Author: DragonontheField PM
October, the heading read, and all the days were crossed out in neat black ink up to the 30th. Mischief Night.Rated: Fiction K - English - Horror/Friendship - England/Britain & America - Words: 1,321 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 3 - Published: 10-30-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7509068
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Arthur stalked about his office, anxiety and annoyance fogging his thoughts over to the point of restlessness. In the three hours he had been in his bed, he had slept for about three minutes, not daring to fall into any kind of deeper sleep. Every so often he would glance out the window into the darkness of his garden and expanse of land, expecting to see a figure there, but so far nothing like this had happened.
Rather than relieving his nervousness, the calm only built it up higher and higher, like a tower of books that would, in time, collapse, only to send pages tearing away and fluttering like bats in the October wind. He was absolutely on edge, pacing across the floor and glaring vacantly at random objects as though they were suspects that he would have to interrogate.
So, whose fault was this? The one person who was responsible for most of the inconveniences in his life, of course. Arthur's eyes darted to, for the umpteenth time that evening, the calendar on the wall. October, the heading read, and all the days were crossed out in neat black ink up to the 30th.
Naturally, an old-fashioned English gentleman like Arthur wasn't one to tolerate 'mischief,' although after what he had seen through the years he thought that there would have to be a stronger word for what was done on October 30th., particularly by a certain American. It should just be called 'Alfred Being a Douchebag Night,' he thought humorlessly to himself, wishing that whatever the American was planning on doing, he would do it quickly, because the waiting was wearing down his nerves.
What would it be this year? His office chair replaced with Busby's, like last Mischief Night? Alfred and that horrible Peter setting smoke bombs in his kitchen, like the year before that? For someone as fearful and arrogant as Alfred, the man could sure pull off some terrifying pranks.
"I'm getting too old for this, America," Arthur grumbled, absent-mindedly running a hand through his already messy dirty-golden hair. The wind sped up and did battle with the side of his house and made the windows rattle, sending the poor man lurching backwards. His back to the wall, he let out a few panting breaths and cursed himself for being so stupid.
His annoyance with himself grew. To hell with it, it was just Alfred! He had the intelligence of an eleven-year-old boy with ADHD— how much harm could he possibly do, besides a few cheap laughs and a week of mocking his former best friend of how much of a "wuss" he was? That was all, wasn't it? Of course it was. He should just get back to sleep and hope the damage wouldn't be too bad in the morning.
As he was confirming his own foolishness and the American's stupidity, a hallow sound came from downstairs. One, two, three knocks, before silence. The color drained out of the Englishman's face, and he froze, hardly daring to breathe. The sound did not come again.
"Jehovah's Witness," he murmured, trying to pass it off as normal, "or a trick-or-treater who lost track of the date… or…"
A helpless, low-pitched moan of horror escaped Arthur's lips. He knew that sound, he knew it well enough to know that somebody had opened his front door, closing it behind them. Somebody unseen, somebody who could very well creep up the stairs and—
Just Alfred, he unsuccessfully tried to reassure himself. Just Alfred or Peter or maybe even Prussia, but it's not some homicidal murderer or the ghost of Thomas Busby or even one of those stupid little-girl monsters like the ones in Kiku's silly movies. No, Arthur, old boy, definitely not. So why don't we just go down and scold whoever it is and send them home, eh?
His feet felt heavy as he attempted to casually stroll across to the door that led to the stairs, but his breath was labored and his blood felt like it was somehow boiling and freezing over at the same time.
"He… Hello?" he said, his voice coming out alarmingly hoarse and quiet.
It took him a while to think of an explanation for this new sound, but he finally decided that it could have only been something falling down the stairs. The sound made another cry come from the terrified man, yet, losing the little courage that he had left, he marched towards the top of the staircase, peeking down them. Blood pounded in his ears.
As an afterthought, his hand darted to the light switch, in a moment flooding the hall with white light. The second of blindness that was caused by the sudden light change was more terrifying than the dark, but when Arthur finally was able to see clearly, he noticed something at the foot of the stairs.
A small, hand-painted wooden soldier, laying on its side. In its round hand was a musket, but the bayonet had snapped off and lay askew to the body of the toy. This reminder of the past made him shudder and suck in a breath of air, air that now seemed too cold. His hand shaking, he reached for the railing, using it for balance like an old man would a cane, and unsteadily began to descend the stairs, his feet soundlessly hitting the carpet.
One, two, three… he counted the steps, four… five…
Not much further. As he neared the seventh step, his eyes darting around for anyone, the light that had filled the room vanished, leaving him in nearly complete darkness again.
Oh, hell. Arthur's age seemed to magically regress to seven, and he felt tears of hate and fear sting his eyes. He felt like his throat had closed up, he couldn't speak at all. All that would come out was an odd choking noise.
It was so dark.
A shadow passed, just nearly beyond his line of sight.
A hot, painful tear rolled down his face, burning his skin and leaving a cold trail of moisture.
A cold, cold, hand closed around his wrist, and—
"YO, ENGLAND! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!"
Arthur shot up, a long, hoarse, painful scream emitting from his throat, forcing himself to realize that he was okay, he was in his own bed. He was safe. His eyes rolled over to his right, where Alfred sat, laughing hysterically at his shout and holding his sides, as if it hurt to laugh so much.
"You… You BASTARD!" the Englishman screamed, losing all composure and launching himself out of bed, his legs still tangled in the sheets, to tackle the man. The attack was useless—he was too disoriented and weak from sleep to fight well, and the American laughed all the harder. It was daytime now—sunlight streamed through the window, making his bedroom feel completely safe, despite his rage. He even felt a pang of annoyance after remembering how frightened he had been that night.
It was a dream?
"I told you you wouldn't be able to take watching movies with me and Japan before Halloween!" he said in between laughter, "You're such a wuss, man, like, oh my God! Also, you should stop leaving your door open."
Growling, Arthur glared furiously at the younger man pinned underneath him, getting only a cocky grin in return…
After the confusion was over with, and Alfred had promised to leave, still chuckling at his friend's foolishness, Arthur stalked over to the stairs to make sure he was gone.
At the bottom lay the wooden soldier, upright, the little bayonet still broken from the musket. It seemed to glare up at him with a face of wisdom and maybe even malice.
Today was Halloween.