As Freddie's struggles with his new body become more and more apparent, Dylan intervenes and puts himself in huge danger. Lily finds herself attracted to Oli, the new guy in her class, but among her own problems, Yasmin realises there may be more than meets the eye with him.
When Freddie goes missing, Dylan and Jono look for clues that could find out who abducted him. Freddie finds out that it's a familiar face, and not a pleasant one either. Meanwhile, Yasmin and Lily confront Drew about his large pile of secrets.
With Clara persuing an alpha, Dylan has to make a decision that could frustrate the pack. Harbouring Dylan's mum's secret, Jono backs his boyfriend but Yasmin is less receptive after finding a murdered werewolf.
Yasmin begins to doubt Dylan's plan as she worries about the trustworthiness of Clara. Lily goes on a date with Oli, hoping for the best, although Freddie begins to worry as memories flood back from the night before.
Dylan tries to forget about the hunters and Clara on his birthday but struggles with the full moon looming and the potential for Freddie to lose control being high. Meanwhile, Yasmin finds it hard to cope with the shock revelation about her dad.
After Dylan's birthday party is crashed by hunters, he and Jono frantically struggle to find a way to save their friends from inside a house teeming with armed men. Will Freddie survive the full moon? How will Yasmin react when she comes face-to-face with her dad?
1: Insomnia Written by MarthaJonesFan
Tossing and turning like mad, getting a good night’s sleep felt like a long-forgotten concept to Freddie. Although he was getting to grips with his new normal, he hadn’t had a decent sleep since Josh had bitten him. Almost three months had passed since then, and yet he couldn’t shake Josh out of his head. His mind simply wouldn’t switch off. He looked over at the clock – 3:38am. He had been lying awake in that bed for over three hours. Much like every single night. He was being driven slowly crazy.
Freddie’s ears identified the unmistakable sound of the loose floorboard just outside his bedroom. Someone was there. The door was shut, he couldn’t see who. What if Josh was back? They still hadn’t heard from the rest of his pack either. Perhaps they had all come for him. He needed to arm himself. Freddie picked up the baseball bat he kept in the wardrobe. He thought it wise to invest in one in case Josh came back to attack. He inched towards the door. His pulse was faster than ever; he was terrified. He cupped his hand around the door handle, and rapidly slammed it down, flinging the door open. He primed himself ready for attack straight away, holding the bat high above his head, just one thought away from thwacking it down. However, to his own horror, he saw George stood in front of him. His older, more conventionally attractive brother who was his legal carer.
“What the heck Freddie?” he yelled, putting his hands out in front of him to shield the potential whack. Freddie’s heart sank. Now he had screwed up.
The moment of truth had arrived, and Dylan was experiencing an odd mixture of excitement and nerves. Jono was printing the first edition of the new school paper. They had dedicated just about every spare moment they had over the last two months to making the first issue perfect. Every inch had seen a huge amount of care and attention from both Dylan and Jono, from the articles themselves to the presentation and layout. This moment had been a long time coming, as the paper had seen a strangely slow start. Despite the enthusiasm of both boys, they were buried under the pressure of mock exams halfway through the school year. Much to Dylan’s annoyance, his mum kept tabs on his revision. On the bright side, study sessions with Jono were the perfect excuse to kill two birds with one stone. They always ended the same way, too.
“Et voila” Jono announced, passing Dylan the first finished copy. Wow. This was the product of their hard work. It was a pure stunner. He felt like a proud father.
“You like it?” Jono questioned.
“I love it” Dylan responded, awestruck.
“You’ve been staring at it on the computer for weeks, it’s not that exciting” Jono laughed.
“I don’t know, I’ve never worked on anything like this before. Everything we’ve done has led to this. We did it” Dylan gushed.
“Our first of many” Jono grinned. Dylan could tell he was loving this just as much as he was, even if he was hiding it. He skimmed his eyes down to Yasmin’s guest article. She wasn’t a journalist, but Dylan figured everyone deserved some of her study skills. She was a boss at studying and spoke much less clinically than most of the teachers. However, he noticed something strange at the bottom of her piece. He must have missed it before.
“Did you do this?” Dylan asked Jono, passing the sheet back to him.
“No, I just copy and pasted it from Yasmin’s email” Jono was just as alarmed as he read it. The final sentence of the article said “They are here. Take cover.” It made no sense within the context of the rest of the article. Yasmin had actually been her usual self for the past few months. No unusual eye colour, no trance-like states, and when she gave herself a papercut the other week, her blood was red. This was the first hint at anything dodgy in a while.
“We better go ask her” Dylan decided.
“Note to self, do a better editing job” Jono jested.
“You’re still reading that?” Yasmin questioned to Lily as she sat down at their bench outside. Lily had the Bestiary book in her hands and looked to be engrossed.
“I’m determined to finish it, I’m not giving up on you” Lily was adamant.
“I’ve been fine for months, maybe it was temporary” Yasmin suggested. She wasn’t believing the words she was saying, but she liked a little wishful thinking now and then. On one occasion she had to get it right.
“I wouldn’t be so sure” Jono interrupted. Yasmin watched as Lily quickly shoved the book back into her bag when Jono and Dylan arrived. She hated keeping it a secret from them both.
“Huh?” Yasmin responded. It sounded like he knew something she didn’t. She hated that.
“We were just printing your article, look at this” Dylan handed her the first-printed copy. Yasmin keenly read it, hoping she could call them out for being silly and no more would be said. Then she saw it. The final sentence of her article.
“Dylan if this is some sort of practical joke” Yasmin wasn’t convinced he was being serious.
“It’s not, cross my heart. So, you don’t remember writing it?” Dylan questioned.
“No” it broke Yasmin’s heart to admit that. She thought, and hoped, she had been fine for months. Looks like it was just dormant, whatever it was.
“Alright, what does it mean?” Lily questioned.
“The last time you said something like that, it was spot on” Jono recalled, “We need to be on red alert.”
“So what do we do?” Lily continued.
“Nothing” Dylan decided, “We can’t do anything except keep our eyes peeled. I think you were trying to warn us, Yasmin.” Sure, that was a cool skill, but somehow it didn’t put Yasmin at ease. As Dylan said that, Freddie joined them at the bench. Blimey. Yasmin had never seen such huge bags under someone’s eyes. He looked like a zombie.
“Don’t take this the wrong way” Lily skipped the greetings, “But you look awful.” You could always rely on Lily to be blunt.
“Is everything alright, dude?” Jono questioned.
“Yeah, I just didn’t sleep very well” Freddie slurred. Yasmin didn’t believe him – he was twirling his hair and avoiding eye contact. Maybe she could get through to him later. It would take her mind off her own problems at least.
Dylan thought to keep a close eye on Freddie throughout the day. Understandably, he hadn’t been himself for a little while. Dylan knew that losing the friend he had in Josh could not have been easy. He could also say from experience that adapting to becoming a werewolf was tough too. Freddie had gone through two full moons and neither had gone very smoothly. The upcoming one certainly had Dylan worried. Freddie had been half asleep throughout maths – Dylan could hardly blame him considering the subject matter, but that was beside the point. Afterwards, Dylan ensured he walked alongside Freddie to next class.
“What’s going on, dude?” Dylan cut to the chase.
“Huh?” Freddie replied, playing dumb. Dylan was the expert in that. You can’t kid a kidder.
“Don’t fob me off, I’m trying to do you a favour” Dylan scolded. Freddie glanced at him. Dylan wasn’t taking any shit, and Freddie could recognise that.
“Let’s talk in private” Freddie decided, slowing down outside the boys’ toilets. He dived in, followed by Dylan. Quite frankly, this was much more pressing than whatever they were supposed to be learning in history that lesson.
Glancing around her English class, Lily was surprised by a few new faces. It was unusual for new students to arrive with no prior announcement, although perhaps they were in a different form to her. Nevertheless, there they were, sat in a line at the back of the classroom. Two girls – one with her black afro hair carefully styled in a bun, while the other had her long, silky blonde hair flowing down her back. Not a single hair was out of place, and Lily couldn’t lie – she was envious. The third was a guy, very good-looking and just Lily’s type. His current on-trend haircut of shaved sides and a quiff on top looked immaculate.
“Who the hell are they?” Lily whispered to George, sat next to her.
“New kids, they were in my form this morning. None of them have said a word to anyone yet” George informed. Lily looked around again. They all glared her way, none looking especially approachable.
“Hey” George continued, “Have you seen Freddie this morning? I know Jono’s friends with him.”
“Yeah, why?” Lily tired playing dumb. She was an expert at acting, if she did say so herself.
“He’s been acting weirdly at home. I know things have been hard since mom died, but this is a recent thing” George explained.
“What’s he done?” Lily listened intently. Any information she could get would be useful, particularly with the extra knowledge she and Jono had.
“He’s barely talked to me, which is really unlike him. He’s not slept well for months, and last night, he almost attacked me with a baseball bat. I think he thought I was a burglar” George recalled.
Or Josh, Lily thought.
“I could get Jono to have a word if you want?” Lily smiled kindly.
“I mean, if that would work, it would be amazing. Thank you” Josh smiled back. He looked defeated behind the smile. Lily was glad to help – she was concerned too after his behaviour that morning. Besides, it didn’t take a genius to know that speaking to a therapist would be a terrible move for someone with such a huge secret. She had to get to the bottom of it.
The bathroom was empty, much to Dylan’s relief. It was usually quiet during lesson time anyway but he thought it wise to double check the cubicles. He couldn’t take any chances. Freddie leaned against the row of sinks, looking at himself in the mirror. Dylan knew that look. The rage, the fury and the desperation. It reminded him of himself, back when he was first bitten. Freddie had no idea who he was anymore.
“This stupid bite has ruined my life” Freddie vented, “I was happy before. I had friends who actually wanted to hang out with me rather than babysit me. I was just about happy at home again. He took that from me.” Freddie’s eyes glowed a vicious yellow as Freddie lost his grip over the wolf again. It was an alarming sight for Dylan. As he had learned over the past few months, Freddie was a nightmare when he had shifted. He seemed to struggle with the concept of an anchor, which was the only thing that helped Dylan out. Freddie looked around to Dylan and lunged for him. Dylan immediately ran into the cubicle adjacent and slammed the door. He didn’t want to fight Freddie. He had tried before and it got neither of them anywhere. Maybe waiting it out would be better. Immediately, Freddie began bashing on the door. Dylan leaned against it as a barricade – the lock would only last so long, it needed all the support it could get. The bashing continued for a few minutes, Dylan was too preoccupied to be keeping a look on the clock to know specifically. Freddie scratched against the door too, the horrible screeching sound of the nails against the surface sending shivers down Dylan’s spine. The lock was definitely going to give way, even with Dylan’s applied force. He had to think of something, and quickly. Much to Dylan’s surprise, the noises then stopped. Silence in the room. That somehow sounded even worse to Dylan – what was Freddie doing? The unknown was scarier. He tried looking under the door, but no sign. He hadn’t heard the door go. Then it dawned on him. If he wasn’t on the floor, yet still in the room, he could only have gone in one direction. Up. He cautiously peeped upwards, and sur enough, Freddie was peering over the top of the cubicle, hauling himself up with his added strength. Now Dylan really was cornered. He was preparing to make a run for it out of the door, but the lock was unreliable after being rattled about so much. He braced himself, still staring Freddie in the eye. All of a sudden, Freddie tumbled backwards off the ledge, as if he had been pulled back. He fell to the floor with a thud, and then silence once again, until…
“Oh, my back” he heard Freddie complain. Back to normal. Dylan fiddled with the lock, shoving it open and checking behind the door. There was Freddie, lying on the floor as usual, with Drew stood over him.
“Pain makes you human” Drew simply stated.
Confused, Jono was wondering where Dylan and Freddie were at. They were in maths just now, but on the way to history, they seemed to get lost. For some reason, that felt like more of a bad thing. He turned around and glanced at Yasmin behind him. She shared the same worried facial expression. She was just as concerned as he was.
“Excuse me, miss” Yasmin called out.
“Yes, Miss Forsyth?” Ms. Kennedy replied, disrupting the silence of the lesson. Ms. Kennedy was one of those teachers who didn’t insist on silence in her lessons, but people respected her too much to cause any disruption.
“Could I use the little girl’s room please?” Yasmin sweetly asked. She was basically Ms. Kennedy’s favourite. Studious but not snooty. A teacher’s dream.
“Sure” Ms. Kennedy sweetly replied. Jono was amazed at how Yasmin did it. It was only a week ago that Ms. Kennedy denied him the same request.
“Miss, I need to go as well” Jono butted in, not as smoothly as he wanted.
“Where, to the little girl’s room? I’m learning new things about you every day Mr. Chadwick” Ms. Kennedy teased. Jono knew she was bantering, but he still blushed, “Is it urgent?” Jono nodded.
“Alright, but no messing around in the bathroom. I know what you teenagers are like” Ms. Kennedy joked. Ah, gotta love the heteronormative society. Jono’s pet peeve. He didn’t argue anyway, even though his and Dylan’s relationship was hardly a secret amongst their classmates. He had to catch up to Yasmin instead.
“She let you out?” Yasmin looked shocked when she noticed Jono behind her.
“Not without a little humiliation first” Jono replied, trying to act casual, “Ms. Kennedy not being sexist for a change.”
“She’s not sexist, you just don’t do her homework” Yasmin called him out. He couldn’t deny it. It was the god’s honest truth.
“Where are we going?” Jono queried.
“Boys’ toilets” Yasmin confidently replied. It was unusually confident, considering she seemed just as much in the dark as he was.
“For sure? You sound like you know” Jono was intrigued.
“No, it was just a guess” Yasmin replied sheepishly, trying to shrug him off. She looked away from Jono. Before he could ask anything else, the toilet door burst open as Drew and Dylan assisted Freddie out.
“Find an empty classroom” Drew commanded.
Clearing the front desk of Mrs. Johnson’s empty lab, Dylan led the way and assisted Freddie onto the table. He looked shattered, more so than before. Jono helped rest his head on the desk, carefully supporting it as Dylan let go of his arm. Freddie’s eyes were almost shut, drifting off to sleep that was much needed going by the bags under his eyes.
on?” Mrs. Johnson burst in, wondering about the state of her classroom.
“We need your help” Drew led the way, “Freddie. He’s out of control.”
“He looks like he hasn’t slept for weeks” Yasmin added.
“Alright, let me have a look” Mrs. Johnson held the floor, as the others cleared out of the way for her to reach Freddie. Dylan backed off next to Jono, who looked absolutely horrified. It was understandable really. It wasn’t that long ago that he lost the friend he thought he had in Josh. He couldn’t lose another. Dylan knew it would break him. He reached out his pinky finger and linked it with Jono’s, hoping to reassure him. Dylan always felt calmer in Jono’s presence, so he hoped it would work both ways. Jono gazed lovingly at him and smiled, before wrapping his entire hand around Dylan’s. That was the confirmation he needed.
“He is suffering from a severe case of insomnia, we need to get him out of here and to somewhere that he can have a proper rest” Mrs. Johnson suggested.
“I can drive him home” Drew offered.
“No, he hasn’t slept at home in months. I’ve got a better idea” Jono suggested. Dylan was all-ears. He really hoped this would be at least part of the problem solved for Freddie.
“Time to pair up” Mr. Marshall commanded. George immediately turned to Lily – they always worked together, it went without question. Today though, Lily wanted to investigate someone else. Not even George’s puppy dog eyes could persuade her otherwise. She quickly pounced over to the new boy.
“Hey” she smiled, trying to appear as friendly as possible. He glared back, as if she were speaking a foreign language. Maybe he was foreign.
“We have to work in twos. I figured you would need a partner” Lily continued.
“I’m with my friends” he replied, speaking clearly in an American accent. Not foreign. Just rude.
“There are three of you. We need pairs” Lily reiterated, “So, what’s your name?” She sat next to him defiantly, and he sighed.
“Oli” he answered. He couldn’t have sounded like he wanted to be there any less.
“Nice to meet you” Lily kept up the nice act. She was supposed to be the social bee of the class after all, “I’m Lily.”
“Lily Chadwick?” he identified. Lily was taken aback. It was as if she were famous.
“Yeah, you know me?” she probed.
“I’ve err, heard about your parties” Oli explained. Now she really was flattered. Maybe it was time to organise another and invite the incredibly fit Oli. However, Lily wasn’t stupid. It was obvious he was trying to make a good impression, and perhaps trying a bit too hard.
“Flattery gets you nowhere” Lily flirted back. She could entertain him for a bit, it surely wouldn’t hurt. He smiled at her – the first time he had broken the stern expression all day. The Chadwick charm was still going strong.
Heaving Freddie up into the treehouse, Dylan was using all of his strength. This was a rare occasion where he felt grateful for being a werewolf – the added strength certainly helped. That was one positive of being part of a pack too – everyone physically made each other stronger, even without an alpha. He hauled Freddie up the final step, with Jono pushing him up from below. They were the only two who had gone with Freddie – Dylan didn’t want overcrowding, and he certainly hoped to avoid Drew sticking his ore in. Freddie was in a light sleep now, he woke up every few minutes but quickly drifted back off now. His eyes were just too heavy to resist sleep. Perhaps the change in location was a help after all; a break from the same boring four walls of Freddie’s bedroom can’t have been a bad thing. Jono carefully pulled the blanket over him and gently pushed one of the beanbags under his head, manoeuvring around his golden locks. He sighed, despairing over his best friend.
“He will be alright” the ever-optimistic Dylan reassured.
“Will he though? I mean, you coped pretty well with the bite, but Freddie’s a shadow of what he used to be” Jono vented.
“Things can’t stay bad forever” Dylan comforted.
“But it seems to be one problem after another” Jono feared, “Is this the way it’s gonna be? A few months of peace before more chaos?”
“I’m sorry” Dylan apologised. He couldn’t help feeling responsible. If it wasn’t for him, none of these problems would exist.
“It’s not your fault, don’t ever think that” Jono insisted, “If you weren’t bitten, it would have been someone else. Josh wasn’t going to be stopped, if it wasn’t you, it would’ve been some other poor kid.” This wasn’t the first time Jono had told Dylan that, and he still didn’t believe it. He just couldn’t stop thinking that he was the problem all along.
“Someone else’s life would be fucked up” Dylan sighed.
“Probably me instead of you. Thanks for the favour” Jono grinned. Dylan conceded. Jono wasn’t going to let him feel like shit. Maybe he should just accept the compliment. He pulled Jono in for a hug.
“What’s this for?” Jono smiled.
“For being there for me. I don’t deserve you” Dylan confided. He knew he would forever cherish moments like that. Hopefully Freddie would be just as comfortable in someone’s arms one day.
On her way out of the biology lab, Yasmin was the last one to leave. Drew walked out as soon as Jono and Dylan assisted Freddie out, so she was left to help clear up the mess. She didn’t say a word to Mrs. Johnson, too unsure of what to say. Once the room was tidy, she had to head back to history. Ms. Kennedy must have been wondering where she was.
“Yasmin” Mrs. Johnson called out after her. She turned around, expecting her to complain about her mock exam grade or something. Maybe she hadn’t reached her target. It was hard to always maintain an A-grade standard.
“Have I failed? I’m sorry, I’ve had a lot going on, I’ve had to help Dylan and there’s all of this and…” Yasmin started ranting and couldn’t stop.
“It’s not about your exam, it’s about you. I wanted to see how you are” Mrs. Johnson interrupted, displaying a rare act of kindness.
“Yeah, I’m good” Yasmin lied. She knew she had been anything but good that day, but she didn’t want to discuss it.
“And really?” Mrs. Johnson caught her lie.
“Not so good” Yasmin sighed, giving in, “I keep hearing stuff, telling me information that proves correct. I don’t know how I know it, it’s like something has whispered it into my mind and I remember it.”
“I wish I knew more. I’ve seen many creatures in my time, but none like you” Mrs. Johnson apologised, although the use of the word “creatures” unsettled Yasmin.
“It’s alright. Lily’s reading this Bestiary book, it’s huge but that might help” Yasmin revealed, before realising she may have said too much.
Me and my big mouth, she thought.
“Did you say ‘Bestiary’?” Mrs. Johnson picked up on.
“Yeah, it’s this book with information on all sorts of stuff. More than just werewolves” Yasmin explained.
“I know what it is. I haven’t seen a copy in years, they’re typically created by…” Mrs. Johnson trailed off, as if she were struggling to even say the word.
“By who?” Yasmin impatiently queried.
“Hunters” Mrs. Johnson forced out with a sense of dread in her words, “They made the Bestiary and copies were passed around. You’d better hope you’re not in that book Yasmin, because if they ever come back, they’ll know what they’re looking for.” That sent a chill down Yasmin’s spine. She had to read the book. She needed to be prepared just in case.
Walking back to the boys’ toilets, Drew decided to examine the level of damage. He was well aware that new werewolves meant a greater risk of exposure, but he had to do everything he could to cover up the damage. The bathroom was an absolute state though. The cubicle door was just about on its hinges, with the lock hanging off and the door itself covered top to bottom in scratch marks. There was no way any human could have done that. He looked at the floor and saw a couple of specs of black blood. Unmistakably the blood of a werewolf. However, despite his thud to the floor, Drew was quite confident that Freddie’s skin was never broken. His clothes had no blood and he’d certainly have smelt it. He took a sniff of the blood on the floor, just to be sure. It was definitely someone new. A new werewolf. They were here in Crystalshaw, and conveniently in the same place he, Dylan and Freddie had been. He had to find out who they were.
“What are you doing back here?” Yasmin made Drew jump as she peered her head around the bathroom door.
“I could ask you the same, this is the boys’ bathroom” Drew bluntly replied. Yasmin looked at the door, spotting the sign that clearly said “boys” in bold letters. She looked disorientated and slightly horrified in herself. It was like she had forgotten herself momentarily.
“I…I don’t know why I’m here” Yasmin confessed. She sounded broken.
“You just felt an impulse, didn’t you? Like your body knew it had to come here” Drew identified.
“That’s exactly it. Do you know what I am?” Yasmin replied.
“I’ve seen something similar” Drew admitted, “Not the same as you though.”
“What was it?” Yasmin seemed desperate to know. However, despite his own extensive experience, Dylan seemed to be running all-things werewolf in Crystalshaw. He didn’t want to undermine him after he proved himself against an alpha.
“We need to find Dylan” he told Yasmin decisively.
“This doesn’t concern him” Yasmin fired back. She had a point; it was her life that was being turned upside down, “Please, any indicator would help.” Drew sighed. On her head, be it.
“I met a girl once, many years ago, called Meredith. She was something called a banshee, you’ve probably heard of one before. They have the most ear-piercing screams, but also, they can hear voices. Generally, they turn up in front of dead bodies. You’re not a banshee though, I’m certain” Drew detailed.
“How long have you known this?” Yasmin seemed more irritated than grateful at his knowledge.
“I only just connected the dots” Drew firmly stated. He didn’t want any arguments, “Look, let me take you to the bunker. I have something there that might help us.”
“The Bestiary?” Yasmin identified. Drew was stunned. How the heck did she know about that?
“Now it’s alright for you all to rummage through my personal items, is it? Where the heck is it?” Drew furiously asked. He couldn’t believe her temerity.
“Lily has it. She’s reading it now to help me, I swear that’s all. We’re the only two who know about it” Yasmin defended.
“You don’t understand. It’s not mine either, I stole it from a hunter. If they saw it, it would expose all of us. Anyone around us could be a hunter” Drew justified his rage. Stupid newbies. He forgot how thoughtless they were. Yasmin looked startled as she realised the impact she may have had. Too right.
Re-joining the bench at lunch time, Dylan and Jono had opted to leave Freddie on his own. He was totally safe up in the treehouse. Jono’s house was surrounded by a wall, and the only way in was through a set of gates operated by a fob. Guests without a fob had to buzz in and speak to whoever was at home. Dylan was excited when he got promoted from a buzz-in guest, to a fob owner the previous month. Jono gifted him a keyring with a fob and a front-door key attached. It was the sweetest surprise. It also meant he had to seek out the nearest locksmith to return the favour. He would have felt too bad otherwise.
“Is he alright?” Yasmin asked after Freddie. She was the only one at the bench at the time they arrived.
“He’s asleep. I hate that he’s alone” Jono worried even with the high security of his house and treehouse. That was just Jono though – forever worrying about others. It was one of his cutest qualities.
“He’ll be just fine. We put Jono’s webcam in front of him so we can check-up on our phones” Dylan explained, “Look.” He shoved his phone out to Yasmin, which displayed a peaceful Freddie, sound asleep.
“It’s borderline creepy but if it puts your mind at ease, knock yourselves out” Yasmin remarked.
“Hey guys” Lily greeted almost in song, joining them at the table and sitting next to Yasmin.
“You’re unusually chirpy” Jono noticed. He was on the money – Lily seemed much more radiant than usual. Dylan had never thought of himself as particularly observant, so if he picked up on this, it was definitely notable.
“I am?” Lily coyly batted them away.
“Oh, she’s got a new love interest. I know that look anywhere” Jono teased.
“You didn’t have to tell everyone!” she playfully scolded, gently and playfully whacking her brother on the arm while Jono laughed uncontrollably. Jono was an expert when it came to teasing Lily, and he could get away with it too. Dylan guessed no-one else was that lucky.
“Who’s the lucky fella then?” Dylan nosily queried.
“He’s over there” Lily pointed behind Dylan and Jono. There he was – pretty good looking to Dylan’s eyes, if not entirely his type, “His name’s Oli. It’s his first day. He and his friends Clara and Shania just started.”
“Wait, three new kids?” Yasmin connected the dots. She stared towards them and Dylan immediately thought to keep an eye on her.
“What’s up?” Dylan queried, concerned. Her face looked like it had been drained of emotion. Like it had been before, when she wasn’t acting like herself.
“That’s them. They’re here” she stated coldly. Dylan felt sick as his stomach twisted itself into knots. He stared back at Oli, Clara and Shania. All three of them stared back and made eye contact with him. They had sussed each other out. They were Josh’s pack and Dylan had never felt more terrified. He was too preoccupied to be watching the livestream of Freddie on his phone too. Too busy to notice that Freddie was missing from the shot.
2: Abscond Written by MarthaJonesFan
Dreading the night ahead, Freddie had heard a lot about full moons. All kinds of myths and legends. The amount of werewolf television shows and films he had binged on Netflix over the years was mad. He had even heard about Dylan’s first full moon just the month before, and how he stupidly risked Jono’s family’s lives even by being around them. Now, it was his turn. Dylan and Jono were both with him in Drew’s bunker. He didn’t want Drew anywhere near him after hearing Dylan’s story. Pain may make you human, but that headset with nails digging into the skill sounded like a new level of unpleasant. He trusted Dylan’s approach more, although he had no idea what to expect that night. Dylan and Jono faced him, with the former holding a pair of handcuffs and the latter clasping some chains. It didn’t take a genius to figure out what was going on. He got into position against the wall, laying down a couple of cushions he had brought. Dylan advised him to make himself comfortable and make the night as pleasant as possible. It didn’t stop him stressing though. The chains were tough, and the handcuffs did their job properly, but he was terrified of himself. What would he become? Despite his worries though, Freddie’s night actually went without hitch. He was almost bored, even. It was approaching midnight. Dylan and Jono were sat at the other end of the room, keeping their distance and sensibly staying near the exit. Freddie felt himself changing. He couldn’t quite describe it, it was like nothing he had experienced before, but it was like the wolf inside was breaking out of its holding cell and shoving the human Freddie inside instead. Dylan had harped on about anchors, but who did Freddie have? His best friend turned out to be a murderer and he could hardly look George in the eye when he was keeping this huge damn secret. By midnight, Freddie had gone and the wolf reigned supreme. The strong chains snapped like a ruler, and the handcuffs may as well have been made of string. Dylan and Jono scarpered out of the room, but that didn’t stop wolf Freddie attempting to break the door down. It was metallic and heavy, and a werewolf had no chance of getting through a door lined with mountain ash regardless, but it lacked logic. The lasting damage on Freddie was a far more pressing issue than anything physical though. He could easily have hurt someone without that metallic door. He hated that he was capable of something like that, and he had no way to stop it.
Unable to shake
Oli, Shania and Clara from his mind, Dylan’s walk home was much less calm than
usual. He found walking very therapeutic normally, especially with one earphone
in, listening to the playlist Jono religiously updated for him each Friday.
Seriously, that guy has a seriously good taste in music. His favourite
discoveries that week were “Hooked” by Why Don’t We and “Almost Love” by
Sabrina Carpenter – two brilliantly catchy pop tracks to Dylan’s ears. Their
beats set a solid walking pace too, and the five members of Why Don’t We were
all such good lookers. However, they didn’t do too good a job at clearing his
mind that afternoon. What did Josh’s pack want? He was sure to find out before
long, but he wasn’t sure whether to approach them first or wait for them to
make the first move. Both options had their pros and cons. Dylan decided there
was no use worrying now though. It was unlikely they would approach him before
school the next day, so all he had to do was enjoy what he called his “mom
time.” Caroline would be waiting for him as always when he got home, with a cup
of tea and a packet of ready salted crisps. The scent of the tea graced his
nostrils as soon as he opened the front door. His house just permanently smelt
of tea actually. Dylan assumed his natural smell must be of tea as a result.
“Hi honey, your mug is on the table, I’ll be there soon” Caroline called out from the kitchen.
“Hi mom, thanks” Dylan called back. He never lost his manners when speaking to his mum. He collapsed down on the sofa, thrilled to finally be resting his legs. The TV was already on, with some strange-looking reality show playing. He never admitted it, but he totally enjoyed those trashy reality shows. He couldn’t ruin the tiny amount of street cred that he had left. He took a sip of tea; just the right temperature. Nice and strong too – he hated milky tea. This was the life, and Dylan wished he had more moments to spend like this with his mum. Caroline walked in with a pack of biscuits. Rich teas, perfect for dunking in tea.
“Change the channel if you like” Caroline allowed, sitting herself next to Dylan. She gave him personal space but wasn’t out of cuddling distance.
“It’s alright, I don’t mind” Dylan was engrossed, but as an expert at not showing it.
“No Jono today?” Caroline noted.
“He had some homework to do” Dylan lied. He was actually going to keep an eye on Freddie for the night, but he didn’t fancy explaining the werewolf situation to her. In fact, he preferred not to think about it.
“Nothing’s the matter, is it?” Caroline queried. Mums were an expert at sussing things out. Nothing got past her.
“No, I’m fine” Dylan smiled, taking another sip of tea, “This is gorgeous.” Perfect chance to change the subject.
“I’ve had years of practice” Caroline laughed. As she spoke, Dylan’s phone buzzed. New text from Jono.
Dylan’s bubble was burst. The relaxation and comfort had vanished in exchange for immediate panic, and the only thought in Dylan’s mind was oh shit.
Instantly feeling so much better, Freddie was delighted when he woke up. He had slept for what must have been a few hours at least. Even though he still felt weak and exhausted, he was thinking a whole lot more coherently than before. As much as possible anyway, considering he had just woken up. His senses started returning to him, as slow as usual whenever he woke up. He really was not a morning person. He noticed the whirring of a car engine, humming away. He looked around. Sure enough, he was in a car. Huh? He fell asleep in the treehouse, and this certainly wasn’t Jono’s car. It was bigger and more spacious than that.
“Jono?” he called out, hoping for a reassuring response from him to explain what was going on.
“Oh, you’re awake” came a familiar voice in response. Normally, he would be delighted to hear somebody he recognised in this situation, but this was setting off all sorts of alarm bells. It was his worst nightmare coming true.
“Long time no see” Josh continued, taking a quick look back from the driver’s seat. Freddie gulped, horrified.
“So, he’s into you for sure?” Yasmin interrogated. She had gone back to Lily’s after school, hoping for a private word following her chat with Drew.
“I think so, he was totally frosty at first but he livened up” Lily informed. She really did seem to be on a high, it was nice to see.
“And the fact he’s part of Josh’s pack…” Yasmin broached the subject.
“I’m not stupid. If he does anything bad, I’ll cut him out. I don’t need Dylan or Jono dictating who I can and can’t date” Lily argued. It was a fair point. Oli hadn’t shown any signs of trouble yet. Perhaps they were jumping the gun.
“Look, I wanted to mention” Yasmin changed the subject, hoping to calm Lily down, “The Bestiary. It was a mistake. We should have left it alone.”
“What?” Lily was taken aback, “I thought you wanted to know what you are?”
“I do, but I think we’ve opened a can of worms” Yasmin explained, “Drew knows. He’s not bothered about you taking it, he’s more concerned about who could have seen it.”
“Most people won’t have batted an eyelid though?” Lily tried to understand.
“Not if they’re in-the-know” Yasmin added.
“You mean hunters?” Lily realised.
“They’re still in Crystalshaw, they just think all the werewolves left. If they see that book, we expose ourselves to every one of them” Yasmin justified. Lily was taking it all in, trying to process it. Before they could say anything further, Lily’s bedroom door burst open.
“Freddie’s gone” Jono announced, sounding extremely flustered.
Arriving at Jono’s, clicking the gates open with his fob, Dylan was the last to arrive. He saw Yasmin was there before him, which was a surprise considering it took him less time to walk than it took her to drive. It wasn’t that important anyway, she was probably out already. There was a much more pressing issue at hand.
“What’s going on?” Dylan questioned, deciding that small talk and pleasantries weren’t necessary nor appropriate.
“I got home and saw Freddie wasn’t in the treehouse. I did a scout around the house, I called his phone, but nothing” Jono explained.
“Have you checked the footage?” Dylan queried.
“I loaded it onto my laptop just now” Lily answered, “Well, Yasmin did.” Lily was always useless at computers beyond Instagram and Facebook.
“And?” Dylan impatiently wondered.
“Somebody moved him” Yasmin chimed in, “They were wearing a hoodie and a mask, there was no way to identify them.”
“Damn” Dylan cursed. He was hoping for some kind of giveaway. He leapt up to the treehouse to have a scout around and look for any potential clues. Just the crumpled duvet and the cosy beanbags were left from Freddie’s makeshift bed. There was no sign that anyone else had been there. Then, in the corner of his eye, he noticed the clue he needed. The CCTV camera positioned outside the gates. Maybe they caught something.
“Do you have access to the CCTV?” Dylan yelled back down.
“Yeah, it’s on my dad’s laptop” Jono replied, “But how did they get through the gates?”
“We might just find out” Dylan considered, jumping back down. Any clue would help at this point, as nothing else made sense.
Freddie’s heart was beating like never before. It was resembling the thudding bassline of the many EDM tracks he enjoyed. What was Josh doing back? What did he want? Kidnapping him was hardly the best of starts.
“I’m sorry it had to be like this. I wouldn’t even get close to you otherwise” Josh explained.
“You could have tried a text message like anyone else” Freddie scolded. He was too scared to sit up and face Josh, but the car doors were locked. There was no avoiding him.
“I know it’s hard to believe, but I don’t want to cause trouble. I wanted to patch things up” Jono pleaded.
“Fat chance” Freddie retorted. It all felt exceedingly convenient that he wanted to make amends now he was an outcast.
“And to warn you” Josh continued, “They’re here. My so-called pack.”
“They’re at the school, we’ve seen them” Freddie replied.
“Trying to fit in. It’s part of their plan” Josh explained.
“Their plan? You know what it is?” Freddie was still holding Josh at arm’s length, but if he had any information, he wanted to know it.
“They’ve been here for months, they found me after Dylan threatened me. They took me and kept me as their pet” Josh detailed, “They squeezed everything I knew about you from me.”
“You’re a traitor” Freddie called him out. He wasn’t surprised though.
“I did what I had to do to survive” Josh defiantly replied.
“What do they want then?” Freddie demanded. That was what he wanted to know more than anything else.
“You guys” Josh replied, “That was what I had to do, recruit a larger pack. Except I failed. You refused me.”
“Can hardly think why” Freddie remarked. He’d fallen for Josh’s act before, he wasn’t about to do it again.
“You might hate me, but I’m doing you a favour. They’re dangerous, and none of you are safe. I’m not expecting you to believe me, but I’m doing what I can” Josh justified.
“What do you get out of this?” Freddie enquired, trying to suss Josh out. He never did anything without a personal gain.
“You think I want them to succeed?” Josh questioned back. He was making a fair argument, after all they had done to him, although some parts still didn’t add up. Time to probe deeper.
“How did you escape? You said you were their pet” Freddie was keen to know.
“They are staying at a bunker underground, not too far from Drew’s” Josh revealed, “I planned my escape for this evening. I want to get away from here.”
“And take me with you” Freddie realised. The pieces began to slot together.
“We could start again, you know” Josh pleaded, “I’m not the alpha anymore. I want to prove myself to you.”
“You killed innocent people. That’s not the Josh I became friends with” Freddie reminded, “What about George? All my friends?”
“You’ll make new ones, we can be besties like before” Josh turned around to beg. However, he stupidly stopped focusing on the road. Freddie yelled something even he couldn’t make out as he saw the car veering off the road and into the Crystalshaw forest. Josh panicked, desperately trying to regain control of the wheel, but it was too late. The car was hurtling through the forest. There was no clear path, and Josh was dodging all of the trees, until…CRASH! The car slammed into the trunk of a tree, branches shattering the window screen in an instant…
“What exactly are you looking for?” Steve asked. Dylan and Jono were watching the CCTV camera positioned in front of the gate from Steve’s desktop computer in his office. Jono felt embarrassed that his dad was there, especially as he was perfectly capable of using the software.
“Err” Jono stalled, “I’m expecting a delivery of a few CDs, I wanted to see if they attempted delivery before I got home.” A good lie. He had learnt a lot about white lies from Lily. It was finally paying off.
“Alright. Make sure you log off when you’re done” Steve said before leaving. Phew. Jono was worried that his dad would see something he didn’t want him to. Now it was just he and Dylan. The temptation when they were alone was too much, but it was almost Dylan’s birthday. He had to save himself for a great present.
“You told that lie without flinching” Dylan noted.
“I’ve become my own worst enemy. Don’t pretend you’re not enjoying it” Jono teased. Unfortunately, though, flirting was low on the agenda. Jono clicked the fast-forward button on the CCTV software, flicking through the footage to find something useful.
“Alright, two-thirty-two, this is when it happened according to the webcam” Jono narrated.
“What’s that?” Dylan pointed at the screen. Jono instantly paused. Sure enough, a car had pulled up. Dylan typed the registration plate into the notes section of his phone – far more efficient than one of the many post-it notes his dad had on his desk. Jono then pressed play once again to see if the culprit revealed themselves. In clear view, a masked figure stepped out of the car and pounced over the gate, as if it were a tiny hurdle.
“A werewolf” Dylan identified. Jono gulped. Was it one of Josh’s pack? Or someone they didn’t know?
“We have to get to Sheriff Taylor” Jono decided.
“Drew hasn’t answered yet, I think we should wait” Dylan suggested. He had been trying to get in touch with Drew ever since he arrived. Jono hadn’t called him initially as he still didn’t trust him. Plus, he was a complete tool.
“Dyl, we have to speak to the Sheriff. Wherever that car is, Freddie is almost certainly in it, and the Sheriff can track it” Jono argued. He knew Dylan wanted to debate, Jono could see it. For whatever reason, he still trusted Drew. However, Jono surely couldn’t have lost that argument. Not when he used the pet name “Dyl.”
“Alright” Dylan agreed, “Let’s go.”
Waiting outside, Lily had asked Yasmin to hang back momentarily with her. What Yasmin was saying, before Jono burst in, took her by complete surprise. She hadn’t even thought about other hunters around in Crystalshaw. Drew had mentioned them, but in true Drew style, he had only said what was absolutely necessary to know in the moment. She really wished he was more engaging.
“Do you think any of them have seen us with the book?” Lily vaguely asked.
“I don’t know” Yasmin thankfully understood, “We don’t even know who the hunters were, or what they’re doing now.”
“Probably taking arms thanks to me” Lily reflected. She would never forgive herself if she were to blame.
“You weren’t to know. We do need more answers though. We gotta find Drew” Yasmin offered. Lily nodded, taking out her phone to notify Jono.
“Dylan’s been calling him all night, let’s hope the hunters haven’t gotten to him already” Lily feared. She tried not to show it, but she worried a lot, and the fact that she may have been the root of the problem was just too much.
Awakening with a banging headache, Freddie was very disorientated. It was like the feeling he regretfully knew from when he attended that soccer kid’s party and drank too much booze underage. He had no idea where he was the next morning – it turned out that he’d spent the night on Josh’s sofa. Josh. That was it. Where was he? What had happened? He tried sitting up, but he realised he was stuck. Oh no. Panic set into motion as Freddie tried desperately to wriggle free. He was still in Josh’s car, but there was no sign of him. Freddie took a sniff – Dylan had attempted to teach him about scents but it was yet another werewolf skill that eluded him. He decided it must be worth a try though. Nope, no scent. Just nature, gasoline and flames. Oh dear. He looked behind him – a fire was raging, caused by the crash. It hadn’t spread to the gasoline in the car yet, but it was surely only a matter of time. It was a ticking time bomb, and Freddie may as well have been glued to it.
Daunting as always, the sheriff station towered over Dylan. He never liked having to visit – it wasn’t anything to do with Sheriff Taylor, who had more-or-less watched him grow up; it was more to do with how the sheriff station was synonymous with something bad happening. Nobody went to the station to report that someone told a funny joke. Dylan wished they did, though. The world needed more positivity. As they approached the door, Dylan was surprised as he almost bumped into Caroline. He was confused and very concerned to see her at the station.
“Mom, what are you doing here? Are you okay?” Dylan asked quickly.
“I’m fine sweetie, I finished work early so came to say hi to Sheriff Taylor. What’s up with you?” Caroline sounded just as concerned.
“Freddie’s gone missing, we’ve got evidence to help find him” Dylan replied. It felt nice telling her the truth this time – that was all he knew for definite. No added werewolf craziness. Yet.
“Oh sweetie, I hope he turns up soon. Anyway, I have a hot date with a cup of tea and my bed, I’ll see you tonight, don’t stay out too late.” She pecked his cheek with a kiss and left before Dylan had a chance to reply. She didn’t seem herself – she was in more of a rush than usual.
“Come on” Jono nagged, leading the way into the station. Dylan followed him into the lobby area. Sheriff Taylor was stood at the desk with a deputy, collecting some paperwork. He tucked the back of his shirt in – unusually sloppy for him.
“Oh, I lose one Drummond and gain another. How can I help you boys?” Sheriff Taylor was all-smiles as he saw the boys approach.
“Hi Sheriff” Dylan took the lead, “Freddie Ruben. He’s gone missing again, and we think he’s been kidnapped.”
“I’ll get an APB out to look for him, you got any evidence?” the Sheriff asked. Dylan loved that he didn’t question the validity of Dylan’s claim. He trusted him, hence the APB being promised before any request for proof. The evidence was only so he could operate to the best of his ability within the confines of the law. If only teachers were so understanding.
“Sure” Dylan replied, handing over his phone. He had loaded both the webcam footage and CCTV snippet onto his phone ready. He watched as the Sheriff viewed the footage with open eyes.
“Let’s track that registration plate” the Sheriff decided.
Arriving above the bunker, Yasmin wasn’t even sure if her idea would work. None of them knew where Drew lived, so they had to summon him to the bunker. From her previous experience, he never seemed to be that far away.
“Shall we let ourselves in?” Lily questioned. She was impatient, and Yasmin shared her sentiment.
“I can’t see the harm” Yasmin’s logical brain decided. The others had all grown to trust Yasmin’s mind, but it wasn’t without added pressure. Lily opened the hatch and climbed down the ladder first, much more bravely than Yasmin. Together, they reached the bunker door just metres away from the ladder. Lily reached her hand out for the rusted doorknob and yanked it down. Immediately, as the door jolted open with a creak, an alarm began to sound. It was loud and ear-piercing, so Yasmin’s reflexes told her to cover her ears instantly.
“What is that?” Lily yelled. Yasmin couldn’t hear her, but she managed to lip-read pretty well. The sound then came to an abrupt end. It was such a relief on Yasmin’s ears. She had never considered how much she loved silence before. Lily made eye contact with her. They were both as confused as each other. They stepped cautiously through the doorway, into the bunker, and there they saw Drew at the opposite end of the room.
“Thieves. They get everywhere” he spoke sinisterly. A shiver went down Yasmin’s spine as she saw him shrouded in the darkness amongst the dim lighting.
The wait for Sheriff Taylor to load up the vehicle information was too much for Dylan. The Sheriff was hoping to find their culprit in the registration information, where their name should be listed.
“Oh god” Dylan reacted as the page spring up. He read the information and his eyes were immediately drawn to the name of the owner – Joshua Rayner. Even the sight of his name was awful. Dylan thought he had seen the last of Josh. Obviously not.
“We’ve got a location” a deputy announced, “It looks like it’s gone off-road into the forest.”
“Let’s go” the Sheriff commanded, “Boys, stay here.” Dylan rolled his eyes. Of course, he had to miss out on the action. He just had to pray Freddie wasn’t losing control. He glanced at Jono, expecting him to look similarly bored, but he had a devilish glint in his eyes.
“What?” Dylan was confused.
“Why are we still sat here?” Jono posed.
“We can’t go, the Sheriff told us to stay” Dylan sensibly replied. He sounded too sensible, much like Yasmin, but he didn’t want to get on the wrong side of Sheriff Taylor.
“Oh come on, when did you get so boring?” Jono teased. Dylan couldn’t lie – he did want to be in with the action.
“You’re a bad influence, Jonathan” Dylan flirted. He only ever used Jono’s full name when being flirty. It sounds too sexy to resist. Jono held out a hand for Dylan to grab, and they ran off to the car, ready for action.
No matter how much he struggled, Freddie just couldn’t wriggle free. He had yelled for help, but nobody was around. Why would they be? He was in the middle of the forest as night was approaching. It could be ages until he was found, and he didn’t have time. Where the heck had Josh gone? Was he hurt? The driver’s seat was empty. Maybe this was his plan all along. He had played a blinder if so.
“Freddie?” he heard Josh call out. Phew! He was still there after all.
“I’m here” Freddie croaked. Josh popped up at the window and tried to yank the door open. The window had shattered, so he could hear Josh clearly.
“Can you get out?” Josh wondered. He was being strangely helpful.
“No, I’m stuck. You have to stop the fire spreading. The gasoline is leaking” Freddie explained. That was the most important thing on his mind. He could hold in the car for a while longer without the fire. It was going to catch on any second now and he would be singed.
“How can I stop that?” Josh flustered. Freddie had never seen him look so scared. It was unusual.
“There’s a bottle of water in the front. I spotted it earlier. It could extinguish it” Freddie suggested. Josh instantly climbed through the passenger window and over the tree branches that now populated the car. Freddie then heard Josh yell in frustration.
“It’s empty, it must have tipped out during the crash” Josh replied, harshly flinging the bottle out of the window in. He manoeuvred himself back to try and face Freddie. It was difficult with the branches closing up his route, but he managed to accomplish it.
“Your legs are trapped” Josh told him, “The chair is in the way. I could try and shift it.”
“Get yourself out, don’t kill yourself too” Freddie ordered. If he was going to die, he didn’t want to drag someone with him.
“I thought you’d have wanted me to die” Josh responded.
“You know me better than that” Freddie teased the possibility of an apology. He hadn’t made his mind up on Josh’s repentance yet, but it wasn’t the time for discussion. It was time for action. Josh tugged on the passenger chair. He had an advantage that no human had – extra strength. Even without a pack, a werewolf was still much stronger than an average human. The bolts began to come undone, and Freddie felt less weight pressing against his legs. However, he felt the car shake slightly, which made him more anxious.
“Shit, I think it’s moving. Hurry!” Freddie ordered, very worried about the safety of them both.
“Almost there, can you move?” Josh queried.
“A little, one more push” Freddie directed. The car vaulted backwards slightly again. His heart was beating faster than ever. It had exceeded EDM levels and was now at heavy metal. Josh heaved, not caring about the cuts and bruises he was getting from the branches. He was going to heal anyway, so it wasn’t like it mattered to him. A few slashes to the skin in exchange for their lives felt reasonable anyway. The car inched backwards again, and Freddie braced himself while tugging at his own legs repeatedly. It was touch-and-go for them both.
Approaching Drew, Lily was furious. He had just tormented her eardrums with a pointless alarm. Now she had a headache. Was he just trying to make some douche-y point? She would love to prod his brain to understand him further.
“The Bestiary” Lily began, “What is it?” Drew stepped out of the shadows. He could be terrifying when he wanted to be.
“Not yours for starters” Drew remarked. Lily sighed. That was the last of their problems, but if he wanted to be petty, he could knock himself out.
“I’m so sorry you decided not to use it to help us” Lily gave as good as she got. She noticed Yasmin roll her eyes at just how petty she was being in return. It highlighted how different they were in reality. Yasmin used logic and facts. Lily preferred to react in the moment, and she owned it, too.
“All you had to do was ask” Drew noted. Lily found it ironic when he distanced himself from the rest of the group as much as he could, preferring to hang with his basketball mates instead, leaving them no chance to ask any questions. He only seemed to particularly care for Dylan.
“And we’re doing that now” Yasmin interjected, “What is it? Why are the hunters so obsessed with it?”
“Is it not obvious?” Drew rudely answered, “It has a record of every supernatural creature to have existed, what hunter wouldn’t want that?”
“Who made it?” Lily enquired.
“A family of hunters in California, it’s been passed down through the generations” Drew detailed.
“They moved here?” Yasmin assumed, “Is that who the hunters now are?”
“No, they recruited others and the book got duplicated. Gerard Argent, specifically. He came to Crystalshaw once a few years ago with his son Chris, but there were already others here too” Drew detailed.
“A family of hunters. They sound nasty” Lily commended. The idea of hunters at all made her skin crawl, but a family passing it down? How horrible.
“They’re a bit of a legend” Drew answered, “My point is, it’s their book. They might want it back, but at the very least, having it in our possession would identify us in an instant. Including you, Yasmin.”
“Me?” Yasmin was taken aback. Lily was getting frustrated. Drew obviously knew more than he was letting on.
“You know what she is, don’t you?” Lily called him out. It was time for the secrets to end.
“Pass me the book” Drew commanded. Lily begrudgingly opened her bag and chucked the Bestiary book towards him. Drew flicked towards the end and held up a page to them both.
“A beta’s scratch can’t transform you completely, and it’s rare it’ll have any effect at all. You’re still human, with a little extra” Drew explained.
“A nix” Yasmin read aloud from the book. Lily was amazed as she saw a sketch of a boy with long flowing hair and water spouting out of his mouth. Yasmin looked horrified, and Lily knew she would feel the same if she were her.
Speeding along the rather empty roads of Crystalshaw, Jono wasn’t stopping for anything. He knew that ignoring the Sheriff’s commands wasn’t always a good idea, but in this circumstance, he stood by his actions. What if Freddie and Josh were both transformed? It would expose their entire secret to the whole of Crystalshaw. Despite Dylan’s good will for the Sheriff, he knew deep down that he agreed too. A speeding ticket would be worth it.
“How far now?” Dylan asked keenly.
“A couple of minutes, we’re almost there” Jono notified. He certainly hoped they were going in the right direction; all he had to go off was his own memory of the location on the tracking software. As he focused on the road, he almost swerved when a huge bang filled his eardrums. He parked the car and saw a huge cloud of smoke and flames fill the air in the nearby forest. Worry instantly filled his mind as he feared for Freddie’s safety.
3: Enigma Written by MarthaJonesFan
Wheezing and spluttering, she was clinging onto life with every inch of her being. She had been shot through the heart with a bullet laced in wolfsbane, and there was nothing more that any of them could do. It was infecting her and spreading too quick to stop. Josh looked into her eyes. He felt horrible, seeing somebody he respected and admired so much look so gaunt. He held her hand and took her pain away. It was a special werewolf skill that she had taught him after she first bit him. It took a while for Josh to take to her once he was bitten. He resented her and tried his best to disassociate himself from her for ages. He had only intended to get out of the house for a few hours to clear his mind. Now he had been gone for almost two months. His mums must have been going out of their minds. She insisted he stayed though, at least until he learnt control. He was getting pretty good at that, too. Her daughter, Clara, always complained that Josh was the apple of her mum’s eye. Where was she now, though? Josh was the only one with her. A hunter had cruelly shot her, and now she was clinging onto life with every inch of her being.
“Do it, Josh” she ordered, “Slit my throat. Be the alpha.”
“No!” Josh immediately batted the idea away, “Besides, Clara…”
“Clara’s not here. I see your potential. You deserve it, Josh. I’m dying anyway, put me out of my misery and continue in my name” she struggled to speak, but what she said meant the world to Josh. It was her dying wish.
“Alright. Here goes” Josh reluctantly spoke, shedding a tear.
“Thank you” she smiled through the pain and closed her eyes. Josh primed his claws and sent them slashing through the skin on her neck. The wide wound instantly began dripping black blood, and she fell lifeless. Josh felt his body tingle. He was the alpha now. He had to do Clarissa justice. But first, he needed to prove himself.
The car was shaking like mad. It was going to tip backwards into the fire at any second. Freddie was doing everything in his power to struggle free from the cruel grip of the chair in front. He was panicking like mad, and his leg ached all over. He was surprised he hadn’t shifted yet. Maybe pain really did make you human. Josh was still heaving away at the chair in front. He was so close to lifting it off Freddie’s legs, but was it enough? It could be too little, too late if the car rocked any further.
“One more shove” Josh agonisingly notified. Freddie heaved once again on his legs, and he was taken aback. They moved! He scrambled out of the way quickly.
“Let’s go” Freddie suggested, leaping out of the still-shaking car. Josh followed suit, rocking the car further and sending it tumbling backwards.
“Run!” Freddie commanded. He knew what was about to happen and they had to be as far away as possible. Freddie could only limp, his legs had been pushed harshly against the chair for a while and hadn’t yet healed. He just knew he had to run. Josh held out a hand to pull him along. Then, all of a sudden, a huge BANG sounded. The next thing Freddie knew, he crashed to the floor, totally unaware of his surroundings.
“What the heck was that?” Dylan was horrified to hear the bang. It didn’t sound promising at all. It was almost certainly Josh’s car, too. It was in the right direction. He could swing for Josh. If the explosion hadn’t taken him out already, of course.
“We’re not far, come on” Jono slammed his foot down on the accelerator. The journey towards the cloud of smoke was in some ways more reassuring than before, relying on Jono’s admittedly good memory for directions. Jono almost had a photographic memory. At least when it came to song lyrics. The fact he had directed them both there using an address he briefly saw on a screen was pretty damn impressive though. Nevertheless, Dylan was relieved they had located them, if worried about what they would find. Just a few metres ahead in the road, Jono pulled over again, behind Sheriff Taylor’s car.
“I thought I told you boys to stay behind” the Sheriff scolded.
“We had to help” Dylan replied. He wasn’t lying – he just wasn’t telling the full truth.
“It’s too dangerous to go any further. The fire crew are on their way” the Sheriff explained.
“But what about Freddie?” Jono worriedly asked. Dylan shared his concerns – they had to find Freddie sooner rather than later.
“He’s here” a voice croaked from behind them. Approaching out of the woods, Josh was carrying a lifeless Freddie in his arms. Dylan immediately got defensive.
“Put him down” Dylan ordered. The fact Josh was anywhere near Crystalshaw again was irritating enough. Going near Freddie and pulling this stunt was a step too far.
“Is he breathing?” Jono seemed to care more about the state of Freddie than Josh’s reappearance, which was fair enough in Dylan’s eyes. He was a journalist though – no detail would be missed. Jono only dealt with the top story first.
“Just about. His pulse is weak” Josh relayed.
“We’d better call an ambulance” the Sheriff decided, before proceeding to speak to the dispatch team. Dylan double-checked his life signs. Josh was right.
“What did you do?” Dylan was enraged.
“I did nothing, I swear. I’ll explain later, but we need to get him to hospital” Josh bargained.
“He’s right, we can talk it through later” Jono asked. Ugh. Josh hanging around was the last thing Dylan needed. He looked at Freddie, seeming so peaceful but he must have been feeling anything but. At least he was still alive.
Gobsmacked, Yasmin could hardly believe the page she was looking at. The Bestiary told her all she needed to know, but it was too much to take in. Whatever she was, it didn’t sound good, and if hunters could identify her, it was doubly bad. Without thinking, Yasmin snatched the book out of Drew’s hands and stormed towards the exit.
“The book stays here” Drew ordered.
“Screw you” Yasmin abruptly yelled back. She wasn’t in the mood for Drew lording it over all of them again. In her eyes, a leader has to prove themselves. Drew had talked the talk, but never walked the walk.
“I’ll go” she heard Lily say. Good. Somebody she trusted was coming. Lily had worked hard for months flicking her way through the Bestiary for Yasmin. Now Drew had stolen her thunder. Yasmin knew she would be pretty pissed in her shoes.
“Wait up” Lily called after her. Yasmin continued climbing the ladder. She needed fresh air. Lily pursued her though. It was nice to know she wasn’t giving up, at least. Once back on the ground, Yasmin stopped to wait for Lily, and gave her a hand up.
“You don’t have to say anything. I can’t imagine how you’re feeling right now” Lily sympathised. It was nice to hear some honesty. Lily had no idea how she was feeling, and Yasmin appreciated that she didn’t pretend.
“It’s too much” Yasmin sighed. It was a lot to take in.
“We need to break it down. Find out everything you do or don’t have. Prove how much humanity you still have” Lily offered.
“I’m being hunted by werewolf hunters. I’ll never be human again” Yasmin sulked. She hated to wallow, but she felt she was justified on this occasion.
Much to his annoyance, Dylan had been forced to leave Jono with Josh. They were both accompanying Sheriff Taylor to the station, while Dylan went with Freddie in the ambulance. It made sense really. Dylan was the best person to keep an eye on Freddie for anything werewolf-related, while Jono was the only one of the two who could drive. Jono would hate to leave his car stranded in the woods. Nevertheless, Dylan felt uneasy about leaving Jono with Josh. He was beyond untrustworthy, no matter how much he had supposedly reformed. He had a motive to be pissed off. At least they would be safe with the Sheriff, he guessed. Dylan glanced down to Freddie, who was beginning to stir.
“Hello stranger” Dylan smiled, filled with relief.
“Where am I?” Freddie seemed disorientated.
“Ambulance. It’s alright, you’re safe now” Dylan reassured him.
“Josh…is he okay?” Freddie seemed worryingly concerned for Josh. It wouldn’t be the first time he had been taken in by Josh’s admittedly good persuasion tactics.
“He’s fine” Dylan replied bluntly. He had to answer the question but didn’t want to argue. Freddie’s recovery was more important.
“Hey, I did it. I controlled myself. I didn’t shift” Freddie revealed, changing the subject. He sounded like an excited five-year-old showing their mum or dad a painting they did at school. That made Dylan the proud parent, and he certainly felt that way.
“What? That’s amazing” Dylan gave him a high five gently, “How did you do it?”
“Pain makes you human” Freddie said, sounding much less proud. Like he was ashamed that it worked better than the anchor concept Dylan preferred.
“I’m happy for you, bro” Dylan smiled. It was nice to hear something optimistic every once in a while, especially as Dylan always attempted to keep a positive outlook on life. It was his new mantra, and it helped him try to come to terms with his own changes.
“Oh my god, George must be going out of his mind” Freddie panicked, trying to sit up.
“Hold it mister, don’t you move an inch” Dylan ordered, “You might heal quicker than anyone else, but you’re not there yet. I’ll call him.” Bless Freddie. He was still quite naïve, and so was Dylan himself. Maybe he needed to refer Josh to the less-forgiving Drew this time round.
The journey back to the station felt exceedingly awkward for Jono. He could tell Dylan wasn’t happy with the situation, and although he knew he wouldn’t do anything rash, Jono trusted himself to keep a cool head better.
“I guess Dylan won’t want to hear me out” Josh reflected. If he wanted sympathy from Jono, he’d have to whistle for it.
“I hope you weren’t expecting a welcome-home party. Quite frankly, it’s a miracle you haven’t been arrested” Jono delivered some home truths.
“I’m not lying. I’m not here to cause trouble. Freddie will tell you” Josh pleaded.
“You gotta leave him alone, he’s not your messenger” Jono reasoned. This was the second time he was using Freddie as his lapdog. It wasn’t fair.
“How else could I get in touch? I couldn’t walk up to you and ask you how you are” Josh noted.
“There’s a reason for that” Jono rebutted. He had ostracised himself. He had no legs to stand on.
“I know, I get it. I want to prove myself to you, just let me know how” Josh begged.
“It’s up to Dylan. He’s the one you fucked up, not me” Jono mentioned.
“It can’t be too bad. He’s got you now” Josh argued. Jono couldn’t help thinking that he had missed the point, but it wasn’t worth arguing. He turned the volume on the radio up, enjoying the rather appropriate “IDGAF” by Dua Lipa and using it as an excuse to avoid conversation.
Drew had had enough. These stupid humans were invading his territory, and it was driving him insane. Why did Dylan not just keep his mouth shut to stop these imbeciles invading his personal space? Let alone taking his belongings. That Bestiary book was going to cause them all so much trouble if he didn’t lock it back up. Maybe it already had. He decided, after a few minutes of ensuring he didn’t blow a fuse, to follow Yasmin and Lily back up to the ground. He needed to speak to them.
“Oh for god’s sake” Yasmin groaned as soon as she saw him.
“You don’t have to be happy to see me” Drew immediately replied, “But you need to stop interfering. That book is mine, I have it locked up for a reason.”
“It must be great for you. You know who you are. You obviously love it, too. Well not all of us are the same” Yasmin defiantly replied, “That book answered all my questions while you held back. Don’t come around shouting the odds at me now.” Yasmin’s words hit a chord with Drew. He was in her situation once upon a time. He knew how it felt to be in the dark, and he didn’t even have a Bestiary. He’d have done anything to read a book with that level of detail.
“You don’t know how lucky you are. The fact you can literally look up what you are is a damn privilege” Drew vented.
“Privilege? You think any of this is a privilege? All I want is to be at home studying, but here I am. I didn’t ask for any of this” Yasmin yelled in response.
“You think I did?” Drew yelled back just as loudly. Yasmin went silent, like she was considering.
“I’m sorry” she replied. Drew simply nodded in response. He appreciated her apology, even if he couldn’t be arsed with the whole situation. Yasmin suddenly lost all of the expression in her face, looking gaunt and lifeless.
“He’s here” she vacantly announced. Drew looked towards Lily, and they both knew what was happening. It was another of her premonitions. Her psychic abilities were like nothing he had seen before. He knew he had to keep a close eye on her predictions. She began walking, away from the road they had been stood next to and onto a grassy area. It was grossly overgrown, and quite why Yasmin would want to go anywhere near there was beyond Drew. However, he and Lily very cautiously followed.
“Who’s here?” Lily delicately queried. Drew thought it best that he left the talking to Lily. She had much more patience. They could criticise him all they wanted, but at least he was self-aware. Yasmin stopped walking through the overgrown grass, which was comfortably up to Drew’s waist. She pointed in from of her. Drew rushed over to have a look and satisfy his curiosity. However, he soon wished that he hadn’t been so intrigued. Lying on the floor was the horrible sight of a young male werewolf – the proof was in the fangs and claws that were still on show. What was even worse was how he had been cruelly decapitated across the waist. Split completely in half. It disgusted Drew, but he knew exactly what this was.
“it’s a warning”
“From who?” Lily innocent questioned, just as repulsed as Drew.
“Hunters” he coldly stated.
Watching on, Dylan saw Freddie escorted into the hospital on a stretcher. He got annoyed as the nurse asked him to wait in the waiting room. He had been there for half an hour, or so he thought. He didn’t want to clock-watch – it would make the time go even slower. He just wanted some news. He vaguely took note of a girl sitting next to him a few minutes before, but he was too wrapped up in his own thoughts to notice anything about her, until she turned to him.
“Excuse me, do you know where the bathroom is?” she politely questioned. Dylan peeked up, and immediately, visible easily from behind her pretty face and kind smile, were bright yellow eyes just like Dylan’s.
“You’re one of Josh’s pack, aren’t you?” Dylan instantly identified.
“I prefer not think of it as his pack. But yes, I guess you’re right. Clara” she introduced herself.
“Dylan” he responded.
“I know who you are. I’ve heard how you defeated an alpha” Clara commented, “I’m almost impressed. Except neither of us have an alpha anymore. Our packs are not complete.”
“If alphas are like Josh, then I’m cool with that” Dylan rejected. He didn’t want that debacle again.
“Not all are like him. Most are considerably more experienced and better respected” Clara explained, “In fact, he’s a loose cannon. We found him that night, after you last saw him, and took him in ourselves.”
“Except he got out” Dylan finished the story.
“You’ve seen him, then” Clara recognised.
“He’s the reason Freddie’s lying in there” Dylan detailed.
“He’s a werewolf, why isn’t he healing?” Clara questioned.
“He’s quite new still, he’s only just learning control” Dylan noted.
“This is why we need an alpha” Clara linked back, “They tie the pack together, make us stronger than ever.”
“How would we even get an alpha?” Dylan hypothetically questioned.
“That’s why I came to find you. You’re pretty good at getting the answers you need” Clara proposed.
“We don’t need to. One of us can be the alpha” Clara suggested. Dylan was mind-blown by all of this information. It was a lot to process and consider. He knew not to make a rash decision.
“Woah, hold up. This is all going a bit fast” Dylan explained, “My friends and I don’t need an alpha.”
“You don’t even acknowledge them as a pack, do you?” Clara noticed.
“We’re just a group of friends. Some are human, some are not” Dylan justified.
“You’re a pack, Dylan, whether you want to call it that or not. I’d love for us to team up. I’ll let you think about it. See you at school” Clara stood up and left, while Dylan sat there speechless. This was the last thing he needed on his plate.
Jono didn’t want to be surrounded by the four walls of the Sheriff’s office again, but he wasn’t letting Josh out of his sight for the foreseeable. Even if he had to put him on a leash, although he prayed it wouldn’t come to that. The Sheriff was harping on about road safety, blah blah blah, giving Josh a lecture. Jono was taking in his surroundings instead. The Sheriff’s office was mostly tidy, with the crime noticeboard behind the desk looking neatly organised. The desk, on the other hand, was a state. Papers and stationery were scattered everywhere, and there was even an empty bottle of Coca-Cola lying down. Then he saw it. Something he wished he could un-see, and quickly. It was an empty condom wrapper sticking out from underneath a ward of paperwork. It looked like it had been stashed there in a hurry – something Jono had become a master of after his mum had very nearly walked in on him and Dylan. He was wondering whether to point it out. On one hand, it would be high-key embarrassing for them both. On the other hand, it could save the Sheriff some potential embarrassment later. It might be the kind thing to do. It was something to think about.
“Do you have somewhere to stay?” the Sheriff asked Josh. He looked down, as if he were ashamed.
“He’ll be staying with me” Jono found himself saying before he could think about his words. Dylan would be pissed, but he couldn’t leave Josh on the streets.
“Are you sure?” Josh looked shocked, “Thank you.” He smiled sincerely. Maybe he had changed.
“Alright boys, you head off home now. I hope Freddie recovers quickly” the Sheriff wrapped the chat up, “Oh, and Jono, could I give you this to pass on to Caroline? She left it here earlier. I assume you’ll see her before I do.” The Sheriff handed Jono a gold necklace. He’d seen Caroline wearing it before. It was a wedding present from Dylan’s dad; Dylan had told him in passing before. She never took it off. Why she did so in the Sheriff’s office was beyond Jono.
“Sure” Jono agreed, as he noticed the Sheriff tuck the condom wrapper further under the paper. He knew about it already – that saved Jono an uncomfortable job.
Surprised at how comfortable the hospital bed was, Freddie was lying wide awake in his room. The plain white walls of the hospital were incredibly dull, but nothing was going to get him to sleep. Apart from the fact he’d napped not all that long ago, his mind was performing somersaults thinking about Josh. He still couldn’t work out if he were being genuine or not. Perhaps he needed to give the benefit of the doubt. The door creaked open. Expecting to see the nurse, Freddie looked over, and was surprised at the sight of Oli and Shania. Two of Josh’s pack, no less.
“Hi” Freddie politely greeted. Why they were in there was beyond him. It’s not like they knew each other personally.
“Just keep still” Oli ordered as Shania walked to the other side of the bed. Freddie watched as she pulled out a syringe and moved with intent towards the tube that was connected to his blood supply, via the back of his hand.
“I don’t think you should be doing that” Freddie protested. He had very little energy – the blast had sent shockwaves through his body and even the accelerated healing of his body hadn’t solved all of his problems yet. The syringe was released before he had the chance to fight back. The liquid trickled into his bloodstream. He felt the ice-cold fluid running through his veins. It was too late. Freddie felt himself slowly and softly drifting off to sleep.
In control of herself once again, Yasmin hated the after-effect of her premonitions. Her memory always lapsed, and she had to rely on Lily to update her. Lily was sat to her left, with Drew to her right as they all sat in front of the Sheriffs desk. It felt like she had done something wrong, even though she knew she hadn’t. She needed to put on a brave face for her interrogation regardless. She could hardly tell the Sheriff the entire truth.
“What were you kids doing out there at this time of night?” the Sheriff enquired.
“We got lost” Lily interjected. Yasmin was hoping she would pull through with a good cover story, “We were on our way to a party.”
“On a school night?” the Sheriff disapproved.
“I’m sure you had plenty of wild times when you were younger, Sheriff” Yasmin hit back.
“We don’t need to talk about me” the Sheriff brushed the subject off. Deflecting, avoiding admitting that Yasmin was right. A classic conversational technique, “You didn’t see who did this?”
“No idea” Yasmin truthfully replied.
“Did you know the kid? Any details might help identify him” the Sheriff posed. He seemed to be ignoring the fact that this kid had claws and fangs on full view.
“Sorry” Yasmin regretfully denied. Drew and Lily shook their heads too. Maybe he went to Crystalshaw High, but it was impossible to know every kid there. Even with a brain like Yasmin’s.
“Somebody obviously had a good sense of humour, leaving those fancy-dress things on his face” the Sheriff commented. He didn’t think the werewolf features were real. How long that would last was a different matter.
“Alright kids, I’ll drop y’all off home” the Sheriff offered.
“I’ve got my car, I can give you guys a lift” Lily kindly suggested.
“I’ll be alright” Drew quickly declined. Yasmin found it interesting that they still had no idea where he lived. Drew was an enigma. She was absolutely fascinated by him. He stood up to leave and bent down to Yasmin’s ear.
“Keep the Bestiary” he whispered, “But be careful.” It was a nice sentiment. He trusted her with the book, despite the fact that he now had a good reason not to. Now to go home and do some reading about the Nix.
Panicking all night, Dylan couldn’t settle in bed He’d heard horrible news from the doctors. Freddie had suffered a cardiac arrest. How that was even possible as a werewolf was beyond confusing. Why wasn’t he healing? How did a heart attack even happen after that blast? He couldn’t help thinking about what Clara said. Maybe it was because they didn’t have an alpha. It could be the missing piece of Freddie’s healing process after all. He was trying to use his journalistic mind like Jono always did, but he wasn’t so experienced yet. He needed to get Jono to teach him what to look out for. Jono had always had an eye for the headlines, after all. Now tomorrow’s headline could be Freddie’s death. Dylan desperately wanted to be at the hospital, but George was there now. At least he had somebody to care for him. He had to pray Freddie would pull through – there was nothing more he could do.
First thing the next morning, Jono thought it was important to pop round to Dylan’s. He had a few things to discuss, and it would give him the opportunity to pass Caroline’s necklace back. That situation was baffling in more ways than one, and with plenty of time to reflect overnight, the pieces were beginning to slot together. The Sheriff’s odd behaviour, Caroline’s random visit to the station, the necklace, and the biggest clue: the condom wrapper. How he didn’t put two and two together right away was the most surprising thing. What bothered him was how Dylan almost certainly didn’t know. He would have mentioned it if he did, surely? However much Jono wanted to tell Dylan himself, it wasn’t his responsibility. Jono opened the front door with the key Dylan had got for him, presented on a chain with a small teddy bear holding a heart, as well as a circular keyring with a photo of Dua Lipa. He knew him too well.
“Hi, it’s only me” Jono called out as he entered the hallway.
“I’ll be down in two minutes” Dylan shouted back from upstairs.
Caroline walked out from the kitchen to welcome him, “Fancy something to eat?”
“Yeah, if that’s alright. Got any toast?” Jono questioned. He hadn’t had time for breakfast before he left.
“No, but I will in three minutes once the toaster’s worked its magic” Caroline jokingly replied, “Dylan lives off toast. I feel like I must buy all of Walmart’s stock each week.” Jono giggled politely while he reached into his pocket for the necklace.
“Oh, by the way, the Sheriff asked me to pass this on” Jono held the necklace up so she could clearly see it. Caroline’s chirpy persona suddenly fell away. She stared right at the necklace, like she had seen a ghost.
“Oh, thanks” she said, sounding shaken.
“I won’t say a word to Dylan” Jono told her.
“About what?” Caroline played dumb.
“You’re not very good at covering your tracks. I won’t tell him, but you need to. He won’t be happy if he finds out another way” Jono firmly commanded. Caroline nodded. She looked guilty. He didn’t want to stick the knife in. He was just looking out for his boyfriend.
“Morning” Dylan entered the room and planted a kiss on Jono’s lips.
“Hey. We need a chat” Jono cut to the chase.
“This sounds ominous. What have I done?” Dylan joked. Jono knew that he hated vague statements like that, but it was a necessary evil. Caroline couldn’t have overheard. Jono led Dylan out of the kitchen and into the living room.
“What’s the big secret?” Dylan was confused.
“It’s about Josh. He’s staying with me” Jono revealed.
“Wh…why?” Dylan looked baffled, “Don’t tell me you believe him.”
“No, but he’s got nowhere else to go” Jono justified, “He’s been co-operative so far. Maybe we’ll need him for information.”
“He could murder someone. He could murder you. Don’t you get it?” Dylan protested. He made good points but was reacting in the heat of the moment.
“Of course I do. Please trust me” Jono spoke gently. He knew Dylan didn’t mean to sound so harsh, so he didn’t get worked up. Calmness was easier than frustration.
“Okay” Dylan gave in, taking deep breaths, “Clara spoke to me.”
“She did? When?” Jono was confused. He hadn’t mentioned this before.
“Last night at the hospital. She wanted to team up, but she doesn’t like Josh. If he’s around…” Dylan considered, tailing off and allowing Jono’s imagination to finish the sentence.
“You want to align with her? Let’s not forget they wanted Josh to do all of the things he did” Jono reminded.
“I know, I’ve not agreed yet. Are these really our options? A murderer or the people behind it?” Dylan sighed. Jono shared his concerns. They hardly had a range of positive options.
Gently taking a seat in the hospital waiting room, Lily joined George. He had been there all night, and Lily knew she had to keep him company. George was basically her bestie now. He was the only one who sent her a message after she saw Shona die in her arms. The girls in her class, who she used to hang out with and thought were her friends, had barely spoken to her since. Seems it was too uncool for someone to be murdered at your house. Lily didn’t need them anyway. As George always said, they were way too superficial for her.
“You didn’t have to come” George smiled. He looked shattered, and like he’d barely slept a wink.
“No, but it means missing history this morning” Lily toyed with him. George seemed to appreciate it. He always laughed at her jokes, even the truly terrible ones. If that wasn’t the point of a best friend, what was? Lily continued, “Any news?”
“He’s stable. They’re running some tests to see how the heart attack came about” George explained.
“That’s good” Lily commented, before changing the subject, “Are you mad at me?”
“What for?” George innocently pondered.
“Picking Oli in English yesterday” Lily recapped, “I know we normally go together, I…”
“You anted to held the new boy. I get it. It’s sweet” George sincerely responded. He was too good, “You fancy him, don’t you?”
“He is pretty hot” Lily confessed, “I don’t know him all that well yet though.”
“Go for it” George supported, “You deserve some happiness in the love department.” Lily blushed. George’s compliments were always from the heart, unlike those from the girls which were always laced in subtle digs.
Waiting at the bench, Yasmin was using her free time to sit and read the Bestiary article for the nix in full detail. It seemed too unusual to be true, but she knew from personal experience that much of it was for her. She was making a mental note of every aspect that applied to her, and every aspect that didn’t. She certainly had the expected psychic abilities. The book called nixes “harbingers of death”, which made sense after Yasmin found that poor kid’s body without any possible prompt. However, she hadn’t excreted any water like a nix was supposed to. Drew had said she wasn’t a complete nix though, so no surprise.
“A nix, interesting” Dylan commented, arriving and sitting next to her.
“This is me” Yasmin mentioned. Jono followed Dylan, sitting opposite them both.
“Wait, when did you realise?” Dylan wondered, surprised.
“Drew told me last night” Yasmin responded.
“He’s good for something then” Jono muttered. Before Dylan could ask Yasmin any further questions, she noticed Clara approaching.
“Here comes trouble” Yasmin announced quietly to the boys.
“Have you thought about my offer?” Clara queried.
“Offer?” Yasmin was confused.
“I’ve thought about it, and I’m in. We’re in” Dylan revealed, leaving Yasmin baffled, “Let’s find an alpha.”
4: Patience Written by MarthaJonesFan
Nervous, terrified and feeling smaller than ever, Dylan wasn’t looking forward to his first day of high school. Junior high wasn’t the best experience he had ever had – there were very few people he felt he could call friends, and many of the kids picked on him for his sexuality. They didn’t even know he was gay for sure, and not did Dylan at first. Now he knew for sure though. He had just walked to school for the first time – a tiresome effort but his mum wasn’t going to offer a lift – and instantly, he noticed how big everything felt. Tall buildings and huge, domineering kids. However, there was plenty of eye candy around from the older boys. That was a plus. It was a fresh start for Dylan. He knew nobody there. He was brand new to the area. Any of the kids who bullied him in junior high were miles away now. Although, instead of trying to make friends, as he knew he’d surely fail, Dylan decided to try to get to grips with the building. There was sure to be so many classrooms, and he had no idea where to go.
“Hey” he heard a kind voice say behind him as he approached the main entrance.
“Oh, hi” Dylan replied as he turned around to face a girl with wavy, brunette hair. She was pretty and had a sincere smile on her face.
“You’re new here, right?” she wondered. Dylan nodded shamefully, ready for her to stick the boot in.
“Me too. I’m Yasmin” she introduced, still being polite.
“Dylan” he replied, not losing grip of his shyness.
“Come on, let’s find out where we need to be” Yasmin led the way inside. Dylan couldn’t believe it. He didn’t want to jinx it, but had he already made a friend? He certainly hoped so.
“What the hell have you done?” Yasmin yelled. Dylan was surprisingly on the receiving end. She was, however, quite understandably frustrated. He hadn’t found a moment to consult her before agreeing to Clara’s plan. Similarly, she hadn’t told him she was going to see Drew. They were even in the secrets department.
“I had to make a decision” Dylan justified.
“It was a crazy decision. It affects all of us, Dylan. Not just you two” Yasmin scolded.
“That’s not fair” Jono defended, “I’m sorry we didn’t discuss it with you, but we had no time. Freddie is sick. If we leave it longer, he could die.” He spoke so clearly, always picking the right words. Dylan found it reassuring to know he had Jono to back him up.
“An alpha increases the strength of the entire pack, including you guys” Dylan detailed, “If we got an alpha, Freddie might heal quicker.”
Yasmin sighed, “I just wish you consulted with me first. We’re a team. We’re a pack. Apparently.”
“I’m sorry. I was in a difficult spot” Dylan felt regretful. While he stood by his actions, he couldn’t say Yasmin was being unreasonable.
“So, how do we get an alpha?” Yasmin pondered.
“We don’t” Drew interjected, arriving at the bench.
Arriving late into school, Lily took her place in English class. She flung her bag down next to Oli and perched on the chair adjacent, but she wasn’t in the mood for their pair work. Yasmin had texted her about Dylan and Clara’s alliance, so Oli was clearly well aware of who she is and what they had done to Josh. Interestingly, Oli didn’t seem all that concerned about her. It was a relief, she guessed.
“How’s Freddie?” Oli asked first.
“Doing better” Lily replied. A silence followed; Lily didn’t know what else to say.
“You know who we are” Oli changed the subject, cutting out the middle man, “Does it bother you?”
“Yes” Lily answered to the first statement, “And no. My brother’s dating a werewolf, why can’t I?” Lily spoke absent-mindedly, then immediately regretted it. She and Oli were not dating. She had gotten carried away. Maybe he hadn’t noticed?
“Oh, you’re dating?” Oli played it coy. Damn, he’d noticed.
“No, but I wouldn’t say no” Lily hinted. She’d styled it out. Result.
“I could free myself up after school” Oli smiled.
“It’s a date” Lily felt a glint in her eyes and her heart flutter. That worked out much better than she’d expected it to.
“Chadwick, Martin, what’s the occasion?” Mr. Marshall yelled over, interrupting the mood. Lily couldn’t be put down though. She had been on many dates over the years, yet this one seemed like she had finally found someone who was worthwhile.
“So, what’s your problem?” Dylan interrogated Drew at the bench that lunchtime. They hadn’t had a chance to speak all day, but for whatever reason, Drew was dead set against the idea of finding an alpha. It was baffling to Dylan – surely, he didn’t want to end up on death’s door like Freddie? He didn’t want any of them to be in danger.
“My problem is you, repeating the same mistakes, putting trust in alphas that have ulterior motives” Drew answered harshly yet vaguely.
“How is this a mistake? Don’t just say things like that and not explain them” Dylan scolded. He’d had enough of people not trusting him.
“You wouldn’t understand” Drew condescended.
“I’m not a kid. We’re in this together. You can’t keep secrets anymore” Dylan argued.
“Alright. They want an alpha, something that’s not just gonna make us stronger, but them too. They’ll have more power, and who will they want as their alpha?” Drew educated.
“One of them” Dylan concluded.
“Exactly. It won’t benefit us at all” Drew noted.
“Except it does. They need us for strength. The bigger the pack, the stronger everyone is. They won’t harm us because it will only be their downfall” Dylan persuaded. Drew stopped to think.
“On your head, be it” Drew gave in. That was the closest thing Dylan was going to get to approval. It was a result.
Feeling weaker than he ever had, Freddie was getting fed up of the hospital. He had only been there for less than a day, but it was so boring. The same four walls were tiresome, and he only had his phone as a source of entertainment; scrolling through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram only occupied him for so long.
“Hello stranger” George grinned as he opened the door.
“Hey” Freddie croaked. He even sounded awful. Why wasn’t he healing? That was the best part of being a werewolf.
“How are you feeling?” George queried.
“Great, I fancy going for a run actually” Freddie sarcastically responded.
“Har har, very funny” George retorted, “Do you remember anything about last night?”
“Nothing at all. Fat lot of good I am” Freddie felt bad. He had no recollection of arriving at the hospital in the first place. George nodded without saying a word. He understood.
“I miss you at home. It’s kinda lonely on my own” George confessed. Freddie wasn’t used to him being so open, but he liked it.
“I miss you too. It’s no fun here. Nobody I can take the piss out of” Freddie joked. At least he still had his humour, “Seriously though, go home and sleep. I’ll be fine.” Freddie knew he had to look out for his big brother. George had been so strong since their mum died, but everybody had a breaking point.
“I’ll only be bored at home” George sighed, “It’s not so bad here. I’ve had some company.”
“Oh, who?” Freddie was intrigued. He almost felt popular.
“Dylan was here last night, I told him to go home. Lily came this morning too” George recalled.
“Oh, I wonder which one of us Lily came to see” Freddie teased. He had always joked about George’s affections for Lily. They were undeniable, and George had given up pretending he didn’t. At some point, he knew he had to play Cupid and hook them up.
“Shut it” George blushed, “She’s going on a date later. I encouraged her. That Oli kid who started yesterday” Freddie paused. Oli. He remembered now. He and Shania were there last night. That injection was the missing piece of the puzzle.
“You need to get her away from him” Freddie blurted out, feeling panicked all over.
“Huh, what? Are you alright?” George was concerned. He had that worried look on his face, but he was worrying about the wrong person.
“He did this to me. He caused my heart attack. Lily’s not safe. Go!” Freddie commanded. George listened this time and shot straight off. He knew he wouldn’t ignore a threat to Lily.
As he approached his house, Dylan was excited to chill out in front of the TV. Already, it had been a busier week than he’d had in a while, and he needed to relax. However, he was slightly irritated to see Clara and Shania stood outside. School was over, and he didn’t think he’d have to worry about anything werewolf-related until at least the next morning. How they knew where he lived was another matter, but perhaps one for another time.
“What are you guys doing here?” Dylan queried as he approached them.
“No time to rest, we’ve got an alpha to find” Clara told him.
“How though? I mean, there aren’t any other werewolves in Crystalshaw. We can’t just find one in the supermarket” Dylan wondered.
“Two options” Clara clarified, “We find an alpha from another pack. You heard about the werewolf that got killed, right? He has his own pack. There are more of them in Crystalshaw than Drew is aware of.”
“What’s the other option?” Dylan cautiously questioned. He was slightly concerned about what he’d learn.
“One of us becomes the alpha” Clara informed.
“But how? I don’t get it” Dylan was getting more and more confused. For one of them to become an alpha, they had to kill another, which linked with option one all over again. Besides, Dylan certainly didn’t want to participate in anything like that.
“Alphas can earn their status. Legend has it that a true alpha can be made when a werewolf pushes his or her way through a mountain ash barrier” Clara explained.
“I thought that was impossible?” Dylan pondered. Drew had never mentioned this.
“It’s rare, but not impossible. Only the strongest can do it. Wanna try?” Clara proposed. He glanced at Shania. She hadn’t said a word to him. He wasn’t sure he trusted her. He had no reason not to trust Clara so far though.
“Let’s do it” Dylan decided impulsively. What could go wrong? He had nothing to lose.
“You’re almost there, you just need to square-root your answer and there you go, you’ve found out what c is” Yasmin explained. Jono tried his best to listen in, but after a whole day of school, he was finding it hard to focus on Pythagoras’ theorem. He couldn’t even think of the square root of 25.
“Jono?” Yasmin nagged. He looked up, trying to focus on her, “You look a million miles away. Is it Freddie? Are you worried?”
“No. I mean, I’m worried, but that’s not it” Jono explained. He felt bad – he had asked Yasmin for some extra maths help but he needed to speak to her privately, “It’s Dylan. I’m worried.”
“I thought you agreed with him about Clara” Yasmin recalled.
“I did, but I’m still sceptical. What if this doesn’t work out?” Jono pondered.
“Then we’ll be here to give him a helping hand. Don’t worry. We got this” Yasmin reassured. She was right. No matter what happened with Clara, Dylan still had his pack behind him. That wasn’t the only issue, though.
“One more thing” Jono continued, “I think his mom is having an affair with the Sheriff.”
“Wait, what? How do you know? Does Dylan have any idea?” Yasmin was gobsmacked.
“Long story, but he has no idea. I want to tell him but it’s not my place” Jono expressed his dilemma.
“I guess it’s not an affair if they’re both single” Yasmin considered factually.
“I just don’t want him finding out accidentally. He doesn’t show it but he’s sensitive” Jono worried.
“You don’t have to tell me. He doesn’t like change either, remember the drama over Mrs. Johnson’s seating plan last month?” Yasmin remembered. She was right. Dylan loved routine. School, “mom time”, homework and bed. Anything that disrupted that routine bugged Dylan like hell.
“What can we do?” Jono wondered. It was the million-dollar question.
“There’s nothing we can do. It’s all up to Caroline. Like I said about Clara, we’ll just have to be there to pick up the pieces” Yasmin sensibly suggested. She was right again. It was a waiting game, and Jono had to learn patience.
Bristling with excitement, Lily could hardly wait for her date. Although she was filled with nerves, the fact she was going to be spending time up-close and personal with Oli could only be a good thing. Besides, it was her first time dating a werewolf. It had to be worth the wait. She was waiting outside the cinema down town, her first time there in a few months. They were intending to watch Love, Simon on Jono’s recommendation. Dylan said they both cried their eyes out, which said a lot. Jono almost never cried at a film or TV show.
“Hey” Oli approached, interrupting Lily’s train of thought, “You look gorgeous.” Lily always appreciated a compliment, especially when she had put so much effort into her appearance. She only wore lipstick in terms of make-up and had picked up a stunning dress after school in town. It was a dark blue and fit her small frame perfectly.
“You too” Lily blushed. Oli was wearing a light blue shirt and cream chinos. He totally rocked the smart-casual look.
“Ready to go in?” Oli questioned. He seemed pretty relaxed; nothing like how Lily felt.
“Sure” Lily shyly responded. He held out his hand and Lily gently slotted her fingers between his. It felt blissful, and she suddenly felt much more at ease.
“Stop!” a familiar voice yelled from a few metres away. Lily spin around. George was running as fast as he could towards them.
“What are you doing here?” Lily was baffled. Why had George arrived? Was Freddie okay?
“You need to get away from him. He’s not safe” George panted. He was growing more and more confused by the second, “He hurt Freddie.”
“What? This can’t be…” Lily was trying to process the information. She looked to Oli, “Is this true?” Instead of answering, Oli placed his arm around Lily neck within an instant. His claws were primed against the bare skin, ready to slice. Lily had never felt so vulnerable as she noticed the horrified look on George’s face. He looked how she felt.
Jumping the Chadwick house security gate was no issue for Drew, nor was a leap up to Jono’s bedroom window. Their parents worked busy schedules, Jono was at Yasmin’s house and Lily was on a date. That meant the coast was clear for Drew to have a private chat with their special guest. Josh’s face was a picture when Drew burst through the open window.
“What the heck?” Josh was stunned as he jumped off of Jono’s bed and backed against the far wall.
“We need to talk” Drew commanded. He noticed a familiar scent in the room, beyond that of Jono’s cologne, but he couldn’t figure it out.
“I have nothing to say to you” Josh tried to ignore, focusing on watching the television.
“That’s alright, we’ll go to plan B” Drew rapidly approached Josh and mercilessly slammed his claws into the back of Josh’s neck. It was a trick that alphas normally used in his past experience, but he had taught himself well while the hunters were taking over. It was the perfect skill as long as it was performed with care and attention. As soon as the sharp claws broke Josh’s soft skin, Drew felt like he wasn’t in the room anymore. Cautiously, Drew navigated his way through Josh’s memories, looking for exactly what he needed. After what felt like a long time, Drew backed out. It had only been a matter of seconds in reality; always disorientating for Drew.
“What was that?” Josh immediately broke away, rubbing the back of his neck. He was showing just how inexperienced an alpha he really was in his ignorance.
“You’re telling the truth” Drew acknowledged. He sat down on the bed, thinking things through. He was so sure that Josh was bad news, but he needed help before he came to any conclusions. He had to speak to Dylan. Then it twigged. That familiar scent. He should have identified it in an instant. In Josh’s mind, Drew had seen the boys’ toilets at school. Josh stumbled in, dripping in black blood. The same black blood he saw just the day before. Why didn’t he suss it out instantly? Perhaps Josh’s change in status came with a new scent.
“The school, why did you go there?” Drew interrogated.
“I wanted to speak to Freddie in private. I followed his scent, but I was wounded. I’d only just escaped from Clara” Josh admitted, “She’s bad news, Drew. She only wants status for herself. I need you to help me convince Dylan.” Drew considered it. It was a tempting offer, even taking into account Josh’s previous form.
Stood around a broken circle of mountain ash in Drew’s bunker, Dylan glanced at Shania and Clara. Shania looked as vacant as ever, clutching a jar that looked very uncomfortable for her. No surprise – it contained a large amount of mountain ash that Drew kept as a security measure. Claea on the other hand seemed much more relaxed. She was focused and in the zone.
“Who’s going first?” Shania questioned. It was the first time Dylan had heard her speak. She basically seemed to be Clara’s lapdog. Clara made eye contact with Dylan, asking him if he wanted to go first without uttering a word. Dylan shook his head. He didn’t fancy taking that leap into the unknown.
“I will” Clara then volunteered. She confidently stepped over the mountain ash barrier. The circle was wide enough to situate her, and the fact it was broken meant that Clara could step over it with absolte ease. As soon as she was inside, Shania tipped some more mountain ash to complete the circle. Now Clara was trapped. She placed her hand against the invisible barrier and it glowed a pale blue, like a ripple effect. Clara withdrew her hand, as if it had repelled her.
“Good luck” Dylan smiled kindly. He didn’t know what to expect, but he was hoping it would work out. Clara prepared herself, taking deep breaths to calm herself down.
Creeping downstairs, Yasmin and Jono went to fetch a drink each. Jono was only supposed to be there until six o’clock, but it was now almost eight and her dad hadn’t cottoned on. He would go ballistic if she had disobeyed him, but they wanted to investigate and bounce ideas off each other with regards to Dylan and Josh. Yasmin had signalled to Jono that he had to be silent, especially on the godawful creaking staircase they had. Yasmin listened intently for any clues as to where her dad was in the house. Curiously, it was dead silent. No kitchen appliances being used, no TV blacking out, just pure silence across the entire house.
“Wait here” Yasmin whispered to Jono halfway down the staircase. She rushed into the room located to the right of the stairs and peered through the window. Her dad’s car wasn’t on the driveway outside.
clear” Yasmin called out.
“Nobody home” Jono bounced into the living room with her.
“No, He didn’t say he was going anywhere tonight” Yasmin was stumped. He always told her where he was going. He expected it in return from Yasmin and was a big believer in practicing what he preached.
you might want to see this” Jono ominously warned. A shiver immediately
travelled down Yasmin’s spine as she turned away from the window. Jono had
picked up a book from the coffee table and was holding it up to her. The horror
in Yasmin’s system soared as she read the book’s name.
Lily was horrified. Oli’s claws were an inch away from tearing through her neck. George’s face spelt everything out. He wanted to help Lily but was too scared; she knew she would feel the same in his position.
“Please Oli, you don’t have to do this” George tried to persuade.
“I didn’t want to. Really, I didn’t, but if you’re going to get in my way, I might have to” Oli threatened.
“I’m not, I’m not” George quickly replied, “Do what you need to do, just let Lily go.” Oli didn’t reply. Every second felt like an hour for Lily. She just wanted it to be over. Surely Oli wouldn’t dispose of her as easily as that? How did George even find anything out?
“What is this all about?” Lily wondered. Perhaps she could talk her way out of this.
“He and that Shania girl, they poisoned Freddie. That’s why he had a heart attack” George explained. That justified George’s involvement, but Oli’s motivations remained confusingly unclear.
“Why would you do that?” Lily questioned as Oli moved his claws closer to her skin. He was feeling threatened, and Lily couldn’t tell if that was good or bad news for her.
“We need an alpha, and the only way Dylan would agree to an alliance was to put one of his own pack in danger. Make him realise how much he needs one” Oli enlightened. It made sense – Drew always said packs were stronger with numbers.
“He’ll be furious when he finds out you deceived him” Lily responded, “He’d be even more furious if you killed me. Don’t do it. No-one wins.” Oli didn’t reply. A few moments passed, the deafening silence was painful. Then, much to Lily’s relief, Oli let go. Before she could turn around and speak to him, he had raced off, obviously ashamed. She embraced George in a warm hug, delighted to be safe again.
“Thanks” she smiled.
“No problem” George casually replied, “But we need to talk.”
The blue ripple effect shone brightly around both of Clara’s hands. Dylan’s eyes were fixated on her and whether she would be able to penetrate the barrier. It was like nothing he had seen before. Grains of rock in a circle were somehow so powerful against werewolves. Yet seemingly not as indestructible as they thought if Clara’s story were true. Dylan took a quick glance to his right. Shania was just as fascinated as he was. She was holding a leaf blower in one hand – the only way any of them could free Clara if she failed. Speaking of Clara, she was putting all of her effort into pushing against the barrier. Sweat was dripping from her forehead as she bared her teeth, focusing completely on the mission at hand. Every ounce of strength was being used. The ripples grew bigger and bigger, but the barrier wasn’t budging. Clara was yelling, forcing herself forward, but it still wasn’t enough. In an instant, Clara shot back against the back of the barrier, collapsing into a heap in the middle of the circle. Immediately, a startled Shania flicked the switch on the leaf blower and blew the mountain ash away from Clara. The seal was broken. Dylan was shaken. He immediately rushed to her aide, feeling hot and exhausted with anticipation. He checked Clara’s pulse – still going, she was just unconscious.
“She’ll be fine” Dylan told Shania. His phone buzzed. A new text. It was from Lily – “Clara is dangerous. Get out.” What did that mean? Clara had been nothing but pleasant thus far, despite his initial concerns. She seemed to want the same things as Dylan, and unlike Josh, she hadn’t given him a reason to be sceptical. However, he trusted Lily. She wouldn’t have said something like that unless he actually was in danger.
“I gotta go” Dylan excused himself, nervously attempting a getaway.
“Not gonna attempt it yourself?” Shania interrogated.
“I’ll pass for now” Dylan casually responded. He didn’t want to sound panicked even though his heart was setting new records for speed. As he went to open the bunker door, he was blasted backwards as the horrific sound of gunfire filled his ears.
“He can’t know, surely this is some sort of mistake?” Yasmin panicked. Jono watched on as she paced back and forth across the room, stress levels soaring. Jono understood how she felt. He knew he didn’t want his own parents to find out that he was dating a werewolf. Any positive thoughts they had about Dylan would be cancelled in an instant.
“What do you think it means?” Jono tried to fill Yasmin’s logical-thinking space while she was busy worrying. The only problem was that he was much less logical than she was, but he made up for it by being great at details, “Think of the possible answers before we freak out.”
“Maybe, err, maybe he helps werewolves like Mrs. Johnson” Yasmin optimistically thought. A sensible and likely idea.
“Maybe he is a werewolf” Jono suggested.
“That’s a terrible idea, there is no way he’s a werewolf. Wouldn’t that make me part-wolf?” Yasmin rebutted. Her tone sounded rude but Jono let it slide – she was stressed.
“Perhaps, depends on when he was bitten. Besides, it’s just an idea, and we have no proof to rule it out” Jono considered.
“I would know. Trust me” Yasmin seemed confident.
“Alright, so what else?” Jono thought. One more idea filled his mind, but he was undecided as to whether he could let Yasmin worry.
“I don’t know, maybe there’s a clue in the book” Yasmin picked it up off the table and out slid a sheet of paper, folded neatly. Jono instantly grabbed it and saw a long list of names filling the sheet from top to bottom.
“Oh god” he muttered, examining it. He couldn’t believe his eyes.
“What?” Yasmin impatiently questioned.
“It’s a list of werewolves in Crystalshaw. Drew is on it, with Oli, Shania and Clara, but not Dylan” Jono detailed, “It’s a hitlist, which means…”
“Don’t say it” Yasmin cottoned on. This is what Jono had considered and feared. Her worry was going into overdrive.
“It’s a hunter” Jono said regretfully. Yasmin dropped to her knees, losing every ounce of strength in her legs. Her whole world was collapsing, and Jono had nothing but sympathy.
Looking frantically around, Dylan was trying to take cover. The bunker was a very restricted place and there were only so many places to hide, although the metal bookcases were a good shield. He needed to look after himself first and foremost, but Shania and an unconscious Clara were both in the room too and he felt protective. Lily’s text hadn’t been forgotten though – if they were dangerous, he needed to have as little to do with them as he could. His senses were all over the place. Focusing his hearing was much tougher than usual thanks to the amount of noise going on around him. All he could smell was the terrifying scent of gunpowder and the room was smoky and dark, obscuring his vision. He tried looking for both Clara and Shania, but there was no sign. Even the spot where Clara was lying was empty. Had she recovered and moved herself? Had Shania moved her out of harm’s way? Or had they caught her? Dylan couldn’t afford to worry about her too. It was every man for himself in that room. He crawled along the floor, remaining sheltered behind the bookshelf, inching closer and closer to the door. Whoever they were, they all seemed to be inside the room, as Dylan noticed the doorway was clear. This was his moment. Without thinking any further, Dylan made a run for it, his heart panting faster and faster. He legged it out of the door, not turning back. Gunshots fired in his direction as bullets bounced off the wall in front, only just missing his head. They had seen him. His legs refused to stop as he reached the ladder, hauling himself up to save time. He saw the night sky above, the moon almost full. Only a couple of days away, in fact. Strangely, it lined up perfectly with his birthday. He wasn’t sure if that was a good or bad coincidence. Regardless, he clambered onto solid ground and kept on running. Further and further away, so that the hunters couldn’t catch him. However, he feared it would only be a matter of time.
5: Birthday Written by MarthaJonesFan
28th February. Dylan’s favourite day of the year. On this day, he was the centre of attention for everyone, and for once, he didn’t hate that. Although, that said, he never failed to feel uncomfortable when people sing “Happy Birthday”. The people who sang and attended his parties seemed to vary each year. Assorted family members used to visit, and maybe one or two friends from elementary if he were lucky, but this was his first birthday in Crystalshaw. Family had sent cards with money inside, avoiding the journey to see him, meaning it was just him and his mum on his special day. He rolled over in bed to see the time. 7:00am. He still had to get ready for school. Ugh. Dylan clambered out of bed and checked his phone. Instantly, he saw a shitload of notifications. People on Facebook that he barely knew were posting birthday messages. He wasn’t sure whether to be grateful or not. However, among the messages was a loving, heartfelt birthday wish from Jono, basically gushing over him. Four pictures accompanied the mini-essay, and it was heart-warming to read. Dylan had heard other people talk about the “honeymoon phase” in relationships, and it seemed to vary in length, but Dylan was praying that his honeymoon phase with Jono would never end. His birthday was a welcome distraction too, from everything that was happening around him. It had been two days since he last heard from Clara and Shania, and no matter how dangerous they were, Dylan couldn’t help worrying. What’s more is that it was the full moon, and Freddie was being discharged from hospital just in time. Perhaps it wouldn’t be such a relaxing day after all.
6: Earshot Written by MarthaJonesFan
Dazed and confused, Yasmin couldn’t make sense of anything around her. She could barely focus on her own hands, and the room was filled with blurred colours and shapes moving violently in every direction. She felt seasick, like she was on a tiny rowing boat that swished and swayed with even the tiniest of waves. People seemed to be running all over the place, screaming at the top of their lungs. What the heck was happening? Yasmin tried to make her way to the front door but walking in a straight line was difficult. She felt someone grab her arm and yank her upstairs. She looked up and saw the vague outline of Freddie. Was she hallucinating? Maybe drinking all that alcohol wasn’t such a good idea after all.
on?” she slurred.
“Shh” Freddie whispered, “I’ll explain later. Drink this.” He handed her a bottle of water. She grabbed it keenly and swigged a large amount while hurrying into Jono’s bedroom. He shut the door quickly behind them, and finally, Yasmin could focus. She saw Drew, Lily, Josh and George already there, sat patiently on the bed.
“Where are Dylan and Jono?” Yasmin worriedly asked, seeing they were missing. She was met with blank stares in response, doing nothing to calm her fears. In fact, it just accelerated them.