October 17, 2014
The dust was everywhere.
Even as he brushed past an old door, the hinges looking on the verge of collapse, the cloud of it seemed to waft around the room like smoke. He was surprised that no one had noticed him leave, the trip itself taking a better part of an hour and a half.
Walking, that is.
His phone buzzes for the umpteenth time, he had lost count and the will to care fifteen minutes into his trek, but he stops by the foot of the stairs to fish the thing out of the his coat pocket. He frowns at the lighting up of the screen once more.
36 new messages.
17 missed calls.
5 new voicemails.
Again, the screen flashing the words Arthur into his eyes so much that it drilled itself into the back of his brain. Even so, he ignores the call, pushing the phone back into his pocket and shrugging off his coat, leaving it a black heap on the dusty floor before heading up the stairs.
The door wasn't even locked.
He hesitates a moment before placing his hand on the handle of the door, the only sign of uncertainty, even if for but a moment, before pushing into the room. The late afternoon sun casts a few rays of light from the boarded up windows. As he steps forward, something crunches underneath his shoes. Leaning down, he picks up the shard of glass from the shattered remains of a plate, rubbing it between his fingers. Something of a raspy exhale came out of his lungs and into the cold air as the object pressed into the flesh of his fingers.
Upon closer inspection, the grooves of fingernails running down the wood floor was still there, deep and jagged. It grew only worse on the walls themselves, and he presses a fingertip into the indentation.
"What are you doing?"
America doesn't even move to acknowledge the nation, eyes still trained on the dirty walls. Canada bites the inside of his cheek, standing in the doorframe with arms folded across his chest. Alfred's brow furrows slightly, and he speaks with eyes still focusing on the wall in front of him.
"When did you-"
"Don't take me for an idiot, Alfred. I knew you were going to leave the minute you got up to use the bathroom. I don't suppose you've been checking your phone." He holds up the object in the air as testament to the fact, the screen again flashing with another silent call from their father. Matthew presses ignore and shoves the object into his pocket.
"Do you ever look back on a place and think for a moment you've forgotten something important? Or insignificant, it doesn't matter." Alfred turns his head, blue eyes shadowed in the small room to look over his twin. "Even now, I feel like I'm missing pieces." A hand reaches up, shaking slightly to his mouth and Matthew fights back a wince as his brother's teeth close on the web of skin between his thumb and forefinger with immediate force.
"You're not going to find it here." And even with his brother's word, calm and rational, America has to fight back the scream building up of you don't understand you don't know how this always comes back it doesn't leave my brain every single day like a demon monster monster I am a monster I am a monster I am a monster I am a monster I am a monster I a monster I am a monster I am a monster
Canada closes the distance between them, gripping his brother's wrist and pulling his hand away from his actions with a force that surprised them both before his arms fold around his brother's shoulders.
America whimpers, the sound low and abject.
Canada only hushes him, running a hand up and down his back as fingers curled onto the front of his jacket before he moves his hand to press firmly against his brother's chest. The nation's heartbeat was a rapid flutter of fear and remembrance.
"What happened wasn't your fault." Canada breaths.
Alfred can feel the blood pooling at their feet now, and he lifts his eyes from where his face is pressed into his brother's shoulder to lock eyes with the creature huddled on the floor. Its knees are pulled to its chest, rocking slowly back and forth and it takes America a moment to see the fresh beating heart in its hands, blood staining the pale flesh, limp and dirty blond hair flicked with crimson, and ashen grey eyes trained on the nation's form as it sinks its teeth into the beating muscle.
What are you doing? It asks, mouth moving up and down on tissue. What happened here?
America can feel the blood in his mouth from where his teeth sink into the side of his cheek.