1916

Zombie or Post Apocalyptic themed fiction/stories.

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Ponyboy314
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Re: 1916

Post by Ponyboy314 » Mon May 02, 2011 6:22 pm

“Unbeing dead isn’t being alive.”
-E.E. Cummings





Back at the aid station in what had once been the church rectory, Private Lawrence lay with a terrible fever from the infected wound on his arm. Despite what Crawford hoped for, no one had it in them to put him out of his misery, since unlike the cases of Private Green and Private Vernon, Lawrence was still alive and speaking, and his impending death filled him with fear, and the prospect of killing their living friend instilled another sort of fear in the rest of the company. Private O'Quinn, now armed with Green's Lee Enfield, had promised Private Lawrence that when the fever induced delirium, as it had in the last minutes of Green's life, he himself would end it. O'Quinn still wasn't certain that he could, and was spending the time trying to build up the resolve to finish it when the time was right. Lawrence could not bring himself to finish it on his own. He was Catholic.

Night came to De la Croix and although no one spoke of it, everyone felt the dread that came with having to suffer through a darkness that hid monsters from their sight. Only the sliver of a quarter moon rose, leaving virtually no light with which to spot anything approaching. De la Croix had no source of electricity, and no one was likely to launch flares over the town anytime soon. The only light source came from the large quantity of candles the church contained, though even that made Lieutenant Crawford more than a little nervous, as it would be an easy thing for those to be knocked over if a fight came, trapping B Company between the fires inside and the dead outside. If his time in the trenches had taught him anything, it was that anything that could go wrong in combat sooner or later would go wrong.

As the light outside vanished and the inside of the church was bathed in candlelight, not a few saw the scene as almost Gothic, like something from the Spanish Inquisition. The low light caused deep shadows to dance on the walls, and inevitably, the flickering showing through the windows would perfectly advertise their location to anything outside, though those who had already seen the first few walking dead coming into town were fairly certain that what lurked in the woods already knew where they were, and hiding in the dark would not keep their hunters from finding them.

Crawford had his spotter come down from the bell tower. Night made his presence there meaningless.

He also looked around at the frightened faces of his men, seeing their terror in the glowing candlelight, wondering how many he would have to kill himself if things went badly, as per his promise to Sergeant Bower. The thought filled him with dread, but the prospect of any more like Private Green and Private Vernon steeled his resolve to do what he could to make sure than no one else became an abomination. Still, his terror was not lessened by the necessity.

It had gotten to around midnight, and for much of the time between sundown and then, there was little speaking. No one wanted to talk about the fear they all felt, knowing that fear was contagious and no one wanted to be responsible for everyone else to break down. Mostly, they smoked or read passages from the many bibles found in the church (some had passages read to them, not being fluent in French), while others caught up on the sleep that had been eluding them of late. Those that slept did not do so peacefully. Their dreams were haunted, but this time, they did not dream of endless barrages, cowering from snipers, or the nerve-shattering terror of going over the top. Instead, most of their dreams were of monsters and demons in the woods or snarling at the windows of the church, and in the case of Corporal Hook’s own dream, monsters that growled in the voices of Private Green and Private Vernon.

For that single night, B Company’s force in De la Croix had forgotten that their enemies in this war were the Germans. The German Army seemed a world away, with an army of beasts in between them.

Crawford himself did not sleep, but instead watched his men and waited for the hammer to strike his doors. He could not have slept if he wanted to, so tight was his stomach and for the pounding in his head. Although the dead outside might not come to De la Croix again, allowing him to pull his men back and get them back to friendly lines, he was, deep down, certain that before the night ended, this church in a tiny town in the French countryside would be the scene of the most terrible battle he would ever fight, and considering what was at stake and the nature of their enemy, perhaps the most terrible battle ever fought in the history of war. Here, unique in the annals of military history, man would come face-to-face with his own dead.

But his silent musings did not last long after midnight. A few minutes past, Colour Sergeant Benning, who had done much to keep Lieutenant Crawford focused and sane, came up to him, moving silently as though a sniper was watching his every move.

“Lieutenant?”

“What is it?”

“Private Keane reports sounds towards the southeast. He says they sound like…”

“Moans?”

“Yes Sir. He wasn’t certain he’d heard anything at first, but he says the sounds are getting louder. Sir, I think they’re coming. They’re headed this way, right now.”

“Does he have any idea how many?”

“No Sir, but he’s quite certain that it’s a lot.”

Crawford stood up, and said, “Colour Sergeant, get the men on their feet. We have a fight coming.”
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: 1916

Post by GotMak » Mon May 02, 2011 7:37 pm

You're outdoing yourself, PB!
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Re: 1916

Post by FlashDaddy » Mon May 02, 2011 8:05 pm

I wonder how much ammo each Patricia carried into combat, how much was left when they took refuge in the church. At least they have their bayonets!

Great Story!
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Re: 1916

Post by Ponyboy314 » Mon May 02, 2011 8:56 pm

FlashDaddy wrote:I wonder how much ammo each Patricia carried into combat, how much was left when they took refuge in the church. At least they have their bayonets!

Great Story!
Precisely!
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: 1916

Post by Diesel2 » Mon May 02, 2011 10:50 pm

This is good, really good. Can anyone else hear the pipes?
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Re: 1916

Post by Ponyboy314 » Tue May 03, 2011 5:08 am

“War is war. The only good human being is a dead one.”
-George Orwell





Rather than start yelling at the rest of the company to get them up and to the job, Colour Sergeant Benning simply moved from man to man and group to group, encouraging them to pick up their rifles and get ready to defend each other. On that last note, he was clear about them not fighting to defend themselves, but each other. He believed, as did many who had been in the trenches, that it was easier to give up one’s own life than that of a comrade-in-arms, and that while a man might break and run if his own life was imperiled, he was far less likely to do so if it put the lives of his friends at greater risk. The time to pray, look for help from the outside, and ponder whow this evil could even exist was over. The time had come to fight.

Men fixed their bayonets and stood near the windows and doors, hoping that they were ready when gray arms crashed through the stained glass, if there was even such a thing as being ready. As they all began to hear the sounds of moans approaching from the inky darkness outside, each man found himself thinking about what would happen even if they managed to walk away from this. Could they ever tell anyone that such a thing had happened? If they ever saw the rest of the regiment again, how exactly would they be able to report the presence of walking, ravenous corpses in the woods? What if they walked out of De la Croix unharmed only to die soon after from the Mausers and Maxims? Could any of them ever go back to Canada and look upon the great forests of their country without shivering in terror?

If they made it through this night, they would still never fully outrun what was now hunting them in the dark.

Some of them, particularly the older among them, had the insight to know that even if this haunted them forever, those who ever made it home were all already doomed to a life of pain, regret, and nightmares due to the terrible toll this war had already taken on them. If this was to haunt them as well for many years to come, at least that meant that they would be alive to be haunted.

The war had taught them all about the way nighttime can distort sounds, and this night, the sounds of moaning dead creatures were indeed distorted, seeming to steal through the windows and fill the church and their own beating hearts with a terrible sound that spoke of monsters in the night, too many to be counted, reaching with the arms of death to take them all back down to hell. Had it been daytime, the sounds of the approaching dead would not have been so elevated, but would certainly have been nerve-racking enough. But here, at night, where it was almost impossible to see their hunters and the sounds themselves seemed to come straight from the mouth of the devil himself, there was no way that anyone listening could not be filled with a dread that made one prefer to go over the top than to stand fast and fight this terror. Many of the terrified men shook, others resumed their prayers, while at least one soaked his pants with urine.

But they stood fast. They made ready to fight.

Men stood near the windows and doors, far enough back to be out of the reach of the grasping arms they all knew would be breaking the stained glass any second. The sound of more than thirty safeties being clicked off of Lee Enfield rifled could be heard, as could the familiar sound of a Webley revolver being loaded and unloaded repeatedly, that last sound stopping abruptly when the first pair of gray hands slapped against one of the windows, a sound that was quickly repeated on all of the windows where nervous soldiers clutched their rifles, ready to fight what some thought were the children of the devil.

Colour Sergeant Benning now barked his last order before the hammer fell. “Don’t shoot out the windows! When they break through, aim for the heads and kill them! When you see them, do not hesitate! Fire and don’t stop firing until they stop coming! Remember who you are, B Company!”

Then the first window broke, right in front of Lance Corporal Devereaux. His frightened eyes watched with a mixture of dread and fascination as the face of a dead creature peered at him, its mouth only a foot from his fixed bayonet. It had been a woman, looking as though it had perhaps been the age of Devereaux’s own mother. It’s dead eyes were glazed over to the point of being a snowy white, and it tried to snap with jaws that remained held to its face by only a few strands of muscle. The corpse that had taken this poor woman had eaten off the lower half of her face before death took her, and brought her back.

Devereaux felt a dim warmth as he joined the other in his company who urinated in his trousers, the acidic smell reaching his nose and jolting him back to the task of not ending up like the poor souls now clawing through the broken window for him. He squinted, barely able to even look at the monster, then fired.

Her head was almost ripped from her shoulders as her body fell backwards, back into the darkness.

Other windows now began to break, and the heavy pounding of dead fists against the old wooden doors resonated throughout the house of God
Last edited by Ponyboy314 on Tue May 03, 2011 5:57 am, edited 3 times in total.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: 1916

Post by Ponyboy314 » Tue May 03, 2011 5:46 am

“In the nineteenth century the problem was that God was dead. In the twentieth century, the problem is that man is dead.”
-Erich Fromm





It was not difficult to tell from the breaking of the windows, the pounding on the doors, and the moans coming in from the dark that the siege was now complete. B Company, for the second time in as many days, found itself surrounded with no knowledge of when help would arrive, or if it was even on its way.

Rifle shots cracked at every window, some destroying the heads of the dead, some flying wildly into the night, striking nothing. Men, terrified at the sight of so many creatures of the night clawing their way through the windows, could barely even line up their sights, while others saw them for the abominations they were and put them down with a raging contempt. They had no right to exist. They had no right breaking through the windows of this holy place. They would fall, and their tortured souls would finally go to where they must.

One man, a Private Shaw, was almost grabbed by the hands of a young dead male, dressed in the manner of a German private, until Corporal Hook yanked him backwards and fired, blowing the dead Hun’s brains all over the inside of his own helmet. No sooner had the thing fallen back than another, this one a Frenchman seeming to be so old that he would not have had long on this earth regardless, appeared in its place. As Corporal Hook screamed at Private Shaw to snap out of his reverie, he thrust his bayonet at the thing, striking through the eye socket. The old dead Frenchman stopped moving instantly, but when Hook pulled his weapon back, it did not come free.

“Sweet Jesus!” was all he could say.

As Hook continued pulling his rifle, it still did not come free, but rather he pulled the body of the dead man all the way through the window. Hook stood on the thing’s neck and finally wrenched his weapon free. As he did, another corpse tried to pull itself in, when Shaw finally came to his senses and fired his Lee Enfield, sending the beast back into the night.

Lieutenant Crawford moved up and down each position, firing his Webley and dropping the dead, which helped his men keep their senses and fight the ravenous corpses. Colour Sergeant Benning also moved from position to position, bayoneting and firing as he went. No less afraid than anyone else, he remained stoic to anyone who saw him.

But at a window near the front doors of the church, where Lance Corporal Dunbar stood with a Private Ness, three corpses tried to force their way in, standing on the bodies of the two that had tried before. Dunbar, unable to contain himself any longer, threw up, but the dead were close enough that he covered the arms of the nearest in his vomit. So bent over in agony from his revulsion, he did not notice those arms reaching closer and taking him by his collar. Ness shot it and it fell backwards, but the next took Dunbar quickly and began to pull the screaming Lance Corporal to its snapping jaws. Ness thrust his bayonet, but it skipped off the thing’s skull as he watched the ineffectiveness of his strike in horror. He dropped his rifle and grabbed for Lance Corporal Dunbar, grasping his shoulders, but could not hold him as Dunbar was pulled through the window. Ness screamed in terror as he heard Dunbar’s body vanish into the mouths of the dead.

Private Ness unconsciously fired in the manner known as the “mad minute,” which meant firing a Lee Enfield rifle with such speed, loosing so many rounds in a single minute that it shocked any German unlucky enough to come under fire from it. But the dead were no longer in sight. They were hunched over the dying and screaming Lance Corporal Dunbar, whose shrieks filled the night as his flesh was ripped apart by the hands and teeth of the dead.

Lieutenant Crawford was too late to prevent the terrible loss of Dunbar, but arrived at Ness’s position in time to see four decaying beasts reach their hands in to pull Ness as others had done to Dunbar. Four shots rang out in as many seconds, and the dead fell back, onto those feasting on the now-dead Lance Corporal.

“Private Ness, get back, stand a couple of feet back or those things will take you next! Fire your rifle, Private! Don’t wait for anything! Fire when you see them! Keep it together, or all of us will end up like Dunbar!”

As B Company desperately fired and bayoneted, trying against all their fear to slay the dead monsters at the windows, no one noticed that at the open door of the rectory, Private Lawrence came stumbling out. His face was gray and his moans melted into those of the creatures at the windows.

In its mouth and hands were the shredded neck and face of Private O’Quinn.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: 1916

Post by FIDO » Tue May 03, 2011 9:57 am

*Eating popcorn and slurps from favorite beverage*

Keep Going! Your just at the good part! :mrgreen:
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Re: 1916

Post by Braxton » Wed May 04, 2011 8:54 am

Image
Image
Jeriah wrote: you are NEVER completely certain of any other human being: not your parents, not your brother, not your wife, nobody.
Actually I think under some circumstances people sometimes don't even know themselves, but that's a bit existential for this thread. :lol:

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Re: 1916

Post by FIDO » Wed May 04, 2011 9:44 am

The kid in that picture looks like he wants to eat someone, better shoot him in the head just to be sure and then tell PB to post moar...
The Hardest Thing About The Zombie Apocalypse Would Be Pretending That I'm Not Excited.

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Re: 1916

Post by Wrecking Ball » Wed May 04, 2011 1:42 pm

Finally caught up with all the reading and what happens? Suspense. :cry: MOAR plox.
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Re: 1916

Post by Ponyboy314 » Wed May 04, 2011 5:59 pm

“Excess of grief for the dead is madness; for it is an injury to the living and the dead know it not.”
-Xenophon





The deafening sound of rifle fire filling the church and the moans of the dead outside pounded in the ears and hearts of the besieged men of B Company, making them all oblivious to the fact that one of their own, dead but on his feet, was inside the church with them. Nor did they know that their medic, Private O’Quinn, was in the rectory, with his face torn from his skull and his neck shredded as though by a ravenous animal.

The window nearest to the rectory, and to the snapping jaws of the dead Private Lawrence, was manned by Lance Corporal Hatterly and a Private Rowe, both furiously firing their rifles at the never-ending sea of dead faces that appeared, peering at them with white, dead eyes. So many had tried to claw their way into their window that they were now almost piled up to the bottom of the window itself, with those behind them now having a virtual ramp to climb into the window. As the area outside their window was under attack from an army of the dead, Hatterly and Rowe could barely load, chamber their rounds, and fire quickly enough. They almost howled with fear as they fired again and again, many shots striking chests, shoulders, or thin air from the shaking of their arms and the tears and sweat in their eyes.

Lance Corporal Hatterly felt the hand of Private Lawrence on his shoulder, causing him to turn, believing it to be Lieutenant Crawford or Colour Sergeant Benning, moving and encouraging their men. But he turned and barely inches away was the mad, gray face of Lawrence. The terrible mouth opened with a wrathful hunger. Hatterly yelped and fell backwards, dropping his Lee Enfield.

Hearing his comrade fall to the ground, Private Rowe turned and shuddered in fear, seeing that his friend Lawrence was one of the dead and leaning over Hatterly. After he yelped, Lawrence came for him, while Rowe raised his rifle and fired, striking ineffectively in the shoulder. The shot knocked the dead Private Lawrence back a few feet, but he came back, relentlessly moving towards Rowe while Lance Corporal Hatterly fumbled for his own rifle. Rowe backed up from the monster and tried to aim carefully for the head, but he did not notice the sea of hands grasping for him until it was too late. Some had now made it through the window, where they dragged Private Rowe to the ground and tore away his throat and chest.

His eyes fixed on Lawrence, Hatterly finally found his rifle and blew off most of Private Lawrence’s head. He then saw the horde of the dead ripping apart Private Rowe and backed away, unconsciously hip firing his rifle, accomplishing nothing.

“They’re inside! They’re inside!” he screamed. That caused a few to turn and see that indeed, several dead had made it through the window, some hunched over one of their own, his grunts of agony disappearing into their ravenous mouth, while others began to move towards the rest of the company.

Colour Sergeant Benning was the first to move, but towards the dead rather than away. He aimed carefully as he moved, each shot finding a skull. When his rifle ran empty, he simply dropped in and drew his M1911 .455. He finished off the rest of the small group, almost leaving them in a rotting pile on the floor. The last round in his magazine went into the dead skull of Private Rowe. Seeing that among the dead was Private Lawrence, he reloaded his sidearm and calmly walked into the rectory where he saw Private O’Quinn in the process of rising from the ground where he had lain in a pool of his own blood. Benning shot him in the head and put him down for good. Rather than retrieve his rifle, he simply took up the one that O’Quinn had failed to use, the one that once belonged to Private Green, their first casualty in De la Croix. He walked back out and saw that more and more were getting through the window where Private Rowe had been eaten alive.

He fired until his rifle was empty, then calmly reloaded it. He fired two more perfectly aimed shots, leaving a pile of dead at the window that reached as high the dead pile outside of it. No more faces appeared.

Private Heath had by now taken up position with Private Ness, who had been unable to save Lance Corporal Dunbar. Two faces appeared, gray like the others, both being girls who had not reached the age of twelve when they died terribly, looking so similar that they had likely been sisters. Private Ness fired and sent one down to the ground. Private Heath was unable to squeeze the trigger on the other, until Ness slapped him on his helmet.

“Heath! Fire, for God’s sake, fire! It’s standing on Dunbar, you idiot!”

Heath finally fired. Pieces of her scalp showered Heath’s face.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: 1916

Post by Wrecking Ball » Wed May 04, 2011 6:34 pm

Great installment but I am left to wonder how long this story can last with so much currently happening. :?
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Re: 1916

Post by FlashDaddy » Wed May 04, 2011 7:01 pm

Awesome!
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Re: 1916

Post by Horatio_Tyllis » Wed May 04, 2011 10:57 pm

Wrecking Ball wrote:Great installment but I am left to wonder how long this story can last with so much currently happening. :?
Good question. But all the best stories always end a little too early. :p
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Re: 1916

Post by Ponyboy314 » Thu May 05, 2011 1:00 am

“The dead governs the living.”
-Auguste Comte





Quickly enough, so many dead had massed at the windows that most of the men began to back away, not believing that they could fire quickly enough to stop them where they were, and as the dead piled up outside, climbing through became that much easier for them, just as it had at Lance Corporal Hatterly’s window. And in any event, the men had stopped focusing on what was in front of them and looked over their shoulders repeatedly, knowing that the dead had already gotten inside and could easily do so again.

As quickly as Colour Sergeant Benning had killed them, another army of dead faces began to look at him from outside the window. He worked the bolt of his rifle and fired, and he was fairly certain that he hadn’t missed a single shot out of the ten in the magazine he quickly expended. But as he reached for the pouches on his ammunition belt, he noticed that many of the pouches were empty. His ammunition was running low. The magazine in his M1911, he already knew, was his last. Without counting, he guessed that he had perhaps twenty rounds left, enough for two reloads.

And as the men around the church kept firing and reloading, it turned out to be a familiar story. The men had taken down many Germans in their trenches and fought their way all the way to within a couple of miles of De la Croix, and of course, there had been no chance of resupply. There had been so many Germans in the trenches and beyond, and so many dead in De la Croix, that their ammunition had been expended at an alarming rate. And the rest of the Patricias had still not come. The ammunition on their person was all they had. So far, not one of the dead Germans had had the decency to sling his Mauser across his back before the walking dead brought them down.

Ammunition was running out, but B Company was not running out of the dead.

Lieutenant Crawford himself ran to one of the windows, where Corporal Wynn and Private Leech were fighting furiously to keep the dead out. Leech appeared to have already run out of ammunition and was thrusting his bayonet like a wild man, while Wynn was aiming and firing quickly, though still measuring each round expended. Crawford, Webley in hand, pulled Private Leech back and almost placed the barrel of his revolver against the head of a corpse, this one of a large man of middling age (Crawford let it enter his mind that this might have been the blacksmith) and exploded his brains all over the walking dead behind him.

“Private Leech, go find Lawrence’s body and grab what ammunition he had! Divide it and pass it around so that everyone can get at least a little more! Now go! I’ll man this position!”

But Lieutenant John Crawford wasn’t in much better shape than anyone else in his company. He was at least able to calculate how many rounds for his revolver he still had, but it was no more than a dozen and a half. He had seen more dead than that trying to get into a single window. It seemed almost like a wave of corpses outside his window at that moment, and knew that his remaining ammunition, and most likely that of Corporal Wynn as well, would not reduce their numbers by nearly enough.

They were hopelessly outnumbered, surrounded, and running out of ammunition, and for some of them, it was already down to bayonets and rifle butts. Soon, it might be down to bare hands and raw nerve.

Yet, B Company fought on, against this enemy that should not have existed.

Crawford yelled, “Wynn? Corporal! Fire until your ammunition is gone! Then use your bayonet! Fight with your fists if it comes to that! But keep fighting! You hear me? Keep fighting! Stop them at the window before it’s too late!”

Corporal Wynn, however, did stop fighting. He simply opened his hands and let his rifle fall to the ground.

“It’s already too late, Sir. I saw Green. I’m not going to die like that. I’m not going to get through this just for the Boche to finish me tomorrow. I’m…I have nothing left.”

Corporal Wynn slowly and calmly reached to the rear of his belt and pulled a Luger, the Luger that once belonged to Lieutenant Talhoffer, that stoic and arrogant German officer who lost his entire patrol to the rifles of B Company more than a week before. Wynn fired seven rounds into the dead climbing in the window, dropping four but not caring how many he stopped. He then shoved the barrel under his chin and fired the eighth and final round into his head. He was now past any fear of dying like Private Green.
Last edited by Ponyboy314 on Thu May 05, 2011 5:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1916

Post by Ponyboy314 » Thu May 05, 2011 4:34 am

“Words do not pay for my dead people.”
-Chief Joseph





Lieutenant John Crawford, doing a fair job remaining in control after witnessing the example of Colour Sergeant Benning, now came dangerously close to breaking, as he saw Corporal Wynn’s body crumple to the floor, seeing for himself how terribly this nightmare could test the nerves of even the toughest troops. He picked up the empty Luger and in a rage, threw it at the window, where it bounced off the forehead of a stumbling corpse as it climbed through. On the verge of crying, Crawford raised his revolver and shot it. It had gotten through to the point where it fell inside the church. Others came after, relentlessly trying to force their way in, fearing neither bullets nor bayonets.

As Lieutenant Crawford heard the click, telling him that this weapon was empty, his shaking hands tried to reload, but he found himself dropping his rounds while his feet seemed rooted to the floor, horrified by the spectacle that was now climbing into the church and towards him, their growls reminding him of the sounds made by terrified wolves as they found themselves threatened. He just kept reaching for his pouch and dropping his ammunition, and within a few seconds, he had loaded three rounds while five lay at his feet.

Crawford watched as the nearest one approached to within five feet of his throat, yet he still couldn’t move. Wynn was dead on the ground next to him, Lawrence was also dead and had taken O’Quinn with him. Dunbar was outside probably reduced to bones and a shredded uniform. Green was dead and had forced his own terrible fate upon Vernon, and Crawford had not even seen what had happened to Private Rowe. His men were almost out of ammunition and some already were, and they held on, fighting with blades and rifle butts. They were all doomed and their commander knew it. Dying in an ancient church in a tiny French village, literally at the hands of something spewed forth from the mouth of hell itself. This was no way to die. This was no enemy to fight. Corporal Wynn had taken the easy way out of this hell and perhaps the smart way. His death was quick and his body would not desecrate the earth by rising again to inflict more death on his comrades.

The dead monster came for him, its arms reaching out for his neck. It was another German, and his insignia clearly identified him as a major. His holster was empty, perhaps used to the bitter end before his arms and neck were chewed apart by the one that took him. Crawford almost felt relieved that soon, he wouldn’t have to fight anymore against this horror, and that some dutiful member of B Company would see to it that his body remained stilled next to the corpse of Corporal Wynn. At least if he died in this church and lay here forever, he would fulfill the duties of an officer and stay with his men.

But the German major was suddenly thrown back against the window, and Crawford could barely see Sergeant Bower, rushing forward and stabbing the beast through the nose with his bayonet. He then turned to another, which had almost taken hold of him, and smashed its face with his rifle butt. This one was another Frenchman, a young one, who tried to get back on his feet, but Bower was on him, and he crushed the thing’s skull with his rifle time and time again before the head finally came apart like an egg thrown against a wall. That terrible spectacle jolted Crawford back to his job.

Sergeant Bower then turned to Crawford and yanked his revolver out of his hand before he scooped the loose rounds from the ground and quickly reloaded it. He then slapped in back in Crawford’s hand.

“Sir, more are coming! Just aim and shoot, Sir! Just like you told us!” Bower then fished a few clips of ammunition from Corporal Wynn’s belt. Apart from the two rounds left in his rifle, Wynn had been down to only fifteen rounds when he escaped this terror by rushing to the only truly safe place.

Sergeant Bower then stood with Lieutenant Crawford, and within a few seconds, no more dead eyes appeared in the dark of night at their window. But Bower had used all the rounds taken from Wynn, and Crawford had used most of his own rounds. Bower was out of ammunition. It was, for him, down to bayonets and nerve.

Colour Sergeant Benning still moved from window to window, screaming at the men to do their best for each other, and as he moved, he smashed one head in after another, moving with the calm of a veteran who has passed the point of caring about his life. His rifle was now empty and his M1911 now had a single round left in the chamber, which Benning silently promised would be for him if the worst happened and the church was breached to the point where the defenders were doomed.

And some were indeed doomed. A large group had collected at the window manned by Corporal Hook and Private Shaw, both of whom had exhausted their ammunition. Several fell back through the window, their skulls cracked open or their brains skewered, but as Private Shaw tried to bayonet another, several rotted arms reached through the window and took hold of him, biting off several of his fingers. Shaw screamed and fell to the ground, holding his bleeding hand. Hook tried to help him back up, but one of the dead got through the window, forcing Hook to beat it down until its skull virtually disintegrated.

“Shaw…Shaw, look at me! What do you want me to do? Tell me? We know what’s next…what do you want me to do?”

“Hook, please…I don’t want to be…”

That was as far as he got. With no warning, Corporal Hook thrust his bayonet through the throat of Private Shaw, whose mouth leaked blood before he crumpled. Hook then broke his skull with his rifle. Shaw was safe now.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: 1916

Post by Wrecking Ball » Thu May 05, 2011 7:13 pm

So freaking epic. I love it!
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Re: 1916

Post by Ponyboy314 » Fri May 06, 2011 5:03 am

“Death doesn’t affect the living because it has not happened yet. Death doesn’t concern the dead because they have ceased to exist.”
-W. Somerset Maugham





Corporal Hook dropped to his knees after he was forced to kill his friend, and the fact that he knew the alternative did not make his anguish easier to bear. Tears rolled down his sweat-coated cheeks as he whimpered like a child having a nightmare, perhaps because that was precisely how he felt at that moment.

Hook saw out of the corner of his eye that a few more had gathered at the window and were trying to climb through, and he shuddered to hear their low growls and see their dead, veiny faces coming for him. He knew what Corporal Wynn had done and felt as though Wynn, the moment he pulled the trigger on the Luger under his chin, had become the only smart man in the company. But Hook, though he contemplated it for a second, could not bring himself to remove his bayonet and draw it across his throat. He simply stood back up, feeling defeated, and walked to the window with no real sense of urgency. He smashed the skull of the first and felt nothing as he watched it crumple back to the earth where it belonged. Another forced its head through the window, and Hook swung his rifle with such force that its entire lower jaw came off and fell inside the church under the window. He then followed it with a swing to the skull, which glanced off, but the next cracked its head open, its brains leaking down the side of its head. Before he could ready himself again, one reached in and took hold of his rifle, and Hook could not pull it free. He let it go and picked up Private Shaw’s rifle, which he quickly used, hitting with enough force that the dead thing fell back into the night, still holding Hook’s rifle in its rotted hands.

Three now came, and six arms reached in for him, but panic nearly took him as he simply broke their arms with his rifle butt rather than strike their heads. One was a teenage girl, or so it looked to him, though it was hard to tell, as her scalp had been completely removed and the right side of her face had been chewed off. He swore that he could still see her agony in her dead face.

Hook began to cry again. Somehow, he imagined that the poor mademoiselle had been beautiful in life.

“I’m sorry young lady,” he cried out. “I’m so sorry that we didn’t get here in time to keep this from happening to you.” He thrust his bayonet, or rather Shaw’s bayonet, upwards through her nose. Her terrible face, which Hook knew that he would see in his nightmares for however much longer he was alive, froze as she stopped moving. The one next to her, still trying to reach with two shattered arms, was a young man, who had been perhaps her age. As he bayoneted it in the eye, sending it down, he could not help wondering how well the two had been acquainted. Perhaps they would have been married in a few more years.

And then came the third. This one was no local, but a German. It had clearly been a rank-and-file infantryman, not much older than the two French monsters Hook had just killed. The dead German private’s head leaned noticeably to one side. It no longer had enough neck muscles to keep its head upright. Hook’s rage now came out in all of its terribly glory.

Corporal Hook repeatedly swung his rifle at its face, knocknig out its teeth and pieces of its jaws with every swing. “You bastard! You murderous Boche bastard! What am I doing here? Why the hell am I in this God-forsaken pit? Damn you! Damn you all to hell! Go back to hell you Hun son of a whore!” Hook did not stop swinging his rifle until the butt cracked, sending splinters all over him and the German corpse. By then, there was barely anything left of that rotted head to strike.

Corporal Hook fell to the ground again crying so hard that his stomach felt as though he had taken a mule kick to it. He was fortunate though, fortunate that no more hell-sent creatures appeared at his window. Hook was no longer in any condition to fight them. He had nothing left.

Lance Corporal Hatterly fired his last round of ammunition into the face of a dead Frenchman, then bayoneted the next, another local. Both fell outside the window, only for another, this one an old woman, appeared with her white eyes and grayed face out of the night, growling like an animal, its image instantly burned into Hatterly’s memory, for however much longer he would live. Hatterly thought at that moment that when sinners die, this had to be the first thing they saw upon their arrival in hell. That thought vanished quickly as his bayonet tore through its face. At Hatterly’s feet, next to two dead creatures that had gotten in before he killed them, Private Hackman was curled almost into a ball, wailing into his arms. He had come through the worst that war could offer, but it had taken this dead town and a siege by monsters at the door to finally break him.

Lance Corporal Hatterly had no time for pondering the state of Hackman’s mind. He looked through the window into the almost satin black darkness, shaking as he readied himself for the next demon that came for his flesh.

But it did not come.
Last edited by Ponyboy314 on Fri May 06, 2011 6:01 am, edited 2 times in total.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: 1916

Post by Ponyboy314 » Fri May 06, 2011 5:53 am

“I looked below and saw my people there, and all were well and happy except one, and he was lying like the dead, and that one was myself.”
-Black Elk





Private Horace Keane, rightly considered the most perceptive man in the company, who, it was said could almost smell the Huns in the night when their patrols came close, stood fully erect, empty rifle in his unshaking hands, staring with almost lifeless eyes into the dark outside. Beyond the window, more dead than he could dare to count were piled into a mass of gray flesh, while inside, at least half a dozen lay with their skulls crushed into dust and bone fragments. For all his time in the trenches and all of the men he had seen die or had killed himself, he had never known such a horror as this. He had seen men without their heads slumped to the ground, men without arms staggering around screaming for their parents before they died, and some men who lay on the ground literally holding their own mangled guts, innocently telling their comrades that they felt a minor stomach ache coming on. He had seen terrible things that were beyond what any person could be expected to endure, but he had never known the truest terror until he stood, peering into the pitch blackness of the longest night he would ever experience.

His eyes and ears told him that nothing else lay beyond that window that would trouble him that night, but his mind and heart told him that he had just experienced a taste of the lowest levels of hell, and he was terrified for it.

Lieutenant John Crawford, officer commanding of B Company, moved now from window to window, in a state of near-delirium, aiming an empty Webley revolver at the dark, his face a mask of madness. He could barely breathe and the ability to think with clarity was virtually gone. His movements were almost like that of a machine.

Colour Sergeant Benning, almost at the point of falling down from exhaustion, gingerly took Crawford’s arm and led him to a back room of the church near the rectory. Crawford did not seem to know where he was or even that Benning was in the room with him.

“Lieutenant? Sir?”

Lieutenant Crawford replied with a blank face and a childlike voice. “Father?”

“No Sir, I’m not your father. Do you know where you are?”

“I don’t think so. Where am I?”

“You’re the officer commanding of B Company, First Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. It’s the pre-dawn hours of July 3rd, 1916. Your name is John Crawford, your rank is first lieutenant, and you’ve had a hell of a night, Sir.”

Crawford’s face lost its covering of shock and madness he came back to his senses as though he had taken a strong slap to the face. He looked into the eyes of Colour Sergeant Benning.

“Benning?”

“Yes Sir, it’s me.”

“Did…did all of that really happen? You didn’t just wake me up from a dream, did you? I mean…”

“It all really happened, Sir. Everything you think happened did. But no more are coming Sir, at least not at the moment. There were a hell of a lot. We really gave it to them, but they gave us some back.”

“Is it over?”

“I don’t know, Sir. But if nothing else, we seem to have a moment to catch our breath. But the men are barely standing, Sir. We’ve lost too many men in this place, we’re out of ammunition, and every window in the place is shattered and piled high with…those things out there, Sir. We’re not hanging on by much, but we’re hanging on.”

“So Colour Sergeant, what do we do now?”

“The same thing we always do. Go take control of your company and remind them who’s in command. And I’ll be the dutiful soldier I am and let you think it’s you, even though you know who really runs B Company.”

Lieutenant Crawford allowed himself a chuckle. He patted Benning on the shoulder and began to leave the room. He looked over his shoulder with the barest hint of a smile.

“Thank you, George.”
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: 1916

Post by Wrecking Ball » Fri May 06, 2011 1:59 pm

I'm in love with Colour Sergeant Benning in the most normal way possible. :D He is such a boss.

Another great installment. I'm hoping they get wise and try to head back to their line.
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Re: 1916

Post by Mr. E. Monkey » Fri May 06, 2011 4:30 pm

Ponyboy314 wrote:“So Colour Sergeant, what do we do now?”

“The same thing we always do. Go take control of your company and remind them who’s in command. And I’ll be the dutiful soldier I am and let you think it’s you, even though you know who really runs B Company.”

Lieutenant Crawford allowed himself a chuckle. He patted Benning on the shoulder and began to leave the room. He looked over his shoulder with the barest hint of a smile.

“Thank you, George.”
So very, very true. :lol:

Amazingly good story, Ponyboy.
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Re: 1916

Post by Ponyboy314 » Sat May 07, 2011 4:10 am

“I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead; I lift my eyes and all is born again.”
-Sylvia Plath





Lieutenant Crawford’s nerve endings seemed to be on fire as he walked back out into the main area of the church, where he saw the remains of his shattered company. His men were peering out the windows, perhaps waiting for monsters to come, perhaps not waiting for anything at all. At least some were in a clear state of shock, just as Crawford himself had been just a couple of minutes earlier.

“B Company! Back away from the windows. Form up in the center of the room, facing outwards! Call them out if you see them! I want an ammunition check, and…”

Sergeant Bower interrupted, “Already done, Sir. Not a single round of ammo in this whole damned church. We’ve fired it all, Sir. Every man in here is down to his bayonet or his bare knuckles.”

“Damn,” was Crawford’s reply. “Still, we keep watch. We still take them down if they come. We just have to hold out until dawn. We just have to hold out until we have light outside, when we can see them if more of them come. Dawn will be soon, men. Just…just keep it together a little while longer.”

“Then what, Sir?” Corporal Hook asked. The shock on his face had not yet vanished.

“We get out of here. If we don’t see any more of them, we fall back to the trees. We can’t stay here anymore. This was the only defensible building, and we have defended it, but it’s been breached. We fall back and keep a way open to get back to the others. If the rest of the regiment isn’t here by dawn, we fall back, collect the rest of our guys and the ones from A Company, and we just keep going until we reach our own lines. We did our job. We held this town even though something worse than the Boche was out there, but we were supposed to hold it and deny the Boche the use of the roads. But there aren’t enough of us. If the regiment isn’t coming, we no longer have a reason to be here. Just stay alert until dawn. Then, we go back, back to our own lines.”

Colour Sergeant Benning came out then, wiping a considerable amount of sweat from his brow.

“And what will we do then, Sir? How the hell do we explain all this? What do we tell them when they ask what the hell happened in this place?”

“Simple, Colour Sergeant,” Crawford replied. “We just tell them that we engaged the Germans in this place and held out as long as we could, but we couldn’t hold it without the rest of the regiment. Tell them we took casualties and just couldn’t hang on. In all fairness to ourselves, we’ve already done better than any other company in the whole division. No one has any right to expect us to stay here and die when no one else even made it this far, especially if they have no idea what the hell was out there. We take our dead with us if we can, but we never, ever report what really happened here. If we do, they’ll probably court-martial all of us. They’ll say we all went crazy, or made up some story to get out of this war or something. If I were them, that’s what I would think.”

“And if the regiment does get here by then?” It was Sergeant Bower who asked.

“I don’t know. I don’t know how to explain this. We still can’t tell them the truth. They would never believe it. Even if someone out there did believe us, I don’t think it really matters. Whatever happens, the world can’t know what happened in this place. They can’t know that…something like this can happen.”

Once again, Colour Sergeant Benning showed himself to be the one who saw the angles that Crawford did not.

“But Sir, someone’s going to want to know how this whole town got wiped out. No matter what, someone’s going to find out that this town is gone. We need to know what we’re saying. When the Frenchies find out, they’ll start demanding answers, and we’re the only ones they’ll be able to ask. This…this place, what happened here could change everything, Sir.”

“When they ask then, we say that we found the locals already dead. We actually did find some of them dead when we got here. We say that they were as they lay now, and that while we were occupying this place, the Huns attacked us, tried to force us out. There are plenty of dead Huns lying around. We move the bodies into the street. We leave the Frenchies as they are. We take our own dead with us. We say they attacked at night and forced us back to the trees.”

“Think they’ll believe that, Sir?” Lance Corporal Devereaux asked.

“They might. We tell them that, and I think it’s safe to say that everyone will think that the Huns just went and murdered the locals. I doubt that they’ll start an investigation or anything. Once they have reason to believe that the Huns killed everyone, they’ll probably just accept it at face value. They’ll have another incident to use against the Huns in the newspapers. You know that they won’t pass up a chance to condemn the Boche to the whole world.”

“So that’s it then, Sir?” Benning asked. “We know what we’re doing now?”

“Yes. This is as close to a plan as we’re going to get. All that remains now is to wait until morning, and see if the regiment gets here or if we fall back. Either way, I don’t think any of us want to be in this place any longer, and we will be leaving it soon, I promise that. But all I need is for you all to stay with me in this place until dawn. That’s all I ask. Just stay with me until we have light. I’m not giving you an order as your company commander, I’m asking you to give me just a few more hours as someone who defended this place along with you, and didn’t ask anyone to take any risks that he didn’t take himself. That’s all I can ask.”

Lieutenant Crawford looked around at the dimly-lit faces of the survivors of this terrible place that had taken seven of his men, killing them with less thought and less mercy than the Germans ever had. He could easily read in their eyes that despite their desire to get out of this place, or perhaps to just pass out and sleep the rest of the night away, no one was walking away or even closing their eyes for a second if Lieutenant John Crawford didn’t get to walk away or close his own eyes with them.
Last edited by Ponyboy314 on Sat May 07, 2011 4:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"If you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and there's a straw, there it is, that's a straw...and my straw reaches...acrosssssssss the room, and begins to drink your milkshake. I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE! SLURRRP! I DRINK IT UP!

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Re: 1916

Post by kcor_77 » Sat May 07, 2011 11:39 am

Great work and now I need me some MOAR.
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