Title: Unhappy Hallowe'en, Part 2
Pairing/s: None, yet.
Character/s: Arthur, Merlin, Morgana
Summary: The boys settle in
Warnings: Cliché haunted house scenario
Word Count: 1072 Sorry for going over.
Prompt: 133 Wicked
Author's Notes: This is the conclusion of Unhappy Hallowe'en which should be read first.
They wandered from one room to another, trying to suss out the best place to unroll their sleeping bags. The rooms were all full of furniture, though the house had purportedly been empty for decades. Merlin whispered Arthur’s own thoughts. “Why d’ya think nobody’s broken in and stolen everything? The door was unlocked.”
“The place is in the middle of nowhere. Maybe nobody knew it was abandoned,” Arthur answered, also whispering, not wanting to draw attention to himself. Attention from what? he wondered.
“Morgana knew about it.” Merlin stopped short, flashlight trained on what appeared to be a shrouded armchair. “It’s weird, this place is dusty, but it’s not decades dusty. More like Summer rental dusty.” He dropped his rucksack to the floor and rooted around inside, pulling out a battery operated lantern. “Let’s see what the hell we’ve gotten ourselves into.”
The lantern chased away the eerie shadows the flashlights had caused, and the two men found themselves looking at a spacious parlor. Merlin marched to the fireplace and ran a finger over the mantle. “Hell, Arthur, this isn’t even as dusty as our apartment! Has Morgana set us up to be arrested for breaking into somebody’s vacation home?”
“I wouldn’t put it past her,” Arthur answered, voice back to a normal level. The lantern gave the room a cheerier feel though Arthur’s uneasiness remained. “I still lost that bet and the door was open. I say we just settle in for the night and if we get caught we’ll deal with it.”
Merlin shrugged and they continued their exploration, the lantern easing their nerves. After covering the ground floor, they headed upstairs and discovered four bedrooms and an antiquated bathroom. There was no running water but it, too, was suspiciously clean. Merlin actually pulled out his iPhone and did a scan of airbnb.com to see if the place was listed. “What? It’s totally possible.”
They decided to settle in the front room. It’s close to the front door in case we need to make an escape,” Merlin decided.
“You watch too many horror movies,” Arthur said (though he agreed with the decision and the reasoning).
Merlin laid a pad over the gritty hardwoods and Arthur did the same, settling it a bit closer than he would if they were camping. The place might not be as menacing as it felt earlier but it was still creepy and he wanted to keep Merlin at hand.
After eating sandwiches and chips, they burrowed into their bags and tried to sleep. Merlin insisted they keep the lantern on low. “As soon as we turn it off, something’s sure to jump us,” he announced.
“Shut up, Merlin.” Arthur shifted even closer.
Even though it had been a long day, the light and the near constant old house noises kept them from falling asleep. Finally, Arthur rolled over to face Merlin. “I never thanked you for coming along. You could have been tucked into your bed hours ago.”
Merlin snorted, “Like I’d let you go on this hair brained adventure on your own. You nearly got lost three times just getting here.”
Arthur raised one eyebrow, “You were the navigator, Merlin. You nearly got us lost three times.”
“I don’t think you know what that word means.”
Merlin laughed, shooting Arthur a wide grin, “No, I really don’t.”
Arthur laughed, too, and rolled over onto his back. “For a haunted house, this place is surprisingly cosy.”
Merlin groaned, “Hell, Arthur, you’ve just jinxed us.” The lantern took that cue to cut out and there was a series of what sounded like footsteps on the floorboards above. The footfalls were light, maybe those of a child and they were accompanied by the sound of a ball bouncing along. Arthur quickly unzipped his bag and reached out for Merlin, pulling him upright.
“Right, we’re getting the hell out of here.” Merlin didn’t have to be told twice. They left their things and ran to the front door only to find the dead bolt had been engaged.
They each moved to a window and struggled to open them. Of course they were stuck fast. Just as Merlin was contemplating breaking the pane, the lantern came back to life.
Merlin’s heart was racing but the situation felt much less dire in the light. He let out a nervous giggle. “Fuck. This is just like every cheesy scary movie ever.” Arthur couldn’t agree more.
The sounds upstairs had ceased, and Merlin actually wondered whether they’d ever happened at all. “You heard that, right? I didn’t just imagine it?”
Arthur shakily nodded in agreement. “Oh, yeah. Let’s check the back door and windows. Maybe we can get out of another room.” They picked up the lantern and their flashlights and did a circuit of the ground floor. All the windows were jammed and the back door, too, was locked up tight. Unless they were willing to vandalize the house, they were stuck.
“It’s stupid, but even though I’m a bit terrified, I’m also afraid to break a window. What’s that about?” Arthur asked.
“Our folks raised us right?” Merlin answered and Arthur had to agree.
“Look, if it was a ghost it sounded like a little one. I’ll call Morgana and have her bring a locksmith along.”
“Knowing her, she’s probably orchestrating this and watching us on close circuit television in a van not fifteen feet down the drive,” Merlin said dryly.
Despite the late hour, Morgana answered on the second ring, laughing merrily at their predicament. “This is priceless, but you haven’t lost the bet yet. We’ll be there in a couple hours. You and Merlin zip your bags together and keep each other warm in the meantime.”
Arthur hung up on her.
He and Merlin settled on their sleeping bags, not getting in for fear of being somehow trapped. By silent agreement, they sat very close and when Merlin took Arthur’s hand neither man said anything. When a gust of wind caused the house to groan alarmingly, Arthur put his arm around Merlin’s shoulders and pulled him tight against his side. The tension kept them both from enjoying the embrace as much as they might otherwise.
In a van, fifty feet down the drive, Morgana and Gwen high fived one another and turned off the feed, their job done.
In the old Victorian, a benevolent spirit passed a spectral ball from hand to hand, watching the men cling to one another.