Contrary to popular belief, Owyn Drake wasn’t like any other upper-middle class teenage boy. He had mousy blonde hair that was always spiked up, bright blue eyes, and a secret that only a few people knew of. His father had inherited a substantial sum of money from his parents; neither he nor Owyn flaunted that fact. After the loss of his mother to cancer five years ago Owyn’s father, Arthur, decided that every year on the first of November they would host a party in order to raise money for charity. Unlike his son, Arthur was what you could call average looking. He was a slightly over-weight man who was able to bring a smile to even the most grumpy of people. His dark brown hair was streaked with grey from the stress of losing his wife and bringing up a child single-handedly.
This presented both Owyn and his father with a rather sizeable problem once a year, when the party was due. Hosting such an event in a cosy, three bedroomed house was not an easy achievement in the slightest. It led to all sorts of problem such as limiting the number of generous guest, all of which were happy to donate some of their own money towards the cause.
“So that’s twenty guests so far then,” said Owyn. He had the list of guests in his left hand and a glass of orange juice in his right. “I see that you’ve invited Lord Barnaby. I’ve never really been very fond of him, seems a bit strange.”
“Yes, well he’s one of the more - giving people on the list,” his dad replied. He was a bit too preoccupied with preparing the food to pay much attention. “You’re just going to have to deal with it for the evening, aren’t you?”
Owyn glanced over at his father and merely shrugged. This was his way reluctantly agreeing with anything that he didn’t really want to do, but couldn’t find any way around. Putting the list of guests down on the dining table, Owyn finished off the last of his orange juice and wandered in to the kitchen where, to his surprise, his best friend was stood.
“Alright, Finn?” asked Owyn. “How long have you been here? I didn’t hear you come in.”
Finn was rather tall for his age, easily making six foot. He had light brown hair to match his light brown eyes and nearly always wore an expression of sheer delight, as though he was constantly, pleasantly surprised.
“I’m not too bad thanks. I’ve just got here, was just about to come an’ find you,” replied Finn as he took a seat at the breakfast table. “I’ve just come over to see if you wanted to go and see that film?”
Owyn pondered on this for a short while before taking a seat opposite his friend.
“I would, but I’ve got a lot of work that needs doing in preparation for this party,” he said, staring at the table. “I’m not sure how long it will all take either, so I can’t give you a definite answer.”
“What if I were to help you?” asked Finn. “I mean I’ve got nothing else that I could be doing and maybe then it’ll all be done quicker.”
This was just what Owyn had been wanting, though he was too shy to ask him directly. The mere fact that Finn had suggested it of his own accord had cheered him up slightly. He looked up at Finn and smiled.
“I’ll just go and ask my dad what else there is to do. Do you want a drink or something?” he asked as he got up.
“No, I’m ok for the minute thanks mate,” said Finn quietly.
Owyn sauntered off into the dining room where his father was still arranging the various nibbles on the table.
“Hey dad, what else is there to do? Finn’s just got here and he’s willing to help out,” he said quickly.
“Well, erm - hmm,” replied his father. He turned to face Owyn looking quite puzzled and started to speak again. “Well there’s, erm, not much really. I suppose all that’s left really is to do is tidy up your bedroom and then quickly vacuum the floors. Apart from that, I think we’re done.”
Looking slightly more pleased than a few moments ago, Owyn went back into the kitchen to tell Finn the good news.
“That shouldn’t take any longer than fifteen minutes, should it?” said Finn with an air of excitement in his voice.
“I don’t know,” replied Owyn, a wide grin appeared on his face. “You haven’t seen the state of my bedroom yet.”
They both set off upstairs chuckling to themselves and made their way into Owyn’s room. He wasn’t joking. There were clothes everywhere, books strewn across the floor and even leftover food which had started to mould. Starting with the clothes the duo set to work, making a pile for dirty laundry and another for clean things. This was more of a challenge than they had first anticipated so, deciding that it was a lost cause, they abandoned this idea and just put it all into one rather large pile. Next, they decided to sort out all of the books that had been thrown onto the floor. Piling these onto the desk was an easy feat compared to the clothes situation, and was therefore completed in record time. It had only been ten minutes since they had started.
“Right, only two things left to do in here,” exclaimed Owyn. He looked over at Finn who was looking at the moulding leftovers.
“Were you trying to get some extra credit in science?” he asked jokingly. “It looks like you’ve started early on our assignment.”
“Yeah, sorry,” laughed Owyn. “I’ll clear these, you get the laundry.”
After putting the laundry into the washing machine and cleaning the dishes, the pair made their way back into the dining room. Arthur had finished with the food and was now vacuuming in the living room.
“Hey, Arthur!” shouted Finn.
“We’ve finished cleaning my room now, dad!” Owyn said loudly. “Is that it?”
“I think so,” said Arthur switching off the vacuum and turning to face the boys. “Everything else has been finished. Where are you off to now then?”
“We’re going to see a film. I’ll be back in time for the party though.” Owyn answered with a smile.
“Ok then. Well have a good time and don’t be late please,” said Arthur turning the vacuum back on.
Taking one look out of the front door, Owyn turned back and sighed. The weather outside had made a turn for the worst. It had quickly gone from being a rather cool and pleasant afternoon to being cold and wet. The rain was tapping loudly on the door and the air seemed to be as cold as ice. Picking up his coat and handing a spare one to Finn, Owyn opened the door again.
The street outside was deserted. Everyone, it seemed, was taking shelter in the comfort of their homes. This might have been a good idea, but Owyn and Finn had better things on their mind. Nearing the end of the street the pair heard a strange, crunching sound as though twigs and leaves were being crushed. Putting the noise down to a cat that had just appeared from around the corner, the two carried on. Pulling their hoods closer around their faces, the two pressed on through the rain and into the unusually quiet town centre.
Although Plymouth was not one of the biggest towns in the country, it had its fair share of people. The town centre was usually the busiest place on a Saturday afternoon in any weather, but not today. There were only a handful of people wandering around in the icy rain, looking as though they had taken a dip in the close to freezing waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The majority of the loyal shoppers were passing their time over a warm cup of coffee in the many cafés, and the rest were moving quickly from one shop to the next.
Getting colder by the second, Owyn and Finn decided to take refuge in the mall. Their hopes of a fun filled afternoon were quickly fading, being replaced by the thought of boredom and misery. The weather, it seemed, was having the same affect on everybody else.
“I wish that the weather would clear up,” said Owyn as they walked towards the café at the top of the mall. From here they could see how bad the rain was getting.
“Me too,” replied Finn. “It’s the first time it’s rained for a fortnight. Why did it have to rain today?”
The two of them approached the counter and ordered a cup of coffee each, and went to take a seat by the large, windowed wall. The sky outside showed no sign of easing up, and by the time they had finished their coffee it had been raining for 3 hours. The light was fading fast and forgetting the idea of the film, Finn suggested that they made their way back.
It was on their way back that it happened. They heard the same noise as before, only this time it was louder. Stopping in their tracks, the pair looked around for the source of the noise. Finding nothing they started off again, only to be stopped two steps later by a large shadowy figure standing in their way. It lasted for about two seconds and then it was gone again. Owyn and Finn tried to turn and run only to find that their legs had turned to cement. They were rooted to the spot for what seemed an age, before they managed to get any feeling back into their legs. The pair looked at each other with terror in their eyes and ran back to Owyn’s house.
“What was that?” asked Finn when they were in the safety of Owyn’s bedroom. Both of their faces were as white as a sheet.
“I dunno,” replied Owyn. “Whatever it was though, I don’t want to see it again.” He had collapsed onto his bed shaking slightly.
“So – it wasn’t just me then. You saw it too.” Finn said. He had sunk into the chair opposite Owyn’s bed.
The strange sighting of that evening, however, had to be put to the back of their minds for now. The party was due to start and Owyn had to get ready. He bade farewell to Finn at the front door and then returned to his room, his head still spinning with thoughts. He pulled on a smart looking suit and then set about tidying up the remainder of his appearance.
Ten minutes later and he was done. Owyn could hear the first of the guests as he made his way down the stairs. It was the familiar monotonous drone that belonged to Lord Barnaby, a tall greying man who seemed to dislike everything and anything he came across. He was speaking to Arthur about the news report on the weather before turning to the table for some of the nibbles. Lord Barnaby stood over in his favourite spot near the table that held the drinks awaiting the arrival of the other guests.
Owyn had just reached the door to the dining room when there was knocking at the door. Turning on his heel, he headed back down the narrow hallway and opened it. Standing in the darkness that had now shrouded the entire city was a rather wet looking young lady. She stepped into the light of the hallway and pulled off her gloves. Stuffing them into the pocket of her coat, she turned to Owyn.
“Evening,” she said, handing her rain sodden coat to Owyn.
“Hey, Miss Krispin,” replied Owyn. He had shut the front door and hung up her coat. “How are you this evening?”
Miss Krispin, like Owyn, had come into some money rather early in her life. Unlike Owyn however, she had no intention of keeping this a secret. She wore a very expensive, designer dress, a diamond necklace that stood out against her long, jet black hair and a pair of matching diamond earrings. For a seventeen year old, she seemed to be incredibly mature and was always smiling. No-one really knew whether this was due to the amount of money she had, or because of the amount of cosmetic surgery she had done on her lips. Nevertheless, Miss Krispin seemed happy.
“I’m great thanks, Owyn. The weather could be better I suppose, but other than that, just grand.”
“I know, I ended up getting caught out in it myself,” replied Owyn. He had a sudden flashback of the earlier events and closed his eyes quickly.
“Is everything alright?” asked Miss Krispin.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” replied Owyn. “Just a headache.”
With that he left and made his way into the kitchen. He couldn’t help but picture it in his head now. Owyn was pacing up and down the kitchen floor. What was it and what was it doing? he thought. There was clearly no other explanation for it; it must’ve been a trick of the light. He forced this idea into his head and then rejoined the party.
As he entered the dining room again, he noticed that a few more of the guests had arrived, all looking as wet as each other. No-one was really taking much of an interest in the fact that the rain was now pounding so hard on the windows that it seemed as though they would break any minute. They were all chatting amongst themselves about politics, money, and politics. Then it happened again, only this time for longer.
The shadowy figure that Owyn and Finn had encountered earlier was now stood outside the window. Owyn was once again transfixed by it and, as much as he wanted to, couldn’t move. The next moment, everything went black.