Dead War


1. May 10, 1942

We have landed into Nazi territory our battalion of M4 Shermans and M3 Lee’s are rolling through the countryside, the commander ordered a full look out for German Tigers and to slow down the pace of the tanks so we can keep a look out. The commander sees something hiding in a bush and orders the leading Sherman to fire at the shape but it was a grouping of branches and we have a good laugh. Oh I nearly forgot, where are my manners, my name is Albert Nobbs i'm apart of a British tank battalion. “We sure did show that tree didn’t we Al?” This here is Addison we call him Addi he's the driver of this here bit of american junk we call a tank. “Sure did Addi. Hey Alf you hear from the guys back home yet?” Alf or Alfred is the radio man of the group and he helps us with finding out what we need to do so we can give these Nazi buggers a run for their money. “No not yet Al. Has the commander seen anything yet?” Alf asks looking at me with a slight crooked grin. “Nothing yet mate but we never know where the tigers might be” I make a funny face and the three of us laugh. Just as we stop we hear the crack of the tiger's gun and the slight scream of the shell flying over head “Get ready boys! Here they come” our commander screams at us over the engine. I pick up one of the shells and ram it into the breach, we can hear the others firing their guns, unloading all they have into these five German tanks. A loud crack, like something exploding, happens and the commander yells at Addi to make a hard turn to the right to avoid the wreckage of one the others. We look on in mute horror as we see one of the other Sherman tanks burning next to us as we roll by. One of the M3’s is ahead of us we hear a great thud and the M3 is in flames her ammo-rack was struck and her turret lay ten feet away in flames, her hull is mangled and torn up like it had been thrown off a wall. We feel a German shell bounce off our turret and that’s when I saw the commander sittin’ at his post missin’ his head. We sat there and played dead for a hour or so while the rest of them kept fighting the 88’s never stopped firing until they were all dead every last tank in our battalion gone shot away. “Addi… the commander” I say quietly so they can’t hear us. “What about the commander Al?” “He’s been killed… he’s lost his head” “What’d ya mean he’s lost his head Al?” Alf gives me a puzzled look with a bit of concern. “Just that they shot his head off boys” I look at the shell in my hand “We’re all that’s left of them” We all sit quietly looking at each other and what’s left of this poor man sitting in his post. We take his body and put it through the floor hatch and wait for night when they won’t see us trying to escape. Minutes feel like hours and hours like days we waited until we couldn’t see the German troops. The stars shone bright and the air was cold as all hell we started the engine and when the headlights came on we saw what we never thought we would see. One of our own men eating a nazi officer in front of the tank. As he turned to face us we realized he was missing bits of his chest like a 75mm cut him open, he held the officer's arm in hand and raced towards us we didn't want to know what happened here or even try to comprehend it. Addi pumped him full of machine gun rounds and he kept coming like we were throwing rocks at him. One round struck him in the forehead and as this happened he fell to his knees and flattened out in the ground. “Addi get us the hell outta here!!” “On it Al I don’t want to meet these locals” Addi pushes both sticks forward so we were going full speed. “The hell was that Al?!” Alf looks at me breathless and shaken “I..I don’t know Alf I really don’t know and I don’t want to” We drive past what’s left of the German tanks watching the iron cross as we pass but we hear one of them start up and the squeal of the tracks as it turns to face us with her mantlet facing us wearing the iron cross and flying the nazi flag proudly. The monster of a tank rolls up next to us headlights facing the field below us showing the carnage that unfolded not to long after. “Kennst du Jungs, was hier passiert ist?” the unknown nazi asks us but we don’t understand him “What did you say?” Alf asks rudely “Sorry you speak English not Deutsch” the older wrinkled man says with a smile “My name is Ferdinand” “I’m Frantz and this here stubborn man is Adolf” the second man pops from the front hatch of the tank with a crooked grin “And not the one you want to kill” Their accents are thick and their breath turns white in the air. “You Nazi muggs killed these men” Addi snaps at them “We were told to by our führer” Frantz says half heartedly “What will you boys be doing this night? Seeing this” “We might tag along with you lads till we clear this up” I pipe up with a grin “this might be the end for everyone in the world” We look on as the dead eat the living and the bitten turn in front of us. We can’t believe it. It’s pure hell down the hill half burned men walking around eating dead Nazi men and vise versa. “One moment we were killing live men then the dead got up and ate them” Frantz says looking down sorrowful “Our friends and kameraden all gone” “Jesus we going to sit here and listen to these buggers?” Alf asks me unimpressed by our conversation. “Alf shut your gob would ya?” I snap back at him “I don’t care about the war at this time I care about these dead wankers eating the live ones” “Christ Al he’s an arm off” Addi points to one man stumbling about without an arm “Oh lord he’s eating a foot now” “Guter Gott” Ferdinand gasps covering his mouth he looks at the other two and they look back white as ghosts they look at us and at the same time they ask to come with us to a farm not to far away. “Let’s get movin’ boys we have about a half hour drive to get there” Addi hisses with a frown as he hits the gas hard. “You tryin’ to kill us Addi?” I ask puzzled to why he’s so rough with the gas all of a sudden “You seem to be a bit upset” “Of course I am Al!” he rawrs it as if to make everyone hear it “You have us teamed up with Goddamn Nazi’s the men we are to kill, the men Churchill told us we had to kill” “Christ it’s three of us versus however many of them I think we could use three more and another tank” Alf barks at Addi like he’s trying to tear at him. “Enough you two no need to make a row out of it, but Alf is right we do need them just cause you’re hung up on the fact we should kill them doesn’t mean we can’t make friends with them for now” I keep my eyes ahead for the farm. We get there just as the sun rises for the next day all 6 of us rest up in the house with the tanks in the barn but 20 feet from the house. We brought our guns and ammo with us, in case we need it. I wake up to Addi looking out the window. “Jesus boy what are you doing?” I ask him half asleep squinting to see through the sun light. “Keep it down ya knob” He chuckles and points out the window “There’s more than we thought” I look out and there through the forest, the fields everywhere hundreds maybe thousands of them. “How are we going to get out of here?” I hear Frantz whisper from the other window. “Oh Christ their killing a little girl!” Alf hollers from the attic as we hear the screams of the girl from the meadow but we can’t do anything to save her. Her pink and white dress stained with the horrible red of her chest as they tear her open like you would a gift on Christmas. “Jesus Christ” Adolf covers his mouth and runs to the lavatory dry heaving as he does. “What kind of hell did we drive into?” Addi looks at me white as snow shaking. “I don’t know Addi but I don’t like the looks of being torn open and eaten” I keep watching as the girl is slowly devoured by these monsters her dog barking at them as they gorge on her tiny body. Christ that poor girl in her Sunday dress probably off to meet her parents at the church after they went shopping. She couldn’t have been to old maybe… God only 6 or 7 her tiny frame and silhouette skipping and then she’s grabbed and torn to pieces and eaten. I can only pray that God will take good care of her. “Should we get moving?” I turn to the other five “Or will we sit here and watch as a little girl is eaten by whatever the fuck those things are?” “Al let’s get the fuck outta here before we end up like her” Alf looks at me nearly crying. “Alf are you ok?” I practically lunged towards him “You’ve got tears running down your cheek” “I’m fine Al thanks for asking let’s…..” He pauses for a moment “Let’s give what’s left of her a proper burial, please?’ “Sure can mate” I give him a reassuring grin “Once their done” “Oh they're done Al” Addi’s staring out the window at what little is left of the small girl. She hasn’t much left in her mid section and on her left arm it’s chewed to the bone. “Christ sakes” We all croak at the same time when we get to her and start the hole for her.     “She’s only 7 Al, fucking 7” Addi says as he digs the hole. “She has something around her neck” I see gold and silver glimmering in the sun so i take it off her neck wiping what blood i could off of it and i place it in my pocket. “A crucifix my God this poor girl.” Her skin is so soft her hair red as copper her eyes like the beautiful rolling ocean so young to be killed like that. Just as I  lean in to shut her eyes she grabs my arm and tries to bite me. Addi smashes her over the head with the shovel. “That was interesting” Addi looks at me with a grin “Maybe we should smash their brains in if they look like her. You know just to make sure.” I stare at him and then back at her bloodied face. “Christ mate that was close” I look at him wide eyed “Never expected that… after this we need to head into town.” We look in its direction with the sun lowering now as we slept through most of the day the smoke and noise from the town looks humbling at this point. I use my foot to kick her into the tiny hole with the wooden cross at her head I say a prayer for her. The girl's beautiful eyes aren't blue anymore they're turning pale like the petals of a light blue flower. Her face still contorted in pain as if she was still alive when trying to tear a chunk of my arm off, begging for it to end we sing a hymn that night on our way to the town the German men sang their panzerlied and us we sang nearer my God to thee as we kept her thought in our heads. We hit the edge of town and see about three dozen of them drifting about like they were drunk and didn't know where they were. We look forward and see that the small village isn't what we thought, buildings torn up crumbling with cars strewn about like a child throwing his toys half eaten and mangled bodies everywhere and those things still eating and chasing those alive. These poor people Sunday night getting out of church and the shops going home for dinner taken out and eaten some getting back up to the horror of the others and then biting and tearing them to bits and eating what they can of them before their up and devouring their friends and family. We see houses with broken windows and blood on the doors small kids, teens, adults and elderly alike killed brutally and brought back with a pain in their eyes that reaches out to me the same pain my wife had when a German bastard shot her during a mugging in 39 before the war started. God how I miss Elizabeth she was so beautiful, she made me feel like I was the richest man in the world (even though I'm just a cow farmer.) Christ how I want that lass back. “You alright Al?” Alf pokes at me “You look a bit worked up” “Yeah I'm fine” I lie to him about it “Just seeing the kids and all like this.” The lads look at me and Frantz, Ferdinand and Adolf look at me in the eyes as they tear the red, white and black band off their sleeve and throw it onto the ground. “We are no longer Nazi’s we are British soldiers” the three of them say one after another “Until we get out of this mess” “That was to be expected” Addi and Alf say in  unison as if they're one person. They're like brothers Addi and Alf they do everything together and know each other's jobs in the tank. I kind of smile to myself as I think about it they smile at one another like they found gold. The six of us reach the town hall and block the door with our tanks making a wall we walk into the building to sleep for the night. “Where did you men come from before this?” Adolf asks looking at us as we eat what we could find in the houses. “I was a cobbler before I was here” Addi looks up quickly from his plate. “I was a tailor then I signed up for the war help my country you know?” Alf looks to me “He was a farmer” “Tell me more about your life Al” Franz leans in like he's interested in what I have to say. “I grew up on the farm had it in the family for years I got it when my parents died I got married at 16 to the love of my life Elizabeth by God she was beautiful we lived on the farm and worked hard too we didn't have much but saved” I look down and pick at the food placing it next to me “We saved for years until we could take a trip to Germany we got there in 1939. She loved it a trip away from home for a few days we were walking down the street after I bought her a new dress and some man jumps us and demands our money we didn't have any to give the rest was in our room and he pulls a gun on us and shoots her after I find out she's pregnant….” “Oh Lord Al you never told us about that” Addi looks at me in a kind of horror. He looks upset by it. “Yeah now can I continue?” “Sorry” “She died in my arms in her Sapphire blue dress stained a deep purple where she bled out” I start to tear up a bit but choke them back “After that I signed my life away for the army and met you two fine lads on the way over here to fight these mugs here” I laugh as the rest laugh with me “Ah I wouldn't be the same without you two.” They don't know that I'm dying inside from how much the little girl looked like Lizzy. We finish eating and turn in for the night we wake up to a thumping on the door a frantic one not like that from a sluggish walking corpse. We get ready with our pistols pointed at the door and Addi slowly turns the bolt on the door and opens it. A women and child come flying in the room and scream to close the door I look down the hall to the stairs and I see the slow lumbering silhouette of them climbing the stairs. Alf slams the door and bolts it shut looking at the woman and her son he's probably 13 or 14. “You brought them here!” Addi howls “How does he not know how to shoot a gun?!” “His father died when he was young” she speaks softly and shyly “He never had a chance to learn.” “I can teach him Mrs” I speak up hard as rock towards the other two “He will be a great shot now's the time to learn and quick.” I turn my pistol so the barrel is in my hand and the stock towards him. “Take it son” I jiggle it a bit towards him as he takes the wood and steel in hand “Count of three open the door and start to take them out remember aim for the head lads.” Everyone nods I grab my other pistol the one I took from the commander after he . I load it and take aim counting down on my left hand I throw it down to signal the door  be opened. They're close to the door and we start firing the boys a natural with a gun his mum's stunned at him we mow them down and take off to the tanks. We climb in and he sits as the loader and I as the commander and we roll out his mum's next to Alf working the radio. “That was fun!” the boy roars with laughter “I've never had such a rush before! My names William and that's my mum Eliz….” He gets that name out of his mouth and Addi hits the gas and we take off. “Nice to meet you both” I say smiling at them “Will load the gun would ya?” he complies and rams a shell into the breach and we take aim at the town hall both tanks we fire high explosive shells into in blowing it apart. “Well that's going to drag them here” Alf smiles and looks at me. “Ah we ain't there no more” Addi says to him. I smile at William and give him a wink then shake his mum's hand. “Nice to meet you madam I'm Albert you're sitting next to Alfred and the one driving is Addison.” “Nice to meet you boys you know me and my son thanks to him and this hell.” Her eyes shine like emeralds her hair like a gold and her dress as deep blue as the sea. “ We’re headin’ elsewhere to hide for now.” Will looks at him wide eyed and an ear to ear smile showing off his pearl like teeth. His eyes so brown their like looking at a mud puddle his skin smooth covered in freckles around his nose and his hair as black as night. His mother isn’t as dark with her looks her hair as bright as the mid day and her eyes a bright emerald green and her skin like snow. She catches me looking to long at her beautiful features and I look away blushing a bit and she giggles and smiles. We reach a large stone house outside of the town atop a hill overlooking the town the eight of us make ourselves at home without hastle. I stand looking out the large window in the master bed watching as the town crumbles and burns as everyone is killed and eaten. I faintly hear them scream in pain as their chests are ripped open, bitten or scratched all to hell. I close my eyes and imaging their faces and screams I shiver and nearly making myself throw up with the sickening sounds and images plaguing my mind ribs cracking and being pulled apart as those, those things tear into them the poor souls scream as they do such more crowding around the man, child or woman helping in their own part pilling off limbs, digits or biting into them. “Al you ok?” Will asked me before we head off to bed. “Yeah I'm fine just thinking” I pause for a moment and collect myself “Time to hit the hay kid block doors and windows on the bottom floor and find a room.” Everyone covers the doors and windows and find rooms to sleep in. God we hear them all night at the windows and doors moaning and groaning they sound hollow some chatter and others sound like a whistle.  They horrible milky eyes and rotting facing pressing into the glass scratching at it trying to get in. We wake up the next morning and get ready to leave when we hear the roar of another tank engine as it rolls towards the house and them get out. The screams that came after we're blood curdling. I watched as the Russian soldiers were torn into pieces their ribs pulled apart and chest cavity raided like it's full of gold or beautiful diamonds arms pulled from their sockets and torn from their bodies. Jaws pulled off of the skull and chewed on like a dog with a bone necks, wrists and other parts bitten into one of the men had a grenade that he had triggered before his demise it fell into the open hatch and blew apart the tank detonating the high explosive shells and all others blowing the turret off and into the house the loud bang drew them from near and far. They came running whatever these things are they came running all eight of us packed our shit and got the hell outta there looking at what's left of the KV 1 Russian tank burning as we climbed into our tanks. I watched in horror as whatever they were catch fire but keep going running and grabbing. Trying to get at us eat and tear us apart at the seams. The hull of that poor tank looks like Swiss cheese holes everywhere the turret through the wall these walking corpses climbing through the hole and into the house looking for us for food. Addi starts our tank and Frantz his we both take off their nazi flag tattered and torn faded from the sun waving our goodbyes. We put up our flag pole and our British flag as we race away down from the hill top mansion. I let out a sigh of relief as we see the building start to burn and fall to the ground creating a large cloud of dust from its sand stone walls and marble floors the eligent windows shatter as they hit the ground the iron frame comes down crushing the tank hull. I slide back into the hull with a grin on my face. “That was perfect” I say to young Will “The mansion collapsed and destroyed everything around it” “Really?!” his face lights up with a smile “can I see?!” “Go ahead boyo” Addi looks at him with a wink. Will looks out the capola and sees the cloud ignight with a thud the dust caches fire and scorched everything. “That the dust?” Alf looks at Will as he flops back into the loading position. “Yeah that was really…” he trails off “AWESOME!” His face is contorted in excitement of seeing such a thing as dust going up into flames and explosions. For a 14 year old lad he's never seen what I saw as a kid in ww1 the artillery shells coming down and blowing men apart I was his age then I worked on the artillery fixing it maintaining it and loading they called me their powder monkey. That's what he is to us a powder monkey he loads the gun for me and waits for me to give him the mark to fire. He kind of looks like me when I was young maybe 17 handsome I bet he had a girl back before this thing broke out. “Hey Al…” he looks at me sorrow and hope in his eyes “I had a girl before this.” “I thought so, you're a young handsome boy” I smile. “She moved before this here went together” he looks at the locket he has around his neck “She's alive I know it, can we try to find her?” “Sure can boyo.” I look at Addi and nod. “Where she move to?” “France I think” Addi looks at me with a little worry in his eyes. “Isn't that a bit far AL? I mean I don't think we have the fuel.” “Syphon it from something else.” We radio the Germans and tell them where we're heading to find a boy's girl. “ That's German territory Mr. Nobbs I don't think it's safe” “This boy's happiness is more important than safety right now.” The two tanks ride side by side tracks in unison engines roaring loudly guns aimed and loaded. Williams mother decided to join the German men in the tiger as the loader her beautiful dress was torn in between her legs up to her mid thighs she tore her sleeves off at the elbows so they don't get caught in the breach. She smiles with bright teeth and looks at the tiger. “I think an 88 will best suit me” she winks at me “Better than a 75mm if you get what I'm sayin.’” I blush the slightest and Will looks at me with a half crooked grin and slightly pushes me laughing. I look at him with a stern face but the red in my cheeks makes him laugh harder and slip back into the turret. I look at her and get redder by the second. “Alright keep close and the gun loaded Mrs” “Thompson, Mrs. Thompson” “Lovely name now back to work lads and lass!” The engines roar as we roll in the direction of France and we laugh and talk. A few hours later we can see the top of the Eiffel Tower, William lighting up at the sight he's never seen the tall iron structure before. I say it's a waste of iron that the French could have used to fight the Germans off. We get close to the city and we see it's not as perfect as we thought. The houses and shops are charred windows and doors broken motorcars lying on their sides, smashed into each other, buildings flattened and half down. People face down and torn to shreds all around the streets. Backs torn out and their stomach torn put and their intestines laying on each side of them. Faces ripped to shreds jaws torn from the skull and eyes gouged out. Young William and his mother marveled at the horrid site Adolf throws his hand over his mouth before throwing up over the side of his tank. “Christ how did it move so quick?” Addi looks from the hatch in horror and amazement. “I don't know Addi I really don't.” We marvel for a few more moments before we see something out of place for such a setting. A stone building with its windows boarded over on the first floor and the second floor is open with a rifle in all three windows. Addi pulls up so the front of our Sherman is blocking the door we all get out and knock on the door waiting for someone to answer. Sure enough a young lady around Williams age gingerly pulls the door open and looks at me as if I'm some sort of monster. “There's a young man who is here to see someone, may we enter?” I say it calm and clear as William pokes his head from behind my arm. Her face lights up when she sees his face. The bolt is practically ripped from the door when she throws it open and hugs him tightly the hold there for a few minutes taking in each others warmth and sent smiling the whole time. The young girl leads us into the house closing the door and bolting it behind her and waving for Wills help with baricading it to keep the dead out. We sit at a rectangular table all in silence until they finish and join us. She doesn't sit in her own chair she chooses Williams lap instead. “I missed you” Will whispers to her. “I missed you too” her voice soft with a slight French accent unlike William who has a Irish one. I sit back and look at the rest of the group with a smirk. “Who wants some rum? I have some in the tank.” Everyone but the two love struck youngsters raises their hand like they would in school. I look at the two cuddling and looking into each other's eyes. “Alright you two I'll get you kids a drink too” I say as I'm walking to the door and pushing the cabinet out of the way unbolting the door and throwing it open waving for Frantz to help me out. I lift a few cases out of the front haches to Frantz and he carries them to the table placing them gently. “Where in the hell’d ya get all that Al?” Alf asked puzzled and thinking it's a bit queer for me to have alcohol in the tank. “I got it from the hill top mansion before we hastily left.” I state placing everything to the way it was “Drink some and we can sleep for the rest of the night.” We all grab a bottle and I poor the girl and Will a small glass for their first time drinking. All of us drink a bottle or two “Fuck Addi tour head will be throbbing in the morning mate” I look at him with an smile. “I know and it will be worth it I swear to it” he smiles and chuckles. I swear that man is asking for a mile wide head. I love this group Addi, Alf, Will, Frantz, Adolf, Ferdinand and the other two. They're  all great people and they're my family now and I hope to keep it that way just sitting here and watching them laugh, drink, smile and fall deeper in love it's perfect the candles we lit when the sun began to set and the room darken. The sunset is beautiful behind the Eiffel Tower shining through the gaps in between the iron I beams and the silouette of the tower in the bright orange ball. The sky is pinks, reds, yellows and oranges it's perfect to bad I didn't have my camera. I can't wait to get out of this mess tomorrow we will pack everything we have and leave. “I think it's time for bed lads and lasses” I say standing up and tucking in my chair. “I think you're right Al” Will says patting his girls back smiling. She's beautiful and he knows it, he flaunts it to the rest of us as they get up to go to bed. “Those two are cute aren't they?” I accidentally say out loud without realizing it. “They really are” Adolf answers in his dead rumbling voice. “How did you know what I was thinking?” I'm surprised and scared “Al you're saying it out loud” Addi chuckles as he tells me. Great I've made a fool of myself but she laughs and kisses my cheek. I shoot up and head to bed after that along with everyone else. I leave the room last to blow the candles out so nothing caches fire. The night peaceful and quiet I sleep that night for once it felt great to sleep well after how long? Can you the reader tell me how well you would sleep with rotting corpses chasing you trying to eat you alive? Not well I would think. Well when the morning came shit hit the fan I can say that without hesitation. They were at the windows and doors trying to get it. Will’s girlfriend grabs her rifles throwing one to Will as they climb the front steps breaking the door and trying to get up the stairs to us we all take aim and get ready to fire. The slightest thump on the door we all fire at once through the door and into the bodies behind it making them drop to the floor blocking the door from more of them getting to it. I see the Germans climbing out of the window waving us to it signaling it's clear and for us to get to the two tanks. I look through the chunk of door missing and I see a young man with his lips and cheeks missing his yellow teeth showing those empty milky eyes stare at me. It's a stare a hungry man gives a cake or a stake it's next meal chilling and horrible. I aim my pistol and pull the trigger back placing a round right between his eye before heading for the window.  I look back at the door as I climb out and I see a tall lanky man run up the stairs and at the door I can see he spin not the bumps the bone itself and I let go out of fear. And fell into the waiting arms of my family and headed off of course we didn't get out scot-free we were followed by a huge group of them so as we left the city everyone in hand we turned the turrets right around and fired them into the crowd only the high explosive ones so we didn't waist the ones we might need. “Can't we get a simple fucking break for once?!” Addi screams smashing his hands on the hull of the tank. “Watch your mouth” I scold “There is a lady present.” We exchange looks for a few moments as it gets quite and heated. We settle after Alf let's out a deep and hardy laugh. “What in the Christ are you laughing at Alf?” “The fact we climbed out a window climbed into our tank and drove off without a second thought” he pauses for a minute and looks at me “We could have forgotten someone or someone could've been hurt.” “What do you mean Alf” I see a sparkle of some liquid on his jacket. “Alf are you ok?! “I feel cold Al” he starts to turn pale and gives me a weak smile “It's been nice knowing you lads” Alf slumps over in his seat onto the radio and let's out his last breath. It was slow calm and cold. We continued to drive out of the city towards farmland. When we reach the first farm we hop out and let the Germans know about Alf. “We are sorry to hear of your comrade mien friend” he places a hand on my shoulder and looks me in the eyes “We will give Alfred a proper burial.” The I hear a thumping on the hatch to get out of the turret. Fearing the worst I threw open the hatch and aimed my pistol that's when I saw my friend murky eyes staring at me teeth showing. I pressed the barrel into his forehead and pull the trigger. I slump down on the top of the turret and start to weep. I cry for minutes but they feel like hours I cry so hard my chest hurts my face stains with the tears that roll down my face. They sting rest of the group doesn't know what to do to help
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