Previous: "Unity"

Next: "Scorch"

Series 4 Episode 5

The door clicked shut. Homely warmth flooded over every exposed section of skin. Jono was finally home. The first semester of high school was over at last, and he was so ready for a break.

Collapsing on the couch, Jono had a flick through the television channels to find something good to watch. In the end, he settled on a music channel. The current song was “WILD” by Troye Sivan, a particular favourite of Jono’s. he adored watching the free expression of Troye’s sexuality. He didn’t shy away from kissing other guys. Jono wished he cared as little as that about what other people were thinking. He hadn’t told anyone at all that he was gay. He felt an immense amount of paranoia, worrying about what everyone else in his life would think. It was too much to think about, so he often blocked it out.

“Cute video,” Lily commented, joining Jono on the sofa. Jono jumped. He didn’t realise she had been there.

“I guess,” Jono tried to act casual.

“Oh, come on bro, I saw you watching that video. You’re gay, right?” Lily assumed.

Drat. So much for keeping cover. Jono didn’t know what to say, but he nodded. That was all he needed to do. Of all the people in his life, he knew Lily would never have had an issue, but regardless, Jono felt himself welling up. His emotions reached boiling point. Suddenly, he felt exposed, and Lily instantly pulled him in for a hug. It felt warm and cosy, just what he needed. He had worried for so long about coming out, and it had happened without even a single bit of planning.

“What’s this modern rubbish on?” Jono heard his dad interrupting, entering the room and grabbing the TV remote before Jono could protest, “I hate all these singers trying to rub these LBTG antics on us. It wasn’t necessary when I was growing up.” Jono sighed. He knew his dad was far from the most politically correct person around, but this was one of the most narrow-minded things he’d said.

“Don’t worry about him. He only says it because he thinks it doesn’t affect him,” Lily whispered.

It was a nice thought, but Jono still felt uncomfortable. How would he ever feel okay about bringing a boy he truly adored to his home?

Facing the gruesome creature that took away the memories of his loved ones, Dylan wasn’t sure how he could defeat the Fenrir. It was big enough to block the doorway, and before he and the rest of his group would be able to run back through the sheriff station, it would have attacked no problem. He needed a distraction.

All Dylan knew for sure though was that he had to protect the people he was with. The Fenrir had tried to take his memories, but his impulses hadn’t changed. He had to look after Jono, Josh and Ed, as well as every damn person in that station.

“What do you want?” Dylan let his journalistic instincts take over while he thought of a plan.

“I want a pack,” the Fenrir spoke. It had a gravelly, growly voice, but it was unmistakably human at its core, “Your pack.”

“You underestimated them, I might not remember everything we’ve done together, but you didn’t count on their strength,” Dylan revelled in its failed plan. He grabbed Jono’s hand next to him. They were stronger together.

“Then I will claim the pack myself,” it replied.

“Over my dead body,” Dylan allowed himself to shift. He had to be the distraction. Dylan lunged towards the creature, letting go of Jono’s hand, “Run!”

He dug his claws into the Fenrir’s chest, but it knocked Dylan back into a desk, breaking it clean down the middle. Dylan ached all over, but he got up, ready to fight back. The Fenrir swung its claws at Dylan, but he dodged them like a pro. He wasn’t allowing for a repeat of that situation.

Dylan jumped behind another desk, using it as a shield, before pushing it against the Fenrir. It was a barrier, but not for long. There was only a limited time before it broke free, but enough for Dylan to get a head start on finding Jono.

Fearing for himself, Freddie was figuring out his plan. He was faced with an angry beta, Noah, who could well be possessed by a power-hungry Fenrir. It was unchartered territory for Freddie. He had to act fast, because Noah wasn’t thinking straight and would very quickly be rushing into a fight. His instinct to kill was strong, Freddie recalled just how powerful it was when he first got bitten, and Noah hadn’t yet mastered how to control himself.

Noah snarled, his fully shifted werewolf face staring Freddie eye-to-eye. Freddie allowed himself to shift, too. It had to be a fair fight.

Freddie howled, asserting his superior status. Noah leapt towards him, bashing Freddie against the wall very harshly, cracking the tiles behind him. Freddie was unfazed though, and he very quickly and easily kicked Noah backwards, blocking his next advances with his leg. Noah wasn’t giving up. He was still dead set on Freddie’s blood. It was unlike him, but the wolf had yet to be tamed.

“Noah, I know you can hear me. Find your anchor. Find what makes you human,” Freddie encouraged. Noah didn’t seem to take any note, though. He still fought back, swiping his claws while Freddie dodged, his superior senses and reflexes benefiting him.

Realising he had little other choice, Freddie grabbed Noah’s wrist when he next took a swipe. Regretfully, Freddie twisted it round, hearing the gut-wrenching crunch of Noah’s bones.

Noah cried out in pain, backing off against the opposite wall. Freddie shifted back, noticing Noah had done the same, though his auburn locks obscured much of the view.

“Noah?” Freddie tried to grab his attention.

“What happened?” Noah queried as he glanced up, looking terrified. His wrist had already healed.

“Pain makes you human,” Freddie justified. He needed to educate Noah on how to control himself, as this was too close for comfort.

Picking himself up, Drew took a look at his hands, checking he was okay. Nothing seemed untoward. He rushed over to a mirror in the cluttered shop, though. This would be the giveaway. Had the scratches on his face healed?

Drew looked himself over. Sure enough, the scratch had gone. He touched his skin, feeling how beautifully smooth it was. However, Drew still didn’t feel like his usual self. He focused his hearing, but it didn’t work. His ears only had their human capabilities. The wolf still didn’t feel present in Drew’s mind. It hadn’t worked.

“My dear, is everything okay?” Edwina approached him.

“It’s not back,” Drew tried his best to keep calm, but he was devastated. If this didn’t work, nothing would.

Without wanting to hear another word, Drew stormed out of the shop. He needed to be on his own. However, when he got into the car, he didn’t feel the urge to switch the engine on. He just wanted to sit, and be. This was his new reality now. Sure, he might have some form of healing power back, and that was good, but it wasn’t enough. He needed to be able to fight, and use all of his senses to his advantage, but he couldn’t now. He was no use to Dylan or the pack.

Knocking at the window, Drew looked up to see a girl, of a similar age to him, looking in. He rolled down the window.

“Can I help you?” Drew abruptly questioned. He didn’t need some randomer interfering.

“What’s a pretty boy like you doing hiding away?” she wondered.

“None of your business,” Drew hit back.

“Alright, if you don’t need a shoulder to cry on,” she turned to walk away. Drew knew he could have done with some company. Specifically, someone who didn’t already know all about him.

“Wait,” he called out, “Come inside.”

She came back and climbed inside the passenger side of the car. Any sort of distraction could prove valuable for Drew’s state of mind.

Her first day back at school had gone relatively well. She didn’t even have George for support, as he was watching over Noah. She did it all on her own, and Lily was exceptionally proud of herself.

However, day two was proving a little more difficult. Lily didn’t know why, but a series of events kept playing over and over in her mind. Taylor vanishing into dust. The sight of the Fenrir jumping up at the peephole. She was surrounded by danger, and there was so little she could do. Lily began to feel trapped.

She looked ahead, trying to focus on class, but her mind was speeding like a race car. She grabbed George’s hand on her right, holding him tightly for support. Her breaths were short and restricted.

It was in there. The Fenrir. Staring her in the face. Without a second to dodge, it jumped right at Lily. She was its prey. No way to escape. She cried out, terrified. Eyes shut.

“Lily?” George’s voice filtered into her ears. Lily re-opened her eyes. No sign of the Fenrir. Her classmates were staring at her. Her breathing was escalating out of control. She couldn’t cope.

“Help me George,” Lily desperately requested. She was breathless. George held both of her hands. He stared her in the eyes.

“Listen to my voice,” George spoke calmly, “Focus on me and only me. I need you to count to ten with me.”

“I can’t,” Lily was still struggling. She felt awful. Nothing was in focus.

“You can, we can make it,” George encouraged, “One. Say it with me. Two.”

“Three,” they said together, “Four. Five.”

Lily’s mind was spinning less fast. She was calming down.

“Six. Seven. Eight.”

The classroom came back into focus.

“Nine. Ten.”

Lily looked at George face-to-face. She could finally focus on him. His cute smile. His gorgeous blue eyes. She didn’t deserve him.

“How did you know all that?” she questioned. The rest of the class were still watching, their curiosity turning to genuine awe.

“You were having a panic attack. Freddie had them quite often when mom died,” George explained.

“Miss Chadwick, would you like to be excused?” Miss Daniels interrupted.

“Yes miss,” Lily got up, leading George out. She wasn’t letting him out of her sight. Not until she got the help she needed.

Sprinting as fast as he could, Jono was leading the way through the sheriff station. It wasn’t a very big building, but it felt like a maze when he had so little time to think. He didn’t know the way to the back exit, and Ed was too busy bringing up the rear, keeping guard, to offer directions. However, neither he nor the three deputies had said they were going the wrong way, so all must have been good.

At last. The fire exit came into view. Jono sprinted into it, pushing the bar down, but it wouldn’t budge.

“It’s barricaded,” Josh realised.

“We’ve got to hide, it’ll be following soon,” Jono noted. He trusted in Dylan’s fighting ability, but he knew it could only hold the Fenrir off for so long.

“In here,” Ed directed, opening a door behind him.

The room was small and dark, but Jono could easily see what was there as the light from the corridor reflected off the tall metal bars. The large jail cell was in this room.

“It won’t look in here if we keep the lights off and lock the door,” Ed continued.

“Let’s do it then,” Josh concurred.

“We can’t lock Dylan out,” Jono reminded. He would have nowhere to go. There was no way he could fend for himself long enough.

“If we don’t lock that door, it will get all of us. Dylan’s a smart lad, he’ll be able to look after himself,” Ed reasoned.

“Lock the door behind me,” Jono commanded. He wasn’t convinced this was a good idea, but he had to do it for Dylan’s sake. He heard both Ed and Josh begin to protest, but it wouldn’t change his mind.

He began frantically looking for somewhere they could hide, but it was the only room down that corridor. Jono tried shoving the fire exit open, but it was no good. It must have been barricaded darn well. The Fenrir obviously covered itself perfectly.

However, it was barricaded from the outside. How could it have done that? It didn’t come in through the main entrance, it pounced at the pack from behind. Either it was already inside, or it has an accomplice.

Nevertheless, Jono heard a growl from nearby. This was the moment of truth. He had to pray Dylan was on his way first.

A figure appeared at the end of the corridor. Jono squinted. It was the unmistakable silhouette of Dylan, making his way nearer and nearer at an incredibly fast pace. Thank goodness.

“What are you doing? Where are the others?” Dylan questioned.

“They’re safe. We need to get out, but these doors are barricaded,” Jono explained.

“Why aren’t you with them?” Dylan wondered.

“I couldn’t leave you,” Jono replied.

“Wow,” Dylan smiled. However, Jono knew there was no time for chit-chat. They had to get out, and fast.

Drew had found small talk pretty easy with his new friend. Her name was Allyn, she was also a sophomore but attended a high school at the opposite end of town. She was mega pretty, too. Drew rarely considered a love life, he had way bigger priorities and a love interest would only have distracted him. He didn’t need any further weakness.

“What’s up with you, then?” Allyn queried, “No offence, but you’ve got a face like thunder.”

While she spoke, Drew noticed her beautifully styled hair, her afro pulled back into a neat bun, with a cute rose clip attached to the side.

“Do you know when you lose something, and you can’t find it so you have to start adapting to life without it?” Drew tried to keep it vague. She would never have understood or believed his full story.

“You just said so much without saying anything at all,” Allyn remarked, laughing, “But yes, I think I get you. You can tell me the details, you know.”

“It’s hard to explain,” Drew shut himself off.

“Is it really?” Allyn vaguely replied. Drew looked up at her. Her eyes flared blue, much like Josh’s. A deep, haunting blue. She was like him, but he knew blue meant she had taken an innocent life.

“You’re a werewolf?” Drew identified.

“Werecoyote,” Allyn replied. Drew had heard about werecoyotes before, but had never met one, “And you’re a werewolf. I know a werewolf when I smell one.”

“That’s the thing. I’m not a werewolf anymore,” Drew explained.

“It doesn’t just go away. You’re always going to be a werewolf, you just need to find it again,” Allyn explained.

“How? Everything I used to do doesn’t work,” Drew was keen to learn. Wherever Allyn had come from, she was a sudden ray of light for him, at just the right moment.

“You’ve got to work harder. Find something that makes you emotional. Something you care about. The wolf will resurface,” Allyn explained.

There was Drew’s problem. He cared so little about emotions. He’d hardened himself so he could protect himself in a place that was as dangerous and volatile as Crystalshaw.

Before Drew could try and verbalise his thoughts, Allyn leaned in and pressed her lips against his. Drew hadn’t experienced the touch of a girl’s lips in a long time. It felt exceptionally amazing, though. Drew felt a fire ignite inside him. He savoured the moment, enjoying it while it lasted.

Allyn pulled away after a few seconds, but Drew’s fire remained burning.

“See,” Allyn commented, “Your eyes are glowing.” That explained the fire. The wolf was waking up.

“How could you know that?” Drew was in awe.

“I’ll catch you later, cutie,” Allyn stepped out of the car, much to Drew’s disappointment.

“Wait!” Drew called out, but Allyn didn’t respond. He looked around, in all of the mirrors, but she had already vanished. Drew wasn’t going to forget that encounter any time soon.

He looked at his phone, hearing it vibrate in the dashboard. A text from Josh…

Sitting on the top step just outside the school doors, Freddie had taken Noah for a spot of fresh air. Everyone was still in class, so the school grounds were remarkably tranquil. School wasn’t Freddie’s favourite place in the world, and he couldn’t wait to start making actual progress towards his goal of designing video games. It felt like a waste of time to be studying most school subjects.

However, he was quite enjoying looking over the grounds. Seeing the basketball court to the right. The car park in front. The field just about visible in the distance. When he wasn’t being bored to death about the world wars, school wasn’t always awful.

“I don’t think I’ve been this relaxed in weeks,” Noah commented. It had been a pretty darn hectic time for him. Even before he became a werewolf, the Téras had tormented him for the sake of generating fear.

“Me neither,” Freddie chuckled, “Look, I’m sorry for what I said. If I’d kept my darn mouth shut, we could’ve avoided all of that.”

“It’s okay,” Noah smiled kindly, “I genuinely have no idea how the Bestiary got there, though. I must have been framed.”

“I believe you,” Freddie admitted, “I looked through it anyway, there’s not even one mention of the Fenrir. There’s a couple of pages missing though, I don’t remember that. Whatever took it must have stitched us up.”

A pause followed. Food for thought.

“You know what you said, about pain making you human,” Noah queried, changing the subject, “Is that true?”

“I learnt it from Drew. The wolf heals. Pain is human. You felt pain, so you switched back, almost like a reflex,” Freddie educated.

“Yeah, it really fucking hurt,” Noah laughed.

“You need to find an anchor, though,” Freddie continued, “It’s way easier than breaking your arm each time.”

“Anchor?” Noah seemed unsure of the concept.

“Something that can keep you human. Something that calms you down, or someone,” Freddie detailed.

“I don’t know if I have someone like that,” Noah admitted, “I mean, I’ve not been home in days, and I don’t think my dad’s even noticed.”

“I guess that could work,” Freddie thought, “Disappointment is a valid emotion too, you know. It’s very human.”

Noah smiled and nodded. The door behind them slammed open. It was Yasmin, and she looked in a rush.

“Do you not check your phones? Sheriff station, now,” she commanded. Freddie knew better than to argue with Yasmin.

One. One two. One. One two three. Lily was building up her rhythm, throwing punches at the punchbag. This was the benefit of having a fitness-crazy mum, and a spare room in the house for a bunch of gym equipment. She was determined to start building some strength up. She had even tried to phone Ed to book some self-defence classes, but he wasn’t picking up.

“Come on,” Lily encouraged George to join in. He was sat casually on the armchair with his phone out, looking highly disinterested.

“Hey, I’ve got a shift this afternoon, I need to conserve my energy,” George made excuses.

“Alright, but if the Fenrir comes along, don’t expect me to save you,” Lily reasoned, laughing.

“You know this won’t help you fight it off, right?” George mentioned. Lily stopped punching.

“I know,” she replied. As keen as she was to learn self-defence, she knew her realistic capabilities, “But I can try.”

“I’d rather not go near it at all,” George chuckled, “We can’t heal like Freddie or Dylan. I don’t want to fight it.”

“That’s the thing,” Lily replied, sitting down next to him, “We can’t pick and choose when it attacks, we just need to be ready.”

“I guess. Is it bad that I sometimes wish Freddie and I were never caught up in this?” George confessed.

“No, I think the same. All the damn time,” Lily opened up. She was pleased it wasn’t just her who sometimes hated being in the pack.

“I promised to protect Freddie. Keep him safe. I’ve done anything but,” George confirmed. He was being harsh on himself, and it upset Lily. She knew how hard he fought for Freddie.

“Hey, none of this was your fault,” Lily cuddled him, “We’re here because we care. For Freddie. For Dylan, and Josh, and everyone else in this pack, werewolf or not. We can protect people from stuff they have no idea even exists. That’s gotta be good.”

“I guess another good thing came out of it too,” George looked up into Lily’s eyes. His adorably cute face stared back at her. He wasn’t wrong, their relationship was one of a tiny pool of things keeping her strong.

“We were friends already. This was always inevitable,” Lily smiled. She knew what George meant, but was making him work for it.

“All it needed was for your life to be in danger for me to realise that I love you,” George chuckled, before settling into a smile.

Lily leaned in for a kiss. That was what she wanted to hear. She could have all the self-defence lessons she wanted, but she never felt safer than when she was with George.

Spoiling the moment, the fluttery sound of Lily’s text alert filled her ears. She reluctantly checked it.

“It’s Josh,” she said, skimming the message. Her heart dropped, “Jono’s in danger.”

No matter how hard he pushed against the fire exit doors, Dylan couldn’t get them to budge. It was no wonder Jono struggled when he only had the strength of a human. Dylan heaved, using every inch of his might to push on forwards, but it was no good.

Now he could hear the Fenrir getting nearer. Its deep, heavy breathing, closer and closer. It was walking down the corridor, intimidating Dylan and Jono. Dylan turned around. He faced the creature, waiting to see who made the first move.

“Nowhere to run,” it threatened. Dylan couldn’t deny he felt scared, but he was shoulder-to-shoulder with Jono. He felt comfort in their unity. Together, they could succeed.

Dylan heard the door behind him begin to rattle all of a sudden. Familiar, hopeful voices behind it. This was their way out. He had to keep talking.

“I’m not going down that easily,” Dylan stood his ground, “You can take me out, but my pack still won’t join you. They’re strong, they have free will…” The doors behind kept rattling, louder and louder, “…and they can outsmart you any day of the week.”

The doors flung open. Lily, George and Yasmin were there, providing an escape route.

“Now!” Lily commanded.

“Go,” Dylan ordered to Jono. George went to knock on the door of the room adjacent, ushering Ed and the deputies out, but Josh joined Dylan’s side instead. From behind the creature, Freddie and Drew arrived. It was cornered.

“This is my pack,” Dylan spoke again, retaining his confidence. He allowed the alpha to take over, his face shifting into the beast that he was. His betas followed, Freddie and then Josh. Drew nodded. He may not have been a wolf any more, but his strength was still a vital asset.

Dylan let out a huge roar, using every fibre of his being. Freddie and Josh joined him in chorus, the pack united.

Dylan kept an eye on Drew. His eyes began to glow. His face started to morph. Then, unbelievably, he let out the loudest roar of them all.

The Fenrir began to shift back, taking back its human form, stunned by the unity of the pack. Dylan didn’t know the name of the guy now stood in front of him, but he had seen him at the sheriff station before, as one of the deputies. How could he know that? Had he been there to see Ed before? He was totally over the memory loss.

“You’d better run,” Dylan ordered. The man scarpered back through the station, without even underwear to preserve his modesty.

Dylan looked at Drew, who smiled at him. The first time he had properly seen Drew smile. However, Dylan wasn’t celebrating yet. He was far from done with this Fenrir.

Lounging in the treehouse that evening, Jono felt relieved. The threat was gone for the time being at least, and he was finally holding Dylan in his arms again.

The view from the treehouse was always so relaxing, the beautiful colours in view as the sun began to set. It was breath-taking, much like the guy in his arms.

“I’ve missed this,” Jono commented.

“It’s only been two days, no?” Dylan tried to figure out. He wasn’t wrong. It had only been two days of Dylan’s memory loss, but it felt way longer.

“Exactly. That’s enough,” Jono smiled, “Oh, and by the way. I think I figured out why you remember Drew.”

“Oh really? The brains and the beauty, that doesn’t leave much for me to be,” Dylan jested. He never lost his sense of humour.

“He wasn’t a werewolf any longer, the Drew you knew had already gone, momentarily at least,” Jono suggested. It was the best theory any of them had given, “That must be why he was the only one you remembered.”

“I really wish I remembered everything though,” Dylan opened up.

“You think you can get them back? I mean, how would you even do it?” Jono wondered. He was undoubtedly optimistic, but there didn’t seem to be any obvious solution.

“I don’t even know, but I want it. More than anything. I feel like I’ve only just met you, Jono, but everything feels so right. So special,” Dylan confessed. Those words warmed Jono’s heart. To think, he could easily have lost him for good.

“I guess I can help fill in the gaps,” Jono offered, “Come on, story time before bed.”

“This better be good,” Dylan laughed, settling himself into Jono’s arms. Jono felt so blissfully calm, like nothing could ever go wrong in their little world.

“There was once a normal, lonely school boy, who had a crush on the most handsome prince in his class,” Jono told.

“You’re too sweet,” Dylan commented, taking the compliment.

“No, I’m the prince,” Jono joked, “Seriously though, you came to Crystalshaw High at the start of sophomore year. I fancied you from the start, but we only got talking about a month later, in detention.”

“You? In detention? You’re way too nice for that,” Dylan mentioned.

“You don’t know the half of it,” Jono subtly hinted, “I invited you round, we kissed, and the rest is history.”

“Suddenly, history is my favourite class,” Dylan looked up, kissing Jono on the lips. This might as well have been their first kiss; it certainly was for Dylan.

Jono twirled his hands in Dylan’s untamed hair, never wanting to let him go ever again. One thing he knew was that this was just the start of their night together.

Stumbling back down into the tunnels below Crystalshaw, Ronnie was furious at himself. That puny alpha should have been easy to squash, but he ran back to his silly little pack still.

The boss was going to be even more furious, though. He had been given a mission to succeed at all costs, and he had failed. Ronnie knew the reasons he had failed, he could justify himself very easily, but the boss didn’t ever care for excuses. He made the consequences for failure very clear.

Ronnie knew he could have run away. Maybe he’d have survived a bit longer, but the boss would still have found him. He had contacts everywhere.

Ronnie opened the bunker door, just down the corridor from that pathetic beta’s private bunker. Breaking in and stealing that book to frame the new beta was stupidly easy. Just about the only part of their plan that had gone as expected.

Everyone was already in the bunker, as if they had been expecting him. Four of them watched on. People who were on his team, recruited similarly, but they had barely said a word to each other.

Ronnie heard the door click shut behind him. He didn’t need to turn and see who it was. There was only one possible contender.

The boss.

“I’m sorry, anyone would have failed. I can try again,” Ronnie pleaded. He knew it was in vain, but the pain would be more tolerable if he knew he tried.

Four flames ignited in front of him. Four blowtorches, burning brightly. He felt a fifth behind him, the heat wafting onto his skin. The boss was going to revel in the torture of his failure. The flames got closer, and closer, until they made contact with his skin. Ronnie was in agony from the start, but the pain only got worse and worse.

He tried not to scream, but he couldn’t help himself. Ronnie shrieked, trying to expel the pain, but it didn’t work. His skin was being torn apart. He had no chance. This was his penalty.

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Next: "Scorch"

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