I Know Where The Dead Soldiers Go

1945, Okinawa


The man laid in a pool of his own blood. He was bleeding out and if he didn’t get medical attention soon, he would die. The man called out for a medic, but the call was lost in the sounds of warfare. He flinched as he watched a soldier take a bullet through the head. The man remembered that same soldier cracking jokes just two hours ago. Now he was dead. The man shifted and winced in pain as the wound in the left part of his abdomen was disturbed. I should’ve stayed in the trenches, the man thought bitterly as shouts and explosions penetrated the air. The fields of Okinawa was a deadly place at the time and most people out of the trenches were shot to bits shortly after leaving the trenches.

One of his fellow allies finally noticed him. The soldier was hiding behind a barrier made of sandbags. The soldier crawled over on his stomach to avoid being shot to pieces. The soldier that had crawled over to the man was young, too young for a battle like this.

“Are you alright?” The young soldier shouted over the thunderous boom of weapons. The man glared at him. What do you think, the man thought angrily. He knew his time was up. His card was called. Even if a medic were to come, at this point there would be nothing they could do. The young soldier seemed to realize this and fell silent. But he didn’t move. He laid there next to him, his rifle lying unused beside him. The man was annoyed. He wanted to die alone.

“My name is Charlie!” the young soldier shouted. The man just gave the kid a look, one most people would take as a warning. Charlie was not most people. The man glanced at the kid. What was he doing in a war like this? The man glanced at the trenches, which were what he estimated 10 paces. The man finally spoke.

“You need to get to the trenches!” he shouted, then winced in pain. The boy shook his head with a look of terror in his eyes.

“Are you crazy? Those machine guns will tear us to pieces!” Charlie shouted back. The boy was right. Then, the man came up with an idea. He was going to die. But maybe his death could be purposeful. The man told Charlie of his plan. The man was going to crawl a few feet to his left, then stand up and begin firing upon where he saw the machine guns firing. The boy would run towards the trench as if his life depended on it, which it did, and dive in. Hopefully, the machine guns would focus their fire towards the man and Charlie would live to fight another day. The boy didn’t approve of the plan but he didn’t refuse.

The man began to crawl painfully a few feet away, leaving behind a trail of blood. His wound screamed in protest, but the man continued his crawl. He couldn’t hear the sounds of warfare anymore. It must be close to his time. The man used every ounce of strength he had left and pushed himself up. He pulled his side arm and prepared to open fire. But that was not what happened. The man froze. The once active battlefield was now empty. There were no bodies. The man looked over at Charlie, but found that the boy was gone. The man slowly surveyed his surroundings. He noticed that his wound had stopped bleeding and did not hurt anymore. Was he dead? Was this what the afterlife was like? Was he to roam the empty battlefield for eternity?

The man’s thoughts were interrupted by a scream that came from right behind him. The man jogged towards the sound. It came from the trenches. The man looked into the trenches and let out a scream. The trenches were filled with bodies of soldiers. Japanese and American soldiers. They all had war wounds of some sort. They should have been dead… but they weren’t. That wasn’t what made the man scream. The inside of the trench was made out of a flesh-like substance. The soldiers in the trench were connected to it. They were being fused to the flesh. One soldier had his upper half of his body sticking out of the flesh stuff. He would occasionally twitch. Most of the soldiers were silent though. Some of them reached their arms out to the man as if they wanted to pull him in or have him pull them out but did not make a sound otherwise. So where had that scream come from?

The man followed the trench until he found what had screamed. The man did not think that this nightmare could get worse, but it somehow did. He stopped when he saw the sight before him. He did not dare move, too afraid to call attention to himself. Before him stood a creature so tall that its head could be visible above the trench. The creature took the form of a human skeleton. Its head was a grinning skull with dark pits for eyes. It had four skeletal limbs, two protruding from either side of it. In one of the skeletal hands held a soldier and another held a large scythe. The man recognized the screaming soldier. It was Charlie.

The creature seemed to grin at the struggling Charlie in its grasp. The man saw that Charlie had a bullet wound in the back of his head. Charlie never made it, after all. Which led to the second realization. This is the afterlife. Charlie noticed the man at the end of the trench. His eyes pleaded with the man to do something. The creature followed the man’s gaze. It’s skull-like head grinned at him. The creature didn’t take it’s gaze off of the man as it shoved Charlie into the wall of flesh. The flesh immediately melded with the soldier’s skin. Charlie screams were cut off as his head was sucked into the wall of flesh and soon, his entire body disappeared. The creature turned its body to the man. The man found that he couldn’t move under its gaze. The thing reached out with one of its long limbs and snatched the man from where he stood.

The man was grabbed by his neck by those ice cold skeletal fingers and held so that he was face to face with the creature. His feet dangled uselessly and the man’s struggles were futile. The creature’s breath smelled like rot and decay. The man had thought he had seen the horrors of the world. He has seen his friends get torn to pieces by machine guns. He had seen people burn alive and seen soldiers bleed to death while missing their limbs. But no horror could compare to what he saw in front of him. The monster studied him for a bit before uttering three words between wheezing breaths.

“Not… Your… Time,” it wheezed. The monster breathed in and seemed to s**k the man’s very soul into it. The last thing the man saw before his vision went dark was the dark void of the creature’s maw. Inside of it, there were evils beyond human comprehension. Truths that humans were not supposed to know. Things so horrible. So awful. And the man saw them. They burnt into his very soul, these truths and revelations. They broke his mind and corrupted his soul.

The battlefield medic stood over the man as he began to regain consciousness. The medic had seen the injured man stand up in the middle of battle, then shortly pass out from blood loss. The medic and another soldier had crawled out of the trench and dragged the man back into the trench as some poor kid took the fire from the machine guns. They got to him just in time to patch him up. They saved his life. When the man woke up, his eyes seemed to bulge out of their sockets as he let out the most terrified scream the medic had ever heard. The fear in the man’s voice voiced at full volume. The medic tried to calm him down, but the man didn’t stop screaming until he passed out.

The Allies won the battle. The man was transferred to a hospital, where he was transferred shortly to an asylum. His family would visit, but their visits began to get less frequent until they stopped visiting at all. For every time they had visited, the man told them horrible things. Unbelievable things. I know this because I am his nurse. I have been his nurse for three days. All the other nurses before me had quit without an explanation. The most the hospital was able to get from a nurse was that they “just couldn’t take it anymore”. I don’t know if I can either. I have lost all feelings for life. I no longer see the good things in life. I don’t believe there are any. And this is my fault, you see. I knew better than to ask the man questions, but curiosity got the better of me. I now know things that I didn’t want to know. I know things that have burrowed into my very soul. Because now I know where the dead soldiers go…