Previous: "USB"

Next: "Recruitment"

Series 8 Episode 6

Surrounded by a circle of mountain ash, Freddie felt claustrophobic. He was at least given the courtesy of a chair, but the mountain ash locked him in like a prison cell. That was before he considered the irritation of the mountain ash near his skin. It was like an itch he couldn’t scratch.

Freddie’s mind was racing. He’d been asleep for an unknown amount of time, and he was surely due his next dose of Adderall. He was regimented in taking each dose. Missing one was far from ideal, for himself or those around him.

Freddie was in an empty laboratory, but he couldn’t see anything else. Blinds were pulled down across the large windows and the door was shut. Sammi and Josh were either side of him, in the exact same predicament.

Stood at the head of the room was a man in a suit, his hair greying and his body language conveying instant authority. It looked like he’d been waiting for them to wake up, and Freddie was the last one.

“Good morning,” he greeted smugly. Immediately, Freddie took a dislike to him. Nothing about this situation was friendly, and to make it worse, the man looked like he was enjoying himself. Freddie’s guard was up, and it was staying up until he was home.

“Ssh,” Josh commanded. The silent treatment. Freddie could get on board with that.

“I suppose I’m doing the talking. Joshua, Samantha and Frederick, the pleasure is mine. I’ve heard so much about you all, from your alpha of course. The courageous and plucky Dylan. I’m Mr. Leadsom, and I’m in charge,” he spoke.

Freddie recalled Dylan mentioning Leadsom, though he had fewer details. Freddie had found out more of his own accord – those disgusting photos from the USB were printed onto his mind, as much as he wanted to forget them.

“The good news is that we don’t need to test you all. You’re from Dylan’s pack, and packs are remarkably similar in so many ways. It fascinates me, and it fascinated your father, Samantha,” Leadsom continued. Freddie looked at Sammi, offering her support with a simple slight smile.

“Yes, your father really screwed up our research all those years ago. So interesting to know both of his children ultimately survived,” Leadsom was goading Sammi, as if he knew exactly which buttons to press.

“Now,” Josh commanded. Sammi stood up, kicking all three circles of mountain ash apart. Of course, she was human – the mountain ash didn’t affect her, and the Sanctum had no idea. Freddie knew Josh would have had a plan, and it was genius.

Now all three of them were free, and both Freddie and Josh were ready to fight. Leadsom scarpered, but Josh caught the door before it could be locked.

“Let him go,” Freddie said, stopping Josh following Leadsom, “Let’s get out of here. Where now?”

“No idea, but let’s have a little snoop,” Josh suggested. Freddie felt so nervous, and he could barely control his train of thought, let alone his wolf. He was terrified.

It had been a night of very little sleep for Liam. Dylan had confirmed his worst nightmare; Monroe was onto them, and Liam was not keen to see a rematch. The first time he went up against her, he was lucky to get out alive. His entire pack was lucky to get out alive. She lost the battle, but the war wasn’t over.

Nolan had taken the news even worse, though. Liam could hardly blame him – Monroe put him through some terrible stuff. The expectations and the pressure to kill, as if Nolan didn’t have his own problems and demons to battle. She used him. His restless, sleepless night was a surprisingly tame response, all things considered.

“I can’t just sit here and wait for her to find me,” Nolan paced. He’d switched between fidgeting in bed and pacing the room for most of the night, trying to control his anxieties in one way or another. Liam knew him well – he had learnt control of his darkest thoughts in a similar way to how Liam controlled the wolf, but occasionally, things bubbled over.

“She doesn’t know we’re here,” Liam reminded, “And if she did, she’d have to get through me first.”

“It’s only a matter of time,” Nolan continued worrying.

“Sit down,” Liam commanded, pulling the duvet up so Nolan could slot back into bed next to him. Begrudgingly, Nolan complied, though sitting still was proving to be difficult for his bobbing leg.

“What happened last time is in the past. It’s different now, remember?” Liam did his best to comfort Nolan, “You’ve got me, and we both have Dylan’s pack. We wanted to help them, so let’s help them now. We know more about Monroe than anyone, right?”

Nolan nodded. He relaxed just a little, showing that Liam’s words had sunk in. He pulled Nolan in for a warm, comforting hug. He was Liam’s world, and he knew he’d fight harder than ever to save him.

“Guys,” Jeremy burst in without so much as a knock.

“Morning,” Liam raised an eyebrow at his sudden intrusion.

“Sorry,” Jeremy realised, “Have either of you seen Sammi today?”

“No, is she not at Freddie’s?” Liam wondered. There had to be a logical explanation, and he was getting to grips with who was dating who at last.

“Jono’s not seen either of them since yesterday morning. Them and Josh aren’t answering their phones, and the Lunar Sanctum USB was found outside Dylan’s house, abandoned,” Jeremy explained.

“Shit,” Liam realised. It wouldn’t have taken a rocket scientist to figure out who had taken them. In a strange way, this was just the distraction he and Nolan needed.

The scent was clear. Dylan could tell it from a mile off. It had lingered around his house all night. The terrifying scent of the Lunar Sanctum, just outside his home. They knew where he lived, and now his brother and friends had gone missing. This was no coincidence.

There was also no way Freddie would have abandoned that USB. Dylan had entrusted it to him, and they all knew how important it was. Whether Freddie had had any luck breaking into it, Dylan didn’t know, but he was certainly hopeful.

“Did anybody see them after yesterday morning?” Ed questioned. He was dressed in his uniform, ready for work, though he hadn’t made it past the driveway yet. First thing on Monday morning had managed to be even worse than usual.

“We went to see Lily quite early,” Jono answered, “And we were out for most of the day.”

“They were gone by the time I got home,” Caroline added, “About four o’clock.” Sunday was always Caroline’s day to go grocery shopping – it happened like clockwork and had since Dylan was little.

“And you’re certain of the scent?” Ed sought clarification.

“I’ve never been surer,” Dylan replied. He couldn’t forget it when it surrounded him for five months.

“Alright. This is my job now, it’s not safe for you,” Ed took control.

“But I know that place,” Dylan didn’t want to be left out.

“Exactly,” Caroline added, “That’s why you have to stay away. Besides, you have so much school to catch up on.” Dylan couldn’t argue with that. He wanted his friends to be safe, but it was a risk for him. For once, being selfish made sense.

“We’ll help,” a voice came from behind. It was Jeremy, with Liam and Nolan stood either side.

“No,” Ed corrected, “Everyone who needs to go to school will be going to school. I promise I won’t be coming home without your sister.”

“Liam, they know you too,” Dylan mentioned.

“I’m an adult, I can make my own decisions,” Liam firmly mentioned, “I’ll be careful, I promise.”

“I’ll call Lily,” Jono mentioned, “I’m sure she’ll want to help, and she’s got werewolf abilities.”

“Alright. The rest of you, school. Now,” Ed commanded. Dylan knew it was the right thing to do, but he didn’t feel so happy about it.

“Is it alright if we pick Oscar up?” Jono checked, climbing into his cosy car.

“Fine by me,” Dylan confirmed. Now he’d had a chance to get to know him, Dylan knew Jono was right – Oscar was lovely, even if Dylan felt somewhat awkward around him. Still, he couldn’t complain; Jono had chosen him, and that was what mattered.

Arriving at the bench unusually early, Brett felt strange. Typically, he would have been shooting some hoops at that time in the morning, getting every second of practice he could manage to squeeze in. Not any more, though. His days as the captain of the basketball team were over, and it brought a bittersweet feeling with it.

As a result of his early arrival, only Yasmin was already at the bench. She had her usual pile of textbooks with her, and a pretty cool set of gel pens that she used for her revision. She never once seemed worried about exams. Brett admired her work ethic; it was the complete opposite of his own.

“Okay, so I’ve been reading this all night,” Brett skipped the small talk, slamming the Bestiary onto the table.

“Careful, we’ve only got one of those,” Yasmin scolded.

“It’s no good. I barely got anywhere. It’s so long and my attention span isn’t that good,” Brett sighed.

“Whatever that thing is, it must be in there,” Yasmin replied, “And you’ve seen it more clearly than anyone else.”

“I can’t exactly forget,” Brett thought back to the hospital the day before. The panic he felt when rescuing Johnny. They both made it out okay, but it had occupied Brett’s mind since.

“How is he?” Yasmin enquired.

“He’s okay. You know Johnny, nothing seems to faze him,” Brett answered. He was amazed at just how calm Johnny was that night, in fact, “The scorch marks on his skin healed, but they looked so painful.”

“Hold on, scorch marks? What?” Yasmin picked up the Bestiary and began clicking through it, as if she knew what she was looking for.

“Does that ring a bell?” Brett questioned, confused.

“I’ve read about it before,” Yasmin replied, showing him the page she had landed on, “The basilisk.”

“That’s it,” Brett grabbed the book to read what it had to say, “The basilisk is a reptilian shapeshifter. Unlike many creatures, it is deadly as both human and animal. The glow of its eyes burns, and a single drop of its venom can kill.”

“We need to find out what he wants,” Yasmin thought logically.

“Without letting it fry us with a single look,” Brett pessimistically added. He didn’t feel even slightly convinced.

“Oscar alert,” Yasmin warned. Brett quickly shoved the Bestiary back into his rucksack. They were well used to a quick change of subject for the sake of Oscar. Though leaving him in the dark was Jono’s idea, nobody had any objections.

“Morning,” Yasmin beamed as Dylan, Jono and Jeremy arrived alongside Oscar.

“Check your phone,” Dylan warned. Brett guessed this would be something he needed to keep secret. Sure enough, he had a new text from Dylan.

‘Sammi, Freddie and Josh kidnapped by Sanctum. Ed’s on it.’

Brett was immediately worried. It was like they leapt from one problem to another constantly.

“What the heck is this?” Oscar remarked. Brett looked up, noticing he’d placed his foot in a puddle of sticky clear liquid.

“Oscar, has it touched your skin?” Yasmin calmly but urgently asked.

“Yeah, it soaked through my sock,” Oscar replied in disgust.

“Newsroom. Now,” Brett commanded. Dylan looked at him in confusion, but there was no time to explain. The basilisk had been there, and Oscar was in so much danger.

Lily felt uneasy to be heading into the Sanctum. Of course, helping out her friends was something she would never refuse to do, but it didn’t calm her anxieties in any way to be heading into the place Dylan feared so much. She desperately hoped it would run as smoothly as possible so they would get back out unscathed.

It was some comfort to know she had Ed by her side. He was a trained fighter, and carried authority as the sheriff. He wasn’t going to take any risks, and if they did get captured, he was in a position to rescue them.

“Alright, this is how it’s going to work,” Ed turned around in the front seat, having parked the car as far away from the front door as possible, “Caroline, Lily and Nolan will take the front door. Provide a distraction. Liam and I will take the back exit and rescue the others. We’ll let you know when we’re safely out.”

“What if they recognise me?” Lily worried, “I mean, they clearly knew the others.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll take the lead,” Caroline assured, “You two don’t need to say a word.”

Lily nodded. She felt somewhat safer knowing she wasn’t on her own. Though she trusted Alex and Sindy implicitly, she knew she had to take charge at college. After all, she had the most experience in the supernatural world, but it was a lot of pressure.

“Good luck,” Liam kissed a worried Nolan, before he and Ed quickly vacated the car.

“Okay, let’s do this,” Caroline motivated, leading the way into the posh reception area. The logo and branding looked futuristic and slick, though it was simply named “Crystalshaw Laboratories.” The real name was clearly something they needed to keep secret – they had a reputation.

“Can I help you, ma’am?” the receptionist smiled at Caroline.

“Hi, my name is Marissa Roberts, I work for Crystalshaw Weekly,” Caroline lied expertly, “These are my two apprentices, Nina and Matthew.”

Lily checked on Nolan. He was avoiding eye contact with anyone. He was clearly brave, because he didn’t have to tag along, but he needed a modicum of extra support.

“Oh, I don’t see you on the calendar,” the receptionist replied.

“Really? We booked weeks ago, there must be some mistake,” Caroline continued.

“I’ll just check, please excuse me for two minutes,” the receptionist said, heading through a door labelled ‘staff only’ behind her desk.

“All okay?” Lily asked Nolan, away from the beady eyes of the Sanctum staff.

“Yeah,” Nolan answered, “The Monroe stuff kinda shook me up, that’s all.”

“It’s okay,” she took his hand, “We’re in this one together. It’s a worry for later, okay?” He nodded like a cute puppy. The plan was working so far, but it wasn’t over yet.

Concerned by the lack of signposting, Sammi’s hopes of finding the exit were rapidly being dashed. The Lunar Sanctum was huge, and every turn they took seemed to lead them deeper inside the building. To make matters worse, they were definitely being followed. They couldn’t turn back.

Freddie hadn’t let go of her hand for even a second. They were both petrified, but they had each other. She knew Freddie was increasingly more on-edge than she was, though. He hadn’t taken his medication that morning – it was still at home. For a scientific organisation, their understanding of ADHD clearly lacked somewhat.

“In here,” Josh led them both into a side lab, shutting the door behind them. The lights were off and the blinds were drawn across the wide windows. With any luck, they’d be safe there. Sammi and Josh ducked down out of sight, but Freddie paced the room. He couldn’t focus.

“Freddie, they’ll see you, that door’s got a window,” Sammi warned. Begrudgingly, Freddie sat down, but he was fidgety. He was usually religious in taking his medication. In fact, Sammi hadn’t seen him off it before.

“Hey, come and take a look at this,” Josh called him over, spotting a computer in the corner, “Think you can get in?”

“I saw the login on the USB when I got in,” Freddie recalled. Sammi was impressed. Josh knew exactly how to focus his mind. Freddie tapped away at the keypad, easily logging them in.

“What’s on there?” Sammi enquired.

“A map,” Freddie replied, “We’re here.” He pointed to a lab in the centre of the building. There was no clear route out – the main exit and fire exits were all equidistantly far.

“Alright, so how do we get out?” Sammi posed. That was the only thing she wanted to do.

“I’ve got an idea,” Freddie answered, opening Outlook and logging in.

“You’re sending an email?” Josh was bemused.

“Dude, it’s the twenty-first century, everyone has emails on their phone,” Freddie answered, “If we howl, the Sanctum will find us before the pack, and they took our own phones. Somebody will see this, and they’ll find us.”

Sammi couldn’t deny it – she was impressed. Freddie was saving their asses again. She was so lucky to have him.

Clearing a desk in the newsroom, Dylan was worried. He knew so little about whatever this mystery creature was – being wrapped up in the Lunar Sanctum and hunter dramas was pretty all-consuming. However, he trusted Yasmin and Brett. If they said Oscar was in danger, then he truly was, and they needed all the help they could get. So much for Oscar being in the dark.

“I feel tired,” Oscar commented as Jono led him into the room, assisting him onto the desk. Brett closed the door, shutting the blind across the window to ensure privacy.

Jono looked so worried. Dylan had seen just how close a bond he’d formed with Oscar, and even if it wasn’t romantic, it was a friendship that Jono deserved. Besides, Dylan had had a week to get to know Oscar himself, and Jono was right – he was so nice. He didn’t deserve this.

“Take it easy,” Jono assured him, before turning back to the pack, “Okay, what do we do?”

“Clean it up,” Yasmin instructed. Jeremy, nearest to the sink, quickly soaked a paper towel and dabbed Oscar’s ankle. The tiniest amount of venom must have made contact – how could that have been enough to cause such a reaction in Oscar?

“Look at this,” Jeremy pointed out. There was a small but noticeable area of Oscar’s skin that had been completely scorched.

“It burns the skin,” Yasmin identified, “It’s in his bloodstream now, attacking his body.”

“But what can we do?” Jono looked distraught, “We can save him, right?”

“There’s nothing in here,” Brett snapped the Bestiary shut in despair.

“What’s happening?” Oscar slurred. He was still awake, but it was clear his energy had been drained. Jono crouched down in front of him, Dylan doing the same. The truth couldn’t be hidden from him any longer. He needed the full story.

“Tell him,” Dylan urged, rubbing Jono’s leg to soothe his worries.

“There’s something we’ve not told you, Oscar,” Jono began, “I’m a werewolf. So is Dylan, and Jeremy, and Josh, Freddie and Johnny too.”

“Werewolf? What?” Oscar was naturally taken aback, though his voice was monotonous and quiet, as if talking was an effort.

“The werewolf world is dangerous,” Jono continued, “We didn’t want to hurt you, but we’re here now, and I’m sorry.”

“The venom is from a reptilian shapeshifter called a basilisk,” Yasmin explained.

“It kidnapped Johnny yesterday,” Brett added.

“The venom is fatal,” Yasmin clarified. Dylan’s heart skipped a beat. No wonder Oscar seemed so drained. His heart broke.

“Maybe it doesn’t have to be,” Jono had a brainwave. Dylan was all-ears, because he hated seeing Oscar like that. Any avenue had to be preferable, right?

“Go on,” Dylan listened intently.

“Bite him,” Jono suggested, “It could heal him.”

“Or kill him,” Dylan felt the need to point out. He couldn’t ignore the risks to such a suggestion.

“He’s dying already,” Jono reminded. Dylan looked at Oscar. He needed to save him, but this was massive.

Heart racing like crazy, Liam wasn’t enjoying the sight of the Lunar Sanctum corridors again. He hadn’t spent long there, but the feeling of panic and fear was unmatched. He’d seen so much that had scared him, but being trapped, away from his friends, away from Nolan, in an unknown place, scared him more than anything else.

At least he had Ed by his side. Ed was level-headed and calm; characteristics Liam was undoubtedly jealous of. He admired how willing Ed was to help Dylan’s pack, too. Perhaps that was the paternal instinct he had for Dylan and Josh. It reminded him of Sheriff Stilinski, and how he’d have done anything for Stiles, or Scott for that matter. The perks of having a sheriff in the family.

“Are you feeling okay?” Ed questioned, keeping his voice low. Thankfully, the coast had been clear, but neither of them wanted to risk being found.

“Not really,” Liam replied honestly, “This was where they put me.” He pointed to the lab room on their left.

“Woah, so Dylan was here too,” Ed seemed startled.

“Next lab,” Liam signalled ahead to the next room on their left.

“I can’t believe he was so close the whole time,” Ed reflected. His confident posture slumped slightly, “I don’t have any family left. I never had kids of my own, so Dylan and Josh, I cherish them just as if I were their birth dad. I watched Caroline grieve for two kids, and putting on a brave face isn’t as easy as you think.”

“I’m sorry,” Liam felt awful hearing Ed’s story. He lived away from home, so his own mum barely knew he was gone.

“It’s alright. They’re home safely now, and I’m ready to kick the asses of the people who thought they could mess with my family,” Ed’s posture resumed. He was motivated, and it was contagious.

Ed’s phone buzzed, breaking the atmosphere. Liam felt a shockwave of worry pulsate through his body. Did this mean Nolan was in trouble?

“Email from Freddie. They’re here,” Ed showed him the map attached.

“Not far either,” Liam identified based on the red circle around a central lab. In fact, the room they needed was just ahead on the left.

“Be ready, this could be a trap,” Ed warned.

“Three heartbeats, three familiar scents,” Liam wasn’t concerned. They were there, and he was certain of it. He opened the door and was immediately met by a hostile Josh. Quickly though, he relaxed, realising who had arrived. He gave Ed an adorable hug of relief.

“Nice plan,” Liam smiled at Freddie.

“Can we get out of here? I’ve not had my Adderall,” Freddie quickly asked.

“You don’t need to ask me twice,” Liam turned around, spotting a staff-only door directly opposite. An odd scent was coming from it, almost like rotting meat, but worse. For a moment, his curiosity was getting the better of him, “After a quick peep, I suppose.”

Lurking inside, Liam couldn’t see a thing, but the stench intensified. He wanted to throw up. Flicking the light switch on, Liam was aghast at what he’d seen. It was a pile of dead bodies. Dead werewolf bodies. Mutilated, torn apart, and heartlessly shoved on top of each other.

“Oh god,” Sammi was just as horrified.

“You guys get out, I’ve got some sheriff business to attend to,” Ed mentioned, taking a snapshot of the disgusting sights in front. Liam nodded. They had succeeded, even if his discovery had cast a dark cloud over their good luck.

The anxiety was overbearing. Lily was desperate for the all-clear signal. Every second that she sat in reception felt like an hour. All she wanted to do was leave, but the need to help her friends was just as important. After all, that’s why she agreed in the first place. She was always a part of the pack, even if college took her miles away from them most of the time.

“Where are you from? What’s your story?” Lily asked Nolan, trying to him his mind occupied. She knew what anxiety felt like; she was sure Nolan would appreciate any distraction.

“I’ve lived in Beacon Hills my whole life,” Nolan replied, “Just with my dad, but we’ve never been close.”

“Where did you meet Liam?” Lily continued.

“We went to high school together, but we didn’t really speak for a while. Then I almost killed him,” Nolan bluntly said.

“Oh shit,” Lily was taken aback. That had escalated quickly.

“Monroe tried to get me to kill him, but I couldn’t,” Nolan added. Oops. So much for that distraction.

“She lost,” Lily reminded, “And she’ll lose again.”

“I hope so,” Nolan made eye contact with her for the first time. He was shy, but a passionate fire burned inside him. She admired that.

“Ms Roberts,” an older man approached the waiting area. Instantly, Lily recognised him. Dylan’s description was pretty vivid. It was Leadsom.

“Hello,” Caroline stood up and smiled politely.

“Nice to meet you,” he shook her hand, “Though, I was rather more hoping for your son, Caroline Drummond."

Shit, Lily thought. They’d been caught out.

“You bastard,” Caroline’s act dropped. She had nothing to hide, and she was facing the man that held her son prisoner for five months. Lily found her response quite tame all things considered.

“Take them in,” he clicked his fingers, summoning for back-up, but none came. Leadsom clicked his fingers again. Still nothing.

“Hands in the air,” Ed arrived from the staff-only door, priming his gun at Leadsom.

“You won’t succeed, you know. You can’t take the Lunar Sanctum down that easily,” Leadsom threatened.

“Oh, I can. I’m shutting this place down and opening a formal investigation,” Ed corrected. Lily watched on, holding Nolan’s hand for comfort, “Get out, the Lunar Sanctum is closed.”

Lily felt so relieved, particularly for Dylan and Jeremy. None of them could bear another loss.

Panicking as Oscar drifted in and out of consciousness, Dylan felt terrified. The idea of biting somebody still terrified him – he had done it twice before, once to Noah who seemed to experience one problem after another as a result, and once to Jono, who he couldn’t even get approval from in advance. It felt like a pretty bad track record.

However, it was the only option. Dylan had no doubt that it was the right thing to do; he wasn’t going to let Oscar die. Despite his anxiety over the bite, Dylan was preparing himself mentally for what he had to do.

“What’s happening?” Oscar slurred. He had deteriorated so quickly.

“Dylan, if you’re doing this, it needs to be now,” Yasmin nudged. She was right. They had no time to waste.

“I’m saving your life,” Dylan answered Oscar’s question, “This is going to hurt. I’m sorry.” Jono grabbed Oscar’s hand, ready to help him endure the familiar, unthinkable agony that was coming. They made the perfect team.

Taking a deep breath, Dylan sunk his teeth into Oscar’s left arm. He didn’t want to bite his leg – he’d need to be able to walk, and the healing process didn’t arrive immediately. Oscar didn’t make a single sound, but Dylan noticed the intensity with which he was grabbing Jono’s hand.

Dylan released and immediately rinsed his mouth. Oscar’s blood was not a taste he enjoyed, but he’d done his part. Oscar was lying still, just as he was before. There was nothing more they could do.

Three knocks came from the door. A lady entered the newsroom, dressed smartly without any make-up, looking confused and baffled. Dylan had never seen her before; she must have been a new member of staff.

“What’s going on?” she questioned impatiently. Jono slid in front of Oscar’s injured arm, hiding it from view.

“He’s not feeling well,” Brett quickly lied, “We’re just waiting for the nurse.”

“Alright. Make sure you head back to class after,” she demanded, turning around to leave the room.

“Excuse me miss, what’s your name?” Yasmin questioned. Dylan recognised her interrogative facial expression – she smelt a rat.

“Miss Monroe,” she answered, leaving the room and shutting the door behind her.

“Shit,” Dylan was horrified. The hunter Monroe? What if she had seen Oscar’s bitten wrist?

They were exposed.

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Next: "Recruitment"

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