Read a Chapter is *NEW* added feature at As the Pages Turn! Here you’ll be able to read the first chapters of books of all genres to see if you like them before you buy them. Today we are featuring the military horror, Khost, by Vincent Hobbes. Enjoy!
Hobbes End Publishing
Available in Kindle and Paperback
1984. The Soviet Union is locked in a bitter war in Afghanistan against the Mujahideen. To make matters worse, they are losing. With little hope left, and all odds against them, the Soviet Union grows desperate. In response, they create an exotic chemical weapon with a single purpose: To enhance their soldiers on the battlefield. To test their creation, a secret mission is underway, and they test it on a Mujahideen hold-out, a massive cave complex on the far eastern border of Afghanistan. Khost. 2010. The United States is now at war in Afghanistan. To make matters worse, an elite team of Delta Force Operators have gone missing. There remains a lone survivor: Sergeant C. York. Sergeant York describes a horrifying tale, a nightmare that has been awakened after two decades. In response, a top-secret CIA team is brought in. These are members of the elite Special Activities Division, the best of the best. Made up of Delta Force, DEVGRU and a famous Marine sharpshooter, they face sheer terror as they are sent in to do one thing: Kill everything inside the cave.
*contains adult language
CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
Asymmetrical Clandestine Elite Services
Interrogation of Sergeant C. York
Army, 1st SFOD-D
Location: Khost Province, Afghanistan
Time: 1500 Hours Zulu
CLASSIFIED TOP SECRET
The hood was ripped from his head, torn away in violent fashion—tossed aside to the cold cement floor.
The shadow of a large man retreating to the shadows, blinding lights glaring, wild-eyed staring.
Strapped to a chair, arms and legs numb.
Head groggy, mind unclear.
He screamed out, shaking his head as he filled the room with a god-awful noise. It was one of despair, one of rage. York took in deep breaths, blinking at the harsh lights shining in his eyes. Eyes flickering, moving back and forth.
And back and forth.
“What the fuck!” York screamed. He attempted to stand, thrusting up with all his might. But his body was rigid, something holding him back. York looked down, seeing the chains, feeling them cut into his skin. It was agonizing, yet it urged him on. Drove him to escape that much harder. York seemed to embrace this imprisonment. It was the only reality he had from the shocking truth, the only thing tangible, the only thing he had left.
York raged once more, pulling at his restraints, metal digging into his skin and drawing blood at his wrists.
“What the fuck!” York screamed.
“Sergeant York?” a voice began to question.
“Fucking untie me!” York screamed, interrupting, thrashing his head side-to-side. He finally stared straight forward, into the light, eyes gleaming as he dared the voice. “Fucking untie me, bud! Fucking untie me!”
“Are you Sergeant York?” the voice asked. It was deep, almost synthetic, no doubt masked by an electronic device. The voice seemed to come from nowhere, yet everywhere as if that were possible. It echoed in the room, filled York’s head, bouncing off the walls of the small, dark room.
“Who the fuck are you?” York asked. “Where the fuck am I?” He refused to answer the garbled voice. He refused to obey.
“Sergeant York,” the voice began calmly, “you need to calm down. You need to tell us what happened.”
“I don’t even know who you are,” York yelled, staring into the shadows, thinking he saw outlines.
How many were there? Or was the room empty, his imagination playing tricks?
It was impossible to tell.
“Listen, I don’t know where I am,” York said. “I’m not answering another single question. Ya hear me, bud? It’s your turn to answer some fucking questions. Why am I here? Why am I tied up?”
“Sergeant York—” the voice began again.
“You fuckers black-bagged me!” York screamed, lurching forward again. “I’m in the Unit, motherfuckers. You don’t black-bag me! I’ll fucking kill you. My boys, if they find you, they’ll kill you. I swear on it. Now where’s Commander McClain? Where’s my commanding officer?”
York was six foot tall, two hundred and five pounds of sheer athleticism. He wasn’t full of muscle, but lean and firm. He was in the utmost shape, a man who took great care in staying fit. Sergeant York was thirty-three years old, his long, blonde hair nearly to his shoulders. He had blue eyes, a light colored beard to match his hair—a beard that was dirty and unkempt. His clothes were tattered, dirt littered his face, his hair, his arms. The man hadn’t showered in a week. Dried blood coated half his face, desert sand caked his entire body.
York looked as if he’d been homeless for years—a pitiful sight.
Thing was, Sergeant C. York was a twelve-year veteran of the United States Army. He had fought in many conflicts in many countries—against impossible odds.
York was now a member of the Unit. A proud member.
The 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta.
1st SFOD-D, for short.
The Unit, they called it.
The Unit, or The Delta Force, falls under the Joint Special Operations Command, officially designated the Army Compartmented Elements—ACE.
Central Intelligence Agency.
The good old CIA.
York wore no insignia, no sign of being a member of perhaps the most elite unit of Special Operators in the world. They were rivaled by few, the best of the best. He lived how he wanted, grew his hair out and didn’t shave. York had his choice of any weapon possible, and a wallet full of cash. He killed for his country in the maybe the greatest Special Forces Group in the world. He was no rookie. He also didn’t look the ‘part’. York didn’t look like a soldier, didn’t look like a member of the military.
It was his job to fit in, to not look like a soldier.
York looked nothing like what one might think—might expect—the best would look like.
And that was the point.
“The fuckers who have me tied up!” York screamed, beginning to comprehend his situation. He was a prisoner here, shouting into the darkness, shaking in his chair, foaming like a ravenous dog. “They’ll have hell to pay.”
York had been in Afghanistan for two years now. This was his seventh tour, having fought in Iraq for the first five. After every tour he’d re-sign right back up. Only in recent years had he simply changed directions, deciding to put up a fight in Afghanistan, against whom he felt were a better enemy. York had been part of a famous Joint Task Force, the ones tasked and successful in overthrowing Saddam Hussein and his tyrant sons. He had done his part, and it was time for a change.
York shared blood in the same sand with the most dedicated American warriors in the world. He had to earn his respect, and York did just that, as any Special Forces Operator would do. He earned his part in this grand stage of war, and respect followed. York was loved by the few who served The Unit.
Hundreds of combat situations, dozens of near death experiences, and York had never felt like this. For the first time in the soldier’s life, he felt true fear. York stared ahead, looking past the bright light, into the darkness. He stared at them, for he knew they were there, though he couldn’t see a thing. “Fucking untie me, bud! Why don’t ya fucking untie me? Is this how you interview people? Snatch and grab, eh? Why don’t ya untie me so I can rip your fucking head off?” York tried pulling at his restraints with all he had.
Again and again.
They held. It was most likely a fortunate occasion, because York had spent the last decade perfecting his skills in killing, and he knew exactly what he’d do once he freed himself.
Sergeant C. York would kill every single last one of them.
“What happened in Khost?” the voice thundered, ignoring York’s words. The voice was emotionless, without care, only wanting answers.
“Fuck you!” he shouted, giving no response. Defiant and bold.
“What happened in Khost?” the voice repeated.
“I told . . . everyone . . . what happened in that cave,” York said slowly. He breathed deep, his head nodding, his eyes glazed, his lips pursed. “I told everyone . . .” York repeated, his words even slower, “. . . but they don’t believe me.”
“What happened in Khost?” the voice asked once more.
York became enraged once more. The moment of calm lasted only that—an instant. York strained, spat, screaming out, “I fucking told you what happened. My unit was dropped into Khost. Simple recon; we went into that fucking valley. That damned valley. We lost contact with base once we entered it, but thought nothing of it. Kept moving and—”
“Why did you not turn back once you lost contact with command, Sergeant York?”
“What’s it to you?” York asked, his expression changing. “You trying to blame this on someone? We had permission to do what we needed to do. We ain’t no jerk-off rookies, bud. You probably don’t even know what it’s like to be shot at, do ya? We’re the Unit, ya see. We kept going is what we did. Why? Cause that’s what the Unit does!” York retorted proudly.
“What happened next?” the voice beckoned.
“We took gunfire on the hilltop, killed about a dozen of the fuckers. Strange, but they didn’t seem to retreat when they could. After killing ‘em and reporting, we climbed down into the valley. Lost contact along the way, but figured it was just the hills messing with our reception. There was a village a few hundred meters away, figured we’d search it,” York told.
“Did you meet any resistance?”
“Negative,” York replied.
“What happened next?”
“We almost turned back,” York replied. “We almost came home. But then . . . then we found the cave. It was another six or seven hundred meters away, hidden pretty well. Maybe two hundred feet up in the mountain. A trail leads up to it, only one way in or out that I knew of. Hard to see, really. Lucked out in finding it. Or so we thought.”
“Well, we entered on one end, expecting a firefight. Figured there’d be Taliban inside.”
“What happened next?” the voice asked.
“Instead, we were bum-rushed by a bunch of fucking monsters!” York shouted.
“Stay calm, Sergeant York.”
“Fuck you!” York said. “How can I stay calm after what happened? How can I stay calm when you have me chained like a wild animal?”
“What happened next, Sergeant York?” the voice asked. “How can you be sure they weren’t Taliban? How can you know they’re what you claim they are?”
The hidden male’s voice wasn’t asking. York knew it. They’d continue this game forever if need be. They’d keep him strapped down, they’d pump him full of more drugs, they’d drive him insane if he wasn’t lost already. If York didn’t answer, they’d simply take longer. They’d ask their questions a million times, then a million more. York would spend an eternity inside this cell. It wasn’t much different than being in that cave.
His only chance was to answer, to tell them the truth. Over and over again he’d have to recount the horrifying tale, no matter what they did to him. “There wasn’t much light inside the cave. Dark, even with our flashlights. But I could see just fine. Been in caves before,” York said.
“Continue,” the voice encouraged.
“Don’t know exactly when it happened, but all hell broke loose pretty quick. Wasn’t long after we got inside. We weren’t far in, just starting to search some of the rooms. That place is big!”
“Who fired first?”
“No clue,” York answered honestly. “I just remember looking over and Ramirez was laying down covering fire at those . . . at those things.” York gulped, holding back a tear before continuing, wishing to God he could get the image out of his head, knowing it would haunt him forever. “I went to grab him, to pull him up. But the fucking thing ripped off his lower half. It fucking tore him apart! That’s what happened. I’m not lying. I’m telling the truth,” York bellowed.
“Sergeant York, do you suffer from delusions?”
“What?” York asked, astonished, then angry again. “I’ve never . . . I’m not fucking crazy!” he screamed.
“Are you on narcotics?”
“No, I don’t do drugs, dammit. I fucking saw them. You hear me? I saw them!”
“Sergeant York, why do you think the people let you go?” the voice asked, calm, collective, robotic.
York stared hard, eyes squinting, breathing rapidly. He gritted his teeth, his hair wild, his teeth bared like a raging lion. “Now you listen to me . . . I don’t know what those things are, but they are not human. Do you understand me?” York screamed. “They are not human!”