Blog Post 1
My name is Erik Towne. I am a Sergeant in the U.S. Army and am stationed in Iraq. I stood in the Cradle of Civilization, Bagdad, on a hot April morning. The insurgents had yet to get out of bed when I poured myself a cup of Ready-to-eat coffee. I tossed the rest of the readymade meal into my rucksack and woke my troops.
Our mission on that fateful Sunday was to patrol a troublesome supply route near the Euphrates River. I had to kick Jones, Steele and Swain out of bed like I always did but other than that things started fine. The adventure started after an ambush that trapped us like gerbils in a cage. Fire from the right and the left. We were left to take cover in a drainage ditch just off the roadway. I called for air strikes but they were more than a half hour away. I decided to flush them out but it was a bad choice. I still spend many nights terrified to death that my troops will take their revenge because I my choice, but that’s not why I’m writing this. It is because of what I found then what I did with it.
Only Steele lay beside me. The others had died. The insurgents surrounded us and we crawled on our bellies toward the river. I crawled up the ditch when a sharp pain struck my side. I looked down to find a tree root. Under that root was a fist-sized rounded stone, gray in color. I grabbed the stone and the world went black, a peace fell over me and someone spoke to me.
“You are the guardian of the stone,” it said. “Life begins with this stone.”
“Who are you?” I said but the voice did not respond.
“A sacrifice of flesh is required;” began the voice, “as the sacrifice heals the creation begins.”
“Who are you?” I asked again.
“I am,” said the voice then a flash of light awoke me. Rounds from a semi-automatic burst above me. Steele shouted something about the air strikes but I couldn’t get the voice out of my head. “Life begins…life begins…”
Given the creator’s stone I was left to ponder my situation within the drainage ditch. The insurgents were inching closer, help was nowhere to be seen and our ammunition was low. Half out of desperation and or a giant fantastical wish to be free of this situation I wished for a giant sand worm. The worm would be as long as a train but twice as wide. It would have large teeth to hold its prey then swallow it whole and finally it would erupt from the ground to take out the twenty or so men shooting at me and Steele. The interesting part was the voice which had taken up the dark dream. It spoke to me. It instructed me to blow on the stone then place it where the life will begin. I blew on the stone which immediately began to warm, then smoke. My hand burned and pain shot up my arm. I threw the stone like a grenade about to go off and it disappeared above the brim of the ditch. My hand was throbbing and several layers of skin were missing. Blood slowly welled up where the stone had been. Steele, a large man of African descent, stared at me. His M4 resting in his hands.
“What is going on?” he said with a hint of fear and confusion. Instead of planning an escape I had grabbed a stone, passed out for several minutes then threw the stone as if it was a grenade. My palm bled and I was staring at it.
I stumbled for words but noticed the wound in my palm was quickly healing. The ground rumbled and new trouble had just begun. Steele coiled back against the ditch wall his M4 pointed tensely toward his front.
From under the ground the beast burst, sand and large stones erupted then fell. It was the width of a tanker truck and leapt 14 feet into the air before falling above the drainage ditch. Next thing I remember is screaming and gunfire in the beast’s direction. Steele and I stood and watched as this megalith swallowed each and every victim whole. The teeth on the beast were at least 4 foot long but the reason for the teeth was questionable since it swallowed everything. The insurgents ran while I stared. A horror I wished for never wanted to see. After the meal the beast burrowed back into the ground. The ground rumbling as it passed beneath us. Steele fired his M4 into the ground and ran. The big man was gone in a second. I tried to follow but woke up in a hospital bed.
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