Month: September 2023

Haunted Bomber by Declan Cosson

It was a pitch black night whose tranquillity was suddenly disrupted as a vast swarm of Avro Lancaster bombers flew in a disciplined formation over the Germanic city below. Suddenly, alarms could be heard below and the pitch black skies were illuminated by flashing spotlights that would beam a ray of light up at the bomber fleet. Within minutes, the sky was suddenly glowing from the bursts of explosions went off around them. The thundering sound of the flack guns could be heard from below as they fired up at the planes. The pounding of these guns battered the planes, notably blasting one bomber’s propellor into inactivity. As this happened, a troop of enemy fighter aircraft swooped in and strafed the hull of the bomber, narrowly ducking it’s turrets who fired back at them with their own machine guns. By this stage, the bomber had two of its propellors knocked out of action.
To make things worse, the crew got progressively thinned and sliced up by repeated attacks by enemy fighter planes. As the radio operator tried to maintain his contact with base, but before he knew it, a stray shell from DCA sliced through him, leaving him bloodied and dead. Despite all of this battering, the bomber continued to just journey towards its target and maintained its position within the formation, dropping hails of bombs upon the factory complex that had been targeted, flattening the facility to little more than rubble. Once it was done, the bomber began to limp its way back to England. Then, all of a sudden, a strange mysterious fog suddenly enveloped the bomber and suddenly, the plane soon found itself diverging completely off course, cut off from the rest of the bomber fleet.

Inside the bomber’s cockpit, the two pilots were still alive. One of them was scrutinizing the controls of the plane, painfully aware of the beeping noise on the panel that alerted him to say “warning, low fuel”. As he observed this, his comrade said.
“We’ve been hit pretty bad, Fletcher! You really think we’ll make it back to England in this?”
“I don’t know, Flint, but we can’t waist time here! We got to try to make it back, at worst, I’d rather die in the Channel than be in a prison camp.”
As he heard this, Flint unbelted himself from his seat, standing up as he said to Fletcher, “Listen, I’m going back to check on the damage, to see if anyone else is still alive…”
“Yeah sure, Flint, go ahead…I’ll try to regroup with the squadron.”
Thus, Flint stood up and headed for the door of the cockpit.

However, little did either Flint or Fletcher know, the bomber was not flying towards England at all. Rather it was flying over the infamous peak of the Brocken, which according to Germanic myth was where the witches held their sabbath. Certainly, there was a very real sense that whatever was happening was not natural at all. Even as he was wrapped up in his leather jacket, scarf and gloves, Flint was chilled to the bone as he maneuvered through the corridor. It was dead silent except for the slow stuttering drone of the engines but the holes in the plane’s hull allowed for the harsh howling wind to be heard from inside. Disturbed by the deathly silence of the scene, Flint shouted. “Hello? Hello??”
As he came across the mutilated and bloodied corpses of his comrades, whose bodies were still riddled with bullets. The sight of all of his dead comrades was not easy for Flint, who honestly wanted to just wake up in his Merry England, living a quaint pastoral life as a yeoman and pretend that this experience was some sort of strange nightmare. For now, he edged closer and closer to tail of the plane and saw that its turret had been blasted open, leaving a hollow hole at the end of the plane. When Flint got to the tail of the plane, he looked down, only to see the peak of the Brocken. This disturbed him, not because he believed in witches or spooks but rather because he knew that they were not heading towards England. As he looked up, Flint could see that there seemed to be a glowing sphere that was sickly green. Baffled, Flint took out his binoculars and realized that much to his horror, the sphere was following them.
His gloved hands trembled from the shiver sent up his spine as he rushed back through the corridor and shouted. “Fletcher!! Captain Fletcher!!! Something is following us!!!”
He kept shouting that as he rushed towards the cockpit. As he heard Flint’s voice become louder and more intelligible to his ears, Fletcher turned around and asked,
“Flint, what’s up with you? Followed by what?”

As he burst into the cockpit, Flint spoke in a voice that sounded as if he had a stammer as he blurted out.
“I’m not making this up, Captain, there’s a sickly green orb on our trail and it’s…”
The moment he heard Flint talk about a sickly green orb, the scaffolding needed to construct and hold up Fletcher’s serious tone fell like a pile of bricks as he asked in a more sarcastic tone,
“Flint, how much did you drink before we left? That’s sounds like yet another one of those “Foo fighters” that have made such a sensation in the press!!”
“As I said, I’m not making this up, would you please take a look for yourself Captain.”
“Flint, with all due respects, I’ve got a plane to fly…the less time we waste up here, the sooner we get back to England, understood? We seem to be completely cut off from the bomber fleet!!”
Flint sighed in despair when he heard this. But before they could say anything, the orb got closer and closer to the bomber till suddenly, both Flint and Fletcher were forced to close their eyes as the plane briefly blazed in green, a bright sickly green before it suddenly faded out. When the green glow was gone, Flint and Fletcher looked to each other. Fletcher could only look confused as he asked, “What the bloody hell was that?”
“I don’t know, but I’m going to find out!”
And with that, Flint slowly opened the door of the cockpit and crept back out into the corridor of the plane.
But when he did, he felt an incredibly strong sense of disbelief as he saw what seemed to be a green mist pour through the plane and as if it had a mind of its own, the mist split off into different sections, each seemingly having a mind of its own as they entered the corpses of the dead men. As someone who was not prone to superstitions, Flint was completely confused by what he saw. Before he could turn back to tell Fletcher, he heard movement and some weird noises. Though these noises sent a chill up Flint’s spine, he just thought that the noises were simply the wind pouring through the battered and torn hull of the plane which continued its slow drone.
So he turned his back on the macabre sight and headed back to the cockpit. But as he did so, little did he know, but the corpses began to animate and move themselves, slowly jerking themselves to stand up straight, their battered hands turned into claws and as if possessed by some unnatural sorcery, the corpse’s eyes opened, no longer the blue, green or brown eyes they originally were, but they were now blood red, red as crimson. Soon, one of them opened his mouth to reveal rotten teeth and let out a slow and echoing groan. It wasn’t long before Flint heard all of this groaning. Completely bewildered, Flint called back to the cockpit asking. “Fletcher?? Are you hearing all of this, Captain??”
“Flint, what in the name of Christ is going on back there??”
“I don’t know…I…”
When he heard the groan again, Flint turned around and what he saw reminded him of one of those hammer horror films he saw back in England. For now, a rotting bloodied corpse was starring right at him, extending its foul clawed and skeletal hand at him as it groaned. Chilled to the bone, Flint seemed paralyzed with fear, too terrified to scream, especially as more of them showed up. But when one of them lunged at him, Flint managed to shrug the creature off and he grabbed an axe that was attached to the plane’s wall so that when the ghoulish corpse lunged at him again, Flint swung it at the creature and split its head in two. This bought Flint time to run, but though he bolted towards the cockpit door, he quickly got exhausted halfway through the trip.
Thus, he panted heavily as he sought to recuperate his strength, but he was so tired that the axe strained on his hand.

Meanwhile, Fletcher was in the cockpit, but because he heard the groans, he grabbed his gun on instinct and went back to see what was happening to Flint. As this was happening, Flint could hear the moaning again as the ghouls closed on him. He desperately tried to raise his axe but found that he was too tired to do so. He felt completely paralyzed as if tormented by pure fear and disbelief over what was happening. “This is happening, this really is happening!”, Flint said in a panicked voice as he saw the grotesque corpses of the ghouls lunging out at him. But then, suddenly, there was the sound of a gun banging in the background as bullets whizzed past and slammed into the heads of the ghouls, killing some of them. As he turned around, Flint saw Fletcher with a smoking pistol beckoning him to come along. As this happened, Flint summoned the last of the strength and rushed back, finding some energy to shake off a clawed hand that tried to grab onto his boot. After stamping on the boot, Flint followed Fletcher to the cockpit as he asked in a panicked voice,
“By the love of Christ, Fletcher, what do we do now?”
As he sealed the door of the cockpit shut, Fletcher could hear the sound of the last propellor sputtering to a halt and the sound of a beeping noise on the control panel warning him and Flint that they were out of fuel. Hearing this, Fletcher snapped to Flint.
“Give me that axe of yours and get our parachutes, we need to abandon plane!”
Thus, Flint scrambled for the parachute packs and fitted his onto his back as Fletcher swung the axe to smash open a window of the cockpit. It was just in the nick of time as the ghouls were slicing their way through the door. However, by the time that the ghouls finally burst through the door, Flint and Fletcher had just managed to bail out of the cockpit. Flint had never felt as hopeless and as confused as he slowly floated down towards the ground, clinging onto his parachute as he saw the Lancaster bomber that he had just been in go spiralling to the ground, being ripped to shreds by the pressure as it did so.
Flint hoped that the crashing of the plane would kill off all the ghouls who had possessed the bodies of his fallen comrades. For now, Flint and Fletcher slowly floated to the ground, eventually touching down on dry earth. As they looked up, the two seemed to be near some sort of mountain range. As they looked around, Flint asked. “Where are we?”
“I don’t know Flint, but we are certainly not in England.”

Record of a Day Rendered Entirely in Clichés by Stephen Brady

At the crack of dawn
I rose and shone
Had a breakfast of champions
And blew out the stops
Grabbed the bull by the horns
And hit the street
To meet and greet
The great unwashed;
I wended my way
To join the club
Waiting for the rub
Of the green
To set the scene
Of what might have been.

I left no stone unturned
While the home fires burned
And the powers-that-be
Had an air of mystery.
But the empty vessels
Made an unholy noise
And the unstoppable force
Met the immoveable object
And the next thing I knew
It was an open-and-shut case
Of “we are where we are”
where I was.

At the eleventh hour
In my ivory tower
I circled the wagons
Got my ducks in a row;
I let sleeping dogs lay
Where every dog has his day
And all the world was a stage
When we were on the same page
I was flavour of the month
‘Til I was yesterday’s news
My talk was cheap
But I didn’t lose sleep
Then it hit me like a ton of bricks!
I’d been out of the loop
Landed right in the soup
And I was the last to know
I should have gone with the flow.

 

At the end of the day
It was a game of two halves
I was ahead by a nose
But got pipped at the post
By the Host with the Most
And if turnabout is fair play
You could colour-me-amazed
When the chickens I counted
Didn’t come home to roost.
For the grass it is greener
Where the rolling stones gather
No moss.
(No loss.)

 

Too many cooks spoiled my broth
And a soft answer turn’d away Wrath
But there were too many chiefs
And not enough indians.
Many hands made light work
Of my best-laid plans
(I’d had the whole world in my hands!)
So I beat a retreat
To a threadbare room
Where I quietly fumed
Til the sun was under the yardarm
And the day
dodgily
damnably
done.

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