Hells a Poppin
"A to Hell and Back Story"
By John Pirillo
Weed's history is not so great. He joined the Marines in 2010. A high school grad with no desire to excel in anything, somehow he had managed to at least pass with a score high enough to bag him a gig with the Marines. But that wasn't good enough. He had to be the top rifleman in his squad, and the best man in martial arts, the only person to survive (a phone) combat scenario that no one could possibly win, but he had.
So for his efforts he had been awarded a stake in another job. Going to hell and back. Yeah. War's hell, but some wars are in hell, or with hell. And that was his best window of opportunity yet. With just a knife, wide open eyes, and a lot of luck. Luck does count! With luck he had managed to kill three demons that had over run their platoon on a mission in Afghanistan.
The natives had screamed all night about demons coming, and not one of the Americans had bought it then, so instead they bought it later.
Gunfire. Grenades. Rocket launches. Hellfire missiles. None of it worked. The demons were smarter and better armed. Invincible in their stealth mode. They could move invisibly through the ranks and decimate them.
He had seen Jenks, his Captain, a likable fellow with two kids back in Arkansas, a stake in a reasonable farm to retire to, and yet he had been the first one to buy it. He had awakened to the scream, thrown himself out the pup tent, a small hotdog shaped slip of a tube of cloth they all rigged beneath the dirt so they could remain hidden from probing eyes.
He had seen Jenks stabbing at something in the air, and blood spurting, but nothing visible. Jenks had stopped screaming when his head exploded, squashed like a watermelon by a vise like force invisible to the eyes.
Hammer had been next. He was the wise cracking machine gunner of the group. Never missed. This time his weapon was useless. Bullets spun out of the gun at over a thousand rounds a second and everyone struck. Blood spurted in a thousand directions, but in a few moments he was hanging upside down by the hot flaming tube of his gun, his guts ripped out.
Joyce had been last. She had run out in skivvies and had both legs torn off before she could even raise a grenade to toss.
He had been lucky. Luck had been with him.
He had torn through the frigid night, racing like a pig with the butcher after him, and it was. With ten sets of claws, a thousand teeth and an appetite for extreme death and violence. Though at the time he had thought it was some kind of special weapons force that had invaded their platoon. Someone sent in from the crazies running the local wars, but bought from China or Russia.
When it caught up with him, its breath was fetid and hot.
He whipped round, saw nothing and was ready to keep running when he felt two clawed hands grab him by his waist and raise him slowly. He did a stupid thing. He pepper sprayed it. It worked!
It coughed and threw him down. Sounded like a mountain lion going to the bathroom with multiple hemorrhoids. But it was there.
He kicked up a footfall of sand with his boots and for a brief second he saw something that almost stopped his heart, which would have been a blessing at the time, because it was racing so hard it was likely to stop on its own accord anyway.
It was straight from hell. Literally. It stood over ten feet tall. It had teeth by the dozens protruding from its lower jaw over its lips and eyes that were slanted like an Orientals. In fact it was orange all over with a green fur that bristled with shades of red and orange. Its whole being exuded some kind of darkness that etched a line around it. A kind of outline of evil.
He had reacted, not from instinct, but from sheer disgust.
He had thrown his knife. The one his father had given him. The silver one. For Christmas
The knife struck the demon in its chest as it was fading from view and it roared horribly. So hard and furiously that he was blasted from his feet. He rolled over and came up to his feet, scrambling for his second blade. If one could do that.
He threw it.
It was also silver. The second one his father had given him for his birthday. He'd said. "You growing like a weed, son. One day you might have need of a week trimmer. Picker. Something to stop wild things."
Weed had never asked what his father meant, even though he had given him this strange look, as if he were seeing something not there. His family was like that. Some called t hem voodoos, people struck by local magic and cursed. Others called them occultists or psychics. He just called them family.
The demon, for he could tell that now. As it died its form became more and more visible and more and more disgusting to look at. Its blood shot forth from where the two knives had struck over its heart and showered the ground. It spun around and two more demons were marked and visible by the blood.
They had been rushing Weed without him realizing it.
He was dead for sure.
But when the first demon's blood struck them, a funny thing happened. Not ha-ha, but creepy strange. Like Twilight Zone, Lovecraft and Outer Limits Stephen King kind of strange.
They caught on fire.
All three demons exploded in a geyser of blood and fire, which shot straight up towards the cloudless sky, a Vesuvius of grossness and evil that showered back down and struck the desert floor, spearing it with body parts and ichor.
He just stood there, wiping the crap off his face, grinning. Laughing.
He had lived through the worst nightmare of his life.
He walked through the smoking remains and retrieved his two knives.
He kissed them both, ignoring the ichor on them, then wiped them clean on the back of his combat fatigues and sat down. He thrust the small black box hinged to his belt in front of him, keyed in a code, then activated it. A gentle beeping came from it.
Satellites overhead spun and turned, snaking slowly around to sip the binary data flowing into their hungry throats.
Ten days later he was back at Nellis, with the rest of the survivors of that night. Not from his platoon, but the others, who had also been on similar missions. He never learned their names. A very tough older man stood up from the midst of them; walked to the front of the room they were seated in silently and turned to eye them.
"Life is tough."
"Yo." They all answered.
"And then you die."
Everyone was silent. They knew what he meant, but were not going to agree with it.
"Last night you saw something, didn't you?"
Everyone was silent. Where was this going?
"Something that just should not have been."
Everyone nodded, but still remained silent.
"Something that shouldn't be on our planet."
Weed got tired of it. He stood up, scratched his ten day old beard. No one had a chance to shower or shave yet, and it was starting to get to him. "Sir, I don't mean to rattle your cage or anything, but these men are bone tired. Shit-faced with death and ready to drop. Will you just say it?"
The tall man turned to face Weed, his face stern as a block of ice. "Your name, Marine."
"Your real name."
Everyone broke into laughter.
The tall man listened a moment, then raised a hand for silence. Everyone got a frightened look on their faces as he scowled at Weed.
Weed didn't care. He'd seen all his friends murdered in front of his eyes, limbs torn off, guts ripped out, and necks broken. What more could anyone do to him now?
Everyone rose to leave.
The tall man pointed at Weed. "You. Here!"
Weed waited until the others had left, all looking back at him, fearful for what might happen. Though none knew each other, there was a deep bond between them.
"Sir." Weed saluted.
The tall man broke into a grin. "I'm no sir. Sarge will do."
"Sarge, sir!" Weed said with a returning grin.
"Sit here." The Tall Man pointed to a chair near him.
Weed nodded and slumped into the chair, feeling his fatigue rolling over him like a wave again. His eyes fought to stay open as the Tall Man spoke.
"I need you."
"Everyone needs someone, sir."
"Not for what I need you."
Weed's eyes continued to close.
"I'm going to hell and I need you to go with me."
Weed woke up and barked with laughter. "Hell, Sarge, I've just come back from there."
The Tall Man's smile vanished. "No. You haven't."
Then he told Weed what he knew.
Weed's eyes no longer threatened to sew themselves shut. He felt adrenaline rushing through his system, his hair standing up on the back of his neck, and his mouth drier than the Iraqi desert. "Damn!"
"And then some."
Weed shook his head, then stood up and offered his hand. "If it will save more souls from going through what I saw ten nights ago....?"
The Tall Man rose and took his hand. It was warm and firm. Like the grip of a long lost friend.
"Then I'm in. Sarge."
Sarge smiled. "Now go get cleaned up, then chow down. We've got a lot of work to do before we go to hell."
"Yes, Sarge. I'm sure we do." Weed laughed. "I'm sure we do."
Weed walked out of the meeting room, an ominous and foreboding feeling gripping his heart. He had the feeling that he had just chosen to step into the biggest stack of doo doo any Marine could ever step into.