It was another cold night that night. I remember it vividly. Mostly due to the fact that out here you have to be alert at all times. My name is Sergeant Johnson, and at the time I was deployed at a remote outpost in the Warduj Valley. This valley is known for its high level of insurgent activity in the Warduj District, Badakhshan Province, Afghanistan. I was deployed for seven months, and I have to say the toughest thing, other than the usual rocket attacks, was missing my new wife back home. Maybe that’s why less than one percent of the American population joins the military.
As an infantryman in the Army there’s not much that scares me anymore. I have seen the worst of the world and what it has to offer. This night, on the other hand, was different. To this day I still cannot explain what it was that happened that night.
It was 2300 hours on the 24th of December 2005. One more day until Christmas and there I was on guard duty in the northern most guard tower cleaning my M4 ready for whatever the Taliban had to offer to ruin the holidays this year. My relief will not be arriving for another nine hours. “Hey sergeant, beautiful Christmas eve isn’t it?” It’s one of my soldiers, Specialist Smith. One of the best men I’m honored to serve with.
“That it is Specialist.” I say as he hands me a green monster he received in a care package from his family back home. Green monster is my favorite.
“No one should be alone for the first moments of Christmas.” says Specialist Smith.
“Thank you” I said. We sat there for the better half of an hour talking about family, reminiscing on the hobbies we have back home such as fishing, drinking beer, and telling war stories.
It’s about 0030 hours on December 25th when Specialist Smith stands up and says “Well sergeant, it’s about time I get out of here and get some rest. The squad and I are going out on a foot march in the valley tomorrow.”
“Roger that Specialist. Merry Christmas and be safe out there.” I said.
“See you later sergeant.” Said Specialist Smith.
Alone again I thought as I sat there and resumed cleaning my weapon and keeping an eye out for any nefarious activity when Private Dust appears saying there was reporting that came in a moment ago about someone being seen in the Command building which is located a few buildings south of my guard tower. Currently the command building is off limits to all personnel due to its renovation. At night it should be secluded.
“Sergeant, Lieutenant Hall ordered me to relieve you so you can go and check out what is going on.” Said Private Dust.
“Alright Dust, you’re in charge. Don’t burn down the tower while I’m gone. I’ll be right back.” As I climbed down the guard tower I couldn’t help but wonder what exactly it could be. It’s probably just a dumb private trying to cause some trouble. This post is locked up like fort knocks. The only way an insurgent could get in would be to tunnel underground. That, on the other hand, is very unlikely. It wasn’t until later that I found out my thoughts were completely and utterly wrong.
Before I tell you exactly what happened that night perhaps it would be better for you to know what happened to me two years ago on my last deployment in Afghanistan. It was a hot day in Kandahar city. To be exact it was July 13th 2003. I was a Specialist back then. My squad and I were on a convoy to go root out insurgent activity in the local populace. We were about halfway there when an IED exploded, and rolled our HMMWV. As I exited the destroyed vehicle I couldn’t help but notice the small girl lying on the side of the road. I walked over to see if she was okay.
It’s not abnormal to see collateral damage when we are attacked. The streets are full of people, and when we get attacked, sadly, so do they. As I arrived upon the girl I noticed her she had small holes in her body and most of her skin was ripped apart. Even both of her eyes had fallen out of its socket. She couldn’t have been more than twelve years old. At that time a man comes running up screaming “my child, my child! What have you done! It is your fault this happened. If it was not for your country, our people and my child would not have to live in fear like this. This is all your fault!” Before the situation could get any worse my sergeant grabbed the man and got him away from me. We called in to command and they got us out of there. I have never been able to get over that moment in my life.
Back to that Christmas Eve night I arrived at the command building when I couldn’t help but to get a strange feeling. Sure it was a cold night, but the chill I got as I stood outside by the door of the building was not one of those cold air chills. This was the kind of chill that creeps into your bones. That makes the hair on the back of your neck stand straight up. I am not the kind of man that creeps out easily, but this time, this time is different.
I open the door and it‘s pitch dark inside. It’s the type of darkness that sucks any light that may be resonating in the air. It was too dark to be exact. I want to back away, but I have my orders. There is no turning back. I pull my MAG light out of my pocket and turn it on. I can see down the hall. There are two doors on the left, which I know hold mostly cleaning materials, and one door on the right which serves as the auditorium. The auditorium is a large room. Empty now, but for the stage and curtains. I check the first storage closet, and of course nothing. As I proceeded down the hall to check the second storage closet I can barely make out the shadow of what appears to be someone, or better yet, something dancing in the auditorium through the door window.
At this point I’m on full alert. The chill in my bones is deeper than ever. I look down as I load a 5.56mm round into the chamber of my M4 when my MAG light cuts out. What the fuck. I could’ve sworn I changed the batteries the day before. As I look back through the window to gather situational understanding what I see frightens me. Am I seeing things? At this point the dancing figure is gone, but now there is one low hanging light flashing on and off swaying on the ceiling. My mind must be playing tricks on me I tell myself. But, no matter what goes through my mind to try and calm my fears, there is one thing that is certain. I do not want to enter that room.
But in the end I still have my orders. I’m one of America’s greatest, right? I turn on my holographic sight before proceeding into the auditorium. Looking back now, I should have never gone in. As I enter, the quiet in the room is deafening. I search but to no avail. Whatever was in here, whatever I saw must be gone. Did I see anything at all?
I begin to turn around and leave the room. To go back to my commanding officer, Lieutenant Hall, and tell him there is nothing in the building when it happens. That’s when I see her. The same girl I saw that day two years ago that died in the IED blast, except everything about her is completely sinister.
I am standing on the stage and in the middle of the room is the girl underneath the overhanging light. The only time I can see is when the light flashes. The girl is not standing. Rather she is on all fours only upside down in a crab like stance. She looks the same as she did when she died. She has small holes all around her body and her skin was ripped apart. The only difference was her jaw was missing and blood was pouring from her eyes like faucets.
I was frozen in fear. I could not move an inch. I was absolutely petrified. That’s when it let out a terrible blood curdling scream and began to move. Every time the light would flash she would be closer and closer to me. I finally gained the courage to move, and I raise my weapon to shoot the beast. On the next few light flashes I can see she is now sprinting in her weird crab like contortion. I pull the trigger and let a round fly. I must have missed for it is still sprinting in my direction. Two rounds, three rounds, four. She is still running.
Right after I let out my fifth round, she’s in my face. She is standing with her back to me. Yet again, I freeze. As the light flashes, her head starts to spin until it is facing me. As her head span I could hear her bones in her neck crunching and breaking. As I look at her face, no blood is pouring from the sockets of her eyes anymore. They are empty until hundreds of spiders begin crawling out of her sockets. There are many holes in her face that must have been from the rounds of my M4. Why didn’t it die? This thing is no longer human.
She says in a whisper. “You have killed me and numerous other Afghan people. Now you shall reap what you have sown.” Then, she lunges right at me. Right before she makes contact I hear the auditorium door slam open and she is gone. The light is no longer on, and Specialist Smith is in the doorway. “Sergeant what happened? I heard gunshots.” Still immobilized in fear by what just happened, I did not say a word back.
Specialist Smith rushed me to the mental doctor for evaluation. I told the doctor the story. He just gave me medication and told me I have PTSD. Soon after that I was flown back to America, and medically discharged from the Army. To this day I have never seen that girl again. I do not think that I have PTSD. The event was just too life like. It was too real. I know I’m not crazy. Also, someone reported they saw something in there too. That’s why I was there in the first place. No one ever believes my story. They say I’m just a crazy war vet. Me, I think that something was truly in there that night.
You never know what is lurking in the darkness, under your bed, in a dark alley, or in a strange building. But what I do know is that the darkness breeds terror. You who are reading this may not believe me, but take this advice. When you are alone in the dark, stay alert, for you never know what is hiding right around the next corner.