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By Anon E. Mus

Our heroes’ struggle continues in the Sixth Coalition War for Ukraine. After patrolling the Ukraine-Russia-Jeb! border for several hours the squad returns to their base-bunker for their rations and recreation. Little do they know of the Halloween horrors that await them on this night…

6:04 P.M. EEST

I like to think of myself as a fairly strong man. I passed all of my physical exams when I joined the army. I regularly work out. I am above average at arm-wrestling, and I try to have a balanced diet. Despite all of this, every iota of my anatomy—every joint, every ligament, every tendon, every bone—was in sheer agony by the time my squad and I returned to base. The summer Ukrainian sun beat down upon our beweighted bodies, whose arms and armor pulled us like the groping hands of hell down into the Ukrainian mud, wet with the fluids of those who came before us, and whose watery darkness beckoned me like my mother’s womb into peaceful oblivion. The summer breeze, which at all other times makes me feel fine, carried on it the stench of death from the marshes of the north, the mass graves of the west, the anime club from the east, and the “poop deck” of the south. 

At high noon, a stampede of feral black cats with wild-red eyes charged at us, hissing with foaming mouths. Fortunately, Ivan had a spray bottle, which repulsed the rabid felines as effectively as he repulsed females. It did nothing to stop the lone black raven, however, which perched atop a scarecrow’s head to stare at us, and recited each of our full, christian names, and today’s date—October 31, 2028. 

Still, we pressed on, not talking, not complaining, not dying, until we again came upon our sole refuge in a relentless world: drenched in mud and sweat and panting like Jon Lizak when he beheld the U.S. Capitol, we joyfully scoped the hill which held our bunker safe. 

Based on Melvin’s whimpering and Ivan’s muttering, I could tell that they felt the same pain as I. Together we shambled towards the secret entrance, knocked sixty-nine-thousand-four-hundred-twenty times (Mel himself chose the secret knock), and a pair of eyes asked from behind the shutter,  “password?”

“Amogus!” we collectively gasped (Mel had also chosen the password).

The door slid ajar, as one of the unnamed soldiers greeted us.

“Everyone alive? Bussin’. Get out of your armor and report to the mess hall by seven. We were able to secure a meat ration this week, so vibe with it!”

Despite my better judgment, the word “meat ration” still lifted my heart higher than CIW on a Friday night. ‘Perhaps,’ I thought, ‘I could make some gainz with this protein.’

Together Mel, Ivan, and I marched, jubilant, to our living quarters. On our way, we passed by the infirmary, where Dr. Lackland was caring for an unconscious, yet groaning Alex.

“Easy there, Mx. O’Hanrahan. You’re going to be alright. Once we stabilize you here, we can send you home. You’ll earn a purple heart for real, and you can eat all the tendies which the Russians stole from us in ‘27, no cap.”

If Alex were comforted by Dr. Lackland’s blandishments, neither of them proved themselves able to show it. Alex let out another agonized groan.

“It’s a good thing Lib isn’t conscious for this…” Ivan said, in another trenchant moment of caring for his sworn enemy. Lib was a sworn vegan, which often meant going hungry, while the rest of us dined on salvaged Russian-brand pro-teen bars and washed it down with molk. Hearing about the meat ration, disgusting as it always is, might have been the paper straw that broke the Lib’s back. 

Uneasily, we queased our way to our barracks, where our precious pin-up wives and waifus kept their vigil. Each of us attempted to be the first through the door, yet our armor-clad bodies caught us—with me in the middle—trapped in the too-narrow opening. 

“Move it chowdah-head!” shouted Melvin. (This was not the first time it happened.)

“Shut it, Mel!” ejaculated Ivan. “Bruh how do we get out of this?”

Fortunately for us, a comedically lit stick of long-fuse dynamite had been slipped into my back pocket by a Russian assassin—the same one who had infiltrated Binghamton Review some years prior—during patrol. I didn’t acknowledge it at the time, though, since I didn’t want to acknowledge to Ivan that a Russian was able to “slip something into my pocket.” Besides, I kind of liked the feeling of it.

At last, as Aeneas once met Dido, so too did the fuse-spark meet the detonator of my backside-surprise. An explosion of fire and pleasure erupted, as Mel, Ivan, and I were hurled like ragdolls into the room. 

Our armor prevented any severe injuries, though Mel did break his glasses when his face smashed into his erotic anime girls pin-up. (This was not the first time it happened.)

With preternatural calm, the three of us stood up and brushed away the soot with which our faces were comically covered. I saw Ivan speaking, and was amazed to hear that he could speak fluent ringing. 

6:05 P.M. EEST

After repairing our cochlear nerves with some q-tips, lighter fluid, and the encouraging inanimate stares of our waifus, we finally began to relieve ourselves of our packs and armor.

Atlas setting down the Earth could not have felt my relief when I shrugged off those weights. As I ripped off my pack, threw my rifle on the bed, and peeled every titanium-alloy plate from my living-corpse, I felt able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, or even fly through the reaches of space to our secret-Moon-colony of “Binghamton Review’s New Office.” 

Still, I remained the down-to-Earth, salt-of-the-Earth fellow I always was, and knelt down by my bed. No I was not about to pray, I had euphorically done away with silly things like religion when I was fourteen, fighting earnestly for the Gamer-gate. I was in fact reaching under my bed for something which my companions and I had smuggled in. No it was not any pornographic magazine, since President Hunter Biden had confiscated them all for his own use in ‘23, and then President Zeldin burned them all in ‘24. Still, even President Trump III couldn’t stop the proliferation of one technology which rendered the rest obsolete: the Oculus Grift VR headset.

All three of us had one hidden under our beds. For delta males like us, fighting in this hellish war, it was our Soma. This was our lifeline to the “outside” world, while protecting us from our own outside. Here we could read the news, talk to friends and family back home, and also do… other things. 

I had chosen to do the former, Mel hopped on Discord II to do the latter, and Ivan began to do the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth things you thought of when I wrote “other things.” 

I donned my own headset, while the others did the same. Briefly, each of us could see the other in virtual space. Both of them had the appearance of anime girls, but this had long ceased to faze me. I myself had gone through that pipeline at the beginning of the war. As quick as I had seen them, they vanished into their own ether, leaving me to pull up the CNNBBCOX+ News app and read the headlines.

Blood-soaked Kamala Harris uncontested in Iowa primary.

Portal to Hell in NYS Southern Tier “getting wider,” experts say.

Tucker Carlson sets fire to himself on live TV, cites trauma from m&m controversy.

Sentient animatronics break out of local pizza parlors, sighted worldwide.

Bisexual high-schooler comes out for the fourth time this week; Libertarian crypto-enthusiasts “won’t leave me alone,” source. 

Having been sufficiently informed about world events, I decided to see what my companions were doing on the web. 

Mel, like usual, was browsing in incognito mode, making it impossible for anyone to spy on his actions. Ivan, by contrast, didn’t know how to use anything more complex than an iPod mini, and so didn’t realize that I could hear him chatting with Russian cam-girls on Telegram’s dating service. 

“Yeah babe, I’m like a soldier in the army… No, not Russian, American. It’s cool, though, I think you guys are pretty based. Hail Trump, Hail Putin haha! Did you cum yet?

“You want to know my location to meet up? Sure babe, I’m at the Russia-Ukraine-Jeb! Border. Just go south of Springfield—sorry, you guys still call it Moscow—down past New Staronizhestebliyevskaya-upon-Verkhnenovokutlumbetyevo, and look for the first hill north of the Tiber river. Then, find the second hill, and that’s where my friends and I ar—”

“IVAN STOP IT YOU HEADASS MFER!” I bellowed, tackling him irl. I may not have been the sharpest tool in the barracks, but I could recognize a trap when I see one. I also realized that this “cam-girl” was likely a Russian spy, who had seduced Ivan into compromising our position.

Speaking of compromising positions, Melvin had taken off his own headset to investigate the commotion, and saw me and Ivan: two sweaty, unclothed men, embraced on the ground in a passionate fury. “Bruh,” he said simply, as we quickly scrambled to our feet.


6:06 P.M. EST

But I had barely finished speaking when the base began to collapse. ‘No time for armor, now.’ I thought, as we grabbed our guns and ran to the exit. But though there were rumbles beneath our feet, no bombs could cause them—our bunker was too insulated, and too far from any Russian biplane. As I pondered what assailed us, I saw something flash at the edge of my vision. 

I couldn’t turn to see it, since our exit—our sole escape from this would-be tomb—stood straight ahead. As damned souls when they see the outlet of hell, we three sprinted to the door ajar, but to no avail. The shadowy figure which already caused so much destruction had collapsed the exit! In the darkness, I could only hear its mechanical whirrs and screeches, which pierced my ears as the crying of a tortured child. 

Ivan was the first to open fire, illuminating the dark corridor which contained us and the beast. In those brief flashes, I glimpsed our attacker’s form: his body was shaped like a human’s, structurally composed of metal and wire sinew, and commixed with a mangled organic form. But his exterior was of fur and teeth, with the countenance of a starved wolf. A “Fazbear animatronics” trademark branded his chest, which was somehow impervious to our munitions. 

“Society… BLEED!” it screamed. Like nails on chalkboard, its voice was like screeching metal, combined with the yelps of a man, and the whimpers of a child. 

We turned-tail and ran. We ran without hope, without purpose, but for the primal fear of this unnatural death. Each second was as an hour, and I never felt the animatronic’s rapturous eyes lift from me. I felt sure his metal claws would clutch me, and drag me into his hellish metal apparatus. Yet not to my comfort, he never did. From the corner of my eye, I could see him taunting us: ever closer; ever further. 

At last, we saw a light, one of the few that our generator could sustain: the mess hall held our full battalion, save for the three of us, and clearly they were waiting for us. Dr. Lackland bravely stood at the door, facing the horrible animatronic that pursued us, and threw a slab of rotten beef at it. Societybleed ravenously consumed it, giving us just enough time to barrel through the doors (one by one, unlike last time). The nanosecond we were in, Dr. Lackland and a chef slammed the doors closed, and erected a barricade of heavy ration-boxes. Though Societybleed pounded against the door, it was no use. This was the only entrance, and even he could not break it.

6:07 P.M. EEST

We were safe. Even Alex laid alive on a table, blissfully unaware of the attack. Still, we were out of the fire and into the frying pan. Though we had a month’s worth of rations, we remained trapped—caught with no support but ourselves in a small mess hall.

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