnel was at eye level and obliterated his head. His buddy had to pry his dead friend’s death grip from the weapon, so he could take over.
Incoming enemy rounds began pelting the area around us. Some deadies had warped versions of MP4’s and Thompson submachine guns. They fired with reckless abandon, hoping to suppress us enough to get just a little closer.
My shotgun wasn’t going to be very effective until the deadies crossed the razor wire. And they would cross it eventually. This was terrifyingly obvious as the wave of undead died just 15 meters out.
“Rear security, we may need a quick exvil. Be on standby!” I yelled into my mic, trying to be heard over the gunfire. No response came, even when I tried to hail them multiple times.
This was bad. If this outpost fell, we needed to destroy the portal that leads back to Vaux and back to Earth. How had the deadies gotten around us to get my guys guarding our exit?
Now the dead were piling up just 4 meters from the defensive line. The deadies numbered in the hundreds, creating a wall of bodies. They were so close that I could smell their putrid stink carried by the whispering wind.
A flurry of new explosions went off down the line. The claymore mines were tripped and blasted the stinking mob back, giving us some much needed breathing room. But still they came, clamoring over the mutilated bodies that stood between them and the soft flesh of my men.
I noticed something different now. They were walking instead of sprinting. More Dawn of the Dead instead of 28 Days Later. They pushed all the way up to the wire, many being shot and dropping the whole time.
The fear was palpable now, and my men abandoned the front line trench and backed up to station themselves around me. The deadies still didn’t cross the razor wire. They stopped short just to be added to the growing wall of downed enemies.
The wall of dead was almost waist high when I gave the order to seize fire. My men were reluctant to listen, so I had to smack the helmet of a nearby soldier with the butt of my shotgun.
Finally, my men stop firing into the mass of red-eyed monsters. The deadies stood shoulder to shoulder, glaring at us over the barrier of their own slain.
The quiet was shocking to my senses. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest, and heard ringing in both my ears. I heard a soldier mumbling some sort of prayer while kissing the crucifix from around his neck. A cold sweat on most of us, as we stared at the enemy just meters away.
“Ears,” I spoke quietly but sternly into my mic, trying to get my men to listen. I could’ve just talked aloud to the twenty soldiers clustered around me, but I didn’t want the deadies to hear me. I never had to worry about being overheard before, but they were showing a freakish level of intelligence.
“Leapfrog back down to the portal five men at a time. Prime the C4 to blow. I don’t know why they stopped, but we will take advantage of their hospitality.”
I turned to look at Lt. Durge. “Lieutenant, take four with you to start. Double time!”
I expected a “yes sir,” or just a flurry of movement as they followed my orders, but nobody moved. All I got was more silence as both sides just quietly stared at each other.
I felt anger grow in my chest as I commanded again, “You better remove your head from ass and get to it, Lieu!” Still no movement from the Lieutenant as I scanned the faces of the terror stricken men around me.
“I ordered all of you to un-fuck yourselves and have some bearing, like you’re God damned soldiers!”
They still didn’t move. Were they literally frozen with fear? What the hell was happening? The soldier I had pummeled earlier was still in front of me with his back turned. I would whack him again for good measure.
I went to step forward and my legs didn’t respond. My brain sent the signals and nothing happened. I just stood there, like my feet were stuck in invisible clamps.
That’s when I noticed the muffled noises coming from the soldiers. I turned my head back to Lt. Durge, his eyes scanning frantically, muffled screams coming from his clenched jaw.
They were all frozen! I looked back and forth, to see the same expression of terror and muffled screams. The majority of us were frozen in the open, with only a few taking cover at the time.
“Soldier! All of you snap out of it!” I screamed to the statue-like men around me. I could still move from the waist up, while the rest of them were completely immobilized. I even tried to pull up on my own legs to move myself, but some sort of unnatural force held me fixed to a point.
The deadies all lined up by the wire started moving again. This time they all worked in unison to clear a path between their stinking crowd of monsters. They pulled their dead aside with quiet and quick proficiency. The hundreds of them parted like the Red Sea, showing me a clear pathway leading far out into No Man’s Land.
That’s when I saw it. The tall blackened creature that wore the head of its victim. It strolled down the path made for him towards me It towered above the mob of deadies. As it got closer the muffled screams of my men grew more frantic.
Four deadies threw themselves on the razor wire for the thing to gracefully walk on their backs and stepped over the line. I could see the head he wore belonged to a blonde Caucasian man, with the two fangs giving him a pronounced underbite.
It stopped 3 meters in front of me, the eyes of the dead German were glowing red now. It grabbed hold of a large black spike that pierced through its thin body and wrestled it free, unsheathing the weapon buried in its chest. It held the long onyx blade out to point at me.
“Guten Tag, Kapitan,” the creature said in a booming and clear voice. I wondered how a voice that loud could come from a head with severed vocal cords. It continued speaking to me in a thick German dialect. I stared in horror at the thing, not knowing what to do.
I had my shotgun! But would I just be sentencing my men to death if I opened fire? This is the first time the deadies had made any sort of effort to communicate, and couldn’t run if I needed to, because I still couldn’t move from the waist down.
The creature paused in its speech, as if waiting for me to reply. I blinked and frantically combed my mind to reply, “Ich spreche Englisch! Nien Deutsch! Nien verstehen!”
The creature cooked its ghoulish head and nodded in understanding. It straightened and faced the soldier in front of me, the one I had hit earlier. It raised its thin black sword, in preparation for a strike. The soldier stared at his would-be killer and let out a futile gagged scream, helpless to stop it.
The black blade whipped across in a blink of an eye. A swish of air and the gurgling sound of a scream being cut short. The soldier still stood there, eyes rolling back in his head, and blood running down his chest from his neck. Some evil force was holding the dead man up, frozen, even though he was dead.
The spindly creature grasped the man’s head with both hands and lifted the head up with a wet suction sound. More blood cascaded down over the body. The creature removed the helmet and put its long fingers in the dead soldier’s mouth. I knew what was coming next. I closed my eyes, but still heard the snapping sound of the jawbone being ripped off.
I held my eyes shut tight. Maybe I should have shot the thing and tried to save the Private. Why didn’t I? Am I going to die a coward?
“Do you understand me now, Brother Captain?” Came the booming voice from the creature. I opened my eyes to see it only inches from me, red eyes staring into mine. Where it once wore the head of a white man, now his face was the brown of a Latino man. Private Castillo, I believe the poor kid’s name was.
The monster was speaking English now. He must have acquired it from the remains of Pvt. Castillo. For some reason, this skeletal figure wanted to have a little chat with me.
“Y-yes! W-what do I call you?” I replied, watching Pvt. Castillo’s blood dripping down the creature’s portruding jaw.
“Desecrator of Flesh!” the thing said back without a moment’s consideration. “A Traveler in Searing Pain! The Rancid Poison of Hope! Feeder to the Maggots! The Raping of the Hopeless! Pain and Pleasure!”
“D-desecrator?!” I mumbled back. I felt the warm liquid of piss running down my leg.
“Yes, Brother Captain,” growled the creature in its booming voice. “That name will do! It is enough for sentient meat like you to understand. But I may help you pronounce my real name with your screams of torture! Only the most exquisite cries of pain can truly be labeled to me!”
I felt as if I was going to faint, and was only being held up by the unnatural magic around me. I had faced death before, but this was different. This thing sucked the soul out of me. I felt sorrow and terror like never before.
“Why do you want?” I whispered.
The Desecrator outstretched a palm to caress my face. I tried to pull back, but my upper half had completely frozen up by the cruel things magic. His bone-like hand was freezing cold, blistering my skin as it made contact. I started to scream, but was gagged as it stuck its thumb into my mouth, my tongue freezing to it painfully.
“What do I want with you? Something so insignificant like you? You are no son of Adam! You are not made in the likeness of The Divine, like you tell yourself as you worship your nonexistent God! There is nothing special or of purpose in any of you. You are only meat! A quivering mass meant to tear and scream for my Master for his amusement! Your resistance only postpones the inevitable decay of your carnal vessel! But the loss of hope makes the meat taste so much sweeter!”
He quickly removed his hand from my face, pulling off a layer of skin as he did. I coughed up blood and realized my neck and head could move again.
Suddenly the deadies sprung from stillness into action. Barging over the razor wire to attack my men. I could hear their muffled screams of pain as the deadies tore into them. The evil magic held them steady as noses were bitten off, chunks of skin peeled away, and guts torn out onto the dirt. It was a feeding frenzy on the defenseless soldiers.
This was Hell! I was in Hell! How long had I taken mine and my men’s life for granted? How long had I been so comfortable with insulting the Dark God?
One by one the screams died down, leaving only the wet chewing and guttural noises from the deadies to remain. The deadies clustered around the bodies, eating them as they stood upright. Stripping the dead soldiers to the bone.
I had been with these soldiers for years. They trusted me to lead them into Hell and out again. But their faith was misplaced. They all died a terrible death, without evan the honor of fighting back.
I wept tears of sorrow while forced to stand before The Desecrator. I ran through everything in my mind. Nothing made sense.
In the 50 years we had been fighting off the invasion, nothing like this monster ever appeared. Since the portals appeared in our world, they had never made it through. We had sacrificed countless lives to keep the darkness at bay. We had grown too confident. Too relaxed about fighting the enemy.
“Why do you call me brother?” I asked weakly to the monster as he waited patiently for me to pull myself together.
“We both serve the Master. We both wage war for his amusement. The finite suffering of man is ecstasy to his infinite existence. The emotions displayed in the heat of battle are the most potent. Delicious to his pallet. Master cannot feel these things for himself. His greatness surpasses these crude emotions. But he can feel its sharp bite when your kind bled and die in his domain!”
“But you grow stale! Your kind has become too cocky. You no longer fear the darkness of this realm. It has become,” The Desecrator paused, considering its words, “routine.”
I tried to comprehend what the Desecrator was saying to me. It is true that this war had become a business, just like every other war in human history. We had trained and conditioned our soldiers to suppress their emotions, or risk going insane from the horrors they faced. We had gained new insight in technology and arcane powers, due to reverse-engineering the portal. After 50 years under constant attack, always pushing the deadies back, we had gotten use to how things were.
Situation normal, all fucked up.
“You think by your own strength you hold the Master at bay? You are mistaken! He allows you to survive! He allows your world to remain untouched. But you disrespect his awesome terror! Your meager offering do not appease him anymore! You must be severely punished, and be witness to his great power,” The Desecrator lectured.
“D-desimation!” I croaked harshly. The word flooded my mind, forcing me to speak it. The creature wanted me to say the name of the punishment it would be handing down. “Desimation!” I repeated again.
I knew decimation to be a form of punishment used by the Romans in ancient times. Ten men would have to draw straws, with the shortest straw losing. 9 of the men were forced to beat the 10th man to death. Some accounts even say they were forced to crucify their fellow unlucky soldier. It was a task performed to punish unruly or lazy soldiers. Making them fear their commander’s wrath and conditioning them to follow any order given to them.
I tried to swallow, but I felt bile rising in my throat. I was afraid the vomit would choke me to death while I was frozen this way.
“But the Master has shown favor on you, Captain,” the Desecrator said. He grabbed the collar of my fatigues and ripped them off me in a clean stroke. I felt the cold air hit my bare skin, and I was disgusted by thinking of what this monster had planned for me.
“He has noticed your transgressions. You play with powers beyond your station!” the monster said while running its fingers down my chest, tracing the outlines of the fresh tattoo’s I had all over my body.
“You try to use the powers of the Old Ones to fight back! It is a stolen power!” The Desecrator said to my face, his horrid breath almost making me vomit again.
He stabbed his finger into my skin and my dark tattoos began to burn me, as they started to glow bright white. I screamed as my skin smoked and sizzled.
The tattoos were an intricate web, crafted by the scientists in charge of occult studies! The designs spiraled all over my body, forming forbidding symbols in an ancient language. Now, every inch of the ink burned with a white fury.
I was one of seven officers who “volunteered” to be test subjects for this new project. We would be bonded with the dark powers of this hell world. Researchers had made breakthroughs by studying the symbols and writings found in this hell. They said they could twist the evil power to be used as a weapon.
I was 1 of the 3 that survived the experiment in the end. The other 4 went mad. They either killed themselves, or tried to kill others.
My friend, Lt. Patrick, had been found dead in his holding cell. He had eaten his own fingers and part of his stomach before dying of blood loss!
The trick for me was to not look at the tattooed symbols inked all over my body. I requested to be blindfolded and restrained for days after the procedure. I made sure to always, always, have my skin covered! Only my face was free from the scarred, tainted flesh.
But the experiment had worked! At the moment of my death, I would recite an unholy prayer in a language taught to me. My body would burn. It would burn so bad. And I would teleport to appear half-crazed and naked on the other end of the portal. I would be back on Earth! I would have been teleported across the gap, through dimensions! It was like having my very own ejection seat, like fighter pilots had!
I had used it on 2 other occasions in the last five years. Always when on the brink of death. I would only use it when the deadies were at my throat! When all was lost. Usually, I was the last one alive, but sometimes I left behind fellow soldiers that couldn’t be saved.
But it was for the greater good. Humanity needed men that went out there without fear. Men who were incorruptible by the realm’s maddening effects. It needed leaders that could bravely lead men into battle with unimaginable horrors. I had to lead from the front to show bravery! None of my men knew about my little teleportation trick. My “get outta Hell free” card.
I had been with my current group of soldiers for the past 2 and a half years. I had led them bravely, and safely against countless nightmares. I made sure to minimize casualties while still accomplishing the mission. I kept them safe. Until now that is.
“At first, my master was angry with your trick. Angry that you stole part of his power to flee the battlefield, denying him his delicious agony of your dying!” said the spindly creature. The unnatural bass in the voice sent shivers down my spine.
“But I intervened for you. I saw you for what you were. Not quite a wolf in sheep’s clothing, but a coward wearing a warrior’s face,” it hissed at me, and I felt the words cut deep.
“That’s how we are brothers. You lead the humans to the chopping block, and I lead the executioners to their prey. You do it again and again. I do the same.”
“So keep bringing your kind to die for my master’s pleasure. Your larger world will be spared, as long as you remain… interesting. Keep my master from growing tired of your continued existence.”
The thing stepped back and raised its black sword over its head again. My tattoos began to sting and burn with a new, raw energy.
“But you humans must be punished for trying to cheat my master. A grievance that only the payment of blood will suffice. Much, much blood. My master is a jealous God, and is angered when his flesh is stolen from him!”
I knew what was coming now. I wouldn’t be able to recite the cursed words of teleportation in time. My mouth was frozen anyways, making me unable to pronounce the proper syllables. I would be killed for good this time, to die with my men at last.
I thought the finality would give me peace. I had always imagined I would be stoic and calm when the time came, but I was terrified. My heart jumped in my chest, like a rat desperately trying to escape a sinking ship, or a burning house. I didn’t want to die! I would do anything to survive!
“Ah yes, the fear!” The creature boomed. “I see this too in you, Brother-captain. I intervened on your behalf because of this fact. Like I have fealty to my master, you are of a singular loyalty above all else. You worship your own survival. Making you the perfect toy to be played with. A man only interested in one’s own survival over any government or god. You will serve both masters regardless.”
“So I part with you a gift. A completed spell your kind so feebly tried to replicate. A gift so you may continue bringing my master more bodies to rip open and squeeze out such vivid pleasures !”
Before I could make sense of The Desecrators words, the ebon blade streaked across my sight. A cold corruption ignited from my neck down. Feeling to the rest of my body shut off like a switch. I could still see and think for the moment, being magically held in place. Then the blood began to clog my throat. I tried to cough but failed as my lungs filled with the thick liquid and my vision faded.
Before I was gone. Before the loss of time. Before I was reborn in pain. I noticed the expression on the face the creature had stolen. The corners on the mouth curled upwards. It was smiling as I died.
I don’t remember a lot of what happened next. I was briefed and debriefed constantly, until I was lucid enough to retain the information. I could only go by what surveillance footage I was shown after I died.
The 3 military strongholds on the hell-side, Alamo, Thermo, and Vaux, all fell within hours. The dark tide of mutated claws and teeth broke through every defense. Deadies in the thousands overflowed trenches, soaked up bullets, and suffocated any form of retreat or counter attack.
With a new zeal and hatred, the enemy charged into gun fire and smashed themselves up against hardened barricades. Eventually one of them would detonate themselves with explosives in a burst of gore. The gaps in the defenses created by the blast would quickly be clogged up and bursted through, with the tide of rancid bodies.
Coordination in defense was broken and hectic. Different languages shouting different orders over each other on the radio. All military decorum lost in the grip of hectic fighting.
We had never seen anything like this, on any scale. The deadies advanced with unprecedented ferocity. But between the scattered communication, one report remained collaborative and clear. They all reported the tall, dark figure with the face of a man, striding camly amongst the battlefield.
When Alamo fell, and the portal back to earth was compromised. The brass gave the order to shoot any soldier of any nation caught retreating back through the portal to Earth. The deadies had never made it through to our home turf before, and we were all terrified at the prospect.
I remember being made to watch the camera feed mounted in the large hangar, filming the Earth side portal. It was the portal I had just walked through with 25 of my men only hours before losing my head. Now the loading bay was entwined with razor wire, a panicked and impromptu defense put in place as humanity quickly lost control of the battle.
Hundreds of soldiers and marines from different nations all uniting in one common goal. To keep the hell contained. Keeping it from bursting forth into our world like rotting guts spilling from a swollen carcass.
Trucks and forklifts were being moved to give firing squads a better line of sight on the portal. Heavy machine guns, shotguns, and grenade launchers being handed out. The WW2 era weapons discarded for more modern fire power.
Contingency plan John 11/35 was enacted. The hangar and base were sealed shut, bayonets were affixed to the end of barrels, and automated turrets installed along the walls were brought online. At least 150 to 200 heavily armed fighting men cramped shoulder to shoulder, filling the large hangar. All with weapons trained on the portal.
From a camera high in the corner, I observed the nervous suspense of all the men. The room was almost motionless except for some nervous twitching here and there, the stamping of feet, or the rising smoke of one last cigarette before the chaos. Nothing but the sounds of gear and ammo being checked and re-checked and muttered prayers in the forever moments before the battle.
I could almost feel the fear and desperation coming off the men. But there was something else, something new. Some men stood tall with determination, and maybe even bravery.
But I guess it’s easy to stand in front of death when your escape routes were sealed off, and surrender was a ridiculous notion. I bet, if the exit doors were still open, half the soldiers would “tactically withdraw”, just like I would’ve.
The portal was an ugly unnatural looking thing. It looked like two burnt black trees rising out of the ground to arch towards each other at the top. They were made of a hard, shiny onyx material, with small twig-like spikes protruding out from all over them. The two pillars were 7 meters apart, rising 40 feet high, before curving inwards towards each other, barely touching at the tips to form an arch.
Hindsight being 20/20, I realized they looked like they were made out of the same material as the headless monster. There was an undescribable wrongness about the twin pillars. It always gave off a low hum you could feel in your teeth. It also slightly distorted your vision when you stood too close to it. Many had reported developing a copper-like or sickly sweet taste in their mouths. Technicians and soldiers that only worked on the earth side of the gap had complained of depression and angry outbursts from being in close proximity for too long.
These unholy pillars had sprouted out of the ground at the end of the first world war, near the city of Verdun. It seemed to lay dormant during WW2, with only one squad of French resistance fighters disappearing, followed by the allied rescue team sent to find them.
It wasn’t until the 50’s, during the Cold War, that we started to realize what it was. Let’s just say whatever god was on the other side, it didn’t appreciate all the spy games and political intrigue. The evil bastard wanted wholesale slaughter with bodies piled in the field.
So more and more people started disappearing, abducted to be taken to the other side to suffer for its amusement.
The alarm and flashing orange hazard lights mounted above the portal started going off, signaling an incoming teleportation pod was incoming from across the gap. The obnoxious whooping sound of the warning alarms echoed deafening across the chamber. The fluorescent lights flickered eerily as the power surge pulled heavily from the building’s generators.
We had found out through multiple trials, that one solid sealed object could be transported safely across dimensions, one at a time. So the engineering boys whipped up air tight transport pods to be loaded with men and equipment to teleport back and forth. Anything organic was microwaved and melded together if not protected inside the pods. Now we were lucky to only receive sunburns on any uncovered skin.
So whoever or whatever was coming from the other side must be stuffed in the transport pods we left behind. We all knew the deadies could duplicate strategies and actions performed by humans, so a teleportation pod packed with deadies wasn’t out of the picture.
The alarm gave a final cautionary warning before the white flash of the teleport manifested its cargo between the two pillars. The security camera I was watching took a second to recalibrate and re-focus, but when it did, there was an enormous blob of bloody flesh, instead of the metal pod I expected.
Before the tank sized blob of gore sprang off the loading bay, I saw what it really was. It was dozens of deadies mutated and melted together. Steam billowed off its burnt exterior as multiple legs and hands propelled it into a rolling motion. Between the limbs, I could see mutated screaming faces.
They hadn’t used the pod. They had all gone through the teleport at the same time, melding all of their bodies together. Somehow I knew this wasn’t random. I knew the Desecrator had somehow orchestrated this hideous outcome.
I won’t go into every gory detail, but you must already know by now that the oozing, puss-filled blob of hands and feet killed all the soldiers in the room. Once it hit the first line of men it easily engulfed their bodies, grabbing and tearing at them, adding their body parts to the flesh pile.
At one point the blob had gotten itself cornered at the side of the hangar. The well-disciplined soldiers had repositioned out of harm’s way to continue pelting it with machine gun fire and grenades. The quivering mass shook and vibrated as it tried to press back against the hail of gunfire.
Then the warning alarm went off again, and the orange hazard lights began blinking. Some new hell was being sent over from the other side! The men closest to the portal had to turn and face the new threat, dividing the amount of suppressive fire on the blob.
Soon the flash, signifying an incoming teleport, blinded the area. The blob pinned against the wall separated into 6 smaller sized parts. Each taking off in different directions.
Half of the soldier immediately opened fire on the steaming teleport pod that suddenly appeared, while the other half tried to shoot down the faster more agile blobs.
Two of the smaller gore pieces launched airborne to come down into the desperate defenders. They were tornados of spinning limbs and jagged broken bones, slicing and mutilating anyone near them.
The biggest chunk of combined deadies had stayed in the corner when the other piece broke off of it. When they all separated from the host, the larger chunk rose up on spider-like elongated bone legs. The flesh at the top peeled away to expose gore caked machine guns, surrounded by bulbous faces. Somehow the wicked weapons could still fire as it started mowing down defenders with a barrage of bullets.
The transport pod’s door fell open and a dozen heavily armed deadies came rushing out. The first deadies in the pack held crude metal slabs as shields. Somehow, all were dressed in metal helmets and tattered uniforms. The front line holding the shields, only had shovel-shaped entrenching tools to bludgeon any humans they got close enough. The rest of the mutated soldiers had large firearms with abnormally large barrels, ejectimg giant shells, as the butchered their human enemies.
It was nothing but slaughter then. The soldiers put up a valiant defense, but it’s hard to fight off an enemy that has you surrounded, and is already within melee range.
After the last scream rang through the hangar, I was still forced to watch the recording. The camera showed the blood-drenched floor. The unrelenting deadies hammered and tore at the dead soldier. Just the sounds of bones breaking, and flesh-tearing could be heard.
Finally, one last figure emerged from the dark opening of the teleport pod. It stood tall and proud after it emerged into the bigger chamber. Its bones were black, and the long sword was once again sticking through its chest. It angled its human head to look up at the camera high in the corner.
It was my face staring back at me, like some sort of distorted mirror. It had taken my head, and now it would return it to my world.
Before the Desecrator left our world, the few remaining deadies fell lifeless to the ground, their purpose fulfilled. The creature twisted my head off of its lower jaw and tossed it, rolling down the loading ramp to bump against a dismembered arm of a slain soldier.
With this business done, the headless creature flashed out of existence, without any warning from the lights or alarms. This brought up a dreaded question. Did it even need the portal to travel to our world?
I’m told, hours later, response teams busted through the sealed doors and stormed the chamber. That’s when they found me, all of me. I was naked, alive, and talking out if my head.
My new body had changed. The tattoos that covered my body had been tweaked and redone. The spell had been optimized to work better. The spider web of designs ran up my neck, mouth, and cheeks now. Only to stop at the point where the Desecrator had ripped off my previous jawbone.
A lot of things happened during the following months of my quarantine. I was in a fugue state, preaching non-stop about the glories of the Dark God, and lacking the sense to go to the toilet before relieving myself.
But a lot more things happened in the wider world because of the unholy incursion into our world. Most of the world’s leaders experienced vivid hallucinations or night terrors at the instant the Desecrator invaded. The Dark God spoke to all of them through visions. He was not pleased with the entertainment and sacrifice we had previously been providing to him.
The decimation also began. 1 out of 10! Precisely one out of 10 people was beaten to death by their fellow coworkers. It affected everybody who knew of the existence of the portal and the endless battle.
A poor tenth person was selected to be brutally killed by nine others privy to the secret. All the murdering men and women confessed to falling into a trance-like rage, that only passed hours after their chosen victim was mutilated and torn apart. The memory of the murder was left as a vivid warning in all the unwilling participants’ minds.
Hurricanes, freak tidal waves, and earthquakes all rocked the globe. The Desecrator showed us what could happen if the Dark God touched our reality for only a few minutes.
Behind closed doors the leaders of Earth declared that enemy forces could never again pass into our realm. Recruitment and funding quadrupled.
A new plan was concocted. It proposed we declassify the secret war and let it out to the public. But only if it got much worse. PR teams were already working on posters and recruitment commercials to appeal to the youth of their respected nations.
So that left only me. I thought for sure I would be killed, or locked away forever. But the visions our leaders suffered expressly forbid this response. Seems the Dark God had taken a liking to me.
Long story a little shorter. The Brass was okay with just giving me 3 meals a day and letting me rot away in a black site holding cell. But painful visions started plaguing my superiors until they allowed me to return to the battlefield.
I was given a test run. Allowed to go back through the portal with a new group of men. I had to be completely covered since the tattoo had spread to my face
This was okay. I didn’t want the men I led to know how far I had fallen. I knew what the Desecrator and its master wanted. I was to lead by example. Cause my men to have bravery and push forward, only to be eventually killed.
False hope tastes better than no hope, you see.
I kept the code name “Charon” from my dead unit. It seemed fitting as I led my kind into Hades to die.
The deadies were far more vicious and more numerous than before. Over 3000 lives were lost taking back the Vaux outpost. But if the deadies were getting tougher then so were the soldiers sent to fight them.
No longer skimping on the modern weaponry, our boys went over with the latest in killing machines. There was a new urgency in the hearts of men. Just what the Dark God wanted.
It took another 6 months of constant fighting to push the deadies back past Alamo again. I died 4 times during this period, only to manifest back in my holding cell, shitty as new. I can’t say the same for the men I left on the battlefield.
I refused to be a pawn for the Desecrator and my government. I had to keep my men safe. I had to help humanity.
Once we had taken back all we lost, I jumped the wire and marched out into the muddy wasteland. I began to sink into the slop, and I knew this would be a particularly painful death. But I didn’t have to wait long. The Desecrator emerged, wearing the rotting head of some poor kid.
I told him that the scraps it gave us weren’t enough. It was pushing too hard without any reward for our efforts in sight. We needed a light at the end of the tunnel. Even if it was a fake light. I explained that humans might give up and try and surrender. We might try and reason with the entity.
The Desecrator was not pleased. Its master did not want servants, it wanted war, it wanted bloodshed.
A deal was struck. Any mud my men stepped foot on now slowly became solid. We could push the deadies back for miles and miles. We could breathe again. We could have hope. We could “win”.
That little stunt took some suspicion off me on where my allegiances fell. But it also meant I was heading over to fight more and fight longer. But in the end, we had forced the deadies back and gained 30 miles of breathing room.
It’s a false triumph. We are gaining ground just to have it taken right back. This will cause The Brass to panic and overreact. They will probably start the draft again. Young boys and girls trained just enough to be put on the assembly line heading for the chopping block.
They will lie to you. They will say you are a new breed of soldier. They will say you are pioneers to other galaxies. When you don’t come back they will tell your family you’re deployed somewhere top secret.
You will go through basic and be taught the bare minimum. You will know how to fire a rifle, and dig a trench. Then you will be sent to the front.
You might see me when you get there. You’ll be told to do anything I say. You’ll know me from my face obscured with a mask and the thousand yard stare. I’ll be leading the charge. But I am not a hero, I am in hell.
But I’ll try to keep you alive as long as I can. But we will all die in the end. A sacrifice to appease the master. You’ll be told your death will keep annihilation at bay for the moment.
But in reality, you’re just a small cog in the wheels of war. More meat for the grinder, just so the people back home can continue to kill each other for other pointless reasons.
Try not to think about your soul. Like, does it stay in that hell when you die? Or does it come back to our world? I don’t know… Just be sure to get close to whoever you worship before taking the jaunt, just to be safe.
My fear is The Dark God will grow bored of the game. With a snap of its fingers, it could invade our space, causing madness and death on a catastrophic scale. So we must fight! We must appease him! We have no other choice. We have to try!
🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None AvailableCraig Groshek Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek Narrated by N/A