Series 7 Episode 2
Hauling the final batch of mops and sprays down the step-ladder, Dylan was ready to begin the much-overdue spring clean. It must have been years since the bunker last received a good going-over, if Drew ever even bothered to spruce it up. Dylan wasn’t going to continue neglecting it like that when there were so many potentially important resources there.
He best thing was that he had three budding helpers – Yasmin had been a keen volunteer, and he hadn’t given Jono and Josh any chance to escape. After all, it was the perfect opportunity for some quality time together.
“This is the worst double date ever,” Josh groaned, begrudgingly picking up a cloth to wipe down the walls.
“Hey, I’m not the only one who uses this place, why is it all my responsibility?” Dylan justified.
“It’s your bunker,” Josh hit back with a cheeky smirk on his face.
“You’ll be doing it on your own if you’re not careful,” Dylan playfully threatened.
Clearing the shelving unit on the left, Dylan was met by a huge clump of dust around, on top of and underneath every single item. The only thing without a thick dust coating was the Bestiary – one of the pack’s most valuable tools – and even that had picked up a light scattering. It had been a few months since they had last used it, and Dylan wasn’t complaining. Life had been so much simpler.
The best part of readjusting to normality meant Dylan could actually spent time working on his grades. Yasmin had helped him revise for the PSATs, and for the first time in high school, he felt optimistic in advance of the results. However, Dylan wasn’t naïve; he knew things wouldn’t run this smoothly for long.
“Hey, what’s this?” Jono passed Dylan a glass jar.
“Um,” Dylan was a little alarmed at what he saw inside, “It looks like a tooth.” The more he examined it, the more evident it became. It was a severed, decaying werewolf fang.
“Do we have to keep that?” Jono wondered, scrunching his face in disgust.
“Hell no,” Dylan placed it on the floor, ready for the bin. He didn’t know the relevance of half the stuff Drew had kept in there, but some of it had to go. It was time for a fresh start, and Dylan couldn’t wait to see the end result.
Shoving everything off the brand-new central desk, Dylan wasn’t concerned about the tidiness of his bunker in that moment. Yasmin had carted a dead body back from LA in the boot of her car, and Dylan himself had dragged a terrified, helpless werewolf back with him. There had to be some correlation, because both of these happened within miles of each other. Mrs. Johnson was keen to help, but she needed somewhere to examine the body.
Dylan wasn’t sure how ready he felt to be launched back into the world of werewolves so soon. Senior year was around the corner, and he was in a good place at school finally. Supernatural drama did his education absolutely no good.
“Stay back,” Mrs. Johnson commanded as she and Sammi carried the dead girl’s body into the bunker.
“What happened to her?” Jono questioned. Dylan spotted the red rash covering her skin like an uncomfortable, painful rug.
“You need to keep your distance, it’s not safe for a werewolf to make contact, that’s how it’s passed on,” Mrs. Johnson warned.
“Tell us why,” Dylan demanded. This wasn’t the time for keeping secrets.
“I don’t know much, but this is spreading, and if you don’t keep your distance, it will be you next,” Mrs. Johnson warned, taking no prisoners, “Has anybody touched her?”
“Just me,” Josh worriedly confirmed.
“You’ll need to stay in quarantine for forty-eight hours,” Mrs. Johnson explained, “From what I’ve seen, that’s the incubation period, when symptoms begin to display themselves.”
“Dylan,” the lad quivered from behind. Dylan spun around to face him, immediately concerned. His face was blotted in red spots. He had an identical rash to the dead girl.
“I touched you,” Dylan panicked, “When we were chasing you.” He was scared – he was at risk. Whatever this disease was, it couldn’t have been good news.
“Go home, both of you. Stay there, don’t let any other werewolves in. Including Jono,” Mrs. Johnson detailed. Dylan started to worry intensely. This was really bad news.
“What about the rest of us?” Freddie wondered.
“If you follow the rules of the quarantine, you’ll be safe. For now. Please, I need space to operate. I don’t know enough about this yet. I can’t be more help until I do,” Mrs. Johnson explained.
Dylan caught eyes with Jono. The thought of having to spend two days apart from him was tough – they had barely spent any time apart at all in almost two years. However, it was going to be worth it – if Dylan could stop Jono from falling ill, it would be well worth two days on his own.
Sleeping anywhere other than her own bed made Lily feel uncomfortable. Her bed was her safe space, and knowing she was halfway across the country from it was an unnerving thought. She kept trying to remind herself that this was her new safe space, but it wasn’t quite that easy. The tools she learnt from her therapist were coming in extremely handy – grounding herself, using the stop-sign when she felt anxious, and texting George. He calmed her down like nobody else.
Despite her worries, though, Lily slept well. The day before had been hectic, draining and exhausting, both physically and emotionally, so her body needed the rest. Thankfully, her flatmates were easy to get along with. She had one single concern – she knew so much more than they did, how could she relate?
Notably, her concerns when seeing Nicolas again. Her mind was conditioned to doubt everything, because in the supernatural world – in Crystalshaw – she had to be sceptical to survive. College needed to be a fresh start. She couldn’t let her usual Crystalshaw concerns spill over into her new life. Nicolas seemed completely normal, and she had no solid proof otherwise.
Springing out of bed, the first thing Lily needed was a cup of tea. It was her morning routine, and she needed as much familiarity as possible. Sindy was already there, boiling the kettle and popping a teabag into a newly-rinsed, Prosecco-free mug.
“Perfect timing,” Lily commented as the kettle clicked off; a weirdly comforting sound when tea was such a sweet remedy. Sindy placed another mug on the counter ready for Lily.
“Nothing beats a cup of tea in the morning,” Sindy smiled kindly, “Where are you from?”
“Crystalshaw, it’s a small county in Cali,” Lily replied, downplaying it. Crystalshaw had way more significance than Sindy would ever know, but she couldn’t simply tell her that.
“Oh, I’ve heard of it. Lots of weird shit seems to happen there,” Sindy mentioned. Lily shouldn’t have been surprised, especially as she probably had the answers to most of those weird happenings, “I’m a bit of a conspiracy theorist, you’ve probably heard all of those before though.”
“Probably,” Lily went along with it – it wasn’t a lie, after all, “Where are you from?”
“Torrance, not too far from you,” Sindy answered, “But way less exciting, I know.”
“Not at all,” Lily replied, “Nice to know I’m not the only one who’s pretty far from home.”
“Feeling homesick?” Sindy identified, “You’re not the only one, I promise. I’ve never been away from my parents for long before.”
“That’s the thing, I’m so used to my parents being away. They’re always away for work, and when they’re home, they’re still working,” Lily remembered, “It’s my brother I miss. He’s my best friend, and he always has been.”
“I’m the youngest of five, my parents kinda spoiled me,” Sindy revealed, “We’re sort of the opposite. My siblings annoy me.”
They laughed together. Sindy seemed pretty awesome; Lily was delighted to have found someone on the same wavelength as her. She still had hurdles to overcome, but having a friend nearby filled her with confidence. She could climb the mountain that was college.
Slouched down along the sofa, Dylan was already fed up. It was the last day of summer, and he had to spend it inside, away from his friends, because of some stupid virus that he might not even have. It felt lonely, even if he had his mum, Ed and Josh at home all day with him.
He and Josh had to adhere to the quarantine for two whole days, just to be safe. Though it was frustrating, he did understand it – keeping his friends safe was imperative, and the short-term boredom was worth it, even if every minute was starting to feel like an hour.
“Another?” Josh queried as their episode of One Day at a Time finished on Netflix.
“Dude, we’re watching the entire season today, we’ve got nothing better to do,” Dylan replied. It was basically a sick-day from school, and though it was far from his favourite place in the world, it was still better than being cooped up inside with no plans. Solitary confinement at home was no fun at all.
“Do you feel okay?” Josh wondered, concern present in his voice. Neither of them had to hide their worries from each other; they were going through the same stress.
“I feel fine, so far,” Dylan reported back. He had checked several times for any sign of a rash, but nothing was there. He was desperately hoping it was going to stay that way, too, “You?”
“Same,” Josh replied, much to Dylan’s relief, “Not getting my hopes up just yet though.”
“I’m sure we’ll be okay,” Dylan kept his usual level of optimism, but it was hard. The truth was that he didn’t know if they would be okay or not, and that scared him the most. It was his job to lead by example, but this time, he couldn’t do it. It was frustrating.
Dylan’s phone rang. The jovial ringtone contrasted massively with his mood. However, the sight of Jono’s name on the call screen was enough to perk him up.
“Hey,” Dylan answered the phone with a chirpy smile on his face.
“Look outside,” Jono instructed. Dylan went to the front window, taking a seat on the comfy cushions adorning the window bay. Outside, Jono had set up a small camp, with a foldable garden chair and a cool box for snacks.
“What’s this?” Dylan chuckled in amazement. The effort Jono had gone to was bordering on being extra, but Dylan completely loved it.
“Who said we couldn’t find a way to make this work?” Jono waved from the chair. He had positioned it directly next to the window so he could see inside, “As long as I stay out here, we can be together without breaking quarantine.”
Dylan’s heart melted. He was the absolute cutest – the fact he was committed to spending an entire day outside was unnecessary, but so very appreciated.
“Let me call you on Skype, then you can watch with us,” Dylan decided.
“You two make me sick,” Josh teased, “Yasmin would never do this for me.” Dylan laughed, but Josh was right. Jono was the best.
Though she was keen to start getting to the bottom of whatever this virus was, Sammi couldn’t help feeling guilty about leaving Freddie out. He couldn’t enter the bunker, which had temporarily become Mrs. Johnson’s operating theatre, for his own safety. There was no way Sammi was going to let Freddie compromise his own safety, so waiting outside was the only option.
“Why don’t you go and find Jono?” Sammi tried to suggest, hoping he could actually find something to do other than lurk outside bunkers.
“He’s literally finding any loophole he can to spend the day with Dylan,” Freddie fired back, “I’m many things, but I’m no gooseberry.”
“I could name a few of those things if you want,” Sammi teased. She loved to wind him up – it was why they worked so well together.
“Keep it,” Freddie smiled, “Leave the door open so I can listen.”
“Dude, you’re a werewolf,” Sammi reminded, “You can listen anyway.”
“Alright, so you can listen, then,” Freddie tried to dig for another reason, “I don’t want you to miss my contributions.”
“With a mouth as big as yours? We’ll be just fine,” Sammi teased, “But okay, I’ll leave it open, just a little.” Freddie was more of a hopeless romantic than Sammi first thought, and she loved it. All of the guys she had dated in the past were arrogant, self-obsessed douchebags. Freddie was a breath of fresh air.
“Are you done flirting?” Mrs. Johnson rudely barked as soon as Sammi pushed the door to, leaving a gap of about an inch for Freddie’s peace of mind. It was weird enough that her biology teacher was involved in this at all, let alone commenting on her love life.
“Why are we here?” Sammi ignored her, taking a spot in between Yasmin and Brett opposite her. Sat in the far corner was the lad they picked up in Los Angeles – she still didn’t know his name, but he looked extremely pale.
“I’ve been examining her all night,” Mrs. Johnson began, referring to the dead girl laid out on the desk between them, “Though the virus has killed her, it’s still present and alive in her body. It’s like an incubator for the pathogens.”
“Could we be carriers?” Yasmin questioned. Sammi immediately worried. She carried the body the night before, and proceeded to spend the night with Freddie. They even kissed. Could she have transmitted the disease?
“The pathogens don’t survive long in human bodies. They’re unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, almost like they’ve been engineered,” Mrs. Johnson continued.
“Somebody who wants every werewolf dead,” Sammi pondered.
“Hunters, we saw them before,” Brett contributed.
“This isn’t their style,” Yasmin rebutted, “They revel in the thrill of the chase, this cuts out the middle man in a way that removes their fun. Trust me, I’d know.”
“Who else could it be?” Sammi was confused. She was newer to this world than the rest of them. Werewolves weren’t a new concept to her, but everything this pack had experienced was. Everything she heard was yet another revelation.
“I don’t know, and that’s my concern,” Mrs. Johnson warned. Sammi felt nervous. Though she was safe, her family wasn’t. Freddie wasn’t.
“Hey, you!” she heard Freddie yell from outside. Immediately, Sammi sprinted out to check on him.
“What’s going on?” Sammi worriedly questioned.
“He was watching me,” Freddie explained, staring further down the tunnel.
“Let’s go,” Sammi decided. Whoever it was, perhaps they knew something?
Orientation complete, Lily was ready to destress. She hadn’t even fully started college yet, and she was already shattered. It had barely been twenty-four hours since her arrival, and it already felt like she had used up all of her energy.
However, Lily knew how to party. She could get up out of her death bed and start a party if she wanted to. Her flatmates were headed to the nearest bar for welcome drinks, and there was no way she was going to miss this. Age was no barrier.
“I’ll get first round,” Sindy immediately acted like the host – a girl after Lily’s heart. Sindy was undoubtedly the strongest bond she had made so far, but she was very keen to get to know her other roomies too.
“Watch me spend way too much money tonight,” Alex smiled. He seemed like a party animal too, as did Violet. Nicolas was acting a little more reserved so far, though. Bars weren’t everyone’s cup of tea, Lily knew that. No matter how hard she tried, she could never get Jono as interested in a rave as she was. At least he had Dylan, who also enjoyed the quiet life.
“My dad’s gonna hate me if we make this a regular thing,” Violet laughed with Alex, “Especially if he finds my fake ID.”
“You actually got one of those?” Lily was impressed. She had seen a few before, but this would be handy. What sort of students would they be without a little alcohol?
“I can hit you up if you want,” Violet suggested, “You’ll need one if you’re into the party scene.”
“Hey, I basically invented the house party,” Lily sold herself the best way she could. If there was one element of her reputation that followed her from Crystalshaw, it was absolutely going to be that.
“Now this is something I’ve got to see,” Alex sounded intrigued.
Suddenly, Lily’s attention diverted. A young man collapsed. He was shaking, convulsing violently on the floor. It looked like he was having a fit. Instinctively, Lily ran to his side. She focused on what she could see – notably a ferocious, painful rash. It was like nothing she’d seen before.
“Move back,” Lily yelled, everyone in the bar crowding around her like it was some sick form of entertainment, “Outside, now. Someone, call an ambulance.”
To make matters worse, Lily noticed something she shouldn’t have. The lad’s eyes glared a deep blue. He was a werewolf. Nobody else could see this. Lily couldn’t focus. She shouldn’t have to deal with this. This was her new life; it was meant to be a fresh start. The supernatural shouldn’t be there too.
Abruptly, he stopped. His body laid still on the cold, tiled floor of the bar. Lily checked his pulse – he was dead.
Amazingly, Dylan’s day hadn’t been a total disaster. He had kept the Skype link with Jono open the entire time, and it made everything feel so much better to still have him nearby. They had finished the full season of One Day at a Time, and the sun was starting to go down. Jono couldn’t stay much longer, and another lonely night was about to begin.
It took some convincing of both his mum and Jono’s parents to allow them to share a bed. His own mum was fairly easy to persuade – she settled on a promise of trust and the door always remaining open. Jono’s parents were more difficult, though. They were old-fashioned in their viewpoints, especially Steve. Jono seemed to chip away at them over time, and until the night before, they hadn’t spent a night apart in over a year. Ultimately, Steve’s biggest concern seemed to be Dylan being a werewolf.
Little did he know, though, that his own son was now a werewolf too. Jono still hadn’t told his parents about being a werewolf. It was a stress that Dylan remembered, and it was a big obstacle to overcome, even when they already knew about the existence of werewolves. They didn’t even know Lily was part-werewolf yet. It was going to severely rock the Chadwick boat when the truth eventually rears its ugly head.
For now, though, Dylan was enjoying their final calm evening. Senior year was one step away from starting, and Dylan couldn’t even attend the first day. It wasn’t going to look good, but at least he and Josh were in it together.
“Want me to write your initials for you?” Jono questioned.
“Huh?” Dylan was confused. Perhaps he was beginning to go stir crazy.
“Senior Scribe,” Jono explained.
“Oh, that’s tonight,” Dylan had completely forgotten. He felt a little downhearted to be missing Senior Scribe – he had heard of a few other schools doing it, but this was a first for Crystalshaw High. All of the seniors would write their initials somewhere around school, so they could leave their mark before they leave, “Yeah, please do mine.”
“Don’t forget me, dude,” Josh butted in. Neither of them had moved much all day, other than snack and loo breaks. The sofa was comfortable enough.
“You’d never let me forget, let’s be real for a second,” Jono chuckled cutely, “I’d better go. I’m gonna miss you tonight.”
“Not as much as I’ll miss you,” Dylan placed his hand on the glass window. Jono did the same on the other side. There was nothing Dylan wanted more than for the glass to shatter so he could feel Jono’s touch. Just another twenty-four hours until he got his wish.
With Jono gone, Dylan felt deflated again. He was grateful for the unexpected extra time with him, but he was selfish – he wanted to spend all day, every day with him.
“Hey, it’ll fly by, sweetie,” Caroline tried to encourage.
“No, it won’t,” Dylan replied honestly. It was going to be a long night, and no sugar-coating would change that.
“Listen, when I was a few years older than you, your dad had to go away on business for a couple of days,” Caroline told. Dylan loved to hear stories about his dad – it kept him alive and fresh in his memory, “It was the longest we had spent apart since we started dating, and I hated it. I missed him so much. However, he returned home with a bunch of flowers, a cute teddy bear, and a sparkling engagement ring.”
“You think Jono’s going to propose?” Josh blurted out, as if he couldn’t control himself.
“No,” Caroline laughed softly, “I think, when you both reunite, you’ll love each other even more. It’s a cliché, but absence really does make the heart grow fonder.”
“Yeah, I learnt that from dad himself,” Dylan confessed, a tear sliding down his cheek. Caroline perched next to him, pulling him in close for one of her cosiest, warmest hugs.
“Me too, baby,” Caroline concurred. Dylan felt like he should have been an expert at missing people, but it still hurt every time. At least this put things into perspective. He would see Jono again in less than a day.
He would kill for even five minutes with his dad.
Confused and a little concerned, Yasmin had no idea where Sammi had rushed off to. Wherever it was, it didn’t seem to spell good news – she had shot off in a hurry alongside Freddie. It was worrying when there was clearly something more going on. Someone had manufactured a virus to infect only werewolves – someone had a grudge, and Yasmin wanted to get to the bottom of it sooner rather than later.
“We gotta follow,” Brett sprung quickly into action – a little unnecessarily.
“No,” Yasmin sensibly thought, “They’ve got this. We can’t heal like Freddie can, so if they’re in danger, he won’t take any risks. Sammi’s too valuable to him.”
“I’m low key jealous,” Brett admitted, “Freddie’s a dork, but he cares. More than I have about anything.”
“He’s awesome,” Yasmin opened up, “You’ll find someone, Brett. It just takes time.”
“I guess. The guys on the team all take the piss cause I’m crap with girls,” Brett confessed. Yasmin had never heard him open up like this before. Buried inside this tall, stereotypical jock was a kind, vulnerable heart. Yasmin couldn’t deny that she vastly preferred this side of him.
“You should see my attempts at flirting,” Yasmin confessed, “Woeful isn’t the word.”
“At least you’ve got Josh,” Brett mentioned, “Must be weird, him being quarantined.”
“Yeah,” Yasmin sighed, checking her phone for any mew messages. Depressingly, all she had was a new Instagram follower – a spam account, at that. Josh must have been preoccupied.
“No news is good news,” Brett reminded her. He was right – Dylan would have let her know if something was up.
“A little help here,” Mrs. Johnson called over from across the bunker. In the corner, the lad had collapsed. He was completely still, and very pale behind the horrifying look of the rash.
“We need to get him to the hospital,” Brett suggested.
“Sure, if you want this to spread even further,” Mrs. Johnson was resistant to the idea.
“I think I know how we can deal with that,” Yasmin pondered, “You call 911, I’ll call in a favour.”
Channelling all of his energy into the chase, Freddie wasn’t giving up. In his view, anyone running away had something to hide, or they wouldn’t be running in the first place. They were being watched, almost definitely by someone who knew what they were doing. Someone who knew what the virus was.
Whether it was somebody who could offer help or not was still unknown, and Freddie was keen to catch up to them. He did not want to get ill, and was going to do all he could to protect himself, and others.
They approached the end of the run of tunnels, and there was only one way out. The ladder led into the forest, and from there, anywhere. He had to catch up, and quickly.
“Stop,” Freddie called out as the man leapt up the ladder. He was being too slow. Freddie followed, not even using the ladder as he sprung up. The derelict shed above ground was empty, no sign of the man he’d been following. Then he noticed him – through the window, several metres away. He wasn’t moving. In fact, he was staring straight back at Freddie. He was mid-forties, and didn’t look even slightly tired from all of the running. What concerned him most was his eyes – they were glowing a powerful, assertive red. He was an alpha.
Sammi caught up, panting behind him. She couldn’t run as fast, and Freddie often forgot that. He was so used to the company of supernaturals that human pacing was almost a distant memory.
“Look,” Freddie pointed at the man. He was still stood there, like he was waiting for a reaction.
“Oh my god,” Sammi sounded stunned. The man spun around and ran away as Sammi made eye contact, a smug grin present on his arrogant face.
“What? Do you know him?” Freddie was completely befuddled. He had never seen this man before – how was he linked?
“That’s my dad,” Sammi revealed. Freddie was stunned. They were drowning in the deep end all of a sudden.