|Ghosts of War
Author: Nickolaus Pacione PM
Story inspired by James O'Barr. Set during the second world war. A man in uniform is killed by Nazis along with the death of his brother - is brought back to life by a black feathered war buddy. Vengence is brought to the Nazis by the hands of the soRated: Fiction M - English - Supernatural/Horror - Words: 3,933 - Reviews: 7 - Published: 08-21-04 - id: 1699708
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Ghosts of War
Written by Nickolaus A. Pacione
Inspired by James O'Barr
Word Count: (3,388 Words)
1944; European Theatre. Sgt. Howard Pym was approaching the streets of Berlin with his unit when in a shadow of silence was killed in a surprise attack by a unit of Nazi soldiers. No one saw them coming, and his entire unit was killed. In a matter of hours he saw his own fate pass before his eyes until death followed in form of a crow. A pair black eyes looking at him, knowing that his time was not yet. He left behind a wife and two kids; he was 29 years of age. He had a brother in the same company as well but he did not live to see his death as well. The grim reality was that the place he was killed was the cemetery of souls, and where he rested was a bird observing him. A crow. He couldn't say anything, though in his mind he did not feel he was dead but heard the Nazi soldiers talking among themselves.
"Holy shit, looks like we killed some American Soldiers. Made our quota for today," one quipped to the other in his platoon, "though something about this made me seem unwary, someone was looking at us."
"How do you mean," the other responded.
"Because it looks like one of them is looking back at us; true they might be dead but we should remove his eyes for trophies. Take that flag off his person and use it for toilet paper; that would show them not to come into our country. Fuckers," one answered back, "still something doesn't seem right for some reason. Did you hear that? It sounded like a bird and it is just staring at us."
"No you are just seeing things, lets go and bury these soldiers before they start smelling up the place. Grab a few of them and put them in that mass grave. We earned our keep today, take any valuables that they have and we will put them in our trophy room."
Pym's unit were dumped into the graves like they were part of a trash heap, but as Pym laid there in his mind he felt he was still alive; barely breathing. He can see the shadow of a bird looking at him, an outline of the bird. It was a matter of hours before he pulled himself out of the grave, the bullet ridden holes in his chest were still evident of what had happened. He slowly found out that he was dead and brought back, by the powers of a bird looking at him – that bird being the crow. As he walked, he still felt the blood flowing out of his wounds but slowly they began to close and picked up the flag that was desecrated before him. He knew what he had to do, in the name of his brother that he saw murdered in the hands of the Nazis – in his mind and heart, the bloodthirsty bastards are going to pay. As he was walking, he heard the bird cawing and flying closer to him. The bird saw everything that happened, and knew in the time of war there was some things that could not die. In his mind he knew, all the memories he had of his younger brother were the reason why he was brought back. He grabbed the tattered American flag and placed it on his brother's place of burial. "Those Nazi bastards are going to pay for what they have done to my platoon, more for what they did to my brother," he said to the bird, "I think I knew why you came, I know the story of the crow."
The sound of the bombs and guns were flooding the silence while P-51 Mustangs continued to flood the sky with bullets and fire bombs, Sgt. Pym proceeded into the darkness with his new found ally. Still clad in the blood covered uniform, picked up some of the face paint and applied it in the form camouflage. Time did not show the signs, and in a period of war they did not mean anything especially when death was all around. He knew that his family would be awarded a purple heart and already a war hero, but he was going to make sure that his brother did not die in vain. The story of the crow was something he heard while he was in basic training, and a little before his brother entered the Army. His brother was the one that told him the story about how the crow carried the souls to the land of the dead. He thought to himself, I will make sure your death and the death of our entire platoon is not in vain. Slowly he was checking what armory that his platoon had in total, and carefully exhumed the remains of his fallen friends and brother, vengeance was in his eyes and heart when he placed the shovel to the dirt. The bird looked on with a greater purpose cawing with conviction. The ghosts of war have awakened, and for centuries man had fought in wars to keep their existence in tact. This was a war that became more than just a war of countries, Sgt. Pym knew this as he was digging up graves of his unit and found some bullets and a service pistol took about 7 cartridges. Then walked into the chapel near the burial ground to forge a plan to lure out the Nazi troopers that killed his friends and brother. They said when storming the beach that War is Hell, and knew what he was getting into when he enlisted. But in his mind he could see the epitaph of his grave reading; Howard Pym, loving brother, husband, and father –- b. Aug 20, 1914, d. 1944. My brother, Samuel James Pym, b. 1917, d. 1944; year he enlisted in the Army was 1940. I enlisted 1938, about a few years before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. I was a Corperal when it happened stationed at Fort Sheridan, Illinois. I was just finishing up my class work for the rank I am at now; I knew I was going over to Europe when I got note that FDR made the Day of Infamy speech when they sank the Arizona. There were about 20 in my unit, we parachuted into Berlin while the rest were storming Normandy. No one knows the true horrors of war unless they hear the sound of bullets as they impale the flesh, no one can feel it until they hit bone.
"Before we go get the Nazi bastards, we have to come up with plan to single them out," Pym said to his black feathered ally, the bird was holding a grenade in its claws. The cawing was its way of responding to what Pym was saying, almost as it understood every word. "This will due, a bayonet and the Nazi's own rifle. For all those people they killed in the concentration camps, I will make sure they are not going to be killed in vain. Their deaths will be avenged. I found an American flag on my brother as they buried him, the sick bastards mutilated his face and kept his bones as some macabre trophies. I am not sure how long have you lived for, but my brother had known of the folklore that goes behind the crow. Talking the souls to the land of the dead, but I know the reason you are here comes at when a person dies in a way that was unjust. Reasons that were inhuman, I felt you watching me as I couldn't see the rest of those animals shoot the rest of my platoon. I am a soldier in life and a soldier in death, I got a country to serve even though the news of my death hadn't reached back to the states."
He found a Jeep that was abandoned and used that to drive into one of the bases the Nazis used as camp, being that it turned out an abandoned death camp. The bird flown close behind him, and as he parked it landed on his shoulder. It was cawing without end. "I know, go fly into the stronghold and do some recon. I will follow close behind. I am not just doing this for my brother, but I am doing this for every life that the Nazi bastards taken during this war. I am gunning for every animal with that Nazi symbol on their arm. I need something to light on fire to catch the attention of these fucking assholes."
"Nice, this will due – found one of their Jeeps. I am going to use some of the rags torn from the uniforms of the dead to ignite their gas tank. Here goes nothing," Sgt. Pym muttered to himself. In the background he heard the cawing of the crow. "I was trained to kill in life, now I get to put what I learned in basic training to the test on seeing if I can exact some vengeance. Samuel, I know you are with me as well as our fallen friends when I do this. Let's see if the bastards can see this." The sound of Mustangs were overhead dropping bombs miles around, the soldier ignited the gas tank and took cover the explosion caught the attention of one of the Nazis, "What the fuck is going on? Could that be the British commandos trying to organized an escape, better kill some of them to make sure that the others remained." He muttered some more vulgarities in German before he saw a bird staring back at him, greeting him with an ominous cawing. Sarge had a sheepish grin on his face while he executed a hard punch in the Nazi soldier's face, hard enough to break a few bones. The soldier looked with some horror to his face, "what the hell, I remember you. We killed your entire unit and you, I took great pleasure in killing your brother." That soldier continued to spit out blood from that bone shattering punch, then thrown a few punches of his own before Sarge caught the hand of the soldier and busted it in half with his elbow. While locking up his arm, he looked into the face of the Nazi, "Remember me now you Nazi fuck? The look on your face is the same look my younger brother had before you killed him. How does it feel to have pain and fear in your eyes, the plea for their life. I am going to make you plea for your death."
"Fucker, that was my arm. I am going to enjoy killing you again!" Responded the Nazi, "Hilter would pay to see a few heads of Americans."
"Oh really, you son of a bitch," Sarge Pym responded, still having an arm lock on the soldier. Grabbing him by the head and ramming it into the jeep he set on fire. While ramming the soldiers head into the hood of the jeep, he started to rant, "two days ago you killed my entire platoon one being my best friend, and the other being my younger brother. This is for my brother." With a dark look in his eyes, he impales the Nazi with the bayonet and sets him on fire. "Tell me something, Kraut, how does it feel to be burning in hell? The reason I ask because I am taking you to the gates of hell by my hand, for all those people that Hilter eliminated for who they are. Taking your life saves a couple hundred of theirs. You cannot kill that is already dead, but when you see the Crow arrived at the grave that was taken from their loved one or family –– a soul is at unrest, and this is why I must come for you and your entire platoon."
As the body of the Nazi burned, the ominous cawing proceeded to get louder. Sgt. Pym was the bringer of the damnation's hand to those who killed the innocent. "One for my country, the United States is gunning for every single one of you mother fuckers." Time of death with the first Nazi soldier, midnight. "I caught the name on the sad bastard's uniform, too hard to pronounce but a good Nazi is a dead one. Better take that SS off his collar, could use that for a trophy but decided to leave that on."
An hour had passed since the first soldier was killed, and the one that was supposed to relieve his watch started to take duty. A high ranking officer, possibly a commander because he was wondering what happened to the one that was supposed to be standing watch. He was armed with a Luger pistol, and wondering what was going on. Thought nothing at the dark bird staring back at him from the shadows. Nothing until he found a piss soaked flag, the same flag that they desecrated after killing an American platoon. The officer muttered in an incoherent German, but seems to be universal in the expression on his face. He's dead but doesn't even know yet that he is going to die. The look on his face was that of nervousness and paranoia, the question of where it came from. The smell of the urine was what brought him to the day that he was within his platoon killing an American patrol, but he was thinking that someone was just playing a prank on him. He realized it wasn't a prank when he felt the eyes of the crow looking at him, they appeared without a soul while the figure stepped out of the shadows grabbing him by his neck. "Remember me, because I sure the hell remember you, let me tell you a story. Last night you put my platoon into the grave and saved my brother as the last person you killed before you killed me. You see your friend over there, he is burning in hell because of what he did. I saw you in with that party who ambushed my platoon. Now let me show you why I am here, you see this grenade? Pay close attention, the pin is pulled and has a blade attached to it." The officer looked on in horror, "you ignored the plea for life that my brother, Samuel, had before you killed him. I am going to make you plea for yours but really all you are doing is giving a plea for your death ."
In a split moment, the grenade was impaled into the chest of the officer and Pym walked away. The bird flown into the flames without a singe of its feathers, cawing and rejoining its human ally. They left behind a path of blood and flames, what the Nazis did was resurrected the ghosts of war and one of the four horsemen came to bring their hands of death. The anger of Justice was looking in the eyes of two lifeless bodies that took the life of family and former comrades, knowing he had a mission to do and one that was greater than the one that he was on with the platoon. Over head more bombs were hitting the ground, and they left a trail of fire behind. Within the wall of flames even in the eyes of vengeance, the soul can carry the appearance of iced during the time of war. War is hell, and one is walking within the flames of it. Walking into the flames with a shower of bullets coming from his rifle, and each bullet hitting its mark. Impaling meat with each hit and shrapnel from the bombs ripping away at the flesh of the Nazi guards. The soldiers from the Nazi Party were thinking, "what the hell is going on; and why the hell they cannot defend against this surprise attack?"
"What is going on?" One solder asked with an alarm to his voice.
"I don't know, looks like we are under a surprise attack from the Americans. I heard the thunder of P-51 Mustangs, and that is an unpleasant sound. Did you hear that? It sounded like a bird, like a cawing. I am not able to see it but as loud as it is, it sounded close. Who the fuck is that coming into our direction, but I don't want to stick around to find out."
"Do you realize that you are both dead and you don't even know it yet?" Sgt. Pym responded to them with a dark tone to his voice, throwing a knife at the one in the throat with a grenade attached to it and bayoneting the other. They had no idea that the person who took their lives was a wraith, they tried to hit him with everything they got as far as the bullets they have but he continued to keep attacking them. The glassy look in their eyes was that they cannot begin to comprehend because what they were dealing with was not of the living world. Leaving a path of blood and fire as Pym proceeded past the wall of flames.
"Commander what the hell is going on?" One had asked their commanding officer, seemed as a little worried. "Should we call the higher command requesting our surrender?"
"No we must keep fighting these red, white and blues. Man the guns, aim to shoot down the P-51s. They have a weakness but we cannot seem to find it. What the hell is that – or the question should be, who the hell is that? Soldier, speak to me. Shit. What the fuck hit him with the bullet, who the fuck is out there walking into our base?" The commander responds, hearing a bird cawing and staring at him without a soul. The bullets rattling at a lightening pace, each one hitting their mark on the bunker. The pace of the bullets hitting the bunker, each bullet impaling meat of the corpse that was just killed. Each shot killing their targets, and blowing up everything around them. They've awakened the ghosts of war, and the sky was raining blood. The horror is in their eyes when they see a blood soaked American flag standing before them, and the figure jumping in the bunker had vengeance in his eyes. The head commander was still standing, staring with a fear that he could not begin to fathom of why the person was able to take so much punishment and still be alive. The SS officer was looking on in an absolute horror when the crow stared at him, and the American wraith grabbed him by his throat. The wraith growled, "How does it look to you to be staring into the eyes of demise? Do you see what is going on in the sky to your precious soldiers. You see the stygian skies, that is your graveyard."
The SS commander spoke with a broken English, and spit in the wraith's face. "Surrender or meet your men in the gates of hell," hissed Pym, "I could kill you myself or let the rest of Europe put you on trial for war crimes."
"Fuck you," the commander responded with a fast punch to the face and pulls out his Luger pistol. Shoots Sgt. Pym twice but to his horror stands there laughing, Pym hissed, "Pain is my power, each bullet you hit me with. I will get stronger." The crow cawing in the background, and each punch delivered by Pym broke bones with each impact to the SS commander. The commander tried to wrestle him to the ground, but Pym overpowered him and snapped his neck. "Rot in hell. I just gave you the faster way to go down there," Sgt. Pym responded. As the saying goes, "Kill them all, and let God sort them out." The rest of Hilter's SS solders surrendered to the Allied forces. They had no choice since their commander was killed.
Pym returned to the place where he was killed; his brother –- Samuel, and the rest of the platoon returned. They were greeted by the crow, "Mission accomplished. Your deaths have been avenged." Where they disappeared into the darkness, one can see the crossed rifles as a memorial of the place they were murdered.