Echo 77

(Note: I think all this story really needs is some love and care and it would turn into a great movie or novel.)

 

Private Jessica Dakota hits the door with her boot, slamming it open and creating an intense and alarming nose. Before she enters the domicile her rifle is up with the safety. From her intent it was clear that she intended to ask forgiveness than an early funeral.

Like it was an overexposed photograph the dark of the house was almost blinding, an eerie presence appeared to dwindle within the home. This place held pleasant memories at one time in its life but now had been stained with something no household cleaner could handle unless the extra ingredient was holy water.

The corridor and aligning rooms showed no sign of movement but that was no call to lower the private’s rifle. “Clear!”

One by one, the five man team moves their way inside. Rifles ready and flash lights desperately trying to sweep out the darkness. Their visors shielding any manner of fear or excitement.

Lieutenant Murphy had boasted to the other solders at command that he would find, kill, and stuff twice as many monster movie rejects than the other squads combined. At this moment in the dark and disturbing quite of the house, he was not feeling so sure of his abilities.

Keeping his head clear and trying not to pass out from hyperventilation he signalled for two of his crew to go to the servant quarters. They say nothing but nod, showing they understand. He signals for Dakota to join him and the man in back to stay guard over the entrance way.

Dakota takes the lead in a purposeful stride, moving into the den she tries to get her nerves under control. She had still not gotten over the last time she had fired her weapon and the walls she had covered in gore. She hopes that after this she could to find the comfort of her bed, but whatever rest she will be haunted with blood as she finds her first casualty.

There, on the ground is what remains of a wolf man.

“Sir.” She says, trying to hold in the emotions of fear and disgust back.

Murphy takes one glance at the body and curses. “Check yourself. Clear the room.”

Like a good solider Dakota buries the fear for later and proceeds to check the room for hostiles and signs of disturbance.

Murphy scans the room with his rifle, finding nothing he goes to examine the wolf man.

The wolf he guesses had been at one stage handsome in appearance. His dyed snow white fur and physic showed that he might very well of worked out. Now what had most likely been a playboy was little but torn to pieces of meat and sinew scattered on the floor of his house.

Lieutenant Murphy had seen some horrible things on the battle field. Men that had been torn in half by shell fire, dog mauling, even a mutilation a militia had done to a farmer boy. But these things were worse. Cultish, brutal, and savage. “Am sorry.” The solider says to the poor creature at his feet.

“Sir.” Dakota says trying to get her superior’s attention. “You’re going to want to check this out.”

Murphy sighs as he moves over to his crew member, what he finds is nothing short of shocking. On the walls are caveman like paintings, written in the blood and intestines of the wolf man behind them.

“What do they mean?” Private Dakota asks.

Murphy moves the flash light over the pentagrams and tries to make out the markings. He points to a square box with the bio-hazard symbol in the centre, “That must be the labs these monsters were made from.” he moves the light towards the markings of a human suckling at a wolf woman’s breast, and other finger paintings.

He did not understand much of what these creatures were trying o tell him, but knew their intent from the lower pictogram. There, a human and wolf man were ripping each other apart by their bare hands and claws. “Never mind. We’ll let the eggheads at control figure this mess out.” He did not want himself or his crew to be side tracked by monster art.

Dakota, uncertain of the goal at this point turns her head at him. These creatures showed intelligence. She admits a brutal and savage intelligence, but they have some cogitative abilities that Hollywood mainstream failed to capture on the silver screen. Some moral part of her tweaked for an instant. “Sir. Um shouldn’t we try to capture it alive?”

Lieutenant Murphy, who had just seen the most disgusting mess of his life, didn’t need a second to think about it. “Orders are to exterminate on sight private. Keep moving.”

Command obviously lost faith in controlling the specimens and decided it was time for full termination of the project before the populace became aware of their existence and decided to launch an investigation. One thing he was certain looking at the markings, was that the creatures were intelligent and that made them even more dangerous.

The sound of a cereal box getting tipped over causes both soldiers to turn with their weapons raised.

“Meow.”

Both let out a sigh of relief as the owner’s cat tilts its head at them asking to be fed.

Murphy once again curses under his breath. “At least he wasn’t one of those small yapping dogs people. I would have put him out of his misery if I saw a single one of those rats around here.”

Dakota continues her sweep. “Why did they make these things?”

Murphy was thinking the same thing. “Some pointdexter grew up watching monster movies, decided to make a few. They didn’t splice these with wolves but with apes. Don’t ask me why they look like that.” What possible military applications these things had was beyond him. Murphy was just a solider, just helping nature get back to the norm with gunpowder and lead.

Murphy goes to his radio. “Washington. Jasper. Report.”

“Yeah lieutenant.” Comes the voice of one of his unit. “There is not much up here. Woah wait… Nope. What ever happened, happened fast. Got some bloody hand prints. Looks like something out of a survivor horror game. Checking the bed rooms now.”

Murphy takes a breath in while Dakota glances at every darkened corner. She recounts how her team arrived at the house. “Sir, we followed the tracks right here. The blood on the walls can’t be more than an hour old. We need to search the perimeter.”

The leader of the Echo 77 observes the surrounding environment by the kitchen mirror. There was a lot of ground to cover and by the time they did find any tracks the test subjects will have most likely split up of have killed another poor bastard. “It’s big grass land out there private. I really don’t feel walking out there in the moonlight is a right good idea.” Murphy goes to his radio. “This is lieutenant Murphy of Echo 77, come in command. Over”

Static follows then a voice comes from the other end. “This is command, what is your status?

“We have followed hostiles to a house on the Geelong highway. It’s a mess down here, we’re going to need a clean up c…” The sound of an semi-automatic rifle echoes through the house, startling everyone including the cat.

Raising their own equipment, Dakota and Murphy retrace their steps to the stairs, making sure to avoid the areas that have not yet been secured. Approaching the exit, the lieutenant notes that the man they had posted out side is nowhere in sight. “Washington, Jasper. Come in. Who is firing?” There is only silence that follows.

Biting his lip, Murphy is hesitant to keep the young private by the exit. If the hostiles are still in the area it would not be wise to have them escape or get behind them, but it felt like he was going to need a spotter with him. It would be an incredibly risky move to check on the two and find a whole nest up those stairs.

“Orders Sir.” Dakota knows that if this turns south it could not only end in a court-martial, but being eaten alive. If she was to guard the exit and the enemy flanked her, she knew her chances were limited.

Either way Murphy was going to regret his actions, but he decided he was not going to get eaten today. “Dakota. On me.”

They approach the bedrooms and narrowly avoid a hail of rouge gun fire. Dakota curses as a bullet grazes her helmet.

Hold your fire damn it.” Murphy yells, he gets his wish as the screams of the two men under his care stop. “Washington. Jasper. Report.” A different screaming comes from the room. The unholy sound makes the two soldier’s blood turn to ice.

The ensuring crash of glass causes both to enter the room with their guns held high.

Dear sweet hell.” Murphy observes the destruction. Two of his men are down. One has his neck torn open; the other has an array of smocking bullet holes poking through his clothes. The window has been smashed, and there is no sign of the monster in the room, only bodies.

Murphy goes to the window with his gun ready while Dakota goes to check the men.

There is no sign of the creature anywhere on the grounds. Only the frame of the Jeep that transported the group. Murphy checks back to Dakota for some good news but only finds her head shaking.

Washington and Jasper are dead.

“King. King report in where the hell were you?” Murphy almost screams to what was supposed to be his watch dog but only static is returned. “Command. Come in.”

Sending clean-up crew now lieutenant.”

“Hostiles have killed Washington and Jasper. King is MIA. We need reinforcements. Over.”

Copy Lieutenant. We’ll send a chopper over.” A chopper? Well hopefully that will spook them out Murphy prays.

Murphy was never a monster movie fan; his guilty pleasure was romantic comedies. They were predictable but had their moments. Horror movies ended with the stupid army guys blundering around and getting killed off one at a time. Which right now did not seem entertaining.

The Lieutenant cursed and stopped in his tracks. A floor board squeak behind him caused his muscles to tighten. Dakota slowly switched off the safety to her rifle but even with her helmet covering her face, the lieutenant could tell Dakota was scared out of her wits. The situation only meant one thing. “It’s behind me isn’t it?” He said knowing his failure.

In the dark and the heat of the moment, all Murphy can make out are shredded clothes and bloody red teeth. The creature moved faster than he could believe. It did not use fangs or claws but held a kitchen knife and in its other hand was his lost team-mate’s rifle. The creature plunges the knife into the inner layers of Murphy’s vest.

“That’s just cheating.” Murphy says in shock.

There is no pain at first. His body doesn’t recognise that it is wounded. But as the creature raises the gun, the lieutenant realises that he should have swept the room before becoming sidetracked with his fallen men.

The creature had not escaped through the window which he had first thought. It had broken the window somehow and hid in the cupboard, knowing Murphy would assume it escaped. “Cleaver bastard.” Murphy can’t even see the creature’s big grin as it squeezes the trigger. It is probably for the best as its hideous features would only give him nightmares if he survived.

Bam!

Murphy’s visor is painted with the creatures brains. “Gotcha.” Private Jessica Dakota says, feeling the weight of both the event and the spent rounds in her rifle.

Murphy would be proud of her if the creature had not fallen backwards taking the knife with it. Now the pain surfaces. He curses as he hits the ground while holding his wounded gut.

Dakota does not go to his aid, she instead looks down at the creature and gives it one more bullet to his malformed, brainless head. Making sure it can not be further trouble.

Private.” Murphy coughs.

Immediately Dakota goes to her superior and examines the bloody, hairy stomach. The creature had put its knife in deeply. Using what Private Dakota knew about text book anatomy, she guesses the knife had punctured the lieutenant’s liver. Lieutenant Murphy was going to die if she didn’t do something fast.

Dakota goes to her radio. “This is private Jessica Dakota. We need a medical team here now. My unit has been killed and my commanding officer has sustained heavy injuries. Copy.” She says, unable to hide the terror in her tone.

She attempts to stand to get a better reception.

“No.” Murphy quickly grabs her hand. “I.I don’t want to die alone.” He knew death was part of the job. There are always some elements of risk when you decide to carry a weapon around for a living, but now that the enemy was gone and his end was close. The solider did not want to let the darkness be the last thing he saw.

Dakota tries to make him comfortable. Pain killers were not part of the standard pack but she had grabbed a few. To her, pain was far more frightening than death could ever be. She sent the needle into his neck and radioed again. “Copy. I need a medical team here now.”

Static ensures. Then just as her hope fades. A male’s voice comes through. “This is command. What is the status of your emergency?”

She laughs, but it carries no joy in it. “I’m with Echo team 77. I need a medical team on that chopper. We have a wounded here losing a lot of blood. Hurry.”

“Sending the crew now. Just hang in there. Over.”

Feeling the first wash of relief she had when she started this mission, hope starts to creep in. “Sir. Sir. It’s going to be okay.” Dakota shakes her superior hard in the attempt to keep him alert.

By the wound in his gut, Murphy can tell that even if the medical team was right there in the room his chances of survival were minimal. Go figure. Thousands of dollars of equipment and you get beaten by a kitchen knife held by a savage. Isn’t that just how war works? So what did it matter?

Dakota eagerly helps the lieutenant remove his helmet, revealing his wolf like muzzle and blue eyes.

Sensing the need to show him one familiar face she removes her own helmet. Her brown urban locks and dazzling red eyes are illuminated by the moonlight outside.

With her beautiful wolf like appearance it is hard for Murphy to imagine why all she got were one night stands, but he guessed it was because she was afraid of someone she liked getting the Letter. “If we make it out of here, how about I buy you a drink.” He laughs while coughing.

Dakota takes off her glove and rubs Murphy’s brow, she was losing him. “I think there are rules about dating your superior officer.”

“Just my luck.”

“Sir you need to hold in there.” She begins to check his pulse. It is falling.

Taking shallow breaths, Murphy grips her firmly. “There’s no need to worry. It’s just a scratch.” He doesn’t even convince himself.

The sound of a floor board creaking startles both of them.

Dakota raises her rifle and points it at the door way.

There, four more humans shield their eyes from the blaze of the touch. They were just like they were out of the movies. A pack of hairless ugly bipeds, with short round ears, uneven teeth made for both tearing and chewing, and soulless back eyes. Their hairy, hideous malformed heads look almost comical compared with the rest of their frail and hairless bodies.

To Dakota and Murphy they were demons straight from the minds of madmen. The incarnate of madness. The humans show their teeth and wail as they run towards the pair of wolves wielding knives and sharp tools.

“Monsters.” The female wolf screams as she squeezes the trigger.

One thought on “Echo 77

  1. Pingback: Archive | Troy Neenan

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