Series 6 Episode 1
Jolting upwards, Jono found himself feeling distressed and sweaty. This had been his life for the entire fortnight that had passed since he received the bite. His sleep was interrupted, he had been having the most terrible nightmares, and he had even woken up several miles away without knowing anything about how he got there.
“Hey, it’s okay,” he instantly felt Dylan wrapping his arms around him, calming him down, gently rubbing and soothing his arms. It was the one small relief for Jono – knowing he always had Dylan by his side during the night, “All better?”
“It’s never better,” Jono sighed, “This has been going on for two weeks. How much longer?”
“Not long, remember I promised? Things will get better soon,” Dylan reassured, “Your hearing has come on so much.”
“It’s hard work,” Jono complained. He was a werewolf, and it was like learning how to walk from scratch.
“Then relax, you don’t need to know everything immediately. I was the worst student, just ask Drew,” Dylan chuckled, resting his head on Jono’s shoulder.
“Why doesn’t that surprise me?” Jono laughed.
“Come on, let’s just sleep, we have school tomorrow,” Dylan suggested, snuggling up against Jono’s chest as they both laid back down. Dylan certainly knew how to persuade him – the feeling of their bare chests touching was insatiable.
Jono didn’t want to move, keeping Dylan resting on him for as long as possible. Dylan was right, after all – they had a long road to travel together, but for now, they needed rest.
Complete with an unusual spring in her step, Yasmin felt weirdly positive about coming into school that morning. It wasn’t that she hated the classes, but it wasn’t the most ideal environment for somebody outside the “cool” clique.
That day though, Yasmin couldn’t have cared less. She had another date with Josh after school; for once, homework was going on the backburner and would be completed first thing in the morning. They had already been out together three times – once for coffee, once for dinner and once to the cinema. All were pretty standard date settings, but tonight, they were ready to party.
That night was Lily’s annual house party, and Josh had invited her along as his date. It was their first proper outing as a pairing, so it felt like big news.
A bigger worry on her mind was Lily – it was the first party she had thrown in a while, and a lot had happened in her life since the last one. That said, Lily had spent every second of her free time planning the spectacle, so Yasmin had faith in her.
Slipping into maths, it was their first lesson with yet another new teacher. It was their third in just a few months, and the last two both met an unfortunate end. It felt like a cursed job. As she entered, Yasmin saw a young lady stood at the head of the classroom. Her straight, dark hair fell midway down her chest, hanging perfectly in place, complementing her gorgeous tanned brown skin.
As Yasmin passed through the room, she saw an assortment of both boys and girls gazing at her longingly. Reaching the back of the room, she caught both Freddie and Josh staring too.
“Hey,” she tapped Josh’s hand, scolding him. Both of them had dated her at some point, now they were admiring the same teacher. They had scarily identical tastes, “Who is she?
“That’s Miss Asahd. And me? I’m only a mere man,” Josh joked.
“You’re a boy, don’t flatter yourself,” Yasmin teased back, taking her seat. She noticed the seat on her left was unusually empty, “Where’s Dylan?”
“He stayed at Jono’s last night, he’s probably hungover,” Josh responded. Hungover? Since when had Dylan expressed any interest in alcohol at all?
“That’s not like them,” Yasmin responded, suspicious of Josh’s words.
“Oh, not hungover from alcohol. Hungover from other stuff, if you know what I mean,” Josh hinted, smirking. Yasmin immediately knew what he meant, and she was disgusted.
“You’re gross,” she told herself.
“She’s not wrong,” Freddie backed Yasmin up, though he looked to be concealing a cheeky grin of his own. Yasmin rolled her eyes – boys and their dirty minds.
Anxiously checking his watch, Dylan leaned against Jono’s car. This had happened every time he had spent the night at Jono’s over the past fortnight, and school were surely going to give him a slap on the wrist if he were late again. He didn’t want that, and thought of getting told off worried him greatly – it was why he was usually so good at following the rules, or an expert at avoiding being caught.
“Hurry up!” Jono yelled into the house from the doorway, before turning to Dylan, “I’m sorry.”
“It’s not your fault,” Dylan reassured. It was the truth – Jono wasn’t the one at fault. He was just as good at being punctual as Dylan himself, or at the very least, he was conscious of Dylan’s anxiety surrounding lateness and rule-breaking.
“I’m sorry, I still can’t work out how to use that shower, and then I lost the top I wanted to wear,” Sammi babbled, still walking irritatingly slowly and casually out of the front door with a tiny handbag acting as her schoolbag.
“Sammi, you’re going to school, not New York fashion week,” Jono sighed.
“Can we go? We’re late already,” Dylan nagged.
“Wow, who died and made you the fun police, Dylly?” Sammi poked fun at him. She insisted on calling him “Dylly” as some sort of weird joke. It was safe to say that Dylan didn’t really appreciate it.
“Get in the car,” Jono commanded. Dylan caught his eye for a moment, both of them sharing the same glances of despair, “The back, this time.”
“Whatever,” Sammi groaned. Two days before, she had sat in the passenger seat – Dylan’s usual place. He wasn’t happy, considering a drive to school with Jono was one of his favourite times, and his job was to be the DJ while Jono drove.
Sitting inside the car, Dylan queued up his current favourite song – “Killing Butterflies” by Lewis Blissett. The blaring synths sounded at the pretty loud volume that Jono always liked his music at.
“Can you put Ed Sheeran on?” Sammi requested.
“No,” Dylan bluntly responded. She was like a five-year-old kid, yet she was only one year younger than them both. Apparently, her dad was away on work and had sent her to stay with his brother, Jono’s dad, but Dylan had noticed her heartbeat increasing whenever she mentioned that. She was lying. Furthermore, she was essentially a stranger to Jono – they hadn’t seen each other in years, which didn’t help Dylan feel more comfortable around her.
Dylan jumped out of his skin as something whacked heavily against the windscreen. Jono skidded the car to a halt. Dylan immediately felt on edge; it wasn’t his own fear, it was a chemo-signal from whatever they bashed into. It was a living thing, though he suspected it wasn’t any longer.
“What the hell was that?” Sammi cried out. Instantly, Dylan could sense this wasn’t something Sammi needed to know about. So far, they had successfully avoided telling or showing her anything werewolf related, and Dylan wanted to keep it that way. Jono certainly did too – he hadn’t even told his parents about his new identity yet.
“Stay here,” Dylan ordered as he stepped out of the car cautiously. He felt uneasy, the fear radiating from whatever it was. Lying at the side of the road was a body. A human body, but not like one Dylan had ever seen before.
“Oh god,” Jono felt repulsed by what he’d seen, and rightfully so. The body looked like it had been cut open in more than one place, with dried blood decorating the areas surrounding those wounds. One eye looked to have been gauged out entirely, and there wasn’t a single tooth left in their mouth. It was a vile, repulsive sight.
“Call an ambulance,” Dylan suggested. Though he had no proof to suggest this was supernatural, it was too weird for him to simply ignore.
“You really don’t have to throw this party, you know,” George reminded for the seven-hundredth time that day. Lily groaned. Though she understood he was looking out for her, she had a mind of her own and, unbelievably for some, it still worked despite depression and anxiety.
“Dude, chill out, I’ve got every inch of it planned,” Lily reassured, ignoring whatever Mr. Marshall was talking about during their English class. Party planning was her top skill; she could do it in her sleep.
“I can come round straight after school to help set up,” George insisted. He wasn’t giving up.
“Fine, whatever you want, but don’t get in my way,” Lily gave in. It was the easiest way to get him to be quiet.
“I thought you’d be gagging for extra help,” George noticed Lily’s blunt response. It was about time.
“I’m not a baby, George, I’m an adult,” Lily reminded, “And I feel better than I’ve felt in ages.”
“I know, I’m sorry, I just want to make sure you stay that way. Perhaps you’re better off kept out of all the werewolf shit,” George wondered.
“Did you forget that both our brothers are werewolves now?” Lily noted, “And I’m halfway there myself.”
“True, I’m just thinking aloud,” George considered, “I just don’t want to lose you, or Freddie. You’re both in so deep that it scares me sometimes.”
“I know, but remember all the good we have done too,” Lily maintained. Though so much had gone wrong in Crystalshaw over the year that had just passed, everything they achieved as a pack helped to put it right.
Grabbing her attention from outside the window, looking over George’s shoulder, Lily noticed Drew creeping into school through the fire exit door. Whenever Drew was sneaking around, it usually meant something was up.
“Excuse me, Mr. Marshall,” Lily raised her hang with urgency,” Can I go to the bathroom please?”
“Be quick, Miss Chadwick,” he responded.
As Lily stood up, George shot her a look of confusion. Lily replied with a devilish wink. She was keen to get the scoop.
“Hey, where have you been?” Lily interrogated, calling across the corridor.
“Nowhere,” Drew coyly replied.
“I can hear your heartbeat, dumbass,” Lily replied, focusing on the notably irregular beats from his chest.
“Alright, I went to see Allyn,” Drew gave in. Lily loved her ability to squeeze any information she wanted out of Drew, who was notably a closed book otherwise.
“You see her all the time after school, what’s so different now?” Lily continued to probe.
“Monty came back three hours late last night, and he had no idea why or how,” Drew explained.
“Drunk? High?” Lily reasoned.
“Neither,” Drew answered, “Kamilah thought the same so we tested him, but three hours of his memory have been wiped.”
“Have you told Dylan?” Lily queried. This sounded like something he needed to be made aware of, and quickly.
“Not yet, I wanted something concrete first,” Drew answered, “I want to check CCTV.”
“I’ll help,” Lily responded. She knew George wouldn’t be happy, but she had a job to do, and the party had to go ahead without a werewolf-sized glitch that night.
Waiting impatiently outside Ed’s office, Dylan couldn’t remove the horrific, gruesome sight of the corpse from his mind. He had never seen anything as grotesque as that before, and what made it worse was Dylan’s journalistic mind considering exactly what caused those injuries and who was behind it. He wished he could just forget about it entirely.
Having dropped Sammi at school, Jono had accompanied Dylan to speak to Ed. School didn’t feel like the environment Dylan wanted to be in after seeing something like that. Thankfully, Jono was never more than a few centimetres away, never letting go of the grip he kept on Dylan’s hand.
“Hey boys,” Ed greeted, opening the office door assertively, “Sorry to keep you waiting, come on in.” As they entered Ed’s office of organised chaos, Dylan kept hold of Jono’s hand. It went without saying between them after a year, but they took each and every step together.
“Did you find anything?” Jono wondered, speaking on Dylan’s behalf.
“Yes and no,” Ed confusingly answered, “The corpse threw up absolutely nothing. No DNA other than itself. Whoever did this is a professional, we know this for sure.”
“What’s the good news?” Dylan enquired, feeling curious to learn as much as he could. It was like a murder mystery television show that he used to watch with his mum over the weekend.
“It continues a pattern. Every two days for the past eight days now, a new body has turned up in similar circumstances. Not a patch of evidence on any, but all bodies were mauled in separate ways,” Ed detailed.
“What about CCTV?” Jono thought logically.
“Conveniently the nearest cameras all malfunctioned at the time of the collision,” Ed answered. Dylan was finding himself more and more encapsulated by the mystery as he learnt more of the details.
“What could do that?” Dylan thought aloud, examining the photos of the other victims on Ed’s desk. One had all its teeth removed, the second had a chunk of its nose missing, and the third had skin absent all around its cheeks. It was like something from a horror film.
“Who, not what,” Ed corrected, “These aren’t animal attacks, the injuries are way too specific.”
“It doesn’t look human either,” Dylan reasoned, “I mean, who could do this?”
“Somebody very sick,” Ed offered.
“But this is Crystalshaw, there’s always more to it,” Dylan thought. He felt a responsibility for anything even vaguely unusual in the town, because it almost always linked back to werewolves or the supernatural.
“I’m not having you come back in a body bag, Dylan,” Ed put his foot down, “If I get a hint of anything supernatural, I’ll let you know, but in the meantime, please take it easy. I know what you’ve seen isn’t pleasant.”
Dylan sighed. He wasn’t happy to take no for an answer, which meant his sneaking around had to be on top form to avoid being caught.
Shoving away his maths textbook for another day, Freddie was pretty pleased it was already lunchtime. The sooner school was over, the better. Junior year wasn’t easy so far, and Freddie felt like he was rapidly falling behind the pace of everyone else. Yasmin had tried to help him catch up, but it was hard work – he couldn’t focus or motivate himself.
Attention problems weren’t new for Freddie – he had been described as hyper and frantic his entire life, and his ADHD diagnosis and subsequent medication certainly helped, but now it was affecting his studies. He kept forgetting to book a medication review – organisation was never a strong point.
“Oh, sorry,” a voice interrupted Freddie’s train of thought as his locker door jolted slightly. Beside him was Jono’s cousin Sammi, who he had met only briefly since she arrived. Mostly, he had listened to Jono ranting about how irritating he was, but Freddie’s encounters had always been pleasant.
“It’s okay,” Freddie noticed her struggling with a large pile of books, “Need a hand?”
“No, I’m okay,” Sammi lied, dropping every book onto the floor as her arms gave way.
“Hey, don’t worry,” Freddie instantly knelt down to help pick them up, saving Sammi the embarrassment.
“I’m sorry, I’m a mess,” Sammi’s cheeks blushed a cute shade of pink.
“No, it’s okay,” Freddie reassured, “First few weeks are never easy.”
“It’s not like I’ve never been to school,” Sammi defended, “It’s just…a lot.”
“Tell me about it,” Freddie agreed. He was in an almost identical predicament.
“We’d be here ‘til next week,” Sammi nervously laughed at herself, as if she were fed up and over it.
“I don’t mind,” Freddie kindly smiled at her. He got the impression that nobody else had been kind to her since her arrival.
“We’ve still got half an hour of lunch, I guess I could give you the edited highlights,” Sammi smiled back. She looked comfortable and at ease all of a sudden. Perhaps they needed each other – the perfect escape from the depths of school.
Once again impressed by Lily’s social skills, Drew was relieved she was on such good terms with Mrs. Langston the receptionist. Lily’s superb cover story of her missing homework was enough to get them into the CCTV room, and as far as Mrs. Langston knew, they were checking to see if Lily really did leave it at the bench. Of course, that was only half true. They were indeed checking CCTV, but for something far more serious.
The aim was to track Monty on his usual daily sweep around town. They all knew that Crystalshaw was a hub for supernatural activity, and it was important to keep their eyes and ears peeled, for the sake of both packs that Allyn and Drew respectively belonged to. Without fail, on his patrol, Monty passed the school gate at home time – 15:00 every day. They needed to track him as best as they could.
“What are we looking for?” Lily sat in front of the computer, which displayed a rotating view of four random cameras at a time.
“School gates, three o’clock yesterday. He’ll be there, he always is,” Drew directed.
Lily clicked at the top left corner, finding a menu with a drop-down list of all available cameras. She clicked on “School Gate 1” and fast-forwarded through the footage from the day before. Drew paid close attention to the clock as it whirred towards 15:00.
“Stop,” Drew commanded, the timer slowing at exactly 14:59:00. He examined the scene in front of him – only a small selection of students who had been lucky enough to get out of class a few minutes early, or those who had a free period. No Monty yet. The seconds ticked away to 15:00, and as soon as it arrived, the footage cut out. The screen filled with feedback, like a television with no signal.
“Huh? Why is it not working?” Lily seemed confused.
“Somebody knows what they’re doing,” Drew recognised, “Go back to just before.”
Lily rewound the footage a few seconds. 14:59:59. She paused so Drew could examine the shot. He looked at the other faces in view. Only one of them was recognisable, and it gave Drew a glimmer of hope.
“That’s Brett,” Drew recognised, “We can ask him.”
“He’s coming to the party later,” Lily added. Perfect – they had their chance to interrogate their prime witness.
Journalistic intrigue was one of so many things Jono had in common with Dylan, so it figured that they both shared the same idea following their chat with Ed – return to the scene of the crime. Specifically, the tranquil forest-side roads where the corpse landed on his car.
Dylan looked nervous about returning, which was understandable considering just how awful the body looked. Jono felt scared too, but it was his moment to be strong, especially considering just how much Dylan had been there for him over the previous fortnight.
Immediately, Jono tried to focus all of his senses, but it wasn’t easy. He had worked a lot on his hearing, but less so on the rest. A cocktail of scents filled his nose; the damp mud of the forest, the petrol of his car and Dylan’s cologne most notably. He could see the tiniest objects in the distance, but it was hard to focus when everything nearby was so much more detailed too. Jono struggled to imagine a time where he could master all of these skills.
“Have you got anything?” Jono queried, noticing the hairs on the back of his neck were stood on end.
“I can’t shake that feeling,” Dylan confessed, “I feel scared, but I don’t know why. I think it’s from the body.”
“But the body’s in the morgue, how can we feel it here?” Jono queried.
“It’s like when you walk along a beach, and you leave even the tiniest imprint on the sand,” Dylan theorised, “Scents, emotion, they linger.”
“I can feel it,” Jono admitted, “All around me. It’s no imprint, it’s strong.”
“It was really scared,” Dylan added, “Be careful. Keep listening. You be the ears; I’ll be the eyes.”
“The perfect team,” Jono loved how Dylan included him, as opposed to keeping him safe firmly away from the action.
They stepped out of the road and into the forest, the trees immediately shadowing them from the sunlight. They had spent a lot of time in the forest over the previous year, but it never made Jono feel any more at ease; too much of it was a mystery for him to feel comfortable.
Moving through the forest, Jono kept his focus on his hearing and nothing else. However, nothing much of note was around. Birds tweeted and twigs crackled, but Jono couldn’t hear anyone other than himself or Dylan.
“Anything?” Jono questioned, hoping Dylan was having more luck.
“Nope,” Dylan responded, “They’re long gone, but I don’t know.”
“You feel more scared now, don’t you?” Jono mentioned, feeling the hairs on his arms stood on end.
“Yup, like we’re getting nearer and nearer,” Dylan agreed, before pausing, stopping abruptly in his tracks, “Don’t look down.”
Despite Dylan’s warning, Jono couldn’t help himself. He glanced onto the ground. Immediately, Jono had to turn back away. It was an eye. A solitary human eye on the ground, looking directly at him.
“It’s from the body, it has to be,” Dylan realised.
“Let’s get out of here,” Jono suggested, wanting to get as far away as possible. Something abhorrent was going on, and Jono felt certain that they would be seeing more of whoever, or whatever, had done this.
Feeling a little embarrassed, Josh had overslept and woken up to a concerned Yasmin yelling at him to wake up. This had left him with only a few moments to spruce himself up for the party, when Yasmin had clearly spent hours making herself look more gorgeous and glamorous than usual.
He already felt a little inadequate, not being able to pick Yasmin up from her house and take her to the party himself. He was still learning to drive, but he wasn’t insured on Caroline’s car, so she understandably yet annoyingly wouldn’t let him drive it. Though it was the 21st century, and it was important for both halves of a couple to be equal, Josh felt a little chivalry wouldn’t have hurt anybody.
“It’s not like you to nap,” Yasmin queried, driving them both to Lily’s house.
“I know,” Josh tried thinking back to what he did before the nap, but he couldn’t think. He had no recollection of lying on his bed, and weirdly, he wasn’t even under the duvet. He didn’t even remember coming home from school.
“Is everything okay?” Yasmin wondered, “You seem out of sorts.”
“I feel like I’ve been in a coma for years,” Josh opened up, “I have no idea what’s happened in the past few hours.”
“I tried calling you. I waited for you after school, but you never came,” Yasmin explained, “I’m just glad you’re okay.”
“I don’t feel okay,” Josh continued, “I feel…different, and I don’t know why. I don’t remember falling asleep, and I don’t remember leaving school.”
“That was only a few hours ago,” Yasmin seemed perplexed, “Were you feeling okay earlier?”
“Fine,” Josh admitted, “Great in fact.”
Josh had nothing more to say, he just had to keep his eyes peeled and keep racking his brain. Whatever he did, it must have been in there somewhere.
In the meantime, Josh stared out of the window. Suddenly, he spotted a familiar face. An impossible face. She wasn’t just one face, either. She was every face along the busy Crystalshaw town street. She was looking directly at him.