Series 11 Episode 6
Six months in, and Harry could hardly believe his luck. It had been the most smooth-sailing, stress-free six months of his life, which is not how he ever expected a relationship to go. It certainly hadn’t been like that in his past experiences.
Dylan made things easy, though. There were no agendas or theatrics with him. Simply, what you saw was what you’d get. There weren’t many guys like him, in real life, anyway. Harry had found himself wrapped up in his imagination with books and television on too many occasions, but the real world was far less cosy.
To celebrate, the couple were heading out for a meal in their favourite restaurant, and Dylan’s mum and step-dad had insisted on paying. They were always so supportive of Harry, and he felt like such a huge part of their family already. It was obvious where Dylan had got his kind nature from.
Harry had picked up a new shirt for the occasion – he’d been saving up so he could treat himself – and he’d planned his weekly hair wash for that morning to ensure he looked his best. From across the table, Dylan looked breath-taking, and he’d impressively managed it with much less effort. As always, his lengthy locks had no effort at all, hanging halfway down his chest in all their glory. Harry was in awe; he was perfect.
One thing seemed different, though. Dylan looked nervous. He was often anxious about situations where he didn’t know what was going to happen, but this should have been a walk in the park. Nothing out of the ordinary was happening that night, and Harry was the only company he had. What was on his mind?
“You’ve barely touched your food,” Harry mentioned, breaking the silence between them.
“Sorry, I’ve not got much of an appetite tonight,” Dylan sighed. He wasn’t making eye-contact, but that wasn’t new for him.
“What’s the matter?” Harry gently probed. He’d never force Dylan to speak, but he wanted to give him the opportunity to open up if he wanted to.
“I…I wanted to tell you something,” Dylan began, “Something about me, something I’ve never told you before.” Harry was worried. He knew a lot about Dylan. He knew about his first love moving away, and his recent ASD diagnosis. What hadn’t he mentioned before?
“Go for it,” Harry was receptive. He always tried to be a good listener.
“I…I’m…” Dylan stuttered. His eyes were focusing firmly on his lap, not wanting to share a glance for even a second with Harry.
“Whatever it is, I’m here for you. No matter what,” Harry reassured.
“I’m…I’m a werewolf,” Dylan finally revealed. Harry wasn’t sure how to react. With anyone else, he’d have assumed they were joking. Werewolves couldn’t be real, could they? Dylan never lied to him, though. No matter what, Harry knew he had to hear him out.
“A werewolf? What?” Harry displayed his confusion.
“I know, it sounds ridiculous,” Dylan defended.
“I mean, yeah, but I believe you,” Harry assured.
“You do?” Dylan was surprised.
“Of course. I trust you,” Harry justified, “I’m confused as hell, but I know you. You wouldn’t be lying. So, tell me more.”
“Um, well, I’m an alpha, which is the leader of the pack. Sounds pretentious as hell, I know,” Dylan continued.
“You’ve got a pack? Woah, do I get to meet them?” Harry was amazed. His mind was blown.
“You have already,” Dylan shrugged.
“Okay, so all your friends are werewolves too? Even Brett? Damn, they kept that one quiet,” Harry processed.
“Brett’s human,” Dylan chuckled, “As is Sammi. The rest of us are werewolves. Well, except Yasmin, but I’ll explain that later.”
“So I guess I’m a part of the pack, then?” Harry enquired. He felt like he’d lost his mind, but he truly believed Dylan, and his honesty and trust meant the world.
“I thought you’d run a mile,” Dylan sighed, “But of course, if you want to be.”
“Duh, of course,” Harry smiled, holding both of Dylan’s hands in his own. Nothing could ruin that night for him, especially now his eyes were newly opened.
His instincts dictating his actions, Dylan’s first thought was to protect Jono. Whatever was coming up from the hatch was clearly strong – the hinges were coming loose – and with everything else that had gone wrong that day, Dylan was fully prepared for a fight, but with what?
It wasn’t all bad, though. Seeing Jono again was something he never expected to happen, and despite the shitstorm that came with it, he was so glad they were together again.
“Um, maybe we should hide?” Jono worried. Before Dylan could reply, the hatch flew off, slamming straight into the ceiling before landing mere inches from where Dylan stood. Dylan was more focused on who was going to be joining them, though. For a few moments, a nervous silence kept them company.
A hand gripped the edge of the square hole in the floor. A human-looking hand, but that wasn’t reassuring in a world of werewolves. An arm followed, starting to heave a body upwards. Dylan stood in front of Jono to protect him, not that he wasn’t more than capable of protecting himself.
“Wait,” Jono called out as a head popped upward. A mop of blonde hair led the way, and Dylan’s concern quickly vanished. He knew exactly who it was.
“Oh, hey guys,” Oscar smiled, climbing fully out of the hatch, “I guess you don’t have the key for this thing?”
“Thank god,” Dylan breathed the biggest sigh of relief. Brett followed Oscar out of the hatch with a huge smile on their face, “We thought you were…I don’t even know, but something bad.”
“I wouldn’t get too comfortable yet,” Brett warned, “There’s something in here.”
“It possessed me,” Oscar added.
“Lily,” Jono worried.
“She’s safe, she has Freddie and Jeremy, don’t worry,” Dylan reassured, “We need to get out of here.”
“Where are you heading?” Brett enquired.
“Freddie’s shop. We’ll explain on the way, but it’ll blow your mind,” Dylan paraphrased, trying to save time.
“We’ll help,” Oscar nodded, “I think I know the way underground, it’s probably safer right now.” Dylan nodded, before sharing a hopeful grin with Jono. Their odds were suddenly shortening. Maybe it wasn’t too much of a tall order after all?
Out of nowhere, everything had gone quiet. Lily wasn’t sure whether that was a good or bad thing. Perhaps the creepy doctor had gone, but why? What reason would he have for leaving? What even was he? Lily had never seen eyes like that before.
Regardless, whatever had happened occurred at just the right moment. The door was moments away from flying off its hinges, and no matter how hard Lily tried, she knew she wouldn’t be able to keep it on.
“No,” Helen harshly whispered as Lily’s hand gripped the door handle, “It’s not safe.”
“I know, I’ll be careful, I promise,” Lily assured. The last thing Helen needed was to lose her daughter on the same day as her husband.
Nervously, Lily clenched the door handle and gently pulled it open, ensuring the door didn’t collapse off its hinges in the process. Lily knew she needed to be as quiet as possible, so she cautiously closed it behind her. The first thing she saw worried her intensely. Two bodies. Two people lying lifeless on the floor. Two familiar faces: George and Harry.
To Lily’s relief, George began to wake up. He was alive, but for a brief moment, she’d feared the worst. Nothing scared Lily as much as the thought of losing her best friend, not to mention the love of her life.
“What happened?” George slurred as Lily went to check on Harry. He looked much more severely hurt than George was, with, most concerning, a growing pool of blood seeping from his head.
“Honestly, I don’t really know, and I’m not convinced we’re safe even now,” Lily replied, “I didn’t realise you were still up here.”
“I went to the bathroom, got back and…” George tailed off, “I remember. One of the doctors thumped me.”
“He was coming after me too,” Lily added, “He wasn’t human, George, I know that for sure.” She checked Harry’s pulse – alive, thankfully, but it was slow. He needed medical attention, fast, “Can you stand up?”
“Um,” George attempted to get onto his feet but immediately fell back down.
“Don’t worry, I’ll go, but I need you to hold this against Harry’s head,” Lily handed George a cloth that had fallen to the floor, “It should help stop the bleeding. Any problems, call me immediately.” George nodded. She needed to find help; they weren’t out of the woods yet.
Nothing frustrated Freddie more than feeling helpless. Watching the hospital staff trying and failing to get the computers at the reception desk working was exhausting – they were the tool he needed, and he was confident he could have lifted the lockdown in mere minutes if he’d had access to the servers. It was frustrating, but he wasn’t out of hope yet.
“Almost there,” Yasmin relayed on the end of the phone. Freddie had given her a series of instructions to access the hospital’s server remotely. At home, he could have achieved it in seconds with the software he’d accumulated, but Yasmin didn’t have any of that. She had an internet café with dodgy Wi-Fi and an operating system that was years out of date.
“Once that’s loaded, there should be a toolbar at the top. Click ‘manage’ and then ‘settings’, there should be an emergency tab on there,” Freddie directed, shooting an exasperated glance to Sammi. She met him with a smile – just the spark of encouragement he needed.
“I’m there,” Yasmin replied. She was following each instruction to the detail, which made Freddie’s life easier, but it was still difficult without a visual.
“There should be a lockdown release or reset button there,” Freddie instructed.
“Yeah, lockdown release code,” Yasmin read. Freddie’s stomach dropped. He could hack anything he wanted, but a code he didn’t know had rendered the whole thing pointless.
“Um,” Freddie stalled. He had no suggestions of where to even begin, “I could find the code, but it would take time, and we don’t have that.”
“There must be something here,” Sammi quickly grabbed a couple of files from the reception desk and started rifling through the masses of papers in a hurry.
“It’s here,” a man in a lab coat arrived, pointing to a sheet in the back of the file, “The lockdown will lift immediately.” Freddie had never seen him before, but he wasn’t saying no to a little extra help when he desperately needed it. The hospital was relying on him, not to mention Dylan and Jono if the tunnels didn’t work out. Sammi handed Freddie the code and he read it to Yasmin, all sixteen digits. He was right, it would have taken hours to crack that code with all the different potential combinations.
“Done,” Yasmin replied. Immediately, the shutters lifted and the main lights switched back on. Infuriatingly, the computer booted up immediately, but Freddie couldn’t be annoyed. He’d achieved what he needed to, and he knew he’d potentially saved lives in the process.
“Thank you,” the doctor spoke, but his voice shifted from its previous kind, helpful tone, to one that sounded much more menacing. Freddie’s joy slipped back into worry in record time. The doctor’s eyes started glowing a harsh orange, and it was terrifying.
Before Freddie could react, the doctor sprinted to the door and slid under the rising shutters. He glanced at Sammi, sharing the same terrified expression. What had they just unleashed?
Jeremy had so many thoughts racing around his head, and none of them felt useful. Being stuck inside a hospital was one thing, but the whole pack knew more was going on, and everything seemed to be spiralling out of control.
All he wanted was a return to the tranquillity of his honeymoon. Marrying Felix was the best moment of his life – something he never thought he’d be able to achieve under his dad’s guard – and their trip away together was two weeks of romantic bliss. Within two days of being back, everything had collapsed again, like it often did in Crystalshaw.
Of course, taking up most of Jeremy’s thoughts was a chapter of his life that he thought he’d closed for good. The Lunar Sanctum was a period of his life he’d rather forget, not that it was easy to wipe something so traumatic from his mind. Without Dylan being with him the whole time, Jeremy wasn’t sure he’d have survived.
“Which floor were they on?” Felix questioned as they stood side-by-side in the lift; Jeremy assumed it was running on the back-up generator.
“Four,” Jeremy answered with ease. He’d gotten used to navigating the hustle and bustle of the hospital that day, going back and forth to grab coffees. It was a welcome distraction from everything Steve-related, after all. Steve had taken Jeremy in after what happened with his dad. He was family, and family was all Jeremy had ever dreamed of having.
“She’ll be okay,” Felix assured. With everything going on, Sammi had suggested that they check on Lily and Helen while Freddie worked to undo the lockdown.
“I know, Lily can look after herself,” Jeremy replied, “But it’s everything else.”
“The Lunar Sanctum, right? I remember what you said about it,” Felix recalled, “You said it was hell.”
“They kept me prisoner. Everyone thought I was dead, Felix,” Jeremy hated thinking back, but Felix deserved to know. It wasn’t like he had anything to hide, “Just after I finally broke free of my dad, they locked me up. I was their test subject.”
“That won’t happen again,” Felix comforted.
“You can’t know that,” Jeremy stressed.
“Yes I can, because I won’t let anyone lay a finger on my husband,” Felix justified.
“I love you,” Jeremy replied, more confidently than ever, “In case you didn’t know.”
“Nothing wrong with a reminder,” Felix smiled, “I love you too.”
The lift pinged and the doors slid open, revealing a strong metallic scent to Jeremy’s nose. His defences went straight up – something wasn’t right. Jeremy held a finger to his lips to keep Felix in the loop. They had to be careful.
Jeremy led the way forward as the lights started to flicker on again; the lockdown must have been lifted, which was a relief at least. Only three heartbeats were audible to Jeremy, and one of them was alarmingly weak. Without another thought, Jeremy ran ahead. It could have been Lily in danger, and he couldn’t lose anyone else.
Turning the corner to the waiting area, Jeremy saw Harry lying on the ground among an alarmingly large pool of blood. George was holding a cloth against the wound, but with George looking a little worse for wear himself, Jeremy wasn’t convinced it was doing much good. A petrified Helen watched on; this was the last thing she needed.
“Thank god,” George coughed, “Where’s Lily?”
“I thought she was with you,” Jeremy worried.
“She went to get help,” George continued, “He’s still bleeding.”
“I’ll take over,” Felix offered, “You need to rest.”
“Come on,” Jeremy helped George stand up, helping him over to a seat.
“Over here,” Lily assertively strutted over, pointing a couple of doctors in the direction of Harry. Jeremy was worried. Things weren’t looking good, but what had done that to Harry? None of them were safe.
Dylan was impressed by how well Oscar knew the tunnels. It had been a while since Dylan had travelled any further through them than his own bunker, and even that wasn’t a place he visited much. He’d only ever travelled through them when it was completely necessary, and being chased didn’t usually allow much opportunity for a geography lesson.
Oscar had led Dylan, Jono and Brett through the tunnels for a good fifteen minutes, enough time to get a fair way clear of the hospital. Irritatingly, phone signal was non-existent underground, so Dylan had no idea how Freddie and the others were faring, but he had to keep his confidence in them high. He trusted his pack implicitly, and not one of them had let him down in a decade of knowing each other.
“I think we’re close,” Oscar paused at a hatch with one of the usual rusty ladders handing them a route upwards.
“Dude, how do you know your way around?” Jono queried, equally impressed.
“Cody showed me, he used them a lot. That’s why you guys couldn’t find me when I was with him,” Oscar explained. It felt strange to think of a time when Cody was the enemy – no matter how sceptical Dylan remained, Cody had certainly given them all reasons to trust him.
Oscar pushed the hatch open with ease and led the way out onto the street. The hatch, to Dylan’s delight, led to an alleyway just off the town centre. That was damn impressive accuracy from Oscar, he thought.
“Every time I think you can’t impress me more,” Brett smiled proudly.
“You can thank me later,” Oscar chuckled as Jono brought up the rear, reuniting the group above ground, “I think Freddie’s shop is just round here.”
Dylan hadn’t seen the repair shop before, or at least, he hadn’t paid it much attention when walking past it. It wasn’t big – Dylan supposed it didn’t need to be – and looked like it was long overdue a makeover. No wonder someone had chosen it as the perfect hiding place for their strange assortment of werewolf memorabilia.
“I guess nobody has a key,” Brett remarked jokingly but completed with a genuine sigh. Another snag in the plan. Nevertheless, Dylan attempted the rusty door handle. To his amazement, it opened, the old door creaking as it swung backwards.
Reacting quickly, Dylan held his finger to his lips. Though they’d had a stroke of luck, the open door offered another question – why wasn’t it locked? It was unlikely that they’d simply forgotten to lock up, but the light wasn’t on inside. Nevertheless, there was no such thing as ‘too careful’ in Dylan’s books.
Gently, he led the way inside, paying close attention to all of his senses. He could hear another heartbeat. They weren’t alone. Dylan wasn’t scared, though. He could feel that person’s fear tingling against his own skin. Whoever it was, they were far more terrified.
“Stop,” a figure leapt out behind the desk, pointing a baseball bat at Dylan.
“It’s okay,” Dylan quickly defended, “We’re Freddie’s friends.”
“Are you Dylan?” he asked, relaxing his posture.
“Yeah,” Dylan tentatively confirmed, unsure of how this kid knew his name, “Who are you?”
“Charlie,” he replied, his hands ruffling his scruffy dreadlocks, “I’m the manager. Freddie mentioned your name when we saw the basement. What is all that stuff? I started walking home but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It looks so dangerous.”
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” Dylan swerved. He had no idea who Charlie was, and he didn’t need to know their secrets, “Mind if we take a look?”
“Sure,” Charlie shrugged, “I hope you can make sense of it.”
“I’ll try my best,” Dylan nodded, “Go on, go home and rest. We’ve got this covered.”
“Give these to Freddie,” Charlie handed the keys over, “Or my ass is grass.” Dylan nodded before Charlie sheepishly wandered off. Now, they had nothing to hide.
“Okay, no time to waste,” Dylan sprang into action, speed-walking to the basement door behind the counter. There was no sign of any lock or bolt – Dylan found it strange that something so dangerous and so top secret wasn’t kept behind lock and key. The door creaked open, revealing something Dylan could hardly believe. The pictures didn’t do justice to how vast the basement was in comparison to the shop. The shelves were lined with jars and weapons, and what was left of that daunting, gigantic cage stood proudly in the centre. It was horrifying that any remnants of the Lunar Sanctum still existed, but this basement was more than just a couple of souvenirs. It was a collection.
“What are we looking for?” Oscar queried.
“I don’t know,” Dylan replied honestly, sharing an exasperated look with Jono, “Literally anything that could help. Let’s split up, we don’t have time.” Dylan didn’t know how lucky they’d get, but there were so many items he’d never seen before. He had to give him and Jono the best fighting chance to succeed.
Though she hated to brag, Yasmin couldn’t help feeling good about herself. She was a maths and science girl, not computers and coding, yet somehow, she’d just hacked the hospital server from an internet café. That felt like a pretty huge achievement.
It was far too soon to celebrate, though. They may have won the battle, but the war was ongoing, and Yasmin still needed to know more details. What was the creature inside Oscar? Had it made it inside the hospital? Was it even related in any way?
“You were badass out there,” Cody complimented, keeping pace with Yasmin as she powered through the hospital corridors.
“I just followed instructions,” Yasmin brushed it off. It wasn’t anything special – Freddie was a good enough teacher for even a novice like her to understand.
“Don’t downplay yourself,” Cody encouraged, “I wish I’d had someone like you in my pack.”
“You don’t know me,” Yasmin warned, pausing in her tracks, “I’m more than my GPA.”
“He told me you keep your guard up,” Cody mentioned. Yasmin raised an eyebrow – who was he talking about? “Oscar,” he continued, “He didn’t stop talking about you when we were together years back.”
“Yeah, well,” Yasmin tried to justify herself, but she couldn’t think of anything more to say. Yasmin valued the time she spent with Oscar while they were roommates at college. It was unusual for a boy and girl to share a room, but they made it work, and Yasmin felt unquestionably comfortable.
“I don’t know everything you’ve been through, Yasmin, but I think you’re pretty awesome,” Cody explained, “Take the win. You were as vital a part of that plan as Freddie was.” Yasmin smiled. She’d never seen such a soft side to Cody before. Finally, she understood what Oscar admired about him, even after everything Cody had once put him through.
“You’re not so bad yourself,” Yasmin replied, “You saved our lives at the sheriff station. You saved Oscar.”
“Of course,” Cody modestly shrugged.
“You really care for him, don’t you?” Yasmin noticed. Oscar always spoke positively about Cody, and she was delighted to see how reciprocated it was.
“Always, but I don’t know. I’m not sure our arrangement is working. We love each other, but I know his heart is with Brett,” Cody opened up. Yasmin didn’t know he had such a vulnerable side to him.
“How do you feel about that?” Yasmin probed as she pushed the ‘4’ button on the elevator.
“I don’t know,” Cody sighed, “I thought I’d be devastated, but Brett is so good for him. He doesn’t need me.”
“We do, though,” Yasmin placed a comforting hand on Cody’s shoulder behind the secrecy of the lift doors, “The pack needs you. You’re one of us now.” Cody smiled. They met eyes, staring at each other in the magic of the moment. Yasmin’s stomach tingled. It felt special somehow, and she couldn’t resist it.
PING! The doors slid open. The moment had gone. Just a few metres ahead stood some of the pack – Lily, Freddie, Sammi, Jeremy and Felix – which was undoubtedly a relief to Yasmin, but there were still a few people unaccounted for.
“Hey, what’s the latest?” Yasmin greeted, slotting seamlessly into the group while Cody timidly hung back.
“Um,” Freddie paused, “You know the thing you mentioned? I think it got out, and not before it attacked. It hurt George.”
“What? How is he?” Yasmin was horrified.
“Fine, but he’s not the only one,” Lily continued, “It’s Harry. He’s in a bad way.” Yasmin’s stomach dropped. What had happened?
No matter how often Jono reminded himself not to get his hopes up, he simply couldn’t help getting carried away. Dylan’s optimism was contagious, and if he felt they had a fighting chance of finding a solution in that basement, Jono was going to do everything in his power to find it. He hadn’t sacrificed time with his family for no reason.
Behind the jars of mountain ash and wolfsbane were books and folders filled with all sorts of damning evidence. Quite how the owner of such memorabilia had avoided jail was baffling. Nevertheless, the files revealed all sorts of information that Jono wished he had the time to digest. If it wasn’t relevant, he quickly had to discard it. There was a time and a place, and unfortunately, that was neither.
Outside, the weather had rapidly turned stormy. It was like a ticking clock reminding them of everything that was at stake. After all, it was stormy the night Jono left. The Nemeton was closing in on them.
“Anything?” Dylan called out.
“Nope,” Brett replied from across the room.
“Nothing here,” Oscar concurred.
“Shit,” Jono was getting angry, at himself as much as the situation. They were running out of hope. It wasn’t going to go their way.
“Just one place we haven’t looked,” Brett mentioned, glancing at the cage.
“Well there’s nothing in there,” Dylan couldn’t tell whether Brett was joking or not, and neither could Jono. It was obvious that there was nothing inside the cage.
“Duh, I don’t mean inside it,” Brett chuckled, “But look at the floor. I’ve seen enough detective shows to know there’s always something under wooden floorboards. Where in this room would you hide the thing you truly don’t want anyone to find?”
“Okay, let’s move this thing,” Jono decided. It had to be their best remaining chance. A long shot was better than nothing, after all. Jono and Dylan took a corner at the front of the cage each while Oscar picked up the back. Together, they easily shifted the cage forward – it was light work for three werewolves, after all – just enough to inspect the filthy floorboards below.
“Anything?” Jono nervously asked as Brett rapidly tugged at the loose wooden boards below.
“Bingo,” Brett lifted one board clean off before reaching their hand into the shallow treasure trove, “Um, there’s only one thing in here.” Jono’s heart sank. That sounded underwhelming. That was his last chance.
Brett held up a small jar containing a clear liquid – only a tiny amount of it, but there was no identifying label. Jono was confused. Why was something like that hidden so deeply away? It looked just like water.
“Oh my god,” Dylan freaked out. Jono looked at him to see his expression lift. Hope was back in the equation, but why?
“What? What is it?” Jono had to know. The suspense was killing him.
“I think…I think that’s the cure. The cure for being a werewolf. Remember, the Sanctum created it?” Dylan theorised, “Jono, this is it. This is our way out.”
Jono couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Had they really got that lucky?