Only In The Dark

A boy with his eye on two worlds and a disappearing family, Oliver Shawl is put to the test to finish his father's work and save man kind from the monsters and demons that walk among us in the dark.
This was my Nano write that I, unfortunately, was late to sign up for due to technical difficulties.


8. 10th Grade

He never spoke to any shadow again, nor gave any regard to them. It was close to the end of tenth grade and the rumors had ceased to exist. No one paid attention to Oliver anymore, he enjoyed the silence of it all. He had even made a friend. His name was Talon. He grew up in an orphanage up until 4th or 5th grade then was adopted by a couple outside of New Jersey, who then moved outside of New York: somewhere near Oliver. He had short blonde hair that he spiked in the front, he was thin and tall like Oliver, he had light blue eyes and thin lips. They had gone to different schools until Junior High when they first met at the end of eighth grade. They were each other’s only friends and planned to stay that way. After a year of being friends, Oliver told him the reason for his scar. He was absolutely terrified of how that would affect their friendship, but it only made them closer. Talon believed him.

It was nearly the end of 11th grade when Talon and Oliver snuck out one night to a party at one of the rich kid’s houses a couple miles away from their neighbourhood. The sun was beginning to set and the shadows grew larger and darker with each meter they walked. He didn’t plan to leave before dark but he wasn’t going home alone. Oliver felt bad about lying to his grandparents about going to Talon’s house, but he figured it wouldn’t matter much since he was going there after the party. He felt cold as Oliver slipped on his black jacket over his Mad Caddies T-shirt, Talon just wore a black tank top under his black flannel and didn’t show any sign of being cold. “Tonight’s gonna be so awesome dude! I’m gonna hook up with Julie.” He said confidently.

Oliver snickered, “In your wet dreams.” Talon glared at him then pushed him so he stumbled off the sidewalk.

“If I had a dream like that I’d literally lose my breath and have to go back to using my inhaler.” They both laughed a little. Talon had asthma ever since he was little, but the older he got the less he had to carry it around since it wasn’t as bad as it used to be. There were cars parked along the road on both sides, he could hear the far off music from down the street as they neared the mansion.

“Have you ever been to a party?”

“No. There’s a first for everything though.” Talon shrugged and practically ran the rest of the way, Oliver went at the same pace. When they got there, there were people standing around the yard with red solo cups. They didn’t pay any attention to the boy with the scar across his face, it made Oliver feel a bit better but he still tried to keep his head down. They walked inside to see even more people squished together from the livingroom to the kitchen. The lights were off and a disco ball was hanging from the ceiling. It smelt of alcohol and sweat just from stepping in through the door. Everyone was jumping around and dancing with cups full of liquor above their heads. Oliver followed Talon into the kitchen where a guy was handing out beer.

The kid gave Oliver a weird look before handing him his drink and moving on to the girl behind him. Talon took it willingly and basically chugged it. Oliver looked uncertainly at the dark liquid that waved in his cup before taking a sip. He didn’t care much for the taste but continued to drink it so Talon didn’t make fun of him. After chugging it down he felt a little buzz in his head and the liquid draining down his throat. His body relaxed a little and the the room sort of spun, Talon’s voice broke through the ringing in his ear and awoke the music. “You ready to go dance?”

A large grin was stitched to his face as he looked at Oliver while having his cup refilled. Oliver felt himself smile and got more beer before going to join the dancing bodies. The music filled his head as he jumped around with everyone. Their bodies were forced together from how many people there were and the tight space they were put in. Talon was dancing with a girl Oliver didn’t recognize and he was close to some girl he’d never seen. It felt like hours before Oliver pushed his way out of the crowd and a girl was leading him outside. He looked back to find Talon but couldn’t see him so he figured he was getting a drink or still dancing.

He hadn’t realized where he was going until the girl pulled him outside and grabbed him by the shirt, forcing him to lean over so they could kiss. His eyes widened as he watched her close her eyes. He could taste and smell the alcohol on her breath. He took in his surroundings, noticing he was outside next to the house. He could see the stars from how dark it was, yet he wasn’t afraid of the dark at that moment. He felt her tongue go into his mouth and didn’t mind to return the favor. He closed his eyes after a few seconds, caught up in his first kiss and not really caring who she was.

He knew she had long brown hair that was curled and rested over her shoulder. He hadn’t seen her eyes nor much of her face since he wasn’t paying attention. He opened his eyes to take a look then noticed something behind her. It looked like a person was standing there watching him and his heart sank when he realized what it was. He pulled away from the girl and backed up a little, the person didn’t move but the girl watched him confuzzled. “What’s wrong? Did I use too much tongue?”

He was too frightened to reply as he ran back into the house to look for Talon. Inside there were more shadows than he could count. They were everywhere and Oliver stared in horror as he searched for Talon’s face. “Talon!” He shouted over the loud music, no one seemed to pay attention besides for the shadows. They turned their heads to follow every move he made.


Remember what mama said. Remember what mama said. His mind trailed off to that moment when he was with his grandma on the side of the street. Shadows were everywhere and Oliver was too scared to open his eyes. He sat with his arms around his knees holding them against his chest.

“I can’t do it! It’s too hard! They see me! They see me mama!” Oliver cried into his hands as the shadows crept around him. They were of all shapes and sizes. He couldn’t keep his emotions held in because he was to afraid to move. Britney was crouched over next to him with her hand on his back as people walked around them in annoyance. Britney didn’t care for the people that judge or stared at them for his crying or her not moving.

“Can ya count how many there are hun?” She asked as she rubbed his back soothingly.

“Too many.” He sobbed into his legs.

“Do ya know how many kinds there are? Have ya ever counted how many you’ve seen?”

He nods, “Almost 6.”

“Alright. Explain them to me and we’ll give them names and rules for each.”

They sat there for nearly 45 minutes identifying and creating rules for each monster he’s seen. There are 6 that he has seen in all, there are: Red Eyed Spite Yak (red eyes, human body, unicorn head, smell of cat  urine, all black). Ashtalon (all black, humanish’ figure, long arms, claws, no face, 8 ft tall). Wild Sprite Critter (12’ tall, all black, 10” wings, spikey hair, big green eyes, always smiling, sharp teeth). Hea Bani (muscled, 7 ft tall, all black, big mouth, no eyes, make loud moaning noises, skinny legs like a goat). Odentyrus (12” scraggly horn, two long legs, 5 ft tall, all black, dark tucked wings). Tragelaphes (5 ft tall, two 4ft legs, horse legs around torso, lion’s mane in middle of torso, runs fast). Zaradofs (more human shape, kind of like ghosts, can talk, makes crackling noises when moving).

“Just remember to never acknowledge them. If ya don’t acknowledge them then they won’t know you’re there.”


The music was drowning out his voice as he called for his friend who sat in the corner with a girl who’s face was sucking his. Oliver was panting as sweat coated his face and neck. He took off his jacket and wrapped it around his waist and ran around the house trying desperately to find Talon. Finally he found him and pulled the girl politely off his lap then grabbed his arm, “Dude we have to get out of here. Right now.” Talon looked at him confused and pulled his arm back.

“Oliver, you have to have fun once in awhile.” He grabbed the girl’s hand and pulled her back on his lap.

More shadows began to fill up the room, all sorts of monsters creeping up from the dark and only he could see it. Oliver shouted over the music, “No you don’t understand!” He was shaking his head and tugging at Talon’s arm. “Please? Talon! Something bad is going to happen!”

Talon groaned and pushed Oliver away, “go back to your mommy and cry to her.” Oliver’s hands clenched into fists then he pulled the girl away, and with a rush of anger he punched Talon square in the jaw. His head turned to the force of the punch and he swore he could feel his jaw crack through his knuckles. Talon’s hand hurt but he watched in complete shock as Talon turned to him. The music died off as people made a circle around them to watch the drama. Talon slowly brought his eyes back up to meet Oliver’s, his jaw began to ache and a dark red mark outlined Oliver’s fist.

He could hear people whisper and mutter around them as Talon stood up and held his jaw in his hand. Oliver stuttered while trying to find the words to apologize to him, “I-I-I-I’m s-s-so sor-”

Instantly Oliver was knocked back and he stumbled into the crowd of people behind him. His cheek stung and his teeth hurt from the contact of his fist. The crowd cheered them on and Oliver turned back to Talon who stood there with his fists clenched and his lips parted. Oliver could taste the blood coming from his cheek and tongue which he must have bit when he was punched. “Are you gonna cry from a little hit Oli?” Oliver spit out the blood then threw a punch at Talon, unfortunately he blocked him and his other fist hit him in the stomach. Oliver leaned over a little and held his gut in pain.

He didn’t just hurt from the pain of his punch, he barely felt the ache of his bones or the clenching of his gut. The thing that really hurt was how his only friend was speaking to him. The way he hurt his feelings and didn’t think twice about it. He could feel tears welling up in his eyes then held it back and stood up straight, letting go of his gut. “Screw you!” The crowd behind him split apart as he walked through them, keeping his head down so he couldn’t see the shadows that watched him, and out the front door.

The music began to play again and he could hear it as he walked down the sidewalk towards his house. His head felt light and airy, but his heart felt like it carried a ton. As he walked he kept his eyes on the sidewalk, he could hear crackling and moaning sounds all around him; he didn’t show that he saw them. Once you know something’s there than you can’t put up that barrier to hide behind. It’s like noticing someone’s nasty habit such as; scratching, smoking, loud chewing, et cetera. You can’t just push it away because it tears at the surface till it drives you insane. How could you just ignore something that is watching you?

His ears couldn’t block out the sound of the snapping and cracking of bones as a Zaradof lurched forward, looking for a soul to feed off of. He had become so used to the world around him, until the sun was gone that is. He watched as a Wild Sprite Critter flew by twitching and it’s eyes lighting it’s path. Those despicable Sprite Critters… They couldn’t live without sucking the life of a human soul, that’s where insanity or a sick depression comes from. It just constantly feels like there’s a darkness just draining the life out of your body. It had happened to Oliver before and he was so afraid to open his eyes because he’d see that little monster just sitting on his shoulder with a big smile that could bring a baby to tears. No matter where he went it was there until one day it had just ceased to be there. He woke up one morning to see it gone and that was the end of it.

Suddenly he had stopped walking and was staring at the sidewalk. The air seemed to change directions and it got colder so he grabbed for his jacket that wasn’t there and he turned to look for it, knowing it was on his waist just five minutes ago. His head lifted and he saw, just a few meters away, stood a Zaradof next to a Tragelaphe. Oliver’s sweater was in the Zaradof’s hand and the Tragelaphe was facing Oliver, all three of them were still and the noise seemed to die off. It was too quiet which meant they knew he was there. He spun on his heels and began to walk in the direction he was heading, but at a faster pace and his head was up. The ground felt and looked like it was spinning around him from how light his head felt. Behind him he could hear the crackling of bone on joint and far of moaning. “God not the Hea Bani.” He mutters under his breath as he sprints down the road.

He could hear the loud and quick footsteps coming his direction, the Tragelaphe catching up quickly. “Just a little longer!” Oliver's chest heaving with every inhale and exhale. He turns the corner and runs right through an Odentyrus. The air was suddenly knocked from his body and he fell to his knees. The Odentyrus let out an ear splitting scream that sent chills down his spine. The streetlight in front of him flickered. His grandparents house was just right down the road, only 3 houses away. The vision of the monsters catching up to him frightened him enough to get him to stand and start to run. Only after a few steps he was knocked back down with a shove and a sharp pain ran down his back, a loud wail filled his ears as he fell to his stomach. But it wasn't the Odentyrus? No it was too deep to be the creatures… Oliver? Oliver's eyes widened when he realized it was his own scream. His hands found their way in front of him and one by one his arms tensed trying to pull his body forward towards home.

The sound of a loud giggling and growling filled his ears and he was tugged back. Nails dug into his legs as he was pulled back and the stinging of his back and shins caused him to cry out once more. His vision was clouded by the tears that flooded from his eyes. He could feel more claws tearing at his back through his shirt and he was defenseless. “Help!” He screamed, “Help me! Please? Anyone!” His eyes were shut tight and finally he felt his body go numb and the sounds of snickering and gurgling beasts had vanished. He felt worm hands grab his arms and he jerked away from them. “No!”

“Oli? Oli it's alright! Calm down!” An old man's voice broke through the ringing in his ears and Oliver was pulled up so he was on his knees in front of Kingston. A bright flashlight was sitting next to his legs and Oliver fell against him in exhaustion. His heart beat so hardt that Kingston could feel his pulse throughout his body as he held him.

“Help… Help.” He muttered as he leaned on Kingston, he pat his back to comfort him but it only made Oliver wince and jerk in his arms. He quickly pulled his hand away from Oliver's back to see blood covered his palm.

“Oh my god. What happened to you?” He asked and tried to pull Oliver to his feet. Oliver gripped his grandfather's T-shirt tightly in pain from the weight on his legs.

“W-we have to get i-inside.” His voice shook, he took a few steps and almost fell, even with Kingston there to support him. The flashlight on the ground flickered as they made their way closer to the door. Kingston assisted Oliver to the door, his limping becoming more clumsy before they stumbled through the door. Oliver then pulled away from Kingston and slammed the door shut behind them and he fell to the hardwood floor with a thud. Kingston dropped down to help him and Britney rushed into the hallway frantically.

“Oh my lord! What happened to him? Is he alright?” Britney’s eyes were wide and her hands began to tremble. Oliver’s thin body was easy to pick up so Kingston carried him to the couch. He was also panicky and he set Oliver down on his stomach and knelt next to him, Kingston’s arms were dyed red from the blood the pumpkin spice candle couldn’t mask the stench of fresh blood.

“Get a rag, water, and some bandages.” Kingston demanded and examined the marks on his back with his hands delicately. Britney disappeared into the kitchen and came back with a rag and some water. Her eyes caught sight of the blood and the deep scratches on his back, with a gasp she fell to her knees beside Kingston and did her best to help him bandage Oliver up

“What happened to him Kingston? Did ya see Talon anywhere?” She asked with a shaky voice.

“He must have been attacked by something and no.” They prodded at the claw marks with the rag but it only kept bleeding.

“It must’ve been an animal right?” Kingston only shrugged. There was too much blood. Britney stood up and ran to the phone.

“What are you doing?”

“We gotta get him t’ the hospital. Even if he stops bleedin’ and wakes up, there could be infection.” Kingston didn’t stop her and when she came back she tried to help him again. “They’re on their way.”

“Why would someone do this to him?” Britney and Kingston studied their grandson. Blood dripped onto the flower printed sofa from his back. That night they spent the night in the hospital. Kingston couldn’t sleep at all and sat upright in one of their unbearable chairs. By the time the sun finally came up he felt fatigued, but his eyes wouldn’t shut. Like they were waiting for something to break down the door and attack. Yet nothing came nor would come till Kingston was gone.

Talon, however, knocked before entering. He still wore the same clothes from the night before and his bedraggled hair was hidden under a hat he stole from a kid at the party. He looked upon his friend in complete and utter shame. He could distinguish the purple and black brand of his fist on Oliver’s cheek. Talon’s face also held a bruise. “Is he okay?” He questioned worriedly and drifted towards the side of his bed. Kingston looked from him to Oliver.

“He’ll be alright for now. What happened last night?” Talon shifted from foot to foot as he tried to think of how to tell him. “Don’t lie give me a lie either boy.”

“We went to a party last night and drank a little. Maybe more than we should have in the first place… but we were drunk and had an argument which led to him leaving. I’m not sure what happened after that but I felt really bad and went to go find him.” Kingston listened to his short explanation then didn’t reply. He wasn’t angry with the kid but he knew he was leaving out some important details. He didn’t prod.

They sat in silence for a while before Britney wobbled in. Her fair long hair was held up in a messy ponytail and her dress was somewhat smeared with Oliver’s blood. Talon moved away from the bed so she could move past him to get to Oliver’s head. “Well hello there Talon! Glad t’ see ya showed up then.” Talon couldn’t find how to reply so he only nodded a little with his cheeks a tint of pink. Oliver’s arm twitched when Britney lifted his head up onto the pillow a bit more and his eyes barely opened. The light blinded him so he closed them again and his head was pulsing. Talon had woken up the same way just an hour earlier. “Good mornin’ hun. How are ya feelin’?”

“I’ve got a killer headache.” He replies as he sits up.

“Oh? Well I guess that’s what happens when you get a hang over.” Kingston says and Oliver’s eyes widen and his ears go hot with embarrassment. Britney’s hand flies up and comes down on the back of head.

“You were drinking? After everything we’ve done for you? You drank! Who do you think you are? You think money just grows on trees so we can take you to the hospital whenever you need it? You think it’s easy to raise a teenage boy at our age? No it’s not!”

“Grandma I’m sorry! I was just-”

“Just what? Just having fun? Acting stupid for the heck of it? No! You can’t just do whatever you please and…” She goes on and on and for the first time Oliver notices her sort of Western accent was gone and she spoke clean english. He found it sort of funny but he didn’t dare laugh, plus all the loud yelling was getting to his head. Talon began to slink away towards the door and as he turned Britney grabbed ahold of his ear and pulled him right back in.

“Ow Ow Ow!”

“And you? You think you can just put all those ideas into his head and make it difficult for us? Where are your parents Talon? Why didn’t they know where you were?” Oliver then began to snicker behind his hand while his friend got the rant of his life. Kingston gave him a hard stare and he ceased to laugh.

Oliver couldn’t remember how he had gotten the scars and no one knew either. But he guessed he was attacked and didn’t doubt his own mind didn’t want to remember it. It could have been that he drank too much to know what happened after he first took a drink. After him and Talon were alone Talon explained what had happened before he left, yet nothing rang a bell. After that night and those nights in the hospital he would wake up screaming in pain and his body would be drenched in sweat. He had always slept with a light on after his parents left him so when he woke up there’d always be a light on and it comforted him.

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