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Solifuge

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Solpugid

As a kid, I was attentive of anything my father told me. Maybe because I didn't want to feel bad, or because he rarely sees me because he comes home from his tour in Afghanistan for my birthday, or any other major holiday, or even because I was just, you know, little. However, one day he came home for good. He said he lost his legs when he stepped on a landmine. I was both sad and happy, sad because, well he doesn't have any legs, and happy because, well, more stories. I guess he was feeling the same thing too, because he told me story after story. Normally kids my age would be playing on video games, or playing football, but me? I just listened to my father's stories. However, one day he told me the strangest story I have ever heard him tell. He claimed this was the story of how he really lost his legs. After he told me, I thought two things: One, this story is actually scary. Two: Is he lying? I asked him if he was lying, because I thought his legs were blown off. By his expression, I could tell that he was telling the truth. This was what he told me.

"You know son that I was in Afghanistan, right? Ok, good. Well our commander at the base told me and some other guys to go out and look for this guy in AlQueda that they say would be worse than Osama, so we just shrugged and said ok. We got these missions a lot, and most just turned out to be recon missions: boring stuff, ya know?"

"Anyways we got into our jeeps and Hummers and drove. We passed a couple of villages that we liberated before, an' they seemed awfully quiet. Before they were all bustlin' and going along like what they used to do before everything went down. I thought that they were just packing up for the night, because it was getting dark. Hell, if I'd known why they were hiding in the first place, I would've hidden too!"

"We got over to the caves where command said our target would be. These caves were a lot bigger than the caves where we usually found these guys, and the cave command said our guy was in looked, well, like a huge animal made it. One of our guys squealed like a baby, because one of them camel spiders, or solifuges I think they called 'em, came up his shirt and bit him on the chest. We all laughed when we saw him screamin' and flapping his arms around like if he was a bird doing a mating dance or something. He managed to fling the thing off of him. We asked if he was ok, and he said that he was. So then we got our gear, and walked to the cave.

"We first shined a flashlight into the cave, looking for any signs of our target and for possible booby traps. We deemed it clear, and we tossed a grenade in it so see if we can get the guy to come out. No response.

"One of our guys decided to go in, and one guy, I think his name was McDownell or something like that, said, 'I don't think you should go in there, it is giving me the chills.' The guy who was about a few meters in the cave, I think Darren was his name, yelled at McDownell for being a wimp. That changed McDownell's mind and he went in.

"Me and Ron, the other guy with us, had to stay and guard the entrance. Boring, right? Anyways it was about half past 11, and one of our guys in the cave started screaming. We heard gunshots and yells of pain, so we held up our rifles and asked what was going on down there. One of our guys, sounded like McDownell, yelled out, 'Help!' and then started screaming. We were about to reply when Darren ran right past us like a madman. As he ran past, he screamed at us to run.

"What happened next was like a scene from a horror movie. This huge... thing, came outta the cave. It was one of those solifuges, camel spiders, whatever. However, it was huge. It was about half the size of one of us, and about as long as how we are tall. Ron was running for the Hummer, leaving me with this thing. I could see blood and intestines in its hideous jaws. Probably came from McDownell, poor son of a gun.

"That thing rushed at me, I luckily dived into a prone position, and it ran right over me. It didn't notice me, probably because Ron was driving the jeep straight at the huge thing. Ron managed to hit the thing, but it only seemed dazed. I regained my senses and picked up my rifle, which slipped from my hands when I dove.

Solifuge

"I tried to put a whole magazine into the giant beast. However the rounds just... bounced off. It seemed that its, exoskeleton was it? Yea, exoskeleton. Anyway it seemed that it was impervious to our rounds. I was half thinking of trying to shove a grenade into its jaws when the thing ran at Ron, and... Bit through his torso. The thing was devouring his lower torso like a wolf digging into the body of a fresh kill. Ron's upper torso soon disappeared into the thing's mouth, just like his lower half.

"Darren was nowhere to be seen, I presumed he chickened out and left me to face this thing. I was too distracted, and I didn't notice this 'solifuge' running at me until the last possible second. The last thing I knew before I was knocked out by the force of the thing ramming into me was that Darren was yelling, some other soldiers were yelling as well, and seeing my legs, ripped at the knee, bone and tissue, being devoured by the thing...

"I woke up in our camp hospital. I asked how long I was out and one of our medics replied, 'You were out for two days. One day from trauma, and one day from drugs.' I asked him why I was knocked out because of drugs, and he told me that they had to amputate the rest of what was left over from my legs. Gangrene was destroying the tissue around the area where my legs were gone, so they had to take no chances.

"After I got out of the camp's hospital, I was told that I could leave with honorable discharge.

"They told me that, 'I stepped on a landmine,' and to tell everyone that.

"I told them, 'But that wasn't what happened.'

"And they replied, 'Landmine. Nothing else. Go on.'

"I guess they wanted to cover up the incident by giving me an excuse to tell everyone. I somewhat understood. If they found out some huge beast was out there attacking US soldiers, then the public would go bonkers.

"Anyway, they gave me a Purple Heart. I asked what would become of me when I got home, since I had no legs and was on prosthetics, and they said that the government would give unemployment funds for me, as long as I kept my trap shut about anything that happened to me and my crew, and said it was just a landmine accident, and so, I kept my trap shut to the public. You are the only person I am telling this to son, and I want you to keep it a secret, although people may find out soon. Not from us, because there are reports of soldiers and villagers gone missing and mutilated bodies popping up in huge caves. I just hope that thing, or things if there are any more of them, doesn't come here, because they would kill us all if they got the chance..."

And so, that is the end of my father's story. What he said about the reports of missing people and half-eaten bodies is true. I see 'em on the news once in awhile. The latest one was about the disappearance of some cryptozoology group. They were supposedly searching for a huge arachnid, in the caves of Afghanistan, which was hungry for fresh meat. Some of my friends know that I'm holding something back. They pestered me throughout high school, and even in the days after it ended. I'm going into the military, because I want to see if my father's story is really true.

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