Chapter 18: "Asylum"
The mission is simple. Drop in, secure Peter McCain, and extract from the asylum. Peter had a large target on his head to the Soviets with all the research he had obtained from Group 935.
Two marine recon squads were dispatched to Wittenau Sanatorium where Peter was said to be hiding out. The first was shot down in the night and none of the occupants were recovered. The team led by Corporal “Tank” Dempsey had arrived by morning, however.
“Corporal, wasn't this supposed to be a night op?”
Private John “Banana” spoke with urgency.
“It was, Private. But the first plane being shot down and having to reroute meant some delays. We have not heard back from command, and as far as we can tell there's no one else in sight here. So we go on with the mission in daylight.”
Private “Smokey” gripped his M1 Garand.
“Doesn't it make you a little uneasy that no one is in any of these houses? Surely some people have to be living near this asylum.”
“Look, Smokey, I don't know any of the details. But our mission is very clear: we find the package, and get the hell out. We don't have time to worry about who lives where.”
Private Curt Reynolds finished off his ration and took to his feet.
“We moving in, Corporal?”
“That we are. Keep a level head.”
The squad loaded their weapons and began to approach Wittenau Sanatorium. Trees and homes nearest to the building were on fire, and a large smokestack was emanating from the asylum. Mission intelligence said the building should be abandoned after the bombings.
Corporal Dempsey motioned his squad to follow him through the front gates. The gates were wide open, and no vehicles were parked within. No talking, no screaming, not a human sound. The flames burned on the roof at the opposite end of the center courtyard.
“Banana. Smokey. When we enter through the right you check our flank. Private Reynolds and I will move right and further into the asylum. The asylum should be empty, but we can't take any unnecessary risks. Peter's rendezvous point is supposed to be near the central power grid.”
The squad took its first steps into the asylum, guns raised. It was eerily quiet and the air dry and heavy. The inside of the sanatorium reeked of ash and smoke. Dempsey and Reynolds moved through a doorway towards the stairs. In an instant all the lights still working turned off, and the doorway they had passed through just closed.
“Shit! Try and get these doors open.”
The four marines attempted to force the doors apart but with no success. John “Banana” began to panic.
“We aren't alone! Someone just turned off the power! Corporal we've gotta find who's here!”
Corporal Dempsey replied, “We don't know that, private. It could have been our target. Maybe he thought we were someone else.”
Smokey looked towards the power grid on the top floor.
“Some shit is going on. Power is that way, Corporal.”
“Alright, you two wait in there, Reynolds and I will-”
Outside in the courtyard, a lone figure was walking towards the marines. All four pointed their weapons.
“You are not Peter! Stand down!”
The figure continued limping towards them. His eyes a bright, glowing yellow color, and head completely bald.
“What the fuck? Stop moving!”
Beneath the figure, a hole in the dirt began to form. Slowly an arm began to claw its way out of the dirt, and finally a whole body, just like the original figure. Then another. And another. There was at least a dozen. They were all looking at the soldiers, eyes blazing like fire. Limps turned into jogging.
“Here they come!”
Tank Dempsey cocked his rifle.
Smokey swung his view to the dozen or so figures in the courtyard. “They're everywhere!”
His BAR jammed as he fumbled to load it. “Shit!”
Banana pointed towards the closed doors. “We need to get these doors open!'
Dempsey and Reynolds high-tailed it to the staircase blocked by debris. Getting the power on was the only way to save his squad.
Banana noticed. “Don't leave me!”
Dempsey called back towards his two squadmates, “Hang in there! We'll work to get the power on!” He motioned towards Reynolds to clear the stairs while he provided cover.
“Hurry it up okay!”
The beasts began to jump through the windows into the room with Banana and Smokey.
Smokey pointed his BAR to the window and opened fire, “They're everywhere! Fuckers are everywhere!”
A runner had come from behind and Reynolds blasted it in the head with his trench gun. “Get out of my face!”
Dempsey emptied a clip into a zombie vaulting over a window, “We gotta keep moving!” More soon followed as the Corporal was forced to reload.
Reynolds pushed Dempsey aside and started killing them.“I've got you! Go!”
Dempsey moved the final piece of debris aside and took to the stairs with Reynolds in tow. The two started firing back down the stairs where more zombies were following. But to their left a grisly hand punched a hole in the wall. Reynolds began shooting through the wall to keep the beasts at bay. “They're coming through the walls!”
Tank Dempsey reached for his belt and pulled the pin on a grenade. “GRENADE GOING IN!” He tossed the grenade down the stairway to the endless horde and ran up the stairs behind Reynolds. The explosion sent chunks of flesh and rubble flying where the two had just been. Tank took to the balcony for a better view on the courtyard. Across on the other balcony Smokey was firing his BAR down in the center. They had found a way out of that room. Soon they could reunite.
Reynolds was running backwards firing his shotgun towards a horde. “Come on! Keep moving!”
Tank snapped out of it and knocked down a smaller door. Suddenly his ears were ringing from a massive explosion from the balcony. Private Banana was firing his M7 Grenade Launcher at the balcony Dempsey had just been on where more and more of the zombies were piling up. Before he could fire off another grenade a zombie had come up from a window behind and charged towards him. Smokey gunned down the freak.
Dempsey and Reynolds were now at the doorway to the power switch. Through the glass the generator was still in working condition. On opening the door the power switch could be seen. Attached to the handle was a severed hand, still fresh and gripping tight.
Private Reynolds pulled the lever and lights in the entire asylum lit up bright as day.
“Fuck, I'm out!” Smokey's BAR had run empty with no spare ammo. Banana's M1 had almost run dry.
“I can't hold 'em off forever!”
The two marines were now cornered on the balcony. The doorways to get in blocked with more running corpses.
Before Banana ran out, the power came back on. Lights flickered to life on the ceiling, and on a red box on the wall by the doorway. As this box came to life, rods hanging from the head of the doorway began to send electricity down to the floor, and right through the zombies. As more and more piled in they fell to the ground dead again, their fleshed seared from the volts of electricity. The smell was stomach-churning.
Banana's arms finally rested and he dropped his M1.
Smokey put his back to the wall and slid down to a sitting position.
Banana could hear the distant screams of the damned.
“No. It ain't over. This is just the beginning.”