Chapter 4 - Loss of Sanity
"I can't believe your plan worked," Scout said to the RED Spy as the suave man exited the shower room, smelling fresh and in a clean red suit. "The BLU Scout was really pissed about it."
"Was there really any doubt?" the Spy snorted, pausing at the door as the Scout walked up to his own locker.
"Guess not. At least we won," Scout admitted. The Frenchman did a light bow before leaving the shower room.
"We were lucky!" the Medic chirped as he removed his rubber gloves, hoping to shower himself.
"Dah!" the Heavy agreed. "We did good!"
The Sniper stood next to the Scout. He looked at the runner as he removed his vest.
"You gonna tell 'im?" he asked. Scout didn't say a word. "Y'know...'bout them voices?"
"It's not important," Scout whispered.
"If you don't, I will." Scout glared at the taller man.
"Don't you dare!" he hissed. Sniper only shook his head with a smile and continued undressing. Scout kept his eyes on the Sniper as he stripped off his red shirt. The Medic peeked over at the Sniper.
"Tell us vhat?" he questioned.
"NOTHING HAPPENED!" shouted the Scout. "S-Seriously, it ain't worth mentioning."
"Oh." The German doctor sounded disappointed. "Zhat's understandable."
Scout let out a relieved sigh and stripped off the rest of his clothes and quickly rushed to the nearest open shower stall. He turned on the shower head and let out a silent gasp as the hot water splashed over him. One little necessity he never missed: the opportunity to clean himself. The Sniper took the stall next to him as the Scout grabbed the only bar of soap and began washing his chest.
The Heavy and Medic weren't far behind as the last two open stalls were taken. The shower room was silent for a while, aside from the water that splashed onto the floor and the Heavy who immediately broke into song as soon as the water was turned on. Without soap, all the Sniper could do was massage the water on his skin, at least washing some of the sweat off of his body. Scout closed his eyes and let out a light hum as he continued to hog the soap.
"Mmm, not a bad view." Scout's eyes shot open as he glared at the Sniper.
"You f*ckin' pervert!" he shouted as he punched the man in the arm.
"What the bloody hell is wrong with you, mate?!" demanded the Sniper. He winced as the Scout threw another punch at him.
"I ain't your f*ckin' 'mate' either!!"
"Stop it! That hurts!"
The Heavy and Medic came to Sniper's rescue, the Heavy pulling the Scout away from the Sniper and the Medic acting like a human shield for the Sniper.
"What iz zhe matter, Herr Scout?" asked the Medic.
"Freakin' pervert was eyeballin' me!" the Scout hissed.
"No I wasn't!" protested the Australian.
"LIAR! I bet if you two weren't here he would've-"
"Scout," Medic interrupted. "Could it be zhat he was going to ask you for zhe soap?"
"Yeah, probably waiting for me to drop it so he could-"
"Scout!!" Defeated, Scout huffed angrily and looked at the Medic. "Rinse off, get dressed, and move on."
Heavy slowly released the Scout's arms as the Medic pushed the younger man into his stall and took over the Scout's original shower stall, hoping it would help avoid another fight. Sniper remained quiet, still a bit confused and worried at the same time. The Medic's expression during the whole time screamed 'shame on you, Scout'. Scout was still angry. He quickly rinsed off the remaining soap that was on his body and rushed for the nearest available towel. He wrapped the rather scratchy material around his waist and left the room, mumbling to himself.
"Vhat has gotten into zhat boy?" the Medic whispered to himself.
He stormed down the hallway and past the other classes who either making their way to their room or to the kitchen. A few raised an eyebrow at the Scout's choice of walking around the base with just a towel, but none questioned it. The Scout's glare alone said "It's none of your damn business".
It was hard to tell if he was angry or embarrassed. Mostly, it was anger. He trusted the Sniper, so why would the man suddenly invade his personal space like that? Sure, it was with his eyes, but still, that was harassment. When Scout reached his own room, he quickly opened the door and slammed it closed with all of his might as soon as he was in.
"HEY! Do you want to know how many men died to make that door, Maggot?! A LOT! So respect the door and respect those who died making it!" yelled the Soldier.
Scout said nothing. He only leaned against the door and sighed. All the pent up anger went into slamming the door. He didn't have any more anger to release.
"Thank you, Door," he whispered.
He looked down at his bare feet and realized the towel wrapped around his bony hips was the only thing keeping him from being completely naked. He pushed himself off of the door and walked across the room to his dresser to get some fresh clothes.
By the time Scout was out of his room, it was later in the night. His teammates were still up and enjoying what was left of dinner. It was meatloaf night, courtesy of the Engineer. Scout got a few skeptical glances from a few of the men in the room, except from the Demoman, who was passed out drunk on the table.
"Heard about yer fight with the Sniper," the Engineer started. Scout let out an annoyed groan. "Don' worry about it. Probably a misunderstanding. Ya hungry? I turned the leftover meatloaf into meatloaf sandwiches."
"Sandvitch!" the Heavy announced from across the room, holding up his food victoriously.
"Sure, that sounds good," the Scout shrugged as he walked over to the refrigerator and pulled out a can of "Bonk!". The Texan handed the Scout a plate with a meatloaf sandwich that was cut down the middle into two equal slices and accompanied with a blob of mash potatoes topped off with gravy and a small spoonful of peas.
"Thanks for the heart attack on a plate, hardhat," Scout said as he walked out of the kitchen.
"Behave yourself now," Engineer said softly.
Since the table was occupied by a drunk Demoman, Scout walked into what would act as a living room for the RED team. It was a simple layout: soft faded carpet, a small television equipped with a VCR (it barely got any good reception), a torn leather couch and several fake Fichus plants that were perched in each corner of the room. On the north side of the room was a clear sliding door that had an observation deck which looked out towards the horizon near the BLU base. Several referred to the room as their "relaxation center" actually, the Soldier called it that, and he demanded that it was to be addressed as such.
The Pyro and Heavy already occupied the couch as the Soldier was wrestling with the television's antenna, hopefully trying to get a better reception than the white static they were already receiving from the TV itself.
"Find good sitcom channel," said the Heavy. "Laughter helps digest food better."
"Nuuu," The Pyro protested. "Mmph mphna mprhrn."
"News station is BORING!" the Heavy bellowed.
Scout looked around. He assumed the Spy was his room and the Medic in the medical bay. He was more concerned about the whereabouts of the Sniper. While he still felt a bit betrayed about what happened in the shower room, keeping a careful mind of where he was at was probably a good idea.
"Hey!" he started, eyeing the three men in the living room. "Where's the Sniper?"
"Infirmary," the Soldier answered almost immediately as he continued adjusting the antenna on the small TV. "Medic said something about...bruising on the man's arms." The Bostonian looked down at his plate, suddenly feeling slightly guilty. "Was it true what the Sniper did?"
"What?" Scout looked at the Soldier, who has stopped fiddling with the antenna and faced the young man. The Heavy let out a groggy gasp and jumped to his feet.
"Medic said not to talk about it!" he announced. "No more discussion!"
"Hmph! Whatever!" huffed the Soldier, returning to his attempt to fix the TV. "This is why I shower by myself," he whispered.
Part of Scout wanted to thank the Heavy for dropping the subject; the last thing he wanted on his mind before eating was being naked again and seeing the Sniper standing near him and staring at his body with eager eyes. Scout shivered at the thought, his eyes widening for a moment before snapping back to reality.
"Little Scout ok?" the Heavy asked.
"Yeah," he lied. "I'm fine."
At the moment, Scout realized he wanted to be alone. Since the Solider banned him from eating in his own room due to an unfortunate ant invasion, his only option was to eat out on the veranda. That didn't bother him; it'd be quiet and the Heavy wouldn't bother him with the usual "Is tiny Scout gonna eat that?" question.
Scout remained quiet as he moved across the room. The Soldier cursed out loud at he finally smacked the side of the television with his fist, the white static finally disappearing as a black and white picture show finally flickered on.
"There we go!" he announced proudly. "Now we're cookin'!"
"Is rerun." Heavy groaned.
The last thing the Scout heard before closing the glass door was the Soldier screaming loudly and chucking the little television across the room.
Scout sat down in the corner of the veranda, leaning against the wall near the glass door for support. He set his plate down by his side and picked up one piece of his sandwich and bit hungrily into it. The first bite made him realize he hadn't eaten anything since breakfast. Come to think of it, he didn't have breakfast! He was too eager for the RED team to earn another victory. He earned his money today.
It suddenly hit Scout that that much have been the reason to the voices he was hearing early that afternoon. Was it possible hunger made people hear voices? Why not? Heat and thirst made people see mirages. Maybe hunger worked in similar ways?
"Never making that mistake again," he thought to himself as he finished off the first piece of his sandwich, licking off the residue of the meat from his fingers.
He grabbed his can on "Bonk!" and opened it idly as his eyes strayed to the landscape that lay before him. It never occurred to him how much the battlefield of 2Fort was damaged from the day's fight. Craters formed in random areas, most likely from the Soldier's misaligned aiming with his missile launcher or any of the Demoman's bombs. Even the buildings themselves suffered from the damage of gunfire or a missed swing from a melee weapon. Scout didn't even want to know how much it was going to cost to repair the damage to the RED base. Then again, as long it wasn't from his own pocket, he could care less.
A cool wind blew against his skin as he took a small sip from his "Bonk!". Scout wasn't much for respecting vacant land he did grow up in the city after all. However, there was just something in the back of the Scout's mind that made him admit that if a battle never took place on 2Fort, the area would've been beautiful. Scout could feel himself smiling, and he let out an amused sigh.
"Yer going soft, man," he whispered to himself. "Loosin' yer badass image." He closed his eyes, taking in a deep breath and exhaling just as deeply.
"That meal you have looks quite good," a man's voice commented. "May I ...have a bite?" Scout let out an irritated groan. He knew who it was: the RED Spy.
"Get yer own damn food, Spy!" He turned his head to face his team mate. "This is
" No one was there. "
mine?" He looked around. "Dude? Are you, like, cloaked er somethin'?"
"Look down here, boy," commanded the voice.
"Shit, am I still hearing things?" He was hesitant at first, but his gaze scrolled down to his side where he had his plate set. He still didn't see anything; just his plate with the remaining half of his meatloaf sandwich and the untouched mash potatoes with the peas next to it. Of course, his attention then focused on the tiny little critter that stood across from the plate.
A small, round crab.
Scout had seen many crabs around 2Fort before. There was a nest of crabs in the canal. Every now and then, one would find its way on the field, ultimately being blasted to pieced by a bomb or stepped on by a BLU or RED class. This crab was different though. While the other crabs around 2fort were a healthy red color, this one was a sickly blue color all over. Scout noted how there were a few flesh colored patches on the front of the crab, almost like it was wearing a mask. He raised an eyebrow and chuckled.
"Hmm, where'd you come from little fella?" he asked the crab. He felt silly for even speaking to the crab, but it was the first question that popped into his head. "Little far from home, aren't ya?" The crab looked like it shrugged.
" I could say the same about you, boy," it replied.
"AH SHIT!!" The Scout jumped to his feet, dropping his "Bonk!" from his hands and sliding into the opposite corner of the deck. "WH-WH-WH-WHAT THE HELL IS THIS SHIT?! Y-YOU DID NOT JUST TALK TO ME! NO WAY!"
"Scout, please." The crab sounded calm, almost like it was expecting Scout to react the way he did. "Just...calm down now."
"Shit, you are talkin' to me!" Scout's eyes couldn't get any wider than they already were. "I..I must be dreamin'. Yeah, I'm totally dreaming."
"Would you like me to pinch you to find out?" The crab snapped his claws a few times with a rather smug smile on its face. "I would more than gladly lend you a hand with that."
"GET THE HELL AWAY FROM ME!!" the young man screamed, reaching for his plate and throwing it at the crab. It missed and shattered against the wall.
"Boy! Please be reasonable here! Just take a few quick breaths and calm down," begged the crab. "I need to discuss something with you."
"SHUT UP! YER NOT REAL!"
The glass door flew open and the Soldier walked out onto the deck, glaring at the Scout in disbelief.
"What is going on here?!" he demanded. The Soldier glanced around, noting the Scout huddled in the corner of the railing while a small crab was perched near a pile of ceramic shards of a dinner plate with food scattered on the wooden floor and a few feet up the side of the wall as well. It was a very pathetic sight. "Do I even want to know?" The American's voice sounded slightly disappointed.
" Scout jerked his arm forward, pointing an accusing finger at the crab. "
is f*ckin' talking to me, man!"
"Really now," scoffed the crab. "You say that as if it's a bad thing."
"Please tell me you just heard that!" Scout looked up at the Soldier with pleading eyes. Soldier said nothing. He turned his head to the Scout and then to the crab. He tapped his chin as if thinking hard about the whole situation.
"DUDE!" Scout's voice slightly cracked.
"Oh! I get it now!" Soldier let out a chuckle, turning his attention to the crab. "It spoke to you, eh?"
"Yeah!" He let out a relieved sigh, finally knowing someone was believing him.
"Yeah, yeah, I can totally see what you're talking about now." The Soldier nodded rapidly.
"Crab dinner!" announced the Soldier. Scout felt dead inside.
"It's PERFECT! Next month, we'll be capturing the control points instead of Inte!" rambled the Soldier. "When we get a perfect score for those, we're celebrating with a crab dinner!"
"Dude, that's not what I was ta-"
"You deserve a medal, Little Man!" The Soldier slapped Scout on the back before turning back into the base. "Engie! Construct a fishing mechanism! We're huntin' crabs next month!"
Scout didn't know how to react. He was surrounded by idiots! He stood still, almost on the brink of tears. No one was listening to him. Was this just a hallucination? Was the crab seriously there, but not talking? Its voice; was it in his head? Was he truly going crazy? But why?
happening," He hissed. The crab slowly tapped across the wooden floor up to Scout's shoe. It looked up at him with a calm expression.
"Your solider is no different than our own," it commented.
"'our own'?" Scout repeated.
"I suppose I can tell you now that you have calmed down." Scout didn't move. He remained still as he continued to breathe in through his mouth. "Long story short..." The crab cleared its throat...if...crabs had throats. "...I am the BLU Spy."
There was no answer. Scout kept his eyes on the small crab, beads of sweat began to form on his forehead.
"No..." Scout whispered.
"It is hard to believe, yes, but I speak the truth to you, young RED," The Spy...Crab said. "I'm sure you have noticed my absence from the BLU team many times, oui?"
"No..." repeated the Scout, the tone of belief remained on the single word spoken.
"While I cannot tell how it happened, I am cursed," the crab continued, "and I am convinced you're the only right now who can help me. "
His hands were shaking. Scout was convinced the world around him was falling apart. Finally, he looked at the blue colored crab, still saying nothing.
" You...can hear me, oui?"
"The BLU Spy?" Scout swallowed hard.
"That's correct." A slight pause. Scout finally clenched his hands into fists.
"I don't believe you," he replied. The crab let out a minor grunt.
"What proof do you need, boy? I am here, aren't I?"
"STOP TALKING TO ME!" shouted the young man. "JUST SHUT UP!"
"Scout?" It was the Medic's voice that rang out. Scout immediately glared at the doctor who stood at the door way. "Vhat is wrong? Why are you yelling?"
"Why?!" Scout repeated, letting out a sarcastic laugh. "Can't ya hear him?" Medic took a cautious step forward.
"Hear who?" Another laugh.
"Oh, you are gonna LOVE 'dis one, Medic." Scout shook his head. "Get this: The BLU Spy was turned into a crab and he's right here." He gestured towards the crab. The Medic looked at it and then back at the Scout. "And he says 'dat I'm da only one who could save him! Can you believe that?!"
"Zee crab told you zhis?"
"Weren't you listening?! God you suck at that! I told you the crab was- AUGH!!"
The Medic was fast, grabbing the Scout's arm with one hand and jabbing a syringe into his neck with another, injecting the fluid in one swift motion. Scout found it very hard to stand. His legs buckled underneath him as he fell into the Medic, his vision slowly becoming very blurry.
"I'm sorry, Herr Scout," the Medic said very softly as the Scout struggled to keep conscious. "Zhis is for your own good."
"I'm...not....crazy," Scout groaned before he fell into a deep, deep sleep.