With the knowledge of the mysterious Nemeton, Dylan's world is opened up to new supernatural threats as those closest to him take on personal and emotional challenges. Their comfort is put into jeopardy as a new generation of hunters infiltrate Crystalshaw, however, and with a new creature on the loose, Dylan is forced to make tough decisions if he wants to save his friends.
As their junior year begins, Dylan's pack begins to settle into the new normal. With some assistance from Jono, Dylan begins to make some discoveries about himself. Yasmin struggles to control her nix powers, while Noah realises being a werewolf isn't all it cracked up to be. Drew enlists Josh's help with a malicious homicide.
Another homicide leads Yasmin to question her place in the pack. Josh and Drew come face-to-face with their killer when an unexpected ally arrives to help out. Dylan and Jono track down a missing Lily and become worried when they realise there's more to two of their classmates than they thought.
With Josh unable to move, Drew finds support in Allyn at long last. Lily recovers in hospital while Dylan investigates Dami and Josh further. Yasmin and Freddie find themselves in danger as they piece together the two murders.
Joining forces with Sierra's pack, Dylan and his pack ride out the full moon out of view of the hunters, but they have their own plans. Lily and Noah worry about shifting, while Yasmin leads the charge to find out more information about the creature targeting them.
With the kanima's identity known, Dylan worries about saving everybody while Freddie takes drastic measures to reach George. However, cracks in the alliance begin to show early on when crucial information is withheld.
As a member of the pack prepares to say goodbye, Dylan fight with every ounce of energy to escape Dami's captivity. Drew discovers a startling fact about the kanima. Yasmin finds an unexpected ally.
1: Adapt Written by MarthaJonesFan
Excitedly moving through the forest, Dami was so intrigued to explore. The forests of Crystalshaw were the subject of so many myths and rumours, and nothing ever scared her. Glowing eyes? Wolf howls? Piece of cake. Jake was less convinced though. Dami had dragged him along for some company. Going into the forest alone at night would be stupid, and although Dami wasn’t scared, she had common sense and a back-up plan. Twigs crackled beneath her feet, and she saw Jake getting startled each time in the corner of her eye.
“Don’t be such a pussy” Dami laughed.
“Hey, this is how any normal person acts. You’re the mad one” Jake hit back.
“Everybody’s a little mad” Dami responded. That was what she firmly believed. Embracing the madness was part of being herself. As they continued further through the forest, Dami began to hear an array of sounds. More than just twigs crackling. Owls were hooting. Leaves were rustling in the distance. A wolf howling. The hairs on Dami’s arms were stood to attention. Perhaps she was a little scared. It kept the adrenaline levels high, after all. If she had to run, she knew that would keep her fast. Jake was a wreck still. Dami grabbed his arm and pulled him into a clearing in the woods. It was vast, with a huge amount of space surrounding. A humongous tree stood in front, almost glistening in the dark night. Tiny little fireflies were floating around it, acting like fancy lighting. It was gorgeous and so relaxing. Dami’s guard came down.
“This is incredible” Jake was at ease too.
“What is it?”
Dami wondered. Swoosh! Something swept past. Dami looked around, but she
couldn’t see anything.
“What the hell was that?” Jake worried. Dami was alert. She was ready for anything. She looked back to the tree, noticing a girl, her unruly afro hair pulled back into a neat bun.
“Run” she warned. Dami didn’t need to be asked twice. Something was there, and maybe it was following them, but Dami didn’t care. Everything had become too weird. Her and Jake remained neck and neck the whole way back. Dami didn’t see what it was, but she knew one thing: it was like nothing she had seen before.
Music blaring loudly. Bass thumping. Lights flickering. Dylan was so far out of his comfort zone. Computer whizz Freddie had scored them all fake IDs to go clubbing on their last Saturday night of summer. It really wasn’t Dylan’s scene, though. He was sat in a booth with a Diet Coke on the table in front of him while he watched everyone else on the packed dancefloor. It was nice seeing the pack enjoying themselves. Even Drew was busting a move or two. Dylan wasn’t so outgoing. A club was pretty overbearing for him. Too many lights and sounds. Sensory overload.
“Hey, sorry I
abandoned you” Jono came and sat next to Dylan, “Lily demanded a dance with me.
I managed to shove Josh her way.”
“I don’t expect you to be glued to my side” Dylan smiled. He would’ve hated to be one of those clingy boyfriends who is joint at the hip to his partner.
“I know, I just hate seeing anyone on their own” Jono rubbed Dylan’s leg soothingly. His favourite sensation.
“I’m fine, honestly. I’d rather see you enjoying yourself. Don’t let me bog you down” Dylan justified, “It’s too loud, the lights are too bright, I can’t focus.”
“You seemed alright when we saw Dua Lipa?” Jono thought. How could Dylan forget? His birthday present was everything he’d hoped it would be and more.
“Best night of my life” Dylan smiled, “At least we had allocated seats.”
“Fair” Jono nodded, “To tell the truth, I prefer quiet nights with just the two of us anyway.”
“Always” Dylan smiled back. That was his idea of a dream night. Interrupting their moment, Lily slammed a tray of drinks onto the table. The whole group came to sit down in the booth. This must have been the third or fourth round of the night – most of them weren’t even slightly tipsy either. A werewolf’s body healed too quickly.
“I’ll be back in a minute” Dylan politely excused himself and quickly paced to the gents, locking himself in a cubicle. Now he could have some quiet.
“You didn’t see it, though. It wasn’t human, it was way too fast, and I’m sure I saw light reflecting on its scales” Dylan heard a lad talking across the bathroom. His ears picked up. This sounded interesting.
“Man, were you high? That’s the dumbest shit I’ve ever heard, Jake” his friend replied. Jake sighed. Dylan unlocked the cubicle, taking a look across the room. Jake was alone, his friend walking off. Dylan recognised him from school, not that he had ever spoken to him. Jake seemed pretty deflated. For a brief second, Dylan and Jake locked eyes. A knowing glance. Jake scuttled off, as if he were afraid. It was probably nothing. Now, Dylan had to think of an excuse. Anything to get home to bed.
Two sleeps later, junior year had arrived. Dylan had spent two months waking up after nine o’clock, yet here he was, arriving at school just after half past eight. His eyes felt so heavy. The club night was two nights ago, but any hopes of a sleeping pattern had been well and truly thrown off as a result. Walking to school with Josh was surprisingly tough-going at such an early hour.
“I took my lie-ins for granted” Dylan commented, making conversation.
“You and me both” Josh replied, “Still can’t say I didn’t make the most of the nights, if you know what I mean.” Unfortunately, Dylan knew exactly what Josh meant, but he preferred not to think of it.
“Too much information” Dylan mentioned, avoiding eye contact.
“Don’t pretend you and Jono are practicing celibacy” Josh hit back.
“Yeah but we don’t brag about it” Dylan defended. His sex life was nobody’s business but Jono’s and his own.
“Get with the times, I can’t help being a babe magnet” Josh bragged.
“I’m gonna throw up” Dylan winced. He was no prude, but too much sex talk made him a little uncomfortable.
“I’m joking, and I get it. You’re happy with Jono. I just…haven’t found my Jono yet” Josh opened up.
“I’m not judging, you can shag who you want, it’s your business. Just…spare me the intimate details” Dylan requested.
“You don’t know the half of it” Josh chuckled. Much to Dylan’s relief, they had reached the bench. Now he had other, less horny people to talk to. Yasmin, Lily and Jono were there already.
“You really think Mrs. Johnson is gonna be okay with your hair?” Yasmin seemed unsure. She was talking to Lily, who was rocking a newly-styled blonde bob.
“It’s part of my therapy” Lily defended, “Looking after myself. Appreciating myself.”
“Annoying everyone else” Jono laughed. Dylan admired Lily for how openly she spoke about her therapy. She was braver than any of them.
“It looks great though” Dylan complimented.
“Thank you, brother I wish I had” Lily planted a kiss on Dylan’s cheek.
“Fuck’s sake” he heard Yasmin complain. He looked over to see her textbook soaking wet. This had been a recurring theme over the summer. Yasmin stood up and ran inside, ashamed. Lily and Dylan both sprinted inside, desperate to check she was okay. Dylan was definitely worried about her.
“Nothing’s shown up Drew, I’m sorry” Ed explained, much to Drew’s disappointment. He had spent most of the summer nagging at Ed for an updated search on any one of Allyn, Kamilah or Monty. None of these names were especially common, so it should have made a search easy, but Ed hadn’t brought anything up yet. Drew had searched all over to find them again, too. Not only were they another pack in Crystalshaw, but Allyn had saved him twice. He desperately wanted to thank her in person. No girl had ever left such a mark on him before.
“Can’t you check again? Kamilah, spelt K-A-M-I-L-A-H” Drew begged.
“Drew, I’ve got a homicide just in, your little quest isn’t that high up my list of priorities right now” Ed defended. Drew sighed. He had tried following a scent, but there was little to go off. The bunker had been totally cleared out. There was no trace. If it weren’t for the fact Lily saw them too, Drew would be questioning whether he had hallucinated the entire thing, “Actually, it’s right next to the high school. I’ll give you a lift.”
“Wait, homicide?” Drew’s ears picked up. Homicides that weren’t related to the supernatural were rare in Crystalshaw.
“School. Now. Let’s go” Ed firmly ordered. Drew growled under his breath. This wasn’t going to get him anywhere.
Freddie couldn’t believe it, but the moment had come. He was finally excited for a class. Sure, English and maths still drove him crazy, but now he was in his element. AP computer science was just the class for him. He glanced around at the others in class with him. A few familiar faces: Brett, Drew’s basketball mate; Dami, a cute girl who Freddie had always admired from afar; and of course, Freddie couldn’t ignore Josh and Freddie either side of him.
“Alright class, listen up. Mr. Kosinski, this is a computer science lesson, it would help if you logged in” Miss Pannu began. A lot of people said she was the nicest teacher in the school, so Freddie felt pretty relaxed, “Your first task is on the shared drive. Don’t even think of asking me how to get onto the shared drive, let’s remain positive for our first class at least before I lose the will to live.” Freddie chuckled. He saw Josh in the corner of his eye, flapping about through different folders. Freddie simply pointed to the left of his screen – a folder labelled “Shared Drive.”
“Ah” Josh acted as if he had simply overlooked it, “I knew that.” Freddie laughed. This lesson was bound to be a hoot.
“Don’t go out there, it’s not safe, I swear” he overheard Dami telling Brett.
“It’s just a walk in broad daylight” Brett responded casually, “Those are just horror stories.”
“I saw it” Dami added, “Last night. There’s something in that forest.”
“Save me the drama” Brett replied rudely.
“On your head be it” Dami warned. Freddie was intrigued. He knew full well that the forests were risky, especially considering that the Nemeton was nearby, acting as a supernatural beacon, potentially drawing all sorts of creatures in. He needed to investigate.
Frustrated, Yasmin couldn’t get to grips with her new abilities. For the whole summer, she had been trying to research everything she could about nixes and what they could do. However, Google was far from helpful. Supernatural creatures were not common knowledge, so she had to rely on myths. Most of them were wrong, though. Legends of werewolves seemed almost accurate when she first looked them up for Dylan, but the myths and whispers of nixes were unlike anything Yasmin had seen in herself. The articles she had read claimed the nix was a shapeshifter, but Yasmin hadn’t changed, not yet at least. The Bestiary said she was a “harbinger of death”, just like Lydia, a banshee, but she had that ability already. What separated a full nix from the partial state she had before? Otherwise the Bestiary was annoyingly vague. It seemed nobody really knew anything about being a nix. That meant until she figured herself out, she had to endure puddles of water cropping up all around her. She couldn’t control her ability to summon water, and it was okay at home when nobody could see her, but it was only a matter of time until she embarrassed herself in class. The toilets were a safe refuse for now, but she couldn’t hide there all day.
“Yasmin?” Lily’s voice sounded as the door opened.
“First cubicle” Yasmin answered. Lily was one of the only people she trusted to confide in.
“What can I do to help?” Lily immediately questioned. Yasmin appreciated that Lily didn’t ask her how she was. It was a pointless question – she obviously wasn’t okay, “What can we do?” Lily corrected herself, “Dylan’s stood outside, he’s listening.” Yasmin clicked open the cubicle.
“Change me back” Yasmin replied to Lily’s face, “Everything that happened in the forest, reverse it.” Lily opened the door and pulled Dylan in, much to the annoyance of his masculinity.
“You’re perfect as you are” Lily replied. Yasmin didn’t think so. She was basically leaking water.
“Buy me diapers then” Yasmin laughed at herself. If she didn’t laugh, she knew she would cry.
“I hate that I hurt you before. We wouldn’t be in this mess without me” Dylan looked sombre.
“Dude, none of this is your fault” Lily instantly replied.
“If we didn’t want to be a part of this, we would have said no a long time ago” Yasmin answered. Sure, Dylan was the one who scratched her, but it was an accident. She never once blamed him.
“You’re not the only one adjusting” Lily replied, “I got stabbed and healed in minutes.”
“We’ve all had to adapt. We just need to find our way through” Dylan sensibly added. Yasmin nodded. She knew he was right.
“Alright, we’ve got math” Yasmin smiled. The trio headed off to class, Yasmin passing Jake from their year group on the way. He was stood suspiciously close to the girls’ toilet door, as if he’d been listening. Yasmin thought nothing of it, though. She was likely being overly paranoid. Now it was time for an optimistic mindset. Perhaps it could benefit the nix, too.
Rushing off back towards the computer classroom, Jake had to find Dami. Something mega weird was happening after the whole forest saga the night before, and they were surely being played. Either that gang of three – his classmates Yasmin and Dylan, and Jono’s sister Lily – were trolling him and Dami, or they were psychotic, because a conversation as weird as that just had to be linked. Jake awkwardly entered the classroom, spying Dami right by the door.
“I need a word” he told her bluntly. Dami stood up begrudgingly.
“Excuse me, I have a class happening” Miss Pannu called from her desk, but Jake ignored. This couldn’t wait.
“Dude, what’s happened? Why aren’t you in class?” Dami impatiently questioned as soon as they left the classroom.
“I needed to see you, urgently” Jake justified, “Last night, I think I know what happened, or rather, who.”
“I don’t care, I’m not going back there again” Dami insisted.
Drummond kid and his little group. They’re probably all in on it” Jake
explained, disregarding what Dami said.
“Jake, why don’t you go home? Chill out a bit. Last night was kinda crazy” Dami encouraged. Jake sighed. Perhaps he would need to take matters into his own hands.
Pulling up at the crime scene, Drew was fed up. He didn’t give up on anything unless it was totally necessary, but he was beginning to lose hope on Allyn. Obviously, she didn’t want to be found. That said, she had a habit of finding Drew herself. Maybe all he needed was to be in trouble? That was probably the stupidest idea Drew had ever had. However, trouble always seemed to find him sooner or later anyway.
“Alright kid, get to school” Ed commanded. Drew caught a glimpse of the crime scene. Blood was sprayed all over the pathway. An entire street just around the corner from the school was cordoned off. All Drew could see behind the ambulance was an arm. Well, that’s what it used to be. There was barely any semblance of a human arm left. It had been ruthlessly torn to shreds. Flesh was hanging out, bone exposed, and a pool of blood surrounded it.
“That body” Drew got out of the car and moved towards the arm, the rest of the body coming into view. Drew had never seen such a repulsive, gut-wrenching corpse in his life. The face had been slashed so much that no features were recognisable. The pool of blood by the arm was nothing compared to the river surrounding the hideous head. There was no way a human could have caused all of that.
“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Drew looked to Ed.
“I’m thinking you need to get to school, what are you thinking?” Ed facetiously replied.
“Are you serious? You need me” Drew defended.
“I know. I was just praying that for once, it would be a regular human murder. They’re a damn sight easier to solve” Ed sighed. Drew examined the corpse more closely. The wounds had been caused by claw marks, slashing the skin all over. The stomach had been stabbed and ripped out, as had the back of the neck – what was left of it.
“Why would you stab the neck?” Drew thought aloud.
“To stop the victim screaming for help?” Ed offered.
“It doesn’t seem like they had a chance to do that anyway” Drew rebutted. This attack was way too messy to be calculated. He needed to confer with someone who might know more.
First day back: complete. Lily was pleased that she had gotten through a full day. Every time she went to school, all she could think about was Taylor. The worries bubbled up. However, she hadn’t had a panic attack in weeks. The anxiety medication she had taken was beginning to work, and she was now about to have her next therapy session. Her therapist, Denise, was pretty great. She had taught her some mindfulness techniques; Lily never realised just how helpful medication could be. She was also working on turning her negative thoughts into more positive ones. Worried about people laughing at her? Realistically, most of the students at school were more wrapped up in themselves to notice her even if they did care. People judging her for panic attacks? They were more likely to want to help. Lily had tried to find a way to love herself. That’s why she cut her hair and dyed it blonde. A fresh start. Lily glanced around the mundane waiting room. She had never seen a comfortable, welcoming waiting room in her life and this was no different. All of them were deadly silent, where time passed ten times slower. Lily needed to hear her name, but everyone else seemed to be getting called in before her.
“Lily Chadwick?” the receptionist announced. At last. Lily picked up her bag and she headed towards Denise’s room.
“Hi Lily” Denise smiled kindly yet professionally, “I love the hair.”
“Hey, thanks” Lily smiled back, taking a seat on the comfy sofa next to Denise’s armchair.
“First day back at school, huh? How did it go?” Denise began. Small talk wasn’t needed, much like with Yasmin.
“Not bad” Lily admitted, “I did what we said. Turned negatives into positives.”
“Did you find it helpful?” Denise enquired.
“I found it hard, but it worked. Any time I thought of Taylor, I remembered it is unlucky for me to go missing like that too” Lily elaborated. Of course, she couldn’t tell Denise the truth about Taylor. Nobody would believe that, and she didn’t want to be admitted to the mental asylum. The official story was that Taylor went missing, and Lily hated that she had to lie, but perhaps it was for the family’s good to keep some hope alive? It didn’t feel like her decision to make.
“That’s great Lily. Is there anything else bothering you?” Denise asked. Oh, how Lily desperately wished she could go into more details.
Unusually, Dylan wasn’t headed straight home at the end of school. On a regular day, he was ready to chill and put his feet up with his mum and Jono, but instead, he was ready for his next class. This was no ordinary class either, as it was one he was teaching. Meeting on the basketball pitch – it was guaranteed to be empty as Jono had informed him there was no practice that night – Dylan needed privacy. Nobody could see this, or their cover would be blown.
“When do we begin?” Noah questioned, arriving at the far end of the pitch. Dylan smirked. He wasn’t going to see this coming. Dylan’s eyes glowed red, the fierce, powerful colour undoubtedly shining through the setting sun across the pitch. Without notice, Dylan sprinted across the pitch, colliding with Noah just seconds later.
“What the heck?” Noah cried from below Dylan.
“I was testing your reaction time” Dylan replied, heaving himself back onto his feet.
“No prizes for guessing my result, huh?” Noah sighed.
“You’ll get better, I promise” Dylan encouraged. He had vowed he wouldn’t be one of those teachers who was overly critical of their students. He wanted Noah to feel he was benefiting and improving, and he could only do that with a positive mindset.
“I’ve not made any progress so far though, have I? I can’t even glow my eyes, how do we know I am a werewolf?” Noah complained. His worries weren’t unjustified. They had been spending a lot of the summer learning the tricks of the trade. Noah was becoming pretty good at focusing his enhanced hearing, and his scent-tracking was getting better each time, but Noah still couldn’t shift. No eyes, claws or fangs in sight. Dylan had shifted uncontrollably within twenty-four hours of being bitten. He had no idea how Noah hadn’t, two months on from the Nemeton.
“You will. I’m still making progress, and I got bitten almost a year ago” Dylan encouraged, “I know you said nothing happened on the past two full moons, but maybe this Friday, I can help you out?” Dylan saw a lot of himself in Noah. He liked to do things himself, in the way that suited him best.
“Maybe. I don’t know what you can do to help me though” Noah answered.
“Me neither, but I’ll think of something” Dylan thought aloud. The full moon should have made Noah angry, bloodthirsty, and so far away from the usual, sweet Noah., “Anyway, let’s get those reflexes going.” He had a long way to go, but Dylan wasn’t giving up.
Surprised by the amount of blue police tape, Josh had arrived at the crime scene. Instantly, the scent of blood filled his nose. Everybody’s blood had a unique scent, but the metallic element never changed, making it easily distinguishable. Regretfully, it was a scent he was very familiar with. Josh spotted, stood near a bunch of forensic scientists.
“Hey, you have got to see this body” Drew sounded creeped out. Nothing ever creeped him out, and he rarely called for back-up too. Usually, it would be Dylan that would get the call, so Josh didn’t know whether to be taken aback, flattered, or both. Drew led him to the body as people in white overalls took swabs and samples from all over the body. The body itself was vile. Never had Josh seen a corpse so horrific and disfigured. He was repulsed.
“Who did this?” Josh questioned.
“Try again” Drew hinted.
“What did this?” Josh corrected. Drew was right – this couldn’t be human.
“I was hoping you’d know” Drew answered. Huh? Why would Josh have known anything? He was pretty confused.
“Why?” Josh casually wondered, keeping his cool.
“You’ve got more experience than the others. If we can’t figure this out, we can at least narrow it down, huh?” Drew reasoned. Josh wasn’t confident. Sure, he had more experience at being a werewolf than Dylan or Freddie, but he was stumped.
“I don’t know. I’ve never seen a werewolf kill like this” Josh responded.
“That’s because werewolves don’t waste energy destroying a body that’s already dead” Drew added, “Have you ever seen anything like this?”
“I’m sorry. Most of my old pack hated me so they kept me at arm’s length” Josh recalled the days when Clara tried her best to shut him out of the pack he was in, “I think I might know a way, though.” Anything could be worth a shot.
Stood by the lake, Yasmin had found herself visiting the shore too many times over the summer. She was trying desperately to control her abilities and find out her new limits, but it was hard. Freddie had tried his best to train her from his own werewolf experience, but it wasn’t the same. Yasmin couldn’t trigger anything with an anchor or a memory. Now she was more determined than ever to figure it out.
“What are you gonna do?” Freddie queried. He had tried all of his techniques so was out of ideas. Now it was Yasmin’s turn.
“I’m gonna trust myself” Yasmin replied. She stripped her clothes off down to her bikini once again. The amount of clothes that she had inadvertently soaked was silly and her mum was asking questions. The excuses were becoming less believable each time. She stood next to the water, her toes millimetres from the edge. Closing her eyes, Yasmin tried to think about the water in front of her. Urging it towards her in her mind. All she could imagine was the water literally rising up to her hands, like she had total control over it. She was willing it to happen. Yasmin opened her eyes and looked at her feet cautiously. They were wet, surrounded by a little puddle of water. It had worked.
“Hey, that’s amazing. The water trickled towards you” Freddie exclaimed.
“It worked?” Yasmin was amazed too. Then it came crashing down. What she had imagined was a significant amount of water, but it had only resulted in a tiny puddle. It was progress, but surely this wasn’t all she could do?
“You can’t expect yourself to know everything right away” Freddie added, “It’s like when you first see a computer, you can’t expect to code before you can use Paint.” It was great food for thought. As long as she remained motivated, she could easily master the coding of the nix world, whatever that may be.
Exhausted, Dylan crashed out on his bed. The first day back after the summer break was always tiresome, but this one especially so. The group dynamic felt different now. Sure, everyone was still friends, and the pack was united, but everyone had their own struggles. Lily had the double-whammy of werewolf blood, which remained an unknown quantity, as well as her mental health battles. Yasmin was getting to grips with her new self. Jono was worried sick about Lily. Drew was focused almost entirely on Allyn. Dylan himself, well, his issue felt far more insignificant. Social events made him anxious, and this became increasingly obvious over the holidays when everyone was making plans. Some of them simply didn’t appeal to him. He couldn’t help wondering why. He had always struggled to fit in, but at times like these, he wished he was like everyone else.
“Hey, can I come in?” Jono called from outside the door.
“Sure, I’m decent” Dylan answered.
“That wasn’t what I was worried about” Jono laughed as he entered and laid on the bed next to Dylan, “What you looking at?” Dylan had minimised his Google search tab on “social anxiety” already.
“Nothing much, just memes on Facebook” Dylan disguised.
“Dude, you’re the worst liar ever” Jono saw through it. Darn. Dylan regretfully clicked back to the Google search.
“I was going to tell you, once I was a bit surer” Dylan defended himself. He would hate for Jono to think he was deliberately keeping secrets.
“Anything you want to talk about?” Jono offered, “They say a problem shared is a problem halved.”
“The club the other night, everything I said about the lights, the noise. It was too much” Dylan opened up.
“There’s more though, right? I mean, I found the club a little overbearing too” Jono suggested.
“Everything over the summer. I get this feeling of dread before an event” Dylan replied.
“Well, Google won’t help” Jono closed the laptop lid, “Let’s speak to someone who knows their stuff after school tomorrow.” Dylan threw his arms around Jono. He had no idea where he’d be without him.
Another therapy session down. Lily knew she was benefiting from them and Denise had the most brilliant coping strategies for her anxiety. It also felt strangely good to be able to put a label on her condition. At least she knew what was up with her now. Well worth the costs. Now it was time to go home. George had said he would meet Lily after, but she just wanted a night at home. The first day back at school had taken a lot of her energy despite going well, but she appreciated his support nonetheless. Considering George had no obligation to stick around, he had been exceptionally understanding. Lily clicked open the car door with one easy press of her car key, decorated with some pretty keyrings, including a photo of her and George together. As she opened the door, Lily felt a hand reach over her mouth, blocking her immediate scream reflex. Lily panicked, dropping her keys to the floor. Her coping strategies were no good when somebody was attacking her. She tried to kick back – Ed had taught her some pretty good techniques for self-defence, but it was too late. She felt a needle sticking into her neck, and Lily slowly lost her strength, slipping harshly to the floor…
2: Control Written by MarthaJonesFan
Dead of night. Yasmin couldn’t sleep. All she fancied was a late-night drive amongst the calm and tranquillity of the forest. Her music was playing, the latest album by The 1975 soothing her ears. This was her favourite thing to do when she felt anxious or worried. Nothing cooled her down more than the quiet, empty forest roads, surrounded by mother nature’s creations. She glanced all around. The only light she had was from the car headlights, illuminating the road and the samey tree trunks. The forest was full of so many secrets, and it scared Yasmin, but at least she had the safety and comfort of the car. She pulled up at the side of the road, turned the engine off and confidently stepped out of the car. Yasmin stood at an opening into the forest, and without a second thought, she cautiously proceeded down it. Quite why Yasmin stopped the car, she wasn’t sure, but any gut feeling was worth following, Yasmin knew this by now. Using her phone as a torch, Yasmin looked out for anything that could be helpful. After walking for a few minutes, finding absolutely nothing of note, Yasmin reached a hut, like someone’s personal plot. She pushed the door open, worried about what would be inside, and shone her phone torch inside. There it was, right in the centre: the grim remains of a body. Yasmin looked at her hands; water was dripping uncontrollably. This was the nix. This was what it did.
Jolting awake. Dylan was sure it wasn’t time yet for waking up. It was too dark outside, and the alarm hadn’t sounded yet. Jono was prodding at him, as if there were a sense of urgency.
“What’s up?” Dylan slurred, not fully awake yet.
“Mom just called, Lily didn’t come home” Jono explained frantically.
“Is she with George?” Dylan queried. After all, Jono himself was staying over at his boyfriend’s. Maybe Lily was too?
“No, he’s not seen her either” Jono answered. His face was red, his eyes holding back the force of the impending tears.
“It’s okay, she’s probably gone out and forgotten to tell anyone” Dylan tried to remain optimistic.
“She’s got anxiety, Dyl” Jono reminded, “And we still don’t know what she is. What the werewolf blood did.” He wasn’t wrong. They knew Lily could now heal like a werewolf, but that was all. She didn’t seem to be affected by the full moon, but anything could have affected her body.
“It’s alright, I’ll phone Ed and get him to track her phone. I guess she’s not answering?” Dylan thought logically and sensible. He felt worried and concerned too, but he needed to be the strong one, for Jono’s sake.
“Thanks. George is having a drive around now” Jono informed. Dylan hated seeing how broken he looked. He was understandably distraught. Dylan knew he would do everything in his power to get Lily home and safe.
Head aching like mad, Lily opened her eyes. Immediately she was dazed, with no recollection of when and where she fell asleep. She examined her surroundings; they were unfamiliar, though she couldn’t make much out. It looked like the basement of a house at least, its aroma dusty, and far from the sort of place Lily would ever have gone of her own accord. She attempted to get up, but worryingly, she couldn’t move. Her wrists and ankles were restrained tightly, and no matter how much she wriggled, it wouldn’t loosen. Lily used her next most powerful tool. With no hesitation, Lily screamed, every ounce of breath became her weapon. A light appeared at the top of a weak-looking wooden staircase. A door. The exit. Two pairs of footsteps bounded down. They must have been the kidnappers.
“I don’t know who you are, but you need to let me go” Lily threatened, “My friends will be looking for me.”
“What are you?” she heard a male voice wonder. She couldn’t see his face, or his friend’s.
“Angry” Lily yelled, trying to shake herself free. She saw the man holding something. Something shiny, with a little light reflecting off its smooth surface and sharp edge. A knife. He moved it confidently towards her skin. Lily went from angry to panicked. She couldn’t escape, and her arm was about to be sliced. There was nothing she could do. Whoosh! A sharp pain slid through Lily’s arm. Blood trickled out at a gentle flowing pace. Then it began to heal. Lily watched as her wound healed entirely. In full view of her kidnappers.
“I’ll ask again, what are you?” the voice questioned.
“I don’t know” Lily replied desperately. The knife sliced her arm again. It healed just like before.
“What are you?”
“I don’t know, I promise” Lily repeated. Another painful slice. Another easy recovery. Lily was hoping desperately that Dylan would find her soon. She wasn’t sure she could cope for much longer.
Sprinting towards Yasmin, Freddie was worried for her. Getting a call in the early ours of the morning was always a concern. He had tried to contact Dylan, but he wasn’t answering. Drew and Josh were on their way too, so at least they had some back-up. Freddie spotted Yasmin ahead of him, stood next to a shoddy-looking hut in the middle of the forest. She looked unusually timid and delicate. He rushed to hug her; his initial priority was to make sure she was okay.
“Wow, you’re soaking” Freddie noticed. Yasmin had asked him to bring towels, so he was prepared, but not for this amount of water after how little she had managed to control the day before. He gently wrapped the bigger towel over her shoulders. She’d catch a cold if she stayed outside and wet for much longer in the early hours in the morning.
“I came for a drive, then I pulled over, I don’t know why” Yasmin nervously explained. She was visibly distressed and anxious.
“You’re a harbinger of death” Drew responded from behind, “This is what you do.”
“I know, it’s not the first time dumbass” Yasmin hit back, “Although I’ve never found myself soaked afterwards.”
“You’re still learning. We’re here for you” Freddie smiled, “I’m here for you.”
“I found the body” Josh called over. Freddie and Drew raced over to the door of the hut to examine it. Freddie couldn’t believe his eyes. The body wasn’t just dead, but it was mauled into numerous pieces. It was a savage attack, and surely nothing with a shred of humanity could have done something so cruel.
“It looks like the body yesterday” Drew identified.
“What body?” Freddie was confused. What wasn’t Drew telling him?
“Around the corner from the school” Drew answered.
“What did it?” Freddie enquired, hoping they would have some intel.
“That’s what we’re trying to find out” Drew replied.
“It’s something new” Yasmin replied – not having moved from where she was stood. Freddie had no idea what that meant, but he sure as well knew it terrified him.
It felt weird to be driving at such an early hour for Jono. The sun was peeping out from behind the clouds, but it was still relatively dark. It was difficult to keep focused on the road when his mind was anywhere but. Ed had found a lead on Lily’s phone, which was very promising, but Jono was scared for her. Anxiety was nothing to be flippant about, and though Lily was very capable of looking after herself most of the time, he had seen her at her worst. It was easy to lose balance. Just in case, Dylan was looking along the sides of the roads. The idea of Lily missing was terrifying the both of them.
“We’re going to find her” Dylan reassured.
“I can’t help worrying. Yo know, what if we don’t?” Jono fretted. At least he was able to open up to the person he trusted the most.
“Don’t think like that” Dylan encouraged.
“It’s hard. I can’t help preparing for the worst. Telling George. Telling mom and dad” Jono couldn’t hold his tears back any longer. They started trickling uncontrollably down his cheeks.
“It won’t come to that” Dylan reassured, carefully wiping Jono’s tears away without obscuring his vision of the road ahead, “I’m not going home until Lily’s safe.” Jono knew Dylan meant what he said, too. Jono turned off into a car park. One he recognised, too.
“This is where
Lily comes for therapy” Jono informed, “She had an appointment yesterday.”
“That’s her car” Dylan spotted. Sure enough, the familiar sight of Lily’s light blue run-around was alone in the centre of the car park. Jono parked directly next to it, before rushing out to inspect.
“She’s not here” Jono made the obvious observation. Darn. Lily wouldn’t have just abandoned her car. Something more was going on.
“I’ve got her phone” Dylan responded from the far side of the car.
“She doesn’t go anywhere without her phone” Jono knew for certain. It was always on her. Nobody responded to messages quicker.
“This is serious, Jon” Dylan realised, inspecting the air around the car with his nose.
“Anything?” Jono optimistically queried.
“It’s too confused, exhaust fumes in the way” Dylan disappointedly replied. Exasperated, Jono sighed. He glanced at the ground. Skid marks.
“Dyl, how fresh are these?” Jono enquired. Dylan used his nose again, tracking the scent of the tyres instead.
“Very” Dylan responded, “Do you know anything that might help right now?”
“There’s only one person in school who rides a motorbike” Jono noted. He got back in the car, ready to get his sister back.
Another time the same question was asked. Another slash on Lily’s arm. Another time it healed as if it were never there. The wounds were getting wider each time, and taking a little longer to heal, but her body wasn’t fazed. Lily was in pain, though. The throbbing sensation was on and off constantly, and it was more than unpleasant.
“What are you?” he asked again.
“Quit it dude” the girl next to him commanded, “She doesn’t know, leave it out.”
“So much for backing me up” the man hit back.
“I’m not backing you when you’re making stupid decisions” she justified, “We need to be smarter about this.” Lily gulped. Somehow, that didn’t put her at ease. Not leaving the shadows, the girl moved in front of the boy.
“Were you in the woods last night?” she asked Lily.
“No” Lily replied confidently.
“Where were you instead?” she queried.
“Home, I think” Lily replied, “I don’t really remember, it was a blur.”
“It’s okay, take your time” the girl was a lot more reassuring than the guy. Lily’s gut told her to be cautious though. Did they want her for something? She needed to get to the bottom of it.
“What happened in the woods?” Lily wondered.
“We ask the questions” the boy replied harshly.
“I said shut it” the girl hit back again, “We were attacked by something.”
“Something” Lily noted the terminology.
“It didn’t look human” she continued, “Can you help?”
“My friends can, but they won’t if they find me tied up” Lily negotiated.
“Untie her” the girl commanded. It was evident that she was the one with the power out of the two. Lily needed to appeal to her.
“You’ve got to be kidding” the boy was obviously unimpressed.
“She’s helping us, dude” the girl defended, “She won’t tell us anything if she’s tied up.”
“If she tries to escape, I’m prepared” Lily heard the boy threaten as he primed a shotgun. It was a horrifying sound. Lily watched as the restraints were unclipped. The relief against Lily’s skin was welcoming, but she didn’t feel safe just yet. She wasn’t out of the woods with that shotgun around.
Watching as the deputies carried the body into the morgue, Yasmin felt responsible. She hated her abilities at times. Sure, nobody found dead bodies the way she did, and it often helped provide vital clues, but it was too much. Why couldn’t she save them instead? If only her predictions came a little sooner so she could stop the inevitable. She felt guilty, even though she was well aware it wasn’t her fault.
“Alright, is there anything I need to know?” Ed took Yasmin to the side. She had kept Freddie with her too. He felt like a comfort blanket.
“We don’t know that yet. Drew and Josh are trying to find that out” Freddie noted.
“I’ve got deputies asking impossible questions already. I can’t explain this without sounding crazy” Ed continued, “Are you sure it’s, you know, supernatural?”
“Very” Yasmin responded confidently, “I can’t explain it or give you proof; I just know.”
“Alright. I can’t hold off for long, we’ve got an inspector coming later and they’re going to want answers” Ed explained.
“Sure, we’ll keep you updated” Freddie reasoned. He escorted Yasmin towards the lift back up to the exit.
“I feel so helpless” Yasmin confessed. She didn’t want to admit that in front of Ed – she had to give the impression of being strong and assured, like she knew what she was doing – but she trusted Freddie. He knew her inside and out. No matter their history, he was always somebody she deeply cared about.
“You’re one of the most helpful people I know” Freddie rebutted.
“I can’t save people. You can fight, you’ve got claws. I just find the bodies like a supernatural undertaker” Yasmin sighed. Freddie pressed the ground floor button, the lift doors sliding gently shut.
“Your weapon is your brain. You know so much and you’ve saved my ass so many times. Without you, we would all be dead” Freddie noted. Yasmin nodded. Perhaps he was right. Not every strength was visible, “Besides, I think your body is stronger than you realise.” Freddie gestured to Yasmin’s hands. They were dripping wet again. It was time she learnt control.
Pulling up at a house on the very edge of town, Dylan didn’t recognise it. Granted, he barely interacted with anybody at school outside of the pack; at least Jono knew where he was going. It looked like a typical country house, and though it wasn’t far out of town, it still had a significant plot of land directly outside. It felt eerily silent – it was still very early in the morning after all. Jono quickly sped up the wooden steps towards the doorbell.
“Wait” Dylan whispered, “It’s too early. What if we wake his parents?”
“It’s worth it for Lily” Jono justified.
“What if it’s the wrong house?” Dylan considered.
“Test it. Look, there’s the motorbike, is it the same one from the therapist’s?” Jono suggested. Dylan utilised his nose. He was pretty great at tracking scents. He knew he was right. Sure enough, the evidence backed him up.
“Definitely here” Dylan reported back.
“Alright, we’re going in” Jono decided. Dylan felt sceptical about involving anybody unnecessarily. It was too late to protest, though. Jono had already rung the doorbell. Dylan listened closely. The sound of footsteps stomping their way towards the door. The scent of anger in the air. Flinging open, Dylan and Jono were faced with a tall, burly bald man.
“What do you want? You’re trespassing” he threatened.
“I’m sorry, have you seen my sister?” Jono questioned, “She’s missing. She’s my height, blonde, very pretty.”
“No, now don’t make me ask you again, get the hell out of here” he slammed the door.
“Rude” Dylan uttered.
“Time for plan B” Jono grinned devilishly.
Following Josh further into the forest, Drew wasn’t used to being out of touch with the plan. In fact, it made him feel a little on-edge. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust Josh, because he totally did, but he hated not being in-the-know.
“Dude, what’s the deal?” Drew nagged.
“I told you, you’ll find out” Josh responded.
“Why are we
even here? For all we know, we could be next if the murderer is still out here”
Drew tried to squeeze information out of him.
“Not we, just you” Josh corrected. Drew was very confused. Before he could react, Josh hurtled into him, colliding brutally and shoving him backwards against a regular-sized tree. Drew tried desperately to struggle free, but Josh had already locked his hands behind the tree, tying them together with chains. Drew was furious. What the hell was he playing at?
“What the hell?” Drew exclaimed angrily. He shifted, bringing all of his strength out, “These chains won’t hold me long.”
“You’ll thank me later” Josh responded, hurling a punch at Drew’s face. His mouth ached like mad. He could feel the distinct taste of blood all over his tongue.
“I’ll rip your throat out later” Drew growled. Josh primed himself for another punch. Swoosh” Josh thudded face-first to the ground. Something had swept past, too quick for Drew to focus. He kept himself shifted. Maybe this was the killer? If so, he was bait.
“I can’t move” Josh called out, face flat on the floor.
“Dude, you did this” Drew yelled, not caring for Josh’s predicament.
“I’m helping you, you idiot” Josh justified, “Who always comes when you’re in danger?” Drew realised the plan. She always came. Where was she now, though? He needed her once again. Swoosh! It passed by again. It was dark in colour, but Drew couldn’t make anything else out. It was getting closer, though. It was coming for Drew.
Rushing back towards the lake, Yasmin was on a mission. She still had time before school, and she was determined to take control of her abilities. She was fed up of being a passenger in her own body. With Freddie’s help, she could become the pilot. She had to.
“Trust me?” Yasmin looked towards Freddie. He seemed uncertain of what she wanted to do, and she couldn’t blame him, but she needed his help.
“Sure” Freddie nervously responded. Their toes were on the tip of the lake. Yasmin took Freddie’s hand in hers and leapt into the lake, pulling him with her. The brutally cold water slapped against Yasmin’s skin, colliding uncomfortably with Yasmin’s face. It didn’t take long for her to feel at ease though. The water felt natural all around her body, as if she were at home. She looked to Freddie, who was staring right back at her. He looked much less at ease. He was losing breath. Yasmin on the other hand hadn’t even thought about breathing. Under the water, she didn’t need to. Grabbing Freddie’s arm, she heaved him back onto dry land, climbing out of the water. Freddie coughed like mad, his body relieving itself of the extra water he had ingested. Yasmin placed her hand on his chest. Immediately, he stopped coughing and spluttering. Her hand had power. It was helping him. Healing him. She felt her wet hand getting even wetter, as if it had drawn the extra water out of him. Yasmin withdrew. Freddie looked at her once again.
“Wow” he smiled, “That was super cool. How did you do it?”
“I don’t know” Yasmin responded honestly, sitting down next to him, “I just knew I had to do it.”
“Who says you can’t save lives?” Freddie motivated, “But next time, could you please give me a heads-up? I’ll bring my trunks.” Yasmin laughed. Finally, she felt control. Now it was time to investigate.
Gently breaking the lock on the back door, Dylan pulled it open and cautiously entered the kitchen. He heard Jono gently pull the door to behind them. Both of them were on red alert; even the slightest sound could alert someone to their presence. Ed might have the power to get them out of a sticky situation with the law, but nothing would compare to the bollocking he would get at home from Ed and his mum.
“Have you got her scent?” Jono queried.
“Yeah, she’s definitely here” Dylan informed. Lily’s scent was strong. She was very close. BANG! Dylan’s heart pumped out of his chest. His mind started racing. That was the unmistakable sound of a gun firing, “Downstairs.” Jono didn’t need to be asked twice. He rushed ahead to find the way down to the basement. Sure enough, behind a door barely hanging on its hinges in the corridor, was a wooden staircase downwards. Jono led Dylan down without any hesitation. Surprisingly, they met Lily halfway up; worryingly, she was limping.
“What happened?” Jono queried. He wasn’t sounding as relieved as Dylan expected, but Lily’s leg injury was certainly worrying.
“He shot me, but it’s fine, I’ll heal” Lily defended, “We just need to get out.”
“Your leg” Dylan pointed out. The wound was still open and bleeding. It was gruesome and undoubtedly felt even worse.
“Dylan, turn around, I can heal” Lily ordered. Dylan knew she was right. BANG! A gun fired again in their direction, sending Dylan’s heart rate through the roof. Thankfully it missed, but Dylan wasn’t taking any further chances. He sprinted up the stairs and back the way they came in. He ushered Jono, helping a limping Lily, out first, before turning around. He wanted to know his enemy. Sure enough, it was Jake. It was his house after all, but Dylan was sceptical of his usually quiet and reserved classmate. However, he had undeniable proof now. Dami was stood sheepishly next to him. That was all Dylan needed. He ran off back to the car, ready for Jono to whizz off. He felt scared of what these two amateurs already know, and what they were capable of already.
Sweeping closer. Drew was feeling helpless. The chains around his hands were tighter than he expected, making it incredibly tough to break free. Josh was still stuck on the floor, as if he were paralysed. Both of them were sitting ducks, waiting to be attacked by a creature that tore its victims to unrecognisable shreds. Nevertheless, Drew had his legs. He could kick and fight that way. Swoosh! It passed again, as if it were circling him. Taunting him. What’s worse is that Drew knew he couldn’t reason with it. Dylan had shown him a better way, involving words, but this didn’t look like something that would be interested in a conversation. Anything that could tear up bodies like that couldn’t possibly have a better nature. He had to pray for a miracle. The creature swept by again, just as Drew heard a rapturous noise. BANG! A gunshot fired in his direction. The creature scuttled off, limping its way on four legs. Drew breathed a sigh of relief, looking to his left to see who fired the gun. Much to his amazement, it was the person he had been praying desperately for: Allyn. Immediately, she came and broke the chains, releasing Drew’s strained arms.
“Where the hell have you been?” Drew interrogated. He was elated to have finally found Allyn again, but why had she only turned up now?
“It doesn’t matter, we need to get away from whatever the hell that was” Allyn decided. She wasn’t wrong – they needed to get away in case it came back. It was wounded, but obviously very strong.
“I know where to go” Drew thought. Mrs. Johnson always knew more than they did, surely she would have some intel?
“We can’t go far carrying him too” Allyn went to pick Josh up, “Follow me.” Drew wasn’t going to argue. Maybe this is where Allyn and her pack have been hiding out?
Bounding down the stairs, Freddie knew George was home from an early shift at work. He had worked for much of the summer, earning extra money so they could afford to live a little comfortably for a change. Freddie himself had spent a lot of time looking at part-time jobs, but minimum wage felt pointless. He wanted to do something worthwhile while he earned money. There had to be jobs better suited to his skillset, but none had shown up in Crystalshaw. Now he was getting distracted again Any time something supernatural cropped up, Freddie lost his motivation. Ultimately, the way he saw it was that if he didn’t help Dylan out, he’d be applying for jobs from beyond the grave. At least he was making a difference, just a shame it wasn’t paying the bills.
“Hey, what’s going on?” George enquired, immediately joining Freddie and Yasmin at the kitchen table.
“Yasmin saved my life” Freddie had to big her up. He wanted her to feel appreciated and powerful.
“Dude, it’s ten past seven in the morning, already? Besides, she saves your life all the time, it’s cause you suck” George teased.
“You should have seen it though. Goddess of water” Freddie titled her, half-joking.
“Lí Ban” Yasmin added, “Celtic water goddess. And it’s not that awesome. I don’t know what I did.” Freddie didn’t want her to put herself down any longer.
“You literally took water from my body when I was drowning” Freddie reminded, “Take the win.”
“You can move in, we might need you for water if I don’t get this overtime” George toyed. Freddie felt awful. A little extra money could do so much. He had to get a job, even the most basic one. George needed him.
“No” Yasmin bluntly responded.
“Oh, I was joking” George clarified.
“No, no” Yasmin repeated. Freddie recognised this. She wasn’t talking to George, or to either of them for that matter.
“What do you see?” Freddie questioned.
“Us. All of us” Yasmin answered. A chill went through Freddie’s body. If Yasmin had seen everyone, it only meant one thing – they were all dead.
3: Paralysis Written by MarthaJonesFan
Following Allyn through the forest, Drew was desperate to find out where they were going. He knew their bunker was empty now, so they were going somewhere new. For Allyn to take him and Josh there in the first place, it must have meant that she trusted them, to an extent at least. However, obviously not enough to inform Drew of their change of address. It frustrated Drew; he understood why they would need secrecy, and ultimately they barely knew each other, but why did Allyn keep saving his life? It annoyed him that he couldn’t return the favour. Moving towards the edge of the forest, a small getaway came into view. A relatively compact cottage, which looked deserted from the outside, was their destination.
“In here” Allyn directed, shoving the weak-looking front door open. They both heaved the paralysed Josh inside and onto the settee in the first room. Inside it was surprisingly decorated. The furnishings were old fashioned but looked cute. Drew didn’t have much of a chance to take in the sights, though. He immediately checked on Josh.
“Can you move anything?” Drew queried.
“My eyelids” Josh answered.
“Kamilah!” Allyn yelled for help.
“Do you know what did this?” Drew interrogated.
“No, but we’re trying to figure it out” Allyn notified, “We’ve never seen anything like it before.”
“We better hurry up, he’s no good to us like that” Drew urged. He was genuinely worried for Josh. He prayed Kamilah would be able to work her magic on Josh, because otherwise, they were out of options.
through Dylan’s front door, he and Jono were helping an injured Lily into the
kitchen. Confusingly, Lily was refusing to go to the hospital. She had a bullet
in her thigh, and though she could heal, it wasn’t going to happen without the
bullet being removed. This meant that it had to get removed at home, and Dylan
was more than a little scared about what that meant. Though his mum spent a
crazy amount of time and effort making the kitchen clean and tidy, it was not a
sterile environment. Also, neither Dylan nor Jono were medical experts. There
were so many risks involved.
“You can get it
out, just do it, now” Lily commanded.
“Lil, we really should go to the hospital” Jono encouraged.
“They’ll see how fast I heal, we can’t” Lily reasoned. Dylan knew there had to be a better way.
“What’s going on down here?” Caroline walked in, just dressed for work. She looked horrified when she spotted Lily bleeding out on the dining table, “We need to get her to hospital. Now.”
“No” Lily affirmed.
“I’m not taking no for an answer, let’s go” Caroline commanded. Dylan was relieved. He was so relieved to have back-up. Jono helped Lily back up and out towards the car, much to her disapproval.
“What’s happened?” Caroline asked Dylan.
“Long story. She got shot, these people, they kidnapped her” Dylan explained.
“Who?” Caroline probed.
“Hunters” Lily called out, “New hunters.”
“What came up?” Yasmin queried. She was extremely keen – the forensic results from both dead bodies had come in. She and Freddie were both at the sheriff station to find out more from Ed.
“It’s classified” Ed firmly answered, much to Yasmin’s frustration, “And you’ve got school. I’m surprised your teachers even know your names with how little you’re there.”
“This is important. What happened 500 years ago in the Second World War isn’t” Freddie argued.
“Seventy-five years ago” Yasmin corrected, “But I get your point.”
“It’s a nice try, but you still need to go to school. I’d be a rubbish sheriff if I didn’t tell you to beat it” Ed responded firmly.
“And you’d be a rubbish human if you let everyone die because we didn’t help” Yasmin reasoned. She wasn’t backing down. Ed sighed.
“Report is on my desk, but it doesn’t leave this building, got it?” Ed commanded.
“Got it” Yasmin noted, leading Freddie into Ed’s office and closing the door behind them. Yasmin sat in Ed’s chair, feeling the power of the Sheriff’s desk, and picked up the file in front of her. Forensic photos of both bodies were all over the pages as she flicked through – they didn’t get any easier to look at. Yasmin closely inspected the annotations.
“What does it say?” a keen Freddie enquired.
“It’s inconclusive, it says the injuries were caused by claw marks, but bigger claws than any known animal” Yasmin read. It was very intriguing. Even a werewolf’s claws were barely different to those of a regular wolf, “Oh hold on, look at this.” Yasmin held the sheet towards Freddie so he could read it for himself.
“An unknown clear substance was found on the neck wounds of both victims” Freddie read.
“If the forensics can’t figure it out” Yasmin thought aloud.
“Then it’s something new” Freddie realised.
“And it’s using it to help it kill” Yasmin added, “We have to get a sample.”
Feeling locked-in, Josh was uncomfortable. He couldn’t move anything from his neck downwards. It was jarring and he felt scared; would his body be able to heal? Surely it would, but werewolves were not immortal. Perhaps he would be paralysed forever? What a terrifying prospect.
“Hey Josh, I’m Kamilah” a pretty woman in her twenties moved into view. Her slightly tanned skin glistened in the sunlight creeping in. She was a werewolf too – Josh could identify one from miles off.
“Can you help me?” Josh desperately asked.
“I can try. Tell me, can you feel this?” Kamilah instructed. Josh instantly felt a sharp pain on his lower arm, as if his skin were being sliced.
“Yeah” Josh winced, “I darn well felt that.”
“Okay, he should be fine, his body is still functioning inside and I’d be surprised if he wasn’t back to normal soon” Kamilah reported.
“Anything you can do to help his recovery?” Drew wondered.
“It’ll be painful, but yes. Josh, are you okay with that?” Kamilah enquired.
“Do it” Josh requested. He would do anything to be back to his usual self. Instantly, he felt a horrible cracking sensation on his wrist: the sound bones breaking. “What the hell was that for?”
“It triggers the healing process” Kamilah responded, “You agreed to it.” Josh couldn’t argue. It wasn’t his first broken bone, and it surely wasn’t going to be his last. Just as Kamilah thought though, it was beginning to work. He managed to wiggle his toes. Finally, progress.
“Josh, I’m going to roll you over, don’t be concerned” Kamilah explained. Josh felt like a roll of carpet. He nodded, realising he had little say in the matter, accepting it as his body was shifted onto his back.
“What is it?” Josh wondered. He hated being the last to know, especially regarding himself.
“This wound on your neck” Kamilah noticed. Josh couldn’t forget it – it stung like hell, “There’s a liquid on it.”
“Is it water?” Drew queried. The sound of a hand being slapped followed.
“Don’t touch it, idiot” Allyn warned.
“It’s thicker than water. If I’m not mistaken” Kamilah wondered, “Then this is the secret weapon.”
Waiting anxiously for news on Lily at the hospital, Jono felt nervous and he couldn’t focus. He was fidgeting on the uncomfortable waiting room seat, changing position constantly. He couldn’t settle. Lily physically seemed okay, but she was getting anxious about so much. It didn’t help that neither she, Jono, nor anyone else knew the effect of the wolf blood in her system still. She hadn’t changed during the full moons, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t possibly shift. Maybe she was part-werewolf? If so, she would have no control, much like Dylan and Freddie when they were bitten. Out of control werewolves could do scary things, too.
“She’s going to be okay, she’ll be out of surgery soon” Caroline encouraged. She was sat on his left, with Dylan to the right.
“She’s not been okay for a long time” Jono reminded.
“She said they were hunters” Dylan thought aloud. He sounded just as worried.
“They’re amateurs” Jono realised, “It was a scared boy with a shotgun. Hardly Yasmin’s dad.”
“That’s no better. Jake had no idea what he was doing, and he still caused this” Dylan reasoned.
“I don’t get it, why would you even hunt werewolves?” Caroline thought, “That’s inhumane.”
“There used to be loads of hunters here, in Crystalshaw” Dylan informed, “They killed Drew’s parents.”
“I thought you said Drew wasn’t a born werewolf, he got bitten, just like you?” Caroline inquired.
“Exactly” Dylan responded, “They were collateral damage in a war that nobody knew was happening.”
“And that’s happening again?” Caroline sounded terrified.
“Not yet, but maybe soon. Dami is pretty convincing” Jono thought, “She’s captain of the debate team at school.”
“Maybe we can appeal to her then?” Dylan considered, “Leave it with me. I’ll catch her at school.”
“I’m coming” Jono decided. He needed to be of use somewhere. Sitting around was benefiting nobody.
“No, you need to be here when Lily is out of surgery” Dylan encouraged. Jono knew he was right, though he felt helpless. He slumped back into the rock-solid chair. Back to the tedious waiting.
Yasmin really hated the morgue. Being surrounded by death was unsettling, and she was linked closely enough with death as it was. Predicting and finding bodies was far from enjoyable, and the voices she could hear in her head were unavoidable. She rarely spoke about them – Yasmin wasn’t stupid after all. Saying she hears voices would make her sound crazy even to her closest friends. Now she was back at the morgue, ready to investigate. There were loads of drawers all around the room, alongside an operating table in the middle. Yasmin felt awful for what she was about to do – these bodies had been mauled enough already, without her and Freddie involving themselves. However, it was a necessary evil.
“Which one?” Yasmin queried.
“This one” Freddie identified, using his sense of smell to track the mystery serum. Freddie heaved open the drawer, the disfigured body of the first victim laying with a plastic sheet shrouding it. Tentatively, Yasmin peeled it back. The stench of the rotting corpse immediately hit her in the face. It was foul in every single way.
“Are we really doing this?” a tentative Freddie queried, as if he were looking for a way out.
“We have to” Yasmin justified. She had to know that she was doing this for the right reasons, so she had convinced herself in her mind a thousand times over already, “Let’s just get this over with.” Together, she and Freddie rolled the body onto its back. It was disgusting to touch, and Yasmin hated every second.
“Quick, take the swab” Freddie hurried. Yasmin shared his sense of urgency. If they were caught, it would have been pretty damn impossible to explain. Yasmin took a quick sample on a swab from the victim’s neck. A clear, gel-like substance was clearly dropping from the neck wound. She put it back inside the test tube and stashed it away in her pocket.
“Done, let’s get this locked back up” Yasmin decided. She and Freddie quickly shoved the draw shut again. Whoosh! Something brushed by in the corner of her eye. Something fast, too fast to make out, “Did you see that?”
“You saw it too?” Freddie responded, “I thought I was hallucinating. I was kinda hoping I was, too.” Whoosh! It went by again. The hairs on the back of Yasmin’s neck stood to attention. She felt terrified.
“Let’s get out of here” Yasmin decided. She began sprinting towards the door, not waiting for Freddie’s agreement, but quickly skidded to a halt. Facing her directly was the sight of a scaled, anthropomorphic lizard-type creature, unlike anything Yasmin had ever seen before. It blocked the exit fully. They were cornered.
Rushing through school, Dylan had arrived just in time for third period. His attendance was showing signs of improvement in the final week of sophomore year before summer, but it wasn’t enough. He knew that he was on the school’s radar, but little did they know what he was up to instead. Unlike most kids that bunked school, he wasn’t shagging anybody or dealing drugs. Somehow though, he wasn’t sure that the Téras or Fenrirs would go down well as excuses. Dylan slipped into maths class; it was the first lesson with his new teacher, replacing Mr. Larsen.
“Okay class, settle down. I need to see calculators on desks or you’ll be making a pretty awful first impression” the teacher began, not yet introducing herself. She was young and very pretty, which meant something when even Dylan noticed. Begrudgingly, he pulled his equipment out of his bag. His mind was not ready for class, especially seeing the starter questions for the algebra unit on the whiteboard.
“Volunteers to the board” the teacher called out, “Dami, thank you. One more please.” Dylan was impressed and slightly terrified that she knew their names already – she was on the ball. Dylan looked at the questions. He hadn’t the foggiest how to get the answer. However, this could be his chance for a quiet chat with Dami. Against his better judgement, Dylan raised his hand, “Dylan, thank you.” Cautiously, Dylan approached the board. One look at the equation told him he couldn’t solve it; Yasmin had done wonders for his maths ability outside of school, but she wasn’t a miracle worker.
“What’s the deal?” Dylan whispered, interrogating Dami. It hadn’t been long since they caught eyes at Jake’s house.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about” Dami played dumb.
“Your psycho buddy shot my friend. My boyfriend’s sister. Don’t try it” Dylan was firm. He had no idea what he was writing on the board as he spoke, but he had to make it look like he was working.
“And you think I wanted that?” Dami hit back, “I was trying to stop Jake. I didn’t want to hurt her.”
“You wanted something though, right?” Dylan identified, “I mean, Jake isn’t smart enough to come up with a plan like that.”
“We were targeted in the forest on the last night of summer. Something that was obviously not human pounced on us. We could have died” Dami justified.
“Let us help” Dylan begged.
“You’re not human ether though, are you? That’s just wrong” Dami bluntly stated, before heading back to her seat.
“Alright, thank you both” the teacher resumed. Dylan sighed. He wasn’t giving up on Dami after that. He had way more fight left in him. “Before we mark their answers, I’m Miss Altavilla. I’ll be taking your math classes this year. I have high expectations of you all and expect your full focus in my lessons. Nobody falls behind.” She glanced to Dylan. Message received, loud and clear. As if he needed more pressure.
Delighted to see a familiar face again, Lily was over the moon to have Jono visiting her. Hospital rooms were the loneliest places to be, but the same four walls felt a little less claustrophobic when she had company.
“Hello stranger” Jono smiled as he entered the room, “How’s the patient?”
“I’m okay, ready for a jog” Lily joked. Jono was one of the few people she felt comfortable enough to joke with, and he always laughed with her.
“I’ve called George, he’s on his way, so are mom and dad” Jono explained.
“I’ve healed already” Lily informed, changing the subject suddenly.
“Woah, that is…awesomely fast” Jono sounded amazed. After all, he had seen Dylan healing before. This was especially fast, particularly for a wound as severe as one caused by a bullet.
“What if they start asking questions though?” Lily worried. It was her greatest concern. Healing so fast was not normal.
“You can leave, we’ll get you out without anybody seeing” Jono thought.
“I’m scared, Jono” Lily confessed. She felt tears gathering in her eyes, clouding her vision. She still didn’t know what she was, and it scared her. The werewolf blood could heal her body, but not her mind.
“It’s okay” Jono hugged her tightly. For a moment, it felt like all of her worries had vanished. Jono had such a calming influence. CRASH! Lily heard sounds coming from outside.
“Did you hear that?” Lily asked Jono, who didn’t even flinch.
“Hear what?” Jono confusingly wondered.
“Look outside” Lily ordered. Jono shrugged and casually walked to the door. It definitely sounded like fighting outside. Jono peeped out, still as casual and nonchalant as ever.
“Nobody’s there” Jono informed. Lily was baffled. She could still hear the fight going on, and it was so loud. It had to be just outside. Then she realised – maybe it was a bit further away.
“Downstairs. Let’s go” Lily followed her intuition. There was no way that she could be wrong.
Relief. Drew was over the moon to see Josh up and moving again. It was his own stupid stunt that had got him into that predicament in the first place, but it had worked out for the best. Finally, he was reunited with Allyn. It felt amazing to see her again, in a way that Drew couldn’t describe. He was so used to caring only for himself; even being part of a pack was a new experience. This felt more special, though. He sat on the window ledge, peering out of the little cottage aimlessly, examining the forest in front. It all looked so tranquil to the naked eye.
“Earth to Drew” Allyn interrupted his train of thought, clicking her fingers in front of his eyeline.
“Sorry, I was miles away” Drew replied. Allyn propped herself up on the ledge alongside him.
“I’m sorry too. For vanishing. It’s complicated” Allyn tried to justify.
“I was worried” Drew admitted for potentially the first time in his entire life.
“About me? You’re a softie, who knew?” Allyn smiled, “Nobody is meant to know where we are. It’s our pack code.”
“I’ve never heard of a werewolf code. That’s what the hunters claimed to have” Drew recalled the early days of the hunters in Crystalshaw, before things got complicated and out of hand.
“That’s exactly it. The only way to survive was to play them at their own game” Allyn explained, “It’s how we stayed safe.”
“So, you hid
from me” Drew realised.
“You and your friends. We helped you, but we weren’t sure we could trust you” Allyn justified.
“Can I prove it to you?” Drew questioned.
“It’s not me you need to convince, it’s Sierra. She’s our alpha, and as good a parent as I’ve ever had” Allyn divulged.
“Do I get to meet this Sierra?” Drew wondered. He had met the rest of the pack after all.
“Maybe if you hang around” Allyn smiled devilishly. Drew was feeling an unusual sensation in his stomach. Maybe this was what butterflies felt like?
Shoving the operating table towards the creature, Freddie was in full protection mode. The creature looked like a mad scientist had bred a human and a lizard. It was strong too; the table seemed to be pushing up on Freddie and Yasmin rather than the other way around. That was some sheer force. It swiped its claws towards Freddie, who ducked just in time, but it swung them again, swiping his neck. Immediately, Freddie collapsed to the floor. His legs couldn’t move. In fact, none of him could move. He was paralysed, and beginning to panic. Freddie was a sitting duck for what the creature was about to do. It leapt up onto the operating table, its lengthy, swirling tail destroying the room.
“Freddie!” he heard Lily shout from the doorway. What the hell was she doing there? He could hear two heartbeats – Jono was there too, it was his scent.
“Lily, get out” Yasmin ordered from next to Freddie. The creature seemed distracted by the noise, but Freddie remained its target. For whatever reason, it seemed uninterested in Yasmin. Now he couldn’t fend for himself, and time was running out. Bracing himself, Freddie closed his eyes. Thwack! The creature growled and grunted. He opened his eyes again, optimistically. Lily was kicking its ass, much to Freddie’s relief.
“Hey, you” Yasmin yelled. The creature’s eyes shot in her direction. Freddie watched as a huge, powerful gust of water shot out of Yasmin’s hands and whacked the creature onto the floor. He had never seen her use her powers like that before, and he wasn’t sure how she knew either. He was relieved, though, because the creature scuttled off, defeated.
“What was that?” Freddie wondered.
“Our killer” Yasmin helped lift him up and lay him down on the table, with help from Jono.
“I don’t get it. How did you know where to find us?” Freddie asked Lily.
“I heard you from upstairs” Lily replied.
“You’ve got wolf hearing” Jono realised.
“You saved my ass. All of you. Thanks” Freddie smiled, still unable to move. At least he didn’t become the next body in one of those containers.
The bench at lunchtime was weirdly empty. Dylan had never seen it like that, and it felt odd to be the only one of his friends at school. Not that he wasn’t well used to his own company, of course. He quite liked being alone with his thoughts. Watching the world go by around him was surprisingly calming. Besides, his social battery was wearing down. There was only so much conversation he could handle.
“Hey” Noah sat down opposite, ruining his perfect tranquillity. He looked sweaty and exhausted, as if he had been running.
“Everything okay?” Dylan could easily make time for Noah. He was his beta after all, not that he had seen Noah shift even once since the Nemeton.
“Err, yeah” Noah seemed disorientated.
“Just had training or something?” Dylan wondered.
“Nope” Noah responded. He looked just as confused as Dylan. Maybe it was better to drop the subject entirely.
“I guess I need to give you a heads-up” Dylan thought, “You know Dami and Jake? They’re asking too many questions. They know about werewolves, and they don’t like it.”
“So what? Who’s going to believe them?” Noah queried.
“They kidnapped Lily. Jake shot her” Dylan informed, “She’s oaky, but we’ve seen this before. Yasmin’s dad was a werewolf hunter, and there are more out there.”
“You said they had all gone?” Noah began to look terrified.
“More or less. Their leader is out of the picture but some of them must still live here. We just need to keep Dam and Jake away from that knowledge” Dylan reasoned.
“No time like the present” Noah remarked, gesturing behind Dylan. Dylan looked around cautiously. Jake and Dami were pacing confidently towards them. Dylan began to feel nervous. What did they want? It surely can’t have been good after his chat with Dami earlier that day.
“What’s up?” Dylan put on a brave face as they reached the bench. They had three others with them – students that Dylan had seen before but never spoken to. None of them looked in the mood for polite conversation.
“We were wondering if you’d be up for a little experiment” Jake spoke.
“We’ve got to get to class” Noah interjected, starting to escort Dylan away. Dylan felt his arm being yanked back, though. Immediately, a punch went flying into his face. It was harsh and merciless, Dylan’s face throbbing like mad instantly.
“What are you doing?” Dylan yelled out. He felt horrid. He wanted to crawl into bed and shut himself away. Tears were already forming in his eyes.
“Is the alpha too scared?” Dami taunted, “What’s to worry about? You’ll heal.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about” Dylan denied all knowledge. One of the lads gave Dylan a kick in the stomach. He felt winded and weak, collapsing to the floor helplessly. A series of kicks followed, ruthlessly beating Dylan. The wolf wanted to fight back. He was the alpha. He could have wiped the floor with these assholes, but that would only make things worse. He took the beatings.
“What the hell is going on?” a loud, authoritative voice intervened. Dylan looked up. Light filled the once-shadowy circle of people surrounding him as they dissipated. Dylan saw Miss Altavilla in front of him. Saving him. She gave him a hand back up. Dylan felt a throbbing sensation all over his body. Unsurprisingly, Jake, Dami and their gang had scarpered, but Dylan was okay with that for now. He felt a tear slip into a wound on his lip, making it sting even more.
“Are you okay? Can you stand?” Miss Altavilla queried.
“I’m okay” Dylan nodded, with Noah helping him stand. Miss Altavilla looked directly into his eyes. Showing her trust, she glared her own eyes. A bright, shining red. Dylan glared his back. Alphas united.
Filing away his final bit of paperwork, Ed was almost complete in ensuring the sheriff station was suitable for inspection. He had assured the deputies that it was routine and nothing to worry about, but he was trying to save face. Ed had been sheriff long enough to know that these visits from the FBI were not random, and always came with an ulterior motive. Quite what the motive was, Ed wasn’t sure, but he knew darn well that he hadn’t been the most rule-abiding sheriff in recent times. Dylan was his step-son, and he loved him like he was his own. However, the FBI wouldn’t care for excuses, and they certainly wouldn’t understand a supernatural explanation. Knock knock. Deputy Ferrell opened the office door. Ed was greeted by a tall, authoritative man with dark hair and an immediate presence.
“Good morning, Sheriff Taylor” Ed introduced himself, holding his hand out for a polite handshake.
“Agent McCall” he introduced in return, “Can we speak in your office please, Sheriff?”
“Of course” Ed politely replied. Immediately, he didn’t feel at ease around Agent McCall. Something told him this wasn’t going to go well.
4: Alliance Written by MarthaJonesFan
His first full moon. Noah was terrified. He was feeling the effect of the moon on his body and mind already, and it wasn’t good. He felt angry, furious in fact, and nothing had even gone wrong. Nothing more than usual, anyway. His dad still barely knew he existed. At least he had a home with food in the fridge. That said, Dylan had already been a bigger help to him in the short while they had known each other. However, he didn’t want Dylan’s help that night. Noah was scared. He hadn’t seen himself shift yet. He couldn’t even get his eyes to glow. Was he even a werewolf? He was beginning to doubt it. He had no proof, after all. He wanted to know what he was before anyone else. Before Dylan. Not taking any chances, Noah locked himself in the garden shed. It wouldn’t hold him that well, but it would keep him away from hurting anyone. Surrounding Noah was a selection of garden tools, a lawnmower and bottles of weed killer. It was hardly the nicest environment, but it was necessary. Noah looked at his watch. 11:37pm. It was going to be a long night.
It was unlike
Dylan to stick around longer than necessary at school. Usually, he would be the
first person out of the door, but he had a meeting. Standing in front of him
was Miss Altavilla, leaning against her desk. Dylan had so many questions for
her, especially as they hadn’t said a word to each other in a few days, even
during lesson time. All of Dylan’s cuts and bruises had healed, but it was only
thanks to Miss Altavilla that he didn’t get anything worse. She was the only
other alpha he knew. He couldn’t just leave it, as if it were insignificant.
“How long have you been a werewolf?” Dylan questioned.
“All my life. An alpha for the best part of ten years” Miss Altavilla responded, “You?”
“Almost a year” Dylan informed, “An alpha for eight months.”
“You’re new to this” Miss Altavilla observed.
“Don’t I know it” Dylan sighed. He felt useless as an alpha. He couldn’t even protect himself from the hunters, so how was he expected to help his friends?
“What happened the other day, with Jack and Dami, that can’t happen again” Miss Altavilla explained.
“I tried talking to Dami, she didn’t listen” Dylan tried to defend himself.
“It’s not your fault. People like that need to see the good in us, words are no good” Miss Altavilla justified, “It’s why we need to contain it. Stop everyone else from discovering us, because as I’m sure you know, this world hates anything different.” Dylan nodded. He and Jono still got stares when walking together through school. He wished it could be more normalised.
“We?” Dylan picked up on her word use.
“Your pack and mine. I hear your friends have already met my pack” Miss Altavilla revealed.
“You’re Allyn’s alpha” Dylan realised. Drew had mentioned that he had finally found her.
“Allyn, Kamilah and Monty” Miss Altavilla added, “You and us, we can stop another war between humans and werewolves.” Dylan nodded. She was right. They needed all hands on deck.
Just downstairs, Yasmin was looking for answers of her own. Armed with her sample of the creature’s venom, she, Freddie, Drew and Josh were finally probing Mrs. Johnson. Though she almost never got involved, Mrs. Johnson always seemed to have the answers that they needed. Sometimes, Yasmin thought she knew more than she was willing to let on. Not like she was doing anything herself to help out.
“Do you recognise this?” Yasmin held the test tube out.
“I guess this is more than your usual chemical element” Mrs. Johnson assumed, “Context?”
“It’s from a lizard creature that can paralyse you” Freddie informed.
“From the neck down” Josh added, “It wears off, but not easily.”
“I think I know what it is” Mrs. Johnson revealed surprisingly easily, “It’s called a kanima.”
“Alright, we can call it by its name, hooray” Freddie sarcastically hit out, “What is a kanima?”
“All in good time” Mrs. Johnson calmly but firmly scolded, “It’s a shapeshifter, just like a werewolf, but more of a problem.”
“We kinda figured that” Drew commented, “It hasn’t just killed people, it’s mauled them to death.”
“Werewolves have control, kanimas do not. They’re subservient and look for a master. If the kanima is killing people, it’s because it’s being told to” Mrs. Johnson detailed.
“It came for me” Freddie worried. Yasmin knew he was correct – she stood and watched as it targeted Freddie, barely noticing she was even there.
“And me, in the forest” Drew added.
“You need to find the pattern” Mrs. Johnson, “Between the bodies, and you guys. Find the pattern, find the motive, find the master.”
“What if the kanima comes back?” Yasmin queried.
“The kanima is strong and not easy to fight. It may not have control, but that doesn’t stop it being dangerous” Mrs. Johnson reasoned, “And the person is probably not even aware it’s them.” A shiver went through Yasmin’s body. Though she still wasn’t comfortable with what she was, she was grateful to be self-aware. She had to speak to Dylan about this sooner rather than later.
Preparing herself for a potentially rocky night, Lily was setting up in Drew’s bunker. So far on a full moon, absolutely nothing had happened, but her abilities seemed to be amplifying. She hadn’t noticed any special hearing until that week, and now she couldn’t ignore the conversations she was overhearing. Whether it was a blessing or a curse, she wasn’t sure yet, but Lily kind-of liked it. However, this meant that the full moon could be a different story this month. Maybe she was slowly but surely becoming a werewolf? It was impossible to tell until the full moon. To take precautions, Jono would seal the bunker with mountain ash. He and George had already moved any of Drew’s valuables out. Lily was preparing to be chained up, which scared her even though she knew it was for her own good.
“I think that’s everything” George said as he and Jono re-entered the bunker. Lily felt her eyes getting heavy. Tears welled up and quickly trickled down her cheek; they were much more graceful than Lily herself. Jono instantly wrapped his arms firmly but not tightly around her.
“You’ll be okay” George reminded, “We’ll be outside the whole night. Both of us.” Jono nodded. It felt good to have their support.
“What if I am a werewolf? What does that mean?” Lily desperately wondered. With new hunters emerging, she genuinely felt scared for her life.
“If” Jono emphasised, “Let’s see how tonight goes.” He was right. Nothing was certain yet. The night ahead would reveal all. Buzz buzz. Both her and Jono’s phones vibrated at the same time.
“Dylan” Lily read.
With Jono and Lily’s arrival, everybody in the pack was finally at Miss Altavilla’s pack’s hideout. Dylan was taking in the sights for the first time. The inside of the little cottage was cute and immaculately clean. On the other hand, the outside had overgrown branches and disgusting walls; it was purposely deceptive. Inside, both packs were gathered around the dining table. They had to work together, and it was time for proper introductions.
“Hey, what’s the deal?” Jono questioned after giving Dylan a welcoming peck on the lips.
“Plan of action” Dylan responded, “And introductions. Jono, this is…”
“Kamilah and Monty, “I know” Jono smiled at the line-up of Miss Altavilla’s pack in front of them. Dylan forgot that Jono had met them before.
“Long time no see” Monty smiled.
“There’s also Allyn” Dylan continued as Allyn politely waved, “And Miss Altavilla.”
“You can call me Sierra, we’re outside school” she noted. Dylan wasn’t sure how he felt about that – she was still his maths teacher, “So you guys are…?”
“Werewolves?” Sierra queried.
“Err, human” Jono replied, almost disappointedly.
“Long story” Lily answered, sighing. Dylan felt her pain. As he always said, not knowing is the worst feeling.
“Okay, what are we doing about tonight?” Dylan refocused. They had come together for a reason. The full mono was that night, and any werewolf hunter ought to know that it was the perfect time to strike.
“I say we hang low” Allyn suggested, “Hide out here, they won’t find us.”
“I’m not staying here” Noah firmly stated. He had spent every full moon alone so far and Dylan was beginning to get concerned. What did he have to hide?
“It might be for the best” Dylan encouraged, hoping he could influence Noah positively.
“I was planning on using the bunker. You know, just in case” Lily mentioned.
“You can both use the basement, there’s loads of room” Sierra offered.
“I don’t want to” Noah looked worried, as if his plan being changed was a big deal. Dylan understood, he never coped well with last minute switch-ups.
“Come on, let’s at least take a look before we say no” Dylan motivated. He needed to be there for his beta.
“I’ll show you” Monty offered. Dylan desperately hoped this would work out. He hated being out of the loop – it was time for an update, on both Noah and Lily.
The night was drawing in at the forest cottage, and Yasmin was passing time by staring aimlessly into the night sky. The moon always looked so pretty, and it was crazy to think how responsible it was for her life. It was so many miles away in the sky, but it had control over her friends in a way that Yasmin’s logical and scientific brain couldn’t process. It was just coming into view above the swishing tree tops, ready for what could be a rocky night.
“Everything okay?” Josh came and sat next to her.
“Is it ever?” Yasmin laughed knowingly. If she didn’t laugh, she knew she’d cry, “How do you cope with the full moon? You’re in control, but what grounds you?”
“A mantra I learnt from Clarissa, my alpha. It’s a Buddhist quote. Three things that can not long be hidden: the sun, the moon, the truth” Josh explained, “I like it, it calms me down, I just repeat it.”
“That’s cute” Yasmin responded, “Control feels so alien to me. I fought the kanima off with a burst of water, but I don’t know how I did it. It just happened.”
“How did you feel in the moment?” Josh queried.
“Protective. Freddie was paralysed and it was going to kill him” Yasmin opened up.
“Remember that feeling. Picture yourself back in that room, feeling those emotions every time you need to take control back” Josh advised, “For werewolves, control is linked to heart rate. I guess it’s the same for a nix. That’s not all that’s bothering you though, is it?”
“How do you know anything’s bothering me?” Yasmin avoided answering.”
“Chemo signals. I can smell your anxiety” Josh explained. Yasmin sighed. She could be there all day listing her problems if she really wanted to bore Josh. She had no escape though.
“Yeah, it’s called sweat” Yasmin laughed, before putting her serious face on, “All the time, I can hear voices in my head. Calling out to me.”
“That doesn’t sound healthy” Josh observed.
“Voices of dying people. That’s what a nix is. The bestiary calls it a harbinger of death. Hardly a cheerful prospect” Yasmin detailed.
“Have you told Dylan?” Josh enquired.
“No, he’s got enough to worry about. Noah and Lily need him more right now” Yasmin justified. She didn’t need to feel like a charity case. It felt good to confide in Josh, though. A weight had been lifted off her shoulders.
Keeping watch at the door, Drew had little idea of who he was actually looking for. That said, he knew the scent of a hunter from miles away. The rich, vengeful scent that reeks of fury, anger and terror all at the same time. He had seen more than enough hunters to be an expert at recognising one. He had hoped never to see one again, but this was Crystalshaw; the threat was always looming. It angered him that people could be so small-minded. On the bright side, it was only two people. They could only have so much effect. That said, Dami was darn good at convincing people. School was already becoming a tense environment, and a few others were happy to beat Dylan up, so really it could be anybody hunting them by now. Drew couldn’t take any chances, especially on a full moon.
“You saw them before, didn’t you?” Allyn conversed. She was keeping guard with him. It was as if she had been listening to his thoughts.
“I was in the middle of it” Drew opened up, He hated to think about what happened back then, but something felt right about discussing it now, with Allyn, “I lost people. People I cared about.”
“Me too” Allyn responded, “Who did you lose?” Drew never spoke to anyone about the outcomes of the war. It was tough. His nan still didn’t know the real reason his parents died. Her own daughter was murdered, and it was a shitty mistake. It angered him more than anything.
“Friends. My pack. My alpha. My parents” Drew listed.
“Dude, I’m sorry” Allyn sincerely responded. Drew appreciated it – she obviously knew how he felt, “I lost my parents too. They went down fighting. Sierra took me and we hid.”
“My parents were human” Drew explained, “They had no idea what I was. They were collateral damage.” A tear collided with Drew’s palm. His tear ducts weren’t used to this sensation. He thought he had no tears left to cry – obviously he did.
“I didn’t know your parents” Allyn began, taking his hand, “But I bet they’re super proud of you.” Drew smiled. He would have given anything to see them one final time. Now he had to fight, for his nan. He couldn’t lose anyone else.
Answering a call from George, Freddie was confused. It was a Friday night, which meant he was at work, and never ever had he found a reason to call Freddie when at work. Something must have been up. Cautiously, Freddie held the phone to his ear.
“Hey” he spoke as casually as always.
“They’re here, at my work” George spoke nervously. Freddie was taken aback. He didn’t think George would be at risk – he was completely human after all/ Why would they target someone who wasn’t a werewolf?
“Okay, I’m coming to help” Freddie decided on the spot, before yelling for back-up, “Josh, I need you.”
“No, stay where you are, you need to keep safe” George ordered.
“You need us” Freddie refused to give in. There was no way he would let his brother fend for himself.
“No, if they’re here, then it’s a trap. I’m not letting them get to you” George firmly responded. He hung up the phone, much to Freddie’s dismay. He felt his eyes glowing. He was angry, and the full moon was coming. It was so easy to fly off the handle.
“Dude, remember your anchor. You’re here, with me” Josh soothed as quickly as possible. Freddie grunted. He was going to rip these stupid hunters’ weak throats out, and he was going to enjoy it, “You’re better than this. This is what they want.” Freddie listened. He thought of his mum. How he loved her. How he felt when she died. How he will never stop loving her. He calmed himself again, focusing on Josh’s face in front. He was back to his usual self.
“I’m cared” Freddie confessed.
“I know, and if we’re going to save George, we just need to be smart about it” Josh smiled. Freddie liked the sound of that. They had to be logical, or risk losing each other as well.
Much to Dylan’s relief, the basement of the cottage was pretty well secured. The only thing inside were stacks of cardboard boxes, as if somebody had just moved in. Lily seemed well convinced, seeing the metal doors that couldn’t easily be broken through. Her and Noah in the same room shouldn’t be an issue either – wolves are pack animals, so if they did shift, they wouldn’t harm each other. Noah was looking sheepish about the entire situation though. Dylan didn’t understand why he was so bothered. If he didn’t shift again, maybe there was another explanation? He certainly had to be something; he was bitten by two alphas after all. Unless that cancelled the effects out somehow? Dylan had no idea, but he was desperate to know.
“What’s that door?” Noah wondered, pointing to the far end of the room. Dylan hadn’t spotted that before. It was an identical metal door on the opposite end of the reasonably sized, dimly lit basement.
“Emergencies only. It’s a tunnel if we need to escape” Monty explained, “This is where you guys will be tonight.” Monty showed them a set of restraints. There were handcuffs and chains ready to secure them in place. Another set was at the opposite end of the room, situated halfway between both doors.
“Looks pretty secure” Lily observed, walking over to the other pair while Monty helped Noah get strapped in.
“Sure does” Dylan followed her, “Are you sure you want to do this?” He was scared on her behalf. If she really could hear like a werewolf now, who knew what else she could do?
“I have to. I don’t want to hurt anyone” Lily justified.
“You won’t” Dylan firmly told her. Lily didn’t have a bad bone in her body. There was no way she would hurt anyone.
“I will. The wolf, if it’s there, doesn’t care about you or the others” Lily reasoned. Dylan knew from experience that she was right. Regretfully, he helped tighten the restraints on her wrists. They were Velcro, wrapped tightly several times around Lily’s wrists, “Don’t leave me. Dylan had no intention of leaving her alone.
“Let me get Jono” Dylan mentioned. Lily needed all the familiarity she could get. He wanted to be as quick as possible though; a few moments alone could feel like a lifetime.
Watching Dylan get up and leave the room, Noah felt that extra bit more worried. If he was going to spend the full moon in the company of anyone, he would definitely pick Dylan. He was the least judgemental person that Noah knew. He wanted the best for him, and whether Noah was actually a werewolf or not, he was proud to be Dylan’s beta. Monty tightened the final strap – around his forehead. Noah winced, the sensation feeling alien to him.
“Sorry, is that too tight?” Monty gently questioned.
“No, it’s fine” Noah responded, “I’m just not used to this. It feels weird.”
“I’d be worried if this didn’t feel weird” Monty empathised, “It’s scary. I remember doing it after I got bitten.”
“How did you learn?” Noah enquired. Monty was easy to talk to. It was nice to have someone else who understood.
“Like this, in a similar basement. Sierra taught me everything I know” Monty recalled.
“How long ago was that?” Noah wondered.
“Three years ago” Monty replied, “I’m the baby of the pack, and don’t I know it.”
“I know that feeling” Noah related. He certainly felt like the baby in Dylan’s pack. He got on with everybody, but they had known each other that bit longer. Noah felt some extra distance.
“Hey, whether you’re a werewolf or not, you’re involved. You’re in their pack. Don’t let them forget it” Monty reminded. He was pretty good with words. He felt safe with Monty. He knew what he was talking about.
“Please don’t leave me” Noah begged. He needed the company and reassurance. He wanted it.
“I’m not going anywhere” Monty confirmed. He took Noah’s restrained hand, holding it tightly. Noah looked into Money’s glistening eyes. He was pretty damn cute, and he made Noah feel magical inside. Perhaps this wouldn’t be so bad after all.
Bounding back up the stairs to the cottage living room, Dylan immediately locked eyes with Jono. He was waiting there like an excitable puppy dog, but he didn’t seem so excited. Dylan understood – he knew if Josh was in Lily’s situation, he’d be similarly antsy.
“She’s okay” Dylan immediately relayed. He could see that Jono was desperate for news, “She needs you.” Jono visibly breathed a sigh of relief.
“Thank you” Jono smiled, planting the most gorgeous kiss on Dylan’s lips. He rushed off down to the basement, with Dylan about to follow when Freddie grabbed his arm.
“They’ve got George” Freddie announced, “He’s surrounded at work.” Instantly, Dylan felt a shiver travel down his spine. Jake and Dami were playing smart, and it terrified him.
“It’s gotta be a trap” Josh added.
“But we can’t just leave him there” Freddie reasoned.
“Of course not” Dylan replied firmly. He could almost hear the cogs turning in his brain, going through every solution he could find. He didn’t work too well under pressure; it was like they were on a tightrope that was seconds from giving way.4 Then he had a lightbulb moment – Dylan realised the solution. He called over a pair of helping hands, “Sierra, those tunnels, where do they go?”
“What tunnels?” Sierra approached the group, obviously trying to keep her secrets. Dylan listened to her heartbeat; it was constant, but he wasn’t convinced she was telling the truth. Some people were simply good liars.
“Our friend is in danger” Dylan detailed, “You need to tell us what you know if we’re really working together.” Sierra sighed, as if she knew Dylan were right.
“They go all over Crystalshaw. You can get almost anywhere across town through there” she answered through gritted teeth.
“What about the nursing home?” Freddie desperately asked.
“If it has a basement, then yes” Sierra replied, “But it’s not that easy. There are so many tunnels. It’s easy to get lost.”
“I’ll chance it” Freddie immediately decided.
“Me too” Josh decided.
“Down here” Dylan directed as Sierra glared. She wanted the alliance, and it looked like she would be the one to break it too.
Rushing into the basement, Jono beamed as soon as he saw Lily’s face. She looked her usual self – her face smiled but her eyes told a different story. Perhaps a werewolf could smell different emotions, but Jono had to interpret them himself. A face can disguise emotions well, but eyes never lied.
“Hey, how’s it going?” Jono kept it casual.
“Just hanging out” Lily joked, “I’m okay. I don’t feel any different yet.” Jono checked his watch. It was approaching 11pm, and everyone upstairs was beginning to feel the effects of the full moon.
“I guess that’s good” Jono thought, “Maybe you’ll be sat here bored all night while I talk you to sleep.”
“I never thought I’d appreciate that so much” Lily laughed, “I owe you everything. I’d have gone mad without you.”
“I swear it’s my job to drive you mad, not do the opposite” Jono smiled, “I’ve got you. Werewolf or not.”
“Help, I need help” Monty called over from the opposite side of the room.
“Go” Lily ordered. Jono followed her advice and ran over to assist. Jono instantly saw the problem. Noah was looking different. He had scales appearing on his skin, gradually but consistently. His eyes weren’t human looking any longer – they were like that of a lizard. What’s more was that he recognised those terrifying scales and spine-tingling eyes. He had seen them before on the kanima.
“We need to get out” Jono instructed.
Picking up her cup of tea made kindly by Kamilah, Yasmin was feeling a little ropey. Though the full moon didn’t affect her, she could tell something wasn’t right. She had a headache, something she almost never got. Looking out to the living room, Yasmin saw Lily and Monty stood in the doorway. They were facing away from Yasmin, faces out of view. Slowly and spookily, they turned around in unison. Yasmin felt creeped out – this didn’t feel right. Their faces came into view. Both of them had numerous slashes all over their faces. Blood trickled out of every wound. Their eyes were lifeless. They were dead. Both bodies collapsed to the floor with a simultaneous thud.
“Yasmin?” Kamilah interjected, “Everything okay?” Yasmin snapped out of it, looking towards Kamilah, before looking back again. Both bodies were gone. They weren’t there, “You saw something, right?”
They’re in danger. Everyone downstairs. They’re going to die” Yasmin realised.
Back into the basement, Dylan was keen to give Freddie a helping hand. If George was in danger, it meant all of their families could be. Dylan couldn’t help picturing his mum and Ed. What if they got caught in the crossfire like Drew’s parents? Dylan would never forgive himself. It would break him. He had to make a stand and rescue everybody. If Jake and Dami wanted to play smart, he had to play smarter.
“Get out” Jono ordered. Dylan was confused. Was Lily okay? He could see her from where she was stood – she was fine. Then Dylan noticed. It was Noah, but he looked different. He was transforming. He was becoming the kanima.
“Get me out of these” Lily desperately yelled. Dylan rushed over and began tugging away at the Velcro he sealed so tightly earlier, as Freddie and Josh tried to open the escape door. While doing it, he looked directly at Noah. His skin was almost entirely covered in scales, but he was still visibly himself. His face, his eyes and his bone structure hadn’t changed. Also, he wasn’t trying to escape. He sat there, almost smugly, as if he were planning something. The sweet, innocent Noah they knew was gone. Dylan was distracted from undoing the Velcro. He was worried and flustered, as if his hands were too big. The Velcro finally came undone, just as Noah broke free of his restraints. The escape door failed to budge. Time was up.
“Everybody out” Dylan ordered. Freddie and Josh gave up as the room evacuated out the main door, Dylan bringing up the rear. The kanima was now fully shifted. Dylan shoed the door shut behind him, the kanima slamming into it immediately after.
“It’s Noah” Jono exhaled.
“Never mind him, how are we meant to get to George?” Freddie desperately worried. Dylan didn’t know the answers. He felt totally lost.
5: Attack Written by MarthaJonesFan
Glancing out of the window, George was terrified of what he saw. Guarding the front entrance of the nursing home was Jake, and he was more than prepared for an attack. In his hand was a large shotgun, and George knew already from Lily’s injury that he wasn’t afraid to use it. He couldn’t deny that he felt scared. It didn’t take a genius to realise who they were after. George was the only one who worked at the nursing home who they knew had a guaranteed link to the supernatural. He was bait for Freddie.
“Is everything okay, George?” Mrs. Gardner queried, “You’ve been stood there for twenty minutes.”
“Sorry Mrs. Gardner, I’m good, thank you” George replied.
“Don’t worry about them outside. They don’t want you. They want your friends” Mrs. Gardner encouraged. George paused for a moment. How did she know any of that? She hadn’t moved from her chair since his shift started.
“I don’t know what you mean” George swore blind.
“I think you do” Mrs. Gardner knowingly responded.
“How do you know?” George sat keenly on the sofa next to her. He had so many questions.
“I can tell you later. All you need to know is that your friends are in trouble, and if you don’t be careful, they will die” Mrs. Gardner explained. George tried to process it. Freddie was almost definitely on his way, despite George’s strict instructions not to come. He was about to walk straight into the trap.
breaths outside the basement door, Dylan was getting stressed. George was in danger,
and the safest way to get to him was through the basement. The problem was the
current occupant: Noah, or the kanima in his current form. Dylan hadn’t come
face-to-face with the kanima before, but it looked terrifying. It was
undeniably strong, too. The way it ripped those restraints off – proven methods
of keeping werewolves safe during a full moon – was insane.
“I’m going outside” Freddie impulsively decided.
“No” Dylan firmly replied, “You’ll get yourself killed, then lead them to us. It’s too dangerous.”
“What other solution is there?” Freddie yelled. He was emotionally stressed. Dylan wasn’t taking it personally, but he wished he could do more to help.
“We could take it on” Josh offered, “Hold it off while you open the door.”
“Him, not it. He’s still Noah” Monty clarified.
“And he’s trying to kill us” Jono reminded.
“We could try” Dylan thought aloud, “But Monty’s right. He is still Noah, and we need to remember that.”
“Maybe I can help?” Yasmin interjected from the top of the staircase.
“All hands on deck” Dylan smiled. Now he had to hope their plan worked.
Almost asleep at his desk, Ed was drowning in paperwork. Agent McCall was sat opposite, scrutinising everything in front of him. Ed knew it wasn’t so much the paperwork that he was interested in, though. The CCTV footage from the hotel spoke volumes. Agent McCall had had an anonymous top-off about malpractice, and this was the evidence he needed to conduct a full-on investigation. Of course, Ed knew who committed the crime – the Fenrirs and Diego had been dealt with as officially as possible. The problem stemmed from the crime scene and potential contamination of evidence. Jono and Josh crept into the hotel without any deputies noticing and nothing was done about it. Ed knew why, but Agent McCall wouldn’t believe his reasons.
“The report is
up to scratch” Agent McCall broke the awkward silence, “But I fail to see how
any of your deputies could miss two teenagers entering and contaminating a
“Okay, so I haven’t heard from Dylan or Josh all evening, they should be home by now, have they texted you?” Caroline interrupted, bursting into the office. She stopped immediately when she gazed upon McCall.
“Agent McCall, this is my better half” Ed begrudgingly introduced.
“Caroline Drummond” she smiled as charmingly as always.
“Sheriff” a deputy interrupted; the latest in a delightful series of distractions to avoid talking to McCall, “911 call from the nursing home.”
“If you’ll excuse me” Ed fake smiled at McCall as he stood from his desk, escorting Caroline out. Ed checked his phone as he left the room. No new notifications.
“Admit it, you’re worried too, it’s not just me going crazy” Caroline spoke quietly.
“Do you think this is related? I mean, George works at the nursing home” Ed thought.
“I’d bet money on it” Caroline responded. She worried all the time about Dylan and Josh, but she also thought things out more than anyone else.
“I’m on my way” Ed replied, “I’d let you come, but with him in there…”
“It’s okay. I’ll just conveniently arrive later to visit my non-existent aunt who lives there” Caroline smiled devilishly, Ed wasn’t going to stop protecting Dylan and Josh the way he needed to. He just had to be a little sneakier.
Cautiously pushing the basement door open, Freddie glanced around. No sign of the kanima. Perfect. Dylan, Josh and Yasmin followed regardless. There was surely no way it could have made it out. The escape door looked untouched. The kanima was hiding. It could have been behind any given one of the boxes in there, just waiting to attack. Freddie crept slowly towards the escape door. He kept alert at all times, but there was still no sign. He reached the door and began tugging on it. No matter how forceful he was, it refused to move. Swish! Something crept past behind them.
“Ready?” Dylan asked, keeping his voice low.
“As I’ll ever be” Yasmin replied nervously. Then it showed itself. The kanima hissed vehemently. Freddie heard sounds of kicking ad punching immediately after as he continued to try and budge the door. It must have been locked, but there was no keyhole. All he saw was a fancy-looking circular panel with five tiny rectangular slots. Claw-sized. Freddie figured it out. It was a lock designed for werewolves only. He exposed his right-hand claws. They slotted into one hole each and Freddie twisted the panel. Click! Access was granted, much to Freddie’s relief. He pulled the door open with little force, and turned around to see Yasmin send a gigantic tide of water into the kanima, slamming it against the wall.
“Come on!” Freddie encouraged. Josh joined him at the door as the kanima jumped back, slashing Yasmin’s skin while it stared at Dylan. It wanted a werewolf.
“Go” Dylan ordered. Against his better judgement, Freddie pushed the door shut again, losing the only source of light. Josh immediately got his phone torch out.
“No signal” Josh observed.
“Do you think they’ll be okay?” Freddie worried.
“They’ll have to be. Come on, let’s go” Freddie ordered.
Watching Yasmin collapse to the floor, Dylan knew he was on his own. They had succeeded in getting Freddie and Josh through the door, but the kanima had him cornered. He was running out of energy. Yasmin was paralysed, and his only source of help was upstairs. Dylan looked eye-to-eye with the kanima. He could still see Noah there, deep behind the eyes. He was apparently still his beta, but the kanima wasn’t in control. Whoever was controlling it really hated Dylan. The main door opened. Instantly, a gigantic roar sounded. A familiar roar to Dylan’s ears. He could identify Drew miles off. The kanima looked up at Drew. A new target. Drew lunged for it and pinned it against the wall.
“Get out” Drew commanded. Dylan didn’t need to be asked twice. He sprinted for the door as Drew let go. Drew picked Yasmin up and Dylan shoved the door shut.
“How did that get in?” Drew queried.
“We let it in. It’s Noah” Dylan responded.
“I guess that explains his uneventful full moons” Drew realised.
“I’m scared, Drew” Dylan admitted, “Someone is controlling Noah, and that’s bad. Mega bad. I don’t know how to save him.”
“As long as he’s alive, all is good” Drew reminded, “It gives us time to think of something.”
“At least Freddie and Josh made it through” Dylan breathed a sigh of relief.
It didn’t take a werewolf’s hearing to notice the racket coming from downstairs, so Jono was paying close attention. As long as there was noise, it meant Dylan was alive and fighting. However, it had all gone quiet. Either they had succeeded, or the kanima had won. Jono felt terrified to find out the answer. Dylan was getting quite good at fighting and he trusted in him, but nothing was a given.
“He’ll be okay” Lily consoled.
“Is it that obvious?” Jono marvelled at Lily’s perception skills.
“I feel the same” Lily worried, “What if they hurt George?”
“They don’t want him” Jono reminded.
“We don’t know that for sure” Lily debated, “Jake is a live wire. He could do anything.”
“They also know George is their way to get to Freddie” Jono thought. They were targeting family. If they harmed a single one of them, they surely knew it would ruin any chance they had of finding the pack. The pitter-patter up the steps sounded. Jono immediately looked up, as if it were a reflex. Much to his relief, Dylan bounded up the stairs, followed by Drew carrying Yasmin confidently in his arms.
“Is she okay?” Lily immediately queried.
“I’m good” Yasmin replied, “Gotta love being paralysed.”
“Are you okay? Did it work?” Jono asked Dylan, his worries turned up to eleven.
“Yes it did, and yes I am” Dylan smiled. Jono pulled him in for a hug. He was so relieved. Never did he want to let Dylan go ever again.
“Don’t get too comfortable” Allyn mentioned. Flashlights shone into the room. People were outside.
“Lights out” Sierra commanded. Jono flicked the switch on the lamp next to him, and suddenly, the natural moonlight was all they had to see each other. Jono’s relief turned to horror quickly. They weren’t safe yet.
Josh couldn’t disguise it – he was scared. He felt like he was in a horror move. Dim lighting, a dingy tunnel with claustrophobic brick walls closing him in, and no map or signage anywhere. To say they were going in blind would be an understatement. Freddie led the way forward, his adrenaline overpowering his fear. Josh understood – he had fought so hard for a family, so if Dylan needed him, he’d do everything in his power to help. They had only been walking for a few minutes so far, but it felt like longer. They continued down the same tunnel, not even a slight turn or shift in direction yet.
“We must be under the forest” Freddie thought.
“We could be anywhere by now” Josh was feeling pessimistic, “How do you know we’re going the right way?”
“Sierra said they go all over Crystalshaw. This has to be the right way” Freddie confidently responded.
“You believe a word she says? I don’t trust her for a second” Josh replied. After everything that happened with Diego, Josh wasn’t willing to be so trusting again.
“If you have any better suggestions, I’d like to hear them” Freddie hit back, “She has helped more than you.”
“I can let you go on your own if you really want that” Josh knew that Freddie was just lashing out, but they had a job to do. He needed to stay focused when Freddie lost his cool.
“I’m sorry” Freddie realised himself, stopping at a junction of the tunnels, “I’m scared for him.”
“I know, and I want him alive just as much as you” Josh responded gently, “Which way?”
“How would I know?” Freddie replied, baffled.
“Because I trust your instinct. I think we all know how terrible mine is” Josh joked. Freddie paused for a moment, considering his options.
“Left” Freddie said with determination. Josh was going to ensure George’s safety. At any cost.
Joining Allyn back at the front door, Drew kept guard using his wolf eyes. He could focus on more than the average human eye, and that had to be his advantage now. There weren’t only werewolves in the cottage after all; Yasmin didn’t have the same powers as the rest, Jono was entirely human, and who knew what Lily could do? At least he had Allyn by his side. Though she was a werecoyote, she had the same abilities as him. He already knew she was strong and always ready to fight. Exactly the kind of person he needed on his team.
“Stand by for attack” Sierra commanded.
“Attack?” Dylan sounded appalled, “We’re not attacking.”
“We can’t just hide, they’re in our territory” Sierra reasoned.
“Why not? They
aren’t attacking yet” Dylan defended. Drew recognised both arguments. Sierra
represented him when he had to fend for himself. Nobody else mattered beyond
his own safety. Dylan was him now, though. He had helped him to see a better
way forward. One without attacks or abrasiveness. So far, he had been all the
better for it.
“If we attack, we give ourselves away” Drew reasoned, “They don’t know we’re here. Let’s see if this abandoned cottage is as good a cover story as you think.” Sierra seemed to understand their point of view. Allyn gave him an approving nod. Perhaps this pack was less solid than he first thought?
“They’re going away” Monty observed as the torchlights moved away from the windows.
“Stay down” Allyn instructed, “It could be a ploy.” Drew felt on edge. He glanced over to Dylan. He looked stressed. Whether the stress was about Sierra or the potential hunters outside was another question, but Drew assumed a bit of both. BANG! BANG! The kanima was trying to get out, and making a damn load of noise, too. The torches swung back round to the cottage. Dylan’s eyes glowed their deep, powerful red colour. Now Drew knew it was time to fight.
Creeping downstairs, George was unsure what he would be greeted with in the lobby area. He had to check things out for sure. When he left Mrs. Gardner’s room, he saw Jake still outside, and he had no company with him. However, George knew for sure that he wouldn’t be alone. He approached Dylan at school with a group of people, surely if he was planning to be as brazen as this, he wouldn’t have come alone. Hoping to spot a familiar face somewhere around, George was having no luck. Nobody was in sight – perhaps they were taking cover somewhere? There was surely a reasonable explanation. Peering out into the lobby, all George could see was Jake outside the front door. Somebody tapped George’s shoulder. He jumped out of his skin – instantly examining who it was.
“Hey” an enthusiastic Nathan greeted. Nathan was somebody from George’s year at school. Nobody he knew particularly well, but a familiar face all the same.
“Hi” a startled George replied, “What are you doing here/”
“Visiting my grandpa, he’s one of the residents” Nathan responded, “I came to speak to a member of staff, but I couldn’t find one.”
“Okay, whatever you need, I will get it for you, but I need you to go back upstairs. There’s a gunman outside” George informed, conscious that even their whispers could cause disturbance.
“No there isn’t” Nathan confusingly replied. Just as George was about to question his baffling statement, he heard a spine-tingling voice from behind.
“Hi George, I’m Jake. I think we need to talk.”
Freddie was starting to lose confidence in himself. The tunnels were seemingly never-ending, and though he was trying to visualise where they were above ground, it was becoming difficult. All he knew was that they had been travelling in the rough direction of the nursing home in relation to the cottage. Freddie trusted himself with directions, and Josh had his back, but he wished he was able to better track George’s scent. Being underground made it difficult to detect.
“Darn these walls are thick” Josh commented, knocking on the bricks that surrounded them closely. That would explain the lack of outside scents.
“Makes this the perfect hiding place” Freddie considered, “I wonder if anyone else knows about it.”
“Sierra seemed pretty reluctant to even tell us” Josh noted. He was right. She had been exceptionally stingy with the information she disclosed, and she wasn’t exactly dishing out detailed maps.
“Dylan trusts her, and he was the only one who sussed Diego out” Freddie reminded.
“True” Josh acknowledged, “I trust the rest of her pack more than Sierra herself.” Freddie couldn’t argue with that. Monty, Allyn and Kamilah had been so much more helpful. Freddie felt like he could depend on them for sure. They reached a hatch in the ceiling. The first one they had seen so far in the tunnel.
“I’m going to get my bearings” Freddie decided.
“Be careful, you don’t know what’s up there” Josh warned. Freddie nodded. He climbed up the accompanying vertical ladder and heaved open the hatch, a few centimetres at a time. Warily, Freddie peered over the edge. Much to his relief, it was on a pathway next to a completely quiet road. The night sky made it difficult to figure out his location specifically, but Freddie had back-up power – his wolf eyes.
“We’re close, about five minutes away” Freddie recognised the sights of the road. It was one street along from his home. He was so close to George. He wasn’t giving up.
The front door to the cottage opened, and Dylan was prepared to fight. It was always a final option for him – he knew it wasn’t even the route he wanted to take. Talking it out was better, but he had tried that with Dami already. The outcome was him getting beaten up, so Dylan wasn’t prepared to be nice any longer. Dami stood in the doorway, eye-to-eye with Dylan. He growled at her, warning her away. The wolf had taken over, and it wasn’t taking any prisoners.
“Get down” Dylan warned Jono. His number one priority was to keep him safe. He couldn’t allow him to get caught in the crossfire. Now with Drew by his side, Dylan had never been more ready.
“Get them” Dami gave the order, Other hunters emerged from either side of their commander. They were from school, Dylan recognised them though he didn’t know their names, and they looked highly inexperienced. However, each of them carried a shotgun. Dylan’s biggest fear was being shot. Werewolves weren’t immortal and a bullet could be lethal. As soon as they came into view, Drew lunged for the hunter in front of him, immediately grabbing the gun and snapping it effortlessly and cleanly in half. Following his lead, Dylan did the same. He jumped onto the girl in front of him, the gun sliding across the floor. Yasmin grabbed it and chucked it to Drew, who broke it the same way. Dylan looked at the girl below him. She looked horrified. She had no idea what she had walked into. Dylan got up – he wasn’t the monster they thought he was and it was important that he proved that. However, just as he did, she grabbed his hands and wrapped some uncomfortable handcuffs tightly around his wrists.
“The rest of you, don’t come near us” Dami commanded, taking a gun out herself. Sierra growled angrily, like she was ready to attack.
“Do what she says” Dylan encouraged.
“No” Jono stood up for Dylan. He walked in front of Sierra, “If you want to get to him, you’ll need to go through me first.” Dami primed the gun. Dylan gulped.
“Stand down, lover boy” Dami ordered.
“No” Jono stood his ground, “Let him go.” Dami’s finger was about to pull the trigger. Dylan could smell the determination on her. He had to intervene, in the only way he could. Hands still restrained, Dylan leaned forward, baring his fangs. Without a second thought, he sunk his fangs into Dami’s arm like quicksand. Dami dropped the gun, yelling out in pain. Dylan looked to his right, feeling relief. That relief turned to horror in an instant. It was too late. Jono collapsed to the floor. Blood was spilling out of his chest. The bullet had still been fired.
“Get him out” Dami wasn’t giving up. Her voice was less strong than before as she tried to counteract the pain. The girl shoved Dylan out. He struggled and struggled. No luck. He had to get back to Jono. He couldn’t leave him alone. He couldn’t control himself. The flood barriers opened. His eyes wept an endless stream of tears. His heart was breaking.
Looking nervously down the barrel of Jake’s shotgun, George was feeling on edge. There was nobody around to keep him safe, so he had to help himself in the only way he could – through words.
“You don’t want to do this” George spoke as confidently as he possibly could in the situation.
“How would you know?” Jake hit back.
“I wasn’t talking to you” George replied, turning to face Nathan, “Do you know anything about what you’re facing?”
“I know it shouldn’t exist” Nathan responded.
“Who decides that? Who gets to play god?” George reasoned. He could almost see the cogs spinning in Nathan’s head. He was seriously contemplating George’s words.
“Why are you protecting them? We don’t want you, you’re not a problem” Jake tried to justify himself.
“Because I know my brother” George explained. He heard the clunky basement steps squeaking. Footsteps getting nearer. He had to keep Jake’s attention, because those footsteps surely meant one thing, “Sure, he’s probably about to walk right into your trap, but he’ll get his ass back out again. That’s who he is. That’s why I trust Freddie.” The basement door swung open. Freddie and Josh were both immediately ready to fight, fully shifted. Jake tried to prime his gun, but his hands were quivering. Nathan ducked for cover, proving just how afraid and unprepared he was. Freddie lunged for Jake, wrestling over the gun. George felt very concerned and he took cover with Josh – one wrong move and it could fire in any direction. BANG! George’s body shook in fear as a bullet fired up at the ceiling. Freddie used this distraction to his advantage, snatching the gun from Jake’s hand and throwing it to Josh.
“Get down on the ground” Ed commanded, appearing from the entrance holding his own gun to Jake. Josh flung Nathan out into the lobby too, exposing him so he couldn’t get away. George breathed a sigh of relief. Caroline rushed in, wrapping her arms instantly around Josh while Ed arrested Jake and Nathan. George looked to Freddie. He was so relieved to see him.
“Thanks bro” George smiled, embracing him in a warm hug.
“I couldn’t leave you to die. You owe me twenty bucks” Freddie joked.
“Where’s Dylan?” Caroline frantically wondered.
“He’s taking cover” Freddie replied.
“Dami’s not here either” George observed. They weren’t out of the woods yet.
“Text from Drew” Josh announced, “We need to get to the hospital. Now.” George felt a shiver run through his boy. Something bad had happened, and he was scared to find out more.
Watching Jono be carried through the hospital on a stretcher, staining the white sheets he was laying on with thick, red blood that continued to trickle out of his stomach, Lily had never felt more anxious. Her little brother was clinging onto life, like his fingertips were the only thing stopping him from a fatal fall off a cliff. He didn’t deserve it – he was sticking up for the person he loved more than anyone else in the world. Dami had shot him in cold blood, and now she had taken Dylan hostage. Lily thought she would have been the biggest problem that night, but once again, she hadn’t felt any urge to shift. None of that mattered now anyway. She watched as Jono got wheeled into theatre. No matter how hard Lily tried to be strong for Jono, she couldn’t resist her tears. She was picturing the worst possible scenario. Having to tell their parents the whole story. Losing her biggest rock. No, it wouldn’t end that way. It would have been too painful. At least she had Yasmin by her side, and Kamilah too. Kamilah had done her best to stop the bleeding, but the wound was too deep. Things didn’t look good.
6: The Bite Written by MarthaJonesFan
Looking around the treehouse, Jono was basking in the sunset. Freddie and Josh were with him there, and music was playing from his stereo. Dua Lipa’s album, of course. It was a chilled summer evening, with no school worry about. This was the life. Freddie and Josh were playing a game on his laptop, and everything seemed surprisingly normal. Too normal.
“What are you playing?” Jono enquired.
“Hospital” Freddie replied coldly. He was confused. What sort of game was that? Freddie liked Fortnite and Call of Duty, and when he found a new game, you’d be hard pressed to get him to stop talking about it. Jono moved round to take a look at the screen. Horrified, he saw visuals of himself lying on an operating table. Astonishingly realistic visuals. Freddie was making incisions in Jono’s stomach, which looked pretty badly wounded.
“Why am I on there? What the hell is this sick game?” Jono was outraged.
“It’s you” Josh responded, “The real you. You’re dying, Jono.” Jono felt dizzy. How could he be dying? Then he felt it. A throbbing pain in his stomach. A gunshot wound. How could he forget?
“We’re going to save you” Freddie stated firmly, “Hang on in there.”
“I don’t think I can” Jono worried. He started to feel light-headed.
“We’ve got you. We can cure you, with one final ingredient” Josh explained. The reality of the situation had hit Jono and he was terrified. Surely, he couldn’t be dying?
“What’s that?” Jono wondered.
“The bite” Josh answered chillingly.
Stirring in the waiting room, Lily immediately jumped up. She had no idea how long she had been sleeping for, so she needed an instant update on Jono. How well had the surgery gone? She desperately wanted to know.
“Hey sweetie” Helen’s voice filled Lily’s ears. Her mum had been sat next to her, her dad opposite, “Did you sleep okay?”
“I guess” Lily replied, knowing it was far from her biggest concern, “How is he?”
“They removed the bullet, but they won’t know more until he wakes up” Steve replied, “He’s not out of the woods yet.” He looked broken, as did her mum. They looked how she felt.
“When will he wake up?” Lily queried.
“That’s in his hands” Helen answered.
“Has Dylan shown up?” Lily had so much she needed to know. He needed to be there. He couldn’t be robbed of these precious moments with his love.
“No sign” Helen replied.
“I need to find him” Lily tried to stand up, but Helen kept hold of her hand.
“They’re looking for him already. Jono needs you here” Helen encouraged. Lily wanted to feel useful, but she knew her mum was right. They had to be together. All she could do was pray that Dylan would be found sooner rather than later.
“Help!” Dylan yelled out, not for the first time. In fact, he had been crying out all night. Obviously, nobody was in the area, and he wasn’t surprised either. He knew exactly where he was, and that made him lose hope. Dami had taken him to Mr. Forsyth’s old warehouse. The place he became an alpha. It was as if Dami knew what had happened there. Like she knew it would be abandoned. Dylan was cut off from the world, and he had no access to his phone. Even if he could move his hands, he wouldn’t know where it was. It was killing him not knowing how Jono was doing. Maybe Kamilah had worked her magic on him? He just needed an answer. Now Dylan was chained to some railings, and they were darn tight too. He hadn’t managed even a second of sleep. He couldn’t, not when he was so worried.
“Quit yelling, dumbass” Dami whined from the doorway, “There’s nobody for miles.”
“You’re still alive then” Dylan observed. He bit her arm, and that had two possible outcomes. If she wasn’t dead, it meant Dami would be changing. Changing into her worst nightmare.
“It’s going to take a lot more than a bite to stop me” Dami snapped back.
“It healed, didn’t it?” Dylan probed further. He didn’t care uncomfortable it made her feel. She was the reason his heart was aching so bad.
“Shut up” Dami hit back, grabbing a remote from the table in front. Dylan knew what the remote would do. He was chained to metal railings; it didn’t take a genius.
“What does a hunter do when they become the very thing they hunt?” Dylan continued to taunt. He had no sympathy for her whatsoever. Dami pressed the red button on the remote. Dylan’s body felt the impact of some extremely painful electric shocks. He didn’t care, though. His body could take it. It would heal.
“You won’t silence me. Not until I can see Jono” Dylan stood his ground. He was determined to win. Dami could only bend so much before she broke.
The basement door swung open. A tiny offering of natural light shone downwards. Noah was excited for the arrival of some company, no matter who it was. He couldn’t remember a thing about the night before, and that worried him. He could at least remember the previous full moons. Something different happened this time, and he didn’t feel good about it. In fact, he felt exhausted.
“Breakfast?” Monty appeared at the door with a tray of toast, juice, tea and various other treats.
“Please” Noah smiled, “I could get used to this.” Monty placed the tray down and sat next to him.
“Last night” Monty began.
“What happened? I’m out of my restraints” Noah observed, feeling antsy. He really wanted to fill in in the gaps in his memory.
“Yeah, we gotta talk about that” Monty vaguely replied.
“You got the short straw, huh?” Noah realised all was not well.
“No, I volunteered. I wanted to talk to you” Monty affirmed. It was nice that somebody was willing to spend time with him at least.
“Tell me” Noah worried.
“You changed last night, and not into a werewolf” Monty explained, “You’re the kanima.”
“Huh?” Noah laughed, “You’re joking, right? I’d know if I were the kanima.”
“We saw you. You paralysed Yasmin” Monty continued, “It’s okay. We want to help you. I want to help you.”
“That means I’m a killer” Noah realised startlingly.
“No, you’re not” Monty quickly defended, “The kanima’s not in control.”
“Why are you being so nice to me?” Noah wondered, “It doesn’t look like anybody else is on my side.”
“I don’t like seeing anyone left out” Monty responded shyly, “Definitely not you.”
“I guess that makes you my best friend” Noah smiled. Monty held his hand firmly but not uncomfortably. It felt cute. Noah could definitely get used to that feeling.
“So what do I do now?” Noah wondered, feeling a little lost.
“Stay here. It’s the safest place” Monty thought.
“Don’t leave” Noah begged.
“I won’t” Monty confirmed. Noah would be happy anywhere with Monty.
Frustrated, Josh was having no luck. He, Yasmin, Drew and Freddie had been following any leads they could think of. Dami and Jake’s houses were turned upside down, but not even a tiny clue was in sight. Even the basement where Lily was held brought up nothing. There were no traces of Dylan’s scent around, so how was Josh supposed to find him now? Perhaps he could howl, but that would only work if Dylan heard and howled back. Ed had all hands on deck looking for Dylan, but time could have been running out. Josh kept refreshing his WhatsApp waiting for an update on Jono. It was depressingly quiet. Maybe no news was good news? Josh kept telling himself that, but he wasn’t sure he believed it.
“Where are we going now?” Freddie queried. Yasmin was driving them back towards town.
“Jake was arrested” Yasmin responded, “We can probe him for answers.”
“He won’t say anything, it’s a waste of time” Drew was unconvinced.
“It’s not like we have any better leads” Josh reasoned as Yasmin pulled up at the sheriff station.
“Stay here if you want” Yasmin hit back. Josh shared her sentiment. They had to do all they could to find Dylan, so every idea was worth following.
“I’ve got an idea of my own” Drew stated, “Freddie?”
split up” Freddie gave in, “Where are we headed?”
“The morgue” Drew depressingly responded as they shut the car doors behind them. Josh was left alone with Yasmin as if the storm had just passed.
“Do you have any idea what you’re actually going to say?” Josh enquired.
“None whatsoever” Yasmin replied honestly. Josh felt unsure of how worthwhile this was going to be, but it had to be worth a try.
At the dinner table. Pure silence. Jono sat eating his Sunday roast dinner in peace. His parents were unusually quiet. They always talked about the most mundane things; anything from Trump to their lunchtime at work. Lily often interjected to talk about George, too, so Jono had little room to offer anything about his day. Not that he wanted to contribute much anyway. Werewolves were hardly polite dinner chit-chat, and that was the most interesting part of his life. However, this was different. The atmosphere could be cut with a knife. Nobody said a word, and it felt awkward. Something was up.
“How was your
day, mom?” Jono broke the silence. Helen didn’t respond, though. She simply
took Jono’s hand.
“My baby boy” Helen looked directly at him, tears forming in her eyes.
“It’s okay mom, I’m not bleeding anymore” Jono looked at his stomach. His t-shirt wasn’t stained a tall. He was healing.
“You’ve lost so much blood already. It’s not good” Steve noted, “It might be too late.” Jono felt a shiver run through his spine. He was still fighting for his life.
“I don’t want to die” Jono felt himself tearing up. He rarely cried, but he couldn’t control himself.
“I need you” Lily said, crying her eyes out too, “But if you need to go, I’ll be okay. We’ll be okay.” Jono felt the tear droplets flood downwards at a quicker rate than he expected.
“I love you guys” Jono sobbed. He was so upset that he could barely utter his words.
“And we love you too. Always. Take care, my special boy” Helen let go of his hand. Jono was on his own now.
The last time Freddie had seen the morgue, the kanima had launched an attack on him. He couldn’t fight it off because it had paralysed him – it was a feeling of fear that he couldn’t forget. He and Yasmin had inspected the bodies beforehand, now Drew wanted to do the same. Freddie was trying to work out the point of his investigation, and struggling. Why tread over buried graves? Not that these poor bodies had been given the burial they deserve yet.
“Open the drawer” Drew ordered. Freddie sighed. Drew had hands – he could have used them himself. Instead, he was fumbling around in his bag. Freddie opened the drawer of the first kanima victim. It was still as awful to look at as before. Rotting, decapitated corpses never got any easier to look at.
“What’s that for?” Freddie queried as Drew draped what looked like a daisy chain of flowers all around his body.
“It’s wolfbane. Pretty poisonous to us but short-term touch is okay” Drew explained.
“Now is not the time to plan Dami’s front garden” Freddie joked, though he was genuinely confused at its purpose.
“Wolfsbane can do all sorts to werewolves” Drew continued, “One of them is the effect on dead bodies. It can’t revive them, but it sort-of heals them.”
“Sort of?” Freddie was getting more and more befuddled, thanks to Drew’s typically vague wording.
“As long as the body is more-or-less intact, it can heal to full wolf form” Drew continued, “If my theory is right…” As Drew spoke, Freddie noticed fur spreading from the corpse’s legs.
“That explains why it ignored Yasmin” Freddie recalled.
“It wants to kill werewolves” Drew figured out, “And it’s not the only one in Crystalshaw right now.”
“It’s one of the hunters” Freddie realised, “And only one of them knew the perfect time for the kanima to try and break out of the basement.”
“Dami’s the master” Drew concluded. Not only did she have their alpha, but she had the best weapon of all.
“No way” Ed firmly responded. Yasmin wasn’t prepared to take no for an answer, though. She needed to speak to Jake, it was her best shot at finding Dylan. They were in Ed’s incredibly disorganised office, away from the other deputies, so there was no need to keep up appearances.
“He will have the answer, I bet” Yasmin bargained.
“I’m under inspection and my stepson has gone missing, which means the light is shining firmly on me right now. I’m not letting two teenagers, including my other son, get involved” Ed stood his ground.
“We’ll be quick, I promise. He will know Dami’s plan” Josh begged.
“How can you be so sure? He’s told us nothing so far” Ed rebutted.
“Is everything alright?” a man in his forties nosily poked his head around the office door. He looked well chiselled and had an air of importance surrounding him. Immediately, Yasmin didn’t like him.
“Fine” Ed bluntly responded. The door shut again.
“Who the hell was that?” Josh questioned.
“Agent McCall, he’s the one inspecting me” Ed answered.
“McCall” Yasmin repeated, recognising the name. The cogs were turning rapidly in her brain. Why did she know that name? Where had she heard it before? Then it clicked. Yasmin’s feet couldn’t move fast enough as she sprinted out of the office and towards McCall.
“Agent McCall” Yasmin yelled out across the station.
“Yes, can I help?” McCall turned around. Even his movements felt arrogant and important.
“Do you know Scott McCall?” Yasmin questioned. McCall froze on the spot for a few moments.
“He’s my son, how do you know him?” McCall looked a little freaked out.
“I’ll explain later, but we need your help” Yasmin explained. She glowed her eyes, her sea blue glare reflecting in McCall’s regular blue colour.
“What can I do?” McCall instantly questioned. Problem averted. Yasmin could get to work.
“We need to speak to Jake” Yasmin requested. Finally – progress towards finding her best friend. Time was running out.
Another shock. Dylan’s body was growing tired, but he was struggling to care. Dami wanted him dead anyway, so why didn’t she just pull the trigger and be done with it? For now, though, he was still alive, and he was still firmly set on getting to Jono as soon as possible. Remaining prisoner wasn’t just torturing him, but Jono and his family too. He needed to get out.
“Why don’t you just kill me?” Dylan questioned, using his best weapon once again.
“Because your pack are so loyal. They will figure out where you are and come running” Dami revealed. Now Dylan really had to get out. He couldn’t be bait for his friends.
“I need a drink” Dylan lied. He could last a little longer without water, but an opportunity had arisen.
“You can sing for it” Dami hit back.
“If you need me alive, I need water” Dylan reasoned logically. Dami groaned, knowing he was right, and left the room. This was Dylan’s perfect chance. He was tied to the railings by what felt like a tight but thin plastic tie. This meant he could break it if he tried hard enough. Dylan channelled every tiny bit of strength he could to bend the plastic against the railings. He was exhausted but determined, and pretty scared. That was a good thing in Dylan’s eyes – scared kept him fast, and he had never been more scared for Jono. The plastic stretched and stretched as Dylan kept pulling and pulling. The tie was pushing into his hands, blood trickling onto the floor from the wounds he was inflicting on himself, but he didn’t care. SNAP! Dylan fell forward onto the floor. He was free. Now he had to make it out.
Sat at a table opposite an empty chair, Josh wasn’t sure how he was going to react to seeing Jake. Already, in such a short period of time, Jake had caused so much damage to the pack. The least he could do was tell them where Dylan was, but Josh had a back-up method. Additionally, he had Yasmin to his side, with Ed and McCall behind the one-way mirror; he had loads of back-up, much to his relief. The door ahead opened. A deputy escorted Jake into the interview room, his hands secured in handcuffs. The deputy attached the cuffs to the chain on the table before vacating the room. Jake looked Josh straight in the eyes.
“I’d love to say this was unexpected” Jake grinned smugly. He knew why they were there, and it told him he had succeeded. Josh would have loved to punch that out of him.
“Where is he?” Yasmin questioned.
“You’re asking the wrong question” Jake responded, “You should be asking how you can survive.” Josh sighed. He had no time for riddles. He got up and primed his claws. It was time for plan B.
“Whatever happens, don’t interrupt this. It could kill us both” Josh commanded to Yasmin. She nodded. With Jake unable to protect, Josh pushed his claws deep into Jake’s neck. Closing his eyes, Josh felt himself delving into Jake’s memories. He had to stay focused, or else he would get lost. Josh saw a warehouse. A warehouse he couldn’t forget; it was the one Mr. Forsyth had locked him up in. That was it. That was the answer. Slowly, Josh withdrew his claws. He was back in the interview room.
“Well?” Yasmin desperately wondered.
“Your dad’s warehouse” Josh fed back, “Let’s go.”
Creeping through the basement corridors, Dylan was trying to remember the way out. His legs were weak and numb after not being used all night, but nothing was going to be his barrier. Every time he felt like he was close to giving up, Dylan remembered Jono. He pictured him in the hospital, bleeding out. It hurt to even imagine it, but it kept him going. Whether he could help Jono or not didn’t matter. He just needed to be there. That said, Dylan couldn’t help assuming the worst. He knew that if Jono wasn’t going to make it, he had one final trick up his sleeve. Dylan would never forgive himself if he didn’t truly try everything. This final resort was risky, and not something he ever imagined he would do to Jono. However, he had vowed to protect him, and that was what he would do. At any cost. He passed an open door, quickly dashing by. Dylan could smell Dami’s scent inside. It was clouded slightly. Clouded by blood. She hadn’t healed. Dylan thought back to when he was bitten. He definitely had healed by the morning after. If the bite didn’t turn, there would only be one option. Dylan couldn’t stand by and leave her, but he had to get out first. With back-up, he could come and help her. Dylan darted towards the staircase. He was almost out. The end was in sight.
Yasmin’s car pulling up outside the hospital, Drew hopped in the back seat while Freddie went around to the passenger side. Drew was raring to share his findings. Though his pride wasn’t the top priority, he did feel a little smug in anticipation of proving to Yasmin that he could be helpful too.
“Find anything?” Yasmin immediately questioned.
“Dami’s the kanima master, that’s why it’s only killing werewolves” Drew answered.
“Wait, what?” Josh was taken aback, “So she’s got a mole?”
“And a weapon stronger than any of us” Yasmin added. She kept her eyes focused firmly on the road; she knew exactly where she was going.
“What about you?” Drew enquired.
“Dylan’s at my dad’s warehouse” Yasmin relayed.
“Shit” Freddie worried, “You don’t think he’s…”
“No” Yasmin replied, “They’d let us know if they released him. I’m sure of it.” Drew could smell the worry radiating of Yasmin. She was putting on a brave face, but brave faces meant vey little to a car full of werewolves. Drew’s phone buzzed. A text from Lily.
“Jono’s not looking good” Drew read out. Even he felt scared of losing Jono. Once, he feared Jono would be Dylan’s kryptonite. Love was a distraction to werewolves, allowing the likes of hunters to gain the upper hand. He had seen his friends killed as a result. However, Jono was the glue holding Dylan together. He was his support beam. His emotional and physical scaffolding. Taking them away would see Dylan break. Yasmin pulled up to the warehouse, knocking over one of the “keep out” signs recklessly. There he was – waiting for them. Dylan. He had made it out. Drew shuffled along the back seat, leaving room for Dylan to climb in the back.
“Boy am I glad to see you” Dylan was a little relieved, but not entirely. He knew this was far from over.
“He’s still alive” Drew informed, answering the question he was obviously desperate to ask, “Just.”
“Let’s go then” Dylan ordered, trying desperately to keep his cool, “Dami’s not healed from the bite. I think she’s dying too.”
“Good” Drew remarked. She was nothing more than trouble and Drew struggled to feel sympathy.
“I did it” Dylan opened up, “I’ll be her killer.”
“We can come back for her” Yasmin was more sympathetic, “We need to focus on Jono now.”
“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Drew looked directly at Dylan, who awkwardly averted his gaze. If Jono was dying, there was one final option. Drew wasn’t sure whether Dylan would be so risky, but he nodded regretfully in response. Either way, the pack was about to change forever.
Glancing across the bedroom, Jono had woken from what felt like a deep sleep. He felt at ease, as if nothing in the world could stop him feeling chilled. He had slept over at Dylan’s, though the bed was surprisingly empty. Dylan was sat in his armchair, facing out of the window. The sun was bright, shining gracefully onto the bed. Everything felt so peaceful.
“Morning” Jono smiled.
“I’m sorry I took so long” Dylan sounded more downbeat than usual.
“It’s okay, you’re here now, just get back into bed” Jono requested. Dylan stood up to join Jono, slipping in underneath the covers.
“You look pale”
Dylan observed, “But still beautiful.”
“You always loo beautiful” Jono responded, “I’m so glad I found you.”
“Best year of my life” Dylan smiled, caressing Jono’s curls.
“You made me feel happy with who I am” Jono realised. Thanks to Dylan’s belief in him, Jono was able to come out to his parents. He expressed himself on a daily basis at school. His life had changed, entirely for the better.
“I couldn’t be more proud of you” Dylan confessed, a tear sliding down his cheek. Jono felt the same happen to him. His tear ducts were certainly hard at work, “And I don’t want you to go. I need you, Jono. I need you by my side. I’m nothing without you.”
“You’re wrong. You’re everything you need to be. Back yourself, Dyl, because you are incredible. You can cope, and sure, you might be on your own for a bit, but it won’t be forever” Jono passed on the best advice he could, “You’ll find another guy who adores you like I do.”
“I don’t want another guy” Dylan replied, the singular tear drops turning into a river, “I want you. We said we’d get married, have kids.”
“Maybe in another life” Jono smiled, “You’re the love of my life, never forget that.” He was trying to remain strong, but he was emotionally weak, “Remember our first kiss?”
“The treehouse, the day after I got bitten” Dylan laughed fondly, “Remember when you found out about me?”
“I’m still drying from the rain” Jono fondly recalled, “I love you so much, Dylan Drummond. I need to go now.”
“I don’t want you to” Dylan was adamant.
“You have to. I need you to do one thing for me, it’s very important” Jono requested, taking Dylan’s hand tightly, “Don’t forget me.” Dylan nodded tearfully as Jono leaned in to kiss him. The best and most meaningful kiss of his life. Smiling one final time at Dylan, Jono succumbed to his heavy eyelids one last time.
Blink. A little light crept into Jono’s eyes. Bright white walls surrounded him, as well as four dark silhouettes slowly coming into focus. He wasn’t sure what was happening, and he felt a little scared. What was going on?
“Jono?” he heard a familiar voice exclaim. Dylan. He was one of the silhouettes by his side. His gorgeous face came into view, his pretty brown eyes and dark brown mop of hair. His favourite vision. His parents and Lily made up the other three silhouettes, creating a much calmer atmosphere for Jono. The white walls were now much clearer too, but they gave off a less relaxing vibe – it was the unmistakably mundane sight of a hospital room.
“What? What’s happened?” Jono’s mind was a foggy cloud of uselessness. He couldn’t remember a thing about what had happened.
“You’re okay, you got shot, remember?” Helen reminded him. Jono tried to think. He remembered the cottage. Sierra’s cottage. Dylan was there, and Dami. With a gun.
“I remember” Jono muttered, trying to speak though his voice hadn’t totally woken up yet. He smiled at Dylan, and got an awkward, concerned smile back, “What’s up?”
“I’m just relieved you’re okay” Dylan replied, stroking Jono’s cheek. Jono looked down at his arm. He felt a dull, throbbing sensation here, and concerningly noticed it bandaged up.
“What’s that?” Jono queried. He was certain he had been shot in the stomach, not the arm. He certainly still felt the pain from the bullet wound there anyway.
“We saved you” Lily answered, “Dylan saved you.”
“It was the only way” Dylan looked almost regretful. Jono peeled the bandage off his arm. In full view of the room was the wound. Specifically, bite marks. Jono shuddered. He knew exactly what had happened. His whole life had changed without him even knowing, and he had no idea how he was supposed to react.