The Deserter is a scary story about a soldier who abandons his post during the war. Passing by a graveyard, he has a frightening encounter with the walking dead. This story is based on an old Russian folk tale called “The Two Corpses”.
During the war, conditions were terrible and many soldiers were dying of cold, hunger and disease. One soldier couldn’t take it any more and decided to desert his regiment. In the thick of battle, he dropped his rifle and managed to slip away into the woods. He hid there as his fellow soldiers were surrounded and slaughtered on the battlefield. The deserter covered his eyes, unable to look at the carnage.
Under cover of darkness, the soldier escaped through the forest and headed for home. He walked for several days and nights, subsisting on small animals he caught in the forest. Overcome by guilt, he couldn’t forgive himself for abandoning his comrades to their fate.
As night fell, the soldier approached the village where he was born. On the outskirts of the village, there was an old graveyard. In the darkness, it looked eerie and foreboding and as he passed by, the soldier quickened his pace. Just then, he heard the sound of slow, dragging footsteps behind him.
Glancing back over his shoulder, he saw a figure emerging from the shadows. It came shuffling towards him. The soldier stopped for a second to get a closer look, but when the figure drew nearer, the blood almost froze in his veins. It was a corpse with long bony fingers and horrible dead eyes. Its skin was grey and bits of flesh were falling away, exposing the bone beneath. The corpse was gnashing its teeth and making a disgusting groaning noise.
The terrified soldier turned and ran as fast as he could, desperate to get away from the horrific dead thing. When he spotted a small chapel near the road, he ducked inside, hoping he would be safe there.
There wasn’t a soul in the empty chapel, but there was some light coming from a bunch of flickering candles burning on the altar. When the soldier got closer, he saw that there was another dead body stretched out on a table in front of the altar. The soldier was so scared, he was gasping for breath and didn’t know what to do. Shaking with fear, he crouched down behind the altar and tried to hide himself.
Suddenly, the first corpse burst through the doors of the chapel and came shuffling up the aisle. When it reached the altar, the soldier covered his eyes, certain that he was about to be killed and devoured.
Just then, the corpse that was stretched out on the table opened its eyes and sat up stiffly. Slowly, it got to its feet and turned to face the other corpse. With unearthly cries and shrieks, the two corpses flew at each other, clawing and biting like wild animals, trying to tear each other to pieces.
The soldier crouched in his hiding place, shivering with terror, listening to the blood-curdling screams of the dead men. The two corpses battled and fought for hours. They cracked each other’s skulls, ripped the flesh from each other’s bones and gouged out each other’s eyes.
Dawn began to break outside and light spread slowly across the sky. In the distance, a cock crowed and both of the corpses uttered a final, hideous shriek as they fell lifeless to the ground.
Thanking God for his sparing his life and delivering him from a gruesome fate, the soldier scrambled out of his hiding place and, without looking back, ran out into the sunlight. He kept running until he reached home and fell into the waiting arms of his mother and father. The deserter told his parents about the horrors he had seen and swore he would never venture away from home again.