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The Beast of Kerama Retto

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This journal belongs to Sergeant Edward Boyington of the 77th Infantry Division. According to Sergeant Boyington, who died recently of heart failure at the age of 90, the journal contains his accounts on the first stages of the battle of Okinawa.

March 26, 1945

We were the first group of men to be sent ashore on a small island called Kerama Retto, 15 miles just west of Okinawa. Our job was to secure the island for our fleet to anchor in. Suicide boats from the Japanese were a threat to our vessels, that's why we had to secure the island as soon as possible to reduce the risk of losing a number of our warships before the actual attack on the mainland starts. After all, this was just Phase 1 of the plan.

It was our first day, yet the Japanese attacks were heavy and constant. It really comes to show that these soldiers are determined to do anything to stop us and to protect their homeland from being taken. But we were just as relentless. From groups of 80, they were taken down to numbers less than 10.

March 27, 1945 

No attacks were observed today. We saw no enemy movement. My squad was sent by our C.O. to report any enemy movement on the hills. For hours we looked, and for hours we saw nothing. We were about to head back until we came across an empty Japanese pillbox, or at least we thought it was empty. We got in, and what we saw inside was absolutely sickening.

We saw the bodies of dead Japanese soldiers, mutilated. Their limbs were torn off, their chests were ripped open, and their faces were horribly disfigured. Blood, flesh, and internal organs were all over the wall. It was a terrible sight. Even a soldier like me could not stand staring at it.

It got dark. So we got out, went our way back and decided to report everything in the morning.

March 28, 1945 

I didn't sleep much yesterday because I kept thinking of what had happened to those Japanese soldiers in the pillbox. I reported to our C.O. and told him that we never saw any movement from the enemy, though I never told him anything of what we had seen. What's important is that those bastards are dead, and there's nothing to stop us. Once again, there was no attack, no engagement with the enemy, and once again, we were sent back into those hills, this time farther, to report any movement coming from the Japanese.

We came across the pillbox but didn't bother checking it out, it was only a waste of valuable time, so we just kept moving. After a long walk, My squad and I found a tunnel made by the Japanese. We knew these tunnels from the marines who fought on Peleliu. All of us agreed to check it out and to see what was inside. We fixed bayonets just in case we encounter the enemy. 

As we got inside, we saw rifles and brass on the ground. We turned our flashlights on as we got deeper into the tunnel. Not long enough, we found the bodies of dead Japanese soldiers, same description as those in the pillbox: limbs torn off, chest ripped open and internal organs ripped out. We thought of heading back until we heard something just ahead of us. It sounded like flesh being torn. We pointed our flashlights directly ahead to see what was making such sound.

We saw a tall, dark creature feeding on the corpse of a Japanese soldier. It had long claws, an almost human-like head and no eyes. For some reason, we just stood there, frozen in fear, until it looked at us and gave out a screech. We ran as fast as we could out of the tunnel but the beast chased us and was able to grab two of my comrades. When we got out, all we heard was screaming and tearing of flesh.

March 29, 1945 

Private Wharton and I are the only ones left in our squad. We got lost finding our way back, so we ended up here, somewhere in the middle of the forest. We considered calling for help, but we were afraid it would attract the beast. We didn't know what to do. Private Wharton was having nervous breakdown. I tried to comfort him. At some point, he pointed his rifle at me. He thought that if we were to die here, we would die without getting eaten by the beast. I disarmed him and told him to keep his grip. He started crying.

It got dark again. We heard a familiar sound, a screeching sound. It was the beast! It was searching, probably for food. Private Wharton hid under a tree while I hid in dense foliage. The creature seemed to be getting drawn to Private Wharton's whimpering, so I threw two stones at a different direction and the beast seemed to follow the sound. It vanished, we escaped it once again.

March 30, 1945 

We haven't had food for two days. We were starving. We still kept on finding our way back. Every time we thought we were almost out of the forest, we would end up on the very same spot where we began. Private Wharton's actions were worsening. He kept complaining, and complaining, and complaining. I was also starting to lose it because of him. He was just uncontrollable. I aimed my rifle at him, and to my surprise, he quickly disarmed me and pointed the gun at me.

I thought this was it. I thought I'll never see my wife and kids again. I thought this is the part where he shoots both of us. I was wrong.

He pointed the rifle at another direction and fired a couple of shots. He called out for the beast and demanded me to run. At first I thought he had completely lost it, but it turned out that he was trying to help me, to get me outta here. I don't know why. I started running as fast as I could and as far as I could. I heard gunshots, then a scream, then a loud shriek. I ran and ran until I was almost out of breath. Then I saw movement, it was our guys! Finally, relief! I approached them. They saw me come towards them. They told me to halt, but before I could act, I suddenly lost consciousness.

I woke up, lying down on a stretcher inside a medical tent. our C.O. came in and asked how was I feeling. I responded with a nod. He asked me what had happened. I didn't want him to react in disbelief, so I made up a story. I told him that we were captured by the Japanese and that I was the only who got out alive. He accepted it, told me to get some rest, and got out of the tent.

March 31, 1945 

The whole Island was secured. It's really funny because we have not encountered the Japanese for days, or at least me and my squad didn't. I find it difficult to laugh about it, maybe because of everything I've been through in this island, and only I knew what really happened. We are to be shipped out of here tomorrow to our next assignment.

All I want was to get out of this Island, to avoid the beast responsible for the deaths of my comrades, who stood and fought with me since Guam. I hope that's the last time I see it.

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