Next: Series 2

When Dylan Drummond's curiosity gets the better of him, he finds himself attacked by a creature in the woods and begins experiencing increased senses. With the help of his best friend Yasmin, Dylan realises he's a werewolf, but when he finally makes a move on his love interest Jono, things do not go to plan and he realises he has no control over his abilities. Will Dylan regain control before Jono realises what his lover is?

Claws Out is a spin-off of Teen Wolf.
Episode Name
New Rules
After a nasty bite from an animal in the woods, sophomore student Dylan Drummond is bewildered as he notices some strange happenings with his body. With claws, glowing eyes and an unusual healing ability, Dylan learns that he is a werewolf. He confides in best friend Yasmin, but the less friendly Drew proves a more valuable asset where answers are concerned. Additionally, Dylan finds himself in detention alongside his number one crush Jono Chadwick.
Reeling from his awkward encounter with Jono, Dylan vows to make it up to him, and ends up with an invite to Jono's sister Lily's party. Much to Drew's annoyance, Dylan attends the party, but soon realises that Jono could be causing him to shift.
After Effects

After a tragic event at the party, Lily struggles to regain her composure. and matters only get worse when she is being stalked by an unidentifable creature. When she asks Jono and Dylan for help, Dylan is left confused and is determind to track Drew down.

Luna Llena
With the full moon hours away, Dylan finds he has a wider support network than he realised. Jono invites Dylan to meet his family, and once again, Drew warns him off, offering to assist him with the full moon himself. Meanwhile, Yasmin researches exactly what the full moon might mean for Dylan and is shocked by the potential outcomes.
True Colours
After a tumultuous full moon, Dylan realises that the alpha is closing in on him and his friends, leaving him with an impossible decision to make.
On the run from the alpha, Dylan must face his worst fears as he risks losing Jono for good. Meanwhile, with Dylan having accidentally hurt Yasmin, she has to come to terms with what the repercussions may be.
With Drew in danger, Dylan uses his initiative to find clues to his whereabouts. However, with the news breaking about werewolf hunters in Crystalshaw, he realises his problems are bigger than expected.
The Pact
Dylan is disgusted as Drew makes a pact with the enemy, but faces a tough decision when Yasmin goes missing. Jono and Freddie investigate the alpha further, and figure out a clue for the grand plan.
Decision time arrives, and Dylan stands his ground. However, with an attack looming, he knows he needs a plan. With Yasmin out of action, it looks increasingly unlikely that he can defeat the alpha. With the help of the rest of his friends, Dylan must think fast to survive.

1: New Rules Written by MarthaJonesFan

Half past seven on Sunday night was Dylan Drummond’s least favourite time of the week. It was homework time. He’d put it off all week, and now he had just a couple of hours to finish every task he was set before Monday beckoned. Junior year wasn’t as exciting as it had cracked up to be so far. Lessons were dull, he got mountains of homework and he was struggling to make friends.

It was no help that Dylan moved house between freshman and sophomore years. So far, in his first month at Crystalshaw High, he’d only made one friend – his maths partner Yasmin Forsyth. Thankfully, for his own sanity, she was helping him with their maths homework that night.

Lying comfortably on his bed while Yasmin sat next to him, Dylan stared down at the set of questions in front of him. Trigonometry did not look remotely appealing, and he diverted his attention out of the window nearby.

“This question needs the opposite and the hypotenuse, so you need…,” Yasmin was explaining the question, before noticing Dylan wasn’t paying a single bit of attention, “Dylan, dude.” She was right. He wasn’t listening to a word she was saying, and was too busy staring outside.

His new house was situated right next to a forest, with only a small lane leading the way from Crystalshaw town to his residence. He wasn’t sure he liked the location, but no nosey neighbours was always a benefit.

“Dylan,” Yasmin insisted, firmer this time.

“Huh?” Dylan responded, snapping back into the room.

“I’m trying to do you a favour here, I finished this sheet on Tuesday,” Yasmin nagged. She did that a lot, but Dylan couldn’t complain. She was always keen to help, but her work ethic was much faster than his own.

“I’m sorry, it’s just so boring, I can’t hide it,” Dylan complained.

“Don’t let Mr. Larsen hear you say that, he’ll skin you alive,” Yasmin laughed, “My sister said that he once overheard a boy say he was too strict, and he made him clean his classroom from top to bottom every night that week.”

“Oh, come on, he’s a puppy dog, a total softy. I’m sure I can wangle my way out of a detention for no homework,” Dylan placed a lot of hope in his charm.

“If you say so,” Yasmin doubted his abilities. She shut her textbook and looked back at Dylan, “So, what are we gonna do instead?”

“Why don’t we explore out there?” Dylan looked to the large gathering of trees outside his window.

“You want to explore the woods at this time of night? Are you crazy?” Yasmin retorted.

“Absolutely,” Dylan smiled a cheeky smile. He stood up and held his hand out to a sceptical Yasmin. Giving in, she took his hand and rushed off away from the tedious pile of homework. However, neither noticed the sinister and unusual blood red glow just outside the window.

Running his hands through his locks, Dylan was immediately regretting not wearing a coat. It was on this occasion that he was thrilled he’d ignored his mum and grown his hair out longer than she wanted. Currently, his soft brown waves sat on top of his shoulders, providing that extra bit of warmth around his neck.

He led the way out of his house and towards the forest, with a sheepish Yasmin following. She was dressed more sensibly, with a soft winter coat and a cute bobble hat that sat on top of her longer brown hair, flowing down her back like a gentle waterfall.

“Have you been out here before?” Yasmin queried.

“Not properly,” Dylan responded.

“Dark forests give me the creeps,” Yasmin noted. She had her arms wrapped around her body, partly for warmth and partly for self-protection.

“I’ll protect you,” Dylan immediately responded.

“I can take care of myself,” Yasmin was defiant, “Besides, you can’t even take care of your own biology textbook.”

Dylan hated how Yasmin always burst his self-positivity bubble. He couldn’t argue with her though, she was always spot on with her observations.

Over the top of the leaves rustling and twigs crackling, Dylan noticed a low-pitched grumbling sound. He stopped dead in his tracks, Yasmin bumping into him absent-mindedly.

“Did you hear that?” he asked, worried.

“Hear what?” Yasmin questioned, baffled. The grumble sounded again, this time louder than before.

“That,” Dylan responded, his voice quivering, “Where’s it coming from?”

“I don’t know, but I sure as hell don’t want to find out. Let’s get out of here,” Yasmin decided, terrified. She turned around and began sprinting in the direction they came.

Dylan followed, but his clumsiness got the better of him and within an instant, he toppled to the floor, his phone bouncing out of his pocket and cracking. He landed with a thud, and by the time he looked up, Yasmin was out of sight.

Trying to clamber up, Dylan had to make his own way back. He felt around for his phone but wasn’t sure exactly where it had bounced to.

“For crying out loud,” he sighed, looking at the masses of mud all over his hands.

Just as he got back onto his feet, he was pushed back down again, landing with another thud and another splash of mud, flying all over Dylan’s precious locks. He turned around – nothing was there. However, he was one hundred percent certain that he was pushed. By what?

Dylan now felt terrified. Yasmin hadn’t returned for him, and he was out in the woods alone, at night, with something potentially dangerous. All of a sudden, he heard a familiar buzzing sound. Just a couple of metres away was his phone, vibrating with the backlight shining boldly.

“Thank god,” Dylan breathed a sigh of relief as he reached to get it. Just as he stretched his arm, he felt an intense pain shoot through his body. It came from his right leg – something was biting him. He shrieked in pain, never feeling anything as horrific as that before. It was like a creature was sinking its teeth into him for its dinner.

He used his left leg to kick the creature, summoning all of his strength, before grabbing his phone and running off, limping on his throbbing leg. He couldn’t get out of the forest fast enough.

Stumbling into his bedroom, Dylan slammed the door behind him. He felt an immediate sense of relief as he noticed just how fast his heart had been beating. He could have died out there. His mum would never have seen him again. He had to report it to the sheriff station first thing in the morning. What if it had moved by then though? That creature must have been smart, it only attacked when Dylan’s source of help was out of the way.

Speaking of Yasmin, there was no sign of her. Dylan felt a huge sense of dread run through his body as he immediately feared the worst. What if there were more than one creature and the other one had attacked Yasmin?

Then, out of the corner of his eye, he spotted a note placed neatly on top of his duvet. Calming down, Dylan picked it up and immediately recognised Yasmin’s perfect handwriting.

“See you tomorrow,” he read aloud. Dylan collapsed onto his bed, exhausted both physically and mentally. As he landed face first, he remembered the immense pain of his leg. He’d briefly forgotten the injury in his panic over Yasmin. Now he’d knocked it, and it hurt like hell.

He gently rolled over and yanked up his jean leg that was covering the injury. Before he’d rolled it up, he could see the obvious teeth marks in the fabric with horrendous amounts of blood soaked around them. He was not looking forward to taking a closer look, but he knew he had to.

Gently folding the tight light blue garment up, Dylan keenly looked at what the creature had done. Sure enough, it was as gruesome as he’d feared. There were gnaw marks in his skin and deep incisions where the blood had been dripping from.

He darted into his en suite bathroom and quickly turned the shower hose on, cleaning out the disgusting wound. It stung like hell, but he couldn’t let it get infected. Afterwards, he dabbed it gently with a towel, avoiding any pain he could. Then, he reached into the cupboard above the sink and pulled out a large bandage, wrapping it around the wound several times to keep it protected. He’d kept the bandages from when he used to skateboard – he was constantly hurting himself, until he broke his leg and was forced to give it up by his mum.

Glancing in the mirror, Dylan stared at his own face. He was lucky to be alive.

The next morning, Dylan strolled into school. The pain in his leg had subsided thankfully, and he bounced his way over to his locker, determined today would be better than yesterday. He took out his maths textbook and slammed his locker door shut, to find Yasmin glaring at him.

“Thanks for the text to let me know you were okay,” Yasmin sarcastically retorted.

“You could’ve stuck around,” Dylan stubbornly replied. He wasn’t one to admit he were wrong, and this occasion wasn’t any different.

“I had my own work to do, I thought you’d want to explore more. Anyway, I’m just glad you’re okay,” Yasmin smiled, “Did you get your homework done?” Dylan’s face dropped.

“Darn it,” he cursed, furious at himself.

“At least you’ve got your charm, remember?” Yasmin laughed. She led the way into Mr. Larsen’s classroom and took her seat at the desk in the back right hand corner. Dylan followed and sat in front of her.

Just as he sat down, Dylan saw Jono arriving. Jono was in most of his classes and had barely said a word to Dylan since school started, much like the rest of his classmates. However, Dylan couldn’t help staring. He adored his autumnal brown curls, which were a similar length to his own. In fact, Jono was perfect. He’d listened for weeks to Yasmin and her own desires for him, not yet feeling confident to admit he shared them.

“He’s so dreamy,” Yasmin commented. Dylan didn’t react as he watched Jono take the seat diagonally to the front and right of him. Perfect staring angle.

“Alright class, today we’re going to be working in pairs,” Mr. Larsen announced, “But first, your homework assignments.”

Mr. Larsen began collecting in the sheets of trigonometry questions people had placed on the edge of their desks. Dylan observed the different levels of effort that had gone into the homework. Some, like Yasmin, had perfectly drawn diagrams with beautifully laid out workings, while others had done the bare minimum. Mr. Larsen stopped at Jono.

“No homework?” Mr. Larsen deduced.

“Sorry sir,” Jono responded; his usual relaxed nature now looking more sombre.

“You’ll be even more sorry when you’re doing it for an hour after school,” Mr. Larsen cracked. Dylan grinned. He wouldn’t be alone for detention after all.

“Nothing from you either Drummond?” Mr. Larsen remarked. Dylan regretfully shook his head, his gleeful smile wiped off his face. Yasmin watched on, not seeing a single ounce of the charm he’d promised.

“Looks like I’ll be having a party in here tonight,” Mr. Larsen noted.

You and me both, Dylan thought. His happiness instantly turned into annoyance, as he noticed a pen tapping sound really loudly in his ear. He turned around to Yasmin, deducing the sound was coming from her. He was ready to tell her to stop being irritating, but her pen was perched on her desk. It hadn’t been touched all lesson.

“What’s up?” Yasmin noticed he wasn’t his usual self.

“Can’t you hear that?” Dylan queried.

“Hear what? This better not be another animal thing like last night,” Yasmin responded.

“Don’t worry,” Dylan shrugged, not wanting to waste any more time when Yasmin obviously couldn’t hear it. He glanced at the opposite end of the classroom – there he saw one of his classmates tapping her pen exactly in time with the sound he was hearing.

“What the hell?” he muttered under his breath, confused at how he could hear it so clearly. Something wasn’t right.

He glanced down at his leg. Dylan knew it had to be linked, and he couldn’t leave it any longer to find out. Trigonometry could wait.

Panicked, Dylan rushed out of the classroom and began heading towards the safety and privacy of the boys’ toilets. He looked in the mirror, feeling increasingly overwhelmed. He was breathless and panicked. He caught sight of his eyes in the mirror – bright yellow, like car lights.

Terrified, Dylan unwrapped his bandage. To his horror, there was no sign of any wound. Any delight that it had healed was cancelled out at how inhumanely fast it had vanished without a trace.

Dylan was beyond weirded out. Crazy stuff had been happening all day. Did he dream the night before? No, Yasmin remembered it. Besides, pain like that couldn’t be made up.

“Dylan?” Yasmin called from the other side of the door. She couldn’t see him like this – it would terrify her more than it had terrified him. He glanced in the mirror again. His eyes were back to normal. He must have dreamed that, surely?

Yasmin burst through the door, concerned at the lack of response.

“Hey, what’s up?” Yasmin gently asked Dylan, “You’ve been acting strange all day.”

“Everything’s up,” Dylan confessed, knowing he needed a helping hand desperately.

“You hurt yourself? Did you go to the hospital?” Yasmin questioned after Dylan filled her in on his injury the night before.

“I didn’t hurt myself, something else did. Whatever was out there, it bit into me,” Dylan clarified. It was break time, and the pair sat on a bench outside, much like they did every single break time. Dylan was a sucker for routine.

“Where did it bite you?” Yasmin was concerned.

“Here,” Dylan directed, lifting up his right trouser leg once more.

“There’s nothing there,” Yasmin told him, now concerned for Dylan.

“There was, it was awful,” Dylan corrected, “I don’t know what’s happened, but it healed overnight. That’s impossible.”

“Are you sure you weren’t dreaming?” Yasmin was sceptical.

“Yes!” Dylan was getting irritated by her lack of belief in him.

“Alright dude, chill out. I believe you, but you gotta admit it, it sounds ridiculous,” Yasmin reasoned. Dylan knew she wasn’t wrong, and he hadn’t told her the weirdest part yet.

“I know,” he admitted, “My eyes were glowing yellow too.”

As Yasmin stared wide-eyed at Dylan’s continued revelations, not sure what to make of it, the mood was interrupted as they were joined at the bench by Drew Marsden – a six-foot tall jock who was in most of their classes.

“Hey dudes,” he greeted. Dylan rolled his eyes. A few seconds of Drew’s presence was more than enough for him.

“Hey,” Yasmin unenthusiastically replied. She didn’t like Drew any more than Dylan did, and his arrival at that precise moment was infuriating.

“What are you nerds talking about?” he questioned impolitely.

“Nothing much,” Yasmin answered. Dylan sat in silence, trying to keep calm.

“What about pretty boy here?” Drew faced Dylan.

Drat, Dylan thought, hoping to avoid engaging at all. Simply looking at Drew’s face made his blood boil.

“Got any more detentions? Hey, at least you’ve got Jono, I’ve seen the way you stare at him,” Drew teased.

Dylan blushed – he’d been rumbled. All of a sudden, he felt himself getting angry. Angrier than he’d gotten after Drew’s remarks before. He was usually good at keeping calm and collected. His mum joked that if he were any more laid back, she’d rest her vases on top of him and call him a shelf. However, he was anything but relaxed in that moment. The mere sight of Drew made him furious.

He looked at his hands, clenched tightly to make fists. Blood began to seep out of both fists, much to his horror. Terrified of what was happening to him, Dylan unclenched his hands to examine them. His fingers had turned into sharp, dangerous claws. He immediately shut his eyes, hoping and praying they weren’t glowing again.

Noticing Dylan’s odd behaviour, Yasmin intervened.

“Hey, you can’t come over here and start making my friend feel uncomfortable. So what if he fancies Jono?” Yasmin defended. Drew huffed and sighed, before standing up and leaving, giving up.

“That was incredible,” Dylan smiled to Yasmin, breathing a sigh of relief that their unwanted guest had gone, as well as the fact he was back to his usual self.

“He’s vile,” Yasmin remarked as the school bell sounded. Time for double biology before lunch. Dylan couldn’t have felt less motivated if he’d tried.

“By the way,” Yasmin caught his arm as he stood up, “I meant what I said. If Drew’s on the money, you know I don’t give a darn, right?”

“Right,” Dylan awkwardly responded. His heart felt warm with Yasmin’s sentiment, but he didn’t want to confirm that Drew was right just yet. Still not feeling up to biology, Dylan saw his opportunity to escape.

“I’ve just remembered, I have an urgent dentist appointment,” Dylan unconvincingly told Yasmin, rushing off before she could argue. Yasmin rolled her eyes, wondering what had gotten into her friend.

Tapping away ferociously at his computer, Dylan had actually gone to the local library down the road. This was the perfect chance to research his symptoms, so he could finally close the book on this madness and dismiss it as sleep deprivation or something similar. Besides, it wasn’t like he could go to a doctor about his symptoms. They would think he was crazy.

Getting down to business, the first thing he googled was “yellow eyes,”. All he saw were advertisements for contact lenses and help pages for jaundice – not the same thing. He then tried “claws,”, and was met with links to fancy dress for Halloween and reviews for a drama series called ‘Claws’. It was always going to be a long shot.

Feeling deflated, Dylan nevertheless tried his last attempt – “unusually fast healing,”. Strangely, this brought up an article about a school in Beacon Hills, Beacon County. The article spoke of the hysteria created by a young high school student called Frankie Hartman, who wrote another article confirming the existence of werewolves, with a list of suspects and apparent proof, before withdrawing the article and rubbishing his claims as a moment of madness.

“What a psycho,” Dylan remarked, talking quietly to himself. He continued reading through, gripped by how interesting the quotes from the original article were. It mentioned how they looked as werewolves. Startlingly, it referred to glowing yellow eyes, claws, and inhumanely fast ability to heal.

“It got you, didn’t it?” came a voice from directly behind. Dylan jumped out of his skin and turned around to see Drew watching him. Immediately on the defensive, Drew justified his arrival, “Don’t worry, I’m not here to cause trouble.”

“I don’t know what you’re on about,” Dylan lied.

“I noticed the signs earlier. You did well to hide it but I knew what I was looking for. You can’t kid a kidder,” Drew explained, speaking more softly than usual.

“What am I?” Dylan questioned, desperate to know.

“A werewolf,” Drew answered, “Just like me.”

“This isn’t funny,” Dylan didn’t believe him, in spite of what he’d just read.

“You saw that article. There are packs of werewolves all over the world,” Drew continued.

“That article wasn’t genuine, didn’t you see the statement? Moment of madness,” Dylan was still in denial.

“And you believe everything you read?” Drew laughed at Dylan’s innocence, “If the world knew about us, there would be chaos. People struggle to accept other humans as it is. To say adding a new species would be an uphill struggle is an understatement.” Dylan knew he was right.

“How did you… you know, find out?” Dylan queried. He still couldn’t get the word out.

“Bitten, like you,” Drew answered.

“By another one?” Dylan tried to connect the dots.

“By the alpha,” Drew concluded, “The leader of the pack. The only one that can pass the bite on.” Dylan tried to process the information. It was a lot to take in and he struggled with these revelations.

“I know it’s a lot, so I’ll leave you to digest it. You know where I am if you have more questions. When you have more questions,” Drew concluded the chat, before walking off and leaving Dylan sat at his computer. He took a deep breath, trying to remain calm, but his day so far had been one ridiculous event after another.

Normality ensued that afternoon when Dylan slumped back into Mr. Larsen’s classroom. He was the first one there, and immediately went to sit at the back.

“Take out your homework sheet. I want it finished by the end of this hour,” Mr. Larsen commanded. In that moment, Jono casually strolled in.

“Nice of you to join us Mr. Chadwick,” Mr. Larsen commented.

“Sorry I’m late,” Jono sheepishly apologised. Dylan thought he’d sit on a desk a couple of rows in front – they’d never spoken so he wasn’t expecting them to be best buddies all of a sudden.

However, Jono headed straight to the back and plonked himself down on the seat next to Dylan without a second thought. Dylan was both delighted and disappointed. Delighted because there was now the tiny possibility of conversation, but disappointed because cheeky stares would now be much more of a challenge without Jono noticing.

“Alright?” Jono greeted, being friendly. Dylan froze. He had no idea if “alright,” was a substitute for “hello,”, or an actual request to find out how he was.

“Alright?” Dylan replied, opting for the former. Jono smiled in response – he picked the right option. So far, so good.

Jono yanked his homework sheet out of his bag and sighed. Dylan couldn’t help enjoying the incredible scent of Jono’s aftershave, teasing his nostrils cruelly.

“I really hate math,” Jono confessed, whispering to Dylan. Dylan found it difficult to cover up his excitement at conversation actually taking place. Jono was actually talking to him. Taking an interest in him. Now he surely was dreaming.

“Same,” Dylan responded. He desperately wanted to make more conversation, but was stuck on what to say, “My friend Yasmin helps me out with it.”

“You two seem pretty close,” Jono commented.

Drat. He thought Dylan and Yasmin were an item. A common misconception and easily done, but it was the last thing Dylan wanted him to think.

“We’re just friends,” Dylan clarified.

“Cool,” Jono smiled. Dylan couldn’t read what this meant.

Jono remained as cool as a cucumber, but the grin on his face looked cheeky. No matter what though, Dylan didn’t want to let himself get carried away.

For the next half hour, the duo sat mostly in silence, working their way through the homework sheet. The only conversation came from Jono asking Dylan for help, not that Dylan could offer much guidance. As the detention went on, Dylan felt more and more comfortable in Jono’s presence. He was letting his hair down and felt all the better for it.

“Boys, I’m just heading upstairs for five minutes to get some exercise books from the cupboard,” Mr. Larsen announced. Both of them nodded in acknowledgement. As soon as he stepped out of the room, Jono dropped his pen onto the desk and turned his body to face Dylan.

“So, Mr. Larsen, hot or not?” Jono asked light-heartedly. Dylan was taken aback. Huh? Why was he asking about a man? Did he know his secret? Well, one of his ever-growing list of secrets.

He considered the question anyway. Mr. Larsen hadn’t been teaching for long, he must have been no older than 28 or so, but he looked younger.

“He’s not bad, not really my type,” Dylan confessed, essentially coming out to Jono. He felt like a weight had been lifted off of his shoulders.

“He’s a cutie, the best thing about math,” Jono added. Dylan was mind blown. Not only did he just confirm his own interest in guys, but his crush had done the exact same. He didn’t know how to react.

“So, what is your type?” a nosey Jono picked up on Dylan’s reply. Considering his words very carefully, Dylan pondered a response that was something other than “you,”.

“Dark hair, my age, cute smile,” Dylan described what he saw in front of him, without giving the game away.

“Me too really,” Jono mentioned. Dylan’s heart fluttered. He knew that description could easily fit him too; well, he hoped Jono found his smile cute anyway. Regardless of the flirting, Dylan was still finding it too good to be true. Jono was surely going to tell him it was all a wind up soon.

“Hey, when this detention is over, do you wanna hang out?” Jono proposed. Dylan immediately wanted to shout “yes,” but didn’t want to appear overly enthusiastic.

“Sure,” he replied, keenly but calmly. There was no sign of the so-called werewolf in him so far, he just needed to keep things at bay for a while longer. It was the only thing that could spoil his evening.

The final half-hour of the detention was a slog for Dylan. The anticipation of hanging with Jono was too high, and any idea of actually getting his head around trigonometry was long since gone. Every second felt like an hour, and he had never seen the minute hand of the clock tick around to the hour so sluggishly. He was convinced he’d done a solid twenty minutes of work, but the clock only told him it had been five.

“Alright boys, off you go,” Mr. Larsen dismissed the pair.

Dylan could have jumped for joy, like an excited puppy. He shoved his equipment into his bag carelessly and followed Jono’s lead out of the classroom.

Out of the corridors and into the open air of the car park, Dylan’s excitement and eagerness was almost bubbling over. He had to keep an eye on himself, just in case something weird happened again. He needed to look normal in front of Jono.

Leading the way to his car, Jono opened the passenger door for Dylan, like a chauffeur. Impressed, Dylan clambered into Jono’s small but cosy car. It was a little messy, not as well kept as Jono’s appearance would suggest, but it was typical of a teenage boy. The red colour appealed to Dylan – not only was it his favourite colour, but it seemed to represent every emotion he’d experienced in his rollercoaster day.

“Where are we going?” Dylan eagerly questioned.

“My hangout, you’ll see,” Jono vaguely replied. Dylan’s interest was perched. Jono flicked the on switch on his car radio, starting up a commercial radio station. “New Rules,” by Dua Lipa was playing.

“I love this song,” Dylan commented, making conversation.

“Me too, have you heard the album?” Jono reciprocated. Dylan shook his head.

“Oh my god, we must listen to it, you’re missing out,” Jono gushed.

Common ground. Dylan smiled – another box ticked. He had a warm, fuzzy feeling inside, one he hadn’t experienced before.

The car journey was short, Jono only lived about five minutes away from the school. His house was in the middle of a quiet, pleasant looking street. The house itself was bigger than Dylan’s, and most excitingly, he spotted a substantial looking treehouse outside in the front garden.

“Welcome home,” Jono grinned as he parked up on the driveway.

“Wow,” Dylan was in awe of the treehouse. It looked so cosy, and it made him envious.

“It’s my escape from my sister,” Jono explained, “Wanna see it?”

“Sure,” Dylan grinned. Jono led the way up the beautifully sculpted wooden ladder, Dylan following just behind. It was an easy enough climb, although he wasn’t the biggest fan of heights.

It’s alright, I’ll just heal if I fall, like earlier, Dylan thought. However, he wasn’t one hundred percent sure of that. Just because some freaky garish bite in his leg healed, it didn’t mean he’d heal quickly forevermore.

Jono gave him a hand at the top of the ladder, and as soon as his feet touched the strong wooden floor, Dylan took in his surroundings. The treehouse was reasonably roomy, with enough space for them to stand up. A couple of chairs were up there, as well as beanbags and a table. The walls were decorated pristinely, with posters of singers and television shows that Jono liked. Dylan eyed a Dua Lipa poster among them.

“This is where I do my homework. Sorry, there’s no heating, but I keep this up here,” Jono chucked a blanket over to Dylan, who plonked himself down on a beanbag.

“Cheers,” Dylan responded, wrapping the blanket around himself as comfortably as he could, sheltering himself from the bitter cold of the approaching night.

“I only have the one, so we’ll have to share,” Jono mentioned. Dylan would usually have sighed, having just made himself extra cosy under the blanket, but he didn’t mind sharing.

The butterflies in his stomach were amplifying. Once again, he checked for any potential claws. Nothing out of the ordinary so far. Phew.

Jono crashed onto the beanbag adjacent and grabbed the end of the blanket. They were closer than before, and Dylan didn’t know what to say. An awkward silence ensued.

“You wanna…?” Jono began, tailing off. He didn’t have to say more. Looking directly into his eyes, Dylan knew exactly what he meant.

“Yes,” Dylan responded, giving his consent nervously but excitedly.

Jono leaned in towards Dylan’s face, until their lips met. Dylan instantly knew he adored the touch of Jono’s soft, smooth, gentle lips – the best feeling in the world. He felt more at ease around Jono than he ever had. It just felt right.

As they kissed, Dylan felt Jono’s hand playing with his hair, so he did the same back. The feel of Jono’s luscious curls in his hand just made everything even better.

He opened his eyes momentarily and was horrified to see that his fingers had become claws, much like he’d worried, and they were messing with Jono’s precious hair. He had to escape somehow, before things got even worse…

2: Redemption Written by MarthaJonesFan

Tapping away at her laptop, Yasmin was concerned by Dylan’s behaviour earlier in the day. He was erratic and talking nonsense.

However, in the short time Yasmin had known him, she knew he wasn’t a liar. Those symptoms he had were unlike anything any human could have, and she didn’t need to be top of the biology class to know that. Glowing eyes was the most concerning part. It wasn’t like she could refer to a textbook for answers. She had to know more. Could she ask Dylan? Would he reciprocate? She had no idea. No matter what she thought she knew about Dylan, she had still only known him a short while.

Despite being the smartest person in all of her lessons, Yasmin knew she struggled socially and people generally avoided her. Dylan was kind to her from the start, that’s why they became friends. She had to be kind in return. Help him out. Do him a favour.

With no more thinking or hesitation, Yasmin picked up her car keys and set off to Dylan’s house.

Never having felt such a conflict of emotions, Dylan was in the worst predicament of his life. He was kissing his crush, which was unbelievable just a couple of hours before, and it felt so good. However, he was shifting. He was becoming a werewolf again, if he believed what he had read that is. Jono simply couldn’t witness this. It would ruin any chance Dylan had with his perfect guy. He had to break the kiss without being rude, and without giving the game away too.

That was impossible, he concluded. He’d been waiting for this moment since he first laid eyes on Jono. He couldn’t give it up, and he knew Jono would never forgive him. Why did this have to be happening now?

He navigated his hand to his own cheek and was horrified by how hairy it was. He was transforming fully. All of a sudden, he felt a hand on his shoulder, applying force and yanking him away from Jono.

“Sorry boys,” a familiar voice interrupted. Dylan didn’t glimpse at who it was. He was too busy ensuring he was facing in the opposite direction, shielding his face from Jono. However, his mind was working overtime trying to figure out who it was. Who would have known where he was? What he is? Only one person – Drew. That’s whose voice it was.

“What the hell are you doing here?” Jono was confused at his classmate arriving to interrupt his special moment.

“Dylan needs to be home right now, his grandma’s coming,” Drew lied.

“Why do you care?” Jono delved deeper.

“I’m his cousin,” Drew continued, lying flawlessly.

“Oh, alright, I’ll text you Dylan,” Jono spoke, sounding disappointed.

“Bye,” Dylan sounded equally disappointed as he spoke without making eye contact. He stared at his hands – his fingers were still claws, and he hated it. He wanted to become normal again.

Drew nudged him on the back, signalling that he had to get a move on.

Sulking all the way home, Dylan was gutted to be back so soon. Drew had kindly given him a lift, and he was back to his normal self, but he wanted so much more. He needed so much more. It hurt even more considering how close he was. Jono’s kiss was perfect, and he was now craving it. He was addicted, in the best possible way, and stepping out of the car outside his house felt hideous. Drew was the last person he wanted to see, even if he were grateful for the intervention. It was probably the least awkward way out of that scenario.

“I’m sorry dude,” Drew sincerely apologised.

“Why is this happening to me? I want a quiet life, I want to kiss the boy I fancy, what’s the problem? Why can’t I just have that?” Dylan ranted, not caring that his mum inside might have been in hearing range.

“This is your life now. You’ve got to adapt,” Drew told him firmly.

“What do you know anyway? You don’t know me,” Dylan was frustrated, “Leave me alone.” He stormed his way to the front door.

“You’ll come and find me, when you want to know more,” Drew called after.

Dylan didn’t care. He slammed the front door after him and stomped up the stairs to his bedroom. Swinging open the door, he was taken aback to see Yasmin sat waiting for him, arms folded.

Bemused by the end to an incredible evening, Jono was lying across his bed, cuddling his favourite cushion for comfort. He felt disappointed and extremely confused as to why Drew dragged Dylan away.

What made things worse is the lack of communication from Dylan after Drew’s arrival. Why didn’t he say a word? It wasn’t too much to ask for a proper goodbye. It’s not like he was hiding anything from Drew – it was a bit late for that considering how passionate their snogging was.

He really liked Dylan, and that made it feel worse. He’d only properly known him for about an hour and a half, but that was all the time he needed to know he was as sweet and lovely as he looked. However, if this was how he was going to be treated, perhaps it wasn’t worth the effort.

Jono’s thought process was interrupted by the gentle knocking on the outside of his bedroom door. Poking her head around the door, a young lady with long, silky brunette hair styled perfectly into a bun entered the room.

“Penny for them?” she chirped.

“It’s a long story Lily,” Jono brushed her off.

“I don’t give up that easily, you know that,” she firmly responded, entering the room and elegantly sitting on the edge of Jono’s bed. She was wearing an evening dress and posh high heels, looking drop-dead gorgeous, “It’s boy drama, isn’t it?”

“Is it that obvious?” Jono stopped trying to conceal his emotions.

“I’m your big sister. It’s my job to suss out your crap,” Lily joshed, “Tell me the details.”

“You know I mentioned that guy at school, the one I really fancied? We kissed, in the treehouse,” Jono revealed, blushing with embarrassment.

“Oh my god,” Lily was enjoying the gossip, “Was he good?”

“Great,” Jono smiled, his mind reliving the moment.

“So, what’s the issue?” Lily nudged the story on.

“He had to rush off, his so-called cousin turned up. It was weird, he didn’t look me in the eye after,” Jono’s demeanour soured again.

“That’s super weird,” Lily agreed with him, “But if he’s worth it, and if he’s into you as much as you’re into him, he’ll give you an explanation tomorrow. Don’t give up so easily.”

Jono nodded, taking his big sister’s advice on board. She was right – time would tell if Dylan was worth the effort or not. The ball was in his court.

“Where have you been? I’ve been waiting here for half an hour. Your mom had no idea where you were,” Yasmin complained.

Dylan was clearly not in the mood. He ignored her and crashed out on his bed, bouncing as his weight crashed onto the soft, comfy mattress.

Yasmin stood up to avoid being knocked out. She took a moment to think. Perhaps she was being harsh. He wasn’t himself. He obviously needed a friend, not nagging.

“I’m sorry,” she said gently, re-assessing her tone, “I’m just worried about you. You’ve been erratic today. What’s up?” She got no response from Dylan. Wow, he really was in a bad mood.

“I can’t help you if I don’t know what’s up,” she spoke softly, gently perching herself on the edge of the bed. He reshuffled himself to face towards her.

“Will you believe me if I tell you?” Dylan asked. He sounded worried.

“Of course,” Yasmin instantly responded. She didn’t even have to think about that answer.

“I’m a werewolf,” Dylan simply started.

Taken aback, Yasmin took a couple of seconds to process and join the dots. As ludicrous as it sounded, it actually made perfect sense. The healing, the glowing eyes, everything joined up.

“Wow,” she responded, speechless, “That’s insane.”

“You’re telling me,” Dylan sighed.

“How do you even know all this? It’s not like this information is on Wikipedia,” Yasmin attempted to get her head around it.

“Drew, he’s a werewolf too. He gave me a lift back. That’s why he came over to us earlier,” Dylan explained.

“Wait, that asswipe is a werewolf? Him, of all people?” Yasmin was offended by the mere mention of his name.

“He did me a favour, I think he genuinely wants to help,” Dylan insisted.

“Hold on, rewind a second. He gave you a lift? Where were you? You never said,” Yasmin interrogated. Dylan’s face sunk. For a change, he didn’t give an immediate answer.

“I was with Jono,” he confessed, “We got talking and, err, things happened.” His body language was awkward and uncomfortable. It didn’t take much for Yasmin to read between the lines.

“You and the fit boy? Oh my god, I can’t believe it!” Yasmin perked up as she connected the dots and realised what Dylan was referring to, “That’s incredible, I mean I’m totally jealous, but I guess I never had a chance.”

“It’d be incredible if I didn’t start to shift while making out,” Dylan didn’t share Yasmin’s enthusiasm, “Drew saved me just in time.”

“Oh boy, that’s not so good,” Yasmin toned down her excitement, “You’ve gotta make it up to him.”

“What if I shift again? Drew can’t follow me everywhere. I can’t risk him finding out,” Dylan was insistent.

“Maybe we need more information. There must be a reason why you shifted, and I’d bet all my money on Drew knowing the answers,” Yasmin considered.

That night, Dylan tucked himself into bed hoping to get a good night of kip. He felt like he’d barely relaxed all day, and now he was in his bed, he was hoping this was his chance to finally switch off. His bed had never felt comfier. He pulled the duvet up to his neck and positioned himself comfortably, lying on the right-hand side of his body. He glanced at the clock – 23:58. Around seven hours of sleep before school. A bit less than normal but not bad.

That was the last thing he remembered until he woke up in somewhere that wasn’t even slightly as cosy. All of a sudden, Dylan found himself in the forest. Dawn was approaching and the sun was starting to shine through the treetops. How did he get here? He had no recollection of anything.

He shot up onto his feet, parting with the leaves that had become his pillow. Looking around, Dylan saw nothing familiar. He didn’t know where he was. The forest might as well have been a foreign country for all he knew about it. He had to find his own way out.

Picking a direction, he sprinted as fast as he could. The less time he spent in that forest, the better. Even if he ended up at the other end of town, at least he’d be able to phone for help. That was the most annoying thing – his own mobile was still on his bedside table. He had nothing but his pyjamas.

Faster and faster, Dylan used all of his strength to run. He was part wolf now. He could run much faster than he ever could before.

It has some benefits, Dylan thought to himself.

To his relief, as he jumped over twigs and streams, he caught glimpse of his house. Dylan made a mental note to trust his judgement more often. Slowing down the exceptionally fast pace of his running, Dylan exited the forest through the clearing. However, he turned back, hearing a familiar growling sound. The same one as a couple of nights ago.

“I’ll find you, whatever you are. Whoever you are,” Dylan threatened, feeling much less terrified this time around. He pressed on the doorbell of his house, and his mum answered it, about thirty seconds after it rang. Her hair was messy and she was wearing a dressing gown, looking like she’d just gotten out of bed.

“Where the heck have you been?” Caroline Drummond questioned before allowing him access.

“I couldn’t sleep, I went for a walk,” Dylan lied. He hated lying to his mum, but the truth was far worse than a tiny white lie.

“In your pyjamas?” she was unimpressed, “Well, I better get started on breakfast. There’s no chance of getting back to sleep now.”

Dylan slumped into the house and slammed the front door behind him. Home sweet home. He’d never been more relieved to be back. In fact, even the sound of Caroline complaining couldn’t put him off.

Walking to school that day felt like much more of a slog than usual. Dylan was tired after a hectic night. He racked his brain all morning but absolutely nothing could tell him what he did. He was optimistic though. School was going to be a welcome distraction. If he could avoid the telling-off for missing double biology yesterday, that is.

As he arrived at school, he saw Jono’s tiny car pull up outside. Not making eye contact, Jono headed straight for the main entrance.

“Jono!” Dylan called after him.

“Yeah?” Jono turned around and responded nonchalantly. He didn’t look especially happy to see Dylan,

“I am so sorry about last night, I truly mean that,” Dylan apologised sincerely. He meant every word he said, he just needed to ensure Jono did too, “Drew is pretty forceful and I was embarrassed that he showed up. Please let me make it up to you.”

Jono perked up. The blank expression on his face turned into the cute smile Dylan adored.

“My sister’s throwing a party tonight, wanna come?” Jono suggested excitedly.

“I’ll be there,” Dylan grinned. That was one problem solved, and it went as well as it possibly could have.

Of course, Dylan’s day didn’t stay perfect for long. His first lesson was biology, and Mrs. Johnson was forever scolding students for missing her lessons without a sick note. The most important thing was that he stayed calm. Hopefully that would keep the wolf inside him at bay. He managed to avoid shifting throughout school yesterday, today should be a piece of cake. If only he knew why he shifted so sporadically. What happened to werewolves only shifting on a full moon?

“Morning Dylan,” Mrs. Johnson greeted with a glare as he sheepishly strolled into the lab.

“Hi,” he awkwardly responded.

“Any reason for missing my lesson yesterday? You showed up to all of your other lessons and I wasn’t aware of any dentist appointment,” Mrs. Johnson began.

“Sorry, I’ll catch up,” Dylan tried to avoid further interrogation.

“Sorry for what? Bunking?” Mrs. Johnson didn’t give in.

“Why are you doing this?” Dylan took offence to Mrs. Johnson’s accusations, and he felt his insides burning up with anger.

“Excuse me?” Mrs. Johnson was appalled by Dylan’s response. Dylan didn’t care though, he saw nothing but red.

On red alert, Yasmin jumped out of her seat at the other end of the classroom and rapidly escorted her friend outside, with Drew following. On their way out, they passed Jono, only just arriving for the lesson.

“Hey Dylan,” Jono excitedly greeted, but his volume tailed off as Dylan didn’t make eye contract. He walked inside the classroom cautiously, and glanced at Mrs. Johnson, “Is he okay?”

“That’s my question too,” Mrs. Johnson sighed. Jono was intrigued and very confused. Dylan was capable of acting especially odd when he wanted to but was the sweetest person ever otherwise.

Shoving him carelessly into the boys’ toilets, Drew knew he had a loose cannon on his hands in Dylan. Dylan knew it himself too, which should make his job easier. At least he had a willing student.

However, Dylan was the first new werewolf he had encountered in Crystalshaw in years. He wanted to be the kind of person to Dylan that he wished he’d had many years back.

Dylan was fighting back though. He had fully shifted into his wolf form, and unsurprisingly, he hadn’t learnt any aspect of control yet.

To protect her, Drew ensured Yasmin was stood firmly behind him. He could heal, she could not. The look on her face was one of both amazement and horror, as she finally saw first-hand what her friend had become.

“Dylan, you have to calm down,” Drew firmly stated. Dylan growled at him, annoyed and volatile.

“What can we do?” Yasmin desperately asked.

We can’t do anything, it’s down to him,” Drew vaguely answered, “He controls the shifts. Only right now, he hasn’t read the manual.”

“Read it for him, then,” Yasmin commanded.

Drew had to be careful. Too much information would not help Dylan – only confuse him. He needed to be selective with the advice and guidance he gave away.

“Dylan, I need you to look at me,” Drew grabbed Dylan’s cheeks in his hands. He struggled, but Drew knew he was stronger, “Think of something, or someone, that you love and care for. Find them in your mind and use them to pull yourself back. Find your anchor.”

Dylan heard exactly what Drew was saying. He understood and processed it with no difficulty. However, acting on it was proving to be more than just a little bit difficult. His mind was a mess. He couldn’t focus his thoughts for even a single second.

“Find your anchor, Dylan,” Drew commanded, much more firmly second time round. Anchor. Who was his anchor? Is that even a serious question? Obviously, it was Jono.

Using all of his willpower, Dylan tried to think of Jono. Picture his face, hear his voice, anything that could make him feel like his usual self. He imagined a door, and slammed it shut on the anger he felt. Jono was all he had in his mind. He felt calmer, and in control of himself again.

He now focused on Drew’s face in front of him – breathing a sigh of relief. He had done it. He’d conquered the wolf. For now, anyway.

“I did it,” Dylan exclaimed, proud of himself.

“Better late than never,” Drew scoffed. Yasmin flung her arms around him, relieved he was back to his usual self.

“I’m so glad you’re alright,” she smiled, “I guess you won’t feel up to the party tonight.”

“Party?” Drew’s relief quickly turned back into concern.

“I’ll be fine, I’m not letting Jono down,” Dylan insisted.

“No no no, you have to back out,” Drew was adamant.

“No chance, this werewolf business has already ruined my life, I’m not letting it take away the best thing I have right now. The only good thing to have happened in the past couple of days,” Dylan reasoned.

“Jono may be your anchor, but he could easily enough make you turn again. You could kill him, and everyone else at the party,” Drew detailed.

“Wait, I could kill people?” Dylan was astonished.

“Yes, you’re a predator,” Drew answered.

“Have you killed anyone?” Dylan was panicking. Drew looked to be considering the wording of his response. Annoyingly, before Drew could utter a word, the school bell rang.

Drew pushed past Dylan and Yasmin, as if he were very keen to reach his next class. Dylan felt more uncomfortable than ever. The idea that he could kill someone horrified him, and he was certain he would never let that happen. However, after his lack of control earlier in the day, he wasn’t sure he had much choice in the matter anymore.

Much to Dylan’s relief, the rest of the school day was a relative breeze. Nothing else provoked him, and above all else, he was glad this werewolf business had made Drew act nicer to him. He wasn’t missing his taunts and jibes. However, he knew an awful lot about, well, just about everything werewolf related.

Annoyingly though, there was no more mention of who or what this “alpha,” is, or what it means for him. Who knows? The entire thing could be a bluff and Drew could be the alpha. He had to keep his guard up.

Now he was at home, getting dressed ready for the party, and the nerves were bubbling inside him, but nothing would prevent him from his night of joy with Jono.

“Dylan, are you decent?” Caroline yelled from the other side of the bedroom door. He wanted his mum’s approval for his new smart-casual shirt and stylish black jeans.

“Yeah mom, come in,” Dylan responded. Caroline peeped around the door, and looked astounded.

“Wow, don’t you scrub up well?” she smiled, “I’m so proud of you.” Dylan grinned too. It meant a lot to hear that from his mum, especially after a turbulent few months.

“I’m getting picked up in ten minutes,” Dylan informed her.

“By Yasmin? Whose party is this anyway? I don’t think you said,” Caroline queried.

“Yeah, and it’s Lily Chadwick, she lives a few minutes’ drive away,” Dylan answered carefully. He was telling the truth but omitting one or two of the facts.

“You’ve never mentioned her,” Caroline commented.

“Mom, is this an interrogation?” Dylan kept his cards close to his chest and didn’t want his mum prying.

“No sweetie, I’m sorry. You’re old enough to make your own decisions,” Caroline smiled again, “Have a wonderful time.”

She gently closed the door as Dylan made the final checks to his appearance. He flung a mint into his mouth for freshness and ruffled his untidy hair – the only part of his look that wasn’t planned to every detail. Perfectly imperfect, he liked to think.

Pulling up on Dylan’s driveway, perfectly on time as always, Yasmin beeped her horn to signal her arrival. She had been out dress shopping after school to ensure she looked her best for the party – her first in quite a while. It’s not that she was unpopular, but because Yasmin was such a bookworm, people arrogantly assumed she wouldn’t be interested, and she never got invited to any cool events. Even now, she was basically Dylan’s “plus one,” after his new lover invited him. On the bright side, it would provide a chance for her to get to know the studs in Lily’s year group. Any opportunity to find a boyfriend.

Just moments after beeping the horn, Dylan emerged from the house, dressed impressively smart. Yasmin knew he had to put in as much effort as possible for Jono to make up for the night before.

“You look dashing,” she complimented as he flung the door open. Dylan smiled, ruffling his hand through his hair again.

“And you…,” Dylan was breath-taken as he examined Yasmin’s sparkling light blue dress and her hair beautifully styled into a bun, “…You look stunning.”

“I try my best,” Yasmin joked, “The guys better notice me now.”

“You’ll be batting them away like tennis balls,” Dylan jested. The jovial tone didn’t last, and Yasmin turned their focus to the elephant in the room.

“Nervous?” Yasmin questioned.

“Heck yeah,” Dylan immediately responded, “I feel sick.”

“Good,” Yasmin bluntly replied, “It means it’s a big deal for you.”

“You can say that again,” Dylan added, feeling the pressure.

“You’ll be just fine. If you feel like you’re gonna shift, just find me. Don’t forget your anchor, either,” Yasmin reminded.

“What good is that when my anchor caused my shift last night?” Dylan was still baffled by everything.

“We’ll investigate that later. For now, you have a man to impress. A very fit man, at that, so if you ruin this chance, he’s all mine,” Yasmin flashed him a cheeky smile, before setting her car into gear and reversing back off the drive.

Similarly, Jono was ensuring he looked his very best too. Dylan hadn’t seen his house properly, only the treehouse, and he was going to be meeting Lily for the first time also. It was nerve-wracking, but so very exciting too.

He couldn’t help feeling it was a little premature though. He and Dylan weren’t official, or anything really, but maybe tonight was the night it would change. Everything had to be perfect. First impressions were everything, and he wanted Dylan to love his house, and Lily had to be on her best behaviour. That said, it was her party. She never behaved too well with alcohol in her.

He plodded down the stairs and into the living room, where Lily was setting up the audio system for the night. Her phone was plugged in using Jono’s auxiliary cable – Lily was useless when it came to technology beyond the Instagram app.

“You look amazing,” Jono complimented as he collapsed onto the posh, comfy sofa against the ceiling of the spacious living room. The décor was expensive, his parents worked in law and could afford to splash out, but he didn’t want to brag. Lily on the other hand was a different case.

“Thanks,” she smiled, flicking her beautifully curled auburn locks as she turned to face him, “You’re dressed to kill. He’s gonna love it.”

“You think?” Jono was doubting himself.
“If he has any sense,” Lily added, “What’s his name? You never said.”

“Dylan,” Jono answered. Even saying his name to Lily felt strange. Almost like Dylan was a figment of his imagination crossing over into the real world.

“Are you gonna tell mom and dad?” Lily queried.

“We’re not even official yet, I don’t know if he wants that from me,” Jono expressed his concerns.

“Take this from the expert of failed relationships,” Lily dished advice out to her younger brother, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained. You’ve got nothing to lose by asking what he wants. If he’s not ready for the boyfriend tag yet, that’s alright.”

Jono nodded. It didn’t make him any less nervous, but it was a comforting thought amongst the craziness of his mind.

Fifteen minutes later, Yasmin’s car pulled up outside. Dylan took a proper glance at Jono’s house, getting much closer than he had the night before. The sheer size of it had passed him by in the heat of the moment. Jono’s family must have been rich to afford such a house. Maybe there would be a spare room for him and Jono to escape if the party got crazy. Or a room for Yasmin to restrain him if he shifted. The latter felt more likely.

The party looked to be filling up already, as a stream of people were arriving, all dressed to the nines, and suddenly the idea of a party felt very scary. Drew’s words still rung through his head. What if all of these people left the party in body bags?

No, that wouldn’t happen. He wouldn’t let that happen. Optimism was the key.

“Ready?” Yasmin prompted, already spotting eye candy on the way in.

“Yeah,” Dylan unconvincingly replied. He shoved the car door open and looked at his reflection in the window. He was still his usual self. He didn’t feel different, beyond the nerves. So far, so good.

Yasmin led the way into the house, and Dylan couldn’t help notice how posh the house was. There were stylish paintings hung in the hallway, and an expensive-looking rug along the floor. The stairway was grand and there was so much space everywhere. Sometimes, this could be a hinderance to the warmth of the house, but it still managed to feel cosy and homely. Not that it would stay that way for long, with the number of teenagers and young adults piling in.

He desperately looked around for Jono, or even anybody he or Yasmin would know. Jono was the priority though. Annoyingly, all he could see around him was a sea of teenagers a couple of years older.

Much to his concern, the first familiar face he spotted was Drew, at the far end of the corridor, watching Dylan. He looked to find Yasmin, but she had vanished.

Probably found a hot guy, Dylan assumed. He marched towards Drew, furious that he had arrived.

“What the hell are you doing here?” Dylan spoke quietly but harshly.

“Keeping an eye out. I knew you’d ignore me and you’re a loose cannon, so I thought I’d drop by,” Drew explained.

“Nice to know you have faith in me,” Dylan retorted.

“Dylan!” came a pleasant familiar voice from behind. Dylan spun himself around to see Jono, waiting eagerly for him. They leaned in for a hug. Dylan found it a little awkward, not sure how much to reciprocate, but he embraced the moment. After all, he was the one who had some making up to do.

“You look beautiful,” Dylan admired Jono and the effort in his outfit. His cologne smelt heavenly too.

“You too, wow,” Jono smiled. Dylan was delighted that his own effort had been noticed, “Want a drink?”

“Sure. Is there somewhere quiet we can go?” Dylan questioned, aware that Drew was still watching over his shoulder just behind.

“I’ll take you to my room, but first, I want you to meet someone,” Jono grabbed Dylan’s hand and dragged him away from Drew, and into the kitchen.

Losing herself in the music, Yasmin was having a great time. She’d lost sight of Dylan but was now dancing with a cute lad from a couple of years above at school. The music was loud and she was enjoying it, not that she really knew what it was. Some generic dance song you would hear in a club, she assumed.

Despite the fun she was having, Dylan was still on her mind. She was worried for him. Much to her horror, she spotted Drew in the corner of her eye, hanging around in the corner of the living room. Regretfully, she ceased dancing with the hot guy, whose name she didn’t know, and went to interrogate.

“Oh, here we go again,” Drew remarked before Yasmin could say a word.

“Again? What do you mean?” Yasmin queried.

“I’ve already had Dylan giving me an earful, I could do without. I’m trying to do you both a favour,” Drew explained.

“A favour? By stalking us everywhere we go?” Yasmin questioned his choice of wording.

“No, by stalking Dylan everywhere he goes. It’s a pure coincidence if you’re there too,” Drew dryly replied.

“Do you not have a life of your own?” Yasmin was fed up of Drew by this point. Sure, he had stopped picking on her and Dylan, but this was annoying on another level.

“No, not really,” Drew bluntly replied. Yasmin didn’t really know what to say beyond that and sighed.

Jono led Dylan into the kitchen. It was hard to sift through the vast amount of people that had arrived. Obviously, a party at the Chadwick house wasn’t one to be missed.

Jono held closely onto Dylan’s hand, careful not to lose him amongst everyone. Dylan loved the feel of his soft skin against his, it was bliss and he never wanted to let go.

At the far end of the kitchen, Jono grounded to a halt, in front of a girl who must have been a couple of years older than him.

“Dylan, meet my sister Lily,” Jono nervously introduced.

“Hey,” Lily excitedly grinned, “I’ve heard a lot about you, nice to meet you.”

“Hiya,” Dylan awkwardly said, unsure what to say next. He offered out a hand for a handshake, which Lily graciously accepted.

“A gentleman, I like,” Lily smiled, “Tell me something about yourself, Dylan.” While Dylan appreciated that Lily wanted to know more about him, his mind went blank. Suddenly, he couldn’t remember a single one of his interests. He froze.

“Err,” he slurred, then it came to him, “I’m hoping to become a journalist.”

“Me too,” Jono exclaimed, “I’ve always wanted to be one. I’ve been talking to Miss Daniel at school about setting up a school paper. Maybe we could work on that together?” Dylan was amazed. This was an offer he would be stupid to refuse. An excuse to spend more time together.

“Sure, sounds great,” Dylan replied enthusiastically, but not quite as excitably as he would have liked. He didn’t want to lose his cool.

“Right, we’re gonna head upstairs. Call on up if you need help,” Jono said before dragging Dylan back away. He didn’t want to spend too much time talking to Lily when he’d much rather be alone with Dylan.

Feeling similarly, Dylan was excited. Alone in Jono’s bedroom. Nobody to disturb them or interfere with them. Most importantly, it was somewhere Drew couldn’t spy on him either.

They trotted up the stairs into the much quieter out-of-bounds upstairs area, and to the right of the staircase was Jono’s room. He pushed open the door, and Dylan took in his surroundings. The room was stylish and modern, with a laminate flooring and colourful rugs to liven the place up. Posters covered the walls, much like the treehouse, and Jono’s laptop sat with the lid shut just opposite his double bed, made perfectly without as much as a crease in the duvet. He was amazed at just how tidy the room was, in contrast to his slightly messy little car.

“How is it so neat?” Dylan was amazed. His own room was what he liked to think of as “organised chaos,”. Sure, it was a complete mess, but he knew exactly where everything was, and despite his mum’s nagging, that was what mattered to him.

“My parents are on my back all the time,” Jono explained, “They’re quite irritating when it comes to cleanliness. It’s why I have the treehouse. I spend more time there than here, but I can’t leave my laptop outside. Take a seat.” Dylan did as he was instructed and perched himself gently on the side of the bed. He didn’t want to ruffle the perfect bedsheets.

“You can make yourself more comfortable than that,” Jono noticed Dylan’s caution and laughed affectionately. Dylan smiled and made himself comfortable, lying down on the pillows on the right-hand side of the bed.

Jono dropped onto the left-hand side, rolling over to face Dylan. They met eye-to-eye, and shared a moment of silence, simply admiring each other. He looked at Jono’s beautiful face, and all of a sudden, a horrible vision shot through his mind. He envisioned Jono’s body, lifeless in the spot he was on in that moment. Worse still, he was covered in blood. The bedsheets were drenched, as were Dylan’s own clothes. He looked in the mirror and saw the horrible sight of his werewolf self.

He shook his head. That wasn’t going to happen, but while he still could, this was Dylan’s chance to make amends.

“About last night,” Dylan began, preparing his words mentally.

“You don’t need to say anything,” Jono cut him off.

“No, I do. I owe you an apology. Drew, he can be a bit…forceful,” Dylan explained.

“Forgiven,” Jono smiled, before laughing, “Is he really your cousin?”

Avoiding the question, Dylan moved in for a kiss. He had been waiting all day for this and didn’t want to drag it out any longer. This time, while the kiss felt as incredible as ever, Dylan felt differently in himself. Jono was his anchor, and it was lodged firmly to the seabed.

He felt Jono’s hands ruffling through his already untidy hair, and it felt like nothing he’d experienced before. He unbuttoned Jono’s shirt, gently slipping it off his arms without breaking the kiss, and Jono did the same to him. Dylan adored the feel of their nicely toned chests against each other. Any idea of the wolf making an appearance was slammed shut behind an imaginary door in his mind.

Jono broke the kiss for a second.

“Are you alright about this?” he questioned.

“I’ve never been more alright about anything,” Dylan responded, “You?”

“Same,” he grinned, leaning in for another kiss. However, among the scent of Jono’s cologne, he noticed a familiar smell. One he’d smelt before. Just once. On the night he was bitten.

The alpha’s here, Dylan thought, trying not to allow his worries to ruin the moment.

3: After Effects Written by MarthaJonesFan

Having the time of her life, Lily was thrilled at how much of a success her party had been. Her parties were renown for being the best in Crystalshaw.

Even Jono’s mates seemed to be having a good time. She was concerned about allowing him to invite a few of them, but that girl, Yasmin, seemed to be having a particularly good time. A girl after her own heart – dancing with the fit boys. The other lad, whose name she didn’t know, seemed to be stood in the corner not really doing anything though. Perhaps she could show him a good time.

“Whatcha drinkin’ fella?” she queried, trying to sound as casual and cool as possible.

“It’s Drew. And I’m not thirsty,” he bluntly replied.

“Oh, come on, a little beer can’t hurt anyone,” Lily persuaded.

“I said no,” Drew scowled, before walking off.

“Rude,” Lily called after him. The cheek of it. She allowed him into her home and was nothing but polite. Still, he was better off gone. She had no time for rudeness.

All of a sudden, Lily heard screaming from the kitchen, pounding through her eardrums. In a panic, people were rushing away, and out through the front door. What had happened? Probably somebody throwing up. People were so squeamish. She was the one who had to clear it up too. The one downside of hosting parties for teenagers.

Pushing through the crowds, Lily noticed the volume of people on the run. The kitchen was emptying out rapidly – this was too big a reaction to be caused by vomit. The force of everyone rushing out was like swimming against the tide for Lily, but she pushed through, not afraid to shove people to get to her own kitchen.

She stumbled into the kitchen and was horrified by the sight lying on the tiles of her kitchen. A girl her own age, with beautiful blonde hair and an expensive-looking dress, covered in piles of blood, with horrific scratches and bite marks all over her once-perfect skin.

Desperately trying to ignore the scent of the alpha, Dylan simply couldn’t resist Jono’s body. He adored the feel of his own bare chest over Jono’s. He felt like he was in heaven as their tongues collided together. Any chance of Dylan’s hair being remotely tidy was long since lost now that Jono’s hands had ruffled it to within an inch of its existence. It was bliss.

What’s more was that his own wolf urges were controlled, more than they ever had been up to that point. He was proud of himself, and no alpha could take that away from him.

He broke the kiss and shifted himself gently down Jono’s body, savouring the taste of his nicely toned chest. It was evident that he worked out a little, but not excessively so. Just how Dylan liked it.

As he began to unzip Jono’s trousers, he heard terrified screams coming from downstairs.

“What was that?” Jono queried, hearing it too.

“Let’s find out,” Dylan said, snapping out his enjoyment immediately and flinging his shirt back on as quickly as he could. The screams didn’t frighten him the most though. Not more than the unmistakable scent of blood from below.

Worried about all of the chaos around her, Yasmin had feared the worst. It was her immediate instinct to assume that Dylan had shifted. She hadn’t heard from him all evening, and now everyone had fled. She’d had no choice but to follow the crowd, or risk getting trampled to the ground. She didn’t fancy the idea of that.

While everyone had continued to run once they were outside, Yasmin couldn’t do the same. Dylan could be in trouble, and she wasn’t going to leave without him. She hadn’t seen him rush out, nor Jono for that matter. She had to get back inside.

The route was now clear, as everyone had filtered out and were busy spreading gossip elsewhere. Yasmin ran into the corridor and checked the living room first – not a soul in sight. The kitchen was next, and to her horror, she saw Lily, soaked in the blood of a young girl.

“Call 911,” Lily commanded as she saw Yasmin in the doorway, “Now!”

Following his nose, Dylan led Jono down the staircase cautiously. The commotion had stopped and it had gone worryingly silent. It was the alpha. It had to be. He had smelt that indescribable smell that he’d picked up two nights back. When the alpha bit him. What if he had murdered everyone and that’s why it was silent? He was almost too scared to find out. Nevertheless, he took step after step on his way downstairs, praying Jono couldn’t see how much he was shaking.

In contrast, Jono seemed relatively calm. He was breathing at a regular pace, and Dylan could even hear his heart beating. It didn’t sound particularly unusual. He wished he was that cool about everything, although he had more back knowledge than Jono did. Swings and roundabouts.

“Where is everyone?” Jono whispered, also noticing the dead silence that covered the atmosphere like a blanket.

“I don’t know,” Dylan replied. He wasn’t lying, but he felt like he was by not telling Jono about his suspicions. He couldn’t though – what would he think of him if he knew his love interest was a werewolf?

“Oh my god. Lily!” Jono panicked as he remembered his sister was downstairs. Now his heartbeat had sped up significantly. Dylan’s did too, as if the sense of terror was contagious.

“She’ll be fine, don’t worry,” Dylan squeezed Jono’s hand, offering as much comfort as he could. He sure hoped she was fine, but he wasn’t believing his own words.

Dylan continued to follow his nose, and it took him to the kitchen. Immediately, he was relieved to see Yasmin in the doorway. He rushed to her and flung his arms around her shaken body.

“What’s going on?” he asked.

“I was hoping you’d know,” Yasmin responded, her eyes gesturing to her right. Dylan glanced and saw Lily, lying on the ground with a young girl in her lap, soaked in blood.

“Lily!” Jono exclaimed, relieved she was alright. He rushed to her aid.

“Who did this?” Dylan worriedly questioned.

“I don’t know, I was worried you had,” Yasmin admitted.

“Me?” Dylan was offended by her insinuation.

“Everything Drew said earlier, and the way you’ve shifted with Jono before. Let’s face it, it’s not that unrealistic,” Yasmin reasoned.

“I guess,” Dylan hated to admit, but Yasmin had a point and he’d worried about it non-stop all night, “Is an ambulance on its way?”

“Yeah, I called 911. The sheriff will probably want to talk to us all, witnesses and everything,” Yasmin explained.

Dylan sighed. The last thing he wanted was to talk to the police. What if there were any other clues around? He had to find them before the police did.

He paid attention to his nose again. The smell of blood was strong, but he focused – it wasn’t just coming from the kitchen. It came from outside too. The same blood. He ran towards the front door, with Yasmin in pursuit.

“Dylan, what’s up?” she called after him. He didn’t respond. He just kept running, following the trail left for him, up to Jono’s treehouse. He climbed the ladder rapidly, and immediately saw the message on the wall. Cruelly written in the blood of the girl who was murdered, Dylan’s name was clear a day on the wooden wall. Next to it, a symbol had been carved. It was a circle, with a plus sign in the middle, both shapes connected directly.

“It’s him,” Dylan identified, a tone of dread in his voice, “It’s the alpha.”

School was the last thing Dylan needed the next morning. It was the last thing he needed every morning actually, especially in recent times, but more so today.

He and Yasmin were sat at their usual bench before lessons started, reflecting on the night before. Despite a reasonable night’s sleep, Dylan was struggling to piece the evidence together.

“So, the alpha was at the party? That narrows it down, we could just ask Lily for a list of everyone who attended,” Yasmin was thinking aloud.

“I don’t think Lily’s in the right frame of mind right now. Jono texted me this morning, they’re staying at a hotel down town as the house is a crime scene. Lily’s barely said a word apparently,” Dylan explained.

“What about Drew then? He knows more than he’s letting on about the alpha, I’m certain,” Yasmin suggested.

“Where did he vanish to last night? If the alpha was there, I’d have expected him to stick around. To be honest, he’s the prime suspect in my eyes,” Dylan considered. It was the most suspicious thing of all to him. Drew was there to look out for him, in a creepy-stalker-type way, but he vanished at the first sign of trouble. Why?

“Did the sheriff say anything to you?” Yasmin wondered.

As predicted, both of them had been asked to write a statement for the police, but Dylan wasn’t convinced it would help. The injuries on the girl were obviously caused by an animal, but who would believe a werewolf? The rumours going around were about mountain lions, coyotes, or even normal wolves, but nobody seemed to see whatever it was clearly. “It all happened so fast,” was all anyone was saying.

“Not really. Just that it was a serious issue and all that. I overheard a deputy on the phone to a vet though, a specialist in unusual animal attacks apparently,” Dylan recalled.

“That sounds suspicious. Like all those overly specific correspondents they have on news channels. Werewolf correspondent, here we come,” Yasmin joked.

“What if the authorities know about werewolves though?” Dylan considered, “Maybe it’s all a conspiracy.”

“The only person we know who can tell us this is Drew, and he’s AWOL,” Yasmin regretfully said, before a cheeky glint in her eye, “I know someone who could help.” She stood up, grabbing her bag. Dylan was stumped. Who could possibly help them out here?

“Where are you going?” Dylan queried.

“You’ll find out, come on!” Yasmin yelled back, not stopping to answer his questions.

First lesson had started, and Jono was struggling to focus. Thankfully, for biology they were using the computers in the library for the lesson. He could at least disguise his lack of focus.

However, despite her seemingly stone-cold exterior, Mrs. Johnson was understanding. She was aware of the police investigation and had spoken to Jono on his way in, to say that if he needed a moment outside, he could have one. Jono appreciated the kind thoughts, but he just wanted to be at home.

The night before was extremely eventful, for better and worse. He’d loved every single second with Dylan, and as far as he was concerned, the night before that was history. He was convinced that they had a real shot with each other, and he was quite sure Dylan agreed.

However, what happened afterwards was horrible. Seeing his sister soaked in the blood of one of her classmates was horrendous. Understandably, she hadn’t really said a word to him since, but that was alright. All Jono had to do was show his support for Lily. Just as she did when he came out to her a year ago. When all was said and done, he and Lily grew closer than ever, and Jono hoped it would be the same here. He was hoping she would be back to her usual self soon. She was strong inside and out.

This meant nothing when he was at school though. Lily was at home, and he couldn’t help her. Sighing, he focused back onto the project on his computer screen. An email pinged up, from account number 8467. Irritatingly, the school email system used these individual numbers only – no names involved for students. If someone forgot to write their name as they signed off, the recipient would likely have no idea who it was from. This was the subject of many teachers’ frustrations when they asked for homework to be emailed to them.

This particular email had no name at the bottom, which Jono suspected was not accidental. The message itself sent a feeling of dread through his stomach. It simply said “don’t trust your boyfriend.” At first, he felt confusion. Technically, Dylan wasn’t his boyfriend yet, they weren’t official, but furthermore, why shouldn’t he trust him? Dylan seemed very genuine.

He looked around the class to see if someone was trying to have him on, but it was hard to tell. He glanced back at the screen again and pressed the ‘x’ button in the top right-hand corner. More hassle was the last thing he needed.

Taking a left turn into the library, Dylan darted backwards all of a sudden, dragging Yasmin back too.

“What?” she asked in confusion.

“Our class is in there. Must have been a room change,” Dylan explained, “If Mrs. Johnson catches us, we’re dead.”

“You’re not in her good books right now either,” Yasmin unhelpfully reminded.

“Who do you need anyway?” Dylan still hadn’t figured it out.

“You know that sophomore who got charged for hacking his ex’s phone?” Yasmin recalled, “I think he can help us understand more.”

“That’s very optimistic of you,” Dylan was not convinced by the plan.

“Would you expect anything less?” Yasmin grinned, “Anyway, I’m sure he has had a study period at this time before.”

“You remember that?” Dylan was impressed by her recall skills.

“I have a good memory. Especially for good looking boys,” Yasmin joked.

“How the hell do we get to him then?” Dylan wondered. The basics of the plan made sense but the logistics still lacked, even he could see that.

“Leave it to me,” Yasmin looked confident in herself. Someone had to be, Dylan guessed.

Minutes later, much to Dylan’s surprise, the plan had actually succeeded. Rushing out of the library and almost into him was six-foot tall basketball player Chase. He had light shaggy blonde hair, similarly messy like Dylan’s. He didn’t stop and continued to run down the corridor.

“Wait, Chase,” Yasmin called after him.

“What? You just texted me to say my car alarm was going off. I gotta go sort it,” Chase was flustered.

“Your car is fine, for now at least. It’s you we need,” Yasmin smiled smugly. Chase’s face was a picture. He was completely baffled, and Dylan was finding it tough not to laugh.

The night kept repeating itself over and over in Lily’s mind. How she was draped in Shona’s blood. She hadn’t really spoken to her before. A different type of person ultimately – one that studied hard and never really went to parties. Lily managed to convince her to come to this party. To her death.

Lily was having such a good time partying away. How could some kind of animal even get in to her kitchen? If it were in that creepy, dark forest, it would be more understandable. It all seemed very convenient and well-timed. The creature must have been lurking. Would a wild animal really do that? Lily didn’t know. Hopefully Sheriff Taylor would get to the bottom of it.

She glanced around her hotel bedroom. It was nice, and her parents could afford a posh hotel room, which was like a mini-apartment anyway, but it didn’t mean anything to her. It wouldn’t ease her conscience. However, she did need to shower.

Lily reluctantly dragged herself out of her bed – determined to do something vaguely productive – and grabbed the silky white towel robe from the dresser opposite. Luckily, she had an en suite bathroom, so could keep her head down. Her dad insisted on working from home, to keep an eye on her, but she didn’t want to discuss it.

She slipped her nightie off, and carefully stepped into the shower. As the hose began to drip, Lily felt relaxed for the first time in a short while. The gentle stream of water felt exceptionally calming, and finally, she felt a little more like her usual self.

She glanced up to look at her reflection in the glass shower door. Horrified, she jumped back against the wall. She saw a terrifying pair of red glowing lights facing her. Eyes. She shut off her vision, convincing herself she was daydreaming.

“It’s not real Lily,” she whispered to herself. Cautiously, she opened them again. The lights had gone. What a relief. She prayed that she was right and they were a figment of her imagination, but her gut didn’t believe her…

Utilising the library down the road instead, Dylan was unsure they would convince Chase to help them out. He had been cautioned for the same action before, and Dylan had doubts that he would risk a greater punishment.

Yasmin had explained on the way, and she used her brilliant way with words to make it sounds like the offer of a lifetime, not to be missed. Chase didn’t look convinced though, and Dylan could hardly blame him.

“You know this is illegal, right?” Chase tried to worm his way out.

“Yup but needs must. You’re doing us and many others a favour. If he is hiding something, then we need to know about it,” Yasmin debated.

“Can’t you just ask him?” Chase continued.
“You think we haven’t thought of that?” Yasmin gave as good as she got, pulling a sad, despaired face. Chase sighed and pulled up the web browser.

“What’s the phone number?” he asked attentively.

Sprinting out of the shower as she wrapped her towel robe around herself, Lily knew she had to get out of there. She was more than just a little freaked out by what she had seen. She wanted to tell someone. Dad was outside, but no, he wouldn’t believe a word of it. As much as she was “daddy’s little angel,”, even at eighteen years old, he would never believe something so strange.

Jono would, though. She picked her phone up from the bedside table and quickly called Jono.

“Hi, I need you to come here, now,” she spoke fast – panicked and very flustered.

“These are all his texts?” Dylan spoke with a tone of disappointment.

“Yup, did you see what you’re looking for?” Chase questioned. Dylan read the list of texts on the screen again, and then a third time. There was absolutely nothing of note. No mention of the alpha, or anything werewolf related at all. Only texts to and from his basketball friends at school.

He kept re-reading the list, in case he had missed a detail, as if something would magically appear.

“Well, we can rule some stuff out,” Yasmin phrased Dylan’s disappointment diplomatically.

“He must have a spare phone. This is way too clean,” Dylan wasn’t accepting what was before his eyes.

“We’re done here,” Yasmin stood up and yanked Dylan by his t-shirt, “Thanks Chase.” She gave a charming smile to him. Dylan was irritated though. He wanted the scoop, to finally have the upper hand on Drew, but the texts gave him nothing to go on.

“Calm it down,” Yasmin whispered harshly on their way out. This wasn’t helping Dylan. The more he thought about it, the more frustrated he got. He felt his claws dig into his hands. He’d shifted again.

“Oh boy,” Yasmin was scared. She hadn’t seen Dylan shift whilst on her own before. When he had shifted last time, he wasn’t himself. He was much more vicious and didn’t seem to recognise her. While she hated to admit it, she found Drew’s words believable. Dylan could kill.

She took action immediately and shoved him into the toilets behind him. Nobody could see this, that’s all she knew for certain. Dylan had fully shifted now. His eyes were that fearsome shade of yellow, and he was much hairier than normal, which was saying something. He bared his fangs at her, as if he were eyeing her up for lunch.

“Dylan, I know you’re in there,” she tried to win him over, much like Drew did the day before, “It’s me, it’s Yasmin, I know you don’t wanna hurt me.”

He didn’t take any notice. He lunged for her, as Yasmin instinctively backed herself against the wall and shielded her face. She braced herself for pain, but shockingly, the next thing she heard was “New Rules,” by Dua Lipa. She peeked through her hands. Almost like magic, Dylan had shifted back, and had answered a call.

“Woah Jono, slow down,” he said, listening carefully. It all made sense to Yasmin suddenly. Jono had brought him back again.

“Alright, we’ll be right there,” Dylan finished the call. Yasmin stared at him, regaining her breath.

“Saved by Dua Lipa. That’s a new one,” Yasmin laughed.

“I’m sorry, I lost control. I didn’t want to hurt you, I just…I couldn’t help it,” Dylan looked disheartened, before considering the song, “That’s my personal ringtone for Jono. I knew he needed me, so I managed to snap out of it again.”

“Progress,” Yasmin commented, “What’s the issue?”

“I’ll tell you on the way. Let’s go,” Dylan proactively responded, as he rushed out of the toilets. Yasmin followed – relieved she made it out in one piece. Almost being torn apart in the boys’ toilets was not her finest moment.

When Dylan and Yasmin arrived at the hotel apartment, Jono was relieved. He had been worrying all day about Lily, and she had just confirmed that his fears were not unfounded. Coming home after a distressed phone call to hear her complaints of seeing glowing red eyes? That was a cause for concern to say the least. If nothing else, he needed Dylan for moral support.

“Who’s this?” Jono’s dad questioned as he escorted Dylan and Yasmin through to Lily’s room.

“Just some friends,” Jono flippantly responded. He wasn’t technically lying, but obviously he and Dylan were more than that. He didn’t want his dad to know anything like that though. They weren’t as close as they used to be. Perhaps it was part of being a teenager, but his secret about being gay was like a huge barrier between him and his parents. He heard Dylan awkwardly say “hi,” to his dad. That was a nice sign – a good first impression was important.

Once they were all inside Lily’s room, Jono gently closed the door for privacy.

“Lily, I brought Dylan over, I hope that’s alright,” Jono spoke softly. He was careful to be gentle, without being patronising.

“I guess, although I don’t know what anyone can do,” Lily answered pessimistically.

“Lily, you said you saw red eyes,” Dylan began, “Did you see anything else?”

“No, just the eyes. The condensation blocked anything else,” Lily replied, “Do you believe me?”

“Yes,” Dylan replied without hesitation. This brought a smile to Jono’s face. It was heart-warming to see Dylan being so gentle with Lily.

Although he was making the effort to appear calm, Dylan was anything but. Red glowing eyes? That rang massive alarm bells in his mind. His own eyes glowed just like she described, only in yellow. Maybe this was the alpha? Maybe every werewolf had a different colour eyes? He hadn’t seen Drew’s yet to confirm or deny.

Regardless though, he had to put on a front for Jono. Any slight slip that might suggest he knew more could mean he loses Jono for good. That couldn’t happen. He didn’t want to lie though. He did believe Lily and didn’t want to make her out to be crazy, like most would in his place.

Jono tapped him on the shoulder, and curled his index finger, commanding him to follow. Jono led the way into the en suite and closed the door after them both.

“Thank you,” Jono said, keeping his voice low.

“What for?” Dylan knew he was just doing what any friend would.

“For confirming I’m not crazy for believing Lily,” Jono explained, “She doesn’t lie to me. She saw those eyes, I know it.”

“I know. We’ll get to the bottom of it,” Dylan reassured Jono. He smiled in return, appreciative of the comfort.

“Oh, while we’re here. This may seem like a weird time, but I don’t want to put it off any longer. I’ve been thinking,” Jono changed the topic, “About us. I might be alone in this, but I want to be with you. Long term, not just a fling.”

“I want that too,” Dylan smiled with glee.

“You do?” Jono almost seemed surprised, “Did you wanna…you know…make it official?”

Dylan’s heart was pounding with excitement. This is all he had thought about since he first laid eyes on Jono.

“I do,” Dylan grinned, “I hate all this official nonsense, when did things become so complicated? But yes, I want nothing more.” He leaned in for a kiss. He missed the feel of Jono’s lips every time they were apart. This was a welcome break from the chaos elsewhere in his life recently.

“Oh, I almost forgot,” Jono broke the kiss, with something urgent on his mind, “I got this weird email earlier. I don’t know who it was from, they left their name out.”

“Why does this not sound like a random act of kindness from a stranger?” Dylan sensed the tone.

“He said not trust you,” Jono gravely said.

“Me? Why?” Dylan was baffled, but not for the reasons Jono would suspect. Sure, he was keeping something from Jono. Something massive. But nobody else knew about this.

“I don’t know. You’ll be glad I’m not taking any notice of it,” Jono laughed.

“Too right,” Dylan awkwardly giggled, “Look, I know where we can find out who sent it. Let’s go.”

Left alone with Yasmin, Lily was feeling more reserved. She hadn’t really met Yasmin before the party, when she rang 911 for her. She was very grateful for that but wasn’t really sure how to break the ice.

“They’re cute, don’t you think?” Yasmin gossiped about the boys. Lily smiled. Good approach. Ignore last night entirely and get to the actual important stuff.

“Mega cute. Dylan is Jono’s first boyfriend, I feel so proud,” Lily felt the ache of her heart fade and be replaced with immense joy.

“When did he come out to you?” Yasmin asked curiously.

“About a year ago. He burst into tears and told me he had a secret. I said I was happy for him, but less happy that he’d cried a river all over my favourite top,” Lily reminisced, giggling at the memories. Yasmin appreciated the anecdote too.

“Dylan only told me a couple of days ago,” Yasmin added. Lily noticed that she sounded disappointed.

“Hey, people come out at different times. You’re all still very young,” Lily felt like Yasmin was the younger sister she had never had in that moment.

“I suppose, but I get the sense that he knew long before. I just wish he didn’t feel the need to hide it from me,” Yasmin confessed.

“I get it,” Lily noted, “As long as you’re there for him now though, that’s what matters.” Yasmin smiled a friendly smile. She appreciated the chat. Lily was always great at giving advice, she felt like the agony aunt of her friendship group.

The en suite door then clicked open, and Dylan rushed off, not stopping to explain.

“We’ll be back soon,” Jono justified as he followed behind, “Just need to check something out.” The door slammed shut behind them.

“Well that was a thing,” Lily laughed at the abruptness.

As soon as Jono’s car pulled up outside the school, Dylan raced out of his seat and into the reception area. He knew Mrs. Langston, who worked there in the mornings, very well. She was friendly to him as he arrived every day and brought him a cup of tea when he felt like throwing up a couple of weeks back. Would that even happen again? His body could heal, maybe this applied to infections and viruses too.

“Good morning Dylan, how can I help you?” Mrs. Langston smiled kindly, just as she always did.

“Hi Mrs. Langston. I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind doing me a favour please?” Dylan ensured he was as polite as possible.

“Anything for you, my dear,” she responded.

“I got an email from someone and they left their name out, could you please tell me whose number it is?” Dylan kindly asked, “It’s 8467.” Mrs. Langston typed the number into the school system, where all their records were kept.

“Ah, that belongs to one of your classmates, Drew Marsden,” Mrs. Langston announced.

“Thank you,” Dylan said, trying to hide the pure shock and confusion he felt. He ferried Jono out of the building.

“What does he want with us?” Jono was baffled too.

“Leave it with me,” Dylan masked his frustration, putting on a brave front, “I’ll sort it.”

Yasmin was enjoying getting to know Lily better. She had assumed they would never really get along – two very different types of people, separated by two years – but they were talking like best friends. All of the usual things anyone would gossip about. Mutual friends, celebrities, teachers at school, though it always looped back to Dylan and Jono. It was natural, she guessed, as they were the glue between her and Lily.

“Do you think they’ll last?” Yasmin pondered.

“Hard to tell with young love. None of mine did, but this seems different,” Lily considered, “I don’t think Jono is the type to have a run of boyfriends.”

“Nor Dylan, he’s always kept himself to himself,” Yasmin noted.

Instantly after she finished her sentence, something huge smashed through the windows. Yasmin jumped back, startled and trying to cover her eyes from the shards of shattered glass.

Gathering itself, the creature eyed them both up. Yasmin got a good look at it – brown, almost double her size, ad it had those fearsome red eyes that Lily described. She looked to Lily, who was trying to open the door, but in all the commotion, the dresser had been knocked over and its heavy weight was blocking any chance of escape.

“It’s back, oh my god,” Lily cried out. Yasmin stared it back in the eye, “Come on then alpha, show me what you got,” she spoke confidently, hiding the fear inside. She watched as it raised its huge arm, ready to attack.

Chucking his bag onto his bed, Dylan was not wasting time. There was one way he could summon Drew. It was risky, and other people were bound to take notice too, but it was a special skill only he, Drew and the alpha could do.

He stood at his window, and without a second thought, he attempted a howl. As he did it, he felt pathetic. The howl was a damp squib, barely audible fifty feet away let alone wherever Drew was. He was just pleased nobody was around to hear that. He needed to channel the wolf inside.

The problem was, he still didn’t know how. He seemed to shift when he was angry, that much was clear, but he had also shifted when making out with Jono. What caused it that time? This is why he needed answers from Drew. Wherever he was, Dylan had to summon him.

He closed his eyes and concentrated. The wolf was inside him, he just needed to focus.

Please, he begged himself, please help me. He then opened his eyes, and emitted a deep, loud growl. The vibrations ripped from his mouth out to the forest below, and they kept going.

He did it. Dylan was delighted and felt a sense of pride rush through his body. Now he had to wait.

4: Luna Llena Written by MarthaJonesFan

Rumbling through the whole of Crystalshaw, the howl startled anyone in its path. Nobody knew what it was, it just sounded like a low-pitched grumble, but Drew identified it flawlessly. That was the howl of Dylan Drummond, and it was meant for him. The noise had travelled all the way underground, into Drew’s family bunker. Except now it was only his. The howl meant that Dylan needed him or was summoning him.

Drew had kept his head low after the party, and Dylan’s frustration at being protected by him, so Drew was adamant that he’d have to learn the hard way. After he makes his own mistakes. After he kills someone.

Now he had realised he needed Drew after all – that’s what the howl really meant. Typical. Still, Drew knew he had to rush to his aid, but he was feeling smug about being proved right.

Cowering down against the wall, Yasmin was fearing the worst. This huge creature had just stormed into Lily’s bedroom via the window, despite being on the third floor. Its size was breath-taking. It had to be the alpha. Now it was going to kill her. Its arm, with claws much like Dylan’s, was extending. Ready to hit back and slash into her.

For the second time that day, she shut her eyes and braced herself for the pain. Just as she did, she heard a deep grumble from outside. Almost like a howl. She winced open her right eye and saw the beast pounce back through the window. Yasmin panted, and looked over to Lily. Both of them were full of relief, but incredibly flustered.

“What the hell was that?” Lily asked worriedly. Yasmin was speechless. She didn’t know for sure anyway, but Dylan’s secret seemed to be at risk of being exposed.

Waiting patiently, Dylan was praying that Drew had heard his call. Of course, he was aware that the alpha would also be able to decipher it. Maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing. He could find out who or what the alpha actually is.

He glanced around his bedroom while he waited, his eyes immediately being drawn to the photo of him and his parents from before he turned thirteen. He missed his dad like crazy. His mum was amazing and he had the best relationship possible with her, but his dad was a huge loss. Things at home always felt that bit emptier. He never had any siblings, and a dinner table of two was never the same. He and his mum had become closer, but it felt exceedingly bittersweet.

He turned to the door, and almost had a heart attack when he saw Drew stood there unannounced, wearing a blank expression on his face.

“What the hell dude?” Dylan jumped in fright, “Haven’t you heard of knocking?”

“I’ve been hearing plenty of stuff tonight, and so has every person in Crystalshaw you douche,” Drew scolded.

“Want to tell me why you weren’t at school?” Dylan kept his voice raised.

“You wanted space, I gave it to you. It’s that simple,” Drew bluntly answered.

“I’m sorry, I just didn’t want somebody on my back, watching my every step,” Dylan lowered his voice, trying to justify himself.

“You have no idea about any of this. You need me on your back, because otherwise, people will end up dead. You almost killed Jono the other night, but who was there to protect you? I was,” Drew argued firmly. Dylan couldn’t disagree. To avoid admitting he was wrong, he shifted the subject along.

“How does that explain the email? You know, the one you sent said boyfriend of mine today,” Dylan was getting wound up even thinking about it. However, he couldn’t ignore just how cute the word “boyfriend,” felt now he had one.

“The alpha could come at any point. Whether you want to join him or not, you need to be on the top of your game,” Drew explained, “People like Jono distract you, they weaken you.”

“This is what I don’t get. Why would the alpha want me to join him? Join him to do what?” Dylan was exasperated.

“Wolves hunt in packs, werewolves are just the same. The alpha is the pack leader, only he can pass on the bite. We are betas and together we make each other stronger,” Drew described.

“He bit you too?” Dylan wanted clarification.

“Not this alpha, but another. She’s long gone,” Drew reminisced.

“So, who is this alpha?” Dylan desperately queried.

“I don’t know, that’s what I need you to help me find out,” Drew bargained.

“What? You sent my boyfriend an email scaring him off, then vanish and run the risk of letting me kill someone, you bully me right from the start of high school, and now you want my help?” Dylan was gobsmacked at Drew’s temerity.

“You don’t know it yet, but you need me,” Drew boldly stated. Dylan sat down on his bed, exhausted.

“Why don’t you start proving it?” Dylan suggested.

“Alright,” Drew took note, “Tomorrow night. Full moon. You’ll be at your worst. I can teach you how to fight it when the moon’s impact is greater than ever.”

“Wait, it gets worse? Is this nightmare ever going to stop?” Dylan was fed up, “All I wanted was to be a normal guy, who goes to a normal school and gets a normal job.”

“And you can be all of that,” Drew spoke more softly, understanding Dylan’s frustration, “But we have two obstacles in the way. The alpha, and the full moon. I wanna help you Drummond, and I wish I had someone like me when I was bitten.” Dylan didn’t respond. He wanted to know more about Drew and his back story, but the time for that would come later. Prying was never going to help.

The next morning, Dylan woke up feeling sick with dread. The idea of the full moon making the wolf even worse than it was already did not make him particularly comfortable. Perhaps he should have anticipated it though. It’s a common part of the myth, isn’t it? Werewolves and the full moon go hand in hand, just like school and homework. Or he and Jono. Dylan liked the thought of that better.

Maybe he should have done some research. However, the time for that hadn’t presented itself. The past few days had been a continued whirlwind, but on the bright side, it was almost the weekend now. Once Wednesday was out of the way, it was always plain sailing until two days of rest, relaxation, and re-watching his favourite shows on Netflix. The Good Place never got any less entertaining. Dylan particularly enjoyed Tahani and Janet. He was often drawn more easily to females in TV shows. It seemed a common thing amongst gay guys too, judging by Twitter. Every single post by a female popstar was followed by a succession of replies from the gay community, using slang words such as “wig,” or a bunch of letters that looked like they punched the keyboard and hoped for the best. That was supposed to mean excessive laughter, Dylan assumed.

However, he felt distanced from that community, and the general stereotype of what a gay guy is supposed to be. It always felt exceptionally exaggerated compared to any gay guys he had met in real life (not that there were a vast number of those).

This didn’t bother him though. He wasn’t looking for similarities with the entire gay community. He was perfectly satisfied with how much he had in common with Jono. The idea of being in a relationship was still so exciting. Every time he thought about it, he felt warm inside, and like he could jump for joy. Part of him wanted to sing it to the world, but maybe he wasn’t ready for that just yet.

He sighed. Another school day beckoned, despite being on cloud nine inside his head. The worst part of the day had arrived. Time to force himself out of his beautifully cosy bed, with the duvet preserving his body at the optimum warm temperature.

“You’ve bunked school?” Caroline came storming into Dylan’s bedroom before he had the chance to get up. Oh dear. He had hoped his mum would never hear about that.

“Do you know how hard I have to work to keep this house afloat? So you can have the best life possible?” Caroline ranted, “Yet you can’t be bothered to go to school for a few hours a day. Get some perspective, Dylan.”

“Sometimes there are more important things to worry about than the life cycle of a plant,” Dylan muttered, before tucking himself back under his covers. He heard his mum slip outside, the door clicking back into place.

Not moving from under the duvet, Dylan wiped a tear from his cheek. Things were going to shit, and he couldn’t do a damn thing to stop them.

As he walked up to the bench that he and Yasmin always frequented, Dylan noticed that it was a tad busier than usual. Not only Yasmin was sat there, but Lily too.

“Hey,” Dylan smiled, exuding his usual friendly vibe.

“Please don’t hate me,” Yasmin skipped any idea of small talk. Dylan was confused. Why would he hate her? What had she done? It had to be something to do with Lily.

“Last night, after you left, it attacked us,” Yasmin recalled, “The alpha.” Dylan’s eyes widened, sending a message to Yasmin. A message that said “why the heck are you saying that in front of Lily?”

Then it twigged. Lily knew everything now. She had to. However, that was not the biggest problem. The alpha attacking was way more severe.

“You didn’t think to tell me this?” Dylan was more baffled at how late he was informed than anything else.

“I’m doing that now, aren’t I?” Yasmin replied, “We’re fine, it ran off when it heard some growl sound.”

“That was me,” Dylan quietened his voice, as if he were sharing his deepest and darkest secret. Well, he kind of was.

“Did it attack you too?” Yasmin pondered.

“No, I didn’t see it. I howled to find Drew,” Dylan explained.

“Looks like it worked too,” Lily remarked, glancing over at the group of sporting jokes approaching the entrance a few feet away. Drew nodded a friendly nod to Dylan, who reciprocated.

“He’s gonna help me with the full moon tonight,” Dylan told the girls.

“The full moon? Of course! It’s all part of the legend,” Yasmin thought. Ever the bookworm, Dylan knew she must have read some werewolf fiction before. The original concept of werewolves must have come from something, right?

“Apparently, I’ll be at my worst tonight, which means I need to avoid Jono,” Dylan thought, looking to Lily.

“Why are you looking at me?” she asked.

“Can you take him out after school? Shopping, running, whatever, just stop him from trying to contact me,” Dylan requested.

“I guess. Look, I know I’m new to this, and sure, I’ll help as much as I can, but I don’t want any trouble. Leave me out of all that,” Lily explained.

“We’re new to it too,” Dylan noted.

“Which is half the problem,” Yasmin added.

Slipping into maths, Dylan ensured he was sat in his usual place – not particularly near Jono. In any of the classes he had actually attended that week, Jono and Dylan had been making sure they sat together. Of course they would, Dylan didn’t want to be apart for longer than necessary.

Today was one of those necessary moments though. He could not let Jono suggest plans for that night. He wanted nothing more than to go on a date with Jono, but what he wanted and what he needed were not the same thing. He hated to admit it, but Drew was totally right. He had to make sacrifices. Although he was not willing to go as far as Drew was expecting him to. He could be strong to defeat the alpha, and he could keep Jono. Not one or the other. He just had to stop Jono sitting next to him.

Yasmin was to his left, a lad he barely knew called Jamie was in front as always, but a spare seat was to his right. Dylan had to ensure it was taken.

“Psst,” he tried to get the attention of Brett, who was one of Drew’s clique, and didn’t seem to think much of Dylan. Or think much at all.

“What?” Brett looked at him as if he’d just murdered a puppy.

“Sit there,” Dylan ordered, pointing to the desk.

“No,” Brett bluntly answered, “Isn’t your boyfriend sitting there?” Brett spoke as if he were teasing him. Obviously, he was unaware that his taunting was now just proclaiming a fact.

“If you’re trying to provoke me, you’ll need to think up something much more original than that,” Dylan enjoyed having the upper hand for once.

“Whatever Drummond, I’m not gonna be your boy toy,” Brett continued. Dylan knew he wasn’t the brightest spark in the box. This conversation had done nothing to persuade him otherwise.

While Brett was talking, Jono slid into the seat in question. Drat. So much for Operation: Avoid Chadwick.

“Hey,” Jono flashed his usual charming smile.

“Hiya,” Dylan did his best to act natural.

“We’re moving back to our house today, which is good as the hotel seemed to be a state when I got back last night. Lily wasn’t saying much and dad was baffled too. Anyway, what I wanted to ask was if you fancied coming around to meet my parents properly. We can celebrate,” Jono explained.

Dylan was wondering how Lily had explained away the alpha attack. It seemed she hadn’t bothered. Interesting. Now was the time to whip out his pre-prepared excuse.

“I thought Lily was taking you shopping after school?” Dylan lied.

“No, I don’t…,” Jono tried to protest.

“Yeah, I heard her mention it. This morning, to Yasmin,” Dylan prodded Yasmin for some back-up.

“Oh yeah, that’s right,” Yasmin added.

“I see. I think it might be cancelled though, cause I just saw her getting a detention off Mrs. Johnson for texting in the corridor,” Jono mentioned.

“Oh,” Dylan couldn’t formulate a proper sentence. Or one that was appropriate to say in the classroom at least.

“So you’ll be there?” Jono questioned. His adorable washed out blue eyes stared longingly at Dylan. He couldn’t say no. His brain wouldn’t allow it.

“Of course, as if I’d miss it,” Dylan smiled. It was a façade though, because on the inside, the only sentence his brain could compute was “oh shit.”

During breaktime, Yasmin felt she had to approach Drew. He was queuing to buy a snack, so it was the perfect time to quickly jump in. She had been there for Dylan on every step of this rollercoaster week, and she had to ensure that she stayed in the loop. The last she wanted was drama caused by Drew’s apparent offer of help. Because she would have to pick Dylan back up after. Sure, she was his bestie and vice versa, so she would always be there for him, no questions asked. She shouldn’t have to be, though. She prodded Drew on the shoulder.

“What?” he rudely greeted, his eyes still more fixated on the food sat waiting to be dolloped onto his tray.

“We need a chat. About Dylan,” Yasmin firmly nodded.

“As if it would be about anything else,” Drew retorted. Yasmin rolled her eyes. He was still the same Drew he always was. Just as arrogant and dismissive. Many girls found it attractive, but not Yasmin. She had standards.

“I need you to promise that you’ll keep him safe,” Yasmin explained, opting to ignore his remarks, “You’re better equipped to do that than I am. He’s my best friend, Drew, and I don’t care if you don’t actually like us, but you can stop him doing anything stupid. I’d be an awful friend not to be having this chat with you.”

“I’ll do what I can. Drummond has a mind of his own, he’s unpredictable, especially in wolf form,” Drew explained.

“Thanks,” Yasmin didn’t forget her manners, even if Drew didn’t particularly deserve them. She left him to it, jumping out of the queue. Now to spend some time with people she actually liked.

Glancing at Lily, who was sat elegantly opposite him at the table in the canteen, Dylan was wondering what she was thinking about. He didn’t know her very well, but here she was. Hanging out with him at break. Quite why she wasn’t with her own friends was beyond him. On the bright side, it gave him a chance to chat to her. I mean, she was his boyfriend’s sister after all.

“Jono told me about the detention,” Dylan tried to strike up conversation.

“I’m sorry,” Lily replied, knowing she failed her part of the plan, “Normally I’m subtler with my texting.”

“It’s alright. I just need to wing it tonight,” Dylan considered.

“I’ll be home for dinner, if you need a hand then just signal to me, alright? We’ll make it through together,” Lily offered.

“Sure,” Dylan responded, “Thanks. You don’t have to do any of this.”

“I know, but Jono’s my brother, and I’ll do anything that keeps him happy,” Lily responded, “Oh, and don’t worry. Your secret’s safe with me.” Dylan smiled. He didn’t doubt Lily for a second – who would believe her if she told anyone anyway? – but the reassurance was comforting.

Just as Lily finished, Jono plonked his tray down on the table and sat himself next to Dylan.

“Hey,” he grinned. Also joining the table were Jono’s friends, Freddie and Josh. Both of them were in most of Dylan’s classes, but until this week, he hadn’t really spoken to either. Just like the vast majority of his classmates.

Freddie had long, wavy blonde hair, which drooped down to his upper chest. It always looked beautifully silky to Dylan, who had longed many a time to run his hands through it, though it was slightly unkempt.

Josh on the other hand kept a close eye on his hair, constantly checking in the mirrors that it looked how he wanted. It was shaved regularly at the sides, with a cute bunch of curls on top. Each time Dylan saw Josh, the hair on top looked increasingly untamed, but he couldn’t deny how much he loved the look of those autumnal loops of hair.

In short, Jono must have had the best-looking friendship group in the entire school. Not that either of the others came even close to Jono, of course. Ultimately, he enjoyed finally being part of a larger friendship group.

“What’s going on?” Jono questioned. Dylan and Lily glanced at each other. They needed a cover story, and quick.

“Mrs. Johnson, and how I cannot stand the sight of her,” Lily quickly thought up. Well, it wasn’t a million miles away from the conversation starter, Dylan guessed.

“Oh, she gave me an hour’s detention for sucking a mint in class the other week, she’s crazy,” Josh recalled.

“You did turn up twenty minutes late to be fair, there’s nothing she hates more,” Freddie added. Dylan breathed a sigh of relief. Crisis averted.

Yasmin finally re-joined the group, and she could hardly believe her luck. She’d saved herself a seat next to Lily, opposite Jono and Dylan, and Josh had sat to her right. He was totally her number one crush and had been since she first laid eyes on him. The look on her face made Dylan laugh. It was like Christmas had come early for a second.

And for a minute, everyone had forgotten about anything werewolf related.

As soon as he got home, Dylan rushed through the corridor and up the stairs to his bedroom. He didn’t want to speak to his mum after what happened that morning.

Besides, he had no time to waste. School finished at three o’clock, and it was now 3:37 after his walk home. Jono was picking him up at four, which left only twenty minutes to make himself look his very best. He had to make a great impression for Jono’s parents. For a short while, he had to pretend he didn’t enjoy dressing and looking scruffy. Even though just about everyone was the same. Funny how humanity works.

Anyway, he had to find his nicest shirt. Jono said the dress code was smart casual, so while he had some leeway to wear his usual comfy jeans, he had to impress with the top half. He emptied the middle draw in his chest of drawers, where ninety nine percent of his clothes were laid (not always neatly) and rummaged around to find the particular shirt he wanted. There were so many tatty shirts that were much too small.

Finally, he found what he wanted. Right at the bottom of the pile, naturally, was his navy-blue shirt with white dots. He bought it for his mum’s birthday that summer and loved how he looked in it. The idea was that Jono would too. He yanked his red t-shirt from school off, and as he spun round, he almost jumped out of his skin when he noticed Drew in the doorway.

“You have got to stop doing that,” Dylan ordered, trying to recover from his fright.

“You can’t go out tonight, remember what we agreed,” Drew spoke firmly.

“Yeah, and I’ll come to yours after. My life still goes on,” Dylan justified.

“And someone else’s life might not go on any longer if you don’t listen to me,” Drew reminded.

“Lily will be there, she is my back-up. We have it covered, now if you don’t mind, I’m getting ready,” Dylan enjoyed embracing his inner diva.

“You’ll regret this, Drummond,” Drew warned, before leaving the room. Dylan glanced down the corridor after him – totally empty. Despite how he batted Drew off, he couldn’t deny that his words had a lasting impact on his mind.

Spending the night at home, as she usually did, Yasmin opted to do some research. It couldn’t hurt to read around the werewolf myths and legends. You never know, it could have brought up something to make the situation easier for Dylan. Something that would make Drew’s so-called assistance redundant.

She googled “werewolf,”, and instantly she saw a bunch of negative and quite frankly concerning words. She clicked on the first link (that wasn’t Wikipedia). One that, in its description, mentioned the full moon.

Yasmin read intently about what the myths stated would happen during the full moon. They varied. Some suggested that werewolves could transform at any time, but the moon’s power was stronger once a month, during the full moon. Others suggested that a human would transform into a fully-fledged wolf during the full moon. This terrified Yasmin in particular. When he had shifted before, he was at least still noticeably human in his appearance. His humanity wasn’t lost, and he could bring himself back. The thought of him losing that scared her, and he really could do anything.

She was worried for Dylan, and although she wasn’t trusting of Drew, she had to admit that he was the person who was best equipped to help him. She glanced at the clock. Only 4pm. The morning couldn’t come soon enough.

Beeping his horn, Jono signalled his arrival to Dylan. He had pulled up on the driveway, just in front of the door. He glanced at Dylan’s house. It was the first time he had seen it, and he admired the normality of it. Sometimes he wished he didn’t live in such a big place. Not that he was ungrateful, but some of the kids in his classes often turned their noses up at “posh boy,” Jono.

Just seconds after he beeped the horn, Jono saw Dylan emerge. Wow. He seemed to get even hotter every time he saw him. That shirt really complemented his hair too.

As Dylan swung open the door and plonked himself into the passenger seat, Jono leaned in for a kiss.

“You look incredible,” Jono described. He knew just how lucky he was to have Dylan.

“So do you, beautiful,” Dylan grinned. Jono knew they were thinking exactly the same. He tapped on his phone screen, hooked up to the aux system in the car, and “2002,” by Anne-Marie started playing.

“Have you heard this yet?” Jono questioned. He was big on his pop music, and although he knew Dylan liked similar music, he wasn’t sure how on-the-ball he was. Mainstream radio could be pretty slow.

“I’ve been meaning to. I’m so behind on new music,” Dylan responded. Honestly, every word he uttered sounded like the cutest thing ever.

“I’ll make you a playlist of some new stuff you’ll like when we get to mine,” Jono suggested.

“None of that Lil Uzi Vert nonsense please,” Dylan laughed. Jono couldn’t help but join in. He didn’t disagree with his obvious rap distaste. Some of it could be good, but boy, was this a rough time for the genre.

“I’m more of a Cardi B kinda guy,” Jono smiled, “Bodak Yellow is everything.” While he chatted, Jono was paying attention to the lyrics of “2002. A song about a love that blossomed sixteen years before its release, referencing popular songs of the time. He laughed to himself at the idea of he and Dylan recording a similar song name-dropping “Bodak Yellow,” and “New Rules,” in sixteen years’ time. Heck, the idea of them being together so far in the future felt like a premature thought, but a good one nonetheless.

The anticipation was rising in Dylan’s stomach, filling him with just about every emotion imaginable. It was borderline uncomfortable, but Jono’s attempts at conversation were a helping hand.

He couldn’t help noticing the full moon starting to show itself in the corner of the sky. It wasn’t at its peak yet, but he was feeling it already. His emotions felt much more heightened than usual.

Meeting Jono’s parents felt in some ways like he was going to the slaughterhouse. Parents could be overly protective where their kids’ love interests are involved. Although, having said that, he wasn’t sure Jono had told them that much.

“Do they know? You know, about…us,” Dylan skirted around the right words, but he was confident Jono would understand.

“No, they just think I’m bringing a friend round. You don’t mind, do you?” Jono sweetly asked, as if he needed Dylan’s permission.

“Of course not,” Dylan smiled, “Might not be such a bad idea for them to meet me first.”

“Exactly, I don’t want them judging,” Jono laughed, “They are nice though, I promise. They will love you just as much as I do.”

“Would be a bit awkward if they don’t,” Dylan joked. It was a genuine fear of his though. Disapproving parents was the last thing he wanted or needed.

“And here we are,” Jono spoke as if he were hosting a coach trip for old people as he turned into the driveway. Dylan glanced up to the treehouse and saw it lit dimly, unlike usual. Perhaps they would be going up there later. He certainly hoped so.

After Jono parked the car, he rushed out of his seat and round to the other side so he could open Dylan’s door, like his own personal chauffeur. Dylan couldn’t help but laugh. He appreciated it very much but was well aware that Jono’s chivalry was light-hearted.

Jono led the way to the front door, giving Dylan a chance to do a few last second appearance checks. No random bits of hair sticking up needlessly. All good. By now, his heart was beating out of his chest. He didn’t think he had ever felt so nervous.

Play it cool, Dylan, he told himself. If he ever felt like he was shifting, he knew he only had to look at Jono. He was the anchor.

Now stood in his doorway, Jono was holding the door open for Dylan. A true gentleman. As he strolled inside the now-familiar corridor, a woman in her mid-forties poked her head around the kitchen doorway.

“Hi boys. You must be Dylan, nice to meet you,” she spoke jovially. Dylan assumed she must be Jono’s mum. She had Jono’s curls, elegantly falling halfway down her back. Her auburn eyes were immediately warm and inviting.

“You too, Mrs. Chadwick,” Dylan politely smiled.

“Please Dylan, it’s Helen,” she insisted, “Dinner will be in an hour.”

“Thanks mom,” Jono placed a peck on her cheek. Obviously, he was a mummy’s boy. No shame in that.

Jono led Dylan into the living room – a damn sight tidier than it was during the party two nights before. He crashed down on the middle sofa, which was flanked by an armchair either side, with a huge widescreen television mounted on the wall in front. Dylan followed suit, enjoying the softness of the sofa. It was practically giving him a hug with its cosiness.

This was the life. Comfy furniture, a nice, warm house, and the best boyfriend he could wish for.

Finally driving home from her stupid detention with Mrs. Johnson, Lily was weary about the night ahead. When Yasmin told her everything about werewolves and Dylan the night before, it was a headache to understand. How could this not be out in the open? Surely the White House must know something so huge? Or maybe it was like an extremely rare medical condition.

Either way, she was surprised at how trusting of Yasmin she was. Her numerous ex-boyfriends had taught her how to catch a liar, and she learnt the hard way at that. She was confident Yasmin was being truthful, as ridiculous as the entire thing sounded. Tonight was the real test for her.

Thus far, she had taken comfort in the extra knowledge – knowing there was nothing she could have done to stop the alpha killing Shona, but would she be able to handle Dylan if the full moon sends him crazy?

Having said that, as much as she liked Dylan, her number one priority was always her family, particularly Jono. She would defend him to her death, no werewolf would stop that.

She pulled up onto the driveway and glanced at the time on her car’s clock. 4:57. Just in time for tea.

The last hour or so had flown by for Dylan. He felt right at home with Jono, and although they were not able to cuddle up in the potential view of his parents, it was still a joy to be in his presence. They had been watching last night’s Big Brother episode. Dylan was a superfan but had slipped behind that week. Other priorities came first for a change. One of those weeks.

“Evening,” Jono’s dad entered the room, collapsing onto one of the armchairs, “Welcome Dylan, I’m Steve, good to meet you properly.” He reached across and shook Dylan’s hand, more ferociously than Dylan would have liked. Grown men were often like that. He was more of a hugging person though. It seemed to be more of a generational thing, even the “lads,” had their own mainly hugs. It was so sickeningly hetero though. A tap on the back to assert their masculinity and prove it wasn’t sexual. If you’re going to share the love, just own it. They were too ashamed of being seen as gay. That was the biggest problem with the youth. So many huge steps were being made towards equality, but the fact coming out was still a necessity was beyond outdated. Society still had quite a way to go in Dylan’s eyes.

“What’s up losers?” Lily elegantly greeted as she joined the room, annoyingly sitting right between the two boys on the sofa.

“Lily, budge,” Jono hissed under his breath.

“Dinner’s ready,” Helen called from the kitchen.

“Perfect timing, I could eat a horse,” Steve stood up first. As he left the room, Lily looked to Dylan.

“So far, so good?” she quietly asked.

“I feel a bit odd, but I’m in control,” Dylan reassured her.

“Alright, let’s hope it stays that way. When are you meeting Drew?” Lily wondered.

“Ten o’clock, he’s given me this weird address,” Dylan answered. Drew had slipped him the location on a piece of scrap paper during geography last lesson. The address led to an underground bunker according to the maps app on his phone. It looked very suspect to say the least.

“What are you two whispering about?” Jono interrupted. Oops. Dylan almost forgot he was still within hearing range. Thankfully, it appeared he hadn’t really been paying attention.

“Oh, I was just saying that Dylan could have my place at the table, so you two can sit next to each other,” Lily lied like an expert. Phew. Crisis averted.

“Thanks,” Jono gave her a peck on the cheek. Dylan loved how close Jono and Lily were. He had no idea what it was like to have a sibling. The stereotype seemed to be that siblings fought – especially brothers and sisters. It was heart-warming to see how well Jono and Lily got along though. Kind of made him wish he had a big sister.

Jono stood up from the sofa first, and Dylan went to follow, but Lily held him back.

“We’ll do this,” Lily reassured him.

“Yeah, we will,” Dylan tried to be optimistic. However, the wolf inside was growling in contempt.

Dinner started well. It was obvious that Helen was a brilliant chef from the presentation of the dishes alone. Conversation was flowing nicely, and everything was going smoothly.

Every now and then, Dylan would catch himself staring out at the full moon. Summoning him. In a few hours’ time, he might have to unhook his anchor and fall victim to its call. He prayed that Drew had some good ideas up his sleeve.

“Who’s for dessert?” Helen keenly enquired.

“I couldn’t,” Lily lied. Jono laughed – he had mentioned to Dylan that Lily always pretended she didn’t want dessert. Then she would unleash herself when somebody “twisted her arm.”

“Oh, come on sweetie, your mom made it especially,” Steve persuaded. Dylan was shocked that a man like Steve hadn’t noticed Lily’s tactics yet.

“I suppose so,” she gave in. Dylan caught Jono’s eye and they both started giggling uncontrollably.

“Fancy a sundae, Dylan?” Helen asked. Dylan glanced at the clock. Still only six o’clock. He had loads of time. He could certainly afford to give in to one craving tonight. Maybe a sundae would fill him up so he didn’t fancy the taste of humans later. He shuddered at the mere thought.

“Sure, thank you,” Dylan never lost his manners.

“So Dylan, Jonathan tells us that you’re a budding journalist,” Steve began a new conversation. He had been asking questions all night, but Dylan didn’t mind. It was nice that Steve was so keen to get to know him.

“Yeah, I’m hoping to study journalism at college,” Dylan replied.

“That reminds me, I’ve been meaning to tell you but we got the go-ahead for the school paper,” Jono announced.

“That’s brilliant news sweetie,” Helen congratulated while putting the finishing touches to her mouth-watering sundaes.

“You’re running the school paper?” Lily responded, “Is it going to be a gossip magazine with Britney as the cover star?”

“No,” Jono protested while laughing, “I’m taking it seriously. Besides, Dylan will be the sensible one in the partnership I expect.” Gulp. “Dylan,” and “sensible,” in the same sentence was a rarity. Too much pressure.

“I’m sure you can look after yourself,” Dylan snapped.

“Of course,” Jono was taken aback by Dylan’s bluntness. Dylan glanced at Lily, who had an eyebrow raised. That was his signal. Time to go before he causes any more offence.

“I’m sorry, I really must go. Thank you for the dinner,” Dylan quickly said, before standing up and rushing out of the house.

“Dylan!” he heard Jono call after him. It hurt his heart to run out without a proper goodbye. He felt terrible, but he kept running. He slammed the door behind him and kept going, past the beautifully lit treehouse and into the main road.

As far away from Jono as he could get.

5: True Colours Written by MarthaJonesFan

Panting, running terrified, Dylan was letting his instinct steer him. He knew exactly where he wanted to go. Where he needed to go. The most important thing was that he had escaped without hurting Jono. However, he was frightened that he had blown it for good by snapping at him. He couldn’t help it, it’s the full moon’s effect.

Honestly, at times like this, it would be easier to just tell Jono the truth. It would at least give him a reasonable explanation for Dylan’s unusual behaviour. He couldn’t risk it though. At least this way, he can try to make it up to Jono. If he told him his terrible secret, Jono would run a mile. He could never find out.

Dylan needed help. Only one person could help him when he couldn’t control the wolf inside. He hated to admit that Yasmin, Lily or even Jono were not his ‘go-to’ in this scenario. Maybe it should even be his mum, but he didn’t want her to know yet either. Or ever.

He reached a hole in the pavement, indicated by a luminous barrier surrounding it. A ladder led the way down underground. Dylan skipped the ladder and jumped straight down. It was only a few feet anyway – the ceiling was just a metre or so above his head. Of course, he landed straight on his feet.

“I knew you’d be early,” came Drew’s voice, stood directly in front of where Dylan landed.

“Let’s hurry up then,” Dylan requested.

“You want to do what?” Dylan was repulsed.

“They will restrain you. I used them myself years ago and they worked perfectly,” Drew did his best to persuade Dylan, but it wasn’t working. Drew was holding some incredibly strong-looking chains, bolted to the wall of his bunker, as well as some strange and painful-looking contraption to wear around his head. It was metallic and a little rusty, and around the metal ring were a string of nails pointing inwards. Even looking at it made his head hurt.

“So I’m supposed to sit here all night in absolute agony while you do…what? Grab the popcorn and watch?” Dylan vented. He glanced around at his potential home for the night. Drew’s bunker was a mess. Very dimly lit, a little dingy, and all kinds of tools and pieces of equipment littered the place.

“I’ll be keeping guard on the off-chance that you escape,” Drew informed. He stayed as emotionless as ever. Like Dylan was a business deal.

He considered his options. He could take Drew up on this and almost guarantee that he and everyone else would be safe. Sure, he would feel pain, but he would heal, right? He still didn’t totally understand how that worked.

On the other hand, he could trust himself. Use the techniques that he had learnt thus far. Save himself the pain but risk hurting someone. Unfortunately, he only had one clear option.

“Alright. Let’s do this,” Dylan decisively commanded.

The chains slipped on without a problem. Drew tightened them, and sure, he couldn’t move much, but Dylan could handle them. They were pretty cold against his skin but it didn’t hurt. It was only for a few hours anyway, right?

The pain came afterwards though. The headset was placed around Dylan’s hair. Drew parted his locks where the nails were positioned so as not to damage Dylan’s appearance, for which Dylan was grateful. The headset felt heavy when placed on his head, but it wasn’t uncomfortable as such. Drew then tightened the nails, pulling them closer and closer to Dylan’s scalp. Dylan screamed in agony as the nails pierced his skin, and blood trickled down onto the floor. He had never felt such horrific pain in his life.

“What the hell are you doing this for?” Dylan yelled.

“Werewolves heal, pain makes you human,” Drew explained.

“I can’t take this,” Dylan was crying tears. He wasn’t sure he could stand the pain any longer.

“Find your anchor. Picture Jono. Remember why you’re doing this,” Drew encouraged. Dylan did as he said. He tried his best to shut the pain out and focus only on Jono. His heart fluttered even amongst the sharp tinges against his scalp every time he even slightly moved. He could do this. He had to.

Stirring, Dylan glanced up. He focused his vision on what was in front of him. He was still in the bunker, although something seemed different. He was much more relaxed now. Why wasn’t the headset hurting anymore? He felt his head. No headset. Not even a scar to prove it had been there. He had healed.

Then it twigged – he had moved his hands freely. The chains were gone too. Did he dream the entire thing? No, of course not. That excruciating pain was all too real.

“Morning sleepy head,” Drew strolled out from the shadows of the bunker.

“What happened?” Dylan slurred. He was fearing the worst.

“You fell asleep. You tamed the wolf, blocked the pain and kept control,” Drew proudly revealed, “I unchained you during the night.” Dylan felt a flush of excitement run through him. He had come out on top. The wolf had lost.

“Will I need to do this every month?” Dylan wondered.

“It’s hard to say. You may need it again, but I think you’ll have learnt what to do to keep control. Maybe just the chains next month,” Drew considered.

“Thank god,” Dylan cherished the thought of never seeing that headset again, “But can I still shift at any time?” He thought he should ask all the necessary questions right now, while he could.

“Yes, but you can control it the same way. Think of Jono,” Drew informed.

“This is what I don’t get. That first night, when you saved me from hurting Jono, he made me shift. How can he be my anchor when he can cause it too?” Dylan recalled.

“You know there’s a difference between being in love and being a horny teenager, right?” Drew detailed, “That night, you were horny as anything. Don’t worry, you’re head over heels for him. Love wins.”

“How cliché,” Dylan laughed, before he remembered. It was Friday. A school day, “Shit, what time is it?”

“Half seven,” Drew replied.

“I need to get changed for school,” Dylan replied.

Scared out of her wits, Yasmin was worried about what she may or may not find at school. She had not heard from Dylan or Lily, and she prayed that no news would be good news. However, an all-clear text would have been nice.

Now she was fearing the worst. The bench was startlingly empty. Come on Dylan, or anyone. As if he heard her prayers, Josh came and sat next to her

“It’s quiet here today,” he commented.

“Tell me about it,” Yasmin dishearteningly replied. Her stomach felt sick with dread, but she didn’t want to talk about it, “Where’s Freddie?”

“On his way. He and Jono tend to arrive nearer the bell. I prefer to get in earlier, gives me time to study without any distractions,” Josh explained.

“Same,” Yasmin replied. He smiled at her. That adorable smile. The kind she always wanted to see from him, that suggests they’re on the same wavelength.

“I was gonna ask,” Jono began as Yasmin’s ears picked up, “Are you free tomorrow? You know, to hang out?”

Oh boy. Was she dreaming?

“Yes,” she replied, a little too quickly. How uncool, “I mean, I think so.”

“Great,” Josh grinned like the cat that got the cream.

As Yasmin stared sweetly at his smile, she noticed Jono approaching in the background. She had almost forgotten her worries in that moment. Seeing Jono was a huge relief.

“Morning,” he greeted, much less excitably than normal.

“What’s up?” Yasmin asked, noting the lack of enthusiasm in her tone. She was terrified of his response.

“Have you seen Dylan today?” he questioned.

“No, why?” Yasmin replied. She braced herself.

“Last night. Things were going so well, then he snapped at me,” Jono explained. Gulp. That didn’t sound very good. Yasmin hoped it wasn’t literal.

“That doesn’t sound like Dylan,” Josh commented.

That’s because it wasn’t, Yasmin thought, it was the wolf.

“It was mega weird. He then said he had to go, and he ran out,” Jono detailed.

“I’m sure he had a reason,” Yasmin tried to justify. How could she defend that though? It was erratic to say the least.

“It’s not the first time he’s done it though. He left suddenly a few nights ago too and never really explained why. It doesn’t add up. He’s giving me mixed signals,” Jono confessed.

“Trust me. He adores you. I mean, he’s barely stopped yapping about you all week,” Yasmin joked. She knew she had to do some damage control, “Everything Dylan does has a rational explanation.”

“I hope so,” Jono said, “I really like him.” He looked on the verge of tears. Yasmin glanced at Josh. He put a comforting hand on Jono’s back.

Yasmin knew she had to do something. She had to speak to Dylan, but he still hadn’t shown his face. He was usually in school by now. What had happened?

Sprinting through the front door, Dylan needed a quick freshen-up shower. He wasn’t being especially quiet. Would his mum have batted an eyelid at the fact he didn’t come home that night? Not that she was ignorant, but it wouldn’t be the first time he had “forgotten,” to tell her about a sleepover. He still hadn’t really spoken to his mum since their run-in. He was scared to. Dylan would rather paper over the cracks than reveal them and seal them for good.

“What time do you call this?” Caroline called out from the living room. She wasn’t nagging, it wasn’t her style. She was simply curious.

“Sorry mom, I stayed at Jono’s,” shamefully, Dylan was getting better at lying.

“Alright. We need to talk later honey,” Caroline continued as she approached the porch area, “I don’t like leaving things between us on a bad note.”

“Sure,” Dylan smiled. He hated falling out with his mum more than anything, “I need to go to school, we can talk when I get home?”

“Alright sweetie, have a nice day,” Caroline planted a kiss on his head. Now he just needed to tackle Jono.

Bored of waiting, Drew was flicking through his phone. He had given Drummond a lift to his house and they would proceed to school after, but despite his gesture of good will, he was still wary of Dylan. On one hand, Dylan was strong. He had good control over himself and would undoubtedly go on to become a superb fighter. He would be brilliant as part of a pack. On the other hand, he was a loose cannon and had already ignored Drew’s instructions one too many times. Could he be trusted?

Drew knew he was this only option though, if he wanted to fight the alpha. Maybe there will be more of their kind in Crystalshaw one day. Just like there used to be. What’s worse is that he still didn’t know who the alpha was. It could be anyone in the entire town, how was he supposed to narrow it down?

As he was thinking, he saw the driver’s window steam up. Blasts of steam continued to cover the window every few seconds. Like something breathing. Drew stayed totally still, not wanting to provoke anything with sudden movements. The alpha was here. He was sure of it.

Drew paid close attention to its scent. Any details would help to identify it. The alpha would know that though. To be an alpha, you had to be smart. It’s how you gained such a status. This was a calculated move.

The steam faded, and Drew moved his attention to his hearing. Thudding footsteps faded into the distance. It had gone.

“Alright, I’m ready to go,” Dylan began chatting as soon as the car door clicked open. Drew exhaled, ignoring him.

“What’s happened?” Dylan sensed Drew’s vibe.

“The alpha was here,” Drew revealed, “And I have its scent.”

The alpha occupied Dylan’s thoughts for the rest of the journey. He was outside Dylan’s house. He knew where he lived. His mum was inside – leaving her alone made him uncomfortable. Maybe he knew all along – Dylan hadn’t even considered that he was bitten just metres away from his house.

As soon as Drew pulled up in the school car park, Dylan raced towards the bench. He had to tell Yasmin and Lily. The alpha had attacked them both, and they could be at risk.

As he arrived, he tapped Yasmin on the back and escorted her away from the rest of the group’s hearing range.

“Oh my god, I’m so glad you’re alright,” Yasmin threw her arms around Dylan, “Why didn’t you text me?”

“Sorry, I was a little caught up,” Dylan frantically explained, “Look, I have good news and bad news.”

“Alright, what’s the good news?” Yasmin keenly queried.

“I controlled myself. Drew helped and I know how to tam the wolf. I did it,” Dylan proudly announced.

“You did? Amazing!” Yasmin breathed a clear sigh of relief, “So wait, what’s the bad news? Did you kill Drew in the process? Not even sure I’d be annoyed at that.”

“No, what do you take me for?” Dylan scowled, “The alpha found us earlier. It wants us to find out its identity, it was taunting Drew. Luring us in.”

“Huh? Why doesn’t it just reveal itself?” Yasmin wondered.

“I don’t know, but we need to tell Lily. Any of you guys could be at risk,” Dylan commanded.

“Leave that to me, you’ve got some apologising to do,” Yasmin suggested, nudging her head to her right. To Jono.

“Will do,” Dylan nodded. He knew for sure that he had to make it up to Jono. How he would do it was another matter.

Sheepishly, Dylan slumped down onto the seat opposite Jono. He wasn’t really sure what he was going to say, but perhaps that was for the best. He didn’t want to sound clinical, that would only make things worse.

He glanced at Josh, signalling that he needed some alone time with Jono. Josh seemed to get the message, leaving them alone. Now for the hard part.

“I assume you’re here to apologise,” Jono began. Dylan was slightly relieved that he didn’t have to think of an icebreaker.

“You have no idea how mortified I am about last night,” Dylan attempted to justify himself.

“Me and all. I have been trying to rationalise it in my head ever since but I haven’t gotten anywhere,” Jono still seemed annoyed. He had every right to be.

“I’m not going to bore you with excuses, but I can assure you that last night was a moment of madness. It won’t happen again if you give me a second chance,” Dylan pleaded his case.

“Where is the evidence, Dylan? Look, we barely know each other, maybe we need to be friends for now,” Jono’s words broke Dylan’s heart. It felt like his entire world was being torn apart to tiny shards.

“I swear, you have my word. I will make it up to you in every way possible,” Dylan continued.

“Why should I trust your word though?” Jono queried.

“Because you are the best thing that has ever happened to me and I cannot bear the thought of going back to life without you,” Dylan passionately detailed.

Jono stood up and sat down on the other side of the bench, next to Dylan. Dylan wondered what he was doing. He stared longingly into Jono’s dusky grey eyes once again. God, he really adored him.

Much to his surprise, Jono leaned in to make out with him. Dylan was taken aback but was not complaining. The feel of Jono’s lips never lost its appeal. He was in paradise, and he didn’t even care about the numerous school kids who were undoubtedly gawping at the sight of two guys kissing.

Breaking apart, Dylan waited for Jono to explain himself.

“You are impossible,” Jono commented, “I’ll let you make it up to me.”

“Why?” Dylan was baffled by his change of heart, “Not that I’m upset by your decision of course.”

“Because you’re the best thing that has happened to me too,” Jono admitted, “I love you Dylan.” Wow. Those three words were the best sound Dylan had ever heard. The first time anyone, other than his mum, had used them to him. And everyone knows that doesn’t count.

“I love you too, Jonathan,” Dylan replied with a grin on his face. They moved in for another kiss, relishing each other’s company.

“Hey, how about you come around to meet my mom tonight? You could stay over if you wanted,” Dylan offered.

“I would love that,” Jono grinned, “Starting as you mean to go on.” All was good in the world again as Dylan was concerned.

Much to Dylan’s amazement, Jono had gotten them both out of history that morning. Quite how he managed it, Dylan had no idea, but Jono was on much better terms with Mr. Hamilton than Dylan was, thanks to some overdue homework. Jono escorted Dylan to the old deputy head’s office, recently relocated to a nicer office with air conditioning.

“Our new home,” Jono swung the door open. The office looked almost bare, beyond a couple of desks decorated only by a computer and a desk chair each.

“Wait, this is…,” Dylan tried to process.

“The newsroom,” Jono replied excitedly, “This is our base for the school paper. Our own lil’ office.” Dylan couldn’t lie – he was blown away. He certainly did not expect them to get their own office. It was more than a little cool.

“This is amazing,” Dylan could not stop smiling. He sat down in one of the extremely comfortable swivelling desk chairs and spun himself around, “I could get used to this.”

“I’m glad we get to do this together,” Jono admitted.

“Me too,” Dylan continued smiling. He looked up to the large noticeboard attached to the wall above his desk, and his mood came crashing down when he saw a note pinned to it. One with the alpha’s pack symbol on it.

“So, it could be coming back for us?” Lily was terrified to hear that the alpha was still lurking. She was well aware that the problem hadn’t been solved but she hoped Dylan and Drew would be covering it.

“Quite possibly. It seems to be provoking Dylan and Drew, and we’re guilty by association,” Yasmin explained. It was only her and Lily sat at the bench during break time. Lily had no idea where any of the others were, although Jono did mention something about that school paper business. That would explain his absence.

“So is Jono. He might not know it but he’s in the firing line just as much as we are,” Lily thought, “So what are we supposed to do/,”

“I don’t know. Drew has its scent but that doesn’t help us,” Yasmin considered.

“Part of me thinks we should tell Jono,” Lily confessed.

“Dylan would hate that,” Yasmin instantly replied.

“It’s not all about Dylan. We’re all involved,” Lily justified, “Our lives are at risk too, which makes it about all of us.”

“I guess. We need to talk to Dylan first though. It’s his place to tell Jono,” Yasmin suggested. Lily nodded. She hated to admit, but everything did converge on Dylan. He had to be consulted first.

Arriving at the bench with Jono in the final few minutes of break, Dylan was feeling a mix of emotions. On one hand, he had cleared the air with Jono and had just finished a very productive morning in the newsroom. The night they had planned together was bound to be exciting too – his mum left for work at five o’clock, meaning they had the entire night to themselves.

However, he had not forgotten the note. It had been playing on his mind all morning. He needed to find Drew as soon as possible to let him know.

“Dylan, I need a word,” Yasmin said just before Dylan could take a seat. Why did ominous statements like that always end badly? She escorted him away from Jono’s hearing range.

“What’s this about?” Dylan worriedly asked.

“You have got to tell him,” Yasmin commanded. As vague as she was, Dylan knew what she meant with no confusion.

“No way,” Dylan instantly refused.

“He’s at risk, Dylan. Just like the rest of us. Do you think the alpha will care if he is in-the-know or not?” Yasmin backed herself up.

“We can protect him. If I tell him, that’s it. Any chance I have with Jono is gone,” Dylan emotionally argued. He couldn’t believe Yasmin was trying to take this away from him.

“We? Dylan, you have only just learnt how to protect yourself. We cannot rely on Drew. Jono needs to know his enemy in case none of us are around,” Yasmin continued. She wasn’t wrong, and Dylan hated it. Yasmin’s best ally was logic – she was almost always right. Dylan took a moment to consider his options.

“If I tell him, we will be over. He wouldn’t go near something like me,” Dylan was on the verge of tears.

“And if you don’t tell him, he will be killed,” Yasmin concluded.

“Alright. I’ll tell him at mine tonight,” Dylan regretfully said. Yasmin pulled him in for a hug. Dylan didn’t want it, and tried to struggle, but Yasmin persisted. He just let the tears flow. This werewolf thing was stupid. He was slowly losing any chance of happiness. How could he truly live with anybody who knew what he was?

The final school bell rang out, and it could not have come soon enough. Dylan had found the afternoon excruciatingly tedious. Maths was not getting any more interesting and his mind was totally absent.

Jono was going to meet him at his house at four o’clock, which gives them both a chance to spruce themselves up, although Dylan was wondering what the point was. He had to speak to his mum in that time too – not a conversation he was looking forward to.

He rushed out of the school doors, much like every student as soon as the clock rang three in the afternoon. He felt a shove on his shoulder and noticed Drew next to him.

“Drummond,” he greeted, “I heard you’re telling lover boy the truth.”

“And you’re here to tell me not to,” Dylan predicted, rolling his eyes.

“No, I was going to say that I hope it goes well. It’s a big step but I think it’s the right one,” Drew almost smiled. Not quite though – his mouth only moved slightly. That was as close as Drew ever got to a smile, so Dylan took it.

“Thanks. Did you ever have to do this?” Dylan wondered.

“A long time ago. I chose to keep it a secret though and look where that got me,” Drew cryptically revealed. It was the most he had ever opened up, and Dylan was amazed he even said that much.

“I’m sorry,” Dylan compassionately replied, “We’ll stop the alpha. We have to.”

“I’m gonna look this weekend. The scent will help although its human and wolf scents could be different,” Drew replied.

“Maybe this could help,” Dylan handed him the post-it note from earlier. Drew took a sniff.

“Who gave you that?” Drew asked bluntly.

“I found it left for me in the newsroom,” Dylan explained.

“The scent is different. I think I recognise it,” Drew announced. Before Dylan could ask who it was, Drew had rushed off. Typical Drew.

When he arrived home, Dylan had to brace himself. On the way home, he had tried to rehearse what to say to his mum. How could he explain why he was missing school? While he was being honest with Jono, he was not ready to tell his mum that he was a werewolf.

However, he could share a part of the truth. If she was going to meet Jono, she deserved the full experience, right? He failed at rehearsing anyway. Just as he always did. Maybe, like with Jono earlier, it was for the best. Sounding overly rehearsed meant what you were saying sounded less sincere. He just had to go for it.

He opened the living room door and saw Caroline enjoying some chill time before work. She worked two jobs – she did night shifts at the supermarket during the week and worked at the local elementary school on reception in the afternoons. She really savoured the little pocket of time between the two jobs where she could chill out and spend time with Dylan. It made Dylan realise how he had neglected her that week.

“Hey mom,” Dylan smiled. He always felt like a young kid again when he was around his mum. Some things never change.

“Hiya sweetie, how was school?” Caroline smiled back. The best thing about her smile was how her eyes lit up too.

“Same old. Was work alright?” Dylan continued the small talk nervously.

“Ditto,” she laughed, “Look, I don’t want to nag, you know that’s not my style, but I’m a little worried about you Dylan.”

“Skipping school was a moment of madness, I promise it will never happen again. Sorry mom,” Dylan sincerely apologised. He totally understood where she was coming from. She worked so hard for them both, yet Dylan was carelessly missing school.

“I hope not. There’s more though. Is something bothering you, sweetie? You’ve not been yourself this week,” Caroline observed. Gulp. This was his chance.

“There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you mom,” Dylan began. Caroline was staring at him. This felt excruciatingly uncomfortable. Every second was taking ten minutes to pass. He went for it – no turning back now, “I’ve been seeing someone.”

“That’s brilliant honey, what’s their name?” Caroline asked.

“That’s the thing, I’m…seeing a boy,” Dylan revealed, holding back the flood of emotions he was experiencing, “I’m gay.” He couldn’t hold back anymore. Droplets of tears began to flow down Dylan’s cheeks, and they didn’t stop. Caroline pulled him in for a cuddle.

“Aw sweetie. I don’t care whether you’re gay, straight, bi, or anything else. You’re my son, and if you’re happy, so am I,” Caroline comforted.

Somehow, that only made Dylan cry more. Maybe they were happy tears. He couldn’t even tell. Then he realised – when asking for a name, she said “their,”. No specific gender.

“Did you know?” Dylan noticed.

“I had my suspicions,” Caroline revealed, “The Harry Styles obsession was a giveaway.” Oops. Dylan really did have a big thing for Harry Styles.

“You’ve not answered my question anyway – what’s his name?” Caroline reiterated.

“Jono, the guy from my class. He’s coming round like, any minute now,” Dylan explained, drying his eyes.

“And you really like him?” Caroline ensured.

“I love him, mom. He loves me too,” Dylan smiled.

“I better get ready, don’t want him thinking we’re a family of scruffs,” Caroline joked. She got up and went to leave the room, but turned around in the doorway, “I’m proud of you Dylan, and your dad would be too. He wouldn’t care any more than I do.”

Dylan nodded. Just as he dried his tears, they were on their way back. The fact that his dad would not have looked down on him for being gay meant everything. He didn’t have time to mope though, as the doorbell rang. Answering it, Dylan as very pleased to see Jono.

“Hey,” Jono grinned, “You look like you’ve been crying, what’s up?”

“You better come in,” Dylan replied. He felt on cloud nine, and prouder of himself than ever before. Such a shame it was destined to be short-lived.

Stood on the outskirts of the Crystalshaw forest, Yasmin was raring to go. She was about to get some much-needed practice in self-defence and had even stocked up on some equipment – hence her heavy backpack.

“Come on then,” she enthusiastically yelled to Lily.

“Really? Do we have to do this?” Lily complained.

“Don’t you want to be a strong, independent woman who can fend for herself?” Yasmin persuaded.

“I want my bed,” Lily moaned.

“You said it yourself. We are all at risk. We need to be able to fight for ourselves. Dylan can’t watch over us all twenty-four-seven,” Yasmin reasoned.

“I suppose. This better be worthwhile,” Lily gave in, “So what have you planned for us?” This was the fun part. Yasmin dropped the backpack and produced a plastic, realistic-looking gun prop. Instantly, Lily stepped back and put her hands in the air.

“What the hell are you doing?” Lily was totally fooled. Yasmin couldn’t keep it up any longer and burst out laughing.

“What’s so funny?” a confused and frustrated Lily asked.

“It’s a prop from drama class,” Yasmin explained through her giggling fit.

“What was the point of that? Other than to make me shit myself of course,” Lily was not seeing the funny side.

“It was a test. I wanted to see how you would defend yourself. Turns out, you didn’t,” Yasmin detailed.

“Alright, you made your point, let’s get on with it,” Lily nagged. Yasmin laughed again – she was enjoying herself way too much.

As she continued to lead the way through the forest, she felt a cold rush over her skin. Goosebumps appeared as her arm hairs stood on end.

“Lily, can you feel that?” Yasmin nervously asked.

“Yeah,” Lily nervously replied, “Like something is watching us.” They grouped together, to keep each other safe, “Yasmin, if this is another of your silly pranks, it’s very funny but can it end now please?”

“Even I can’t organise something this realistic,” Yasmin replied. It felt like the alpha. It had to be. All of a sudden, a familiar voice called out to them.

“Get down!” Drew yelled, jumping out from the shadows to shield the girls. As he did so, gunfire began to sound. Yasmin was terrified, although she noticed the hairs on her arms stand down. The alpha had gone, but who was firing at it? Surely not Dylan? The gunfire stopped after about half a minute, and Drew stood up first.

“What the hell was that?” Yasmin asked, scared.

“I found the alpha, but they found us, and I think they have led it straight to Dylan,” Drew worried.

In any other circumstance, Dylan would be having a pretty brilliant day. He finally plucked up the courage to come out to his mum, and she got on with Jono like a house on fire. However, it felt slightly in vain considering what he was about to do. Now Caroline had gone to work, he had taken Jono upstairs to see his bedroom for the first time.

“Oh my god, I love this room,” Jono smiled as he walked in.

“Really?” Dylan was taken aback. It was hardly the tidiest room going, as he hadn’t found a moment to clean it beforehand.

“It’s so homely,” Jono looked to be in paradise as he collapsed onto Dylan’s unmade bed.

“Jono, I have something to tell you,” Dylan sat on the edge of the bed. This was it. This was the moment he lost Jono forever. And possibly saved his life. And it all began with one of those ominous statements he truly loathed.

“Why does this not sound very optimistic?” Jono pondered. Dylan struggled to speak. The look of confusion on Jono’s face quickly turned into worry, “You’re scaring me now.”

“This will sound stupid, but you have to promise to believe me because I am telling you the absolute truth,” Dylan requested.

“I promise, just tell me, please,” Jono begged. As Dylan braced himself to speak, the windows shattered and Drew came tumbling through, as if he’d been thrown in.

“What the hell?” Dylan yelled as Drew curled into a ball on the floor. He staggered up, with no visible injuries of course, but he seemed dazed and disorientated.

“Drew?” Jono was baffled.

Before he could ask any further questions, another creature came flying through the window. Dylan jumped back – it was the alpha. The atmosphere in the room felt eerie and terrifying. This was the first time Dylan had come face-to-face with his nightmare. The huge, dark beast with those fearsome red eyes Lily had described. It was a horrific sight – who would want to look like that?

“Dylan, what is that?” Jono’s voice quivered as he spoke. The fear he felt radiated onto Dylan, who stood in front to protect him. The alpha opened its huge jaws and let out an ear-piercing howl.

Dylan caught a glimpse of Jono in the corner of his eye, covering his ears, but he was more worried about himself. He felt the wolf breaking through, and although he tried to shut it behind imaginary doors in his head, it was no good. He was transforming, and there was nothing he could do to stop it. He managed to catch sight of Drew, who was struggling much in the same way.

Dylan dropped to the floor, on all fours, as his nails became claws and scratched the flooring in his bedroom. The howl subsided, and Dylan stood up. He tried his best to hang onto the last scrap of humanity in his mind as he turned around to face Jono. However, he knew it wouldn’t be enough.

Jono’s face was the most horrific picture Dylan could imagine. He looked ashamed of Dylan. Like he was the most repulsive creature he had seen. A tear fell from Jono’s eye and it broke Dylan’s heart. He wanted to go and hug him, and tell him everything was alright, but the wolf was in control now.

He and Drew were stood next to each other, shifted into their wolf forms, while the alpha behind regressed back into its usual shape. Dylan looked around, and his heart skipped a beat when he saw the alpha’s human form for the first time. Stood behind him, still with red glowing eyes, was the deathly stare of Josh…

6: Fortification Written by MarthaJonesFan

Dylan’s old school was always strangely intrigued by his sexuality. He attended junior high just a couple of towns away in Osona, and at a time in their lives where many kids would have questioned their sexuality, the popular straight kids were oddly judgemental.

One girl – Taylor Johnson – was particularly nasty to Dylan over the years. She caught a glimpse of Dylan’s Harry Styles phone case one day, and he never forgot this encounter.

“Jizzing over your boyfriend after school tonight Drummond?” she remarked, tapping the case.

She was one of those awful, stuck-up, spoilt daddy’s girls, and as much as Dylan frowned upon stereotypes, she ticked all of those boxes. What’s more is that she had somehow deduced his sexuality from a photo. Why did that, of all things, make him gay?

“Get away,” Dylan protested. He was thirteen at the time, and sure enough, he was well aware of his feelings about guys. However, he still fancied girls more, right? He always envisioned his future in only one way – marrying a pretty girl and having a couple of kids. Guys didn’t fit into his plans. This was surely a phase.

There was no way he would ever end up dating a guy.

Pushing back against the wolf, Dylan did his best to fight it. The alpha had called and the wolf had responded, but at a cost. Jono had found his secret out. The hard way. The alpha had robbed Dylan of any opportunity to confess on his own terms.

Now Jono was staring at the group of monsters in front of him. A group involving Dylan. A tear slid down Dylan’s cheek as he looked at Jono’s terrified facial expression. He was trapped inside himself, and there was nothing he could do.

He looked at Josh, who smiled a devilish smile. He was loving it. All along, it was one of their own group. How did he not sense it?

All of a sudden, the bedroom door burst open, breaking the pure stunned silence.

“Out, now!” Yasmin commanded as Lily whacked Josh around the head with the plastic gun. Jono sprinted for it, and Yasmin yanked Dylan’s hands to grab him. Accidentally, his claws dug into her skin.

“Ouch!” she yelled. Dylan didn’t mean to hurt her. He couldn’t help it. However, his remorse was the key. It made him human, and slowly, he felt himself regaining his body. It made him human. The wolf subsided. He was running now, and Drew was following too. Obviously, he had many more years of practice when it came to controlling himself. To think – he was escaping his own house. How ridiculous, yet it was so terrifying.

Rushing outside and towards Yasmin’s car, Dylan didn’t even stop for breath. However, he had no idea what the plan was, so he felt like a headless chicken. He hoped Yasmin would have a grasp on what to do next. It was usually her forte but this was a new level of panic, even for them.

“Everybody in,” Yasmin commanded as she clicked her car key. Lily clambered into the passenger seat while Drew headed for the back. Jono hesitated. Dylan saw how shaken he was – understandably so. He was favouring the look of his own car instead of sticking with the group.

“Jono, get in,” Lily ordered. That was all he needed to climb in, sitting awkwardly to Drew’s right. Dylan climbed in last, to Drew’s left, and Yasmin slammed the pedal down, the engine whirring as Yasmin drove at full pelt away from Dylan’s house.

“I know where we can go,” Drew suggested.

The car journey was a long and awkward one. Dylan didn’t even attempt to make eye contact with Jono. He couldn’t bear seeing that look of disappointment anymore. He hated himself. The best thing he had was gone, thanks to this stupid curse. Was it too much to ask to keep the guy he loved? Were all werewolves destined to be lonely forever? For someone who was reasonably popular at school, Drew seemed exceptionally lonely.

Having said all that, Dylan knew deep down that Jono would have found out sooner or later if events didn’t happen as they had. He had already shifted in front of him, and he was very lucky that Jono avoided noticing. Now he wished he had told him from the very start. Maybe he wouldn’t have gotten his hopes up.

This was a problem for later though. Now, they all had to focus on getting as far away from the alpha as they could. Several times throughout the journey, Dylan glanced behind. Nothing seemed to be following them, but that did not mean the alpha wasn’t coming.

Now they had abandoned the car and Drew was leading the way. Dylan recognised the location instantly. He was only there the night before. Drew was taking them to his bunker underground. Approaching the cordoned-off hole in the pavement, Drew hopped down first but the others were hesitant.

“Why have I got a bad feeling about this?” Lily pondered warily.

“It’s safe, don’t worry, I’ve been here before,” Dylan explained.

“How can we trust either of you?” Jono scowled. Dylan was lost for words. He couldn’t even defend himself from that.

“Let’s go, it could be following us,” Yasmin encouraged. She was right. They weren’t safe yet.

Begrudgingly, Jono climbed down the ladder. He had never been in the underground tunnels before, and this wasn’t the time he wanted to start. However, for some reason, Lily was totally trusting of Dylan and Drew. How could she be after what they had just seen? She had to have known in advance. Why didn’t she think to tell him something so huge?

Too many questions. None of this made sense, but he knew he was terrified. Everything he previously thought about Dylan had been overshadowed. What even was he?

He was now leading them through the dark, dingy tunnels until they approached a metal door. Drew unscrewed it using a large metal wheel on the outside. This was exactly how Jono expected an underground bunker to be. It felt like some sort of odd nightmare.

“We’re safe in here?” Lily clarified as the group stepped inside and Drew re-locked the door.

“There are so many pipes in the walls that it won’t be able to track our scent. We’re safe,” Drew reassured.

“For how long? We can’t hide here forever,” Yasmin pointed out.

“Until we find a course of action,” Drew bluntly but assertively replied. This was too much. Jono collapsed against the wall behind him and sank to the floor. He saw Lily notice, and she walked over, but he didn’t want to talk.

“I know this is a lot to take in,” Lily began. Jono scoffed.

“You can say that again,” he remarked.

“Dylan’s not the bad guy. When he tells you everything, you’ll understand that,” Lily tried to justify. As she spoke, Jono watched Dylan talking to Yasmin and Drew across the room. He looked so innocent. The cute, adorable, dorky guy he adored. Except now it was tainted.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” Jono questioned.

“Because it wasn’t my place,” Lily replied.

“I’m your brother, that makes it your place,” Jono reasoned.

“And you don’t think I wanted to?” Lily defended herself, “I wanted to tell you so bad, but it was Dylan’s decision. How would you like it if I told mom and dad that you’re gay?”

Jono paused. He hadn’t thought of it like that. He just stared at Lily. She was totally right. He despaired, still confused and conflicted. Lily placed a comforting hand on his leg. At least she always had his back.

Glancing over from the other side of the bunker, Dylan saw how wrecked Jono looked. He wanted to run over and clear things up so badly, but it was not the time. Jono needed space to process his thoughts. Dylan knew that more than most. It took him weeks to process losing his dad.

“He will come around,” Yasmin offered some words of wisdom.

“Will he though? What’s to like? I’m dangerous, and he saw that first hand earlier,” Dylan opened up.

“You’re not defined by the wolf. You’re still Dylan, the same guy that Jono fell in love with,” Yasmin persuaded, “You just have to make him see that.”

Dylan was forever envious of Yasmin’s way with words. She always knew what to say, while he could barely string a sentence together. Although, Dylan took comfort in how bad she was at talking to boys. They had something in common.

“I was gonna be going on a date with him tomorrow,” Yasmin mentioned, changing the subject. Dylan was startled. Huh? With who? Josh?

“Wait, you and Josh? You never said,” Dylan expressed his confusion.

“It was a recent development. We’ve all been a little distracted recently, I was gonna tell you so don’t feel put out,” Yasmin explained, “It’s almost funny how crap my luck is.”

“The right guy will come along. Don’t rush it,” Dylan smiled. She was brilliant at offering words of wisdom to him. The least he could do was return the favour.

“If you don’t mind, I’ll be right over here throwing up,” Drew interrupted. Dylan laughed. For someone who pretended to have no sense of humour, Drew was a pretty funny guy, “What do you know about Josh? If we take him down, we need to know his weaknesses.”

“Take him down?” Jono stood up, overhearing.

“We can’t let him continue to murder people. Next, he will be roping in Dylan and me. We’d have to kill with him…or kill him,” Drew detailed.

“You can’t kill him, he is sixteen years old,” Jono retaliated, “Is this how you people work?”

“No,” Dylan insisted, a little put-out at Jono’s insistence on differentiating the humans and werewolves in the room, “It’s not. There must be another way.”

“Drummond, if I thought there was another way, I would have suggested it by now,” Drew firmly argued.

“Like Drew said,” Yasmin offered, “We need to think of his weaknesses. We can think of a plan later but right now, the three of us barely know anything about him. You know him best, Jono.”

“I’m not going to help you kill my best friend,” Jono refused.

“We’re not going to kill him,” Dylan reiterated.

“Why should I take your word for it? You’ve lied to me all week,” Jono yelled, before heading towards the exit. Dylan went to follow – he had to make sure Jono was alright.

“Let him go,” Yasmin out her arm in front of him. Dylan was torn between his head and his heart. Did he need to give Jono space once again? Or did he want to prove he actually was the loyal boyfriend he had shown himself to be?

“I have to go,” Dylan told Yasmin as he dodged past her arm to leave the room.

Panicked and flustered, Jono needed fresh air. Having clambered out of the tunnels, he was stood in the open air, but somehow, he still didn’t feel calm. The heavens had opened and the sky was chucking bucketfuls of rain down, but Jono didn’t care. At least he wasn’t in that bunker.

“Are you alright?” he heard a voice from behind. The unmistakably sweet tone of Dylan.

“I would be if you all just left me alone,” Jono angrily yelled.

“I would be a terrible boyfriend if I did that,” Dylan calmly but defiantly replied. Jono turned around. ‘Boyfriend.’ That word carried so much weight for Jono. He always vowed that he wouldn’t go through boyfriends like Lily did. Maybe he needed to hear Dylan out.

“I know you’re angry at me, and you have every right to be, but I’m not letting go of you until I’ve had the chance to explain. Then you can do what you want,” Dylan passionately pleaded. He didn’t care about the rain gushing down on top of him. He just had to do his absolute best and hope Jono might at least consider his points.

“You’ve had days to explain, did you not think this was something I needed to know as soon as possible?” Jono replied.

“I was going to tell you literally just before Josh arrived,” Dylan mentioned, “Come here.” Jono carefully approached Dylan, who took his hand and placed it on his chest.

“Feel my heartbeat,” Dylan instructed, “Is it beating faster than normal? Am I lying?” He saw Jono pay attention to the beats. He took his hand away but didn’t say a word.

“It’s new to me too, I only got bitten on Sunday night. I’m still getting used to everything myself,” Dylan explained.

“What are you?” Jono curiously asked.

“Werewolf,” Dylan confidently replied, “And I hate it. I didn’t ask for any of this. I want a normal life, with shitty maths homework, and lunch out with my mom, and date nights with the guy I love.” Dylan was shedding tears as he spoke. He was pouring his heart out to Jono. Thankfully, the masses of teardrops hid the tears and preserved his dignity.

“You’re dangerous,” Jono said.

“I could be,” Dylan admitted. He had to be honest now, “Drew has helped me control it. The wolf craves blood, but I don’t, and it’s my body. Werewolves are just like humans. Only dangerous if they want to be.”

“So, all that crap about Drew being your cousin was another lie?” Jono sought clarification.

“Yeah,” Dylan shamefully admitted.

“One lie after another,” Jono rolled his eyes in disbelief.

“Believe what you want, but everything I did was to protect you. I didn’t want you caught up in this stupid freaking mess,” Dylan continued. He looked Jono straight in the eye, “You were always my priority.”

“You should have just told me, you idiot,” Jono was crying too. The raindrops weren’t doing such a good job after all, “I don’t care that you’re a werewolf. Sure, it might take some getting used to, but you’re still you. It’s the lies I can’t take.”

“And they will stop. I swear, you know all my secrets now,” Dylan cleared up. Jono paused. Each second felt like a day as Dylan waited for the verdict.

“If I hear one more lie come out of your mouth, I’ll shove your tail so far up your ass…,” Jono cracked a smile for the first time that evening.

“I don’t have a tail,” Dylan jokingly corrected.

“You know what I mean,” Jono grinned. Dylan nodded, still crying, but now his tears were happy tears.

“No more lies,” Dylan confirmed. He couldn’t believe his luck. Jono was actually giving him another shot. Jono leaned in to press his lips against Dylan. Oh, how Dylan enjoyed the rush of pheromones flowing through his body whenever they locked lips. He wasn’t expecting to feel this again so soon. It was incredible though, and he savoured it. He was soaking wet too, but he didn’t care. Maybe things weren’t so bad after all.

Despite everything Dylan had done, Jono couldn’t find it in him to give up on all they had. So what if they had only been together for less than a week? He trusted his gut about everything, and it was telling him to stick by Dylan. Maybe he was right – he was trying to protect him all along.

The werewolf part sounded like such a non-issue in the end too. Lily was right – it was just like a gay person coming out. And he knew how shitty that felt. As hard as it was, he now had to trust Dylan, and his guy told him that was the right thing to do. The feel of Dylan’s perfect lips against his just backed it up. As he broke the kiss, Dylan shivered.

“Shall we go back in?” Dylan offered. The bunker still didn’t sound too appealing to Jono. It was so claustrophobic.

“Can’t we just run away and never look back?” Jono joked.

“Yasmin would hunt me down herself and murder me, let alone the alpha,” Dylan chuckled, “Come on. If it’s Drew you’re worried about, I can deal with him.”

“It’s this whole thing,” Jono confessed, “I mean, I just found out that one of my best friends is a murderous werewolf thing.”

“I promise you I don’t want to hurt him,” Dylan assured, “Is there any reason he might be doing this?”

“Nothing. Maybe…,” Jono paused, “Maybe Freddie might know something. They’ve known each other longer.”

“Alright, let’s go then,” Dylan optimistically said. He liked the idea of he and Jono being sort-of-detectives together.

Left behind in the bunker, Yasmin looked down at the back of her hand. It had been hurting a lot since Dylan accidentally scratched her with his claws, and it was still bleeding. Not wanting to make a fuss, she had not told anyone about it. However, the ongoing pain was quite concerning.

“What happened?” Lily enquired, spotting the wound.

“Oh nothing, I just caught my hand on the way in,” Yasmin lied. She hated the attention.

“Did Dylan scratch you?” Drew interrogated. His grave tone worried Yasmin a great deal. He sounded more worried than she did.

“Yeah, it’s not a big scratch, it will be alright,” Yasmin brushed it off. Wishful thinking was her best friend.

“Yeah, you’ll be alright. I’ll get you a band aid,” Drew’s nonchalant tone now worried Yasmin even more. He sounded very concerned before, so why was he now so casual? She glanced at it again. The bleeding seemed to have stopped. It hurt like hell still though.

“Could it, you know, pass it on?” Lily whispered.

“I thought it could only be passed on through a bite from the alpha,” Yasmin pondered. She certainly hoped it wouldn’t turn her too. Seeing how it had changed Dylan was more than enough to warn her off.

“Either way, he was shifty as hell just then,” Lily mentioned. Yasmin was glad that it wasn’t just her imagination. Drew returned with a perfectly sized band aid to cover it. He avoided eye contact with her. Always a tell-tale sign of a liar.

“Is there a problem?” she probed.

“No,” Drew responded, still not facing her.

“I know you’re lying Drew,” Yasmin refused to give up. Drew sighed. A defeatist sigh, if Yasmin was as good at reading body language as she thought.

“Look, there’s all kinds of myths about scratches from werewolves. I don’t know if any are true, but we won’t know for sure until it’s healed,” Drew explained.

“What sorts of myths?” Lily was intrigued.

“It varies, and all depends on how quick the wound heals,” Drew revealed, “A deep scratch from an alpha could convert someone, but Dylan’s a beta. Occasionally, very rarely, a scratch could awaken some extra sensory powers. Better hearing, better sight, maybe even psychic abilities.”

“I could be psychic?” Yasmin was scared but fascinated at the same time.

“Like I said, we’ll keep an eye on how long it takes to heal,” Drew shrugged any further conversation off. Yasmin’s mind was slightly at ease – at least she wasn’t going to be converted - but she wanted to know for definite. Now for the waiting game.

As Jono pulled up outside Freddie’s house, Dylan hit the send button on a text to Yasmin notifying her of where they had gone. She would have his guts for garters otherwise.

What’s more is that he had to be on red alert for the alpha. It was a risk to be out anywhere when Josh was on the rampage but Dylan was prepared. He was going to prove to Jono that he meant every word he spoke.

Jono led the way to Freddie’s front door. His street looked pretty normal; his house was a terraced two-storey building right in the centre of the road. Buzz! The doorbell sounded as Jono pressed his finger against the button. The seconds between ringing a doorbell and the door being answered always felt like hours. Eventually, Freddie answered the door.

“Hey, what are you guys doing here?” Freddie smiled.

“Freddie, we need to ask you some questions. It’s about Josh,” Jono spoke. Freddie’s usual friendly expression quickly dropped to one of worry. Dylan felt his anguish. Open-ended statements never got any easier.

Exploring the bunker, Lily was amazed by all of the gadgets scattered around. They intrigued her – all must have had some use to Drew at some point, but for the life of her, Lily had no idea what for. She looked at a glass jar perched on a shelf. It was filled with grains of a dark sand-like substance.

“What’s this?” she questioned.

“Mountain ash,” Drew responded, “Pretty deadly to us but has no effect on humans. It works as a defence mechanism.”

“How? It just looks like grains of rock,” Yasmin wondered as she joined the conversation.

“It forms a barrier that werewolves cannot cross. The walls of this bunker are lined with it. All I’d have to do to protect myself is tip the jar in front of the door to complete the circle,” Drew explained.

“So why don’t we?” Lily queried, “We’re basically sitting ducks down here.”

“Like I said, it won’t be able to track us down here,” Drew reiterated. Nevertheless, Lily still wasn’t totally comfortable, especially with Jono still out in the open.

Having been escorted up to Freddie’s bedroom, Dylan was taking in the sights. The walls were cream but were barely visible behind numerous gaming and film posters – most of which Dylan didn’t recognise. An electric guitar was stood carefully on a stand next to the unmade bed, but that was just about the only neat part of the room. Clothes were left all over the floor and DVDs were littering the place. Freddie’s laptop was in the middle of the bed with the lid open. He obviously spent a lot of his free time in there.

“What did you want to know?” Freddie wondered, clambering onto his bed and shutting the laptop.

“Have you noticed anything strange about him recently?” Jono posed. Dylan managed to find a sensible place to stand amongst the DVD cases and hair products scattered around.

“Like what? I mean, he’s been pretty study-crazy recently but nothing too strange,” Freddie thought.

“Studying? Why? His grades are great already and we don’t have exams. Why now?” Dylan wondered.

“He said he was worried about failing, it always sounded odd when he’s never come close to failing in his life. You remember that, right?” Freddie glanced to Jono.

“I think it might have been a cover-up,” Jono suggested.

“For what?” Freddie was concerned.

“All in good time,” came a voice from the doorway behind. It was Josh, stood with his blood-red eyes glowing brightly.

Pacing back and forth, Yasmin was sick of waiting. Not knowing how Dylan and Jono were getting on was bad enough, but not knowing how long they would be in the bunker made it even worse

On the bright side, the pain had subsided from her wrist, but she didn’t know if that was good or bad. They needed a bigger expert than Drew to tell her more, and she knew damn well that a werewolf expert wasn’t going to be easy to find. Maybe one of those people firing bullets at the alpha would know. Drew had kept quiet on that entire incident since it happened, but it was intriguing Yasmin. She didn’t see how many people there were, but judging by the number of bullets, there must have been four or five.

“You’re thinking about them, aren’t you?” Drew predicted. How he was so spot-on was beyond Yasmin.

“Who were they?” she wondered.

“I don’t know,” Drew replied, “But I’ve seen their kind before.”

“Whose kind? Am I missing something?” Yasmin tried to understand.

“Hunters,” Drew gravely told her. It sent a shiver down Yasmin’s spine. People hunt werewolves? In a world making steps to equality, that sounded so backwards.

“Werewolf hunters were all over Crystalshaw a few years back. Eventually, all of the werewolves were either killed or had scarpered,” Drew notified.

“That doesn’t explain you. Or Josh,” Yasmin pointed out.

“I have a long story,” Drew vaguely mentioned, “Josh is new here. He has to be.”

“I know how we can check that. Come on, let’s go,” Yasmin sprang to life.

Dylan stepped back as soon as he saw Josh. His once-friendly classmate now embodied his worst nightmares. Coming face-to-face with him again was something Dylan had desperately hoped to avoid.

“Stupid decision Dylan, you should’ve stayed in your little hideout. As soon as you left wherever you were, I could smell you a mile off,” Josh threatened, “And you’ve brought lover boy. I see he’s in-the-know now, sorry about that.” Dylan was doing his best to remain in control. Anger made him shift, but he couldn’t afford to lose himself now.

“What the hell Josh?” a startled Freddie was baffled.

“My ever-loyal best mate,” Josh approached Freddie.

“Leave him alone,” Jono ordered.

“Or what? You’ll unleash your pet on me?” Josh did his best to goad both Dylan and Jono. Dylan was determined not to give in. His anchor was firmly in place in his mind.

“Has everyone gone stark-raving mad?” Freddie was still not getting the answers he desired.

“Do you remember when that arrogant dick George punched me in junior high?” Josh asked, “Nobody believed me, but you did. You said you would always be loyal to me.”

“The three musketeers. You, Jono and me,” Freddie smiled.

“Stand by my side now,” Josh commanded, and before Dylan could rush to stop him, Josh sank his teeth into Freddie’s arm. Freddie cried out in pain as blood squirted everywhere. He tried to struggle away, but it was to no avail. Dylan felt the pain in his leg as he remembered feeling the exact same when Josh bit him just a few nights ago. He wouldn’t have wished it on his worst enemy, let alone someone as adorable as Freddie.

As Josh released his grip, Freddie passed out from the blood loss.

“You didn’t have to do that,” Dylan scolded.

“Sooner or later Dylan, you’ll realise that we are a pack. You can stand with me or die at my hands,” Josh ordered.

“What do you want?” Dylan yelled helplessly.

“I want to restore werewolves to Crystalshaw. A pack dominating once again, like my pack years ago,” Josh answered, “Anyone who has an issue with that will be taken out.”

“What if we refuse?” Jono piped up.

“Then you’re a problem that I will have to solve,” Josh replied coldly, “I will give you until Monday to decide, Dylan, but remember, I know where all your friends live. Or maybe I’ll kill them at school instead. The possibilities are endless.” He laughed, as if he’d just told the funniest joke going. Dylan used this chance to run outside, dragging Jono with him by the hand. They kept on going until they were safely back in the car.

“What the hell just happened?” Jono panted.

“He’s turning Freddie. Either that, or he’ll bleed to death,” Dylan worriedly told him. Jono put the car into reverse, but any escape they made was only temporary. Josh would find them again, he always did.

7: Detention Written by MarthaJonesFan

Weak and wounded, Drew tried to crawl across the floor to try and find something to pull himself up with. He was using all of his energy to heal. The wound was so big that he needed to focus to heal, or he would be left with a gaping bullet hole dripping with blood in his leg.

It wasn’t the first time he had been shot, so he knew exactly what to do. He wondered if any thirteen-year-old had survived more bullets than he had. He did have an advantage though, with his healing powers. They were doing a damn good job too.

He heaved himself up using a ledge against the wall, and limped towards the door, jumping over the dead bodies that littered the dusty wooden flooring. He didn’t really know them, but he had found himself teaming up with them. They were among his few remaining allies. He only had one criteria for his friends nowadays – they had to be werewolves. Nobody else could be trusted.

He had to get home without any humans seeing him. He had done a good job of playing dead after he got shot, and he didn’t want anything to ruin his cover. The problem was that little remained of his home now. He only had the house his parents used to inhabit, and the alpha’s bunker. Not even the alpha was around anymore though. Drew was tempted to take the title for himself in her final moments, but that would have made him the number one target. No werewolf in Crystalshaw wanted to be the alpha.

Now all he had to do was keep a low profile. Maybe, just maybe, he could survive.

Shattered and exhausted, Dylan was trying to rest himself. However, his mind was running overtime and he couldn’t get to sleep.

On the bright side, he was sleeping next to Jono for the very first time. Neither of them fancied sneaking into their houses at such a late hour and risking the wrath of their parents, so they had snuggled up in the treehouse, with beanbags for pillows and a rug for a duvet. Whilst it was not the most comfortable place he had ever slept, Dylan enjoyed being next to Jono so much that he didn’t even care. He was on the right-hand side of the bed – always a personal preference of his – and he had his back to Jono as he tried to drift off. However, at least half an hour had passed since he said goodnight to Jono, and his body was refusing to sleep.

Fidgeting over onto his left side to face Jono, Dylan was surprised to see him wide awake too, and they were now facing each other eye-to-eye.

“Can’t sleep?” Jono spoke softly.

“My mind is doing overtime,” Dylan replied defeatedly.

“Same. What a rollercoaster of a day,” Jono reflected.

“I’m sorry, it’s all my fault,” Dylan felt bad. If it wasn’t for him, Jono and the others wouldn’t be in even the tiniest bit of trouble.

“No, it’s Josh’s fault. You got unlucky that night. It could have been anyone in the woods,” Jono reassured him. It was nice to hear those comforting words come out of Jono’s mouth.

“I wish there was some sort of cure,” Dylan thought.

“I don’t,” Jono replied, “I love you as you are. I don’t want you to change, even slightly.”

Dylan felt that warm fuzzy feeling filling him up once again. He never imagined Jono, or anyone, loving both him and the wolf the way he did.

“I guess I should apologise too,” Jono continued, “The way I reacted earlier was out of order. You deserve better.”

“Heat of the moment. It’s forgiven,” Dylan smiled, “Besides, I expected a much worse reaction. I thought I would lose you for good.”

“You will have to try harder than that,” Jono grinned devilishly. He kissed Dylan again. For a few moments, Dylan didn’t have a care in the world, and he loved it.

Having spent the full night at the bunker, Yasmin ached all over. She had no semblance of comfort, and only managed to drift off to sleep because her eyes could not physically stay open any longer. Lily was next to her, still asleep. Good for her. Yasmin was envious and was craving her own bed.

She checked her phone, the brightness almost blinding her. A new text from Dylan had arrived while she was asleep – “Long story but coast is clear.” That was good news. It meant she could finally get some fresh air. She nudged Lily gently to wake her up.

“What time is it?” Lily slurred, disorientated.

“Half nine,” Yasmin replied, “Come on, we’re going.”

“Huh? Has something happened?” Lily was confused.

“I don’t know, we’ll figure it out,” Yasmin responded. She wished she knew more. Not knowing was the worst.

“Where’s Drew?” Lily glanced around the bunker.

“I’ve not seen him, he must have scarpered earlier,” Yasmin suggested.

Lurking around a street in central Crystalshaw as the sun was beginning to rise, Drew was following his nose. Sleep wasn’t his top priority, so he had spent the early morning catching scents without the distractions of anyone else. None of them were of any help to him, even Dylan would be useless when he was so untrained.

He glanced up at the end of the trail – a fairly normal looking terraced house. Looking left and right to ensure nobody was watching, he cupped the door handle with his hand and broke the lock with one tiny movement.

He took a sniff once inside – it was all clear, except for that familiar scent of Josh, and the terrifying smell of blood. His nose led him upstairs, expertly following the trail left behind. It didn’t seem like Josh was here anymore – his scent was weaker than usual. Drew knew he wasn’t the most skilled werewolf out there, but his sense of smell was damn good. He almost never went wrong.

Up the stairs, the scent led him to a bedroom. Instantly, Drew noticed the blood-soaked duvet through the open doorway. Being extra careful, he scanned the room before entering. Nobody in sight. He glanced around for clues in the messy room with little floor space. A few photos on the wall next to the bed answered a huge question for Drew. It was Freddie’s house and bedroom – he featured in every one of the photos. The scent matched too. However, this left new questions in his mind. What would Josh want with Freddie? Weren’t Dylan and Jono going to visit him? Were they safe?

Drew almost laughed. He actually felt worried for Drummond. He couldn’t help it though. Dylan was a werewolf, and one on his team too. The only one. He felt protective even if he wasn’t sure he even liked the kid.

He reached into his pocket to get his phone out, but before he reached it, Drew heard a loud bang come from outside, as something shattered the glass window next to Freddie’s bed. The next thing Drew knew was that a throbbing pain was coming from his neck, and a purple gas invaded the air. Drowsy, Drew collapsed to the floor, unconscious.

Up in the treehouse, the group has been reunited. Whilst Jono loved his night with Dylan, he was relieved to see Yasmin and especially Lily again after worrying about them all night. He watched them as they crept up the treehouse, not wanting to make any noise. Jono and Lily’s parents worked so hard throughout the week that they both slept like babies on weekend mornings. Waking them up would lead to a lot of unnecessary earache.

“Have you been out here all night?” Lily was judging Jono. He felt immediately defensive.

“It wasn’t the first time,” Jono responded firmly as if he were a little kid determined to prove his independence. As far as Lily was concerned, he was a little kid.

“Oh, it’s all coming out now,” Lily teased.

“Have either of you heard from Drew?” Yasmin changed the subject.

Yeah, he’s my best mate, he’s always messaging me, Jono thought sarcastically.

“Nothing,” Dylan replied much more diplomatically, “Is everything alright?”

“He wasn’t at the bunker this morning,” Yasmin informed.

“Should we be worried?” Jono asked, pretending he cared about Drew. He was always a total ass, even at junior high. Just because Dylan kind-of liked him, it didn’t mean he did too.

“Josh said we had until Monday, he won’t have attacked any of us now. He’s a lot of things but I don’t think he’s a liar,” Dylan reasoned.

“He’s not the only one though,” Lily mentioned, “We saw them yesterday, they were tracking Josh.”

“Who?” Dylan looked worried and confused. Jono felt much the same.

“Hunters, Drew told us,” Yasmin explained.
“Wait, hunters?” Dylan had never looked so panicked. He looked as uncomfortable at the idea as Jono felt.

“Werewolf hunters, about four or five of them,” Yasmin continued. Jono glanced at Dylan. As if he needed another problem to add to his list. The look on his face broke Jono’s heart.

Shattered, this was somehow the scariest revelation of Dylan’s week. Hunters? Hunting him? That was terrifying, and it made him feel helpless. Not only was he struggling to accept himself, but it just confirmed that other people may never accept him either.

“Who are they? Maybe they don’t know about you yet?” Jono pondered, glancing to Dylan.

“I don’t know. Besides, they know about Josh. If they know about him, it’s only a matter of time until you’re discovered, Dylan,” Yasmin considered.

“I’ll be dead without Drew,” Dylan tried to think rationally, but it was difficult. Drew, as much as he hated to admit, helped him to see clearly. If he wasn’t around, he stood no chance against these people.

“We have to find him,” Lily added.

“How? We know nothing about where he went,” Dylan fretted.

“We can figure it out. Where would he have gone?” Yasmin put her logical hat on. Not that she ever took it off.

“I think I might know,” Jono suggested, looking knowingly at Dylan, “Where were we last night?”

“Freddie’s house,” Dylan said with a sense of worry.

Stirring and squinting open his eyes, Drew had a banging headache. It was unusual for him, considering the way his body healed, but it wasn’t a total rarity. What scared him the most was the circumstances around when he last felt this way, several years ago. It was the last time he got shot, by a bullet made of mountain ash. The day he became the last werewolf standing in Crystalshaw.

As he opened his eyes wider, they adjusted to the blinding spotlights he was under. He wanted to shield his eyes with his hands, but as he attempted to move, he found his hands locked tightly in handcuffs above his head. He was trapped, and although he tried to struggle his way out, it was proving very difficult.

“Whoever you are, you’ve made a huge mistake by capturing me, and when I break free, you will regret it,” Drew yelled. The chains were as thick as they came – made specifically to handle beasts like him. These people knew what they were doing, and that’s what scared him most.

“Come on, show yourself,” he ordered.

As he spoke, he took in his surroundings. He was in some sort of basement, filled with shelving and boxes. Drew sniffed. The scents in the air were of gunpowder and mountain ash – both terrifyingly strong. He was chained to metal railings, like those of school gates, and a remote control sat on the shelving unit directly in front. He had seen one of those before and had hoped never to see one again.

“Are you too coward to face me? Come on,” Drew goaded again. Just seconds after he spoke, he heard the bolt on the exit door at the far end of the room slide open.

After the door was yanked open, a figure appeared in the doorway and casually began walking towards Drew. The harsh spotlights made it difficult for him to focus on the details, but their stature was short and feminine. As they came into his eyeline, a shiver went down through Drew’s spine.

“Good morning Mr. Marsden,” the nightmare-inducing voice of Mrs. Johnson began, “Do you like our new detention policy?”

As the car pulled up outside Freddie’s house, Dylan was horrified to see deputies from the sheriff department cordoning off the entrance. Yasmin had driven him there, and they were hoping the house would be empty, so they could suss out any clues. Quite the contrary.

“What now?” Dylan panicked.

“I have an idea,” Yasmin thought. This was why he loved being friends with Yasmin. Always on the ball.

Stepping out of the car, Dylan relayed the plan in his head. It was like a script to remember. That was the one downside to a Yasmin plan – it always came with a crazy amount of detail. He approached one of the deputies stood outside.

“Sorry sir, there’s no entry,” the deputy put his hand out to block Dylan’s way.

“I left my school book here on Thursday night,” Dylan spoke carefully, “I need it for my chemistry homework.” As the deputy was about to debate with Dylan, he was cut off.

“Dylan,” came an assured, deep tone from the doorway of the house. It was Sheriff Taylor, a man in his forties, who Yasmin always called a “DILF.” The fact the Sheriff knew his name always made him feel exceptionally guilty, but the Sheriff and his mum went way back. A family friend, although Dylan often found that family friends referred to parents only, not the entire family. That was the type of thought he often had in the shower.

“What can I do for you?” Sheriff Taylor questioned.

“I need to pick up my chemistry book, I left it on Thursday,” Dylan explained. Yasmin insisted on Thursday – he couldn’t mention Friday, or they would ask more critical questions. He still didn’t even know the issue, but he sure as hell didn’t want to be writing a statement at the sheriff station.

“I told him there was no entry,” the deputy reiterated, as if he were after a medal.

“Come through Dylan,” Sheriff Taylor ignored his deputy entirely, “Let’s make it quick though, it is a crime scene after all.”

“What happened?” Dylan worriedly asked. He was terrified that Freddie had been left to bleed to death. He wouldn’t put anything past Josh.

“Your friend, Frederick, he’s gone missing. You’ll see in his room that there are blood stains. Please, I know you’ll be careful, but try not to touch anything as it could tamper with the evidence,” Sheriff Taylor trusted Dylan, which made him feel more relaxed.

The lack of body was promising, too. Maybe Freddie was alright, although that would make him a werewolf. One on Josh’s side, too. It was the lesser of two evils but not by much.

“Of course, Sheriff,” Dylan smiled. The Sheriff left him to make his own way upstairs. Dylan carefully pushed open Freddie’s bedroom door, without using the door handle and leaving his fingerprints. The memories of the night before were fresh in his mind. The horrible vision of Freddie’s blood spraying out as Josh cruelly sank his teeth into his arm. He took a sniff. All that filled his nostrils was the strong scent of the blood that still soaked the bedding.

Focus, Dylan, he told himself. He had to pay more attention to the scents in the room. Surely the smell of cologne would linger, right? Any clue as to whether Drew had been there or not.

That’s when Dylan noticed. Right next to the bed, the window had been smashed and shards of glass littered the floor. Dotted amongst them were droplets of a black liquid. Dylan closed his eyes and let his nose educate him. Those droplets were Drew’s blood, he recognised the scent. He was there and was now in trouble.

“Did you find it?” Sheriff Taylor poked his head around the door, making Dylan jump.

“No, I guess it’s not here,” Dylan continued the lie, “Thanks anyway.” He left the room, taking one last glance before he left while a feeling of horror filled his stomach.

Meanwhile, Jono had driven Lily to where she and Yasmin had first seen the hunters. Without Dylan, Jono knew they would only be able to find out so much. After all, neither of them had the enhanced senses that he had. They couldn’t listen for any tell-tale sounds or sniff out any important scents.

However, Lily had been there before, and though she didn’t like to show it off, she had an excellent memory. She always memorised the guest lists for her parties to perfection. She could sniff out anything different in a room in an instant. If her friends had even an inch of their long hair cut off, she would notice and compliment them. Jono just hoped that her memory would provide a clue to identifying the hunters.

“We were right here,” Lily directed immediately as she stepped out of the car, “Yasmin was trying to teach me self-defence, and we were mucking about.” Jono listened intently – he followed Lily as she retraced their route perfectly, before leading Jono down into a small ditch area of the woodland.

“We were here when we felt something strange,” Lily noted.

“The alpha?” Jono presumed.

“Yeah, it must have been. Then Drew jumped on us and kept us safe while bullets flew over our heads,” Lily recalled.

“There must be some lying around then,” Jono thought, climbing above the ditch and scouting around.

“You and Dylan,” Lily changed the subject, “What’s the deal?”

“How do you mean?” Jono purposely avoided eye contact. He hated being questioned about his love life.

“Things seem…good,” Lily commented, “Did you talk?”

“Yeah, it’s all good,” he tried to shrug the chat off by focusing on the bullets. He loved sharing with Lily, but in his own time.

“For what it’s worth, I’m glad,” Lily wasn’t getting the hint, but Jono appreciated that sentence. Lily would never interfere with his love life, and vice versa, but he trusted her opinion.

“Thanks,” he looked down to her and smiled, “I’m sorry too, for snapping at you.”

“It’s forgotten,” she smiled.

“Hey, I got it,” Jono yelled. Lily rushed to join him as he picked up a tiny metallic gold bullet. It felt weird holding something that could be so deadly, as if it were going to fire itself into him. Jono looked at the imprint on the side – ‘J.R. Thompson.”

“Do you recognise that?” Lily wondered.

“No, but we can google them. Somewhere round here must sell them,” Jono suggested. This could be the key they needed.

Getting back in the car, Dylan was thrilled that he could pass on some news and that the mission wasn’t as much of a failure as it easily could have been. However, he couldn’t shake the feeling of worry. Drew had gone, and that spelled disaster.

“You’ve not been arrested then,” Yasmin optimistically remarked. Nice to see he had faith in him.

“The benefits of my mom knowing the Sheriff,” Dylan laughed, “It worked a treat.”

“Did you find anything?” Yasmin looked eager to know.

“Drew’s blood was splattered on the floor,” Dylan informed, “It threw me. I guess I didn’t know werewolf blood was black.”

“It’s black?” Yasmin looked worried, which in turn concerned Dylan. Why did black blood trigger her? Did she know something he didn’t?

“Yeah, thick jet-black blood,” he replied, watching her eyes deviate from making eye contact. That was when he noticed the band aid on her wrist. It looked clean, and likely fresh on.

“What happened?” Dylan probed.

“Err,” Yasmin seemed to be struggling to explain. Either that or she didn’t want to, “Last night, you…,”

“I did what?” Dylan was getting impatient and concerned. Did he do something when he shifted? His memories of those moments always felt a little hazy as he wasn’t himself.

“Scratched me,” Yasmin completed, “Last night. You didn’t mean to, when I grabbed you, but…,”

“But what? What’s up? I thought only an alpha’s bite is harmful,” Dylan was getting panicked. The thought of him passing on this stupid curse to Yasmin horrified him.

“It’s not healing, but a little bit of black blood trickled out earlier,” Yasmin admitted regretfully, “Drew said it couldn’t convert me, but occasionally, very rarely, the scratch of a beta could pass something on.” Dylan looked down in shame, trying to keep himself in control as a sea of emotions flooded his brain.

“Like what?” Dylan spoke, trying to hold back his tears.

“Enhanced vision, hearing, healing,” Yasmin mentioned, “Drew didn’t know for sure, he’s just going off on myths.”

“I’m so sorry,” Dylan couldn’t hold back anymore and unleashed his tears.

“You couldn’t help it,” Yasmin tried to comfort him, but Dylan wasn’t convinced it was sincere. He wouldn’t be so calm in her situation.

“Is this how it’s going to work? I’ll hurt you all until one of you gets killed?” Dylan felt pessimistic.

“Look at me,” Yasmin ordered, putting her hands on Dylan’s cheeks, “You’re in control. Accidents happen. Whatever this is, whatever’s happening to me, we will get through it. The same way we get through everything else.”

“Together,” Dylan finished the sentence. Yasmin nodded, and passed Dylan a tissue. He felt slightly better, but the uncertainty about Yasmin clouded his mind.

“What do you want from me?” Drew desperately asked Mrs. Johnson. He was gobsmacked that one of his own teachers had chained him up. It was surely illegal.

Instead of responding, Mrs. Johnson pored a bucket of water over his bare chest. He knew what this meant. Water conducted electricity, after all.

“Where’s the alpha?” Mrs. Johnson interrogated. She was flanked by a burly man, as if she needed back-up.

“No idea,” Drew casually replied. Instantaneously, Mrs. Johnson’s finger slammed down on the remote control perched on the shelving unit.

Straight away, Drew felt a horrible electric shock run through his body, conducted by the metal railings and furthered by the water. He hadn’t felt this in a long time and had hoped he never would again. He cried out in pain, even though he tried not to show weakness in front of her.

“I’ll repeat my question,” Mrs. Johnson continued after the shock ceased, “Where is the alpha?”

“I told you, I don’t know,” Drew spoke through gritted teeth, holding back the angry wolf inside. Once again, the shock returned, and he was in agony.

“This could be over and done with so quickly, Mr. Marsden,” Mrs. Johnson proposed, “All you have to do is tell us where the alpha is.”

“I swear to you, I don’t know,” Drew was getting angrier every time he had to repeat himself.

“I wasn’t born yesterday, wolves hunt in packs,” Mrs. Johnson noted.

“I don’t. I have no pack. The alpha is no relation to me,” Drew explained. He was being truthful after all, “I was hunting him too.” Mrs. Johnson glanced at the burly man behind her, as if she had an idea, and instantly Drew worried that he might have said too much.

Slamming the door shut, Dylan let out a huge sigh. Finally, he had a little bit of peace and quiet at home, even for a few minutes. Even if he knew that his problems were far from being solved. The week he’d had was off the scale. Sure, he had made friends along the way, and gained the best boyfriend he could wish for, but he couldn’t help feeling overwhelmingly negative. They had no idea where Drew was. Dylan considered howling for him, but it would only alert his own presence. He allowed himself to be a little selfish in times like this. It wasn’t too much to ask, surely?

“Hey honey, how was your day?” Caroline called out. She must have heard the door slam.

“Good thanks mom, I was just hanging with Yasmin,” Dylan replied.

“Alright. There’s a visitor upstairs for you,” Caroline announced. Huh? Who had visited him? Why did this worry him further? Cautiously, he jogged up the stairs and nudged open the bedroom door. Much to his relief, he saw Jono perched comfortably on the side of the bed.

“Hey,” Dylan smiled as the worry left his system.

“Hi, did you find anything?” Jono skipped the small talk.

“Drew’s been taken, I’m sure,” Dylan explained as he sat next to Jono, “We just don’t know where. It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack.”

“Well I think we found a clue,” Jono revealed. Dylan’s ears perked up, “The bullets they fired are registered to J.R. Thompson, their warehouse is down town. They’re closed at weekends but we should check it out Monday.”

“That might be too late,” Dylan pondered. He couldn’t let Drew die.

“Lily said they were chasing the alpha yesterday, not Drew. Why would they kill him when they have bigger fish to fry?” Jono considered. He made a good point. Drew could be their key to Josh. Maybe they would get lucky.

“Perhaps. Josh isn’t coming for us until Monday too, so maybe we have time to think of a plan,” Dylan thought aloud.

“Do you know what you’re gonna do yet?” Jono asked the question that had been hanging over Dylan’s mind for the entire day.

“Absolutely no idea,” Dylan honestly admitted, “I don’t see any way out.”

“We’ll figure it out,” Jono put a comforting hand on Dylan’s knee. He never failed to put Dylan at ease.

“Fancy some dinner?” Dylan offered, changing the subject. If they had a free moment, they might as well have made the most of it. Jono nodded keenly. It made Dylan happy to think Jono felt comfortable in his home.

Dinner went smoothly, and Dylan had a brilliant time. Jono got on like a house on fire with his mum, and the three of them had the biggest laugh Dylan had had in a while. It was a reminder that despite everything going on, there is a lot that he can be grateful for.

The whole evening had been magical. He and Jono watched the latest Big Brother after dinner and were now cuddled up in Dylan’s bed. He wasn’t convinced it was big enough, but that was the perfect excuse to cuddle up closer. Dylan was the little spoon, still lying on the right side of the bed, while Jono’s hands were wrapped around him. Neither of them were asleep, just enjoying each other’s company.

Dylan shifted himself round to face Jono and their faces were almost touching with how little space they had. Not saying a word, Dylan moved just a few centimetres to gently press his lips against Jono. Jono reciprocated, and their tongues met in the middle. Dylan had envisioned himself making out with Jono in his bed more times than he would care to admit, and now it was a reality. Dylan began to strip his t-shirt off, as did Jono, and they broke the kiss only to slip their shirts over their heads.

Dylan placed his hands on Jono’s beautifully soft chest. It was perfect for him, only slightly toned and little in the way of pecs. He always found six packs quite unattractive. He felt Jono repeating, placing his own had over Dylan’s standard-looking chest. That’s what he thought about himself, at least.

“Are you sure about this?” Dylan checked.

“Totally. Now stop talking and kiss me,” Jono grinned. He was such a bad influence. As their lips locked again, Dylan slipped his trousers his trousers off, leaving only his boxer shorts on. He undid the popper and fly zip on Jono’s too, giving him the command to slip them off without uttering a word. Dylan was in heaven, as he made his way down Jono’s incredible body. He didn’t want it to end.

Exhausted, Dylan crashed his head back down on the pillow. That was the best rush of emotions he had ever experienced. He almost wanted to go again, but he certainly didn’t have the energy. Besides, it would feel much less special if it were overdone. He was slightly reserved when it came to sex – Dylan was determined to only experience it with someone he truly loved. He had certainly kept to his word that night.

He looked at Jono, who had collapsed just next to him. He was panting just as hard. Dylan cuddled up to him again, although the clothes remained on the floor.

“That was incredible,” Jono said in between breaths.

“You are phenomenal,” Dylan smiled. The rush was starting to sizzle down, but he would never forget those feelings.

“Did you hear that?” Jono’s tone shifted from bliss to concern.

“Hear what?” Dylan was surprised he hadn’t heard anything. He focused, using his wolf hearing.

“Footsteps,” Jono mentioned.

“It’s probably just my mom getting a glass of water,” Dylan suggested. He paid even closer attention. No footsteps were to be heard, but worryingly, he noticed the sound of heavy breathing on the other side of the bedroom door.

“There’s someone there,” Dylan worriedly whispered. He quietly stood up, threw some trousers on, and picked up his weapon of choice – one of those stupidly long souvenir pencils that were impossible to actually write with, He knew he had to dispose of it at some point, but it finally had a use.

He held it like a cricket bat as he approached the door. His heart was pounding out of his chest with worry as his hand slowly pushed down on the door handle. The door inched open slowly, but before he could process his sights, Dylan was thrown backwards. Jono ducked as the large pencil came hurtling out of Dylan’s hand and towards him, skimming past his head.

Pounced on top of Dylan was Freddie, his eyes glowing yellow, and ready to attack.

8: The Pact Written by MarthaJonesFan

As Freddie stirred, he was confused by the sights in front of him. Brushing his hair out of his face, he noticed the lights were off, and he certainly wasn’t in his bedroom. With the limited light, he could just about make out where he was. Confusingly, he noticed the familiar high lab desks and stools of his biology classroom. How did he get there? Who brought him? He must have been drugged or something.

The last thing he remembered was being there, with Dylan and Jono, but he couldn’t recall what they were discussing. Were Dylan and Jono alright? His head was hazy, but it was nothing compared to the pain of his arm. It was throbbing with pain, but he couldn’t see well enough to assess the damage. Had he hurt himself, or did someone do this to him? Too many questions.

“Hey,” he heard a familiar friendly voice next to him say. Looking up, he noticed Josh smiling kindly. That was a relief at least.

“Josh, what the hell are we doing here,” Freddie asked, panicked, “Who brought us here?”

“I did,” Josh replied calmly, much to Freddie’s confusion, “But don’t worry, you’re perfectly safe.” Huh? What was Josh talking about?

“Can we get out of here?” Freddie worriedly queried.

“Yes, but not yet. You’re not ready yet,” Josh took his phone out and shone the blinding torch onto Freddie’s arm, exposing the source of his pain. Freddie was horrified to see the mauling of his arm, teeth marks and blood all over. It was gruesome. What could have done that? Not a human.

“What did this?” Freddie spoke aloud. He was getting more and more terrified with each passing second.

“You don’t remember? I did,” Josh scared Freddie in his tranquil tone, “I’m the alpha, and you’re my beta.” Josh’s eyes lit up a bloody red.

Freddie allowed his impulses to take over. He stood up and sprinted out of the classroom. He dared not look back, he just hoped Josh wasn’t following. As he reached the school doors, he saw his reflection. His eyes were glowing a horrible yellow, like Josh’s in all but colour.

Whatever Josh had done to him, he knew he hated it. He had to find Jono. He had to warn him.

Tumbling around on the floor, Dylan desperately tried to shake Freddie off. They were rolling around, ruining any hope Dylan had of a clean bedroom. That was far from his main priority though, when an untrained beta was trying to sink its huge teeth into him. He knew exactly how Freddie was feeling, and that was why Dylan was so panicked. However, he wanted to do as much as he could to help.

Thinking fast, Dylan used all of his strength to throw Freddie off him. He succeeded, but Freddie simply lunged for him again. He slammed Dylan back down to the floor, only just avoiding whacking his head against a cabinet.

With Freddie directly on top of him, looking him eye-to-eye, Dylan knew this was his moment. He glared at him through his wolf eyes, his yellow rings glowing orders to his fellow beta. Freddie immediately backed off, moving backwards until his back smacked against the edge of the bed. He blinked a few times, and his eyes restored themselves. Dylan breathed a huge sigh of relief that his punt had worked.

The commotion had shaken Jono up. He felt so happy before, but to see two of the people closest to him fighting so aggressively was an upsetting sight. He knew Dylan would only hurt Freddie if there was no alternative, but Freddie was a loose cannon. The Freddie he knew and loved would never have hurt a fly, but he saw from Dylan that the wolf threw up the rule book.

On the bright side, Freddie was still alive. That mattered more than anything. He had gone downstairs to fetch a glass of water for Freddie, to help calm him down, checking carefully on the way that Caroline hadn’t heard the commotion. Thankfully, there was not a peep from her bedroom.

He made his way back upstairs after filling a glass up and could hear Freddie sobbing. He was upset at himself, and understandably so.

“I’m so sorry, I didn’t know what I was doing,” Freddie apologised.

“You weren’t in control, I understand,” Dylan sympathised. Jono stood at the door listening, not wanting to interrupt.

“If I can’t control myself, what can I do?” Freddie considered, disheartened.

“You can learn,” Dylan reassured, “I was bitten last week, and I’m still learning, but if I can make progress, then you can too.” That warmed Jono’s heart. He knew Dylan and Freddie barely spoke until they started hanging out together in the past week. Jono was effectively the glue holding them together. It meant a lot that Dylan got on with his best friend. Jono opened the door and re-entered the room now the conversation was over.

“Here you go,” he said, giving Freddie the glass of water, “Feeling better?”

“A little, I guess,” Freddie unconvincingly replied.

“You can have my bed tonight, we’ll sleep on the sofa,” Dylan offered, “We’ll need to think about our next step in the morning.”

Freddie nodded, and Dylan escorted Jono out of the room. Jono didn’t want to leave Freddie alone for a second. He couldn’t risk losing him as well. However, he knew Dylan had the right idea. Freddie needed space to process everything. The morning would be a better time to talk things through. If he could even manage a few minutes’ sleep.

Glancing at her hand while lying wide awake in bed, Yasmin was about to unravel her band aid. She had intended to keep regular checks on it and record anything significant, but after seeing the black blood earlier, she didn’t fancy another peep. She knew she had to, though.

“Be brave, Yasmin,” she told herself quietly, not wanting her dad to hear her and think she was going crazy. Even if it wasn’t far from the truth.

Slowly and cautiously, Yasmin peeled away at the top layer and began unravelling. She braced herself for what she was going to see. She liked to think that very little frightened her, but she knew this did. Denying it was pointless.

She kept going, removing the final layer with her eyes closed. Wincing one eye open, she glanced at her skin. The wound was still there and beginning to scab. Nothing out of the ordinary. Yasmin thought she should feel relieved, but she didn’t. Maybe she should have healed by now. This could be bad news. It was all too much to consider. She wanted to turn her worries off with an imaginary switch, but it seemed to be broken.

She tossed over in bed and tried to get her head down, catching a glimpse of herself in the bedside table mirror as she did so. Yasmin did a double take. Surely, she hadn’t seen what she thought she saw? A horrid glow in her eyes – a sea blue, different to Dylan’s eyes but it glowed in the same way. That must have been her imagination.

She glanced back, scared of what she may or may not have seen. Nothing unusual this time. Her usual soft hazel eyes were intact. Must have been her tired mind playing tricks on her. She tried to sleep once again. Even ten minutes would be nice. It was hard to shut down when her mind was on full speed.

Adjusting himself, Dylan was trying to get comfortable. Despite the fact that his living room had two sofas, he and Jono insisted on sleeping together. Forever awkward. It was worth it though, and as clichéd as it sounded, there was no place he would rather be than by Jono’s side.

To combat the lack of space for them both on an individual sofa, Dylan had set up a makeshift bed on the carpet – a couple of cushions each and a blanket his mum kept on the arm of the sofa. It was far from the most comfortable place he had slept in but being next to Jono made it all worthwhile.

“Do you think he will be alright?” Jono pondered.

“He’ll be just fine. Don’t you worry,” Dylan reassured.

“Josh won’t be happy if both his betas desert him though. I dread to think what he would do,” Jono considered. It was food for thought. Dylan wanted to continue that train of thought, because he wasn’t at all tired. The Freddie debacle had woken him up, and his worries about Monday were taking over. However, if there were any chance of Jono getting some sleep, he didn’t want to disrupt that.

Jono put his arm around Dylan, spooning him once again. He felt safe and sound now, and he had to make the most of it while he could.

Jolting awake, Drew’s eyes bolted open as the unforgiving spotlights beamed back on. It was unpleasant, especially considering Drew was already exceptionally uncomfortable. He had been stood in the same restricted position all night; any chance of comfort was ruined by the chains around his wrists, torso and ankles. This was inhumane. Although he wasn’t human. The hunters used that to their advantage. Reporting it to Sheriff Taylor only risked outing the existence of werewolves to not just Crystalshaw, but the world. Drew could not let that happen. Even if it meant his own death.

“It’s time,” Mrs. Johnson’s voice filled his ears. He couldn’t see her, his eyes were still adjusting to the spotlights, but he could smell her scent right in front of him. She uncuffed him, and he felt a huge rush of relief as he stretched his arms out at last. However, he knew he had made a deal with the devil, and it made him uneasy that he could be putting Dylan in danger.

Much to his relief, Dylan actually managed a decent night’s sleep. Being in Jono’s arms must have relaxed him nicely – he didn’t remember much from afterwards. He guessed that his body was just so exhausted that it forced itself to sleep.

He woke up before anyone else and managed to get Freddie out of the house before his mum woke up and asked questions. He, Jono and Freddie had spent much of Sunday up in the treehouse, out of the way of any potential hunters. Lily joined them too, but Yasmin wasn’t answering her phone. It was alarming Dylan that it was now the early evening and she hadn’t shown her face. Even his WhatsApp messages didn’t have two blue ticks to confirm they had been read yet. As if he didn’t have enough on his plate.

“Maybe she actually has plans?” Lily suggested, with a hint of sass.

“She didn’t mention anything to me,” Dylan thought. Surely, she would have mentioned any plans? It wasn’t like this was any old normal boring weekend, “Besides, we normally hang out on Sundays for homework catch-up. She checks with me by midday to be totally sure without fail.”

“I mean, it has been quite a while now. Maybe we should be concerned,” Jono offered. Dylan was pleased to have reassurance that his worries weren’t unfounded.

Dylan glanced at Freddie, who was slouched against the wall in the corner. He still seemed to be in shock by the entire situation. Dylan couldn’t blame him either – he was only thrown into the world of werewolves a week ago. He’d still barely had a moment to process everything.

“Look, the least we can do is pay her a visit, right?” Dylan suggested, “We could ask her dad if she’s not around.”

Dylan had only met Yasmin’s dad a handful of times, and the reception was always frosty. Yasmin told him it was because he thought they were an item. If only he knew.

“I guess. I’ll come with you, Dylan,” Lily agreed.
“Hey, what?” Jono piped up, “You’re not leaving me to babysit.”

“I don’t need babysitting,” Freddie defended himself.

“Wolf-sitting, whatever,” Jono ignored his complaint. Whether he was bantering or not was beyond Dylan, despite their usual light-hearted friendship. Times had changed.

“We won’t be long, he’ll only slow us down,” Lily commanded. Dylan tried to hide his laughter as a speechless Jono failed to think of a comeback. It was adorable.

He followed Lily down the treehouse steps, praying that his worries were a silly overreaction that he would laugh about with Yasmin in ten minutes’ time. His gut, however, told him otherwise.

The car journey felt much longer than five minutes to Dylan. The worry he felt seemed to slow time down, and it was excruciating. What didn’t help was that Lily seemed to think this was the time for a personal chat.

“I hear you and Jono have patched everything up,” Lily began.

“Yeah, we’re all good now,” Dylan replied vacantly, before adding, “Thanks for your help. I don’t deserve everything you’ve done for me.”

“You didn’t ask for any of this,” Lily thought, “You’d have done the same for me. Besides, you’re basically family. An honorary Chadwick.”

“I like that,” Dylan smiled. Despite his reservations, this chat was proving to be cathartic.

“You’re good for him. I’ve never seen him smile as much as when he’s with you,” Lily complimented. It warmed Dylan’s heart to hear that. Jono really did mean the world to him.

Finally, the car pulled up onto Yasmin’s driveway. The car had not even stopped before Dylan raced out and slammed his hand repeatedly against the doorbell. A tall man in his forties with closely cut hair answered, with a miserable scowl adorning his already harsh-looking face.

“Dylan, what’s the hurry?” he questioned.

“Is Yasmin home, Mr. Forsyth?” Dylan hurriedly asked. Unlike his mum, who always insisted that Dylan’s friends call her Caroline, Mr. Forsyth had never offered the same to Dylan. It spoke volumes about what he thought of him.

“Didn’t she go out with you? She’s not been in all day,” Mr. Forsyth told him. Oh no. Dylan’s worries were confirmed. Yasmin was missing.

Pacing back and forth across the treehouse, Jono was bored out of his mind. While Freddie was his best friend, he wasn’t sure what to say to him. A discussion about the weather hardly felt appropriate.

“You’re scared of me, aren’t you?” Freddie assumed.

“Of course not,” Jono instantly replied, insulted that Freddie would suggest such a thing.

“I wouldn’t blame you if you were,” Freddie continued, “I’m a…you know.”

“Freddie, my boyfriend is a werewolf. I’m not scared of him, or you,” Jono reassured, sitting next to him on the floor, “It’s just hard to know what to say. This is new to me too.”

“I still can’t believe Josh kept this from us,” Freddie pondered.

“You’ve known him longer than I have, think Freddie, is there a moment that offered any clues?” Jono queried.

“I don’t know. I guess he was good at acting,” Freddie reasoned, “Although…no.”

“What?” Jono was intrigued.

“A few years ago, in junior high, he went missing for like, two months,” Freddie recalled, “Everyone was panicked like hell. Even his parents were stumped.”

“I never knew this,” Jono was taken aback. It only honed in on the fact that he hadn’t known Josh or Freddie for very long in the grand scheme of things.

“I guess it’s ancient history now so I didn’t consider it,” Freddie thought, “Do you think it’s significant?”

“I think there’s a possibility that it could be,” Jono wondered, “Did he ever say anything about it? Any reasons?”

“No, he just showed up out of the blue like nothing had happened and never said a word, not to me or his parents anyway,” Freddie replied.

“Come on, I have an idea,” Jono leapt into action, leaving Freddie with no option but to follow.

Rushing through the Crystalshaw forest, Dylan and Lily were on the lookout for Yasmin on foot. Mr. Forsyth had taken the car, but Dylan knew they had to find her before he did. Anything could have happened to her as a result of the scratch, and Mr. Forsyth simply could not find out. Dylan prayed that Yasmin would be found safe and sound, but with each passing second, that seemed increasingly unlikely.

“Yasmin!” Dylan called out. No response. He looked behind every tree, under every log, and through every pile of autumnal brown leaves on the ground.

“Can you smell her scent?” Lily questioned.

“No, but if she’s not herself, she might have a different scent,” Dylan recalled what Drew told him. He could have done with a little help from him.

“She can’t have gone far surely? She wouldn’t have left Crystalshaw,” Lily noted. She was right. Wherever Yasmin was, she wouldn’t have left the town.

Dylan went to peep over another log, but before he could get there, he felt his body flop upside down as his ankle got caught in a trap of some sort.

“Lily, hide yourself,” Dylan ordered immediately. Lily ran behind a thick tree trunk, just as Dylan could make out three figures approaching them.

“This is him? This is the alpha?” he heard a familiar female voice say. He knew her tone but couldn’t place where he had heard it before.

“No, this is the second beta. He’s new, though not the newest,” he heard another familiar voice say. This was male, and he could identify it a mile off. It was Drew. What the hell was he doing? Who was he with? Too many questions.

“Get him down,” the unidentified female commanded. Dylan collapsed to the floor as the third person, a big burly man, cut the rope that was holding him up. Dylan composed himself as quickly as he could and looked up. He was horrified to see Mrs. Johnson in front of him.

“Dylan Drummond, what a pleasant surprise,” she smiled devilishly.

Horrified, Lily could hardly believe what she was seeing. Drew had made a pact with the enemy. Why? She always thought he seemed shifty, but this was a step too far.

Lily ensured she was out of view from everyone, but she wanted to watch. The tree trunk was just out of their line of vision, so she could peek round slightly and not be noticed.

“What are you doing here?” she heard Dylan ask.

“I could ask you the same,” Mrs. Johnson replied, “Two of my students being werewolves, and another two still out there. Wow.”

“You’re the hunter?” Dylan was mortified, then he glanced to Drew, “And you’re in on it?”

“They want the alpha, not us,” Drew replied, “We want the alpha too. A shared interest.”

“Difference being that I don’t want to kill him,” Dylan argued passionately, “And I didn’t think you did either.”

Lily knew he was expecting more from Drew. He trusted him more than she, Jono or Yasmin did.

“He’s a danger to us all, Drummond. The sooner you realise that, the better,” Drew continued.

“Come and join us, Dylan. It’s the only way to can protect your friends,” Mrs. Johnson tried her best to entice him. Lily watched on as Dylan stood up, faced with an impossible predicament. She could almost hear the cogs in his brain doing overtime.

“On three conditions,” Dylan demanded, “One, you don’t harm my friends; two, you only kill the alpha as a last resort; and three, you help me track down Yasmin.”

“We can protect your friends, including Yasmin,” Mrs. Johnson agreed, “Welcome to the team.” Lily’s heart sunk as Mrs. Johnson shook Dylan’s hand. She knew Dylan was using her for his own benefit, but the risks were so high.

Approaching the reception desk of the sheriff station, Jono felt quite nervous. He had no idea why but being around policemen always made him feel very guilty, despite doing nothing wrong. Freddie was next to him, for moral support.

“How can I help you?” the deputy on the front desk politely smiled.

“I need to speak to Sheriff Taylor. It’s important,” Jono requested. It was getting late on a Sunday, but it was worth a punt.

“Boys,” the Sheriff greeted from his office door to their right, “You’re just in time, I was about to leave. Come inside.” Jono glanced to Freddie, sharing a relieved facial expression that their visit wasn’t a total waste of time. They followed him into the office, taking a seat in front of his desk.

“What can I do you for?” the Sheriff questioned.

“We’ve got some questions to ask, about our friend,” Jono led the discussion, “His name is Josh Rayner.”

“Ah, Josh, I know him well. Is he alright?” Sheriff Taylor smiled.

“Not really, he’s not…,” Jono struggled to find the words to say without revealing the secret.

“He’s not been himself,” Freddie handily added.

“You think I can help?” the Sheriff seemed surprised.

“When he disappeared years ago, did he say anything to you about why?” Freddie continued.

“Sorry boys, I can’t discuss confidential matters like that with you,” the Sheriff played by the rules.

Darn, Jono thought, time to think fast.

“It’s important, Sheriff. We wouldn’t ask you unless we had to,” Jono pleaded.

“I suppose he spoke to me off the record. He was very incoherent, I couldn’t make sense of what he said, but he mentioned a pack arriving in Crystalshaw in the future. I asked him what he meant by pack, and he didn’t tell me. Nothing seemed to come of it,” Sheriff Taylor recalled.

Jono’s heart began beating irregularly fast at the mention of the word “pack,”. Perhaps this was their key?

“Thank you, Sheriff, that’s helpful,” Freddie replied.

“No problem, good on you if you can make any sense of it,” the Sheriff responded, standing up to escort the boys out. Jono’s eyes widened gleefully at Freddie. Result.

Feeling disgusted in what he had just done, Dylan could hardly look at Lily. He had made a pact with the enemy, all for the sake of finding Yasmin. There was still no sign of her, but her safety was paramount to him. He would not be giving up without a fight. Now he just had to hope Mrs. Johnson kept to her word.

“I’m sorry,” Dylan whispered to Lily as the group of them continued to trawl the woods for Yasmin.

“It’s alright. I would have done the same. Now we just have to hope they will be ready to fight Josh tomorrow,” Lily explained.

“We still don’t even know what he wants from us,” Dylan pondered, “That scares me more than anything.”

“Yasmin?” Drew cried out from a few metres away, “Dylan, come here.” Dylan immediately went to join Drew, who was stood next to a ditch in the leaf-filled ground. He saw Yasmin crouched into a ball, her head hidden by her hands. Dylan went to crouch next to her.

“Yasmin, it’s me, it’s Dylan,” he spoke very softly and gently, “It’s alright. You’re safe now.”

“I’m not alright,” Yasmin spoke through tears, as she looked up to face Dylan. He was terrified to see her eyes – they glowed in the same way as his, although in a deep sea blue colour. The rest of her face looked normal and not wolf-like, but it was still more than worrying. Dylan felt so guilty.

Mrs. Johnson insisted on driving Yasmin back to their base, for reasons Dylan didn’t understand. This wasn’t part of the plan. She had waffled on about her being “something new,”, which was even less reassuring. She was bound to be intrigued by what Yasmin was. Dylan was too, but it was clear their approaches were very different.

On the bright side, Mrs. Johnson had asked Dylan and Lily to follow them in the car. If it were anything to worry about, she would have ditched them at the earliest opportunity. Maybe she was keeping her promises after all.

The car in front stopped outside the J.R. Thompson warehouse, just as Jono and Lily had figured out. Lily parked her car adjacent to the large Land Rover the others had arrived in. Drew assisted Yasmin out, while the burly bodyguard opened Mrs. Johnson’s car door, as if he were her chauffeur. Dylan and Lily rushed inside behind them and down stone-cold stairs to an operating room. It was big and full of all sorts of medical equipment scattered about.

Drew helped Yasmin onto the operating table as Mrs. Johnson grabbed a torch and shone it into Yasmin’s still-glowing eyes.

“I can hear them. Those voices,” Yasmin spoke softly but vacantly.

“Talk to her,” Mrs. Johnson commanded.

“What voices? Who is it?” Dylan asked her.

“I don’t know, but they are so loud,” Yasmin had never sounded so fragile.

“Her mind is adjusting, she needs rest,” Mrs. Johnson deduced.

“She can hear voices, how are you so calm?” Lily hit out, “If that doesn’t ring alarm bells, I don’t know what will.”

“Look young lady, I’ve been doing this a hell of a lot longer than you, so button it unless you have something to contribute,” Mrs. Johnson scolded. Lily was speechless. Dylan would have laughed in any other circumstance, but he didn’t feel like laughing in that moment.

“Anaesthetic is ready,” Burly Man announced. Dylan still had no idea what his name was, so ‘Burly Man’ was his nickname. Not that he would dare call him that aloud.

“Administer it,” Mrs. Johnson commanded. Dylan watched as the drug was injected into Yasmin’s arm. Within seconds, she drifted off to sleep, finally resting.

Exasperated, Dylan was sat on a chair next to the operating table. Yasmin had been sleeping for roughly twenty minutes, and he was intent on staying with her until she woke up. Lily had gone to sit in her car and grab some fresh air, and it was beginning to get late. He knew he had to get home, as he had school in the morning. However, Josh looming made him want to run away and never stop. That wasn’t Dylan though. He was good at admitting his own flaws, but he was determined as hell. When he wanted something, he always got it. Josh would have to do a lot more to scare him off.

His phone buzzed. A text from Jono. “Been to Sheriff, Josh bringing pack to Crystalshaw.” Now it made sense. Josh, although being the alpha, didn’t seem to have as much power as he had hoped. He was recruiting new wolves. The problem was that both his new recruits had failed him. Who knew how far he would go to prove himself to his existing pack?

“She looks so peaceful,” Mrs. Johnson interrupted his train of thought as she approached him.

“Are you sure? Don’t you want anything contaminated by a werewolf dead?” Dylan retorted.

“I don’t want to kill you, or your friends,” Mrs. Johnson admitted, sounding much more vulnerable than before, “I’ve been tracking werewolves for years. I don’t want them dead, but I’m a scientist. The study of different species intrigues me. That’s why I’m so fascinated by Yasmin. She’s something new.”

“You’re not a hunter? Why did you kidnap Drew?” Dylan was confused.

“It’s the alpha I want. Drew had information that was useful to us. You may not like our methods, but they are effective,” Mrs. Johnson explained, “You had better go home and prepare for tomorrow. She’ll be safe here, I promise.”

“Nothing will prepare me for tomorrow,” Dylan confessed.

“I meant for double biology. You’ve got an exam to prepare for,” Mrs. Johnson laughed. Dylan had to laugh too. If anything, he had learnt that his least favourite teacher secretly had a sense of humour.

Worried by how long they had been gone, Jono had immediately assumed the worst. There had been no communication all evening between he and Dylan, and this only happened when he was in trouble. Jono decided to make the first move, sending Dylan a text to update him, but that was ten minutes ago now.

He was up in the treehouse, recalling Dylan’s tips from the night before about how to make a makeshift bed. He thought it would be a nice gesture to offer for Dylan to stay the night, so he wasn’t alone in case of Josh. Freddie had taken Jono’s bed so he had a good excuse to use the more romantic setting of the treehouse.

Jono threw a few beanbags down for padding, and another two for pillows. Finally, he laid a blanket down for the duvet. If it all went to plan, he would have one final quiet night with Dylan in the calm before the storm.

He picked up his phone again, ready to send another text, but he saw the front gates open and the headlights of a car zoom in on the garage door. He sprang up and peered down from above. Sure enough, it was Lily and Dylan arriving back. Finally.

Jono waved frantically, hoping to attract their attention. Lily caught his eye and pointed to direct Dylan in the right direction. He bounced his way up the ladder and into the treehouse.

“What’s going on here?” Dylan asked, immediately noticing the makeshift bed.

“I wondered if you fancied staying the night. You know, our last night before shit hits the fan,” Jono offered. He saw Dylan’s eyes light up with excitement.

“Heck yeah,” he grinned.

“Where’s Yasmin?” Jono wondered. He needed answers at last.

“Long story, she’s with Mrs. Johnson, things aren’t great but she’s safer there than she is here,” Dylan quickly said. That didn’t sound promising to Jono’s ears.

“Wait, Mrs. Johnson?” Jono processed the information.

“She was a hunter, or not a hunter. It gets confusing. She is looking after Yasmin though,” Dylan confusingly explained.

“Huh? You know what, never mind. Will she be alright?” Jono had to ask.

“Yeah, but she’s hearing voices. I don’t know what to do,” Dylan looked defeated. Jono put his arm around him.

“Like you said, she’s safe. Now let’s ensure we’re safe and ready for tomorrow,” Jono encouraged. He could see Dylan appreciated the motivation. He led Dylan to bed and they both crept under the rug. One final night of bliss.

9: Humanity Written by MarthaJonesFan

Storming through the forests of Crystalshaw, she knew she had to get there first. Reports of werewolves circulated among those in the know, and this was time for action. So few of them were left, and it was sure to get even fewer.

She had two men with her, but she led the operation. No man could tell her what to do, she was far too headstrong. All three of them were armed, although unlike their opponents, the guns weren’t intended for the werewolves.

Finally, she reached a shed. It was tatty and seemingly abandoned, except for the pair of glowing yellow eyes she noticed cropping up from the shattered window. Those of a teenage boy, surely no older than thirteen.

“What’s your name?” she questioned.

“Drew Marsden,” he replied timidly, “Please don’t hurt me.”

“I’ve come to help; you and your friends are not safe here,” she announced.

“Get down!” one of her men announced. She ducked as bullets began firing towards the shed. Taking cover, she tried to identify the hunters, but no luck.

“Get out while you still can, Johnson,” a voice yelled from metres away. They knew her, but that was no deterrent.

“Over my dead body,” she yelled back, pulling out her own gun and firing in the direction the bullets were coming from. They were at war, over a young boy with bright yellow eyes.

Much to her relief, she saw little Drew creeping out the back of the shed and making a run for it. Her work was done.

Waking up felt bittersweet for Dylan. He slept surprisingly well, and every second next to Jono was always a blessing. However, the day ahead was bound to be messy. He had to turn down Josh’s offer of joining his pack, and it was not going to go down well.

What was worse was that he still had to go to school and pretend that everything was normal. His mum would flip if he missed any more lessons.

“You ready?” Jono asked, still lying next to him.
“As I’ll ever be,” Dylan nodded.

Lily drove herself to school, while Jono gave Dylan a lift. Dylan felt strangely pumped for the day ahead. He’d had a weekend to prepare, and he was ready to prove himself as an individual. Now, he, Jono, Lily, Drew and Freddie were all sat around their usual bench. The lack of Yasmin was especially noticeable. Dylan could have done with one of her plans.

“When is he coming?” Lily questioned.

“We don’t know, that’s the problem. It might not even happen at school,” Dylan explained.

“Mrs. Johnson is on standby and she’s positioned a few men round the perimeter of the school. We’re safe here at least,” Drew added.

“Which means he won’t attack here,” Jono noted, “Josh is always one step ahead of us. He will know this already.”

“He’s right. It’s not now that we have to worry about, but maybe we could provoke him?” Lily suggested.

“How? We need Yasmin, she’d have a great idea,” Dylan despaired.

“We can’t, she’s not strong enough,” Drew insisted.

“What is she, Drew?” Dylan begged to know. She wasn’t a werewolf, and she had different colour eyes to him, but she certainly wasn’t human anymore.

“I don’t know, but we can figure it out later,” Drew brushed it off. Dylan rolled it off, it wasn’t important to Drew and he couldn’t have made it more obvious if he tried.

“For now, we need to get to class,” Freddie suggested, “There’s nothing we can do right now.”

“You’re right,” Dylan sighed, “Let’s go.” He hated anything to do with biology, but on the bright side, a test would certainly be a welcome distraction.

“Your time starts…now,” Mrs. Johnson barked from the front of the biology lab. Dylan flicked over the page of the test in front of him. He wasn’t nervous, but he equally wasn’t optimistic.

As he glanced at the test, the words may as well have been in Japanese for all Dylan could make out. He couldn’t focus on any of the words on the page. The sound of the clock ticking away and pens rubbing against paper sounded ear-piercingly loud. His hearing was unfocused and he couldn’t concentrate.

“Dylan,” he heard a voice whisper. Confused and disorientated, Dylan spun around in his seat to see who was calling his name. Nobody in the classroom was looking his way, and everyone seemed engrossed in their tests. Freddie noticed his movements and glared his eyes – he had heard it too.

“What’s up?” Jono whispered from next to Dylan.

“He’s here, he’s calling me now,” Dylan replied. He stood up and ran out of the class before Mrs. Johnson could protest. In the corridor, there he was. Stood a few metres away in the centre of the corridor, Josh was facing him. He was wearing a navy hoodie, concealing his identity and ditching his usual fashionable clothing that Dylan was always envious of.

“Have you made your decision?” Josh interrogated, skipping any idea of small talk.

“You’re fighting alone, Josh,” Dylan confidently replied.

“You’ll regret that, Dylan,” Josh said before walking away down the corridor to his left. Dylan ran to follow, but he had vanished. The line was drawn.

Strolling around the grounds for some fresh air, Jono had found the morning to be very exhausting. Dylan had told him about seeing Josh, and the worry about what was to come was suffocating. He needed some alone time.

“Hey,” Lily jogged up to join him, “How was the test?”

“Alright I guess. I couldn’t really focus,” Jono replied, “Did you see Dylan?”

“Yeah, so he’s here then,” Lily sighed, “We are gonna be alright, aren’t we?”

“Of course. Dylan will ensure it,” Jono had faith. No matter what, he knew Dylan would protect them.

In the corner of his eye, just in between his and Lily’s cars, he noticed a familiar face. Looking vacantly at him was Yasmin. Immediately, he rushed over to check on her.

“Yasmin, are you alright?” he asked, as Lily caught up to him.

“They’re coming here, and he will lose,” Yasmin spoke, as if delivering a prophecy.

“Who? Who will lose?” Lily asked keenly.

“He who bathes in the cloud of mountain ash,” Yasmin responded, before collapsing. Jono caught her in his arms just in time, saving her from the uncomfortable concrete.

“What was that meant to mean? What’s mountain ash?” Jono queried. None of it made sense.

“Drew had some in his bunker. I’ve got an idea, let’s go,” Lily sprung to life as Jono carried Yasmin to her car.

The only two of Dylan’s group at the bench at lunchtime were he and Drew. This was the level of busyness that he had come to expect at the bench, although normally it was Yasmin that sat with him. Now feeling much less calm, Dylan was beginning to panic.

“I have no idea what I need to do. He’s won,” Dylan vented. He couldn’t see any other options.

“We still have the back-up,” Drew reminded.

“No,” Dylan instantly commanded, “We’re not killing him.”

“It would solve our problems,” Drew insisted.

“We would be no better than him,” Dylan argued, “You taught me control. Maybe you need to teach yourself.”

“I’ve seen werewolves be murdered in cold blood. I was the only one left in Crystalshaw for years,” Drew firmly recalled, “Never again. I won’t allow our lives to be lost over his.” It was food for thought for Dylan, even if he disagreed with the act of murder entirely.

“How may werewolves were there?” Dylan saw the opportunity to ask questions.

“So many. I had friends all over, even one of my cousins was a werewolf and I never knew,” Drew reminisced.

“What about your parents?” Dylan questioned. He had thought a lot about what his own mum may think of him. He didn’t want to tell her and risk a terrible reaction. Drew’s own story could prove helpful.

“They never knew. I wish they did, cause maybe they could have defended themselves,” Drew looked distant, like he was struggling with the memories.

“From what?” Dylan wondered. He hoped he wasn’t digging too deep.

“From being slaughtered by the hunters,” Drew replied, “They assumed they were werewolves like me.” Dylan felt his stomach drop. That was not the revelation he expected to hear. It was horrible, and immediately he applied it to his own situation. His mum being murdered was not worth thinking about.

“Drew, I…I’m so sorry. I had no idea,” Dylan tried to backtrack.

“I don’t need sympathy,” Drew replied, keeping a brave face, “I need justice.”

“And we’ll get it,” Dylan said confidently, “But there is no need for any more death.”

“If only Josh hadn’t bitten such a softie,” Drew joked.

“You love me really,” Dylan smiled, “What happened to the hunters? Are they still here?”

“Some are, but they gave up a long time ago. We’ve still gotta be careful. Others followed the werewolves who ran away,” Drew detailed.

“Let’s hope we’re safe then,” Dylan commented.

“We’ll never be safe,” Drew pessimistically stated.

Despite the usual level of negativity from Drew, Dylan feared that he was right.

Shoving open the bunker door, Lily immediately began looking for what she needed. The idea was still forming in her mind, but she needed one vital ingredient. Yasmin had proved to be an important clue in what might defeat Josh. Equally though, she had to be careful, as the prophecy could just as much have applied to Dylan too.

She was alone in the bunker, leaving Jono to tend to Yasmin in the car. Although she hadn’t told Jono, Lily was hoping she may find something that would help Yasmin while she was in the bunker too.

As she browsed the cluttered shelves, Lily found just what she was looking for. The jar of mountain ash stared her back in the face, just where she left it before. More interestingly though, catching her eye to its left was a small, black book. It was dusty and looked like it hadn’t been touched in years. The word “bestiary,” was written in bold letters on the front. It intrigued Lily, and she took a glimpse inside. She was awestruck by everything she saw – diagrams, information and drawings. This had to be useful. Dylan needed to see it.

She picked up the jar and carried it under her arm, with the book in her other hand.

Waiting in the car outside, Jono didn’t take his eyes off Yasmin. She looked so peaceful, but he knew she wasn’t. He couldn’t imagine what it would be like to hear voices in your head.

Of course, he didn’t blame Dylan for what happened to her, but he couldn’t help thinking how much she, and everyone else, had changed over the space of a few days. The shy and retiring yet brilliantly clever Yasmin seemed a distant memory already.

The last week had changed them all, but despite the stress, Jono still had no regrets. He had gained so much. New knowledge, new friends, and he was finally dating his number one crush. He couldn’t believe it had only been one week since he first made a move on Dylan. The scariest yet most rewarding moment of his life.

“Dylan,” Yasmin stirred.

“Dylan’s not here, it’s Jono,” he replied calmly.

“Where are we?” Yasmin queried, with much more intonation in her voice than before.

“Lily’s car, she’ll be back in a minute. How are you?” Jono queried.

“My head hurts, what happened?” Yasmin seemed to have no recollection of anything.

“Long story, but you’re safe now,” Jono smiled, just as Lily clicked open the driver’s door and hopped into the car. She shoved a jar of some dusty grainy looking thing and a tatty old book into Jono’s lap.

“What’s this?” he wondered.

“I’ll explain on the way, no time to waste,” Lily replied, starting the car up.

Patrolling the corridors, Freddie had quietly crept off after class without the others. He wanted to follow his nose, teach himself how to utilise his new abilities and hopefully find a clue. He wanted to prove himself to Dylan. He was fed up of being the puppy that needed to be looked after. Besides, he had an inkling that Josh was still lurking.

Somehow, he had made it past the guards outside, and Dylan wasn’t expecting an attack until after school. This gave Josh the upper hand until three o’clock. All Freddie needed to find was a clue that he was still in school. The light scent of his cologne lingered, but it wasn’t enough. That could have been left from earlier.

He looked around the area where Dylan saw him, outside the biology lab. The cologne was stronger there.

As he glanced down to the floor, he noticed a slip of paper, ripped from a biology worksheet. He picked it up and unfolded it. Drawn on it in pencil was a circle with a plus sign in the middle. Freddie assumed it had fallen out of another kid’s pocket.

“It’s my pack symbol,” Freddie heard a voice from behind say. There he was. Josh, wrapped in a navy hoodie sheltering much of his face. That must have been how he made it past the guards. Easily done when school kids arrive in such huge swathes. He continued, “You could be a part of it too.”

“I don’t want to,” Freddie defiantly replied.

“What’s happened to you, bro? I thought we had each other’s backs,” Josh taunted.

“So did I, then you did this to me,” Freddie stood his ground.

“I did this to make us stronger. We’re basically brothers now. There’s nothing stronger than the bond between an alpha and his beta,” Josh persuaded.

“But why are you doing all this? You killed Shona, what for?” Freddie tried to comprehend.

“Dylan shunned me, I had to get his attention, Maybe I could have done it differently,” Josh seemed repentant.

“You’re lying,” Freddie called him out.

“Listen to my heartbeat. Then see if I’m lying,” Josh suggested. Freddie focused his hearing. The regular beating rhythm was slow and calm. Either he was telling the truth, or he was a very good liar.

“What do you want?” Freddie asked. He still wasn’t sure if Josh was lying or not, but he wanted to hear him out. If there was even the slightest chance of the old Josh still being there, he wanted to take it.

“A meeting with Dylan at two o’clock in the library. Just to talk, I need to explain everything to him,” Josh justified. His heartbeat hadn’t changed. Not a single irregular beat, not a single change in tempo. He couldn’t believe he was considering this.

“What do I get out of this?” Freddie posed.

“Things can go back to normal, we’ll be best mates again. Nothing will have changed,” Josh responded, and to Freddie’s ears he sounded sincere.

“Alright then. Only if there’s no funny business,” Freddie agreed against his better judgement. He was amazed that he had even considered Josh’s offer, but he couldn’t he. Part of him trusted Josh still.

“You did what?” Dylan was appalled. He couldn’t believe that Freddie had gone behind his back like that. Agreeing to a chat with Josh? Anyone would think Freddie was on his side.

“I thought it might help, what if he’s telling the truth?” Freddie debated.

“He couldn’t tell the truth if he tried,” Dylan retorted.

“Maybe he has a point?” Drew considered.

“Are you out of your freaking mind?” Dylan was getting angry. Thankfully, the wolf was just about under control. He thought of his anchor, trying to keep cool.

“We should hear him out,” Drew thought, “But if not, it at least gets us closer to him.”

“To do what? We still don’t have a plan. If he wanted a peace conference, he could have asked me earlier,” Dylan argued defiantly. Before he could add anything else, Dylan was stunned by who he saw approaching the bench. Joining Jono and Lily springing their way over was Yasmin, looking her normal, radiant self. What the heck?

“Yasmin, what are you doing here?” Dylan asked as soon as she reached the bench.

“Never mind that, we’ve got a plan,” Yasmin smiled. Oh, it was good to have her back.

Cautiously walking into the library, Dylan was not a second late. It was just after lunch, and the library was dead silent. The perfect place to meet Josh. He looked around, trying to find him, but there was nobody in sight.

Checking down every aisle, Dylan was confused. Josh wanted this meeting, but where was he?

“Thanks for coming,” Dylan jumped as a voice behind him began speaking. He spun round – it was indeed Josh.

“I’m doing this for my friends,” Dylan noted.

“I can tell, considering the scents of Drew and Freddie are pretty unmissable in this place,” Josh commented, sussing out Dylan’s back-up. Oops. He ordered, “Come out boys.” Drew and Freddie skulked out of the shadows, where Dylan had asked them to wait, just in case. They both stood near the doorway, watching on. Now he really was on his own.

“Take a seat, Dylan,” Josh offered him a place at the biggest desk in the centre of the library. Dylan sat facing the door, while Josh plonked down opposite. In the middle of the desk were two small glasses and a jug of an orange squash drink, “I can’t resist this stuff. Go on, have a taste.” Dylan warily poured some into both glasses and took a sip of his own.

“Not bad,” he commented.

“It’s a little like me, then,” Josh took this chance. Dylan rolled his eyes, but he agreed to hear him out, so he will, “I’m not a bad egg, Dylan.”

“Actions speak louder than words, Josh. Maybe you should have thought about your dreams of having a pack before you murdered someone in cold blood?” Dylan debated.

“I was stupid to say the least, but I’ve learnt my errors now. I’m a better person, and we can work together,” Josh pleaded.

“Work? There is no work,” Dylan picked up.

“Work on expanding our pack. I have three here and another three on their way, but we don’t have to stop there,” Josh suggested.

“I don’t want that, Josh. This is what you don’t understand. You tried to take my humanity from me, against my will, but I fought back, because my friends and I deserve better. Humanity wins,” Dylan passionately justified. As he was talking, he saw Drew creeping up behind Josh. Quietly, carefully and with intent. He continued talking to keep Josh’s attention, “This is why I will never join your pack, Josh.”


“I’m a human being, and you…,”


“You are a monster.”

Drew threw his claws into the air and flung them right at Josh’s throat, but it wasn’t good enough. He got caught as Josh rapidly blocked it. Dylan watched as Josh was now looking away from the table. This was his moment. He tipped the contents of a small tub into Josh’s glass of squash. Even through the tub, the contents felt strange, like a magnetic repulsion.

“Your friends are pathetic,” Josh quickly dropped his friendly façade.

“Not as pathetic as you,” Dylan hit back as Josh took a large gulp of the squash.

“You won’t be saying that when you’re begging for mercy as I kill you,” Josh coldly stated. Then he coughed. Dylan watched on as Josh looked gobsmacked – he almost certainly hadn’t coughed since becoming a werewolf and gaining those healing powers. He coughed once again.

“Not feeling so good?” Dylan asked with a big grin on his face. The real plan was working.

“What have you done to me?” Josh struggled to speak, his hand touching his throat.

“Mountain ash,” Dylan simply stated, “I slipped some into your drink.”

“You will pay for this,” Josh threatened, as he titled his head back and a cloud of black smoke erupted from his mouth. Dylan watched on in shock. As pleased as he was that the plan went so smoothly, he didn’t like seeing anybody in pain.

“This is what happens when you try to take somebody’s free will away, Josh,” Dylan informed, “I may be a werewolf, but my heart is human and it always will be.”

Josh shut his eyes tightly as his body convulsed harshly. After roughly half a minute, he stopped still. He was still sat upright, and his eyes remained shut.

“Josh?” Dylan called out. No reply, until a twitch of the eyes. Slowly, both eyes opened. Much to Dylan’s shock, instead of the usual danger red colour, he saw a deep blue, darker than Yasmin’s eyes.

“What have you done?” Josh angrily asked.

“Get lost, Josh. I don’t want to see you around here again,” Dylan commanded, glowing his own eyes.

Josh scuttled off, looking like he was terrified of Dylan. He breathed a sigh of relief as the doors slammed shut. Freddie sprinted over and hugged Dylan, sharing his sense of relief, while Drew gave him an approving nod. He could hardly believe that the plan had actually worked.

Swaggering out of the library with Drew and Freddie in tow, Dylan was hugged by Yasmin immediately after he walked through the double doors. It was a great feeling, knowing he had succeeded at something for a change.

“You did it! I can’t believe you actually did it,” Yasmin exclaimed.

“Thanks, I think,” Dylan laughed, “I said we needed one of your amazing plans.”

“Hey, it was my plan too,” Lily added, throwing her arms around Dylan too and placing a peck on his cheek. Dylan blushed. He wasn’t into girls that way, but he couldn’t deny – that was a cute kiss.

“We did it, all of us,” Dylan corrected. He felt so proud of himself and of all his friends.

Last but not least was Jono. He beamed a huge proud smile at Dylan, which felt so beautifully heart-warming, and embraced him in a kiss. Dylan was on cloud nine, and he had never felt better.

That night, in Dylan’s bedroom, Drew paid him a visit. It was a strange concept for Dylan still. Even though they had a newfound respect for each other, he totally despised Drew until a week ago. Strangely, Drew was actually smiling. The shocks kept on coming.

“You did good today Drummond,” Drew complimented. The surname thing still hadn’t changed. For old times’ sake, Dylan guessed.

“Careful, you’re verging on soppy. What would the basketball lads make of that?” Dylan jested.

“Seriously though, you defeated an alpha. They are the strongest of our kind. You won’t hear the end of this,” Drew continued.

“That’s just my problem though,” Dylan worried, “He still has three of his pack members on the way. This is far from over.”

“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” Drew wisely stated.

“I guess,” Dylan accepted, “Oh, and one more question. Josh’s eyes are blue now. What does that mean? Is it for ex-alphas or something?”

“No, but that would be a good idea,” Drew explained, “Blue eyes mean you have killed someone innocent. Josh killed Shona and god knows how many others over time.”

“So, he’s otherwise just like us?” Dylan pondered.

“Yup, he’s a beta now. Or an omega, that’s a wolf who has no pack,” Drew detailed, “See, I’m not so bad. We might disagree on some things Drummond but look at my eyes.” Drew glared his bright yellow eyes to Dylan. Proof that he hadn’t taken an innocent life after all.

“I’m pleased,” Dylan smiled. For all his criticisms of Drew, at least they were singing from the same hymn sheet. Mostly.

“So I’ve been skim-reading this all evening but there is so much there, it’s easy to miss stuff,” Lily recapped. She was talking to Yasmin, who she had invited round for the night. She billed it as a “girly night in,” to her parents, but unfortunately it was not going to be so fun. She had been reading Drew’s “bestiary,” book, and she was blown away by all of the information it held. There were details of all sorts of creatures, not just werewolves, and it seemed perfect for identifying what Yasmin was. However, it was so thick and full of information that it was not a one-person job.

“Does Dylan know you have that?” Yasmin sensibly asked. Much too sensible for Lily.

“He’ll know at a later date. Drew has no idea and I want it to stay that way, he’ll probably kick off,” Lily justified.

“Right, we had better get going then,” Yasmin said as she flicked over the first page, noticing the tiny font, “Woah, I had better get my glasses on.”

Lily laughed. While she had plenty of friends her own age, there was something more genuine about her friendship with Yasmin. It felt stress-free and relaxing, and she didn’t have to worry about drama.

Crawling through the woods, Josh felt drained. He had been an alpha for long enough to notice the huge difference in power and status between alpha, beta and omega, and it wasn’t pleasant.

He was scuttling away like a beetle, trying to get as far away from the sick Dylan as he possibly could. The power he had was terrifying for a beta. How could he create something so worrying?

All of a sudden, he noticed three bright torch lights shining in front. They were moving; bobbing away as they got closer. He stared at them, confused.

“Ah, look who it is,” a female voice said.

“Never has a sight been so satisfying,” a second female said coldly.

“Looks like he failed our task then,” a male added.

Oh no. Josh knew these voices all too well. Before he could see their faces in the dark forest, he was picked up and gagged, before being carted away on the male’s back.

By the time Friday had come around again, Dylan had almost slotted back into his old life. School was the most soul-crushing thing he had to deal with, and Sunday homework night with Yasmin was resuming that weekend. Dylan knew he needed it. Mrs. Johnson hadn’t spoken a word about Josh or anything werewolf-related, and was back to being her usual mean, grouchy self.

The best thing about normality though was his “mom time,” after school. With no sign of Josh or his supposed pack, Dylan noticed he had way more time for Caroline, and he loved it.

Although, as nice as normality was, it was very much a new normal. His friendship group at school was suddenly much bigger than it was two weeks ago, and it was nice to have people caring for him. Notably his company for that Friday night.

Dylan was spending the entire night in the comfort of Jono’s arms. They were in Jono’s treehouse, and his makeshift bed was almost as good as his own. Now they had spent many nights next to each other, Dylan could comfortably say that lying next to Jono was always a thrill. He thought he would never get over just how lucky he was to have such an accepting, handsome and all-round incredible boyfriend. Every moment together was a joy, and although Dylan wasn’t happy with every change in his life, he wouldn’t dare turn the clock back. If it meant losing Jono, it was a no-go.

Dylan stared through the window and up to the moon in the sky. It was barely visible, almost exactly halfway between two full moons, but Dylan always felt its presence. It was comforting in some ways, and terrifying in others.

“It looks so peaceful,” Jono commented, looking up in the same direction.

“Yeah, it does,” Dylan agreed. He hadn’t thought about it before, but maybe the moon wasn’t such a bad thing for werewolves. Every one of them was connected by the same thing. They shared something humans couldn’t understand. Sometimes he felt that way about he and Jono too. He glanced into his eyes and smiled.

He really had won the jackpot.

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