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Series 6 Episode 5
"Road Trip"

Though he’d had a lucky escape, Jono wasn’t out of the woods just yet. His life had just been flipped on its head, and he wanted to remind himself of normally before anything else threw a spanner in the works.

Besides, being a werewolf was tough enough as it was. His senses were all over the shop. He was amazed at just how much he could now hear. He never thought he would take something as basic as hearing for granted, but it was so overbearing. He couldn’t focus properly yet.

There was one advantage – he could listen in to conversations he definitely should not have been hearing. His cousin, Sammi, had turned up at his house with absolutely no warning. For once, the drama didn’t involve claws or fangs.

Sammi was talking privately to his parents, but Jono was intrigued, especially after she interrupted his and Dylan’s make-out session.

“Your dad’s away? He never mentioned,” he heard his dad’s voice, sounding confused.

“It was pretty last minute,” Sammi added. Jono paid close attention to her heartbeat. It was fast – according to Dylan, this was a sure-fire sign that she was lying. After all, Jono hadn’t seen her in years. He barely knew her.

“You never mentioned her,” Dylan whispered, both of them being very careful to avoid their eavesdropping being discovered.

“There’s not much to say, I’ve not seen her since we were kids,” Jono reasoned, “We only ever saw each other at Christmas, but she moved away with my uncle when my aunt died.” He paused, reflecting on what Sammi almost saw outside, “She could have seen me, Dylan. My eyes were glowing.”

“I know. Don’t worry, she didn’t see, and she won’t. This is your life, you can tell who you want, whenever you’re ready,” Dylan encouraged, not just as the alpha, but as his boyfriend. He had been through it himself. Jono always wondered what it was like. Now he knew.

The kitchen door swung open. Sammi stopped in her tracks.

“Were you listening?” she looked suspicious.

“No, we just came to get a drink,” Jono lied as casually as he could.

“Okay,” Sammi shrugged, “See you later, Dylly.”

“That’s…that’s not my name,” Dylan awkwardly replied, baffled. Sammi had barely changed – she was still low-key annoying. Jono was just pleased that she couldn’t hear how fast his own heart was beating.

Motivation to fight sucked out, Jono felt numb. Sammi wasn’t herself any longer. She was a creature of some sort, cruelly modified. Whether the old Sammi was still in there or not was unknown, and it terrified him.

“Keep going,” Jono ordered, not moving his gaze from Sammi.

“Sammi,” Freddie was gobsmacked. He wasn’t in any state to figure out the switches clearly, but they needed him. They could worry about Sammi when they were safely outside.

“Freddie, now,” Jono encouraged. Freddie listened. Pulling a switch, lockdown lifted. The pack sprinted outside, but Dylan didn’t move.

“Come on,” Jono took Dylan’s hand, “We can’t save her right now.”

“You’re so calm,” Dylan was amazed.

“Trust me. I’m not,” Jono clarified. He had a simmering anger boiling inside him, and the wolf he was keeping at bay wanted to fight. Jono knew better – he had an anchor, and he wasn’t going to leave without him.

Dylan understood. They sprinted out of the front entrance and climbed into Jono’s car. They needed to get away – as far as possible.

“You were amazing,” Dylan complimented, “You were so controlled.”

“I’ve got a pretty amazing anchor,” Jono explained, “You were amazing too Dyl, you stood up to them.”

“It was too late. I wanted to do something. I should have done something,” Dylan was beating himself up; it broke Jono’s heart.

“We still can, but we need to think,” Jono was trying to keep himself productive, using his anger as fuel, but he was reaching his wit’s end. He felt a tear escape, trickling down his cheek, his eyes clouding up.

“Stop the car,” Dylan suggested. Jono knew what Dylan was suggesting, and pulled into the nearest layby. As he switched the engine off, the flood barriers lifted. Jono couldn’t stop the tears any longer.

Instantly, Dylan pulled him in tightly for a comforting hug. Jono’s tears were soaking onto Dylan’s jacket as he let out every emotion he had been keeping locked up.

“Let it out, baby,” Dylan comforted, holding him tightly and snugly. The world could wait for a moment, but Jono knew he would stay comfortable in Dylan’s arms forever.

Awoken by the gentle tweeting of passing birds, Dylan was enjoying the calming vision of Jono sleeping. The night before had been chaotic and exhausting, both physically and emotionally. It was nice to see him looking so peaceful in deep sleep.

While he laid on the floor of the treehouse, Dylan looked up to the sky. It was just about warm enough in early autumn to spend the night outside, and the view was always so calming. Additionally, it saved Jono having to face his parents so soon – it was a step he didn’t want to take until he needed to, and Dylan understood that.

To pass the time, Dylan was trying to formulate a plan. He never usually found it quite so easy to figure one out, it was usually Yasmin’s job, but he was the alpha. He felt the pressure to be the one with the plan. It was pretty difficult, though, and the pressure came hand-in-hand with a mental block.

“There you are,” Lily poked her head up.

“He’s still sleeping,” Dylan quietly mentioned as Lily climbed inside and sat cross-legged on the floor, “How are you?”

“I’ve been better,” Lily admitted, “I didn’t really sleep. I’m glad he’s looking more peaceful.”

“He tossed and turned for a while,” Dylan informed, “Is it weird to say I’ve been sat watching him?”

“Not at all. It’s kind of sweet,” Lily smiled, “I watch George sleep sometimes. It’s the most calming thing to do, because he makes me better. I was lost before him, and all he did was believe in me.”

“Snap,” Dylan realised just how similar his and Lily’s stories were, “Nobody gets me like Jono does. Sometimes, I think about what would happen if, you know, we broke up.”

“Don’t go there,” Lily immediately tried to shut it down.

“I can’t help it,” Dylan defended, “But without him, I don’t know what I’d do. He’s my everything. Maybe it sounds stupid, we’re both teenagers still, but I want to be with him forever.”

“It’s not stupid. People don’t believe young love is real, but they’re wrong. It’s just as real as anything adults can feel,” Lily agreed, “And do you know what? Jono feels the same way you do. You’re in this together forever, so don’t stress over something that isn’t going to happen.”

“Got it,” Dylan nodded, glancing back to Jono, still fast asleep. His phone buzzed, interrupting the chilled-out mood in the treehouse as the sun began to rise. It was a WhatsApp message.

“Yasmin’s got a plan,” Dylan fed back to Lily. It was music to his ears.

Usually his happy place, where he felt the most comfortable, Freddie was feeling oddly claustrophobic within the confines of his bedroom. All he could think about was what he saw in Sammi the night before, and it was horrifying.

He hadn’t told anyone how he felt about Sammi – he was a little embarrassed to talk about it, and he wasn’t sure how Jono would feel, though he guessed his reaction the night before may have given the game away.

It was true, though: he had a crush on Sammi. Freddie was confident that she felt the same, too. Girls had taken a back seat after he split with Yasmin, and Sammi had been a pleasant and welcoming surprise.

“There’s no use moping,” a voice called from the slightly ajar window. Startled, Freddie spotted Drew outside it. He pushed the window fully up to let him in.

“Dude, we have a front door,” Freddie reminded.

“Front doors are for boring humans,” Drew bluntly responded.

“Whatever. Why are you here?” Freddie was stumped. Drew didn’t make house calls without a reason.

“Believe it or not, I actually care how you are,” Drew replied.

“You care if I’m not on top fighting form,” Freddie corrected.

“You really think I’m that cold-hearted?” Drew queried.

“No. I don’t know,” Freddie replied honestly, “I barely know my own name.”

“You really liked her, right?” Drew queried.

“I barely know her,” Freddie tried to mask his feelings somewhat.

“Dude, I knew I liked Allyn from the moment I saw her, that means nothing,” Drew called his bluff. Darn. Now he had to talk.

“Alright. I like her, and I never got to tell her,” Freddie opened up, feeling sombre.

“That’s good,” Drew simply yet confusingly said.

“Good? What? How is it good?” Freddie was baffled. This was in no way ‘good’ – he felt distraught, and Drew was treating it like some sort of joke.

“It gives you a reason to fight for her. It motivates you, and most importantly, it keeps you human,” Drew reasoned.

“Fear?” Freddie wanted clarification.

“Pain,” Drew corrected, “Pain makes you human. Use it.” Freddie understood at last. He needed to fix things, for Sammi’s sake.

“What’s the plan?” Freddie queried. Drew always came prepared.

“Meet me at the bunker in fifteen,” Drew organised, “I gotta gather some numbers.”

Gathering around the garden table at Yasmin’s house, Jono was ready to hear her plan. He had spent enough time worrying; it was finally time for action, and Yasmin always had the best plans.

Dylan and Lily were both with him; it felt good to know he had their undying support. Ultimately, they were all family, so he knew he wasn’t in this alone.

“A nice cup of tea,” Autumn carried a tray out with four mugs, each with gentle wisps of steam wafting upwards. Jono looked at it, not really feeling in the mood for food or drink. He could eat a banquet once Sammi was safe.

“Okay, the plan,” Yasmin began as soon as the back door clicked shut, “It’s just a starting point. I can’t lie, but it might give us a little hand in finding the human Sammi.”

“Is she still human, though?” Jono questioned. What he saw in the hospital was not human.

“Aren’t most shapeshifters human underneath? We all are,” Lily reasoned.

“We can’t prove that, though,” Jono reminded. He wanted to be optimistic, but it wasn’t easy.”

“Then we need to find out what she is,” Dylan thought.

“I don’t think that’s the key yet, though it wouldn’t hurt. I think we need to know the real Sammi,” Yasmin thought. Jono was intrigued, though he had little idea about what she meant, “None of us know much about her, so how can we try and bring her back?”

Yasmin was right – Jono hadn’t seen Sammi since they were both kids; he barely knew her.

“So what? We go to her house?” Lily wondered.

“Exactly. Your uncle’s house. Anything that we can find out could be helpful,” Yasmin continued, “And if we’re going to fight back, we need knowledge.” She looked directly at Jono and Lily, “This is your call, guys.”

Jono glanced to Lily. She looked convinced. After all, they were all out of ideas otherwise.

“Let’s do it,” Jono fed back. He felt a fire inside him, and it was fuelling his determination.

Dylan’s phone began to buzz ferociously. He knew it had to be Dylan’s phone as he never turned the volume up, even when he wasn’t at school.

“It’s Ed. They’ve found another, err, I’m not even sure it is a corpse, but Sammi’s struck again,” Dylan explained. Suddenly, Jono felt uneasy about leaving. She was on the loose.

“Go,” Lily suggested to Dylan, “We can do this, me and Jono. We’re her family.”

“Are you sure?” Dylan never stopped looking out for Jono. His support meant so much.

“We’ve got this,” Jono assured him. He had learnt from the best, after all.

“Keep in touch,” Yasmin advised. Jono nodded. He was desperate to find answers.

Heaving open Drew’s stupidly heavy bunker door, Freddie was met by a small crowd inside. Drew had rounded up Josh, as well as Allyn and her pack, and all of them looked like they had been anticipating his arrival.

It was the first time Freddie had seen them all together in a while – especially Noah. It was hard to forget the attempts on his life as the kanima, even if it were beyond his control.

“How’s this for an army?” Drew looked very pleased with himself – overly so considering it likely involved about two phone calls.

“Where’s Dylan?” Freddie was never keen to leave him out – he was their alpha, and only the night before he almost got killed when he didn’t have Dylan in the lab with him.

“Busy elsewhere,” Drew replied vaguely, though Freddie trusted him. Drew was irritatingly non-specific, bur he knew what he was doing.

“Okay, so what’s the plan?” Freddie questioned. He knew there must have been a plan, or Drew wouldn’t have rounded everybody up.

“We infiltrate,” Drew begun.

“Woah, no way. I’m not going back in there,” Freddie’s entire body rejected the idea.

“You’re the only one who knows exactly where to go,” Allyn tried to convince him.

“The only one who remembers,” Josh added, sharing a glance with Monty.

“The scientists will be there,” Freddie reminded. Even if he did go back down, he wasn’t going to allow himself to face off against them again – the after-effects were playing havoc on him still.

“That’s why we need all of us,” Drew continued, “We’ll split into two. The distraction, and the infiltration.”

“We’re not going to leave you down there with them,” Allyn persuaded. Freddie was pleasantly surprised – they had actually taken his feelings into consideration.

“So, what do you think?” Drew optimistically asked. Freddie felt like he was about to regret the decision was making, but for Sammi, it was worth it.

“I’m in,” Freddie responded. At least he would be with the people he trusted the most.

Speed-walking into school, Dylan ran side-by-side with Yasmin. His mind was filled with worry on Jono’s behalf – he knew that Jono was more than capable of looking after himself, but he wouldn’t be his boyfriend if he didn’t worry constantly. After all, he thought he had good reason – his cousin had become some sort of supernatural serial killer. It wasn’t going to be easy to deal with.

However, Dylan also knew he had a job to do, and if anybody was going to keep him focused, it was Yasmin. In spite of everything she saw the night before – and she and Freddie got closer to the scientists than any of them – she remained determined and resilient. Dylan was in awe of her.

“Have you heard from Josh?” Dylan made conversation as they turned a corner. Having spent the night at Jono’s, Dylan hadn’t seen Josh since the hospital.

“Not really, he’s not seen my messages in a couple of hours,” Yasmin replied, a little downbeat, “Hey, I didn’t think about this, but we’re kinda family, in a way.”

Dylan visualised it in his head; Yasmin was right. Josh was his brother, and she was dating him. He hadn’t thought about it that way before.

“Funny how things work out,” Dylan chuckled, “I mean, I see all of you guys as family anyway. You’re there for me just like a family would be, but I guess most of us really are family now.”

“Speaking of your family,” Yasmin said as they reached one of the history classrooms. Ed was waiting patiently for them.

“I can’t really call forensics in when we haven’t got an actual corpse,” Ed explained as soon as they arrived, “I think we all know who our prime suspect is.”

“Any sightings?” Yasmin questioned.

“Not personally. I’ve been sceptical of sending someone to watch the CCTV, god knows what they might see,” Ed responded, “You guys can go watch.”

“Thanks,” Dylan immediately rushed down the hall to the janitor’s room, where CCTV was monitored.

“Do you know how to work this?” Yasmin seemed doubtful.

“You never know until you try, right? You taught me that,” Dylan reminded, clicking away at the screen. Sure enough, he found the hallway camera, which had a clear view of the classroom door. Pressing the left arrow key, Dylan rewound the footage, landing just a couple of hours before they arrived.

“Hey, that’s her,” Yasmin pointed out. Sure enough, it was Sammi, or rather, the back of her head. She entered the classroom, re-emerging only seconds later, having vaporised whoever was inside with one single glance.

“Follow her, the cameras cover everything,” Yasmin ordered.

Dylan zoomed out, viewing all cameras on one screen. However, as Sammi moved out of view on one camera, she didn’t show up anywhere else. She had completely vanished.

“Huh? Where did she go?” Yasmin wondered.

“We’ve lost her. She could be anywhere,” Dylan sighed, “And we can’t get around faster than her.”

“It’s a good thing I’ve found you then,” the chilling sound of Sammi’s voice came from the doorway. Dylan gulped. They were trapped.

Car journeys with Jono usually involved a concert performed by himself and Lily, featuring the classics from their childhood – “Womanizer” by Britney Spears, “TiK ToK” by Ke$ha and “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga being particular favourites.

However, the mood wasn’t the same that day. Lily had barely said a word to Jono the entire journey. Neither of them needed to speak to know how the other felt. They had known each other for seventeen, almost eighteen years since Jono was born – that was more than enough to know how to speak each other’s language.

“Do you think she’s in pain?” Jono broke the silence as he turned into a quieter road. They had been in his tiny car for almost an hour – Lily felt pleased to know they were almost there.

“Do you feel pain, you know, when you’re a werewolf?” Lily enquired. She was genuinely curious – it was a part of the supernatural experience that she knew she would never feel.

“Not really,” Jono replied, “Not physically. Mentally, that’s different.”

“How?” Lily tried to understand.

“I’m trying to keep the wolf at bay, all day, every day. Most of the time it’s easy, but when I get angry, or sad, or even really happy, it’s like the real me gets pushed aside, and the wolf arrives,” Jono detailed.

“Then Sammi is still in there, somewhere, just like you. She’s tucked away, and we can save her,” Lily encouraged, trying to keep as positive as she could.

The car pulled up outside a medium-sized semi-detached house. It looked pretty normal, situated in the middle of the street with nothing unusual immediately noticeable to the eye.

“How can we get in?” Jono wondered.

“Check under the plant pots,” Lily ordered, “There’s always a key under a plant pot on the TV.”

Jono sighed, but nevertheless began checking as directed. None of the plants looked well kept, as if they hadn’t been touched in years.

Picking up a few pots herself, Lily noticed a tiny black box secured to the wall directly next to the door. She had seen these before – a lot of AirBnB apartments had them.

“Hey, come see this,” Lily caught Jono’s attention, “It’s a key box.”

“Yeah, but it’s locked. How can we get the code?” Jono wondered, gazing confusingly at the combination lock at the front.

“Dude, you’re a werewolf,” Lily reminded. It was like she switched on a lightbulb in Jono’s mind. In an instant, Jono raised his hand and swiped the key box onto the floor, before stomping on top of it to shatter the plastic shell. Inside, sure enough, was a key – the front door key, specifically. Lily picked it up and allowed them access.

Immediately, she had to push firmly on the door; it was like something was blocking the way. Squeezing through the gap she had created, Lily examined the blockade. Surprisingly, an overwhelming pile of letters was in the way.

Lily shoved some of the letters back, just enough for the door to open comfortably enough for Jono to slide in.

“Woah, this looks abandoned,” he instantly commented. Lily looked around – sure enough, it looked like it hadn’t been lived in for years. Somehow, things weren’t adding up.

Key in the slot, the lift jolted downwards. Drew stood at the front of the group, almost directly with his nose against the lift door. He was ready for action – they had been sitting around for long enough.

Drew hadn’t seen inside the lab yet, and he couldn’t deny it, he felt scared. However, he kept reminding himself – the fear was artificial. He had felt real fear before, and it was nothing like this. It felt forced and disingenuous.

As they reached the bottom, the metallic feel of fear only grew stronger. It was inescapable and very believable, but it still didn’t sit well with him. It felt stranger, and he had no idea what could have caused it.

Ding! The lift arrived. Too late to back out now. Everyone had a role, and it surely couldn’t go wrong. This was their chance to learn more about their enemy, and begin the fight back.

The group split off – Freddie, Monty and Kamilah hid around the corner, ready for the infiltration, while Drew led Josh, Allyn and Noah directly ahead to where the lab apparently was. He was fighting against the instinct of his body. It was telling him to run and hide. As far away as possible.

“On my go,” Drew paused just before the corner. The gentle hum of machinery filled his ears among the otherwise eerie silence, “3, 2, 1, go.”

Shooting into the lab as if he were James Bond, Drew let go of his firm hold on the wolf. He was in attack mode. The scientists were there, in the middle of some sort of operation. They glanced at Drew, immediately springing into defence.

Drew let out the loudest howl he could. He was in control, and he had to demonstrate that. The scientists looked just as riled up as he wanted.

Allyn had unleashed the coyote in her, Josh bared his fangs, while Noah’s skin was patchy with scales, slowly shifting into the kanima. They were a formidable foursome, but now they had to back off so the plan could follow through.

One of the scientists pointed its instruments at Drew. It was gruesome, and surely not something that could be used in a surgical procedure. The harsh whirring neared Drew’s face. It was a chainsaw. It was centimetres from Drew’s face. He backed off, bumping into the far wall while the other scientist cornered Josh, Allyn and Noah. They were trapped.

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Next: "Uncovered"

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