fear

scary and thrilling

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1. fear

 

April 7th, 1945. Walter stumbled to a nearby tree. It was raining and the sun was swiftly lowering. Berlin was being taken by the Russians in the East, and the Americans in the West. The only possible way to escape the horrors of the war and certain death was to desert his post and run south through the woods. A loud bang of an artillery shell echoed through the trees, and Walter raised his head up in panic. His sleek black uniform bearing an officer’s hat and black leather boots was not made to shield the cold spring rain. He shuttered at the thought of being captured by the Red Army; he heard so many stories of POW’s being tortured and executed. With a deep breath, he mustered his strength and continued his hike. The forest was getting very dark. He figured his black uniform would camouflage him in the night, but noticed his bright red swastika armband. He cursed at it, but didn’t remove it; he didn’t want to tear his sleeve and expose himself directly to the cold. Shuffles of leaves and cracking of sticks beneath his boots were the only company he had. Nature seemed to shun its wildlife from him. Walter was utterly exhausted, he finally stopped to sit against the trunk of a large oak, and drifted to sleep.   The sound of yet another artillery shell exploding awoke Walter. The cold bite of morning air sent chills down his spine. Even a respected officer of the so-called invincible army of Aryan Germans was susceptible to sickness, pain, and death. The bright light of the sun blinded him momentarily, but he soon adjusted. He stood up and contemplated his surroundings. “Dammit”, he commented as he realized that he was lost. Where ever he was, he had to keep moving, otherwise he would be found and killed. While walking through the dense brush, he spotted something in the distance, standing by a tree. It looked like a bald man, wearing plain, grey clothing. Walter squinted his eyes in a futile attempt to focus. The man didn’t look like a soldier, rather a civilian. “Hallo? Who is there?” he called out. No answer. He wanted to further inspect, but remembered why he ran to the woods; there was no time to waste. The enemy would find him if he screwed around. He turned away and continued on.   It was evening, and the air was beginning to get colder. Walter had been hiking all day, he was hungry, thirsty, tired. He almost wished now that he had just let the Russians capture him. He sat in the leaves and searched for his flask. One last swallow of water left. He gulped it down with satisfaction, and caught his breath. Walter rubbed his eyes and looked around. The woods were peaceful, but almost seemed like a trap, a maze. This was the end of his second day of running from the enemy, and he felt no safer than before. He raised his head and saw that same man from before; the one in the grey clothing. Was he following me?, Walter thought in curiosity. Once more he called to the man, “Hallo! Can you hear me?”. Again, no answer. “Please, answer me!”   The man in grey stood motionless by a tree, his body half hidden behind it. Walter was desperate for food, perhaps this man had some handy. Walter approached slowly to him. As he drew closer, he observed that the man was wearing some sort of mask over his face; it looked like simple cloth that covered his entire head. Walter stopped about ten feet from the man, and placed his right hand on his holster.   “Civilian, I am officer Walter Staut of Der Waffen SS. I require food and any supplies you may carry currently.”   The man did not answer. This angered Walter.   “Civilian! My request implies compliance and a reply!”   Once more, the man remained silent. He took a step forward towards Walter, and Walter drew his Luger pistol from the holster. He aimed the pistol right at the man’s head.   “Why do you wear a mask?”, Walter curiously asked.   The man muttered an ominous response; “Fear has no face.”   Walter’s eyes widened with shock. He surely didn’t expect that answer. He flicked the safety off the pistol and tightened his grip, then took a step backwards.   “Just what the hell do you mean by that?”   The man said nothing, and took another small step towards Walter. This made Walter panic.   “ONE more step, and I will shoot you!”, shouted Walter as he stumbled backwards. The man proceeded to step again.   “STOP!”, Walter ordered. The man did not yield. Walter fired his gun and the bullet struck the man in his chest. Blood oozed from the wound, and flowed from under his grey cotton shirt. However, the masked man did not flinch as the bullet entered.   “What the hell?!”, Walter shouted. His heart rate was increasing rapidly. He shot the man again in his chest, and more blood surfaced, but the man did not back down. Walter raised the gun to the man’s covered face, and pulled the trigger. The bullet sheared right through his head, exiting at the back of the skull. The masked man finally collapsed backwards. Walter, now shaking with fear, stepped forward to examine the body. The man quickly raised his head up, and Walter screamed out as he fell back. Lying on his back, he shot his gun until he had no more rounds, and every bullet hit the head. The masked man convulsed and twitched, but then laid still. Walter got up quickly and ran. He thought he was heading south as planned, but wasn’t completely sure. The sun was setting now, and as he ran, Walter noticed tears running down his face. He had never experienced something so terrifying as that. Suddenly, Walter tripped over a large stick, and hit the ground with a loud thud. As he was just about to get up, the masked man, coming out of nowhere, stepped out in front of him. Walter screamed again and fell down. The man’s mask and shirt were still peppered in bullet holes and soaked in blood.   “What do you fear, soldier of the Fuhrer?”, the man asked in a raspy, gurgling voice. “Do you fear death?”   Walter was speechless. There was not possible way this man could have survived the gunshots, no possible way he could have caught up to him. It was simply impossible.   The masked man’s voice boomed and echoed throughout the woods. “I ASKED YOU A QUESTION, OFFICER, WHICH REQUIRES A REPLY.” He was mocking Walter, but Walter was too fearful to speak. After a moment, Walter grabbed a nearby log and sprang up. He used all his might and struck the man right on the side of his head. Walter heard the bones of the man’s neck crack and break, and the masked figure stumbled back; his head dangling to the side like a loosely attached bag. The man used both hands to raise his head upright, then push the bones back in place. Walter stood frozen in amazement, his eyes now wide and trembling. The man stepped up to Walter and hit the stick out of his hand with incredible force.   “What……are you?”, Walter stuttered.   The man stepped closer, now only centimeters from Walter. “I am the end.”, he said in his raspy voice. Then the masked man grabbed Walter by the throat and raised him up high, lifting him far above the ground. With the flick of the wrist, the man snapped Walter’s neck, and dropped him down to the dirty ground. The masked man turned, then walked into the trees, far out of sight.   THE END  
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