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The Trenches

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In 2013, a group of archaeologists exploring a series of World War One era trenches in an unknown area of France have discovered a journal belonging to an unknown German soldier in the wall of one of the trenches. The journal was badly desecrated due to burns; however the journal was kept from decaying by chemicals found in the soil around the journal. There were only four pages that were able to be translated. These were their contents:

July 17th, 1917

The enemy trenches were supposed to be gassed today; however, the gas canisters that were going to be used malfunctioned and exploded. It was bad. The canisters contained our new experimental mustard gas. The thick cloud of the gas lingered in and over our location for hours. About five sixths of our men died, I'm guessing, from what I have seen when escaping from the danger zone. The rest of us were scattered around the trenches. Most of our comrades were alone and separated from their squads. I was one of them. Having been separated from my friends, I sheltered in a barracks room. Fortunately it was void of any gas when I got in. I hate wearing this mask. The sun messes with my eyes when I wear them.

Having rations with warm water for supper this evening. I’ll go look for my comrades in the morning.

July 18th, 1917


A Gew 98

The sky was cloudy when I stepped out of the barracks. I had my mask on for precautions, yet thankfully the gas cloud had dispersed due to the wind. I wish that these masks could mask smells, because it smelled like decay mixed in with the sulfur smell of the gas in the trench. I had some more rations for breakfast with lukewarm water from a surplus canteen I found in the barracks. I made sure to grab a Gewehr 98 from a munitions box with fifty spare rounds. I dropped my Mauser rifle in the confusion yesterday, yet I had my P08 with me, since I always kept my leather holster shut to prevent my sidearm from slipping. I walked about a mile through the trenches. I found no signs of my comrades. I kept on hearing some scratching noise mixed in with these inhuman screeches. It could have been my mind.

Going without supper today, need to ration my supplies if I am trapped here. Also the Allies' guns were silent today, which gives me the chills. I guess I got used to the constant  explosion of rifles firing, the clacking of bolts, and the constant clattering on MG fire. Its just seem strange and foreboding without these sounds. I also feel like I am being watched.

July 19th, 1917

I saw something scurry by the barracks this morning. It looked like one of our troops crawling on all fours, but it went so fast that I couldn’t make out any facial features. I decided to leave the barracks in search for it. It was about twenty minutes after I saw the thing that something knocked me down. It was the thing that I saw. It was about the height of a small child, yet it was no child. Its skin was pure white, like snow. It had this horrible disfigured face, like if you would take a portrait of a man and swirl his face so that his mouth was above his brows, his nose in place of an eye, and an eye in his chin.

The joints of this thing were backwards, and its fingers ended in long, black claws. It used to be one of my comrades, but the uniform he used to wear was seemingly fused into his skin. The helmet was like this too, but white filmy skin covered the helmet, giving the impression that the beast had a large horn, since there was a pike on the helmet. The thing opened its mouth, revealing jagged, human-like teeth. I kicked the thing off of my back and shot it with my Gew 98. The bullet went through its chest, and blackish-blue blood poured out of the bullet hole.

The thing died, as I hoped it would, yet the sound of my shot, and the clack of the rifle’s bolt as I primed my rifle alerted more of these demons to my position. I looked like I ran through no man’s land when I got back into the barracks. Could have the men who have succumbed to the gas been mutated into these beasts? I need time to think.  

Eating half of the rest of my rations for supper. Also drinking a quart of water in my canteen to save some if I am stuck here for much longer.

July 20th, 1917

Finally my comrades came to my aid! A regimen of men came to the trench when none of our reporting men came to command to report on the gassing. A handful of men lost their lives fighting the demons I fought the other day. They refused to explain the deaths of the men, even to me. I tried explaining the events leading up to my rescue, but the men who saved me thought I was delusional due to nausea from the gas. With so little of us surviving the initial incident, I couldn’t blame them.

Even though I was hurt quite a bit, they still made me fight. As we crossed the trenches, I saw bodies of my dead comrades, with organs ripped out of their bodies and miscellaneous body parts here and there. These men seemed to have died fighting the demons, yet the men I was with thought nothing of it. This was the Great War after all, and these things happened all the time. I guess the truth would be forever buried within me, and the soil of these trenches. Well, this is the last page of my journal.

However this is certainly not the last page of my story, and the story of this bloody war.

The following signature was found in the bottom corner of the last page, be aware that most of the letters were blurred and/or obstructed:   Ad__f Hit__r

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