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Chapter 1: Danke Schoen

Prologue: "Undone"

An abandoned German airfield

Sergeant Major J. Tambor

October 14th, 1945

“Status?”

The shuffling of boots within pale moonlight.

“Careful with those. Goddammit, are you listening, private?”

“Yes, sir!”

“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 heavy wooden crate as the weight wobbled side to side, the insides being filled with rocks made up of a particularly massive element. Since the United States had arrived on German soil, they had become attached to the element known as 115, with a majority of its presence in Europe being controlled by a certain Group 935, a group whose insignia just so happened to mark the side of the private's box.

Sergeant Major Tambor watched on as the young man's peers, 24 of them, to be exact, marched like ants, heaving any of Group 935's assets from the airfield's control building into the American cargo plane landed several meters west. Not exactly what the boys were trained to do, nor is it what Tambor has fought for: some glowing rocks in an arid, depressing airfield. Command had been sending Tambor and his men all across the former front in search of more of 935's research for a month now, and this forsaken airfield would not be the last of their collection missions.

The significance of this airfield, however, was not lost on the Sergeant Major. In June, some of Tambor's brothers in arms, damn good men, were being sent on a mission of complete secrecy. Two separate planes were sent, and while one arrived at the rendezvous point, only to fail, the second plane did not make it as far, going down over an airfield once thought to be abandoned during Germany's final stand.

Tambor had his suspicions that the charred, mangled plane fuselage before him had connections to this mission. 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.

Tambor glanced towards the line of privates jogging between the building next to him and their cargo plane. They were making good time, or at least the best time the new bloods could make. Tambor decided to investigate the crash site, approaching the wreckage with relative confidence 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: a man connected with the mission from the OSS, and the only reason Tambor had even an ounce of knowledge about the ordeal. Pernell spoke highly of the marines involved, and longed for some closure he never received when the OSS dissolved just last month.

The Sergeant Major approached a large, gaping break in the side of the plane's body, lighting a match from his chest pocket to find a better view of the inside of the plane. The smell was horrific, and undoubtedly rotten. It was a familiar scent to Tambor, reminding him of one of their most recent snatch-and-run missions at Kustover Posten. Based on experience, Tambor 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 match around in search of anything telling about that fateful day.

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.

Tambor 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, Tambor continued to search for answers, but in its condition it would be impossible to determine what type of error caused the crash.

Curiously, against the wall to his left, Tambor spotted a larger compartment designated for food, but what seemed to be the entire supply of rations was strewn out and infested with maggots on the ground just outside the door. Roaches scattered as he approached to investigate what seemed to be claw marks on the door. It was also caved inward slightly, the edges of the door jammed in place leaving Tambor 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 determine some animal must have tried to reach the food outside. 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, Tambor placed his fingers around the upper left edge of the door to try and pry it open. Will all his strength and concentration, he began pulling the edge towards him until his hands and face were blazing red. It would not even budge from its place. He lit another match, waving it around the open space further. Not a single body. Could the marines have survived? It was certainly a possibility. All of the parachutes were left behind, but perhaps the crash was not as bad as it seemed from the outside. There were no weapons left behind, so no telling how many soldiers were present.

Tambor 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!”

“Do not sneak up on a man like that. You're liable to get yourself shot, boy.”

“Yes, sir!”

Tambor's shaky hands re-holstered the weapon as he rose up and walked to the open gash inside of the plane leading outside, following behind the frightened soldier.

“Private, tell the pilot to get the engines running! We're leaving soon.”

“Yes, sir!”

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! Green! Loblaw! Double check that cargo is secured. Corporal, have your team check the manifest 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, 12 of them forming up with their Sergeant 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 from the open courtyard area. It was a strangely small building, connected to the others only by power lines. It had only two floors and open balconies revealing the inside. Tambor and his troops 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 with their eyes against the walls, looking for the obvious crate with a Group 935 logo on it. Tambor knew they had found plenty, even all of them, but there was something more to be found in the eery structure. 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.

Tambor pointed to two of the soldiers to his rear, then pointed to the doorway

“You two, with me.”

Tambor 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 on the broken hinges present in the doorway he had just passed through. Wiping away the gravel more, he noticed some strange writing on the wood. The writing was in white chalk, and as he cleared the gravel away, he could make out the text. It was in English, and it said “HELP”.

The two soldiers behind Tambor were on guard after reading the writing, looking around for any meaning behind the etching. Tambor continued staring at the writing, rubbing it to be sure it was a form of chalk writing.

“Anyone else seen any chalk drawing around the building? Anything else... strange?”

“N-No, sir. Just the cargo we were instructed to find. Well, and the radio.”

“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.”

Tambor rose up, walking towards the radio on the table to his left. It seemed to be self-powered in some way, not connected to anything. He adjusted the knobs, slightly, trying to find any frequency in the area. He began to hear some high-pitched static, and he slowly adjusted the knob. 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 as he further adjusted. Nearly given up, Tambor noticed some very faint noise coming from the radio. He adjusted the volume as high as possible, 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 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, Hilde.”

“Who the...”

The talking soon ended as the radio lost power and faded. The wistful sounds of the man gave Tambor more chills. He 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.

“Soldiers! At attention! We're running low on time. It's time to move out!”

One by one they all arrived, ready to leave.

“Men, lets-”

Tambor was stopped by a scream that turned his blood cold and froze him in place. It came from outside; it came from one of his men at the plane. It was soon followed by two gunshots, and more screaming from different sources.

“GO! GO!”

In a panic, Tambor 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, green 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, which was scaled up in size, and 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 re-appear 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 of what they had just witnessed. But human empathy returned as the screams of their comrades combined with those of an unknown origin and the smell of gunfire was apparent in the air.

Again, Tambor and the others attempted to run through the door before being blocked by two 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...”

Tambor 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 bomb, others a weapon, a bag of blood, the symbols “X2”, a grenade, a bird, a 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! Hee hee hee hee hee hee! Ha ha ha ha ha!”

The demonic, yet god-like voice seemed almost innocent or child-like, as if it were from a little girl. 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.

Tambor 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 of the bunker, 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 Tambor 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, Tambor could make out its features: a tattered, bloody Nazi uniform, chunks of flesh missing from its chest and head, and a thick, red, and pus-y ooze dribbling from its rotting mouth. It let out a wail that shook Tambor to his core, and it sprinted out of the courtyard towards him.

Tambor 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 faster succession. Looking back, Tambor met eyes with one of the beasts, and it snarled, rearing its head back and pouncing into the side of one of the soldiers, toppling him to the ground with ease before it tore a chuck of flesh from the boy's neck. Sick, Tambor looked forward once more, hearing less and less footsteps as the hellions gained on him, killing the others behind him. 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, Tambor 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 Tambor. He raised his Colt from its holster towards the undead marine, prepared to pull the trigger. Instead, he did not; Confused, Tambor looked directly at his arm holding the Colt, only to lock eyes with the Nazi beast he had seen before, as its gnarly teeth dug into the flesh of his arm cutting off all circulation. Tambor 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 throughout the entire night and day, calling to their new master from above.

“Sam!”

 

 

Chapter 1: Danke Schoen

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