So my grand father recently died, not unexpectedly might I add, at 81 he had a good run. Anyway my mum and I had to go to his house and grab anything we wanted to keep before the cleaning crew came in to clear it out. During the process of searching through his bedroom I came across his box of military stuff, most of which belonged to his father, my great grand father, who had died in the second world war.
I had fond memories of this box, my granddad would tell me stories about the photos and letters inside, how much was truth I can’t say because he wasn’t in the war, nevertheless it keep me entertained as a young kid. As I begin to look through the box the memories came flooding back, every letter and trinket reminding me of his story, until I came to one letter. Post marked Oct 1944, it appeared to be another letter from my Great grand father to a man named David who I believe my have been his brother, but unlike the other letters describing the war and conditions, this was different. As I read it I realised my granddad had never shown me this letter, I’m still unsure what to make of it. The letter is as follows:
It’s been almost 3 weeks since my two friends Howard and Johnson went missing, and I can’t keep this to myself any longer. Someone needs to know the details in case something happens to me.
Normally I would just blame the krauts, as they are the cause of most of my missing soldiers, however this is different…
It started around a month ago, when my men started reporting finding these black leather bound diaries while out on patrol. Of course as we are occupying a town it’s not uncommon finding things like these around, however these diaries were odd. The diaries contained names of my soldiers scrawled on the inside cover, no other writing just the name, and then after a certain date the pages seemed to have been ripped out. Putting it down to the enemy playing mind games I ignored the reports, thinking that maybe they were just writing common names in them to unnerve us. I remember hearing from HQ they had used mind games before, like hiding soldiers helmets and pieces of glass to reflect light in windows and woods to look like snipers.
However, what set these diaries apart was that over the next few days, they started to appear around the city, now I know my lookouts are tired and sometimes half-drunk, but surely even they would notice someone getting that close! The other thing is… no matter how many of these things we collected, burnt, destroyed, they would appear back the next morning.
I don’t know who put them there or with what intention, but there they were and they were having an effect on some of my troops. Many, including my friend Captain Howard, who after finding a diary with his name in it had claimed to hear whispers when no one was around. Howard was also plagued with dreams, where he was lost in a wasteland and a voice on his radio would recite the time and date of his death, over and over, until he would wake in a cold sweat. He never told me the date or time, but on the 22nd of August he went on routine patrol and never returned.
His good friend Captain Johnson who he had known since childhood was naturally distraught. The loss of his friend hit him hard, I had to abandon the search after 5 days and he became very angry. At this point he must have felt the only thing to do was continue the search himself, as he was seen leaving the city the same day with a rifle and standard issue kit.
Three days later around dusk, a lookout spotted a figure walking out of the thick fog that had come down during the day, he had returned, but something was different. His eyes were vacant, he had pale skin, he had none of the kit he left with, apart from the ripped and blood stained fatigues. Who’s blood remained a mystery as he had no visible injuries and wouldn’t speak, he just followed me, like a small child. He refused food and water, I say refused… it was as if it was foreign to him, like he’d forgotten what to do with it. Over the next 24 hours he did strange things, he broke every mirror in medical area he was kept in and drew all the curtains, preferring to sit in the dark, I insisted 2 men watch over him.
A couple of days later, I awoke to one of my men banging on my door around 5am, “Sir, there’s been an incident” he said. I arrived the medical area around 5.15am, a crowd had gathered around the house that was our make shift medical area, all staring at the blood still dipping from blown out main window, I walked inside through the recently broken door. Inside it looked as though someone redecorated using machine guns and body parts, there had been a fight, bullet casings littered the floor, as did the remains of my men. He was nowhere to be found, had he escaped the fight? Was he taken away? All I know for sure is, the day after he disappeared, so did the dairies and the fog…
Then one morning after no patrol finding a diary for just over two weeks, I was presented with one found on patrol that morning. I could tell from the patrol man’s expression before I even opening it and there it was, smeared in black ink on the inside cover… I quickly flicked to the back, the last page was Oct 15th… today is Oct 14th.
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