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Series 6 Episode 3
"The Key"

One minute to go. Josh had his hands gripping his bag, ready to go home. Biology had been just as boring as always, and Mrs. Johnson droned on, and on, and on…

There were two things keeping Josh going, though, and both were occurring that night. He had a date with Yasmin the beautiful girl he definitely didn’t deserve to have. Together, they were going to Lily’s party, which provided the perfect chance to dress up and look pretty. Josh had a shirt planned ready – he had bought it especially.

The bell rang. Relief flooded through Josh’s body. School was out. Before he embarked on his trek home, he had to make a quick stop at his locker – there was no need to be carrying what felt like 500 pages of a biology textbook around.

Shutting his books away for the night, Josh made eye contact with a man further down the corridor. He was tall, and wearing a flowing white lab coat. Josh assumed he was working with the chemistry teachers.

The man approached, walking furiously towards Josh. Josh kept an eye on him as he zipped his bag shut and flung it onto his back. The man continued to speed walk directly in Josh’s direction. It felt weird and unusual. Josh paid attention to the chemo signals in the room – the man was determined. He had a purpose, and was on a mission.

Scared, Josh backed into the boys’ toilets and locked himself in a cubicle. This was probably nothing, but he had learnt to do better than assume coincidence.

The door slammed open. Josh could spot the bottom of the coat from under the toilet door. This was absolutely no coincidence. Josh kept watching its movement, but he lost sight. The man was definitely in the toilets, but would Josh have been able to run for the exit before he’s spotted?


A hand swooped down and yanked Josh over the top. He tried fighting it off, but he couldn’t manage it – the clasp was too strong. Josh felt a sharp pain entering his neck, sliding in like a needle. His eyes immediately began to feel heavy; he couldn’t fight it. He lost the battle.

Sprinting as fast as he could, giving the chase everything he had, Dylan was determined to catch up to the scientist. Whoever they were, they had a head start on him, but Dylan was confident he could catch up – he had speed on his side.

He followed them out onto the road, keeping them in sight at all times. He couldn’t afford to be distracted – it could cost him the chance to learn who they are dealing with.

Throwing a dead body into Jono and Lily’s house was absolutely no coincidence – it was a planned attack. Whoever this was, they knew they would be there, and they knew it would provoke a reaction.

“Dylan, wait up,” Lily called from behind, running too.

“Go inside, keep the others safe,” Dylan called back, without losing focus on the scientist. Dylan was gaining ground. Shockingly, the scientist vanished as if they were never there in the first place. Dylan was furious. How could they get away so easily?

“What happened?” Lily queried as Dylan grinded to a halt.

“I…I don’t know,” Dylan replied, scanning the area. Surely it couldn’t have gone far? How could they have vanished like that in the first place? It made no sense.

“Dyl, they know where I live,” Lily stressed, “They did that on purpose.”

“I know,” Dylan assured, putting on a calm front, “They’re trying to scare us. If they wanted one of us, they’d have taken us by now.” He wasn’t sure he believed his own words, but Lily nodded. She was calming down, and that was what mattered.

“So much for the party,” Lily sighed. She looked deflated.

“Hey, it was brilliant, you did an amazing job,” Dylan wrapped his arm around her, not wanting her to feel down, “It’s not your fault that this happened, remember that.” Lily nodded. This party was such a big deal for her, and Dylan wasn’t prepared to let it tear her back down.

Stirring in the glare of the bright sunlight breaking through his curtains, Josh didn’t feel well rested. His night had been interrupted by night terrors and bad visions, so he felt like he had barely slept at all.

To make matters worse, he still had to go to school, and he didn’t have the energy nor the motivation. He still felt shaken and on-edge. He knew Clara wasn’t real, but he hadn’t stopped seeing her. She felt real to him.

“Rise and shine,” Caroline poked her head around the door, “Come on, time for school. I don’t care what you got up to last night, mister, there’s no excuses.”

“Ugh,” Josh sighed, not wanting to move out of his bed.

“Is everything okay, sweetie?” Caroline entered and sat on the edge of the bed, gently caressing his leg.

“Long story,” Josh replied, “I can’t do this.”

“Look, I don’t know what’s going on, I’m guessing this is more Dylan’s area than mine, but you are strong, and you are supported. Me and Ed, we’re always here for you,” Caroline reminded. She had the best words of support.

“Hey you two, am I missing all the love in here?” Ed joined in, a cheesy grin beaming across his face.

“Yeah, but it’s not an open invitation,” Caroline winked, “Are you heading to work?”

“Sure am, though I could do with an extra pair of hands. Dylan’s sent me on a wild goose chase,” Ed explained, “Looking for werewolf scientists or something.”

“They’re real,” Josh shuddered at the mere thought of them, knowing what they had done. Ed and Caroline shared a concerned glance.

“You need me to kick their ass?” Ed offered, his protective instinct immediately taking over.

“Take no prisoners,” Josh gave his permission. It felt good to know all hands were on deck.

Glancing around the school grounds, Freddie was amazed at just how calm and casual everybody was. He had seen the scenes of panic and distress at Lily’s party the night before. The screaming, the dashing for the nearest exit, and the sprinting into the distance to get as far away as possible. Now, it seemed as if everyone was trying to forget it ever happened. After all, Crystalshaw was known for its weird happenings, and werewolves weren’t exactly a secret any longer, but nobody ever discussed it. Life went on. An unspoken secret.

Freddie was, so far, the only one at the bench, which was unusual. Yasmin was always the first one to the bench, except Freddie was unusually early to school that morning. He couldn’t sleep all night. He saw that corpse being wheeled out of Lily’s house; it was ghastly in every sense of the word. Not only did it scare Freddie, though, it upset him. The level of fear he felt on every millimetre of his body told the story of a brutal killing, and it hurt to even consider what that person must have gone through.

“You look like you’ve seen a ghost,” Yasmin joined him opposite, finally arriving with her small pile of textbooks.

“I feel like I have,” Freddie confessed, “I can’t stop thinking about it. About that body.”

“Same,” Yasmin concurred. Freddie felt relieved to know he wasn’t the only one, “Any of us could have seen the scientist before, and we wouldn’t even know it.”

“Surely we would? I mean, Josh knew something was up. They made him scared,” Freddie thought aloud, “Except, they don’t just make people scared. They live off it. They targeted the house on purpose. They could have dumped the body anywhere, but they chose there, for a reason.”

“You’re right,” it was like Freddie had lit a spark in Yasmin’s mind. She was suddenly deep in thought, as if she were processing everything, “They’re creating fear among those who can sense it. Chemo signals.”

“Werewolves,” Freddie added, “Josh and Monty are both werewolves.”

“We need to examine the other bodies. Find out if they’re supernatural or not,” Yasmin suggested, “If they are, we can narrow this search down.” Freddie felt both sceptical and excited – he wasn’t sure he wanted to see that body again, but nevertheless, all progress was positive.

Dylan’s maths classroom might as well have a revolving door installed, he thought as he made his way to class to meet his third new teacher in just as many months. Of course, the previous two had met unfortunate and rather saddening ends, so Dylan was hoping whoever he now had was going to have better luck.

“She’s really fit, you guys are gonna love her,” Brett commented, tagging along with Dylan, Jono and Drew on their way into class. Dylan raised an eyebrow in his direction, noticing Jono was doing the same. Brett corrected himself, “Alright, just me and Drew, more attention for us.”

“Hurry up everybody, we have a lot to get through, take a seat,” a young lady stood at the front of the room as Dylan reached the doorway. Immediately, he could see the appeal. She had perfectly tanned skin, without a single spot or blemish, and her dead straight hair was cropped precisely to sit on her shoulders. Even Dylan couldn’t deny – she was certainly pretty.

“Three faces I haven’t met,” she commented, stopping Dylan, Jono and Drew in their tracks as Brett slipped past, “Drummond, Chadwick and Marsden, I assume? My name is Miss Asahd. I’m aware you’re all poor attendees.” She must have been referring to the class they missed the day before. Dylan had to think of an excuse, and quick.

“Sorry miss, I had a doctor’s appointment,” Dylan responded. He was impressed at his speed and efficiency.

“So did I,” Jono replied, flustered.

“And me,” Drew added. Drat. His great excuse was now the worst excuse in the history of excuses.

“All three of you?” she raised an eyebrow. Dylan knew she’d have to be crazy to believe them, “Sit down please.”

Dylan felt guilty. He hated being seen as anything other than a model student. A little deflated, he sunk into his seat near the back.

“Sorry,” Jono whispered from the adjacent seat, “Are you okay?” Jono knew that the tiniest incident could make Dylan feel anxious and fragile, so it was nice of him to be so thoughtful.

“Yeah,” Dylan replied. He wasn’t sure if he meant that or not, but he knew he would be okay soon, and that was what mattered.

WHAM! The door flung open. Dylan almost jumped out of his skin in fright. The entire class had jumped back, eagerly looking to see who was at the door. However, nobody entered. Dylan was baffled.

“It was just the wind,” Miss Asahd went to close the door, before jumping back in shock herself. Something more was happening.

A hand shuffled its way inside. It was blood-stained with open wounds scattered all over the skin, with nails hanging off by a thread. It inched in further, the arm now in view. Dylan watched on in horror as they continued to push into the classroom. It was a girl, and the rest of her body looked just as cut up as her hand. She looked familiar. She looked like one of the corpses, only she wasn’t dead.

“Help me,” she cried out as the class gazed on in pure horror. Nobody knew how to react, not even Miss Asahd.

Dylan froze. He felt both horrified and deeply saddened at the same time. How could he help? What could he do?

Staring blankly at the computer screen, Lily wasn’t feeling productive. She had a free period in the library, and she knew she had work to catch up on, but the focus simply wasn’t there.

Instead, Lily found herself clicking between YouTube and Google; the former for music, the latter to search for a gossip website that wasn’t blocked by the school’s security software. Her mind was way too preoccupied revisiting the night before.

Though she had been living with it for a matter of months, Lily still wasn’t totally sure what werewolf abilities she did and didn’t possess. She definitely couldn’t shift, but she had the enhanced hearing, sense of smell and vision of the other werewolves she had met, as well as the improved healing. Beyond that, Lily wasn’t sure. Werewolves could sense emotions and track them, but Lily wasn’t entirely sure if that was within her skillset.

Currently, she could sense fear, but that didn’t feel surprising after what she had seen in her front room the night before. She felt scared, more than ever, but surely everyone at the party felt the same? It didn’t make her special.

In the corner of her eye, Lily noticed a familiar face slumped in the corner of the library: Josh. He was alone, minding his own business, and obviously not wanting interaction. However, Lily understood what he was going through better than anyone. Perhaps she could offer some wisdom?

“Hey,” Lily approached him, slouching down against the wall next to him.

“Oh hi,” Josh looked like he had been daydreaming, “Sorry, I don’t think I’ll be very good company right now.”

“Me neither,” Lily replied, empathising in the best way she could, “We can be moody together.” Josh raised a smile. He clearly appreciated someone speaking on his wavelength; Lily knew she would in his position, “I know our bodies can heal, but our mind doesn’t. We still scar like anybody else up there.”

“If the mind could heal too, do you think it would heal bad people? You know, maybe Clara wouldn’t have done what she did. Maybe I wouldn’t have done what I did?" Josh wondered.

“I don’t know,” Lily replied honestly, intrigued by his question, “Maybe that’s why our minds don’t heal. That would change who we are, and that would be wrong. Looking after our mind makes sure we’re strong enough to deal with everything bad that comes our way.”

“I want to forget, though. Everything I did. Everything she made me do. I buried it before, and I moved on, but it’s so hard,” Josh tearfully opened up.

“And you’re still that person,” Lily reminded, “You need to heal your mind on your own, god knows I’ve tried to heal my own, but the best thing you can do is keep soldiering on.”

Josh nodded. He understood. Lily knew she wasn’t totally okay, but neither was he, and if even a tiny part of Josh could relate to her, they could struggle through together.

“No way,” Ed denied, much to Yasmin’s frustration. She and Ed kept pace on the way to the morgue, passing through the corridoes rapidly while Freddie and Caroline frantically followed behind.

“Come on, all we need is ten minutes, we might spot something nobody else has,” Yasmin reasoned. She wasn’t giving in.

“I’ve seen the bodies myself. There was nothing to prove they were werewolves, I’m sorry,” Ed refused to back down.

“With all due respect, Sheriff, you don’t have quite the same insight as I do,” Yasmin reminded. Though she knew her nix powers were unpredictable, Yasmin undoubtedly stood a chance. All she needed to do was try.

“Alright, ten minutes, and I’m coming,” Ed insisted.

“Hold up, I thought we were looking for that scientist?” Caroline interjected.

“Change of plan,” Ed directed, “Ask about. Take Freddie, and this.” He chucked his sheriff badge to her, ensuring she would be able to get the information she needed.

As Caroline and Freddie backed off to the reception desk, Yasmin led Ed into the lift. Their destination was the lower ground floor – otherwise known as the morgue.

“How does this thing work, then?” Ed queried, “You know, your…powers.”

“I don’t know,” Yasmin replied honestly, “Just got to cross my fingers and hope.”

“Just the optimism we needed,” Ed sighed.

The lift stopped surprisingly smoothly, much to Yasmin’s bewilderment. They were on the lowest floor; the lift should have touched the bottom more abruptly. Yasmin shelved the thought – it was not a priority and she needed to stay fully focused on the mission.

Ed led the way to the morgue – a place Yasmin never liked to see. In any normal case, it made her uneasy, knowing she was surrounded by so many dead bodies. However, this was different. It felt even more uncomfortable, and a lot harder to cope with. The fear was immediately strong and present inside the room.

“This was the one from last night,” Ed opened up one of the drawers. Yasmin stared at the awful, gut-wrenching sight of it. The skin was barely there. The flesh, bones and organs were on display. It was barely recognisable as a human.

Yasmin cautiously but gently placed her right hand on its chest. She figured she needed to make some sort of connection with it, but beyond that, she was improvising.

The body felt gooey and squidgy, truly unlike anything Yasmin ever envisaged herself touching. It was repulsive. Suddenly, she felt a flash, as if she’d been transported somewhere new. Nervously, Yasmin glanced around – it was still the same old morgue, but Ed wasn’t there. She was on her own.

“They’re coming for you,” a voice came from behind Yasmin. It was female, and quivering with fear. Yasmin turned around to face her. She was young, even younger than Yasmin, and very pale, but undeniably pretty.

“Who are you?” Yasmin questioned, trying to pick up on every detail.

“My name isn’t important, not when you’re touching my dead body,” she replied. She was the corpse. Yasmin’s plan had worked, but she couldn’t help thinking she was violating her.

“Are you a werewolf?” Yasmin questioned.

“I was,” she corrected, “I wasn’t safe. You’re still not safe. Nobody supernatural is safe from the scientists.”

“What do they do? Tell me, I need to be prepared,” Yasmin questioned with urgency. She had no time for riddles.

“They’re human scientists, like you and me once were, but they have just discovered the supernatural and they’re trying to make sense of it,” she explained.

“What are they trying to do?” Yasmin wasn’t sure how this linked to the bludgeoned bodies.

“They’re making a monster,” she answered, “They’re pushing our bodies to the limit. Testing our sight, our hearing, our sense of smell, and our ability to heal. They burnt my skin to figure out how the healing process happened. I felt it all, and I died before my body could repair.”

“I’m sorry,” Yasmin felt horrible. She never thought she would hear the story of how someone died from their own mouth. It was rather surreal, and extremely distressing.

“It’s too late for me. Warn Dylan and keep your friends safe,” she advised.

“But where are they? The scientists, how can we find them?” Yasmin needed more information.

“No time. Find the key,” she vaguely replied. Yasmin was confused. They key to what?

“Yasmin?” Ed interrupted. She was back to normal. Frantically, Yasmin scanned the room.

“I saw her,” Yasmin relayed, “We need to find a key, that’s what she said.”

“A key for what?” Ed looked just as confused as Yasmin felt.

“I don’t know, but she said to find the key, and that’s where they are,” Yasmin continued. Yasmin’s brain was working overtime, and it wouldn’t stop until she solved the mystery.

It took a lot to make Drew feel scared. He had seen so much go wrong in his life that nothing ever felt surprising or terrifying any longer. That said, he couldn’t deny the strong feeling of horror when that girl dragged herself into class. It was unlike anything he had seen before. Hunters? Kanima? They felt like a walk in the park in comparison.

Everyone else was feeling the same. Dylan, Jono, Josh and Lily were sat with him around the bench, but none of them felt like uttering a word. Nobody felt like they had anything to say; nothing they didn’t all already know.

“Woah, who died?” Brett joined them at the head of the table, his forehead sweaty from basketball practice. For a change, Drew hadn’t felt like joining, and neither did Jono; it was safe to say they wouldn’t be as focused as they should be, “Wait, that girl, did she die?”

“No, you idiot,” Drew rolled his eyes, “She got taken to hospital.”

“Dude, she looked like that dead body last night, why are you not asking her questions while you can?” Brett intruded.

Silence followed. Drew had no response, nor did any of them.

“Come on, if anyone can fix this, it’s y’all,” Brett encouraged, clearly oblivious. Drew caught eyes with Josh – he looked so uncomfortable to be discussing this. In fact, all of them did. Why was Brett not feeling the same way?

“Can’t you feel it?” Drew queried.

“Huh? Feel what?” Brett looked baffled.

“Fear,” Lily added uncomfortably.

“Fear of what?” Brett genuinely seemed oblivious. A lightbulb switched on in Drew’s mind. The fear was unavoidable for every supernatural, but humans didn’t feel it. It had to be chemo-signals.

“It’s only us, we’re the only ones who feel it,” Drew realised.

“Only supernaturals,” Dylan added.

“You can get us in,” Drew suggested, “You’re not scared.”

“Woah dude, I never signed up to any of this, not after your interrogation last night,” Brett resisted.

“You’re a part of this now, Brett,” Jono reasoned, as sensibly as always, “You need to help us.”

“What if I don’t want to? No offence, but all of y’all got hurt. I don’t want that,” Brett argued surprisingly well.

“More people will get hurt if we don’t do something,” Jono justified. Drew was impressed – after all Jono had been through, he could so easily have warned Brett off, “Come on, man. Help us out.”

“Alright, whatever,” Brett agreed.

“Hospital, now,” Drew decided. Everything they could find out from that girl was a positive, and now they had someone who wasn’t too terrified to ask.

Dismayed at how unhelpful the hospital staff were being, Freddie was getting agitated. It wasn’t a difficult query, but everyone seemed to be talking to him like a stupid little boy, or an ignorant teenager. Quite frankly, he found it patronising.

“Any luck?” Caroline caught up to him. They had split up to try and cover as many staff as possible, though they only had one sheriff badge – great for an immediate sense of authority, but nobody would ever have believed seventeen-year-old Freddie if he carried it himself, so Caroline had to keep it with her.

“Beyond a few patronising remarks, no,” Freddie fed back.

“Not to worry, I was the same. Everyone kept telling me that this hospital is the only place in Crystalshaw where people wear white coats. No surgeries, no A&E, no laboratories, nothing,” Caroline informed, “Still one more stop, though. Follow me.”

She led Freddie over to the main reception desk, where a young man barely older than Freddie was perched, staring aimlessly at his computer screen.

“Good afternoon, I’m Sheriff Drummond,” Caroline held up the badge clearly so he couldn’t argue, “I need to know, where else in town utilise white lab coats as part of their dress code?”

“None, ma’am,” he timidly replied, “The hospital is the only medical facility in town.”

“What about any scientific facilities?” Freddie pondered, jumping in.

“No, none that I’m aware of, only here,” he continued, “Though, come to think of it, I’ve seen some people here in white coats who I’m sure are not employees.”

“In the hospital?” Freddie clarified. This felt like their only chance at a significant lead.

“Yeah, every day. Nobody ever talks about them,” he detailed, “They always walk to the lift and I don’t see them again for the rest of the day.”

“Alright, thank you,” Caroline closed the chat, just as Freddie’s phone buzzed. It was a new text message from Yasmin.

Find a key. I’ll tell you more later.

Freddie glanced around. Where could he get a key from? There could be so many in a hospital – offices, filing cabinets and staff-only rooms could all have keys.

“Where in a hospital might need a key?” Freddie thought aloud, “A key that links to disappearing scientists.”

“A door,” Caroline immediately responded.

“Where could they be without anybody noticing, though?” Freddie pondered. Then he realised; one other place that needed a key. The clue was staring them in the face the entire time.

“Did you find it?” Yasmin yelled, jogging over.

“I think it’s a lift key,” Freddie explained as Yasmin and Ed re-joined them, “They’re on a secret floor.”

“I knew the lift felt weird when we reached the basement,” Yasmin replied, not quite making eye contact with Freddie, instead glancing over his shoulder, “It felt like we had further to go, but there were no more buttons.”

“A secret floor? Come on kids, this isn’t science fiction,” Ed was sceptical.

“That key there,” Yasmin moved forward in the direction she had been staring. She picked up a key on a lanyard hanging behind the reception desk, as if she knew exactly what it was.

“The lift key,” Freddie realised. It had to be, he trusted Yasmin’s feelings implicitly – they were never wrong.

“Let’s try it,” Freddie felt impulsive. He wanted to figure this out. The jigsaw was coming together.

In the lift, Freddie immediately spotted the keyhole. Yasmin tried slotting the key in, and sure enough, it was a perfect fit. The lift doors casually slid shut, and the lift jolted downwards just as it always did. However, it was taking the four of them somewhere brand new.

Previous: "Visions"
Next: "Distraction"

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