Behind me, in the darkness, the phones were ringing. Behind me, four men and a woman were standing. Above me, boots slammed onto the floor, and a scream roared down the hallway.
“Fuck this,” I snarled, spinning around. I began grabbing phones and yanking them from the wall plugs. Fuck whoever was calling, I didn’t feel like talking on the phone.
The lights buzzed on, slowly, and the crashing stopped, before I had even yanked the third one free. I kept going though, I wanted this shit over. Cobb’s nose was bleeding again, and if those dead Nazi’s smelled it, they’d be on us like a hooker on a cock wrapped with $50′s.
“Everyone into the dayroom. Private Monkey, secure all the doors,” Captain Bishop ordered. Everyone rushed past as I picked up the keyring. I picked the cigarette off the ground from where I’d dropped it. I didn’t smoke, I just felt more comfortable with it in my hand.
By the time I was done locking the hallway doors, it was only Captain Bishop and myself in the room. As I passed him, he handed me the .45.
“Just in case, son,” he told me. I nodded, and pushed through the first set of doors to outside. Outside, I could see the bare streets, with snow pulled off the banks being blown by the wind sparkling in the lights at the end of the short brick walk that led from the road to the front doors. I locked the doors, and stared for a moment at the slope of the hill across from us. The LT’s car was still parked out there. I wondered if he was inside of it, coated in ice, or maybe sharing a smoke with Tandy. At the top of the hill was a fence, with concertina wire on top. I couldn’t make out the guard towers but knew they were up there.
I could see the two CUC-V’s, and the five-ton.
Still, I locked the doors. To the left, one time. They’d open with a push against the bar, but not from the outside. I backed up and pulled open the door, never taking my eyes from the glass doors. Now was when the body came flying through the glass, and we were already down a man, already there was somebody missing that could be slung through the glass at me.
I backed into the CQ area and locked the inner doors. I could still see outside, and still see the missing LT’s car. He was in there, listening to Duran Duran, smoking a cigarette, and planning on coming in here and ripping my throat out. Then he’d drink my blood. Then he’d gnaw the flesh from my...
I shook my head to clear away those thoughts. Fuck him. I bet I could whip some undead butterbars ass. I was Private Monkey, bad motherfucker. Killing machine. Twisted steel and sex appeal. All the women love a killer.
“You alright, Private?” Captain Bishop asked. He sounded genuinely concerned, so I answered him while I locked the door to the stairwell.
“Dark monkey thoughts,” I told him.
“Yes, sir. My father called my brothers and I his ‘monkey-boys’ out of affection. I’m a good climber,” I told him.
“Oh. I thought you were saying something else,” he admitted.
“We all bleed and die the same, sir,” I answered, letting him know I knew what he meant by those words.
The hallway door locked firmly, the two bathroom doors did not, neither did the empty room that read “REC ROOM” above the door-jam. The boots had stopped stomping, but we were still working by flashlight. I knew there wasn’t breakers tripping, it was fuses, so that meant that the wiring was bad. That was it, just bad wiring. The wind was coming in through the walls, and shifting the wiring. Tandy had gotten drunk, or maybe he was despondent about his spank-sock rejecting, or something, and had gone outside.
“Private Monkey, why is there an SS dagger stuck in your boot?” Captain Bishop asked me.
“We found a bunch of crates, and Sergeant Vickers left me alone in that sub-basement. I’m a soldier, I’m more comfortable with a weapon in my hands,” I shrugged. “You can have it.”
“They are illegal here in Germany. We have to turn Nazi paraphernalia over to our German hosts so they can destroy it,” Captain Bishop looked thoughtful. “How many do you think were down there?”
“Well, sir, the sub-basement extends roughly the length of the building and
* CRASH CRASH CRASH*
“KEEP IT DOWN UP THERE, ASSHOLES!” (that got me a funny look)
“and I’d estimate about a quarter of it is full of crates. Some of them are different sizes, so I doubt they are all knives. There’s also a torn Nazi flag with bullet holes in it,” I finished.
“Let’s go get some shut-eye, son,” Captain Bishop told me. I noticed he didn’t ask for the .45 back, nor did he ask me to give up my knife.
I went in the day room, found my little nest, and closed my eyes. I heard Captain Bishop lock the dayroom door before I fell asleep, but not much else.
Breakfast was lukewarm mermite eggs and kangaroo meat. I kept catching myself doing headcount, and Cobb visibly flinched every time a screamed howled out from the hallway, the stairwell, or from above us.
“Listen up, men,” Captain Bishop ordered. We all paid attention to him while we kept eating. “Sergeant Vickers and SPC Carter will be going into post. We’re going to have MI put a tap on our phones. They will also be bringing back dinner and tomorrow’s meals. Private Cobb will be taking the 5-ton and getting us two light sets, a one-point-five K generator, and some other supplies.”
We all nodded, and he went back to eating.
After breakfast, Sergeant Vickers and SPC Carter left in one of the CUC-V’s, and I sat on the steps on the building, parka cinched tight. I found one of the Malboro’s in my pocket, and lit it up. I didn’t smoke, it just helped warm the air, instead of freezing my lungs.
Captain Bishop was still convinced that there was a logical explanation for all of it, and I desperately wanted to believe him. Unfortunately, I couldn’t come up with one.
Thinking dark thoughts, I finished the cigarette in the sub-zero windy out-doors, flicked it into a snow bank, and figured things could always be worse.
I was right.
After lunch found me using the rope I’d climbed the day before to rappel down into the sub-basement. I had the heavy-duty emergency flashlight out of the five-ton, one of the .45′s, a crowbar, and the knife. I was to use the camo stick to mark the crates I’d opened.
Mann would stick with us with light. Smith would write everything down that we found. Stokes would stay upstairs and scream loudly if anything killed her. Seriously, that’s what she was told to do.
Captain Bishop and two other men were going to do a sweep of the building’s perimeter. Personally, I felt we had a higher chance of survival than they did.
My boots thumped as I hit the icy floor, and I yelled up that I was clear. Moving off slightly, I switched on the light and watched Smith climb down.
“Dammit, I know I’m next,” Smith bitched, moving over to stand next to me.
“Two crackers killed already? I’m so fucking next,” Smith said. The tone was light, but the shadows made his face look serious. Mann was almost down, and when he was, he yelled up to the others that he was down. That meant that Cobb and the others would be setting the light sets up. They were going to lower down some heavy-duty lights as soon as they were set up.
“Ready?” I asked. The other two nodded, and we moved away from the puddle of light and into the darkness.
“Vickers left you alone down here? What an asshole,” Smith said, looking around.
“No choice. I couldn’t get back up,” I answered. The weight of the .45 in my poncho pocket was comfortable. Out in the darkness, we could hear something moving.
“How’re your ribs?” Mann asked.
“Healing,” I answered, taking the tire iron from the 5-ton out of my parka belt and slamming it into the wood of the crate. I pushed hard, and the nails lifted with a scream that echoed. Mann shined in the flashlight.
Inside were flat black cases, and I opened one up to find a pistol and a single magazine nestled in the black felt inside.
“No fucking way,” Mann breathed.
“Pistols. Crate 1,” Smith said. I scrawled a 1 on the lid of the crate, and we moved to the next one.
This was going to take awhile.
We showed the inventory sheet to Captain Bishop. The generator didn’t run worth a shit, it kept cutting out after about an hour, so we’d all just left after we’d been down there for almost four hours.
“Christ, this is enough to arm all of post,”
“It’s graduation, training stocks, sir,” Smith told him.
“What makes you think that?” Captain Bishop asked.
“Well, we found uniforms, untailored, pistols in cases, daggers, blankets, pillows, a couple small boxes containing insignia, you know, stuff you would give graduates?”
“Makes sense,” Captain Bishop answered. He took our inventory sheet and went into the office.
We all separated into little clumps. Stokes regaled us with stories of Fort Lewis, Smith cracked jokes about growing up in the south, Cobb talked about Fort Erwin, Mann talked about where he grew up, and I smoked the cigarette that got passed around. I didn’t smoke, but it was polite.
The doors banged open, heralding the arrival of SFC Vickers and SPC Carter. They were lugging a mermite can each. SFC Vickers glanced around, then snarled: “Well, what the fuck are you assholes sitting around for, go get the goddamn mermites out of the CUC-V.”
“Yes, sergeant,” I answered crisply. The five of us headed out into the biting wind, the ice crystals stinging our flesh. We grabbed the mermite cans and moved as fast as we safely could back to the fucking building. I saw a light come on on the third floor then go out. I caught Smith’s eye, and he nodded. He’d seen it too.
Carter went back outside and returned with a case of beer and a bunch of mess plates. I headed back out and grabbed some mess trays and put a box of silverware on the top them, then headed back. I saw another light flicker on, then off again, but decided to ignore it.
Captain Bishop was serving everyone up, and everyone was heading into the dayroom with their plates. The food wasn’t great, but it was hot, it was filling, and that made it good.
After dinner, Captain Bishop assigned me and Stokes to CQ. Most of the time it took an E-5 to pull CQ duty, but since all he had were a bunch of privates, a couple PFC’s, a handful of specialists or corporals, and SFC Vickers, well, he was kind of screwed.
We sat in silence for a while. I remembered the last time my wife was lying sweaty underneath me. I counted the times the lights flickered. I went over soldier tasks in my head.
I ignored the sound of the boots from overhead. I ignored the flickering of the lights. I even ignored the shrieks and screams.
* ring ring*
“2/19th Special Weapons, Private Monkey, how can I help you, sir or ma’am?” I answered. Stokes was just staring.
I set the receiver down and turned to Stokes.
“Get the Captain.” He’d left strict orders on this. She nodded, stood up stiffly, and limped to the dayroom.
I put the phone to my ear and listened carefully.
“Hello, Sleepy Hollow bed and breakfast,” I said cheerfully.
“Yes, sir, the homosexual room is available.”
“And you want an extra-large used buttplug on your pillow every morning?”
“And you’re going to let me bang your mom and cum on her face?”
Captain Bishop moved up next to me at a near run, grabbed the phone, and started dialing.
“This is Captain Bishop, is this Staff Sergeant Powers? Good. Listen, I need you to trace all the phones on this bank.” He gave me the thumbs up and a smile, but I just nodded back.
Whoever it was, they were still slowly hissing in my ear.
“What? Then check again, goddamn it!” he yelled.
Some more hisses.
OK, at first, this was scary, now it’s just fucking annoying.
“All right, thanks,” he said, and hung up the phone. He took the phone out of my hands, listened for a moment, paled, and slammed down the phone.
“What was that?” Stokes asked. I was looking down the hallway. The shadows were making it look like someone was slowly coming toward us, but I couldn’t see anyone, just a shadow.
“I asked the local MI, who’s in charge of post-OPSEC, to track any activity on our phones,” he explained.
I picked up the receiver and hung it up.
“But when they ran the trace, the only active phone was the one I was on,” he finished.
“Phone number,” I said, turning my attention to him.
“How many people have our phone number, sir? The phones were just turned on, you can’t tell me someone knows our brand new number,” I finished.
The lights shut off, and the emergency lights kicked on, bathing all of us in red light.
“And one other problem,” Stokes said. I could see sweat on her upper lip.
“And it is?” Captain Bishop prompted.
The red emergency lights flickered.
“The reason why they can’t find a line in use.”
The emergency lights in the hallway clicked off one after another behind Captain Bishop.
“Spit it out, soldier.” Captain Bishop looked nervous. He was about to be a lot more nervous, I knew what was coming.
One of the three emergency lights in the CQ area cut out.
“Those calls are coming from inside this building,” she finished.
The rest of the emergency lights went out, and the wind shrieked down the stairwell with a banshee wail.
I started laughing.