Private O’Bannon was found on the 26th of June. He was moved to the nearest base hospital and treated there for severe fatigue. The last person to speak to him was a priest. It was the only time when O’Bannon reacted to another person. Still without emotion tears rolled from his eyes as he said “The children, the children”.
The next morning Seth O’Bannon was found dead in his bed. An expression of absolute terror on his face. His hair had turned white.
To this day the U.S. Marine Core will not give an official statement concerning this case. The bodies of the five other men were never found. They were listed as missing in action. There had been an investigation but it proofed to be fruitless.The case was officially closed on the 21st of March 1919.
Artwork by Damien Worm.
June 12 or 13 – Location unknown.
I am now sure we fell victim to some new German weapon. Some new sort of gas. It’s in this mist…it is this damn mist! It just has to be. How else can I explain what just happened. How else can it be that night never falls. It’s just this never ending morning light. The gunfire and screams stopped a few moments ago. All we heard was this inhuman howl, The trees started moving…as if walking. Van Kessel kept rambling about some “Takken man”.
Freeman and Van Kessel got in to an argument something about instigating the men. Freeman almost shot Van kessel when suddenly we heard the laughter of children…and this howl…oh God, the howl. Van Kessel dropped to his knees as this tree like figure just picked him up. He didn’t put up a fight or scream. It’s as if he surrendered willingly to this thing. Freeman ran away and Conrad just sat against a tree praying and crying. That is the last thing I saw when I myself ran. I have not seen them since. It has to be some new German weapon. There is no other explanation…I am afraid.
Date unknown – location unknown.
I don’t know where I am or what time it is. I cannot sleep. This silence is deafening. I just heard gunfire and screaming and laughing children. I’m sure it was Freeborn. I don’t know what is going on. I hope someone will somehow find me and find this journal…but I am afraid they won’t. Tell my wife I love her very much. Tell her i’m sorry. I hear the children again…there isn’t much time. I am going to die now. I see them. Oh, god. They are bleeding black from their eyes and mouths. It moves behind them. No face. No face…
June 11, 1918 – In the Belleau woods
We began our sweep and clean operation early this morning. We’ve hit heavy resistance. Many casualties. Glover ran headlong in to a hidden ‘75. He got ripped to pieces. The six of us, myself included got pinned by that same enemy fire. We all jumped in to a dried up riverbed. Several grenades blew up close to our position. None of us had a scratch though. We got lucky. Yet somehow we’ve been separated from the rest.
We seem to be lost. But I reckon that impossible. We can clearly hear the gun fire from a distance but we cannot pin point its direct position. Our compasses aren’t making any sense. We’ve been walking for hours now and our watches stopped working too. I don’t know what time it is, I think the sun just came up. It’s hard to be sure though, surrounded by this thick mist. Lieutenant Freeborn orders us to pack up and continue. I do not want to say it out loud but…something feels wrong.
June 12, 1918 – Belleau woods
I think the date is June 12 but I do not know for sure. We’re looking for Fisher and Wayne. They’ve gone missing. Lieutenant Freeborn keeps giving us these speeches about betraying your country and its repercussions for doing so. Tensions run high now. It is still morning but I know for sure that it is the next day. Strangely enough night never fell. The gun fire is close but so are the screams of men. It’s getting on all our nerves. Why can’t we find them? What is going on?
During the last days of the first world war, six marines of the American 2nd battalion got separated and lost from their squad. They were ordered to sweep and clean the Belleau wood of any German presence. How they got lost or separated is to this date unknown.
However at the end of the campaign members of the 15th company found one of the missing men in a clearing in the woods. He was lying on the dirt in a fetal position. While mumbling incoherent he was also covered in a strange black goo. When questioned by superiors and doctors he remained silent. He only sported an emotionless expression with vacant eyes.
Private Seth O’Bannon kept a journal. It was lying next to him when they found him. At first its content was nothing out of the ordinary but the last 5 entries did shed some light on the strange disappearance of the other marines. It ultimately does not answer any questions. It raises them.
June 10, 1918 - Near the river Marne
The French and British did it. The resistance at the Marne has been crushed. The Bosch fell back into the woods. After all the setbacks and casualties I finally have some hope. Hope that I will be going home soon.
Tomorrow we start the assault. Even though I face death, God forbid it, all I can think about is a warm bed, home cooking and yes of course my wife. Yes, I do believe that I will be seeing my darling Annette very soon. I cannot explain. It’s a feeling I have. James van Kessel, usually a deeply serious man actually managed to crack a smile. I reckon he has that same feeling. This war will be over soon.