I write classic "good vs evil" creative writing pieces with smart twists inspired by vintage action cinema, gaming, and heavy metal.
We were among the best of all our respective branches of the armed forces; Army, Navy, Airforce; you name it. Now, we were all together in an initiative not everyone could stomach working on. The incidents we dealt with were more disturbing than what we faced overseas. Experienced, decorated soldiers left town after a mission was done.
Hardened men who were feared in the mountains of Afghanistan, forests of Chechnya and the ruins of Iraq changed forever. On foreign soil, we fought terrorists and mercenaries; guided by religious or political fanaticism and money; an enemy easily explained, predicted and neutralized considering we fought them for decades. There is a difference between raiding a radical Islamist warlord's compound in the Middle East and responding to a call up where the briefing says, "These aren't normal humans we are dealing with here." Searching under a building that on paper, was demolished years ago as a scared-senseless sewage worker gives directions; barely able to talk as he tries. We are the Midnight Police. The few able to control the horrors on domestic soil.
The 5 of us stood backs to the cold walls; bedecked with night vision goggles, kevlar vests and armed with MP5SFA3 submachine guns, a SPAS-12 shotgun, and M16A4 rifles; stacked up and ready for stealth entry. Our element leader was by the entry point; a hole we used a sledgehammer to make; he was controlling a scout drone remotely while simultaneously studying its camera feed, assessing the area for potential threats. The drone's camera had thermal imaging so he also followed heat signatures to find our target.
"We got a possible civilian target in sight!" the element leader calmly, yet urgently remarked.
I craned my neck to get a better view and indeed, we saw a human silhouette but I could sense that something was off, it just sat there; knees in hands and staring at a single point on the floor; sounds of movement around his immediate area didn't seem to phase him. Did he live here? An addict or a vagrant? A long-forgotten fugitive the regular police forgot about?
"We make entry and initiate contact." The element leader ordered as he recalled the drone and made ready with his own MP5.
"Open and clear, go when ready." he finished as we turned our safeties off and stealthily proceeded into the hole; we were under a building that dated back to the early 1960s but, it was like there was a whole city here. Remains of broken furniture, half-eaten rat carcasses, and even rags that looked like they were torn while grazing a sharp surface while moving fast. The night-vision goggles helped tremendously considering the pitch-black almost seemed solid; like we were trapped by black walls that were closing in with every step we took.
My squadmates and I provided cover as the element leader located the person we saw on the drone cam and kneeling next to him, he quietly reported in.
"TOC, (Tactical Operations Center) Sierra Element made non-hostile contact; breathing, unharmed; requesting evac."
"Affirmative, Sierra; proceed. Evac on the way, ETA: driving time."
A part of me wanted to put a few rounds into our new friend, something about him disturbed me; the feeling I got back in Iraq when I witnessed a child, who was unarmed at first glance, blow up a church. Insurgents brainwashed kids into becoming human bombs that covertly, carried IEDs. (Improvised Explosive Devices) That fear, however, subsided as the element leader confirmed that the subject didn't carry IEDs.
"Are you injured?" he asked.
"Can you talk to the night?" the subject asked.
"Negative." element responded maintaining professional calm. "We are here to bring order to chaos; remain calm."
"How well do you sleep at night?" the subject asked again, slowly facing up.
A moment later, the subject stood up and looked at our element leader dead-on; however, the term "looked" was too generous considering where a normal human would have a face, he had nothing but ugly stitches and scars; no eyes, nose or mouth!
"I have friends," he murmured in a shaky yet eerie voice resembling haphazard pulling of harp strings, "I was very scared at first but then, we connected and they helped me." The element leader, now training his MP5 on him with the selector switch on FULL AUTO, interrogated, "Where are they now?!"
"They are with me, they watch my every step, they talk to me all the time and soon, you will get to know them too!" his voice made my skin crawl; he was setting us up!
"HOLD WHAT YOU GOT, PROVIDE COVER!" element yelled, slamming the subject "face" first against the floor; tying him down with zip cuffs; we complied. I then started hearing things, it was no longer the howl of the night wind outside or the scurrying of bugs and rats; it sounded like words; my ears decoded the sounds to be, "We will continue coming here."
"Element are you hearing this?!" I enquired while keeping the darkness at bay with my M16A4.
The 4 of my squadmates didn't respond and were also providing cover; they heard it too; primal fear began to defeat years of combat experience and drills with the directive to maintain professionalism prevailing albeit on shaky legs. Like one clean room in a mansion of dirt and grime.
Bastion of hope and connection to the outside world where whatever we faced here didn't tread. Our guns were equipped with powerful flashlight attachments but even they weren't enough to hold the dark back. Throwing a lightstick onto the ground, (done to mark a previously cleared room) the element leader, with the subject in-tow approached one officer, "Evac our friend; proceed to the exit and await trailers."
The officer obeyed, he was sure glad to be going back outside as we still had to sweep and clear this dark hole, the rest of us shuffled back into the dark.
Everything here was old; as if the worst the 1960s had to offer was left behind in this twisted time capsule for us to find. An untrained person who isn't here to complete a mission would speculate and give attention to what may have happened here.
Who broke the furniture here? Who lived here all this time? A decade long gone preserved underground where the worst hid away from then-present laws. Why worst? Well, because the best always builds and maintains order whereas the worst destroy and abandon, only to return once more.
We pressed on across the decrepit halls, lightsticks making this miserable place a bit more friendly; knowing that we thoroughly swept and cleared that room therefore, no danger is present. However, the next incident never leaves me to this day. It started with a wall that was strangely immaculate considering the dust and grime here; this wall was clean and featured a sickle and hammer drawing; what the Soviets had on their flag back then. How?!
We were deep in the United States of America! It was the 1960s, the Red Scare and the Cold War was in full swing! Then, out of nowhere, we heard what sounded like a tape recorder chewing through a well-worn cassette, just springing to life in the quiet; it began to read numbers, just random numbers.
"0, 4, 8, 3, 9, 6"
"MY FRIENDS!!!!!" I suddenly heard my radio scream in twisted glee as screams of intense pain and explosions followed suit.
It was the subject! HE WAS AN IED!
To add to the streak of sudden shocks, we began hearing thumping; as if a group of heavily armed men ran across hardwood floor; that sound we emitted during our combat tours back at base when something happened. An unmistakeable ratchet of several AK47s poked at the silence.
As we took cover in preparation to return fire, my ears picked up Russian. I learned it during joint operations we did with Spetsnaz Alpha Group; we were surrounded! Whispers in the dark spoke of many others waking up across the building; room after room of well-preserved Soviet remnants that lived on American soil for decades! Who placed them here?!
How many of such time capsules are under our cities? Watching, waiting and studying us; looking to attack at the slightest sign of weakness.
© 2020 Jake Clawson