Series 5 Episode 4
His first full moon. Noah was terrified. He was feeling the effect of the moon on his body and mind already, and it wasn’t good. He felt angry, furious in fact, and nothing had even gone wrong. Nothing more than usual, anyway. His dad still barely knew he existed. At least he had a home with food in the fridge.
That said, Dylan had already been a bigger help to him in the short while they had known each other. However, he didn’t want Dylan’s help that night. Noah was scared. He hadn’t seen himself shift yet. He couldn’t even get his eyes to glow. Was he even a werewolf? He was beginning to doubt it. He had no proof, after all. He wanted to know what he was before anyone else. Before Dylan.
Not taking any chances, Noah locked himself in the garden shed. It wouldn’t hold him that well, but it would keep him away from hurting anyone. Surrounding Noah was a selection of garden tools, a lawnmower and bottles of weed killer. It was hardly the nicest environment, but it was necessary.
Noah looked at his watch. 11:37pm. It was going to be a long night.
It was unlike Dylan to stick around longer than necessary at school. Usually, he would be the first person out of the door, but he had a meeting.
Standing in front of him was Miss Altavilla, leaning against her desk. Dylan had so many questions for her, especially as they hadn’t said a word to each other in a few days, even during lesson time.
All of Dylan’s cuts and bruises had healed, but it was only thanks to Miss Altavilla that he didn’t get anything worse. She was the only other alpha he knew. He couldn’t just leave it, as if it were insignificant.
“How long have you been a werewolf?” Dylan questioned.
“All my life. An alpha for the best part of ten years,” Miss Altavilla responded, “You?”
“Almost a year,” Dylan informed, “An alpha for eight months.”
“You’re new to this,” Miss Altavilla observed.
“Don’t I know it,” Dylan sighed. He felt useless as an alpha. He couldn’t even protect himself from the hunters, so how was he expected to help his friends?
“What happened the other day, with Jack and Dami, that can’t happen again,” Miss Altavilla explained.
“I tried talking to Dami, she didn’t listen,” Dylan tried to defend himself.
“It’s not your fault. People like that need to see the good in us, words are no good,” Miss Altavilla justified, “It’s why we need to contain it. Stop everyone else from discovering us, because as I’m sure you know, this world hates anything different.”
Dylan nodded. He and Jono still got stares when walking together through school. He wished it could be more normalised.
“We?” Dylan picked up on her word use.
“Your pack and mine. I hear your friends have already met my pack,” Miss Altavilla revealed.
“You’re Allyn’s alpha,” Dylan realised. Drew had mentioned that he had finally found her.
“Allyn, Kamilah and Monty,” Miss Altavilla added, “You and us, we can stop another war between humans and werewolves.” Dylan nodded. She was right. They needed all hands on deck.
Just downstairs, Yasmin was looking for answers of her own. Armed with her sample of the creature’s venom, she, Freddie, Drew and Josh were finally probing Mrs. Johnson. Though she almost never got involved, Mrs. Johnson always seemed to have the answers that they needed. Sometimes, Yasmin thought she knew more than she was willing to let on. Not like she was doing anything herself to help out.
“Do you recognise this?” Yasmin held the test tube out.
“I guess this is more than your usual chemical element,” Mrs. Johnson assumed, “Context?”
“It’s from a lizard creature that can paralyse you,” Freddie informed.
“From the neck down,” Josh added, “It wears off, but not easily.”
“I think I know what it is,” Mrs. Johnson revealed surprisingly easily, “It’s called a kanima.”
“Alright, we can call it by its name, hooray,” Freddie sarcastically hit out, “What is a kanima?”
“All in good time,” Mrs. Johnson calmly but firmly scolded, “It’s a shapeshifter, just like a werewolf, but more of a problem.”
“We kinda figured that,” Drew commented, “It hasn’t just killed people, it’s mauled them to death.”
“Werewolves have control, kanimas do not. They’re subservient and look for a master. If the kanima is killing people, it’s because it’s being told to,” Mrs. Johnson detailed.
“It came for me,” Freddie worried. Yasmin knew he was correct – she stood and watched as it targeted Freddie, barely noticing she was even there.
“And me, in the forest,” Drew added.
“You need to find the pattern,” Mrs. Johnson, “Between the bodies, and you guys. Find the pattern, find the motive, find the master.”
“What if the kanima comes back?” Yasmin queried.
“The kanima is strong and not easy to fight. It may not have control, but that doesn’t stop it being dangerous,” Mrs. Johnson reasoned, “And the person is probably not even aware it’s them.”
A shiver went through Yasmin’s body. Though she still wasn’t comfortable with what she was, she was grateful to be self-aware. She had to speak to Dylan about this sooner rather than later.
Preparing herself for a potentially rocky night, Lily was setting up in Drew’s bunker. So far on a full moon, absolutely nothing had happened, but her abilities seemed to be amplifying. She hadn’t noticed any special hearing until that week, and now she couldn’t ignore the conversations she was overhearing. Whether it was a blessing or a curse, she wasn’t sure yet, but Lily kind-of liked it.
However, this meant that the full moon could be a different story this month. Maybe she was slowly but surely becoming a werewolf? It was impossible to tell until the full moon. To take precautions, Jono would seal the bunker with mountain ash. He and George had already moved any of Drew’s valuables out. Lily was preparing to be chained up, which scared her even though she knew it was for her own good.
“I think that’s everything,” George said as he and Jono re-entered the bunker.
Lily felt her eyes getting heavy. Tears welled up and quickly trickled down her cheek; they were much more graceful than Lily herself. Jono instantly wrapped his arms firmly but not tightly around her.
“You’ll be okay,” George reminded, “We’ll be outside the whole night. Both of us.” Jono nodded. It felt good to have their support.
“What if I am a werewolf? What does that mean?” Lily desperately wondered. With new hunters emerging, she genuinely felt scared for her life.
“If,” Jono emphasised, “Let’s see how tonight goes.” He was right. Nothing was certain yet. The night ahead would reveal all.
Buzz buzz. Both her and Jono’s phones vibrated at the same time.
“Dylan,” Lily read.
With Jono and Lily’s arrival, everybody in the pack was finally at Miss Altavilla’s pack’s hideout. Dylan was taking in the sights for the first time. The inside of the little cottage was cute and immaculately clean. On the other hand, the outside had overgrown branches and disgusting walls; it was purposely deceptive.
Inside, both packs were gathered around the dining table. They had to work together, and it was time for proper introductions.
“Hey, what’s the deal?” Jono questioned after giving Dylan a welcoming peck on the lips.
“Plan of action,” Dylan responded, “And introductions. Jono, this is…”
“Kamilah and Monty, I know,” Jono smiled at the line-up of Miss Altavilla’s pack in front of them. Dylan forgot that Jono had met them before.
“Long time no see,” Monty smiled.
“There’s also Allyn,” Dylan continued as Allyn politely waved, “And Miss Altavilla.”
“You can call me Sierra, we’re outside school,” she noted. Dylan wasn’t sure how he felt about that – she was still his maths teacher, “So you guys are…?”
“Werewolves?” Sierra queried.
“Err, human,” Jono replied, almost disappointedly.
“Long story,” Lily answered, sighing. Dylan felt her pain. As he always said, not knowing is the worst feeling.
“Okay, what are we doing about tonight?” Dylan refocused. They had come together for a reason. The full moon was that night, and any werewolf hunter ought to know that it was the perfect time to strike.
“I say we hang low,” Allyn suggested, “Hide out here, they won’t find us.”
“I’m not staying here,” Noah firmly stated. He had spent every full moon alone so far and Dylan was beginning to get concerned. What did he have to hide?
“It might be for the best,” Dylan encouraged, hoping he could influence Noah positively.
“I was planning on using the bunker. You know, just in case,” Lily mentioned.
“You can both use the basement, there’s loads of room,” Sierra offered.
“I don’t want to,” Noah looked worried, as if his plan being changed was a big deal. Dylan understood, he never coped well with last minute switch-ups.
“Come on, let’s at least take a look before we say no,” Dylan motivated. He needed to be there for his beta.
“I’ll show you,” Monty offered. Dylan desperately hoped this would work out. He hated being out of the loop – it was time for an update, on both Noah and Lily.
The night was drawing in at the forest cottage, and Yasmin was passing time by staring aimlessly into the night sky. The moon always looked so pretty, and it was crazy to think how responsible it was for her life. It was so many miles away in the sky, but it had control over her friends in a way that Yasmin’s logical and scientific brain couldn’t process. It was just coming into view above the swishing tree tops, ready for what could be a rocky night.
“Everything okay?” Josh came and sat next to her.
“Is it ever?” Yasmin laughed knowingly. If she didn’t laugh, she knew she’d cry, “How do you cope with the full moon? You’re in control, but what grounds you?”
“A mantra I learnt from Clarissa, my alpha. It’s a Buddhist quote. Three things that can not long be hidden: the sun, the moon, the truth,” Josh explained, “I like it, it calms me down, I just repeat it.”
“That’s cute,” Yasmin responded, “Control feels so alien to me. I fought the kanima off with a burst of water, but I don’t know how I did it. It just happened.”
“How did you feel in the moment?” Josh queried.
“Protective. Freddie was paralysed and it was going to kill him,” Yasmin opened up.
“Remember that feeling. Picture yourself back in that room, feeling those emotions every time you need to take control back,” Josh advised, “For werewolves, control is linked to heart rate. I guess it’s the same for a nix. That’s not all that’s bothering you though, is it?”
“How do you know anything’s bothering me?” Yasmin avoided answering.”
“Chemo signals. I can smell your anxiety,” Josh explained. Yasmin sighed. She could be there all day listing her problems if she really wanted to bore Josh. She had no escape though.
“Yeah, it’s called sweat,” Yasmin laughed, before putting her serious face on, “All the time, I can hear voices in my head. Calling out to me.”
“That doesn’t sound healthy,” Josh observed.
“Voices of dying people. That’s what a nix is. The Bestiary calls it a harbinger of death. Hardly a cheerful prospect,” Yasmin detailed.
“Have you told Dylan?” Josh enquired.
“No, he’s got enough to worry about. Noah and Lily need him more right now,” Yasmin justified. She didn’t need to feel like a charity case. It felt good to confide in Josh, though. A weight had been lifted off her shoulders.
Keeping watch at the door, Drew had little idea of who he was actually looking for. That said, he knew the scent of a hunter from miles away. The rich, vengeful scent that reeks of fury, anger and terror all at the same time. He had seen more than enough hunters to be an expert at recognising one. He had hoped never to see one again, but this was Crystalshaw; the threat was always looming. It angered him that people could be so small-minded.
On the bright side, it was only two people. They could only have so much effect. That said, Dami was darn good at convincing people. School was already becoming a tense environment, and a few others were happy to beat Dylan up, so really it could be anybody hunting them by now. Drew couldn’t take any chances, especially on a full moon.
“You saw them before, didn’t you?” Allyn conversed. She was keeping guard with him. It was as if she had been listening to his thoughts.
“I was in the middle of it,” Drew opened up, He hated to think about what happened back then, but something felt right about discussing it now, with Allyn, “I lost people. People I cared about.”
“Me too,” Allyn responded, “Who did you lose?”
Drew never spoke to anyone about the outcomes of the war. It was tough. His nan still didn’t know the real reason his parents died. Her own daughter was murdered, and it was a shitty mistake. It angered him more than anything.
“Friends. My pack. My alpha. My parents,” Drew listed.
“Dude, I’m sorry,” Allyn sincerely responded. Drew appreciated it – she obviously knew how he felt, “I lost my parents too. They went down fighting. Sierra took me and we hid.”
“My parents were human,” Drew explained, “They had no idea what I was. They were collateral damage.”
A tear collided with Drew’s palm. His tear ducts weren’t used to this sensation. He thought he had no tears left to cry – obviously he did.
“I didn’t know your parents,” Allyn began, taking his hand, “But I bet they’re super proud of you.” Drew smiled. He would have given anything to see them one final time. Now he had to fight, for his nan. He couldn’t lose anyone else.
Answering a call from George, Freddie was confused. It was a Friday night, which meant he was at work, and never ever had he found a reason to call Freddie when at work. Something must have been up. Cautiously, Freddie held the phone to his ear.
“Hey,” he spoke as casually as always.
“They’re here, at my work,” George spoke nervously. Freddie was taken aback. He didn’t think George would be at risk – he was completely human after all/ Why would they target someone who wasn’t a werewolf?
“Okay, I’m coming to help,” Freddie decided on the spot, before yelling for back-up, “Josh, I need you.”
“No, stay where you are, you need to keep safe,” George ordered.
“You need us,” Freddie refused to give in. There was no way he would let his brother fend for himself.
“No, if they’re here, then it’s a trap. I’m not letting them get to you,” George firmly responded. He hung up the phone, much to Freddie’s dismay. He felt his eyes glowing. He was angry, and the full moon was coming. It was so easy to fly off the handle.
“Dude, remember your anchor. You’re here, with me,” Josh soothed as quickly as possible. Freddie grunted. He was going to rip these stupid hunters’ weak throats out, and he was going to enjoy it, “You’re better than this. This is what they want.”
Freddie listened. He thought of his mum. How he loved her. How he felt when she died. How he will never stop loving her. He calmed himself again, focusing on Josh’s face in front. He was back to his usual self.
“I’m scared,” Freddie confessed.
“I know, and if we’re going to save George, we just need to be smart about it,” Josh smiled. Freddie liked the sound of that. They had to be logical, or risk losing each other as well.
Much to Dylan’s relief, the basement of the cottage was pretty well secured. The only thing inside were stacks of cardboard boxes, as if somebody had just moved in. Lily seemed well convinced, seeing the metal doors that couldn’t easily be broken through. Her and Noah in the same room shouldn’t be an issue either – wolves are pack animals, so if they did shift, they wouldn’t harm each other.
Noah was looking sheepish about the entire situation though. Dylan didn’t understand why he was so bothered. If he didn’t shift again, maybe there was another explanation? He certainly had to be something; he was bitten by two alphas after all. Unless that cancelled the effects out somehow? Dylan had no idea, but he was desperate to know.
“What’s that door?” Noah wondered, pointing to the far end of the room. Dylan hadn’t spotted that before. It was an identical metal door on the opposite end of the reasonably sized, dimly lit basement.
“Emergencies only. It’s a tunnel if we need to escape,” Monty explained, “This is where you guys will be tonight.”
Monty showed them a set of restraints. There were handcuffs and chains ready to secure them in place. Another set was at the opposite end of the room, situated halfway between both doors.
“Looks pretty secure,” Lily observed, walking over to the other pair while Monty helped Noah get strapped in.
“Sure does,” Dylan followed her, “Are you sure you want to do this?” He was scared on her behalf. If she really could hear like a werewolf now, who knew what else she could do?
“I have to. I don’t want to hurt anyone,” Lily justified.
“You won’t,” Dylan firmly told her. Lily didn’t have a bad bone in her body. There was no way she would hurt anyone.
“I will. The wolf, if it’s there, doesn’t care about you or the others,” Lily reasoned. Dylan knew from experience that she was right. Regretfully, he helped tighten the restraints on her wrists. They were Velcro, wrapped tightly several times around Lily’s wrists, “Don’t leave me.” Dylan had no intention of leaving her alone.
“Let me get Jono,” Dylan mentioned. Lily needed all the familiarity she could get. He wanted to be as quick as possible though; a few moments alone could feel like a lifetime.
Watching Dylan get up and leave the room, Noah felt that extra bit more worried. If he was going to spend the full moon in the company of anyone, he would definitely pick Dylan. He was the least judgemental person that Noah knew. He wanted the best for him, and whether Noah was actually a werewolf or not, he was proud to be Dylan’s beta.
Monty tightened the final strap – around his forehead. Noah winced, the sensation feeling alien to him.
“Sorry, is that too tight?” Monty gently questioned.
“No, it’s fine,” Noah responded, “I’m just not used to this. It feels weird.”
“I’d be worried if this didn’t feel weird,” Monty empathised, “It’s scary. I remember doing it after I got bitten.”
“How did you learn?” Noah enquired. Monty was easy to talk to. It was nice to have someone else who understood.
“Like this, in a similar basement. Sierra taught me everything I know,” Monty recalled.
“How long ago was that?” Noah wondered.
“Three years ago,” Monty replied, “I’m the baby of the pack, and don’t I know it.”
“I know that feeling,” Noah related. He certainly felt like the baby in Dylan’s pack. He got on with everybody, but they had known each other that bit longer. Noah felt some extra distance.
“Hey, whether you’re a werewolf or not, you’re involved. You’re in their pack. Don’t let them forget it,” Monty reminded. He was pretty good with words. He felt safe with Monty. He knew what he was talking about.
“Please don’t leave me,” Noah begged. He needed the company and reassurance. He wanted it.
“I’m not going anywhere,” Monty confirmed. He took Noah’s restrained hand, holding it tightly. Noah looked into Money’s glistening eyes. He was pretty damn cute, and he made Noah feel magical inside. Perhaps this wouldn’t be so bad after all.
Bounding back up the stairs to the cottage living room, Dylan immediately locked eyes with Jono. He was waiting there like an excitable puppy dog, but he didn’t seem so excited. Dylan understood – he knew if Josh was in Lily’s situation, he’d be similarly antsy.
“She’s okay,” Dylan immediately relayed. He could see that Jono was desperate for news, “She needs you.” Jono visibly breathed a sigh of relief.
“Thank you,” Jono smiled, planting the most gorgeous kiss on Dylan’s lips. He rushed off down to the basement, with Dylan about to follow when Freddie grabbed his arm.
“They’ve got George,” Freddie announced, “He’s surrounded at work.” Instantly, Dylan felt a shiver travel down his spine. Jake and Dami were playing smart, and it terrified him.
“It’s gotta be a trap,” Josh added.
“But we can’t just leave him there,” Freddie reasoned.
“Of course not,” Dylan replied firmly. He could almost hear the cogs turning in his brain, going through every solution he could find. He didn’t work too well under pressure; it was like they were on a tightrope that was seconds from giving way.
Then he had a lightbulb moment – Dylan realised the solution. He called over a pair of helping hands, “Sierra, those tunnels, where do they go?”
“What tunnels?” Sierra approached the group, obviously trying to keep her secrets. Dylan listened to her heartbeat; it was constant, but he wasn’t convinced she was telling the truth. Some people were simply good liars.
“Our friend is in danger,” Dylan detailed, “You need to tell us what you know if we’re really working together.” Sierra sighed, as if she knew Dylan were right.
“They go all over Crystalshaw. You can get almost anywhere across town through there,” she answered through gritted teeth.
“What about the nursing home?” Freddie desperately asked.
“If it has a basement, then yes,” Sierra replied, “But it’s not that easy. There are so many tunnels. It’s easy to get lost.”
“I’ll chance it,” Freddie immediately decided.
“Me too,” Josh decided.
“Down here,” Dylan directed as Sierra glared. She wanted the alliance, and it looked like she would be the one to break it too.
Rushing into the basement, Jono beamed as soon as he saw Lily’s face. She looked her usual self – her face smiled but her eyes told a different story. Perhaps a werewolf could smell different emotions, but Jono had to interpret them himself. A face can disguise emotions well, but eyes never lied.
“Hey, how’s it going?” Jono kept it casual.
“Just hanging out,” Lily joked, “I’m okay. I don’t feel any different yet.”
Jono checked his watch. It was approaching 11pm, and everyone upstairs was beginning to feel the effects of the full moon.
“I guess that’s good,” Jono thought, “Maybe you’ll be sat here bored all night while I talk you to sleep.”
“I never thought I’d appreciate that so much,” Lily laughed, “I owe you everything. I’d have gone mad without you.”
“I swear it’s my job to drive you mad, not do the opposite,” Jono smiled, “I’ve got you. Werewolf or not.”
“Help, I need help,” Monty called over from the opposite side of the room.
“Go,” Lily ordered. Jono followed her advice and ran over to assist.
Jono instantly saw the problem. Noah was looking different. He had scales appearing on his skin, gradually but consistently. His eyes weren’t human looking any longer – they were like that of a lizard. What’s more was that he recognised those terrifying scales and spine-tingling eyes. He had seen them before on the kanima.
“We need to get out,” Jono instructed.
Picking up her cup of tea made kindly by Kamilah, Yasmin was feeling a little ropey. Though the full moon didn’t affect her, she could tell something wasn’t right. She had a headache, something she almost never got.
Looking out to the living room, Yasmin saw Lily and Monty stood in the doorway. They were facing away from Yasmin, faces out of view. Slowly and spookily, they turned around in unison. Yasmin felt creeped out – this didn’t feel right. Their faces came into view. Both of them had numerous slashes all over their faces. Blood trickled out of every wound. Their eyes were lifeless. They were dead. Both bodies collapsed to the floor with a simultaneous thud.
“Yasmin?” Kamilah interjected, “Everything okay?” Yasmin snapped out of it, looking towards Kamilah, before looking back again. Both bodies were gone. They weren’t there, “You saw something, right?”
“They’re in danger. Everyone downstairs. They’re going to die,” Yasmin realised.
Back into the basement, Dylan was keen to give Freddie a helping hand. If George was in danger, it meant all of their families could be. Dylan couldn’t help picturing his mum and Ed. What if they got caught in the crossfire like Drew’s parents? Dylan would never forgive himself. It would break him. He had to make a stand and rescue everybody. If Jake and Dami wanted to play smart, he had to play smarter.
“Get out,” Jono ordered. Dylan was confused. Was Lily okay? He could see her from where she was stood – she was fine.
Then Dylan noticed. It was Noah, but he looked different. He was transforming. He was becoming the kanima.
“Get me out of these,” Lily desperately yelled. Dylan rushed over and began tugging away at the Velcro he sealed so tightly earlier, as Freddie and Josh tried to open the escape door.
While doing it, he looked directly at Noah. His skin was almost entirely covered in scales, but he was still visibly himself. His face, his eyes and his bone structure hadn’t changed. Also, he wasn’t trying to escape. He sat there, almost smugly, as if he were planning something. The sweet, innocent Noah they knew was gone.
Dylan was distracted from undoing the Velcro. He was worried and flustered, as if his hands were too big. The Velcro finally came undone, just as Noah broke free of his restraints. The escape door failed to budge. Time was up.
“Everybody out,” Dylan ordered. Freddie and Josh gave up as the room evacuated out the main door, Dylan bringing up the rear. The kanima was now fully shifted. Dylan shoved the door shut behind him, the kanima slamming into it immediately after.
“It’s Noah,” Jono exhaled.
“Never mind him, how are we meant to get to George?” Freddie desperately worried. Dylan didn’t know the answers. He felt totally lost.