Series 1 Episode 9
Storming through the forests of Crystalshaw, she knew she had to get there first. Reports of werewolves circulated among those in the know, and this was time for action. So few of them were left, and it was sure to get even fewer.
She had two men with her, but she led the operation. No man could tell her what to do, she was far too headstrong. All three of them were armed, although unlike their opponents, the guns weren’t intended for the werewolves.
Finally, she reached a shed. It was tatty and seemingly abandoned, except for the pair of glowing yellow eyes she noticed cropping up from the shattered window. Those of a teenage boy, surely no older than thirteen.
“What’s your name?” she questioned.
“Drew Marsden,” he replied timidly, “Please don’t hurt me.”
“I’ve come to help; you and your friends are not safe here,” she announced.
“Get down!” one of her men announced. She ducked as bullets began firing towards the shed. Taking cover, she tried to identify the hunters, but no luck.
“Get out while you still can, Johnson,” a voice yelled from metres away. They knew her, but that was no deterrent.
“Over my dead body,” she yelled back, pulling out her own gun and firing in the direction the bullets were coming from. They were at war, over a young boy with bright yellow eyes.
Much to her relief, she saw little Drew creeping out the back of the shed and making a run for it. Her work was done.
Waking up felt bittersweet for Dylan. He slept surprisingly well, and every second next to Jono was always a blessing. However, the day ahead was bound to be messy. He had to turn down Josh’s offer of joining his pack, and it was not going to go down well.
What was worse was that he still had to go to school and pretend that everything was normal. His mum would flip if he missed any more lessons.
ready?” Jono asked, still lying next to him.
“As I’ll ever be,” Dylan nodded.
Lily drove herself to school, while Jono gave Dylan a lift. Dylan felt strangely pumped for the day ahead. He’d had a weekend to prepare, and he was ready to prove himself as an individual. Now, he, Jono, Lily, Drew and Freddie were all sat around their usual bench. The lack of Yasmin was especially noticeable. Dylan could have done with one of her plans.
“When is he coming?” Lily questioned.
“We don’t know, that’s the problem. It might not even happen at school,” Dylan explained.
“Mrs. Johnson is on standby and she’s positioned a few men round the perimeter of the school. We’re safe here at least,” Drew added.
“Which means he won’t attack here,” Jono noted, “Josh is always one step ahead of us. He will know this already.”
“He’s right. It’s not now that we have to worry about, but maybe we could provoke him?” Lily suggested.
“How? We need Yasmin, she’d have a great idea,” Dylan despaired.
“We can’t, she’s not strong enough,” Drew insisted.
“What is she, Drew?” Dylan begged to know. She wasn’t a werewolf, and she had different colour eyes to him, but she certainly wasn’t human anymore.
“I don’t know, but we can figure it out later,” Drew brushed it off. Dylan rolled it off, it wasn’t important to Drew and he couldn’t have made it more obvious if he tried.
“For now, we need to get to class,” Freddie suggested, “There’s nothing we can do right now.”
“You’re right,” Dylan sighed, “Let’s go.” He hated anything to do with biology, but on the bright side, a test would certainly be a welcome distraction.
“Your time starts…now,” Mrs. Johnson barked from the front of the biology lab. Dylan flicked over the page of the test in front of him. He wasn’t nervous, but he equally wasn’t optimistic.
As he glanced at the test, the words may as well have been in Japanese for all Dylan could make out. He couldn’t focus on any of the words on the page. The sound of the clock ticking away and pens rubbing against paper sounded ear-piercingly loud. His hearing was unfocused and he couldn’t concentrate.
“Dylan,” he heard a voice whisper. Confused and disorientated, Dylan spun around in his seat to see who was calling his name. Nobody in the classroom was looking his way, and everyone seemed engrossed in their tests. Freddie noticed his movements and glared his eyes – he had heard it too.
“What’s up?” Jono whispered from next to Dylan.
“He’s here, he’s calling me now,” Dylan replied. He stood up and ran out of the class before Mrs. Johnson could protest. In the corridor, there he was. Stood a few metres away in the centre of the corridor, Josh was facing him. He was wearing a navy hoodie, concealing his identity and ditching his usual fashionable clothing that Dylan was always envious of.
“Have you made your decision?” Josh interrogated, skipping any idea of small talk.
“You’re fighting alone, Josh,” Dylan confidently replied.
“You’ll regret that, Dylan,” Josh said before walking away down the corridor to his left. Dylan ran to follow, but he had vanished. The line was drawn.
Strolling around the grounds for some fresh air, Jono had found the morning to be very exhausting. Dylan had told him about seeing Josh, and the worry about what was to come was suffocating. He needed some alone time.
“Hey,” Lily jogged up to join him, “How was the test?”
“Alright I guess. I couldn’t really focus,” Jono replied, “Did you see Dylan?”
“Yeah, so he’s here then,” Lily sighed, “We are gonna be alright, aren’t we?”
“Of course. Dylan will ensure it,” Jono had faith. No matter what, he knew Dylan would protect them.
In the corner of his eye, just in between his and Lily’s cars, he noticed a familiar face. Looking vacantly at him was Yasmin. Immediately, he rushed over to check on her.
“Yasmin, are you alright?” he asked, as Lily caught up to him.
“They’re coming here, and he will lose,” Yasmin spoke, as if delivering a prophecy.
“Who? Who will lose?” Lily asked keenly.
“He who bathes in the cloud of mountain ash,” Yasmin responded, before collapsing. Jono caught her in his arms just in time, saving her from the uncomfortable concrete.
“What was that meant to mean? What’s mountain ash?” Jono queried. None of it made sense.
“Drew had some in his bunker. I’ve got an idea, let’s go,” Lily sprung to life as Jono carried Yasmin to her car.
The only two of Dylan’s group at the bench at lunchtime were he and Drew. This was the level of busyness that he had come to expect at the bench, although normally it was Yasmin that sat with him. Now feeling much less calm, Dylan was beginning to panic.
“I have no idea what I need to do. He’s won,” Dylan vented. He couldn’t see any other options.
“We still have the back-up,” Drew reminded.
“No,” Dylan instantly commanded, “We’re not killing him.”
“It would solve our problems,” Drew insisted.
“We would be no better than him,” Dylan argued, “You taught me control. Maybe you need to teach yourself.”
“I’ve seen werewolves be murdered in cold blood. I was the only one left in Crystalshaw for years,” Drew firmly recalled, “Never again. I won’t allow our lives to be lost over his.” It was food for thought for Dylan, even if he disagreed with the act of murder entirely.
“How may werewolves were there?” Dylan saw the opportunity to ask questions.
“So many. I had friends all over, even one of my cousins was a werewolf and I never knew,” Drew reminisced.
“What about your parents?” Dylan questioned. He had thought a lot about what his own mum may think of him. He didn’t want to tell her and risk a terrible reaction. Drew’s own story could prove helpful.
“They never knew. I wish they did, cause maybe they could have defended themselves,” Drew looked distant, like he was struggling with the memories.
“From what?” Dylan wondered. He hoped he wasn’t digging too deep.
“From being slaughtered by the hunters,” Drew replied, “They assumed they were werewolves like me.” Dylan felt his stomach drop. That was not the revelation he expected to hear. It was horrible, and immediately he applied it to his own situation. His mum being murdered was not worth thinking about.
“Drew, I…I’m so sorry. I had no idea,” Dylan tried to backtrack.
“I don’t need sympathy,” Drew replied, keeping a brave face, “I need justice.”
“And we’ll get it,” Dylan said confidently, “But there is no need for any more death.”
“If only Josh hadn’t bitten such a softie,” Drew joked.
“You love me really,” Dylan smiled, “What happened to the hunters? Are they still here?”
“Some are, but they gave up a long time ago. We’ve still gotta be careful. Others followed the werewolves who ran away,” Drew detailed.
“Let’s hope we’re safe then,” Dylan commented.
“We’ll never be safe,” Drew pessimistically stated.
Despite the usual level of negativity from Drew, Dylan feared that he was right.
Shoving open the bunker door, Lily immediately began looking for what she needed. The idea was still forming in her mind, but she needed one vital ingredient. Yasmin had proved to be an important clue in what might defeat Josh. Equally though, she had to be careful, as the prophecy could just as much have applied to Dylan too.
She was alone in the bunker, leaving Jono to tend to Yasmin in the car. Although she hadn’t told Jono, Lily was hoping she may find something that would help Yasmin while she was in the bunker too.
As she browsed the cluttered shelves, Lily found just what she was looking for. The jar of mountain ash stared her back in the face, just where she left it before. More interestingly though, catching her eye to its left was a small, black book. It was dusty and looked like it hadn’t been touched in years. The word “bestiary,” was written in bold letters on the front. It intrigued Lily, and she took a glimpse inside. She was awestruck by everything she saw – diagrams, information and drawings. This had to be useful. Dylan needed to see it.
She picked up the jar and carried it under her arm, with the book in her other hand.
Waiting in the car outside, Jono didn’t take his eyes off Yasmin. She looked so peaceful, but he knew she wasn’t. He couldn’t imagine what it would be like to hear voices in your head.
Of course, he didn’t blame Dylan for what happened to her, but he couldn’t help thinking how much she, and everyone else, had changed over the space of a few days. The shy and retiring yet brilliantly clever Yasmin seemed a distant memory already.
The last week had changed them all, but despite the stress, Jono still had no regrets. He had gained so much. New knowledge, new friends, and he was finally dating his number one crush. He couldn’t believe it had only been one week since he first made a move on Dylan. The scariest yet most rewarding moment of his life.
“Dylan,” Yasmin stirred.
“Dylan’s not here, it’s Jono,” he replied calmly.
“Where are we?” Yasmin queried, with much more intonation in her voice than before.
“Lily’s car, she’ll be back in a minute. How are you?” Jono queried.
“My head hurts, what happened?” Yasmin seemed to have no recollection of anything.
“Long story, but you’re safe now,” Jono smiled, just as Lily clicked open the driver’s door and hopped into the car. She shoved a jar of some dusty grainy looking thing and a tatty old book into Jono’s lap.
“What’s this?” he wondered.
“I’ll explain on the way, no time to waste,” Lily replied, starting the car up.
Patrolling the corridors, Freddie had quietly crept off after class without the others. He wanted to follow his nose, teach himself how to utilise his new abilities and hopefully find a clue. He wanted to prove himself to Dylan. He was fed up of being the puppy that needed to be looked after. Besides, he had an inkling that Josh was still lurking.
Somehow, he had made it past the guards outside, and Dylan wasn’t expecting an attack until after school. This gave Josh the upper hand until three o’clock. All Freddie needed to find was a clue that he was still in school. The light scent of his cologne lingered, but it wasn’t enough. That could have been left from earlier.
He looked around the area where Dylan saw him, outside the biology lab. The cologne was stronger there.
As he glanced down to the floor, he noticed a slip of paper, ripped from a biology worksheet. He picked it up and unfolded it. Drawn on it in pencil was a circle with a plus sign in the middle. Freddie assumed it had fallen out of another kid’s pocket.
“It’s my pack symbol,” Freddie heard a voice from behind say. There he was. Josh, wrapped in a navy hoodie sheltering much of his face. That must have been how he made it past the guards. Easily done when school kids arrive in such huge swathes. He continued, “You could be a part of it too.”
“I don’t want to,” Freddie defiantly replied.
“What’s happened to you, bro? I thought we had each other’s backs,” Josh taunted.
“So did I, then you did this to me,” Freddie stood his ground.
“I did this to make us stronger. We’re basically brothers now. There’s nothing stronger than the bond between an alpha and his beta,” Josh persuaded.
“But why are you doing all this? You killed Shona, what for?” Freddie tried to comprehend.
“Dylan shunned me, I had to get his attention, Maybe I could have done it differently,” Josh seemed repentant.
“You’re lying,” Freddie called him out.
“Listen to my heartbeat. Then see if I’m lying,” Josh suggested. Freddie focused his hearing. The regular beating rhythm was slow and calm. Either he was telling the truth, or he was a very good liar.
“What do you want?” Freddie asked. He still wasn’t sure if Josh was lying or not, but he wanted to hear him out. If there was even the slightest chance of the old Josh still being there, he wanted to take it.
“A meeting with Dylan at two o’clock in the library. Just to talk, I need to explain everything to him,” Josh justified. His heartbeat hadn’t changed. Not a single irregular beat, not a single change in tempo. He couldn’t believe he was considering this.
“What do I get out of this?” Freddie posed.
“Things can go back to normal, we’ll be best mates again. Nothing will have changed,” Josh responded, and to Freddie’s ears he sounded sincere.
“Alright then. Only if there’s no funny business,” Freddie agreed against his better judgement. He was amazed that he had even considered Josh’s offer, but he couldn’t he. Part of him trusted Josh still.
“You did what?” Dylan was appalled. He couldn’t believe that Freddie had gone behind his back like that. Agreeing to a chat with Josh? Anyone would think Freddie was on his side.
“I thought it might help, what if he’s telling the truth?” Freddie debated.
“He couldn’t tell the truth if he tried,” Dylan retorted.
“Maybe he has a point?” Drew considered.
“Are you out of your freaking mind?” Dylan was getting angry. Thankfully, the wolf was just about under control. He thought of his anchor, trying to keep cool.
“We should hear him out,” Drew thought, “But if not, it at least gets us closer to him.”
“To do what? We still don’t have a plan. If he wanted a peace conference, he could have asked me earlier,” Dylan argued defiantly. Before he could add anything else, Dylan was stunned by who he saw approaching the bench. Joining Jono and Lily springing their way over was Yasmin, looking her normal, radiant self. What the heck?
“Yasmin, what are you doing here?” Dylan asked as soon as she reached the bench.
“Never mind that, we’ve got a plan,” Yasmin smiled. Oh, it was good to have her back.
Cautiously walking into the library, Dylan was not a second late. It was just after lunch, and the library was dead silent. The perfect place to meet Josh. He looked around, trying to find him, but there was nobody in sight.
Checking down every aisle, Dylan was confused. Josh wanted this meeting, but where was he?
“Thanks for coming,” Dylan jumped as a voice behind him began speaking. He spun round – it was indeed Josh.
“I’m doing this for my friends,” Dylan noted.
“I can tell, considering the scents of Drew and Freddie are pretty unmissable in this place,” Josh commented, sussing out Dylan’s back-up. Oops. He ordered, “Come out boys.” Drew and Freddie skulked out of the shadows, where Dylan had asked them to wait, just in case. They both stood near the doorway, watching on. Now he really was on his own.
“Take a seat, Dylan,” Josh offered him a place at the biggest desk in the centre of the library. Dylan sat facing the door, while Josh plonked down opposite. In the middle of the desk were two small glasses and a jug of an orange squash drink, “I can’t resist this stuff. Go on, have a taste.” Dylan warily poured some into both glasses and took a sip of his own.
“Not bad,” he commented.
“It’s a little like me, then,” Josh took this chance. Dylan rolled his eyes, but he agreed to hear him out, so he will, “I’m not a bad egg, Dylan.”
“Actions speak louder than words, Josh. Maybe you should have thought about your dreams of having a pack before you murdered someone in cold blood?” Dylan debated.
“I was stupid to say the least, but I’ve learnt my errors now. I’m a better person, and we can work together,” Josh pleaded.
“Work? There is no work,” Dylan picked up.
“Work on expanding our pack. I have three here and another three on their way, but we don’t have to stop there,” Josh suggested.
“I don’t want that, Josh. This is what you don’t understand. You tried to take my humanity from me, against my will, but I fought back, because my friends and I deserve better. Humanity wins,” Dylan passionately justified. As he was talking, he saw Drew creeping up behind Josh. Quietly, carefully and with intent. He continued talking to keep Josh’s attention, “This is why I will never join your pack, Josh.”
“I’m a human being, and you…,”
“You are a monster.”
Drew threw his claws into the air and flung them right at Josh’s throat, but it wasn’t good enough. He got caught as Josh rapidly blocked it. Dylan watched as Josh was now looking away from the table. This was his moment. He tipped the contents of a small tub into Josh’s glass of squash. Even through the tub, the contents felt strange, like a magnetic repulsion.
“Your friends are pathetic,” Josh quickly dropped his friendly façade.
“Not as pathetic as you,” Dylan hit back as Josh took a large gulp of the squash.
“You won’t be saying that when you’re begging for mercy as I kill you,” Josh coldly stated. Then he coughed. Dylan watched on as Josh looked gobsmacked – he almost certainly hadn’t coughed since becoming a werewolf and gaining those healing powers. He coughed once again.
“Not feeling so good?” Dylan asked with a big grin on his face. The real plan was working.
“What have you done to me?” Josh struggled to speak, his hand touching his throat.
“Mountain ash,” Dylan simply stated, “I slipped some into your drink.”
“You will pay for this,” Josh threatened, as he titled his head back and a cloud of black smoke erupted from his mouth. Dylan watched on in shock. As pleased as he was that the plan went so smoothly, he didn’t like seeing anybody in pain.
“This is what happens when you try to take somebody’s free will away, Josh,” Dylan informed, “I may be a werewolf, but my heart is human and it always will be.”
Josh shut his eyes tightly as his body convulsed harshly. After roughly half a minute, he stopped still. He was still sat upright, and his eyes remained shut.
“Josh?” Dylan called out. No reply, until a twitch of the eyes. Slowly, both eyes opened. Much to Dylan’s shock, instead of the usual danger red colour, he saw a deep blue, darker than Yasmin’s eyes.
“What have you done?” Josh angrily asked.
“Get lost, Josh. I don’t want to see you around here again,” Dylan commanded, glowing his own eyes.
Josh scuttled off, looking like he was terrified of Dylan. He breathed a sigh of relief as the doors slammed shut. Freddie sprinted over and hugged Dylan, sharing his sense of relief, while Drew gave him an approving nod. He could hardly believe that the plan had actually worked.
Swaggering out of the library with Drew and Freddie in tow, Dylan was hugged by Yasmin immediately after he walked through the double doors. It was a great feeling, knowing he had succeeded at something for a change.
“You did it! I can’t believe you actually did it,” Yasmin exclaimed.
“Thanks, I think,” Dylan laughed, “I said we needed one of your amazing plans.”
“Hey, it was my plan too,” Lily added, throwing her arms around Dylan too and placing a peck on his cheek. Dylan blushed. He wasn’t into girls that way, but he couldn’t deny – that was a cute kiss.
“We did it, all of us,” Dylan corrected. He felt so proud of himself and of all his friends.
Last but not least was Jono. He beamed a huge proud smile at Dylan, which felt so beautifully heart-warming, and embraced him in a kiss. Dylan was on cloud nine, and he had never felt better.
That night, in Dylan’s bedroom, Drew paid him a visit. It was a strange concept for Dylan still. Even though they had a newfound respect for each other, he totally despised Drew until a week ago. Strangely, Drew was actually smiling. The shocks kept on coming.
“You did good today Drummond,” Drew complimented. The surname thing still hadn’t changed. For old times’ sake, Dylan guessed.
“Careful, you’re verging on soppy. What would the basketball lads make of that?” Dylan jested.
“Seriously though, you defeated an alpha. They are the strongest of our kind. You won’t hear the end of this,” Drew continued.
“That’s just my problem though,” Dylan worried, “He still has three of his pack members on the way. This is far from over.”
“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” Drew wisely stated.
“I guess,” Dylan accepted, “Oh, and one more question. Josh’s eyes are blue now. What does that mean? Is it for ex-alphas or something?”
“No, but that would be a good idea,” Drew explained, “Blue eyes mean you have killed someone innocent. Josh killed Shona and god knows how many others over time.”
“So, he’s otherwise just like us?” Dylan pondered.
“Yup, he’s a beta now. Or an omega, that’s a wolf who has no pack,” Drew detailed, “See, I’m not so bad. We might disagree on some things Drummond but look at my eyes.” Drew glared his bright yellow eyes to Dylan. Proof that he hadn’t taken an innocent life after all.
“I’m pleased,” Dylan smiled. For all his criticisms of Drew, at least they were singing from the same hymn sheet. Mostly.
“So I’ve been skim-reading this all evening but there is so much there, it’s easy to miss stuff,” Lily recapped. She was talking to Yasmin, who she had invited round for the night. She billed it as a “girly night in,” to her parents, but unfortunately it was not going to be so fun. She had been reading Drew’s “bestiary,” book, and she was blown away by all of the information it held. There were details of all sorts of creatures, not just werewolves, and it seemed perfect for identifying what Yasmin was. However, it was so thick and full of information that it was not a one-person job.
“Does Dylan know you have that?” Yasmin sensibly asked. Much too sensible for Lily.
“He’ll know at a later date. Drew has no idea and I want it to stay that way, he’ll probably kick off,” Lily justified.
“Right, we had better get going then,” Yasmin said as she flicked over the first page, noticing the tiny font, “Woah, I had better get my glasses on.”
Lily laughed. While she had plenty of friends her own age, there was something more genuine about her friendship with Yasmin. It felt stress-free and relaxing, and she didn’t have to worry about drama.
Crawling through the woods, Josh felt drained. He had been an alpha for long enough to notice the huge difference in power and status between alpha, beta and omega, and it wasn’t pleasant.
He was scuttling away like a beetle, trying to get as far away from the sick Dylan as he possibly could. The power he had was terrifying for a beta. How could he create something so worrying?
All of a sudden, he noticed three bright torch lights shining in front. They were moving; bobbing away as they got closer. He stared at them, confused.
“Ah, look who it is,” a female voice said.
“Never has a sight been so satisfying,” a second female said coldly.
“Looks like he failed our task then,” a male added.
Oh no. Josh knew these voices all too well. Before he could see their faces in the dark forest, he was picked up and gagged, before being carted away on the male’s back.
By the time Friday had come around again, Dylan had almost slotted back into his old life. School was the most soul-crushing thing he had to deal with, and Sunday homework night with Yasmin was resuming that weekend. Dylan knew he needed it. Mrs. Johnson hadn’t spoken a word about Josh or anything werewolf-related, and was back to being her usual mean, grouchy self.
The best thing about normality though was his “mom time,” after school. With no sign of Josh or his supposed pack, Dylan noticed he had way more time for Caroline, and he loved it.
Although, as nice as normality was, it was very much a new normal. His friendship group at school was suddenly much bigger than it was two weeks ago, and it was nice to have people caring for him. Notably his company for that Friday night.
Dylan was spending the entire night in the comfort of Jono’s arms. They were in Jono’s treehouse, and his makeshift bed was almost as good as his own. Now they had spent many nights next to each other, Dylan could comfortably say that lying next to Jono was always a thrill. He thought he would never get over just how lucky he was to have such an accepting, handsome and all-round incredible boyfriend. Every moment together was a joy, and although Dylan wasn’t happy with every change in his life, he wouldn’t dare turn the clock back. If it meant losing Jono, it was a no-go.
Dylan stared through the window and up to the moon in the sky. It was barely visible, almost exactly halfway between two full moons, but Dylan always felt its presence. It was comforting in some ways, and terrifying in others.
“It looks so peaceful,” Jono commented, looking up in the same direction.
“Yeah, it does,” Dylan agreed. He hadn’t thought about it before, but maybe the moon wasn’t such a bad thing for werewolves. Every one of them was connected by the same thing. They shared something humans couldn’t understand. Sometimes he felt that way about he and Jono too. He glanced into his eyes and smiled.
He really had won the jackpot.