Previous: "Human"

Next: "Quarantine"

Series 7 Episode 1
"The Getaway"

Staring up blankly at the ceiling, Sammi was having a rough night. She was only a couple of days away from starting junior year, and she couldn’t have been less enthused if she tried. Slipping back into a mundane routine of schoolwork, homework and early mornings sounded bad enough, without factoring in how she still felt like the new girl in her classes. Nobody seemed interested in her.

Besides, she didn’t want summer to end. She’d spent a lot of time decorating her bedroom – the first permanent bedroom she’d had in a long time. Pictures of her mum were scattered, and one of her favourites – a picture with her mum holding two babies. Sammi and her twin, Jeremy, who died not long after. Sammi so badly wished she knew him growing up. She’d spent so much time feeling alone.

Now, for the first time in a long time, she felt settled. Sammi felt like a part of a solid friendship group for the first time ever, even though none of them were in her school year. Her relationship with Jono and Lily had never been stronger, and after a difficult start, she got on very well with Dylan too. He was family, after all.

Then there was Freddie. The dorkiest, goofiest, and cutest of them all. He had Sammi’s back like nobody else, and she wasn’t sure what she did to deserve it. Nevertheless, she cherished him for every second they spent together.

Sammi spun her body around to face Freddie. He was sleeping deeply and peacefully. She was envious, but watching him sleep was strangely calming. His soft blonde locks rested calmly against his cheeks, ruffled slightly from the pillow.

BANG! Sammi jumped out of her skin. The noise came from outside. Somehow, Freddie was still fast asleep – nothing could wake him up. Sammi was curious, though. She crept out of the room, taking more precautions than necessary considering how impenetrable Freddie’s slumber was.

Outside the room was Lily, shoving a gigantic suitcase out of her bedroom. Her flight to college was the following morning, and the entire gang was going to see her off from LAX.

“Sorry,” Lily looked exhausted, “I couldn’t sleep, so I thought I’d get ahead for tomorrow.”

“It’s okay, I wasn’t sleeping anyway,” Sammi confessed, “Need a hand?”

“Please,” Lily smiled, relieved. Sammi lifted one handle of the incredibly heavy suitcase while Lily took the other, carefully negotiating the stairs.

“Are you excited?” Sammi questioned, making conversation.

“Yeah,” Lily responded, as if she were trying to convince herself, “A bit nervous, though. It’s all so new. Buying groceries on my own. Living on my own.”

“You’ll make friends easily. Even if you hate everyone you’re living with, you’ll meet people partying. Don’t say you’re not finding the nearest party on your first night,” Sammi sussed. She was getting to know Lily pretty well, and nobody threw a party like she did. Her leaving party was like nothing Sammi had ever been to before.

“You bet,” Lily grinned, knowing Sammi was bang on the money, “I just keep thinking. I’m going to miss so much. You, Jono, Dylan, and everyone. You’ll be up to so much without me.”

“Think of me in a year, everyone else will be going to college and it will just be me,” Sammi realised, a little terrified, “Don’t worry. We won’t leave you out. Besides, none of us ever seem to really avoid the supernatural.”

Lily nodded as they heaved the rucksack into the boot of Jono’s car. In the corner of her eye. Sammi noticed something in the bushes. The bushes that decorated the inside of the tall surrounding gates. Two tiny red lights. A familiar red. The red of an alpha’s eyes.

No, it couldn’t be. Dylan was upstairs, sleeping in Jono’s bed. Sammi blinked and rubbed her eyes in confusion. Sure enough, the lights had gone.

“Time for sleep,” Sammi told herself, heading back inside to the warmth with Lily.

It had been many years since Dylan last stepped foot inside an airport. For years, he and his mum couldn’t afford to take vacations, and the memories of his last trip away were brightened by the close relationship he had with his dad. Vacations wouldn’t be the same without him. It was a gaping hole that nobody could ever fill.

Nevertheless, Dylan loved the buzz of an airport, especially one as big as LAX. The hustle and bustle of everyone, unifying businesspeople and holidaymakers, was a feeling like no other. He didn’t have to be boarding a flight to share the excitement.

Lily had insisted on saying goodbye to her parents before leaving, but Jono wasn’t letting her jet off to college without a proper send-off. The whole pack had travelled out with them. One final adventure, before real life really took over.

“I guess this is it,” Lily took a deep breath just in front of the check-in desk. She looked terrified, and Dylan understood. The idea of travelling across the country to go to college petrified him. Thank god it was still a little while before he had to begin thinking about it.

“Text me when you get there,” Jono reminded, for at least the third time that day.

“Have a safe flight,” George kissed her softly on the lips. It looked so full of love, but packed with pain too. The knowledge that it was their last kiss for a while. It only made Dylan consider how he and Jono could ever part ways, even for a few months. He wasn’t sure he could do it.

“Bye everyone,” Lily waved, ready to leave. Dylan felt emotional. Not having Lily around was going to feel strange. She was the big sister he never had.

“Good luck,” Dylan smiled, keeping it together while he held the hand of a saddened Jono. His top lip was quivering. His eyes were watering. Watching Lily work her way through the queue was tough. Every step she took was one step away from Crystalshaw, “You’ll see her soon, we can visit,” Dylan reminded him.

“I know, it’s just weird,” Jono acknowledged. George looked similarly sad. At least they still all had each other.

“Hey, seeing as we’re here,” Josh piped up, “How about a little exploring?”

“Um,” Dylan pondered. He sure would have liked a little break before the drive back, but the decision relied on somebody else – Jono. Would he be okay with that? As if Jono could read his mind, he issued an approving nod. Dylan was ready to give the go-ahead, “Sure. Meet back here in two hours.”

The sad part was done. Now it was time to have some fun. Just like Lily would do.

In the driving seat. Yasmin knew exactly where to go. Her small car was full to the brim, with Josh in the passenger seat and Freddie, Sammi and Brett in the back. It was more than her car was used to carrying, and over a pretty significant distance too, but it was holding out well. With Lily dispatched, Yasmin was definitely hoping Jono’s car could share the load on the way back.

“Where are we?” Josh queried as Yasmin pulled in to the multi-storey car park.

“I’ve always wanted to come here,” Yasmin smiled, driving past a welcome sign.

“Santa Monica Place?” Sammi excitedly read, “Oh my god, I’m way too broke to be here.”

“Dope,” Freddie nodded. He was always happy to leave his notion of stereotypical masculinity at the door for a shopping trip.

“Okay, we’re all broke, why are we here?” Brett sighed.

“Have you never window-shopped?” Yasmin reasoned, “This is the coolest place.”

“Stay in the car if it hurts your masculinity too much,” Sammi taunted.

“Feminism for the win,” Freddie added, hammering the point home.

“No way,” Josh responded, “We like shopping too.”

“Do we?” Brett replied. The confusion in his voice made Yasmin chuckle uncontrollably, “Oh, yeah, of course we do.”

“Come on then, show some enthusiasm,” Yasmin nudged. She was going to milk this moment for all it was worth. Josh had never unbuckled his seatbelt so quickly. Yasmin glanced back to Sammi – this was comedy gold, and they were both loving every second of it.

“Where are the elevators?” Brett queried before Josh yanked him out of the car too.

“Lily will be gutted she’s missed this,” Yasmin commented to Sammi and Freddie. Winding Josh up had become one of her favourite pastimes, and she wasn’t ready to give in yet.

The sights at Manhattan Beach were among the prettiest Jono had ever seen. He had seen it on TV and on Instagram so many times, but never in person. It was well worth the wait, though. The weather was beautifully sunny and radiant, the later summer vibes truly glistening upon the golden sand and deep blue sea.

Watching the waves was so calming, too. The natural swishing backwards and forwards was gentle and uninterrupted, and the ambience of the waves crashing against the stilts of the pier was more relaxing than it should have been. It was the calming atmosphere that Jono so desperately needed.

He, Dylan and George were leaning against the railings on the pier. Below them was simply water – they had walked quite far down. Since leaving the airport, they hadn’t stopped sharing their memories of Lily. Jono felt like he was being overdramatic – Lily wasn’t dead, she was always on the end of her phone whenever Jono needed her. However, she was his best friend, alongside Dylan of course. She had been there his whole life, looking out for him. She was always there when he needed somebody to talk to, and not having her around would be a pretty weird thing to adjust to.

“She literally ignored my texts all day while she planned her leaving party,” George recalled, laughing, “She said I was a distraction.”

“That sounds just like her. No interrupting her creative flow,” Jono chuckled along, before pausing, watching the waves gently bobbing up and down, “She was the first person I came out to. The only person before you, Dyl.”

“You were my first,” Dylan recalled, “I remember how big that felt.” Jono wasn’t sure he knew this already – he found it very touching.

“She shipped us more than anyone,” Jono smiled, “She still does.”

“I hope it goes both ways,” George joked.

“Duh, of course,” Jono replied, “You’re the boyfriend she didn’t know she needed.”

“I think I knew that long before she did,” George reminisced fondly, “She basically friend-zoned me.”

“Good things happen when you least expect it,” Dylan offered a dose of his wisdom. Jono loved sayings like that, especially when Dylan said them. It summed up so much about their own relationship.

“Or when you’re about to be killed by a psycho werewolf,” George laughed, gazing across the pier, “Speaking of, please tell me those yellow eyes are just the sun reflecting?”

Jono focused intently further across the pier. George was right – he wasn’t seeing things. A werewolf was exposed in broad daylight – eyes, fangs, claws; the whole lot. It was out of control, running around in circles like it couldn’t stop. Something was up.

Without a second thought, Jono sprinted over, Dylan following by his side. The werewolf was a boy, and making no effort to conceal himself. Passers-by were staring, some even laughing, but perhaps they thought it was a costume?

“Stay back,” he growled at Dylan. He was a risk to anybody in the area, but if they couldn’t come nearer, they wouldn’t be able to offer assistance.

“We want to help,” Jono encouraged. However, it wasn’t enough. The boy sprinted away, threatened and scared. Jono was confused, but they had to catch him. It was imperative.

Trying to get comfortable in the little space she had, Lily was feeling antsy about the flight. She loved plane journeys – nothing had changed from the excitement she felt when going on holiday as a kid. Family holidays abroad every year brought some of her favourite memories, and they definitely included the lengthy flights spent causing mischief with Jono.

Now she was on her own, and this was no holiday. It was an adventure – one she had been anticipating for a long time. It felt so far away for months, ever since she received the news about her acceptance. The reality had only begun to hit her the day before. Suddenly, this new chapter in her life was beginning, and everything seemed to be hurtling along at five-hundred miles an hour.

“Sorry, don’t mind me,” a guy, roughly Lily’s own age, fumbled around while shoving his hand luggage on the shelf just above. He then took the window seat to her left, almost toppling onto her lap as he edged his way in.

“Don’t worry,” Lily smiled politely, hiding her bemusement of his clumsiness.

Many questions were rushing around Lily’s mind. What would her flat be like? She was sharing with three others, organised over the internet, so whilst she’d seen pictures of the flat, she hadn’t met her flatmates yet. New people didn’t concern her, though. Jono always called Lily a “social butterfly,” though Lily simply thought she had a knack for small talk. Perhaps college would be more of a breeze if that was the topic of her degree.

Popping her AirPods in, Lily selected her first song for the journey – “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran. Her and George’s song. She was already missing his warm hugs and his adorably terrible jokes. It was going to be tough relying on social media and infrequent visits when she relied on George’s gentle, calm nature so much. Lily knew it would be tough, but she was determined to succeed.

The plan began to move. The journey was beginning. Not long to go before the adventure really kickstarted. At this point, the nerves were subsiding. She was on her way now – no time to back out.

It was difficult to disguise it – Brett hated shopping. He was far from sexist or misogynistic, he knew it wasn’t for girls only, but all he related shopping to was being dragged around the clothes shops by his mum. It was tedious, and quite frankly, he had better things to do. He only bought clothes he absolutely needed anyway.

Therefore, being dragged around shops on his only day out of town all summer was not ideal. He could have been hitting the beach, or grabbing dinner. Literally anything that wasn’t shopping. However, it was out of his hands. Yasmin was the designated driver, and she was a keen shopper.

On the bright side, he had Josh with him. Somebody like-minded who could share the tedium of examining a heap of identical jeans with him. Josh had become a good friend since Drew left. He’d found himself drawn into Dylan’s pack, intrigued more than anything about how they could possibly cope with everything they see, because Brett was finding it difficult. Once you learn that werewolves and supernatural creatures are real, you don’t forget.

That’s why he liked Josh. He had been through some tough shit, but it hadn’t bogged him down. He was stronger because of what he had been through, and Brett wanted to be like that. He wanted to be brave, because there was no way out of this now that he knew the truth.

“We need an escape plan,” Brett quietly muttered to Josh as the group swanned into yet another clothing store. Nobody had bought anything yet, making the entire concept redundant in Brett’s eyes. He couldn’t take any more.

“Dude, look at these trainers though,” Josh pointed towards a little section of the store to the right. He had a point – the trainers looked awesome.

“You know, we’ve got basketball tryouts first week back,” Brett mentioned. He wasn’t sure how interested Josh was in sport, but he seemed perfect material for the team.

“Yeah?” Josh seemed intrigued, “I’ve never stayed in one place long enough to be on a team.”

“You’re settled now though, right?” Brett queried, “I thought Dylan’s mom adopted you.”

“She did, it’s just weird. I got so used to moving around that I feel like this could all come crashing down one day,” Josh opened up.

“Join the team,” Brett encouraged, “It might help.” Josh nodded – he seemed to understand.

In the corner of his eye, Brett spotted something very alarming. Visible through the shelving unit was a body, lying down, collapsed onto the shop floor.

“Quick,” Brett commanded, taking charge. He checked the girl’s pulse – nothing. Alarmingly, she still had visible claws and fangs. She was a werewolf.

“We can’t just call an ambulance,” Josh worried. He was right – the authorities couldn’t see a body that looked like this. It would risk exposing werewolves to the world.

“She’s still warm. She’s not been dead long,” Brett identified. He knew his first aid rather well – the amount of basketball injuries he had witnessed (and experienced) were a learning curve.

“I know who we can call, but it might take a while. We need a diversion,” Josh suggested. Brett thought fast. The solution was staring him in the face. Brett leapt up and whacked the fire alarm. Immediately, the piercing alarm sounded, not just inside the shop but throughout the entire mall.

“What is going on?” Yasmin rushed over before noticing the dead body, “Who is she?”

Brett wasn’t sure, but he was alarmed. This was a major problem, and he was tangled up in the middle of it.

Keeping up the pace as best he could, Dylan was worried. The further they had to chase this werewolf, the greater chance there was of somebody realising it wasn’t some quirky costume. They had to catch him, and fast.

It wasn’t like anything Dylan had seen before. As it dashed along the beach, violently swishing sand upwards in his wake, he convulsed and shook. How he had the energy to keep running in spite of that was almost impressive.

Dylan was leading the charge, Jono just behind. He wasn’t sure where George had gotten to, but he wasn’t as fast – the downside of being human. They were doing a good job of keeping pace, though, and that was what mattered.

Reaching the end of the long stretch of gorgeously warm sand, the boy leapt up some concrete steps back to road level. A car swerved along – one that Dylan immediately recognised. He could never mistake the tiny, cosy red car he had travelled in so many times.

“Get in,” George yelled from the open driver side window. Dylan didn’t need to be told twice – he hopped in the back seat while Jono clambered into the passenger seat. Now they could outrun him.

George sped the car up, soaring along the beachside road, the distance between them rapidly decreasing. Swerving, the werewolf darted across the road and down an alleyway between buildings.

“Damn,” Dylan was frustrated. The car couldn’t follow him down there.

“Get out,” George instructed, not giving up. Dylan vacated the car and immediately pursued him down the alley while George drove off. The werewolf was rapidly approaching another road – if he escaped out there, he could get anywhere. Dylan wasn’t ready to let that happen, so he accelerated his speed up to eleven. He was ready to pounce.

The car screeched up, blocking the exit, just as Dylan leapt upwards. He landed perfectly, slamming the werewolf’s body against the ground. Immediately, Dylan secured his hands – there was no way he’d be letting him escape now. He was furiously trying to fight back, but Dylan wasn’t giving in. There was only one way he could truly assert his authority.

Inhaling deeply, Dylan growled the loudest howl he could. He was the alpha, and he was in charge. Sure enough, it worked. The werewolf below him began to shift back, calming itself down.

“Who are you?” Dylan demanded.

“I need your help, please,” he begged. He looked helpless. He needed Dylan.

It had been quite a while since Freddie last saw a dead body. Quite frankly, he was enjoying being a normal kid once again, especially now he had Sammi in his life. They had been dating for several months now, and Freddie felt overwhelmingly optimistic for the first time in a long time. Sammi understood him in a way few others did. He needed her.

Freddie also knew that he would never truly escape the werewolf world. Of course, he was a werewolf himself. However, the supernatural world was dangerous, and when it crossed paths with his own life, it always led to disaster.

“What’s taking so long?” Yasmin hissed to Josh, “You said she was nearby.” They were hiding in the now-empty car park of Santa Monica Place, the building fully evacuated. It was now a race against time to get the body out before the fire department arrived and it was discovered by the authorities. Help was on its way, but time was running out.

“If you want something done,” Freddie suggested, “Do it yourself.”

“How are we supposed to get a dead werewolf out of a mall with CCTV filming our every move?” Josh doubted.

“We have two options. We can get the body ourselves, or we can let somebody else find it, and we all know how risky that is,” Freddie reasoned. In his eyes, it was simply common sense.

“He’s right, we need to do this,” Sammi backed him. Freddie knew he could rely on her.

“I might be able to tap into the CCTV and turn it off, temporarily,” Freddie suggested, pulling his laptop out of the boot of Yasmin’s car. It was a walk in the park compared to what he had done before.

Freddie typed ferociously at the keyboard. It wasn’t difficult to remotely access the security panel; the firewalls were bog standard and he had spent more time than he cared to admit learning how to work around them.

“Okay, we’ve not got long, let’s go,” Freddie commanded, placing the laptop back in the car and sliding the door shut.

“That was pretty awesome,” Yasmin complimented, smiling kindly at him.

“I’ll feel a lot better once we’re out of here,” Freddie replied as they reached the body.

“Brett, take the legs,” Josh commanded, lifting the body at its armpits.

“Um, me?” Brett cowardly backed out.

“Oh, move out of the way,” Sammi intervened, not dithering for a second in grabbing the legs and heaving the bottom half of the body upwards, “Not bad for a human girl.” Freddie laughed. She was so awesome.

“There’s a rash on her neck,” Josh observed as they carried her back to the car. He was right – the rash covered the underside of her arms, too. It looked painful – red, and full of scratch marks.

That aside, things had been running amazingly smoothly. They reached the car without a hitch, and now all that was left was to make it back to Dylan. They needed to figure out what had happened to her.

“It’s a disease,” a commanding voice called out across the spacious car park, echoing brazenly against the concrete walls. Stood opposite the group was Mrs. Johnson. She was their back-up.

“You took your time,” Josh remarked.

“I’m not on holiday, I’m out here on business. The same business as you, by the look of the rash on her skin,” Mrs. Johnson explained, “You might not want to touch her, Josh.”

Freddie began to worry. There was something more going on, and it didn’t sound good.

Pushing the front door open softly, Lily had arrived at her accommodation. This was her home now, and immediately, it felt so different from her own home. The corridor was small, and lit using one solitary, dimly lit lightbulb. Two doors adorned each wall, as well as a staircase leading upwards to what must have been three further bedrooms. After all, there were going to be five of them living there, with a communal kitchen and living area. Lily was already dreading the mess.

The cackling of other voices could be heard clearly from one of the rooms, even without using her enhanced hearing. Clearly, she wasn’t the first to arrive – a slight relief, at least she could make some conversation.

Opening the far door on the right, Lily saw a group of three stood around the dining table, each holding a plain white mug. They were in the full flow of conversation – so far, so good.

“Hey,” Lily smiled, switching on her top socialising mode. This was easy for Lily – all she had to do was pretend she was at one of her parties.

“Hey, welcome. You must be Lily,” one of the girls held out her hand to shake, “I’m Sindy.”

“Violet,” another girl informed. Both were really pretty – the first wearing her straight, dark hair up in a stylish messy bun, the other allowing her tight curls to flow wildly.

“I’m Alejandro,” a cute lad greeted. He had a pretty cute smile, tousled blonde hair styled expertly, and an awkward demeanour, “But you can call me Alex.”

“Want a drink?” Sindy offered.

“Sure, tea, please,” Lily nodded.

“Oh, these aren’t hot drinks,” Sindy chuckled politely, “There aren’t any wine glasses. Or other glasses, so we’re just using mugs.”

“In that case, you’re talking my language,” Lily immediately knew she would have no trouble fitting in here.

The door clicked open again. Somebody else had arrived – perhaps their fifth and final housemate? Lily was keen to meet them. She spun around, meeting face-to-face with somebody she had seen before. Not too long ago, either.

“Hey, I’m Nicolas,” he greeted with a dashing smile. He was chiselled and undeniably good-looking; Lily hadn’t taken much notice when he stumbled over her on the plane.

Two years ago, Lily may have believed it was a coincidence. Now, she didn’t believe that coincidences were possible.

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Next: "Quarantine"

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