I stepped off the bus into three fucking feet of snow. I was the only one
on the bus, and the driver had laughed viciously when he slammed the door
to the bus and roared off in a cloud of deisel fumes.
The building I was looking at was old, white, and covered with snow. It
looked vaugely familiar, and there was a path carved through the snow,
which went from 3 feet where I was standing, to over my head.
Holy Christ, what did I get myself into?
BOOM BOOM BOOM! Three rapidfire explosions that shake the trees and cause
flakes of snow to drift down from their nearly bare branches. I look
around, but no sign where it came from. Sighing, I grabbed my duffle out of
the snow and headed through the carved snow channel to the building. WHile
I was walking there was another set of explosions. That would explain why
all the snow was on the ground but the branches of the trees were bare.
Inside the building wasn't much warmer, but at least Class-A's were warm. I
had on my nice shiney E-2 rank, awarded for excellence during training at
AIT, and was all giddy and proud of myself.
It took awhile of wandering around, but I found a woman, who offered to
call my unit and have them send someone down to get me. She tells them I'll
be in the cantina in the building, and then shows me where it is. She
comments on my wedding ring, tells me that post housing is at a premium,
and the nearest town is a little over 4 miles from post.
Great, I'm in Sleepy Fucking Hollow. No biggee, I joined up to avoid a
nightly ass pounding in jail. Not to say I wasn't going to join anyway,
it's just I ended up in the custody of the US Army a bit earlier than
So I'm sitting there eating nacho's and drinking soda when the guy shows
up. He looks shit-ass miserable, wearing Mickey-Mouse boots, a fucking
parka, and cold weather trousers.
"You MOnkey?" he asks, moving over to the radiator and standing over it.
"Yes. You from the unit?"
"Yup. Finish your nacho's." he tells me, then goes over and orders a beer.
He sits down across from me, cracks open the beer, takes a long pull off of
it and then belches.
"Who'd you piss off to end up here?" he asks me.
"Nobody. I was actually assigned here after AIT. Everyone else going to
Germany had orders for 21st Replacement, I had orders for here." I told
him. "Why? What's so bad except the snow?"
"Counting you, and me, the unit total now sits at 18 people." he grunts.
"You had to piss off someone."
"Eighteen? As in ten plus 8?" The thought boggles my mind.
"YEah. The other two hundred are supposed to be along in the next few
months. You think that's fucked up, wait till you see our barracks." He
finishes off the beer, snags a couple of my last nachos, then stands up and
buttons his parka.
"Let's go, kid." I catch his rank when he grabs his cold weather cap off
the table. E-4, but he looks about nine thousand years old. I silently
follow him outside and into a Chevy Blazer, which he fires up, and we pull
out in the streets.
"It gets cold her about August, there's usually snow on the ground by late
September, and it stays till about March or April, from what I've heard
from guys who have been here." he tells me. "Most of the buildings were
built by the Nazi's in World War II, for example, our barracks were built
in the 1930's and refurbished last month. Here, let's grab your TA-50 so
you have your cold weather gear, I don't want you to freeze to death in the
middle of the night." I nod, follow him in, and we roust a German guy
reading a porn mag to give me my equipment. He doesn't make me sign
anything, doesn't even have a list, he just hands me all this shit, and
waves us out the door.
"Don't they keep accountability?" I ask, throwing the second dufflebag full
of gear into the back of the CUC-V.
"Why? Nobody gives a shit about us or this place. DoD couldn't give a shit
less what we do out here. You can literally murder someone out here, and
maybe, jsut maybe, Stuttgart will give a shit enough to send someone to
investigate if its an officer. If it's winter, it's chalked up to cabin
fever. Hell, last week the engineer company lost two guys, nobody knows
where they went, but since no vehicles are missing and they left their cold
weather gear behind, we fiugure they are dead. We'll probably find them in
Oh Lord Jesus, where did I end up? We've been driving for a good 25
minutes, left post, and are on the range roads. We pass a corner that warns
that in the last year 22 troops have been killed by taking the corner too
fast. Given the way the CUC-V leans when we take the corner, it doesn't
Finally, we pull up to a three story white building. It's starting to get
dark. Only a handful of lights are on. We go inside, and I notice that it's
warm in there. The first time since I left Frankfurt.
"Hey, Carter, this is Private Monkey, he needs a room and some linen." the
guy says, and the Specialist behind the desk opens a box on the wall, pulls
out a key, while the PFC opens a closet and grabs a sheet set, two wool
blankets, and a pillow. They hand it all to me, then go back to watching
some fucking show on the little TV.
My guide walks me upstairs, and down to the second half of the building,
through the double doors. He stops to look around and shivers.
"There is only you in the whole section. Some of us sleep in the day room
for comfort." he tells me, pointing at my door.
"Why?" I ask, unlocking it and pushing it open. It smells of paint and
sawdust, and something else. Something that gives me goose bumps.
"You'll see." He digs in his parka and pulls out a bottle of tequila and
hands it to me. "Stay warm, kid. WHen you wake up, go ahead and come down
to the day room. I think we got an officer today, but right now, we don't
have formation or anything like that."
I nodd dumbly, completely confused. This is the Army? This is Regular Army?
THIS is Active Duty? What. The. Fuck?
The door slams, and suddenly it feels like the room has gone shadowed
despite the fact that light was on.
OK, shower/bathroom to my left, lockers to my right. Short "hallway"
exactly as long as the embedded wall lockers were long. Fairly large room,
with a radiator, refrigerator, two desks, two dressers, and 2 sets of bunk
beds. I walked over, turned on the radiator, and listened to the clanking
and thumping and other noises that radiators made.
Looking out the window, I can see fencing with rolls of razor wire on top
and guard towers. Empty. NOthing in the huge lot, no movement in the
towers. Turning away from the window, I draw the curtains to help the room
warm, and begin putting my stuff away.
Everyone else in my AIT was sent to places like Umatilla, Black Briar
Creek, Red Stone Arsenal, Johnston Atoll. I was sent to a fucking place
that doesn't even have a goddamn name that wasn't even up to full strength.
I began to suspect that the (ReA) after the unit name meant "ReActivated"
since we may or may not have an officer.
I jerked off in the shower thinking of my wife, and went to bed. It was
cold, but I was used to that from Juvie.
I woke up shivering, cold as shit under my blankets. There was someone in
my room, I could feel their presence. I didn't move, didn't open my eyes,
trying to focus on the person. I'd learned the trick in Juvie. I kept my
breathing the same, but the air was ice cold and made me cough and sit up.
My room was pitch black, and freezing cold. I swung off the top bunk, and
when my feets hit the floor, the floor actually had fucking ICE on it. What
the fuck? I stumbled over, still positive someone was in the room with me,
and fumbled for the light switch. I wasn't anyone's punk, if there was
someone in her with a hard dick in their hand, I was going to bust open
My room was empty, but there was frost above where my head had been, and
there was frost on the floor. I could still feel someone watching me, and
whoever it was fucking hated me. Cold, and completely un-nerved, I gathered
up my blankets and grabbed my key, and left my room.
The hallway was dark and cold, and I was in my socks and wollen long johns.
My breath plumed out in front of me in the light of the few lights that
were on, and I walked the length of the hallway, pushing through the double
doors, and eventually went down the stairs. Not all the way down, there was
another landing below, but a hand painted sign said: "DAY ROOM/CQ AREA" on
the second floor landing.
I pushed through the door, and found myself in the same room I'd originally
entered the building through. The Specialist was leaned back in a chair,
dozing, and the PFC was reading a book. I could hear snoring from another
room, and dragging my blanket, I went in there.
There was 15 people in the room, all of them huddled up in chairs, their
blankets wrapped around them. I dropped my shit in an empty chair, and went
back into the CQ area.
"Hey, why's it so cold?" I asked the PFC. He looked up and then looked
"The furnace went out."
"Why the fuck did the furnace go out?"
"Nobody's loaded coal in it since earlier today."
"WHy the fuck not?" I asked. He smiled, like he knew a secret. He reached
up and grabbed a key, and came up to the desk. Taking a piece of paper, he
sketched what I figured was a map to building.
"OK, we're right here. Go down that hall, through the double doors, go
through the first door on your left, go down the stairs and exit the
stairwell. There will be two doors on your left, mailboxes and a single
door on your right. Go through the first door on your left, use that key,
go all the way to the back of that room, and you'll find the furnace and a
mound of coal with a shovel in it. Open the furnace, load up the coal, and
use the can of gasoline to wet down the coal and light it up. Then come
back." He pointed everything out on my map, and I suddenly realized he was
talking a coal furnace. What the fuck? I'm familiar with them, the house my
father owned on the West Coast had a coal furnace.
I nodded, he handed me a key and a flashlight, then went back to his book.
Grumbling, I went back upstairs to my room, dressed, grabbed gloves, and
went back down to the CQ area. I didn't say anything, but I was positive
that there was still someone in my room. The hair on the back of my neck
wouldn't stay down.
So, I followed his directions to the bottom floor. I noticed one thing he'd
forgotten to tell me. There was a door that would lead outside, but it was
locked and chained shut, and the chain was fairly new.
Curious, I unlocked the door, and swung it open.
A bare dirt floor and an unfinished cieling stretched out into the
darkness. I could smell interesting smells, and could hear a heavy, labored
breathing noise in the darkness. The goosebumps and heebie jeebies that had
faded while I'd walked through the building came back in force.
I was glad I was fully dressed.
I stepped into the room, onto the dirt floor, and walked into the darkness.
I passed the source of the heavy breathing, and turned to look for it. An
old electric water heater sat there, massive and ominous in the puddle of
illumination from the flashlight. I could see where pipe fittings were
leaking steam, making the wheezing, heavy sound of breathing. The air
wasn't warm or moist, it was still cold, and I could see the glitter of
frost on the walls around the loose pipe joints.
I wasn't in the Army. There was no way this could be the 80's Army.
Somehow, I'd ended up in the 1950's.
I heard a skittering behind me, and whirled around, flashlight held close,
and a pair of beady eyes glared at me from the darkness. I felt the cold
shiver run down my back, and realized that I didn't belong down here. That
something down here didn't like us. Didn't want us in the building. It or
They wanted us gone, wanted us to leave. Or wanted us to die.
The eyes suddenly moved forward, revealing itself to be a huge rat, easily
as long as my forearm with it's long tail. It rushed me, mouth open and
"FUCK YOU!" I yelled, took a step forward, and kicked that big ugly
motherfucker back into the darkness. I made a crunching sound and aborted
shriek. I backed up, slowly, not fully in possession of my faculties, not
even aware I was backing away from the door I so wanted to escape out of.
When my back hit the far wall, and the shovel against the wall fell on the
dirt, I screamed. I'd discovered in Basic Training and AIT that my voice
carried. This time, however, a yell that could have been heard across an
FTX firefight just fell flat, without even an echo.
I was nearly bald, but my hair was standing straight up. I could hear
crunching sounds out in the darkness, and my fertile imagination conjured
up ghouls pushing up from the dirt, gnawing on bones of past interlopers.
Spinning around, I saw an honest to god kerosene lamp. My hands shaking, I
clipped the flashlight to my chest pocket and fumbled through lighting the
lantern. I had my back to that cavernous room, and I was nearly sobbing
with the knowledge that things we closing in on me. Things that wanted
sweet, warm, flesh to gnaw.
The lantern provided a dim bubble of warm light, and I could see the glint
of metal off to my right. Sure as shit, it was furnace. That did nothing to
ease my feelings though. The furnace was BIG, it was BLACK, and an old Nazi
insignia was visible above the furnace door. The sight of it made my blood
run cold. My imagination supplied screams coming from the furnace as I
stared at it.
It wasn't a furnace, it was huge, black beast, lying dormant, that demanded
living sacrifices to be fed into its maw.
"Fuck that. It's a goddamn furnace, this is a fucking basement, and this
place is a shit hole." I growled up, feeling anger well up to replace my
fear. I was goddamn soldier, a killer Uncle Sam had ordered forged in order
to kill motherfuckers. I wasn't going to be afraid of a fucking furnace, an
ugly dead rat, and some goddamn darkness.
I pulled open the door to the furnace, located the coal pile, and began
shovelling coal into the furnance, just like that fuckhead PFC who'd sent
me down her for a laugh at my expense, had told me to do.
I poured gasoline on the coal, and lit it up, then located the feed chute
and loaded it. It came as no suprise that the feed-chute was full of
cobwebs. These guys had been just shoveling coal onto the grate and
lighting it up.
As a final "fuck you" I took the shovel and knocked the Nazi emblem off the
Fuck those dead motherfuckers.
Holding the lantern, I walked the length of the basement, ignoring the
little noises. That breathing? The hot water heater. That gnawing noise?
Mr. Ugly Rats relatives feasting on his corpse. Those footsteps behind me?
I stopped suddenly, and heard the footsteps continue on for another step or
I will not look behind me. I will not run. Monsters are not real. I will
not run. I will not look behind me. Monsters are no FUCK IT! RUN FOR YOUR
I hit the door, kicked it open like it was a movie, and slammed out into
the hallway. I pushed the door shut and held it, shaking and sweating.
As I was locking it, I heard a tapping noise, but refused to open it.
"Cocksuckers. Hope they like it in there." I growled. I blew out the
lantern and set it by the door, then retraced my steps back to the CQ area.
I glanced in, but counted fifteen people, still sleeping.
The Specialist was there, still dozing, but the PFC was missing. Good,
fucker won't freeze to death, but let him stay down there till morning, the
"Dude, you're back!" I heard from behind me. I jumped, and spun around. The
bathroom door was closing, and the PFC stood in front of me.
"Damn, you were gone almost an hour. I was starting to think we'd have to
mount a rescue mission for you. DId you go in?"
"Yeah. I reloaded the coal, the radiators should start heating up any
time." It was starting to dawn on me. Nobody had been playing jokes, nobody
had been fucking with me.
"Nice work, Private. In the last two months, nobody has managed to do it,
and most of us won't even go in there." the PFC told me. I nodded dumbly.
"So it wasn't my imagination?" I asked.
"No." he told me, then leaned in close. "These barracks, fuck, this whole
post, is haunted."
I felt a chill run up my back.
Welcome to Germany, PV2 Monkey. You ain't seen nothing yet.