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The Army Of The Dead

Estimated reading time — < 1 minute

A laundress, newly moved to Charleston following the Civil War, found herself awakened at the stroke of twelve each night by the rumble of heavy wheels passing in the street. But she lived on a dead end street, and had no explanation for the noise. Her husband would not allow her to look out the window when she heard the sounds, telling her to leave well enough alone.

Finally, she asked the woman who washed at the tub next to hers. The woman said: “What you are hearing is the Army of the Dead. They are Confederate soldiers who died in hospital without knowing that the war was over. Each night, they rise from their graves and go to reinforce Lee in Virginia to strengthen the weakened Southern forces.”

The next night, the laundress slipped out of bed to watch the Army of the Dead pass. She stood spell-bound by the window as a Gray fog rolled passed. Within the fog, she could see the shapes of horses, and could hear gruff human voices and the rumble of canons being dragged through the street, followed by the sound of marching feet. Foot soldiers, horsemen, ambulances, wagons, and canons passed before her eyes, all shrouded in Gray. After what seemed like hours, she heard a far off bugle blast, and then silence.


When the laundress came out of her daze, she found one of her arms was paralyzed. She has never done a full day’s washing since.


CREDIT: Anonymous

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49 thoughts on “The Army Of The Dead”

  1. This seems like the seeds for a full story, but no so much a full one itself. It has potential, but I feel there were too many unanswered questions. And maybe you could explain or clarify how/why her arm was randomly paralyzed- I didn’t really see the point of that.
    Keep on writing! :)

  2. O_O


    I’m not really surehow the paralyzed arm ties in unless she had a heart attack or a stroke.

  3. @Mr. Welldone seriously, your nonsensical riddle talk is by far more annoying than a crappy pasta on this site. How about instead of hinting at such vague clues that prove little to no help, you tell us so we\’ll actually get the story? I mean after all you seem to know the answer or are you just bullshitting your way through this?

  4. Waaaait a second…

    Why would horses give a shit about the war? They are dead, they dont care about reinforcing no southern hicks. They just wanna eat apples.


    “I is no can do teh laundry no more, k?”

    “lol, y is you no can do dat?”

    “kk, i was watch ghost an dey make me arms no moar work!”


  6. Hello, thar!
    It’s-a me, Friedrich.
    Actually I’m german and teh original quote is “Wer mit Ungeheuern kämpft, mag zusehn, dass er nicht dabei zum Ungeheuer wird. Und wenn du lange in einen Abgrund blickst, blickt der Abgrund auch in dich hinein.”.
    So feel free to fuck up my wisdom with your underprivileged translations.

  7. this reminds me of an episode of twilight zone…except she gave water to the soldiers, i forgot who told her that they were dead…but she saw her husband amongst them…and then he said that she was dead too [sick with something] so then she followed him into the fog…i love twilight zone

  8. I’ve tryed reading between the lines for the ending to make sence and the only way that it would make sence is if she wakes up from this after having a stroke and can’t move her arm.
    God damn I can’t seem to get this. I like it though until it gets to the end.

  9. maybe fucking with the ghosts does something
    and her husband person knew about that
    thats why he was like
    you stay in bed like you told woman!

  10. “I quitting washing.”
    “What? Why, you’re a great washer.”
    “I saw something paranormal, and I haven’t been able to move my arm since.”


  11. @Cara– It was probably the ghosts’ way of warning her not to delve into their business again. Seeing as she is a laundress, half of her work power is now gone (thus her “never [doing] a full days washing since”).

  12. well when you think about it, the abyss might be able to do stuff when it sees you without having to get up close to you–hence, the army could be the abyss, none of them went up close to her. so yeah…

  13. The person formally known as "Noneya"

    The Abyss looking into you isnt the same as the Abyss getting off its lazy but and paralyzing the poor girl.

    “When you look into the Abyss, the Abyss isnt supposed to wave back at you”
    -Terry Pratchet’s Thief of Time.

  14. Hello.

    There was one among you. One Mr. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietszche. He had a way with his words.

    A beautiful, curious way. It is possible that he understood. Perhaps his words will help this audience of friendly readers understand the plight of our dear laundress.

    “When you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.”

  15. Maybe she was paralyzed in an unrelated incident, and the author wanted to confuse readers…
    What a douche.

  16. I dunno, maybe back in the day they had a lack of nutrition that could cause paralisis? Doesn’t really explain why watching the army caused it though…

    1. Johnny_Reb_1865

      Back then if a soldier was shot in the arm or leg the common treatment was to amputate the arm or leg because when a bullet hits bone it would shatter the bone so the doctors could only amputate the limb.
      But most men died from infections afterwards.

      So her arm was amputated.

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