Thursday, September 15, 2011

Game of Curses

Game of Curses
By: Kristian Gore  

          It was a still and foggy autumn night in the Bohemian Forest on the outskirts of the town of Vimperk in what was then Nazi occupied Czechoslovakia. The camp was small and out of the way making its disappearance from history understandable. The Gypsy family camp was well guarded for its size and the occupants were undernourished. The camp was originally meant to be a temporary stop for the travelers who were unfortunate enough to be caught as they were preparing to move deeper into the mountains for safety.

            Only one escaped that fateful night and that child spent years searching for a legend of this particular clan. An adult would have dismissed such a thing believing the family member would certainly be dead by now. The stories of the Gypsy illusionist were rather horrific and the child had only heard the ones the elders deemed suitable for a child. Seven year old Hanzi had heard the stories of the tricks he would play and the death he would cause but most importantly that this distant cousin was immortal.

            Traveling on foot Hanzi had made his way from Czechoslovakia near the German boarder tracing the stories to Romania, Turkey and through sheer perseverance and a desire to save his parents and siblings he tracked the legend into Poland and found the one he was looking for in Warsaw running games of chance on the unsuspecting German solders.

            Demitri was striking but not what Hanzi had suspected he would find. Demitri only came out at night and was, as advertised, skilled at making people see what he wanted them to see. His every whim and motivation was driven by fun and when Hanzi approached the legend, Demitri made it clear that he had been very much aware of the child’s presence that night.

            “I let you lurk around my place tonight because I was curious to know what a Gypsy boy wanted. Drugs, sex, gambling there is little I don’t have.” Demitri told the small boy who was worn and malnourished from the long journey. “So what is it you want of me boy?” Hanzi told him of his family and the camp in hopes that the loyalty to the family would bring him to their aid.

            “So? What do you expect me to do about it? Your family would only try to kill me if I showed up at any other time.” Demitri was not swayed by the child’s tears but he thought there could be some fun to be had and arranged for them to travel back to the camp separately. The child, now nine, was smuggled into Vimperk and much to the horror of his parents he made his way to the camp and surrendered to the guards.

            Hanzi learned that many of the children of the camp had been killed by the camp doctor who had performed horrifying experiments on them including two of his brothers and one of his sisters. When Hanzi told his parents Demitri was coming they were horrified but under the circumstances who better to save you from monsters than another monster. Secretly they hoped their family nightmare would become the death of their Nazi captors without it turning on them.

            It was a foggy night early in October of 1943 when Demitri arrived to see the makeshift camp in the Bohemian Forest. It was roughly as Hanzi had described it but for the security improvements made over the last few years. He rubbed his hands together and thought of how much fun he could have in such a setting before heading out to find a dark secluded place to spend his days.

            He decided on a plan of attack that would maximize the amount of fun he could have tormenting the guards and though he knew creating the kind of fear he intended would likely get more of the captives in the camp killed he couldn’t resist the fun he was going to have and his concern for human life had long since faded from his conscience. Once his new residence was established off the beaten path he decided the next night he would begin his fun.

            The gate guards were bored. Nothing ever happened in this place and the nearest town, Vimperk was almost as boring. It was beautiful countryside but at night in this mountain forest it could be spooky. However with time the guards had grown accustom to the beautiful days and the eerie nights. It had been a long time since the nights had scared the guards but that was about to change.

            Nothing ever happened outside the gate so the guard’s attention was much more focused on those inside the camp. When the man on the gate heard a noise outside he only glanced out thinking it was just an animal. He heard it again but it wasn’t an animal it sounded like a person. He listened carefully now fully focused on the mist that blanketed the forest while trying to warm his hands with his breath.

            He heard it again it was a step followed by what sounded like a foot dragging on the ground. Again there was a light thud and then light scraping on the earth. A figure started to take shape in the fog as the young Nazi raised his rifle afraid for the first time in a long while. It seemed almost like the fog itself was starting to shape itself into a person.

            “Identifizieren Sie sich!” the young guard yelled, inadvertently getting the attention of the other guards. His gaze was transfixed on the part of the mist that was slowly revealing an old gypsy woman with a limp. She started to speak in a language he didn’t understand but he felt a dread growing within him with each step the heavyset elderly woman took.

            He started to tremble in fear as he gripped his rifle and kept it trained on the old woman who continued to chant gibberish to him. He called to the woman to stop but just then she called out to him in German “I curse you and all those who harm my people!” She then spat upon the ground and started to rush forward her legs dragging on the ground behind her as she moved forward propelled by an unseen force.

            Bang! His gun went off almost without him realizing he had squeezed the trigger and the woman burst into mist and receded back into the rest of the fog. The other guards arrived demanding to know what happened. The shot had put the whole camp on alert but the young guard could only say he thought he saw someone. He was too terrified to tell anyone what he saw and heard.

            He checked the area where he had seen the woman himself and saw no footprints or marks where her legs would have dragged on the ground. The guards chalked it up to his eyes playing tricks in the fog and as things started to settle back to normal he walked back inside the gate. He shut the gate and as he turnedhis back to the gate he saw the old woman in front of him now her face twisted with rage. He fell back as she screamed at him again in German “You will die tomorrow! You will all die this month!” The woman again burst into mist and disappeared.

            This time he told everyone what he saw when the guards responded to his screams of terror. The story didn’t shake the guards half as much as the true terror on the young mans face. Demitri watched from the tree line careful to stay out of site as the guard told his friends what he saw. The scene was an amusing spectacle until the commanding officer came out and broke it up. He had to slap the young guard to get him to shut up but soon the camp settled back into its normal routine.

            By mourning the news had spread to all the guards and their Gypsy prisoners. Even the most skeptical among the already superstitious Rom Gypsies were convinced that Hanzi had really brought the maker of nightmares back with him. They were all hopeful that their captivity was coming to an end but were also fearful that Demitri would not be done playing when the Nazi’s were gone. It was still more hope then they had experienced since the early days of captivity.

            The next night the young guard was forced to walk the outside of the perimeter to, as his commander put it, face his unfounded fear and show the other guards there was nothing to his insane ramblings from the night before. Even he was almost convinced everything he saw and heard the night before were mealy his imagination and tricks in the fog. Walking the outside of the fence line was not giving him confidence that the commotion last night was anything less than real.

            The more he walked the tenser he got. Each step that night was hesitant, every shadow was scrutinized and every sound made his heart race. Demitri watched patiently enjoying the guards fear and occasionally making him hear the faint slide step of the old woman he had conjured up in the guards mind. It was just enough to keep the fear in the guard near the boiling point but not enough to drive him over the edge yet.

            The young man had been cautious going around each corner until he was distracted by a sudden noise behind him that turned out to be a rabbit. As he turned around he saw the old gypsy woman again being propelled by some unseen force, feet dragging on the ground. He was frozen in terror for just a moment, face fixed in a scream that would not leave his throat until the last possible moment when he let part of his cry out. The woman glided straight into him and he felt her pass threw him as his body seemed to burn from the inside out. The pain was intense but brief as his body fell lifeless to the ground.

            His last cry was heard but unrecognizable as human. It wasn’t long before his Sergeant went looking for him thinking that he may have made a run for it. The Sergeant walked the fence line and came to the body and checked for a pulse. He gasped at the look of terror permanently etched onto the young mans face but could find no wounds or signs of what may have killed him. He looked out into the forest uneasily remembering what the young man had said the night before.

            The Sergeant stood up not sure what to do. He didn’t want to raise the alarm for fear of causing the rest of the men to succumb to the fear of some gypsy curse. He stood rubbing his chin trying to think of his next move when he felt cold breath and sharp elongated canines sink into his neck. He wanted to struggle but was overcome with euphoria as the blood drained from his body. He tried to fight but his body would not respond to his commands.

            Demitri finished his meal and took razor wire from the bottom of the fence line and rapped it around the throat of the sergeant. He thought for a moment before tying the body to the fence with the sergeants facing into the camp. He carefully threaded the razor wire through the fence and around the Sergeant’s wrists and throat and let gravity drive it into the dead mans flesh. He would have liked to have strung the man up much higher but lacked the strength or the time to pull it off.

            Demitri had finished his work with just enough time before another guard came looking for the missing men. This one was on the inside of the fence and when he saw his sergeant he immediately raised the alarm. Demitri watched the show for as long as he could before retreating to his hideaway. He had enjoyed the show but now he needed to rest and think of what to do next.

            Dr. Metzger examined the two bodies and was baffled by both. The young guard was in perfect health and should not have had a heart attack. He could find no cause for it and could think of no good reason why a twenty two year old would just drop dead. The Sergeant was another story all together. The body had far less blood than it should have and from what he saw of the scene the blood didn’t end up on the ground. The wounds to the neck and wrists were severe but from the looks of them his heart had already stopped beating and he had already lost a substantial amount of blood. He was not looking forward to explaining this to the Captain.

            Captain Waechter read the doctors report carefully. He sat back and thoughtfully and then fixed his gaze upon Dr. Metzger. “Who has seen this report?”

            Dr. Metzger informed him no one had seen it. The Captain thought for a moment then said “Get rid of it.”


            “I will not have a report like this getting out. No one will know what happened so we will say the young man did this to his Sergeant and then tripped and broke his neck. The men are scared enough without you feeding their superstitions.” He slid the reports back to the doctor. “Burn these and write new ones that sound more… normal.”

            “Yes sir.”

            The doctor did as he was told and even cremated the bodies in an attempt to insure the details would never come to light. Despite the efforts speculation among the guards was rampant and the Gypsies were much quieter than usual. The Gypsies dare not speak of the devil that haunted their captors for fear of what would happen when he was done with them. Fear had infected the camp and no one was immune.

            Captain Waechter continued to run the camp as if nothing was wrong. He refused to believe ghosts, goblins and Gypsy curses. Dr. Metzger on the other hand had the oldest Gypsy left alive in the camp brought to him. He wanted to know what was coming and he thought the Gypsies would have the answers or may even be the cause.

            Stanka was 71 years old and she had the honor of being the oldest of the Romani in the camp. She was also the only one her clan who had ever seen Demitri when he was still a man but she was too young to remember and she refused to indulge the younger in her group with stories of what had happened when she was a child. She was also more afraid of her uncle Demitri than anyone else in the camp.

            Dr. Metzger had her shown into his office and made her comfortable. “Please have some tea and cake. Relax, I only wish to talk.”

            She eyed him carefully and said “Is there enough tea and cake for the others?”

            Dr Metzger sighed “Well I suppose I could arrange for you to bring back enough for the others if you keep it hidden. Also you would have to tell me what you know about the deaths.”

            “Death is all around us doctor so you may want to be more specific.”

            Metzger smiled “Of course I meant the two Germans who died last night.”

            Her eyes narrowed as she thought about what she should do. Even a little extra food would help her clan survive this ordeal and she felt there was nothing she could tell him that would be of much help in fighting Demitri. “You won’t like what I have to say and I doubt you will believe it. But then maybe you saw something in the bodies that will help you believe. His name is Demitri.”

            “Is he one of the prisoners?”

            “No he is my uncle and he was banished from the clan when I was a baby. My father told me his brother always had darkness within him. Simple pleasures were never enough; he always had to have more. He always needed to try something new no matter what the taboo. As a man he was among the best in the clan at bringing in money and food but he was also getting in trouble stealing others wives and even husbands.

            “This alone made him a nuisance but his lust extended to the oldest and youngest in the clan and if his advances were refused he would resort to force. He was brought before a Kris, or you would say court, of five men to be judged for his indiscretions. It was decided he would be banned from our clan and he did not take the news well. He pleaded with our clans King but one of his crimes was raping his daughter so his pleas and promises to change fell on deaf ears.”

            “How old was he then?” Dr. Metzger asked skeptically.

            “He was twenty eight when he was banned so he would be just shy of 100 years old now, maybe ninety eight or ninety nine.”

            “So a ninety nine year old man killed two of my men last night?” Dr. Metzger shook his head and started to think he was wasting his time.

            “The story only begins there doctor, that is the story of a man. No one was certain what happened next but a few years later when I was a small girl he returned. He would visit at night and only at night and each time he visited one of the clan would go missing. His power of seduction had increased as had his charisma. He also seemed to have the power to trick people’s eyes and ears. He could create images of beauty and horror upon anyone he could see.

            “It is said he left after exacting his revenge on the five men who judged him and the king who refused to let him back into the clan. It is said he created images so real that they tricked the men’s mind to death. He reserved a special terror for the king rending him unconscious with illusions and tied to a tree outside the camp. He brought each of his daughters out to him and made him watch as he seduced each of them, had his way with them and then devoured there blood. His daughters acted as if they could not see their father or hear his muffled cries for them to run far from Demitri. He then violated their corpses and the king himself before telling the clan where to find him and his daughters. The king killed himself the next day and we never saw Demitri again.”

            “That is quite a story old woman. You say this person is some sort of monster?

            “He is. The clan moved on and over the years we would hear of Demitri being involved in some strange tale of debauchery and horror. Until now most of the clan thought we would never see Demitri again and now we just pray he gets bored and goes someplace else for his entertainment.”

            “Guard!” The guard entered and he was told to escort the old woman back to her dorm and to take the tea and cake with her. Night had fallen while they talked and the doctor suspected the night would not be without incident. The food was hardly enough but everyone did get a small piece and at least a sip of tea. The guard was unsure if he should report the extra food that was given to the prisoners but before he could he was confronted by his dead Sergeant.

            The Sergeant’s neck was gashed open all the way around and his wrists were bare to the bone. He pointed at the guard who raised his gun and called for help but no one came. Terrified he opened fire but the sergeant would not fall and would not stop advancing. Before the guard could empty his gun his dead Sergeant’s cold hands were wrapped around his neck squeezing the windpipe shut. The last thing he heard before he died was the sound of his neck breaking.

            The doctor watched from his window as the guard was returning from his errand. He watched as another guard greeted him as he walked by. He saw the man stop and raise his gun as he called for help. He watched the guard shoot the man who greeted him and keep firing after he fell. He kept firing as other men came and yelled for him to put his weapon down and then without warning he dropped his gun and tensed up. The man seemed to claw at his neck and then grew slack and fell to the ground dead.

            Dr. Metzger examined the body and could find no wounds on the man aside from the marks left on his neck by his own hands. The guard had simply shot his friend and dropped dead for no apparent reason. He thought back to the story the old gypsy woman, Stanka, had told him. How do you fight something that alters your perception? He held off on typing his report this time but he knew the Captain couldn’t stop this story. Too many people saw what really happened.

            Dr. Metzger finished his story and waited to hear what Captain Waechter thought of their situation. The Captain rested his face in his hands and thought. He didn’t believe the story but something had to be happening. The men were afraid and from what he heard the prisoners were just as afraid of what was happening as they were. He only had twelve men guarding the camp to start with including the Corporal and now he had lost three of those twelve plus his Sergeant.

            “Dr. Metzger do you know why I am here?” the doctor shook his head. “I am here to be out of the way. I’m here because my leg injuries do not allow me to serve on the front lines where I’m sure my superiors would like to see me if only to have my name on the death reports. Do you want to know what’s worse than being a soldier shoved out of the way for disagreeing with his commanders?” The Captain answered before the doctor had a chance “Being led by him. There is no help coming there is no one to call and I assure you we and we alone must deal with this particular issue.”

            “So what do we do Captain. I don’t even know how to fight this thing but if we don’t think of something what men we have left will leave.”

            “And go where? Into the woods? Do you expect them to just wonder out into the forest and hope they survive the night? Never mind I will address the men myself, assemble them after lunch and make something up for the two bodies unless you wish to tell my superiors that the master race is afraid of superstitious Gypsy fairy stories.” The doctor had no response so only silence filled the long pause. “Very well,” The Captain continued “I will address the men before lunch today.”

            The afternoon was cool and crisp. The air away from the camp smelled clean and brisk. It was a beautiful autumn day that only the sense of fear and death that had permanently stained the area around the camp could dampen. It would have been a wonderful day to be a child had the Nazi’s not been there to torture, kill and starve them. Despite this fear of their captors combined with the fear of the creature Hanzi had brought back with him the children stilled played what games they could with time stolen from the work the Nazi’s demanded of all of them. It was a little easier to sneak off with guards missing now.

            Hanzi was with a group of children gathered around the back of one of the prisoner dorms as they quietly swapped stories and laughed in hushed tones. The talk turned to Hanzi as it always did and the kids as always wanted to here about Demitri and his travels. Hanzi would then continue his story about Warsaw and how he found Demitri the maker of nightmares.

            “He was running a gambling den with all sorts of games for the soldiers to play. He would take everything in trade, their money, their bodies or even just their blood. He had a way of making people see what he wanted them to see so they all just kept coming back.”

            “But how did you find the place Hanzi?” another boy interrupted.

            “I followed the old stories that go back to Romania and I found other Gypsies like us and traded stories with them and their stories led me to Turkey. In Turkey near the Greek border I found more of us and traded more stories and their stories told me he had traveled to Russia. I started heading that way but more Gypsies along the way told me stories about a trickster named Demitri who had opened a place in Warsaw.

            “Once I got to Warsaw I had to spend my days hiding from the Nazi’s and one day I hid in a basement of an abandoned building and fell asleep. It was dark when I woke up and I heard music above me and I went up to look and was careful not to be seen. There were card games and people having sex and smoking opium. A man was watching the whole thing and it looked like he was getting the money. I waited a long time for the Nazis to leave before I went to talk to the man and when I did I just told him who I was and who we were and like that he agreed to help us.”

            Hanzi had gone to talk to the man he hoped was Demitri that night in Warsaw but he did not really get Demitri willing to help and the boy knew it but he enjoyed being a hero to his friends and siblings. Hours before sunrise in the abandoned building in Warsaw Demitri was preparing to leave for his safe haven when the small boy came into the room. Hanzi had not gone unnoticed that evening but Demitri was careful not to let the Gypsy boy know he had been seen so Hanzi was taken aback when the man spoke without turning to look at the boy.

            “Why do you hang around little one? What do you want of me?” Demitri turned to face the boy. Demitri looked to be in his late twenties was an unimposing 5 foot 7 and did not look particularly strong. He was average in build with black hair dark brown eyes and was garishly dressed. His skin was the sort of pale but with a hint of his natural olive completion.

            “Are you Demitri?”

            “I suspect I am the Demitri you are looking for young Gypsy but I can’t imagine what you would want with me.”

            “I need help. My clan is being held by the Nazis.” The boy told Demitri of his clan and of the place his family was being held but Demitri seemed unimpressed.

            “Boy the Nazi’s are killing all sorts of people, they would kill me if they had a clue as to what I was and what I can do. Besides I know your clan and I’m sure I have no interest in helping them. So what do you want of me boy?” Hanzi started to cry and through the tears he attempted to tell Demitri how bad the situation was for his family and begged for help.

            “So? What do you expect me to do about it? Your family would only try to kill me if I showed up at any other time. What would I get out of it boy? What is it that would benefit me and keep in mind I care only for my own pleasure.”

            “Hanzi tried to think but only one thing came to mind “Isn’t it fun to be the hero?” he managed to tell him through the tears. “I play being a hero with my friends and we sometimes fight over who gets to be the hero and who has to be the bad guy.” He looked up at Demitri and was a truly pathetic image to be seen.

            “I have fun being the bad guy” he scoffed at the boy. “Why would I find pleasure at being a hero?”

            “I don’t know. I guess in this case you would be a hero to us and the bad guy to the Nazi’s. You could be both.”

            Demitri thought about it for a moment and finally said “Maybe. I am tired of this town and could use some fresh meat. Maybe tormenting some soldiers could be entertaining for a bit and then I can find a new city to set up shop and have some new games in.” Demitri looked the boy over again and had an idea. “I will help your clan on one condition boy and this is not negotiable. When the deed is done and the Nazis are dead you are mine to do with as I please. The night I leave, you leave with me and you will perform whatever task or dark deed I wish of you.”

            Hanzi always excluded that part of the story when he told his friends, siblings, parents or the clan leaders. It was a burden and a fear that he lived with completely alone and no one would discern this trouble with any other trouble a boy living in a Nazi death camp might have. His great grandma Stanka suspected there would be a price to pay but felt no need to burden her people with such matters.

            After the guards ate they assembled in the yard by the front gate to hear what their Captain had to say. Captain Waechter looked over his men and thought of what to say. He had no prepared speech to give them so he looked them over for a few moments before he started. When he began his sub Lieutenant prompted him to speak up that was met with a harsh look from the Captain.

            “Whatever rumors you heard about what is going on are false. What answers we have heard so far lead us to believe that we are safe during the day so I will need a few volunteers for special missions during day light hours to put a stop to the killings. If you are thinking of leaving the camp just remember you will not survive out in those woods at night so you are all safer right here. Whoever wishes to put a stop to this will come to my office in one hour for orders.

            “Let me also assure you that no help is coming. We are Nazi’s and succumbing to superstitious non sense would only be frowned upon if I were to report this. Whatever this problem is we must solve it ourselves and if we fail I guess we just weren’t German enough. In the meantime do not trust your eyes at night and everyone must work as part of a group of two or three. If your partner starts acting strangely you will tie him down so he can not hurt himself or anyone else.” He could think of nothing else to say so he dismissed the men and went back to his office for a much needed drink.

            Two men volunteered and were sent with the sub Lieutenant, the doctor and one of the Gypsy men to find the place where this ‘Demitri’ might be hiding during the day. They started by working towards higher ground but found nothing that would lead them to a suitable hiding spot before the sun started to set and the group quickly went back to the camp. Those involved in the search were ordered to get a good rest since they would be looking again at first light.

            That night fear settled deep into the men’s bones as they waited. They were afraid of what they might see or hear and were equally afraid to point out any sight or sound to each other. No one wanted to be tied up with something playing with their mind. Four men took turns in pairs walking the inside of the fence line and watching the front gate. For some reason they all felt safer when they were at the gate but for reasons they would not have been able to articulate.

            The men at the gate were waiting for the other two to return from patrol when they both saw Demitri step out from the woods and into view. He didn’t look like much to the guards who immediately assumed he was one of the Gypsy prisoners who somehow slipped outside the fence. They ordered the man to raise his hands and walk towards the gate slowly to which Demitri complied. They let him in the gate and as they did one of the two men started to scream and thrash about as if he were on fire.

            The soldier was convinced he was engulfed in flames and did his best to put out the fire but the searing pain was too much and he could feel the inside of his lungs burn as he seemed to inhale fire. The other guard turned his attention from the gate long enough for Demitri to close the distance and sink his fangs deep into the man’s neck draining enough of his blood to leave the man unconscious and near enough to death that he would get their soon without help.

            Demitri propped the two men up so they looked like they were sitting at their post and took position waiting for the other two guards to arrive. He waited patiently for the men walking the perimeter to arrive and when they did he gave them both the image of their fellow guard’s voices and motion. It was enough to make them think they were ok and to them the other two men went off to make their patrol while they sat and talked.

            When they were settled in Demitri allowed one of them to see the two bodies that had been there the whole time and faithfully following orders the man who did not see the bodies started to subdue and tie his friend up. The scene amused Demitri greatly since this was an unexpected twist for him. His friend secure, he turned to raise the alarm just in time to see Demitri close in on his neck and he quickly succumbed to the pain and ecstasy of the blood being drained from his body. Demitri stared at the bound man as he drank his fill of blood.

            Tied up with his back to Demitri the man tried to tell his friend that he was okay and that he wasn’t under some illusionist spell. His friend knelt down beside him and whispered in his ear “I know”. The words dripped with a sinister satisfaction that had the bound man suddenly scared.

            “What are you doing Hans?” the bound man said.

            “Only what I did to our Sergeant, don’t worry it will all be over soon.” The bound man started to scream but the feel of cold steel on his throat stifled the noise. Instead he whispered “Don’t do this Hans, I’m your friend remember?” The knife cut deep into his throat and Hans greedily drank from the wound careful not to spill a drop. His life slipped away while he was terrified and confused.

            Demitri worked at getting the bodies out the front gate and into the woods without dragging the men and stripped each of them naked tying each of them up to the trees facing the front gate with their own clothes. He left the gate wide open and covered his tracks before using the boots of the four men to make new tracks leading into the woods. It would be enough to convince a layperson but he knew the deception would be spotted by an experienced tracker if they had one.

            Two men set to relieve their friends and sounded the alarm early that mourning and the four man team set out to find the creature responsible. The Captain ordered the Gypsy barracks be chained shut and gasoline was to be poured along the outside of the fence line. Four young men were let out under guard to collect firewood in the forest to be set atop the gas trail. When the gypsy men were finished they killed them with bayonets and tossed the bodies on the wood along the outside of the fence in back of the camp.

            The Doctor was not built for a long day of hiking and the party had to stop often to let him catch up. The young Gypsy knew the area but not well enough for their purposes so ultimately they found nothing useful. Once again they found themselves in a hurry to get back to the camp for fear of being caught out in the dark. Dr. Metzger fell behind but the men were too impatient to wait for the man.

            Dr. Metzger did his best to keep on the trail of the other men and even called out for them to wait a few times but it was pointless. The men were afraid of the dark and they were not going to risk death to keep their doctor. Dr. Metzger was lost and the dusk was quickly turning to night. He resigned himself to his fate and sat and rested.

            At the camp the men returned, lit the fires and everyone went to their quarters hoping to survive the night. The sub Lieutenant choose not to report the doctor as missing hoping they would not be blamed for leaving him behind. “If he disappears in the night the creature will be blamed and not us.” he thought to himself. He hoped the fires would keep the creature at bay. He hoped in vain.

            Beneath the Doctors quarters buried not too deeply down, Demitri awoke to uncover himself. He watched from under the small building and when all seemed quiet he crawled out and dusted himself off. He peaked into the quarters of Dr. Metzger to find it empty and went to work cleaning himself up as best he could. He was annoyed and decided to end this whole business tonight.

            He went first to the barracks that housed the last of the enlisted men. They looked to be asleep which was no good to him. He could show them nothing while they slept but he suspected they would sleep lightly with all the action. He was considering a way to wake them when one got up to use the latrine and that was all he needed.

            He hadn’t really been able to sleep but had been too scared to move but finally he had to pee too bad and got up to go to the latrine. Before he reached the door he heard something behind him and saw that his comrades had been murdered in the room with him. Standing at the end of the barracks he saw the figure of a man with a knife moving towards him almost gliding noiselessly over the ground. He raced for the nearest rifle but was too late he felt the knife plunge into the back of his neck and immediately lost feeling below the neck dying from the sudden shock of a severed spine.

            The Corporal and the other three men were startled by the noise of the man who hit the floor. The corporal looked around the room and realized he was alone. He walked to the window to see the fires had gone out when he suddenly felt a hand grab his arm. He jerked away and fell backwards into the corner seeing no one around him. He backed himself as tightly into the corner as he could but it was no use he felt the hands on him again grabbing his arms and legs he struggled the best he could but there were too many invisible hands, two on each arm and one on each leg.

            He was able to kick his legs free and even kicked at the unseen creature at his feet as he continued to struggle to free his arms. He felt icy hands slip tightly around his throat and his struggle for freedom increased. Hands were back on his legs but his priority was to get the hands off his throat. His vision failed and the lack of oxygen was making him lightheaded. Just before he passed out he heard the sickening crack of the bones in his neck and no longer felt the other hands on him.

            The three men felt their corporal go limp in their grasp. They had done their best to subdue him when it became clear he could not see or hear them. They checked him and the other man but they were both dead. The men grabbed their riffles and decided to head out and take their chances in the forest. The door then flew open and unimposing figure of Demitri stood barring their path.

            The men opened fire but it seemed to have little effect on the man in the doorway and they all suspected it may have just been an illusion. Demitri focused on the soldier closest to him on the left making him see that he had been shot in the head by the man to his right. The soldier fell dead to the floor allowing Demitri to focus on the man on his right making him see Demitri move supernaturally fast towards him and snapping his neck in an instant.

            The last man was reloading when his feet sank slightly into the floor and the dead Corporal came up behind him pinning his arms behind his back holding him in place. “It’s not real. It’s not real.” He chanted to himself over and over trying to break the spell. His arms ached under the pressure and he felt his shoulders dislocate. Demitri sank his teeth into the man’s throat just as his mantra seemed to work but it was too late now. His blood was being drained and the ecstasy and pain he felt were too real.

            The sub Lieutenant had heard the shots and quickly grabbed his luger and waited. There was a knock on his door and he heard the Captain say “Are you alright? Let me in I don’t think we should be alone.” He continued knocking so the Lieutenant shot the Captain through the door repeatedly until his clip was empty. He curled up in the corner and waited for morning wishing he had ran off today when he had the chance.

            Demitri, healed by the fresh blood, heard the shots and headed off in that direction. He saw the Captain lying outside the Lieutenants quarters apparently shot dead through the door. Demitri felt this all was getting tedious so he went to get the last cans of gas and quietly started to douse the lieutenants quarters and used a little on the barracks where he had killed the guards. He lit the guard’s barracks first before going to the Captains quarters and rummaging through his things until he found a nice flammable brandy to turn into a Molotov cocktail.

            The bottle smashed through the window and sailed towards the front door where it shattered into flames. The Lieutenant heard the fire start with a whoosh around the outside of his quarters but the whole time he kept chanting to himself it’s “It’s not real.” The flames engulfed the building and burned the man alive despite his choosing to believe the fire was an illusion.

            Demitri doused the flames at the front gate and opened up one of the Gypsy woman’s barracks and let them free the others as he disappeared into the forest. The women went to unlocking the other barracks and the clan made there way out into the dark forest not sure where to go next. In all the confusion Hanzi slipped away to fulfill his promise to Demitri who was waiting for him not too far from the camp. Demitri took the boys shirt, a bottle from the camp he had filled with one of the men’s blood and proceeded to soak the shirt.

            He had intended to drop the shirt off on his way back to his cave so the family would not come looking for the boy but when he came across the doctor who had fallen asleep after giving up on going back to the camp he simply put the blood soaked shirt gently in the mans hands and draped it around his shoulders. From their he took the boy with him to the cave he had set up and would then take him with him on his travels to be a part of what ever underground clubs he would set up.

            Dr. Metzger awoke with a start surrounded by the Gypsies that hours ago he would have called his prisoners. It was then he saw the bloody shirt he held in his hands and saw the blood stains on them. He saw the anger on the faces of the men and knew then he would not survive the next few minutes, if he was lucky. If he was unlucky he figured he would survive much longer.

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