The Horseless Headless Horsemann checked the small piece of paper, looked at the heavy doors, then checked it again. Surely this couldn’t have been the place. Ever since he’d taken this Grim Reaper gig as a side job to pay his student loans, the Headless Horsemann had been to a lot of weird places, but this was just some weirdly decorated old castle that had been used as storage before someone had converted into a haunted mansion. But no, apparently this was the right place.
With a sigh, the Headless Horsemann knocked on the door. He had a job to do. Even if it was just a temporary one. The doors swiftly opened, as if the occupant had been waiting for him.
“Helloooo, kinder! Oh, ach, zhere’s only one of you! What an amazing costume!”
Standing in the doorway was an older German fellow, wearing a pair of glasses, a lab coat and an unusual-looking backpack.
The Horsemann sighed again. “Are you the one they call Dell Conagher?”
“What? Nein! You can call me Medic!” The unusual man was holding a bowl of candy. Perhaps they were expecting kids, all doing trick or treating. But what sort of irresponsible parent would bring kids here? “Are you here for ze candy?”
“Well, is Dell Conagher here? I would like to speak to him.”
This time, Medic seemed less sure. “Vhy do you vant to speak to Dell? He is busy with Pyro, zhey asked me to not disturb zhem. But since you are here, come on in! Ve have more candy inside!”
Medic stepped to one side and let the Headless Horsemann walk in. Whatever this place was, it clearly had seen some wear and tear. The site was in a better condition compared to the old manor he used to haunt, but it still felt weird. Like several hundred bombs had gone off yet the place hadn’t fallen down. As if there had been a huge battle here recently. There was even a massive hole in the floor of one of the rooms, leading down into some sort of endless pit. Medic led the Horsemann into the main room and sat him down.
“Zhat really IS an excellent costume!” Medic beamed as he disappeared round a corner, only to reappear with more bowls, all filled with various types of candy. He sat down opposite the Horsemann, smiling.
“It’s not a costume.”
“Ah! A roleplayer too! You really are very good at zhis!” Medic was still smiling as he opened up several toffees and started chewing them.
The Headless Horsemann looked around. This room looked like a library, complete with a large, fireplace. Despite the fireplace having fire in it, everything else felt cold, as if the warmth had been sucked away in some horrible ritual.
“Do you… live here?” the Horsemann finally asked.
“Nein, not at all. Zhis is temporary. Just vaiting for some things to go through zhen we’ll be moving elsewhere. Will be nice, zhis old Gorge residence is rather dreary!” Medic unwrapped another candy, this time a softer caramel sweet “Are you from here? You look familiar.”
“Uh, no…” The Headless Horsemann didn’t want to talk about any of that. “I’m just here to claim the soul of Dell Conagher and his pyromaniac assistant, then I’ll be on my way.”
Medic leaped out of his seat, almost with glee. “Ohhhh! I love it vhen people take zheir roles seriously! And Scout said I was being too silly with mein mad scientist costume! Zhat is what I am, after all!”
But rather than return to his seat, Medic walked over and sat down next to the Headless Horsemann. If anything, this Medic fellow was scaring him slightly.
“I just want to see Dell Conagher, if that’s okay.”
“Verzeihung! I’m afraid he’s busy! Said he was summoning a demon or somezhing silly like zhat!” Yet again, Medic got up. This time, he wandered back into the kitchen, before swiftly returning with a piece of paper and a pink and blue party bag. He thrust the bag and the paper into the Horsemann’s hands. The bag felt ice cold.
“What is this?”
“Zhat is Dell’s business card. And ZHIS is a bag of Klondike bars. I hear zhey are not common around here!”
The Headless Horsemann opened up the bag. There had to be at least ten bars in there. “Bloody hell. I love these bastards.”
Medic’s face distorted into an almost terrifying grin. “Wunderbar! Tell you what, mein Freund, I have another seven boxes in zhe kitchen. I’ll let you have zhem, in exchange for leaving Dell alone. He’s been… not very happy lately.”
While the Headless Horsemann really didn’t approve of this bribe, there was something about Medic that seemed to convince him. Plus, they were Klondike bars. He hadn’t had one of those in decades.
Medic vanished and swiftly reappeared, his arms full of candy, and a plastic bag tucked into his belt. “Ach, looks like zhere were actually eight boxes in total! Lucky you!” The German fellow happily poured the bars into the plastic bag and handed it to the Headless Horsemann.
Before one could say “Saxton Hale” five times fast, the Horsemann found himself outside, the heavy door slamming shut behind him.
Glancing at his watch, the Horseless Headless Horsemann realised he was running behind schedule. He’d have to deal with this one some other day.
“Medic, who was that?” Engineer shouted from the basement.
“Oh, no one!” Medic whistled as he helped himself to more candy. “Vhy do you ask?”
Suddenly, Pyro burst out from the basement and started running around, checking every nook and cranny, flamethrower in hand. Once he was certain there was no one around, he helped Engineer out and led him to the library.
“Uh… Pyro says that the stuff we, er, were doing down there, we’re supposed t’ have summoned a demon t’ protect me from someone who wanted t’ kill me, but no one turned up,” Engineer explained, somewhat disappointed.
Medic shrugged as he finished off a last caramel and got up to pour himself a beer. “Who needs demons to protect you from zhe Grim Reaper vhen you have me?”
Happy Halloween, everyone!