A Journal of War
So after waiting for hours in a line I have finally been able to sit down. I am about to hear and see the greatest discovery in science. One that will change how we see ourselves. Or at least that is what I am promised. The stadium is packed. Every seat has been filled up. It is the gathering of who’s who in science and archaeology. Ever since the claim was put out there we all have been anxious to see what the speaker has found. It will most likely been another farce like the half a million claims before him. Just as I was laughing to myself on how this will be a spectacle of humiliation the lights dim. A light on the stage brightens and a loan figure walks to the podium. The roar from the quiet chatter of neighbors talking quiet down. The speaker clears his throat and everyone can hear it through the speakers that are set up around the cavernous room. Everyone listens intently as he starts to speak.
“My name is Vlad Alcone. I was traveling one day in the area of Wichita when I stumbled upon a small black book. Upon searching the contents I found that it was a journal from a past war. One so long ago it was hard to read the language. The thing that confused me while reading was the dates. This journal was dated 2065. As everyone knows it is only 564. But yet this journal looked ages old. Of course most of the pages were decayed but the important material was still intact. This material is what I will be discussing with all of you today. I know of you are thinking that I have gone crazy right now. But I assure you I am not. And will prove it to you. Now let me get to the material that was found.”
The light on the speaker dims and the wall behind him lights up with what looks like a page from a journal. One that was decrepit. Beside that page was another image. A translation of what that page said.
Excerpts from journal
September 29th 2065: The other soldiers in my troop have said this war is going to be the end of Earth. I tend to agree at times. But I try not to get my hopes down. My troop consists of everyone from different nations. We have finally come together to fight for one cause. We are the 1098th infantry. There are people from all over Earth. There is a guy from America, Europe, Russia, Japan, China, India, Poland, and other nations too many to list. We have been marching in the London area for three fortnights now. Many men have died in the skirmishes. So far all the fighting has been away from populated areas. But as time goes on it seems these “things” keep getting closer to the major cities and towns. The hardest thing in this war is that we seem to be fighting nothing! We never see these “things” even when the person standing next to you gets decapitated with a knife. I believe I may have killed one or two, but there is never a body to confirm this. So far my sanity has stuck with me, but I have no clue how long it will last. The only reason I am fighting in this war is because I want to protect my wife and kids. I have gotten rumors that some children have been drafted into this war. I’m guessing Earth is getting desperate enough to go against their morals. This does not bode well for anyone. Personally I have been fighting for eight months and we have not made any progress against this enemy. I send my prayers to my family. All I can hold onto is the hope now, hope that my family is still alive.
October 3rd 2065: We reached our destination. We are four days march from London. I was told that we are to be the final stance for the city. They predicted this might occur within a week or less. Right now it is four am and totally dark. I’m on night watch with a guy named Tex. Tex is a tall man from America. Actually, he is from Texas as he enjoys telling us about home. Right now he is just smoking a cigarette and (blood stains this page so much that all other writing is destroyed)
October 10th 2065: It has been awhile since I could write again. I witnessed a horrible sight just last week. I escaped with my life. I was sitting with Tex when he was decapitated. His head fell into my….lap. I quickly dropped my journal and ran as long and as far away as I could. I passed out shortly after. When the sun came up in the morning, I found myself in an open field. This is where the 75th infantry found me. I told them the story of Tex. I was ridiculed in their ranks. But, being a soldier, I had to go with them back to the site of my horror. They were on their way back to London to reinforce the troops there. I have finally reached the place where I dropped my book. It was covered in dried blood, but I made a good attempt to try and get as much off as I could. All of the 1098th infantry was killed that night as I ran. All of them in their sleep. I feel guilty about surviving. I wish I could redeem myself somehow. Now we are on the march to the city to see what has happened there. It is going to take four days. Every night I can’t help but think about Tex’s death and my subsequent retreat. I have nightmares. I do not know how much longer my sanity will last. There seems to be no way of killing these “things”. All I can do is hold onto the hope that my family is still currently alive and safe.
October 14th 2065: We have finally arrived in London. All we can see is smoke as if the city has been burned down days ago. We walked the vacant streets and went to the building where the general was supposed to be. It seems that the buildings were set ablaze just before those “things” arrived. Maybe so they couldn’t take what was inside. We have to come with terms that we lost London. Now our orders have to come from somewhere else. So in the meantime we are able to take a couple of days to look around for survivors. I love here so I will go directly to my house. Lord, I hope my family is still alive. Maybe they were able to escape. All I can do is hold onto that hope. I will head out tomorrow.
October 15th 2065: When I arrived at the house I saw that the door was ripped open from the outside. When that befell my eyes my heart sank. I ran into the house as quickly as I could possibly go. My heart was racing so quickly I almost believe it reached the door before I did. The door opened up into the living room where the TV was broken into pieces that littered the floor. No sign of my family anywhere. At least at that point in time. I quickly ran upstairs to the bedrooms. First was the children’s. The beds were over-turned and splinters of wood and clothing were strung about the room. But luckily there was no sign that my children were there. I then ran into my marital bedroom. Again a similar sight befell my eyes. Wood, glass, cloths, and metal were strung about the room as if someone had come bent on destruction.
Again no sign of my family. I ran downstairs in a panic haze. That is when I say a man standing at my door in the same uniform as me. I looked at him with bewildered eyes and he greeted mine with tear-stained reddened ones. We stared at each other for a moment, my panic wanting me to bolt to find my family, his grief holding me in place. He broke the silence “They were all slaughtered. EVERYONE! Found them in the basement killed like…like… ANIMALS!”
When he finally got it out he just slumped onto porch and began to weep openly. Wailing with grief.
Realizing what he just said I ran down to my basement where I found them. My two children and my sweet loving wife. They never did anything wrong, nothing to deserve this. They were huddled against the far wall. All three of them. The two children clutching onto their mothers body. My wife’s head was missing and the children had their back completely torn out. (Small spots of what looks like places that were stained by salt and water decorated this page). I only write this because I am sure I will not be able to see the end of this war. I just want someone to know what happened here. To show how inhuman these “things” really are. This war is truly the war to end all wars. Hope is gone. I now move bent on revenge. Revenge is what will keep me going. That is what I have to hold on to. Nothing will fix my sanity. But I don’t need sanity for what I will do.
October 17th 2065: We have finally received our orders. The command is now in Russia. We are to march toward Russia to try a surprise attack. Everyone has had time to bury their loved ones. We also banded together to bury all the dead that we have found. We begin our march tomorrow at zero four hundred hours. All I want to do is kill one and see their face. Revenge has totally taken over. I have dreams of the murder of my family. How they suffered. The only problem is that the assailants are faceless. I just want to put a face to the ones who did this. It haunts my dreams. Hatred and revenge are all that is left. I will find a way.
October 24th 2065: We have marched for seven days straight. I am extremely tired but I have somehow found the time to write in my journal. It is zero two hundred hours and we finally have been given time to rest. I can’t sleep anymore. Those nightmares haunt me. I have grown deathly thing. I can’t stomach much food at all. The platoon leader has had to force feed me on several occasions to keep me from dying. At times I get the energy to eat and drink on my own. The only sleep I can get is when I pass out from pure exhaustion. Going from town to town we have come to realize that we are catching up to those “things”. But at what cost? We have lost half the platoon already from exhaustion. People die walking. It is a miracle that I have not succumb to the same fate. The only things that keep me going are the revenge and hatred seated deep inside my heart. I only need to put a face to one and I will willingly give my life at that time. I will then see my wife and children again with my head held high. The Lord can take me then. Just let me live long enough to see just one.
October 28th 2065: We caught up to them unawares this morning. We were able to kill some and confirm it. I was finally able to put a face to the “things” that killed my family. I now have to time to draw exactly what they are (a sketch is found on the bottom right corner of the page). This is the face that I will forever see in my dreams. This face will be the one that killed my family. This face is the face that took my life away from me. This is the face that I will continually dream of killing as he did my wife and kids. Maybe now my nightmare will ease.
October 29th 2065: This morning we marched even longer than before. There is no sign of them. I have some time to inscribe these words. I have a feeling the end is near. We have gotten word that America is now no more. The country left with any opposition is Russia. I guess I can say I am behind enemy lines. I fear for my life sometimes. But then I remember that frightful sight of my wife and kids. I keep going. I want to eradicate all of those filthy “things” from this planet. The worst thing is that all the governments did not have time to even think about setting off a nuclear bomb. Well, I really need a cigarette right now. Even though I have never smoked before it seems to help now. M platoon leader told me once before that no cigarettes are to be lit. I know why. I remember what happened to Tex. I just can’t fight that urge anymore. Either way I don’t care if I die anymore. I have seen them. If I do die I know I will see my wife and kids. It is almost a welcome relief.
The lights on the wall begin to fade as the light over the podium brightens once again. Vlad clears his throat once more. “This is where the pages ended. There are no more entries that we could find. All I can say is that he probably died shortly after writing that last entry. Most of you are likely wondering what this has to do with science. Well the evidence is in the drawing.” Vlad nodded his head to someone off stage and the light above to podium dims once again. The back wall lights up once more. On that wall was a sketch. Suddenly there is a loud gasp from everyone including myself. I can’t stifle my surprise. That sketch…that sketch…..it looked exactly…..like US! That is when it hit me. Our race was that face that killed his family so mercilessly. That means we were not the only ones who inhabited this world before. We eradicated the inhabitants here. But for what?
By Joshua Bradford