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The Children of Burma is a short story by American author Stephen Mark Rainey which is set in the fictional Cthulhu Mythos. Aside from the final few paragraphs, it is told entirely as an extract from the protagonist's journal.

Synopsis Edit

Colonel Terusawa, a Japanese army engineer who is part of the force invading Burma in 1942, is tasked with taking control of former British airfield in the jungle and preparing it for occupation. Reaching the airfield, his small unit begins their work, but when one of his officers notices movement on the slopes of a nearby ridge, Terusawa sends out a patrol to investigate; the patrol fails to return, but gunshots and a scream are heard from the forest.

That night, a sentry notices lights from torches in the jungle accompanied by an unearthly thumping sound. When the lights and sound subside, the soldiers find the heads of the missing patrol mounted on spikes on the outskirts of their camp.

The next day, Terusawa mounts a watch but continues with the work, although he contacts his superior to inform him the the area may not be secure, and an armoured unit is dispatched to assist the engineers. The tanks do not arrive, and are never seen again.

Later that day, one of the men on watch catches a physically-degenerative native skulking on the edge of camp. Questioning proves futile as they are unable to understand his language, and the man is executed by one of the angry soldiers. Afterwards, the men spot a nebulous entity on the ridge and fire their artillery at it. Whilst it disappears, they do not believe that they have harmed it in any way.

That night sentries are again posted, but the sound and vibrations from the jungle return, and the whole group makes ready. Suddenly, several of the soldiers are dragged off screaming into the undergrowth by tentacles of black mist, and the rest retreat to the airfield to regroup, with the exhausted Terusawa falling asleep.

When he awakens the camp is empty, all of his command having vanished in the night. As the first of the aircraft begin to arrive at the almost-finished runway, a unit of American fighters ambushes them, and shoots most down, injuring Terusawa in the process. Before falling unconscious, he hears the words “Remember the children” whispered from the jungle. A transport is eventually able to land and airlift the colonel to safety, and he is discharged from duty on medical grounds.

At this point, the telling of the story shifts to an administrative note, presumably from a medical file, which states that Terusawa later killed his three children before mounting their heads on poles outside his house, and has since spoken only the words “Remember the children.”

Characters Edit

  • Colonel Kenjiro Terusawa, a Japanese Army officer and commander of the 212 Engineering Corps, XV Army in Burma, assigned to take and repair a former British airstrip.
  • Captain Shindo, Terusawa's aide.
  • Lieutenant Isao Tajima, chief engineer.
  • Sergeant Ishida, scout.

Behind the Mythos Edit

Written in 1999, The Children of Burma was first published in The Spook #1 in 2001. It was later included as part of the eBook anthology The Cthulhu Mythos Megapack by Wildside Press in 2012.

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