“She’s here? How do you mean ‘here’?” Liam asked Theo.
“In Beacon Hills. She threw a brick through your window, she knew Becky was there” Theo explained.
“And you let her straight to us” Hayden added, annoyed, “We’ve got to get out of here.”
“Wait, we don’t even know who she is?” Liam mentioned. It was true, they were scared of a murderer and had every right to be, but why was she specifically targeting supernatural creatures? They knew nothing about her, not even a name at this point.
“She’s Thomas’ mom” Nolan informed. He’d just arrived from the canteen, “And there’s a woman you need to see.” He looked at Liam, who looked confused as to who it might be.
“Oi! All of you! Inside now!” Coach yelled from the exit. As he shouted, the school bell rang – not to signal the students leaving, but to call them inside in the event of an emergency…
Patrolling the corridors of Beacon Hills, Angela had guns in both hands. She was ready to show no mercy, although she was ignoring the kids running crazy around her as they rushed into the nearest classroom. It was pandemonium, with people trying to escape left, right and centre. However, as the classrooms filled up with people, the noise soon turned to silence and you could hear a pin drop. Angela stood in the corridors, waiting.
The panic had been felt by Mason, Corey, Daan and Cody too. All of them were hiding in Miss Padhi’s classroom with a bunch of other students – some they recognised, some they’d never seen before – as ducking down to keep themselves out of view. Daan and Cody were also tending to an unconscious Braeden, feeling almost as exhausted as she must have been. Their hearts were pounding like never before. They’d heard the rumours from other students about a woman with a gun, even if none of the four of them had seen Angela. What’s more was that Mason and Corey were reunited, their argument suddenly a dim and distant memory, and Corey’s dislike of Nolan’s friendship group was hardly a priority as he was happy simply to see some familiar faces in such a moment. Miss Padhi was hidden down behind her desk, keeping a close eye on the door. She knew that if the door opened, she’d be the first to stand up to protect her students. It was her job, after all, although she never expected it to be a moment quite like this.
Meanwhile, Liam had taken refuge in Coach’s office, alongside Nolan, Hayden, Theo and Becky. His head felt quite heavy and he wanted a lie down, but it seemed like hours before he’d be able to take that pleasure.
If I get out alive, he thought.
Adjacent to him was Nolan, trembling on the spot. Their first instinct was to hide together to protect each other. Liam attempted to tell Hayden everything – about their kiss specifically – and in fact, he told her the most crucial part already. However, it seemed to be forgotten almost immediately after, leaving Liam as the last thing on Hayden’s mind. He did notice, though, that her recent anger outbursts seemed to have faded in favour of a survival instinct.
“If we don’t make it out alive” Nolan whispered to Liam.
“We will, don’t say that” Liam interrupted. He was attempting to remain optimistic, even if it were tougher than usual in such a situation.
“I just want to say…you’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me” Nolan confessed. He was emotional and a little teary, a droplet of water sliding down his cheek from his eye.
“Same” Liam smiled, “If we get out of here, what happens? Like, between us.”
“I…err…don’t mind” Nolan lied. He knew exactly what he wanted, but was too scared to admit it.
“Tonight. That posh restaurant in the middle of town. My treat” a decisive Liam organised. Nolan smiled and nodded, already excited.
Just across the room, Hayden was watching Liam and Nolan grinning at each other. She’d heard every word from Liam’s mouth, and despite everything ongoing, she hadn’t forgotten what he’d said.
“Did you know?” Hayden whispered to Theo.
“Know about what?” Theo asked, oblivious. Hayden pointed at the duo.
“Oh, you mean…?” Theo was speechless, “Why do I care what loverboy gets up to?” Hayden rolled her eyes, leading Theo to turn his attention back to Becky.
“I should be out there, handing myself over” Becky sobbed. She was shaken, and felt responsible for the fact a gun-wielding hunter was outside.
“She’s after us all, any of us who aren’t human, it’s not just you” Theo consoled her. Becky tried to get up and leave, disregarding Theo’s words, but he grabbed her arm to stop her.
“Please don’t” he begged. Hayden watched on. She was used to Theo being a cold-hearted self-absorbed monster, and hadn’t seen such a vulnerable side before.
“I’m sorry” Becky cried, before wiping her tears and heroically leaving the room, shutting the door behind her.
“We have to do something” Theo decided.
“Wake up, please” Cody begged. He had never met Braeden before, but he knew she must be knowledgeable about Angela and prayed she’d be able to lend a hand.
“We don’t even know her name” Daan added.
“It’s Braeden” Mason informed, “She’s a friend of ours, kinda.”
“About as friendly as a professional assassin can be” Corey remarked, trying to make light of a situation that was the most bleak he’d faced.
“She’s exactly what we need” Cody realised, looking at her, “How can we wake her up?”
“I have an idea” Mason pondered. He strolled over to his schoolbag and took out his water bottle, topped up at the start of lunch. He removed the cap, and tipped it all over Braeden. In an instant, she took a deep breath and opened her eyes.
“Where the hell is she?” she asked, meaning business.
Krishna looked on, totally baffled by everything going on. She was sat behind her desk on the floor, ensuring she wasn’t in view from the tiny square window on the classroom door. She’d noticed Nolan’s interesting behaviour but hadn’t spotted it in his friends until now, and was taking note of everything she saw. Now, there was a random woman in her classroom, and everything was making less and less sense the more she saw. However, she knew they were caught up in this somehow. All of a sudden, she jumped out of her skin as the school tannoy system began working.
“Corey Bryant. Liam Dunbar. Nolan Holloway. Theo Raeken. Hayden Romero. Becky Whinston. You all better show your faces soon, my loves, or I won’t be responsible for my actions” came the voice. It was her – Angela, and even the mere sound of her voice sent shivers through everyone’s body. Krishna glared over her classroom, directly at Corey.
“I want answers. Now” she ordered.
“How the hell does she know who we are?” Theo asked. He was getting stressed out after Becky’s exit, and now the serial killer knew exactly who he was and had marked him for death.
“She’s been watching” Liam replied, “But how can she differentiate us from everyone else?”
“I think I have an idea” Hayden interrupted, “The Nemeton’s causing us all to feel different, right? Our behaviour’s changed. She’s been watching long enough to pinpoint our different behaviour. I’m angrier, Corey’s lost control, you’re feeling ill” she explained, staring at Liam.
“I feel fine” Nolan added, slightly confused.
“Exactly” Hayden responded, “You’re way more confident in yourself. Nobody ever said all the changes were negative, but you’re not shy anymore. And you” she added, looking at Theo, “Your arrogance levels have hit an all-time low.” Theo stared back, offended.
“Excuse me?” Theo retorted.
“What the hell is going on?” Coach asked. He’d kept quiet for most of the chat so far, so much so that the others had forgotten he was even there, “I don’t know what you crazy people think you’re talking about, but the only thing I care about right now is saving your asses, and my own for that matter.”
“Same here” Liam noted, “Coach, we need your help.”
Tip-toeing through the school, Becky found herself in the sports hall. The audience seats had been folded away, and the hall was empty. Not a soul in sight, for obvious reasons. She stood in the centre of the basketball court painted onto the shiny wooden floor, and immediately let out a loud, ear-piercing roar. Her face turned orange, with black stripes racing across horizontally. Now all she had to do was wait.
Hearing the roar loud and clear, Angela licked her lips with anticipation. She primed her weapons and ran in the direction of the sound, figuring her way around the school quite easily now that the bumbling school kids weren’t in her way. She didn’t want to harm innocent people, but supernatural creatures weren’t innocent and deserved everything they got. She sped up in pursuit of her kill, and as she reached the sports hall, there she spotted Becky.
“I should’ve known it’d be you. Thanks for showing me the way” Angela goaded.
“You won’t succeed” Becky hit back.
“What are you gonna do to stop me?” Angela queried, sounding smug.
“I’ve got faster reactions than you, faster speed, better senses” Becky answered, “All you’ve got is a couple of toys.”
“Oh trust me, these will hurt a lot more than any toy you’ve played with” Angela smirked.
“So that’s everything. I think” Mason finished. He’d just explained just about every necessary detail to Miss Padhi, about the supernatural world, about the Nemeton, and about who Angela is.
“You expect me to believe that? This is no time for stories” Krishna wasn’t amused.
“It’s all true, I swear” Cody interjected.
“Do you know how to stop her?” Krishna asked, still in disbelief but actually hoping it was all true.
“If anyone can stop her, it’s us” Corey replied, sounding more confident than he actually was.
“OK, I’m open to believing you, but I’m coming too. I refuse to put you in danger, it’s my job to protect my students” Krishna gave in.
“Now all we need is a plan” Daan reminded the group. Nothing seemed to be coming to their minds, much to their frustration.
Peeking his head out of the door, Coach led the way out of his office and into the changing rooms. Theo trusted that Becky wouldn’t bring Angela anywhere near the office, so he felt it’d be safe for them to take their chance to escape. The school was in lockdown, but Coach realised that they should be able to make their way out the changing room door, which was manually locked every night. He led Liam, Nolan and Theo through the changing rooms, unlocked the door, and safely shut it again after they’d escaped. Hayden stayed behind, hoping to find out where the rest of the pack were. She knew they had to do something, and she was determined to figure it out.
Once outside, the trio were stopped by armed police.
“Hands in the air, all of you” a loud male voice ordered. They didn’t disobey, although all three of them hoped this wouldn’t take long.
“It’s alright, I know these kids” came a familiar voice. Sheriff Stilinski strolled over and spoke to the group.
“It’s her, isn’t it?” he asked, knowingly.
“Yeah, and she’s using the Nemeton to track us down. We need to get there right now, and grab Deaton on the way” Liam explained.
“I need to stay here, but Parrish will give you a lift” Stilinski offered. Liam nodded and smiled, before rushing off to speak to Parrish, with Nolan and Theo in tow.
Using her expert sense of smell, enhanced by her wolf abilities of course, Hayden managed to sniff out Mason and Corey’s location. Creeping through the school corridors, she led Coach to Miss Padhi’s classroom. As she opened the door, she saw Krishna armed with a large maths textbook, ready to attack.
“Woah!” Coach whispered harshly, not wanting to make any noise but still expressing his shock.
“Sorry” Krishna replied, “I thought you were her.”
“Becky went to face off against her” Hayden informed, as she reunited with Mason and Corey.
“On her own?” Corey replied, shocked.
“She insisted, Theo did all he could to stop her but she wouldn’t listen” Hayden recalled.
“Wait, Theo’s back?” Mason asked, confused.
“Long story, I’ll fill you in later” Hayden responded, “We need to get to Becky.”
“Keep an eye on them” Krishna said to Coach, as she followed the group of students, including Daan and Cody, out of the classroom. Coach was baffled as to what was going on, but he had a class of terrified students to keep an eye on now, as well as an unconscious lady lying down at the back…
Staring bleakly at the sight in front of him, Liam wasn’t best pleased to be reunited with the Nemeton. He never thought a tree stump would terrify him so much, but here he was, trembling at the mere sight of the Nemeton. Stood either side of him were Nolan and Theo, ready for business, with Deaton just behind and Parrish parking the car.
“What now?” Theo asked. Only Deaton knew the answer, so they immediately stared at him.
“It’s unclear I’m afraid. There’s a few different tales” he vaguely replied, “However, the most popular one suggests that we all have to stand around the edge, and place our hands on the top of the stump.”
“Hold on, who’s we?” Nolan questioned, confused.
“I figured it out. It’s why I asked you both to come” Liam detailed, “Nolan’s the beta, Theo’s the omega, and I guess I’m the closest thing to an alpha round here.”
“Will that even work? No offence but you’re not a proper alpha, I thought we’d need one of them” Theo found flaws. Liam sighed.
“I don’t see any alphas around here, do you?” Liam snapped, “Scott left me in charge. I’m the alpha, of sorts.”
“It’s the concept that counts” Deaton clarified.
“Alright then, what are we waiting for?” Nolan felt unusually enthusiastic about such a situation. All four of them placed their hands in position. They stood 90 degrees apart from each other around the stump. To Liam’s left was Nolan, to his right was Theo, and Deaton stood opposite.
“On my go” Deaton commanded. The trio primed themselves and waited for the command. “Three…two…one…now.” All four of them placed both hands on the trunk, and waited. For a few seconds, nothing happened, but eventually, the werewolves’ eyes glowed. Liam and Nolan’s eyes were a bright yellow, while Theo’s glowed a deep blue. Deaton gazed on, and focused on Liam. What he didn’t expect was for Liam’s eyes to change. The bright yellow shifted into a flaming red. He was the alpha – in that moment at least. The three of them felt the rush of the Nemeton’s power flowing through them. It didn’t hurt, it was a tingling sensation, but it was one none of them were used to and it certainly felt weird. Deaton felt the rush through him too, it was quite ticklish in a way although more uncomfortable.
“Focus your minds!” Deaton commanded. Liam found it difficult to focus, considering how his head was still pounding, but he did his best. He shut his rosy red eyes to help his focus even more. In a flash, the group collapsed. The Nemeton had done its trick, and now all four were lying on top of the stump, inanimate…
Becky was preparing her attack on Angela. She felt guilty for bringing this attack on the school, and was adamant that she’d finish it off too. However, she was well aware that Angela was a tough opponent. She’d transformed into werehyena form, claws and fangs much like werewolves or werecoyotes but her skin transformed into an orange colour with dark stripes across – like that of a hyena, of course. She bared her teeth and decided it was time to attack. She would die either way, so she might as well die fighting. She began sprinting towards Angela, who held her gun up in position, ready to fire.
“Stop!” Hayden yelled. She’d arrived at the gym with the rest of the pack, “Enough’s enough.”
“Ah, here’s the cavalry. I was wondering when I’d get to meet you all. Seems like none of you have hit puberty, though” Angela remarked.
“We know you’re Thomas’ mom, and we’re sorry” Corey spoke up, “He deceived us but he was part of the pack. He didn’t die for nothing.”
“He shouldn’t have died at all, he’d still be alive if it weren’t for you….you…creatures” Angela shouted, struggling to find the words. She was visibly emotional, Thomas was a sensitive subject for her.
“He gave his life to save a friend. If that isn’t courageous, I don’t know what is” Mason added.
“There’s a load of people you can talk to, there’s no need for this. Innocent people have died. People who never met Thomas” Hayden explained.
“Put down the gun, it’s not gonna do anyone any good” Krishna pleaded. Angela was shaking. Her fierce stance had been swapped for a shaken, trembling posture with tears rolling down her cheeks. All she could see in her mind was her beautiful son.
“I only killed for him” Angela confessed. Her tone was much more sombre than her usual arrogant self, “I killed my husband. He was a werewolf too, not that Thomas ever found out. I miss him so much, my beautiful boy. That thing…Coleman…he tore this family apart. Now I’ll finish it for good.” Angela turned her gun to her own head, much to everyone in the room’s surprise.
“Please, it doesn’t have to come to this” Cody pleaded.
“There is plenty of help out there for you, Angela” Krishna smiled. She slowly stepped towards Angela, and held out a hand, “Come on, give me the gun.” Hayden, Mason, Corey and Cody watched on in surprise as their maths teacher displayed a remarkable level of courage. Daan was comforting a shaken Becky, who was crouched down on her knees. She was still paying attention, but was relieved that she didn’t have to fight the battle alone. To her amazement, Angela actually handed the gun over to Krishna, who threw the gun behind her away from the group.
“On your knees!” a deep male voice yelled. The room was suddenly flooded with armed policemen, surrounding the group. Angela held her hands up in the air, and was arrested. The others breathed a sigh of relief, as the threat was finally over.
“You were amazing” Mason grinned to Hayden.
“I was, wasn’t I?” she jested, “I’ve not felt this good in ages.” Then it dawned on them.
“Liam!” Mason, Corey and Hayden said in unison, before dashing out of the hall.
Stirring, Liam opened his eyes. He wasn’t in the comfort of his own bed, he was in the middle of the forest. What? He was confused and leapt up, startled. He took in his surroundings, most notably what he’d seemingly been using as a bed – the Nemeton. Then it came back to him. He was alive! He grinned, thrilled that the plan had seemingly worked.
“Hello stranger” came a familiar voice from behind him. He turned around, and saw Nolan, who’d just woken up.
“This is a sight for sore eyes” Liam joked. He immediately went to hug Nolan, and it was the best feeling ever. They’d survived, and were able to feel the warm comfort of each other’s hugs again. Theo and Deaton woke up not long after, and the group went to find Parrish and their ride home.
“You’ll be comfortable here. We’ll take care of you, and keep you safe. You know how it works” the doctor said, sympathetically but not sincerely.
“I promise, I won’t cause you any trouble, please let me out” Angela pleaded. She was wearing plain clothes now, far from her stylish leather outfit. She looked at the walls surrounding her, and despaired. All she had was a bed, a toilet and a tiny little window with bars on the inside. The doctor didn’t listen to her pleas, and he shut the door of her cell, patrolling back through the corridors of Eichen House…
Sat opposite each other with their legs crossed on his bed, Liam and Hayden were finally getting a chance to have the chat they’d been wanting. It had been a few hours since Angela’s arrest and the ritual at the Nemeton, and they’d had time to process their thoughts.
“I’m happy for you, you know” Hayden confessed, “You deserve someone good. Us, we weren’t working.”
“I guess it was obvious a while ago, we were too naïve to realise” Liam agreed.
“I’ve decided…I’m moving away. My sister’s got a job, it’s an hour away from here” Hayden announced.
“Wh….why?” Liam asked, almost speechless. He felt his world crumbling around him, and even if Hayden and he weren’t a couple anymore, he still saw her as his best friend.
“I need a fresh start. I love Beacon Hills, and I’ll miss you all so much, but I need to start looking after myself. I’ll only be an hour away, and you better come and visit” Hayden justified. She was both upset and happy at the same time – excited at her future but the expression on Liam’s face was down heartening.
“You try and stop me” Liam laughed, fighting back the tears. They hugged, happy for each other’s new starts.
“What I said before…” Corey began. He and Mason were having a similar heart-to-heart, finally talking through their earlier argument.
“It’s forgotten” Mason smiled.
“I shouldn’t have said any of that. I’m sorry” Corey continued regardless. He felt bad, and the school siege had shown him exactly what matters in his life.
“It’s forgotten” Mason repeated, “Hey, how have you felt since the ritual?”
“Fine, I’ve not been shifting at all. I’ve got control” Corey was thrilled, he’d grown tired of feeling out of control, and having his power balance back was a brilliant feeling. Mason smiled at him, before moving in for a passionate kiss.
Sauntering into the animal clinic, Theo had a request.
“Mr. Raeken, what a pleasant surprise” Deaton greeted from the doorway to the central room.
“Hi” Theo sheepishly replied, “I’ve got a request, if you don’t mind.”
“Fire away” Deaton responded.
“Do you have any vacancies?” he asked. Deaton didn’t respond instantly, so Theo backtracked a little, to justify himself, “I mean, Scott’s not here much at the moment so I thought you might need an extra pair of hands.”
“I thought your helpfulness was a temporary effect of the Nemeton?” Deaton remarked, half serious.
“Maybe it was, but I liked helpful Theo. I don’t want to be the omega anymore, I want to be part of the pack. Scott’s pack. Liam’s pack” Theo never sounded surer of anything.
“Alright then, you can start tomorrow, providing you’ll commit and won’t vanish” Deaton offered.
“I promise. I’m here to stay” Theo grinned.
“That’s great news” came a dainty voice from behind. Theo spun around, and was greeted by Becky’s soft blue eyes. He didn’t utter a word in response, he simply embraced her in a hug.
“Thank god you’re alright” he said, gripping her tight. He loosened his grip, stared into Becky’s eyes, and pulled her in for a kiss. He felt the softness of Becky’s lips, and wondered how she could possibly be so perfect. He broke away, unsure if she was enjoying it like he was, but to his delight, she pulled him back in again. From the doorway, Deaton was watching. He laughed to himself, before resuming his work.
The sound of a lively piano track was playing in the tranquil restaurant as guests ate their overpriced dinners. Sat in the corner opposite each other, Liam and Nolan had dressed up in their nicest shirts. Liam’s long dark locks were brushed perfectly behind his ears, with Nolan’s mop of hair styled to perfection.
“Wait, who’s paying for this?” Nolan laughed.
“I’ve borrowed money from my mom” Liam confessed, “It’s the thought that counts.”
“I can’t believe we’re actually doing this” Nolan said, in awe.
“If you’d told me this would happen a year ago, I’d have laughed you out of town” Liam joked.
“What, a date with me specifically or a date with any guy?” Nolan queried.
“Both I guess” Liam admitted, “I’m sorry I ever doubted you. You’re the kindest, most sincere person I know.”
“It’s alright, most people judge me. Not least your friends” Nolan was self-aware, but despite his façade, it did bother him.
“They’ll come around, in time. I’ll make sure of that” Liam added, “I think the bigger problem is my mom, I don’t know how she’ll react.”
“I’d rather not tell my mom, she doesn’t really care a great deal about me at the best of times” Nolan revealed. Liam looked sympathetic, unsure of what to say.
“Ready to order?” Nolan changed the subject.
“Sure” Liam grinned.
In front of the TV, Melissa was enjoying a rare Friday night off. She had her feet up and was enjoying a light-hearted comedy on catch-up, with a glass of wine in her right hand. The doorbell rang, and she sighed. She didn’t want to move from her perfectly comfortable spot on the sofa, but she heaved herself up and answered it.
“Mom!” Scott grinned, embracing Melissa in a hug.
“Scott, what are you doing home?” Melissa was surprised to see her son. Not so delighted to see the huge backpack undoubtedly full of washing, however.
“I wanted to surprise you. A weekend visit. I picked someone up on the way too” Scott moved aside to reveal Maddie, who looked just as delighted to see Melissa.
“So great to see you” Maddie smiled.
“Come in, come in. I want to hear everything, and I mean everything” Melissa moved out of the way to allow the duo into the house.
“Same. What did we miss?” Scott questioned innocently.