This is a story I promised to never tell. For years I told myself it wasn’t real, that I’d suffered from a paranoid delusion or mental breakdown on the day it happened. Even now I still can’t fully rule out a mental health episode during my youth – but, in the twenty years since, I’ve never experienced anything like it, nor have I been able to determine any logical explanation for the bizarre and terrifying occurrences. So, unless I was secretly slipped some previously unknown psychedelic drug on the morning in question, I must conclude that my experience was real. And this is what terrifies me to my very core, because as time goes on, I fear that the horrors I was exposed to back then will one day come to our world. And when that day comes, God help us all.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, so let me take you back to that fateful morning. I was a first-year history student attending a well-known UK university. I won’t name my school here, but suffice to say, it’s not notorious for paranormal occurrences or unexplained incidents. Sure, its an old university with it’s fair share of urban legends and ghost stories, but nothing that really stands out. But tales of phantoms and ghouls were the last thing on my mind on that Wednesday morning. Like most first-year students I did my fair share of partying and I’d been out late on the Tuesday night, sleeping in and running late for my 9am lecture.
I recall hastily throwing on some clothes and quickly brushing my teeth before grabbing my rucksack and sprinting out of my halls and across the street to the lecture hall. I was still in a daze – hungover and half asleep as I made the frantic dash across the concrete, panting and sweating but barely taking in my surroundings. If I’d been more savvy I might have realised something was wrong before I reached the lecture theatre, but instead I ran straight into a trap.
There was a moment however when I felt something wasn’t right. It came just as I ascended the stairs and prepared to push open the lecture room door. It was like some kind of sixth sense – a primal fear buried deep inside my sub-conscience, or perhaps my soul itself. I experienced a literal chill down my spine, freezing momentarily with my hand on the ice-cold door handle. It was like there was a voice screaming inside my head, telling me that I shouldn’t go inside.
I should’ve listened to my instincts, but I was young and foolish, telling myself this was stupid and I had nothing to fear. And so, I pushed the door open and entered, making a decision that I’ll regret for the rest of my life.
At first glance, the interior of the lecture theatre didn’t look like anything out of the ordinary, as I observed rows of seats set up in an amphitheatre style, facing down towards the podium where the lecturer stood over a projector screen showing a PowerPoint presentation. Rows of students sat in tight formation, all sitting in total silence with their eyes facing front. It was eerie how quiet it was inside of that theatre. You literally could have heard a pin drop.
This was my second indication that something was off about this classroom. Usually, you could guarantee some chatter from the backseats, with somebody messing around or slacking off. But not with this class. They were the most well-behaved and focussed students I’d ever encountered. And this wasn’t all. There must have been close to a hundred students inside of that lecture theatre, and they were all dressed identically. Now, even twenty years ago, you’d expect to see diversity amongst young people attending university. This is the time for experimentation after all, for trying out new styles and fashions, and breaking the mould. But this lot clearly hadn’t gotten the message.
Each and every one was dressed in a dark black uniform – shirts and trousers for the boys, blouses and long skirts for the girls. Not only that, but they all had the same hair – the boys with short crew cuts and girls with their hair tied back in neat buns. None of the females wore make-up from what I could tell. Clearly, I was the last student to arrive for the lecture and I felt very uncomfortable as I walked down the aisle in search of a seat. But no-one turned to look at me or even to acknowledge my existence. They all kept their eyes on the front podium, their faces emotionless and devoid of expression. This was freaky enough, but then I saw the lecturer.
On the surface, our teacher seemed quite normal – a middle-aged academic-type dressed in a tweed suit and sporting a well-trimmed goatee beard. He wore reading glasses which he lowered ever so slightly as he watched me approach. Alarms bells were ringing inside my head as I looked into his dark eyes and observed a barely suppressed malice. I’d never met this man before but could tell straight away that he hated me, and I had no idea why.
I was so taken aback by his hateful glare that I simply stood there in the aisle, frozen by a terror I could not explain. And when he opened his mouth to speak, his voice was deep, piercing and almost inhuman.
“Good morning, nice of you to join us.”
Such a comment wasn’t unexpected, but his tone was more accusatory than sarcastic. I physically shook as I struggled to find the words to respond.
“…I…I’m sorry I’m late…” I eventually stuttered.
“Well, make sure it doesn’t happen again, or you will regret it.”
That was a threat, pure and simple. I had no doubt that this man would punish me for any slight indiscretion.
“Now, take a seat so we can get started.”
I did so without hesitation, practically jumping into a chair located on an empty row, three from the front. I glanced over my shoulder only briefly, looking above the heads of the student clones and back to the door. I realised then that I should’ve listened to my instincts and walked away, but it was too late. There was no way I could slip away now, not with the lecturer’s cutting glare upon me. I was here for the duration, but I couldn’t have imagined what this fiend would expose me to over the next hour.
“Now, before we begin today’s class, I have some housekeeping to deal with. First off…health and safety. The university authorities have asked me to remind you all that there are no emergency exits in this building, so in the case of a fire, you’re all going to fry.”
This struck me as a joke in very poor taste, but the lecturer kept a straight face and there wasn’t even a snigger from the assembled students.
“And your essay assignments are due on Friday. The penalty for late submission is twenty lashes from the cat-o-nine-tails. No exceptions.”
‘What the fuck?’ I thought but didn’t say. Twenty lashes? Was this psycho really advocating corporal punishment? I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, but the weirdest part was still to come.
“Right, let’s pick up where we left off last week. Our topic – The Final War, 1939 to 42.”
He clicked the remote control device in his hand to show the first slide in the presentation, which repeated the course title, displaying the words using a black, gothic font against a blood red background. I had to think for a second before I realised the obvious problem with the course title. The lecture I was meant to be attending this morning was on the Second World War, and of course this global conflict had lasted from 1939-45. What’s more, I had never heard this period referred to as the ‘Final War’, a title which would be factually inaccurate, for obvious reasons.
My confusion grew as the creepy lecturer presented the next slide. This included an old black-and-white photograph of a ruined city. I noted how every building was reduced to rubble and saw the crater-like hole which swallowed up the debris. This did not look like a crater caused by a bomb or artillery shell but rather a deep, gaping opening in the ground which had no logical explanation. The text above the grim image was equally disturbing, as it read – ‘1942: The Year Hell Rose Up’.
I was still pondering the meaning of all this when the lecturer moved onto the next slide and began his explanatory narrative. The image on screen was familiar to me – a map of Europe circa the autumn of 1942, when the Nazi empire was at its greatest extent, stretching from France in the west to the Volga in the east, and Norway in the north to the Sahara in the south. The next map showed Japanese conquests in the Far East, extending across China, South-East Asia and most of the Western Pacific Rim.
This was the point of the war where the Axis powers seemed on the verge of victory, as their militaries conquered and occupied vast swaths of territory and oppressed millions of people. But of course, the Allied powers were mustering their forces and preparing counterattacks across multiple fronts, mobilising vast armies and resources to achieve a total victory by 1945. But this lecturer had a very different story to tell.
“The course of the war to date had gone reasonably well, from our perspective…the Nazi juggernaut had swept across Europe – toppling nations, destroying armies and slaughtering countless innocents. Disciples of chaos, violence and bloodshed, perhaps the best we’ve seen throughout human history. Yes, the fascists proudly bore the mark of Cain, but they weren’t the only ones. The Godless Soviets were quite happy to starve and shoot millions in pursuit of their worker’s paradise, the Japanese conquered and enslaved their fellow Asians, and even the liberty-loving British and Americans could justify bombing cities into the ground. Yes, evil was flourishing and violence had become normalised on the mortal plane. Mankind had created this bloodbath and they unwittingly presented us with the perfect opportunity to rise up and launch our own assault upon the Earth.”
I visibly shook when I heard those words. What I was hearing made no sense whatsoever. It was farcical, and I wondered whether this was all some kind of elaborate practical joke. But deep down, I didn’t believe this was the case. Everything I’d seen and heard seemed so real. I’d never been a great believer in the paranormal or spiritual world, nor was I a particular fan of science fiction. I couldn’t fathom the idea that I’d somehow been transported to a different dimension or plane of existence, but my instincts told me I was in mortal danger.
My panicked brain tried to formulate a plan, but all I could think to do was sit quietly and wait for the opportunity to get out. And, in the meantime, I would listen to the lecturer’s bizarre and disturbing alternate history of World War Two.
The next slide was a more detailed map of the Caucasus region of southern Russia, centred around the city of Stalingrad, scene of perhaps the most famous battle of the entire war.
“A city named for one despot and craved by another.” the lecturer explained, “Stalingrad was the scene of some of the most brutal violence in human history, savage urban warfare between two vast war machines. The streets ran with blood, and the carnage provided the ideal launchpad for our invasion of the surface world.”
I gulped, wondering what the hell he was talking about. I couldn’t have predicted what happened next, not in my worst nightmares.
The next slide was source material, an extract from the diary of Sergeant Victor Petrov of the 34th Guards Rifle Division, stationed on the Stalingrad front, and dated the 1st November 1942. The lecturer instructed us to study the translated account carefully, which I did. Not only that, but I copied the exact text down onto my notepad and have kept it to this very day. It read as follows:
“The fascist dogs have bombarded our positions throughout the day, mercilessly attacking our remaining positions on the west bank of the river. Their stormtroopers push forward slowly, but we fight them for every inch of territory, street-by-street, house-by-house. Our casualties are heavy, but morale remains high.
We have heard rumours of a planned counter-offensive with troops amassing on the east bank. If we can only hold the fascists back for a few more weeks, we will turn this battle around…”
At this point there was a gap in the transcript. When it continued, the tone of the account changed significantly.
“I thought I had seen Hell, but I was wrong…The horrors of this battle were only a prelude to an evil beyond belief. It started at midnight. The shooting and artillery stopped suddenly, and an eerie silence fell over the battlefield. A moment later, the ground shook with an unprecedented ferocity – an earthquake which brought the already ruined buildings toppling down on our positions. In the chaos that followed I noted something horrific and inexplainable. The River Volga was boiling, its waters warmed to an impossible heat, despite the bitter cold in the air. My comrades and I could only watch on in shocked awe as the ground before us opened up, revealing a vast, gaping hole descending deep into the earth.
That was the moment when I noticed a change in my comrades. Brave men who’d fought tooth and nail against the fascists suddenly broke down sobbing, praying to a God we were told didn’t exist. The doctrines of Marx, Lenin and Stalin cannot explain this event. Socialism has no answers for the evils we are witnessing. The fire came first – an endless procession of burning orbs which ascended from the hole in the earth, each the size of an automobile and burning with a fiery intensity, as bright as the sun.
There must have been thousands of these fireballs, all rising into the dark sky above. Some fell on our positions, causing huge explosions which destroyed vehicles and men, resulting in utter carnage. We saw how these fiery orbs also hit the fascist lines, dispensing any last doubts that this could be a new weapon deployed by the Germans. Soon the entire city was ablaze. But many more orbs ascended from the depths, heading beyond the city’s borders and flying north, south, west and east. I guessed they were targeting other positions far from here, and they seemed to be guided by some unseen force.
The ground attack commenced shortly before dawn. They came in droves – thousands of bloodthirsty killers throwing themselves at our lines in wave-after-wave of mindless suicide attacks. We rallied our comrades and fought back with everything we could muster, hitting the new enemy with rifle, machinegun and artillery fire. We must have taken down thousands, but they kept on coming until our ammunition was almost exhausted.
By the time the attackers reached our lines, we made a horrifying discovery. The enemy soldiers had once been people like us, but they were no longer human. The best way I can describe them as is ‘undead’ – zombie-like legions whose rotting corpses had been brought back to life, their bodies controlled by some kind of evil presence. We saw how some still wore the tattered uniforms of our army, and that of our Nazi enemies. The dead are literally waging war against us.
The political commissars were the first to break, abandoning their positions and fleeing like the cowards they are. My comrades fought bravely, engaging the enemy hand-by-hand after we ran out of bullets. But the outcome was inevitable. There were too many of them and their assault was relentless. I was one of the few who escaped the slaughter, watching on in horror as those damn ghouls ripped my comrades to pieces and feasted on their still warm flesh.
I can still hear the screams from my current position, as I cower in a basement beside a squad of SS soldiers, my former enemies, now unlikely allies against this hellish legion. I don’t expect to survive the day…”
And that’s where the transcript abruptly ended. I could hardly focus on the lecturer’s words as he continued the class, and I tried to comprehend what I’d just read. I told myself that it couldn’t be real, but photographic evidence soon followed.
The first image displayed on the PowerPoint showed a night sky lit up by thousands of burning orbs, just like the witness had described. Next was a graphic image of savagery and bloodshed. The photographer appeared to be on the roof of a building overlooking a blood-splattered city square overrun by zombie-like foot soldiers who feasted upon the entrails of dead or dying soldiers, both Soviet and German. Last came a grainy black and white image of something truly terrifying – a vast gargoyle-like creature perched on top of a ruined building, its wings folded. I noted its evil scowl, exposing rows of dagger-like teeth, and the blackness in its eyes, like those of a shark.
Seeing those foul images only added to my anxiety, but somehow I was able to compose myself enough to keep listening, as the twisted professor continued his lecture.
“The Hell Mouth that we opened beneath Stalingrad was the first, but many more followed over the days to come. Our forces launched co-ordinated attacks on every front across Europe, Asia and North Africa, and indeed we opened new fronts far from the previous conflict zone – the Americas, Australia, India…No nation or colony would escape our glorious onslaught.”
To confirm his point, the lecturer clicked onto the next slide – a map of the world showing the locations of multiple Hell Mouths, as he described them, located across each and every continent.
Given what I’d seen and heard about the assault upon Stalingrad, I could only imagine the horrific impact of these multiple invasions on a world already torn apart by war. But there was worse to come. The next slide included a hyperlink to an audio file, which the lecturer promptly played over the speakers. The clip was a news broadcast by BBC Radio in London, dated 7th November 1942. The news reader’s name was unknown.
Once again, I wrote frantically to transcribe the content onto my notepad. I don’t think I got it word-for-word, but I certainly got the gist:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is today’s news. I am reporting from our nation’s capital – a city in flames. We have lived through the relentless German bombing during the dark days of 1940, but this latest campaign of wanton destruction is at least ten times more severe. For the past 72 hours our great capital has been subjected to a constant bombardment by fiery orbs, all of which appear to have ascended from the so-called ‘Hell Mouth’ located in central France.
The devastation and carnage is unprecedented, with hardly a district of London remaining untouched by this indiscriminate attack. Reports are sketchy, but it appears that all our major landmarks have been hit and are now in flames – St Paul’s Cathedral, the Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge – generations of our history and heritage destroyed, engulfed by an unholy fire.
Our brave airmen and ground defence teams have fought frantically against the onslaught, but it seems they are almost powerless against this hellish force. The ground assault began at dawn yesterday morning and was similar in nature to what we’ve seen on the continent and in Russia. Mindless zombie-like hordes have taken to the streets, attacking soldiers and civilians alike in a merciless, bloody frenzy. Casualty numbers are unknown but are certainly in the thousands…”
The news reader paused for a moment. When he spoke again, a raw emotion was evident in his previously monotone and clipped voice.
“The whereabouts of the royal family and the government are unknown. We are unable to confirm reports that the Prime Minister perished whilst personally leading the defence of Downing Street. There are rumours of attacks across the country by all manner of vicious beasts…Giant serpents emerging from the English Channel, savage wolfmen stalking the Scottish countryside…
We have little to no information about the situation overseas. All contact has been lost with Cape Town, Calcutta, Sydney, and Toronto. Barely a corner of the Empire has escaped this fiendish assault…”
At this point the news reader’s transmission abruptly ended, there followed by a few seconds of static before a new voice took over the broadcast. The speaker’s tone was deep, chilling and barely human.
“He has risen! The Dark Lord has arrived on the mortal plane, and his legions are conquering the Earth in his name. Nothing can stop our onslaught. Those who wish to survive must join us. We require a sacrifice to our master. Follow these instructions carefully. Take a knife or sharp instrument and use it. You must kill a family member or neighbour. Slice open their belly and feed on what’s inside. This must be done. Evil shall prevail!”
The broadcast ended there. I felt physically sick, hardly able to breathe as the horrific meaning behind these words hit home. I couldn’t imagine the sheer terror experienced by those forced to listen to that evil broadcast. The professor calmly continued his lecture, not missing a beat.
“As our reign of terror stalked the land, a simultaneous campaign commenced on the high seas.”
The next slide was a written transcript by Chief Warrant Officer Patrick Reilly, stationed on the destroyer USS Strong and dated 12th November 1942.
“We’d been hunting the Japanese submarine for three days in the waters north of New Guinea. They’d sunk three American ships already and killed a lot of my friends, so we took the hunt personally. Our ship had been at sea for almost two months and so we had little idea of what was happening back home. We’d heard reports of attacks on the US mainland but reckoned it was a new Axis offensive, so this made us all the more determined to strike back. The enemy captain was good, because he’d evaded us for days, disappearing without a trace after torpedo attacks on our ships.
That’s why we were astonished when the sub suddenly surfaced in broad daylight, only about half a mile from our starboard side. The enemy boat was literally a sitting duck, but the order came down to hold fire. We thought they might have experienced mechanical difficulties and wanted to surrender, but this wasn’t the case. I used my binoculars to observe the enemy boat, watching as the top-side hatch popped open and a Japanese officer emerged.
I saw the sheer panic in his face as he waved frantically in my direction. At the time we had no idea what he was doing, but I guess he was trying to warn us, because within a minute all hell broke loose.
The first thing I noticed was the water around the sub boiling, as if the sea was suddenly heated to an impossibly high temperature. To my horror I saw a vast dark shadow under the surface, as something huge ascended from the depths. Next, tentacles emerged from beneath the waves, vast appendages as thick as tree trunks. The slimy tentacles wrapped around the exposed body of the submarine, tightening their grip so hard that they crushed the steel hull.
The beast seemed to exert little effort as it pulled the boat under the waves, condemning its crew to a watery grave. Never in all my years on the sea had I ever witnessed something so horrific, nor had I ever imagined such a creature could exist anywhere in the world.
Our crew nearly descended into blind panic after witnessing the devastating attack. There was a brief debate amongst the officers as to whether we should open fire on the beast or flee from the scene. We choose the latter. I doubt our guns could have inflicted much damage on a monster of such immense size. We sailed north at top knots but didn’t make it far. The beast covered the distance in a remarkably short time, and we were horrified to see its huge tentacles ascending, each with multiple suckers the size of a man’s head.
The monster wrapped itself around our ship’s hull, slowly pulling our boat down below the surface. At this point discipline completely broke down as men cried and screamed and did whatever they could to escape the sinking ship.
I was thrown overboard in the scramble, falling into the boiling waters below, screaming as my skin was badly burnt. As my frail body sank below the surface, I saw the beast’s huge, gaping maw – a beak-like mouth, big enough to swallow our ship whole. When I stared into its open jaws I saw a dark abyss, a blackness I feared could swallow up the entire world. I didn’t want to fall into those jaws and so I fought with all my strength, kicking my way back to the surface.
There I found only chaos and anarchy, as our boat was pulled under and the few survivors swam for their lives. I don’t know how I made it out, but somehow I grabbed hold of a piece of floating debris and escaped the deadly whirlpool, floating across open water until I reached a coral reef a few miles to the south. I lay there half dead for two days before a US plane spotted me and I was rescued. I was only the only survivor from the Strong’s crew.
They told me how lucky I was, but I’m not so sure that’s true, given the hell I came back to. I later learnt that the leviathan which sank our ship was only one of many spread across the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans, attacking Allied, Axis and neutral ships alike and covering huge distances within a short space of time. It wasn’t long before these monsters shut down virtually all shipping routes across the high seas, making the transportation of food, weapons and people near impossible.”
The accompanying photograph on the next slide showed an American aircraft carrier being attacked by one of those leviathans – its vast tentacles wrapping around its hull as planes and sailors fell helplessly into the hot waters. I shook my head in disbelief, trying to imagine the sheer terror those men must have experienced when they were attacked by this huge monster from the depths.
The next slide was a global map similar to the one previously displayed and showing the locations of the Hell Mouths. This map also showed the invasion’s progress, with huge areas of land marked in red, meaning they were now under the control of Hell’s legions.
“The initial stages of our invasion went as planned, with the armies of humanity quickly falling victim to our lightning offensive. But pockets of resistance remained – holdouts too stubborn to accept the inevitable, or perhaps hoping for divine intervention. We needed to remove this hope, to show the scattered remnants of humanity that their struggle was futile. This is when we deployed our elite divisions.”
He presented another written source, this one being an account by Private First Class Jerry Langden of the Indiana National Guard, dated 30th November 1942.
“They told us we’d be shipped out to the Pacific or Europe, but instead we’re fighting in our own backyard, against an enemy so evil that we can hardly believe they exist. These monsters are like something from our worst nightmare, but their invasion is all too real.
Our battalion was deployed just outside of Gary, and about five hundred miles north of the Mid-Western Hell Mouth. The fiendish hordes were rapidly advancing upon our positions, and we knew that we were one of the last units standing between the enemy and Chicago.
We’d already cut our teeth fighting against the ghouls – the undead that swamped our lines with their suicidal attacks. Their assaults are relentless and we lost almost half our men, but somehow we held the line. We expected more of the same, but as brave as our boys were, we had no answer for what came next.
The attack came at dawn. An icy blizzard had battered our positions throughout the night, but we were awoken by the ground shaking as something huge smashed through the corn fields south of our position. THUMP. THUMP. THUMP. That’s what we heard, and we froze in fear, dreading whatever hellish monstrosity they were sending against us.
The creature which emerged from the stormfront was hideous – a minotaur-like beast with the horned head of bull, the body of a man adorned with armour, and hooves which smashed into the ground. The demon – and I’m sure that’s what it was – must have been over 50 feet tall, its massive frame dominating the skyline.
To my horror I saw how its hateful eyes burnt a crimson red. It opened its mouth to reveal razor-sharp teeth and let out a powerful, animalistic roar which chilled me to my bones. The demon was armed with a flaming sword, easily the length of three grown men, and it moved quickly, the ground shaking with every step.
The beast was soon joined by two others, both of comparable size and strength. One was similarly armed with a giant flaming sword, while the third carried what appeared to be a crossbow. The hellish trio were still about a mile away from our position when the third demon raised his weapon and fired a huge bolt of fire that tore across the gap, directly hitting the Sherman tank to our rear. The resulting explosion reduced the vehicle to a flaming wreck.
At that moment the first two demons roared and charged, while the third reloaded. We threw everything we had at the enemy – firing rifles, machineguns and bazookas. We must have hit them with hundreds of rounds, but our bullets and shells had little impact, as nothing we had could penetrate their thick armour.
The beasts attacked us with a hateful glee, using their flaming swords to slice our boys to shreds. I saw a squad of men cut in half by a single swing of a sword, staining the ground with blood and guts. There was no way we could resist such a devastating assault and so our defensive line soon fell apart.
As I write this, I am hiding in an abandoned barn with a handful of fellow survivors. We can hear the demons stomping around in the surrounding fields, roaring in triumph as they pick off our people one-by-one. I don’t expect to survive much longer. I’m writing this in the hope that my words make it back to my wife and children. I want them to know that I’m sorry. We tried everything to stop this evil, but their power is too great. I love you all, and pray we’ll meet again, in a better place.”
The soldier’s final words nearly brought me to tears, but what I saw next was truly terrifying. A grainy black and white film appeared on the projector screen, showing a corn field and a wooden barn, presumably somewhere in the American Mid-West. The ground beneath the cameraman’s feet shook, making it difficult for him to hold the camera steady. Then the demon came into shot, its huge frame dominating the skyline.
The horned beast was almost twice the height of the barn. I noted how the thick steel armour it wore was marked with dents, presumably caused by bullets, but the beast did not appear to be wounded. The demon moved slowly but with purpose, appearing to sniff the air as it carefully surveyed its surroundings. Suddenly the beast reached out with its mighty clawed hands, tearing the roof off the barn and reaching inside. To my horror I watched it picking up a screaming figure – a woman by the looks of it.
It sneered with an evil look in its eyes and crushed the woman’s body in its fist, before ripping her into two pieces and casually tossing her remains into the corn field. And then the film ended. I barely had a moment to breathe before the next horrifying film began.
This one appeared to be taken from the cone of a fighter plane as it strafed enemy forces on the ground. It came in low, firing its twin machineguns at the huge frame of yet another giant demon. The beast roared with rage as it looked up, swinging its sword at the plane which had flown in too close. It struck the aircraft like a cat would swipe at a pigeon, cutting through it with fire and abruptly bringing the footage to a brutal end.
We returned to the world map and I noted how the red or occupied areas now took up most of the global land mass, with only a few isolated pockets not under Hell’s control. The world’s great cities – London, Paris, New York, Tokyo…they were all marked with a death skull, indicating that they had been ‘neutralised’. Meanwhile, the sneering lecturer continued his account with a cold, emotionless tone.
“Victory for our forces was within reach, but one hold-out remained. Here.”
He used a laser pointer to highlight Berlin on the map, which I noted was one of the few remaining cities not marked with an ominous skull.
“This is where humanity made their desperate last stand.”
Another transcript followed, this time from the diary of Hauptmann Heinrich Muller of the Wehrmacht’s 163rd Infantry Division., dated the 19th December 1942.
“Today the shattered remnants of my division arrived in what they’re calling Fortress Berlin. The generals have told us this is where we will break the fiendish invaders, but few of us believe this is possible. We will surely die in this city, but at least we’ll die fighting. Berlin is already a graveyard, having been subjected to a constant bombardment by their damned fireballs. But we have learnt some lessons from the disaster at Stalingrad, using the ruined buildings to our advantage as we engage the enemy in urban warfare. Perhaps we will hold them back, for a time at least.
Our forces are quite the mixed bunch – consisting of battered Wehrmacht units, the remnants of the Red Army and a scattering of French and Poles. Air support is being provided by the few planes the Luftwaffe and RAF have left. We even have some freed Jewish prisoners fighting as auxiliaries. And the price we paid for this tenuous coalition? Deposing Hitler and his Nazi cronies. They’re all dead now, replaced by a junta of Prussian generals who rule over what little remains of the German Reich.
We are anticipating simultaneous attacks from both the west and east, and our recon planes have reported huge forces amassing on the city’s borders. We can deal with the zombie hordes as long as our ammunition supplies hold out. The giant demons are a far more serious foe, however. The generals tell us they can be killed by concentrated artillery bombardment or aerial bombing. Time will tell whether this is true.
The weather is bitterly cold, and the tension and fear inside the city is palpable. Every day we lose more people, soldiers and civilians both. Many die from exposure or starvation, while others have committed suicide. And some have gone over to the other side.
One of our patrols called into an apartment block late last night after reports of a disturbance. They entered a family home to find a horrific scene. The mother and three children were laid out across the floor, their throats slit from ear-to-ear and their bellies cut open, exposing their innards in a sickening display. The father still had the butcher’s knife in his hand. His mouth dripped with blood and there was a crazed look in his eyes, like he’d stared into the abyss for too long, the darkness having driven him insane.
He charged at our men with the knife raised, unleashing a hellish wail as he came. Two soldiers pumped him full of bullets with their MP-40s, hitting him with almost 60 rounds before he finally stopped breathing. Sadly, incidents like this have become common place.
We have heard little from the rest of the world. The support we hoped to receive from the Americans has not been forthcoming, and the reports we’ve received say the entire east coast of the US is ablaze. The few survivors who make it out of the enemy held territories describe scenes of unspeakable cruelty and a biblical scale slaughter. Perhaps our ramshackle army is the last significant resistance to Hell’s invasion. We stand ready to fight, as humanity’s final hope.”
The next excerpt was dated 23rd December 1942. I transcribed it as follows:
“The attack began at dusk as thousands of fireballs fell on our positions with deadly accuracy, setting the city ablaze. Next came the harpies – flying beasts which ascended from the dark skies to pick off our troops. Our anti-aircraft gunners had some success in combatting these winged beasts, but our success was short-lived. The ground attack commenced at midnight in the same manner we’ve come to expect, with hordes of the undead assaulting our lines, closely followed by the towering demons.
Wave after wave of the enemy fell under our fire. One of the demons was slain by heavy artillery fire, resulting in a chorus of cheers from our men. But once again, our victory was only temporary. The demons always fight in threes, and the other two reacted with fury to their comrade’s death, smashing our 88mm guns to pieces with their flaming swords.
Our losses have been heavy and we’ve been forced to abandon the suburbs, withdrawing our remaining forces to the city centre. Here we shall make our final stand.”
The final entry was dated 25th December 1942.
“Today is Christmas Day, but there is no cause for celebration. All the joy, the hope and the love is gone from the world. All that is left is pain, suffering and death.
The enemy has taken control of the streets, forcing us beneath the ground. We are sequestered in the bunkers underneath the ruins of the Reichstag, accommodation originally built for the Fuhrer and his staff. I can hear the wails of the harpies and roars of the demons, even through the concrete walls. The beasts are tearing at the steel doors, and it won’t be long until they break through. We will fight to the last man and last bullet.
Surrender is not an option.
I’ve had time to think during these last hours, to consider what has brought us to this terrible conclusion. Why did the Legions of Hell so suddenly emerge onto our mortal plane? And why has God abandoned us in our hour of need? I can only conclude that we brought this evil upon ourselves. The horrors we inflicted upon each other during the human war, the carnage and wanton slaughter…We paved the way for Satan’s invasion. There is no-one else to blame.
I can hear them coming for us, tearing down the corridors. This is the end…the end of everything.”
I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes by the time I’d finished reading Muller’s tragic account. I remember my right hand shaking uncontrollably as I continued to grip my pen. I had little time to consider the horrendous implications of what I’d just read however, as the lecturer shot a sadistic smile and presented his final slide.
“And so, our glorious victory was complete. The age of mankind was at an end, and the time had come for our master to claim his spoils of war.”
Another film reel played over the projector, this time showing a horrifying procession through a ruined city. I saw a company of demons, stomping down a rubble-strewn avenue, and a flight of hideous harpies soaring in the skies above. Suddenly the camera panned upwards, showing a dark cloud front above the devastated city. I watched on in mesmerised horror as the clouds transformed, and a face emerged from behind them – a horned beast with burning eyes and a wicked, hateful scowl more terrifying that anything I’d seen up to this point. I swore the beast was staring directly at me as the recording continued. I wanted so badly to look away but was unable to do so, as those hideous eyes held me in a bewitching trance.
The film ended as suddenly as it had begun, releasing me from its spell. But my relief was short-lived. To my fresh horror, I realised that everyone in the lecture theatre was staring directly at me. The professor’s eyes were filled with rage while the students appeared like wild animals, suddenly transformed into an unholy horde.
The lecturer opened his mouth to reveal a gaping blackness, and he pointed and screamed at me with all the force in Hell.
“YOU DO NOT BELONG HERE!”
My instincts kicked in as I realised I had to get out. There was barely time to grab my notepad before I sprinted up the aisle and towards the exit. The zombified students cried out in unison, emitting banshee-like wails as they darted towards me, their claw-like hands reaching out to grab me.
Somehow, I made it through the violent scrum and out the door. I expected fresh air but was instead confronted by a stifling heat and a foul stench like rotting flesh. And when I looked up into the sky, my heart almost stopped.
It played out exactly like in the film, the storm clouds parting to reveal his hideous face staring down upon me, his fiery eyes holding me in a paralysed trance as he opened his maw to reveal rows of shark-like teeth. The beast cackled, his foul laughter nearly deafening me as he reached out with a huge claw, ready to scoop me up and devour my flesh.
I screamed out in absolute terror, losing my footing and falling backwards, and hitting my head hard against the concrete. I felt a shooting pain inside my skull, and then everything went black.
I awoke to concerned faces and a girl frantically calling for an ambulance. They said I’d fallen while running to class, splitting my head open and temporarily losing consciousness. I got taken to A&E where I ended up with 20 stitches. There was no permanent damage, not physically at least.
The obvious conclusion is that my bizarre and terrifying experience was simply a delusion brought on by my head injury. There’s one major problem with this explanation however – when I looked at my notepad, I discovered the full transcripts I’d written out, confirming the horrific accounts I’d been exposed to.
I’ve had a lot of time to think over the events of that morning in the years since. I don’t have any logical explanation for what happened to me, but I do have a theory. I believe I was transported to another dimension, one where the Legions of Hell conquered the Earth in late 1942. I witnessed a terrifying world ruled by Satan but somehow made it back home. Perhaps someone up there was looking out for me – I don’t know.
For years I kept this account to myself due to the fear of being labelled insane. But recently I read an account of a history buff who visited a demonic museum, and the old traumas came flooding back. In our universe, we mercifully avoided this hellish outcome to World War Two, but the Devil is still down there in our Hell, patiently waiting for his opportunity.
I don’t know when the attack will come but I know we must do everything in our power to prevent Hell rising, because the cost of defeat is too horrifying to contemplate.
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