Series 10 Episode 4
Dylan was quickly growing tired of the college campus. He had traipsed the same route over and over again, and the same sights were more than tedious. He wasn’t even sure there was much point revisiting the same patch so many times. His eyes weren’t fresh. If he was going to find anything, Dylan was sure he’d have seen it by now.
He wasn’t going to give up, though. Oscar had been missing for a week, and there had been absolutely no sightings of him in that time. Oscar would never have run off without telling one of them. More importantly, he wouldn’t have run off without a good reason.
So many theories had been going around in Dylan’s mind, but none of them seemed to add up. What logical reason would Oscar have had to leave of his own accord? It simply didn’t add up. Nothing ever happened for no reason, especially as far as the supernatural went.
Therefore, Dylan was only entertaining one theory. The only one that truly made sense.
Oscar had been kidnapped.
He still didn’t know all of the details, but the outline was there. Oscar had vanished without a trace. No social media logins. No spending on his debit card. No contact even with his mum. Nothing.
The whole pack had barely slept for a week. Yasmin had taken charge, formulating a map of routes to cover. Everyone had a job to do, but energy levels were rock bottom. Nobody had found anything of substance to point to Oscar’s location, and optimism was draining away.
Dylan never lost his optimism, though. It was the glue that held the pack together. He had to be strong for everyone else. That was the job of the alpha. It wasn’t about recruitment or gaining power, it was about care.
That said, Dylan was beginning to feel slightly hopeless as he completed the circuit again. They needed a new strategy, because the longer they went without any news, the further away Oscar slipped.
Waiting patiently as a deputy swiped her key card, Dylan was feeling a gigantic mix of emotions. Naturally, he felt relieved and somewhat excited, but he couldn’t help feeling confused and concerned. He had a load of questions to get answers to.
“Hey, sorry I’m late,” Freddie joined him. Of course, Dylan had insisted that Jono go find Lily. That was a priority, and he needed all the help he could get from the pack. Dylan needed a helping hand, though, and he suspected Freddie would appreciate the distraction.
“You’re just in time,” Dylan assured, “Thank you for coming.”
“Of course,” Freddie smiled. It was obvious that he was putting on a brave face, but Dylan admired his determination.
“Are you sure about this?” the deputy checked, “They’re suspects in a murder enquiry.”
“Completely. I’ll call when we’re ready,” Dylan confirmed. The deputy pushed the door to the cell room open. Dylan knew what he was there for, but he could still hardly believe his eyes. Obscured by the cell bars were two familiar faces. Faces Dylan hadn’t seen in a long time.
“Stand back,” the deputy commanded as she swiped her key card on the cell. She ushered Dylan and Freddie inside before securing it shut after them.
“Hi,” Oscar timidly greeted. Dylan felt so happy to see him again. He looked healthy, if a little tired. Next to him, to Dylan’s amazement, was Brett. He’d not seen Brett in a year, since he left for college, but he looked just the same, save for the streams of tears slipping down his rosy red cheeks. He looked wrecked, in a way Dylan hadn’t seen before.
“It’s good to see you, dude,” Freddie added.
“Back at you,” Oscar smiled.
“I don’t know where to start,” Dylan mentioned, “Where have you been? Did you escape?” Small talk wasn’t on his mind. He knew that Oscar was okay now, so his attention was firmly on the truth.
“I’ll tell you everything, I promise,” Oscar insisted, “But we’re not the murderers, Dylan. You know us.”
“What happened?” Dylan was concerned. There was so much going on, and he knew none of the answers.
“Johnny,” Brett broke his silence, his voice quivering in fear, “He’s dead.”
“Wha…what?” Dylan was gobsmacked. How could Johnny be dead? So much was happening. He was getting overwhelmed.
“We found his body, and now we’ve been arrested on suspicion of his murder, but we’re innocent,” Oscar protested.
“I know,” Dylan affirmed, “I believe you, but there’s so much I don’t understand.”
“I owe you an explanation, but there’s something going on, Dylan. It’s bigger than this. We’ve been following it for ages,” Oscar continued.
“We?” Freddie questioned.
“Like I said, I’ll explain, but I can’t in here,” Oscar begged. He seemed different to the Oscar Dylan remembered, but he was still his friend. He deserved his trust. Dylan had to get them out, but how?
Sprinting as fast as she could, Yasmin barely had time to think. Her body was running on autopilot, her reflexes taking over. The only thing on her mind was helping Sammi as her legs carried her along the path. If only she’d stopped her running ahead.
Sammi was lying on the pavement, blood spilling out of her neck from a series of bite marks. It looked gruesome, but Yasmin had no time to be squeamish. Her first instinct was to stop the bleeding. Applying some pressure should at least slow it down.
Before she could even reach Sammi, though, Yasmin ground to a halt. Terrifyingly, Lily blocked the way. A different Lily to the one she knew.
A fully transformed Lily.
That wasn’t supposed to happen. Lily was only part-werewolf. She couldn’t transform. She shouldn’t be able to transform. It had never happened before. What had triggered it? Yasmin was desperate to know, but she couldn’t dwell. Too much was going on, and none of them were safe.
“What the hell?” Ed commented from beside her. Lily bared her fangs. It was a terrifying sight.
“Lily, listen, it’s Yasmin. Your best friend,” Yasmin urged. She knew Lily had to find her humanity again if she wanted to shift back, but how easy that would be was an entirely separate matter. Nevertheless, Yasmin’s words weren’t working.
“Lily, it’s Jeremy. Please let me help Sammi,” Jeremy attempted, but still nothing. Even her own family wasn’t enough.
“Jeremy, shift,” Yasmin commanded. This was her only idea. Lily wasn’t responding to humanity, so perhaps she needed something further away from that. As easy as flicking a light switch, Jeremy transformed. So rarely did Yasmin see her friends in wolf-form that it always seemed so weird when she did see them like that. They were visibly the same person, but an animalistic version. It looked so wrong, even though Yasmin knew Jeremy was in complete control.
“Lily,” Jeremy growled. She backed off just a few inches, slightly but not totally deterred.
“More,” Yasmin urged.
“People are driving past, Yasmin,” Ed reminded.
“Too fast to pay much attention. It’s this, or Sammi bleeds out and dies. Take your pick,” Yasmin justified. There wasn’t a single element of doubt in her mind.
“Okay, do it,” Ed agreed. Before any more could be said, Jeremy unleashed the deepest growl, vaguely resembling a drawn-out version of Lily’s name, but it was so deep and gruff that it was difficult to say for sure. Regardless, it did the job. Lily scuttled away like a toddler that had just been scolded by its parents. The coast was clear. They could get to Sammi.
“Call an ambulance,” Yasmin called out to Ed as she and Jeremy knelt either side of Sammi’s unconscious body. Jeremy took her hand, and her pain, while Yasmin applied pressure from both hands at her neck.
“Lily!” Jono called, rushing over with Josh in tow, “Where did she go?”
“Up there. Jono, she’s shifted, you need to be careful. She’s dangerous,” Yasmin warned. Jono nodded before taking off again. If anyone could bring her back from the brink, it would be him.
Now all eyes were on Sammi.
Planting himself down in Ed’s chair, Dylan needed a moment. So much was happening that he was feeling overwhelmed, and every second brought him more and more stress. He needed to digest and process everything or he’d be no use to anyone.
Though Dylan was trying his best to focus on the matter at hand, he couldn’t help worrying about Lily. She was practically his sister, and if anything bad had happened to her, Dylan wasn’t sure how he’d cope. All he could do was pray that she’d be brought home safely.
Dylan needed to keep his focus on Oscar and Brett. Every part of him said Oscar was being truthful, and Brett’s tears were clearly completely genuine. His love for Johnny was huge. Dylan couldn’t fathom the thought of losing Jono; Brett must have been completely lost.
The only doubts in Dylan’s mind came from Oscar’s story – or rather, lack, thereof. Why was he so precious over the details? Why didn’t he say where he’d been? There was much more to this than Dylan first thought.
“What are you thinking?” Freddie asked, breaking the silence from opposite the desk.
“I don’t even know, there’s so much happening,” Dylan sighed.
“You don’t have to tell me,” Freddie nodded.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t even ask. How are you holding up?” Dylan checked.
“I’ve been better,” Freddie shrugged, “I went to see George. He’s taken it worse, of course. I don’t really know how to feel.”
“I get it. Sort of,” Dylan tried his best to empathise, “I’ll speak to mom, make sure they don’t stay long.”
“It’s fine, I’ll stay with George,” Freddie said.
“You shouldn’t have to, though. That’s not your home. I’m not letting you get pushed out,” Dylan insisted.
“Thanks, dude,” Freddie smiled. Dylan smiled back. It was the absolute least he could do.
“Everything okay?” a deputy popped her head in. The same deputy that escorted them in and out of the cell.
“Not really. I’ve got some questions,” Dylan took the chance to learn some more details.
“I’ll try my best, assuming Sheriff Taylor doesn’t mind,” she answered, slipping inside and shutting the door behind her.
“I’m his stepson, don’t worry. Thank you, Deputy…” Dylan trailed off. He didn’t know her name. Ed was the only person at the station he ever spoke to.
“Chang,” she answered, “You can call me Lisa.”
“Thanks Lisa,” Dylan nodded, “What are your leads?”
“For a fortnight, we’ve been tracking a series of homicides. Six bodies with identical wounds found in different places. Your friend’s body had the exact same injuries. I’m sorry for your loss,” Lisa explained, the sorrow clear in her voice.
“Thank you,” Dylan nodded. He still couldn’t process that Johnny was dead. It didn’t feel real, “Why do you think Oscar and Brett did it?”
“It’s more the people they were with. Two others escaped. We don’t know their names, just vague descriptions. Strangely, they seem to live almost entirely off the map, but they’ve been spotted in the vicinity of all seven crime scenes. Your friends were with them, but they didn’t escape. Didn’t even try,” Lisa continued.
“I give you my word, they’re both innocent, I know it,” Dylan vouched for his friends, “And I think they could be the key to catching the real suspects.”
“I guess we don’t have anything concrete,” Lisa considered, “Let me see what I can do. Wait here.”
“Thank you,” Dylan smiled. They were one step closer to solving all of their mysteries.
Brett had never felt so broken. He didn’t know what to do with himself. No position felt comfortable. Conversation wasn’t even on his mind. All he wanted to do was curl up and sleep, because that would, at least, shut off the pain for a short while.
All Brett was thinking about was the ways in which he could have been deceived. Johnny couldn’t be dead, right? He only saw him a day ago. He had to be out there still. Clearly, this was some cruel trick. The body in the bin was a lookalike, or a dummy – it was getting dark, after all.
That was what Brett’s heart said, but his head knew better. His eyes had seen it. The worst sight imaginable. His dead boyfriend’s body lying in a random dumpster in town. He’d never shake off what a truly hideous vision it was.
It wasn’t just Johnny’s future that had been stolen, and that’s what Brett felt most broken by. Every plan he’d made for the rest of his life had vanished in a single moment, because each and every one of them contained Johnny. Someone had stolen everything from him, and he couldn’t fathom why.
Oscar had been a huge comfort to him, though. Their situation was far from ideal, yet Oscar had made it his priority to take care of Brett. He’d wrapped his arms around him, keeping him close as they sat against the hard back wall. He was the only company Brett could reply on, and he valued that more than anything.
“We’ll be out of here soon,” Oscar encouraged, keeping his voice low and soothing.
“I trust Dylan as much as you, but what if he can’t get us out? He’s not exactly got any jurisdiction over the law,” Brett sighed. He couldn’t think of anywhere he wanted to be less than a jail cell.
“He will. He always does. I have to believe that,” Oscar insisted.
“So why did you desert the pack?” Brett blurted out without thinking, “Sorry, I didn’t mean…”
“No, it’s okay. I know how weird it looks. I owe everyone an explanation, but it’s not straightforward, and it’s not something I took lightly. He doesn’t know it yet, but I saved Dylan’s life. Every day I’m not here is a day that keeps Dylan safe,” Oscar explained.
“Then tell him, dude,” Brett encouraged, “Because it sounds a lot like Dylan’s been missing you. You’ve got a second chance to reconnect with your friends. I wish I had that with Johnny.”
“Yeah,” Oscar reflected, “We’re going to catch the bastards that did this, you know.”
“Of course, if it’s the last thing I do,” Brett affirmed, “But who’s ‘we’? Cody or Dylan? You’ve got a choice, Oscar. Whatever you choose, remember who gets hurt the most.” Cody clearly had something on Oscar, and he couldn’t be a bystander any longer.
The cell room door buzzed open. Dylan and Freddie filtered in alongside the deputy from earlier that day. She slid her key card along the cell look and stood back as the door glided open.
“What’s happening?” Brett was confused.
“You’re free to go,” the deputy announced.
“But we have a deal,” Dylan reminded.
“I know. I’ll talk. Let’s go,” Oscar nodded. He clenched Brett’s hand gently, keeping him safe even then. Brett felt a slight comfort from it, but also from Oscar’s decision. Knowingly or not, he’d just made it.
Beginning to feel the burn against his muscles, Jono wasn’t losing any of his determination. He was ignoring the feelings of his body and focusing on one thing only – finding Lily. She was his only priority, and if he needed to, Jono knew he’d be roaming the streets all night.
Irritatingly, it was getting dark. There wasn’t much Jono could see without using his wolf eyes, and they were in far too public a place for him to risk that. Cars were zooming past, oblivious to what was happening, but two glowing yellow dots would draw attention to them.
To Jono’s relief, he still had Josh by his side. He needed all the help he could get. Of course, he wished Dylan could be there, for support if nothing else, but Oscar needed his attention. As soon as he found Lily, Jono knew he’d be straight round to see Oscar again. His safe return was a definite relief.
“Did you see where she went?” Jono turned to Josh.
“No, it’s too dark,” Josh sighed, “What’s happened to her, dude?”
“I wish I knew,” Jono worried. Lily vanishing before returning a fully transformed werewolf was extremely concerning. It should have been impossible. Jono wanted answers so badly, but that was low down his agenda. All he could afford to focus on was tracking Lily down.
“She’s close,” Josh identified, “Her scent is strong here. She can’t have gone far.”
“I’m scared, Josh,” Jono confessed, “I need her to be okay. I can’t lose my sister.”
“You won’t. She’s alive, Jono, and that’s the most important thing. We’ll figure the rest out. We always do,” Josh encouraged. He wasn’t one for sentiment or emotion, but they’d known each other a long time, and Jono always knew he could count on Josh when he needed him the most.
A heartbeat. Jono heard one creeping closer. It neared him rapidly. Jono ducked. A figure lunged past him, crashing onto the floor with a hard thud. Quickly, it got up, revealing its face. Of course. Lily. Jono couldn’t bear the sight of her so very familiar face, destroyed by piercing fangs and bright, fierce, yellow eyes. He thought he’d been able to save Lily from this fate. Jono couldn’t help thinking he’d failed.
“Distract her,” Josh suggested. Jono looked Lily eye-to-eye. He glowed his identical wolf eyes, throwing caution to the wind and ignoring the cars passing. Some things were more important.
Lily looked like she was ready for a fight. Jono was primed and ready, but fighting was the last thing he wanted to do. The real Lily – the human Lily – was the exact same. She’d never have wanted to fight her brother, but she had an inner wolf now, and Jono knew how challenging that could be to control.
Lily snarled, so Jono snarled back. He was doing his best to keep her attention while, in the corner of Jono’s eye, Josh crept close behind Lily’s back. All he had to do was strike at exactly the right moment, but that was easier said than done.
“Come on Lil, you don’t want to hurt me,” Jono urged. Lily growled, disapproving. Words weren’t even on her mind; the human Lily was miles away.
Rapidly, Josh launched forward. Irritatingly, Lily swerved in one simple move. Josh crashed forward, only just avoiding landing in the traffic. Jono gasped, panicking even more. The plan hadn’t worked. They were in the worst-case scenario.
Before Jono could react, Lily herself collapsed down. A hand was firmly gripped around her ankle. Josh had pulled her over. The real plan. Jono breathed a sigh of relief.
“Let’s get her home,” Josh mustered, heaving himself up. Jono was terrified, but the first step in rescuing his sister was complete.
No matter how hard she tried, Sammi just couldn’t get comfortable. Hospital beds were wildly unpleasant; always were and always would be. Thankfully, it had been many years since her last experience of one, and she definitely wasn’t planning on making it a regular occurrence.
Worse, though, was the pain shooting from her neck. It was inescapable, no matter how hard Sammi tried to distract herself or to drift off to sleep. It throbbed like nothing she’d felt before.
To her relief, the doctor had said Sammi will be just fine and out of hospital in no time at all. The wounds were deep but would heal. It was news to Sammi’s ears, but she wished it could heal faster. The pack needed her. So much was going on.
Though brief, Sammi couldn’t forget the hideous sight of Lily’s new form. What had happened to her? That wasn’t the kind of thing that happened overnight. Whatever it was, it made her attack her own cousin, and that wasn’t Lily at all. The four of them had each other’s backs above all. In one way or another, the Chadwick adults had screwed them all over. They’d made a pact never to hurt each other. The human Lily was evidently buried deep if she could so easily ignore that promise.
“They found her,” Jeremy announced, his posture bolt upright on the chair next to the bed.
“Thank god,” Yasmin breathed a sigh of relief from across the room, “I’ll go tell Ed.” Sammi felt more mixed emotions than Yasmin, though. Capturing Lily had stopped anybody else getting hurt, but they were still miles away from a solution. Whatever did that to Lily was still out there. They weren’t out of the woods yet.
“How are you doing?” Jeremy asked, relaxing back into his seat now it was just the two of them in the hospital room.
“It hurts,” Sammi sighed.
“Give me your hand,” Jeremy directed. Sammi knew what he was going to do, and it was just what she needed. Jeremy took her hand and immediately, his veins became visible through his skin, turning a deep black colour. Amazingly, Sammi’s pain seemed to drain away via Jeremy’s hand on her wrist. It made so much difference.
“That’s not it, though, is it?” Jeremy realised.
“How did you guess?” Sammi chuckled. Jeremy always seemed to know exactly what was on her mind, as if it were a sixth sense.
“You know what they say about the bond between twins, hey?” Jeremy smiled, “I mean, we’ve known each other longer than anyone, despite everything, right? Nine months of just you and me.”
“Oh yeah, so many good memories in the womb,” Sammi jested, “I agree, though. Nobody knows me better than you.”
“Best not tell Freddie that. Or Felix, actually,” Jeremy laughed, “I texted Freddie, by the way. He hasn’t replied yet but I’m sure he’ll be on his way as soon as he sees it.”
“Thanks,” Sammi nodded. She didn’t doubt for a second that Freddie would be by her side as soon as he heard the news. He was the most reliable person Sammi knew.
“Hey, how’s the patient?” a friendly face popped around the door. Felix. Sammi had been hoping for Freddie, but Felix had become a good friend, and any distractions from the uncomfortable bed were welcome.
“Great, just about to go for a jog,” Sammi joked.
“Hey, come in,” Jeremy invited, his whole face brightening up. It spoke volumes about the impact Felix had on him. The love he felt was unparalleled, and it warmed Sammi’s heart. The idea of her dating Felix felt so completely alien.
“Any news about Lily?” Felix asked.
“They found her, but that’s all we know. Jono’s with her,” Jeremy relayed.
“Thank god. I hope whoever took her gets what’s coming to them,” Felix replied, sharing their frustration.
“The note,” Sammi realised, her heartbeat picking up the pace as she started to piece things together.
“What note?” Felix was confused.
“A note to the two of us, signed by our dad,” Jeremy clarified.
“I thought he was dead?” Felix recalled.
“So did we. We assumed it was a hoax, right? But think about it,” Sammi pondered, “A note from our dad, followed by Lily going missing and returning a full werewolf. Who would have the ability to do that?”
“An alpha,” Jeremy realised, “Oh my god.”
Three knocks at the door. A silhouette stood outside the window; their face obscured by a hood. Sammi couldn’t make any details out, but whoever they were, they were observing, and they wanted their attention. Suddenly, two bright lights appeared. Two glowing eyes. Glowing the most fearsome colour.
“He’s not dead,” Sammi panicked. The silhouette vanished.
David was back.
Exhausted, Dylan was ready for the day to be over. It had been non-stop since he woke up. Thankfully, though, things seemed to be dying down, much to his relief and almost certainly, everyone else’s too.
Jono had texted him to say that they’d found Lily and she was safe, which of course, Dylan was delighted about. They’d taken her to the bunker, which was the only place in the whole town lined with mountain ash. For the time being, it made perfect sense to keep her there, and the human Lily would have understood that.
“Oh my god,” Freddie commented, checking his phone. He’d just parked his car outside the lakehouse. It was the most private place Dylan could think of, and as long as things remained discreet, he was sure George wouldn’t mind, “I’ve not looked at this all day, but Sammi’s in hospital apparently? Lily attacked her.”
“Shit,” Dylan was gobsmacked, “Is she okay?”
“I think so,” Freddie was stunned, “Look, I need to go.”
“Of course. I’ll be fine from here. Thanks dude,” Dylan smiled, “Send her my love.” Dylan stepped out of the car, followed by their backseat passengers. Brett and Oscar had been silent since leaving the sheriff station, though it was hardly the time for small talk.
Inside, to Dylan’s relief, there were no heartbeats. George and Mia had clearly gone out, which worked out perfectly. Now, they didn’t have to beat around the bush. Dylan was ready to get answers. Oscar had better start talking.
Oscar headed straight out the back door, pausing on the dock. Fresh air perhaps wasn’t such a bad thing considering the conversation they were about to have. Dylan looked to Brett, who was gazing at the floor. He looked so broken. Dylan couldn’t imagine what he was feeling. A life without the one he loved the most. It was completely unfathomable. Dylan never took for granted just how lucky he was.
“It’s okay, you’re safe now,” Dylan assured. He found it difficult to know what to say, and whether he needed to speak at all. The last thing he wanted to do was upset Brett.
“Am I? Whatever killed Johnny’s still out there, Dylan. None of us are safe,” Brett ranted. Dylan couldn’t even sugar-coat that. Brett was right, and no level of optimism would change that, “Sorry, I know this isn’t your fault.”
“Don’t worry. I remember when I lost my dad. Nothing felt right for ages,” Dylan sympathised, “Everyone says it, but it does get better.”
“I don’t want it to,” Brett was fighting back tears, but losing the battle, “That would mean I’ve gotten over him.”
“Never,” Dylan assured, “He’s with you forever, dude. You’ll never lose him.” Brett nodded, giving in to the tears. Dylan hugged him tightly, consoling him as best as he could. It broke his heart, and Dylan couldn’t help shedding some too, “It’s good to have you back.”
Everything suddenly felt very real.
Cautiously scanning the area, Oscar’s anxiety levels were through the roof. It felt so strange to be back in Crystalshaw town. He had dreamed of coming back to the lakehouse. He wanted so desperately to see his friends, but he never expected it would actually happen. It was like a weird dream.
It wasn’t much of a happy reunion, though. Cody was surely looking for him, and Crystalshaw was the obvious place to look. It was only a matter of time until he turned up, and Oscar was terrified about what that would mean for Dylan. He hadn’t spent so many months in hiding for nothing. The whole pack was in danger just by his presence. It would be sensible for him to remove himself from the situation.
Oscar couldn’t bring himself to do that, though. His head was losing the battle against his heart. He loved Cody, but he didn’t want to lose his friends again. Seeing them was a much-needed reminder of just how much he’d lost.
Furthermore, Dylan was expecting answers. Oscar knew he had to explain the full story. Dylan deserved honesty, particularly as this whole situation was to protect him. It was the least Oscar could do to ease the grief he’d gone through.
“Hey,” Dylan joined him out the back of the lakehouse, “Everything okay?”
“Yeah,” Oscar replied, “I think.”
“Come on, let’s sit down,” Dylan encouraged. He ushered Oscar to the dock, taking his shoes and socks off before dipping his toes into the lake. Oscar followed suit; despite the chill of the lake, the ripples were instantly soothing against his skin. It was like Oscar could forget all of his problems like they no longer mattered.
“I’m sorry,” Oscar began. He found it difficult to know where to start. It was such a long story to tell.
“I just want to understand, because right now, I couldn’t be more confused,” Dylan said.
“That day, the day Jono was possessed, he came to the dorm. It was just Alex and I, and I didn’t know what to do. He arrived just in time and saved me. He fought for me,” Oscar explained.
“Who?” Dylan wondered.
“His name is Cody. He’s an alpha of another pack. They live near the college. You’ve seen him before, at the first LGBTQ+ society meeting,” Oscar continued.
“That was almost a year ago,” Dylan sighed.
“I know, I wasn’t expecting you to remember, don’t worry. He seemed like the most normal guy ever. I saw him a couple more times, then he showed me his eyes,” Oscar thought back.
“He wanted something, didn’t he?” Dylan realised.
“He felt threatened by you. By us. He made me a deal. If I stayed with him and joined his pack, he’d leave you alone. If not, he’d kill you,” Oscar explained.
“What?” Dylan was gobsmacked, “You shouldn’t have done that. We’d have fought, or we’d have run. I’d rather run for miles than lose you.”
“You’ve done so much for me, Dylan. I wanted to look after you too,” Oscar tried to rationalise.
“You didn’t have to do it like this. Cody took advantage of you, dude,” Dylan said. Oscar’s heart was breaking. He couldn’t help how he felt about Cody. The way he felt wasn’t forced or fake.
“You don’t get it. I love Cody, and he loves me,” Oscar insisted, “And you could be at least a little bit grateful.”
“It’s not about that. Look at it from my point of view, Oscar. He manipulated you into staying. He blackmailed you,” Dylan continued.
“No,” Oscar firmly replied, “I made a decision. I stayed with the guy I love to protect my friends. I wasn’t a prisoner.”
“You could have gone back to him at any moment” Dylan reminded, “Defend him if you want, but you’re here right now. If you still want to be here, I’ll be there for you. I can bring you home to your mom. Heck, you can sleep at mine for the time being if you want somewhere else to stay. This has to be what you want, though.” Oscar took a deep breath in. He had a choice to make, just as Brett said. This time though, his options were wide open.
“Can I see mom in the morning?” Oscar asked. Dylan nodded, smiling. His decision was made.
Boom. Boom. Boom.
That was all Lily could hear. It was on repeat in her head, like a song that she couldn’t get enough of. This was different, though. She’d definitely had enough of this rhythm. She had a banging headache; worse than any hangover she’d ever experienced. It was so unpleasant.
What’s more was that Lily felt so uncomfortable. The bunker floor was solid concrete. It was hard and freezing cold, and Lily had no choice but to sit on it. The least she could have been afforded was a pillow, surely? After all, none of this was her fault.
Lily felt so down on herself, though. She didn’t know what was happening, but she remembered everything from that night. Walking home. The mice. Hurting Sammi. She felt so unbelievably guilty.
“How long have I got to be here?” Lily yelled. Though the bunker itself was otherwise empty, she could hear two heartbeats just outside. It didn’t take a genius to work out that it was Jono and Josh out there.
“Until you can control yourself,” Josh shouted back.
“Jono? Please, help me,” Lily begged. Her wrists were chained to the wall. She just wanted to go home. She needed her brother.
The seal clicked. The heavy door inched open just enough for Jono’s slim frame to slip inside before it crashed shut again.
“You don’t have to hide outside. These chains can hold me,” Lily said, breaking the silence.
“For now,” Jono corrected, “Looks like your neck has healed pretty well.”
“That’s nothing new, Jono,” Lily added. She’d had werewolf abilities for a long time. Healing was the best part of it. Her face hadn’t seen a single spot since.
“You were bitten, Lily,” Jono replied, “Things are different now. This bunker is lined with mountain ash. All of us are weaker in here, you included now.”
“Then help me, please. You’ve been here before. How did you get through it?” Lily was desperate to know. If she really was a proper werewolf now, she needed assistance.
“I found my anchor,” Jono answered.
“Help me find mine, then,” Lily begged. He made it sound far too easy.
“Mine is Dylan, but it doesn’t have to be a person. It can be a memory. An emotion. Anything that keeps you grounded,” Jono explained, before crouching down and holding both of her hands, “Think about it, okay?”
“The shop,” Lily said, as if it were a reflex.
“What shop?” Jono looked at her in confusion.
“I…um…never mind,” Lily stuttered. She couldn’t find the words to explain it, “Can you get me a pillow please?”
“Sure,” Jono stood back up, “I love you, sis.”
“I love you too,” Lily smiled. The smile faded quickly, though. She caught a quick glimpse of Jono’s eyes before he turned around to leave. The tiniest flash, but it was enough. They were glowing, but it was wrong. They weren’t glowing yellow like they should have been. Lily began to panic, but she was helpless.
They were glowing red.