1940: The Brass Monkey Returns
“It’s an ugly thing,” Jorgen said as he beheld the helmet.
“That’s something you have in common,” Oskar said.
“What do they call this thing again? The Brass Ape?”
Jorgen and Oskar had been tasked with removing the various pieces of Germany’s most recent prize from the crates in which it was discovered, polishing them and assembling them for a presentation with some high ranking Nazi officers. The hulking armor stood headless but otherwise complete in a secret warehouse somewhere in the Black Forest.
“It looks more like an ape. There’s a difference, you know. Apes don’t have tails.”
“Interesting,” Oskar said, barely concealing his sarcasm as he inspected the headless statue. “It doesn’t really matter. Once we repaint the thing and stick a swastika on its chest they’re going to rename it the Dreadnaught.”
“Really?” Jorgen said as he dug out some crud from the helmet’s eyepiece. “That’s disappointing. I like the idea of naming it after an animal.”
“Are you done with that thing?”
“I suppose I can be done for now,” Jorgen said as he admired the polished shine of the helmet. “It’s superficially pristine. That’s all that matters for today.”
Jorgen handed the helmet to Oskar who placed it atop the assembled armor. With a quarter turn it clicked into place. The two soldiers then set themselves to cleaning up their work space, picking up rags and pushing a broom across the floor.
Jorgen turned with a start. “Did you see that?”
“I thought it moved.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. You sound like an old woman.”
“Look at it.”
Oskar looked at the Brass Monkey. Something was amiss as if it was leaning a bit. He rolled his eyes.
“Help me prop the damned thing up before it falls over.”
Oskar approached the armor. He was not concerned for his welfare, so it was a complete surprise when the Brass Monkey reached out and grabbed him around the torso with both hands. Several sounds overlapped and each was sickening; the snapping of bone, the squishing of soft tissue and the screams of a dying man.
Jorgen ran from the room and into the open area of the warehouse. Nearly the entire length of the warehouse lay between him and the exit. He wasted no effort as he made his way toward that door. Behind him he heard a crashing sound. He did not look back to see what it was. It was easy enough to surmise that it was the Brass Monkey coming after him.
Once outside, Jorgen jumped behind the steering wheel of the truck that brought Oskar and him so far into the forest. He reached in his pocket and fumbled for the keys. Too much time was spent doing this. The Brass Monkey burst from the warehouse amid a shower of splintered wood and twisted corrugated metal siding. Jorgen spent his last living moment marveling at the hulking creature’s speed.
The Brass Monkey collided with the truck, tipping it on its side. Then it pummeled the truck’s cab with its massive fists until it was little more than a tight fitting coffin for the hapless Nazi soldier.
Once the violence had ended, peace returned to the forest in form of bird song. The Brass Monkey stood still for several moments unsure how to proceed. One of the truck’s side mirrors was largely intact and the Brass Monkey twisted it around until it could see its reflection. It removed its helmet and stared at the empty void where its head should have been. It laughed.
Lord Steven McAllister laughed at his ridiculous fate. He was a mere spirit that haunted a powerful suit of armor. This was not what was planned and it was not what was expected. Still, he was far from unhappy with his situation. The more he thought about it, the more he liked it. In hindsight the years he had spent as a creature made of flesh seemed like a waste. This new body, strong and invincible, better suited a man of his stature.
In the distance he could hear vehicles approaching. More Huns he expected. Perhaps he would make a deal with them. Perhaps he would destroy them. He would decide which when the moment was upon him.