Series 6 Episode 8
"The Makeshift Army"
"The Makeshift Army"
She had come out of nowhere. The red-eyed girl. She was following him, and no matter how he tried to throw her off his scent, she still pursued him. Running and hiding was beginning to feel pointless.
It was late at night, and the only source of light along the quiet Crystalshaw roads was that of the moon. It was his source of motivation, never leaving his side. It taught him that he could cope with this situation. He would survive.
There were fewer and fewer places to hide along the never-ending stretch of motorway leading out of Crystalshaw. She was still following, signalled by the deathly glare of her eyes. He knew exactly what she was, and he couldn’t lie – it horrified him. However, he had to keep faith in himself. He had a pack out there, and strength in numbers benefited them all individually.
He approached a garage – long since closed, but at the very least, this was his chance to gain ground. He barged the door wide open, not caring to cover his tracks. All of these buildings had back doors, meaning there was an escape route ready for him. That had to buy him time.
He created a trail, deliberately knocking displays down, leading the way behind the counter. However, there was one piece of the puzzle needed to seal the deal. Priming his claws, he slit his arm just a centimetre along, allowing blood to seep out. He trickled it along the ground to behind the counter, where he squeezed the wound for more. He winced at the pain, but it would be worth it – it had to be.
A pool of blood was now coating the floor. With the job done, he scarpered out the back, hiding just out of view. He had to time his escape perfectly – when she was inside the garage. His arm was still bleeding, but he had been careful to stop it leaking onto the ground and ruining his plan. As a result, his jacket was ruined and blood-soaked.
A couple of minutes passed. No sign of her. At the pace she was moving, she surely should have arrived at the garage already. Maybe she had given up, or kept going and had already passed the garage? Either way, he couldn’t waste any more time.
He turned around to leave. WHACK! He got shoved brutally to the ground, bashing his head on the door. He saw a trickle of blood where he landed, and it wasn’t from his arm.
Nervously, he looked around to face whatever had pushed him. His vision was blurred, but he could just about make out the faint figure of the dark-haired, red-eyed girl who had stalked him.
“Anpao,” he identified. She didn’t reply.
The next thing he felt was as an intense, sharp, piercing pain all through his body.
Then it fell quiet.
Gathered up the treehouse, Dylan was ready to start fighting. At stake were his friends and family, most importantly the latter – Sammi was in serious danger and if there was a way of rescuing her, he had to find it.
Finally, they all knew exactly who they were facing, and all they were lacking was motive. Why the scientists were doing what they were doing was still an enigma, but there was only one way to find this out – they had to hear it from the horse’s mouth and track the scientists, before the scientists tracked them.
“Dude, what the hell is that?” Jono wondered, glancing at Freddie’s laptop screen.
“Code,” Freddie replied, “The scientists transmitted a frequency that only supernaturals could sense to track us and make us scared. It’s time we used it back on them.”
“But they’re human?” Drew pointed out.
“Which is why I’ve spent all night trying to understand this code. I’ve tweaked it to track humans too. Sammi and their makeshift supernatural army should register on both signals. That’s how we find them,” Freddie detailed. Dylan was impressed – he had seen the code, and it made absolutely no sense to him. Freddie was a genius in his own way.
“That’s my boy,” Josh patted him on the back, "Alright Dyl, what do we do?”
“Split up,” Dylan answered. He had spent a lot of time thinking, over and over, before consulting with the expert at making up plans – Yasmin. Together, they came up with their plan of action, because they always worked better as a team, “We’ve got at least three targets for sure, and Sammi hasn’t been going around with these scientists. We’d find them all faster if we split into teams.”
“What do we do if we find them?” Lily asked, concerned.
“Use your initiative. Trap them if you can, then call me. Unless it’s Sammi, then you call Yasmin first,” Dylan directed. He had never felt more assertive, and he was damn proud of himself.
“I’m the only one immune to Sammi’s glare. I think I can stop her,” Yasmin added, sounding unconvinced but hopeful.
“I got three locations,” Freddie announced. He looked proud of himself, and Dylan concurred – he was invaluable to the pack.
“Let’s go,” Dylan motivated. He felt terrified of what the evening would bring, but he was confident – he had the best pack anyone could wish for.
It wasn’t often that the world of the supernatural crossed with Freddie’s world of computers and coding, so for a change, it felt good to be the resident expert. Freddie assumed that was how Yasmin felt all the time.
His positive bubble well and truly burst when he arrived back at the school, though. Numerous signals had aligned inside the building, but it was difficult to see exactly how many registered. The software indicated at least five or six, but there could have been more. In the worst-case scenario, they would need every possible ounce of strength, because the signals almost certainly belonged to the scientists’ grotesque experiments. The horrors created from mutilated humans, and those cabinets of body parts. He didn’t want to see the ultimate outcome.
“Are we dealing with, like, Frankenstein?” Josh questioned. Freddie wasn’t sure if that was insensitive or not; he hadn’t come across anything like what he envisaged these creations to be before.
“Frankenstein’s monster,” Yasmin corrected, “Frankenstein was the scientist.”
“Whatever, the point remains,” Josh stood firm.
“I don’t know,” Freddie answered his question, “They could be anything.”
“In that case, we need to stick together,” Josh advised, “We’re stronger as a united front.”
“You sound like Drew,” Freddie observed. He had heard similar advice from Drew on multiple occasions, not that it was a bad thing. In fact, Drew’s words of wisdom were exactly what they needed before defending themselves.
“He knows how to fight.” Josh reasoned.
“Better than any of us,” Freddie agreed.
“He’d hate these compliments,” Yasmin chuckled. Freddie laughed too – Drew had such a big heart, but even around his friends, he refused to show it off.
A shadow passed in the corner of Freddie’s eye. He scanned the corridor, but nothing was in sight.
Another shadow swooshed past. They were being surrounded.
“Did you see that?” Freddie worriedly, quietly questioned. He was hoping it was a figment of his imagination.
“Yes,” Josh replied, much to his disappointment and concern.
“And me,” Yasmin added. Darn. They had to get out of there.
“When I say run,” Freddie took charge, “Run.” He checked the coast was visibly clear.
On his command, all three of them sprinted. Deeper into the building. The pitter-patter of several fierce opponents following them filled Freddie’s ears. They were under attack.
“In here,” Josh directed, guiding them into one of the science labs. He slammed the door behind them while Freddie heaved one of the desks to barricade them in.
Through the small window in the door, he caught the gut-wrenching sight of one of their opponents. It was just as gruesome and ghastly as he thought. There were visible stitch marks around their noses and ears. Their eyes glowed yellow like betas. They looked like werewolves.
These were people fashioned into monsters.
Driving to the very edge of Crystalshaw, Jono was in unfamiliar territory. He never travelled as far out of town as this, though he barely ever drove any further than the mall in the middle of town anyway.
His car journeys with Lily were beginning to feel progressively grimmer. Jono couldn’t think of anything he’d like to do less than sing karaoke to Shakira with her, mimicking her distinctive voice along the way. Both of them were too focused on the task at hand, and extremely worried about Sammi. They had to do something to save her.
As he parked, Jono could instantly tell the garage was derelict. The petrol pumps were rusty and dirty, and there was no sign of any other cars or workers.
“We have to go in, don’t we?” Lily queried, concerned.
“Yup,” Jono sighed. He was quivering with nerves. He felt the pressure on his shoulders. Whoever they were going to come across, they wouldn’t be going down without a fight. Lily didn’t have claws and fangs like he did. It was on him to protect them both.
The garage door was wide open, and display units had been slammed over, as if a fight had occurred. The unavoidable metallic aroma of blood filled Jono’s nose. He could feel the fear in the air, against his skin, like the inescapable heat on the hottest summer days.
Behind the counter was a larger pool of blood, but still no sign of anyone, dead or alive. Jono’s worry levels accelerated.
“Out here,” Lily quietly but urgently summoned him. She had found a pile of what looked like dust, but Jono knew better. This was the corpse he was hoping not to find.
“She’s here,” Jono realised. They had to call Yasmin. Instinctively, Jono took out his phone. SLAM! His phone was knocked clean out of his hand, smashing to the floor. Jono apprehensively looked up. There she was. Sammi had found them.
Jono backed away. His reflexes took over. His back hit the wall. They were both trapped. Sammi’s eyes began to glow. They were in trouble.
Lily tightly gripped his hand. They had each other. Jono’s mind was frantically trying to think of a way out. This must have been how Dylan always felt as the alpha, and he wasn’t envious.
Dylan had travelled this route before. He knew exactly where they were heading, and it scared him a little. It had been a while since he had last travelled this deep into the forest; the last time almost resulting in his friends being killed. It was with much trepidation that he was going anywhere near again.
On the bright side, he had Drew and Allyn with him, with Kamilah, Noah and Monty not too far away so they had each other’s backs. Despite being the alpha, Dylan never felt as good a fighter as them. He supposed that Drew had more experience of fighting, but nevertheless, Dylan considered words to be his best weapon. Combat had its place, but only as a last resort.
There were a group of signals congregating in that area of the forest, spread around in a circle. Dylan suspected this was where the scientist would have gone. Though their intention remained unclear, they were still humans delving into the supernatural. This was the most logical place to come.
“This is where it gets tricky,” Allyn recalled, “It has to want to be found.”
“Of course it does,” Dylan sighed. This was the last obstacle he wanted to deal with. The rules of the supernatural world made absolutely no sense, and it confused his logical, rule-abiding brain.
“I think it wants us now,” Drew spotted it through a gap in the branches. There it was. The loneliest tree, yet the most powerful.
“Look,” Allyn pointed out, not far from where they were stood were a couple of figures, hidden in the shrubbery, watching them.
“Why aren’t they attacking?” Dylan wondered. He was almost certain they were the makeshift army that the scientists had created, though he couldn’t see clearly enough.
“They’re expecting us,” Drew replied. He had to be right – they had ended up exactly where the scientists wanted them.
All three of them cautiously approached the gigantic, mysterious tree trunk. Dylan found it so fascinating – there was still so much that he didn’t know about the Nemeton, and he was desperate to delve in deeper. The amount of mystery it carried, the stories it would tell if it could speak. Dylan had to learn more.
Just as expected, the scientists were there, facing the Nemeton as if they were working on it. That could only have been a bad thing in Dylan’s book.
“Time to fight,” Drew was rating to go. Dylan had to reel him in – they needed answers first.
“No, hold back,” Dylan commanded.
“What the hell, Dylan? This is our chance,” Drew hit out. He sounded frustrated, much to Dylan’s annoyance. So much for him being the alpha.
“We need answers, this isn’t over,” Dylan defended. In the corner of his eye, Dylan noticed the army approaching. Three soldiers, who looked like werewolves, but with stitch marks all over their faces. It was grotesque, and they were coming for Allyn.
“Allyn!” Dylan warned. He was too late – one of them had already grabbed her, priming its claws against her neck.
“Let her go,” Drew yelled. He was visibly becoming more and more angry. Allyn was his kryptonite. He would do anything to save her. Dylan had to react, and quickly.
“Dude, you need to stop, you’re going to get us all killed,” Dylan tried to calm him.
“Surrender and she lives,” one of the scientists spoke in its feminine yet deep robotic voice.
Dylan nodded at Drew. He needed to know that surrendering wasn’t the same as giving up, but it was in fact buying them time. Time to be rescued. Time to think up a plan.
Yasmin couldn’t believe her eyes. What she could see on the other side of the door was ghastly and gruesome. It made her squirm to see the stitches keeping those creations together. The thought of the butchering that must have occurred made her want to throw up. These creatures used to be human, but they were now feral. A part of Yasmin, underneath the fear, felt deeply sorry for them. For who they used to be.
However, they were almost in. The desk barricading the door wasn’t strong enough to hold off an army of werewolves. They had the strength Yasmin would expect from a normal werewolf, despite biologically being humans. That scared Yasmin. They were vastly outnumbered.
Josh slipped his hand around hers. They had each other’s backs, even in the bleakest moments. Their options were limited, but at least they were together.
“The windows won’t open wide enough,” Freddie cried out from the far end of the room.
Almost on cue, the outside windows smashed. Two of the creatures climbed in from outside. Now they really were surrounded.
“Behind me,” Josh took control, letting go of Yasmin’s hand. The door wasn’t holding, “Get down.”
WHAM! The door crashed open. Yasmin ad Freddie ducked under a desk as per Josh’s orders. However, Josh didn’t join them. He began to fight. He was on his own. Yasmin had to help.
“No,” Freddie grabbed Yasmin’s arm, “We need to get out.”
“He’s going to die,” Yasmin wanted to help. She needed to be there with him. He couldn’t fight all of these on his own.
“You trust him, don’t you? Keep trusting him,” Freddie advised, “We’ve got a clean shot at the exit. We need to go now.”
Yasmin paused. She could hear the punches being thrown in both directions. She could see the worrying spatters of blood on the floor. All she could picture in her mind was the unthinkable. However, she couldn’t let his decision be for nothing. They had to get out.
“Let’s go,” Yasmin regretfully decided. She and Freddie sprinted their way out, not looking back for even a second. Yasmin’s heart had never pumped so far. She was terrified, for both herself and Josh. He had to be okay, right?
Frustration boiling over, Drew needed to think fast. He refused to surrender, it was something he would never do, especially when threatened. It was weakness in his book. That said, losing Allyn wasn’t an option. He needed her more than anything. Nobody understood him like she did.
“Okay, we surrender,” Drew said through gritted teeth. Dylan nodded in approval. They were on the same page, for a change. Both of them raised their hands in defeat.
“Hold still,” the other scientist, who had a more masculine tone to its voice, directed. It approached Dylan with a syringe and immediately, Dylan’s face dropped. He looked insanely terrified, but Drew wasn’t worried. The syringe was empty, and the lever was pressed down. They wanted to take blood. He gave a reassuring nod to Dylan to relax his nerves, just as the needle probed into his neck. A trickle of blood followed the lever upwards while Dylan winced.
“What are you doing?” Dylan questioned as the scientist returned to the Nemeton with the syringe.
“The final solution is ready,” the scientist vaguely replied. Drew glanced to Allyn. She looked just as concerned as he did. The scientists’ mutts still had her restrained. His surrender was far from over.
The scientist injected the blood into the gigantic tree stump. Immediately, the Nemeton’s branches began to shake violently. It was reacting to Dylan’s blood.
“The blood of an alpha, mixed with advanced coding,” the scientist described. A feeling of dread shot through Drew’s body like a bullet. They had somehow tweaked the mechanics of the Nemeton, “The Nemeton summons supernaturals. It has a connection to every single one of them. It can transmit a global signal.”
“A signal that blocks the effect of the moon,” Drew realised. The full moon was necessary, not just for werewolves, but all supernaturals. He had no idea how or why, but it was like a fuel. The fuller the moon, the stronger they were.
“What?” Dylan was lost. He had less knowledge of the history of supernaturals than Drew did.
“They’re making us human,” Drew explained. Somehow, the more basic terms had an even more worrisome effect.
“They can’t,” Dylan was in disbelief. He couldn’t comprehend the idea, and Drew understood that. This shouldn’t have been possible.
“Try to shift, do it,” Drew ordered. He knew things had changed. He was so used to holding back the wolf inside. Now, it felt so empty.
“I can’t,” Dylan replied in realisation. They couldn’t fight even if they wanted to. The supernatural no longer existed.
Staring into the unfamiliar gaze, Jono couldn’t believe what had happened to his cousin. The once bubbly persona, cutesy expression and kind heart. All he could think of was how horrible he had been to her since she arrived. Now he needed to apologise by getting back the Sammi he knew.
He pushed Lily gently behind him. There was no way he was letting her get in harm’s way. On so many occasions, she had been the big sister he needed. She had protected him, even though she didn’t have to. Now it was time to grow up and be the little brother she deserved.
“Sammi, I know you’re in there,” Jono begged. He knew that she had to be buried underneath the Anpao. He remembered how Dylan always pulled him back from the edge, every time he lost control. If Sammi was the same, she could be rescued too. She just needed to learn control.
Unbelievably, the eyes switched back. For the first time in ages, Sammi looked human. Had his idea worked first try?
“Jono?” she spoke in her usual tone. This was almost too easy. Something felt wrong, but perhaps that was just pessimism? Regardless, Sammi was back. Jono flung his arms around her, thrilled and overjoyed.
“Are you okay?” Jono queried. She looked shattered; he wondered if she had slept at all.
“What’s happened? Where are we?” a disorientated Sammi questioned.
“You’re safe,” Jono tried to relax her.
“Jono,” Lily interrupted, a grave tone in her voice, “I don’t think it’s over yet.”
“What?” Jono began to feel his body be consumed by dread. His gut was right. Something had gone wrong. Nothing was this easy.
“Everything’s so quiet. I can’t hear like I used to,” Lily worryingly said. Jono concentrated. Neither could he. The wolf had gone. He was human again.
“This isn’t over yet,” Jono became even more concerned. Things weren’t right. Sammi could still have been in danger.
“What are you talking about? You’ve been keeping secrets since I arrived. I can cope with whatever is going on. I’ve seen more than you know, so please, cut the crap and tell me,” Sammi demanded.
Jono found himself agreeing. He was ready to give some answers, but he needed some in return. It was time to play both interviewer and interviewee.