The announcer's game

It has been 113 years, 3 months, and 16 days since the Announcer trapped us down here. The only reason I know this is because she likes to remind us gleefully of how long we have been her prisoners whenever the occasion arises, which is far too often for my tastes.

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2. part 2

On our journey for trying to hunt down our next meal, we have traversed a forest of screaming trees, a desert of salt and bones, a swamp of menstrual blood and human offal, and finally we stop at the soggy, putrid banks a river of vomit. Finally, we see it, a giant, black, shaggy animal, wading in the river. It looks vaguely like a boar, but is has a snout like a wolf and teeth like a shark, and dead, glassy, smoky eyes. Its eyes remind me of Pyro, and I feel sick.

We were given no weapons to fight this thing. Heavy lifts a very large rock over his head, and heaves it at the beast. It hits the creatures head with a sickening, cracking noise, and it bellows, making a sound that nearly deafens us. It charges at us, giant hooves that look like mangled hands pounding on the banks towards us, and we run. Soldier is the only one who doesn’t run, gibbering and gesturing wildly at the beast. For a moment, I think it’s going to eat him, but he won’t allow it. Before it can snap him up in it massive jaws, he jumps upon its face, clinging to its snout and stabbing it in the eyes with Shovel until they resemble black, weeping gobs of jelly. It’s screaming now, and bucking and stomping and blowing ribbons of black snot from its nostrils. Soldier is somehow still hanging on, trying to carve deeper into its skull until he hits brain. The rest of us take advantage of its blindness and throw ourselves upon it, trying to drag it down like so many scrawny wolves pulling down a moose. It smells like burnt hair and the vomit from the river. I grab a clump of its mane and hold on for dear life. I want to puke. I want to puke and cry but I suck it up and hold on like everybody else, until Soldier stabs Shovel in far enough that the beast suffers an aneurysm, and collapses.

Soldier then takes out his Shovel, covered in blood that smells like piss and vinegar, and kisses it on the blade. He uses Shovel to slice the beast’s belly open and blackened, bloated, ropey guts spill out onto the ground. Soldier is the only one to go ahead and dig in. He grabs fistfuls of organs and stuffs them into his mouth greedily, while the rest of us have to choke back whatever bile is left inside us fill our stomachs with the beast’s poisoned flesh.

We dine on filth. We live in filth. As far as the Announcer is concerned, we are filth and we are not worthy of the mercy of death. Every day, I pray for it. I pray for the respawn to malfunction. Then, maybe, I can see my wife and child again. Or, at the very least, be allowed to have sweet, sweet oblivion.

“I AM BORED OF THIS GAME,” The Announcer says. “I WANT TO TRY A NEW ONE.”

We all look up from our meal, and I look at them in horror. Most of their faces reflect mine, except Sniper, who seems largely indifferent, and Soldier, who just looks agitated.

“DON’T LOOK SO UPSET,” she says. “I WANT TO DO SOMETHING NICE FOR YOU.” That was what she had said when she tried to join Heavy and Medic together. Naturally, that phrase cannot mean anything good. “I HAVE BEEN WATCHING YOU FOR 113 YEARS, 3 MONTHS AND 16 DAYS, AND YOU ALL SEEM SO VERY, VERY LONELY.”

Heavy reels Medic in even closer to him than he was before, and grunts. Soldier, too, hugs Shovel tight to him. I am reminded of the sight of Soldier masturbating while holding the shaft of the tool against penis, thrusting and rubbing against it like a dog humping a man’s leg. It was not something he only did once, either. He does it regularly.

“WHAT IF I TOLD YOU I COULD GIVE YOU A WOMAN?”

“That’s just cruel,” Sniper says. It comes out of his mouth with little forethought. He knows this will not end well. The rest of us are stupid enough to get our hope up a little.

“I KNOW HOW YOU ARE. DEEP DOWN, YOU ARE ALL ANIMALS. YOU HAVE NEEDS. ONE OF THOSE NEEDS IS NOT JUST SEX BUT A NEED FOR PROCREATION. YOU WANT TO REPOPULATE EARTH WITH YOUR FILTHY, WRITHING, UGLY SPAWN, SO THAT MAYBE, MAYBE, YOUR SPECIES WILL CONTINUE LONG AFTER YOU FINALLY BORE ME.”

We exchange glances. Is this sincere? Is she just mocking us again? Where would she even get a woman? There were no women on the team when she set of the arsenals of RED and BLU, and laid waste to the surface with so much radiation. We never saw BLU team again after we were pulled down here, with her. We assume that they’re dead, since she refers to us as the last ones left. Had she been keeping a woman from us all along? Was she delighting in us having to use each other for sex, giggling as we demeaned ourselves just so that we could be touched, while she kept a woman from us?

Well, I certainly would not put it past her.

“Ve are not interested,” Heavy says curtly. He squeezes Medic close to him, as though that would protect the doctor from being taken away. “Doktor and I do not need voman.”

Scout glares at Heavy and mouths the words “I do.” The inside of his mouth looks so much larger without a tongue.

“Oh, an’ I s’pose ye’ve been hidin’ th’ lass away from us th’ whole time, aye?” Demoman asks. “Somehow, I doubt it.”

“What’re you playin’ at?” I ask her. She laughs, and I feel as though my spine frosted over.

“ANOTHER GAME. A COMPETITION. THE WINNER WILL BE ABLE TO PASS ON THEIR GENETIC MATERIAL AND DO WITH THE WOMAN AS THEY WISH.”

I feel sick all over again. The rancid meat in my stomach probably plays a factor in this. I may have been trapped here for more than a century but the thought of possibly raping a lady is still abhorrent to me. Especially if she’s been tortured just like we have. Can I trust these men, my fellow prisoners, to feel the same way?

“An’ then yer arse fell off,” Demoman says. “I know a gob full a’ shite when I hear it.”

“YOU THINK I’M LYING?”

“Not like ya don’t have a precedent for that sort of thing,” Sniper says. It’s the longest string of words he’s uttered all day.

“COME BACK TO THE MAIN CONTROL ROOM,” she says. “I’LL SHOW YOU HER.”

We’re all incredulous, to say the least. Again, we trek back the way we came, retracing our steps for several hours. We slog through human byproducts and hold our breath, and Heavy carries his precious doctor on his back as though the man were a koala. I feel a jolt of envy looking at them. They will most likely not be a party to this, since they already have each other. I know I am not the only one that wishes they had somebody like that at their side, chivalrously carrying us through a bog of rotting tissue.

Finally, we arrive back in the control room, back home again to be dwarfed by towers of circuitry the size of skyscrapers. We look around, and we see no woman.

“Told ya she was lyin’,” says Sniper, totally deadpan. Scout starts to panic. If he could speak, he would be reassuring himself and us desperately that this time, it wasn’t a trick. I try and do that for him, but my heart just isn’t in it. But then she steps into the room and we are horrified.

It’s Pyro. No doubt about it. Only, we knew Pyro was a man. He’s not anymore. His… no, her proportions are so terribly exaggerated that we can barely stand to look at her. Her breasts are so swollen and heavy she’s bent over, carrying them in her arms, wheezing through the filter of the gasmask still covering her head. She’s looking up at us, and though I cannot see her eyes I can tell she is still pleading at us, begging for our mercy. I can’t help it. I rush over to her and hold her, but before I can try to comfort her I feel something flat and broad smack me upside my head, and everything is spinning and my head is throbbing and I fall down on the ground. I look up and see Soldier has claimed her, hand around her tiny waist, brandishing Shovel and snarling at us. Demoman runs towards Soldier, telling him to stop, and now they’re fighting, Soldier on his back and using Shovel to try and push Demoman back, but Demoman is still holding on, still pushing back, and Pyro is trying to run away and hide. The Announcer just laughs.

Spy is coming out of the room now. He’s spilling and falling all over himself and using this to propel himself forward. I cannot help but think that he looks like human silly putty, squashing and stretching around breaking and knitting bones. It seems he was curious as to what all the noise was about. I look at him and I try to form words but I just point and look at everyone else and blurt out “DO SOMETHIN’!”

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