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Next: TBA

Series 12 Episode 3
"Scrutiny"

Lily was exhausted. Another morning spent over the toilet. She had no energy left after five o’clock wake-ups all week, causing a sprint to the bathroom each time. Something was seriously wrong with her body, and Lily could no longer deny how absolutely terrified she was. Why wasn’t her body healing? It had been so long since she last felt so rough.

Any hopes of Lily going back to sleep were non-existent. As exhausted as she was, she was far too alert to sleep, and lying silently in bed wasn’t productive. Lily figured she may as well make a start on editing her photos, seeing as another duvet day was definitely ahead. So much for a fresh start at work after her father’s funeral.

For the first time that week, George hadn’t woken up to the unpleasant noises coming from the bathroom. He was clearly exhausted, but in a different way to Lily – he had picked up her share of the cooking and housework while she’d felt rough, and it was clearly taking its toll. He was feeling the impact just as much as Lily was, and it wasn’t fair.

It was safe to say that breakfast was off the table, but Lily was gasping for a drink. Water hadn’t tasted right while she’d felt unwell, but orange juice was hitting just the spot, more than it ever had before. Lily was letting her stomach dictate what she ate and drank, and it was surviving almost entirely on juice.

Lily grabbed the biggest glass she could find and emptied the remaining contents of the orange juice carton into it. Turning to head back to the living room, Lily caught sight of her reflection in the back door.

SMASH.

The glass collapsed. The juice trickled across the floor. Lily’s feet sported new cuts, even a shard of glass protruding out of her big toe. Lily couldn’t feel a thing, though. She felt trapped, frozen to the spot, scarred by what she’d seen.

“What is going on?” George sprinted downstairs, an obvious look of horror painted across his drowsy face.

“I…I…” Lily didn’t know what to say. She couldn’t articulate it, but she knew what the sight of her reflection had made her feel. She knew it wasn’t possible, but she knew what she saw.

She was being watched. Observed.

Stalked.

Panicked texts from Yasmin were the last thing Dylan wanted to see while at work. He spent the entire afternoon wondering why he’d been summoned to meet her, Jeremy and Ed at the sheriff station that evening, and every scenario he ran through his mind was a bad one.

His immediate thought was about Harry. They were the team trusted with investigating the different aspects of his death, and the Callahans’ threat was hanging over them, especially Ed. They wanted to know the truth, and every supernatural’s secret was at risk of being exposed.

Unable to wait any longer, Dylan speed-walked into the sheriff station on his route home, his tunnel-vision focus zoning in solely on the office at the end of the room. Dylan didn’t even knock, partly by being absent-minded, though he figured being the sheriff’s stepson gave him permission anyway.

“What’s happening?” Dylan frantically questioned. Ed looked exhausted, resting his head on his arms while perched on the edge of his desk chair. Yasmin was stood in front of the desk while Jeremy leaned against the wall; all of them shared the same nervous expression. Whatever it was about, it wasn’t going to be good.

“The Callahans,” Ed sighed, “They’re putting their feet down.”

“There’s no evidence, what more can they want?” Dylan immediately queried. The Callahans were surely pursuing a dead end.

“They want to see every single piece of evidence. Every forensic report. Every crime scene photograph,” Ed listed, “If they spot a single discrepancy, they’ll report me. They’ll report us.”

“But there are no discrepancies, right? We all said the same thing, but there’s no forensic evidence, and the CCTV was off. There’s absolutely nothing,” Dylan frantically processed.

“Exactly, but there’s no DNA at all. The entity had no DNA, and that applied to the people it possessed when it was inside them, but that makes no sense. Why would there be no DNA?” Jeremy detailed.

“It looks like a cover-up,” Yasmin clarified.

“And that’s the problem. It sort-of is a cover-up,” Jeremy added.

“What could happen if they report you?” Dylan wondered.

“I’ll be suspended pending investigation,” Ed explained, “And to be honest, Dylan, this town has far too many cases left unsolved. That won’t look good on the department, and therefore it won’t look good on me. I’ll protect you all to my dying breath, but nobody can deny how sketchy it would look. Let’s just say there are a few Ts without crosses.”

“Can’t we just tell them they’re not allowed to see the reports?” Dylan tried thinking of every scenario.

“Afraid not. It’s the law. They’re Harry’s parents, so any request they make will almost certainly be approved,” Ed answered with a sigh.

“Damn,” Dylan was fuming, “They stopped caring about Harry years ago. They have no right doing any of this. It’s not about justice, it’s about revenge on the people they think corrupted him. His friends.”

“Unless we can fill in the gaps, we’re screwed,” Jeremy added, solemnly shrugging.

“Okay, so where do we start?” Dylan decided. They still had a chance to outthink the Callahans. Dylan wouldn’t let them win. They had to cover all bases.


Passing Lily a cup of soup, Jono was at a loss. A panicked phone call from George in the middle of the night had worried Jono, and learning the full picture only stressed him further. Something was seriously wrong, and already, Jono knew he could do everything in his power to protect his big sister.

Unlike Jono, Lily was still a werewolf. Her body should have been able to fight off any infections, so how was she so ill? The fact her sickness had lingered for at least a week only made the situation worse, and Jono was confused by every detail he learned. They were in unchartered territory.

“Thanks,” Lily gently took the cup of tea from Jono’s hands. She had not long woken up from a nap on the sofa, but to Jono’s relief, she was sat upright with a little colour on her cheeks. That didn’t change what happened early that morning, though. It was still a problem that Jono refused to forget about until he knew she was safe, “I don’t feel as rough as I did earlier.”

“The evenings aren’t so bad,” George added, “Until the vomiting restarts overnight.”

“Your body’s not healing. We need to speak to someone, like Mrs. Johnson, she might know. She’s probably our best shot,” Jono considered.

“No, I’ll be fine, I promise,” Lily insisted.

“But you’re not, Lil,” Jono wasn’t backing down. Lily wasn’t okay, and pretending was no use to anyone, least of all her.

“I’m...I’m just scared,” Lily timidly admitted, as if she were ashamed, “I’m not okay, Jono, and I don’t know why. I feel like I’m going crazy.”

“Crazy?” Jono was intrigued. Vomiting and headaches were one thing, but if Lily felt she was going crazy, that went beyond physical pain.

“I saw something,” Lily opened up, “Something horrible. Something that I surely couldn’t have seen, but I did. I know I did.”

“And that made you drop the glass,” George realised.

“What did you see?” Jono probed. He needed to know more. Whatever it was, it could have been the key to all of Lily’s problems.

“I wish I knew,” Lily sighed, “I’ve never seen anything like it before. It was wrinkly, old, and it definitely wasn’t human. It was looking at me, in place of my reflection, and it was smiling. It was taunting me.”

“Jodie. It’s what she said. It’s coming for you,” Jono figured.

“We don’t know that,” George debated.

“Which is why we need to speak to Mrs. Johnson. She’ll know more,” Jono affirmed.

“Alright, Lily gave in, “Let me just…” She attempted to stand, but immediately wobbled. Jono rescued her before she hit the floor, his now-human muscles working harder than usual to support her.

“I’ll give her a call, she can come to us,” George decided, “Sit back down, baby.”

“No, I’m okay,” Lily tried her best to stand up again, but Jono’s arms weren’t enough support any longer. Lily hit the floor with a thud, her eyes closed and her body alarmingly still. Jono was horrified. Everything only seemed to be getting worse, and he was scared for his sister.

“Call an ambulance,” Jono ordered as he knelt by Lily’s side. They were out of their depth.


Shattered, Sammi collapsed back into her chair. It had been the longest day, and the longest week, and somehow it was still only Wednesday. Things had changed at Crystalshaw High in such a short period of time, and it wasn’t for the better. She never used to feel so worn down after a day at work.

Any chance of teaching the lessons she’d spent hours preparing had almost entirely vanished. Instead, the vast majority of her classes had consisted of behaviour management and pointless arguments about seating plans and expectations.

The one saving grace for Sammi was that nobody had gotten into a fight in her classroom that day. Three years of teaching and not one fist had flown on her watch until a week and a half ago; since then, there had been one almost every day. There was no teaching, only crowd control, and that wasn’t what Sammi was trained in.

“Still alive?” Freddie poked his head around the door, signalling Sammi’s saving grace: it was home time. Freddie working at the school gave Sammi the perfect cut-off time to stop her preparation and paperwork for the night and go home.

“Barely,” Sammi half-joked. Suddenly, classroom safety wasn’t something to be taken for granted.

Freddie perched on top of the front table facing Sammi as Jonah slumped in behind him. It was unusual to see Jonah staying late; they only lived down the road from the school, so typically, Jonah would sprint home, “Please don’t tell me you had detention.”

“I was actually in the library, we’ve got a math test tomorrow. I’ve not had a single detention in the last few weeks. Reformed character,” Jonah grinned, “I think I’m one of a minority not in detention this week.”

“I don’t know what’s happened. The kids are feral,” Sammi covered her face with her hands, the bags under her eyes beginning to claim victory.

“I’ve never seen it like this before,” Freddie concurred, “I think I’ve spent more time in the corridor than the office.”

“It can’t be fun for you, either,” Sammi looked back at Jonah, who averted his gaze towards his phone.

“Yeah, it’s not easy,” Jonah brushed off, much to Sammi’s confusion. He looked like he was hiding something, but what did he know?

“Have you seen something?” Sammi probed. She was determined to find out more.

“Me?” Jonah deflected again.

“Jonah,” Freddie raised an eyebrow. It wasn’t the time for keeping secrets.

“Um,” Jonah put his phone back into his pocket, “It’s probably easier for me to show you.”

Sammi felt nervous. She had no idea what to expect, but whatever it was, she knew she’d do anything in her power to make it stop.


Summoned to the sheriff station, Josh felt relieved to be abandoning the same four walls of his bedroom. They were growing more and more tedious, yet Josh had no motivation to get up and out on his own. Crystalshaw itself felt like a gigantic prison suddenly; it was hard to think that it used to represent all of Josh’s hopes and dreams.

Nevertheless, fresh air wasn’t going to hurt, and Josh was certain that Dylan was going above and beyond to include him, which was a reassurance. The last thing Josh would have wanted in his time away was to lose everything he’d built with Dylan.

Paperwork was flying everywhere in the office as Josh walked in. The mood was erratic as Dylan, Ed, Yasmin, and Jeremy were sifting through files of essays and photographs. The photos weren’t easy to digest, either. Josh spotted a picture of Harry’s bruised head, and another of the hospital floor where Harry fell. It was a bleak sight, and Josh’s confusion morphed into dread. This wasn’t just an outing hosted by Dylan, it was an extra pair of hands for a mission.

“Hey, take this,” Dylan frantically handed him a stack of folders.

“Wha…what?” Josh was baffled.

“Check through it, look at every single detail. Anything that doesn’t look right, let us know,” Yasmin directed.

“No matter how tiny it is,” Ed added.

“Our jobs are on the line,” Jeremy mentioned. The panic was obvious, and it was suffocating; Josh could feel it against his skin.

“I…” Josh tried to process, but he could tell the urgency of the situation, “Tell me later.”

Josh pulled up a chair and began scanning the first document he had been handed: a statement from the hospital receptionist confirming in writing that the CCTV cameras switched off during the lockdown. All seemed above board – not that Josh doubted Ed’s efficiency and attention-to-detail, even when protecting the pack – though there was a potential gap that he could spot.

“Hey, did you see if there are cameras outside the hospital entrance? You know, from the shops opposite,” Josh queried.

“What use would they be?” Ed looked confused.

“Eyewitness report mentions a doctor running out of the building as soon as the shutters lifted,” Jeremy noted, “No identification, and all staff when questioned denied leaving the building immediately after the lockdown.”

“The Callahans will want to know why you didn’t follow that up,” Dylan stressed, “They’re slimy, Ed, and they’re using Harry for their own power trip. I don’t want you to get caught in the middle.” Josh’s heart broke. Seeing Dylan like that wasn’t easy. He was the glue that kept the pack together, and if he came unstuck, they all did.

“Listen,” Ed kept a cool head, “When I made a promise to your mother, I also made a promise to you,” he turned to face Josh, “Both of you. I always said I would never try to replace your dad, Dylan, but to me, you are both my sons, and I will go down with this ship if that’s what I must do to keep my kids and my family safe. However, you best believe I’m not going down without a fight, and if I know Dylan Drummond as well as I think I do, he isn’t either.”

Josh propped his arm around Dylan. There was one thing they all knew for certain, and that was that they had each other’s backs. Not only did they have family, but they had the whole pack, and that was all Josh had ever dreamed about.

“Excuse me,” a deputy politely knocked at the door as he entered, “There’s someone here to see you, Sheriff. From the FBI.”

The intimate mood immediately sank down. Josh felt sick. He wanted to protect Ed, but there was nothing he could do. As he’d found out in New York, helplessness was the worst feeling in the whole world.


Quite what Freddie was expecting to be shown, he wasn’t sure. Jonah had led him and Sammi on a wild goose chase around the back o the school, all the way out to the bleachers surrounding the outdoor basketball court. Freddie was surprised Jonah even knew where to go; he’d never been sporty, much like both himself and George.

The court was empty, basketball practice having not long finished and the night sky seeping in. Even without the bright pitch lights, Jonah knew exactly where he was going. He’d seen it first hand, and that scared Freddie. What did he know?

Freddie noticed how worried Sammi looked, too. Not only was Jonah involved, the kid she had been a mother figure towards since she was eighteen, but it affected her job too. A job Sammi had worked tirelessly to succeed at. Freddie had been there a matter of days – he had nothing to lose – but how Sammi dealt with this mattered. It was on her shoulders.

“This is where it happens,” Jonah finally stopped a couple of metres underneath, but Freddie remained baffled. There was nothing out of the ordinary, other than students being out of bounds.

“Where what happens?” Sammi enquired, clearly as confused as Freddie was.

“The transactions,” Jonah strangely answered.

“Dude, please, spell it out. We’re obviously a few steps behind,” Freddie was desperate to get to the point.

“Drugs,” Jonah simply answered, “Not like any normal drugs, though.”

“What?” Freddie remained confused. Drugs in school weren’t a foreign concept, Freddie wasn’t naïve, but how had nobody noticed a full-blown drug dealer on the premises?

“How do you know? Please tell me you’ve not taken any,” Sammi panicked.

“No way. I got offered some and I played along as I was curious, it was this strange guy telling everyone about some secret ingredient,” Jonah explained, quickly clearing his name.

“Ingredient? What ingredient?” Freddie was intrigued. It was already clear that whatever the drug was, it had some alarming side effects.

“I think he called it mountain ash,” Jonah revealed. Freddie’s jaw almost dropped to the floor. A drug containing mountain ash wasn’t a trip, it was a weapon. The stakes were raised. Someone had launched an attack.


So many scenarios were darting through Dylan’s mind, yet not one of them was positive. It was no coincidence that an FBI agent had arrived just days after the Callahans’ threat, and that could only mean one thing: bad news for Ed.

One thing for certain, though, was that Dylan wasn’t going home until he’d seen Ed. Of course, the meeting between Ed and the agent was private, but that didn’t stop Dylan from waiting outside. He knew he could use his wolf-hearing, but that was a line he wasn’t prepared to cross. Ed was entitled to privacy, and all Dylan wanted to do was show his support.

“This sounds bad,” Josh commented. Of course, they had both stayed for support, just as Ed unquestionably would for both of them.

“Stop listening,” Dylan warned, “Ed will tell us when they’re finished.”

“I can’t help it,” Josh admitted, “I’m scared for him, Dylan. He’s gone above and beyond for us. We can’t let him take the fall, it’s not fair.”

“I know,” Dylan assured. It was unusual to hear Josh so panicked. Typically, he was the calmer sibling, “But we have to let this play out. We can’t help Ed right now, but once we know the full story, we’ll get to work.”

“It just feels like everything has gone to shit since I got back. Well, a little bit before that, I guess,” Josh sighed. He looked shattered, physically and emotionally. Dylan hadn’t seen Josh that way in a long time.

“Talk to me, Josh,” Dylan encouraged. There was a huge burden on Josh’s shoulders, but what was it?

“I will. I… I just want to get something sorted first,” Josh replied, “Then I’ll tell you everything. I want to, I promise.”

“Whenever you’re ready,” Dylan nodded, “I just want to make sure you’re okay. I need you, Josh. I’m so happy you’re home, it’s been weird without you, but I want you to be okay, wherever you are.”

“I am, I promise. I’m fine. Coming home was exactly what I needed,” Josh admitted.

The office door bumped open. The tall, intimidating FBI agent sauntered out, darting straight for the exit. Solemnly, Ed slumped out afterwards. He looked as if his entire world had been turned upside down. It wasn’t good news. It couldn’t have been.

“What happened?” Dylan rapidly asked. His nerves were killing him. He couldn’t wait any longer.

“I’m under investigation. Not suspended yet, but it’s probably only a matter of time,” Ed looked shattered and, most worryingly, defeated, “It’s not looking good, guys.”

“I’m sorry,” Dylan felt awful. His stomach had sunk so far it was almost buried.

“Why are you apologising? It’s not your fault, Dylan,” Ed quickly defended.

“You wouldn’t have had to lie if it weren’t for me. You wouldn’t even know about werewolves, let alone have to come up with elaborate cover stories for our sake,” Dylan blamed himself. There was nobody else to be held responsible.

“I think you know as well as I that that was never an option,” Ed managed to raise a smile, “It’s still not your fault, Dylan. Don’t ever blame yourself. My life was far less interesting before you were a part of it, and I’d change nothing.”

“Even if, you know, the worst-case scenario happens?” Dylan’s imposter syndrome was more heightened than ever.

“Dylan, you are worth so much more than any job on this planet,” Ed confirmed, “I’ve never met anyone who shines as brightly as you. If everyone was just a little more Dylan Chadwick-Drummond, I can’t tell you how much better the world would be.”

Dylan didn’t know what to say. He wasn’t fishing for compliments – far from it – but what Ed was saying meant everything. No matter what, they had each other, and because of that, Dylan knew they’d make it through whatever came their way.


The one place she desperately wanted to avoid, Lily kept wriggling around on the hospital bed, trying stupidly hard to find a comfortable position. All she wanted was to be in her own bed at home, or even on the sofa. Just anywhere but the hospital.

Ever since she started to feel rough, Lily was hoping she’d be able to power through. That whatever it was would pass. That, eventually, her wolf powers would kick in and she’d heal. Lily couldn’t have been more wrong. Waking up in a hospital bed to hear that she had fainted was the worst-case scenario. Things weren’t okay, and that unsettled her.

The good news was that Jono and George hadn’t left her side the entire time. Lily had requested that nobody else be informed – least of all her mum, she didn’t need to stress so soon after her dad’s passing – but the company she had made all the difference.

“Where is the doctor?” George impatiently paced. He was even more worried than Lily, and that said a lot.

“She’ll be here when she’s got something to tell us, stay calm,” Lily tried to reassure.

“Easier said than done,” George shrugged.

“Why don’t you both go home? It’s obvious I’m not being discharged yet. You both need sleep,” Lily encouraged. The day had clearly taken its toll on them all.

“I’m going nowhere, though I’ll need to text Dylan,” Jono insisted.

“Same,” George agreed. Lily wasn’t disappointed – she was a little relieved, in fact – but she knew they’d both end up sleeping on the hospital chairs that were even less comfortable than the bed she was on.

“Just don’t complain when your backs ache in the morning,” Lily chuckled. The two dorks beside her were her only source of entertainment.

To Lily’s relief, the doctor slipped into the room. The company had distracted her from the anxiety of waiting for her test results, but she wasn’t sure she could last any longer. She needed to know.

“Hi Lily, may we speak in private please?” the doctor quickly and concerningly questioned.

“Um, sure,” Lily agreed, nodding to George and Jono, giving them permission to sneak out of the room, but all that replaced their presence was an eerie, awkward silence. Lily felt sick; this time, with nerves.

“Your results showed nothing abnormal. You’ll be fine to go home tonight,” the doctor explained.

“Okay,” Lily apprehensively replied. There was more to come. She wasn’t ready to celebrate yet, “What else?”

“The urine sample showed something. Something that explains most of the symptoms you’ve been experiencing,” the doctor continued, “You’re pregnant.”

Lily’s face dropped. She had no words. It couldn’t be true, could it? She didn’t know what to think. What could she do?

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Next: TBA

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