Prompt: On Halloween night, some children find the blood of a boy.
Tony held his bag up expectedly, grinning at the sugary candy the adult dropped into it.
He stepped back to allow the others to get theirs, hopping down the front steps to wait. This was the first year they got to go trick-or-treating without a parent, and, as far as Tony was concerned, the best year.
“Well, aren’t your costumes just amazing?” Tony rolled his eyes at the patronizing tone. Their costumes were amazing (Tony was Batman, Steve was Superman, Clint was the Green Arrow, and Bruce was the Green Lantern), but Mr. Pierce was all weird about it. Tony didn’t think he liked Halloween all that much, the way his face would get pinched every October.
“Thank you, Mr. Pierce!” Steve replied politely. Tony made a face. Ugh.
“You’re welcome. And happy Hallow –do you hear that?” The man paused, turning to stare off into the distance, eyes unfocused.
Tony and the others paused to listen, but even straining his ears for a minute he didn’t hear anything.
“Uh, hear what?” Clint asked uncertainly, eyeing the man in front of them.
Mr. Pierce shook his head and blinked a few times, “Never mind. My head must have been playing tricks on me, just, ah, -happy Halloween.” He said distractedly, and retreated back inside the house.
After exchanging incredulous looks with the others, Tony huffed, “C’mon, guys! We’re burning moonlight, here!” They had to be back at Tony’s house by midnight, after all.
They were almost back to the street, walking down the barely lit path that lead to Mr. Pierce’s door, when Clint stopped abruptly, squinting into the darkness off to the side, “Hey… what’s that?” he asked, pointing. Tony looked over but didn’t see anything.
“What’s what?” Bruce asked quietly, shifting closer to Tony and biting his lip. Bruce didn’t like the dark, and was already kinda nervous about being out without a grownup.
“I don’t- Hey Tony, can you shine your light over there?” Steve moved farther into the darkness toward where Clint was pointing.
“Hold on,” Tony started shifting through the candy to get the flashlight Jarvis made him take with him, ignoring Bruce’s abolishment’s about needing to go and trespassing. It’s Halloween; you were supposed to trespass.
Finding the small flashlight, Tony pointed it toward Steve, stepping closer himself. This could admittedly be interesting.
“There,” Clint pointed at a shiny spot in the grass and ran over there, the others quickly followed after him.
“What is it?” Tony asked when they were right on top of it, and bent down to poke at it.
“Don’t touch it!” Bruce yelled, grabbing Tony’s wrist before he could stick his hand in the red liquid.
“I think it’s… blood.” Clint said, ignored the two geniuses, and leaned closer himself to get a better look.
“Blood!?” Steve Squeaked and back stepped. Tony rolled his eyes, “Don’t be a baby, Rogers, it’s probably fake. Halloween, remember?”
Steve glared, “Yeah, but this is Mr. Peirce’s yard, and he hates Halloween.” He pointed out, and, fair.
Still, Tony wouldn’t let him get the last word, “So, what? You think he’s some mass murderer who forgot to clean up properly?”
“Maybe it was an animal, you ever think about that?” Steve shot back, crossing his arms.
Tony growled, standing up to do… something probably, when Bruce spoke up.
“What!?” They yelled in unison, and then glared at each other.
Bruce cleared his throat, shifting a little, “There’s more,” He said, motioning toward where Tony had apparently dropped his flashlight without knowing.
It had rolled a little farther away in the direction of Peirce’s backyard, and, like Bruce had said, it was shining on another patch of ‘bloody’ grass.
Tony walked and picked up the light, looking around, because if there was more here, than…
He started shining the light over patches nearby. The others picking up on what he was doing, started looking around too, even if Bruce only did so hesitantly.
Just as he’d suspected, not even a minute later, Tony caught a flash of crimson, “There!”
It continued farther into the yard, leading back, and they followed it anxiously. When they actually got to the backyard the red spots started to get closer together.
“It’s leading that way,” Clint pointed out when the trail became more pronounced.
“Yeah, but… what’s ‘that way’?” Steve questioned. Tony pointed the light to their right, in the ‘that way’ direction.
It was Mr. Pierce’s house. More pacifically –
“That’s a cellar.”
“”What could possibly be in a cellar that would leave a trail of blood like th- why are you looking at me like that?” Steve shifted nervously, honestly confused at the looks they were giving him.
There were a lot of things that could be in a cellar, Steve. Blood was optional.
Geez, did this guy never watch horror movies?
“Moving on!” Tony decided it wasn’t worth it, “Let’s go.”
“What? No!” Bruce protests went unheard (ignored) by the others, and they quickly made their way over. Bruce had no choice but to follow.
“Should we go in?” Clint asked. It wouldn’t be hard to open the doors back, Tony decided, looking over the old wood.
“It would be an invasion of privacy,” Steve protested, but Tony was pretty sure he wanted to go in has much as Tony did.
“Yeah, but,” Tony started, “What if someone’s hurt down there? I mean, that was a lot of blood, Steve.” If it was blood, that is.
Steve caved, like Tony knew he would, at the mention of someone possibly being hurt. “Alright,”
Like Tony had thought, it wasn’t hard to open the doors up. They creaked ominously as they swung open, landing hard on the ground with a ‘thud’.
Tony peered inside. It was dark and his flashlight wasn’t doing much of anything to eliminate the shadows.
Maybe this wasn’t a good idea, after all.
“Maybe we shouldn’t…” He stopped, biting his lip. They probably shouldn’t do this, but someone really could be hurt down there…
“You’re not chickening out, are you, Stark?” Clint teased. His voice wavered though, as he eyed the abyss, telling Tony exactly what Clint thought about the whole situation. He was actually hoping Tony changed his mind.
“No! I just- never mind. Let’s go.” He growled, stalking over to the steps. He paused for a second, before taking a fortifying, shaky breath, and stepped inside. The others followed after him, sticking close together.
The trail of red continued inside, the wooden stairs creaking under their weight as they moved down. It was freezing, got colder the farther down they went, and Tony had to keep himself from shivering.
He kept the light pointed at their feet to see where they were going, his free hand on the icy concrete wall, searching for a light switch.
“I don’t like this, guys…” Bruce mumbled.
Tony ignored him, taking the last step down. There actually wasn’t a light switch (figures) so they’d have to continue to make do with Tony’s small flashlight.
Pointing it around, they could see the cellar looked pretty generic. Concrete walls and floors, cobwebs hanging matted from the ceiling and banister from the stairs leading into the house, lawn tools hung from the far wall, the only thing that stood out was…
The trail actually seemed to get more distinguished the farther it went on, going from drops to puddles to streaks, as if something had been dragged-
-And at the end…
“Oh, man- is he dead?” Clint hissed, moving back toward the steps, but still staying close to the group. Tony didn’t have an answer.
He certainly looked dead, leaning against the wall, completely still. He was completely naked, skin turning blue from the cold. His hair was long, hanging limp and matted, obscuring the view of his face. There was no question where the blood had come from now; his left arm was completely gone. Like it had been ripped completely out of its socket, crimson still sluggishly oozing down his bare side-
Distantly, Tony knew Bruce was heaving, and Steve had gone completely pale (and might actually faint), and who ever knew what Clint was thinking, stock still and staring anywhere but at the body- But none of it registered, because about the time Tony was about to look away from the carnage, about to suggest they leave, like now, because this wasn’t something they could deal with on their own-
About that time the dead body looked up.
Not so dead after all…
Tony yelped and stumbled back, dropping the light in the process. Landing hard, he scrambled to find it again.
“Tony what’s-” Tony finally grabbed hold of the handle, pointing it back at the boy. He hadn’t moved, still staring at where Tony had been, like he wasn’t seeing anything.
Steve gasped, “Bucky!”
“Steve, no! Bucky’s not-” real. Tony stopped. Bucky was just Steve’s imaginary friend. Right? He couldn’t be real, right? Steve couldn’t even ‘see’ Bucky anymore-
-Until now. This was so messed up!
Steve had already scrambled his way over, landing on his knees next to the prone body, “Bucky, it’s gonna be okay. We’re gonna get ya’ help, okay? We’re gonna-”
“-Ste-eve~” ‘Bucky’ sang, head falling back to look at the blond sitting next to him, voice echoing around the room.
Steve’s breath hitched as he held back panicked tears, “Y-yeah, Buck?”
Bucky chuckled (chuckled!) and leaned closer, closer… until his chapped, blue lips were right next to a frozen Steve’s ear.
“You are all going to die here.”
And then he started laughing. It started out as a chuckle, transforming into laughter, until he was in full blown hysterics!
“Guy’s,” Clint said distractedly. Tony ignored him.
“Steve, we have to go now,” Tony hissed, but stayed in his spot. There was no way he was going over there, what with that creepy (not)dead, (not)real, hysteric kid who’d just said they were going to die, as if it was some big joke!
“No! Tony, we can’t just leave him!” Steve protested over the manic laughter. Tony growled, pushing himself to his feet.
“Guy’s,” Bruce tried this time, a little more urgently, breath quick. Tony ignored him.
“Steve, we have to go!”
“Not without him!”
“He just threatened to kill us!”
“No, he didn’t! He said we were going to die!”
“Because that’s so much better!”
“He needs help-!”
“He’s not real!”
Tony whipped around on Clint, “What?!” His voice cracked and he didn’t even care! What could possibly be so-
Clint stood frozen, either by fear or some unknown force. Standing in front of him, with their faces a mere centimeter apart, was a redheaded little girl dressed in a bloodied ballerina dress.
Well… that probably wasn’t good, Tony thought, absently.
Off to the side, Bruce whimpered.
“Вверх по водостоку паучок ползёт,” She sang slow and drawn out, hand coming up to caress Clint’s cheek, head tilting ever so slightly.
The Itsy-Bitsy spider went up the water spout,
The laughter (that had started to die down) started back up again even louder, as if this was the funniest thing in the world.
“Bucky,” Steve said, pained. He reached out, but didn’t touch.
Tony looked between the two situations, frantically. He didn’t know what to do!
He was useless.
“Вдруг он вниз скатился, это дождик льёт,”
Down came the rain and washed the spider out,
The loud bang of a slamming door from upstairs shook Tony from his panic. “Mr. Pierce!” He could help! He could!
His excitement was short-lived, though, because when the man entered the cellar, heavy footsteps all the way down, he definitely wasn’t in a helping mood.
“Mr. Pierce-!” Bruce, relieved, tried to call out.
“What are you all doing here!?” He shouted. His eyes were wide and bloodshot. Bruce flinched back.
“Cолнышко вышло и стало пригревать,”
Up came the sun and dried up all the rain,
Pierce’s head whipped around, “What was that!?”
“I,” Tony looked back toward Clint (still frozen in place) and watched as the girls porcelain skin started to crack across her face and hand, as if it were actually made of ceramic. Clint whimpered.
Tony wanted to scream.
Before he could, Pierce growled, hands covering his ears, “This is your fault! This is-” his hands dropped, face blanked “This is because of you.”
Tony watched as the man walked over to the wall of tools, took off a large hook, and then slowly turned to look back at them.
“Every year, it’s always the same. I thought it was the date, but no…”
“Mr. Pierce-” Tony stumbled farther back, bumping into Bruce.
“This is because of all of you. This is your fault.”
Pierce jerked toward the sound, eyes completely going over the bleeding kid to land on Steve, “Stop it!” He paced over to Steve as the kid rushed to his feet.
“Please! He needs a doc-”
Pierce swung the hook down and sideways.
It caught Steve’s throat, cutting his plea off. Blood gushed out of his mouth as he fell, the only thing keeping him up was the small scythe stuck in his neck. Pierce leaned down far enough to step on the kids head, steadying himself. He yanked the hook forward to free it from the body, arteriolar spray squirted out, covering the surrounding area in Steve’s blood.
Abstractedly, Tony heard a scream, crying. He didn’t know if it was him or not.
“Told you,” Bucky giggled, sliding down to his side and onto his empty socket, causing even more red to pool around him.
Tony snapped out of it as the crazed man turned and took a step closer to him and Bruce. Tony snatched Clint by the back of his costume, the girl disappeared as Clint moved, but Tony barely even registered that. Snatching a hold of Bruce, they took off back to the outside world.
Before they got to the stairs Clint screamed and fell face forward to the ground. Bruce slid to a stop, making Tony stumble. They turned back to see what had happened, and froze.
Clint, who had rolled over to see what had caused him to fall, paled.
Wrapped around his ankle was a hand. Not just a hand, but an arm. Bucky’s missing arm, if Tony had to take a guess, all disembodied, and trailing red.
The fist Squeezed around Clint’s ankle, causing a sickening crack to echo along with his scream of pain, and he needed help, but before Tony could do anything, Pierce was there, standing over him, face dark and frantic, hand white knuckled around his weapon, “Shut up!”
Tony watched in muted horror as the fucking lunatic swung the blade down, catching Clint’s collarbone and not stopping. Pulling the hook all the way down to the pelvis, gutting Clint like an animal-
Tony ignored the voice in his head that said he couldn’t leave yet, not without Clint, who was alive and screaming. For help. For Tony, that he couldn’t just abandon him- he ignored it all, grabbed Bruce, and ran.
They made it to the steps and didn’t look back. They were almost to the top! They were going to make it! They were-
The doors to freedom slammed shut, loud bang mixing with the hysteric laughter and shouts of rage.
“No!” Tony yelled. It wasn’t fair! This couldn’t happen! He pounded at the wood, pushed at it, tried everything to get it back open–
Tony pointed his light (which he had been able to hold onto by some miracle) back at Bruce, who was a few steps down, and shook his head. They were trapped.
It was over.
Looking beyond Bruce, his eyes widened, as out of the black abyss the hook came swinging, and before he could so much as shout a warning it struck, piercing Bruce’s left eye, -straight back through his skull. Blood splattered across Tony’s face. It was warm. It burned.
Bruce was yanked out of Tony’s sight.
All he could hear was his own breathing, the laughter suddenly gone, even the air seemed more still.
He reached up to wipe the drops of blood from his face, staring at the crimson across his fingers numbly.
His flashlight flickered, before going out completely. Tony cursed, slamming it against his palm. It came back to life quickly, much to Tony’s relief. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and pointed it back into-
-Pierces face. Right there.
He saw the hook come swinging at him in slow motion, a whispered “Your fault.” Tony gasped, lungs preparing to scream-
–He jerked awake, sitting up and scrambling to turn the lamp on. Looking around, he relaxed. He was in his room, his bed. The calendar said October 30th. It was just a dream.
He sighed in relief, just a- just a nightmare. He looked over to check the time, (11:59 p.m.), and lied back down.
He glanced around one more time before he decided it was safe to go back to sleep. He’d leave the lamp on though, just- just to be safe.
He closed his eyes, dozed off.
The clock struck midnight.
His eyes snapped open.
“И вверх по водостоку ползет паук опять.”
And the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again…