"Do I have to, Big Brother?" Moldova asked as Romania adjusted the old, white sheet that was a ghost costume.
Romania turned the younger country around until their eyes met each other, red gazing protectively into the amber that filled the slots of the sheet. "Da, Alexandru. You have to dress up or else."
"Or else what?" Moldova challenged.
"Tonight is All Hallows' Eve. It is the day when the spirits of the dead, monsters, and demons roam the Earth. If you don't dress up like one of them, then they'll get you." the older nation informed him matter-of-factly. 'Which is why we carved jack-o'-lanterns earlier. They scare off demons and spirits."
Moldova blinked in surprise. He couldn't believe his big brother still believed in childish fairy tales, old wives' tales, omens, myths, and silly superstitions. But then again, it was Romania. Romania still practiced "magic" and was fond of divination and charms. If anyone believed old tales, such as spirits roaming the Earth on All Hallows' Eve and wolves being able to speak on St. Andrew's Night, then it was Romania.
"But Big Brother, everyone knows that's just a myth. It's not real."
Romania raised an eyebrow. "And how do you know? Every myth has some truth to it, nu? Also, remember tomorrow is the Day of the Dead. We must go to the cemetery to pay our respects to Mother and the rest of the dead."
Moldova sighed, not even bothering to point out that they couldn't light a candle and place it on Dacia's grave as it had long been destroyed. Knowing his brother, he was going to place candles on the graves of all who didn't have families or go to an ossuary and place a candle there. Maybe even both.
Romania finally decided that Moldova's costume was good enough and went to put on his own. Moldova glanced down at his costume. Romania had cut the bottom of the sheet but it was long enough that the ends were sprawled across the floor. There were slots for his eyes and a hole for his mouth and nose. There were also two holes in the side for his arms. He was forced to wear a long-sleeve, white tee-shirt and a pair of old, white pants underneath.
Romania came out of the bathroom wearing sixteenth century clothing and a cloak. He had taken a pair of vampire fangs and cut off the one fang, only needing one fake fang. He picked up a plastic, neon orange pumpkin, its color having dulled with time, and handed it to Moldova.
"Let's go pick up Bulgaria. Hopefully he's wearing an actual costume this year."
Bulgaria was not wearing an actual costume, at least according to Romania. The Slavic nation had decided just to wear an eye patch and the jacket Romania absolutely despised. The Romance nation went beserk, asking his best friend if he wanted the spirits of the dead after him and telling him to take off the horrible jacket before it ended up in a fireplace. Romania actually dragged Bulgaria upstairs and striped him, leaving Moldova alone in Bulgaria's living room.
The younger nation could hear Bulgaria's cries of protest as Romania threw what was, presumably, a sheet over his head. The good old bedsheet ghost costume was one of Romania's favorites as it was simple and quick. That's usually why Moldova ended up as a ghost year after year.
Moldova quickly grew bored of listening to the two men yelling at each other. He was about to go upstairs to see what they were doing when there was a knock on the door. Figuring Bulgaria wouldn't answer it anytime soon, the young country opened it. Standing one the porch was a boy slightly younger than Moldova himself. It was Kosovo, a wannabe nation that happened to be related to half the Balkan Peninsula. He had hair that was permanently messy, a trademark among the Slavic Balkans, and black as coal, similar to Serbia, one of his many older brothers. His eyes, however, were the same light, olive green as Albania's, his big sister.
He was wearing a long, white tee shirt that went his knees (it had probably once been Slovenia's, yet another of his brothers). The bottom of it was haphazardly cut in a jagged pattern. Underneath he wore a pair of white tights, which had probably once belonged to Montenegro since he had all sorts of weird things. They had been cut to fit Kosovo and the bottom of them were tucked into old, brown boots (that were probably Bosnia's at some point). His face was pale with white powder and somebody had taken old lipstick and smeared streams of it on parts of his face. He carried a brown paper shopping bag that had crayon drawings of jack-o'-lanterns and bats on it.
"Zdravo Alexandru." Kosovo greeted coldly, neither one of them really caring for the other. Kosovo still was sour that Moldova refused to recognize his nation status. There was also the fact that both of them believed the other to be a crybaby and hated being forced to play with each other, even if the only other choice was micronations.
"Salut, Kristijan." Moldova replied in an equally cold voice.
Suddenly, there was a loud yelp from upstairs followed by "I said, take of that damn jacket, Nikolai!" Kosovo tilted his head in confusion. "What is going on up there?"
"Nothing. Where's Mr. Serbia?"
"Big Brother Viktor is fighting with Big Brother Stjepan, again." the Balkan replied. "I'm trick-or-treating by myself. Where's Mr. Romania?"
"Big Brother's upstairs making Bulgaria change his costume." Moldova answered. "Let's just go. I want to trick-or-treat and it looks like whatever they're doing is going to take a while."
Moldova exited Bulgaria's house and closed the door quietly behind himself. The two of them walked up the path towards the sidewalk. Another yelp, this time from Romania, was heard.
"Alexandru." Kosovo said.
"You don't think they're having this yaoi sex that Miss Hungary and Big Brother Slovenia talk about with Mr. Japan, do you?"
"Nu." Moldova replied before thinking for a moment. "What even is sex?"
"No idea. My big brothers and big sister won't ever tell me when I ask. Big Brother Serbia even yelled at Miss Hungary and Slovenia after I asked."
Moldova and Kristijan went to all of the European nation's houses. Belgium and Switzerland gave them chocolate, though Switzerland then yelled at them not to touch the flowers. Italy was going to give them pasta, until Romano interfered and gave them some pizzelles. Hungary gave them a hug before declaring how cute they were and sent them on their way with some Hungarian sweets. Turkey gave them an apple. Slovenia scolded them for being on their own before giving them some suckers and cautioning them to be safe. Russia gave them a hug and asked them if they'd become one with him, to which they promptly ran away. Denmark was about to give them Danish sweets, which were super loaded with sugar, but Norway choked him with his own tie and gave them some butter cookies instead. All-in-all they had made out like bandits after a jewelry heist.
Shortly after leaving Bulgaria's house, the dusk turned into a night befitting Halloween. The full moon hung pale, bright, and yellow against the pitch-black, starless sky. A light fog had settled over the Earth, not enough to make it hard to navigate but enough to make it seem eerie. There was a gentle breeze blowing, ruffling the multicolored leaves and causing hanging light fixtures to creak as they swayed. The streets soon emptied, parents carrying tired trick-or-treaters into the house to go to bed.
"That wasn't too bad." Kosovo commented before sinking his teeth into the pear France had given them (he claimed he'd be an irresponsible big brother if he gave them something that would rot their teeth).
"Da, I agree." Moldova said as he popped a jawbreaker from Luxembourg into his mouth. "It was nice getting along with you for once. Maybe we can do it again sometime."
Kosovo smiled. "Da, I'd like that."
The two walked the now empty streets in silence. They both knew that they were going to get yelled at by Serbia and Romania, but they didn't care. At that moment they were forming the hints of a friendship. Maybe Moldova could even talk to his boss into recognizing Kosovo as a nation. That would really improve their relationship. Yes, he would talk to his boss.
At that moment, everything was perfect. They had done something without their over-protective older brothers and they had hit the jackpot in candy. Of course it couldn't last forever. Tomorrow Kosovo would go to the Orthodox Church with Serbia as usual and Moldova would go to the cemetery to honor the dead with Romania. But they would always remember the night they became somewhat friends.
That's where everything went wrong.
Moldova and Kosovo were walking home when everything fell eerily silent. The breeze had stopped and the leaves quit rustling. Low clouds covered the moon, blocking its bright light. Suddenly, the streetlights went out, leaving the two young nations in pitch-black darkness. The only light was the few beams of moonlight that stuck out from behind the clouds, but it was very little light. The shriek of an owl came from nearby before there was the rustling of large wings, indicating the bird of the night had taken off.
"What the…?" Moldova asked in a hesitant whisper. There was a snapping of a twig behind them. Both boys quickly turned, amber and olive eyes filled with terror. Moldova involuntarily gripped Kosovo's hand. "Big Brother? Is that you?"
A low growl came in response. Terror filled the children's bodies. Kosovo gripped Moldova's hand tightly and took off running in the opposite direction from the growl. The two ran blindly through the empty streets, their vision obscured by panic filled adrenaline and darkness. Both boys kept tripping, Moldova over the too long sheet and Kosovo over the too big, hand-me-down boots.
They quickly approached the foreboding silhouette of an old, medieval style castle. It had long been abandoned and was the perfect place to hide from whatever was chasing them. The two pushed open the heavy oak door and darted inside, slamming the door behind them. Moldova blindly felt around before finding the lock and turning it. Meanwhile, Kosovo had found a candle and lit it.
The door shuddered as something slammed into it as full force, causing the young nations to jump back in fright. The screeching of claws on wood followed shortly after before the doorknob jiggled. Moldova and Kosovo held their breath in terror. The screeching soon stopped and a moaning could be heard heading in the opposite direction. Neither dared to open the door, knowing that thing was still out there.
"W-What was t-t-that?" Kosovo stuttered as he shook violently.
Moldova quickly grabbed the candle stick from the Balkan before he dropped it and started a fire. The former Soviet was shaky himself, but less so than Kosovo. "I don't know. But I think we're trapped here for the night. Now let's see if we can't find some more light."
Surprisingly, the house was connected to an electric line. Moldova and Kosovo found a light switch and flipped it. A grand dining room was revealed as a beautiful, crystal chandelier lit up. Despite the outside appearing to be abandoned, the inside was well taken care of. A long runner of the deepest red was spread over the dark oak floor boards, running from one end of the dining room to the other. A fancy, elegantly crafted walnut dining room stood boldly in the middle of the room. At least two dozen chairs of the same material surrounded the table with cushions on the seat that had gold designs on a background of deep purple. A tablecloth that matched the seat cushions ran across the table. It was set professionally with sterling silver tableware, golden placemats, plates made of fine bone china, and crystal wine glasses.
"Woah…" Kosovo said in awl. "Rich people must live here."
"Da." Moldova agreed having never seen such an expensive room before. He knew of nations that had huge palaces filled with gold and other precious materials and nations that had expensive treasures from a past long forgotten, but he had never seen anything so fancy.
"Didn't your older brothers teach you it was rude to walk into someone's house uninvited?" a voice masculine voice said.
The two boys jumped in shock and spun around. Standing in the entrance of the dining room was a man in his mid-forties with salt-and-pepper hair and a beard to match. His green eyes were cold and guarded. He wore a fine suit of expensive black silk. Beside him stood a graying woman about the same age. Her gray speckled brunette hair was pulled in a tight bun and her blue eyes had a sparkle to them. She wore a long silk dress that was a deep red color. Her warm smile contrasted the man's cold gaze.
"We're sorry, sir." Kosovo said meekly, not paying mind to the fact that the man somehow knew they were raised by their brothers.
"Tom." the woman chastised. "Don't scare the poor dears. I'm sure they have a good reason for barging in. After all, it is All Hallows' Eve." She turned to the two young nations. She pulled out a bowl filled with sweets. "Don't be afraid dears. Would you like some candy?"
"N-No th-thank you, madam." Moldova stuttered, feeling something was off.
"Oh, I insist, Sweetheart. We have plenty of candy, but we don't get any trick-or-treaters. Take all you like." she ordered sweetly. Kosovo and Moldova hesitantly took a few pieces of candy, sensing something was off about these two. The woman's smile grew. "There you go. What's your names?"
"M-My name's Ko-Kristijan and this is Alexandru." Kosovo said hesitantly.
"Oh, what nice names. It's been a long time since we've had children around here. I believe the last two that came around was a pair of young boys much like yourselves. But their name escape me at the moment." she rambled. "You may call me Auntie Ruthie. And this is my husband, Mr. Tom. What brings you two lovely boys here?"
"T-There was something outside, some animal, chasing us." Moldova said in panic.
"Oh you poor dears!" she cried before turning to her husband. "Tom, we can't send these poor boys away."
"Madam, we don't want to trouble you. I-If you have a phone, then we can call our big brothers to come pick us up." Kosovo said nervously, not really trusting the couple.
"We do not have a phone!" the woman screamed angrily. "You're staying!" She shook her head and chuckled softly, the hairs on the back of the two nations' necks standing up. "I'm sorry. I don't know what came over me. Come with me, dears."
The woman lead them upstairs through a grand hall. Suits of armor lined the walls. Weapons hung proudly at the end of each hallway. There were at least a dozen doors, each with its own unique design. The carpet was a beautiful, rich blue and was made of the softest wool.
Yet, despite the luxury, the entire house was cold and uninviting. And something felt wrong. Both boys had a sense of foreboding in the pit of their stomachs. The woman turned to them and smiled as she stopped in front of one of the many doors. In the dimness of the eerie hallway, her smile seemed even more unsettling than it did in the dining room.
"I hope you sweet boys don't mind sharing a room. I've taken the liberty of setting out a set of clothes for the both of you so you can get out of those silly costumes." she informed them. "I ask you to stay out of the other rooms and the closet. You may use the bathroom in this room. Goodnight. Sleep tight and don't let the bedbugs bite!"
She chuckled, making the hairs on the back of Kosovo and Moldova's necks stand up, before leaving. Moldova turned to Kosovo. "I don't like this. I'd rather take my chances with whatever was out there."
"Da. I agree." the Balkan said softly. "I wonder if our brothers have noticed that we're missing."
Kosovo and Moldova had settled in for the night. Neither had taken off their costume, as they were warmer than what the bed clothes that had been laid out looked. The bedroom was even colder than the rest of the house. It was decorated luxuriously, but it felt desolate. The longer the two spent in the house, the more terrified they became.
"Wanna eat some candy?" Kosovo asked Moldova.
"Nu. We should save it. Besides, both Big Brother and Big Brother Russia like to go through it before I eat it."
"They sound like Big Brother Serbia and Big Sister Albania." the younger nation commented. "They go through mine, then Big Brothers Bosnia and Croatia do after them to 'double check.' What time is it?"
"23:30." Moldova replied absentmindedly. Suddenly, there was a loud clang. Both boys practically jumped out of their skin. "What was that?"
"I don't know." Kosovo said in a scared whisper. "I want Viktor."
The door creaked open slowly and the man reappeared. His green eyes were wide with panic and blood dripped down his face. His lips were blue and his skin was gray cast. His fine suit was covered in blood and mud and there was blood leaking out of a hole in his chest, staining the white fabric of the shirt. He grabbed Kosovo by the shoulders and began shaking him frantically. The poor Balkan couldn't cry out because he was being shaken so hard that he quickly became dizzy. Moldova began kicking the man, causing him to set Kosovo down and grab Moldova's wrist.
"Enough, nation." he said in a hoarse whisper. "You must get out of here. You haven't much time. My wife, she'll-"
A screeching noise started outside the room. The little color in the man's face drained quickly. He ran to the window and threw open the curtains. Moldova and Kosovo gaped in shock. Covering the window were thick, iron bars.
"Curses! She grew smarter after the last two nations!" the man exclaimed.
"S-Sir?" Moldova asked softly. "What do you-"
"My wife is a demon!" he snarled. "Don't you fools see? You would've been better off outside with that blasted werewolf. At least Romania would've been able to protect you. Here you are alone." He paused for a moment. "I will only tell you this once. Go straight down the hallway, away from the way you came as quickly and quietly as possible. Grab the axe on the wall and into the room on the left side at the end of the hallway. There you will find a weak spot in the plaster by the window. Take the axe and hit that area as hard as you can until a hole appears. Jump down to the ground and run as fast as you can. Understand?"
The two nodded meekly and left the room.
Everything had gone according to plan until they went into the room on the left at the end of hallway. Waiting for them was the woman. Her blue eyes were cold with a hint of insanity in them. Blood dripped from a wound on the side of her head. Her red dress was torn and stained with mud, blood, and a strange pinkish gray substance that both nations recognized in horror as brain matter. Her graying brunette hair was out of its bun and was matted and caked with mud and blood. Her once beautiful, milky skin had a gray tint to it, as if she were dead.
"You brats think you can escape, hm?" she asked, her voice cold and hoarse. She grabbed Moldova by the throat and pinned him to the wall. "Those other nations got away, but I won't let it happen again."
Moldova's vision began to darken as his air supply was cut off. Kosovo picked up the axe and swung it so it came in contact with the woman's back. Blood splattered onto the boys' white costumes. She let out a cry of surprise and released Moldova. Kosovo grabbed the other nation's hand and pulled the bloodied axe out of the woman's back before running out of the room and heading back the way they came. As they were running down the stairs, they heard a scream similar to a banshee's.
"You little bastards get- Tom?! What the hell are you doing, you asshole?! Get those little brats!"
Neither nation dared to turn back. They came to the dark entry way and ran straight into the door. Moldova frantically felt around for the lock.
"I can't find the lock!" he cried in panic. "Wait! Kosovo, give me the axe and stand back."
Kosovo did as he was told. With a grunt Moldova drove the axe into the wood door. There was a splintering noise as another scream of rage echoed through the house.
"Hurry!" Kosovo cried.
Moldova wacked the door again and again until there was enough of a hole for them to crawl out of. Moonlight poured through the hole and the sound of high heels echoed behind them. Moldova threw the axe through the hole and gestured Kosovo through. He could see the woman running toward them. After Kosovo was out, Moldova followed.
He was almost out when razor sharp nails dug into his ankle. Moldova let out a cry of panic and began kicking and flailing. Kosovo quickly grabbed Moldova's arms and pulled him. There was a crack and Moldova let out a cry of pain. The nails released him in momentary shock and Kosovo pulled him through the rest of the way. He quickly scooped up the axe as Kosovo grabbed his wrist and took off, causing him to cry in pain again. His leg was broken, but that didn't matter.
The two ran as fast as Moldova's broken leg would allow them to Bulgaria's house. They slammed ran in and slammed the door behind them, startling the nations in Bulgaria's living room. A very distressed Romania and Serbia ran to the two young nations as Bulgaria, Montenegro, Macedonia, Greece, Turkey, Albania, Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Russia, Austria, and Hungary came over to investigate.
"Moldova!" Romania cried before scooping him up. The sudden movement brought Moldova back to reality and made the pain of his broken leg sink in. He let out a cry of agony and buried his tearful face in Romania's shirt. "What's the matter?"
Kosovo began blubbering in rapid Albanian as he sobbed into Serbia's shirt. Moldova just let out a moan of pain as he clung to his older brother and began crying. Hungary glanced around. "What's going on?"
"She broke Alexandru's leg!" Kosovo cried in English. "Don't leave me, Big Brother!"
"Ce?! Alexandru, your leg is broken?" Romania asked in panic before setting the younger nation on Bulgaria's couch. He turned his best friend. "Get me something to set it so I can take him to the hospital!"
Bulgaria ran out of the room as Romania stroked Moldova's chestnut brown hair soothingly. Kosovo continued wailing, causing Albania to take him from Serbia's arms and rock him back and forth. Russia perched on the edge of the couch and took Moldova's ice cold hand before rubbing it gently between his own. Moldova wasn't wailing. Tears silently ran down his cheeks as he stared into nothingness.
"He's going into shock, comrade." Russia told Romania as he draped a blanket around Moldova's shoulders. "Kristijan won't be far behind."
Bulgaria returned with some stuff that could be used as a splint and handed it to Romania. The Romance nation began muttering soothing words in a mixture of Romanian, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Ukrainian, and Russian to his younger brother as he set the splint. Ukraine came in with two warm wash clothes and handed one to Croatia. The two nations dabbed the younger nations' faces with them. Finally, once his leg was wrapped tightly enough, Romania picked up Moldova and carried him out to the car to take him to the hospital. Bulgaria followed, knowing it wasn't a good idea to let Romania go alone.
The excess nations had been sent home. So the next morning, the only nations in Bulgaria's house were Bulgaria himself, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Albania, Kosovo, and Moldova. Moldova was forced to stay in bed because of his broken leg. Kosovo, however, was following Serbia around like a lost puppy.
"So," Romania said as he grabbed toast to take to Moldova, "what happened last night?"
Kosovo glanced up. "We went trick-or-treating and on our way home, we were chased by some kind of animal. Then we were held hostage in this fancy house with a demonic woman and her husband."
Albania raised an eyebrow. "Sounds like somebody had too much candy last night and got spooked."
"But she broke Moldova's leg, Big Sister." he protested.
"Now, now." Bulgaria chastised. "There's no such things as ghost or demons, Kosovo. You too probably got hyped up on Danish sweets or something and Moldova probably climbed a tree to show off and fell. Your sugar induced imagination probably made up this ghost story to rationalize what happened."
"But it's not my imagination!" Kosovo protested.
"Say," Serbia said his dark green eyes filled with concern, "this demonic woman didn't happen to live in a house that looked like a medieval style castle, did she?"
"And she wasn't wearing a red silk dress, by chance?" Romania added.
"Da and da. Why do you ask?"
"No reason." they both said in unison.
"It was probably just your imagination, as Bulgaria said." Serbia said as he twirled a strand of his messy black hair.
"Da." Romania agreed, pushing a strand of his strawberry blond hair away from his pinkish red eyes.
He grabbed Moldova's breakfast and went up to tend to his baby brother. As he left the kitchen, he caught Serbia's eye, red staring into green. They nodded in agreement. Nobody needed to know that they, too, had once encountered the vengeful spirit that Kosovo had described.
I uploaded this earlier but, it submitted it before I was ready. Happy Halloween! This probably isn't that scary, but oh well. I had time to work on this today because we don't get trick-or-treaters on my street because the city refuses to put sidewalks on it even though it's in town. I don't own Hetalia. Serbia, Kosovo, and Albania are my OCs along with the two spirits.