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Tenny's Short Story Thread (45)

1 .

Every repost is a repost repost. By Tenny.

--

This is where I'm gonna dump all my short little oneshots, so that I don't wind up writing thirty page long things like I'm in the process of doing for my other stories, lol. :3

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Short Story #1 - Doctor, Doctor

Scout was used to running. It was what he did, all the time, every day. He ran to stay alive on the battlefield, and he ran to deliver medical supplies. He used to be on the track team at his high school, before he got drafted.

He had seen many things, things he should have never been forced to even know existed. He had seen men bleed to death, their faces mangled beyond any form of recognisable state, his teammates calling for a medic, any medic, oh God please help, please, I can't die here, I have a daughter, I have a wife! And he passed it all, because he knew that none of them would have made it back alive.

He knew he wasn't going to go home. He had seen the way many of his teammates had died, saw their faces melt off, heard their inhuman screeching and cries for help. He knew he was going to die, and it made him that much more stronger. He had nothing to loose but his life.

So it honestly suprised him that this man, this moving figure crawling across the enemy base in his general direction, had the power to stop him in his tracks.

He had been searching the BLU team's halls for a fellow RED, trying to find his way to the fighting, to where he should be. The place looked as though it should be condemned, rust almost dripping from the ceilings, and blood covering the walls and most of the tiled floors. It was impossible to navigate, because even the signs had been damaged beyond a readable state. But he soon stumbled upon something. However, it wasn't a teammate.

This man, this thing, was moving. That was all Scout could see in the darkness of the hallway. He looked around for a lightswitch, lightly brushing his hand against the wall. He knew he should have been doing something else, running someplace else before the enemy found him lurking their halls, no doubt up to no good. There. He found the circular dial, and twisted it halfway before the rust around it refused to allow it any further.

Only three of the twenty fluorescent lightbulbs dangling from the celing actually worked, and were even then quite dim. But it was all Scout needed to make out exactly what it was he had been watching for the past few minutes.

It was indeed a man. A man, his body contorted into unnatural positions, moaning and gasping in pain. His legs, pulled excruciatingly far behind his back so that his feet dangled near his head, were tied into place by barbed wire wrapped around his shins and ankles to his neck. Every time the man moved, the barbed wire scratched another hole in his flesh, seeping grey-looking blood. It was only after Scout registered the man's state in his mind had he noticed it was a RED Soldier.

Fuck.

It looked as though Soldier had been cut all over. His helmet was gone, lost somewhere. One would have been able to see his eyes, if they had still been in their sockets at this point. That explained the blood all over. Scout was brave enough to move slightly closer; he was now only a foot away from the poor bastard. He kneeled down, trying not to get any of the blood on his pants, and whispered, "Jesus. You're alive?"

The Soldier responded to Scout's voice by attempting to speak, but no words poured out. Only blood, most of which fell onto the floor and splattered onto Scout. So much for clean clothes. Soldier began to struggle wildly on the floor, trying to move his arms, but all that remained of them were slowly decaying bits of flesh that had been tucked under his body until a moment ago.

Oh, God.

Scout wanted for all the world to run, to get away from this mangled breathing corpse, to get as far awat as possible, to get back to base and take a shower and maybe steal some Spy's cigarettes. He knew that Soldier was beyond hope, beyond any kind of help.

He stood up, wondering which direction would take him out of this blood-scented Hell.

The rubber glove that wrapped around his mouth quickly put a stop to all his thoughts of running.

When he woke up, there was something wrong. Well, more than one thing, really. First, there was a blinding light above him, where before there had been incredibly little light. The fact that he was strapped to what seemed to be an operating table tipped him off that he might just be inside a clinic. But it smelt of rust and blood and other generally not good things, like rotting human bodies with a gentle touch of formaldehyde.

He looked down, and wondered when his legs had been cut off.
Marked for deletion (old)

2 .

Short Story #2 - Soldier's Journal

January 1st, 1964

I saw the medigun talk to the table again today, in the clinic. They spoke about how the chair was getting a divorce, because the toaster caught the lamp having sex with the frying pan. I heard her crying today. I wondered what it was. I'll have to teach that Goddamn pan a lesson.

BLU - 0 RED - 1

We're winning. Reminder: Give victory speech to teammates before dinner.

January 2nd, 1964

Goddamn Medic kicked me out of the clinic for getting in his way. All I was doing in there was asking the medigun if the chair was feeling alright! I've got to teach him a little something called courtesy. I have to finish telling Shovel about our victory. He wasn't there. Well, he was, but he got hit a little hard on the head. When I asked Medic to heal him, he looked at me like I was insane! I really do need to speak with him later. Him and that little maggot Scout.

BLU - 0 RED - 1

January 3rd, 1964

I was glad to see Pyro teaching the frying pan a lesson. Catch him on fire, that'll learn him! The bacon and eggs were a bonus, too. I like Pyro. He's a good young man, very bright. He told me he saw a near-invisible man in a blue suit carrying a breifcase earlier, though. I think he may be sick in the head. When I stop by the clinic to ask the chair how she's doing.

BLU - 0 RED - 1

January 4th, 1964

We lost. Shovel was decapitated. Engineer said he could fix him right up, good as new. I told him that unless he could ressurect the dead, Shovel wasn't coming back, and that he should just accept it. Goddamn BLUs.

BLU - 1 RED - 1

January 5th, 1964

Demoman broke the lamp. Bitch had it coming for what she and the frying pan did to the poor chair. I feel so bad for her. Been busy mourning Shovel.

BLU - 1 RED - 1

January 6th, 1964

Going into battle soon; ready to take revenge for Shovel.

[end of log]

3 .

Short Story #3 - SurReality

Engineer had never seen a Scout stand still like that before.

He wasn't even breathing. If he was, Engineer couldn't tell. He was just staring off into space, as though he had just woken from a dream and was trying to remember it, but couldn't, and wound up in that half-asleep state that one never really snaps out of until the third cup of coffee.

He had heard screaming coming from the hall just outside his workshop, and grabbed his wrench out of habit before rushing out to see what was going on. Maybe a Spy? But all he saw was a man on the floor, BLU, with his head bashed in. Looked like Scout got him good, right in the face.

But that didn't explain why he was just standing there. Usually, he'd be taunting the corpse, or running around to brag to random teammates. It was almost eerie, how still he was...

It startled Engineer, when Scout snapped his head around to look at him. Look past him, really. Scout's eyes were almost glazed over, as though he were drugged or sick. The sound of the bat against the hardwood floor echoed in the halls. Neither of them said anything. Scout turned to look up the stairs, and began to walk up them. Walk. Not run. And Scout never took his time with anything. It raised more than one red flag. Engineer decided to follow him.

They ended up on the roof, near where Sniper always set up in the morning to pick off a few BLUs. Needless to say, they were very high up, and Engineer didn't dare step out onto the flimsy plywood setup that passed as a balcony. But Scout went right ahead, not even bothering to step lightly, or be careful at all. His intentions were becoming clearer, and it frightened Engineer.

"Hey, what do you think you're doing? That's dangerous, boy! Get back here!" He would have stepped out and pulled him back, but if the thing was struggling to support Scout's weight, it would certainly snap under his. Shit. What could he do? "Scout, come on, what's wrong with you?" Where the hell was the rest of the team? He could have used somebody right now; he wasn't the best person for this kind of thing. He would have called for somebody, but hey, it might make Scout--

Engineer's thoughts were interrupted by Scout's voice.

"I've see the pictures of her. The ones you have under your pillow. She's your daughter, isn't she?"

How did Scout know about those?

"Yes, she's my daughter. She'll be ten in January." He couldn't help but let some of that fatherly pride slip into his voice, but he pulled back to reality, to the current situation. "How do you know about those pictures?" There were a million other questions, but that was the one that came out. Go figure.

"There's rumors of a war starting soon, back home. They say in a few years, we'll all get drafted again. We won't even go home, we'll just get transferred from this war to the next, fighting for things we don't understand jack shit about. Petty bullshit between politicians and personal grudges between countries. That's it. I'm eighteen, Hardhat. I've already fought one war. And your daughter is going to grow up in the next."

Engineer was amazed that Scout even knew about the talk of another war. Who knew he read the newspaper? And, of course, Scout was right. He had never thought of it that way, but if this Second War actually happened, his daughter could very well grow up in a country completely focused around war, fighting constantly. And, if those women's rights groups got their way, she could be doing what he was doing right now. His little girl could be fighting a war.

And if Scout was right, if he did get drafted a second time or got transferred, he would be risking his life again. He would be killing more people, like the BLU in the hallway. And if he died, he would die a kid. Just a teenager. He'd never experience having his own family, he'd never grow up.

Suddenly, Engineer understood.

What a weight for a boy his age to be thinking about. He should be at school right now, talking with his friends, maybe doing some homework, hanging out. God knows what this war's done to the kid.

"Scout--" "Hardhat, buddy, I don't wanna fight a war. I don't wanna fight war after war after war, killing all these guys. You know that man in the hallway? The BLU? He taught tenth grade Biology at Edison High. I know some kids dream of being able to kill their teachers, but man, I've met his kids. I know that guy. I've talked with his wife and he even stuck around with me after class to help me with the homework I always refused to do. His oldest kid, John, is gonna be thirteen soon. And what's he gonna get for his birthday? A piece of paper telling him that his Dad won't be coming home. So I guess I'll see you later, Hardhat."

That last bit didn't even register until it was too late.

------------------

(By "rumors of a second war" I mean Vietnam. Just so we're all in the same time period here.) :3

4 .

Short Story #4 - Real

Medic closed his eyes, and tried to remember the last time he cried.

He couldn't, but he wished he could. That way, he could cry himself to sleep and not feel so foolish.

Hell, could he even remember how to cry at all?

He tried to think of when his parents died, but he had either repressed or forgotten everything about it. Strangely enough, what he did remember was turning on the radio that morning and hearing that someone important had been killed or threatened by the...

Communists.

Oh God, everything was reminding him.

He went to lay down on his bed, when the edge of a picture caught his eye.

He lifted the pillow, and saw that it was a group photo, taken a few months ago. He had forgotten about it. He was remembering now. Engineer had been so infuriated that he had to be in the front row because of his height, he threw a fit, so the picture wound up being very strange looking. In no real order, here was Spy, leaning slightly on Engineer, Scout, Sniper, Demoman, Pyro, Soldier, himself and...

Heavy.

Medic wished with everything he had that at that moment, Heavy would walk in the door, greet him, and kiss him.

But it wouldn't happen.

He could only remember his touch, his words.

Because as much as he didn't want to remember, as much as he didn't want to confirm it, Heavy was dead.

Dead.

He looked down at the photo again, and realised that there was a water stain near the top right corner. Hm. That was strange. It hadn't been there-

Oh.

It seemed that he finally remembered how to cry, after all.

5 .

Short Story #5 - Good Stuff

They had all been at dinner, eating everything laid out before them, when all of a sudden the cake started to talk and the walls started to change colors. Hm.

It was probably Medic, spiking everyone's dinner with some new clinic-made drug.

It could have been an attack on their team by the REDs.

Either way, Spy was fairly certain that they were all- what was it called- "tripping."

Or at least, that's what Scout had said. Medic, standing in the doorway, was enjoying himself, watching the rest of his team stuble around in a daze, hallucinating bullets that weren't real and colors and waves and oh my, Scout was licking the wall.

"It's a lollipop, guys! Check this out! Everything's beautiful. Fucking rainbow lollipops, guys!" Scout was hit the hardest by this new drug, and inbetween incoherent mumbling and smiling and rolling on the floor, he stopped to comment on how pretty the non-existant rainbows and various candies were.

Pyro had been on what could be considered a "very bad trip", as evidenced by his muffled screams and his frantic movements, scratching at the lenses of the gas mask. He was backed into the corner, no doubt imagining all too realistically that he was on fire.

Demo was in his usual state of inebriation, so nobody could tell if it was the drink or the drug, but he was laughing and having a good time, pointing at the lights and saying "That was a good one! Let me tell you a joke, now..."

Engineer was, oddly enough, just standing there. He had gotten up out of his chair, and hadn't moved at all since then. His mouth hung half-open, and he stared off into space. Spy walked over, being very careful not to step on any of the blue rats or red snakes or black lizards that only he could see, and waved his hand in front of Engineer's face.

The only reaction was that Engineer turned his head in Spy's general direction, facial expression unchanged. Hm.

Heavy was laying on the ground, next to the table, reaching his hand up into blank space. His eyes, too, were staring at nothing. It was as though he was trying to grab something, but couldn't. Really, Spy thought it looked quite comical.

Sniper was breathing heavily, but otherwise showed no sign of hallucinations. At least, until he began to speak. "Birds, giving away, everywhere, black birds, how did you find me?" He began to move his arms wildly around his head, as though warding off a flock of angry birds. "No! Get away! Get away!"

Spy noticed that now the walls were blue, red, green, and orange, and were melting into each other. The snakes and mice and all the other animals were beginning to change color, too. So pretty... But he knew that if he let himself get sucked into his illusion, he'd be as bad off as the others.

Fucking Medic.

There he was, in the doorway, smirking. He was holding a clipboard in one hand, and a pen in the other. Spy was just about to say something before he heard a high-pitched scream.

"AAAAAAAAAAAGH! Oh God!" It was Scout, writhing on the floor, in a full-out panic. "Oh God, the Candy Cane Woman came back! Oh God! There!" He began to cry, his screams becoming broken up into sobs. Medic jotted it down on his clipboard.

Demoman stopped laughing, and just sat down, in a daze, as though he had recieved a head injury. Medic also jotted this down.

Sniper and Pyro's condition made no changes, but had seemed quite bad from the beginning.

Heavy began to punch the air, almost hitting the table, yelling in Russian and still staring into nothing, but much more intensly. Medic continued to write.

Engineer hadn't moved at all yet, but whispered something. "Irene."

And Spy noticed that the snakes were baring their fangs, and the mice were now huge, red-eyes rats, and the walls began to blend in with the floor and the ceiling.

And Spy realised that it was going to be a long night when he heard Medic begin to laugh, as he locked the door behind him.

Ow, fuck. Snakebites hurt.

6 .

Short Story #6 - Illness: Outbreak

I know I'm hallucinating. But they're liars.

That's all they are. Liars! After all, the floor. Where was the floor? It was gone when I needed it! It was up there, with the roof. On the ceiling.

Why do you always have to be gone? Like him. He's never here. I always question myself, question the lies that spew out of their mouths, out of your mouth! All of it! All of you. All over you, and the floor, and me.

Where'd you go? Did you leave with the plague? When everyone got sick, you left and never came back. Medic said you went somewhere better. You always said this was the best place you could have been, with me, in our bed, warm. You said, you said, you said.

So Medic's a liar, you're a liar, maybe I'm a liar. I don't know. The fever makes me blind, makes me sick, makes me think things I can't think but do. I see things, I see you. I hear things, I hear you. And them. And the lies.

And the floor, up there with the ceiling, I don't know how I got here or where I am, but the red mist feels cool, but I shiver, but I'm hot, and I miss you, and oh God, where are you?

You were next to me. You were hurting like me, you were bleeding and coughing and had the same fever as me. The same marks were all over you, and our screams were the same. So, when you got better, why did you leave?

I know you got better. When I told Medic you got up and left, he said I was delirious. He told me that you had left, yes, but you weren't coming back. He said that you didn't get any better.

But that's a lie. We're all sick. The only thing keeping the Medics from all getting sick is the little glowing backpacks. And the lies. I'm surrounded by liars, and the fever hurts, and oh God, Sniper, where are you, I need you, I need you, it hurts, oh God, it hurts.

The Medics call it smallpox. They all whisper about how the last outbreak was in 1950, almost 17 years ago, about how they were all given damaged vaccines, about how the remaining outbreaks were on the other side of the world. But it's here. I have it. Everyone has it. Whoever doesn't have it is going to get it. And Sniper has it. Where is he?

I think I'll go to sleep for a while; all these little bumps hurt. I can't even put my headset on. I think I see Sniper over there. He's waving; he must be feeling better. I'll say hello if I wake up.

7 .

Poem #1 - At Night

Is it alright with you?
If I sit in the rain,
All night,
Thinking of you?

Is it okay,
To be crying myself to sleep every night,
Without you?

Please keep me close,
In your heart,
While we fight to the bone-
Because me,
Without you,
Is like being alone-

I want to run away,
Is it okay with you?
I swear to any God,
This isn't normally what I'd do,
But if somebody knew...

I'm alone,
Feeling used,
Is this what you do?

This is a bad place and time,
And I have no excuse-

And is that alright?
Is that alright,
Do you understand what I'm gonna do?
God,
I don't know,
Because I'd die alone without you-

Sleeping cold,
And alone-
Imagining your face-
Want to run,
Want to hide,
Like I'm losing a race-
And you're so far away,
On the other team's base-
I want so badly to love you,
But I'm in the wrong place...

8 .

Poem #2 - Engineer

Take me apart,
Dismantle me,
Like a worn out piece of machinery-

What use am I to you,
What can I do for you?
When we all know tomorrow is our last,
Better live fast-

So kiss me as hard as you can,
Before I bleed out-
Put down your wrench,
And put your guard down-

Promise me you'll find my body,
And bury me next to your heart-
Because no matter how far away the finish line is,
I'll always respawn at the start-

So take me apart,
Dismantle me-
Like a broken down,
Rusted out piece of machinery-

Kiss me like you would a lover,
Be rough with me like a man-
Shoot me with a shotgun bullet,
And then give me your hand-

Sentry guns aimed at my back,
And chaos to the side-
When I stabbed you in the back,
Did you wonder why?

9 .

Short Story #7 - Psychosis

They put me on a pedestal, they all watch me. Me. I'm the role model, the perfect student, the perfect teacher, the prime example, the best, perfect.

I'm perfect.

I can't have any flaws. No.

No, no, no, no.

Because I am perfect. I speak with a perfect accent, I dress perfectly, I speak and act and I. Am. Perfect.

And they all feed off of it. They all watch me, so closely, for any mistake. Any evidence that I am not perfect, they jump all over and rub it in, rub it in, rub it in.

So now, here I am, in my room, with a gun to my head.

Because I am perfect, and I refuse to let anyone else ruin me.

Like them.

They ruined me. Made me streak my perfect suit with tears, made me drop my perfect costume.

I am a failure.

So, here I am.

I only wish I could kill every last one of them, I wish I could cut apart their throats and gag them and feel their warm blood all over and smell copper and hear gurgled screaming coming through vocal chords that have been cut into a million threads.

But I am not good enough.

Not for Mother, not for my team, and certainly not for myself.

I am not perfect anymore.

And I have to leave. Now.

10 .

(Semi-Erotic, lol) Poem #3 - Spy

Stand up,
Take a bow-
Shut up,
And get down-

Hide yourself from the prying eyes,
Muttering hymns under your breath-
Meaningless rhymes,
Freezing to death-

It's too cold outside to be alone,
And I want you tonight-
So answer the damn phone,
And then come kiss me right

Here

And put your hands right

There

And then take off your clothes-

Because the only way to get warm
Is to get cold-
Crying out my name like you're a child,
Eighteen years old-

Get down on your knees,
And kiss me right

There

And touch me,
Touch me,
Right

There

Kiss me hard,
And I'll kiss you right back-
Grab my tie,
Make sure there's no slack-

Pull me closer,
And I'll stab you in the back.

I never really was on your side, anyway.

11 .

Short Story #8 - Mind Control

Spy wasn't aware of how long he had been under, but he knew that his head hurt, and that someone he vaguely recognised was tied up in that corner over there, and why are all these people around?

One of the men, wearing a white coat with rust-colored stains pulled him up off the operating table and upright. "Do you know what's going on?" Spy shook his head no. Somehow, he didn't think he should be speaking right now. He got the feeling that he was in a very, very bad situation, although he wasn';t quite sure why.

"Good. Do you know who that is?" Spy looked to the man in the corner, who appeared to be tied to a chair. He was struggling to remember, oh God who is that I know you who are you who who who

Engineer.

He couldn't remember anything else but a name.

Spy nodded his head. The man with the rusty coat wrote something down on a clipboard and pushed his glasses up on his nose.

"Alright. Do you know who I am, and who these other men are?" There were three other men. A large man, a skinny boy, and a woman. It was hard to see any detail against the bright yellowish white light in the background. Spy shook his head no, again.

The rusty man turned to the woman and said something. She nodded back. The rusty man signaled to the two other men, and they stepped back.

"Now, your friend over there, in the chair, all tied up. What do you remember about him?" Spy found his voice. "Engineer. That's all I know, is his name. It's all I remember." The man looked back at the woman again, and she nodded again.

"Alright, now, here is your knife. Kill him."

Spy was, with good reason, suprised. "What? No! I... I think I know him!" The man in the chair grunted, but seemed to exhausted to do anything more. They must have been captured, which meant they must be-

"Kill him." Spy refused again, and the rusty man wrote down more on his clipboard.

The woman stepped foreward, in front of the rusty man.

"Kill him." Her voice was sharp as a razor.

Spy found himself reaching for the knife, found himself walking over to the Engineer, and found himself shoving the knife savagely into the Engineer's chest.

The woman walked over to examine the work. She stayed away from the slowly-growing blood pool on the floor; she didn't want to get her grey high heels bloody. "Hm. Good job, Doctor. Our test run has gone quite smoothly. Good thing we got the Engineer to install the public announcement system before going ahead as scheduled, hmm?"

The man laughed bitterly, and joined the woman in examining the job. "Yes. I've got an injection system all set up for our new recruits. I'll slip in in with the regulation innoculation/vaccination list for their checkups next month. With this surging through their veins, you'll never have to wait for a fight again. They will listen to you, do whatever you say, whenever you say, even kill their friends and teammates. They won't be able to do a damn thing about it. Unless, of course, you decide they can."

The woman smiled and laughed, watching the Spy on the floor, backing himself up into the wall. Her voice was laced with pure delight.

"Yes, Doctor. Perfect. Now, before we leave, let me gather my new friend."

Spy saw the handle of the knife sticking out of this man, someone he- oh God, the memories. The rusty man-- blood and syringes and that woman, that woman, the Announcer, oh God, he had to get back to his teammates, he had to tell everyone--

"Get up."

Spy stood. "Come on, follow me. I'll need your help. You're a Spy, after all. Now that I know you'll never switch sides, I think I'll make you my personal messenger." The Announcer began to walk with the Doctor towards the doorway, and Spy couldn't help but follow.

He hoped to God someone would forgive him for the things she would make him do.

Even if it caused a war.

12 .

IT'S A LONG STORY SHORT #1 - Bee Cave Police

(LOL, inspired by IRL antics and the conversation over in /off/)

The Announcer finally decided to give them a break in the middle of the summer heat, and told them all to "get off my property before I set GLaDOS on all of you" and other such things.

Nobody knew who/what GLaDOS was, but everyone figured it would be a good idea to listen.

Everyone had somewhere to go, exept Spy, who refused to say why he couldn't leave but he just couldn't go home okay I'm not wanted there stop asking I just can't OKAY you guys stop asking I'm not gonna tell you it's personal just go away so I can be sad and lonely JEEZ

Medic didn't have anywhere to go, either. He had mentioned a clinic somewhere in Germany, but then muttered something about being lonely and I can never show my face there again, not after what I did to those children and women, they would all kill me, I'd better just go somewhere else, don't worry about me I'll be fine, I wonder who GLaDOS is?

And, suprisingly enough, Scout didn't want to go home. He said something about wanting to see his mother, but that oh God Pops would beat me for leaving her with those morons, I bet he'd punch all my blood out, oh fuck, I can't go home, shitshitshit

Being the nice guy he is, Engineer figured it would be A-OK to invite Spy, Medic, and Scout over to his his place for the little so-called vacation. Why not? What could go wrong?

Engineer wondered why the Hell he thought it would be a good idea to invite a Spah to his house. He was glad that, for the most part, the other two were getting along fine with his lady. Irene loved Scout, saw him as a son, and thought Medic was quite the gentleman. But Spy was unacceptable.

Smoking in the house, putting his feet on the chair, making a mess of the makeshift guest room, teaching the dog to do strange things in response to commands given in French, all sorts of things.

Engineer figured it would be best to just gather up his friends and get outta there for a while, before Irene shot a certain Frenchman in the head.

So, here they were, at the Zydeco Bar.

They were all completely trashed, save for Medic, and had shared the last 30 minutes passing around what Scout called "a blunt of the finest shit available," and were currently telling stories about past family pets when everything around them fell silent.

Medic shushed them, and they all listened.

"..possesion of......warrant...."

It was the police.

Scout quietly informed the group that "Hey, mang, this shit is illegal, we better get outta here," and they all immediately snuck out the back door to the bar. Well, as quietly as three drunken/stoned men could manage while being herded out the door by a man with some kind of anxiety disorder whispering under his breath could possibly be.

Which wasn't very.

The policeman immediately noticed the group trying to get away, and began to walk towards them, all the while pulling out a notebook-like thing.

"Shit!" Aaaaand Scout was off. In the opposite direction. The policeman chased after him, and Medic saw his chance. He practically shoved Engineer and Spy into the back of his Volkswagen (he had been the designated driver) and was off, trying to remember which way Scout went. He also noticed oh maaaaan the weather is really funny look at that cloud guys it looks like it's smiling hahahahahaha!

This could take longer than originally thought.

Meanwhile, Scout was bolting between alleys and man why is this town so fuckin' empty there's nothing to hide behind fucking Bee Cave what kind of town doesn't have any street shops what the fuck I could really use a street shop to hide behind right now what the fuck fuck fuck there he is shit dude where am I oh there's a road fuck fuck fuck he'll catch me for sure oh look at that tree there's a tree tree tree what can Iu do with a tree there's a park OH SHIT A PARK!

Scout jumped the fence and ran, even faster, to the sidewalk on the other side of the swingset waaaay the fuck over there why is it so far away what the fuck seriously this is a very poorly designed park goddamn where's the cop there's the cop oh shit

He was about to jump the other fence when he recognised a certain green Volks, and tried hard to think about how long it would take him to get over there as opposed to the time it would take the cop to get over here, but the floor was tilting a little and whoah that stick looks like a cat and duuude I should really be over there right now maybe if I stare hard enough I'll teleport but wait there's the fence why don't I just jump it and then go over there cool

Before he knew it, he had reached the doorhandle of the car, but the policeman was quickly approaching. Fuck. "Heeeeeey, Scoot!" It was Engineer. "Jump in!" Scout noticed that the vehicle was moving. It was picking up speed. Fuck.

The cop was getting closer. Fuck.

The car was moving. Fuck.

So, Scout did what anyone else would do: Through a haze of drink and weed, he saw the doorhandle and took his chance.

He forced the door open, and jumped inside. As soon as he slammed the door, Medic slammed the acceleration, and they whipped around the corner and out of the policeman's sight.

Engineer and Spy were laughing up a storm, and Medic was absolutely livid, if not a bit blazed. When he spoke, Medic tried hard to sound angry, really he did, but between the panic and the weed and the fact that he wasn't going to have to post bail, all he could manage was "Scout, man, where'd you go? And dude, have you been seeing this shit? The clouds are awesome."

Scout patted his pocket, to see if he still had it.

Yep, it was still there.

A half-full Ziplock sandvich bag full of pot.

Fuck yeah. VICTORY!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3853FW88kHQ

13 .

Short Story #9 - Racial Cleansing

He thinks he's going to make it out alive.

He thinks I'm going to heal him, and then he will rush out, guns blazing, belting out war cries and coming home a hero.

Hm.

Hah! Ha ha ha ha. There is no chance, not even one percent of one percent of zero-point-zero-one percent of him leaving my clinic alive.

And he still thinks he's going to be healed, even though he sits there and watches me pull out syringes and vials and other such beautiful things, all with his name written on them in cursive.

What a fool. Of course, what else would I expect, from a bastard convict? The ultimate gene pool pollution. Nevermind the fact that we have a black on our team, that we have a Russian communist on our team. No. I made sure they both died several weeks ago. But this one has proven difficult to irradicate.

It is a shame, that I am expected to serve these... these... creatures.

I wish that our team wasn't so polluted. It really is a pity. That young Scout, with his perfect blonde hair and clear blue eyes... It is really too bad he isn't German. I imagine he'd do well in the Hitler-Jugend. I still remember their recuitment posters, all over the streets. "Youth serves the leader!" How I miss it all.

These things, my teammates, they are all tainted. I almost pity them, but then I remember that they are inferior. They are less than human. And they all deserve to be irradicated.

So, here I am, preparing a sedative for the convict. He looks up at me, blue eyes looking at me from behind those stupid-looking glasses. Blue eyes. He doesn't deserve them!

There is a look of relif on his face as I walk closer, as I ready the syringe. When he sees the smirk slide across my face, he understands.

The sedative works quickly. He will still be aware of what I am doing. He just won't be able to resist, won't be able to squirm or scream or flee.

His eyes widen when he sees my bonesaw inch closer, closer, closer...

It makes me smile.

There's blood on everything but me. I refuse to let this thing's blood touch me.

And, eventually, no more blood pours out, no more agged breathing, no more wide eyes, opened in terror and fear and pain.

I'll leave the body out behind the fences for the dogs. I wonder if that counts as cannibalism? Hah.

14 .

Short Story #9 - Announcer

Ah, another day, another fight.

Fight, fight, fight. It's all that matters to these pawns.

Not even men. Boys with fancy guns, children with toys. It's all a game, all a trick. All a lie.

The Medic, member of the NSDAP, so efficient. So very, very efficient. The Americans wanted him, to put him in jail, to send him to court. They wanted to convict him of committing strange and horriffic experiments on children and women during the war. They spoke of NAZI human experimentation and testing, terrible things. I watch him smile while he "treats" his patients. He is, without a doubt, my favorite toy.

The Soldier, oh, where do I begin? Schizophrenic fake war hero. He is wearing medals on his chest that only he can see, he speaks to people that died days ago, he fires guns that ran out of ammo long ago. But he still hits his target. That is all that matters.

Demoman. Drunken fool. I enjoy watching him get killed over and over again, only to force him to respawn sober. Drink, bomb, die, repeat. That is all he's good for.

Heavy. I was against having a communist on either of my teams, but I decided against it when, during the hiring process, he killed seven of my employees within thirty seconds using only his job application clipboard and pure brute force. I generally like him.

Ah, Sniper. He makes me laugh. He thinks he's so interesting, so above it all, so safe in his little hideout. And then I send one of the others over to kill him. The look on his face when he gets shot and respawned is more satisfying than anything else. Even a victory.

Scout. Mouthy little brat. Stupid as well; never graduated high school. Dropped out to spply at Aperture Science. They originally sent me his application and resume as a joke, but I found his past as captain of the track team quite appealing.

Spy. I am not quite sure when he showed up, where he is from, or really, anything else about him. Hm. I should ask GLaDOS to get on that right away.

Engineer, the good little boy from Texas, all dolled up like he knew what he was doing. He looks like an Engineer, dresses like an Engineer, and even speaks the lingo of an Engineer. But he is not. He is just as fake as the Spy, just as hollow as the Spy. You would think they'd get along fine, what with how similar they are.

Pyro. Pyro, Pyro, Pyro. I do enjoy watching him. Watching the flames devour everything they touch. Watching him cry himself to sleep in the locker room afterwards. Listening to his screaming. His sobbing. It makes me grin like a madman.

Regardless of who they are, where they are from, and what they do... They are all my pawns. Pawns, pawns pawns. Just like everything and everyone else. Toys, tools, pieces of a fucking chessboard. They are mine.

15 .

Poem #4 - Clinic

Sitting here on the floor,
On the freezing cold tile,
Holding a needle to my vein,
Getting high all the while-

Filled with nothing but despair,
I hope to God I don't run out of time-
Pushing my fingers through my hair,
Looking for any kind of sign-

Can't seem to wash all the blood off my hands,
It's dripping down my coat-
Please give me a second chance,
Before you grab me by the throat-

The drug is starting to kick in,
And I can't see straight-
I can't focus on anything,
And I think it might hav been laced-

Because I think I hear your voice in the hall,
But I know so well that you're dead-
I don't think I can explain it all,
I think I'm fucked up in the head-

I never realised before,
But your eyes are a beautiful bright green-
When you kiss you ask for more,
But I know that it's just a dream...

So when I feel your lips on mine,
I jump just a little bit-
Sit down on the floor, do you mind?
Come on and take a hit.

Poem #4 - Get Out

Get out of my sight before I shoot you,
I don't care if you never come home-
Wearing the same goddamn mask,
Like another soulless drone-

Touching your lips to my skin,
Like some kind of honest man-
Bathing in the purest sin,
Reaching out for your hand-

I'll never forget the cigarette smell,
I'll never forgive myself-

Taking a drag off a Lucky Strike,
And hoping to God that I can close my eyes,
And everything will be alright-

But I know from experience,
I know it won't-
From various experiments,
I know you're going,
Gone-

And I miss the way you'd hold my hand,
And I miss kissing you before I fell asleep-
And I miss the way you'd pretend to understand,
As I arranged the next place to meet-

You expected me to be there,
Begging like a dog at your feet-
Our love going nowhere,
I knew the signs of defeat-

Caught you in the hotel one day,
Undressing him with your eyes-
I should've known-
After all,
You're a Spy.

16 .

Short Story #11 - Zombies

Oh.

Oh, God.

The entire place, they're everywhere. Fucking everywhere. I, I saw it. Them. Whatever the fuck they are, I watched them kill Scout. He couldn't outrun them. They surrounded him, like they had some kind of plan, some sort of battle tactic from Hell.

We can't risk going between bases anymore. It's a bitch, but it stopped the war. I don't dare go outside. Last time we tried that, we lost most of our team. Me, Medic, Demoman, and Sniper are the only ones left. Thank God we stocked up on equipment recently, before all communications with HQ went down. Ammo, healing equipment, and food. We have enough to last us another few months.

But then what?

Even as it is, we've all lost the will to fight. I haven't seen Sniper in two weeks, but I know where he is. He's in Spy's room, or up on the roof picking them off one by one, smoking one of Spy's cigarettes.

Demoman spends his days throwing various explosives into the mass hoards of those fuckers, yelling and screaming in drunken, slurred Scottish. I don't know what he's saying half the time, but I think I get the gist. I know he's taking revenge on those things for Engineer.

I'm alright. After all, I have fire. Not a single one of those fucking things is getting anywhere near me. I won't let them. But I only have thirty replacement propane tanks left, and that won't last long. And I miss Scout. But whatever. I'm not as fucked over as Medic yet.

Poor bastard.

Medic still has the equipment to heal. He still has plenty of medigun mist cartriges, syringes and vials, bandages and those little thingies used to clean stuff. But he just dosn't have the heart to do anything anymore. If he wasn't fucked in the head before, he is now. After he watched Heavy get eaten alive by those grey-skinned monsters, those fucking things... And then, when he got up and turned on him, when Heavy tried to bite him, tried to infect him, he lost it.

He couldn't kill Heavy, even if he was just another one of those... zombies. Yeah, that's what they are. Zombies. Fucking mutants, monsters, all of them. Former teammates. REDs and BLUs. Civillians. Hell, maybe even the Announcer. She hasn't come over the P.A. since this shit happened.

So now, there he sits in the corner, talking to himself in German, nursing a Heavy-sized bite. At first, we joked a little, tried to make the situation better. We would say that Heavy mistook him for a sandvich, that kind of insensitive bullshit. That was before we figured out bites meant infection. We sit here and watch him get paler and paler every day, and every day he declines meals and stays up all night, watching both us and them. His eyes aren't blue anymore.

He's gonna be one of them soon enough. He's gonna be a zombie, he knows it, we know it, and he could at least fucking try to heal himself, you know? But I guess once you lose hope, it's really gone. I think he just wants to be with Heavy. That's why he hasn't even tried, not even a little, to heal.

But it's terrifying, watching him get a little worse everyday. He has to be suffering, it has to hurt. He's dying, for fuck's sake! But he just stands around, limping, mumbling a little more incoherently every day, staring at us a little more every day, hissing and gurgling and becoming one of those things. I can tell he's really loosing it now, because he's staring at me right now, from across the room. And his sick, yellow goddamn eyes make him look like something out of a fucking horror movie, and God, it scares me.

I'm so scared because I saw him in the clinic yesturday, fucking around with some random shit, passing his fingers over the counters, hissing and mumbling. He turned to me, and tried to talk. All that came out was in German or just weird scratchy hissing noises. He started to twitch violently, so that his shoulders shook. He actually had to lean a little on the counter to stay upright. And he was aware of it all. I could see it on his fucking face!

I know he can still think coherently. I can fucking see it! Goddamnit! And every-fucking-day, every fucking time I fall asleep, I expect to wake up to some zombie fucking Medic standing over me, trying to bite through my suit. I remember when he would smile at us, run into battle after Heavy, kicking some serious ass and returning home every night for cuddling by the makeshift fireplace Engy built and some dinner.

And now he's trapped, completely fucked, infected with a broken heart.

Just like the rest of us.

And when rations start to run out, and when Medic manages to finally snap and give in, infection will be open in the base. We'll end up fighting each other. And then we'll all be one of those zombie things, writhing and moaning and and and the sound those zombie fucks make when they rattle up against the steel doors, when they scratch against the walls, when they moan for us while wearing our friend's faces, fuck, I can't take it!

So, here I am, writing all this shit down just in case anyone survives this and still cares enough to come check out the RED base, getting ready to fry some of these bastards, hand on the fucking button that openes the gates, I have one thing to say:

That bitch was right. The cake really is a lie.

17 .

Poem #6 - Fuck

I thought you had somewhere to go?
Instead,
You're laying on my bed,
Taking off all your clothes-

Kiss me,
Pull me in-
Wring me out,
And make me sin-

Kiss me hard,
Grab me tight-
Feel the beating of my heart,
It feels so right-

Fuck me hard,
So I can cry out your name-
From the start,
You've been driving me insane-

Touch me wherever you can,
I don't care-
Pulling up my hand,
So I can run it through your hair-

Oh God-

Touch me,
Kiss me,
Love me-

Hold me,
Grab me,
Please me-

Please-

I don't care,
Just touch me,
Anyone,
Love me,
Like that woman never did...

18 .

Short Story #12 - Ritual

Scout knew he probably shouldn't be fucking around when he was lost somewhere in some kind of basement from Hell.

But he was a Scout, dammit, and he wasn't just gonna sit down and wait for someone to come pick him up or something.

So, while he was shuffling through broken crates and old closets filled with broken guns and things, he stumbled upon a door.

It was hidden behind a fake wall in the closet closest to the back of the basement, very secret. He doubted anyone else knew this was here at all. It was fairly clean, though, and something was written on the door in small letters above the doorknob. He didn't know what it meant, but figured hey, why not, let's go in anyway!

As he carefully jarred the door open, he saw a perfectly straight line of what looked to be red dust across the bottom of the doorframe. Upon closer inspection, it was found to be ground-up red brick. Weird, but not weird enough to keep him from walking in.

The room was fairly small, enough to fit only two people. And, of course, whatever that table thing was.

It was a short wooden table, more of an altar, really. On it was a glass bowl filled with water, and a red candle floating in the center. The water was sprinkled with what looked to be tea leaves and herbs. There were yellow candles all around.

Then he realised that hey, the candles aree all lit.

He also became aware of the fact that there was someone else in the room, because oh shit that little mirror wasn't there before.

And oh shit, that mirror was floating slowly towards him.

Of course, the mirror wasn't floating on it's own. A cloaked Spy was holding it up, slightly pissed that someone had stumbled upon his little ritual.

No matter, he could use this Scout. Better than what he had planned before, anyway.

He set the mirror on the altar and grabbed Scout's wrist before he could turn to run back out. There was no leaving here alive.

Before he knew it, he was tied up on the floor by the table thing, and there was a Spy kneeling on the floor next to him, looking pretty fucking angry. Oh shit.

Spy took out his butterfly knife and cut a two-inch gash in his own hand, and let the blood slide onto one side of the small mirror. He smiled at his reflection.

He cut another gash, but this time, into Scout's hand. It took some doing, seeing as he had to work around the binds and the wraps that all Scouts seemed to have around their hands and wrists, but he managed well enough, and got that blood on the other half of the mirror, too.

He noticed that Scout's expression was getting more and more worried by the second. Good. He was too scared to wriggle out of the too-tight rope wrapped around him, which meant Spy could focus completely on the task at hand.

He dipped both of his hands in the water, mumbling something in French. This went on for what seemed to be an hour to Scout, but was really only a few minutes, and finally stopped.

He took one hand out of the water, and laid it over his heart after making a small streak across his forehead. With his other hand, he made the same line on Scout's forehead, and picked up the blood-covered mirror.

At this point, the blood had mostly dried, leaving the mirror coated in a thick layer of red. Scout could still make out his reflection in the mirror, until...

His reflection turned into Spy's.

When he woke up, there was something distinctly wrong. Mainly the fact that he was looking up at himself, but from the wrong point of view. He wasn't bound anymore, and neither was his reflection. But there was no mirror, and he knew there hadn't been another Scout down here. So...

The other Scout spoke, with his voice. "This is the best disguise I could have hoped for. Thank you."

And then, he knew.

He tried to stand up, with legs that weren't his, but he couldn't. So, he tried to speak, but the voice that came out wasn't his. It was deeper and nastier and had a twinge of a French accent.

He was in some kind of shock, and could therefore only watch as Spy- Scout- Whoever ran out the door, with his body.

19 .

Short Story #13 - On the Edge of Journalism

(Note: This is something I compiled from notes I jotted down on a napkin while tripping on some pretty good stuff, so it isn't the clearest thing to read ever. But I think it's post-worthy, if just for the ending.)

There's nothing out here, but there's something there.

There's no reason, no tomorrow, no today. The past gets blurred and the truth gets replaced with lies and bullshit, nothing matters. It's all a lie. History, books, music, fuck- Even tonight's news forecast.

Listen to me, buy my shit, don't break the law, put your seatbelt on! All of it's shit, all of it. Just like how cigarettes are supposed to give me cancer. You know what gives me cancer? The fucking world! Technological fucking society makes me get cancer. Not cigarettes. High-frequency radios that run on batteries, television with color, it's all bullshit flooding the minds of the world. America, France, Australia, Russia, Germany, it's all the same bullshit.

And it's what unites us all. Bullshit. Bullshit is the connecting thread between BLU and RED. We both fight for nothing, loosing everything. I lost a son to this war, I lost a wife to bombings at home. No matter where I am, where I go, what I'm doing, it's still there. Bullshit. People and bombs and war and color television and radios that don't have to plug into the wall to operate properly. Music from bastard teenagers, the "British Invasion", the drugs and drinks and fucking in the streets.

Why do the bastards wearing suits never want to fuck? They sit there, all day, wearing perfectly black suits and getting paid millions of dollars to rape each other out of the next paycheck, starting wars, killing women and children for cash. And yet, they never want to fuck. They never ever want to just look us in the eyes, say "We are going to fuck you in the ass with a dildo shaped like politics," and then fuck us. They lie, and then fuck us at three o'clock in the morning after a huge battle with the REDs or BLUs or greens or yellows or whatever fucking color we hate for no reason.

You know the difference, between BLU and RED? One's an individual company and one's government funded. That's it. It's a bullshit fight for the buttfucking men in suits to enjoy while drinking and smoking and laughing and betting on which Spy is going to sap my sentry next.

And nobody understands this shit but me. I'm a fucking Engineer, not a journalist. Everybody can fuck themselves, because my ass is loose from all the fucking going on by everybody else. I get fucked by people I can't see, by people with bombs, with knives, with bats, with shovels, with German accents and a fist the size of my head.

I'm close to just saying fuck it, turning off respawn, and walking in the way of the fucking train.

But that Goddamn bell always tips me off, and I always step out of the way, and it always whizzes by me, and the bullshit keeps coming. Always.

Always more, always more, always more, until nothing fucking matters and I can get trashed like this. I like the feel, the pounding head, the drugs, the drink.

And then the drink mixes with whatever it is Pyro gives me, and everything is nothing and color is black and white and grey and I can't stand it anymore, and then the most amazing sense of freedom and blankness washes over my head, and I don't care about the shit or the lies or the fucking or the war, I can forget about Irene and Elizabeth, I can close my eyes and be in Bee Cave again, I can be at home with my little girl and my wife, away from the guns and oil and sweat and screaming and blood all over my fucking overalls and my wrench lodged in someone's head and that Goddamn high school
boy running around, there's none of it.

Just colors and memories.

And then I come down, and I remember everything, and everything is raw and harsh and horrible and lonely and terrifying.

It’s shit, shit, shit! All of it’s shit. Peyote, acid, marijuana, whatever, just bring more of it next time, so we can all, for just one minute, have control over who’s fucking who and who’s lying to who about what and what bastard in a suit is betting on who and all this other motherfucking bullshit!
It’s over, I’m over, it’s done.

There’s no today, no tomorrow, no yesterday.

Just right now, one second ago, one year ago, one base ago, one team ago, one joint ago, one pass of the pipe.

More colors, no color, black and white.

I’m dangerously close to giving a shit. This must be remedied.

20 .

Short Story #14 - Overdose

(Note: this is from the same napkin as >>45, lol, but starring Scout instead.)

Oh God, the entire room is spinning.

Or is it me?

I know everything. It's like time is gone, not real. Not anymore. Nothing's here, or there, or underneath. The air is gone. I think I'm breathing green, but I can't tell. It might be orange, or maybe yellow. Maybe I'm on fire. I'm breathing clouds of green and yellow and orange fire.

Yes, that's it.

But that would hurt, wouldn't it?

The walls and floors, they aren't there. It's like floating in a sea of reds and blues and hues and colors, endless, like it's not real.

Medic said it was blood loss, and maybe he gave me too much of whatever. It was in a syringe, and it was warm. Like... a blanket.

A blanket, over my head, suffocating me, I can't see, I can't breathe, I can't move, oh God I'm going to die what's going on

Breathe. Bright.

That's bright, that color. Is that my breath? Fuck. Fire.

I can see the walls, moving. There has to be something moving under that fucking blanket, I can see it. I can see everything.

Light goes forever. Where the fuck am I?

I can see myself from the inside, only not. But I am.

I can feel air that isn't there, like wind, but hot, like fire, it hurts, but it's better than breathing green and yellow and BLU and RED and blood everywhere with ice and snow and blankets of it, everywhere, and Medic's stories of Stuttgart the same way, his eyes glazed over with nostalgia and some sick kind of mania, laughing, oh God, giggling like a madman, and the things all over, like vile silver bugs crawling up my arm, freezing cold, oh God...

Syringes, filled with cold fire and warm air, oh God, they line the walls like decorations, the walls don't even exist anymore, I can't tell, I can see his laughter, like a neon sign...

I can't grab a hold of anything, nothing's real, nothing's there, where the fuck am I? I can see the outline of a silver string, it's cold against my arm, what's he doing?

Oh my God

I can see it all, everything, but I can't. I feel it, but it isn't there, so where is it? It's something, it's cold and hot and windy, but it isn't air, because there isn't any air, because I'm under a blanket of breath-fire. Right?

What am I breathing?

Color.

I can feel it, in my lungs, it burns like cigarette smoke in your eyes, but all these different colors and thicknesses, I think I'm going to suffocate, I can't breathe or focus on anything and I don't know, oh God, someone tell me what that cold sliver is, it's silver and thin and crawling up my arm, filled with heat and oh God, oh God, oh God

I can't feel anything anymore.

21 .

Short Story #15 - I'm No Doctor

I can sit here and watch young men die for no reason.

I can sit here and file the papers, I can work for the companies giving guns to high school boys and crazed, unhealthy men without feeling even a little bit like a bastard. I can watch a man in a suit watch through a mirrored wall, allowing these people to die caught up in a fake war in the name of science.

What I can't understand is why the government does the same thing.

I can't understand why some woman in a suit, backed by billions of dollars, protected by every fucking government this planet has to offer, sits in a lush office with a microphone system and a martini glass, sipping away, telling us to go out and sound the alarms, alert the teams, ready the gates and watch people get killed. They tell these men terrible lies, things like "Don't worry, the war will be over soon," but there isn't a fucking war.

I don't think anyone else is allowed to know this yet, but both teams are employed by the same company. It's all a hoax, a test, an experiment. Some kind of fucking joke. And I can deal with knowing that I'm a part of this shit, I'm part of the reason why all these people, from all over the world, are being brought in and killed, over a briefcase with made-up information in it.

But I can't fucking wrap my head around the fact that every country is in on it, every country has contributed funding, every country is willing and ready to give up their best, their smartest, their quickest, their strongest, everything. All these corpses, all these poor sonsofbitches, being carted off in black bags because they thought they were fighting for something.

None of these bastards in suits care that their people, innocent men, are being abused and beaten and killed, over made-up bullshit.

I'm no doctor, but I think this entire planet is sick.

22 .

Short Story #16 - Mescaline and Politics

There's a fucking politician somewhere, jacking off to the fact that we lost five men today.

Five men will never see their wives and children again.

Five men will have useless awards and gaudy metals pinned to their body bags, for dying in the name of nothing.

Five wives will have to raise five children alone, and be forced to tell them all that their fathers won't be home for Christmas.

Somedays, I just want to down peyote buttons like fucking M&Ms and drown myself in fractal patterns and rainbow-colored air.

Just forget about everything, fuck it, whatever.

Mescaline is truly the best for days like this.

I can see my body twitch, but I can't feel it. I am God, I am invincible, I am weak, I am fragile.

I am everything, and colorful and bright, and for a second or two, I can forget about it.

Just, fucking drop out of it all, and lose myself in the walls that aren't there, covered in moving still-images, physical sensation, visual sensation, everything ceases to exist and then comes back tenfold.

And then I come down, and watch men in suits and black sunglasses driving black herses pick up my friends, my teammates.

All of them, to be replaced by new ones, who will be killed again and again.

That goddamn bitch, her fucking voice taunts me, it's everywhere and then nowhere and then booming inside my head.

It's her finger on the button, the siren, the announcement system.

That's what she is. The Announcer.

Her and her bastard sons in suits, all of them rich and high class sonsofbitches with government funding and property in the middle of fucking nowhere with permits for all kinds of weapons and traps and tests and equipment.

It makes me sick.

I want to lean over, and wretch into a trashcan. I want to break the double-sided mirrors and kill them, one of them for each one of us.

And I did.

Or maybe it was a hallucination-laced dream, I don't really care anymore.

Peyote really is the best.

23 .

Short Story #17 - Pubes and Spying

There's a fucking Spy in here, and he's watching me dye my pubic hair bright orange.

Not that I mind an audience.

It's just that, I haven't washed my clothes in a month, and I wear the same thing every day. I smell like blood, dirt, piss, and semen.

It's all disconnected thought, but it makes sense, because it doesn't. And that's okay, because there's another box of dye, and he can join me if he wants.

There is a tattoo above my asshole that I got done just before deployment that says "Insert Here" in cursive. I wonder if he can read it from where he is?

There's all kinds of shit on me, in me, I smell like death, I smell like ash. My pants are down, my pubes are currently turning strange colors, and my ass is tattooed.

I'm amazed he hasn't just left yet.

I know he's here, the fucker gasped when he walked in. Some Spy. He acts like he's never seen this before.

I have to leave the dye on a little longer. Hm. I wonder how long it'll take him to either vomit from the stench, leave in disgust, or stab me? Whatever comes first.

I remember when I asked Medic if he could request hair dye from HQ for me. He thought it was a little strange, coming from a guy with virtually no hair.

And then he realized what I meant, promptly shat himself, and dialed HQ supply for a box of 008 Orange.

Good man, that Doctor.

But anyway, back to this Spy situation.

He's inexperienced, probably a little younger than the other ones. Most likely from the other team, a new recruit.

I love breaking in the new Spies.

Turning around, I look in what I suspect to be his general direction. He squeaks. Jesus, this is pitiful. Really? Squeaking?

I get up, cock dangling dangerously between my legs, top half of my flame retardant suit still on, gas mask on, boots off, gloves on, with orange pubes, and begin to dance towards him, careful not to slip on any of the piles of random dirty shit all over the floor.

He immediately turns and runs, and I immediately realise that my cock feels like it is on fucking fire.

I left the dye on too long. Fucking Spy!

I run/leap/barrel roll into the bathroom, where I jump into the shower and turn it on cold, full-force, without bothering to remove what clothing I stil have on.

Fuck, that burns.

Although, I like the color. Too bad nobody will ever see it.

Wait, isn't Medic still in the clinic? Hm.

24 .

Short Story #18 - Penis Ninja

"Hey, Spy! What are the distinguishing features of your cock?"

This is not the most orthodox thing to be screaming out in the middle of a crowded hallway.

However, it has been bothering me for a while.

I mean, everybody's cock is slightly different. I'm not even talking about length/width/whatever, I'm talking about moles, cuts, STDs, color, pubes, perhaps even a backup vaginal orfice. I don't know, but it makes me curious.

I've seen everyone's cock at least once.

And I could tell you about it, too. Like how Sniper has a small mole on his ballsack. I pay attention to the little things.

But Spy can hide his cock. Make it invisible, make it someone else's. He is a Penis Ninja.

And I must catch him when he least expects it.

So, here I am, in the middle of this big-ass hallway, screaming for his cock.

Well, technically, I'm only asking to SEE it, not put it in my ass or anything.

The request certainly caused everything around me to stop, and I think I can hear Scout cackling in the next room.

No matter. I can see Spy, and the terrified look on his face.

I run down the hallway, screaming "SHOW ME YOUR COCK, IT'S FOR RESEARCH" at the top of my lungs, and jump him, before he gets a chance to run away, pulling his pants down.

It seems he does not wear underwear.

Also, he seems to be missing a testacle.

Engineer was right, knives hurt.

25 .

Short Story #18 - Penis Ninja WITH ALTERNATE ENDING

"Hey, Spy! What are the distinguishing features of your cock?"

This is not the most orthodox thing to be screaming out in the middle of a crowded hallway.

However, it has been bothering me for a while.

I mean, everybody's cock is slightly different. I'm not even talking about length/width/whatever, I'm talking about moles, cuts, STDs, color, pubes, perhaps even a backup vaginal orifice. I don't know, but it makes me curious.

I've seen everyone's cock at least once.

And I could tell you about it, too. Like how Sniper has a small mole on his ball sack. I pay attention to the little things.

But Spy can hide his cock. Make it invisible, make it someone else's. He is a Penis Ninja.

And I must catch him when he least expects it.

So, here I am, in the middle of this crowded hallway, screaming for his cock.

Well, technically, I'm only asking to SEE it, not put it in my ass or anything.

The request certainly caused everything around me to stop, and I think I can hear Scout cackling in the next room.

No matter. I can see Spy, and the terrified look on his face.

I run down the hallway, screaming "SHOW ME YOUR COCK, IT'S FOR RESEARCH" at the top of my lungs, and jump him, before he gets a chance to run away, pulling his pants down.

It seems he does not wear underwear.

I'm still grabbing onto his legs, to keep him from running away. Everyone else is staring at us, in bewilderment. What, nobody's ever watched a man tackle another man, rip his pants off, and demand to analyze his wang?

Apparently not.

I'm being cursed at in French, and I don't understand a single word of it.

Quickly, before he manages to get away, I whip out a spare 13 inch dildo I had brought along (just in case I needed it) and slapped him across the face with it, knocking him out.

I then pulled out my Polaroid camera and snapped several photos from several different angles before running away, back to my room, yelling "THANK YOU!" as our (very confused) Medic knelt down by Spy to see if the fake cock did any damage.

I labeled the photos, and put them in the scrapbook titled "MY TEAM'S PENISES" before going to bed.

I know that Medic is going to want to talk with me tomorrow, but I feel that it was worth it to obtain such valuable information.

26 .

Short Story #19 - The City

There’s somewhere for me to be, I’m sure of it, but it sure as fuck isn’t here.

I belong back home, back among my fucking friends and any remaining family I might have. Not these people, these crazy fuckers, in this crazy fucking city.

The buildings crowd the sky so much I can’t even see the sun at noon. Wasn’t like that in Bee Cave, no sir. No, it was beautiful, with clear skies and fresh air and kind church-going people.

I used to be one of those people.

And then I woke the fuck up, and realized that everywhere else in the world, people got killed an nobody cared. People were robbed, raped, and beaten, and nobody cares. Because you aren’t related to that person, they aren’t your blood, and therefore you do not give a fuck.

I learned this about three days ago.

But now I know, and now I’m here, with my fucking team of psychopaths and murderers, killers and all these fucking bullet shells all over my fucking floor, what are they doing leaving these in my workshop?

Ah, my workshop.

It’s really just a pumped-up basement with too many pieces of equipment shoved inside of it. I don’t even know how they fit the dispenser parts down here. It smells like oil and grease, nasty must coming off of the machines, a dull whirring noise all around.

Just like the City, really.

It’s all over, and you can smell the smog and drugs and sex from miles away.

At night, it lights up like a fucking bar, the entire place covered in neon lights and honking horns and cheering whores and laughing men.

Like a huge casino, everywhere.

And I’m just so profoundly frustrated by it, Goddamnit.

Spy loves it. He laps it up like the whore he is, and we all know where he goes and what he does when the sun goes down below the horizon of buildings. How else could he afford those suits and imported cigarettes in the tins they don’t make anymore?

Scout loves it, too. He gets along well with the local children, plays ball with them in what is perhaps the only space in this entire Goddamn place not occupied by cement or sidewalks.

Every-fucking-body likes it, except me, Mr. Country Boy.

This entire place makes me ill, makes me wretch when nobody’s watching. It makes me sick to be here.

And then there’s Pyro.

He’s outside of it all. Where the Hell is that boy from? He’s not bothered by any of it. He actually likes it. He ran into my basement/workshop last night yelling through his mask wearing a sombrero and poncho dancing around shaking two grenades like maracas.

Sniper likes a challenge, and Demoman’s usually too drunk to care where he is or what’s going on.

Medic and Heavy are so in love that they can’t see anything outside of each other, which I suppose is good.

Soldier likes hanging around, and giving speeches on various things. He still thinks the blender is using freebase cocaine.

The city folk themselves are deranged drug addicts and gambling freaks, poor and then rich and then poor again within an hour. Women wearing near nothing walk the streets around the casinos, waiting for a hot shot to roll up in a car painted “I Have a Small Dick” red, hoping they can make up for everything by paying her extra.

It’s sick.

I have never hated anything more than I hate this. Not Spies, not the Announcer, not anything.

Not even war compares to rush hour downtown.

27 .

Short Story #20 - It's Not Drugs, It's Insanity

Man.

Maaaaan.

There are trees outside.

And grass, but the grass can talk. Generally, I ignore it.

It’s like the fresh smell of drywall in the morning. You know? Like snorting lines of gunpowder.

Or like the taste of piano. Dragging your tongue across old ivory keys of a Grand Piano at three o’clock in the morning. Beautiful.

Wait, that’s not right.

Whatever.

I can’t think straight, and I can’t talk straight. Medic can’t have straight sex. Hahaha, straight.

Straight.

Say it over and over, and it sounds like a river flowing.

Straightstraightstraightstraightstraight.

A river straight.

Whoah.

There are trees I can’t begin to describe, I can hear penises singing in harmony with each other, I can hear drunken rambling and all kinds of shit in the other room, but all that matters right now is the fact that I breathe air, and air is made by trees. Therefore, we all rely on trees.

I love trees.

But we can’t physically love trees.

Unless we, like, drilled a hole big enough for a cock.

But that would hurt. I think my penis just retracted in fear up into my stomach at the thought of cock splinters.

Maybe the tree itself would have a cock? What would that look like?

Oh, dude.

Tree wood. Wood. As in, cock. Wooden wood!

Wooden wood, with a woody.

I think I just had an epiphany.

I have to go tell everyone. Let me go dig them up, I’ll be back soon enough.

28 .

Short Story #21 - Dude, You Are So Fucked

I took a shit in the water tunnels.

I’m not sure why. I was pissed off at someone for something, so I just pulled down my pants while I was down there and took a shit.

Shit floats, right?

So it’s floating in there somewhere, and I don’t think anyone’s found it yet.

It’s standard brown, but it’s pretty long.

And they’re all down there, swimming around in shit water.

I pissed in there, too, but don’t people do that all the time? It’s the huge floating logs that you have to look out for, I guess.

I think that Spy over there found it.

He looks mighty pissed off.

He’s looking at me. He looks like he licked it or something. Although, I guess if I found someone else’s shit floating around, I’d look the same way.

Thank God he’s a fellow BLU, otherwise I’m pretty sure I’d be shot.

..Is that a tentacle?

29 .

Short Story #22 - Morning Coffee

I just had four cups of dark roast coffee, that I stole from Sniper's stash.

I don't know what's going on, but I can hear bullets and bullets and yelling and this is so awesome is this what coffee feels like surging through my brain oh man this rocks this is FUCKING AMAZING

Gotta run.

Runrunrunrunrunrunrun.

Everywhere.

Over there, there, there, and then there.

You know, the place with the trees and the guys with the people shooting at the other people and man coffee is AWESOME why have I never done this before this is amazing seriously this is great it's like I'm running without running in real life I'm just running in my head whoah that sounds retarded but I swear it's totally fucking great

Whoah.

Whoahwoahwoahwoah.

/Dude/.

I think I'm having a heart attack.

Or, I'm running too fast, or I'm thinking too fast, or I'm something I'm doing something but it's crazy and my heart is faster than I'm running and I can't stop, not now, we've almost taken point, I can't slow down, I can't let the adrenaline drop, I can feel it, I can hear my heart beating in my head, I can feel my pulse, Goddamn I must be running faster than Engie's car, Christ, this is amazing--

I'm exhausted.

I need to stop...

Huh.

I wonder when I arrived in the clinic?

30 .

Short Story #24 - I Really Don't Know What the Fuck's Going On

There were whispers coming from every bodily orfice.

"I'm going to come fuck you in the ass! But perhaps! I should wait until another dawn."

There was a velociraptor waiting outside. I could see nothing but huge raptor dick through the window, filling the frame, and Heavy was jerking off to livestock porn in the corner, next to Spy, who was performing autofellatio.

I was truly on my own.

Sniper was hallucinating. We all were, after the bunch of mushrooms we all consumed after cockfucking everybody in the nostril. Or was it the other? Perhaps.

"Where is your cock, Scout?"

I don't know. I can't find it. I know it's there, but I can't see it. Perhaps it was consumed by demon cats, come from the depths of Hell to destroy our souls? Perilous.

"It is where you say, now!"

There were raptor cocks surrounding us, from every angle. Everywhere I looked, there was a huge reptilian penis staring at me, opening it's mouth and hissing.

Sniper was yelling for me, things I couldn't understand. He was mongling cock at the time, making it incomprehensible babble. Exclamation!

"We must climb walls of dicks to reach the moon. Flee with me, to the adventures we shall share!"

A convincing arguement, but we all knew that once we left the safety of these walls, our pants would be devoured by the Gods.

I could not think, but for the shouts coming from my anus, telling me to omit the word "the" from every statement.

"I said what, Good Sir! I pronounce my name to you. Dispenser!"

Fellatio is truly the best way to spend a rainy day indoors.

"Noun! Return to me, so we can verb."

I cannot remember the last time I had seen such a large dildo, hanging form the windowsill. It seemed as though it were a work of art, dangling in the raptor-cock filled wind.

I was terrified of the cocks, they were everywhere. With every turn of the head, I could see a penis, reptillian or not. Everywhere, they were everywhere. Surrounding me.

"Dubious! I cannot recall the definition." It was true. I could not.

Red mist from the other room filled the air with the scent of peppermint and mango, a truly disturbing mixture of common sense and recollection.

"Cease this madness!" I yelled into the mist. Breathing it in is akin to brething pure death, copper and disease mixed into ginger cookies and masturbation.

The danger had not passed; Heavy was almost out of cow porn. Cakes! With lemon filling. I cannot remember the last morning we had woken up to the roar of recently revived demons, come to kill us all with lizards and magazines.

Truly, a testament to our lives.

I cannot see the end, nor the beginning.

I can see the green scales in the window, I can hear the rustling of pants and clanging of belt buckles. I can hear birds chirping, as though from one thousand miles away, and my intestines writhe with anticipation for the next morning.

Should there be another day?

Extravagance.

I remember the red mist; it has long since faded into reality, which no longer effects me, nor this place. Outside of time, outside of logic.

We remain forever, in confusion.

Nay, we exist merely a second, before our lives become absorbed into nothing and imagination. Disease! Lies! Filled in our heads. Like the lies, like the toasted pastries we are so used to jerking off in.

Nothing to say, but good morning, Raptors. Good morning, alas!

I can examine the penis from here; Exuberant!

I cannot wait for toast.

31 .

Short Story #25 - Sadness

I don't care anymore.

There's nothing here for me, nobody cares. There's no going home, no coming back, nothing.

I just don't fucking care.

And I got yelled at, when I decided to give up. I was screamed at by all of my teammates, I was slapped across the face, I was thrown up against the wall.

But I don't care.

I can't bring myself to care about anything anymore. I give up, I can't do this anymore.

I tried my best, I tried my very Goddamn best.

But I couldn't do it, I couldn't fucking take it anymore!

Because I got a letter in the mail yesturday.

Irene's dead.

I just... I was fighting for her. I was living for her, I kept her picture under my pillow and dreamt about her every night. But now what? She's gone, and I wasn't there for her. I didn't get to say goodbye.

I never got to propose.

I still have the ring, the Goddamn ring!

She kissed me, before I left, to come to this misrable fucking place. She said I'd better come home alive.

But, look who died?

My train's here.

I'm going home for the funeral.

32 .

Short Story # 26 - Sick

Sniper could see him, sitting up there on the rooftop.

He was alone, as he usually was. He looked sad, his face illuminated by the moon, an odd hue of grey.

He looked... almost peaceful.

He was watching the moon, up there on the roof, in the middle of the night, humming a song Sniper had never heard before.

Maybe it was some tune that was popular in Germany? Who knew? It was beautiful.

He could barely see it, but a tear slipped carefully down Medic's face, almost completely invisible.

It was strange, but Sniper felt the need to climb up on the roof and comfort the poor bastard. God knows what happened today to make the /Medic/ cry.

So, here he was, at midnight in the middle of December, crawling outside through the window and onto the roof wearing nothing but his pajamas, trying to see what was wrong.

Medic noticed him climbing up, and offered him a hand. Sniper sat next to him, and they were both silent for a while.

"What happened today, mate?"

There was a few seconds of silence.

"...Ilsa is very sick. She will not make it through the winter, and I am not there to comfort her."

Oh.

"I have a girl back home. Amy. I understand."

Medic started to hum again. Sniper was getting cold.

"Aren't you freezing? It's gotta be close to snowing." A faint smile crossed Medic's face. "No. I am used to it. If you are getting chilly, we can go inside, maybe make some hot coco?" Sniper smiled. "Sounds great."

Once they managed to climb back inside without breaking anything, they began to walk towards the kitchen. "Eh, Sniper? Thank you." It was the first completely honest smile he'd ever gotten from Medic. "Oh, no problem." Sniper smiled back. "Now, I'm freezing, know where Scout put the coco mix?"

33 .

Short Story #27 - Home

Home is crowded, surrounded by people, getting bossed around a little and playing ball in the middle of the street.

Home is warm, always sunny, surrounded by crisp air and chirping birds. A little lonely, but perfect.

Home is getting drunk, surrounded by smiling faces, singing songs and sitting outside on the grass, watching the sky.

Home is freezing cold, but warm when it counts.

Home is deep in the city, with buildings so tall you can't see the sun.

Home is in the desert, with family, making noise until the sun comes up.

Home is peaceful, with friends at church every weekend and Mama's famous apple pie waiting at home for you.

I wish I had a warm place, or a cold place, or a calm place, or a busy place I could tell you about.

Any place to call my own, to share with you.

But I'm a Spy, and I can't disclose any information that might give away my country of origin.

But I will tell you this: The rivers that run along the streets in the city compare to nothing else. The music, the art, the food- It is all unique, amazing.

I call Venice my home.

34 .

Short Story #28 - Heartbreaker

------------

Note: Dedicated to my roommate, who recently had her heart broken, too.

------------

I saw him.

I saw him fucking somebody else.

I could hear it; it woke me up at midnight. I went to check on him, see if he is alright. Maybe he is hurt or something, I don't know. I worry about these things.

And he's there, wrapped up in his sheets, moaning like a whore, with his arms around somebody else, kissing somebody else, loving somebody else.

I want to scream.

I want to run back in there, and scream at him and yell at him and beat him within an inch of his life.

But here I am, standing in the hallway, leaning my back against the door, looking like a fool.

I can hear him talking to himself in Russian, I can hear the other man muttering in some language, some accent, it doesn't even register with me anymore.

He was fucking someone else.

How long has he been doing this? How many others?

Why not me?

I heal him, do I not? I love him, do I not?

If I hated him, it would hurt so much less.

But I feel it like knives in my heart, I can't think straight, I can't breathe, I can't move.

I think I'm crying, but I can't really feel it. My glasses are fogging up. Everything's numb.

Because I just found my lover, my patient, sleeping with another man.

And not me.

Not. Me.

I haven't hid my face in my hands since elementary school, and I haven't curled up into a sobbing mess on the floor since prom night all those years ago, back in Stuttgart.

I think someone's coming down the hall, but I don't give a damn. Let them find me here, so pathetic, crying like a woman.

I don't care. I can't think, I can't move, I can't do anything.

Just cry.

I think it's Scout, running down the hall like that. There he goes, jumping over ammunitions crates and bolting around the corner.

I swear, he's going to slip and fall one of these days, and if he falls right now, I won't be able to heal him. All my things are in the clinic.

Some Medic I am.

Sitting in a hall, crying like a baby.

Cry some more.

Oh, God.

35 .

Short Story #29 - Don't Cry

Daddy, what's wrong?

Daddy, please don't cry. Please? For me?

What's that paper say? What's a "draft"? It says you got drafted, Daddy. What does that mean? Daddy?

Daddy, don't cry! You're making me sad! You always say I look silly when I cry. Please stop?

Wait, you mean that "draft" means you have to leave? When? In August? You can't go! You'll miss my ninth birthday! Nine is a big number, you told me so! I'll be a big girl.

What do you mean, you have to go? Why? Oh, like how I have to go to school, even though I don't like it? Okay. Well, come home soon.

I love you too, Daddy.

/////

Mommy, what's that letter? Is it for me? Is it from Daddy? What does it say, what does it say? I wanna know! Please tell me? Pleeeeeeeease?

Mommy, why are you crying?

What's a "death noe-tee-fik-a-shun?" Notification. Death notification. Gee, that sounds kinda weird, doesn’t it? What does that mean? Oh.

Wait, -death- notification?

Who died, Mommy?

Oh.

But, Mommy... My birthday's next week. Daddy promised he'd be home. He said he'd be here, and he never lies. He said he'd get me a puppy. A beagle, like the one he used to have back in Bee Cave.

Mommy? Mommy, don't hug me so hard. It hurts. You're getting tears on my dress, Mommy! C'mon, stop crying, please?

36 .

Short Story #30 - Balaclava

Everybody wondered what Spy looked like, under the balaclava.

Everyone had a different theory, a different face they imagined.

Everyone just assumed he was gorgeous, probably the best looking out of all of them.

God knows what he used to do for a living before the war came along; the common theories include prostitute, model, and things along those lines. Something sexy, something beautiful, something with movie stars and famous women, something stereotypically French. Anything.

Spy loved to walk by and listen to them talk about him, wonder about him, want to know everything about him.

He wanted so badly to take off the mask, throw the balaclava to the floor, and prove them all wrong.

Everyone assumed that he was beautiful, everyone assumed that he was amazing. And that may have been true, at some point.

But respawn doesn't heal scars.

He had tons of them, all over his body, all over his once-handsome face. Carved into soft, pale skin by interrogation specialists from opposing teams, by enemy bombs going off in his face, whatever.

He may have been a model, he may have been chased after by ladies and men alike, a long time ago in France.

But that was over.

After his first interrogation by a RED Spy, he had come back to base, and made the horrible, horrible mistake of looking in a mirror.

His face, in areas not covered in half-dried blood, were cuts and small round cigarette burns. Cuts that went across the surface, cuts that went to the bone, cuts that went over his lips and nose and dangerously close to his eyes, all over, everywhere.

So ugly.

It enraged him, killed him inside.

Pieces of the mirror glass are still in the carpet around the makeshift dresser.

He had been waterboarded and starved, taunted and tortured, experimented on by enemy Medics, denied all human rights and detained for months at a time, but nothing had compared to this.

His looks were everything to him, all that mattered.

And he knew he was a vain bastard, to the point of unforgivable sinning. Lust. Envy. Pride. He had it all, he wanted it all, others wanted what he had, and he had never been afraid to show it off.

But what was he to show off now? Burn scars? Cuts that had been sutured poorly, by shaking hands? Thick, dark bruises and stitches done messily and incorrectly? A once-perfect smile that would be lop-sided for the rest of his life?

So he kept on the balaclava, kept up the paper masks, hiding constantly.

They were right, he was something exceptional, something special, alright.

But beautiful? Never again.

37 .

Short Story #31 - Lens

They are all terrified.

I can see them, firing at each other, running around hollering, setting up weapons and laying out minefields of bombs, all yelling and covered in dried blood.

But when they see me, they freeze.

The fire engulfs their bodies, bursting into flames. They scream, and I can see the skin burn away, I can hear it, I can smell the flesh burning like fried grease, and the smell gets all over me, sticking to me, and it will never come off, and why is it all so funny?

It's hilarious. It's absolutely hysterical, the way they stagger about, trying to breathe in, trying to run away, find water, find Medic, find something to make it stop, and they just wander about in circles, until they can't run anymore and it hurts too much and the air isn't flowing and everything just

halts

and suddenly, they just give in.

There's nothing that can stop the flames.

Isn't that great? After all that fuss, all that worry, they just burn into heaps of twisted and mangled things.

Dirt gets into the burnt flesh when they hit the ground, sticking to charred skin and bone like some kind of abstract work of art.

They know that I enjoy it.

They know that I'm itching to empty propane tank after propane tank, just burning every god damn thing in sight, people, machine, I don't care, just burn it and kill it and watch it writhe on the ground or melt away or something, just burn until it's fucking gone.

RED, BLU, it doesn't fucking matter. Everybody burns the same.

And they can't see my eyes, behind my mask. The lenses are tinted too darkly.

But they know.

They know how easily they burn. They know how quickly the flames will engulf them, how quickly the fire will eat away at them and destroy them and just fucking devour them until nothing is left but clumps of skin and dirt and char, and how I will smile and laugh through the filter of my mask, how I will taunt and tell stories about it later.

How I won't hesitate. How I won't even give it a second fucking thought.

They can't see past the lenses. They can't see a damned thing.

But they smell it too, they hear it too, they see it too.

They fear the fire.

I embrace it.

38 .

Short Story #32 - Scout's First Day

Oh my God.

OhmyGodOhmyGodOhmyGod, that guy is dead.

That guy is totally fuckin' dead!

And I killed him.

Beat his stupid ass right in the side'a the head.

Jesus Christ, I killed someone.

With my fuckin' bat! With Kevin's bat. That he gave to me. The Christmas before I was deployed. The /nice/ bat.

My nice-ass fuckin' bat, that now has a dent in it, and blood.

Blood on me, on the floor, on the bat, on everything.

It's messed up, fuck, what am I gonna tell him in my next letter? "Hey, I fucked up that bat you gave me. Yeah, the good one. Beat someone in the head with it until they died. Thanks, though!"

I just /totally fuckin' killed someone/!

There's a dead guy, and his blood is on me, and he's dead, and there are no cops, and there are no sirens, and nobody gives a shit.

I just fuckin' killed somebody! Five seconds ago!

There is a dead guy, /right there/, and nobody gives a shit!

I killed a guy.

With a bat.

And there are no cops.

...This place is pretty cool.

39 .

Short Story #33 - Music

Medic's fingers glided carefully over the strings, other hand gently pulling the bow back and forth, while strands of music poured forth from the old instrument.

They were all allowed to bring something, some little token or memory, with them when they came here, to the fort. The max allowance for space was something along the lines of a duffel bag and maybe one or two smaller bags, but that was it.

Medic had brought only a single, small suitcase and his violin.

It was old, and had been a gift to him from his parents a long time ago, when he was only a boy. Before the war. Before everything.

He could recall every lesson, every sheet of music, every song. He loved music, it's delicate sounds ringing in the air, humming along gently to a tune his Nana taught him, fingers passing across the fingerboard, making sure everything was still in-tune and undamaged from the rough transport here from Stuttgart.

He paused for a moment, to glide rosin over the horsehair bow.

He resumed play, tuning it a little, twisting the pegs here and there, adjusting the sound only slightly, making it perfect.

He wished he could have more time to play, on a regular basis. It was a good way of calming down after the rush of battle, after the running and screaming and killing and healing and all these other things.

For now, there was just music in the air.

No blood, no strained voices, no damned Announcer, no sirens, no gunshots.

Just Beethoven.

It was lovely.

Lovely, and peaceful, and filled with memories of innocence and recitals and happiness.

Before the fighting came, and the bombs dropped, and the men waving strange flags arrived and fired shots off into the schools and the hospitals and the homes along his street.

Before he was drafted again and shipped off to this place, this horrible place, with crazed men and no reason to fight.

Before everything, there had been music. There had been Beethoven and Bach and Mozart and all the others, lovely symphonies, orchestras and concertos, always playing in the back of his mind, the only thing keeping him sane.

So here he was, at some time past midnight, playing tunes on his violin to no audience or crowd, humming quietly to himself, lost in memories.

40 .

Short Story #33 1/2 - Music

It was past midnight, and the entire base was awake.

"Can somebody turn off that fucking radio?"

Scout's voice echoed through the halls, far too early in the morning or night or what-the-fuck-ever-time-it-was, making sure that if there was even one teammate left sleeping, he sure as hell wasn't anymore.

There had been music coming from somewhere, most likely from down the hall, sounding quite loud in the silence of nighttime.

Scout was making a fuss, which caused Demoman to immediately start bitching about how it was too early for this, you little shit, stop yelling, I can't hear the music and your voice makes my head hurt, Engineer, just turn the radio off so we can all get back to bed!

Engineer was swearing up and down that he turned the damn thing off before he locked down for the night, and dang nabbit Demo, your bitching sure as Hell isn't helping, just shut up!

Pyro, being Pyro, threatened to burn everyone unless everybody shut the fuck up right fucking now and go shoot the damn radio already, Jesus Christ.

Sniper left to get some coffee, ignoring everybody and getting out of the middle of the whining and confusion for a minute, not saying a word.

Soldier was (naturally) assuming that they were all under attack, and was getting dressed as fast as he could. He probably didn't hear the music at all.

"Yo, where the fuck's Heavy? You think he'd just go in there and bust the fuckin' thing apart."

That was a good point. Where /was/ Heavy?

Spy, of course, had already figured it out.

"Engineer, you say you turned off the radio before we all went to bed?"

The bitching ground to a halt. Everybody knew that it was best to listen to the voice of reason. Which, actually, was usually Medic. Where was he, anyway?

"Yessir. I swear, I--"

"And where, exactly, is the good Doctor?"

"Uh, I-- Oh!"

Ah, realization.

Spy was about to go back to bed, feeling that the situation had been debunked, but Scout's voice- yet again- rang out in the middle of the hall.

"Hey, let's go check it out! Maybe he'll cut that shit out if we go tell him to."

"Now, Scout, I don't think it's nice to go tell him--"

"Dude, it's like two in the morning. If he's gonna play all night, he can do it on a day when I don't have to go fight the forces of evil or some shit."

"Mmmmph mmph hhmh."

"Now, Pyro, put the axe down, we were just about to go ask him t' stop it, nobody has to-"

"Cool! I'll race ya."

"Boy, it's only a few doors down from here, you don't have to run."

Spy sighed, knowing that if something was going on, he wanted to be there to watch, even if it was over something as trivial as this.

They, wearing nothing but pajamas, burst into Medic's room, and saw--

Medic, humming so, so softly, along to Beethoven's Sonata No. 8, Op. 30, with Heavy sitting near him, swaying slightly to the tune, watching Medic with loving eyes.

"Doktor play good, da?"

Scout completely forgot what he was doing there, completely hypnotized by Medic's playing, and simply sat on the floor.

Engineer damn near did the same, but settled for leaning heavily against the doorframe.

Spy was, admittedly, a little startled by Medic's skill. This was incredible, beautiful, lovely. He hadn't played one note off, not one waver.

Soon enough, the entire team was in Medic's room, listening to what everyone had assumed was some classical music radio station being played by, of all people, the team Medic.

Well, save for Soldier, who was ranting and raving about "sneak attacks" and was heading towards the battlements.

Eventually, the song ended, and Medic set the violin down in his lap.

"I am sorry my playing woke you up. Did you like it?"

Almost everyone answered at once.

"Fuck yeah!" "Amazing, Doktor!" "Lovely." "I'll be damned, that was great!" "Ammhph!" "Very professional." "Ach, that was beautiful!"

Medic blushed, pleased that they weren't angry at him for waking them up.

He received a kiss from Heavy, as well as some applause from the crowd that had amassed in the small room, making him blush that much harder.

"Now, Doc, that's usually not my style, but that was somethin' fuckin' /great/ in there!"

"Oh, really, I'm not that good, I just--"

"Nonsense, Doktor! Music is good! You are credit to team!"

"I thought I'd left the radio on or somethin'!"

"Mmmph, mmhpph..." Pyro was tapping his watch, indicating that, while his playing really was something else, it was now two o'clock AM, and oh God we all have to work tomorrow, can we get to sleep?"

"Oh! All of you, back to bed! I didn't think it was this early, we're all going to be exhausted tomorrow! I'm sorry."

"Do not worry, the concert was well worth it." Spy began to walk back to his room, as did everyone else, once all final compliments were payed.

Finally, everyone had gone to bed, and Medic put up his violin and replaced it on the nightstand with his bonesaw, laying it out for the next day.

He would have to be sure to give these little concerts more often.

Just not this early in the morning.

41 .

Christmas Story - Snow

It was always cold in Russia.

After years of living there, he didn't notice anymore.

When he was young, he would wait all year for December, for all the heavy snow and bunches of jackets and warm hats and the opportunity to cuddle with his dog Sasha on his porch, with a warm mug of hot chocolate, his mother calling for him to come in and his father yelling for him to stay out, be a man, tough out the cold, tossing snowballs at him.

It had been great fun.

And then he got older, and he understood how ignorant he had been.

The cold does not bring happiness and love anymore.

It brings hate and fear and great, great sadness, even to a man such as himself.

He grew up with sweet memories of family and laughter, love and friendship.

But the older he got, the more trouble he had, the more fights he got into, the sicker his mother got. Every year, the winters became colder and colder, until even /he/ gave in to the freezing wind.

Had it not been for this war, he would still be cold, still be sad, still be alone.

But here, in the middle of a war, he had friends again.

There was Medic there for him, there to kiss him and heal him and love him.

There was Scout there for him, to toss snowballs at and trade sandviches with, like he would do with playmates at school.

There was an entire team of friends, none of them aware of his past, or even his name.

He was Heavy.

He was not that boy back in Russia, with near-frozen tears all over his face, with blood-stained boxing gloves, with a broken heart.

Here, he was loved, and felt loved, and gave love.

It was warm here.

And perhaps, after the war, if he was still alive, he would stay.

Perhaps they would all stay, and have a storybook happy ending.

But he was not that stupid.

Everyone would go home, and he would be alone and sad again.

So as he sat there, on the porch, his arms wrapped around Medic, watching Scout ambush Soldier with snowball after snowball, he decided to focus on the warmth he had here, and now.

Because he knew that it would all end, and the cold winter of Russia would be there, waiting for him when he went back.

42 .

Short Story #34 - Surprise

*Warning: This one's kinda gory. Involves Tentaspy.*

Spy had been sitting near the train tracks, dangling his feet in the water, enjoying his short break with a few imported cigarettes.

He had been extremely careful to roll up his pantlegs enough that they wouldn't get wet, because really, it's a nice suit, and who likes to run around all day with soggy socks and such?

Occasionally a teammate would pass by, mouth hanging open in shock. What were they all so afraid of?

He blatantly ignored all the rumors about the "thing in the water" or whatever it was supposed to be, taking it all as bullshit fed to new recruits to scare them out of using the waterways.

Which, logically speaking, made sense. How could- what was it- a "Tentaspy" exist?

It couldn't, that's how.

So when Spy felt the tentacle wrap around his ankle and yank him down, he was honestly caught off-guard.

"What--"

He didn't have time to grab the edge of concrete he had been sitting on just a few seconds previous. His cigarette fell out of his mouth and landed, floating, in the water, looking strangely calm, giving off only slight, small ripples.

Under the surface, however, was an entirely different story.

Tentacles, from seemingly nowhere, wrapped around his arms, his legs, his waist...

One tentacle wrapped around his neck, the very tip nudging his head upward for Tentaspy to get a better look.

He thrashed around a bit, trying to get out, swim away, something. But Tentaspy's grip was too tight, amazingly so.

The thing- the impossible thing, this creature, this monster- was looking Spy up and down, with a wide grin on his face.

He had bright yellowish eyes, and a mouthful of dangerously sharp teeth.

Truly a monster.

"I could use a new suit."

How was he speaking so clearly? It was impossible! Wasn't it?

Spy would have asked, but every time he opened his mouth, little bubbles of precious air floated towards the surface, reminding him of one very serious problem:

He couldn't breathe.

It was getting dire, now.

All the fuss, along with being dragged down God-knows-how-deep, left Spy with very little air left.

But before he could linger on the problem any longer, tentacles began to undress him, and soon enough, he was stripped of his jacket, shirt, and tie.

"There. I will change into your lovely suit once I'm done with lunch."

What was lunch for this monster? There were no fish, it was a closed pipe system. How did he even get here?

...Wait.

Lunch?

Oh.

Tentaspy pulled him forward, shortening the distance between them even further.

"You're very handsome. I bet you taste absolutely /terrific/."

Spy wanted to scream.

He could feel every single pointed tooth grinding into him, wisps of blood dissipating in the water.

"Mmmmgh..."

Tentaspy was biting into Spy's upper arm, twisting and pulling at the muscle with his teeth, probably scraping bone. He could feel the bits of skin hanging off of the wound, licking it up, God, how delicious...

Spy could feel it all, pain only made worse by the intense grip of the tentacles. Blood was flowing freely out of the wound...

He couldn't help but wonder: Would he die from blood loss, or would he just run out of breath and--

The tentacle around his torso tightened, tighter, tighter--

He could feel his ribs cracking under the pressure.

Tentaspy, however, seemed too involved in devouring Spy's arm to care. He was working his way up from the first bite, having eaten all the flesh off of Spy's arm almost all the way to the bone, leaving only those tough stringy bits he never really liked, and was now working on gnawing at Spy's neck after briefly passing over Spy's shoulder. Not enough meat there. Maybe enough for later, for dessert.

He tasted /delicious/, much better than that Demoman. Sure, he wasn't nearly as meaty as a Heavy, but he wasn't all string and bone like Scouts always tended to be. He was juuuust right.

The meat in the neck was always pretty good, no matter who it was.

Spy could feel the tentacle that had been around his neck slowly move down his back.

He knew where the next bite was going to be.

He could feel the burning in his lungs like nothing he had ever experienced. Nothing like the burning sensation he got whenever he wound up inhaling a cigarette incorrectly. This was much, much worse.

He couldn't breathe, and wanted to open his mouth and gasp so badly, but knew that if he did, all he would fill his lungs with would be water.

Water, and--

"Nnnghph! Mhh.."

He couldn't scream. He had to keep his mouth closed, he had to just take it, don't open, don't open, don't open--

He couldn't do it.

The feeling of Tentaspy's teeth forcing their way through the meat of his neck, all the way to his trachea, down to the bone, ripping through everything, oh God, oh Christ, wha--

His eyes widened and dulled, and his heart slowed to a stop, and suddenly Tentaspy noticed that his little meal was dead.

He was still hungry, though.

He barely cared that Spy had slipped out of consciousness as he propped the body up a little better and ripped into the torso, using a few tentacles to tear the bite hole bigger and bigger, allowing thick clouds of blood to pour out of Spy's already-dead body.

He licked at the blood, tearing pieces of Spy's body off and quickly shoving some under himself every once in a while, to feed that pesky second mouth hidden by all those tentacles.

But this one, he wanted to savor. He wanted to taste it, taste the blood and skin and everything else, before it got too cold.

So he ate as quickly as he could, before it could get /too/ watery and cold and nasty and stale, and made sure to wait a while before putting on his new suit.

After all, he didn't want to get fleshy bits all over it, did he?

At least, not until the new Spy dropped by.

43 .

Short Story #35 - Goodnight, Irene (Songfic)

Note: This is based off of the song "Goodnight Irene" by The Weavers, which was a #1 record breaker in 1950. It's obviously referenced in TF2 (when Engie gets a revenge kill, he says "Well, goodnight Irene!" for those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, which I doubt is any of you, but hey, one can never be too careful), and I figured I would expand upon it. For your listening enjoyment, here's a YouTube link to the Weaver's version of the song, just in case you wanna listen to it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yPzDwBoHzQ and just in case folk music ain't your style, I found a cover of it by the Four Corners, using a guitar instead of banjo, which you can listen to here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=581GUDouxr4&feature=related. It was remarked upon often for it's lyrics, which describe a man that lost the woman he loved and was about to kill himself, and then asks the listener to go home and visit what family they have. I figured it fit damn near perfect, so here's my little songfic for ya.

---

It was too damn early for Engineer to be awake, but he couldn't get to sleep.

He wondered what the time difference was, between right here and Bee Cave.

He wondered if, right now, his wife was tucking his daughter into bed.

He wished he would get to see them again, one day, when this godforsaken war was over, and the men all went home, and the women would cry into their shoulders instead of their pillows at night, and the children would smile and ask where they'd been all the while, and they'd just be the happiest damn guys in the world.

But he's seen his fellow Engineers get stabbed, shot, blown up... Hell, there was even a goddamn tentacle monster around.

He had seen men cry, after getting phonecalls from their ladies back home, telling them how they couldn't wait anymore, how they weren't even sure they'd be coming back alive, how they couldn't stand to be a widow, how they met another man, how they were moving on.

And every time, every goddamn time, every phonecall, every bullet, every downcast look reminded him of her.

Her hair, how she still fashioned it in victory rolls even though the style was considered old compared to the new hair of the sixties just because she knew he loved it.

Her eyes, perfectly green and so, so lovely.

How she'd make the best damn biscuits and gravy in the whole town, just for him and their lovely little girl Rosie.

What if she left him, for someone who would be there, and kiss her and hold her and tell her that he loved her every night before putting Rosie to bed?

He looked out the window at the moon, which was partially hidden behind part of the RED base.

He wished he could be there for them, to wake up in the morning to Irene and Rosie and his nice little home in Bee Cave, where he belonged, instead of waking at six in the morning to gunshots and men yelling in accents and languages he had never heard before in his life and risking his life building sentry after sentry, only to have some goddamn Spy fuck everything up and send him to respawn.

What if he was killed for good?

What if Irene had to tell Rosie her papa wasn't coming home? Irene would be raising a child, alone. His child. Their child. In these times.

What if Rosie grew up, and (God forbid) got sent out here? He knew that the army didn't hire ladies for frontline work, but there was a real serious shortage of men, and if the war went on forever like it seemed it would...

What if, what if, what if...

He couldn't stand to think about it any longer.

So he walked over to his guitar, picked it up, and began to strum a song...

/The very last words I heard her say/
/Was "please sing me one last song"/
/Goodnight, Irene/
/I'll see you in my dreams/
/I love Irene/
/God knows I do/
/Love her 'till the seas run dry/
/And if Irene goes away from me/
/I'll take morphine and die/

44 .

Short Story #36 - Nineteen Hundred

Note: Inspired by listening to late 1880s music, and reading the oldest books I could find at the local book museum. My favorite of the songs (available on cylinder format only) was "My Gal Irene", which was written and performed in 1908. This is, of course, another songfic for Engie. It is unconventional, in the way that I used time period-based slang in some places, so it's basically early 1900s Team Fortress Engie pining for his missus. My playlist consisted of these songs whilst I wrote:

1) My Gal Irene, 1908
2) In My Merry Oldsmobile, 1905
3) Piano and Cornet, 1887
4) Smiles and Chuckles, 1917
5) Haunting Blues, year unknown
6) My Best Gal's a New Yorker, 1895
7) If You're Thinkin' of Me, 1925
8) When I Waltz With You, 1913
9) Grand Old Rag (original), 1906

Without further ado, on with the show!

---

My missus, the sparker in the blue, God I miss her.

Every time I get ready for a scramble, I'm scared I'll never see her again.

I'll get fired at, I'll get bruised up and banged up and shaken all over, and when I get back, all I can do is pull that photo off the dressing table and kiss it, perhaps send off a letter, a message, anything. God knows if we can get a wire into the other base, we can get one out to Texas.

But the mail, I know it never gets passed, and I know she's at home with Mitzy, wonderin' when I'm gonna get home.

Mitzy McCoy, her and her blueberry pies. Always sharing stories and Sunday lunch with Irene, coming over in that old-fashioned apron, that grin on her face... She's a vamp on the rise, that one. Hopefully she'll get a nice young man.

But it's no matter to me, she's somebody else's. I have my Irene, my sparker, my missus. Hah, sounds like some new phonograph song, doesn't it?

I wish we had a player here... I've got my guitar, but it'd be nice to hear some new records for release.

Perhaps I could take the old Velo* into town and pick up some good ol' canned music from the corner shop.

I could send mail from there, if I was allowed. It has to pass through some bullhonkey system first, which I never really understood, but it's something to do with security. Most likely some damn Agent** looking through my letters, in those damn suits, lookin' dapper and dressy for the ladies in town.

The news is never good; there's talk of some damn fool politician outlawing drinks, some kinda prohibition. It'll never get past; too many rich drunks and poor distillers out there. And, if legal trouble isn't bad enough, there's a depression coming, worse than anything other.

It's this damn war, these damn bullets and wasted money, goin' to shit. All of it. Men are dying, can't send money home, can't get out, coming home in bags, all of us.

Without this war, I'd be home.

Without this war, I'd be homeless.

Either way, there's jack.

But if I come home with a certain letter pinned to my coffin, what's gonna happen?

I miss my Irene, my girl.

Hell, I could write a song.

Send /that/ money home instead. If only I had a recorder. Bet I could request one?

Nah.

Oh well, Irene. Hope you're safe.

Gotta go get my Chicago piano*** ready.


------

* A Velo is a model name for an automobile made in 1894. It's more or less an early Benz. Not sure why it'd be on a military base, but hey, fuck it, maybe Engie persuaded a higher-up to let him bring his car with him. Since it was old, they figured it would just break down and rot outside the workshop, but Engineer maintained it quite well, and was able to keep it more or less functional. Plus, I am a whore for antique cars, so I had to include one. It was between this or a Model-T, which would have been cool, but this is more obscure, so I went with it instead.

** Agent = Spah. I came across a 1900s detective story, kinda like a combo of 007 and The Hardy Boys, and it uses the term "Agent" throughout to refer to the Spy. I wish I could scan the cover; it's a guy in a blue mask chasing a man holding a beer bottle in overalls, with the title "NEW! DETECTIVE STORY: MYSTERY MISHAP, only 1 cent!" It's so awesome.

*** Chicago piano = Tommy gun. I know Tommy guns didn't really come up until 1919, but fuck the timeline, Tommy guns are awesome.

45 .

Short Story #37 - Reflection

----------

Spy no longer bothered with trying to remember his identity.

Sure, there were bits of paperwork here and there, identification papers and such. But they all had different names, ages, years and dates and times and places, in different languages and codes and texts.

Everything was different, depending on which job he was doing, what mission he was on, what team he was working for at the moment.

He couldn't recall which name was his, which face was his, which history was his.

He could no longer remember where he was from, or what his first language was.

He knew he would never find out who he was. That information was either destroyed years ago and lost with memory, or highly classified.

But still, after every mission, every job, at the end of every single empty and repetitive day, he would sit in front of that small mirror and slip off the balaclava and stare.

For hours, he would look over the lines and scars that littered his face under the mask, tracing them with his eyes, wondering who they belonged to.

They were not his.

These harsh eyes were not his, this rough skin was not his, these scars and lines were not his.

But he could not remember his own face.

He had worn so many masks, played so many roles, lived so many lies- Who's to say that this was not just another?

He would always stop asking himself questions, knowing that there were more important things to be doing.

But there was one question he could never escape:

Who was the man in the reflection?

46 .

Short Story #38 - Cannibal

Another 3 AM thing. Hopefully, it is sufficient, although I feel it is somewhat lacking. Then again, you know, 3 AM.

----

He could taste it in his mouth.

He had gotten blood in his mouth before; when your favorite weapon was a baseball bat, you couldn't really help but be right in someone's face at the moment of impact, bat against brain.

At first, he didn't like the bitter tinge of blood. It was like sucking on a penny- Coppery. He didn't like that.

It freaked him out, made him cough and spit and vomit afterwards.

But after the first few months of fighting, he stopped pausing after every kill to spit it out. the taste grew on him; eventually, he stopped caring altogether when it splashed back onto his face.

Occasionally, he'd lick his lips.

The taste would amp him up, make him run faster, make him stop caring. He could run for miles, shoot for miles, kill everyone he could.

After a while, getting that taste in his mouth became his goal. His motivation for walking right back out of respawn again and again and again.

In a few more months, after the fights and when nobody was looking, he'd lick the blood and bits of enemy off of his baseball bat, it was /so good/, it was /so strong/.

During cease-fire days, he would visit Medic. In exchange for allowing Medic to record his "progress", whatever that meant, he was allowed to get the bodies from the clinic corpse disposal after Medic was done toying with them.

After a year, he couldn't function without it, he couldn't wake up in the morning without thinking about it, he couldn't walk into a room without sizing everybody, anybody up.

Team mates were not exempt from his leering. He figured that Heavy would be the most beneficial to kill, what with being the biggest and quite slow in comparison to the others.

He either did not recognize his madness, or he did not care.

But it didn't matter.

One day, he decided he was going to play a little game:

Who tastes better? BLUs or REDs?

It was going to be a good day. After all, he was bored, and absolutely /starving/.
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