I write classic "good vs evil" creative writing pieces with smart twists inspired by vintage action cinema, gaming, and heavy metal.
I've been guarding this tunnel for what seemed like a year now, this new menace that is terrorizing us gets more and more restless. No one had the guts to go deeper into the tunnels; many people disappeared within; even a squad of heavily armed soldiers were gone.
One of them, however, managed to return but, he came back with a permanent grimace on his face, and his voice sounded like he was mocking whoever tried to speak with him. "You will never ever find out!" he kept repeating while sounding like a twisted version of a pre-teen girl teasing an older sibling. A day later, he died. The autopsy revealed that his brain exploded inside his skull.
A part of me is sure that there are more people that need to be saved. While an operation like this takes no bureaucracy to approve, none of my squadmates had the guts to support me; not even a drone operator and his UGV (Unmanned Ground Vehicle) wanted in so, I am going in alone.
After all, I, my squadmates, and the others who disappeared were hired as security detail; given a blank cheque to provide the best possible protection by any means necessary. Shoot on sight, terminate with extreme prejudice, and full execute authority that overrides some laws.
Unmanned Ground Vehicle/UGV
We were hired to keep terrorists, insurgents and possibly, corporate mercenaries from competing enterprises away so we geared up for war; some may even argue that we were armed better than conventional police forces, even outdoing their tactical units. However, all I need is light armor, a GPNVG (Ground Panoramic Night Vision Goggles), and a Remington 870 pump-action shotgun; I doubt the threat within has projective weaponry that will warrant heavier protection.
One thing is for certain, these threats aren't something the average warfighter commonly faces; for all I know, they are ghosts of something long forgotten. I have never been a believer of the paranormal, saw it as either a gimmick that desperate TV executives used to boost show ratings on the backs of a gullible audience that still tuned in or, a vehicle to scam those looking for their deceased relatives but, I never seen a terrorist or a corporate soldier make human heads explode from within, at a distance no less. I see no other explanation here.
Fast forward to now, I am poking at the darkness with my Remington while scanning my immediate area for potential target practice despite the fact that I have no idea what to look for; my comms are long dead with static being the only sign of them existing at all. For a minute, I flirted with the idea of turning back and giving it the old, "To Hell with this!" Suddenly, right out of the darkness, I got banzai-charged by something that almost got a face full of 12-gauge; lucky for it, I just slammed it down with the pistol grip of my 870. All done on reaction.
"What's going on here?!" I demanded, poking my attacker with the shotgun. "English, SPEAK IT!"
"You shouldn't have come here man, they are expecting you, expecting more and they will never stop!" the silhouette answered in a normal, fluent dialect, to my shock. A modern-sounding vernacular is a sight for sore eyes in a God-forsaken cave.
"Are you hurt?" I questioned the guy helping him up and going for my first aid kit.
"They are harvesting us; they took my eyes!" he whimpered back, locking me into a traumatized hug; as seen in dramatic war movies.
The man was indeed blind, just hollow blackness instead of eyes; holding me tightly as he sobbed. "I just ran, ran to warn...." he suddenly silenced; I followed suit and lowered my stance.
"They are coming, I can feel them!" he whispered; terrified out of himself.
As we both hid in the shadows, with my GPNVG still having an excellent view of the area; I wish it didn't! As I held the blind man's mouth shut to quieten his heavy breathing, 3 humanoid figures ran to where we met. While they looked normal; wearing plain clothes and all, their bodies were altered.
One was missing a hand while the other 3 had metal prongs protruding from their chests. Their clothes had black tape slung akin to a vertical sash beauty pageant contestants wore. Deep sorrow was felt in their movement and mannerisms; like they were doing something out of obligation and under duress. Every moment, their search came closer with me meeting one of them face to face! This thing was also eyeless but, it was like it saw everything; reaching into the place we hid.
We both sat quietly as the monstrosities sniffed around, barely missing us; their eyeless faces knew something was here, something that wasn't of their kind. My hand on the blind man's mouth and other gripping the Remington, I froze. Not daring to make unnecessary moves that will give us away. As soon as my finger felt the trigger, the humanoids broke search and ran to the direction they came from. As if on command.
"The marked for death!" the blind man whispered as soon as I let him go, "Identified by the black tape and no eyes; their one purpose is to hunt and bring back those that ran away!" he coughed, "They looked for me!"
"How many captives are still normal?!" I proceeded to interrogation.
"They're gone, others just like you came here and got mutilated, all the same, it's only a matter of time before I'm activated too; kill me and run!"
Suddenly, the blind man's face distorted into a twisted, eyeless grimace; his tone changing from worried and scared to mockery.
"Come on, they would like a word with you!"
A part of me wanted to blow his head off to ease his pain but, I will never find the root of it all so, I followed him deeper into the tunnels; flirting with the thought of integrating a shotgun shell into his brain. "Pump, trigger, pump!" My head kept nagging me until we have reached a metal door with strange symbols on it; I'm over asking questions at this point therefore, where it came from never once crossed my mind.
However, I recognized a few symbols; they were shown to us during briefings; introduced as a language spoken by a minority of people living in this country; guess saying "humanoids deep underground" wouldn't bring in manpower.
"We call - you come." read the top set of symbols. "New World Order" read the next. I'm expected, guess Mr. Remington would be my publicist. Chambering a shell, I carefully opened the door and proceeded inside.
My "guide" was gone; must have ran off as I got distracted with the symbols. Probably getting the others, I realized as the silence was broken by several loud moans; as if made by a person who is fighting against mouth restraints; aggressively resonating around the corridor. As if the walls themselves were making those horrifying sounds that froze my blood.
The further I went into the dark, lost, alone and no chance of evacuation or backup, the more the walls came alive; loud thumping could now be heard; as if someone is one the other side trying to knock them down. My hope for survival has disappeared completely. The horrific sounds moved from walls to the corridor itself; millions of them were moving towards me.
The only thing I recall was the sound of my shotgun's empty chamber when I ran out of ammo; trying to hold them back; all in vain. They overwhelmed me like a pitch-black tidal wave; how I'm still alive is a mystery as the force I felt could have crushed me effortlessly. It was almost like they needed me for something; this thought made me wish I died back in that corridor.
Now I lay on the cold sand in a damp room where all light was outlawed; I couldn't even see my hands let alone who else was with me. Groping around myself, I found my Remington; what's left of it anyway; a broken and badly battered receiver that even the most desperate of guerillas won't find a use for. I had no ammo so it didn't matter; all that matters is survival by any means.
Whatever lived here wasn't your typical modern threat (terrorists, guerillas etc) since I still had most of my gear albeit some of it rendered unusable and no one tortured or interrogated me yet. However, I'd much rather have preferred that at this point since it would have been predictable and therefore, a rescue would be in the cards for me. We know how to handle such foes in the modern era.
Unsheathing my combat knife, I scanned the immediate area, not caring for subtlety; not like I was being watched anyway; I noticed that I wasn't alone. When my eyes got used to the darkness, I saw movement; it looked human, sitting as a normal person would while looking around. I dashed towards it, my one and only precious connection to any resemblance of normal life.
"Are you alright?" I asked the silhouette, looking for injuries.
No answer, it just mumbled something that didn't sound like speech; it was hard to even tell if this thing was male or female.
Repeating my question in Arabic (we were within the Middle East after all) I felt around for a face.
Suddenly, I fell forwards as someone pulled me by my heels, and before I could react, whatever tripped me began dragging me away; its grip was so hard that my legs grew numb. Moments later, I found myself in another room but this time, it looked more like a long-abandoned operating theater. Whatever dragged me here was now looming over me; it was tall; 6 or even 8ft! It stood motionlessly as if waiting for me to do something.
Remembering the knife, I lunged at it, going for its gut. Stupid idea! I should have waited till it turned around; as if by pre-cognition, it grabbed my throat and threw me back against the wall; coming closer to me. I saw it. Dear God what even is it?! While it was humanoid, it was deathly pale and had catlike eyes. Catlike eyes that stared into me as if grading what I've done up till now; staring me down without so much as a breath.
The first time in years, I never felt so scared, this thing just kept studying me; it didn't look like a fighter so it was worth it to try and wrestle it; springing and grabbing its stilt-like legs; I tackled it to the floor. After a few punches to its face, I drove my knife into its throat. Not even a pre-death croak was heard as I sprinted anywhere my legs would take me.
Strangely, no roars, sounds of movement, or anything that a pursuing party of inhuman abominations would let out while their victim is attempting escape was heard. I stopped and listened in; what if this God-forsaken tunnel has something way worse stored for me; zeroing in on me as I'm totally blind to what it is.
"You will never get out!" I heard a grating yet skin-crawling mockery in the dark; the same mockery we saw from people that returned; they are trying to break me down mentally.
Whatever that was, it surely tailed me all the way through with a purpose to be the first one to strike. It's only a matter of time before a thousand hands will rip me apart; there is no way out so, as I got over this fact, I sat down on my knees and commenced my final prayer. The best thing to do right now is to let the Almighty know that I believed.
Everything suddenly stopped. No sound. No sights. Not even smells. The only organ that functioned was my brain and even it had trouble following the sequence of events so far. I tried opening my eyes but all attempts were met with stabbing pain till I could no longer reach for them; I no longer felt my fingers. I could still speak, therefore, whoever finds me must know of me and my unit so they can relay what happened to me. Name, Rank, Unit. Soon, those words were the only thing my brain knew how to say; I forgot everything else that may have mattered to me. My only lifeline is my connection to the world outside and I will hold on to it as long as I have the capacity to say and think of it.
© 2020 Jake Clawson