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Series 9 Episode 3

After a whole week at college, Yasmin had hoped her sleeping pattern would have settled down. Unfortunately, she had spent the night tossing and turning, doing everything she could think of to try and block out the increasingly noisy voices in her head. Nothing worked.

Strangely, Yasmin had adapted to sleeping with a lot of chatter in her mind. It was almost a comfort, in fact; quiet voices whispering to her, soothing her worries. However, for weeks, if not months, the voices had been yelling, and it was horrible. Yasmin couldn’t bear it any longer.

Yasmin jolted upright. The room was jam-packed all of a sudden. There was no space to move around. People had somehow made it into her room, and they were shouting. Shouting at her. Oscar was still sleeping, oblivious. He obviously couldn’t hear anything. They weren’t real.

No matter how hard she tried, Yasmin could barely make out what they were saying. Everyone was calling out different words, and it was overwhelming. Yasmin felt claustrophobic. She needed to get out.

“Enough!” an authoritative voice demanded, controlling the others. Instantly, the room emptied, people fading out of view entirely. Only one remained. The owner of that voice. A man in his early forties with dark, slicked-back hair and a kind smile.

“Who are you?” Yasmin questioned. She needed to get to the bottom of this.

“No time. Yasmin, you need to listen. You’re not safe, and if you’re not safe, neither is Dylan. Your mind is being flooded. I don’t know how, and I don’t know why, but they’re coming for you,” he warned. Yasmin had no idea who he was, but she would have been stupid to ignore a warning like that.

“How can I stop it?” Yasmin probed.

“I don’t know, but I’ll do what I can to help,” he explained.

“Yasmin? Everything okay?” Oscar stirred. He must have heard her. Yasmin looked back around to the man, but he had gone.

“I don’t know,” Yasmin answered truthfully. She had no idea what was going on, but she was sure of one thing: she was terrified.

Walking into the lecture theatre was a strange feeling for Dylan. It was a world away from the classrooms he had become so used to. In fact, it made perfect sense as to why it was called a ‘theatre.’ Rows of seats ascended up the room, all facing a stage with a desk and computer. It was like he was about to begin watching a performance.

As always, Dylan’s saving grace was Jono. They had planned for so long to study journalism at college together, and that moment had finally come. It was strangely exciting – finally, Dylan could study something he was interested in.

“Okay, where to sit?” Dylan pondered. Naturally, he wanted to get there early; it allowed him time to prepare and adjust his mindset. As a result, they had a choice of any and every seat in the theatre.

“At the back,” Oscar insisted. Dylan loved how Oscar had joined their journalism crew – he just knew all three of them would be running their own company one day.

“Bagsy the aisle seat,” Dylan concurred. He needed the opportunity to make a quick getaway to the loo, after all.

Dylan led the way up the staircase, feeling like he was at the cinema, only without the pile of snacks. He took his seat and whipped out his laptop. They were expected to take notes, and Dylan was a far quicker typer than writer. Oscar had brought a tablet along, while Jono preferred a good-old-fashioned notebook. Of course, Jono sat in the middle – Dylan wanted him by his side.

Over the next ten minutes, the lecture theatre began to fill up. Everyone followed similar logic to the boys, heading for the back first before the lower rows were occupied, but the room wasn’t full. Everyone had their own space.

Nine o’clock. Time to start, but there was no sign of their professor. Dylan didn’t know who was meant to be taking their course beyond the initials of ‘RJ.’

Voices around the room began to whisper, creeping louder and louder in volume. They knew something Dylan didn’t. He focused on one particular voice, blocking out the others so he could get the gossip.

“No, they found him dead, maybe they’ll cancel our lectures?” the voice whispered. Dylan felt sucker-punched. Their course leader was the professor who drowned.

“When is this starting?” Jono wondered.

“Slight problem,” Dylan broke the news, “You know Professor Jenkins? He was our lecturer.”

“Shit,” Oscar was gobsmacked.

“Settle down please,” a young lady rushed in, flustered and panicking. She must have been the replacement, and it was already obvious that she hadn’t had long to prepare. Dylan was worried. This wasn’t how college was meant to start.

The sight of a lecture theatre was strangely surreal for Lily. Her mind associated it with so many bad memories from her first college experience. Nicolas. Jamal. Violet’s death. The memories of all of these had come flooding back, and it was more than a little overwhelming.

She had a pleasing support network in her first lecture, though. Alex was by her side, just as he always was. They made it through everything bad at Washington together, and they had earned this fresh start.

Within seconds of sitting down, Alex had set his laptop up. Lily provided the earphones; one ear each, of course. The best thing about Alex was that he could read her like a book. He knew when Lily needed her hand held. He respected when conversation wasn’t the first thing on her mind. He knew the right music to cheer her up on YouTube (Ed Sheeran, of course).

“Second time lucky,” Lily commented as the lecture began.

“Here’s to normality,” Alex concurred, raising his water bottle to toast.

“I wouldn’t go that far,” Lily laughed. She had accepted that normality was a distant memory. All that mattered to her was safety.

“Alright, the Lily Chadwick version of normality,” Alex laughed, “Not gonna lie, I kinda prefer it.”

“Life’s never boring, at least,” Lily chuckled.

“I mean, it’s pretty cool. Dylan’s a bit of a legend, and I’m part of his pack, I suppose,” Alex pondered.

“Definitely,” Lily confirmed. Alex had more than earned his spot in the pack.

“I like it. It’s the first time I’ve ever been part of something, you know? People didn’t want to know me at school. I didn’t want to know me either, to be fair,” Alex opened up. Lily’s heart always broke when Alex spoke about his childhood. She had definitely taken her own for granted.

“I like to think everything happens for a reason. Otherwise, life feels pointless. We go through so much, it’s all got to lead somewhere, right?” Lily thought aloud.

“You’re so cute when you make no sense,” Alex laughed.

“Shut up,” Lily giggled, “The point is, everything you went through happened for a reason. It got you here, and that’s what matters.”

“Damn,” Alex reacted, looking impressed, “You’re great at pep talks.”

“That’s what therapy does to you,” Lily smiled, “Best decision I’ve ever made.” Before Alex could reply, Lily felt the uncomfortable sensation of her socks getting wet. Looking down, she saw her shoes immersed in a puddle. Someone must have spilt their drink.

“Gross,” Lily remarked.

“Um, Lil,” Alex’s good mood faded away, morphing into a look of horror and concern, “Look behind you.”

Nervously, Lily rotated around. Lying below the seats in the row behind was a body. A dead body. It was a young male, lying face down in the water – just like the professor.

“Shit,” Lily uttered. They had to do something, “Um, okay, we’ve got a dead body behind us and a theatre full of people. How do we handle this?”

“Scream?” Alex suggested. Sure, it would be a normal reaction, but they didn’t need extra attention drawn to it.

“Fire alarm,” Lily spotted. There was one just a couple of metres away, along the side wall. Lily quickly ran and slammed her elbow into it, the alarm immediately sounding. Quickly, the lecture theatre began to empty, confused faces glaring at Lily wondering where the fire was supposed to be.

With the job done, Lily whipped out her phone. The dead body was Ed’s territory, but the siren was hers. Already, too many lives had been lost.

Firmly shoving her chemistry textbook back into her locker, Sammi was slowly getting into the swing of senior year. Everybody seemed surprisingly chilled, and free periods were an absolute blessing. Studying at her own pace with a cup of tea was the dream.

Oddly, Felix had been one of the best parts of the year too. His endless stream of questions kept Sammi occupied, and Jeremy’s ridiculous plan seemed to have worked – he was on their side, and seemed invested in their friendship on a personal level. Conversations had progressed beyond a werewolf question-and-answer session, and Felix seemed truly happy to hang out with them both.

“That is the tidiest locker I’ve ever seen,” Felix remarked, joining her. His locker was just a couple of columns along.

“I think I learnt how to be organised when I was with Freddie,” Sammi mentioned, “I didn’t mind, he couldn’t help it.” Of course, Sammi would never have chastised Freddie for something his ADHD held over him.

“I hate messiness,” Felix replied. It was the worst attempt at flirting ever, but she knew the angle he was going for.

“Yeah?” Sammi smiled. She wasn’t sure how much she believed him – his hair was completely unkempt and he probably didn’t own a comb. That said, she knew appearances could be deceiving; her dad taught her that. An awkward silence followed. Neither knew how to react.

“Look, I was wondering,” Felix tentatively broke the quiet, “Would you like to go for a coffee after school?” Sammi felt like all of her Christmases had come at once. The popular, hot guy was asking her on a date? It was a wild fantasy, but not any longer.

“Yes,” Sammi confidently said. Felix blushed. He was too adorable.

“Without Jeremy, no offence,” Felix clarified, as if his intentions weren’t clear.

“I got that,” Sammi grinned.

“Cool,” Felix smiled gleefully, “I’ve been wanting to ask that for ages.”

“Ages?” Sammi was intrigued. There’s surely no way he’d even thought about her before Miss Asahd’s pointless group task?

“Since you joined the school. I mean, you had a boyfriend, so I didn’t say anything,” Felix explained.

“I suppose every cloud has a silver lining,” Sammi playfully replied. Something felt so perfectly right about Felix. She was on cloud nine.

Though he preferred to pretend otherwise, Josh had been extremely nervous to make a start on his course. High school had been a slog in so many ways, and he had graduated by a whisker. Even then, Yasmin’s helping hand was his biggest driving force. College was another huge obstacle, and one Josh didn’t feel confident in jumping.

However, the lecture had been surprisingly enjoyable. Time had flown by, and the course was shaping up well. This time, he had to motivate himself. Yasmin wasn’t on his course. In fact, none of the pack were. He had to be his own motivation.

Everyone’s lectures had finished for the day, and Josh had joined most of the pack in one of the study rooms just opposite the dorms. Yasmin was next to him at their table, while Dylan, Jono and Oscar were opposite.

“At least yours went smoothly,” Jono groaned, “Turns out our lecturer was Professor Jenkins, who’s currently in the morgue.”

“Shit,” Josh was taken aback, “Have you told Ed?”

“He’s snowed under,” Dylan replied, “I mean, he can’t exactly write ‘psycho siren’ on the police report. There’s a full investigation and everything.”

“The CCTV’s bust, they’ve got no chance,” Jono mentioned.

“At the restaurant, yeah,” Oscar added.

“Wait, what do you mean?” Josh was confused.

“There’s CCTV all over this place. There’s bound to be footage outside the restaurant,” Oscar explained.

“Footage that could show a siren,” Dylan worried, “We need to get there first.”

“How? Ed’s not here, there’s no way we’re getting access-all-areas without him,” Josh reasoned.

“I think he might be,” Jono looked up from his phone, “Lily’s with him now. There’s another body. A student, this time.”

“Why?” Yasmin spoke up for the first time since Josh arrived. She looked distracted, distant even. Josh knew when things weren’t okay with her.

“Why what?” Dylan queried, confused.

“Why a student? A professor first, a student second, what’s the link?” Yasmin questioned. As always, she thought logically and sensibly, and she was right. Nothing happened for no reason.

“Then we split up,” Dylan decided, “Jono, Oscar and I will find Ed and Lily. Yasmin and Josh, find Freddie and do some research on Jenkins and this kid.”

“I’ve found Freddie already,” Josh sighed, looking to the far end of the room. Freddie was sat in one of the booths, snogging Summer’s face off. It was borderline grotesque, and it looked like he hadn’t stopped for breath in half an hour.

“Yikes,” Dylan’s face scrunched up, “They’ve been like that for days.”

“Tonsil tennis is too addictive, clearly,” Oscar frowned.

“Spoken from experience,” Josh teased. Oscar raised an eyebrow but couldn’t help laughing, “Okay, I’ll take one for the team, but you all owe me.”

Josh sauntered over to Freddie, turning his bravado level up to eleven. He needed his sense of humour to be easily accessible in this situation, “Alright lover boy, it’s time to get to work.”

Freddie paused the kiss momentarily, looking up at Josh, “Huh? My lecture’s over?” The snog resumed as if Josh wasn’t there.

“No, dude, we need you. Now,” Josh persisted, wishing the unpleasant sight of their PDA would cease.

“He’s busy, sorry,” Summer brushed him off. Josh was gobsmacked. This wasn’t the Freddie he’d known for so long. He was worried about him.

The café down town was a gorgeously tranquil place, and Sammi thought it was the perfect location for a date. It was quiet, pretty, and comfortable, and all of those mattered when it was Sammi’s first proper date. Her dad hadn’t allowed her to date, and with Freddie, things felt somewhat different among the pack environment. The traditional concept of dating felt new, and she was both nervous and excited to delve into it with Felix.

Felix was already waiting patiently for her at a table. He’d picked out a smart shirt, though his hair had been left traditionally untamed. He looked amazing in Sammi’s eyes.

“Hey,” Felix grinned chirpily at her, “Wow, you look incredible.”

“It’s nothing,” Sammi downplayed her effort, as if she hadn’t spent half an hour deciding on what outfit to wear, “You look great, though.”

“You’re too kind,” Felix looked like the cat that got the cream, “Sorry, I feel kinda awkward.”

“Don’t,” Sammi took her seat opposite him, “I don’t bite. I’m not a werewolf, remember?” Felix laughed, thankfully appreciating her joke.

“Would you ever want to be?” Felix wondered, “I’ve been thinking about that a lot. Most of your friends are werewolves, or something else. What about you?”

“Starting with the big questions, I like it,” Sammi bought herself some thinking time, “I don’t know. It’s weird, I’m so immersed in all things supernatural, but I’ve never really thought about it. I just help my friends when they need it, because we’re privileged. Who else knows about werewolves? Almost no-one.”

“Nice answer,” Felix approved.

“Go on then, what about you?” Sammi probed. It was clear that this had been the only thing on his mind for days.

“At first, I thought no, definitely not. Werewolves seemed scary. Every time you see a werewolf on TV, it’s dangerous and people are killed. I thought I had to protect myself. I’ve realised that’s not the case, though,” Felix explained, “I was wrong.”

“You know, the first time I saw my dad’s eyes glow, I was horrified. I had good reason with him, but at the time, I knew nothing about werewolves. Jono and Dylan showed me that being a werewolf doesn’t mean you stop being human,” Sammi opened up. A week before, she would have scoffed at the idea of speaking so openly with Felix. It felt like a strange dream, “So what’s your answer?”

“It depends whether you’re cool dating a werewolf or not,” Felix winked. His charm was irresistible; Sammi loved it.

“Dude, I’ve been there and done that,” Sammi laughed, “Besides, most of my family are werewolves.”

“Well, yes, then. Being a werewolf would be awesome,” Felix confessed. Sammi smiled at him. She wasn’t sure whether Felix would ever get his wish, but he would definitely make a positive addition to the pack, “Can you do that? Can you make it happen?”

Sammi froze. There was a huge difference between wanting to be a werewolf, and taking steps towards it actually happening. She wasn’t sure what to do.

Dylan felt overcome by sadness. Seeing dead bodies never got any easier, particularly when they were so young. This boy was the same age as him. He came to college with the same hopes and dreams as Dylan, and everyone else for that matter. The siren had taken those opportunities from him.

Alongside Jono and Oscar, Dylan had reunited with a shaken Lily and Alex, and Ed had escorted them to view the CCTV footage. Dylan was concerned about what they would find. The murders were sloppy, which meant there was an ulterior motive. The siren wanted attention, and they were certainly getting it.

“What the heck is a siren?” Ed, as usual, was confused. His mind was logical and methodical, and the supernatural world required him to step outside that.

“Water-based creature,” Jono answered.

“I thought that was a nix,” Ed pondered. Dylan had to conceal an affectionate laugh. Ed never changed.

“Think of it as being like a doctor and a nurse. They’re similar, but not the same,” Dylan tried to assist.

“Which one’s which?” Ed tried to process.

“It doesn’t matter,” Dylan chuckled, “We’ll know it when we see it.”

“And if we see it, we need to make sure nobody else does,” Oscar added.

“It’s only a matter of time,” Lily mentioned, “These murders are happening in public places. Someone’s bound to see before long.”

“Why, though?” Alex wondered, “Why would they risk being exposed?”

“Maybe that’s the point,” Dylan worried. If someone was looking to get caught, it put all of them at risk.

“Or they’re just sloppy,” Jono hopefully added. Dylan certainly wanted him to be right.

“Here it is,” Ed paused the footage. A girl was lurking outside the lecture theatre, her back to the camera. The footage was so grainy and in black-and-white, making it near impossible to work out who it was.

“Can you enhance it?” Oscar enquired.

“This is the best we’ve got, sorry,” Ed answered, “About as much use as a chocolate teapot, I know.”

“Hold on,” Jono intervened. He paused the footage. The girl had turned her face to the side. They could see who it was.

“That looks like…” Oscar recognised.

“Like who?” Lily was confused, but Dylan knew. It hadn’t been that long since he last saw her.

“It is,” Dylan confirmed, “Come on.” It was a race against time.

Yasmin thought that a distraction was exactly what she needed. Her nights had been getting crazier and crazier, and it was beginning to consume her daytimes too. A redirection of her thoughts was just what Yasmin thought she needed, but she was wrong. She couldn’t focus her mind on anything.

Nevertheless, her research on Professor Jenkins wasn’t getting her anywhere. A name like Alan Jenkins was far too standard for Google to yield any relevant results, and they didn’t even know the name of the second victim yet. So much for finding a link.

“I can’t get in,” Josh sighed. He was trying to hack the college system with no luck. That was usually Freddie’s job.

“What’s up with him? He never turns us down,” Yasmin pondered. Freddie hadn’t been himself for a few days.

“A girl,” Josh replied quickly.

“Hey,” Yasmin interrupted, “Don’t be sexist.”

“I didn’t say all girls,” Josh defended playfully, “It began when he met Summer, though.”

“He’s attached to her hip,” Yasmin agreed.

“It’s grotesque,” Josh winced. Yasmin agreed, picturing the thought of Freddie and Summer snogging each other’s faces off, “Away from that, how are you?”

“Fine,” Yasmin lied.

“You’re not as good a liar as you think you are,” Josh sussed. Yasmin sighed. She didn’t want to get into it, but Josh was like a dog with a bone. He wasn’t going to let this go.

“I’ve been seeing things,” Yasmin began, “I know that’s not exactly news, but more than usual. So many people.”

“How long’s this been happening for?” Josh looked sincerely worried about her.

“A few months,” Yasmin answered, “And it’s getting worse.”

“Why didn’t you say?” Josh looked deeply saddened. Yasmin knew it wasn’t because he’d been left in the dark, but because he couldn’t have helped.

“I don’t know. I guess I thought it would go away,” Yasmin sighed, “They were shouting last night. That guy…”

“Guy? What guy?” Josh queried.

“I didn’t recognise him, but he controlled the voices. He said I’m in danger. He mentioned Dylan,” Yasmin recalled.

“And he’s…” Josh attempted to process everything coming his way.

“Dead, yeah, he must be,” Yasmin considered. She only ever saw dead people in her visions, but not like this. Not this many of them.

“Okay, who does Dylan know that’s dead?” Josh logically considered.

“More than most teenagers,” Yasmin realised, “It’s a man, so that narrows it down.”

“Leadsom,” Josh instantly thought.

“Not him,” Yasmin replied.

“David,” Josh guessed.

“No. I said I didn’t recognise him, dumbass,” Yasmin scolded.

“Oh shit,” Josh had a lightbulb moment. His confused expression turned into one of deep worry.

“What? Dude, come on?” Yasmin impatiently nagged. If something was up, she had to know.

“A dead man who Dylan knows but not us,” Josh clued her in, “Think, there’s only one person.”

“Oh my god,” Yasmin realised, “Dylan’s dad.”

Staring blankly back at Felix, Sammi was struggling to find the words to reply to his request. She didn’t anticipate that he would actively want to become a werewolf so instantly. It should have been a pipe dream, but instead, he’d put her in a tough situation.

Ultimately, Sammi knew it was Dylan’s decision. He was the only one who could administer the bite, making it his responsibility. Knowing Dylan, Sammi wasn’t convinced he would go for it. The only people he’d bitten were Noah, Jono and Oscar, all when he had no other choice to save their lives.

“What do you think?” Felix nagged.

“Um,” Sammi paused. She didn’t know how to answer, “It’s not really my decision.”

You know Dylan, you could ask him, right?” Felix didn’t take the hint. How could Sammi let him down gently?

“It’s not that easy,” Sammi attempted to explain.

“All it takes is one bite, it sounds pretty easy,” Felix considered.

“Yes,” Sammi confirmed, “But it’s complicated. The bite doesn’t always turn you.”

“Okay, I’m cool with that, but it’s worth a try, right?” Felix interrupted. His excitement was overbearing.

“Dude, let me finish,” Sammi firmly requested, “If the bite doesn’t change you, it takes your life. The bite can kill.”

“Oh,” Felix’s enthusiasm fizzed out quickly like air escaping a punctured balloon. Silence followed. Felix had been knocked for six.

“Sorry,” Sammi cut through the now-awkward atmosphere, “I know you wanted it.”

“It’s fine,” Felix sighed, “I just thought it would be cool, you know? I could be like Jono, he was always such a good basketball player. Now I know why.”

“Jono was a good player because he trained and worked hard. He never used his werewolf abilities on the court, even though he could have wiped the floor with anyone if he wanted to,” Sammi justified, “Being a werewolf isn’t about cheating to succeed. It’s about finding the right way to make use of your powers.”

“How can you do that, though?” Felix looked baffled, “There’s no handbook, is there? Maybe there is?”

“No,” Sammi assured, “The key is humanity. Being a werewolf doesn’t mean you stop being human. Those who forget, they go crazy. They become the psychos and killers.”

Felix nodded. Much to Sammi’s relief, he seemed to understand. She held a hand out to him across the table, and he placed his on top. There was something so special about him, and Sammi was allowing herself to fall head-over-heels for it.

Flustered, Dylan was the first back to the dorm. The study room they had gathered in earlier that day was empty, and there was no other place he could think of to look. Troublingly, the dorm was empty too. It looked just as they’d left it that morning.

Panic began to settle in. Freddie was nowhere to be seen, and he was in danger. Dylan cared for Freddie like a brother, and more importantly, Freddie was his beta. Dylan had a sense of responsibility, and if Freddie was in danger, it was his job to help him.

“Nothing? Jono followed, with Oscar, Lily, Alex and Ed in tow.

“What the hell is going on?” an impatient Lily demanded.

“The girl was Summer,” Dylan informed.

“Who the heck is Summer?” Ed queried, behind the times again.

“Freddie’s girlfriend, except she’s gone, and she’s taken him too,” Dylan confirmed.

“How do we know? They could have gone out, maybe they’ll be back tonight?” Oscar hoped. Dylan had met his match in Oscar when it came to optimism, but they had to face the facts.

“He’s not answering his phone,” Jono added, “And he’s turned off Snapchat location.”

“His stuff’s gone,” Lily reported, checking the bedroom, “No sign of Freddie ever being there.”

“What kidnapper stops to pack a suitcase?” Alex was clearly getting more and more confused, but Dylan understood. It sounded ridiculous, but there was only one solution he could think of.

“He’s not been kidnapped,” Dylan reasoned, “He’s been brainwashed. The siren must have mind control. She’s hypnotised him into trusting her, and if she’s got him…”

“…then she’s got us too,” Jono realised.

“Josh said he wasn’t himself earlier,” Oscar recalled, “And they’ve been together non-stop.”

“I’ll get an APB out,” Ed decided. As Ed stepped outside, Dylan looked at the pack, who were all staring back at him. They were waiting for an instruction.

“We need to get a head start,” Dylan decided, “We have one advantage on the deputies. We know about the siren. We’re Freddie’s best shot.”

“What if he’s already dead?” Lily worried.

“We can’t afford to think like that. We assume he’s alive. If the siren wanted to kill him, he’d be dead by now, right?” Dylan justified, “So, who’s in?”

Everyone nodded. They were a pack, and were stronger together. Dylan was going to bring Freddie home; he was sure of it. No other option would do.

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Next: "Hypnosis"

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