When Dylan and Jono find their classmate Noah traumatised by a young girl with black eyes, they find themselves thrown into a new supernatural dilemma that terrifies the entire pack. They're restricted from even discussing it, as their conversations are being spied on by an unknown troll. Freddie reaches breaking point, assuming his relationship with Yasmin is over.
With Yasmin back for good, she immediately begins to assist Dylan in figuring out what the black-eyed girl is. However, they realise it could be too late. Meanwhile, Drew enlists Jono to help find a way around the troll's tactics, enrolling him in a new skill in the mean time.
Yasmin experiences her first premonition of recent times, taking Dylan, Jono and Freddie to the house of a student at their school. Why is she there, and what has happened to the girl? Meanwhile, Lily takes Josh on an investigation of her own.
Fearing for Lily, Josh and George, Dylan leads the charge back to the school, desperate to save the pack and his brother from the new threat unleashed into Crystalshaw.
When Chase lays his cards on the table, Dylan has no choice but to help him out. However, with Drew still missing, the pack have to quickly pool their resources to get to the bottom of what the creature is and what it wants.
After Jono discovers a post that threatens the future of the pack, the team regroup to share findings. Yasmin has to tackle her mum's house-warming party, while Dylan attempts to save Drew, but with the prophecy of the Téras looming over his mind, will it prove to be too risky?
A surprise arrival gives Dylan a boost, spurring him on to stop Chase's witch hunt. Meanwhile, the rest of the pack have to deal with the consequences, as Lily witnesses something horrific and Freddie teaches himself restraint.
Outcast from society, Dylan regroups his pack. Together, they devise a plan to try and save Drew with the help of Ed. Meanwhile, Lydia leads Scott and Stiles on a premonition. What information could this uncover?
With a new host, the Téras unleashes its plan, and it's up to Jono to lead the charge to finding Dylan and Scott. Meanwhile, Drew begins to discover a host of side effects.
1: Privacy Written by MarthaJonesFan
Staying late at school always drained Noah. The amount of revision he had to do for his end-of-year exams was off the scale, and he was making as much use of the school library as he could. Only a few other students were around this late, and it was eerily quiet beyond the hoovers used by the cleaners. His focus of the night was English. He hated it more than any other subject – the ins and outs of Shakespeare couldn’t have been less interesting if they tried. What’s more was that he was dyslexic – reading regular English words was a challenge, let alone Shakespearean crap. He slammed his textbook shut. That was enough for one night. He didn’t know nor care about Romeo & Juliet. It was highly unrealistic anyway. Nobody had love stories that went like theirs. Not that he had much experience in the love department anyway. He’d briefly had both boyfriends and girlfriends, but nothing substantial. He shoved all of his equipment into her bag and rushed out of the library. He couldn’t wait to feel the comfort of his bed. Perhaps he would stop off and grab some snacks to reward himself on the way home. He speed-walked through the eerily dark corridors, with the exit in sight, when a young girl stepped out of the shadows. She looked much too young to be in high school, her straight dark hair tied into pigtail plaits, and her eyes were closed.
“Hey, are you lost?” Noah put on his kindest voice. He wanted to get home soon, but he couldn’t ignore a young kid like that. There was no response, she simply opened her eyes. Nothing but blackness filled the entire eye – no pupil or any other detail was present. A terrified Noah allowed his reflexes to take over, sprinting in the opposite direction, anxious for his life…
Walking to school was always something Dylan loved. It was a little bit of “me” time every day, where he would listen to Jono’s playlist through his earphones. The playlist was pretty incredible. It was packed with summer tunes – “Happy Now” by Zedd and Elley Duhé, and “Talk” by Why Don’t We being two of his favourites. However, things had been a little different for the past three months. Dylan now walked into school with Josh, his new foster brother. Caroline had fostered him, with some persuading from Dylan, when the authorities were planning to relocate him down town, meaning a new family, a new school and new people to get to know. Despite their history, Dylan had grown fond of Josh – he was brave and resilient, and a vital member of his pack. In addition, he made Jono happy, which would win anyone brownie points in Dylan’s eyes. That said, it was making private time with Jono almost impossible round at Dylan’s house. They usually hung out in Jono’s treehouse instead now – somewhere they certainly wouldn’t be disturbed.
“I’m sure I interrupted a private moment between them the other day” Josh revealed.
“No way, I don’t need to hear this, she’s my mom” Dylan blocked his ears. That was another difference about home life – Sheriff Taylor had recently moved in. He made Dylan’s mum happy, but having Josh made their romance much more tolerable. He wasn’t the third wheel, and had someone his own age that he could bitch with for the first time in his life. Also, the Sheriff was insisting that Dylan called him by his first name, Ed, instead of his title. It was difficult to train himself out of that habit, but it made sense.
“Tongues and all” Josh continued.
“Please stop” Dylan awkwardly laughed. He didn’t need those mental images. They finally approached the school, and joined their bench, where Jono and Lily were already perched.
“Morning” Jono greeted with a beaming smile, planting a kiss on Dylan’s lips, “How’s my favourite person?”
“Good thank you” Lily interjected, winking.
“Unbelievable” Jono laughed, “Sensibly though, Dyl, how are things?”
“Not bad. Not sure I’ve had any peace and quiet in weeks though” Dylan half joked. His house was now a hive of activity – which was both good and bad. He still hadn’t spoken to his mum about his secret – although things had gone quiet since Mr. Forsyth was sentenced to life imprisonment. The Sheriff had rounded as many of the other hunters up as he could, so Dylan prayed they were safe. However, Drew hadn’t wasted any time in letting Dylan know that a new alpha was big news. In one way or another, word would get out, and someone, or something, would notice. For now, though, he wanted to enjoy the normality. Although, normality for Dylan currently involved revising for exams without Yasmin’s help. He almost hoped something would come and distract him.
Freddie hadn’t felt the same for a while. School was never the same without Yasmin being around. They weren’t dating for long, but as soon as Freddie thought he’d found something good, he lost it. He understood her reasons for leaving, and quite frankly, he knew he’d do the same in her situation, but it didn’t make it any less difficult. Yasmin told him they could keep in touch – long-distance relationships can and have worked – but she was so busy with her new school that they were talking less and less. It was as good as over. He skulked into first lesson – maths, one of his favourites – but he wasn’t prepared to learn. Mr. Larsen was already harping on about integration, but the questions on the board made little sense. Jono sat next to him, as always, and had completed the first six of ten questions.
“Come on dude. You can’t dwell forever” Jono knew the problem instantly and tried to encourage Freddie. He knew what Jono was saying was true, but it was easier said than done.
“It’s just shit. We’re barely even talking. It’s been three months now, and you’d think we’d have some sort of routine or arrangement, but nope” Freddie vented. He wasn’t very good at talking about his feelings normally, but Jono was the perfect person to open up to.
“You’ll work it out. If it’s meant to be, it’ll be” Jono optimistically reminded, “As the great Bebe Rexha once said.” He giggled at his own joke. Freddie let a small smile slip out too. He couldn’t resist Jono’s hysterically bad jokes.
“Anything to share with the class, Mr. Chadwick and Mr. Ruben?” Mr. Larsen interrupted.
“No sir” Jono replied sheepishly. Freddie avoided eye contact, choosing to peak out of the classroom door instead. He saw something unusual through the little window – a young girl, who must have been seven or eight years old, walking through the corridor. She was only in sight for a few seconds thanks to the tiny window. Freddie blinked, unsure if his mind was playing tricks on him. Nothing was there. Maybe he was just tired. He glanced around the classroom – nobody else seemed to have taken notice; just bored by the integration questions. Must have been nothing.
Enjoying the peace and tranquillity behind the main school building, Dylan was waiting on Jono so they could spend some time on their own at lunchtime. Jono’s birthday was approaching, so Dylan was hoping to suss out some gift ideas. He hated gift buying. The end result of bringing joy to someone he loved was always great, but finding that special something was difficult work. Nobody seemed to be specific when questioned over what they’d like, either. Yasmin was always irritatingly vague. Thankfully, Caroline had a better gift-buying eye and excelled in helping him find nice surprise.
“Here you are” Drew popped out from around the corner. Dylan was startled, not expecting him.
“What the hell are you doing here?” Dylan abruptly questioned.
“Looking for you” Drew replied, “And thanks for such a warm warning, dear alpha.”
“Careful, you’re almost developing a sense of humour” Dylan calmed down.
“You’d be lucky” Drew remarked, “Look, you know how I’ve said about keeping alert?”
“I don’t need another pep talk” Dylan sighed.
“Shut up and let me finish, dimwit” Drew sank back to his old ways. Dylan almost laughed as he was scolded. It had been a while since Drew spoke to him like that, “I just found this stuck to the bunker door.” Dylan took what looked like a regular post-it-note off Drew’s finger and read it. In thick black pen, it read “the children are coming.”
“What the heck does that mean? Who wrote it?” Dylan was dumbfounded.
“I don’t know, but I think we have every reason to be on red alert” Drew suggested. As he spoke, Dylan heard a rustle nearby.
“Did you hear that?” Dylan whispered.
“Hear what?” Drew looked baffled. It rustled again.
“That” Dylan replied. Drew nodded, and scanned the area. Dylan tried to follow his ears, walking towards an alleyway between two parts of the building, generally used to store trash. Peeping cautiously around the corner, Dylan braced himself. What was there? One of these supposed children? He focused, and saw a young lad crouched down. He had soft, auburn hair, shaggy and unkept but stylish. Dylan recognised him even without seeing his face.
“Hey Noah, is everything alright?” Dylan called out, concerned for his classmate.
Unusually, the bench was quiet at lunchtime. Lily was sat there with George, but nobody else had joined them. Normally, it was much too small to accommodate everybody and they often spilled over onto the adjacent bench as well, but the sole bench felt unusually big for a change. However, it was nice to have a moment just with George. She still hadn’t gotten totally used to him being her boyfriend, and they had been together for three months. That said, they had been friends for much longer, and that always felt like the default. While many people might see that as a negative, Lily saw it as a benefit – her history of relationships was a state, but none of them had the friendship foundations like she had with George. A little change was doing the world of good.
“I got a couple of vouchers for the cinema, anything you wanna see later?” George offered.
“I don’t mind, as long as I’m with you” Lily enjoyed being soppy and romantic from time to time.
“Cute, but doesn’t solve my dilemma” George jested. Lily giggled.
“I don’t care, honestly. You choose” Lily replied. It had been ages since her last cinema trip so she was looking forward to it. She was hoping for a more positive experience than the last one, when Josh tried to slit her throat. Not her finest moment. Her phone buzzed. Probably another meme sent by Jono in the group chat. She unlocked her phone and saw a text from a private number. “I’m coming.” How strange. Probably a wrong number, someone trying to let their friend know they were on their way. Then the phone buzzed again and another text came through. “Coming for you, Lily Chadwick.” Alright, that was creepy.
“Hey, look at this” she held the conversation out to George, who was also glancing at his phone. He skim-read the screen.
“Okay, that’s pretty terrifying. Look at this” George held his phone out in return. An almost identical conversation displayed in his text app, only replacing Lily’s name with his own.
“We gotta tell Dylan” Lily decided, officially spooked out.
Sitting down next to Noah, Dylan was feeling intrigued. He could sense his fear – not the fear you experience when you forget your homework, either. Something had obviously spooked him on a high level. He was shaken, his head buried in his hands. Drew watched on, as did Jono who had finally arrived. Looked like Dylan’s gift-buying idea was shelved for the time being.
“What’s happened, Noah? Talk to me” Dylan gently encouraged.
“You wouldn’t believe me” Noah muttered, keeping his head down.
“You’d be surprised at what I’d believe” Dylan added. He was trying to channel his inner Yasmin, judiciously considering every single word.
“There was this girl, last night, in the school corridor. She was like, seven years old” Noah revealed, “Her eyes, oh my god.”
“What about her eyes?” Dylan urged. The fact he was talking about a child concerned him after the note Drew found.
“They were black. The whole way across, pitch black” he revealed. Noah didn’t look up once, still refusing to make eye contact. However, the fear in his voice spoke volumes.
“It’s okay. She’s not here anymore. You’re safe” Dylan comforted.
“She didn’t say anything, but the eyes, they were like black holes. Sucking me in” Noah continued, his voice getting shakier and shakier.
“Where did she go?” Drew interjected.
“I don’t know. She’s still out there” Noah looked up, his tears leading a trail down his cheek. Dylan hugged him, trying to calm his eyes. He made eye contact with Jono, his concerned look matching Dylan’s.
Watching on, Jono felt rather concerned. Perhaps Noah’s eyes were playing tricks on him – he knew he always stayed late at school, he could have been tired. That said, he looked genuinely horrified. Something really bad must have happened to provoke a reaction like that. Maybe there was some truth to it.
“What do you think it is?” Jono whispered to Drew.
“Search me. I’m no expert” Drew replied as honestly as he could. Jono sighed. He knew he’d have to do some research. His phone buzzed. He glanced at the message preview on the lock screen. He heard Dylan’s ringtone sound too, then Drew’s.
“I think someone’s trying to send us a message” Jono noted, reading the disturbing text: “Coming for you, Jono Chadwick.”
“What the heck?” Drew was just as baffled.
“Come on, let’s get out of here” Dylan stood up and lent Noah a hand.
“What are we doing with him?” Drew bluntly queried.
“He’s coming with us. He knows more about this kid than any of us” Dylan decided.
“I’m quite happy for it to stay that way” Jono remarked, feeling uneasy about everything that had happened in the preceding ten minutes.
Walking out of the main school building and towards the bench, Freddie had just picked up his lunch from the canteen. Josh was by his side, just like old times when they were joint at the hip. Maybe he wasn’t faking it the first time after all? Either way, he had nothing to hide now, and it meant a lot to Freddie to know he had his friend back. The old gang of him, Josh and Jono was back on. As they got nearer to the bench, Freddie saw his brother’s worried facial expression. George wasn’t much of a worrier. He dealt with issues head on, and didn’t allow himself to worry about the inevitable. When he looked concerned, it was never without reason.
“What’s up? Why the long face?” Freddie tried to sound light-hearted as he approached.
“Have you looked at your phone yet?” George nudged.
“Huh?” Freddie was baffled. He shot Josh a confused look, as if he were an emoji. George remained serious. Freddie dug his phone out of his pocket. It had been on silent all day, like every school day – he’d had it confiscated by Mrs. Johnson once before for ringing in class, he was keen not to repeat it. He saw a couple of texts had come through from an unknown number. Both of which creeped Freddie the fuck out.
“Alright, whose practical joke is that?” Freddie was sceptical of its sincerity.
amateur, no?” Josh added.
“I goddamn wish it was a joke” Lily sighed. George’s face remained deadly serious. This was no joke.
“Who the fuck would do this?” Freddie’s bemusement turned to worry.
“Someone who knows about us” Freddie spun round as he heard Dylan speak. Drew and Jono were with him. Strangely, Noah from their year group had joined them too.
“Who?” Lily pondered.
“I don’t know. We need to go somewhere to talk” Dylan suggested. All of a sudden, everyone’s phones buzzed at the same time. A chorus of ringtones and vibrations sounded. Freddie’s heart sank with concern. He opened up the message on his own phone – “There is nowhere safe to talk. I can hear you everywhere.” Freddie saw the anger building in Dylan’s face. He understood it too. Nobody should be allowed to feel like that. He glanced around. Nobody was acting shifty, but it was hard to tell when most of the school were outside.
“What do we do?” Lily asked desperately.
“Act normal. Watch what you say, don’t give them anything. When they least expect it, we’re coming for their ass. Let’s show them who’s boss” Dylan replied. Freddie wanted to applaud. If he could take one positive from this, it was that they were all in it together.
The rest of the night was uneasy for Dylan. He felt like he was being watched in his every move. Even in his bedroom, with his curtains shut, he didn’t feel safe. What if there was a microphone planted in there? Something filming him? It was startling to say the least. It felt almost like Big Brother, except it wasn’t voluntary and he wouldn’t win $500,000 for winning it. To make matters worse, they had to figure out the deal with a strange and spooky kid. There was no guarantee she was anything out of the ordinary – perhaps she was a missing child who spooked Noah in some dodgy lighting. It was something to mention to Ed – as Sheriff, he surely knew any missing child case. He ushered him into the kitchen to get some intel.
“What’s the big secret?” Ed queried.
“Do you know of any missing child reports recently?” Dylan probed.
“We got a few, anything more specific” Ed looked baffled.
“A young girl, maybe seven or eight years old. Brunette” Dylan kept it vague. He had no idea who might have been listening.
“Don’t think so. Why do you ask? Am I allowed to know?” Ed questioned. He and Dylan had agreed to keep the werewolf secret safe, on the basis that Ed didn’t know the details. He didn’t want to have to lie to Caroline about Dylan’s whereabouts on any occasion, which was fair enough in Dylan’s eyes.
“Maybe. Need to know only” Dylan kept his lips sealed.
“Alright. Just make sure you stay safe” Ed was very good at looking out for Dylan and Josh. Sure, he was more of a father figure in Josh’s eyes, as he’d never really had someone like that, and Dylan kept his dad close to his heart. He knew he’d never forget him, but equally, he knew his dad would approve of someone as kind-hearted as Ed to keep an eye on him and his mum.
The night had been rough for Jono, too. He had planned to spend it revising, but he couldn’t focus at all. Lily was struggling too – they had barely sad a word to one another, too scared for what other people would hear. He knew he had to think of a way for them to communicate securely. Their phones were too risky – if this person had their phone numbers, god knows what else they could be in possession of, considering technology these days. Now he was alone in the school newsroom. Feeling paranoid, he had stuck a tiny piece of blu-tack over the laptop’s webcam. He was hoping that he could crack on with some work for the newspaper. He was sorting through a list of all of the exam dates, organising it by year group, while Dylan was supposed to be working on study skills now that Yasmin wasn’t around. He couldn’t deny the impact Yasmin had on Dylan, and he seemed to be a little bit lost without her. As he daydreamed, Jono glanced at the door, jumping back in fright when he saw what was visible through the window in the centre. A little girl was peering through, albeit with her eyes closed. She reached her hand out to push the door handle down. Jono jumped out of the chair and picked it up to arm himself as the door bashed open. The girl stood in the doorway, blocking any chance of an exit. Jono looked at the window behind, but it couldn’t open far enough for him to escape. He took a good look, making mental notes. Whether they would make any sense later was another matter, his brain felt like jelly.
“What are you?” Jono asked. The girl didn’t reply, but her eyelids twitched. Those black-hole eyes were about to come into view. Jono primed the chair, ready to fight back if necessary.
“Jono?” Dylan’s dulcet tones filled his eardrums. He blinked, catching Dylan in the doorway, but no sign of the girl, “What are you doing?”
“Err” Jono put the chair down and collapsed back onto it. He was baffled. Where had she gone?
“You saw her, didn’t you?” Dylan presumed.
“She just vanished. As soon as I heard you” Jono described. Dylan pulled him in for a hug. Jono had never appreciated it so much, he was absolutely horrified.
Spending a lesson in the library, Lily was looking around in all directions. It was such a huge open space, which meant any number of people could have been watching her. George was next to her, browsing chemistry revision topics on the computer. She knew he was worried, but he was doing an impressive job of not showing it.
“How are you so calm?” Lily interrogated.
“Like Dylan said. Keep going. Maybe they’ll get bored?” George looked on the bright side. Perhaps it was true, but Lily wasn’t so sure. They knew about werewolves. Why they were doing it was the bigger question. Nevertheless, George and Dylan were right. They had to push on and keep going. Lily opened google and began to browse revision sites when an email popped through. She didn’t recognise the address, but it said all she needed to know: email@example.com. She instantly clicked on the message.
“I won’t get bored. Not ever” Lily read the email aloud to George.
“Okay, they can hear us. Maybe I should give them a little piece of my mind” George threatened.
“How will that solve anything?” Lily scolded. She stood up and turned around to the rest of the class, “Whoever keeps sending me messages, the joke’s over.” The class all shared the same baffled expression, as if she’d gone crazy. Lily sat back down sheepishly. Someone was playing a horrible game, and she knew she had to find out who.
Sitting on the step just outside the main entrance to the school, Dylan was calming Jono down. A bit of fresh air never went amiss, and he knew Jono wouldn’t leave his side if the tables were turned.
“I saw her, I promise, she was there as clear as day” Jono panicked.
“I know, I believe you” Dylan rubbed his hand gently up and down Jono’s back, consoling him as best as he could.
“I panicked so bad. What is she? I felt terrified the second I saw her” Jono confessed.
“I don’t know. I really wish I did. It’d make life a bit easier” Dylan sighed. The unknown terrified him more than anything. At least he’d be able to prepare himself if he knew what he was up against.
“Do you think we can stop it?” Jono wondered.
“I think we can try. That’s all we can do” Dylan admitted.
“There’s gotta be a reason for it though. Things don’t just exist to scare the shit out of teenagers” Jono reasoned. He had a point. The girl must have wanted something. Then a lightbulb sparked up in Dylan’s head. Maybe they weren’t without help after all?
“I think I know someone who could have an idea” Dylan considered. As he finished the sentence, he noticed Jono sobbing discreetly. Impulsively, Dylan pulled him in for a hug. He hated seeing Jono upset, and making Jono happy may as well have been part of his DNA. He whispered softly in his ear, “It’s okay. I’m here for you.” A tear slipped from Dylan’s own eye. He felt at a loss.
“Come on. We’ve got a job to do” Dylan decisively motivated. Sulking wouldn’t solve anything. He had to be proactive.
It was unlike Drew to be startled by anything. He was made of strong stuff and ensured he stayed one step ahead of everything, so it took a lot to bring him down. God knew how many hunters had tried. However, even he was jumping at every phone vibration. Freddie and Josh sat opposite him in biology, and they looked even more anxious than he did. Drew preferred it when his enemy showed itself, as opposed to hiding behind a screen and being cowardly. If somebody had a problem, he’d rather be told face-to-face. He had basketball practice after school, but somehow, this situation was killing his enthusiasm. If motivating himself, as the team captain, was tough, how could he motivate a whole team?
“Are we awake, Mr. Marsden?” he heard Mrs. Johnson bark. As helpful as she had been, he still couldn’t stomach her lessons. Drew nodded begrudgingly. As he did so, Dylan and Jono burst through the door.
“Boys, why are we late?” Mrs. Johnson immediately interrogated.
“Miss, there’s a fight in the corridor” Jono announced. Drew rolled his eyes as he heard pens clink onto the table and chairs scrape against the floor all over the classroom. Everyone wanted to see the fight. Typical humans. None of them had even seen a real fight. He caught Dylan winking at him. There wasn’t a fight. They wanted a confidential chat with her.
“Sit down” Mrs. Johnson commanded to the entire class, an order that was received with disappointed groans and muttering. She marched out of the room after Jono and Dylan. Drew wanted to be involved, but if even one person ran outside, the rest would follow, desperate to see the non-existent fight. He had to set the precedent.
“So, where’s the fight?” Mrs. Johnson wondered, looking around the empty corridors. Dylan knew telling a white lie to Mrs. Johnson was a risky tactic, but he hoped she would understand their reasons.
“Err, there isn’t one” Jono owned up, “We just needed you on your own.”
“I’m trying to take a class, you need to learn the concept of the right time and the right place” Mrs. Johnson reprimanded, “That’s a class you’re both meant to be in, by the way.”
“I don’t mean to be rude but this is a little more important than plant cells” Jono apologised in a roundabout way. While Jono spoke, Dylan scribbled a sentence on a whiteboard he had borrowed from maths. He held it up to her when finished, watching Mrs. Johnson read the note: “Don’t say anything aloud. We need help about a kid with black eyes.” Mrs. Johnson grabbed the whiteboard and pen out of Dylan’s hands, rubbed it out and wrote a response: “I assume there’s something more going on here. I have no idea I’m afraid.” The back and forth continued:
“OK. We’re desperate, it’s haunting the school.”
“I’ll keep an eye out. What’s with the secrecy?”
“Long story. Someone’s onto us.”
“Stay alert and look after yourself. Now get in my classroom.” Dylan giggled, taking the whiteboard back and regretfully skulking back inside the class. On the bright side, he’d killed a bit of lesson time, but still no closer to solving the mystery.
Shutting the front door behind him, Dylan was glad to be home. Although the confines of his house were less safe than usual, he still felt a lot more at ease within those walls than he did outside. He had his mum to protect him, as well as Ed and Josh. Although Ed was at work, he was looking forward to enjoying his “mom time”, now with added Josh.
“How are my two favourite boys in the world?” Caroline beamed as they both strolled into the living room and flung their bags onto the floor.
Dylan replied, collapsing onto the sofa.
“You’re too young to be tired, where’s all that energy?” Caroline teased.
“Used on Jono probably” Josh lowered the tone. Oh dear. A downside to having a brother of sorts was the lack of privacy. Even his sex life wasn’t immune.
“Hey, watch that tongue” Caroline kept up the stern mum act, but was visibly tickled. Another downside: he was the butt of all jokes.
“I’ll get some drinks, want anything, Caroline?” Josh offered.
“Oh, go on, I’ll have a coffee please” Caroline smiled. She acted like Josh had talked her into it, but she never said no to a coffee.
“Just a coke for me please” Dylan added. Josh gave a thumbs-up and casually sauntered out of the room.
“How are you finding things? You know, with everything changing” Caroline whispered, “I know change isn’t your forte.”
“It’s good” Dylan whispered back, being well aware that Josh could listen in if he wanted to, “I think I’m more used to it now, especially considering how long I pestered you to foster Josh.”
chuckled, “I was wondering what you thought about making this a more permanent
“You mean, adopting Josh?” Dylan kept his voice as quiet as possible.
“If he wants that. If you want that. Ed and I have talked through it” Caroline detailed.
“Sure, I’d love it” Dylan felt excited to have an actual brother at last. He always wanted one when he was younger. It was a no brainer. He and Josh were closer than ever. Just as he gave his approval, Josh ambled back in with a tray of drinks and the biscuit tin.
“Ready?” Caroline snapped out of secretive mode within a split second. Josh looked oblivious, thankfully.
“Yup” Josh grinned, slumping down on the other side of Caroline. At least Dylan had something to be positive about.
The mood was less calm and jovial at Freddie’s house. George was out at work, so he was home alone – the last thing he wanted to be. He was afraid to do anything – even looking out of the windows in case he saw her there. In fact, he was trying his best not to take his eyes off the TV even for a second. He hadn’t eaten dinner, and was quite happy not going into the kitchen, at least until George was around. At least he’d have a numbers advantage then. Heck, he hadn’t even seen this girl face-to-face, yet somehow, her mere presence outside the maths classroom was enough to send chills down his spine. Nothing normal could do that. That said, he was hardly “normal” himself. He had to keep his identity a secret to most people, and even that was at risk of exposure. Why did he have no control over his life? Maybe it was time to take control back. Brave the kitchen. He psyched himself up, thinking about what Yasmin would do. She wouldn’t let her life be dictated by anyone else. He strolled into the kitchen, putting on a confident façade to hide his terror. He approached the fridge, picked up his plate, turned around, and immediately dropped it. It smashed as soon as it collided with the floor, shards decorating the laminate flooring. She was there. Facing him, in his kitchen. Her eyes were closed, but he didn’t have to see the eyes to be able to picture what they looked like.
“Please don’t hurt me” Freddie begged. His fear was rising as she stepped closer, and closer, and closer, until…
“Freddie?” came a voice from the door. The voice rang a bell in Freddie’s mind, but he couldn’t place it. His mind was already doing overtime. The girl froze, as if she had been paused by a remote control.
“Anyone home?” the voice sounded again. It was female. It sounded like…could it be? Surely not. The lock on the door clicked open, “Sorry, the door was open. Have you missed me?” A startled Freddie watched as the girl faded away as if she were never there, just as Yasmin walked in. Never had he felt such a mix of emotions in one minute, leaving him staring wide-eyed and open-mouthed at his favourite person in the world.
2: Demons Written by MarthaJonesFan
Yasmin couldn’t wait to return home. It had been three months since she last stepped foot in Crystalshaw, and her life was flipped upside down. She needed a detox. Memories of her dad were everywhere, and she wanted to wipe the slate clean in order to move on from him. However, she missed her friends dearly. Dylan tried Skype calling her for homework help, but it wasn’t the same, and although she tried her best to keep up with Freddie, it turned out she didn’t realise how challenging a long-distance relationship used to be. She had school to think of, and the level of homework was off the scale, while her mum wanted to make up for lost time. However, she was a slave to her job. At least until two weeks ago, where she quit. Quite why, Yasmin never found out, but it must have been something drastic for her to have left the job she worked so hard at for years. That was the turning point for Yasmin. She knew that had to go back to Crystalshaw. Back to her life, to confront her demons and giver her mum a fresh, less hectic start. They had booked into a bed and breakfast for a few nights before their new house was ready, but first, she had someone to see, and she couldn’t wait. The familiar street where Freddie’s house was situated was such a glorious sight. Her mum stopped the car just outside the house; it had barely ground to a halt before Yasmin leapt out of it. The front door felt weirdly comforting, the familiar sight warmed her heart.
“Freddie?” she called out. The lights were on, so someone must have been home. However, there was no response.
“Anyone home?” she called again. Still nothing. Perhaps they couldn’t hear her. She tried the door handle. Surprisingly, it opened with no difficulty. As she stepped inside, the familiar scent of the hallway immediately filled her nostrils. It felt homely, and she had missed it like crazy. She kept on into the kitchen, announcing her arrival, “Sorry, the door was open. Have you missed me?” Freddie’s gorgeous face came into view, but he looked startled. In front of him, with her back to Yasmin, was a little girl. Before she got to ask who it was, the girl simply faded away. She met eyes with Freddie.
“What the hell was that?” Yasmin was gobsmacked.
Bolting awake, Dylan was startled. Why wasn’t he sleeping still? What had woken him up? He looked to his bedside table – his phone was buzzing like crazy. Oh shit. He dreaded to think what sort of messages they were. He pressed the home button, the screen illuminating the room and blinding Dylan’s eyes. He was used to the beautiful darkness of his actually quite productive sleep. His eyes took a few moments to adjust before he could read the screen, but when he could, he saw seven missed calls from Freddie. This couldn’t be good news. He called him back immediately, fearing the worst.
“Hey, what’s up?” Dylan answered, slurring his words slightly. His mouth obviously hadn’t woken up yet, and considering it was half past two in the morning, he could hardly blame it.
“You’ve got to get here. Now” Freddie commanded.
“Is there something up?” Dylan asked as he clambered out of bed, grabbing for the nearest t-shirt he could get from the laundry pile.
“Yes and no. It’ll make sense when you get here” Freddie kept it annoyingly vague, then the call ended. Dylan finished getting dressed, shoving his messy, untamed bed hair into a ponytail as he couldn’t be bothered to style it. Now he had to summon Jono – his personal chauffeur. He vowed he’d learn to drive one day, but he hadn’t gotten around to it yet. Nevertheless, above all else, it was a reason to see Jono. As if he needed an excuse.
Completely shell-shocked, Freddie couldn’t believe that Yasmin was stood in front of him. He had so many questions. Why was she back? Why did she arrive so early in the morning? Why did the creepy little girl disappear? It was a lot to comprehend. He had just one priority though. He was beyond pleased to see Yasmin again and had to make the most of it.
“What are you doing here?” he started at the top.
“It’s a long story” Yasmin sighed, “Looks like I got here in the nick of time. No offence, but you look a state.” She wasn’t wrong. Freddie caught a glimpse of himself in the reflection of the window, He looked shattered.
“We’ve, uh, got a little problem. Long story” Freddie repeated back to her.
“Alright, I’ll go first” Yasmin decided, clicking the kettle on, “My mom’s job fell through. We’re back for good.”
“Really?” Freddie’s mood immediately lifted, “Where are you staying?”
“The B&B for a couple of nights, our flat’s not ready yet” Yasmin revealed, “I’ll only be down the road though.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Freddie pondered.
“Am I not allowed to surprise you? I wanted to make up for being a shit girlfriend” Yasmin confessed.
“Can’t argue with that. It was a lovely surprise” Freddie smiled, “I was kinda worried. We weren’t talking much.”
“I’m so sorry. It sounds absurd to say I didn’t have the time, but it was so hectic, and my mom…” Yasmin tailed off.
“What about her?” Freddie enquired.
“She’s waiting in the car. I should go and update her” Yasmin explained.
“Invite her in if you want” Freddie offered. He was nervous about it, but he wanted to meet her nonetheless. It wouldn’t take much for her to beat Yasmin’s other parent after all.
“Thanks, but she’s very tired. I said I’d only be quick” Yasmin justified, “Let me tell her to head on. I’ll spend the night here, if that’s okay?” Never had Freddie heard such a silly question.
It felt great to be back. Yasmin knew that she missed all her usual home comforts, but now she was actually in Crystalshaw again, it all became clear – she didn’t want to leave again. However, she had a dilemma on her hands. She had to shoo her mum away, without letting on about who Freddie was. She still hadn’t told her mum about having a boyfriend, and she was ashamed to tell Freddie that. Yasmin was never someone to hide who she was. She wouldn’t study so much around school if she cared like that. However, home life was another matter. Her father had a vision for her, an ideal that she always felt pressured to meet. How did she know her mum wasn’t the same? She had barely seen her mum for the past three years, and even when she thought she knew her dad, it turned out she didn’t. She tapped on the window, and her mum whizzed it downwards. Despite it being night time, she was still rocking her trademark sunglasses, and her hair was styled immaculately.
“Ready to go, baby?” her mum greeted.
“You go on, I’m gonna stop here for a bit” Yasmin vaguely informed.
“Oh, deserting me already?” her mum sighed.
“If you feel that strongly about it…” Yasmin groaned.
“I’m kidding honey, have a nice time. See you in the morning. Remember, we’ve got a meeting at your school at ten” she said, blowing a kiss and rolling the window back up. As Yasmin turned around to go back inside, she noticed a couple of familiar faces approaching from several metres up the street. Dylan and Jono. A smile formed on her face, uncontrollably beaming from ear-to-ear. She couldn’t wait any longer to see Dylan. Her legs transported her closer without a second thought, sprinting as fast as she could, until she landed in his arms. The comfort he brought with him was unlike anyone else.
Amazed, Dylan clung to Yasmin like a little kid. He couldn’t believe what was happening, and he had so many questions, but none of them mattered. He had his friend back, and for that moment, he wanted to embrace it. She had left such a gaping hole in his life. Their gossiping about hot celebrities, their shared love of ridiculous jokes, and her place in the pack too. Dylan found it odd to think he had a pack, but that was part of being an alpha. He was still adjusting, albeit slowly.
“What are you doing here?” Dylan was curious as Yasmin let go of him and hugged Jono.
“I’ll tell you inside, but I’m here for good. God, I am so happy to see you both” Yasmin was smiling so brightly.
“Care to introduce me?” a voice came from the car parked up outside the house. Sighing, Yasmin led them over. Dylan saw a stylish lady who looked mid-thirties, but suspected was likely older. Her hair was styled beautifully and her outfit – what he could see of it – was so glamorous.
“I thought you were about to go. Mom, this is Dylan. Dylan, this is my mom” Yasmin introduced.
“Ah, so this is the famous Dylan” she commented.
“Nice to meet you Ms. Forsyth” Dylan politely and nervously greeted. He hadn’t heard a great deal about Yasmin’s mum, other than how distant she had become, but she looked exactly as he’d pictured from Yasmin’s description.
“Please, call me Autumn. I love your manners though Dylan, he’d be ideal for you Yasmin” Autumn suggested. Yasmin sighed while Dylan tried not to laugh. Obviously, she hadn’t told her every single detail about him, “Who’s your other friend?”
“This is Jono” Dylan introduced, “My boyfriend.” That should clear up any confusion.
“Ah” Autumn realised her presumption, “Pleased to meet you both. Time for me to get my beauty sleep I think. Night y’all.” The window zoomed upwards and the headlights flashed on as the car shot off out of sight. All three of them burst into laughter simultaneously.
“Sorry” Yasmin apologised through her chuckles. It felt so good to have her back.
Feeling the deliciously warm fumes of her cup of tea against her hands, Yasmin was cuddling up to Freddie on the sofa. It had turned into some sort of couples’ night with Dylan and Jono in a similar position on the opposite sofa, but she wasn’t complaining. Seeing Dylan’s face light up when she told him she was back for good was everything. Finally, she was feeling much more optimistic about Crystalshaw. No matter what she felt about her dad, she knew her friends would help her overcome it.
“Wait, your mom just quit?” Dylan reacted to her explanation, “You said she loved her job?”
“She did, which is what I’m confused about. She won’t tell me anything more” Yasmin detailed, “Anyway, enough about me. What’s this about some little girl who disappears into thin air?”
“Wait, you’ve seen her too?” Jono perked up.
“She vanished as soon as I arrived here” Yasmin answered. The whole situation still made little sense to her.
“She was coming for me” Freddie revealed, “Like it knew I was home alone.”
“What is it though? How much harm can a little girl do?” Yasmin queried.
“We don’t know. That’s the problem” Dylan explained, “Noah said she had black eyes, and he’s been shaken like crazy ever since.”
“Wait, black eyes?” a bell rang in Yasmin’s brain.
“You’ve seen it before?” Freddie was intrigued.
“I read about it. People have reported sightings of black-eyed kids before. The reports were dismissed as scaremongering but I love reading these supernatural phenomena” Yasmin explained, allowing her geekiness to shine through.
“Beings don’t just exist to scare people though” Jono reasoned. Yasmin knew he was right. Living creatures existed to reproduce and prosper. This black-eyed girl showed nothing beyond an existence of terror.
“Maybe I know someone who could help” Yasmin regretfully suggested. She kept tight-lipped on the details, partly because she didn’t even want to say it aloud.
“Careful what you say. You never know who’s listening” Dylan reminded.
“Wait, am I missing something else?” Yasmin was confused once again. Freddie took his phone out and started tapping a message in the notes application: “Someone listening, trolling us. Be careful.” Eek. Yasmin nodded in acknowledgement, as her brain immediately began thinking of a solution. No time to waste.
Seeing the email Lily received, Drew was getting more and more furious. He wanted to yell at whoever this troll was, perhaps show him he’s messed with the wrong person. This person was great at covering their tracks, though. He had to keep a positive outlook on life – it worked for Dylan, after all. This person must have been human. It would have made no sense for anything else. Humans made mistakes, easily too. Everyone always said how nobody was perfect, but that was only because humans were too incapable of focusing fully. They simply couldn’t. Technically, that gave Drew the upper hand. However, he saw no way to suss this person out. The texts were from an unknown number and emails couldn’t be tracked so easily. He was stuck.
“We can’t beat them, can we?” Lily pessimistically thought. Her phone buzzed almost immediately after – the word “no” simply sent from the same unknown number. No texts came through overnight, although this person couldn’t be awake twenty-four-seven. Unless it wasn’t just one person. He had to consider every outcome.
“We can. We will” Drew confidently stated. He wasn’t giving in. He kept glancing at the email, as if a huge clue was going to reveal itself. It was almost too perfect. An email address created especially for the purpose of trolling. The numbers on the end must have had a meaning. Nobody used random digits like that – they must have signified something. Some sort of date? Not possible, on second thoughts, considering the digits were 1812. There was no eighteenth month. He knew he’d keep thinking about it throughout the day, but more importantly, he had an idea to speak to Dylan and the others without interruptions.
Dylan couldn’t believe what he was about to go through with. He had hoped never to see his face again, but he was ready and waiting in the visiting area. Yasmin was next to him, clenching his hand tightly. He wanted to provide as much comfort as he could, but he wasn’t convinced anything would make this more tolerable for her. She was about to confront her demons. One particular demon, at that. The amount of courage she had was admirable. Dylan glanced at his reflection in the glass opposite. He saw the face of someone nowhere near as courageous. What’s more is that he hadn’t looked at his own reflection in a while, as if he were scared he’d see something different about it. Like being an alpha had changed him. It felt weird looking at his face and seeing how he looked barely any different to the year before. His life back then was unrecognisable, and in some ways, he missed it. The calm and the ease of everything. Now he had tons of uncertainty, but also a load of friends that he’d made since. Dylan felt a lot of pressure being the alpha, but immense pride for each of his pack. Especially Yasmin, after everything she had been through. A buzzer sounded and prisoners began to flood in. The bright orange overalls filled the other side of the glass barrier, worn by men of all shapes and sizes as they came to greet their loved ones. Then Dylan spotted him, skulking along the back. He lost focus of his reflection, seeing nothing but Mr. Forsyth’s terrifying eyes for the first time in three months.
“Hello darling” he directed at Yasmin. She scoffed at the word “darling” being used.
“I’d say long time no see, but it hasn’t been long enough” Yasmin responded fiercely.
“There’s no need to be like that” Mr. Forsyth pleaded. Even after being locked up for three months, he still had the same level of arrogance as always. It made Dylan sick.
“Do I have to list everything you did to me?” Yasmin retaliated.
“You’re the one who came to see me. Can we cut to the case?” Mr. Forsyth moaned. Yasmin shot a look of despair to Dylan, summing up his feelings entirely without uttering a word. His temerity was off the scale. This guy hadn’t changed at all.
“We need…” Yasmin struggled to get the right words out, “…your help.”
“Say it again. I just want to make sure I heard right” Mr. Forsyth antagonised. Yasmin groaned. She obviously felt exceedingly uncomfortable.
“We need your help” Dylan repeated on her behalf. He had to support her in any way he could.
“Why would I help the werewolf that messed up my family?” Mr. Forsyth was being deliberately difficult.
“You’d be doing it for your daughter” Dylan retained composure and responded calmly and with class. Mr. Forsyth was obviously considering his response, pausing as if he were on a reality show revealing the winner.
“Okay. I’ll do it” Mr. Forsyth announced, much to both their relief, “But on one condition.” Immediately, Dylan’s stomach dropped. He should have known there would be a catch.
For a reason still unknown to him, Jono had been summoned to the boys’ changing rooms by Drew. He was far from being a sports fan, and tended to stay as far away from the “laddy” sportsmen of his year group as possible. The arrogance almost put him off the sight of their six-packs. No harm in some eye candy. He tried his best to hide his thirsty glances as he speed-walked to the shower area. Drew was stood almost naked with his back to Jono, soaking himself with the water that calmly flowed out of the shower head.
“Take your t-shirt and trousers off” Drew commanded without looking round.
“Sorry, I’m taken” Jono replied. He was confused, so used humour to detract from the situation.
“Shut it, idiot” Drew was his usual humourless self. Jono rolled his eyes and obliged, awkwardly slipping down to his underwear only.
“Can I have an explanation?” Jono enquired.
“It’s a trial I’m doing” Drew detailed, “To see whether we can be heard now.”
“You think there are microphones on our clothes?” Jono tried to process the information.
“Our clothes, our bags, anything” Drew pondered, “get a shirt from over there and we’ll try it outside.”
“I hope you’re not expecting me to take part” Jono remarked.
“We’re three players down. You’re cheap labour” Drew irritatingly commented, “Let’s go.” Jono sighed. He followed the team of boys who all had at least double the amount of muscle strength as him out onto the field. This was the first time he had even considered playing sport since he was about four years old. He wasn’t sure if this was preferable to being spied on or not.
“You want what?” Yasmin was aghast. Her father’s audacity never failed to amaze her. She was opening to bargaining with him, but he was taking the biscuit.
“I need to get out of here” Mr. Forsyth reiterated. She was spellbound by his request.
“We’re not breaking you out” Dylan immediately affirmed.
“I’m not asking that of you” he confusingly stated, “There are other, more overt ways.”
“It still sounds stupid” Dylan grunted. He was right, but they had to hear him out – they hadn’t gotten what they wanted yet, after all.
“The bite Josh gave me changed me” he whispered, “I’m not a werewolf, I don’t know what I am, but people are noticing. I got a beating, and healed within hours.” Yasmin felt little sympathy, even if the conditions inside prisons like that horrified her.
“Tell us what you want” Yasmin demanded, trying to cut to the chase.
“There’s an institute on the other side of Crystalshaw. It’s a mental health facility, but what people don’t know is that they specialise in…” he trailed off, as if he were struggling to finish the sentence, “…the supernatural.”
“How do we do it?” Yasmin queried as Dylan shot her a baffled glance.
“Plead insanity for me. If they agree, they’ll look to relocate me” Mr. Forsyth suggested. Yasmin looked to Dylan, hoping he would agree. All they had to do was make a suggestion to the prison and he would give them the intel they needed. Dylan rolled his eyes before nodding. A regretful yes.
“Okay. We’ll do it, but you need to co-operate with us” Yasmin bargained.
“What do you want to know?” Mr. Forsyth questioned. Finally, they were making progress.
Never had Jono felt more out of place more anywhere than he did in the basketball court at school. His lack of muscles felt incredibly apparent, and he was notably smaller than the rest of the players too. Drew had urged him to get involved, but he didn’t know how. How could he snatch the ball from someone double his size? He’d be flattened and become a rug.
“When are we testing this plan out?” he impatiently whispered to Drew.
“Now. Keep talking. If I’m right, we’ll have no new messages when we go back in” Drew revealed.
“Alright, so you think you know who it is?” Jono enquired.
“No, but this gives us the upper hand. They might not be as strong as they think” Drew pondered.
“So every time we need to discuss something, we’ve got to strip and play basketball?” Jono summarised. He was trying to keep his good humour in tow.
“Basically, yeah” Drew realised, “Next step is narrowing it down. There must be something on either our clothes, bags or shoes.”
“And placed by somebody devious enough to know to do that” Jono noted.
“That’s ninety-nine percent of the school ruled out” Drew jested. Jono chuckled – he wasn’t wrong. The coach blew the whistle, and Drew immediately shifted into captain mode.
“Come on” Jono groaned. He jogged to the centre of the field, trying to stay as far away from everyone else as he could whilst staying within hearing range. This was going to be a long hour.
Talking to Mr. Forsyth was like getting blood out of a stone. He wasn’t the easiest nut to crack, but Dylan felt like they were making progress. His terms were outlandish, and he was amazed Yasmin agreed so readily to them. However, he trusted her, and knew he had to go along with it. Now it was time for them to reap the benefits.
“Do you know anything about a black-eyed girl?” Yasmin interrogated. Mr. Forsyth looked visibly startled when he heard Yasmin’s question.
“Have you been reading Wikipedia again?” Mr. Forsyth seemed hopeful with his question.
“We’ve seen one. She’s haunting us” Yasmin lowered her voice.
“I was hoping you wouldn’t say that” Mr. Forsyth acted worried. Dylan didn’t believe it for a second, but he had to hold his tongue, “The black-eyed people are scaremongers. They act as pilot fish, like the smaller fish before the bigger fish.”
“So there’s something bigger to come?” Dylan processed. This didn’t feel good.
“Yes. In this case, the black-eyed kid is like the gateway for something bigger. They create fear, and when they’ve fed on enough fear, the gate opens” Mr. Forsyth chillingly explained.
“What is it?” Dylan needed to know.
“I have no idea. The legend doesn’t say. Nobody’s ever let it through before” Mr. Forsyth informed.
“So how can we prevent it?” Dylan instinctively questioned.
“We have to be fearless, I assume” Yasmin realised. Mr. Forsyth nodded.
“Channel the fear. Use it as adrenaline to escape. They fade after a while according to the old myth, but only if they don’t succeed” Mr. Forsyth suggested.
“We’ve gotta tell the others” Yasmin decided. She was right, and they had to do it fast. Nobody knew when the girl would appear again, but it surely wouldn’t take long.
Attempting to get stuck in on the action, Jono wasn’t doing very well. He had been passed the ball briefly, and tried to shoot, but the ball made it less than a metre from him thanks to a terrible aim. His teammates looked at him with such disapproval. So much for team morale. Drew was still encouraging him though. At least one person had his back. The ball was bouncing in his direction once again. He wanted to dodge out of the way, but this could have been his moment of glory. Drew chucked it towards him as players of both practice teams flooded around him. He was near the hoop, but was it worth the risky shot? He caught the ball perfectly, and his moment had arrived. Jono spotted a gap in the crowd and dribbled the ball towards it, ending up directly in front of the hoop. Jono raised the tough orange ball above his head and without further thought, he launched his shot. Anxiously he closed his eyes, waiting for the racket of the ball rebounding off the side of the net and whacking onto the ground. If it even got that far. As he waited, every second seemed to elongate itself. It was excruciating. Then he heard the ball bounce back down to the floor with a thud, followed by rapturous applause from his teammates. He looked up, opening his eyes, He’d done it. Scored. Drew gave him a high-five and shot him a proud smile. Perhaps the first time he’d ever seen Drew smile. He looked around the basketball court and noticed Dylan and Yasmin watching from the side. Both of them were applauding too, and Dylan beamed from ear-to-ear. Maybe there could be more to this basketball malarkey than Jono thought.
Impressed, Dylan had no idea that Jono had a sporty side to him. They always avoided any sporting event on television and Jono couldn’t stand most of the basketball team. The arrogance and the heteronormativity of them all repulsed them both. That said, it would be pretty cool if Jono was to lead the way in stamping all of that out. There he was, playing a part in Drew’s team and actually scoring. He felt an immense sense of pride watching him smash it. Dylan was almost envious. He didn’t have a sporty bone in his body, and it would’ve been cool to have such a skill, but his interest in sport was low anyway. In fact, it couldn’t have gotten lower if it tried. However, Dylan knew he would be one-hundred percent behind Jono’s venture. He jogged over, looking tired and sweaty, yet still as hot as always. Perhaps even hotter in his sporting shirt, exposing his cute, vaguely toned arms.
“I didn’t see you there” Jono mentioned as he arrived.
“We only just got here” Dylan replied, “I didn’t know you liked basketball.”
“Me neither. I still don’t” Jono laughed, “Drew was desperate.”
“You’re a natural” Dylan complimented.
“If you say so” Jono lacked any sort of self-confidence.
“I do say so” Dylan reiterated. Jono blushed. He looked incredibly cute when he blushed.
“Have you seen the others?” Yasmin changed the subject, getting down to business.
“Aren’t they at the bench? I’ve not seen them” Jono responded, “Is something up?”
“We know what the little girl is” Yasmin answered, “It’s fear. She causes fear, which in turn makes a gateway to allow something else, something worse, into our world.”
“We’d better tell Noah too” Jono pointed out, “He was the most scared of us all.”
“Oh shit” Dylan hadn’t remembered Noah. He hadn’t seen him all day. Out of sight, out of mind. However, it rang alarm bells. The girl hadn’t been seen all day either, “We’d better find him.”
Dylan’s heart was racing for the entire journey to Noah’s house. Yasmin had gone to fill the others in on their findings, while Jono led the way in his car. He said he’d been to Noah’s house once before for a group project, so he vaguely knew the way. Dylan was getting increasingly worried though. None of them had seen Noah nor the girl all day, so either it was terrorising other people and he had been keeping a low profile, or their paths had crossed again. Why specifically him? Dylan understood it fed on fear, but how did it know Noah would be so terrified? As the car ground to a halt, Dylan leapt out and started knocking ferociously on the door. Nobody answered, but the lights were on inside. Somebody must have been home. Dylan tried the door handle.
“What if it’s his dad in there?” Jono worried.
“It’s not, I can smell Noah’s scent” Dylan justified. He pushed against the door, and it jolted open, almost causing Dylan to collapse to the floor. He composed himself and sprinted into the light in the living room. Dylan was aghast as he saw Noah looking terrified for his life. The girl was opposite him, with its back to Dylan and Jono. They were too late.
“Don’t look into her eyes” Noah commanded, his voice quivering in a way Dylan had never heard before. Dylan kept his distance, but he had to make sure Noah was okay.
“Noah, it wants you to be scared. That’s what it does. It can’t hurt you if you show it who’s boss” Dylan motivated in the best way he could.
“I can’t” Noah sobbed into his pillow. As soon as he finished his sentence, a black gas-like substance began to flow out of the girl’s mouth. It flowed in the air and shot outside in an instant. As Dylan looked back, the girl had vanished. Immediately, he went to check on Noah.
“Are you okay?” he comforted.
“What the hell was that?” Noah worriedly asked.
“We don’t know” Dylan answered honestly. That alone terrified him the most.
3: Curiosity Written by MarthaJonesFan
Tucking in for an early night, Emily was ready for her first exam of the year. She was just a matter of months away from graduation, and it was starting to feel real. She had been studying hard for the whole year, longer than her friends, most of whom started within the prior week. She had warned them time and time again, but she’d be the one laughing come results day. She was keen to get enough sleep as the final piece of the preparation puzzle. Her stress levels were high despite her hard work, so she needed all the sleep she could get. She locked her phone and settled down for the night, her head rejoicing as it felt the beautiful touch of the soft pillow. Emily prayed she’d sleep quickly, but her mind was quietly prepared for a sleepless night. She glanced out of the window as she laid on her side, glancing at the beauty of the moon. It fascinated her, especially as it was so close to a full moon. Just a few days of exams before she could gaze at it, much like she did every month. As she daydreamed, one of her windows creaked open. She was certain that window was shut and locked before she climbed into bed. Emily stood up and went to shut it, feeling eerie as it creaked in the otherwise silent house. As her hand reached out, some sort of black gas wafted through. What the heck? She brushed it out of her breathing space, but it seemed to be multiplying, forming some sort of dust cloud in her bedroom. It got bigger and bigger, terrifying Emily. She ran for the door, trying desperately to escape, but it was locked. She was scared for her life in a way she’d never felt before. What was happening? The cloud morphed into a humanoid figure, all black in colour and tall. Then she noticed its face. Masculine and incredibly deformed. It looked horrific on a new level. The cloud faded and it was left standing there in her room, its fully black eyes looking directly at her. She screamed for help, but it was no good. Nobody seemed to be able to hear her. The horrible creature moved towards her. Emily prayed that she would wake up any second, realising it was all a terrible nightmare, but it wasn’t happening. It simply raised its right hand, and Emily began to feel her terror rising to the next level. She used her arms to protect her face, but they weren’t much good for long. Her hands began to vanish, as if they were splitting into atoms. She cried uncontrollably, feeling helpless as she backed against a wall, but almost all of her arms had vanished. It was too late. Before long, Emily had gone entirely, as had the creature. The room was deadly silent, as if nobody were ever there.
Stirring, Dylan had had a turbulent night’s sleep. He couldn’t stop thinking about what happened to Noah, and it had kept him awake for much of the night. On the bright side, he had Jono next to him for extra comfort. That never went amiss. He was awake for quite a while that night too, and they held each other’s hands every second they were both awake. No matter what was out there now, they still couldn’t be torn apart. Dylan was determined, and he knew Jono felt the same. He found it crazy to think that it had been approaching a year since they got together. In some ways, it felt like much less, as if they had only shared that first kiss a week ago. In others, it felt like years. He struggled to remember how his life was before Jono. He spent a lot of time crushing on him during school instead of paying attention to class. Perhaps too much time. At least it had paid off. The end result was not what he expected, but it was definitely what he wanted.
“You awake?” he heard Jono softly query.
“Yeah. Did you sleep okay?” Dylan wondered, pleased to hear his gorgeous tones.
“Not really. I
can’t help thinking we’re wasting time. We should be out there looking for
whatever that thing is” Jono thought aloud.
“I know, but it would be a wild goose chase. We’ve got no clues, no suggestions, we’d just be trawling the streets” Dylan reasoned. He had spent much of the night thinking it through.
“We’ve got other problems to solve too” Drew spoke from the doorway, startling Dylan.
“How did you get in?” Dylan wondered.
“Josh’s window was open” Drew nonchalantly admitted. Dylan sighed. They might as well crack on now he’s invited himself in.
“Did you get any texts in the end?” Jono enquired. Ah, their trial at the basketball court.
“Nope, not a peep. Now we can narrow it down” Drew decided, “Empty your bags.”
“Our bags?” Dylan wondered, “What about them?”
“Someone could have planted something, dumbass” Drew bluntly responded.
“You think they’d be so stupid?” Dylan considered, “We use our bags every day, we’d surely notice a microphone in there.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure” Jono added. He had been rummaging through his own bag, and much to Dylan’s horror, he was now holding a tiny black microphone device.
Josh was almost regretting spending the night at Freddie’s. It was amazing to have his friend back, knowing there were no false pretences and he could be totally himself, rebuilding the level of trust he knew he had to earn. However, he’d had his ears talked off all night as Freddie gushed over Yasmin. He knew it was kinda cute, and Dylan’s pack was definitely stronger with her in it, but he had a limit to how much Yasmin talk he could stomach. He felt forever single, but he had to put on an excited face for Freddie. After all, if he got lucky and found a girlfriend for himself, he knew he’d be the same. Besides, he was happy for his best friend above all else.
“Her mom seemed kinda weird though” Freddie continued as they walked into school.
“I thought you said you hadn’t met her?” Josh was surprised by how much he could recall.
“I haven’t, that’s my point. She was too tired to meet me apparently, and Yasmin’s not mentioned her since” Freddie justified. He did have a point – surely any parent would be desperate to meet their kid’s partner. He knew he would be.
“Don’t worry dude, maybe she just needs time” Josh encouraged. He knew he had to be supportive, and it felt great knowing he had earned back at least enough of Freddie’s trust to be his confidante.
“How would you feel about showing a girl to Caroline and Ed?” Freddie wondered.
“I don’t know, I’ve never properly had a girlfriend. I like to think I’d show her off” Josh considered.
“Exactly” Freddie considered, “I’d never stop talking about her to my parents. I guess I still don’t.” Freddie looked glum, as he always did when he thought about his parents.
“They would love her” Josh noted, “And they’d be so proud of you. More than I can say for mine.”
“Shut up, they’d be so proud of you. You’ve transformed your whole life around. That’s a bigger achievement than most” Freddie smiled. Josh blushed; he wasn’t used to compliments.
“Yeah” he awkwardly replied, unsure of what to say next.
“Alright, that’s enough soppiness” Freddie laughed as they approached the school entrance. Josh was enjoying this new approach to life. Life was good, for the first time in a long time.
Making her way into school, Yasmin was thrilled to be going back. She had missed the lunchtime chats at the bench with everyone, and even some of the teachers. She had never expected to miss Mr. Larsen’s tedious algebra explanations, or Mrs. Johnson’s almost obsessive hold over her own classroom. Best of all, she could actually focus entirely on her studies again. No trying to make friends, juggling a long-distance relationship and friendships with a new school schedule, and a mum who confused the hell out of her in recent times. She had Spotify playing through the aux cable connected to her phone, her motivational playlist currently giving her “Bang Bang” by Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj. She couldn’t resist a little sing-along too. She had a good feeling about the day ahead. She parked the car and switched the engine off, before noticing something very weird. A chill travelled through her spine as she realised she wasn’t in the school car park. In fact, she had parked in somebody’s driveway. The house was detached and pretty, but she didn’t recognise it. Nevertheless, she felt compelled to look inside, for reasons she didn’t even know. She just knew she had to check inside. Cautiously, she approached the front door and rang the bell. There was no answer, even when Yasmin rang it three more times. She carefully walked around the side of the house, looking for a window to peep through, but there were none along the side. Now, Yasmin found herself at the back of the house, greeted by the back door. She pushed down on the door handle, realising to her surprise that it was unlocked. As she stepped into the house, an eerie chill brushed against her skin, giving her goose bumps all over her arms. The house felt uneasy, but she couldn’t put her finger on why. The house was stunning; a modern colour scheme complemented by the cutest family photos. She recognised one of the girls from around school. She didn’t know her name and was most likely a senior, but she knew her brother, Chase. He was in her year group, but had become a bit of a recluse recently. He’d helped her and Dylan out at the start of the year with a bit of phone hacking, but hadn’t said a word to either of them since. Yasmin continued walking through the house and up the stairs, allowing her instincts to guide her. The whole house had that same, uneasy feel to it, and she wanted to escape, but something told her she shouldn’t. Reaching the first bedroom, Yasmin read the name on the door: “Emily”, displayed using tiny pretty flower stickers that were peeling off at the sides. It looked juvenile for someone that was in senior year. Yasmin knew she had to go inside, but she couldn’t face it. Time to make a call.
Shell-shocked, Dylan couldn’t believe Jono had found a microphone in his bag. He was desperately praying one wouldn’t be in his own. He took his bag everywhere. It had his water bottle, journalist notepad and all his other essentials, not to mention his school equipment. Dylan never understood why it was socially acceptable only for women to carry a bag. How were men supposed to get by without even a small bag to carry a water bottle and wallet in? Dylan was proud to be one of those who refused to listen to the odd conventions of society. However, it was biting him in the arse now.
“How long has that been there?” Jono seemed just as worried as Dylan, who rummaged through his own bag. His worst fears were confirmed as true, as right at the bottom, he found a tiny chip device. Another microphone. He yanked it out and chucked it onto the floor.
“Be careful, we could use it” Drew warned.
“For what? We can’t be as bad as them” Dylan was confused.
“No, we can track the signal” Drew corrected. He picked up Jono’s microphone from the bed and held it to his mouth, “We’re going to track you down, and then you’ll be sorry.” Dylan snatched it back and flung both microphones into the en-suite bathroom, shutting the door after.
“Why the heck did you do that? Now they really have it in for us” Dylan was furious. This was the exact approach he was dead-set against.
“Somebody’s got to do something” Drew stood firm.
“We have to tell Ed. He can help us sort this out, properly” Dylan decided.
“You think we can trust him?” Drew was overreacting like mad, “Whatever. I’m out.” As he finished his sentence and stormed out of the room, Dylan’s ringtone sounded. Yasmin was calling. He answered it in a flash – any excuse to brush over Drew’s stubbornness.
“Hey” he put on a cheerful front.
“You need to get here now. I’ll explain later but I need you” Yasmin ordered. She sounded terrified – he had to get to her, and fast.
Strangely, the bench was rather empty before school. The bell was seconds away from sounding, and Lily was only sat with Josh. Freddie was there for all of two minutes before he rushed off with no explanation, and there hadn’t been any sign of anyone else. Normally, Dylan and Jono would be taking the mick out of each other by now, all whilst holding hands and catching each other gazing into the other’s eyes. Drew would be sat pretending he wasn’t listening, while concealing his laughter at Dylan and Jono. Meanwhile, Yasmin would be complaining at the noise while a fat textbook took up half the space on the table. The fact nobody was in sight rang alarm bells in Lily’s mind, but Yasmin’s absence was most peculiar – it was her first day back today. There was no way someone as well-organised as Yasmin would risk being late on such a day. She checked her phone – nothing. The lack of communication was driving her crazy. She glanced at Josh – he seemed to be doing the exact same thing; constantly checking his phone.
“Dylan didn’t tell you either, huh?” Lily attempted conversation.
“Not a peep” Josh responded, “I’m sure he has a good reason."
“He better do” Lily half-joked Dylan would never intentionally leave her out, and maybe this was nothing but a traffic pile-up or something equally as inconsistent. That said, she trusted her intuition, and it told her something was up. Particularly after Jono’s text last night, informing her of something apparently worse than the little girl now lurking in Crystalshaw. She had genuine cause for concern. Lily glanced up, noticing something in the corner of her eye. It was a figure – humanoid and dressed entirely in black. She blinked, and it vanished. Whatever it was, it scared her. It was no hallucination, she knew that for sure. It intrigued her too though. She could never resist an investigation.
“I think we might have a lead of our own. Come on” Lily commanded.
Freddie had never driven as frantically as he did on his way to find Yasmin. Receiving a distress call from her shot fear into his body immediately, and he had to work hard to focus on the road, but he made it there safely in the end. The front door of the house at the address she gave was already wide open, and he could smell the scents of Dylan and Jono as well as Yasmin. Although he wouldn’t admit it, he was pleased Dylan was there too. Everything seemed to go right when Dylan was around. Freddie wasn’t as rational a thinker as he was. He was the perfect choice for the alpha. Freddie had felt noticeably stronger since Dylan’s promotion – he didn’t realise the impact it would have, but he felt much more energetic than he was used to being. He followed his nose up to a bedroom on the first floor, and as soon as he entered, Freddie felt a shiver down his spine. He looked around as he walked in, struggling to focus, seeing only blurs all around.
“Freddie?” he heard Dylan’s voice, but couldn’t latch onto his location. Dylan grabbed his arms, and suddenly he was in full focus.
“What’s going on?” he asked, filled with concern. Freddie examined the room. It looked normal – pink wallpaper, splattered with posters on all four walls. However, it made him feel incredibly uneasy for a reason he didn’t know.
“You can feel it, can’t you?” Jono noted. Freddie nodded. The uncomfortable feeling stopped him from admitting it verbally.
“It was here”
Yasmin revealed, in that vacant tone of voice that signified a vision. She
hadn’t had one since she was previously in Crystalshaw, and it never signified
“Where is it now?” Dylan interrogated, squeezing her for information.
“It’s gone, but it’s not far” Yasmin vaguely answered.
“Where?” Dylan continued to press.
“Somewhere there’s blood. Somewhere there’s no blood” Yasmin answered like a riddle, somehow confusing things even more. Freddie glanced at Dylan, hoping he could shed some light. However, he looked just as baffled.
Curiosity was part of Lily’s nature. She could never resist finding the answer to anything and everything. Jono hated her for it – she was always prying into his business, intentionally or not. Forever asking if he had a girlfriend when he was younger was something she regretted heavily now. However, it was her way of showing interest in his life. She kinda wished he did the same to her. That said, he’d been informed of all of her messy love-life experiences whether he wanted to know or not. She had to vent about two-timer Nick and three-timer Cameron, for example, to somebody. Now her curiosity was extending further. She was determined to track down the black figure she saw. Josh followed behind her, unsure of exactly what he was supposed to be doing. Lily barely knew herself. However, her instincts were always right. Almost. She continued down the only route they could – the alley that led behind the school. Nobody hung out there – it was a dead end with only an exit to the kitchens. The kitchen staff left all of the trash from the day there each afternoon too. Despite that, you’d often find couples snogging down there. How they could find it remotely romantic was beyond Lily.
“Can you hear anything?” she whispered to Josh.
“Not a peep. I can feel the hairs on my arms standing up though” Josh pointed out.
“Me too” Lily realised. She had no idea why. She knew that behind her confident attitude, she had a feeling of terror lodged in her mind. She’d never given into fear before though, and she wasn’t about to start.
“What are we looking for? Is the girl back?” Josh speculated.
“No, but I think it’s linked. That thing Dylan mentioned, I think it’s here” Lily explained.
“And we’re walking
right towards it. Into a confined space. Great” Josh remarked.
“Stop complaining and keep listening” Lily ordered as they approached the final corner. Lily stopped just inches from the end, waiting for the all-clear from Josh before she made a move.
“Do you have a plan?” Josh queried.
“Nope. Work in progress” Lily honestly answered. She hated plans. She never stuck to them, so saw them as a waste of time and brain power. Josh gave her the thumbs up. Lily took a deep breath in and pounced around the corner. Josh followed, his eyes clearly glowing a deep shade of blue in the light-deprived alley. Instantly, Lily noticed a figure in front of her. She jumped back, startled, but she noticed quickly that it wasn’t the black creature
“Woah, cool contact lenses. Where can I get them?” a man in his thirties asked, staring at Josh. Lily hadn’t seen him before, but he was holding a packed black bin-liner. He must have been kitchen staff.
“Online exclusives. They sold out. Sorry, wrong route” Lily wormed her way out of the situation, pulling Josh back round the corner before he could say anything else.
“That was close” Josh remarked as they emerged out of the alley.
“Where the heck did it go?” Lily sighed. It must have gone inside, but it would have had to pass that guy. At least he wasn’t concerned by Josh’s blue eyes.
“Let’s get to class. We can keep our eyes peeled” Josh suggested. Lily agreed – it was all they could do.
Baffled, Dylan was sat on the step outside Emily’s house. There was no sign of her, and a quick text from Mrs. Johnson confirmed there was no sign of her at school either. Worryingly, Yasmin’s visions often revolved around dead bodies, which didn’t give Dylan much hope. What’s more is that the answer to the creature’s location was right under their noses, but it was shrouded in a stupid riddle. He was never any good at riddles – they always intrigued him and he loved finding out the answers; they always seemed to be dead easy. However, he could never master the knack of solving them. His brain was far too literal to read between the lines. On the bright side, he had three others to assist him, and he trusted their brains more than his own.
“Somewhere there’s blood. Somewhere there’s no blood” Jono reiterated as he racked his brains. He was sat next to Dylan on the step, rubbing his leg. It always calmed him down; he sure needed it.
“How can there be blood and not blood?” Dylan tried to compute.
“Maybe it means two places. One where there’s blood, one where there isn’t” Freddie offered.
“How can something be in two places?” Dylan thought logically.
“Maybe there’s more than one creature” Jono suggested.
“No, there was only one. I’m certain” Yasmin confirmed.
“So there’s a place that has both blood and no blood. Makes sense” Dylan sarcastically commented. Even he struggled to be optimistic in the face of riddles.
“Technically everywhere has blood if there’s anything living there” Yasmin noted, “Somewhere with no blood around here would be damn impossible. We need to think deeper.”
“Wait, blood can link people, can’t it? Blood relatives” a lightbulb clicked into action in Dylan’s mind. He was pretty impressed with his own idea, even if it was likely wrong.
“Everyone’s a blood relation to someone though, how does that narrow it down?” Yasmin considered.
“And what about no blood? How does that fit in?” Freddie added. Dylan was amazed. He actually felt like he was onto something that nobody else was, and for once, he was beginning to have confidence in his guesses.
“Don’t you get it? The message was aimed at us. So is the riddle. We all have blood relatives for a start” Dylan explained.
“Alright, that narrows it down to your and Yasmin’s moms, George, my parents and Lily” Jono summarised.
“And I’m the only person here who has non-blood relatives” Dylan continued.
“Josh” Yasmin realised. She was spot on – Josh was his foster brother. Still part of his family, but not related by blood.
“He’s at school” Freddie noted, “So is George.”
“And Lily” Jono
“They were together when I left. It must be them. They might be in trouble” Freddie was becoming increasingly concerned – a feeling Dylan shared. It was a horrible sinking feeling that rushed through his entire body. However, it also fired up his adrenaline reserves, kicking his protective instincts into action. Not only was he saving his pack, he was saving his family.
Although Lily was pleased in some ways that she didn’t find whatever the black figure was, she sort-of wished she had. It would have gotten her worry over and done with, but now she was sat in class, unable to focus, and feeling nothing but total fear. Fear of both the creature itself, and the unknown of what it may or may not do. Now she had Mr. Larsen harping on about something maths related – specifically what, she didn’t know. Lily glanced out of the window, trying to imagine she was anywhere but that classroom. A beach in Florida. A cute, quiet café in town. Her bedroom, where she felt safest. No matter how hard she tried though, she knew in the back of her mind that she was in the classroom, a place that was making her feel on edge. Vulnerable. Exposed. She didn’t even have Josh to protect her – he was in another class. Heck, he was in a whole other grade. Lily often forgot that most of Dylan’s pack were her brother’s age. At least she had George with her, but the problem was their lack of defences. Josh was the only werewolf in the school. There was still no sign of the others, and she was growing increasingly concerned by the lack of response from Jono to her numerous texts and WhatsApp messages. As she watched the trees swishing calmly back and forth, Lily tried to calm herself. It was such a gentle, tranquil sight. Deep breaths. In. Out. In Out. She felt herself getting more and more relaxed. It was a technique that had never failed her. Any time she got scared, she tried those same breathing techniques. It helped her to overcome any fears. She knew she could take on whatever this creature was. She closed her eyes, composing herself, and after a few seconds, she opened them, feeling bright and breezy. Ready for a fresh start. However, she instantly lost all of her calm thoughts and the terror came flooding back. The creature was at the window. She saw its hideous face for the first time – dark all over and horribly deformed, yet vaguely humanoid with a mouth, nose and eyes. The eyes were jet black, with a white outline around the eyelid – the only element of light in its entire body. It peered inside, staring directly at Lily. She almost jumped out of her seat in pure fright, almost into George’s lap.
“Woah, what’s up?” George reacted kindly, helping her reposition.
“Did you see that?” Lily questioned, trying to keep her voice low. People in the class were already staring weirdly at her, including Sofia, her ex-best friend. Bad memories of bitchiness and manipulation always flooded into her mind whenever she saw her.
“See what?” George worryingly questioned. Lily looked again, but it was gone. She still had reason to worry, though. Written on the outside of the window was Dylan’s first name, in large capitals, using a thick black liquid. It was clear as day for the entire class to see.
Situated only a couple of classrooms down the corridor from Lily, Josh was on red alert. He didn’t know what specifically he was looking out for, but he believed Lily. He had no reason not to, and Dylan certainly trusted her. He liked to use Dylan as a moral compass. He had a good head on his shoulders and always seemed to get things right. It was odd to think of a time where he resented Dylan, considering he had nothing but pure respect for him now. There wasn’t a day that went by where he didn’t think about what Clara put him through. How he let Clarissa down. His blue eyes were a daily reminder of what he did. The rest of the pack didn’t seem to know why his eyes were blue instead of yellow now, not even Drew surprisingly. They were yellow until Dylan became the alpha, almost like his body was glitchy. Now they were the correct colour, and he was too ashamed to admit the true meaning. He was amazed they had accepted him into the pack at all. Not forgetting Dylan’s family too. He knew he didn’t deserve people like them in his life. This came with a sense of protectiveness for all of them though, and Dylan’s absence was worrying him like crazy. In fact, there were four empty seats in history class – Dylan, Jono, Freddie and Yasmin. He had no idea where Freddie had gone after abruptly leaving that morning, but he could guarantee he was with them. It must have been serious if they hadn’t texted back. Although phones weren’t supposed to be out in class, Josh subtly kept his tucked inside his pencil case so he could keep checking it. Every few seconds he would press the home button, desperately hoping even a tiny insignificant text from Dylan comes through. He wasn’t paying one bit of attention to history – he hated the lesson anyway. Perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea to go to lesson after all. At least he wasn’t the one who would be getting a bollocking from Caroline for truanting. He pressed the home button again. To his relief, he had a new message from Dylan. In fact, six messages.
Chat Window: Dylan
- Hey, sorry for disappearing
- We’re all OK
- Will fill you in later
- You need to get out of school
- Take Lily
- We’ll be there soon
He always tended to send numerous tiny messages instead of one long message. However, it was a huge relief to hear from him. Now he had to find Lily, and quick.
Panicking like mad, Dylan was worrying about what was going on at the school. It wasn’t just the fact that Lily and Josh were almost certainly in trouble, but also the fact it was occurring during the day, where the school was at its busiest. Anything could be exposed, especially when there was someone around who was watching their every move. He knew they had to tread very carefully.
“Has Josh responded?” Jono anxiously questioned. Naturally, he was extremely concerned for Lily. He had a protective instinct over his big sister, and one he was rightfully very proud to show too. Dylan was only just beginning to understand it for himself; he felt that same protective instinct for Josh. He’d only just gotten a brother of his own. He wasn’t about to lose him.
“He said okay, but nothing more yet” Dylan reported back, praying he’d get another text through saying they were out and okay any second now. Jono’s car couldn’t move fast enough. Jono was already driving over the speed limit, while Yasmin and Freddie followed behind.
“What about Lily? Check my phone” Jono suggested, trying not to lose focus on the road. Dylan had Jono’s phone on his lap too. He loved how much they trusted each other with their phones. Dylan was ultra-protective of his – he’d never let anyone even touch it, yet he happily told Jono his passcode for use whenever he wanted. He had nothing to hide from Jono, and obviously he felt the same too. It was an oddly exposing yet comforting feeling.
“Nothing” Dylan notified. Although the lack of messages was depressing, he did adore the sight of Jono’s lock screen. It was the cutest photo of them together, cheek to cheek and arms wrapped tightly around each other. It was rare Dylan liked a photo of himself, but any photo he had with Jono was always great. Especially considering his own lock screen was another photo they took together.
“Ugh. We’re almost there, I’m praying they’re outside waiting” Jono hoped. Dylan shared that wish – he needed this bit of good luck. However, as they reached the school car park, there was nobody in sight. Dylan knew they would have to take a risk and go inside.
The entire class seemed baffled by the message on the window. Lucky for Lily, it could have been any Dylan – there were loads of them around school – but she knew precisely who it meant. Her close friend. Her brother’s boyfriend. Her alpha. George was just as stunned, and he looked knowingly at Lily. The only two people in the room who had genuine cause for concern.
“Settle down please, we’re in the middle of class” Mr. Larsen drew them back in, before muttering under his breath, “Must email the caretaker.” The windows were the least of Lily’s concerns though. She had to find Josh. Just as she ran for the door, Josh arrived, looking just as flustered as she did.
“Go” Lily ordered him back out, grabbing George’s arm and ushering him out with her.
“It’s coming for us” Josh notified once the door was shut behind them.
“It’s coming for Dylan” Lily corrected, pointing through the door at the window in the classroom. Seeing Dylan’s name still sent shivers through her spine.
“Let’s get out of here” Josh suggested, making a sprint towards the exit. It was the best idea any of them had, Lily couldn’t fault it. She and George followed him; they had barely stopped running by the time they were rattling against the main exit doors, pressing against the door-handle. They were out of luck though – it was locked.
“The other doors” Lily commanded, leading the way back up and around the corner. It was a huge building, there were loads of exits. That said, the side doors were locked too.
“What do we do?” George was losing his composure. He never lost his cool, which was a signifier of just how worried Lily was feeling too.
“We’ve got to find someone” Lily decided. Only one name came to mind, “Mrs. Johnson.” As they picked up the pace again, back through the corridor and towards Mrs. Johnson’s lab, Lily glanced into the other classrooms. It was a habit, partly out of curiosity, or perhaps just being nosey. However, she was horrified as every single classroom seemed to be empty. Not even a teacher was in sight. She paid close attention as they passed Mr. Larsen’s room, where she knew for a fact there were students. Despite that, it was empty too. No sign of Mr. Larsen, Sofia, or anyone else in that class. She felt uneasy and terrified again. She stopped running and looked behind. That feeling of terror tried to stop her, but Lily pulled through. She looked at what they were running from. There it was – the creature she’d seen outside, staring right at her, Josh and George. They were trapped between whatever it was, and the locked exit doors. Lily knew she had to think quick, but with her brain worrying on overdrive, she was struggling to find the motivation.
4: Canvas Written by MarthaJonesFan
In some ways, Josh was bubbling with excitement. He had been waiting for this day for quite some time; the past couple of months had felt like an eternity in some respects, but the wait for what promised to be a genuinely safe and stable foster home had been an even longer wait. He couldn’t wait to settle down in one place for an extended period of time. He had more hope than usual that this would be the one. However, this led to some nerves, too. He’d had terrible luck with foster homes, and was expecting this to end up the same way. Besides, he hadn’t exactly had the best rapport with Dylan in the past. They had turned a corner, but Josh knew he had done some messed-up shit. He knew he’d struggle to forgive and forget in Dylan’s shoes. Surprisingly though, he was being supportive every step of the way. Dylan had even instigated the entire scenario. It was unthinkable just months before. Now he was moving in with him and Caroline, his mum, who was the loveliest person Josh had ever met. One positive was that he wasn’t the only new boy in the house – Ed, the Sheriff of Crystalshaw, was also moving in the same day. He was Caroline’s partner, and set to be Josh’s foster dad. At least they could both settle in at the same time. The car journey was almost over – they were arriving. Dylan’s house was on the edge of the forest, about half an hour walking distance from school. A pretty cool location, he couldn’t deny. As the car parked up, the front door opened. Caroline and Dylan were both there, eagerly anticipating his arrival. Josh collected his belongings – he only had two bags, he wasn’t very materialistic and many of his keepsakes had been lost across the various foster homes he used to live in.
“Fancy a cuppa?” Caroline asked, skipping any useless small talk.
“Yeah” Josh sheepishly replied, politely giving a tiny wave goodbye to the social worker who dropped him off, hoping he would never have to see her again.
“How do you take it? Milk, sugar?” Caroline pondered, leading the way inside. Dylan grabbed one of the bags for him.
“Milk, two sugars please” Josh answered.
“Come on, I’ll show you to your room” Dylan suggested, leading Josh up the staircase. It was decorated with framed photos of Dylan, Caroline, and the man Josh assumed was Dylan’s dad. They all looked so happy. Maybe he could find that happiness here too. Arriving at his bedroom, Josh immediately noticed how bare the room was. It was like a blank canvas – neutral cream paint on the walls, a plain darker bedsheet, and little else beyond the furnishings including a bedside table and wardrobe.
“Mom said we could go out later and pick colours for the room. We left it plain on purpose so you could put your own stamp on it” Dylan explained.
“You choose. I’ll cock it up like usual” Josh sighed.
“You can learn from your mistakes then. You might get it wrong, but you can only make that mistake once” Dylan encouraged, “I’ll bring your tea up.” He gently pulled the door to. Josh sat on the bed, examining his surroundings. This was home now, and Dylan was right. He could only make the best of it.
Dylan could hardly believe his eyes. It was an odd sight – the school car park, totally empty. Especially during the school day, when it was almost impossible to find a spare parking space. Now, only four cars adorned the concrete space – cars belonging to Jono, Yasmin, Freddie, and Lily. Three of them were outside the building with Dylan, and he hadn’t yet decided if the sight of Lily’s car was good or bad. On one hand, they knew where she was. On the other, she hadn’t managed to escape the building yet. No news was definitely not good news in this instance. Dylan led the way to the main entrance. They were rarely shut during the school day, especially during the boiling hot summer temperatures. He tried pulling down on the bar to open the door, but no luck. It was getting stranger by the second.
“Wait, it’s locked? That breaks so many health and safety procedures” Yasmin thought logically.
“Not if nobody’s inside” Freddie suggested.
“But Lily’s in there. She has to be. I’d bet on Josh and George being with her, too” Jono noted.
“You’re right” Dylan approved, “We need to split up. Yasmin, Freddie, you two check all other exits. Jono and I will look for an open window. The others nodded. Dylan knew they would succeed. They simply had to. All he could think of was Josh, and how he would protect him at all costs.
Backed into a corner, Lily was trying to think fast. It was usually her speciality – she could come up with the most brilliant excuses for any situation within seconds. She trusted her instincts and her reflexes more than anything. However, a creature with the ghastliest deformed face was staring at her through its horrific pitch-black eyeballs. George and Josh were either side of her, and she knew their brains would be feeling just as petrified as hers. She looked around her, praying for some inspiration to pop into her mind. She took note of her surroundings. Directly next to the door: a fire extinguisher. Lily didn’t need to think twice. She’d seen this on television so many times. She aimed the hose at the creature, still slowly approaching them.
“Stand back” Lily warned. She had to give it a chance. Maybe it would have a conscience after all? It didn’t utter a word, instead continuing to creep eerily towards them.
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you” Lily uttered, before pressing down on the extinguisher. White gas began to spray violently in the direction of the creature, clouding its view.
“Now” Lily commanded, making a run back through the school. It was a huge building, they should easily be able to hide out until they could get help. She had to get hold of Dylan, and fast.
Fed up of finding locked door after locked door, Yasmin was close to giving up. She and Freddie had covered almost the full perimeter of the school, but every single exit had been locked shut. They were running out of options. She was praying that Dylan and Jono were having better luck, but her instinct told her they probably weren’t.
“Some first day back, eh?” Freddie commented. They had been surprisingly quiet around each other the whole day. She knew to call him as soon as she found herself in Emily’s bedroom. It was like a reflex, which was a reassuring sign. However, things weren’t quite the same since she got back to Crystalshaw. She’d hoped that absence might make the heart grow fonder, but it seemed to evaporate any chemistry they had. They’d have to start from square one again.
“You’re telling me” Yasmin smiled, “Not quite what I had in mind.” Freddie laughed before it fell silent again. It was awkward and uncomfortable, as if there were an elephant in the room. Yasmin approached the final door – the kitchen’s back door. As she reached her hand out, anticipating the lack of movement from the locked bolt, Freddie broke the silence.
“Did you miss me?” he questioned.
“Honestly?” Yasmin turned to her right, facing him eye-to-eye. His gorgeous blue eyes shone against the dark backdrop of the alley they were stood in. His luscious blonde shoulder-length locks were glistening in the slight breeze. He looked picture perfect, “Every single day. Another guy, he tried it on, but I didn’t even entertain the idea. I only ever wanted you.”
“So why didn’t you call me more? Some days, all I needed was to hear your voice” Freddie confessed. Yasmin felt guilty. She’d been selfish, not without reason, but without thinking how Freddie would feel.
“I didn’t call because I couldn’t” Yasmin answered, “Hearing you would have made me miss you more. I couldn’t do it.” Freddie simply stared, as if he were digesting what Yasmin said. Then Yasmin noticed the tear slipping down his cheek. She wiped it away gently, softly rubbing and soothing Freddie’s smooth cheek.
“I’m so glad you’re back” Freddie admitted, holding back further tears.
“Me too” Yasmin replied. She rarely cried, but she was holding back tears too, “Right, let’s see if this door is gonna welcome me back warmly.” She pressed down on the door handle, and unsurprisingly, there was no such luck.
“Wait, look” Freddie pointed through the translucent glass pane that made up the top half of the door. Just visible through it was a key in the lock, a lock that was sizeable and old-fashioned.
“It must have been an inside job” Yasmin deduced, “A sloppy one, too.”
“We can get it, can’t we?” Freddie suggested. It had to be worth a try. For once though, Yasmin felt out of options.
Dylan was getting flustered. All windows seem to be shut tightly, even those at the very top of the tall building. He was a werewolf, he could have climbed his way up there. However, it didn’t seem like he would get the chance. Not even a werewolf could climb through a shut window. Jono looked just as concerned as he did, and with good reason, too. They both had their siblings in there. Panic levels were understandably high.
“We’re never gonna get in there” Jono sighed.
“We will, there must be a way” Dylan remained optimistic, but he wasn’t sure he was convinced by his own words.
“Where? I don’t see it” Jono was getting frustrated, but he remained self-aware, “Sorry. I’m so worried about her.”
“You don’t have to apologise. I feel the same about Josh” Dylan admitted.
“Sorry, I forgot. Still getting used to it I guess” Jono realised.
“Me too. I always wanted a brother. I mean, my parents were always cool but it was never the same as having someone my own age in the house” Dylan reminisced.
“Could be a blessing in disguise, Lily drove me mad growing up” Jono laughed, “She always demanded things cause she’s the oldest.”
“I should try that, Josh is two months younger than me” Dylan laughed, “Come on. We gotta get them out. I know there must be a way.” Jono nodded. They had the determination; all they had to do was to prove themselves right.
The staircase wasn’t a problem for Josh. He was running on adrenaline, and werewolves could run faster and for longer than humans anyway. Lily and George weren’t coping so well though. They trailed behind, although Lily continued to dish out instructions to keep on going. She seemed to know where they had to go, which was something, it meant at least one of them did. Josh was following blindly, putting his trust in her. George was bringing up the rear, constantly looking behind him. There didn’t seem to be any sign of the creature following, but Josh knew better than to count his chickens before they had hatched.
“First door on the left” Lily directed them into one of the IT suites, filled with computers. She immediately ducked below the furthest table, obscured from view from the front door. It made perfect sense as a hiding place too – there was a second door, into the adjoining classroom, just behind them, waiting ajar for them to creep through if necessary. All three of them crouched down, not uttering a single word. Josh became very aware of his breathing all of a sudden, worrying it was too loud. He tried to focus his hearing beyond his own self, knowing it could give them the upper hand. He put his finger to his lips, signalling to Lily and George that he was listening. Nothing was there, though. Not a footstep, not a breath, not even a pin dropping.
“No sign” he relayed to the others.
“It can’t have just gone” Lily noted.
“Maybe we lost it after all and the plan worked” George suggested, “We gotta find a way out.”
“No, we need to lay low. We only move when we have to. First, we need to call Dylan” Lily decided.
“How do we know he hasn’t vanished like everyone else?” Josh pessimistically considered. He certainly prayed it wasn’t the case – if something bad had happened to Dylan, he didn’t know how he’d cope.
“We don’t, so let’s check” Lily continued, opening the contacts on her phone. She held it to her ear while Josh prayed they would get an answer.
“Nothing” Lily reported. Josh sighed, “It didn’t even ring. Something must be blocking it.”
“So, we’re on our own” Josh worried.
The last place Jono had to check was the alleyway behind school, heading to the back entrance of the kitchen. This was their best shot at an open window; the kitchen staff were extremely lazy. The amount of “polite” notices Mrs. Harding, their headteacher, had asked him to include in the newsletter regarding closing windows was hilarious, and each of them seemed to indirect the kitchen staff. Alas, they were out of luck. Not a single open window across the whole school. They had, however, found Yasmin and Freddie.
“Any luck?” Freddie asked hopefully.
“Nope. You?” Jono regretfully answered.
“Maybe. Come see” Yasmin suggested. Jono’s heart began beating faster and faster. Maybe they weren’t without hope after all? Yasmin led them to the back door, and sure enough, there was a key in the lock on the other side of the door, “I’ve tried nudging it but no luck.”
“Have you tried your claws?” Dylan instantly asked Freddie. Freddie’s eyes widened. Jono knew that look anywhere – it was his “I wish I thought of that” expression. Dylan stood in front of the door, priming his claws in front of the door lock. It was a nervous watch. Jono almost couldn’t look, scared they wouldn’t succeed and it would be back to square one. Dylan’s claws were impressive – they slotted straight through the old-fashioned lock with ease. Jono noticed the key on the other end begin to wobble. Sure enough, as Dylan pushed his claw in as far as it could go, the key plonked down onto the floor. A sigh of relief came from Jono’s mouth.
“Alright smart brains, how do we get it from there?” Freddie pointed out. He was right – the key was now on the floor, just a couple of centimetres from the floor most likely, but no werewolf skills could squeeze under a rock-solid door. However, Jono had a brainwave. An idea that was so simple, it might just work.
“Wrist” Jono said to Dylan. He looked confused and examined his wrists, before cottoning on. Jono adored Dylan’s shoulder-length locks, either tied up or flowing free. Dylan didn’t like to wear it up very often, but sometimes he gave in when it was particularly unruly, and always kept a hairband on his wrist just in case. Jono adored it regardless. He still couldn’t believe how lucky he was to have someone as beautiful inside and out as Dylan. He knew it wouldn’t happen, but the slightest thought of losing Dylan made him feel sick. Jono would do everything he could to keep their relationship going forever.
“What are you doing?” Yasmin was baffled.
“Watch and learn” Dylan grinned the cutest grin, nudging the hairband under the door. Using it like a lasso, he shifted the key out. Success.
“Bingo” Dylan celebrated, scooping it up. He unlocked the door, and instantly, Jono felt a sigh of relief. The battle wasn’t over yet, but Lily was within reach at last.
Pushing through the kitchen and into the main school corridors, Dylan was alarmed by how empty the building was. He had never seen the school so vacant before, and it didn’t make him feel comfortable. On the bright side, he was one step closer to finding Josh and the others. However, it was extremely likely that something else was in there with them. Something with access to the keys that locked the doors and windows. He guessed that whatever happened at Emily’s house was happening at school too; it had to be the creature that Mr. Forsyth had warned them about.
“Can you catch a scent?” Yasmin queried.
“It’s school, there are so many scents” Dylan started to fluster again.
“Focus. You know how, and you can do it” Yasmin encouraged. She always used the best and most supportive words. She was right, too. He could do it. He focused on his nose, honing in on any familiar scents.
“This way” Dylan picked up on Lily’s perfume. He was used to that scent more than most, Jono’s house was coated in it. It led them all the way through the school, Dylan peeking in every empty classroom in the hope that someone – anyone – would still be there. Alas, they were definitely alone. Ultimately, Dylan led them up a series of steps on the way to the top of the building. The scent led right up to the second floor, where the IT classrooms were located. There were four rooms up there, and with an unnecessary number of doors, it was often like a maze. As they reached the top, Dylan consulted his nose once again. Where next? Two doors faced him, leading to two separate classrooms. The one on the left seemed to bear the strongest scent, so he followed it. He trusted his sense of smell more than ever. It must have been part of being an alpha – he could run faster, focus hearing better and track scents more efficiently. He felt even closer to the rest of the pack, too. In his head, Dylan pictured it like an unbreakable bond, not only between his fellow werewolves Drew, Josh and Freddie, but every other member of the pack too. Every one of them was valuable to him. Dylan continued through the door, still taking the lead. The alpha was full of confidence, and Dylan was trying to follow in its footsteps.
It had been about twenty minutes since they started hiding, and Lily hadn’t seen nor heard even a peep. If the creature knew their location, it sure was taking its time. Maybe that was its plan. Luring them out of their hiding place. Perhaps they were just sitting ducks.
“Something’s there” Josh warned, keeping his voice as low as possible. Lily felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. This was it. They had to plan their getaway.
“Come on, quietly” Lily commanded, making a move towards the door behind her. She crawled along the floor, still remaining out of view to anyone at the front door.
“Wait” Josh halted, “I can smell Dylan’s scent. He’s close.” Lily breathed a sigh of relief, feeling the strain on her muscles as she stood up for the first time in twenty minutes. Sure enough, Dylan was in the doorway. She immediately ran into his arms, so relieved to see a familiar and helpful face. Just behind Dylan though was an even better sight – Jono. She was so relieved he was safe, and she thoroughly enjoyed wrapping her arms around her baby brother.
“I’m so glad to see you” she confessed.
“You and me both” Jono replied, squeezing the hug tightly. It felt amazing to be reunited. She watched on as Dylan and Josh shared a similar hug. It was so heart-warming to see the relief on both of their faces, while Freddie and George high-fived each other. It was hilariously casual, just as she would expect from someone as chilled as George. It felt good to be back as a team, but she noticed someone was missing.
“Wait, where’s Drew?” Lily queried.
Taking the long route into school, Drew could hardly be bothered. He was fed up of Dylan dancing around problems instead of tackling them head on. They had a troll stalking them, and the means to trace them. Why could they just do it themselves? Involving the stupid Sheriff would just risk exposing their secret further, and he couldn’t allow that. Unfortunately, he still had to get to school – the last place he wanted to be in such a shitty mood. The car radio was off, and all that filled his ears was the whirring of the car’s engine. He needed quiet time whenever he was annoyed. It was the only way he could gather his thoughts. He took in the sights around him – he could afford to, within reason, as his enhanced senses allowed him to keep track of the road regardless. The trees surrounding him provided comfort; they felt much homelier than almost anywhere else. Of course, he enjoyed his bunker too, but that didn’t provide the freedom and fresh air of the forests. In the corner of his eye, he spotted something. Something that moved, just slightly. It probably wasn’t something to be alarmed by though. There were any number of creatures scattered all over the forest, it was probably a deer or something of that ilk. He kept on driving through the empty road, until he forced the car to grind to a halt, slamming the breaks down. There was someone in the middle of the road, their back turned to the car, and dressed all in black with a hood up covering the back of their head. The hairs on Drew’s arms stood on end – quite why, he wasn’t sure.
“Get off the road” Drew yelled as he beeped his horn, annoyed that his pleasant calming journey was being disrupted. The person didn’t budge. Furious, Drew got out of the car and approached them from behind.
“Get off the road you dumbass” Drew ordered once again. Still nothing. He went to stand in front, hoping to catch a glimpse of their face, but the hood and the diminishing sunlight were shrouding it still. Drew took a step back, realising something didn’t feel right, “Are you okay?”
“No” a male voice replied. He pulled his head down, showing his face for the first time. Drew recognised him from around school. A member of the kitchen staff, he thought. All of a sudden, the man’s face flickered, like a dodgy television signal. Except this wasn’t on television – it was real life, and unlike anything Drew had seen before. The new face flickering through was gruesome and deformed, and distinctly not human. Drew attempted to run back to the car, but the face stopped shifting and settled on the horrific figure. It grabbed Drew’s arm tightly as he tried to get away. Though he endeavoured to struggle, it was pointless. Drew feared as the grip was too strong, but he couldn’t give up.
After his strop earlier that day, Dylan hadn’t given Drew much thought. He had been pretty busy regardless, but he was quite annoyed at him too. Where was the teamwork? For someone who so desperately craved a pack, he was pretty terrible at working as part of one. He also knew Drew very well though, and after he had cooled down, he would likely come around and give them a helping hand. Now though, he was the only one missing. It wasn’t a stretch to suggest that this was a targeted attack on Dylan’s pack, and he was the only one absent. He had genuine cause for concern.
“How do we know he hasn’t vanished like everyone else?” Freddie suggested.
“Look at us. We’re the only people left around here. That’s no coincidence” Dylan reminded, “Drew is the final piece of the puzzle.”
“We’ve got to find where he’d be” Yasmin proposed.
“His bunker” Jono immediately mentioned.
“Not when he’s annoyed” Dylan corrected, “He prefers fresh air.”
“Oh great, narrows it down to just about anywhere” Josh remarked, teasing Dylan. He cracked a smile in response – their banter was improving.
“The forest. He grew up there” Dylan specified.
“Guys, you might wanna see this” George interrupted. Dylan hadn’t noticed until then that he was sat at one of the computers, away from the rest of the group. He ran over and sat down next to him, keenly looking at the screen, “I noticed it was logged in. Must have been a lesson in here. Then I noticed the email account it had up.”
“firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s the one that emailed me” Lily identified with a chill in her voice.
“Whose school account is that?” Dylan anxiously enquired.
“Hold on” George pressed the start button, exposing the account holder’s school photo next to the log-off button.
“That’s Chase” Yasmin identified, looking at the shaggy-haired surfer-looking guy in the photo, “He's in our class. He’s Emily’s brother.” Dylan was furious. Somehow, it answered more questions than it solved.
“Why? That’s so
random” Freddie was baffled.
“I think I know why” Dylan recalled, “It was not long after I was bitten. Yasmin and I asked him for help, and I think he saw me start to shift.”
“I remember. You weren’t in control. He’s not said a word to me since” Yasmin noted.
“I’d assumed he didn’t see anything. Obviously he did” Dylan sighed.
“Come on. We
gotta save Drew. We can worry about that loser later” Jono picked Dylan’s
motivation back up, just like he always did.
“Wait, isn’t that thing still here?” Lily worried.
“I think this was a giant trap” Yasmin deduced, “It wanted us out of the way so it could get to Drew, the lone member of the pack.”
“Some of us should stay here though, just in case” Dylan suggested, “Jono and Yasmin, come with me. The rest of you should be safer here. Let me know if anything happens.” The group nodded. Now they had to get Drew back, and fast.
Anxiously struggling, Drew was trapped. He couldn’t believe just how strong the grip of the creature was. He knew his own strength. He knew he was capable of fighting back. It wasn’t just that he couldn’t fight back though, it was that he was scared to. Whatever this creature was, it terrified him. He pulled and pulled, trying to get as far away from it as possible, but its strength convinced him he’d probably lose a hand if he kept on going. Somehow, it almost felt worthwhile.
“What are you?” Drew yelled. He hoped that a bit of chatter might distract it from keeping grip.
“I am too weak. This body is tired” the creature spoke with a deep, almost robotic voice. Somehow, this worried Drew even more. How could a grip be so strong from a body that’s apparently weak?
“So what do you want?” Drew questioned.
“Your body” the creature responded. Fear shot through Drew’s body as he tried to struggle even further. Even if he broke a bone or two to get out, he knew it would be okay. He could heal easily enough. As he tried to pull away, a car pulled up. The only car he had seen on the road that night. As it pulled up, he noticed it was Jono’s tiny car. Help at last. Immediately, Dylan sprinted out of the passenger seat. His eyes glowed the deep shade of red that Drew was now accustomed to seeing on him. He had shifted fully, ready to attack.
“Stop!” Drew commanded, trying to do him a favour. The last thing he needed was for Dylan to get hurt too. Maybe this was the lesser of two evils?
Confused at his instruction, Dylan was extremely worried for Drew. The creature was holding him by his wrist. Finally, Dylan saw what it looked like. Two legs and two arms, like any human, but the rest of its body wasn’t remotely similar. Its face was morphed and disfigured, as if it had been burnt, and it was black all over. It even wore black clothes, covering the back of its head with a hood. Why Drew hadn’t escaped from it was a conundrum. He was physically the strongest member of the pack, why hadn’t he escaped? Then it dawned on Dylan – he couldn’t. This creature must have been extremely strong.
“What are you doing?” Dylan yelled, feeling helpless.
“Stay back, please. I don’t want you to get hurt” Drew commanded. He was being unusually sentimental, but it was a welcome change. He must have had a reason, “It wants my body. I’m going to let it have it. I trust that you can save me.”
“Are you insane?” Dylan was panicking like crazy. What was he doing?
“You can’t do this” Dylan yelled at the creature.
“A new host is required” the creature spoke, ignoring Dylan’s words. All of a sudden, as if she appeared out of thin air, a young girl appeared next to him. She was a similar height to Dylan, dressed in her nightie.
“Emily” Yasmin identified. Dylan was confused. Emily had died? How was she here? Then he noticed her eyes. Pitch black. It had claimed her too. As soon as she appeared, black dust-like atoms began to slide out of her eyes, wrapping around the creature, and then gathering together in the air, just like they did when Dylan saw the creature arrive. They peeled off the creature’s body like a layer of wrapping paper, exposing human skin underneath. The dust filtered into Drew’s mouth while the now-human figure next to him collapsed to the floor. Drew flared his yellow wolf eyes, but they quickly filtered out to black.
“We will stop you” Drew affirmed, “You just took my friend from me, that is not okay.”
“You’re an alpha” Drew spoke using the creature’s voice, “You are not yet ready. The other alpha is required.” It then began to vanish amongst a cloud of black dust, with Emily, Drew and his body taken with it. Dylan rushed to the aid of the man on the floor, sprawled out like he wasn’t able to control his landing. He looked drained and incredibly pale.
“I’m sorry” Dylan apologised. Although it wasn’t his fault, he couldn’t help feeling slightly responsible. The man’s eyes closed for the final time, his face ceasing all movement and his lifeless hand sliding off his chest and onto the floor. Dylan’s heart broke. He recognised the man from school, but although he didn’t know him, he still felt distraught. It was horrible seeing an innocent man die such a lonely and worthless death.
“What did it mean ‘the other alpha’?” Yasmin wondered.
“I don’t know. We can figure that out later. Right now, we need Drew back” Dylan decided. He was raging, but a fire was lit inside of him that he didn’t know existed before. He was more determined than ever.
5: Freedom Written by MarthaJonesFan
“Home sweet home” Autumn introduced Yasmin to her apartment. Leaving Crystalshaw was the hardest thing Yasmin had ever done, even if she knew it was necessary. She had to get away, even for a short while, so she could clear her head. The downside was leaving Dylan and Freddie behind, but Yasmin knew that from time-to-time, it was necessary to be selfish. She had to look after her own state of mind. Life wouldn’t be the same again – her dad had been arrested and was awaiting charge for murder. She was pleased the deaths would be getting justice, but the fact her childhood was forever tainted was an uneasy feeling. It was an impossible situation to be in. Her mum’s apartment in New York looked pretty cool, at least. It was modern in every sense and slick in design, with a stylish couch and a huge television mounted to the wall. It looked brand new in every sense, and like the place of Yasmin’s dreams. However, she instantly noticed a massive difference between this apartment and her old house. There weren’t any family photos around. The surfaces were decorated with fancy ornaments that served no purpose other than a posh aesthetic. It said it all about her mum’s lack of involvement in her life.
“Where’s my room?” Yasmin asked, not bothering to hide her lack of enthusiasm.
“Sweetie, you’ll settle in in no time” Autumn tried to console her, obviously spotting the despair in her voice, “Hey, why don’t we hit the shops later? We could try a spot of retail therapy, it never fails.”
“No thanks. I’d rather stay at home” Yasmin admitted. It proved how little her mum knew her. She carried her suitcases into her room, barely even looking at the decorations scattered about. She closed the door and collapsed onto the oversized double bed placed perfectly in the centre of the room, against the far wall. New York felt lonely so far. Absence really did make the heart grow fonder.
The sound of the alarm clock was brutal that morning; it was the last thing Dylan wanted to hear. He had slept well enough, but it was much too short a time and he preferred to lie in bed the entire day rather than face up to the impossible situation he had found himself in. He didn’t even have Jono to snuggle up to that night – he was taking care of Lily, who was understandably shaken after the day before. On the bright side, everybody in the school appeared just as they had left and nobody seemed to bat an eyelid, but Dylan knew better. He couldn’t stop thinking about Drew. He was worried beyond belief, terrified that he might have lost Drew for good. The fact Drew placed his trust in Dylan was both comforting and pressurising – he hadn’t decided if he appreciated it or not. Nevertheless, it proved his place in the pack – Drew took a leap to save the rest of the group, but Dylan wasn’t convinced it would pay off.
“Room for a little one?” a voice came from the doorway. Dylan glanced up, noticing Josh’s messy curls and his bright blue eyes poking into the room.
“Come on then” Dylan sat up in bed, creating room for Josh to sit opposite. He kept the duvet covering him though – he wasn’t ready to leave the confines of his duvet cocoon.
“Are you alright?” Josh questioned, sounding genuinely concerned.
“Yeah” Dylan lied.
“You don’t have to pretend with me” Josh wasn’t fooled. Dylan had to work on his deception.
“I can’t stop thinking about Drew” Dylan confessed, “I don’t know what to do. I’m out of ideas.”
“You’ll find a way. You always do” Josh reminded.
“There’s a first time for everything though” Dylan remained unusually but not unjustly pessimistic.
“You’re the alpha now. When you’re the alpha, you realise if there’s a will, there’s a way” Josh advised. It was easy to forget that Josh used to be the alpha. The alpha that bit him, nonetheless, “I’m so glad you became the alpha. We all know I left a lot to be desired.”
“You were on the wrong track. You’d have been amazing under different circumstances” Dylan encouraged.
“Maybe. At least I made the mistakes so you don’t have to” Josh smiled. He was sort-of right. Dylan knew exactly what not to do as an alpha, all thanks to Josh. That said, Josh was also a huge part of his motivation to keep going. He had no reason to be down.
“Ah, here you both are” Caroline interrupted, peeping into the room, “Come on, or you’ll be late for school.” Dylan sighed. He wasn’t ready for the day ahead, but he knew he had a job to do.
Finishing off his final section of the school newsletter for that fortnight, Jono was pretty impressed. He loved how packed with pictures and artwork this newsletter was – artwork and graphic design from all sorts of classes adorned the pages, set to use up their entire budget on colour printing. It looked so pretty all over, he couldn’t wait for Dylan to see the finished product – he had spent a chunk of time that week chasing it from Miss Harris, head of art. She seemed to conveniently forget every single time. Full stop typed. Newsletter finished. Ctrl+P. The printer whirred, making an unnecessarily dramatic sound as it kicked into life, producing the first hard copy. As Jono picked it up, the door slammed. Dylan must have arrived.
“Hey babe, take a look at this bad boy” Jono spun around, proudly holding the newsletter in his hand. However, it fell away to the floor when instead of Dylan’s gorgeous brunette locks, Jono noticed a blonde surfer-like hairstyle instead. He recognised it with no problems. It was the person he had been worrying about all night. Chase was stood in front of him, bold as brash.
“Where’s Emily?” he demanded.
“I don’t know” Jono replied honestly. Technically, he wasn’t lying. He didn’t know her precise location. However, he was aware of what had happened to her. Chase didn’t need to know anything more than what was necessary though.
“Don’t treat me like an idiot” Chase reacted fiercely, “I know you know. The microphones stopped working, which is a little convenient, don’t you think?”
“I’m lost” Jono admitted, hoping to keep him talking. Dylan must be on his way, he was normally here by now.
“I know you’re not one of them, but you can see what your boyfriend does, surely?” Chase continued incoherently.
“Chase, dude, I don’t know what’s going on, but if you take a seat, I’ll make you a tea or coffee and we can talk” Jono attempted to diffuse things.
“No, I need answers now. Where is she?” Chase continued, pacing back and forth, “I know what werewolves can do. I saw Dylan shift, don’t pull the wool over my eyes.” Jono was starting to feel worried. He wasn’t sure how to stall this for much longer. He understood Chase’s anger – if Lily had gone missing, he’d demand answers too. The unfortunate part was that he, Dylan and the rest of the pack were embroiled in the full situation. Although they were not to blame, Jono couldn’t help feeling partially responsible. Before he had the chance to attempt an explanation to Chase, the door swung open.
“Morning, I hope the kettle’s on” Dylan burst in, not being remotely aware of the situation. Chase grunted and blasted out of the door, brushing past Dylan ferociously.
“I guess that wasn’t a friendly visit” Dylan commented.
“You could say that” Jono replied, taking a deep breath, “We’ve got to find him.”
Ready to dish out little slips of paper to her friends as they filtered into school that morning, Yasmin could hardly be bothered. She was moving into her new home that afternoon, and her mum was insisting on a house-warming party. She had put an exceptional level of effort into the invitations too, and had instructed Yasmin to hand them out to all of her friends. It hardly felt appropriate given what had happened to Drew just the night before, but she knew she had to entertain the idea. Her mum was trying, for the first time in a long time.
“Woah, what’s up with you?” Lily commented as soon as she sat down.
“Huh?” Yasmin was confused. She hadn’t said anything, how could Lily suspect something?
“You’ve not got a textbook out. Something’s up. I know you too well” Lily smiled smugly at her observation skills. She was irritatingly accurate. Yasmin never felt like studying when she was down.
“Here, for you” Yasmin chucked an invite in Lily’s direction.
“Ooh, alright” Lily examined the paper slip, “Show me a party I couldn’t attend. So what’s the problem?”
“Mom’s making the effort, but she still barely knows me. Instead of asking what I like, she assumes” Yasmin vented.
“Tell her then. Don’t wait for her to do it on her terms. Do it on yours, and give her no choice” Lily advised. She didn’t take nonsense from anyone, so her guidance here was particularly appreciated, “Anyway, I’ll make this party unmissable, even for you. You see if I don’t.” Yasmin smiled. Lily always knew how to cheer her up. At least she could rely on her friends.
“Alright. In the meantime, we’ve got a mission. Come on, to the library” Yasmin demanded.
“Wait, why? I didn’t agree to this” Lily responded.
“Books on myths and legends. That’s how my dad learnt about the supernatural world, the library must have one or two. Besides, if I’m doing this party, then you’re coming to help research” Yasmin laughed, leading Lily’s reluctant arm through the school.
Dylan was aghast at the temerity of Chase. The fact that he stormed into the newsroom and accused Jono after everything he had done. Dylan couldn’t wait to catch up to him and give him a piece of his mind. He sprinted down the corridor; although he couldn’t see Chase, he could track the scent with ease. It grew stronger and stronger as Dylan approached the boys changing rooms. The aroma of sweat and deodorant tried to cloud the trail left by Chase – a smart choice of hiding place – but Dylan trusted his nose. All of a sudden, he was distracted by a kerfuffle from the other end of the room. The back door. Dylan listened – it sounded like two heartbeats, muttering to each other. Bang! The muttering escalated to shouting. Dylan crept closer, keeping himself on red alert in case of Drew and the creature inhabiting him. Was it back? Chase’s scent was still strong, and getting stronger, until…BASH! Chase shot forward, crashing into a row of lockers. Confronting him, with glowing yellow eyes in full view, was Freddie.
“What the heck are you doing?” Dylan yelled, worried Freddie was about to do something stupid. Freddie looked up, as if he had snapped out of a trance. His eyes reduced to their usual colour, and he glanced at a terrified Chase, realising the effect he’d had.
“I…” Freddie attempted to justify, “I got angry. I’m sorry.”
“We’ll worry about it later. Right now, we need a chat with our stalker” Dylan decided, prioritising his issues, “Get him to the newsroom.” Chase followed along surprisingly willingly, obviously terrified of what Freddie might do next. It was highly out of character for Freddie, which made Dylan all the more curious.
Bored out of her mind, Lily was convinced she would be using this book as a pillow before long. Yasmin had found a small stack of books in the school library on myths and legends and was determined to trawl through them all. Lily on the other hand preferred to read the comments on her Instagram account. Anything too factual or serious and her brain switched off. On the bright side, their book had plenty of pictures scattered about. That made it easier to narrow the field down at least. She was amazed at just how many different creatures there were in this book. Ordinarily, she would dismiss it all as silly stories, but she knew better now. Lily used to think werewolves were silly stories, after all.
“Have you found anything?” Lily yawned. She hoped a little conversation would wake her up.
“No, not yet. There’s a lot of information and most of it’s not helpful. There’s even a section on the black-eyed people, but it mentions nothing about a further creature” Yasmin detailed.
“Maybe we’re looking in the wrong place” Lily considered, “These books, they’re written by people who don’t know about werewolves, right?”
“Presumably” Yasmin replied.
“So why don’t we track down one that was written by someone in-the-know?” Lily suggested, “You know, that one book we’ve seen already that explains everything supernatural.”
“The Bestiary” Yasmin recalled, “I gave that back to Drew. It’s probably down in the bunker.”
“Come on then” Lily motivated, leading Yasmin away from the tedium of the library.
Shutting the blind on the newsroom door, Dylan knew he needed maximum privacy. He was at his wit’s end with being spied on, and he wasn’t going to risk anybody else hearing about his secret. This had to end now. Jono and Freddie stood either side of him, blocking the exit from Chase. He wasn’t escaping this time.
“You can’t keep me here” Chase protested.
“What are you going to do to stop us?” Jono hit back. Freddie remained sheepishly quiet.
“I know what you are. Just wait until the rest of the world hears” Chase threatened, “I have evidence.”
“That won’t be happening” Dylan explained, remaining confident.
“I don’t see how you could stop me. Freedom of the press. You of all people should know that” Chase reminded. It didn’t phase Dylan, though. He’d dealt with far worse than a gobby teenager.
“We’re trying to show you, dumbass” Jono scolded.
“We’ll tell you everything. Prove to you that everything we’ve kept secret has been for good reason” Dylan justified.
“And then you’ll let Emily go?” Chase calmed down.
“Dude, we don’t have Emily. I promise” Dylan kept his cool, realising the soft approach was working.
“But you cut the microphones?” Chase was confused. He had talked himself into a series of events that simply didn’t occur.
“Is it a shocker that we don’t particularly enjoy being spied on?” Dylan broke it down.
“You’re werewolves” Chase continued, “What was I supposed to do?”
“Live and let live” Jono educated. He had a wooden ornament hanging on his treehouse wall with those words carved into it. He always said it was his life motto – Dylan loved it too.
“I’ll speak to the Sheriff and get him looking” Dylan decided, “In return, the spying stops. We’ll do everything we can for you, and there are no more secrets. Deal?”
agreed surprisingly quickly.
“Cool. We’ll see you in class” Dylan moved out of the way, clearing an exit route. Chase slumped out, much more casually than when he walked in. Dylan gently closed the door after – he wasn’t done yet. He glanced at Freddie, who had been suspiciously quiet the entire time.
“Don’t say anything, I feel like shit already” Freddie butted in before Dylan’s scolding.
“What got into you?” Dylan questioned. He used his best “not angry, just disappointed” tone of voice. He knew from his mum that it was a tactic that never failed.
“I saw him, tried to contain him, and he got all confrontational” Freddie tried to clarify, “I was never going to hurt him. I was scared.”
“Promise me that was a one-off” Dylan needed the reassurance. The last thing he needed was Freddie going rogue.
“I swear. You know me, Dylan. I got your back, always” Freddie affirmed. Dylan had to trust his word. He knew Jono would keep a keen eye out too. They needed to stick as a unit – they were one down, and Dylan knew full well that they couldn’t afford to lose another valuable pack member.
One place Yasmin hadn’t missed while she was away was Drew’s bunker. The dark corridor underground that was always filled with leaks and puddles. The huge, heavy door on the way in. The lightbulb that was so dim, it looked like it could cut out completely any second. Yasmin wished he would relocate all of his belongings somewhere much more pleasant, or anywhere that didn’t make her feel the need to invest in some cheap wellies just to access one goddamn book. Lily looked even more distraught, her cute new trainers being ruined by the dirty water on the floor. Together, they budged open the heavy mountain ash-laden door – it was too big a task for just one of them. Inside, it looked just the same as ever – surprisingly clean considering the state of the tunnel. There were rows of shelving either side of the door, filled to the brim with all sorts of random shit that would only ever be useful to Drew.
“You go left, I’ll go right” Yasmin commanded. The Bestiary really could have been anywhere among those packed shelves. It might not be a particularly quick task.
“I don’t know where to start” Lily admitted. Yasmin knew exactly what she meant. It was like searching for a needle in a haystack. The door handle rattled. The hairs on Yasmin’s arms immediately stood to attention.
“Did you hear that?” she whispered.
“Always” Yasmin knew she needed Lily’s hand to hold. They made their way back to the centre as the handle continued to rattle. Yasmin picked up a heavy book from the shelving unit to her left, arming herself. She was ready to defend herself from anything, but what worried her most was the fear of the unknown. She had no idea who was behind the door. It could easily have been the creature – it terrified her more than anything. Perhaps it was Dylan though? He might have had the same idea as her. The handle shifted and the door began to creak open. Yasmin primed the book, raising it above her head, ready to whack it down on the intruder if necessary.
“Hold up, it’s me” Drew protested, sliding into view as the door opened fully. He sounded surprisingly like himself, “What the heck are you guys doing here?”
The rest of the school day went ahead fairly smoothly, but Jono knew he shouldn’t get too caught up in anything until Drew was safely back. On the bright side, Chase had agreed to stop bothering them. It all seemed to be too easy, but Jono wasn’t complaining – it was a welcome change after the usual dramatic goings-on in Crystalshaw. He enjoyed assisting Dylan – they were partners in more ways than one, after all. The thrills and high stakes gave him an adrenaline rush. However, it still felt weird to consider that his parents were in on the secret too. Jono purposely didn’t tell them about the risks involved – they would stop him from seeing Dylan if they knew. Sure, they could handle him being a werewolf, but only on the basis that he is entirely harmless. Dylan was of course harmless in himself, but everything surrounding him felt dangerous. Nevertheless, Jono knew it was worth the risk, and he was able to take care of himself. It wasn’t like Lily had said anything either; they were both in up to their necks, and Jono wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Hey sweetie” Helen called out from upstairs as soon as Jono closed the front door. She bounded down the staircase with a basket of washing, “No Dylan today?”
“Yasmin’s got a house-warming party later, I’ll pick him up on the way” Jono clarified.
“Be careful, it’s a full moon tomorrow, if I see any bite marks, I’ll be having words” Helen joked. It felt like a thinly veiled warning more than a light-hearted jest.
“Dylan can handle himself” Jono reminded her.
“I know sweetie, your dad and I are very fond of Dylan. He’s part of the Chadwicks whether he likes it or not” Helen ensured. It was sweet to hear such support. He loved the close relationship they all shared, “You should invite his family round. They’re always welcome, I’ll cook dinner.”
“Sure” Jono smiled. It was a lovely idea, although he was worried about the sorts of questions his nosey parents would interrogate with, especially as Caroline didn’t yet know about Dylan’s secret. Either way, no matter what was happening around them, Jono knew he and Dylan were rock solid, and he couldn’t wait for their night together.
Instead of walking home together, Dylan knew he and Josh had to stop at the sheriff station first. He had made a promise to Chase, and he wasn’t going to fail him. Jono had kindly offered them a lift, and he was chauffeuring them both to Yasmin’s that night too. Dylan saw it as a date night, and was hoping to shake Josh off as soon as they arrived so they could be alone. However, Josh was going to be extremely helpful when speaking to Ed. He was well aware of the supernatural now, and although asking about missing persons reports was a no-show last time, Dylan hoped to delve deeper now and look for a connection.
“I can’t believe you agreed to help him” Josh remarked as they entered through the main door.
“I had no choice, you weren’t there” Dylan justified, “You’d have done the same, don’t deny it.”
“Oh you think? Personally, I’m not one to condone weird psycho stalkers, but you do you” Josh taunted.
“You’ve condoned weirder, look at your Spotify playlist” Dylan teased back. He held the door open for Josh; weirdly, Dylan was getting used to the sight of the sheriff station and he wasn’t sure how he felt about it. Most people would be ashamed to say that, but Dylan didn’t mind. He owed a lot to his close relationship with the Sheriff. He was still getting used to calling him by his first name – Ed felt like an odd word to say as opposed to Sheriff – but it spoke volumes about their relationship. Though no-one would ever replace Dylan’s dad, Ed was a brilliant father figure in his absence. Dylan and Josh both bounded through the station and sauntered into Ed’s office. He looked like he was drowning in paperwork, A4 sheets littering the desk and the surrounding floor.
“Good afternoon boys, I assume you’ve come bearing treats?” Ed smiled a cheeky smile.
“You wish” Josh laughed.
“Mom would kill us if we brought you any more chocolate” Dylan reminded. They had been caught out for that on more than one occasion. Caroline wasn’t one to lecture when she was annoyed, but when she cooked dinner, she expected it to be appreciated fully, and apparently a chocolate snack beforehand didn’t leave enough room for a full meal.
“Dang” Ed chuckled, “What can I help you gentlemen with then?”
“I wanted to ask if you’ve heard anything about Emily Kastner” Dylan got to business, “She’s missing. Her brother is worried.”
“And so are we” Josh noted.
“We’ve got deputies out looking for her, but we’re spread kinda thin right now” Ed confessed, “We’ve had an increase in the number of missing persons cases in the past couple of days.”
“You said there were barely any cases a few days ago, it’s gone up that fast?” Dylan was surprised. He was right the whole time – something was up here, and Emily’s appearance the night before just proved it.
“Exactly, it’s concerning and we’re trying to pick out a pattern, but there’s nothing yet. Hey, why do I get the sense you know more than me about this?” Ed queried.
“Long story, but we know where Emily is, sorta, and it’s not good news” Dylan detailed.
“Is there a body?” Ed wondered.
“No, and it’s very complicated” Josh mentioned.
“Alright, the less I know, the better. I can’t break any bad news to her family without a body” Ed decided.
“It would be good for Chase to see deputies out there still looking, too” Dylan added, “Look, maybe we can tie the loose ends together.”
“Worth a try” Ed allowed. Dylan knew information that he didn’t, and it could be the missing part of the puzzle. Dylan knew he had to do all he could.
Sorting out his outfit for the night, Freddie couldn’t stop thinking about that morning. He had allowed himself to overreact in the heat of the moment, and had let Dylan down. He knew better, and shouldn’t give in so easily. Chase caused a load of problems, and it was exceedingly unfair on the entire pack. That said, it didn’t justify violence or intimidation. Now he had to focus on Yasmin. This was her night, and he was going to be meeting her mum for the first time. Yasmin had still barely said a word about her mum, and it concerned him. Was she keen to meet him? Was she sceptical? He wished he knew the details.
“Looking dapper” George commented, appearing casually in the doorway.
“It’s not too casual is it?” Freddie pondered. He was wearing blue denim jeans with a navy stripy shirt.
“Dude, it’s a house party, not graduation. It’s great, you look awesome” George complimented.
“Good, I’ve got to make a good impression” Freddie mentioned.
“And you will. If Yasmin’s mom doesn’t adore you, she’ll be the first person in history” George complimented, “You’ll have to tell me how it goes.”
“Aren’t you coming?” Freddie was confused.
“I’ve got work. Too short notice to cancel. Look after Lily on my behalf” George explained.
“Sure. Thanks dude” Freddie smiled. It wasn’t often he expressed his gratitude to George, but it was more than deserved. He kept the house afloat. Freddie knew he really ought to get his own job to help with the food supply. George smiled back, pulling the door to, leaving Freddie alone again. Now all his attention was on the night ahead, and it had to be good.
Lily wasn’t sure that allowing Drew inside was a smart move. He seemed like his usual self: he spoke in his normal voice, and his eyes were their usual lush shade of hazel. Besides, it was his bunker. They couldn’t really keep him out of his own property.
“Where have you been?” Yasmin interrogated.
“Hey, you’re the ones in my bunker” Drew hit back.
“Don’t avoid the question” Yasmin persisted.
“Here and there” Drew vaguely answered.
“That’s bullshit. You don’t remember, do you?” Lily called him out. She knew a lie when she heard one. She was the expert at lying, she had done it more than enough times to know the signs.
“So what? I don’t owe either of you an explanation. Now can you tell me what the fuck you’re doing in here?” Drew was growing frustrated – not out of character for him, Lily had to admit. It was much more like when they first got to know him. A lonely werewolf, whose heart had turned cold through years of distress at the hands of hunters.
“Trying to help you, mister ungrateful” Lily justified.
“We need the Bestiary” Yasmin added.
“Top shelf, over there” Drew pointed to the section Lily was previously browsing. Lily noticed it poking out next to a glass jar. If only she’d spotted it sooner. She reached up and grabbed it, before blowing the thick layer of dust off the top. She immediately passed it to Yasmin, who knew much clearer what she was looking for. Lily hadn’t seen the creature, after all.
“What are you looking for?” Drew seemed genuinely unaware of himself. Like he had forgotten everything involving this creature.
“Whatever you are. That thing, it’s made you forget, which worries me” Yasmin explained.
“You’re making no sense” Drew continued, “What thing?”
“The one that made you its new host last night” Lily clarified. She was growing more concerned by the second.
“The Téras” Yasmin named, “It’s here, named using the Ancient Greek word for monster. They didn’t know what else to call it. It’s waiting for a new body, the strongest body it can get as it cannot exist otherwise. That body comes from…” Yasmin tailed off.
“Carry on” a concerned Lily questioned.
“From two alphas together” Yasmin shuddered. A chill flew through Lily’s body. Dylan was in danger, but where would a second alpha come from?”
“Well read, girl” Drew spoke, but with the voice of the Téras again. Both girls stood up immediately, backing up against the door. Drew began to shift form, back into the ghastly deformed vision that Lily could now call by its name – the Téras, “Events are in motion. You cannot win.”
“Oh yeah?” Lily reacted, running on instinct. She picked up the large book Yasmin had armed herself with before and lobbed it at the creature. Immediately, she and Yasmin tugged at the door and made their escape. Dylan had to know everything – it could be the difference between winning or losing.
Trying to keep track of all the details, Dylan was analysing every piece of information on the missing persons reports. It didn’t help that the paperwork was scattered amongst a sea of irrelevant stuff on Ed’s desk – hospital letters, files for entirely different cases and even the odd chocolate wrapper. The desk was so irritatingly untidy – Dylan would never cope if it were his own. On a quick glance, the five missing persons cases weren’t especially similar. Varying ages, of both sexes, and no immediate link. That’s when Dylan spotted it.
“They’re all minors” Dylan spotted.
“So what?” Josh questioned.
“That must be what it’s after. All of the kids have gone missing this week, but nobody over eighteen” Dylan identified.
“The guy from the kitchen wasn’t under eighteen though” Josh noted.
“And it vacated his body at the earliest opportunity” Dylan reminded, “It must have been a desperate, short-term answer.”
“Why does it want all these kids though?” Ed questioned.
“We don’t know, but Emily, she became black-eyed. The little girl we saw at first, she was reported missing two days ago. Her name is Amelia Asahd.”
“Alright, but is there any way we can start to predict the next victim? It’s one step ahead of us and right now there’s not a damn thing we can do about it” Ed queried.
“It looks pretty random. There’s no other correlation” Dylan explained.
“So we’ve got no way of protecting everyone else. Makes my job darn near impossible” Ed sighed.
“I know you’ll find a way” Dylan encouraged, “I gotta go get ready, Jono will be waiting, but give me a call if anything happens.”
“Enjoy yourselves, boys” Ed smiled as Dylan and Josh both raced out of the station. He needed to update Jono, and he promised he’d keep Chase in the loop too. Perhaps he could kill two birds with one stone. Time for a phone call.
Opening his laptop, Jono was ready for a bit of chill time. He’d just finished styling his hair ready for the night ahead. He didn’t always put too much focus on his hair – the curls were quite unruly and Dylan wasn’t exactly any better – but it was their date night, and he wanted to look his absolute best. Now he had time to rest before Dylan called, although knowing his luck, that phone call would come any second now. As he opened Tumblr on his laptop, Jono’s phone buzzed. Typical. It was Dylan too – the only time he wasn’t pleased to see an incoming call from him.
“Hey babe” Jono greeted, “Ready for your taxi?”
“I need a bit more time, I still look like a gremlin” Dylan joked, much to Jono’s relief, “We just spoke to Ed, figured out a pattern. I’ll fill you in later but I need you to call Chase and reassure him the Sheriff’s doing all he can to find Emily.”
“Sure. I’ll see you soon, can’t wait” Jono added.
“Me too. Love you” Dylan replied.
“Love you too” Jono smiled, finishing the call. Although he couldn’t see Dylan, he heard the huge smile on his face through his voice. He adored the fact that they shared even the tiniest moments like that. Jono sighed. He really didn’t want to call Chase – he hated phone calls with anyone other than Dylan, and even then, he preferred face-to-face conversation. Normally, he’d have just texted Chase, but there were too many details. Besides, Chase was delicate. He had to be handled with care and sensitivity. Jono found him in his contacts and pressed call.
“Hello?” Chase answered the phone, sounding downbeat.
“Hey” Jono replied as he sat down at his desk.
“Oh, Jono. Any updates?” Chase keenly questioned.
“Not really. Sheriff’s doing all he can though, Dylan assures me” Jono explained, “We just wanted to keep you in the loop.”
“Oh, you called me for no reason then?” Chase hit back. Jono had been as delicate as he could, and had still somehow provoked this reaction.
“We said we’d keep you updated, so we’re doing just that” Jono clarified.
“Whatever” Chase sighed and hung up. So ungrateful. Jono brushed it off though – Chase wasn’t his priority, he had far bigger things to worry about. He chucked his phone down on the bed next to him and turned his attention back to Tumblr. He had one new notification, which had arrived just seconds ago. It looked like he had been tagged in a post – titled “Freedom of Speech.” Then Jono noticed the username - watchingu1812. It was Chase, using the same username as the email address he used to terrorise Lily. He went on to read the post, littered with pictures of the entire pack. No details were spared. The werewolves were named, and Yasmin’s nix status was exposed too. Jono didn’t know how to react, but he knew this was anything but good – and it already had ten reblogs.
6: Clarity Written by MarthaJonesFan
He had seen an awful lot in his time, but very little was shocking to Arnold. He was almost sixteen years old, and his father had recently started taking him out hunting. The thrill was second to none, and it was doing some good for the world, too. The creatures he hunted were more than wolves – they were werewolves. Some transformed fully – wild beasts to the untrained eye – while others could only partially shift. All of them were equally dangerous, though. The intelligence of man mixed with the ferociousness of a wolf. A deadly combination. His father was showing him the importance of aim that night. Arnold was getting pretty good at firing a gun, but his father somehow expected even better. Now they were in the middle of the woods in Crystalshaw, a town Arnold once found safe and quiet; now he knew it was anything but.
“Listen carefully” his father warned, “It’s the full moon. Anything could be out here.”
“I know, dad” Arnold reminded. He didn’t need to be nagged. He always paid close attention.
“Alright son, so when you see your target, aim straight at its head. Keep your hand still, and never ever lose focus. You only get one shot. If you miss, you expose your location and then it’s game over” Arnold’s father reminded.
“Something’s coming” one of his father’s friends announced. Three of them were there, all armed with much larger guns than Arnold had.
“Behind the trees, now” his father ordered. Arnold took the handgun with him and did just as he was told. He kept his eyes peeled as a man stumbled into view. Well, he looked like a man, but his behaviour was much more like that of an animal.
“Aim now” Arnold’s father commanded. Arnold held the gun up confidently, not afraid of anything. He zoned himself out of everything else, focusing entirely, “Now.” Without hesitation, Arnold pulled on the trigger. Bullseye. The “man” keeled over and collapsed. Dead. Arnold’s dad instantly went to examine the body, and for some reason, he checked its eyes.
“Well done son. This isn’t a werewolf, but something even worse. Its rich black eyes finally gone. Proving you’re a true Forsyth” Arnold’s father complimented. Keeping up the family name, what an honour. Arnold had never felt so proud.
Rushing home, Yasmin was in a state of panic. She wasn’t sure if she and Lily had been followed, but looking back would have only slowed them down. She raced into her new house – the first time she had seen it since her mum moved their belongings in earlier that day.
“Hey sweetie, your stuff’s in your room” Autumn called out as soon as the door slammed shut, “Try and keep the place tidy until the party’s over.”
“Sure” Yasmin called back, not caring for chat. She just wanted to be safe, so she and Lily could figure out what to do next. She sprinted upstairs and slammed her bedroom door behind her.
“What the heck just happened?” Lily exhaled deeply as Yasmin took a look at her new room. It was much smaller than any room she’d had before, but so much cosier than the overpriced vacant space she had in New York.
“We just made an enemy of ourselves” Yasmin answered, “Have you tried Dylan?”
“He’s not picking up, neither is Jono” Lily responded, “We’re on our own.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure” Yasmin noted, spotting a familiar car pulling up outside the house. It was Freddie – the first party guest, “Come on, we’ve got a party to host. We can get through tonight, and then worry.”
“I hope you’re right” Lily sounded less convinced, but Yasmin remained confident; she had to. She ran downstairs to meet Freddie, yanking him inside before her mum could latch onto her first guest.
“Hey, I thought…” Freddie couldn’t finish his sentence before Yasmin grabbed his arm and led him upstairs.
“I’m so glad to see you” Yasmin said while escorting Freddie into her bedroom.
the deal? Has something happened? You know what, it can wait, I gotta tell you
something first” Freddie tried to explain.
“Wait, have you seen Drew too?” Lily presumed.
“Drew? Huh? No, look at your Tumblrs” Freddie instructed. Somehow, this didn’t fill Yasmin with hope as she opened the Tumblr app on her phone.
Dylan’s hair never did what it was told to. The waves wanted to fling themselves all over the place, and normally, Dylan could deal with that. He rocked the messy hair look, and was even proud of the appearance of his now-shoulder length locks. He hated tying it up, but sometimes he knew it was necessary to tame the unruliness. Tonight though, he had to look his best. He had a date night with Jono, and he knew Jono would scrub up so well. He couldn’t let him down.
“Ready?” Josh poked his head around the door. His hair looked great, just as it always did.
“I think so” Dylan replied, giving up on trying to neaten his hair, “I’ll give Jono a ring.
“I need to get a car” Josh thought aloud.
“Get a job then” Dylan laughed.
“Hey, Jono doesn’t work” Josh pointed out.
“Find richer parents then” Dylan laughed. Although Jono hated taking advantage of his parents’ wealth, he did love the freedom of driving. Dylan unlocked his phone, met with a sea of missed calls and texts from Yasmin, Lily and Freddie. Something must have been wrong. He had to speak to Jono first though – he’d be seeing Yasmin any minute now, but that was getting delayed every second he wasn’t on the phone to Jono. He pressed Jono’s name in the contacts list and waited for the call to connect.
“Have you seen it?” Jono greeted, skipping the small talk.
“Seen what? Is everything alright?” Dylan suddenly felt concerned. Something really was up, but he had no idea what.
“I’ll take that as a no. Hold fire, I’m on my way. I’d rather tell you in person” Jono suggested.
“Err, alright. See you soon” Dylan replied as Jono hung up. Now for the painful wait. There was nothing Dylan hated more than ambiguity. Promising to reveal something, yet not issuing even a tiny teaser of what it’s about. It was his biggest pet peeve, although Jono knew this. He tried to avoid making Dylan feel unnecessarily worried. If he wasn’t putting Dylan’s mind at ease, it meant there was cause for concern. The car pulled up after less than five minutes, and Dylan hopped into the passenger seat instantly while Josh took the back seat. Dylan skipped all of the pleasantries and cut straight to the chase.
“What the heck is going on?” Dylan anxiously interrogated.
“Look at your Tumblr, both of you” Jono suggested. He kept a straight face, the usual sight of his friendly smile washed away. Dylan nervously opened the Tumblr app on his phone, and saw a series of reblogs, all on the same post. He was horrified as he opened it, seeing his school photo at the very top of the post. Somehow, it managed to get even worse, detailing everything that Chase overheard. He didn’t know how he was supposed to react.
“I swear to god, I’m gonna make him pay” a seething Josh struggled to control himself, having read the post on his own phone.
“No” Dylan responded firmly, “Don’t give Chase what he wants.”
“How are you so fucking calm?” Josh was baffled.
“Trust me, I feel the same as you, but we can make him pay in other ways. Hurting him would prove his point, and all eyes will be on us now” Dylan reasoned. He had to stop Josh from going off the rails. He didn’t think before he reacted, and this made him a loose cannon. They needed a plan of action, and they couldn’t arrive at Yasmin’s soon enough.
The party was starting to fill out, Freddie could hear people starting to filter inside. The mindless chatter about unimportant stuff like Netflix shows and fast food restaurants, entirely unaware of everything going on upstairs. That said, it was unlikely they would be in the dark for much longer. He kept refreshing the Tumblr post – quite evidently posted by Chase – and the reblogs kept going up. It was more than mindless conspiracies like most of the crap Freddie had seen on Tumblr too. It had evidence. Photos. Names. That’s what worried Freddie so much. If this kept spreading, everyone downstairs at the party would know his secret, and so many others beyond.
“Is this for real?” Lily didn’t know how to react as she read the post on her phone.
“I wish it wasn’t” Freddie sighed.
“I swear, when I see him” Lily vented. Yasmin was staying suspiciously quiet.
“Have you read it all?” Freddie asked her, speaking gently.
“Yeah” Yasmin responded quietly, obviously holding back tears, “Any word from Dylan?” Almost on cue, Freddie heard another car pulled up outside.
“That’s him now, I can smell his scent” Freddie identified.
“I’d better catch him before my mom does” Yasmin leapt up. Her bravery was admirable. The fact she could face the world after her whole identity had been exposed was incredible. Freddie wanted to curl up into a ball and ignore everything and everyone. Although he knew that life goes on, he wasn’t sure how long his brave face would last.
It was taking every ounce of her being not to crumble into tears, but Yasmin tried to soldier on. She still hadn’t quite settled into her new nix skin, and wasn’t sure she ever would. The only time she noticed a difference was when she was stood in some weird place with no recollection of how she got there. The only indicator was a dead body, and it horrified her. Now her identity was out there for everyone to see, even her mum. How was this fair? She couldn’t envisage anything worse. On the bright side, Dylan was now here, and he was in the same boat. Answering the front door before her mum could notice the doorbell had sounded, Yasmin quietly ushered Dylan, Jono and Josh inside.
“Upstairs” Yasmin commanded, but before they could make a move, Yasmin’s mum waltzed out of the kitchen.
“Hey boys, I was wondering when my gorgeous daughter’s friends would arrive. I was beginning to wonder if she even had any” Autumn attempted to joke, spectacularly missing the mark as far as Yasmin was concerned. Even in a better circumstance, Yasmin wouldn’t have appreciated a joke like that. Yet more evidence of how little her mum knew her.
“You know Dylan and Jono already” Yasmin introduced, remembering their awkward first encounter on her first night back in Crystalshaw, where her mum assumed that she and Dylan were an item, “And this is Josh, Dylan’s foster brother.”
“Nice to meet you all properly” Autumn smiled her biggest smile, in full party-host mode, “There are nibbles and drinks in the kitchen, go help yourselves.”
“Maybe later, go on up guys” Yasmin hurried them up – that was enough small talk. After they filtered into her room, she pulled the door shut once again. Finally, the group were reunited.
“You’ve seen the post?” Lily queried. Dylan nodded regretfully.
“What are we supposed to do?” Freddie asked the desperate question that was on everyone’s lips.
“Chase is angry. He wants Emily back, and is taking her disappearance out on us” Dylan explained, “We’ve got to let him calm down before we speak to him. I think approaching him now would only escalate things.”
“The reblogs are still going up” Jono pointed out, “Now at 237 and accelerating.”
“We have to ride the storm. Sure, it details everything about us, but it lacks one thing” Dylan pointed out.
“Photo evidence” Yasmin realised.
“Exactly. There’s no actual werewolf proof. No claws, no fangs, just words. People might buy into it at first, but remind them of that” Dylan suggested. Yasmin felt somewhat at ease, but that was only half the problem.
“Dylan, we saw Drew” Yasmin brought up.
“Wait, when? Is he okay?” Dylan immediately queried.
“Not really. The creature was using him to get to us, he was disorientated. We’ve got to keep our guard up” Lily explained.
“We found out its name though, it was in this” Yasmin recalled, holding up the Bestiary, “It’s called a Téras, which literally translates as monster in Ancient Greek. It needs a strong body, one that’s created when two alphas meet” Yasmin recalled.
“That’s what it meant” Jono realised, thinking back to the night before when the Téras first took over Drew’s body.
“There’s a second alpha?” Dylan considered.
“Maybe. Look, we can’t do anything right now except keep up appearances. Maybe we should join the party?” Yasmin suggested.
“You’re speaking my language” Lily readily agreed. They couldn’t do anything else that night, and Yasmin knew that a party with her mum would be, at the very least, more entertaining than wallowing in her bedroom.
After half an hour of partying, everyone seemed to have shaken their worries off, but Dylan couldn’t. The music playing was great – “Kiss and Make Up” by Dua Lipa and BLACKPINK had just started blaring out. It was his and Jono’s favourite song of the moment, but he didn’t feel like dancing. Dylan was too busy trying to call Drew, desperately praying he would pick up. Alas, it went through to voicemail every time. His absence was noticeable, and Dylan desperately wished he could ask Drew for advice on how to handle it. He may be the alpha, but Drew had way more experience.
“Come on dude, it’s our song. I mean, we don’t need to make up but I could certainly get down with a kiss” Jono came and sat next to Dylan, planting the most gorgeous kiss on his lips.
“You know I’m always down for that” Dylan grinned, “But I’m worried, Jono. Drew is out there somewhere and he’s relying on us. Relying on me.”
“Yeah, inhabited by a creature whose name literally translates as monster” Jono reminded, “Unless you’ve got a plan, we’re kinda stuck.”
“I know, that’s what bothers me” Dylan admitted, “We’re helpless. Sitting ducks for tonight at least.”
“We don’t have to be” Jono mentioned, “I’m not convinced it’s a good idea, but I know how we can find him. Did he have his phone on him?”
“Yeah, never let it out of his sight. What’s the plan?” Dylan was intrigued. He didn’t know if it were a good idea either, but he was open to suggestions.
“Let’s hope his location is turned on” Jono said, as the bright yellow glare of the Snapchat app caught Dylan’s eye from Jono’s phone. The location feature on Snapchat – a genius thought.
“Can you see him?” Dylan wondered impatiently.
“Yup, there he is” Jono showed his phone to Dylan, and sure enough, he spotted Drew’s Bitmoji on the map.
“He’s at the high school” Dylan observed.
“We could sneak out and head down there” Jono tempted him.
“And do what? We don’t know how to save him” Dylan considered. It was incredibly risky.
“We could talk to him, reason with the Téras if necessary” Jono thought.
“Alright, let’s go” Dylan decided. He knew he had to do something productive, and if this paid off, it could help secure Drew back for good.
Exhausted, George couldn’t wait for bedtime. His shift at work had gone smoothly. His job was part-time care assistant at Crystalshaw’s elderly people’s home, and he loved it. The pay was okay for what it was, but the joy came from the stories that the residents told him. He hoped he’d have that many anecdotes at their age. That said, it was a tiring job, especially after a full day at school. Now he was back at school, because his stupid ass forgot to pick up a textbook from his locker. Usually, this wouldn’t be a big deal, but he had a biology test tomorrow. This textbook was his holy grail for revision that night. Thankfully, the school doors were open; the cleaners must have still been there. George reached his locker and grabbed the textbook he needed. He glanced at the photo he had pinned up on the inside door. A cute selfie Lily took of the two of them. She was undeniably gorgeous. He had to pinch himself every time he remembered was the lucky guy whose heart belonged to her. She had told him all about her past relationships, and the number of tossers she had dated before. Quite how anyone would willingly chuck a girl like Lily away was baffling to George. He closed the locker, thrilled he could clear his to-do list for the night. As the door slammed shut, George jumped back, noticing somebody has appeared from behind it.
“Drew?” George breathed a sigh of relief, “Are you okay?”
“You need to help me” Drew begged.
creature? Has it left you?” George tried to suss out. He was confused and
unsure of exactly how to handle this.
“What creature?” Drew queried, “Look, I think something’s here, and we gotta hide.” George was sceptical. This could easily have been a trap, but Drew seemed like himself, if a little more nervous. He ran into the nearest classroom – Mrs. Johnson’s lab. They hid together in the cupboard attached to the lab in complete darkness. George desperately wished he could switch the light on, but it would signal their location in an otherwise dark building. He felt incredibly unsafe; he had to try and raise an alarm.
Freddie was surprised by just how much he had let loose at the party. The music was playing loudly, and he didn’t care about which songs specifically were playing as long as the bassline was good. He had sneaked a couple of beers too – Autumn didn’t seem to care about checking his age, not that she had spoken a word to him yet. He was getting lost in the moment, dancing with Josh, Lily, and anyone else who fancied a dance whether he knew them or not. Time for another drink.
“Hey, I think you need some water” Yasmin suggested, escorting him off the space in the centre of the living room that currently doubled as a dancefloor.
“I don’t think we’ve been introduced” Autumn approached. Freddie’s impressions of her so far were pretty positive, she seemed quite chilled for a mum.
“I’m Freddie” he introduced himself, remembering he had to make a good impression, “Nice to meet you Ms. Forsyth.”
“Hey, cut out the formal crap and call me Autumn” she responded. An immediate improvement on Yasmin’s dad, who he only ever knew as Mr. Forsyth, though Yasmin later told him his first name was Arnold, “Make yourself at home, Freddie. My daughter’s friends are always welcome.” Friends. An odd choice of word for her daughter’s boyfriend. Autumn left the two of them alone, as Freddie felt Yasmin pulling him by his arm to get water.
weird” Freddie noted.
“That’s my mom for you” Yasmin muttered. Regardless, the first meet went reasonably well. One stress off Freddie’s mind.
Jono understood Dylan’s worries about Drew. He felt just as concerned too, but he also knew that when people were worried, they could do crazy things. Dylan had a lot of self-awareness, and Jono knew he wouldn’t do anything rash, but saying the wrong thing at the wrong time would only complicate things further. That said, Jono was still driving Dylan to Crystalshaw High, taking Dylan to grasp the lie of the land. He could have advised that they kept their distance, but he found himself doing quite the opposite. Perhaps not the smartest move. Perhaps it was a genius choice. There was no way of knowing yet.
“This second alpha” Dylan broke the silence. Neither of them knew what to say for once, and they weren’t in the mod for pop radio either. It felt wrong, all things considered, “Do you have any theories? Cause I’m stumped.”
“I’ve been trying to think” Jono explained, “It could be Josh. He was the alpha before.”
“Maybe, but why would it wait? It’s got Josh and I together already. We’ve never been closer” Dylan theorised.
“You’re not wrong. There must be another alpha out there. Another pack” Jono considered. He hadn’t really considered the possibility of other packs, but they were inevitable.
“You think they’re in Crystalshaw?” Dylan continued thinking aloud.
“Maybe. If not, they will be. The Téras isn’t going out of its way to lure anyone here, is it? They must be close already” Jono reasoned, just as the car pulled into the school car park. This was the last place he wanted to be when it was dark, so Jono was hoping this visit would be short and easy. Unfortunately, he doubted it would be either one.
George didn’t know what to do. Drew seemed genuinely concerned, and was acting like himself, albeit way more anxious than his usual calm and collected self. The fact he looked like himself was a benefit too, Dylan had said that his appearance faded before and was replaced by the creature’s. Now he was conflicted. Could the creature just switch back and forth? Had it switched host again?
“We’ve got to get out of here. Hiding won’t do us any good” George tried to reason, “Maybe I should call Dylan.”
“It’s coming, oh my god, it’s coming” Drew panicked, putting his hands to his head as if he were in pain.
“It’s not out there, is it?” George realised, trying to piece the situation together, “It’s in your head.”
“It hurts, go away, leave me alone” Drew yelled, not taking in what George was saying. George knew he had to take action. Calling Dylan would only delay things. Then he had a great idea – there was a way that would save time. Time could have been just what Drew needed.
“Drew, listen to me. I need you to howl, as loudly as you can. Show it who’s boss” George encouraged.
“I can’t” Drew struggled to focus.
“You can. You’re a werewolf, and you’re strong. Now howl” George ordered. Drew let loose. He unleashed the loudest howl George had ever heard. He had to block his ears from the rapturous noise. Drew collapsed to the floor after, still conscious, but visibly struggling. George desperately hoped Dylan had heard that howl, as he couldn’t cope on his own for much longer.
Enjoying the summer evening, Yasmin had taken Freddie out into the back yard. Most people were still inside the party – she could see Lily and Josh losing themselves in the moment on the dancefloor, and it was kind of hilarious. Their dancing was terrible and Lily was so obviously drunk. Freddie had drunk quite a lot of alcohol too, but it didn’t seem to affect werewolves. Perhaps their bodies healed too quickly for any sort of impact. His head was in her lap, and she was running her hands through his silky blonde locks. This was her idea of paradise. She looked up into the sky, seeing the moon almost at its full capacity. It was incredible to think of how something so far away could have such a huge impact on people down on Earth. It looked so pretty, shining down on the planet. How her dad took so strongly against its impact was beyond her, it was so inherently harmless. The patio door opened, interrupting her train of thought, and a lad from her year group at school joined them outside. He was smoking a cigarette, a disgusting habit, Yasmin thought. She didn’t know his name, but recognised him from around school. Maybe his parents knew her mum, and that’s why he was here? Yasmin noticed he kept staring over, and caught his eye on more than one occasion.
“Is there a problem?” Freddie asked him. He must have noticed the staring too.
“Yeah, kinda” the lad responded. What the heck?
“You know where the door is” Yasmin hit back. She wasn’t going to be spoken to so rudely in her own home.
“Before I go, I wanted to try something out. I just read a post, my friend sent it to me and I’m so curious” he started approaching the pair, “I want to see just how fast this healing process really works.” Yasmin felt sick. What was this psycho planning on doing? The Tumblr post seemed to be spreading fast, and it was getting harder to control.
“It’s a load of crap” Yasmin tried to deny it, “You’ve got no proof.”
“If you take one step closer” Freddie threatened, his eyes glowing their shade of bright yellow against the dark garden. Damn. There was his proof.
“You’ll what? Tear me to shreds in front of the party? Your alpha wouldn’t like that, would he?” he continued to taunt, provoking Freddie.
“You can’t do this” Yasmin warned.
“You won’t mind me proving it wrong, surely” he continued, “This won’t hurt…for long.” Before he could be stopped, he pressed his cigarette down on Freddie’s bare arm, the flame burning his skin. Freddie yelled in pain, examining the wound as soon as the cigarette was withdrawn. The lad grabbed his arm, exposing the wound. Before his eyes, the skin patched itself up. The Tumblr post was proven right, and Yasmin had no way out.
Sprinting into the school, Dylan was nervous. He still had no idea what he would say to Drew, or the Téras, whichever one he would be speaking to. As soon as he walked in, he switched his focus from his eyes to his nose. Drew’s scent was strong, although ever so slightly different to usual. That must have been the effect of the Téras. There was another scent though, a worryingly familiar one too.
“George is here too” Dylan identified, whispering to Jono.
“George? What’s he doing here?” Jono wondered, feeling concerned.
“I don’t know, but I don’t feel so good about it” Dylan admitted. He paced through the corridor, leading Jono, until they reached Mrs. Johnson’s lab. The scent was strongest here. He signalled a nod to Jono. They had to go in.
“What if it’s the Téras and not Drew? How do we handle it?” Jono queried.
“I don’t know, but if George is in danger, we’ve got to get him out” Dylan decided. As his hand reached out to the door handle, a massive roaring howl filled his ears. It was painfully loud, and must have come from somewhere very near.
“It’s Drew” Dylan identified. He opened the door in a rush, and saw George at the lab cupboard doorway.
“Oh, you’re here” George responded, “He’s in pain, losing control. It’s trying to claim him back.”
“He’s managing to block it? Wow, that’s impressive” Dylan reacted. He rushed to Drew’s side, “Drew, it’s Dylan. I’m doing all I can to save you, I promise, but I need a bit more time. Don’t lose yourself, keep strong.”
“I can’t hold it back much longer” Drew confessed, looking pale and weak.
“Let go then” Dylan urged, “Don’t kill yourself trying to look out for us. We’ve got this.”
“Are you out of your mind?” George wondered.
“Maybe, but all this is doing is making Drew feel worse” Dylan justified. Drew started to shift once again, the horrific Téras emerging in a cloud of black smoke.
“You didn’t have to do that” Dylan scolded it.
“It was necessary” the Téras growled in its monotonous robotic voice, “The time for a new body is near. Dylan Drummond will be mine.”
“We’re going. Now” Dylan commanded, backing out of the room. The Téras followed into the corridors, as if it were tracking Dylan. All of a sudden, someone behind the creature started whacking it using a heavy lacrosse stick. The Téras reacted, fighting back, but it got kicked to the floor. Claiming the upper hand while it could, the Téras vanished, the cloud of black dust shrouding it before it disappeared entirely. Dylan was gobsmacked. Who the heck was it? He looked up and noticed a lad in his teens, no more than two or three years older, stood in front of him. He was tall, had short dark hair and wore a leather jacket. Worried, Dylan glared his eyes red, asserting his territory. Much to his shock, the lad glared his red eyes back. He was an alpha too.
“What’s your name?” the lad queried.
“Dylan Drummond. You?” Dylan wondered.
“Scott McCall. Nice to meet you.”
7: Assistance Written by MarthaJonesFan
The time had finally come. Scott was heading back to college. He had spent one semester at UC Davis already, and although he loved it there, he hadn’t yet returned. Christmas and New Year were a distant memory, but he hadn’t been skiving without reason. Beacon Hills, his home town, had been in trouble. They were at risk of things they didn’t even know existed, and Scott knew it was his job to protect them. After all, he had the capabilities. However, the time had come to be selfish for a change. He had to take this opportunity, because he knew that delaying his return any longer could see him lose his place on the course. His mum would be furious at him, and quite frankly, he’d be furious with himself too.
“Are you sure you’ve got everything?” Melissa, his doting mum, checked as Scott hopped into the Jeep that formerly belonged to his best mate, Stiles.
“I’m sure, I’ve checked like twenty times” Scott reassured her.
“And you’ve spoken to Liam?” Melissa worried. Liam was Scott’s beta, a couple of years younger but an incredibly valuable asset to his pack.
“Yes mom, Liam’s all good. He knows he can call you if he needs a hand” Scott noted.
“Alright. Remember, we’ve got it covered here. You’ve got a career waiting for you. Go grab it” Melissa encouraged. She was the best mum Scott could have wished for; she was supportive, had high aspirations for him and never took any crap. Just the sort of dad that Scott himself wanted to be in the future. Everything his own dad wasn’t.
“I know. I love you mom” Scott poked his head out of the car window and gave her a peck on the cheek.
“I love you too sweetie. Call me when you get there” Melissa commanded as Scott rolled the window up and pressed the radio on. Now it was the start of the rest of his life, but somehow, trouble seemed to follow him everywhere.
Summer heat always made Dylan feel exhausted. He felt the heat much more than the cold and it tired him out. Despite only wearing a white short-sleeved t-shirt and his favourite pair of jean shorts, he was feeling incredibly hot and sweaty. It wasn’t helped by how close he was to Jono though, sharing their body heat, but he wasn’t giving that up so easily. He had tried to get a good night’s sleep, but the heat wasn’t helping out. He was utilising Jono’s shoulder as his pillow, while Jono rested his head on top of Dylan’s. They had spent the whole night in the treehouse, which wasn’t the most comfortable place anyway. Their makeshift bed was already in use, by an alpha. Someone Dylan had never met before, but he said his name was Scott McCall. They didn’t get to talk much the night before. Dylan knew that the two of them being anywhere near each other could be catastrophic. The Téras needed them together, and they were metres apart now. They had to be on their guard.
“Maybe he’s got a plan. A way to stop it” Jono considered. Dylan didn’t know he was always, neither of them had moved all night and were supposed to be sleeping, but obviously it hadn’t worked.
“I don’t know. He might know even less than us” Dylan replied, “He looks pretty strong though, and he knew exactly where we would be.”
“I didn’t even really think there would be another pack” Jono admitted, “Seems so obvious now.”
“There are loads of packs” Scott interrupted, waking up, “All over the world. Nobody makes a big deal about it though, people hunt werewolves, so you won’t hear of any.”
“Do you think there are more in Crystalshaw?” Jono queried.
“Almost definitely” Scott answered, “There are werewolves everywhere. Don’t take it the wrong way, but I guess you guys are kinda new to all this?”
“You could say that” Dylan responded, “Werewolf for less than a year, alpha for three months.”
“I remember when I was your age” Scott recalled, “I was pretty dumb, but I had good friends to look after me.”
“I can relate” Dylan admitted, smiling at Jono, “Are you local?”
“I come from Beacon Hills, so not really, but I’m at UC Davis. Took me an hour to get here” Scott answered, “Speaking of that, you’re probably wondering why I’m here. My friend sent me a post on Tumblr, and you guys were mentioned in it. Not gonna lie, I’m kinda worried.”
“Me too” Dylan sighed, “I don’t know what to do.”
“I think we’ve got to pay someone a visit” Scott suggested. It seemed like he had the experience that Dylan so desperately needed.
Waking up in an environment that was fast becoming a second home to her, Yasmin had spent the night at Freddie’s. The first evening in her new house had gotten off to a spectacularly awful start thanks to a prize idiot in her year group. As soon as he witnessed Freddie’s healing, they made a quick getaway, pulling Lily and Josh out of the party too. All of them had spent the night at Freddie and George’s house, hoping that strength in numbers would keep them all safe. Yasmin was making hot drinks for everyone – she was the first person awake, but they all had to get up soon. School still had to go ahead. They had to act like nothing was happening, or people really would start to suspect things. All they had to do was stay out of the way of that kid yesterday; Yasmin didn’t even know his name, but even the sight of him would piss her off if she had the misfortune to see him again.
“I thought I could smell tea” Freddie remarked from the doorway, still wearing his dressing gown, complete with bed head.
“You’re gonna need it for school today” Yasmin smiled.
“School? Give over, we need to keep a low profile” Freddie debated.
“No way José, we’re going in and we’re going to continue as we always do. He can’t win” Yasmin reasoned.
“Are you crazy? He’s already won, he proved it. He can prove it again” Freddie continued.
“Not if we keep our distance. We’ve got this” Yasmin encouraged. She knew Freddie would be reluctantly, but she and the rest of the pack were there to pick him up. Life went on.
It felt weird to be so far away from home without anyone he knew, but Scott was adapting. Besides, he was making new friends quite quickly. Dylan and Jono both seemed pretty cool, although they were out of their depth. Scott knew that he would be in their situation too. He checked his phone for a reply. Nothing yet. He had asked for assistance, and he knew it was on its way, but it seemed to be taking its time.
“Be wary. Chase is unstable. Be gentle with him” Dylan warned.
“Got it” Scott replied. He was pleased they trusted him. He would have understood if they didn’t, all things considered; he was a total stranger, in a world where it was already tough to tell who was on whose side. Chase answered the door, and immediately tried to shut it upon seeing who it was. Luckily, Dylan put his shoe in the way.
“Leave me alone, freaks” Chase ordered.
“Fat chance” Dylan replied, pushing the door open and inviting himself inside. Scott glanced with Jono, both equally impressed by Dylan’s firmness. They followed him in.
“Get out of my house, you have no right to be here. I’ll call the cops” Chase threatened.
“Go ahead, do it, the Sheriff would be delighted to give his stepson a hand” Dylan hit back.
“Really?” Scott whispered to Jono, who nodded back. It reminded him of home. He missed people like Sheriff Stilinski when he wasn’t there.
“What do you want from me?” Chase lowered his voice.
“Three guesses, dumbass” Jono answered. Stupidest question of the day.
“No way, I’m not taking it down. Not unless you find Emily” Chase responded.
“I said we’d do all we could, I didn’t guarantee we’d bring her back” Dylan justified.
“What would Emily think of all this?” Scott questioned, trying to get a grasp on the situation and remembering the severity of Chase’s state of mind.
“Who the heck are you?” Chase rudely questioned.
“I’m Scott” Scott replied, glaring his eyes to confirm his identity, “Now answer my question.”
“She…I…” Chase stuttered, struggling to answer, “I want you to leave.” Scott sighed. This kid was a tough nut to crack. They couldn’t do any more that day. If he crumbled under pressure, it could have disastrous consequences.
“Come on” Scott encouraged Dylan and Jono to follow his lead out of Chase’s house.
“That went well” Jono despaired once they were outside.
“You said your stepdad’s the Sheriff?” Scott turned to Dylan, “Does he know? You know, about you.”
“Yeah, but my mom doesn’t” Dylan admitted.
“Okay, we can get his help. He’s got more power than most” Scott suggested. It was their best shot at stopping this from spreading even further, outing Dylan not just to his mum, but to everyone else.
Finally, the semester was almost over. Scott had one more exam left, set for a couple of days’ time, before he could go home. He had only visited a couple of times since he returned to university, and he was missing his mum like crazy. Even better, he had a summer to spend with his friends. They all had the summer off too, and he hadn’t seen most of them since New Year. That said, it felt like he and Stiles hadn’t been apart. They had been friends for most of their lives, and being on opposite coasts wouldn’t be enough to break them up. Though Scott had made some new friends at UC Davis, it just wasn’t the same. They didn’t have the same shared moments as his pack. They had been through thick and thin together, after all. As Scott started to pack up his belongings to go home, his Skype ringtone sounded. Malia was calling.
“Hey stranger” Scott smiled.
“Hey, are you home yet?” Malia queried. She skipped the pleasantries much like she always did. Scott loved to see that little had changed.
“I’m home on Saturday. Still got other exam to go” Scott answered.
“Lydia said she’d have us round at the
lake house on Sunday evening. I take it you’re in?” Malia queried.
“Sure, I’ll be there. Have you seen Liam?” Scott wondered.
“Not yet, is something up? Anything you want me to pass on?” Malia questioned.
“No, just curious” Scott replied. He still couldn’t stop thinking f Beacon Hills. Liam last spoke to him a few days prior, and he said all was good, but anything could have popped up in that time.
“Alright, I’ll see you Saturday” Malia raised a smile, ending the call. Ah, how Scott desperately missed his friends. He couldn’t wait for the party at Lydia’s.
The only time Lily enjoyed being the centre of attention was at one of her parties. Any other time, she was practically a recluse. Her so-called friends from the start of high school always scowled at her, as if she had killed their entire family. That made school quite an intimidating and uncomfortable place at the best of times. Now she had the added factor of being stared at by almost everyone around her. Even the teachers looked her up and down, and she wasn’t even a werewolf. She got exposed just for being affiliated with them. That said, she would do anything to protect Dylan. Jono was her baby brother, and Dylan was his boyfriend; they came as a package deal.
“I’m surprised to see you here” Mrs. Johnson remarked as she walked into her lab. Lily glanced around. She was still being stared at by all of her classmates.
You can do this, Lily. Ignore them, she told herself. George followed her in, escorting her to her seat.
“Is it just me who feels like I’m being watched?” George wondered.
“Definitely not just you” Lily responded. Every time she looked at someone, they caught eyes for a split second, before they glanced away, as if they couldn’t bare to look at her.
“Alright everybody, get your sheets out from last lesson, you’re continuing in groups for the first half of the lesson” Mrs. Johnson barked. Lily sighed. She’d rather be anywhere else but in class. Not only was she surrounded by the most judgemental people ever, she had to learn about stupid shit she wasn’t interested in. Everyone shifted around the room into their groups, but Lily and George were left alone. They worked with Taylor, Lily’s ex-best friend, and Matty, who Lily had a crush on back in freshman year. Both of them were now whispering to Mrs. Johnson at the front of the room. She knew this wasn’t good.
“Stuff this, I’m out” Matty yelled, storming out of the room. Obviously, he had tried to switch groups, but Mrs. Johnson wouldn’t allow it. At least she was in-the-know, they could rely on her. Taylor rolled her eyes in Lily direction and followed Matty out.
“Sod them. We’ll be good on our own” George tried to be encouraging. How he managed to remain so optimistic was beyond her. Lily felt uneasy though, and she wasn’t sure it was just the effect of the unwanted attention. Her arms had goose bumps, the tiny hairs standing on end. She felt terrified and she wasn’t too sure why.
“Can you feel that?” Lily asked.
“I was hoping you weren’t going to ask that” George responded. Obviously, he did, and they both knew what it meant.
“Taylor and Matty” Lily realised, leaping out of her seat and rushing for the door. Her instincts told her to be worried, and despite her dislike for both of them, she had to do all she could if they were in danger.
Upstairs, Freddie wasn’t feeling much more comfortable. The article had spread around the school like wildfire. It hadn’t gone viral seemingly, it had been purposely distributed to everyone at school. That was Freddie’s theory anyway, judging by how the media hadn’t cottoned onto it, and the impact on Twitter seemed tiny when he searched his own name that morning. Hand-in-hand, Freddie and Yasmin went to maths class, but their entrance was blocked. It was the same guy from the night before.
“Excuse me” Freddie politely requested. He had no time for bullshit.
“Say please” the kid responded, complete with the most irritatingly smug expression Freddie had ever seen.
“Hey, Mr. Larsen” Yasmin called out in the classroom. Good thinking – that would surely stamp out anything untoward.
“I’m not getting involved Yasmin, you need to sort this between yourselves” Mr. Larsen responded. What an idiot. Freddie was fuming, but knew he couldn’t show it.
“Is there a problem?” Josh interjected, arriving at class.
“Yeah, your werewolf ass” he responded rudely.
“Say that again” Josh ordered, his eyes glowing a deep shade of blue. Freddie had no idea why Josh’s eyes were a different colour. He kept meaning to ask, but it felt oddly personal.
“Oh, you can make your eyes change colour? I bet Dylan’s eyes are a pretty shade of pink, well suited to a faggot” he insulted in response. Freddie was about to lunge at the disgusting excuse for a human in front of him, but Josh got there first – he lifted the kid up by his throat, restricting his breathing.
“These eyes show my past. It means that I killed somebody innocent. Don’t be next in line” Josh stated, releasing the kid from his grip. He scuttled off, leaving the classroom doorway clear.
“I don’t know if that was a genius move, or a dumb one” Yasmin commented.
“I vote both” Freddie added. Sure, Josh had solved the short-term problem, but he had just proved to multiple people in school that he was indeed a werewolf, and that they could indeed be deadly. He could have just escalated things further.
Rushing into the sheriff station, Dylan was at his wit’s end. He wasn’t sure how many more options he had to stop this post from spreading even further. Scott seemed to have more ideas, which was a huge helping hand for him and Jono, but they had a limited pool of resources. Besides, the post had been seen by enough people for the damage to have been done. He couldn’t stop thinking about his mum though. What if she saw the post and found out his secret that way? He would be devastated. She had to hear it from Dylan himself. He finally had to tell her – his hand was forced. In the meantime, a visit to Ed. Being, in effect, Ed’s stepson gave him the right to barge into his office without knocking, but as soon as Dylan did that, he felt guilty. A couple of people – a man and a woman, likely in their mid-forties – were sat opposite him.
“Ah, just the people I wanted to see” Ed greeted, but without his usual charming, welcoming smile.
“What’s going on?” Dylan immediately began to worry. Who were these people? “This is Mr. and Mrs. Kastner, the parents of Emily who went missing. They say you entered their house earlier without permission and have been harassing their son, Chase.” Dylan’s stomach sank. He was so angry. Chase was doing all he could to cause ripples in the pack.
“Is this some sort of joke?” Dylan reacted. He was fed up and couldn’t hide it any longer.
“Mr. and Mrs. Kastner, please accept my apologies. If I could please speak to the boys in private” Ed said, showing them to the door, before turning back to the boys, “Take a seat.” Dylan was too furious to sit, though.
“What are you playing at?” Dylan queried. He kept his voice low, but he was undeniably annoyed.
“I could ask you the same, your mom will go crazy” Ed scolded.
“You’ve got to hear us out” Scott pleaded.
“I assume this is your friend?” Ed asked Dylan.
“Yeah, this is Scott. He’s an alpha too. He’s here because of Chase. Something Chase did” Jono explained. He sounded way calmer than Dylan. Maybe he was better at hiding it.
“Believe it or not, I’m on your side, but these parents have lost their kid, and I am the Sheriff first and foremost. I have to take all of these claims extremely seriously” Ed justified. Dylan knew it was a fair approach, but he wished he had trusted them in the first place.
“Chase posted this” Jono explained, handing Ed his phone with the Tumblr post loaded. Dylan watched as Ed read it, his face visibly displaying disgust and confusion.
“What the heck is up with this kid?” Ed reacted.
“A lot” Dylan replied.
“And his sister’s vanished. That’s a lot for anyone to handle anyway” Scott added.
“I can intervene and get this post removed, but if people have seen this, we can’t exactly take it back” Ed decided, “And Dylan, I think you need to remember your mom.”
“I know” Dylan replied. He couldn’t stop thinking about it, but telling his mum the full truth terrified him more than any supernatural monster out there.
Exam done. Scott was thrilled that he was finished for the summer. Roll on an incredible summer filled with laughter and lie-ins. He couldn’t be readier. Now he was talking to Liam on Skype, finally getting in touch with him. He trusted Liam more than most people he knew, but protecting Beacon Hills felt like his responsibility. Leaving Liam in charge felt half-arsed of him, even though he knew it was necessary.
“Malia’s already been round, checking I’m all good for Lydia’s party. She didn’t exactly let me say no, you know what she’s like. Not that I wanted to anyway” Liam admitted.
“She’s not changed” Scott laughed, “Is everyone coming?”
“Yeah, it’s basically a whole-pack exclusive” Liam replied, “Nolan’s DJing.”
“Nolan? I didn’t know he was into that” Scott recalled.
“He’s got a few hidden talents” Liam blushed, “Anyway, when are you home?”
“Tomorrow. Can’t come soon enough. I hope Beacon Hills is still standing” Scott joked. This was his light-hearted way of checking everything was alright.
“It’s been a quiet few months” Liam answered, “Everything’s probably waiting for you to come back.” Scott laughed. It was funny because of just how likely it was. Everything seemed to wait for him to let his guard down. He saw a notification pop up from Facebook messenger, distracting him from Liam. It was Stiles sending him a link, alongside the message “Thought this might interest you, Scotty boy.” It linked to Tumblr; Scott hardly ever used his Tumblr account, this was his first time logging in for months. He read about a pack of werewolves in Crystalshaw, Los Angeles, led by a kid called Dylan Drummond. This was an exposé, and it was a nasty trick from somebody. Scott had to help out.
“Scott, are you alright?” Liam wondered. Scott forgot he was still on Skype.
“Err, yeah. I’ll call you later. I might be later home. Tell Lydia not to panic” Scott asked of Liam, before he ended the call. He had somewhere to be, and a helping hand to offer. If this spread any further, every pack in the world would be affected.
Looking left and right, there was no sign of Taylor nor Matty, no matter how hard Lily looked. She was torn. In many ways, someone like Taylor didn’t deserve her time. She had been so awful to her over the past year, why did Lily owe her anything? The answer was that she didn’t, but it wasn’t like anyone else would be able to help. Lily knew the signs. Her goose bumps hadn’t subsided, and were in fact multiplying. That meant she was getting nearer to the Téras. Every time Lily saw this thing, she was terrified. Way more terrified than she would usually be.
“Shall we split up?” George suggested.
“No, I think I know where it is, and wherever it is…” Lily observed.
“…Is where they’ll be” George finished. Lily led him further down into the school, and past the reception area. This was where medical and the principal’s office were, so it was mostly quiet from students.
“In here” Lily led the way into the head’s office. It was empty, for which Lily was grateful, but she had an excuse planned just in case. They walked right inside the room, and the door slammed shut all of a sudden. Lily spun round to notice the Téras, holding both Matty and Taylor. It had one hand on each of their mouths, holding them securely.
“Let them go” Lily ordered.
“They are necessary” the Téras responded. No hint of Drew was visible, but Lily knew he was still in there. She had to be very careful.
“Necessary for what?” George interrogated.
“Necessary for the process” the Téras replied. It was so irritatingly vague. Lily was taking mental notes, but it was so hard to piece together any notable clues from something so non-specific. Before Lily could intervene, the Téras let go of Taylor, but she couldn’t escape. Her hands began to vanish, as if they were splitting into atoms. Taylor looked down, seeing herself fade away bit by bit. A tear dropped from her eye. She knew she couldn’t escape.
“I’m sorry” Lily whispered to her. It broke her heart. She was helpless, and wouldn’t have wished that on her worst enemy. Within seconds, there was no sign that Taylor was ever there in the first place. Lily wanted to get out of there, her mind was running overtime, but she had to ensure both George and Matty were safe too. The Téras looked at Matty, who was crying. Lily had never seen him cry before, and it was horrifying knowing what was about to happen to him.
“Help me, please” Matty begged. Lily tried to think of a plan, but had no results. Interrupting her train of thought, the door opened.
“What are you all doing in here?” Mrs. Harding strolled into her office, oblivious to everything going on. All of a sudden, the Téras vanished, sparing Matty, for the time being at least.
“Hi Mrs. Harding, sorry” Lily improvised, pulling her excuse from the back of her mind, “We just wanted to ask if there’s any news of Emily Kastner.” A good cover story. She tried to hold herself together, but all Lily wanted to do was break down and cry.
Fed up, Dylan had arrived at school. He knew it was going to be quite a dangerous and potentially hostile environment for him to be in, but if Freddie and Josh were coping, he had to as well.
“This Téras creature, how much do you know about it?” Scott wondered.
“Not a lot. We know it’s going after minors” Dylan recalled.
“As part of some process” Jono added, “And it uses the black-eyed people as a gateway of some sort.”
“I think I know someone who can help” Scott mentioned, opening up FaceTime on his phone.
“Hey Scott, is everything okay? Are you on your way home?” a man in his late forties was on the screen, his beard partially greyed.
“Hey Argent. Not yet, I kinda had to make a detour” Scott replied, “I need your help. Have you heard of a Téras?”
“Yes, it’s a story passed down through the generations of my family. It’s a legendary creature, but nobody in recorded history has seen one before” Argent explained.
“I think things have changed” Scott notified, “Tell me everything you know.”
“They feed on young people for their lifespan potential. Every person it takes, it absorbs however long they were due to live and adds it to its own lifespan” Argent explained.
“What about using a host?” Dylan interjected.
“It doesn’t exist in its own body, so it will find the strongest host it can. Werewolves are prime candidates due to their immense strength compared to humans. Legend says it will look for two alphas, combining their bodies to make the strongest possible body. If it succeeds, it will be unstoppable” Argent continued, “Is everything okay? Need a hand?”
“I think we’re good” Scott replied, just as another car pulled up next to Scott’s Jeep in the car park, “Thanks.” The call ended, and another lad, similar in age to Scott, bounded out of the car towards him.
“I am so glad we found you, we’ve been driving all over this place trying to find you dude, couldn’t you have made our job a little bit easier?” he complained.
“You’re here now, that’s all that matters” Scott smiled, “This is Dylan and Jono. Dylan’s an alpha too.” Dylan smiled and shook hands with the chap. He seemed very friendly, and if Scott trusted him, Dylan certainly did too. He was joined by a girl who got out of the passenger side of the car. She was incredibly pretty, with her bright red hair flowing elegantly midway down her back.
“I’m Stiles” the chap greeted in return, “Scotty boy’s number one ally.” He winked towards Scott, who laughed, “And not forgetting the apple of my eye, Ms. Lydia Martin.” Lydia shook hands with both of them too.
“What took you so long?” Scott queried.
“It’s not easy to book flights you know” Stiles responded, “And I think you owe me the ticket money.”
“I had to leave Malia in charge of party organisation” Lydia noted.
“Cheapest alcohol going, then” Scott chuckled, “I’m sorry to call you out here, but we’re kinda in trouble.”
“So is someone else” Lydia noticed, glancing back towards the school’s main entrance. Dylan was horrified as he looked round, noticing a group of students shoving Freddie and Josh outside. They were thrown to the floor and being beaten harshly. The article was having its impact, and Dylan was suddenly very scared of being out in the open.
8: Humanity Written by MarthaJonesFan
Stumbling into his bunker, Drew felt shattered. He hadn’t slept in what felt like days, and he had no idea what was going on. He couldn’t go home now. His nan would be in danger if he went anywhere near her. It wasn’t worth the risk. The last thing he remembered was George, and they were hiding from something in Mrs. Johnson’s lab. Something that terrified him to the core. Yet, somehow, he still felt that way now. He was miles from the school, but still felt like something was watching him. He checked around the bunker, paying close attention to each of his senses. Nothing was in there, and the door was firmly shut. He was definitely alone, so why did he feel so uncomfortable? He remembered seeing Dylan, but where was he now? He wasn’t doing anything to help after all. He felt lost and alone. That said, he was used to fending for himself. He had to arm himself against whatever it was. Then he noticed it. Lying open on the floor. The Bestiary. He remembered seeing it. Yasmin and Lily had it. They were in the bunker. No matter how hard he tried though, Drew couldn’t remember what happened next. This was concerning him big time. He knew he was dangerous. While he had some semblance of control though, he had to take action. He grabbed a notepad from one of the shelves and jotted down a message. Dylan would find it, he always did. Then he set off – only one person might know what to do. They were his last hope.
Horrified by what he was seeing, Dylan raced over to help Freddie and Josh. They were being attacked quite brutally by people from their class. Blood was spilling out from Freddie’s nose, and Josh had it trickling from his lip. It was a gruesome sight, and Dylan felt partially responsible. He couldn’t help it – neither of them would be embroiled in this if he hadn’t made a promise to Case. Now all of his recordings, and all of the evidence he had collected, was screwing them over.
“Get your hands off them” Dylan yelled, pushing his way through the group of cowards watching on. Scott followed, the two of them lunging for one attacker each. Dylan wrestled his guy to the ground, freeing Josh from the pain of his fist.
“Get out of here” Scott ordered to Freddie and Josh. He was in a similar position to Dylan, the two attackers both trying to wriggle free from their grips. Another lad tried to fight Dylan, but he shoved him backwards, not caring about the amount of force he was exerting. The crowd fell silent. Their point had been made and Freddie and Josh had escaped.
“Let’s go” Scott urged. Dylan let go of the lad in front of him and sprinted back to the car. Yasmin slumped out of the entrance, obviously horrified by what had happened. Dylan needed answers, but they weren’t safe.
“We need to get to Drew’s bunker. It’s the safest place” Yasmin suggested, sliding into the backseat of Jono’s car.
“What about Lily?” Jono worried, starting the engine up.
“She can join us later, she’s not a werewolf so she’ll be safe anyway” Dylan noted. He was scared to be out in public – not just for himself, but for all of his friends.
Reunited in the Jeep, Scott had handed driving duties back over to Stiles. It was his rightful place, after all. It felt good to be back with his best friends – they had been dealing with the supernatural together from the start, it would have been wrong for this to be any different.
“Do you have any idea which way we’re supposed to be going?” Stiles panicked.
“Nope, just follow Jono’s car” Scott suggested.
“Not gonna lie Scott, I’ve been to friendlier places” Stiles commented.
“You saw the article, it’s a response to that” Scott explained, “And there’s a creature on the loose killing minors too.”
“Business as usual” Lydia mentioned, “You said Dylan’s an alpha?”
“Yeah, pretty new too. He’s strong-willed but out of his depth” Scott detailed.
“So, you thought you’d drag us away on a road trip” Lydia complained. Scott knew she would do all she could to help out. Lydia’s intelligence was their greatest asset, way more valuable than any physical advantage.
“If this spreads further, we’ll all be at risk. If us and Dylan can’t beat it, it almost deserves to win” Scott considered.
“What’s the plan then?” Stiles optimistically questioned.
“That’s why I called you two. I think we all know I was never the brains behind this operation” Scott chuckled.
“Keep driving” Lydia commanded, speaking more vacantly than usual.
“But Jono’s indicating?” Stiles was confused.
“Listen to her. We might be onto something” Scott recognised that tone of voice. He knew a Lydia premonition when he heard one. Maybe this would help them along their way.
That was a narrow escape. Lily breathed a sigh of relief as soon as she, George and Matty left Mrs. Harding’s office. Thankfully, she totally bought their excuse, and no more questions were asked. However, it wasn’t all plain sailing. Lily had just seen an old friend disintegrate in front of her, and another friend was at risk of doing the same. The Téras surely wasn’t going to give up, and Matty wasn’t safe forever.
“Get away from me” Matty reacted as soon as the office door clicked shut.
“Don’t you think we’re past that stage?” George defended, “Taylor’s dead, and you were next.”
“You still are” Lily added, “You don’t think it’s going to let you go, do you? We’re the only people who can help you. Get over yourself.” It felt good to vent. Matty didn’t reply; obviously her words had made it through to him.
“Where can we hide, then?” Matty finally said, breaking the awkward silence.
“I think I know” Lily thought, “But you have to trust us. We’re not the enemy, nor is Dylan.” Matty nodded – a sensible idea. He knew his life depended on it, after all.
Savouring her free period for the day, Mrs. Johnson was marking her sophomore test papers. She struggled to focus, though. Although she tried to maintain a professional teacher/student relationship with Dylan’s pack, it was difficult not to think about getting involved. She was the only staff member who knew the truth about Dylan and his friends, and she had to do something to combat how horrific people were being towards them. Nothing but discrimination, which was never acceptable in her books.
“Mrs. Johnson” came a voice unexpectedly from the doorway. Mrs. Johnson looked up to see Drew Marsden. Immediately, she reached into her draw for a knife.
“Stand back, I am not afraid to use this” she threatened. Dylan had notified her of what had happened to Drew, and although it was only targeting minors, she had to be cautious.
“Woah, what the
heck? It’s me, Drew” he defended himself, holding his hands up.
“I’m not scared of a Téras” she continued. She wasn’t gullible and wasn’t going to fall for a cheap trick.
“I’m not…” Drew sounded confused, “I need help. Please.” He seemed sincere. Mrs. Johnson knew a scam when she heard one, and this didn’t sound much like one.
“So, you can’t remember a thing?” Mrs. Johnson clarified.
“I don’t know. I feel like death, I’ve not slept in days, and I can hardly remember anything. There’s no sign of Dylan or anyone” Dylan explained.
“They’re up to their eyeballs” Mrs. Johnson notified, “Why have you come to see me?”
“You know more than Dylan. I trust him but you have experience. You must have heard of the Téras” Drew begged.
“I only know what the legend says. Nobody’s encountered a Téras before now. It’s unchartered territory” Mrs. Johnson explained, “But that doesn’t make us hopeless.”
“I don’t think setting it a biology pop quiz will be enough to scare it off” Drew sighed.
“You’re the one who came here for my help” Mrs. Johnson scolded. A little gratitude wouldn’t have gone amiss, “We have to pool what we know.” She picked up a whiteboard pen and wrote “Téras” in the centre of the whiteboard, “Who wants to go first?”
Pushing the bunker door firmly shut behind her, Yasmin was thrilled to be out of harm’s way. Although Josh felt like he had solved their bullying problem, it only seemed to provoke it further. The lad who was targeting them had dragged Josh and Freddie out of the classroom with a few friends that he brought along to help. Thankfully, Dylan arrived at just the right time, although she had no idea who he or his friends were still. Either way, it would surely spread its way around the school. She could only hope they would be punished.
“Where’s Scott?” Dylan questioned, looking around the bunker.
“Who’s Scott?” Josh wondered.
“Another alpha. He should have been following with Stiles and Lydia” Dylan detailed.
“Another alpha? Did you not listen to the Téras? That’s exactly what it wants” Yasmin was baffled. Dylan had walked straight into its trap.
“He’s stronger than me and has been doing this longer. Do any of us really know what we’re up against?” Dylan reasoned.
“He saved my life” Freddie mentioned, “I’m pretty grateful.”
“I swear he was following behind” Dylan worried.
“Don’t worry, he’s an adult, he can fend for himself. He’ll find us,” Jono reassured.
“I hope so,
before anyone finds out who he is” Dylan sighed. Yasmin concurred – it wasn’t
safe for any werewolves to be out in public, alpha or no alpha. The door
sounded – four loud knocks.
“Don’t make a sound” Yasmin commanded. She wasn’t repeating the last time the Téras tricked them.
“There are three heartbeats” Josh noted, paying very close attention to his hearing.
“What if the Téras has Lily and George?” Jono panicked.
“It wouldn’t bring them here” Dylan corrected. He was spot on. The Téras wouldn’t bring its victims to the only people who could save them.
“It could be Scott, Stiles and Lydia” Dylan pointed out.
“There’s only one way to find out” Jono said.
“If we open that door, we’ve gotta be ready” Yasmin warned, “Not just for the Téras. We might have been followed.”
“Oh, we’re ready” Freddie added. One after the other, he, Josh and Dylan all primed their claws.
“Let’s do it” Dylan nodded. On command, Yasmin and Jono heaved at the heavy door. Much to Yasmin’s relief, Lily and George were there, along with another lad from their class. He had dark, wavy, long hair and was exceptionally cute.
“Oh, hey” Lily was taken aback by how many people were there, “We came to hide out.”
“Join the party” Jono chucked, throwing his arms around Lily in relief, “Who’s your friend?”
“This is Matty” George introduced, “He’s at risk from the Téras. We thought we could protect him here.”
“There’s mountain ash around the walls. If the door is shut, there is no way of it breaking through” Lily added. Yasmin looked around. Although she knew everyone was safe, she still wasn’t able to rest easy. Hiding away didn’t solve any problems. This was their time to formulate a plan.
Stiles always worried when Lydia had a premonition. She couldn’t help it, but they never led to anything good. It was his protective instinct. He worried about her even when she wasn’t influenced by her inner banshee. At least he had Scott and himself there for back-up. She could handle herself better than most other people, but everybody was stronger in numbers. Stiles knew he would be nowhere without Scott and Lydia, after all. They were two of the most important people in his life, and he struggled to recall a time before Lydia and he were an item. It was a strange thought to remember his five-year plan to become Lydia’s boyfriend. It took a little longer, but the point remained. He pulled the car up outside a house. It was unfamiliar to Stiles, much like everything else in Crystalshaw. The town made him feel uneasy so far, almost like whenever hunters roamed through Beacon Hills.
“In here” Lydia instructed, stepping out of the car and heading to the doorstep.
“I recognise this place” Scott pointed out. Somehow, his tone of voice didn’t give Stiles much hope.
“Tell me it was a warm, cosy house where nothing bad ever happens” Stiles tried being optimistic.
“It’s where Chase lives” Scott identified, “And his sister Emily, who was one of the Téras’ victims.” Stiles now felt even more uncomfortable. He should have known better, considering Lydia’s premonitions always revolved around death. Lydia opened the front door – it wasn’t locked, but luckily nobody seemed to be home, “We can’t go in.”
“It’s not exactly the first place we’ve broken in to” Stiles reasoned. He knew he had his dad to back up his good character anyway. Scott sighed, giving up. Stiles knew he was the bad influence, and he loved it. Lydia led the way upstairs, not uttering another word. Stiles followed, while Scott took the rear, keeping a look-out. After all, he was the most equipped to deal with any threats. Especially now Stiles no longer had his trusty baseball bat. Lydia led them into a bedroom, belonging to Emily. Lydia’s tendency for finding dead bodies didn’t offer Emily many positive prospects. Stiles looked around at the pretty pink bedroom. It looked used and lived-in – there were clothes on the floor and bedsheets that had been slept in.
“Get any scents?” Stiles queried to Scott.
“There’s a few, all of them similar so I guess they’re Emily and her family” Scott reasoned.
“She’s here” Lydia stated, confusing Stiles even more. She pointed down to the carpet at a pile of grains, which looked like salt or sugar.
“Is that…?” Scott struggled to finish his sentence.
“Emily, yeah. What’s left of her actual body anyway” Stiles answered gravely.
Although the bunker was the safest place he knew, Dylan still didn’t feel comfortable. Drew could return to the bunker at any time – it was his safe space, and he truly needed one of those when the Téras wasn’t in charge. Dylan was relieved that some of Drew still remained inside the Téras, but how could they persuade it to leave him alone? The Téras wanted the strongest possible body, but it would only give Drew up if it found something better. Dylan couldn’t let it take him and Scott. There had to be something preferable to Drew, but they needed to find it first.
“We’ve got to set a trap” Dylan decided, thinking aloud.
“That thing can disintegrate people with its bare hands, and you think we can trap it?” Lily reasoned.
“It only kills minors. It doesn’t care for anyone over eighteen, and as long as it has Drew, it won’t want a new host that isn’t Dylan and Scott” Yasmin mentioned.
“Newsflash, we are all minors” Josh noted.
“Ed isn’t” Dylan added. He was in-the-know, trustworthy, and well into his forties. He was the perfect helper.
“Do you think he’d agree to this?” Jono wondered.
“I think he’d try to help in any way he could” Dylan replied as honestly as possible.
“You think we could lure the Téras to a holding cell?” Freddie asked.
“It’s not strong enough” Jono noted.
“But this is” Yasmin held up a jar of mountain ash, “Get it into the school and we can trap it.” Dylan nodded – it was their best shot. Now all he needed was for Ed to be on board.
The spider diagram on Mrs. Johnson’s whiteboard was filling up quite nicely. Drew was trying to piece all of the details together, and it was starting to make sense. He and Mrs. Johnson seemed to know a fair amount, having pooled their knowledge. The list included:
- Translates as “monster”
- Never existed before
- Uses host body
- Kills minors
- Black-eyed people
Drew had to clarify the last one. He wasn’t easily scared, but the Téras terrified him like nothing else. The fact it was inside him only made things worse. There was no escape from that horrible feeling of dread.
“What now?” Drew queried.
“We use the information to our advantage. Potential weaknesses?” Mrs. Johnson took charge like she was teaching class.
“It hasn’t existed before, so it hasn’t been defeated before either. The element of surprise might work” Drew suggested.
“Good. It won’t have much knowledge of humans or how the human brain works” Mrs. Johnson reasoned.
“And it only kills minors. Anyone who isn’t a minor should be okay” Drew added.
“Which rules out Dylan’s entire pack” Mrs. Johnson added.
“That guy, Dylan was with him, he was older but not by much” Drew recalled. He didn’t know how he knew that, but it was in the back of his mind.
“Who was he?” Mrs. Johnson wondered, “Not an alpha, I hope.” Drew said nothing. His silence spoke the loudest, “Okay. Where are they now?”
“How am I meant to know? Aren’t they in school?” Drew queried.
“A fight broke out and they fled. Can you think where they would go?” Mrs. Johnson pressed for answers. Drew tried to think like Dylan. What would he do?
“Somewhere safe, but not for long. Dylan never hides away, he’ll be trying to help” Drew concluded, “So he’ll be coming here.” Somehow, that didn’t fill him with confidence.
“Okay, we need to think fast the before they end up in danger. It doesn’t know humans, so act a little more human, Drew” Mrs. Johnson commanded.
“But I’m not human” Drew reminded.
“You are. You were born human. Trap the wolf and channel Drew. It doesn’t want a human and it doesn’t know the strength of your human self” Mrs. Johnson encouraged.
“How?” Drew panicked.
“What keeps you human? What stops you from becoming a wild wolf roaming the woods?” Mrs. Johnson continued. Drew had to think hard – he always said how he hated humanity. It was a weakness when fighting something that had shed its human side.
“My nan” Drew admitted, “And Dylan and the pack.” They were the people he cared about, even if he didn’t always show it.
“Keep thinking of them” Mrs. Johnson commanded. Drew closed his eyes, thinking of all the memories he’d had with Dylan, and with his nan, who had dedicated so much effort to raising him. Every tiny moment that he could recall. He let his life replay in his mind. The hugs from nan. The first time he worked alongside Dylan. Jono’s first basketball game. Everything that made him an average human being. All of a sudden, Drew felt his mind begin to clear as if a fog were lifting. He opened his eyes to see a black cloud of smoke filling the space in front of him, being pushed away. Immediately, Mrs. Johnson ran to open the door. The cloud was being forced away in that direction, and it wafted out of the room. She slammed the door behind it. Drew felt faint, yet his mind was clearer than it had been in days.
“Is that it?” Drew questioned.
“It needs a new host now, and it won’t waste time” Mrs. Johnson reasoned. Somehow, this didn’t out Drew’s mind at ease.
Lydia was used to dead bodies. She had seen more than her fair share over the years. It never got an easier either, seeing an innocent life snatched away. This felt especially cruel though. The poor girl’s body, Emily, was nothing more than a pile of dust. How could a family grieve without a body to provide closure? There was no way of explaining something like that. No way of getting the answers they deserve.
“Dylan said he saw Emily with the Téras when it changed host” Scott recalled, “How can she have no body?”
“It might be an echo. Obviously the Téras existed in another place before, somewhere without physical forms” Lydia reasoned. There was no scientific way to prove it, but it made the most logical sense.
“How can you stop an echo?” Scott queried.
“We can stop it manifesting. Like a mental block” Lydia suggested.
“Isn’t it a little late? I mean, it sorta already exists” Stiles noted.
“It hasn’t got a body yet. Drew is only temporary” Lydia reminded.
“Don’t I know it” Scott sighed. He was understandably frustrated. Lydia wouldn’t feel remotely comfortable if she knew something was after her body, “How can we stop it then?”
“Find it” Lydia suggested, “And I think I know how.” She knelt down and reached her hand out to the pile of dust that used to be Emily. She hated what she was about to do, but this was the way to make a connection. The banshee needed this link. She reached her hand into the dust and let it slip through her fingers like a sand timer. Finding where the echo of Emily was would lead them to the source of the echoes, and the source of the Téras. It had to be done, or she would lose Scott forever.
Walking into the school library, it was pretty dead, much to Dylan’s relief. Nobody was in sight except the librarian, and Ed managed to convince her to leave with no issues. He had agreed surprisingly readily to Dylan’s plan, but that was part of his job as Sheriff after all – protecting his town, and Dylan knew that Crystalshaw had never been more at threat. Yasmin had laced the perimeter of the library with a trail of mountain ash, and Jono was waiting at the main entrance. Once the Téras was inside, he would close the trail and lock the door. The only person inside would be Ed, who was at no risk due to his age. Josh and Freddie waited outside the emergency fire exit in case, while Dylan would cover the main entrance. Lily, Yasmin and Jono were on guard to break the mountain ash seal if necessary – they were the only ones who could touch it, even being near it made Dylan’s skin crawl. The final piece of the puzzle was the bait, namely Matty. The Téras wanted Matty. It was after him already, and there was no way it would stop. However, Dylan was never going to let Matty be in any danger. As soon as the mountain ask circle was complete, Matty would be pulled out by Lily and it would be trapped. Dylan was worried though. So much could still go wrong. However, it was their only option. Matty stood patiently in the centre of the library, clearly visible from the main doorway. Hiding out of view, Dylan gave him a thumbs-up. He had been thrust into a crazy situation so quickly and was dealing with it rather brilliantly all things considered.
“Something’s coming” Dylan warned, hearing the pitter-patter of footsteps. He desperately wanted to peep, but he knew he couldn’t – it would give the game away. Matty stood there shaking, clearly watching somebody approach. Dylan used his nose to help – it was definitely Drew approaching. He knew that scent too well. Drew’s figure passed through into the library. Dylan nodded to Jono – he left the room before Jono sealed the exit and slammed the door. Drew obviously heard it, as he started banging on the door. Thankfully, Dylan heard a second door slam – Matty must have successfully escaped through the fire exit as planned. So far so good.
“What are you doing?” Drew yelled out. Dylan hated doing this to him. It was the only way to stop the Téras.
“You’ve got to leave Drew alone” Dylan heard Ed say.
“What have you done?” Drew yelled in despair.
“It’s for your own good” Ed replied.
“You don’t understand. I’m not the Téras. It left me” Drew admitted. Dylan’s heart dropped. If that were true, it meant it was still out there.
Primed in case of a mishap, Lily wasn’t resting. Matty had escaped successfully through the emergency exit and was safe, but for how long, Lily didn’t know. She looked at George, taking care of Matty. It was a sweet sight, almost like father and son even though they were the same age. He had a natural paternal instinct, helped by being Freddie’s guardian undoubtedly. Lily then remembered – George was eighteen. He had his birthday the previous September, just days after his mum died. Freddie was saved from two years in the foster system. Also, though, this meant he wasn’t a minor either. Though he was a school kid, he was never in danger of the Téras.
“Do you think this will work?” Matty worried.
“I don’t know. I guess we’ll find out soon” George replied, putting a comforting hand on his knee.
“They’re talking” Freddie informed, listening in. The emergency exit door was thick – it was understandably difficult to hear any details amongst the murmurs of conversation.
“I hope Ed kicks its ass” Josh added.
“Ed’s cool but I don’t know how scary he will be to a supernatural creature that exudes fear” Lily noted. The plan felt optimistic. Sighing as her impatience grew, Lily turned around. They were sat on the edge of the concrete playground, where students would play soccer and basketball at lunchtime. She saw a shadowed figure on the edge, looking her way, watching them. It looked familiar, but she didn’t know why, she couldn’t make out any details. Either way, it gave her the same terrified feeling as the Téras. How could that be, when it was inside the library?
“Hey!” she called to it. It instantly shuffled away, but she wasn’t going to let it escape. She followed it in the same direction. It moved towards the main entrance of the school, but Lily couldn’t see it anymore. She wasn’t out of luck though – Mrs. Langston on the reception desk would know who went by. Nothing ever got past her.
“Hey, Mrs. L” Lily casually approached, trying to conceal her flustered state.
“Hello Lily love, how can I help?” Mrs. Langston smiled. Lily wasn’t sure it was possible to be a nicer person than her.
“I was wondering if anyone came through here just now” Lily made her request seem casual.
“The lad whose sister went missing came through just before you, he’s a sophomore, remind me of his name” Mrs. Langston revealed. Lily knew exactly what she meant, but somehow it left more questions than it answered.
“Chase” she replied, before heading back out and yelling behind her, “Thanks!”
It took Dylan no time to open the door to find out if Drew was serious. He knew the Téras was a trickster – it could easily have been trying to fool them again. The mountain ash barrier remained intact, just for safe measures.
“What did you say?” Dylan interrogated.
“I got it out” Drew answered, “I’m me, I swear.”
“How do we know you’re telling the truth?” Ed worried.
“Do you feel scared?” Drew responded, “Because I don’t, for the first time in ages. It’s gone.”
“But where is it?” Yasmin added worryingly. She had a point – there was no way the Téras would suddenly give up. It would have found a new body, and quickly.
“I don’t know, but you need to let me out of this trap damn fast” Drew ordered.
“Dylan!” came a voice from down the corridor. Dylan spun round to see Scott running over, with Stiles and Lydia behind him, “We’ve got a lead. This is the source of the Téras.” He handed over a map, with a normal-looking house circled. Then Dylan realised – he recognised the house.
“This is where…” Dylan was cut off as he was approached from behind, a hand covering his mouth. He looked to his right. Scott was struggling similarly, another hand covering his mouth. The same person’s hand.
“Chase, what are you doing?” Jono identified. Chase? What? How could he have a grip so strong?
“Chase is temporary” a robotic voice, entirely unlike Chase’s, replied. It wasn’t Chase anymore. Dylan saw a cloud of black smoke appear around him. He was caught, and so was Scott. They just had to figure out their escape, and do it alone.
9: Renewal Written by MarthaJonesFan
The call had come. Dylan always loved the sound of his mum’s ringtone – it felt jolly, and took his mind off the anxiety of an incoming phone call. However, the jolly jingle had an added melancholy now. The call could only be bad news; news that Dylan had been dreading for the past forty-eight hours. He was sort-of impressed – his dad had lasted an impressive amount of time since the doctors confirmed there was nothing more they could do. He always knew his dad was strong, both emotionally and physically. That made this even more painful though, He was so fit and healthy, how could this be happening? His mum was in bits on the drive back to the hospital. It was 3:38am and they had both slept no more than an hour before the phone rang. Dylan couldn’t stop thinking about how tired he would be at school that morning, although really, he knew he was unlikely to be going in that day, or even that week. It was the least of his worries, but at least it took his mind off everything else. When the car pulled up, Dylan raced up to the now-familiar hospital room. Every second mattered. His dad still had his eyes open; he looked tired. If Dylan didn’t know any better, he would have assumed nothing more. However, the doctors had mentioned internal bleeding, whatever that was supposed to mean. Dylan placed his smaller hand inside his dad’s giant right hand, while his mum did the same with his left.
“It’s okay dad, we’re here now” Dylan immediately reassured him. He must have been terrified, and Dylan couldn’t have let that continue.
“Martin” his mum cried uncontrollably. Dylan had never seen her cry before. It broke his heart.
“Be strong, Caroline” he slurred, “You have our ten-year-old superstar to care for.”
“Not on my own” Caroline wept.
“I can look after you too” Dylan immediately offered.
“My strong son. Remember I love you, and I am always supporting you” he smiled to Dylan, who felt himself getting very upset.
“I love you too dad” Dylan replied honestly. Her dad chuckled before he closed his eyes. For the last time. Caroline collapsed onto his body, and Dylan rushed to her side.
“Mom, we have each other, don’t cry” Dylan consoled. He wiped his own tears away, He and his mum were alone now, and he had to step up.
Blinking a few times to make sure he wasn’t hallucinating – and it wouldn’t have been the first time – Stiles was very concerned. The Téras had a new body, and it had kidnapped both Scott and Dylan. Exactly what they didn’t want to happen.
“Where the heck are they?” Jono began to panic.
“I don’t know, but we’ve got to remain calm” Stiles advised, knowing full well he was panicking inside.
“My boyfriend’s missing and at risk of becoming a murderous monster, how can I be calm?” Jono vented.
“We can start looking, but we have to keep our heads screwed on” Lydia reminded, “Wallowing gets us nowhere.”
“You would know” Stiles remarked.
“Yeah, glad you gave it up though” Lydia hit back. Darn. Stiles loved banter but hated when it backfired on him.
“Okay, where do we look?” Jono enquired much more calmly.
“I might know” Drew interrupted. Ed had broken the mountain ash seal for him so he could re-join them, “It was in my head.”
“We’re all ears” Stiles smiled, “Not literally, that would be weird. And loud.”
“Who is this?” Drew remarked, shooting a confused look at Stiles.
“Tell you later. Ideas?” Jono nagged.
seemed to wake up in my bunker. Like it knew my safe space” Drew revealed.
“So Chase will be at home?” Jono thought aloud.
“Not necessarily. Anywhere Chase would have felt safe” Drew corrected.
“Or anywhere Emily felt safe” Yasmin added.
“Guys” Lily sprinted over, as if she had urgent news, “Chase is the Téras, it’s not inside there.”
“We know, it’s got Dylan and Scott” Yasmin filled her in.
“Oh my god” Lily was taken aback. She instantly put a comforting hand on Jono’s shoulder. Stiles knew that protective instinct, even though he had no siblings; Scott might as well have been his brother.
“Maybe we should split up” Stiles suggested, “We can take that house, where’s the map?”
“Scott gave it to Dylan” Lydia answered. They had lost it. All of Lydia’s work.
“Remember the address?” Ed asked.
“Err, I think
so. 98 Nightingale Road” Stiles recalled.
“Noah’s house” Jono realised.
“Who’s Noah?” Stiles wondered.
“I’ll tell you on the way. You guys, check Chase’s house for clues” Jono took charge. Stiles understood his position. He would be the exact same with Lydia, and he had been too.
Waking up with a banging headache, Dylan immediately attempted to take in his surroundings. Slowly, things came into focus, blurred lights became solid objects as his eyes adjusted to the shining light. The first thing he noticed was the lack of light all round – the curtains were shut and no lamps were on. He was in a bedroom; one Dylan had seen before. It was his own – he recognised the walls decorated with posters of Dua Lipa and Shawn Mendes. Why was he here though? The last place he remembered being was the school. That was it – he saw the Téras, and he felt it too. That same feeling of terror, but in a new host: Chase. It spelt disaster all round, considering how unstable Chase was at the best of times. He looked to his right to see Scott chained up. Dylan checked his own hands. He was shackled in much the same way, with chains too strong for even an alpha to break. He had some movement though; the chains weren’t too restrictive.
“Hey, where are we?” Scott noticed that Dylan had woken up.
“My bedroom” Dylan replied, “I’m more worried about why.”
“I guess they’re less likely to find us here” Scott realised, “It’s smart, I’ll give it that.”
“Never mind compliments, we’ve got to get out of here. Tonight’s not the night where two become one” Dylan couldn’t resist a pop music reference. Jono would be proud. He was probably more worried about finding him though. Dylan was certainly worried too – there were no indicators if Jono was safe or not, and it hurt not knowing.
“It’s your room, what can we use to get out?” Scott queried. It was a good point. If there was any place that gave Dylan hope, it was here. Maybe the Téras wasn’t as smart as they thought.
“Hold that thought” Scott added, “Someone’s coming.” Dylan honed into his hearing – someone was indeed stomping its way up the stairs. It had to be Chase – his mum was working, and Josh and Ed were surely more preoccupied with finding him. The door opened, and Chase appeared holding a single glass of water.
“Share this” he commanded, planting it between them.
“How generous” Dylan uttered.
“Be grateful” Chase scolded.
“It’s going to destroy your mind, you’re not strong enough” Scott noted.
“I don’t care. This thing has Emily, I can read its mind” Chase revealed.
“She’s gone, Chase. Her body is dust” Scott informed.
“But she’s here, I can see her in my mind” Chase looked unstable and uncomfortable. The Téras was only confusing him further.
“You can see an echo” Scott informed.
“It’s not her, Chase. Allowing it to take us won’t bring her back, and even if it did, it would kill you first” Dylan explained. Chase looked to be considering the options, but the Téras quickly shifted to its own form, as if it had been monitoring Chase’s words.
“You are not ready” it spoke using its typical robotic voice.
“Why not?” Scott questioned. It almost sounded like he was complaining.
“You are not yet compatible. Final piece needed. Catalyst required” it said, before leaving the room.
“Catalyst? What the fuck?” Dylan was baffled.
“Come on, we need to get out of here sooner rather than later” Scott encouraged. He was right, and Dylan began to think about what in his room could help him. Then he spotted his laptop, only just within reach…
Taking Matty home, Freddie was still on guard. He and Josh were in charge of defending him – he was a vulnerable target still, and considering Chase was now the Téras’ host, it was more unhinged than ever. George had taken charge of looking after Matty, especially now Lily was away helping Jono. She had called them to explain everything, but it felt all the more confusing for Freddie. Nevertheless, he knew he had a job.
“Do you think Dylan will be okay?” Josh worried. Even before Josh turned against the pack, Freddie had never seen him open up this vulnerable side. Having a brother was new to him, after all, and was doing the world of good.
“I don’t know” Freddie answered honestly, “But I think everyone’s doing everything they can.” He couldn’t give Josh false hope – he would be an awful friend if he did that – but he also had to keep his spirits high. He was no use if he was too busy fretting over Dylan, “Alright, we should lock the back door. Don’t want any surprises.” Freddie led the way into the kitchen and twisted the key in the lock. They were as secure as they possibly could be. Josh’s phone buzzed. Freddie watched as his face lit up, hoping it was news about Dylan.
“It’s from Caroline” he sighed. In any other moment, he would love a text from Caroline. He sang her praises at every opportunity. However, she knew nothing of the situation. Dylan was still in trouble, “Dinner at the Chadwicks’ place tomorrow.”
“Fun times” Freddie chuckled. Must have been a special occasion.
“Okay, tea for the workers” George passed each of them a mug, as well as one for Matty. Tea was exactly what Freddie needed, and there wasn’t much more he could do. They were sitting ducks. The tea was perfect – strong with two sugars. It fired him up ready for whatever was coming.
The sight of Chase’s house made Yasmin feel uneasy. It wasn’t that long since she was last there, and her feelings of disorientation and concern blooded back like painful memories. Lydia had accompanied her, which reassured her slightly as they seemed to be on the same page, alongside Drew and Lily.
“This house gives me the creeps” Lydia confessed as they pulled up outside.
have that effect” Yasmin concurred.
“Wait, you too? You’re a…” Lydia noticed. Yasmin was intrigued. Although she liked Lydia, she knew very little about her. Maybe she had finally met someone just like her?
“Nix. Part-nix, that is” Yasmin explained, “You too?”
“I’m a banshee. Not a million miles away” Lydia responded.
“I read about that” Yasmin recalled. She even thought she might be a banshee for a brief moment, before she found the nix in the Bestiary.
“I’ve never met a banshee before. Can you really kill by screaming?” Drew enquired. It was rare that he wouldn’t know the ins and outs of everything supernatural.
“It doesn’t work quite like that” Lydia laughed, “Come on, we’ve not got time to waste.” She led the way back into the house, which appeared to be just as deserted as Yasmin remembered. However, she didn’t want to take any risks. Dylan, Jono and Scott had already been warned for “harassment” thanks to Chase’s parents, and even though Ed was on their side, he couldn’t ignore his sheriff duties.
“Anyone home, Drew?” she queried.
“No other heartbeats” Drew reported back. The coast was clear, much to Yasmin’s delight.
“We need to split up” Yasmin decided, taking leadership, “Lydia and I will check upstairs. Lily and Drew, you look down here. Shout if you find anything or anyone.” The group nodded and went their separate ways, with Yasmin leading Lydia up to the now-familiar sight of Emily’s bedroom. It looked just as haunting as before, not doing anything to calm her nerves.
“No sign” Yasmin commented.
“Can you sense anything?” Lydia asked.
“Nothing new” Yasmin replied. It was the same awful feeling as before, nothing different.
“I think I can help” Lydia replied, her voice vacant of expression. Yasmin wasn’t sure whether to be scared or hopeful, or both.
Nothing was going to get in Jono’s way when tracking Dylan. Speed limits didn’t matter – he had the Sheriff in the car with him anyway, and Stiles completed the group. Quite how Noah was still linked to the Téras, Jono wasn’t sure, but if he could help them find Dylan and Scott, he wasn’t going to complain. As soon as the car engine switched off, Jono leapt out of the car and furiously began banging on the front door. A confused-looking Noah answered.
“Jono, what’s up?” he queried. Jono barged inside. There was no time for small talk.
“What’s the deal?” Jono interrogated, checking all of the downstairs rooms.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about” Noah replied innocently.
“Where is Dylan?” Jono yelled.
“Jono, dude, hold fire” Stiles pulled him back. Jono realised himself – he was spiralling out of control. He had to keep composed, or Dylan would stand no chance.
“Sorry” Jono apologised, “Dylan’s missing, and you’re the key. You know that creature, the one that came from you? It has him, and he’s in danger.”
“I don’t know how I’m supposed to help” Noah looked flustered.
“It came through you and your fear. What scares you about it? We’ve got to conquer it” Stiles queried.
“Um, I don’t
know. Lots, I guess. I hate the unknown, and that I can’t defend myself” Noah
“Somehow I don’t think the known is any more comforting” Stiles remarked.
“We could teach you self-defence” Ed suggested, “It’s part of my job.”
“There’s no time” Jono reminded. It was a good idea in theory, but totally unworkable when Dylan’s life was on the line.
“I’ve got an idea, it’s kinda drastic but it would give you the means to defend yourself” Stiles suggested.
“I’m all ears, anything I can do” Noah smiled nervously.
“First, we’ve got to find Dylan and Scott” Stiles continued, “Come on, we need to keep looking.”
“You don’t have to tell me twice” Jono replied, rushing back towards the car. Stiles’ plan intrigued him. Anything that could put this Téras to bed for good was worth checking out. He needed to see its ass kicked. Before he switched the engine back on, Jono checked his phone. He had a new email, from Dylan, with a location specified…
“Sent” Dylan whispered to Scott, closing his laptop lid and pushing it back to where it was before. Chase would never know, until Jono came to save him. His knight in shining armour.
“Let’s hope he doesn’t cotton on” Scott added.
“Do you think we’ll get out of here?” Dylan thought aloud. He knew it was morbid, but he had to prepare himself.
“I don’t know, but we’re not going down without a fight” Scott replied.
“I keep worrying” Dylan confessed, “That we might not all make it.”
“Maybe you won’t” Scott responded, “I can’t promise you’ll all be safe. It might be hard, but you’ll keep going.”
“You’ve done pretty well for yourself though” Dylan noted.
“Not always. I’ve lost people. People that I thought I’d be with forever” Scott looked down. For the first time since Dylan met him, he looked broken. A far cry from his usual determined self.
“What was her name?” Dylan guessed.
“Allison” Scott replied, “She was saving us. Saving everyone. She died in my arms.”
“I’m sorry” Dylan felt his pain. He thought back to that night at the hospital. His dad holding his hand so tightly. Scott smiled in response. It clearly meant a lot.
“Please, look after Jono. You’ve got a good one there” Scott advised.
“I know. I’m not letting go of him for even a second” Dylan replied. He had to keep optimistic, for Jono’s sake if not his own.
Taking Yasmin’s hand, Lydia was letting her instincts direct her. The banshee knew how to deal with situations much better than she did. All Lydia had to do was listen and learn. Her fingers intertwined with Yasmin’s as they stood above the pile of dust that used to be Emily. Even being in the same vicinity as her remains made Lydia sick; the stuff she had to do to save her friends was awful. Lydia looked to her left. There she was – a beautiful girl with wavy blonde locks dangling halfway down her chest. Her eyes were pitch black, spoiling her stunning aesthetic, and she looked ghostly white.
“I can see her” Yasmin commented. Their powers were combining, much to Lydia’s amazement.
“Me too” Lydia replied, “Emily, can you show us the way?” Emily nodded and held her hand out. Lydia and Yasmin both reached out and grabbed it. Instantly, a cloud of black smoke began to surround them. It had worked – the banshee had succeeded again. One step closer.
The downstairs area of Chase’s house was pretty normal, at least to Lily’s eyes. She could quite easily spot when something didn’t quite add up, but there was nothing to pick up on. It was a pleasant family home, filled with photographs of the once-happy family. Lily found it crazy just how quickly things could go wrong. Everything she and Jono were doing put their family at risk, but it was for the best. If they didn’t stand up to the Téras, more than their family would be impacted. She looked to Drew. Something was definitely amiss with him. He looked flushed, and noticeably paler than usual. A far cry from his usual alert self.
“What’s up?” Lily asked him as they congregated back in the hallway.
“Nothing” Drew quickly defended. Lily knew she would have to slowly chip away at his very guarded exterior if she wanted answers.
“Come on, you know I won’t give up that easily” Lily nagged, “You don’t look so good dude.”
“I said I’m fine” Drew hit back. As he spoke, he started to clenched his chest. He started breathing heavily, as if something was trapping the oxygen from reaching his lungs. He looked in pain.
“Drew, oh god” Lily immediately rushed to his aid, but she was lost for what to do.
“Back pocket” Drew instructed, only just being able to utter his words. Lily reached around and grabbed the object – a blue asthma inhaler. She handed it to Drew, who sprayed into his mouth twice. Almost instantly, his breathing calmed down.
“What the heck was that about?” Lily questioned, very concerned, “You can’t be asthmatic, you should be healing.”
“You can’t tell Dylan” Drew replied, catching his breath.
“Tell Dylan what?” Lily was getting more and more confused.
“Isn’t it obvious? I’m not a werewolf anymore. I can’t glow my eyes, I’ve got no claws, I can’t track scents.”
“You told us how many heartbeats though” Lily reminded.
“I lied. I didn’t want you all to worry” Drew confessed, “Dylan has too much to deal with.”
“He’s going to notice” Lily noted.
“I know” Drew sighed. Lily was gobsmacked. How could Drew have lost his werewolf status? He was right though – Dylan had enough on his plate for now. They had to focus on rescuing him instead.
Jono knew exchanging house keys with Dylan would come in especially handy at some point, and this was the moment it proved true. He faffed with his keyrings, realising he had way too many items attached. His house key, Dylan’s house key, his car key, his school locker key and a host of keyrings made it difficult to find the right one in a rush. He eventually nabbed Dylan’s and shoved the front door open. Ed followed behind, wielding his gun for protection, while Stiles escorted Noah. Just as Jono was about to make the first step on the staircase, Chase appeared, almost out of nowhere.
“Going somewhere?” Chase interrogated.
“You can’t win” Jono hit back. He wasn’t armed, so he had to use his words to good effect.
“Stand down” Ed commanded, pointing his gun at Chase. He was unphased though – Chase simply moved his hand to the right and the gun smashed against the wall, breaking into several pieces and leaving a dent in the wall.
“Thank you for bringing me the final piece” Chase smirked. Jono looked around. Noah was horrified. He knew he was the final piece. They had walked straight into the trap. Chase reached his hand out and grabbed Noah by the arm.
“You’re hurting me” Noah winced. The grip didn’t loosen though. The Téras was making it as painful as possible. Jono felt helpless. There was nothing any of them could do. He wasn’t strong enough to fight a grip like that. Just behind the Téras, out of its view, a black cloud of smoke started to build, just like when the Téras itself appeared. A figure came into view. No, it was two figures. Much to Jono’s relief, he recognised both of them: Yasmin and Lydia.
“Cover your ears guys” Stiles realised what was about to happen, and Lydia unleashed the loudest, most rip-roaring scream Jono had ever heard. He could hardly believe it had come out of the mouth of any human. The Téras was stunned, Chase’s body looking dazed. Its grip on Noah released.
“Come on, we don’t have long” Lydia commanded, leading the way upstairs. They finally had some hope, and Jono was more determined than ever.
Worried by the sounds of crashing and yelling downstairs, Dylan was concerned. He was restricted and couldn’t get out, so if something was wrong, there was no way that he could successfully defend and protect himself. All of a sudden, his ears filled up with the loudest, most high-pitched scream he had ever heard.
“Lydia” Scott identified immediately.
“That was Lydia?” Dylan was amazed. How could she make a sound like that? The door opened – there she was, Lydia, joined by Yasmin and, much to Dylan’s delight, Jono. Never had his face looked cuter. Absence really did make the heart grow fonder. Immediately, Lydia and Yasmin rushed to undo the chains.
“They won’t budge” Yasmin commented, trying her best to help. Jono didn’t touch the chains, instead going straight in for a kiss. Dylan was so relieved to see him, and the soft sensation of his gorgeous lips had never felt better.
“We don’t have long” Ed warned. He managed to unhook the chains, setting them free. However, the door burst open again. The Téras was there in full, horrific form, and grabbed Jono by the neck. They were screwed.
“Don’t hurt him” Dylan pleaded. All he could picture was the mental image of Allison dying in Scott’s arms. History could not repeat itself.
“He’ll be safe as long as you co-operate” the Téras explained.
“Do what it says” Stiles encouraged. Dylan caught him winking, thrown mostly in Scott’s direction but he noticed it too.
“Alright” Scott replied, “What needs to happen?”
“Form a circle” the Téras commanded, “The alphas and the host.” Dylan held hands with Scott on his right and Noah on his left, with the Téras in the middle. His heart was beating like crazy. Much to Dylan’s relief, the Téras let go of Jono, who escaped the circle as quickly as he could. Dylan caught Stiles’ eye again. He was mouthing something. Dylan was awful at lip-reading. There were two words – he figured that the second one was Noah. Stiles then made a biting motion with his teeth, being careful not to attract the Téras’ attention. That was the first word. “Bite Noah.” Dylan was confused and slightly scared by the thought. He glanced at Noah, who nodded. He had agreed to it. It had to work. He glanced back to Scott, who mouthed a countdown.
Simultaneously, Dylan and Scott bit one of Noah’s hands each. Dylan made sure his fangs dug in properly. He had never done this before, and it scared him more than anything, but he knew he had to be strong and do this. Noah cried out in pain as blood squirted from the fang marks. The Téras spun around, hearing the commotion, aghast.
“What have you done?” the Téras spoke using Chase’s voice again. Changes were already noticeable.
“Changed the terms” Stiles answered. Dylan was baffled, but he didn’t let go of Scott or Noah’s hands. They had to keep it together.
“You can’t handle both of us” Dylan realised, “We’re too strong together, and now we’re in Noah too.”
“What you don’t know is that I’m a true alpha” Scott added, “And Dylan might as well be one too. It’s more than you anticipated.”
“Eject host” the robotic Téras voice commanded, draining away from the body, unravelling to reveal Chase. It whirred around the room, but slowly started to disappear.
“What’s happening?” Dylan questioned.
“Noah’s fear was the key. He’s not scared anymore, and he’s able to defend himself. It can’t manifest itself, and it can’t handle you guys” Jono explained. Finally, Dylan understood. The Téras was gone, the gateway shut. Chase looked up; he was vacant and pale, and looked ill. Next to him was Emily – the echo, with pitch black eyes. The last remnant of the Téras.
“Emily” he smiled, looking so innocent, tears rolling down his cheeks. She reached out her hand elegantly, and Chase touched it instantly. The final gust of black smoke surrounded them both, and within seconds, they were gone. Dylan smiled. Chase got what he wanted – a reunion with his sister. Dylan finally appreciated the bond between siblings, so he understood their connection. There was nothing more special.
Arriving just as Chase and Emily’s parents were leaving Ed’s office first thing in the morning, Dylan felt awful. They must have been distraught, losing both of their kids, and they couldn’t even learn the truth. Maybe knowing they were together somewhere would have given them some comfort. Nevertheless, he had popped in to see Ed, for a debrief of sorts. He had some loose ends to tie up, and not everything could be done in his official sheriff capacity either.
“Hey. Alright, the Tumblr post” Ed got to business as soon as Dylan closed the door.
“Please tell me it’s gone” Dylan prayed. Even though Chase wasn’t around anymore, the Tumblr post unfortunately didn’t go with him.
“All traces that we could find are gone. It was inflammatory, so I got it removed pretty easily. That doesn’t stop anyone who knows already though, especially at school, and screenshots might still be out there.”
“I know. I think Mrs. Johnson has that covered” Dylan notified. From what he had heard from Yasmin, Mrs. Johnson had put a very strong word in the principal’s ear about the attacks and targeting. Hopefully that would stop people being nasty, whether they still believed the article or not.
“At least mom didn’t see it” Dylan breathed a sigh of relief.
“You’re skating on thin ice, fella” Ed reminded, not that he needed any reminding.
“I know. When the time is right. It’s like coming out all over again” Dylan jested. He laughed to cover up his genuine worries. Ed laughed along; at least his laughter felt genuine.
“Speaking of your mom, did you see her text?” Ed questioned.
“Dinner at the Chadwicks’ tonight? Yeah” Dylan replied. Jono had told him this was a possibility. It worried him slightly – he hated big social gatherings. Nevertheless, it was more time to spend with Jono. Dylan would never turn his nose up at that.
Tossing and turning, Drew couldn’t get comfortable. He had spent the whole night lying awake, but no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t sleep. His mind felt both empty and full at the same time. The fact the Téras wasn’t there helped his mind clear, but the wolf was gone too. How could he just lose it? He had never heard of a way that a werewolf could become human again. The process was irreversible. Something had gone seriously wrong. He looked around. The room was dark, but the sunlight was beginning to shine its way through. No chance of sleep now. Drew sat up in bed and stared at the mirror opposite. Although he saw his usual face, he could barely recognise himself. The person he had been for almost ten years had gone. It was like starting from scratch. No matter how hard he tried, Drew couldn’t glow his eyes. He couldn’t activate his claws. He was back to being a bog-standard human. The Téras had robbed him of his identity and his most valued attributes. A tear slid out of his eye. Drew never cried, but he couldn’t help it this time. He was embarrassed. As he stared at himself, he screamed out. He was furious, and would stop at nothing to become a werewolf again.
Dinner time had arrived. It was Saturday night, and Dylan was used to spending it alone with Jono, binge-watching series on Netflix. However, that would have to wait until later. He had to survive dinner with both Jono and his own families. The table had room for eight – Dylan’s mum, Jono’s parents, Josh, Lily and Ed, alongside Dylan and Jono themselves. It felt kind of cool for Dylan to think that this union of people wouldn’t be a thing without him. As he set the table, Dylan noticed Scott outside the gate. He grabbed Jono and led him outside, clicking open the gates.
“I guess you’re off” Dylan assumed. He loved having Scott around, but he knew it wasn’t permanent.
“Yeah, Lydia will kill me if we don’t make it back for her party” Scott chuckled, “I couldn’t leave without saying goodbye. You’re amazing, both of you.”
“You’re not so
bad yourself” Jono grinned.
“We couldn’t have done this without you, or Stiles and Lydia. I owe you my life” Dylan expressed his gratitude.
be a stranger, I’m sure we’ll see each other again soon” Scott started to back
off to his car, “Look after Noah. And each other.”
“We’ll fight on. For Allison” Dylan smiled. Scott waved before getting into the Jeep. Now they were on their own again, but Dylan felt comforted to know that he had support out there if he needed it.
“Come on, let’s brave this dinner” Jono took Dylan’s hand and led him inside. Josh and Lily were already at the table, laughing away. Almost unthinkable just months back. How times had changed.
“Hey” Josh noticed Dylan and pulled him aside, “I was wanting to show you something. Please don’t freak.” Dylan was intrigued. He watched as Josh glowed his eyes, “I never told you why they’re blue.”
“I know already” Dylan replied.
“Huh? You never said” Josh was surprised.
“Drew told me. I know what you did. Blue eyes mean you took an innocent life” Dylan answered. Drew had warned him a while ago, but Dylan didn’t find it bothersome at this point. Josh had more than proved himself.
“You’re not angry?” Josh continued to be taken aback.
“No, why would I be? You’ve changed. Besides, you’re my brother” Dylan smiled. Josh looked like a huge weight had been lifted off his shoulders. Nothing was going to ruin their connection.
An hour later, and dinner had been eaten. Everyone was still sat at the table, except Dylan’s mum – she had asked everyone to stay put, but didn’t say why. She came back, trying to conceal a smile, holding an envelope.
“Josh, this is from Ed and I” Caroline finally unleashed her grin. Dylan knew what it was all about now. He had been anticipating this moment for a little while. He watched as Josh opened the card, everyone else staring in curiosity. Josh’s eyes widened.
real? You wanna adopt me?” Josh was in awe. He turned to Dylan, “And you’re
okay with this?”
“Duh, stupidest question ever” Dylan laughed, “Welcome to the family, bro.”
“I’ll drink to that” Steve toasted, raisin his glass. Caroline smiled a proud smile at Dylan. He adored his mum like crazy. She looked down at her phone; Caroline was more tech-literate than your stereotypical mum, but she wasn’t as keen on most of the social networking sites that Dylan used.
she sighed, slamming the phone down on the table.
“Everything okay?” Ed asked her.
“Some sick person sent me a screenshot of this post about Dylan and Jono. Something about werewolves. It’s ridiculous” Caroline vented. The room fell awkwardly silent. Dylan felt increasingly uncomfortable – everyone else knew the truth.
“Am I missing something?” Caroline queried. Dylan had no idea what to say, but there was no clear way out. Maybe this was his moment. He braced himself and took a deep breath…