Dwain’s Circle Report, PFC Jones
November 29, 2009
I have been instructed to keep this journal while we’re here and turn it in for inspection at the end of deployment.
Don’t understand what’s going on. Told to prepare for three month deployment to unknown, potentially hostile location, called Dwain’s Circle. Is that a code name?
To top it off, we don’t even know how we’re getting there. It’s classified. They’re going to dope us up and then drop us off there; only the LT and Sarge know how to get there or back. Sounds like bullshit to me. Who the fuck dopes you up and then drops you in a potentially hostile location without telling you how you got there or how to get out?
Nov. 30, 2009
Woke up in the middle of fucking purgatory. LT and Sarge were awake before the rest of us, or never got doped. Don’t know how we got here. Woke up in a desert, but even Afghanistan at night isn’t as cold as this place by day. Constant wind; have to wear my shemagh and goggles or the sand chokes me. Cold as shit, too.
LT got us moving on foot; I guess that makes sense, this sand piles up so fast and shifts so often any vehicle would bog down fast. How did they get us here?
Don’t know how far we walked before nightfall. Attempts to pitch tents were useless because of the wind; ended up wrapping ourselves in the tents to stay out of the wind. Couldn’t eat my MRE; sand would get into it.
Dec. 1, 2009
Woke up half-buried in sand. Still freezing cold, but wind has died down to a breeze. I’ve got bad chafing where the sand got under my helmet and in my uniform. Don’t know what time it is; watch face got scratched to hell by the sand. That was an expensive fucking watch too. Can’t see the sun, too overcast. LT is navigating us, I think by compass. My compass says we’re going N, but I think that’s wrong because of the sunlight.
Heard something really weird an hour or two into our march. Weird, metallic scraping, grinding sound. Sounded like it came underneath us. LT said to make sure we mentioned it in our journals and document anything else we saw or heard.
My feet are killing me. The cold is numbing them and sand keeps getting in my boots; glad we were told to pack winter gear.
Dec. 3, 2009
Got to where we were headed, finally. I don’t know where we are, but I’m convinced it’s the worst place on earth. Kleppe agrees with me.
Thought I saw some ruined buildings this morning and figured that was where we were headed, but we didn’t head towards them. Kept going north. Couldn’t see the ruins when I looked back.
Some time around noon, we came into view of a tower. Looks old, and creepy as shit. Definitely been here a few years, it’s worn from the sand. Only one door at the base, unlocked. There’s a heavy steel bar inside to lock it.
Bottom floor is empty, spiral stairs lead up to 2nd floor. Why so much space between floors? 2nd floor has an opening all the way around and an air raid siren; must be what we heard last night. 3rd floor empty. 4th has some sort of generator, it was running when we got here. Roof has floodlights all around the perimeter.
No lights inside; all lit by sunlight through the windows. Setting up camp in the tower.
Dec. 4, 2009
Found a trapdoor in the first floor. It’s locked. LT said to leave it alone and got pissed when Ramirez tried to jimmy it open.
Air raid siren went off again last night at 2000. Loud as fuck inside. We all went up on the roof until it quit about fifteen minutes later. Don’t know why it’s there or why it turns on every night.
What is the generator running on? We can’t find where to refuel it and didn’t bring any gas with us anyway. We can’t find a pipe going downstairs; maybe it’s in the wall?
Floodlights automatically come at 1800 and shut off at 0700. Don’t do much to light up the inside of the tower at night; we can see, but it’s really dim. Had to use flashlights a lot.
We’ve got sleeping bags and cots set up on the 1st and 3rd floor. Pain in the ass to everything all this way. Nothing really eventful happened. Are we really staying here for three months?
Dec 5, 2009
Absolutely nothing of consequence happened today.
Dec 6, 2009
Poole lost a bet to Kleppe and had to stand in the room with the siren when it went off. Jenkins said he thought he saw something in the desert last night, around 2100, but nobody else saw anything and he said it might just have been sand blowing around.
Dec. 7, 2009
Mystery of the generator continues; somebody noticed there’s no apparent exhaust either. What the fuck?
Jenkins swears he saw shit moving in the desert again; this time he says he saw an old building where there wasn’t one before, but when the LT went up to look at it, it was gone. Maybe there’s more ruins buried under the sand and the wind exposes and hides them again?
None of us like leaving the tower, especially at night; for some reason, we get creeped out every time we do.
Sarge tried to find a way to shut off the siren, but gave up. LT said it’s probably set to go off for a reason.
Need to recharge my laptop and iPod, but can’t find a way to hook into the generator. How big a fuel tank does it have? It’s been running constantly since we got here, but it only powers the lights at night and the siren for fifteen minutes.
Dec. 8, 2009
Sarge and three others went on an expedition today to explore around the tower. Didn’t find anything interesting, but Poole and Klep both said they saw something move out of the corner of their eye, but it was gone when they turned to look.
Ramirez is started to get creeped out by the basement door. Wants to look inside to make sure there’s no one down there, LT says no. Ramirez settled for stacking all the ammo on top of the door and moving his cot upstairs.
Still cold as shit, but at least it’s not windy inside. How come the sand doesn’t blow in through the windows?
Dec. 9, 2009
Found a man’s shoe outside, about thirty meters from the tower. It was sticking out of the sand. Dug around to see if there was anything else around, didn’t find anything.
Ramirez and Poole are definitely getting buggy and keep pestering the LT asking why we’re here and what the story is. LT keeps blowing them off.
Noticed something weird today while walking around outside. No matter where I am, my compass points at the tower. Inside, it spins in circles. Is it magnetic?
[The entries for Dec. 10, 11, and 12 were torn out; the only remaining part of these entries was “th” on the piece of the page remaining in the notebook.]
Dec. 13, 2009
Miles is getting worse. Kleppe braced his ankle, but it’s broken bad. Still doesn’t know how it happened, just walking outside and fell.
Sarge wants to call for an evac, or he could lose his foot. LT says no.
Poole is definitely getting weirded out with this place; says he saw a giant snake in the distance and it burrowed under the sand before anyone else saw it.
This place sucks so bad, it’s driving us all nuts.
Dec. 14, 2009
LT and Miles are gone. No one saw them leave out the only door, and the LT couldn’t have carried Miles far. Sarge had us all go outside to look for them. No sign; wind covered any tracks they left. No one knows when they left; Kleppe checked Miles last night around 2200, nobody remembers seeing the LT after lights out.
Sarge violated orders and got on the radio, but there’s no signal. Ramirez’s cell phone hasn’t had a signal the whole time we’ve been here, but that’s not unusual in the sandbox. If we’re in the sandbox. I sure as hell don’t remember it being this cold and windy all the time.
Dec. 15, 2009
Ok, now I know this place is driving us all nuts. I saw one of the huge snake things too. It was off in the distance, had to be at least half as tall as the tower. Looked kinda like one of those lizards with no legs. Couldn’t really make out detail, with the sand blowing around, and it went under the sand before I got a real good look at it.
Maybe it’s real? I’ve never heard of shit like this in the desert, but I guess anything’s possible. Shouldn’t it be too cold for snakes though?
LT and Miles still missing.
Dec. 16, 2009
Fucking pen is running out of ink.
Sarge organized another expedition into the desert. Found a set of car keys; the plastic keychain is badly worn from the sand, but the key is definitely to a Volkswagen. What fucking idiot would come out here voluntarily?
[The rest of this entry is unreadable; the pen seems to have run out of ink.]
Dec. 17, 2009
LT is back! Says he took Miles back to get treatment. Won’t say where he went or who picked up Miles. He just showed up outside the tower and started banging on the door.
Asked for news from home, LT said he didn’t have any. Would have been nice of him to tell us he was leaving in the first place.
It took us days to walk to the tower from where we started; how did he carry Miles that far by himself? How did he contact evac if he left our only radio and it doesn’t work?
Dec. 18, 2009
What is the meaning
gi f I don't.... Poole, but
go out there .
[Most of this entry was rendered illegible due to what appears to be the contents of an MRE being spilled on the page.]
Dec. 19, 2009
This place is really starting to get to me. I had no idea how right I was when I called in purgatory. The cold, the wind, the weird shit everybody keeps seeing, that FUCKING SIREN, it’s all driving us nuts.
Ramirez wants to find out what’s in the basement. He ignored the LT’s orders and tried to pick the lock; it’s an old school keyhole, so it should be easy to open. Sarge caught him and chewed his ass good.
I don’t think anyone knows what’s down there, even the LT, but why not open it and find out?
Dec. 20, 2009
Played rock, paper, scissors to see who got to leave the tower. It’s still creepy outside, but now we all want to leave, even if it’s only for a few minutes. Beat Kleppe, so I got to go.
Saw some buildings in the distance, but they never seemed to get closer as we walked toward them. Then they disappeared. There’s no way sand buried that many buildings, that tall, without burying all of us too. Weird shit going on here. Don’t like it.
Almost tripped over a book or something on the way back to the tower. It was maybe ten feet from the door. I guess it was buried the whole time and we never saw it before now. Red cloth cover, real faded and worn. Looks like a journal dated 1999? Ten years ago? Turned it in to the LT and he started making a report on it. That’s all he fucking does, write reports and shit. Useless fucking butterbar.
WHERE DID HE GO WITH MILES?
Dec. 21, 2009
Morale is going fast. Nobody wants to stay anymore. We’re all bored out of our minds and starting to weird out, and it’s hard to concentrate on anything. I brought some books to read, but can’t get into any of them. Laptop’s dead, iPod’s dead, can’t find a way to hook up to the generator without dismantling the wiring leading to the lights.
Sarge had to break up a fight between Poole and Kleppe. Then he made us all run up and down the stairs for half a fucking hour. Probably because Ramirez and White were placing bets.
LT says he’s going to send us out on another expedition tomorrow.
Hate that fucking siren.
Dec. 22, 2009
Fuck it. We went AWOL. I don’t give a shit if they court-martial us and send us to Leavenworth for the rest of our lives, it’s got to be better than this shit.
Heard that weird, metallic scraping sound again while we were outside. Three of us saw the snake thing this time before it went under the sand again. That metallic sound sounds mechanical, like somebody grinding gears on the biggest fucking transmission ever. Where is it coming from?
The whispers again. I don’t know what language they’re in, sounds vaguely European. Everybody but Kleppe and the LT heard them; even Sarge was wigging out, trying to find where they were coming from.
Wind picked up and visibility dropped to almost nothing. Me, Poole, Ramirez, and Kleppe decided to run for it and try to get picked up. Took a compass and the radio and ran for it when a big sandstorm came in.
We’re heading south, since we went north to get to the tower.
Dec. 23, 2009
Fuck, I really am a dumbass. The compass points at the tower from any direction, so going south just means we’re going away from the tower. No idea what direction we really came from when we started out, but the sun is just visible enough to tell we’re heading west.
We know how to get back to the tower, but fuck if we know how to get anywhere else.
We’re all hearing the whispers now. Took turns keeping watch last night. We’re all getting paranoid. Shit, who am I kidding. We’ve BEEN paranoid.
Dec. 24, 2009
Lost the compass somewhere along the way. We’re fucked. We’re probably going to die in this godforsaken wasteland and they’ll never find our bodies in all this fucking sand. FUCK.
Ramirez couldn’t take it anymore and just dumped a magazine at the next appearing/disappearing building we saw and started screaming in spanglish. Just what I need, a crazy fucking Mexican.
Surprised his gun actually worked with all this sand blowing around.
Shit, it’s so cold I think my balls have permanently retracted into my pelvis.
Dec. 25, 2009
Christmas Day and I’m in hell. We are so fucking lost. Poole actually started crying this morning and frankly I don’t blame him.
We’re still walking in the same direction, so hopefully we’ll get out of this desert eventually, or run into something resembling civilization. I don’t care if we run into Hadji, as long as it’s something remotely normal.
Dec. 26, 2009
[No further entry]
Dec. 27, 2009
Big sandstorm, even worse than usual, came up this morning. When it cleared, we were standing maybe fifty yards from the fucking tower. How did we go in circles? We were navigating by the sun and hunkered down when the storm came in and blocked visibility.
We banged on the door. No answer. It was unlocked. Nobody inside. No equipment inside either, it’s like nobody was ever here. Where did the LT and the others go? Did they get lost when we went AWOL? Who took the stuff then? Why did they take everything and leave when we disappeared?
Is this even the same tower?
We’re spending the night here. Maybe the others will come back. If they do, I’m ripping out the incriminating parts of the journal and just telling them we got lost.
THAT FUCKING SIREN!
[The page with the entries for Dec.28 and 29 has been torn out.]
Dec. 30, 2009
Ramirez isn’t doing so doing. None of us are. Food is holding out, but we’re low on water. The cold is getting to all of us, and Ramirez has developed a bad cough. Poole’s eye is all pink and swollen where he got sand in it.
I’m not real religious, and haven’t been a praying man outside of a few really bad moments in Afghanistan and that one time in Iraq, but I really hope God pulls through and gets us out of this. I don’t think we can take much more.
Dec. 31, 2009
Ramirez is really sick.
Kleppe’s giving him antibiotics and some extra vitamins, but I don’t think he’s got a bug, it’s just the fucking cold and sand. We’re trying to keep him warm; he threw up last night.
Jan. 1, 2010
Hey look, more fucking sand!
Happy fucking new year!
We’re going to die out here.
Jan. 2, 2010
Saw some scattered trees in the sand. The whispers and things in the corners of our eyes stopped. We kept going up a steep slope and came into a forest. It slopes downhill.
The wind isn’t nearly as bad, and it’s much warmer the further we go down. Still got sand in my uniform.
Ramirez is still pretty bad.
Jan. 3, 2010
Found some water in a puddle a few inches deep. Didn’t have a filter, but we boiled it and put some iodine in it. We let Ramirez drink most of it since he’s worse off.
My face feels all weird. It’s all dried out and chafed from wind, sand, and cold. I don’t care if we die in these woods, I’m just glad we’re out of that desert.
Jan. 4, 2010
There’s no animals here. We haven’t seen or heard one bird, or squirrel, or frog, or anything this whole time.
Ramirez is still weak, but looks much better.
Jan. 5, 2010
Reached the coast. It’s too overcast to see the horizon; is it foggy further out? Can’t tell if we’re at the ocean or a big lake. Are we on an island?
Water’s freezing. Reminds me of the desert. Can’t tell if it’s salty or not, but it tastes horrible. Weird, rotting meat flavor and it’s all silty.
Saw some swarms of bugs, big ones. About the size of a huge moth. Poole started to investigate, but Kleppe told him to stay away; God only knows what’ll happen if he gets bit. They don’t look like any bug I’ve seen.
If it’s an island, we’re going to walk around the entire coast and see how big it is and whether or not there’s a way off. We stacked some rocks into an SOS with an arrow pointing in the direction we’re heading in. Ramirez is doing much better and is blazing our trail by cutting X’s on trees as we pass by. Not sure what this accomplishes, but it keeps him busy.
Jan. 6, 2010
Found a house on the coast! And it didn’t vanish when we walked up to it!
Really nice house, painted white. It’s in good shape, but the paint is faded and exposed wood is bleached; it’s obviously old.
Front door was unlocked. We cleared the building before investigating; no one here. Looks like it’s been empty for years.
Generic furniture. No food. No running water. No electricity. No appliances. What the fuck? It’s all clean and everything is put away, but there’s nothing to DO here for anyone who came to visit. Did they take the TV when they left? Couldn’t they have left a magazine or something?
We only have a couple days worth of MRE’s left, and the MRE shits are almost as bad as the desert. We’ve been filling our helmets with water from the shore and dumping it into the toilet so it flushes.
Jan. 7, 2010
No reason to stick around the house. Nobody has been here for years. We’re leaving the radio; it’s worthless. We left a note in case anyone came behind us and made another rock SOS near the house and an arrow to mark our direction.
It’s so quiet here, my ears keep ringing.
[No date for this entry]
Ramirez is back to normal, but we’re all hungry. We’re stretching out the last of our MRE’s as much as we can. Kleppe has been testing different plants to see if they’re edible, but none of them are recognizably food. Found some mushrooms, but didn’t eat them because they might be poisonous.
Poole thinks he might have heard the whispers from the desert again, but he’s probably just imagining it. It’s so quiet here.
I just realized it, but it feels like we’re not being watched any more. I didn’t even realize it felt like we were being watched, but that’s what it felt like the whole time we were in the desert. I don’t know how long the feeling has been gone, but it feels great.
[No date for this entry]
I don’t know where Poole went. When we woke up, he was gone. We yelled and fired a few shots in the air, but there’s no sign of him. He must have gone into the forest. We made a pile of rocks and another SOS on the shore and carved WAIT on a log Ramirez dragged onto the beach, in case he came back. We went into the woods and searched for hours. No sign. When we came back to the beach, someone had scattered the rocks and turned over the log so the message was hidden. Did Poole do it, or someone else?
Where the fuck are we?
[No date for this entry. Part of this page is torn and there is an unidentified stain on the upper right corner.]
Poole hasn’t come back. We ate the last of our food. Kleppe hasn’t found any plants that are definitely edible. Ramirez is feeling weak again, but not sick.
It feels like we’re being watched again, but it only happens occasionally.
It’s so quiet.
[No date for this entry. A spent 9mm casing was lodged between this page and the previous.]
I don’t know what happened. I don’t know what it was. Kleppe is gone. We scattered when it happened and Ramirez and I found each other, but no sign of Kleppe. Afraid to make noise or attract attention otherwise. My rifle is fucked up, it won’t fire and I can’t get the pins out to break it down and clean it. Gave my ammo to Ramirez; hopefully I get to fix my rifle before long.
[No date for this entry. This is the last entry.]
Pen running out of ink. Don’t think I can write much anyway. Ramirez and I are heading back to house. Maybe we can set fire to the forest and drive it out or attract rescue.
I’m leav ng the journal in the house in case something happens to us. We won’t leave here, nowhere to go .
Jenny, I wish I could just hold you again. Goodbye.
PFC Michael Johns
[There is no indication in the record where PFC Michael Jones’ journal was found, but official reports contain no information about anything outside of the desert and the only reported building is the tower; there is no house known to exist, nor has a shore been confirmed within Dwain’s Circle.]