* * *
The rain let up the next morning, April 19, 1942. Light shined through the cracks in the door and through the vents set high in the building. Water dripped outside.
"Give me drugs!"Lt. Duff said.
"Harry, we can't use up all the morphine right now,"Lt. Anderson said. "We don't know how long we're gonna be here."
"Here's the problem. I would be nothing but a deficit as I am. Give me drugs!"
"Just lie still!"
"There'll be a drugs deficit if you take all the drugs,"Sgt. Shivo said.
"I'll be less of an irritant,"Lt. Duff said.
"Look, I will rip off a chunk of my shirt to gag you,"Lt. Shivo said.
"Oh God!"Lt. Anderson said.
They argued about it while Lt. Locklear opened the door and looked outside. In the daylight, he could see the place looked like a military base or installation. Off to the left were some smaller buildings, up off the ground, most of them intact, that might have been barracks. A burnt-out building was near them. There was also a generator building. There were a pair of hangers near the runway where their bird had crashed. Further away was what appeared to be an inner compound with several solid buildings within, possibly bunkers.
"Captain, give us our orders,"Lt. Locklear said. "We got hangers, we got barracks, we got the baby. Guys, let's listen to the captainâ”€"
"As soon as you stop talking, I will absolutely give orders,"Lt. Anderson said.
"I gotta good question,"Lt. Duff said.
"Harry, not right now."
"Why are we listening to you? We're no longer a team."
"What are you talking about? We're in the military! Do you understand how militaries work?"
"Whoever can move, see if you can find a trace of whatever was here last night."
"Locklear, why don't you go check out the barracks?"Lt. Anderson said. "Doc, if you want to look through the officers' quarters. And you and I can go check out the hangers and see if there's a plane."
The last comment had been directed at Sgt. Shivo.
"I want to go look in that generator building and see if there's a generator,"Sgt. Shivo said.
"We'll stop by there on the way to the hangers,"Lt. Anderson said.
He looked at Lt. Duff, helpless on the table.
"And you stay here with your shotgun,"he said.
Sgt. Shivo moved the .30-caliber machinegun over to Lt. Duff.
* * *
They all left and, a moment later, they heard machinegun fire from the storage room.
"Don't waste ammo, Harry!"Lt. Anderson yelled back at him.
Lt. Locklear ran back to the storage room.
"Hey, Locklear, how ya doing?"Lt. Duff said.
"What the hell?"Lt. Locklear said. "What the hell do you think you're doing!?!"
Lt. Duff shrugged painfully. He had merely been testing the gun.
* * *
"You doing all right Shivo?"Lt. Anderson said. "You seemed pretty shook up."
"You crashed my God-damned plane!"Sgt. Shivo said.
"I did not crash the plane!"Lt. Anderson said. "The plane crashed. It's not my fault."
They reached the generator shed.
Wires ran from the building to the other buildings in the compound except for the two large storage houses and the inner compound. The generator building is intact with a single empty barrel outside. A large generator of Japanese manufacture was there, off, and it's fuel tank dry as a bone. An exhaust pipe ran through the roof.
There was a single empty 55-gallon drum marked in Japanese something-fuel outside of the shed. A second barrel had been ripped to pieces and there was evidence of claw marks upon it.
A small manual pump for transferring the fuel from barrels to generator was there, as well as a toolbox filled with typical tools for repair. The room could be lit by a small light hanging from the ceiling with a string attached to it to turn it on and off if there was power.
The hand pump weighed about 25 pounds and consisted of the hand crank, a long pipe that went into a barrel, and a six foot hose.
* * *
Lt. Cook reached the remains of the officer's quarters. It looked like it had taken a direct hit during the shelling and there was nothing left but a single wall and debris from where it had burned to the ground. Nothing else remained but ashes and burnt and broken debris. Something seemed to move in the pile of debris.
Doc drew his Colt Peacemaker in his off hand and cautiously approached. As he did so, there was a rattling and someone stood up out of the debris.
The thing was barely a skeleton covered in a bit of burnt and rotten flesh. It had no eyes and wore the burnt and tattered remnants of a Japanese uniform. It was definitely not alive but still walked and moved as if it was. It shouldn't have been alive. It had a bayonet in its hand.
He aimed and shot the thing with his Colt.
* * *
Locklear had reached the nearest barracks building. Of the five of them, two nearest the storage building appeared to have survived while the rest had been damaged or destroyed by the shelling. Atop each of the two surviving barracks buildings was a large, open-topped water tank.
The buildings were set up off the ground by about a foot. A single step led up into each. There was no glass in the windows and the shutters were open, closed, or blown off. Inside, a dozen cots were set up, each with a footlocker. Two bare electric light bulbs hung from the ceiling. The room was very Spartan. Most of the footlockers were ripped open and personal effects scattered about.
He had also noticed a well nearby.
He saw tent pieces, knapsacks, loose boots, entrenching spades, gas masks, mess tins, and the like across the floor. As he started to look around the place, he heard a gunshot from nearby.
* * *
Lt. Cook's bullet didn't seem to hurt the skeleton in the least. It looked like it went between the ribs. The skeleton lunged at him with the bayonet and he beat on the horrible thing with his pistol, fighting it off. He dropped his Colt and drew his hunting knife, bashing at the thing's head with it. Some of the horror's teeth flew out.
Sgt. Shivo and Lt. Anderson burst out of the generator shed and saw the fight. He headed that way. Locklear came out of one of the barracks building and saw it as well. The man he was fighting looked like he was dead!
Lt. Cook continued to bash the skeletal Japanese officer but the horrible thing wouldn't fall! It brought the bayonet down on his broken wrist and he was almost incapacitated and almost fainted from the pain.
"I told you I saw God-damned dead babies!"Sgt. Shivo shouted as he ran towards the man.
He realized he could see through the man fighting Lt. Cook. It was like he was just a skeleton.
"What is happening!?!"Lt. Anderson yelled as he ran after the sergeant.
Lt. Locklear raised up his rifle like a club, screamed, and rushed the thing fighting Lt. Cook. The blow was merely a glance. The dead Japanese soldier focused on Lt. Cook, who fought it off. Lt. Anderson saw the horrible thing as he rushed to approach but managed to keep it together.
Lt. Cook stabbed the skeleton again but it would not go down! Sgt. Shivo ran up and tackled the thing and grabbed its upper leg. Bracing his foot against the thing's hip, he pulled, ripping the entire leg free of the rest of the skeleton. It crashed to the ground. He noticed the foot was skill kicking. Lt. Locklear brought the rifle stock down on the thing but slipped and fell in the mud. The skeleton swung wildly around with the bayonet and it was flung free of its hand, just missing Lt. Locklear and flying through the air to land some yards away.
The skeleton set itself on the fallen Locklear and the two struggled against each other.
* * *
Lt. Duff heard the gunshots and then the sounds of his fellows shouting as if they were fighting someone. Then he heard some kind of scrabbling noise over by the door. He looked that way, drew his pistol, and worked the action on it. He fired where he thought he sound was coming from, right through the wall. There was a squeak or something from behind the wall. He wondered if he had hit a rat. Or a dead baby "¦
* * *
Lt. Anderson heard a gunshot towards the storage room. He turned and ran back as he figured the other three had the situation with the skeleton or whatever it was well in hand. As he raced towards the storage house, he thought he saw something by the door. It looked like several overly large fetuses, all of them connected by some kind of terrible umbilical cord! One of them was covered with blood.
He let out a shout and drew his pistol.
* * *
Lt. Cook attacked the horrible thing again, smashing at it with his hunting knife and finally smashing the skill to pieces. As the rest of the skeleton stopped moving and the bones fell to the ground, he continued to smash the skull with his knife over and over and over again. Sgt. Shivo, holding the leg by the femur, felt the lower bones fall away, leaving him only the femur in his hand.
"Doc! Doc! Doc! Doc!"Sgt. Shivo said. "Doc, it's okay! Doc!"
Locklear tried to help the man calm down their bombardier. Sgt. Shivo offered him the femur.
* * *
Lt. Duff dropped his pistol and it fell off the table and to the ground. He grabbed the .30-calibur machinegun handle and aimed it at the noise, then let fly with a relatively long burst from the machinegun, screaming loudly. Unfortunately, he was not skilled with the weapon and unused to the recoil. He fired a short burst of about 15 shells but the recoil sent the barrel upward and he basically fired a line of bullets right up the side of the building.
Then something appeared in the doorway. It was three or four human fetuses, each about three or four feet tall. They were all connected together by umbilical cords. They appeared to be undeveloped fetuses with sharp teeth and claws and dragged a fifth of them along the ground. It bled from a bullet hole in its torso. The things started making their way towards him.
Lt. Anderson appeared at the doorway right after the horrible fetus-things. He yelled and shot at one of the things from the doorway. It fell to the ground, bleeding. The other ones screamed something in Chinese.
* * *
Lt. Cook picked up his Colt Peacemaker and ran back towards the storage shed where he heard gunfire. Sgt. Shivo and Lt. Locklear ran after him.
* * *
One of the horrible fetus things ran towards Lt. Anderson while the other two ran towards Lt. Duff. The cords pulled taut and they stopped.
Lt. Duff grabbed his sawed-off shotgun and fired both barrels at the horrible things, blasting two of them away and injuring one last one, which fell to the ground and tried to crawl away, mewing like a kitten in pain.
"Didn't you hear that language!?!"Lt. Duff said. "It's a ching chong monstrosity! Shoot it!"
The horror looked up at Lt. Anderson with pleading eyes and he shot it dead.
The other men rushed in moments later.
"I told you I saw a dead baby!"Sgt. Shivo said.
"What are these things!?!"Lt. Duff said.
"I don't know!"Lt. Anderson said.
"Please take this gun away from me, "Lt. Duff said of the .30-caliber.
"With pleasure,"Sgt. Shivo said.
He asked someone to get his pistol and Locklear picked it up and gave it back to him.
"I told you I saw a dead baby,"Sgt. Shivo said again.
"What the hell is going on on this island?"Lt. Cook said.
"I don't know, maybe we're on some sort of Japanese island?"Lt. Anderson said. "Maybe they're weapons?"
Lt. Duff shot the thing again with his pistol.
"Don't waste ammo!"Lt. Anderson said.
The horrible conjoined fetuses seemed to be shrinking as they watched.
"Get me a trophy from one of these things!"Lt. Duff said.
"No no no no no no no!"Lt. Anderson said.
"You are twisted!"Lt. Cook said.
"No!"Lt. Anderson said. "No!"
"Get me a trophy!"Lt. Duff said.
"No!"Lt. Anderson said.
"Here, take this,"Sgt. Shivo said.
He handed the man the burnt femur from the skeleton that he still held. Lt. Duff sniffed at it. It smelled of ash and burnt meat.
"Is this "¦ uh "¦ is this Jap flesh?"Lt. Duff said.
Lt. Locklear went to the open door to keep watch. He saw a man over by the hangers, peeking in their direction. He looked to be Asian and wore ragged pants. He had a beard and long hair and was very sunburned.
"Captain over here on the double please!"Lt. Locklear said.
"What?"Lt. Anderson said.
"I see a guy that looks like he's alive,"he said.
He pointed towards the hanger across the compound.
"I think this guy's alive,"Lt. Locklear said. "****! I'm going to try to capture this guy or something."
"Let's go try and talk to him or something,"Lt. Anderson said.
"You cover me while I go over there."
"No, I'm going with you. I'm the only one that speaks their language."
"Okay, let's go."
Lt. Anderson and Lt. Locklear crossed to the hanger. Lt. Anderson told the other man to put his weapon away and he held the Winchester carbine by the barrel. The Asian man looked at them very nervously as they approached. Lt. Anderson held out his empty hands. The man looked terrified. Lt. Anderson talked calmly to the man, trying to get him to trust them. He noticed the man looked at their uniforms terrified.
When Lt. Anderson said something in Japanese, the man seemed even more terrified.
"Oh no!"he said.
"Oh, I'm so sorry!"Lt. Anderson said. "You speak English?"
"You are Japanese! Japanese!"
"No no no no! Obviously not. Obviously American. I'm sorry."
The man babbled and wailed. Lt. Anderson continued to try to calm him and gain his trust.
* * *
Lt. Cook redressed his wrist and Lt. Duff examined the damage he'd done to the structure while Sgt. Shivo told them what he had found in the generator and that it could work but they didn't have any fuel for it.
* * *
It took what felt like a long time for them to get the man to trust them.
"Where are we?"Lt. Anderson finally asked. "What is happening?"
"ÃˆmÃ³ DÇŽo,"the man said. "We're on ÃˆmÃ³ DÇŽo: The Island of Demons."
"Oh, great,"Lt. Anderson said.
"Great,"Lt. Locklear said.
"What is "¦ demons?"Lt. Anderson said.
"They're everywhere!"the Asian man said.
"Yeah, we noticed,"Lt. Anderson said.
"The Japanese, they brought us here,"the man said. "They experimented on us."
That's when they noticed scars on the man. He also had pockmarks on his face like he'd had measles or chicken pox recently.
"They captured me,"the man went on. "They take the captured men here."
They convinced the man to come back to the storage house with them.
"Hey, everybody be calm,"Lt. Anderson said as they approached. "He's not Japanese, Harry."
They entered the storage house. Lt. Duff was unsure if the man were Japanese or not. He certainly looked Japanese to him. The terrified man had no shirt or shoes.
"Somebody make sure Harry doesn't do anything stupid,"Lt. Anderson said.
"What the hell are you doing with that Jap?"Lt. Duff said.
"Is that permission to put him down because it sounds like it,"Lt. Cook said.
The man looked at Lt. Duff in terror. Lt. Cook took a wad of bandages and shoved them in Lt. Duff's mouth.
"Shut up!"he said.
Lt. Duff spit it out.
"I'm still in pain, all right?"Lt. Duff said. "I have every right not to shut up. The morphine. Give it to me."
"I'm not going to give you my morphine!"Lt. Cook said.
The man told them again they were on ÃˆmÃ³ DÇŽo, the Island of Demons. At least that was what the Japanese who brought him there had called it. He told them the place was used to experiment on other races besides the Japanese, including Russians and Chinese prisoners of war. He said they did terrible things to people there, including exposing them to disease, starving them to see how long it took them to die, injecting them with various substances, cutting off limbs to see how long before they died, and other terrible things. The Japanese found that the isle, called Demon Island by the Chinese, was just that. Certain people, subjected to certain horrors, would change into demons. He was not sure if the demons were ghosts of those who came before inhabited their bodies, changing them, or if something on the island caused the change. He once heard the Japanese talking about it, wondering if there was something in the water.
He thought the Japanese, once they learned of it, were trying to create more demons, perhaps for their use. One guard who delighted in his use as a rapist of the women changed, his member growing large and his body shriveling but becoming very strong. He was locked up like the rest and didn't seem to respond like a guard anymore. One terrible night long ago, he was unsure when as the scientists never told them the date, the demons all escaped. They killed the Japanese. They killed the remaining prisoners. Only he escaped and hid from the horrors and he thought he was the only actual person on the island.
The demons tried to escape the island. One of them thought he could fly an aircraft there, but a Japanese ship and troops and more aircraft arrived. They bombed the air strip and shelled the base, destroying the boats at the docks and as much of the place as they could. Then they went away. He was unsure how long he'd been there. It felt like a long time, he said. The demons mostly lived in the jungle. They mostly came out at night. Mostly. Some of them wandered about the outer compound though few went to the inner compound. He thought they feared the place they were born in.
He told them he'd been living in the generator building in the inner compound. He noted there was a secondary generator building there. He said he barricaded the door at night and he'd been living off of fish and whatever he could find on the fringes of the jungle.
He begged them to take him with them if they were leaving.
"No,"Lt. Duff said.
"Yes,"Lt. Anderson said.
"We will certainly try,"Lt. Cook said. "Don't listen to the man on the table."
"He's a scary man,"the Chinese man said. "He's a scary man."
"Yes, he's also insane,"Lt. Cook said.
They learned his name was Liao Lin.
"Captain, should we check out the hangers?"Lt. Locklear said. "Maybe, just maybe, they have a plane there."
"I mean "¦"Lt. Anderson said.
"They've taken everything,"Liao said. "They've taken everything from all of these buildings."
"We're going to take everything from you,"Lt. Duff muttered.
"We'll worry about that later,"Lt. Locklear said.
"Harry!"Lt. Anderson said.
"I heard the gunfire so I came to see what it was,"Liao said. "I was afraid it was the Japanese."
"How about this Liao Lin, have you been around the island?"Lt. Locklear said.
"I don't go into the jungle,"Liao said. "I don't go into the jungle."
"How long have you been here?"Sgt. Shivo said.
"I don't know,"Liao said. "It feels like a long time. It was 1939 when I was captured. But I haven't seen a calendar since."
"And you say you haven't seen anyone else?"
"And "¦ whatâ”€"
"None of them looked like people."
"You don't look like a person,"Lt. Duff said.
"What different kinds of demons,"Sgt. Shivo said. "How many different kinds of demons have you seen."
"Give it a rest, Harry,"Lt. Anderson said.
"I don't know,"Liao said. "There are 20 or 30 "¦ maybe more. I never counted them. The night of the escape was chaos. There's a giant one that looks like a caterpillar."
"Can you tell us more about them?"Sgt. Shivo said.
Liao Lin could not. All he knew was Chinese folklore which said when men did terrible things or had terrible thoughts, they could change into demons. They had powers and were bloodthirsty and wallowed in the terrible things that made them demons in the first place.
"So, there's no way off the island?"Sgt. Shivo asked.
He asked if there were any maps of the island on the island. Liao Lin said there were not. He was able to tell them the general layout of the island. He told them of the two mountains and the thick jungle. He thought the demons stayed in the mountain caves. He had gone along the beaches some little way but usually had to flee into the ocean or run back the way he came when he heard something stir in the jungle. He was terrified of the demons.
"What did you do before you were captured?"Sgt. Shivo said. "What was your job?"
Liao Lin said he was a welder, mechanic, and plumber and often worked as a handyman. When Sgt. Shivo asked if he could still do that, he said he could.
"That's good, because we may need you,"Sgt. Shivo said. "Can you take us to the inner compound?"
Liao Lin pointed to the inner compound and nodded, noting he would show it to them.
When Lt. Duff asked about getting the generators working, Sgt. Shivo pointed out he had told him they had no fuel to do so. He said he couldn't even try to start them without gasoline. Liao Lin told them there was no gasoline in the generator room he was living in either.
Lt. Locklear wanted orders, suggesting he go to the hanger or the barracks.
"Why don't you leave the Jap in my care?"Lt. Duff said. "I'll take good care of him."
"Please don't leave me in his care,"Liao Lin said.
"Absolutely not,"Lt. Anderson said.
Lt. Cook went over to Lt. Duff and injected him with morphine. Then he took the man's pistol from his holster. Sgt. Shivo, noting Liao Lin's nervousness, offered him his sidearm. Liao Lin took it but didn't seem to know, exactly, what to do with it. He showed him briefly how to load it and the like. The man thanked him and tucked it into his belt.
They all went to the generator building in the inner compound. Lt. Anderson helped Lt. Duff walk though the man didn't really need the help any more. The door looked recently repaired and it looked like Liao Lin piled up stuff inside the door to barricade it at night. The interior had been lived in and there was a bucket of water and some food, including some raw fish he had been eating.
The generator proved to be almost identical to the one in the other generator house and as empty of gasoline as that one had been. Lt. Duff and Sgt. Shivo both looked over the generator and it seemed to be in good, working order but was simply had no fuel. They discussed getting a plane going if there was one in the hanger.
Liao Lin also pointed at the building two down from the generator building and told them it was haunted. He noted that was where they used to vivisect people, cutting them open alive.
Lt. Anderson sent Lt. Duff and Sgt. Shivo to examine the hangers, noting no one was to go anywhere alone.
"Can I take someone else?"Sgt. Shivo said.
"No,"Lt. Anderson said. "Take him with you."
"Hello friend,"Lt. Duff, feeling good from the morphine, said.
They left as Lt. Cook looked over Laio Lin medically. He found the man was skinny as if he didn't have a good diet. He was obviously malnourished and not getting enough calories but was eating enough to survive. When he asked about the bucket of water, Liao Lin told the man there were some springs on the island. He told him that he could use the pump on the well by the barracks but warned him not to open the top.
"Something is in there,"he said.
"But you feel the water is okay, though?"Lt. Cook said.
Liao Lin was unsure. He had not been using it as he didn't want to venture too far from the generator house.
* * *
Lt. Duff and Sgt. Shivo found the hangers had been stripped of tools and goods. A burnt and blackened aircraft sat on the landing field only 20 yards or so from their own cracked up bird. It looked like it had taken a direct hit from a shell, as if it had been fully fueled when it had been hit and the whole thing had burned up. Their own aircraft was more intact than they had expected it. The scuttling charges didn't destroy it completely.
They found a radio that had been completely destroyed. Sgt. Shivo scavenged everything he could find from their destroyed aircraft. He found that one of the engines was actually still mostly intact. There was also a little fuel in the fuel lines.
They headed up to check on the sunken boats at the docks.
* * *
Lt. Locklear noted he wanted to look in the barracks once again so see what they could find. He, Lt. Cook, and Lt. Anderson ended up looking over the buildings of the inner compound.
The northernmost building appeared to be quarters. The solidly built building had high windows, the glass long broken. The interior consisted of a cross-shaped hallway with numerous doors, most of them open or broken off their hinges. Each room once held a pair of beds, dressers, chairs, and other furnishings. Each of the rooms was also connected to a small bathroom.
In the center of the building was a small communal area and kitchen.
The place had been ransacked and wrecked. Tables, chairs, and other furnishings had been thrown about and there was little there of use or interest. They did find some paperwork that survived, which mentioned something called Unit 731, which seemed to be some kind of organization for medical experimentation. They also found a calendar for 1940 marked until September.
The next building appeared to be a surgery. The building had a T-intersection hallway that ran from front to back. Eight laboratories were set towards the front while the same number of cells were built towards the back, their doors open. The laboratories were mostly set up like surgeries. The place was a mess with labs and surgeries thrown into ruin and equipment damaged or destroyed beyond repair. The bars on the fronts of cells were bent outwards, cell doors ripped from their hinges, or strange slime crusted to the bars of certain cells that were undamaged.
The third building was similar to the second. The notes they found seemed to indicate the prisoners were injected with various diseases.
The fourth building was similar to the others. Liao Lin refused to enter the building, claiming it was haunted. Lt. Anderson had Lt. Locklear stay with Liao Lin while he and Lt. Cook entered. They found the man was not lying. The place had a strange feel about it and sometimes they saw rooms that were suddenly completely intact with scientists doing terrible things to the prisoners, cutting them open when they were conscious. In one case, the vision showed them cut open an woman to pull out and examine her fetus. In each case, a woman with long hair covering face seemed to watch each terrible vivisection from a shadowy corner.
It was disturbing and they quickly left.
The fifth building had high, barred windows and seemed to be a holding building for prisoners. There were 16 large cells in the building was a mess of broken and bent bars, smashed and broken doors, and debris.
* * *
Lt. Duff and Sgt. Shivo found the boats were blasted and broken. They didn't think there would be any useable fuel remaining within them.
Lt. Duff suggested burning down the island but Sgt. Shivo noted the smoke, if the fire spread to the entire island, might be enough to kill them all.
* * *
They finally got back together that afternoon to discuss what they had found. They had searched the entire compound.
"The first thing I think we need to do is clear the well,"Lt. Duff said.
Liao Lin said there was a demon there.
"Some of us are injured,"Lt. Duff said. "We need to recover before we make any kind of expedition to the forest. So, what we need to do is clear cut and reinforce."
They had no saw to cut trees.
Sgt. Shivo had an idea for cutting down trees. He suggested making a hole in the tree with a knife and then filling it with the shell of the .50-caliber ammunition he'd kept from the aircraft. All they needed was a way to trigger it to blast trees so they could use them.
Lt. Locklear asked when the last time Liao Lin had gone into the jungle but he wasn't sure. He also suggested making a raft to escape the island. Sgt. Shivo mentioned aircraft had various gear boxes in the engine that they could possibly use to make a hand-cranked propeller to propel the raft.
They got to work on their plans, using the ammunition to fell trees and gathering vines in the jungle. They found some flint and cut it into crude axes to shape the logs somewhat once they were down. At night, they barricaded themselves in the generator room with Liao Lin. They soon ran out of water and so used the spring Liao Lin told them about.
After the first night, they noticed the bones of the living skeleton they had fought had disappeared. Around that same time, Lt. Duff realized his holster was empty. He didn't know where his pistol was.
* * *
On April 21, Lt. Locklear noticed Lt. Duff's features seemed to be changing slightly. They were more severe and he looked angry all the time.
"Captain, I want you to look at Duff,"he told the other men. "What is he changing into? Remember what Liao Lin was talking about? I don't know what we're gonna do with you but we're going to have to tie you up. I am afraid that you're going to go bonkers like these other creatures we've fought off."
Sgt. Shivo noticed he looked a little different.
"What do we do?"Lt. Locklear said. "Captain, what do we do?"
"What are you talking about?"Lt. Cook said, not noticing a difference.
"Look, we've all been under a lot of stress lately,"Lt. Duff said. "We've been having to deal with this horrible island and these creatures and these monsters. The last thing we need to do is turn against each other. We need to turn against the Jap."
Lt. Cook had been on board with what the man said until that last sentence. Sgt. Shivo decided he would give Lt. Duff the benefit of the doubt for the time but would be ready in case the man turned into some kind of demon.
Lt. Duff found a puddle and looked at himself in it. He realized he was looking a little different. Were his eyebrows coming down more sharply? Were his ears looking pointed? He was certain he looked different than he did when he had arrived at the island. Lt. Locklear was right. He also remembered Liao Lin said something on the island caused people to turn into demons.
"You're right,"he said. "I have changed physically "¦ but I haven't changed on the inside. Can anyone help me to try to figure out what's going with this."
"As I told you earlier, the Japanese thought there might be something in the water,"Liao Lin said.
Lt. Duff had not trusted Liao Lin to fetch the spring water they had been drinking since their second day on the island, so he had fetched his own. But they had all been drinking it.
"So, it's the water on the island,"Sgt. Shivo said. "We may not be able to drink it or continue drinking it."
"How come you haven't changed?"Lt. Anderson said to Liao Lin.
"Good question,"Lt. Locklear said. "Good question."
Liao Lin didn't answer and Lt. Anderson stared at the man intently.
"What I was going to suggest was that we have wood, we have all sorts of containers and stuff,"Sgt. Shivo said. "We have wood. We have all this stuff we have around that we can use. Can we boil seawater and distill it?"
They discussed it somewhat and Sgt. Shivo said he wanted to have water to go with them on the raft. Then Locklear remembered there were tanks on the top of two of the remaining intact barracks used for collecting rainwater. It had rained several times since they crashed. They could use the water from the tanks for fresh water.
Lt. Duff talked about clearing the well again, as he had every day. No one else wanted to deal with it. Then Lt. Locklear brought up the question of why Liao Lin hadn't changed again.
They talked to Liao Lin.
"You're not changing,"Lt. Locklear said. "After all this time. I assume it's been months or I assume it's been since 1939."
"1940,"Lt. Anderson said.
"I've got a question,"Sgt. Shivo said. "He's the same mentally and everything but changing on the outside."
He pointed at Lt. Duff.
"What if "¦ what if Liao Lin is the same on the outside but not on the inside?"Sgt. Shivo said.
"Let's find out!"Lt. Duff said.
"No no no no no,"Lt. Anderson said.
"No!"Sgt. Shivo said.
Liao Lin's eyes opened wide and he looked terrified.
"I don't know,"Liao Lin said. "Not everyone changed."
Lt. Duff moved closer to Liao Lin and stared at him but was unsure if he was telling him the truth. It made Liao Lin nervous and he backed away from the Americans. They were scaring him.
"Liao Lin, let me check your pulse,"Lt. Locklear said.
He gestured for Lt. Cook to examine the man. Lt. Cook did so and didn't find anything out of the ordinary with the man, just has he hadn't when he had examined in a few days before.
"Didn't you say something about how, if you were a bad person, it changed you?"Lt. Anderson said.
"That's what I thought,"Liao Lin said.
He wouldn't look at Lt. Duff.
"I never claimed to be good,"Lt. Duff said. "I'm just funny."
"Maybe you're changing because you're a racist! Sgt. Shivo said. "Or what if he's changing because he kept a piece of one of those creatures."
Lt. Duff still had the femur from the skeleton tucked in his belt.
"Yeah, you should get rid of that,"Lt. Anderson said.
"It's a trophy,"Lt. Duff said.
"No, Iâ”€"Lt. Anderson said.
"Your trophy's making you sick,"Sgt. Shivo said.
"I mean, I feel fine,"Lt. Duff said. "I just look different."
"Look, we don't want anything to happen to you,"Lt. Anderson said.
"Well, my cousin felt fine and then he caught the pox and "¦ he didn't look so fine and then he died,"Sgt. Shivo said.
"Would it make you feel better if I wrapped it up in something and stopped touching it with my bare hands?"Lt. Duff said.
"It would make me feel better if you threw it away,"Lt. Anderson said.
Lt. Cook thought it a good idea to at least wrap it up. Lt. Duff did so.
"Did anyone see where my gun went, by the way?"Lt. Duff said. "My pistol?"
"No,"Lt. Anderson said.
Lt. Cook shook his head. But he knew. He'd been the one that took it from him.
* * *
After their meager lunch of raw fish and c-rations, as they headed back to the docks to finish up work on the raft, Lt. Duff diverted to the well. Lt. Duff pumped the pump next to the well and clear water came out. It didn't seem to be off or strange in any way.
"Hey!"he yelled. "This!"
He pulled the lid off and tossed it aside. He leveled his shotgun straight down into the well and fired both barrels at the water about eight feet down. Sgt. Shivo ran to the man. Lt. Locklear sprinted over as well.
A tentacle came out of the well and lashed at Lt. Duff. Lt. Duff tried to beat the thing off. He switched his shotgun to his off hand and then drew his hunting knife to stab at the tentacle, which wrapped around him.
"No!"Liao Lin screamed. "No!"
Lt. Cook and Lt. Anderson suddenly looked at each other suspiciously. Both of them were filled with terrible paranoia.
Sgt. Shivo ran to the tentacle and stabbed it with his syringe of morphine. He shoved the needle in and pushed the plunger home.
"No!"Lt. Duff cried out. "My drugs!"
Lt. Locklear had stopped, put his Winchester carbine to his shoulder, and fired at the tentacle, hitting it and blasting a huge hole in it. The blood struck Lt. Duff in the face and he licked his lips. He didn't think it tasted that bad. Then the tentacle went limp. He grabbed it.
"Give me back my drugs!"he yelled. "Give me back my drugs! Help!"
Whatever was on the other side of the tentacle was very heavy and sinking into the well. It was slowly pulling Lt. Duff with it.
"Try letting go!"Lt. Locklear yelled.
"Can anyone else help?"Lt. Duff said.
Sgt. Shivo grabbed the tentacle as well and, between the two of them, stopped it from sliding into the well.
"Everyone help!"Lt. Duff yelled. "Help us yank it out of the well!"
"What the hell do you want to yank that damned thing out for!?!"Lt. Locklear yelled.
"Out of the water!"Lt. Duff said.
"I know but what are you going to do with it!?!"Lt. Locklear yelled.
"You don't have an option!"Lt. Duff said. "Do it! Now!"
Nearby, Lt. Anderson and Lt. Cook looked at each other suspiciously until Lt. Anderson drew his sidearm. Lt. Cook was ready though, and drew his own sidearm. Lt. Anderson hesitated and Lt. Cook shot the other man in the left arm. Lt. Anderson fell to the ground, the vein struck, gushing blood.
The others heard the shot behind them and looked back. Liao Lin turned and ran away. Lt. Cook looked around with wide eyes. Then he turned towards Liao Lin.
"Stop where you are!"he screamed. "Or I'll shoot you!"
"It's okay, man,"Sgt. Shivo called to the man. "Put the gun down and help us grab the tentacle. We want to help each other, not hurt each other."
Lt. Cook ignored him.
Locklear ran back towards Lt. Anderson and Lt. Cook. Lt. Cook still had his back to them and was pointing his pistol at Liao Lin.
"Do you realize what you've just done!?!"Lt. Duff called. "You shot your commanding officer. If you were to stop right now, we might have a chance of forgetting this."
Lt. Cook turned back their way, pointing the gun at Lt. Locklear, who was rushing towards him. But then he hesitated, as if something Lt. Duff had said had gotten through to him.
Sgt. Shivo used his hunting knife to stab the tentacle into one of the posts holding up the enclosure over the well. Then he eased his grip off the tentacle. It got very taut.
Lt. Locklear dropped to his knees by Lt. Anderson and tried to staunch the terrible bleeding, ignoring Lt. Cook. He was unable to stop it.
"Liao! If you don't come and help us yank this out of the well right now, I'm going to hunt you down and skin you alive!"Lt. Duff screamed.
Liao Lin stopped running away. Then Lt. Duff tried to stab his own knife into the tentacle to hold it in place. It was close to the edge though and he figured it would just tear away from the knife once the weight of the thing was placed upon it.
"You're a doctor, God damn it!"Sgt. Shivo said. "Do something!"
Lt. Cook blinked and looked down at Lt. Anderson.
"Duffy, can you try to take care of the captain?"Lt. Locklear called.
Lt. Duff continued to tell Lt. Cook to help Lt. Anderson. It finally seemed to get through.
"Get off him!"Lt. Cook yelled, shoving Lt. Locklear aside and attempting to staunch the terrible bleeding of their commanding officer.
Unfortunately, he couldn't stop it either.
"This is bad!"he cried out. "This is bad!"
Liao Lin was moving towards Lt. Duff but was not very quickly, obviously very much afraid of the man.
"Move faster!"Lt. Duff yelled.
Sgt. Shivo ran for Lt. Anderson and tried his best to patch up Lt. Anderson. He stopped the bleeding but the man had lost a lot of blood.
The other men managed to pull the horrible thing out of the well. It was humanoid, for the most part, but had tentacles coming off its chin and an elongated skull. There were several tentacles coming off the thing's body as well, distorted and distended as it was. It was horrible to behold. When Liao Lin saw the horrible thing, he beat on it with his fists for about 20 seconds.
"I like you more,"Lt. Duff said to him after that.
* * *
On April 22, 1942, they felt ready to leave the island. They had a raft they thought could get them to shore. Sgt. Shivo had devised and built a propeller with a hand crank using the modified gearbox to allow them to propel the raft and they also had a few boards from the tables in the mess hall to row with if need be.
They carried Lt. Anderson and the raft down to the boat docks and, there, found several of the horrible demons coming out of the brush. The largest among them seemed to be a great snake made of bile. Liao Lin let out a cry when he saw it.
"I am DÃ¹jÃ¬, the demon that came out of Liao Lin,"the horrible thing intoned in a voice like thick phlegm. "I helped all of the demons escape. We will come with you. Liao Lin vomited me up. I know what he thinks."
Lt. Duff blew Liao Lin's head off with his sawed-off shotgun.
"I don't need him anymore,"DÃ¹jÃ¬ said. "I've got all of you."
The demons advanced and the soldiers opened fire. Sgt. Shivo blasted away with the .30-caliber machinegun, cutting down two of the terrible things. The others shot at DÃ¹jÃ¬ or the other demon there, a horrible thing that looked like a woman who had been cut apart and put back together. All of the soldiers were injured in the terrible fight but the gunfire drove back the last two demons and the soldiers pushed the raft off, Sgt. Shivo leaping aboard and operating his hand-cranked engine while the others rowed with boards.
They escaped from the island and rowed some 10 miles to the shore of China. There, they managed to connect with the free Chinese Army after some confusion and distress. They managed to get the Americans across Japanese-held China and to freedom.
Lt. Anderson got gangrene in his injured arm and it had to be removed at the elbow during the trip.
* * *
Lt. Brad Anderson made it home alive but did not return to the service due to his missing arm. He eventually married. He was never the same, however. He had constant nightmares of the horrors he had seen.
* * *
Lt. Harold Duff also made it home alive. Since he had to work closely with the Chinese in their escape, he learned to be more tolerant of other races. The fractured back took him out of the rest of the war but, years later, when he was in a nursing home, he constantly talked about what he had seen off the coast of China.
* * *
After the war, Lt. Thomas Cook returned to Alaska and was soon ordained as a minister, preaching to the Inuit in Alaska for the rest of his life.
* * *
Lt. Orrin Cook went to medical school after the war and eventually became an M.D.
* * *
Sgt. Aaron Shivo actually took strength from what had happened to them on the terrible island. Considering all of the improvising he did there, he began to write survival manuals for the military after he served out his term in the War.