October 8, 2008

Raid on the Island of the Dead

Chapter 9

By Dwayne MacInnes

As suddenly, as it began the alarm died off. Captain Jennings quickly leapt from where the chaplain was resting and returned to the wall.

"What the hell was that?" Jennings yelled to Reynolds who was still firing into the mass below them.

"One of those bastards still had a good set of lungs," Reynolds replied never taking his eye off the task of shooting the undead natives gathered below him.

"Cap, look!" Corporal Vanders, who was standing a few positions down from Reynolds, motioned out towards the jungle. Jennings followed the man's flailing arm to see hordes of undead marching out of the jungle in an endless stream.

"Oh my God!" Jennings exclaimed. He could not help but notice as the few hundred undead were now becoming thousands as reinforcements arrived. Even a few undead German and Japanese soldiers were in the mix.

"Sir," Reynolds shouted over the din. "We cannot keep up this barrage forever. We will run out of ammunition."

Jennings looked towards the west to see the sun was finally starting to dip into the ocean. However, once the raiders left the safety of the walls they would be vulnerable to the growing horde of undead.

"We have to stay here as long as possible!" Jennings shouted back. "Slow down your fire and make every shot count!"

"Yessir!" the sergeant responded as he broke away and started running down the wall issuing the orders to the men.

The mass of undead tried to approach the walls of the fortress. However, the bodies of their fallen comrades acted as obstacles to the clumsy undead trying to climb the hill. As they tripped over the bodies, they tended to roll down the hill knocking over more undead.

The unearthly moans mingled with the constant crack of the rifles and the semi-steady bursts from the machineguns. The sky fittingly turned a blood-red hue as the sun disappeared over the horizon.

As the sky deepened to a deeper blue, the guard towers switched on the searchlights to help the exhausted soldiers find their targets. The undead mesmerized by the lights tended to stop and stare into the blinding beams. This helped the men reduce the undead further.

"Captain," Private Pike said urgently behind the captain. "The padre is looking pretty bad."

Jennings rushed down the stairs again with the private following behind. The captain noticed that the truck was fully loaded with several crates and barrels. However, there was still enough room to carry several men in the back.

Chaplain Brodin lay prostrate upon the ground in a delirious state. Sweat covered his face and his bloodshot eyes darted back and forth as the chaplain moaned and uttered incoherently.

"Private, get him in the kubel. We will be leaving shortly. Do anything you can to ease his distress."

"Yes sir!" Pike snapped as he lifted the sick chaplain into the backseat of the kubelwagen."

The firing on the wall was starting to slacken as the men were starting to deplete their remaining rounds. The captain looked at his watch; it was time to begin the evacuation.

Jennings again ran back up the stone stairs to the wall. He located the sergeant and grabbed his arm.

"Okay, start getting the men into the vehicles and let's try to open a path from the gate," Jennings ordered.

Reynolds nodded and started pulling the men from their firing positions. Most of the men descended towards the courtyard and began piling into the vehicles. Those few that remained on the wall began lifting the drums of gasoline and pouring the contents over the side thoroughly dousing the undead below. Once the barrels were nearly empty, the soldiers tossed them over the side. They watched intently as the barrels rolled down the hill and dispensed their remaining fuel among the throng of undead.

Once finished with their task, these soldiers too retreated to the courtyard and climbed into either the truck or the kubel. Jennings, Reynolds, and Vanders were all that remained on the wall. The captain reached down, grabbed a 'Potato Masher', and flung it over the wall. The sergeant and corporal followed suit.

The three explosions burst in rapid succession and limbs flew in the air simultaneously as the gasoline soaked undead burst into flames. Fire surrounded the wall and spread down the hillside following the path of the fuel barrels. Once it reached the source of the gasoline, the barrels too exploded rocking the night air.

The three men ran down the stairs. Jennings jumped behind the wheel of the Opel Blitz and revved the engine to life. Reynolds and Vanders threw the gates open and ran to the motorcycles. Before the two noncoms were on their bikes, Jennings gunned the truck out the steel gate. The kubel followed close behind with the two motorcycles bringing up the rear.

The two-ton truck burst through the burning debris knocking over any undead still lucky enough to be standing. The men in the back would take the occasional pop-shot at any undead they could view in the wavering light. Private Williams driving the kubel followed the truck as closely as he dared. Vanders and Reynolds weaved their motorcycles as best they could around the burning corpses lining the road.

The scant light emanating from the truck's headlights soon ceased as the constant collision with bodies soon broke them both. Driving as fast as he dared, Jennings drove down the road into the jungle. It was not far into the jungle before the undead thinned out and the driving became easier.

In the kubel Private Pike washed the chaplain's face with a rag wetted with the water from his canteen. Private Driscoll rested Brodin's head on his knees as Williams followed the truck. Private Quaid in the passenger seat would look back occasionally to check on the chaplain.

"How's the padre doing?" Quaid asked.

"Not good. If we don't get him help soon I'm afraid he will die," Pike answered worriedly.

Posted by deg at October 8, 2008 6:50 PM

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