The Lost Patrol

Latitude 40.446, Longitude -178.242. Last transmission.

http://30daysofcreativity.com/

11:59 PM
June 30th, 2011
Day 30. We had nearly given in to the numb terror of our surroundings, and surely would have perished in that hellish womb. But the faceless ghouls who had once been our countrymen had forgotten one thing: when an Englishman looks at death, he prefers to face it on his feet. And my Webley Mk 4 still had four bullets in its cylinder. 
The smoke and roar of my first shot shook the other men from their stupor. One of the Lost Patrol spasmed and fell as I lined up my second shot. The others quickly drew their own sidearms, and I cannot be sure which of us killed the second and third of these grotesque marionettes. 
But some greater mind detected our violence, and a sound like a teakettle’s whistle suddenly stabbed at our eardrums. In the next instant the pulsating walls leaned inward. Ruddy globules reached out to touch the men at the perimeter of our group, and to absorb them. 
Through a bubble’s translucence I saw the screaming face of Nawang become a skull and then a cinder. I wasted my final bullet on the oozing wall itself. And then I prepared to meet my Lord.
I do not know who triggered the mechanism; perhaps it was Cadogan as he thrashed about while his legs dissolved. But the platform on which we stood clattered to life and began to climb back up the shaft. Red pseudopods reached for me as the lift ascended. I felt relief when I saw them retreat, then gripping despair as I realized that I was the only survivor. 
I reached the surface and found cover in a copse of trees. I have no rations and no bullets, and the wild beasts of the island will surely be on the prowl. But I do have our communications gear, and the skies are clear. If I can relay my coordinates and hold out long enough, I will be here to meet the rescuers after they arrive to investigate the signal’s source.  
Sending now.
Latitude 40.446, Longitude -178.242. First transmission. 


Day 30. We had nearly given in to the numb terror of our surroundings, and surely would have perished in that hellish womb. But the faceless ghouls who had once been our countrymen had forgotten one thing: when an Englishman looks at death, he prefers to face it on his feet. And my Webley Mk 4 still had four bullets in its cylinder. 

The smoke and roar of my first shot shook the other men from their stupor. One of the Lost Patrol spasmed and fell as I lined up my second shot. The others quickly drew their own sidearms, and I cannot be sure which of us killed the second and third of these grotesque marionettes. 

But some greater mind detected our violence, and a sound like a teakettle’s whistle suddenly stabbed at our eardrums. In the next instant the pulsating walls leaned inward. Ruddy globules reached out to touch the men at the perimeter of our group, and to absorb them. 

Through a bubble’s translucence I saw the screaming face of Nawang become a skull and then a cinder. I wasted my final bullet on the oozing wall itself. And then I prepared to meet my Lord.

I do not know who triggered the mechanism; perhaps it was Cadogan as he thrashed about while his legs dissolved. But the platform on which we stood clattered to life and began to climb back up the shaft. Red pseudopods reached for me as the lift ascended. I felt relief when I saw them retreat, then gripping despair as I realized that I was the only survivor. 

I reached the surface and found cover in a copse of trees. I have no rations and no bullets, and the wild beasts of the island will surely be on the prowl. But I do have our communications gear, and the skies are clear. If I can relay my coordinates and hold out long enough, I will be here to meet the rescuers after they arrive to investigate the signal’s source.  

Sending now.

Latitude 40.446, Longitude -178.242. First transmission. 

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