Series 3 Episode 2
Yasmin couldn’t wait to return home. It had been three months since she last stepped foot in Crystalshaw, and her life was flipped upside down. She needed a detox. Memories of her dad were everywhere, and she wanted to wipe the slate clean in order to move on from him.
However, she missed her friends dearly. Dylan tried Skype calling her for homework help, but it wasn’t the same, and although she tried her best to keep up with Freddie, it turned out she didn’t realise how challenging a long-distance relationship used to be. She had school to think of, and the level of homework was off the scale, while her mum wanted to make up for lost time.
However, she was a slave to her job. At least until two weeks ago, where she quit. Quite why, Yasmin never found out, but it must have been something drastic for her to have left the job she worked so hard at for years.
That was the turning point for Yasmin. She knew that had to go back to Crystalshaw. Back to her life, to confront her demons and giver her mum a fresh, less hectic start. They had booked into a bed and breakfast for a few nights before their new house was ready, but first, she had someone to see, and she couldn’t wait.
The familiar street where Freddie’s house was situated was such a glorious sight. Her mum stopped the car just outside the house; it had barely ground to a halt before Yasmin leapt out of it. The front door felt weirdly comforting, the familiar sight warmed her heart.
“Freddie?” she called out. The lights were on, so someone must have been home. However, there was no response.
“Anyone home?” she called again. Still nothing. Perhaps they couldn’t hear her. She tried the door handle. Surprisingly, it opened with no difficulty.
As she stepped inside, the familiar scent of the hallway immediately filled her nostrils. It felt homely, and she had missed it like crazy.
She kept on into the kitchen, announcing her arrival, “Sorry, the door was open. Have you missed me?”
Freddie’s gorgeous face came into view, but he looked startled. In front of him, with her back to Yasmin, was a little girl. Before she got to ask who it was, the girl simply faded away. She met eyes with Freddie.
“What the hell was that?” Yasmin was gobsmacked.
Bolting awake, Dylan was startled. Why wasn’t he sleeping still? What had woken him up? He looked to his bedside table – his phone was buzzing like crazy. Oh shit. He dreaded to think what sort of messages they were.
He pressed the home button, the screen illuminating the room and blinding Dylan’s eyes. He was used to the beautiful darkness of his actually quite productive sleep. His eyes took a few moments to adjust before he could read the screen, but when he could, he saw seven missed calls from Freddie. This couldn’t be good news.
He called him back immediately, fearing the worst.
“Hey, what’s up?” Dylan answered, slurring his words slightly. His mouth obviously hadn’t woken up yet, and considering it was half past two in the morning, he could hardly blame it.
“You’ve got to get here. Now,” Freddie commanded.
“Is there something up?” Dylan asked as he clambered out of bed, grabbing for the nearest t-shirt he could get from the laundry pile.
“Yes and no. It’ll make sense when you get here,” Freddie kept it annoyingly vague, then the call ended.
Dylan finished getting dressed, shoving his messy, untamed bed hair into a ponytail as he couldn’t be bothered to style it. Now he had to summon Jono – his personal chauffeur. He vowed he’d learn to drive one day, but he hadn’t gotten around to it yet.
Nevertheless, above all else, it was a reason to see Jono. As if he needed an excuse.
Completely shell-shocked, Freddie couldn’t believe that Yasmin was stood in front of him. He had so many questions. Why was she back? Why did she arrive so early in the morning? Why did the creepy little girl disappear? It was a lot to comprehend. He had just one priority though. He was beyond pleased to see Yasmin again and had to make the most of it.
“What are you doing here?” he started at the top.
“It’s a long story,” Yasmin sighed, “Looks like I got here in the nick of time. No offence, but you look a state.” She wasn’t wrong. Freddie caught a glimpse of himself in the reflection of the window, He looked shattered.
“We’ve, uh, got a little problem. Long story,” Freddie repeated back to her.
“Alright, I’ll go first,” Yasmin decided, clicking the kettle on, “My mom’s job fell through. We’re back for good.”
“Really?” Freddie’s mood immediately lifted, “Where are you staying?”
“The B&B for a couple of nights, our flat’s not ready yet,” Yasmin revealed, “I’ll only be down the road though.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Freddie pondered.
“Am I not allowed to surprise you? I wanted to make up for being a shit girlfriend,” Yasmin confessed.
“Can’t argue with that. It was a lovely surprise,” Freddie smiled, “I was kinda worried. We weren’t talking much.”
“I’m so sorry. It sounds absurd to say I didn’t have the time, but it was so hectic, and my mom…” Yasmin tailed off.
“What about her?” Freddie enquired.
“She’s waiting in the car. I should go and update her,” Yasmin explained.
“Invite her in if you want,” Freddie offered. He was nervous about it, but he wanted to meet her nonetheless. It wouldn’t take much for her to beat Yasmin’s other parent after all.
“Thanks, but she’s very tired. I said I’d only be quick,” Yasmin justified, “Let me tell her to head on. I’ll spend the night here, if that’s okay?”
Never had Freddie heard such a silly question.
It felt great to be back. Yasmin knew that she missed all her usual home comforts, but now she was actually in Crystalshaw again, it all became clear – she didn’t want to leave again.
However, she had a dilemma on her hands. She had to shoo her mum away, without letting on about who Freddie was. She still hadn’t told her mum about having a boyfriend, and she was ashamed to tell Freddie that. Yasmin was never someone to hide who she was. She wouldn’t study so much around school if she cared like that. However, home life was another matter. Her father had a vision for her, an ideal that she always felt pressured to meet. How did she know her mum wasn’t the same? She had barely seen her mum for the past three years, and even when she thought she knew her dad, it turned out she didn’t.
She tapped on the window, and her mum whizzed it downwards. Despite it being night time, she was still rocking her trademark sunglasses, and her hair was styled immaculately.
“Ready to go, baby?” her mum greeted.
“You go on, I’m gonna stop here for a bit,” Yasmin vaguely informed.
“Oh, deserting me already?” her mum sighed.
“If you feel that strongly about it…” Yasmin groaned.
“I’m kidding honey, have a nice time. See you in the morning. Remember, we’ve got a meeting at your school at ten,” she said, blowing a kiss and rolling the window back up.
As Yasmin turned around to go back inside, she noticed a couple of familiar faces approaching from several metres up the street. Dylan and Jono. A smile formed on her face, uncontrollably beaming from ear-to-ear. She couldn’t wait any longer to see Dylan. Her legs transported her closer without a second thought, sprinting as fast as she could, until she landed in his arms. The comfort he brought with him was unlike anyone else.
Amazed, Dylan clung to Yasmin like a little kid. He couldn’t believe what was happening, and he had so many questions, but none of them mattered. He had his friend back, and for that moment, he wanted to embrace it.
She had left such a gaping hole in his life. Their gossiping about hot celebrities, their shared love of ridiculous jokes, and her place in the pack too. Dylan found it odd to think he had a pack, but that was part of being an alpha. He was still adjusting, albeit slowly.
“What are you doing here?” Dylan was curious as Yasmin let go of him and hugged Jono.
“I’ll tell you inside, but I’m here for good. God, I am so happy to see you both,” Yasmin was smiling so brightly.
“Care to introduce me?” a voice came from the car parked up outside the house. Sighing, Yasmin led them over. Dylan saw a stylish lady who looked mid-thirties, but suspected was likely older. Her hair was styled beautifully and her outfit – what he could see of it – was so glamorous.
“I thought you were about to go. Mom, this is Dylan. Dylan, this is my mom,” Yasmin introduced.
“Ah, so this is the famous Dylan,” she commented.
“Nice to meet you Ms. Forsyth,” Dylan politely and nervously greeted. He hadn’t heard a great deal about Yasmin’s mum, other than how distant she had become, but she looked exactly as he’d pictured from Yasmin’s description.
“Please, call me Autumn. I love your manners though Dylan, he’d be ideal for you Yasmin,” Autumn suggested. Yasmin sighed while Dylan tried not to laugh. Obviously, she hadn’t told her every single detail about him, “Who’s your other friend?”
“This is Jono,” Dylan introduced, “My boyfriend.” That should clear up any confusion.
“Ah,” Autumn realised her presumption, “Pleased to meet you both. Time for me to get my beauty sleep I think. Night y’all.” The window zoomed upwards and the headlights flashed on as the car shot off out of sight. All three of them burst into laughter simultaneously.
“Sorry,” Yasmin apologised through her chuckles. It felt so good to have her back.
Feeling the deliciously warm fumes of her cup of tea against her hands, Yasmin was cuddling up to Freddie on the sofa. It had turned into some sort of couples’ night with Dylan and Jono in a similar position on the opposite sofa, but she wasn’t complaining. Seeing Dylan’s face light up when she told him she was back for good was everything. Finally, she was feeling much more optimistic about Crystalshaw. No matter what she felt about her dad, she knew her friends would help her overcome it.
“Wait, your mom just quit?” Dylan reacted to her explanation, “You said she loved her job?”
“She did, which is what I’m confused about. She won’t tell me anything more,” Yasmin detailed, “Anyway, enough about me. What’s this about some little girl who disappears into thin air?”
“Wait, you’ve seen her too?” Jono perked up.
“She vanished as soon as I arrived here,” Yasmin answered. The whole situation still made little sense to her.
“She was coming for me,” Freddie revealed, “Like it knew I was home alone.”
“What is it though? How much harm can a little girl do?” Yasmin queried.
“We don’t know. That’s the problem,” Dylan explained, “Noah said she had black eyes, and he’s been shaken like crazy ever since.”
“Wait, black eyes?” a bell rang in Yasmin’s brain.
“You’ve seen it before?” Freddie was intrigued.
“I read about it. People have reported sightings of black-eyed kids before. The reports were dismissed as scaremongering but I love reading these supernatural phenomena,” Yasmin explained, allowing her geekiness to shine through.
“Beings don’t just exist to scare people though,” Jono reasoned. Yasmin knew he was right. Living creatures existed to reproduce and prosper. This black-eyed girl showed nothing beyond an existence of terror.
“Maybe I know someone who could help,” Yasmin regretfully suggested. She kept tight-lipped on the details, partly because she didn’t even want to say it aloud.
“Careful what you say. You never know who’s listening,” Dylan reminded.
“Wait, am I missing something else?” Yasmin was confused once again. Freddie took his phone out and started tapping a message in the notes application: “Someone listening, trolling us. Be careful.” Eek.
Yasmin nodded in acknowledgement, as her brain immediately began thinking of a solution. No time to waste.
Seeing the email Lily received, Drew was getting more and more furious. He wanted to yell at whoever this troll was, perhaps show him he’s messed with the wrong person. This person was great at covering their tracks, though. He had to keep a positive outlook on life – it worked for Dylan, after all.
This person must have been human. It would have made no sense for anything else. Humans made mistakes, easily too. Everyone always said how nobody was perfect, but that was only because humans were too incapable of focusing fully. They simply couldn’t.
Technically, that gave Drew the upper hand. However, he saw no way to suss this person out. The texts were from an unknown number and emails couldn’t be tracked so easily. He was stuck.
“We can’t beat them, can we?” Lily pessimistically thought. Her phone buzzed almost immediately after – the word “no,” simply sent from the same unknown number. No texts came through overnight, although this person couldn’t be awake twenty-four-seven. Unless it wasn’t just one person. He had to consider every outcome.
“We can. We will,” Drew confidently stated. He wasn’t giving in. He kept glancing at the email, as if a huge clue was going to reveal itself. It was almost too perfect. An email address created especially for the purpose of trolling.
The numbers on the end must have had a meaning. Nobody used random digits like that – they must have signified something. Some sort of date? Not possible, on second thoughts, considering the digits were 1812. There was no eighteenth month.
He knew he’d keep thinking about it throughout the day, but more importantly, he had an idea to speak to Dylan and the others without interruptions.
Dylan couldn’t believe what he was about to go through with. He had hoped never to see his face again, but he was ready and waiting in the visiting area. Yasmin was next to him, clenching his hand tightly. He wanted to provide as much comfort as he could, but he wasn’t convinced anything would make this more tolerable for her. She was about to confront her demons. One particular demon, at that.
The amount of courage she had was admirable. Dylan glanced at his reflection in the glass opposite. He saw the face of someone nowhere near as courageous. What’s more is that he hadn’t looked at his own reflection in a while, as if he were scared he’d see something different about it. Like being an alpha had changed him.
It felt weird looking at his face and seeing how he looked barely any different to the year before. His life back then was unrecognisable, and in some ways, he missed it. The calm and the ease of everything. Now he had tons of uncertainty, but also a load of friends that he’d made since. Dylan felt a lot of pressure being the alpha, but immense pride for each of his pack. Especially Yasmin, after everything she had been through.
A buzzer sounded and prisoners began to flood in. The bright orange overalls filled the other side of the glass barrier, worn by men of all shapes and sizes as they came to greet their loved ones.
Then Dylan spotted him, skulking along the back. He lost focus of his reflection, seeing nothing but Mr. Forsyth’s terrifying eyes for the first time in three months.
“Hello darling,” he directed at Yasmin. She scoffed at the word “darling,” being used.
“I’d say long time no see, but it hasn’t been long enough,” Yasmin responded fiercely.
“There’s no need to be like that,” Mr. Forsyth pleaded. Even after being locked up for three months, he still had the same level of arrogance as always. It made Dylan sick.
“Do I have to list everything you did to me?” Yasmin retaliated.
“You’re the one who came to see me. Can we cut to the case?” Mr. Forsyth moaned. Yasmin shot a look of despair to Dylan, summing up his feelings entirely without uttering a word. His temerity was off the scale. This guy hadn’t changed at all.
“We need…” Yasmin struggled to get the right words out, “…your help.”
“Say it again. I just want to make sure I heard right,” Mr. Forsyth antagonised. Yasmin groaned. She obviously felt exceedingly uncomfortable.
“We need your help,” Dylan repeated on her behalf. He had to support her in any way he could.
“Why would I help the werewolf that messed up my family?” Mr. Forsyth was being deliberately difficult.
“You’d be doing it for your daughter,” Dylan retained composure and responded calmly and with class. Mr. Forsyth was obviously considering his response, pausing as if he were on a reality show revealing the winner.
“Okay. I’ll do it,” Mr. Forsyth announced, much to both their relief, “But on one condition.”
Immediately, Dylan’s stomach dropped. He should have known there would be a catch.
For a reason still unknown to him, Jono had been summoned to the boys’ changing rooms by Drew. He was far from being a sports fan, and tended to stay as far away from the “laddy” sportsmen of his year group as possible. The arrogance almost put him off the sight of their six-packs. No harm in some eye candy. He tried his best to hide his thirsty glances as he speed-walked to the shower area. Drew was stood almost naked with his back to Jono, soaking himself with the water that calmly flowed out of the shower head.
“Take your t-shirt and trousers off,” Drew commanded without looking round.
“Sorry, I’m taken,” Jono replied. He was confused, so used humour to detract from the situation.
“Shut it, idiot,” Drew was his usual humourless self. Jono rolled his eyes and obliged, awkwardly slipping down to his underwear only.
“Can I have an explanation?” Jono enquired.
“It’s a trial I’m doing,” Drew detailed, “To see whether we can be heard now.”
“You think there are microphones on our clothes?” Jono tried to process the information.
“Our clothes, our bags, anything,” Drew pondered, “get a shirt from over there and we’ll try it outside.”
“I hope you’re not expecting me to take part,” Jono remarked.
“We’re three players down. You’re cheap labour,” Drew irritatingly commented, “Let’s go.”
Jono sighed. He followed the team of boys who all had at least double the amount of muscle strength as him out onto the field. This was the first time he had even considered playing sport since he was about four years old. He wasn’t sure if this was preferable to being spied on or not.
“You want what?” Yasmin was aghast. Her father’s audacity never failed to amaze her. She was opening to bargaining with him, but he was taking the biscuit.
“I need to get out of here,” Mr. Forsyth reiterated. She was spellbound by his request.
“We’re not breaking you out,” Dylan immediately affirmed.
“I’m not asking that of you,” he confusingly stated, “There are other, more overt ways.”
“It still sounds stupid,” Dylan grunted. He was right, but they had to hear him out – they hadn’t gotten what they wanted yet, after all.
“The bite Josh gave me changed me,” he whispered, “I’m not a werewolf, I don’t know what I am, but people are noticing. I got a beating, and healed within hours.” Yasmin felt little sympathy, even if the conditions inside prisons like that horrified her.
“Tell us what you want,” Yasmin demanded, trying to cut to the chase.
“There’s an institute on the other side of Crystalshaw. It’s a mental health facility, but what people don’t know is that they specialise in…” he trailed off, as if he were struggling to finish the sentence, “…the supernatural.”
“How do we do it?” Yasmin queried as Dylan shot her a baffled glance.
“Plead insanity for me. If they agree, they’ll look to relocate me,” Mr. Forsyth suggested. Yasmin looked to Dylan, hoping he would agree. All they had to do was make a suggestion to the prison and he would give them the intel they needed. Dylan rolled his eyes before nodding. A regretful yes.
“Okay. We’ll do it, but you need to co-operate with us,” Yasmin bargained.
“What do you want to know?” Mr. Forsyth questioned. Finally, they were making progress.
Never had Jono felt more out of place more anywhere than he did in the basketball court at school. His lack of muscles felt incredibly apparent, and he was notably smaller than the rest of the players too. Drew had urged him to get involved, but he didn’t know how. How could he snatch the ball from someone double his size? He’d be flattened and become a rug.
“When are we testing this plan out?” he impatiently whispered to Drew.
“Now. Keep talking. If I’m right, we’ll have no new messages when we go back in,” Drew revealed.
“Alright, so you think you know who it is?” Jono enquired.
“No, but this gives us the upper hand. They might not be as strong as they think,” Drew pondered.
“So every time we need to discuss something, we’ve got to strip and play basketball?” Jono summarised. He was trying to keep his good humour in tow.
“Basically, yeah,” Drew realised, “Next step is narrowing it down. There must be something on either our clothes, bags or shoes.”
“And placed by somebody devious enough to know to do that,” Jono noted.
“That’s ninety-nine percent of the school ruled out,” Drew jested. Jono chuckled – he wasn’t wrong. The coach blew the whistle, and Drew immediately shifted into captain mode.
“Come on,” Jono groaned. He jogged to the centre of the field, trying to stay as far away from everyone else as he could whilst staying within hearing range. This was going to be a long hour.
Talking to Mr. Forsyth was like getting blood out of a stone. He wasn’t the easiest nut to crack, but Dylan felt like they were making progress. His terms were outlandish, and he was amazed Yasmin agreed so readily to them. However, he trusted her, and knew he had to go along with it. Now it was time for them to reap the benefits.
“Do you know anything about a black-eyed girl?” Yasmin interrogated. Mr. Forsyth looked visibly startled when he heard Yasmin’s question.
“Have you been reading Wikipedia again?” Mr. Forsyth seemed hopeful with his question.
“We’ve seen one. She’s haunting us,” Yasmin lowered her voice.
“I was hoping you wouldn’t say that,” Mr. Forsyth acted worried. Dylan didn’t believe it for a second, but he had to hold his tongue, “The black-eyed people are scaremongers. They act as pilot fish, like the smaller fish before the bigger fish.”
“So there’s something bigger to come?” Dylan processed. This didn’t feel good.
“Yes. In this case, the black-eyed kid is like the gateway for something bigger. They create fear, and when they’ve fed on enough fear, the gate opens,” Mr. Forsyth chillingly explained.
“What is it?” Dylan needed to know.
“I have no idea. The legend doesn’t say. Nobody’s ever let it through before,” Mr. Forsyth informed.
“So how can we prevent it?” Dylan instinctively questioned.
“We have to be fearless, I assume,” Yasmin realised. Mr. Forsyth nodded.
“Channel the fear. Use it as adrenaline to escape. They fade after a while according to the old myth, but only if they don’t succeed,” Mr. Forsyth suggested.
“We’ve gotta tell the others,” Yasmin decided. She was right, and they had to do it fast. Nobody knew when the girl would appear again, but it surely wouldn’t take long.
Attempting to get stuck in on the action, Jono wasn’t doing very well. He had been passed the ball briefly, and tried to shoot, but the ball made it less than a metre from him thanks to a terrible aim. His teammates looked at him with such disapproval. So much for team morale. Drew was still encouraging him though. At least one person had his back.
The ball was bouncing in his direction once again. He wanted to dodge out of the way, but this could have been his moment of glory. Drew chucked it towards him as players of both practice teams flooded around him. He was near the hoop, but was it worth the risky shot?
He caught the ball perfectly, and his moment had arrived. Jono spotted a gap in the crowd and dribbled the ball towards it, ending up directly in front of the hoop. Jono raised the tough orange ball above his head and without further thought, he launched his shot.
Anxiously he closed his eyes, waiting for the racket of the ball rebounding off the side of the net and whacking onto the ground. If it even got that far. As he waited, every second seemed to elongate itself. It was excruciating.
Then he heard the ball bounce back down to the floor with a thud, followed by rapturous applause from his teammates. He looked up, opening his eyes, He’d done it. Scored. Drew gave him a high-five and shot him a proud smile. Perhaps the first time he’d ever seen Drew smile.
He looked around the basketball court and noticed Dylan and Yasmin watching from the side. Both of them were applauding too, and Dylan beamed from ear-to-ear. Maybe there could be more to this basketball malarkey than Jono thought.
Impressed, Dylan had no idea that Jono had a sporty side to him. They always avoided any sporting event on television and Jono couldn’t stand most of the basketball team. The arrogance and the heteronormativity of them all repulsed them both. That said, it would be pretty cool if Jono was to lead the way in stamping all of that out.
There he was, playing a part in Drew’s team and actually scoring. He felt an immense sense of pride watching him smash it. Dylan was almost envious. He didn’t have a sporty bone in his body, and it would’ve been cool to have such a skill, but his interest in sport was low anyway. In fact, it couldn’t have gotten lower if it tried. However, Dylan knew he would be one-hundred percent behind Jono’s venture.
He jogged over, looking tired and sweaty, yet still as hot as always. Perhaps even hotter in his sporting shirt, exposing his cute, vaguely toned arms.
“I didn’t see you there,” Jono mentioned as he arrived.
“We only just got here,” Dylan replied, “I didn’t know you liked basketball.”
“Me neither. I still don’t,” Jono laughed, “Drew was desperate.”
“You’re a natural,” Dylan complimented.
“If you say so,” Jono lacked any sort of self-confidence.
“I do say so,” Dylan reiterated. Jono blushed. He looked incredibly cute when he blushed.
“Have you seen the others?” Yasmin changed the subject, getting down to business.
“Aren’t they at the bench? I’ve not seen them,” Jono responded, “Is something up?”
“We know what the little girl is,” Yasmin answered, “It’s fear. She causes fear, which in turn makes a gateway to allow something else, something worse, into our world.”
“We’d better tell Noah too,” Jono pointed out, “He was the most scared of us all.”
“Oh shit,” Dylan hadn’t remembered Noah. He hadn’t seen him all day. Out of sight, out of mind. However, it rang alarm bells. The girl hadn’t been seen all day either, “We’d better find him.”
Dylan’s heart was racing for the entire journey to Noah’s house. Yasmin had gone to fill the others in on their findings, while Jono led the way in his car. He said he’d been to Noah’s house once before for a group project, so he vaguely knew the way.
Dylan was getting increasingly worried though. None of them had seen Noah nor the girl all day, so either it was terrorising other people and he had been keeping a low profile, or their paths had crossed again. Why specifically him? Dylan understood it fed on fear, but how did it know Noah would be so terrified?
As the car ground to a halt, Dylan leapt out and started knocking ferociously on the door. Nobody answered, but the lights were on inside. Somebody must have been home. Dylan tried the door handle.
“What if it’s his dad in there?” Jono worried.
“It’s not, I can smell Noah’s scent,” Dylan justified. He pushed against the door, and it jolted open, almost causing Dylan to collapse to the floor. He composed himself and sprinted into the light in the living room. Dylan was aghast as he saw Noah looking terrified for his life. The girl was opposite him, with its back to Dylan and Jono. They were too late.
“Don’t look into her eyes,” Noah commanded, his voice quivering in a way Dylan had never heard before. Dylan kept his distance, but he had to make sure Noah was okay.
“Noah, it wants you to be scared. That’s what it does. It can’t hurt you if you show it who’s boss,” Dylan motivated in the best way he could.
“I can’t,” Noah sobbed into his pillow. As soon as he finished his sentence, a black gas-like substance began to flow out of the girl’s mouth. It flowed in the air and shot outside in an instant. As Dylan looked back, the girl had vanished. Immediately, he went to check on Noah.
“Are you okay?” he comforted.
“What the hell was that?” Noah worriedly asked.
“We don’t know,” Dylan answered honestly. That alone terrified him the most.