Characters: America, England, France, Japan, Canada, Russia, various others
Word Count: 1,502
Summary: When a nation feels stressed, overworked, and backed into a corner, he has the option to let it all go for awhile. Start a new life as a human, with no memories of the past. It happens automatically, as if by magic. But nobody knew this could happen until one day, America mysteriously disappeared after running out of a meeting. After two and a half weeks of searching the country, they finally found the right Alfred F. Jones in the form of a 10 year old boy. But how can they get him to remember that he was once the United States of America? How will they change him back? And, more importantly, does he even want to be changed back?
“…This is all your fault, America!”
“…If you’re supposed to be the hero, then why can’t you do anything right?”
“…You’re slipping, America….America…….America!”
“Alfred… Alfred, honey wake up. Alfred?” Alfred groaned as he rolled over onto his stomach, pulling the covers over his head.
“Do I have to get up now?” he whined. His mom smiled.
“Yes; you need to get ready for school.”
“Five more minutes, Mom,” he pleaded. “Pleeeease?”
“Nope. Five minutes will turn into an hour, and then you’ll be late. Now come on; your brother is already downstairs having breakfast. Your father made pancakes…” Alfred’s head perked up at this news.
“Pancakes?! I gotta get down there!” he said excitedly. And with that, he jumped out of bed and bolted downstairs, still in his superman pajamas. Alfred’s mom chuckled quietly and shook her head as she laid out some clothes for Alfred to wear.
“I thought that might get him up,” she said to herself.
Breakfast went as usual; Alfred ate everything in sight and talked up a storm while shoving pancakes into his mouth. His brother Matthew sat quietly next to him, finishing off his glass of juice. Meanwhile, Alfred was discussing the benefits of getting an advance on his allowance.
“The new PSh 3 will be totally wurf it… It’sh got the besht gamesh, and-“
“Alfred, don’t talk with your mouth full,” scolded his mother. “It’s rude.” Alfred swallowed.
Soon after they were done eating breakfast, the bus had arrived, and it was time to go. Alfred and Matthew quickly hugged their parents goodbye, Alfred scowling after receiving a kiss from his mother on the forehead. He had told her a million times; kisses are for babies, and he was 10 years old; definitely not a baby. In a few years, he would be a teenager, and then a few years after that, he would be driving. Yes, Alfred was definitely on his way to manhood. But for right now, he still had to take the bus, so he went all the way to the back, where he took a seat next to his best friend Kiku. Kiku nodded politely in acknowledgement of his friend’s presence.
“Good morning, Alfred,” he said before going back to looking down at his book.
“Heya, Kiku! Whatcha doing?”
“Oh, I’m just studying for our geography test that we have today.” Alfred laughed nervously.
“Heh… what are you talking about?”
“The big cumulative test that Mrs. Sanders has been talking about all week… it’s today.”
“You mean you didn’t study at all?” Alfred looked down at the floor, embarrassed. He meant to study for it; he really did. There were just so many more pressing matters on his mind, like working on his comics, and Dad’s chocolate chip cookies…
“No, I didn’t. But it’s ok; I’m great with geography. I know where all the states are and all the capitals. I think.”
“Alfred, this is a world geography test…”
“Oh. Lemme see that book!” So, Kiku handed it over, and Alfred studied it all the way to school and during school before history class. It didn’t help him much; he only got a C- on it, but that was ok. World geography wasn’t really his thing. He hadn’t expected to do well. In fact, for Alfred, this was pretty good. But he was still nervous because he knew that his mom would never see it that way. “What am I gonna tell her?” he moaned, as he and Kiku were walking out of history class. “She’s going to ground me for sure this time!”
“May I suggest that you don’t tell her? After all, you didn’t know you had a test… maybe she doesn’t know either.”
“Yeah, maybe… Where are we going?”
“To my locker. I have to get my lunch.”
“Ok, well hurry up! I’m starving!” He reached into his pocket and felt around to make sure that his five dollar bill was still there. All the cool kids bought lunch in the fourth grade, and he refused to be excluded from that group. So when they got to the cafeteria, Kiku went to sit down at their usual table while Alfred got in line to buy his food. It had been a pretty ordinary day so far. He was late to two of his classes, he got caught doodling in his notebook when he was supposed to be paying attention, and he had a stare down with Ivan, the school bully, in the hallway. It was pretty much what happened every day… It wasn’t until he reached the front of the line that things started to get …weird. Alfred picked up an empty lunch tray and handed it to the lunch “lady”, who gave it back to him a minute later with a pizza slice, a fruit cup, and a milk carton. But when he looked up at who was handing him the tray, he was startled to find not Miriam, the usual lunch lady, but a blonde haired man with huge, bushy eyebrows. Alfred must have gasped out loud a little because the man quickly shushed him.
“It’s alright, Alfred. I’m… the new intern. Bye!” And with that, he quickly disappeared into the back kitchen. Alfred stared at the spot where the man had been until he realized he was holding up the line. Then he quickly paid for his food and went to go sit down. (It would never even cross his mind the fact that the strange man had somehow known his name.) Recess was fun; he played kickball with a bunch of his friends, and he led his team to victory, but he couldn’t shake the feeling that he was being watched. Throughout the game, he was constantly looking over his shoulder, expecting to see something… or rather, someone. But every time he turned around, nothing was there. Kiku noticed his friend’s uneasiness and asked if he was all right.
“… Yeah,” he lied. “I just… thought I saw a deer.”
“A deer? On the playground? Alfred, I think you need glasses.” Alfred laughed anxiously and patted his friend on the back.
“That’s a good one Kiku! You know I’ve got 20/20 vision.” Then, he returned his focus back to the game. After that, he decided not to turn around anymore; he was just being paranoid.
After recess was gym, otherwise known as Alfred’s favorite class. Plus, they were playing dodge ball today, so he was very excited. Adrenaline still pumping from the earlier kickball game, his face beamed with enthusiasm as he clutched the orange dodge ball in his hand, deciding who would be his first target. But while he was scanning his potential prey, something else caught his eye. The blonde haired man from earlier… he was standing in the doorway, peeking into the room… Alfred froze, unable to move a single muscle in his body. Suddenly, the coach blew the whistle, and the balls began flying across the gym. But Alfred remained glued to the floor, even as one of the orange blurs came shooting directly at him. Matthew, noticing his brother’s strange behavior, ran over and pushed him out of the way, so that the ball narrowly missed him.
“You’re not paying attention- what’s wrong with you?” he whispered to a still dumbfounded Alfred.
“It’s… him,” was all he could manage to get out.
“That man… over there… He- he’s following me!” Matthew turned to look at the doorway, but it was empty; the man was no longer there.
“I don’t see anyone,” he said, eying Alfred warily.
“Are you feeling ok? You look really pale.” Now that he mentioned it, Alfred wasn’t feeling so great. He had started feeling a little off at lunch- his chocolate milk had tasted funny- but he didn’t think anything of it. Now he was feeling dizzy and weak. He was also really hot, and he could feel his face turning red, as sweat began dripping down his forehead. The noise of the screaming children began to fade away as the sound of his beating heart grew louder and louder. His legs felt like jello; they buckled underneath him, and he fell to the floor. With great effort, he brought himself up to his knees and tried to stand. But it was no use; he fell back down, this time even harder. That was when the coach finally noticed that something was wrong, and he blew the whistle.
“Stop the game! Jones! Jones, are you all right?! Stay with me!” Alfred weakly looked over to see the gym teacher rushing over to his side. He was blacking out; he could definitely tell. “We need a doctor! Somebody call 911!” The surrounding noise was fading, and the darkness was creeping in over his eyes. He hated that feeling… So he closed his eyes tightly and waited for the unconsciousness to take him. He lay still and concentrated on his unsteady breathing, until it was the only thing he could hear.