An abandoned airfield, near Morasko
October 14th, 1945
The shuffling of boots against cold, dead dirt.
“Careful with those. Are you listening, Private?”
“Then get this cargo loaded, ASAP. We need to be at the next rendezvous within two hours and we are behind.”
“Sir, yes, sir!”
The short private mustered all his strength in lifting the wooden crate as the weight wobbled side to side. Since the end of the war, the United States has been enamored with a new element known as 115. Though they have their own supply in Nevada, no one else has been able to truly exploit the element like the German-based Group 935, a group whose insignia just so happened to mark the side of the precious cargo.
Major Gordon watched on as two dozen Marines marched like ants between the cargo plane and the nearby abandoned bunker, heaving any of Group 935’s assets they could find. This op wasn’t exactly what the boys were trained to do, nor is it what Gordon had fought in Okinawa for. But, who could turn down an easy mission like this one after a long-fought war?
Command had been sending Gordon and his men all across the former European front in search of more of 935’s research for a month now, and this forsaken airfield would not be the last of these missions.
The significance of this airfield was not lost on the Major, however. In June, some of Gordon’s brothers in arms, damn good men, were being sent on a mission of complete secrecy with the OSS. Two planes were sent, and while the one carrying the VIP arrived at the rendezvous point, the second plane did not make it as far, going down over the airfield due to some kind of malfunction.
There was no doubt in Gordon’s mind that the charred, mangled fuselage nearby must have belonged to that plane. Any fire that was once burning from the crash had long since dissipated along with the fuel, leaving behind a black husk of the once-functioning aircraft. A wing of the plane was present several meters away from the impact, with the other wing crumpled under the cockpit embedded into the dirt.
Gordon glanced towards the line of Privates walking to and from the plane. Perhaps the Major could have a look at the crash site. The brass wanted the Marines in and out as quickly as possible for some reason, but Gordon had personal matters on his mind. He approached the wreckage with relative confidence that he would find nothing of interest besides the remains of the poor souls sent to their deaths. Perhaps he would have something to return to the families of the dead, or some information for his old friend, Cornellius Pernell: The mission’s handler from the OSS, and the only reason Gordon even knew about the ordeal. Pernell spoke highly of the Marines involved, and longed for some closure he would never receive with the OSS’s dissolution just last month.
The Major approached a large, gaping break in the side of the plane's body, igniting a lighter from his breast pocket to gain a better view of the interior. The smell was rotten and sulfurous. It was a familiar scent to Gordon, reminding him of one of their most recent snatch-and-run missions at Küstenposten. Based on experience, Gordon expected the worst from what remained of the mission team. As his feet met the metal interior of the plane, now lopsided, he waved the lighter around in search of anything telling about that fateful mission.
Every compartment had been flung open, with small gadgets, papers, tools, and equipment strewn about the plane. The windows were all completely shattered, and the walls were irregularly bent from the blunt landing in the dirt.
Gordon approached the cockpit, the stench growing greater with every step. He was surprised to find, however, that the corpses of the pilots were missing and their safety belts were laid out on the ground, ripped right from the seats. If their bodies were thrown from the plane in the crash, then surely the belts would have gone with them; Puzzled by this, Gordon continued to search for answers, but in its current condition it would be impossible to determine what type of error caused the crash.
Curiously, against the wall to his left, Gordon spotted a larger compartment designated for rations, but what seemed to be the entire supply was strewn about and infested with maggots. There seemed to be claw marks on the door; It was also caved inward slightly, the edges of the door jammed in place leaving Gordon unable to pull it open normally. Steel as thick as this would require incredible strength to bend. Connecting the claw marks to the state of the door, he determined some animal must have tried to reach the food inside. That idea was shelved, however, when he began to think of what clawed animal would live in the arid airfield with no fauna or wildlife in sight. That also would still not explain the rotting food rations wasting away on the floor, which must have been pulled out by someone before the door was jammed shut.
Determined for an answer, Gordon placed his fingers around the upper left edge of the door to try and pry it open. With all his strength and concentration, he began pulling the edge towards him until his hands and face were blazing red, having no luck. He reignited the lighter, continuing his search.
Could the Marines have survived the crash? It was certainly a possibility. All of the parachutes were left behind, but maybe the impact was not as bad as it seemed. There were no weapons left behind, so there was no telling how many soldiers were present.
Gordon thought more on the matter, before jumping at the loud clang behind him. Instinctively, he raised his Colt towards the source, his nerves high, and he took aim at the dark figure.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa! That was my fault, sir... I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to-!”
The frightened Private raised his arms in the air, begging for his life.
“For fuck’s sake, Private, what are you doing?!”
“I’m sorry- I’m... We’ve loaded the plane, sir!”
“Don’t sneak up on a man like that. You’re liable to get yourself shot, boy.”
Gordon re-holstered the weapon as he rose up and walked outside of the wreckage, following behind the frightened soldier.
“Private, tell the pilot to get the engines running! We’re leaving soon.”
Trying to remain composed after nearly being shot, the Private strode towards the plane with his head held high and spine straight.
“Finster! Jones! Wallace! Everett! Loblaw! Double check that cargo is secured. Corporal, have your team get on Comms and see where we’re headed next. The rest of you, on me! We’re doing one last sweep of the building! Move!”
Like cogs in a machine, each soldier followed their duty, a dozen of them forming up with their Major.
“I’m sure we’ve picked it clean of what Command is looking for, but maybe there’s something we missed. Let’s move.”
The small battalion approached the concrete structure in formation. It was a strangely small building, connected to the others in the surrounding area only by power lines. It had only two floors and open balconies revealing the inside. Gordon and his men entered the front gates, passing a well-used German army truck and several barrels filled with trash. One of the doors leading in was an open arch-way, to its left the wall was made up of several iron bars as support, like a prison. They entered the hollow concrete building one by one, fanning out to search the cramped bunker.
Each of the soldiers scanned the area, looking for any crates with obvious Group 935 markings. Gordon knew they had found plenty, even all of them, but there could be something more to be found in the desolate place. In the center of the room was a staircase leading up to the second floor which looked to be more of the same. To the left is another archway leading into another room.
Gordon pointed to two of the soldiers to his rear, then pointed to the doorway, “You two, with me.”
Gordon approached the doorway, passing over a pile of gravel before stopping in his tracks as he heard a creak. He stopped, kneeling down and pushing the gravel aside with his open hand. As he suspected, there was a wooden door, one that used to be in the doorway he had just passed through. Clearing all the debris, he noticed some strange writing on the wood. The writing was in white chalk, and he could make out the text: It was in English, and it said “HELP .”
The two soldiers behind Gordon were on guard after reading the writing, looking to each other for reassurance. Gordon continued staring at the writing, rubbing it to be sure it was written in chalk.
“Anyone else seen any chalk drawings around the building? Anything else... strange?”
“N-No, sir. Just the cargo we were instructed to find. Well, and the radio.”
“Just a- uh- a radio. On that table over there. Jenkins couldn’t quite get it to work, so… we didn’t-”
“That’ll be all, Private. Keep looking.”
Gordon rose up, walking towards the radio on the table to his left. It seemed to be battery-powered, not being connected to anything. He adjusted the knobs, trying to find any frequency in the area. He began to hear some high-pitched static, and he slowly adjusted the knob to make it louder. The static grew in volume and pitch to almost unbearable levels. He began to get chills in his spine as the whine of the frequency began to dive back down. Gordon noticed some very faint noise through the static coming from the radio. He adjusted the volume, leaning in closely to barely make out some sort of mumbling. It wasn’t recognizable as English, but the sorrowful words of a man, possibly in German.
“Was haben sie getan... mein Schatz... Samantha... wir werden nach Hause gehen... irgendwo sicher... mit Mami... ich verspreche... er wird leiden... wir werden sicher sein... Ich liebe dich, Schatz... vergib mir, Hilda.”
“Who the… ”
The talking soon ended as the radio lost power and faded. Gordon suddenly felt a great unease and a desire to leave immediately.
He returned to the open area he arrived from, calling out to the others in the building to form up once more.
“Men, we’re running low on time. It’s time to move out!”
One by one they all arrived, ready to leave.
Gordon was stopped by a scream that turned his blood cold: It came from outside... from one of his men guarding the plane. It was soon followed by two gunshots and more screaming from different men in his platoon.
In a panic, Gordon raced towards the doorway with his men close behind, only to halt at what can only be described as a magical anomaly.
In his path was a glowing, red ball of light that seemed to sparkle and flare brightly as it just floated in the air with no apparent source. At its center, there was a golden hammer, larger than any Gordon had ever seen, and it seemed to spin in a random pattern within the orb of light. All mesmerized and distracted from the screams, the soldiers could do nothing but gaze into the light. After a few moments, the screams continued and gunshots increased, but the light changed in behavior. It began to disappear and reappear for a mere second or two at a time. It flashed several more times before finally disappearing completely from existence. Like they were just in a trance, the soldiers all snapped out of it, looking to each other for affirmation as to what they had just witnessed; But human empathy returned as the screams of their comrades combined with those of an unknown origin filled the air.
Again, Gordon and the others attempted to run through the doorway before being blocked by two red orbs of light. This time, however, inside them were two different golden objects. In one, a skull, and in the other, an ammunition case.
“What the fuck...”
Gordon debated shooting the orbs, as he could no longer bear the screams of dying boys calling for help. Soon, more and more orbs began to appear in a circular pattern around them all, flashing in and out of existence, with the object in their center mass changing every time. Sometimes a nuclear bomb, other times a weapon, a bag of blood, the symbol “X2,” a grenade, a bird, a miniature tank; The orbs flashed closer and closer, closing around the soldiers as they backed together, weapons raised in desperation. One soldier, Private Buck, let out a yell in terror.
“We are going to DIE!”
In a blind panic, Buck charged forward towards one of the orbs, screaming as he came into contact with it and instantly turned to ash before the others. They screamed as well, now fearing their imminent demise. Suddenly, all of the orbs flashed into existence at the same time before disappearing completely.
Then, like thunder, came a booming voice from the skies.
“How FUN!” The air itself filled with childish laughter which shook the earth beneath the soldiers’ feet.
With the orbs now gone, the trained soldiers scattered like flies, some attempting to run from the building, while others ran back inside, trying to find safety.
Gordon ran from the building, setting his sights on the plane where the screams were emanating. As he left the courtyard, he heard the agonizing, pained screams coming again, this time from inside the bunker. Looking back into the building, he could see bright flashes of gunshots within the dimly lit walls, those gunshots connecting with dark, shambling figures that seemed wholly unaffected by the gunfire. As one pounced onto a Private, another turned its gaze towards Gordon and the other soldiers running outside, and it locked eyes with him. It did not blink as it shuffled out of the doorway, its eyes glowing a deep, orange hue that seemed to light up the room.
As the figure came into the moonlight, Gordon could make out its features: A tattered, bloody Nazi uniform, chunks of flesh missing from its chest and head, and a thick, red, and pusy ooze dribbling from its rotting mouth. It let out a wail that shook Gordon's courage, and it sprinted out of the courtyard towards him.
Major Gordon turned back around, sprinting towards the plane, praying that the engines were ready. He could hear the rapid footsteps of his comrades, but even faster and rapidly growing in volume was the clomping of Nazi boots meeting the dirt in even greater succession. Looking back, Gordon met eyes with one of the beasts, and it snarled, rearing its head back and pouncing into the side of one of the Marines, toppling him to the ground with ease before it tore out the boy’s windpipe. Sick, Gordon looked forward once more, hearing less and less footsteps as the hellions gained on him, killing the others with ease. The soldier in him would be disappointed that he did not turn back to help them, but the human instinct and adrenaline drove him forward even still.
Now at the plane, Gordon jumped onto the ramp and attempted to run up the steps before stopping completely at the sight of the figure before him: the rotting corpse of an American Marine, skin rotten and reeking of maggots. A pendant around its dangling neck waved back and forth as it shambled down the steps towards Gordon. He raised his Colt from its holster towards the undead Marine, prepared to pull the trigger. Instead, he did not; Confused, Gordon looked directly at his arm, only to lock eyes with the Nazi beast he had seen before, as its gnarly teeth dug into his wrist cutting off circulation. Gordon tried to scream but nothing was audible as another of the horde wrapped its jaws around his Adam’s apple, biting down and tearing it out. He did not topple to the ground, but was let down slowly as five of the beasts feasted on his flesh. He felt only pain at every single nerve ending as his soul left his body.
After a few minutes, the commotion had completely halted. The gunshots stopped and bodies settled, some walking, some torn to bits. One by one, the undead hell-beasts let out a guttural yell to the skies, calling to their new master from above.