Should not have gone back to the moon

Should not have gone back to the moon

A Story by AbsintheandBlood

If you ask most people of a certain age, "Who was the first British person to go into space?


If you ask most people of a certain age, "Who was the first British person to go into space?", they will tell you it was Helen Sharman in 1991. If you ask them "Who was the first British person to land on the Moon?", they will always give the wrong answer, unless they say that no British person has ever walked on the moon.

Well, that's the official truth.

What they won't tell you is that just before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, there was a top secret moon mission.

While the majority of the world's population believed that the Soviets had no connection with Western Europe, it was a lot more "civilised" than all of that. Yes, the Cold War had made us enemies on an official level, but we were hardly enemies on a personal level.

After all, the Russians and us Brits both came under attack from Hitler just 50 years previously, so the flame of friendship was still there to be kindled.

I can't disclose to you everything I know about this. After all, most of it is still bound under the Official Secrets Act until 2040, after which they will most likely extend it by another 50 years. Nor do I have any proof. The few documents which were assigned to me were confiscated, and I witnessed them destroyed in a furnace beneath Whitehall.

I can tell you when it was and where it was launched from though.

It was in the middle of June 1989 when I was first chosen - if you can call it that. I can't recall the exact date, but I do remember that at the time I just went along with it.

The two men who came into my study unannounced, told me that I was "required" in the most verbally forceful way you can imagine.

I didn't believe them at first. I thought it was just another University joke, but I thought I'd see how far it would go.

They walked me to their car which they had parked directly outside the entrance to the main building. I didn't take notice of what it was at the time, but it was probably a Jaguar XJ12 judging by the shape and jet-black colour.

The entire journey as I sat on the back seat was in silence, other than a couple of times when the man in the passenger seat answered a call on the CB radio which was fitted into the dashboard.

My thoughts changed when only a hours later I found myself sitting at a table in a small windowless room all on my own, somewhere in Westminster.

The lack of windows was certainly compensated for with the quality of the carpet, I remember that much.

Without warning, the door opened and about a dozen people walked in. They were all middle aged or older, some were Russian, judging by their accents and all clutching folders overflowing with documents while talking very aggressively amongst themselves.

They didn't acknowledge me - at least not immediately.

A lot of what was said went over my head. It was all political babble to me. They used terms which I wasn't familiar with, at least not in the context they referred to them in.

I remember one specific phrase one of the older men said, in a strong Russian accent.

"The last time a human being set foot on the moon was on the 14th December 1972. That was almost twenty years ago; We must know if they're still up there!"

I was confused. Everyone knows that all three crew members from Apollo 17 returned home safely. There was no doubt over that.

There was a brief silence as the others looked at each other, hoping for somebody to say something to break the silence.

I don't know why I did it, but my naivety got the better of me.

"Sorry, I thought all three of the Apollo 17 crew came back to earth?"

Everybody stared towards me as if I'd just said something disgusting.

The older man stared at me before answering my question.

"Do you think we are fearful of mere humans being on the moon?"

I felt silly. My mind darted between many different ideas, but he was right. It was over 20 years ago. If they had been any left behind, they'd have run out of oxygen and supplies within days, and would have perished soon after. This wasn't a good start for me.

He leaned forward and addressed me directly in a lowered tone of voice.

"You have... nor ever will have... any idea of what we know was up there"

I said nothing, partly to avoid making myself look foolish, but also because the atmosphere in the room was so tense.

He handed me some stapled pages from his folder.

"I assume you were not briefed about this meeting, Comrade?"

I wanted to correct him on his use of the term 'Comrade', but I decided to just read the document instead.

I don't remember word for word what it said, but the front was emblazoned with "CLASSIFIED - LEVEL 7". Nothing else.

I turned the page and there were a series of black and white photographs. The images were not only disturbing, but horrifying.

The first one was a landscape image, taken on the lunar surface, but with some sort of structure visible in the distance.

The second image was of a lunar lander, but it looked like it'd been sliced open from top to bottom. No jagged edges or debris laying about. Just cut in half. All I remember was some Cyrillic characters on the side which remained.

The third image was the most disturbing.

It was a very basic space suit laying on the lunar surface with the mangled, icy remains of it's occupant scattered around the broken vizor. It almost looked as if he'd been ripped out of his suit, through his vizor, at very high speed.

The fourth image showed several other space suits laying on the surface, maybe 75 yards away from the camera.

I certainly wasn't expecting to see this. I wanted to go outside and throw up, but I held it back, at least until the meeting was over.

"Russian Lunar Landing. October 1968." he said, as I gazed at the horrific images.

"Those Americans thought they would get to the moon first. They thought Russian technology was inferior. They were wrong"

One of the British men sitting across the table stubbed out his cigarette on the table.

"For Christ's sake, Kravtsov, stop with all the Commie propaganda and get to the point!"

The older man, who I now know as Kravtsov, didn't hesitate to slim down his story.

"Ok, so we landed on the moon in 1968, only about 6km from where Apollo 17 landed in 1972 - but nowhere near any of the other American moon landings"

"We know they landed safely, but radio contact was lost about 5 hours after they landed. We assumed it was mechanical failure of the Plutonium fuel cell. They couldn't take off or communicate. It was both a victory and a loss for Russia. This was a secret mission, so everybody involved just carried on as normal after. Death was nothing new to them, no matter how many times they saw it."

I start to join the dots in my head, but I remain fixated on what Kravtsov is saying.

"The Americans landed their manned lunar module in July 1969, and then four more, and then the last one in December 1972.

"And it was on the 22nd December 1972 that we were told."

Kravtsov looked over to one of the other men who had all remained silent.

He spoke with a Texan accent, but with a very deep and authoritative voice.

"Yes, as soon as we were sure, we notified the Kremlin immediately."

He paused as he rifled through some of his notes.

"There had been a.... discovery... by the crew on board Apollo 17, of an unknown lunar module. We assumed it was Russian, and a few minutes after receiving the images, they confirmed that the craft we had discovered was Russian"

"Tell him what your crew found, Comrade", Kravtsov said to the American.

"Well, we weren't exactly sure at the time, but the debris laying around the module was in fact human remains. Not only that, but they were decapitated beyond all recognition. Well, soon after their gruesome discovery, the three crew members of Apollo 17 unanimously announced that they wanted to return to earth immediately. We told them, that was impossible. The service module, which was orbiting the moon, was in the wrong trajectory at the time, and so they had no choice but to stay inside the module until it was time to return."

"They told us that from inside the module, they could see.... figures.... outside. Picking over the equipment they had left outside. I mean, these guys were what, 20 feet away, from whatever these things were, with only the lunar module to protect them. Those modules are designed to withstand the vacuum of space and the forces of the launch - they simply aren't designed to withstand physical attack."

I was so shocked, I just asked him without thinking what I was about to say.

"So if all this happened, why did the Apollo 17 crew look so... normal... when they were welcomed back in front of everyone?"

He almost smiled as he said it.

"Of course they looked happy. Smiling and waving to everyone. The men that everybody saw that day had been nowhere near a spacecraft, let alone the moon."

I was confused, but he continued before I had a chance to say anything.

"Those men were in no fit state to be in the public eye when they came back. So we thought we'd get some actors to take over all their PR and celebrity status until they got... better. Unfortunately for them, they never did get better. I mean, physically they were fine. But mentally, forget it. Their minds were gone. Half of the time they had to be sedated just to get them to sit down and eat. Wouldn't stop talking about seeing these "figures" everywhere."

"And when one of them finally told us about them... well, it wasn't pretty. He said they were like an opaque shadow, but with such a menacing stare. He said one of them looked right at him as he peered out of the lunar module. I think he meant he stared at it, because from what he said, they didn't have eyes. He said they just stared straight into your soul, plundering all of your thoughts and projecting fear and terror into your mind"

"We still don't know a lot of what happened up there. All we have to go on are the pictures, and not much else."

I turned the page of the document I held in my hand. The edges were now damp with sweat from my hands.

The next image showed a glimpse of one of these figures. It was hideous. It was nothing more than a very dark shadow, but with a very distinctive outline and... limbs... if you can call them that.

It's hard to tell from the angle from which the photograph was taken, but I'd guess these figures were about 9 or 10 feet high.

"So what do I have to do with any of this?" I asked him.

One of the other men quickly replied.

"As a professor of Psychology, we need to be certain that if the crew of this next mission are... affected in any way, that you will be able to cure them."

I was shocked. I still didn't know what this had to do with me.

"I still fail to understand why you feel the need to involve me with this."

A few of the men started looking at each other before Kravtsov just came out and said it.

"We have our reasons for selecting you. We have studied your case file extensively and we are satisfied that you meet all of the necessary criteria for this task"

I stood up in anger.

"That's ridiculous. You mean to say that just because I spent 18 months working in a mental asylum, suddenly I'm qualified to "cure" your crew after they see things that go beyond the human imagination, 20 feet away from them, while they're a quarter of a million miles from another living soul? You obviously have no idea how psychology works, do you? Why on earth would you want to send anyone back there?! The last crew in '72 barely made it back alive, if you can call being spoonfed your dinner at the age of 39 a life"

Kravtsov wasn't entirely pleased, but I refused to go ahead with this.

"Ok, tell you what. Take these documents. Read through them carefully and if you change your mind, let us know."

My mind was already made up. I wasn't going to take on this assignment. But I took the documents anyway, to avoid further confrontation with Kravtsov or the others.

I was then driven back to my university by the two suited 'goons' who had brought me all the way to London.

I will admit, I did consider it once it'd had time to sink in. But I decided that hearing first hand accounts of evil, ungodly figures from intelligent men who'd had their minds pulled apart by some other worldly force just wasn't for me.

I still remember the launch details and the number of crew members though.

It was launched from the Okhotsk launch site in Russia on the 22nd December 1990. There were three crew members, One British and two Russians. I can't recall their names though.

I thought no more about it, and filed the documents away in a box folder in my study.

In January of 1991, a day or two after we'd returned from the Christmas break, I received a phone call. I was to be picked up the next day, and I was to bring with me the documents I had been given about 7 months earlier.

I reminded them that I wanted nothing to do with this. They understood and respected my wishes. They agreed I would not have to conduct any psychological experiment, but I was still to attend tomorrow.

As planned, I was picked up by the same two 'goons' who dropped me off the last time - both still as talkative as they were last time.

I brought my briefcase with me containing the documents as requested.

On arrival to Whitehall, I wasn't taken to the small room with no windows. I was instead taken downstairs into the cellar.

Kravtsov and a few of the others were there.

"It's good to see you again, Comrade. In a way."

I was confused by his ambiguity. What did he mean by "In a way"?

"Yes, well I was told I won't need to conduct any psychological treatments, so why am I back here?"

He paused before looking up from the ground.

"The mission was a failure."

I thought about something to say.

"Power or communications problems?" I replied gingerly.

Kravtsov sighed.

"Neither. Unfortunately. The equipment was fine, until after we saw what happened to them on the videolink monitor"

I felt ice cold with fear over what he was about to tell me.

"The 'figures'. They were not only still there. They were waiting for them. As soon as they landed, they'd hardly had time to turn off the navigation computer before the whole thing was ripped apart"

I tried to think logically for a moment. These were figures we were talking about.

"What if there was a mechanical failure? What if.."

Kravtsov interrupted me.

"There was no failure. I'll tell you how I know. Those figures are just the foot soldiers. We have been warned off of the moon - twice. There are no more warnings. If we do return, they will class it as an act of war, and I don't mean one with guns and bombs. This will be a war on the psyche of the human mind. Nobody can imagine what that is like."

I couldn't think of anything to say.

"The module landed on the lunar surface at 03:45am GMT on Christmas Day 1990. At 03:47am, the crew were seen on Videolink as they were decapitated in their lunar module. At 03:48am, all of the high-speed line printers at mission control in Okhotsk just printed the same text again and again warning us to stay away from the moon, with great details of the consequences if we do no heed their warning."

I was both angry and fearful. I was angry as to why they would send three innocent men to their inevitable deaths a quarter of a million miles away to be torn apart by these figures, but I was fearful for what we would all suffer if another moon landing took place in the future.

"So what do we do now?" I asked Kravtsov.

"You have the documents?"

Kravtsov stood there with his hand out.

I took them from my briefcase and handed them to him.

"No copies? You have not duplicated these?"

I shook my head as I regretted not doing so earlier.

He walked down the corridor to a small room which contained a metal chute.

He lifted the metal lid and an orange glow filled the room, along with a wave of hot air.

He loosely rolled up the documents and threw them into the chute leading to the furnace before the lid slammed back over it.

"That was the last trace. As long as you have made no duplications, officially, that mission never took place".

He immediately went back into the corridor. I followed him, closing the door to the furnace room behind us.

"You can find your own way home, comrade."

He reached out to shake my hand. After what I'd just heard and done, I shook his hand instinctively without thinking.

"Please don't imagine our paths won't ever cross again, comrade. We may need you again one day. But next time, your assistance would be mandatory" he said, as he turned and walked away.

© 2019 AbsintheandBlood

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Really nice horror story, I love how you keep the reader interested.

Posted 7 Months Ago

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Added on July 14, 2019
Last Updated on July 14, 2019




As the full moon draws high, And shadows cover the world. I let out a sigh, And awaken. Fear inflicts the soul, disengage Stumble forth, afflicted agony -The dark flag rises high- The cre.. more..


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