Claire's POV

The old dock on Avonlea Beach is rickety and sways as I stand on it. It's six-fifteen in the evening, and I'm the only one here. The sun is on it's way to setting, and the waves lap quietly against the dock. It's strangely peaceful.

"You were invited? Oh how disgusting."

I turn and see Seanna walking onto the dock next to Sasha. Behind them a few steps is Rowan. All from my school.

I raise my eyebrows. "And that matters why?" I ask slowly. Seanna huffs. "Obviously you're the randomly selected invitee and that means there won't be an extra guy like I hoped."

"That's disgusting." I state bluntly. She shrugs and starts fixing her hair in a pocket mirror. Rowan gives me a small smile and Sasha is too busy staring at our surroundings to notice anybody.

The minutes pass in mostly silence. Seanna will huff in annoyance every five seconds, but other than that, the rest of us are silent.

Starting at six-thirty the three boys arrive in two minute intervals. The first to arrive is Garrett, the 'King of the Court' as the school calls him. Seanna immediately starts doing flirty things to get his attention, and I roll my eyes. Garrett looks over at me where I'm leaning against the railing, my arms crossed. He winks at me, a flirty smile about his lips. I scowl and stick my tongue out at him, pointedly ignoring him after that. Second to arrive is Benjamin, a quiet boy I've seen in the library sometimes. He mumbles a quiet hello before standing next to Rowan, who gives him a genuine smile, her eyes twinkling. He returns the smile, and they slowly hold hands, linking their fingers together. I smile softly, hugging my arms closer to me, the sight of the two of them warming my chest.

The third boy and last of us to arrive is a boy who introduces himself as Ephraim. Sasha seems to know who he is, at least a little. I get the feeling there's more between them than they're letting on. Like the fact they keep giving each other nasty glares. I'm going to guess they dated at one point and had a less than pleasant break-up.

At six-forty-five on the dot, a medium sized wooden dinghy stops by the dock.

"It's . . . empty," I say quietly. I look over at the others, whose eyes are wide as they stare at the boat. I look back at it and kneel down, picking up the folded piece of paper on one of the seats. I pull up the wax seal and unfold it, looking up at the others. Garrett nods for me to go on. I look down at the paper and read the contents aloud.

Dear Rowen, Sasha, Seanna, Garrett, Benjamin, Ephraim and Claire,

This boat will take you to my home, where an exciting evening awaits you all.


Ricard Carnegie

I look up again, and the others look like they're going to be sick. "Well, we should probably get on . . ." I whisper. A few people nod. I nod as well and fold the paper back up, shoving it in my back pocket. "I'll go first," I say quickly, a slight nervous ring in my voice. I step into the bottom of the boat with one foot, and then rest my weight on it. It rocks a little as I do, but I manage to keep my balance. I step over the front bench and sit down. "I think it's safe, you guys," I call to them. They start slowly filling into the boat. Somehow Garrett manages to weasel his way to the front and sits on my bench with me. I want to scowl at him because he's sitting close enough that our thighs are firmly pressed against each other's. It's making me a little uncomfortable, especially because I have high thigh-cut shorts on, and he has khaki cargo shorts on, which means the skin on our knees down is touching. It's actually giving me the creeps.

I subtly scoot away from him so we're no longer touching. I think I've gotten away with it, but as everyone finally settles down in the boat, he puts his arm around me, resting his hand 'casually' on my left hip. I turn to my right and scowl at him, but he isn't looking at me. I grumble under my breath and cross my arms, turning forward. The boat smoothly starts moving, leaving a ripple on the otherwise smooth ocean in it's wake.

A few minutes into the quiet and peaceful - if Garrett weren't touching me - journey, he leans into me, his lips brushing my ear as he whispers. "Why so cranky, Claire? Seanna and Sasha would kill for some contact time with me. Do you not find me charming?" He adds in a pout. I frown and kick his calf. He hisses under his breath and glares at me. I smirk sarcastically. "Maybe that'll teach you a lesson."

"I'm a pretty tough nut to crack," he argues. I snort. "No you're not. I bet if I offered to take my shirt off you'd do anything I want." He raises his eyebrows. "I bet the same for you." I shake my head. "Wouldn't work for me. I've already seen me shirtless countless times." He starts cracking up, and I give him a weird look, glancing briefly at the others. He smirks at me. "You're hilarious."

"Why thank you," I say dramatically. His smirk widens and he leans back into me. "But I meant if I took my shirt off." I scowl at him. "I know what you meant, I'm not dumb."

"Would it work?"

"No." I state bluntly, looking around at where we are. He looks confused, and maybe slightly offended. "Why not?"

"You're not my type." I tell him. He pouts. I tap his leg and point and ahead. "Look."

The sun is starting to set behind us, casting shadows and an eerie glow around the large island. It's overgrown and dark, almost like the sun never actually reaches it. There are trees, large and ominous, and vines hanging down from them, all tangled and interwoven. It's blocking my view of the rest of the island, but still scares me half to death at the same time.

"Tell me why people want to go here?" I whisper to Garrett. He stops making his crestfallen face and gives me a small smirk. "Everybody wants to come here. It's loaded with mystery." I frown. "I dunno why. It looks like an old, overgrown island. And isn't it suspicious that nobody remembers what happens here?"

"Shh," he puts a finger over my mouth, looking ahead at the island as we slowly drift into a docking spot. The others are in no rush to leave the boat, but they do.

Garrett hops out before me and puts his hand out for me to take. I roll my eyes and take it, letting him help me up onto the dock.

What are those sayings about first impressions? Because I think I was pretty right.

I'm not understanding why anyone would want to go here. The mansion looks old, and frankly, quite dirty. But all that aside, I have a small bubble of excitement in my chest. I've never turned down a good mystery.

The group starts forward, down the sandy path to the front gates.

The large iron gates loom over us, even taller than my own house. My own house! Where I live!

Slowly - with a good amount of creaking and groaning - the gates open. Garrett and I are standing in the middle-ish of the group. Rowan and Benjamin are at the front, and they slowly start walking down the stone path. The plants and trees in the gates are overgrown. And it's very dark. A sickening feeling of fear starts in my stomach, and I grip Garrett's hand tightly. He grins at me before giving my hand a tight squeeze. I ignore him. I just need human comfort sometimes when I'm a little freaked out.

Up twenty-one large stone steps. Ten steps across the stone porch. The massive french doors open silently, revealing an old fashioned foyer. It really is quite beautiful, though. Designed in mahogany wood and dark reds and golds. Straight across from us is a large wooden staircase with a slightly tattered carpet running up the middle.

"Do we go upstairs?" Sasha asks. Benjamin shrugs. "We might as well."

The whole house is designed in a similar way to the foyer. The hard wood sounds hollow underneath our feet, and echoes through the halls. It's all kind of cool, in a way. I've always loved historic houses like this.

But it's also creepy at the same time.

We stop in the doorway to the dining room. The sight before me amazes me. A long dining table is set as if a king were going to eat on it. Seven of the spots have a silver cover on the plates, and the smells wafting through the room make my mouth water.

No one makes a move to enter the dining room.

"Welcome, one and all, to my humble home. I do hope you find the food satisfactory. Unfortunately, I am unable to dine with you tonight, as I have been called away on . . . business. But please, make yourselves at home. And pay careful attention to your things."

I look around, trying to find a source of the voice - a speaker, a megaphone, even a person themselves.


"So, shall we eat?" Garrett presses. Since he's still holding my hand he drags me into the dining room, and slowly the other kids follow suit. We find that there are place cards with each of our names. I'm seated between Garrett and Benjamin. I'm about to lift the cover off the plate in front of me when it lifts on it's own and floats into another room. I stare at it in wonder, and everyone else's eyes are wide as saucers. As I'm staring at the empty spot my cover left, I notice the other's drifting the same way.

"Uh . . . is it just me, or . . . ?"

"Yeah, or."

I hesitantly reach for my silverware. It doesn't float away, so I take that as a good sign. The food on my plate is making my mouth water. It's a large plate of lobster steak, buttered veggies, and mashed potatoes with a pool of butter. I can't tell what Garrett's is, but whatever it is, he seems to like it.

Maybe like is an understatement.

Dinner is silent except for the clinking of silverware and glasses. I discover that when I empty the water from my goblet, it refills itself to the brim. Kind of nifty, if it weren't so creepy.

I have a feeling this is going to be a long night.

Hey guys! Sorry it's been so long since I updated this story. I don't know how often I will, but thank you for sticking with it! If it doesn't surprise me along the way, it shouldn't be a super long story. Short to medium length, most likely.

Anyway, as always, please review! It means a lot! :)


Angel Princess 31