Author Topic: The Pit, 5 parts  (Read 5279 times)

The Good Reverend Roger

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The Pit, 5 parts
« on: March 18, 2014, 05:28:10 pm »
Part 1

I'd been down here a long time; just how long, I couldn't say.  It was just one of those 20th century things.  Could have been the Archduke, could have been a funny little Austrian clown making funny little speeches.  Could have been critters in the tunnels, Nessies in the sewers maybe, or just a little phosgene gas in the trenches.  Just another day in the happy place.

I made my way up a set of stairs made from expended artillery casings, and walked out into "daylight".  Trenches spread out before me.  Concertina wire.  A Fokker triplane strafing some Tommies.  My duster and pistols were gone, and I was in filthy khaki and puttees.  Okay, so it was going to be the world war I thing. 

I was really tired of the world war I thing.

I  crouched and ran along the trench line.  I never know what I'm supposed to do when these things start.  It just sort of works its way out as I go along.  Hell, most of the time I just wind up bearing witness to other peoples' tragedies.  And make no mistake, every corpse on this field is a tragedy...To the parents, the wives, the siblings, most of all to the dead young men piled up in windrows, slowly becoming one with the soil.

I went around a bend in the strangely-empty trench, and there she was...The curls of her hair tucked up under her "pie-plate" helmet, her uniform completely clean except for her puttees.  Nobody, not even generals, can keep clean boots in this mess.

"Excuse me, Miss, but what the hell are you doing here?"

"Well, I am here to ask you that exact question.  What are YOU doing here?"

"I don't know.  I got lost a few years ago.  I've been in this place - or places very much like it - ever since.  I'd like very much to go home to my wife and my kids."

"Then why don't you go back the way you came?"

I looked back over my shoulder.  Nothing there but mud.  I looked back at her.

"That's not funny."

"No, it isn't.  Just turn around.  Go home."

There was a series of sharp whistles.  I lunged into a dugout, screaming for her to take cover.  When the barrage was over, I peeked out of my hidey hole and looked.  No sign of her.  I jogged down the trench, looking around, in case she'd been injured or hurled down the trenchline.  Nothing.

I stood there for a while, absent-mindedly picking at nits in the seams of my uniform.  What the hell had just happened?  My stomach growled after a time, so I buggered off down the trench line, looking for some food.

After about an hour, I ran into some Frenchmen, the powder-blue of their uniforms completely obscured by the ever-present mud.  I have no French, but fortunately two of them spoke English.

"I am Emile.  This dour young man next to me is Andre", the older of the two said with ghastly relish, "You are welcome to eat with us; there are enough weevils for all."  Andre said nothing, instead digging through a poke and fashioning a cigarette of sorts.

"Thanks.  How long have you boys been on the line?"

Andre barked laughter.  Emile just looked at me strangely for a moment.  "We have been here since the beginning."

"What?  Since the war STARTED?"

"Yes.  It has become boring.  Today, a gas attack.  Tomorrow, it is the artillery.  The next day?"  He gave a very Gallic shrug, "Perhaps an assault from the boche.  It makes no difference.  God looks upon you, and you live.  God turns his head, and you die."

I must have been more tired than I thought, because at that moment, Emile flickered.  Just for a second.  Just long enough that I was sure I saw it.

"Perhaps you will bunk with us this night?  Perhaps you can find your unit in the morning?"

I had a really bad feeling about this, but it was dark as pitch by that point.

"I guess maybe I better."

"Excellent", Emile said with a strange smile, "Perhaps there will be Pinot later."  Beside him, Andre just smirked.

To be continued.








 
" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

Mesozoic Mister Nigel

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Re: The Pit, 5 parts
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2014, 05:33:47 pm »
Cool, interesting to see where it's going.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


LMNO

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Re: The Pit, 5 parts
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2014, 05:35:59 pm »
Quote
I was really tired of the world war I thing.


This has a heartbreaking resignation to it.  I can't wait for more.

The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: The Pit, 5 parts
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2014, 05:37:28 pm »
Cool, interesting to see where it's going.

It's gonna be a little different than the other "subterranean" stories.  I've been wanting to do this for a couple of months.  It's gonna be fairly short, and if it turns out like I think it will, I might try to find someone to draw it.
" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: The Pit, 5 parts
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2014, 05:39:10 pm »
Quote
I was really tired of the world war I thing.


This has a heartbreaking resignation to it.  I can't wait for more.

Tonight, at some point.  I am now having the usual "I'm afraid to continue" willies.
" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

Eater of Clowns

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Re: The Pit, 5 parts
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2014, 06:21:35 pm »
Quote
I was really tired of the world war I thing.


This has a heartbreaking resignation to it.  I can't wait for more.

Tonight, at some point.  I am now having the usual "I'm afraid to continue" willies.

Those are unbearable. I've had them for just about every writing project I've ever started.

I'm looking forward to more of this one.
EoC, you are the bane of my existence.

EoC doesn't make creepy.

EoC makes creepy worse.

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The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: The Pit, 5 parts
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2014, 06:25:01 pm »
Quote
I was really tired of the world war I thing.


This has a heartbreaking resignation to it.  I can't wait for more.

Tonight, at some point.  I am now having the usual "I'm afraid to continue" willies.

Those are unbearable. I've had them for just about every writing project I've ever started.

I'm looking forward to more of this one.

Yeah, I know what I want to say, I'm just chickening out.  Well, more in about 3 hours.
" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: The Pit, 5 parts
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2014, 11:08:17 pm »
Part 2

They came for me just before dawn.

I was crouched in a dugout, about 10 meters from where I'd set up my bedroll.  I watched the squad of French soldiers, led by Emile and Andre, as they crept up on where they thought I was.  Emile had a trench knife, Andre had a jug in each hand, and a funnel in his teeth.

Me?  I had a Springfield rifle.

As one, the other squad members jumped on my bedroll.  Emile moved up with the knife, just as the men holding "me" down realized something was wrong.  One lifted his head to say something to Emile, and I put a round between his eyes.  I worked the bolt, and shot another soldier in the chest.  He slumped to the ground soundlessly.

The other soldiers retreated around a bend in the trench, but not before I had shot two more of them.  That left Emile, Andre, and three others.

"You are a clever one, mon ami", Emile called from around the corner, "How did you know?"

"There's nobody else here, Emile.  No Germans, no other French soldiers.  Just your squad.  I thought that was a little strange, seeing as we're in the middle of the Great War."  As I spoke, I primed what was considered a "grenade" at this point in the war.  Really just a glorified nail bomb.

"Well, there were more once upon a time.  But Andre and I, we have developed a taste for pinot, yes?  I think you may find that your bullets are not so effective against he and I."

"Then why did you run, Emile?"  I heaved the nail bomb over the bend in the trench, guessing at how far back the French soldiers would be.  To land it behind them, that's the trick.

"We were startled, mon ami.  Only this.  Now..."

THUD

Mud landed all around me, as the French soldiers first screamed, then quieted to a low moaning.  I sprinted - slogged, really - around the bend and raised my bayonet.  In front of me were three mangled French soldiers.  At the far end of the trench, I saw Emile and Andre staggering away, flickering.  I slipped in the mud, and by the time I got up, they were gone.

I staggered away, the way I'd come.  I picked up my bedroll...And underneath, there was a glow.  I reached down and brushed away the mud, exposing what appeared to be a television screen of some kind.  On it was the woman I'd seen earlier, except that she wasn't wearing a military uniform.  She was instead wearing a white jacket of some kind, a lab coat, perhaps.  She was staring out at me intently, saying something, but there was no audio.  Then the screen flickered and died.  I tapped on it a few times, but it stayed dead.

I walked another hundred meters down the trench and sat on a makeshift bench someone had built out of ammo crates.  I rested my rifle on my lap, wrapped my bedroll around myself, and drifted off to sleep.

I was lying on a couch, like the old time psychiatrists used to use.  The woman was sitting on a chair next to me.  She picked up a pad and a pen, and looked at me.

"Why did you decide to use lethal force against the men in the trench?"

"Because they weren't men."

"They weren't?  Come now, what were they if they weren't men?"

"Monsters."

"There are no monsters."


I laughed so hard that I woke myself up.  But I wasn't in the trench anymore.

To be continued.

" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

Eater of Clowns

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Re: The Pit, 5 parts
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2014, 11:15:51 pm »
I'm not sure what's more terrifying:  the possibility that none of these places are real, or that all of them are.
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N E T

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Re: The Pit, 5 parts
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2014, 11:30:25 pm »
Well, I'm hooked.
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The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: The Pit, 5 parts
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2014, 11:31:33 pm »
I'm not sure what's more terrifying:  the possibility that none of these places are real, or that all of them are.

When I figure out which it is, I'll let you know.   :lulz:

Well, I'm hooked.

Thanks.  I'm having more fun with this than I expected.
" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

Richter

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Re: The Pit, 5 parts
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2014, 12:03:47 am »
The surreal scene-shifting is done perfectly.  That's always how I expect real madness to be, all perfectly reasonable one minute, then sideways
Anyone ever think about how Richter inhabits the same reality as you and just scream and scream and scream, but in a good way?   :lulz:

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Re: The Pit, 5 parts
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2014, 12:05:12 am »
The surreal scene-shifting is done perfectly.  That's always how I expect real madness to be, all perfectly reasonable one minute, then sideways

We Doktors Holy Men™ call that "Tucson".
" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.

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Re: The Pit, 5 parts
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2014, 12:11:33 am »
This is interesting, and I like it.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”


The Good Reverend Roger

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Re: The Pit, 5 parts
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2014, 12:16:42 am »
This is interesting, and I like it.

Thanks!   :)
" It's just that Depeche Mode were a bunch of optimistic loveburgers."
- TGRR, shaming himself forever, 7/8/2017

 "Billy, when I say that ethics is our number one priority and safety is also our number one priority, you should take that to mean exactly what I said. Also quality. That's our number one priority as well. Don't look at me that way, you're in the corporate world now and this is how it works."
- TGRR, raising the bar at work.