The Curious Letters of Private [REDACTED]

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Contently Deranged Travelers
The following articles have been procured by the United States Federal Government prior to completion of its delivery for the sake of public security. All dates and names of persons mentioned herein have been redacted to protect the identities of said individuals.

Submitted: July 14, 2017

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Submitted: July 14, 2017

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[][] / [][] / 19[][]

 

Dear [REDACTED],

 

It feels as though bleak eternities have passed since I last held you in my arms.  Each moment absent of gunfire and death throes are filled with pleasant memories of our time together.  I miss the countryside as well, and our new little home on the hill where we will parent our children.  My return home could not come a second too soon.

 

Time spent in the dugout gives me ample opportunity to write you in these trying days.  It is as if all good in humanity has abandoned itself to hellish devices; like the good Lord Himself turned his gaze away from a weak stomach.  Terrible things happen around and in my company every day, things that beset our dreams with worse.  I will not lie to you and say I have not been worse for wear already.  The acts we commit upon our fellow man has left my conscience little reprieve from itself.

 

---

 

[][] / [][] / 19[][]

 

Dear [REDACTED],

 

I do not understand God's intention of allowing such works of evil upon his Creation.  I woke from my dugout to find Private [REDACTED] dead, face-down on the duckboard.  He was younger than I, no older than your youngest brother.  He was spry and filled with hope for victory against these Bosch bastards, now stiff and filled with dum dums.  I suppose even war must have its poetry, albeit deranged and grisly.

 

Captain [REDACTED] has not barked an order for a week now, refusing to leave his own dugout even as I write.  Not surprising, being his promotion came with the unfortunate end of Captain [REDACTED]'s time on this miserable earth; poor guy.  He was riddled by Bosch when taking a peek at No Man’s Land.  Had my fellows kept no will to live, the Boschs would have surely overrun us by now.

 

I hear they are sending a new Captain to replace the cowardice of {REDACTED].  I have hope that our situation may improve, though I mention "hope" in its loosest form.  If you could see what I see, you would understand I mean.  Of course, I pray you never do.

 

---

 

[][] / [][] / 19[][]

 

Dear [REDACTED],

 

It appears my aforementioned "hope" shined through at last.  Our replacement officer is none other than Captain [REDACTED]!  He immediately dismissed [REDACTED] and rallied us with renewed vigor.  He also came with information on the Boschs' position beyond No Man's Land from recent aerial reconnaissance; that is, to say, they were no longer there.

 

After we made our relocation to the enemy's trench, everything was found as Captain [REDACTED] had stated.  No bodies, living or dead, waited for us beyond their abandoned fortifications.  After our cheers and celebration, a strange stillness hung in the air.  I still remember its stale smell, old and unnerving.

 

I fear my pessimism may have clouded my sense of gratitude.  This is a wonderful gift for us, divine intervention or otherwise.

 

---

 

[][] / [][] / 19[][]

 

Dear [REDACTED],

 

Two members of my brigade went missing today.  Captain [REDACTED] assures us they merely deserted, yet I can see deceit in his eyes.  I last saw them entering a bolt hole to seek more supplies the Boschs may have left behind.  No other trench or dug out lay adjacent to the bolt hold, aside from where I kept watch.  They never left that bolt hole, but they were never seen again either.  When I investigated, not even their firearms could be found.  However, I did recover a metal disc from a crate in the back of the room.  Captain [REDACTED] seemed very interested in it, his reaction like the rediscovery of a long obsession.

 

Things are getting odd, my love, and I do not care for it.

 

---

 

[][] / [][] / 19[][]

 

Dear [REDACTED],

 

Captain [REDACTED] has been acting stranger than usual.  He fawns over the disc I found the other day, mouthing wordless whispers to it.  It's creepy, and I fear the Captain has lost his mind to the traumas of war.

 

My rest has succumbed to nightmares more and more these recent night.  My dreams persist in addressing ghastly images that sear into my memory: legions of skittering, clattering "things" that swarm in one direction beneath the shadow of a greater creature.  Its many-jointed legs and arms are indistinguishable from each other, and it has many of them.  Eyes peer from places they were never meant to on any earthly beast.  It crushes some of the swarm beneath every step, yet none appear squashed when it is raised.  They all continue to journey a single road in the dark, and everything off the road appears as a void.  I wonder, where could they be going?

 

I apologize, my love.  Perhaps this war has taken a toll on me as well; nothing my return to you cannot make right.

 

---

 

[][] / [][] / 19[][]

 

Dear [REDACTED],

 

I apologize for recalling even more of my bizarre nightmares, my darling, but I cannot bring myself to leave their details unmentioned.  In all of our years together, you know me to be a sensible, rational human being with next to nil imagination of things unearthly.  Please bare this in mind as I elaborate on the focus of my concern.

 

When my body has found stillness and my thoughts plunged into the world of sleep, I am beset by the same terrifying image: an up-close encounter of the beast's eye, so enormous I can only see its stare.  It is like a lake of crimson filth and an island pupil brimming with millions, nay, billions more eyes of similar design.  Twin thick films encompass it on occasion, a layer of pale green that ripples past and recedes in what I can only surmise as blinking.  My mind buckles under the weight of imaging the remainder of its mass, for its eye alone could drown a small country were its contents truly liquid.  It speaks to me in far-off roars and static gibberish.  I can understand its nonsense almost subconsciously, though even knowing its words proved worthless.  

 

"Return Lvkth'thr."

"Xlnrth and Gklenths do not yet wish to wake."

"The Erebos Slumber has been too short."

"Bury Lykth'thr, that it may return to Xlnrth and Gklenths."

 

This does not make sense.  Hell, scholars and mad geniuses could not possibly make sense of this.  Beloved, I fear for my sanity.  Should my letters cease, you have my blessing to marry another.  There can be no future with a man without a mind.

 

---

 

The following articles do not contain mention of their author or intended destination of delivery.  The articles herein were discovered [REDACTED] after the end of the Great War World War I.  Cross-analysis confirmed the penmanship belonged to Private [REDACTED], whose letters to his wife can be read above.

 

---

 

He would not heed my warnings.  He brought some of us to a secret passage beneath the duckboards.  I did not go with them.  I knew better.  They knew better, yet still they left with him.  In their defense, they could never have known the depths of madness that bastard had tread.  He thought to control the dream-things, to make them turn the war in our favor.  They cannot be controlled.  They can never be controlled; only sated.

 

---

 

After so many dreams, I finally pieced together the names spoken to me and the monstrosities they supposedly belonged to.  After the ritual was complete, I took possession of Lvkth'thr as I did when my fellows went missing all those weeks ago.  New markings were left on its surface, drawn in blood.

 

Before I could bury Lvkth'thr, Xlnrth came from the ground in the form of countless, otherworldly insects.  He was irritable and hungry, the host of his being devouring all in his wake.  No amounted of discharged munitions was enough to pause his swarming.  If I did not act soon, Gklenths would join in Xlnrth's feasting.  The world would never survive the weight of such a behemoth.

 

---

 

It is done.  That of the Skittering Host has returned to his slumber.  His consort did not emerge before I could bury their treasure.  I cannot imagine why they cared for it so.

 

---

 

The nightmares never stopped.  They stare at me still, though now they never speak.  They give no reply when I beg they leave me be.  Have I not done their will?  Why must they continue to torment me?

 

My fellows lay dead at my feet, breathless and without flesh.  Xlnrth did nothing to them, for these were the men who escaped his appetite.  I have been alone here for so long.  No one has come to save me.  Everything is silence.  Everything is empty.  I cannot see anything in my thoughts beyond the silent nightmares.  Even when I close my eyes, they wait for me.  They will not leave me be.

 

---

 

If you refuse to leave me, then I shall leave you.  You come from the earth, so I shall fly from the earth.  You can choke on the shell I leave behind, you miserable abominations!


© Copyright 2017 M. A. Yacone. All rights reserved.

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