Darkness II: Richter's Women
Welcome! This is the first new story I've written in quite a while; I hope you enjoy it! It's a continuation of 'Darkness', one of my earlier tales; I highly recommend reading the original version although this could probably stand alone by itself. I'd also like to give a huge round of thanks to my big sister Missy The Least for all of her help and support!
A word of warning, however: the bad guy in this one is really nasty. Specifically (and considering the audience) he's less-than-caring towards the female gender. I say this only because I don't want anyone thinking I harbor such horrid concepts in my demented (yet kindly) personality. I'm a guy. I love women...specifically my wife of 16 years, Angie. What else can I say?
Disclaimer: Hans Richter is an original creation. With that being said, I'll take a pass on knowing him.
Heaven, Colonel Hogan decided, is being in the arms of a woman.
He gazed down into the twinkling eyes of his date and smiled. Nothing else seemed to matter, did it?
Not even the war.
He cocked his head in puzzlement as another errant thought passed through his mind.
What's her name? He mentally shrugged as he looked at the beauty in his arms.
Does it matter?
Instead, he merely smiled. A soft, almost hypnotic band tune caused their bodies to sway together as one as they glided around the dance floor. Oddly, neither couple noticed the other dancers nearby. In truth neither of them cared. Hogan leaned down to kiss her lips and was rewarded with the taste of warm strawberries. Combined with the woman's perfume - not to mention the press of her ample breasts against his uniform tunic - it left the officer dizzy.
With effort, he barely managed to rein in his baser instincts. Moments later his control began to crumple as a hand gently grasped the rapidly hardening symbol of his gender. A soft moan passed through his lips as her hand deftly manipulated her newfound prize. That, combined with her radiantly teasing smile, almost caused the American to forget his name.
"So, Colonel," her soft voice breathed, "I am impressed. You're quite the dancer." Hogan closed his eyes as a nimble set of fingers twirled themselves around the head of his dearest appendage before they quickly - and frustratingly - disappeared. "Are all American officers so accomplished?"
Hogan glanced around the dance floor. Most of the other Allied personnel were lost in their own worlds; a few of the other officers were surreptitiously groping their dates. "Just me," he smiled. "A date without a dance isn't much of a date."
"So true," his date casually replied. "And yet, it does make for a rare combination in you."
"And that is..." the Colonel inquired, a humorous grin tugging at the corners of his mouth. Her ruby red lips returned the gesture fivefold before she leaned forward.
"Oh, the old saying," the woman breathed. "Tall, dark and handsome." Her hand found its target once more; Hogan shuddered as waves of pleasure cascaded though his body. "And such a big man, too," she murmured seductively, emphasizing the intended word.
"We aim to please," the officer cheekily replied as he tried to collect his euphoric wits. Strangely, a small - very small, he noted - part of his mind wondered where his date was from. Obviously she wasn't one of the English locals; her accent was disturbingly familiar. He just couldn't place it.
"I imagine you do," the woman whispered before her lips met his once more. This time they seemed different. The flavor was there, yet distant; likewise the feel was...
Suddenly, the air turned positively chilly as she broke away to rest her head on his shoulder. "And you know what else, darling?" she continued, her voice turning husky.
"What's that?" Hogan asked, his curiousity roused. Even as he spoke, his eyes darted around the room. Nothing seemed amiss but there was something...off... to his now-alert senses. Just then, an icy blast of air numbed the side of his head. Instinctively he looked down and tried to pull away but his date held him in a viselike grip. As he struggled, his eyes flicked upward once more.
Immediately, he wished they hadn't.
A pair of skeletons - one wearing a Navy officer's uniform; the other in a dress - danced serenely across the polished wood floor. White bones, glistening wetly underneath the golden overhead light, twirled slowly together in a seductive embrace. More corpses nearby swayed to the discordantly now-somber music. Hogan stared transfixed as a pair of rotting corpses sashayed by; to his horror he could see a heart beating through one of the exposed ribcages.
Gathering his strength, he tore free from his date's grip. As he staggered backwards he almost threw up. A woman's corpse - with fragments of dark hair still clinging to the skull - stood there; her red dress - stained, yet mostly intact - hung loosely off the decaying body. At that moment she advanced upon the Colonel. A choking smell of putrefaction wafted into his nostrils and set him gagging before her dead lips opened once more.
"It's time to wake up, darling," her now-hollow voice tonelessly grated even as her unnatural arms reached outward. "It's time to WAKE UP-"
Colonel Hogan's eyes snapped open. Without thinking about it, he bolted upward...
...and was rewarded by a wave of pain as his skull slammed into a solid object. Groaning, he raised his hand to his now-sore head. It took him a moment for his befuddled mind to realize there was something different about the simple maneuver.
Handcuffs! He tested the manacles; unsurprisingly they felt quite solid on his wrists. The only difference between these and the ones he was familiar with was that this one had a foot or so of chain between the steel bracelets.
When was I arrested? Where? I-
Just then, his fingertips brushed against something overhead. He reached out into the pitch darkness and felt...
...wood. He ran his fingers across the seemingly solid surface.
A bunk?, he wondered. No. Too low for that. There's no slats, either...
He let his fingertips glide across the wood and to his right. To his growing horror the material cornered and went downward to the 'bed' he was laying on.
Now alarmed, he moved his arms and legs around and found the same hard wood in all directions. He rapped his knuckles against the solid surface; only a dull thump echoed back to his ears. The darkness, now suffocating, closed in upon him as he finally recognized the terrifying truth.
Someone had buried him alive.
In an instant, his mind flashed back to the horrible night in the graveyard...
...and to the screams of that woman as she rose up from her tomb and into the land of the living. Claw marks, gouged into the interior lid, only began to hint at the madness she endured...
Focus! Hogan closed his eyes and pushed the terrifying image out of his mind. That won't be me! I won't let it happen to me! He reached out and hesitantly touched the wood above his head once more.
Dirt's behind there, he finally decided. Or something solid. He narrowed his useless eyes as he remembered his last mission
What did I walk into? He winced as he rolled his head to the left. Gingerly, he probed a swelled lump on his left temple. Apparently, someone had cold cocked him but good.
But who? Why? A sudden image flared into his mind's eye.
And then, he remembered...
In hindsight he should have called the mission off. As usual, however, London needed the secret plans that had fallen into his lap. Fortunately the timing was perfect: Hochstetter was in Düsseldorf on business. Klink was...well, Klink. What could go wrong?
The moonlit woods around the deserted barn were just that...deserted. Even so, Hogan imagined all sorts of worst-case scenarios. A battalion of guards could be hiding in the trees, for example. His 'contact' could be waiting with a pistol and handcuffs. There could be everything and anything in the barn
He just didn't expect to see her.
The girl - she couldn't have been any older than eighteen - stared back at him with frightened blue eyes. Brown ropes crisscrossed her body in a tight embrace; a white gag covered her mouth. The Colonel, shocked, blinked once to try to make the apparition disappear.
She was still there.
Suddenly, the girl's gaze flicked to a spot above Colonel Hogan's left shoulder. Her frantic grunts, muffled by the white gag, broke through the American officer's stupor. Too late, he realized the danger he was in. At that very moment he started to whirl to his left-
-just as a hard blow slammed into his head, sending him into unconsciousness.
And now I'm here. The American raised his chained hands and knocked on the board with his knuckles as hard as he could. In response, he heard something light fall against his chest. Hogan fingered the invisible granules for a long moment.
I'd bet anything that's dirt, he reasoned again, a desperate - if not crazy - plan forming in his mind. And if it is, I can use it to get out of here!
If I'm lucky.
Hogan traced the inside lid of his rough coffin with his fingertips. How much does earth weigh? he wondered. I know a shovelful is heavy enough. And if there's six feet of dirt above me...lots of dirt... He stopped, then shook his head.
First things first, he firmly thought, shoving the unpleasant thoughts away. I need to get out of here. If I can break the lid - which should have a lot of weight on it - I should be able to dig my way out through the loose soil.
That's a big if.
And I can't do that unless I can sit up. Stand up. If I can't, I'm dead.
If I can't break the lid, though... He took a deep breath of the now-stale air.
Here we go, then. Hogan tensed, then stopped.
Wait a minute. He reached underneath his head and removed a cloth - some kind of shirt? he wondered - before he put it over his face. The pungent tang of old oil filled his lungs.
I'd rather breathe that in than dirt.
Pain surged through Hogan's legs as he slammed his knees into the lid of the coffin. The wood failed to budge.
He ignored the fire in his lower limbs as they bashed against the unyielding surface twice more. The Colonel gritted his teeth in frustration.
Just how thick are these damn-
With a sharp crack the boards across the top gave way. Dirt, damp and suffocating, cascaded into his tomb.
Next: Ascending into Hell.
The history of people being buried alive (particularly before modern times) is a depressingly rich one. There was one chap (I think this was back around 14th or 15th century or so) who the Catholic church wanted to make into a saint. In the process - and for whatever reason - they dug him up and discovered claw marks on the inside of his coffin. Given the medical conditions of the era it was not surprising that he came back to life. However, despite the miracle, they refused to make him into a saint. I guess the thinking was that if he couldn't arise from the grave he wasn't worthy enough for the title. Go figure.
Side note: If you've read Darkness then you know that the ghost was romantically involved with Major Hochstetter when she was alive...nauseating as the thought may be. Nothing lasts forever.
Have a great day!