Well, I managed to get a Halloween fic done before Halloween ended! And google docs says it’s at 1666 words, so I’m not going to try and make it any longer because that’s exactly the right length.
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“The Spy’s dead! Oh fuck, the Spy’s dead!” The Scout clattered into the workshop, grabbed the Engineer by the overalls and shook him. “He can’t be dead, we ain’t meant to stay dead! Fix it!”
The Texan peeled the boy’s hands off and set him at arms’ length.
“You want to start again, there? What exactly are you rabbitin’ on about?”
“The friggin Spy is friggin dead, hardhat, how are you not understandin’ me? I’m speakin’ English, here! Bone hands, skull face, dead! And that means you gotta fix it, ‘cause I ain’t goin’ out if I’m gonna get killed f’real.” The Scout spoke louder and a little slower than usual, as if explaining a simple new concept to a particularly stupid child.
“Well, there’s nothin’ wrong with our systems. I checked ‘em just this morning. He’s probably just trying to spook you with a mask, and you fell for it. Now go on, git out of my shop.” Not waiting for further protests, the Engineer shooed the Scout out of the room and barred the door behind him.
Fuming, the Scout stomped through the corridors. He knew what he saw, so screw Engie if he didn’t believe it. The Spy all shrivelled up and bony in that stupid balaclava, sprawled out on the chair. No way was it a trick, he’d have had to know the Scout would be happening to drop by at that exact moment, and the Scout was damn sure that couldn’t be right.
He risked a peek through the barely ajar door into the Spy’s room again. The corpse sat exactly where it had been when he stopped by in the first place, all dead and everything. Its revolver dangled uselessly from one gloved hand, a pale gleam of bone just visible between leather and linen. Its head lolled on its shoulder, the butt of a burnt-out cigarette still hanging loosely between its teeth.
Dead. Definitely dead. Super major totally dead.
He slipped back away, in search of someone he could forcibly persuade to at least try and fix the problem. The Doc, that was it. It was his job to keep everyone alive, he’d know what to do.
“Yo, Medic!” he burst into the infirmary. “Spy’s dead, you bettah come an’ check it out!”
The doctor cast him a cool look over the top of his little steel-rimmed glasses.
“Now, what have we said about telling lies, hm? Do you remember that time you claimed to have found a body in the culvert and we all came to see?” An unpleasantly toothy smile spread across the Medic’s face. “And do you remember what happened after you’d had your little joke and laughed at us for trying to reach it? You didn’t seem to like it very much, but I found it most educational.” He allowed himself a little chuckle, one of those high giggles that too often accompanied overenthusiastic use of a bonesaw, and the Scout stepped back accordingly.
“Well… I ain’t lyin’ this time, he really is dead.” The Scout pouted sullenly at both the skepticism and the memory of the educational parable. “All bones an’ everythin’. I thought you were into that, like corpses an’ shit.”
“Scout, if I come with you and you are wasting my time again, you will be very sorry.” How the hell did one guy have so many teeth? “Very sorry, indeed.”
The Medic unfolded from his chair and marked his place in the Practica Chirurgiae, following the Scout at a relaxed pace that had the young man stopping and backtracking every few seconds. The Scout was very nearly hopping with frustrated energy by the time they reached the Spy’s room. He slammed the door open, throwing one arm wide to present the corpse.
It was still on its chair, gun in one hand, cigarette in its teeth, polished bone showing yellow in the gaps of its balaclava.
The Medic sighed and polished his glasses on the edge of his coat.
“We really must have words about your habit of telling lies, you know. Come, leave the poor man alone to sleep.” He attempted to guide the Scout out of the room, but the runner was having none of it.
“No! Come on, Doc, he’s right there! Dead as a fuckin’ doornail! Look! Friggin bones!” He grabbed the limp arm and the gun clattered to the floor. He could feel the twin bones of the forearm in the sleeve, and the already loose glove slipped a little further down the hand when he moved it.
“He hasn’t been eating well lately, but there’s no call for that.” The Medic slapped the Scout’s hand away from the dead arm. “If it weren’t for the sleeping pills I prescribed he’d be awake and furious with you. Now, out.” He firmly steered the Scout out of the room and closed the door. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say you wanted to volunteer for more experiments. Hm?”
The Scout fled as bubbling, cackling giggles followed him down the halls.
Someone had to believe him. Someone. He wasn’t making it up, he wasn’t just seeing things, the Spy couldn’t just be tricking him. He’d felt the bones through the thin shirt sleeve. The Spy was really really a corpse and no one would admit it!
There was one other option. No point trying the really deranged ones, the Soldier or the Pyro, and the Heavy couldn’t speak English well enough to understand probably, and the Sniper wouldn’t care. It had to be the Demoman.
He’d believe. He’d understand. He said he’d dealt with all kinds of weird stuff and monsters and supernatural stuff, he’d know why no one else could see that the Spy was dead.
The Scout knocked hesitantly, then pushed open the door to the closet-cum-studio the Scot inhabited by way of a workshop.
“Demo? You in here?”
A rolling snore alerted him to the man curled improbably into a tight space under a cupboard, clutching a bottle of whiskey in one hand and a half-open box of fluffy white cotton in the other.
The snoring paused for a hopeful moment, then resumed with a deeper timbre.
“Oi! Demo!” The Scout prodded the wadded up bundle of Scot with one foot. “Jeez, you freakin’ rummies can sleep through anythin’. Demo! Wake up!” He prodded more viciously, knocking the box of fluff loose. The Demoman was immediately awake and scrambling after it, securing it carefully and setting it reverently down on a suitably flat surface before turning to glare at the intruder.
“D’ye have any idea what ye nearly did? Thass’ raw pyrocellulose!” The Scout’s blank look displayed his absolute ignorance. “Get it too dry, treat it too rough and ka-boom! No more base!”
“Oh. Right, well, uh, that ain’t important anyway,” he waved off the Demoman’s paranoid splutterings and spoke over his safety warnings. “Listen, the Spy’s dead and no one believes me. Like, actual friggin skeleton an’ the Doc says he’s just not eatin’ much. I figure this is your territory, all ghosts and stuff. How come no one else can see he’s dead?”
“Slow down, ye chatty wee beggar. What d’ye mean, no one else can see ’e’s dead?”
“I mean he’s a freakin’ skeleton in a suit, like an actual literal friggin skeleton and the freaking Doc just said he ain’t eatin’ well and he’s had some sleepin’ pills. It ain’t right!”
The Demoman sighed and waved the Scout to a seat on a precarious but non-flammable pile of empty boxes.
“Go through this from the start. Where’s the dead man? Why’s he dead? How’d ye find ‘im? Who else has seen ‘him?”
Scout poured his story out, though it took a little prodding to get him to admit he’d come to the Spy because the Spy always had those French postcards with the ladies on, and how he’d thought it was a joke at first but the Spy hadn’t even been breathing so it couldn’t just be a mask so he’d gone to Engie because the respawn should have picked him up but hardhat said it was fine and then the doc had just ignored the skeleton that was like right freakin there and -
The Demoman shushed him to a halt.
“Well, laddie, it sounds like a fine mess. Did ye notice if the eyes were glowin’? Always a good, reliable indicator o’ the unnatural, glowing eyes.”
“What? No! I ain’t givin’ no deep looks to a skull! Eye contact’s for the ladies!”
“Ye’ll have tae stare the dead man in the face if ye wanna know ‘is secrets,” the Demoman warned. “An’ dread secrets they may be! You better watch yerself, wee lad, if ye want to face down the dead.”
“Hey, screw you. I ain’t staring into some creepy freakin’ eye sockets just ‘cause you got weird ideas.” Something almost akin to an idea managed to breach the Scout’s mental walls. “Hows about you come with, an’ you can do it? You only got one eye anyway, so you’d only get, like, half the damage if it’s haunted or whatever.”
“Ohhh, no, I’m quite busy here, thank ye very much. Ye can go and stare down the dead on yer own.”
Once more the Scout found himself alone in the corridor with nobody on his side. He stalked back to the Spy’s room, determined to find out what was happening even if it did mean staring at a freaky skull.
The dead Spy was exactly where he’d been left, still completely unmoving. The Scout stared at it for several long minutes, before the twitchiness of such inactivity compelled him to pace the room instead. Finally, he had his solution.
Glaring at the masked skull, his eyes raked its hollow sockets for any sign of a glow or evil spark. Nothing. He grabbed the thing’s balaclava to yank it off, and found his wrist gripped in a bony hand. The eyes glowed, after all.