I recently finished a certain game called Curse of Monkey Island. Understandably, I really wanted to write a fanfic right afterwards. Not a long series, just a few short stories, maybe.
My first idea was the origins of Guybrush Threepwood's odd fear of porcelain. But I couldn't think of anything for that. So here's a silly story about Death.
Not Discworld Death, just old, regular Death. Who happens to have to collect the souls of LeChuck's evil, undead army. And the first on his list happens to be Murray.
Anyways, read, enjoy, possibly gouge your eyes out, and review.
On the beach, a black-robed figure appeared. His face was heavily shadowed and could not be seen. He held a scythe in one hand and a list in the other. The list looked ridiculously long.
"…can't believe it…" the figure grumbled as he examined the list impatiently. "…who does that LeChuck guy think he is, fooling around with souls and the dead…now I'm the one who has to clean up after him…I've enough to do as it is, what with people dying left and right…" The figure, still muttering darkly, put his list away and looked around at his surroundings. He was standing on a beach, as mentioned before, which explained the sand between his toe bones. There was a jungle off to his left and the ocean off to his right. Peering behind him, the figure saw a dock with a few large boats quietly bobbing. There was a tavern near the docks where rambunctious laughter and a lot of bad singing wafted out the window.
Though the figure thought that he would really like a drink right then, he sighed unhappily and stood there on the cold sand (though he really couldn't feel cold) and stared impatiently out to sea.
After waiting for a long time, the figure could hear something above the sound of waves washing over his feet. He straightened and got ready – you always had to look impressive when collecting souls. Otherwise, nobody would take you seriously.
Finally a clattering skull washed up on the beach. The figure wouldn't have known it was the guy he was looking for if it weren't for his constant talking. "Ah, finally, dry land. I'll soon have my revenge on those damn kids yet! Going right in, ignoring me, and finally throwing me into the ocean! Well, wait a few years and we'll see who has the last laugh! Hey, woah, don't do that! I don't like being picked up!" The figure ignored these indignant cries and checked his list again. He had to put the skull under his arm to do so, which only made the skull angrier.
"I presume your name is Murray?" said the figure as soon as he rolled up the long list again and tucked it back in his robe.
"Yes, actually, I'm MURRAY, THE DEMONIC TALKING SKULL! BWAHAHAHAHAH!" The figure struggled to hold on to the vibrating skull as he laughed. "…What is it to you?"
"Well, I'm going to have to take you somewhere, if you don't mind. But I don't care if you mind or not because I'm taking you there anyways." Something in Murray clicked as he took in the scythe and the robes.
"Wait…are you supposed to be Death?"
"Brilliant deduction, Sherlock," said Death as he looked back out to sea expectantly.
"So you're finally going to take me down through the gates of Hell, where I can torment others and create chaos?"
"I dunno. I just lead people to their afterlife. I don't choose for them. Okay, where's the rest of your body?"
"Well, wouldn't you know? You're Death."
"Yes, I know, but I'm Death, not Omniscient God-Thing," he said, waving his arms irritably. (This gained another disgruntled growl from Murray.) "I only go where there are souls to reap. Your body is a lifeless husk and because it just so happens it's not currently attached to your head, it doesn't hold even a bit of your soul and I can't find it."
"Oh. Well, bodies don't matter when you're going to Hell, right?"
"Your soul can take on the appearance of what you'd like…though most likely it will just take the appearance of what object it was last attached to. A talking skull, in your case."
There was a long silence, as there was nothing much to say. The ocean rolled over Death's feet and successfully dampened his robe.
"Look, I already have a lot of souls to collect as it is. I'll just escort you over to where you're supposed to go and continue my job..."
"Hey! Wait! I'm not going to be a skull in the afterlife! I miss being able to walk!"
"I honestly don't care."
"Well, of course you wouldn't! You have legs!" Death sighed again as Murray launched into a rant of sorts about how people never took him seriously only because he happened to only be a skull. "…So I'm not going until I find my body! Or somebody else's for a substitute!"
"Don't be stupid. You're long overdue. You were supposed to leave about…three years ago. I believe the cause of death was radiation from a…Flaming Voodoo Cannonball test."
"Well, LeChuck needed somebody to test that cannonball on, and I happened to be a nearby, non-skeletal, Satanist."
Death gave an almost unnoticeable twitch at LeChuck's name. He was still quite angry at the mess the zombie pirate made. "So anyways, you're going now."
"No! Stop! I protest! Cease and desist! I won't let you!"
"What are you going to do?" asked Death with all the sarcasm a grim reaper could muster (which happens to be quite a lot). "Bite me?"
Another uncomfortable silence. "Well…I was going to, actually."
"Not like that would make a difference. Skeletons don't feel physical pain. No nerves." Death turned around and pointed his scythe in front of him. Some kind of energy cracked forth from the curved metal and expanded into a portal.
"W-wait! Can't you come back for me later, at least? I mean, there's a lot o' other people to reap souls from, right? It's not like I'm gonna live anytime soon or anything. Just go ahead and get those other animated bits of bones, how 'bout it?"
"That would be better than having to carry you all the way to the gates of wherever you're supposed to go right now," Death replied, "but there are procedures. As Death, I'm supposed to only go after beings, undead or not, when it is their time. I can't make anybody's life longer or shorter. I'm only to escort souls to where they are supposed to go. And then there's a bunch of other boring legal stuff, through which LeChuck found a loophole and made his stupid undead army thing."
"What?" Murray shouted, sounding outraged. "Death? Held back by lawyer's frivolities? I can't believe it!" The skull would have started pacing angrily if he could. "You're the guy everybody's afraid of! Everybody fears death, except possibly some of those foolish hero guys, and it turns out he's just somebody in a cloak with a scythe who can't do anything but give somebody directions!" Death seemed very offended by this.
"Hey, my job is more complicated than that, you know. Everybody keeps trying to bribe me. Not like they have anything they could give me…a drink would be nice, though."
"Now that I think of it," Murray said, although being a skull, he did lack a brain. "Your entrance was less than adequate! No mysterious poof of smoke or loud booming voice or anything! That's not how Death is supposed to be!"
"Please don't tell me how to do my job," Death sighed. "Besides, those are just pointless theatrics."
"Pointless?! It isn't pointless! It adds an air of mystery and fear! When a guy dies, and he's just milling 'bout, wond'rin' what to do next, what do you think he's gonna expect? Some robed guy to just walk up and say 'Hey there, I'm Death. Why don't you just go in this portal thingy and see where it takes you?' Of course not!"
"Yeah yeah, I know. But in this line of work, when you have to attend to millions of beings, all the theatrics gets old quickly. I've seen it happen all the time to the new guys. They start this line of work full of enthusiasm and then by the end of their first hundred years on the job, they're weary of it all and just want to get it over with so they can retire."
"C'mon, just try it again! It'll be great, striking terror in mortals' hearts!"
"Well, we did use to have this speech…"
"Okay, let me hear it."
"Ahem. 'Don't worry, sir or madam, this won't hurt a bit.'"
"Well, yes. It summed up all the necessary questions of the soul."
"That's nothin'! There should be great pillars of fire and howling wind, and a diabolical laugh, then you should appear in a loud puff of smoke that should effectively almost deafen anybody nearby and talk in a deep booming voice! Say something like…'QUAIL BEFORE ME, MORTAL, FOR I HAVE COME FOR YE!'"
"…Nobody says 'ye' anymore."
"Well, it's a nice touch, you have to admit."
"…Not really. It doesn't strike terror into my bones."
"That's just 'cause I haven't done all the special effects. It would be much better if there were flaming pillars of fire and if I actually could stand and loom over people."
"Hm. Too bad, then."
"I could show you how great and terrifying it could be…if maybe you could just, I dunno, pop your head out and put mine in?"
Death seemed to ponder this for a long time. He raised a skeletal hand to where his chin would be if his face weren't shadowed entirely by the hood of his robe. Finally, after thinking about fiery pillars of fiery death and smoke and loud booming voices, he stared straight into Murray's eye sockets and said, "Okay." He finally lowered the black hood, revealing…a skull. The only difference between Death's skull and Murray, the demonic talking skull, was that Death's eye sockets seemed to go on forever. You couldn't see the back of his skull through them. The only thing in that infinite blackness were two, small blue pinnacles of light.
Death grabbed hold of his skull and tugged it lightly, making it come off with a small 'pop'. He then set Murray on his spinal cord and with a small 'snap', Murray was connected.
The first thing Murray did was to throw Death's skull into the ocean. "Haha! You fool! That was an evil trick just so I could escape! And with a body, no less! Ponder your foolishness as I flee! Not in the cowardly sense, but in the really evil sense!" And with that, Murray was off, giggling like a madman.
Death floated for a bit as the ocean washed him away to sea. Murray was gone now, with all of his own powers and responsibilities. Soon, the officials would find him and set him back to work collecting the souls of millions. Maybe he would even enjoy it. He seemed to really like striking fear into people. "Good," he said. "He took it. Now I can finally have a vacation." A long vacation. Possibly a vacation spanning eternity. Of course, the officials would eventually find out, and then he might be taken back and reprimanded, or even punished.
Well, he was a free skull now. Screw the officials! He still had some powers retained from his old job. Maybe setting fire to them with his eyes would keep them away.
So, where should he go? Well, the Caribbean had a lot to offer. He could wander around some of the islands for a while, maybe take over as Murray and follow Guybrush Threepwood around. He'd have to imitate the voice, but if he kept shouting 'I am Murray, the demonic talking skull' a lot, then he was sure most people would be convinced.
Death's skull suddenly rose out of the water, dripping wet. He flew towards land, looking for that tavern he had seen before. He definitely deserved a celebratory drink.