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The Veteran

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UniformM39

A Red Army uniform. Look out.

When I was almost 16 there was a shy kid in my school and one day, after an almost perfect record of showing up to school (as far as I saw him), he missed one day. As some of his close friends were my friends too I asked what happened to him and they told me almost exactly in these words:

"When we called him he told us he's too scared to come out of his house. He told us there is a man planning to hurt him. His parents called the cops but so far there is no evidence of such a thing."

I thought he might have met a pedophile or maybe just a crazy person. I was wrong.

As I walked back home from school, I walked by the forest. Then I heard what seemed then like a screech but also somewhat like the wind, which was odd since the air was still. I decided to go and check it out. I followed the sound quite deep into the forest but it only faded as I approached it. I followed the sound until I reached just a place crowded with trees, and then the sound stopped and ended with what sounded like twisting a bottle cap and a click.

I turned around to a startling appearance of a man with an old Red Army uniform which was covered slightly in blood, but still in near perfect condition. The man's face was behind a gas mask but I could barely see it since the mask almost looked to have fog or some sort of thick gas trapped in. I held my breath like I would be prepared to say something. The man looked directly at me, then I noticed he was holding a small piece of uncooked meat.

I tried to seem as calm as if I hadn't thought this man was a serial killer and said calmly, "I don't know what you want, but please let me leave. I swear to God that I will pretend I never saw you."

The man stood for a second as if he was trying to think of something to say, then I realised how quiet it was and the man reached to the inside of his uniform and pulled out a knife.

I was so afraid he would kill me that second that I couldn't move. He pointed the knife to his left, into the forest, and said with an accent-less voice (of course the mask was no help in allowing me to understand him very well):

"You go there and I'll let you live. You go anywhere else and consider yourself dead."

Obviously I wanted to live so I walked slowly towards where he was pointing but still looked mostly back at him so I would know if he would try anything. I saw a small light and he said, "There. Walk there."

I proceeded to walk towards the light and I reached a small open area with an almost burnt-out campfire.

He told me to sit and so I sat beside one of the trees surrounding the site so I could escape quickly when, or should I say "if", I get the chance. He leaned on a tree which seemed scratched, or engraved, with something. He played with his knife for a second and started to say (by what I remember), "Do you know what happened during WW2? Well, let me tell you, it was not a walk in the park." I was surprised for him to say that since he didn't have a single grey hair (in fact he had full brown hair on head) and he continued:

"At first when I went to war I thought I would be killing men who hated my country for no reason... well it turns out that I would be killing naive men who were told to hate my country by the wrong people with power... and so was I. Think of one country that fights for what is 'right'. You would first have to think what is the right reason for war. Well, there isn't one single good reason to kill a man... Well... unless you're the one responsible for the war."

I think he smiled but I couldn't see anything behind his mask. He pointed his knife at me and said, "We all are the ghosts of our inner murderer, the war maker... the one who's doomed to 'be responsible' for the death of... ourselves." As he paused for a second I thought about what he said and didn't really seem to understand, but as I looked at him he told me this:

"If you wish to be free of war, you must make war let you go into the abyss." And in that moment he just disappeared in front of my eyes into nothing.

I was very confused but saw a chance to run away and so I did. I ran as fast as I could without looking back and found myself out of the forest and where I had first heard the sound. I ran back home since I saw the sky had gone darker.

When I was in my room I tried to get all of what I saw out of my head and stop thinking, but I couldn't. That same day, when my family and I were having dinner, the television turned itself on and it was right on the local news channel saying what I feared:

"The police currently have no leads on this murder but will keep investigating. More on that on tomorrow's news..."

It was the shy kid; he was found dead in his room with what seemed to be knife stabs in his face. I was shocked to hear that, and my mother said, "Dear lord, he was from your school right?" and looked at me. My sister didn't really seem to care about the news but I could see her shaking a bit.

When I was in bed I finally let myself think about what happened, but I still didn't understand what I saw. Was the man a ghost? I wasn't sure what to do so I looked online for answers. Ultimately, I found that many people met "The Veteran" or "The red ghost", (and once I heard someone refer to him as "The Red Fog") - and none had lived more than 5 months after their encounter.

I don't think I will be so lucky.


To Those Who Hear the SoundEdit

If you hear the sound I mentioned, run. If your life is dear to you, run. And may God have mercy on your soul.

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