College beckons for Dylan and the pack, giving each of them the chance to start afresh. However, when a professor is drowned at a party, they soon realise that their old life may not be so easy to escape. What do Yasmin's increasingly vivid visions mean? How will Sammi and Jeremy cope at school alone?
With college beginning, the pack settle in to their new accommodation, though Dylan finds it difficult to adjust to his new surroundings. Jono attempts to help Dylan settle, but will he succeed? Meanwhile, Freddie struggles to move on from Sammi, and Sammi herself faces an unexpected problem at school.
Desperate to find the girl from the party, Freddie enlists Josh to help search. When a professor is found dead among a flooded restaurant, Yasmin's visions could provide a clue to the killer. Dylan finds the transition to college overwhelming, while Jeremy takes a huge step to trusting Felix, against Sammi's better judgement.
1: Clean Slate Written by MarthaJonesFan
The big day had finally come. So much planning had gone into making this the huge event it deserved to be, and Dylan felt so excited. It wasn’t often that he had the opportunity to give something back to his mum, but this day was all about her, and he felt so proud to be her son.
Caroline looked incredible, too. Her dress was perfect and suited her completely. The most important part was the smile on her face, though. It was wide, almost uncontrollable. Dylan recalled a time where he thought he may never have seen that smile again. Dylan’s dad remained a gigantic hole in both his and Caroline’s lives, but she deserved to find happiness again.
“Do you think he’d be upset?” Caroline questioned as they waited patiently behind the wooden doors. Evidently, she was thinking of the exact same thing. Proof that he could never be replaced.
“I think he’d be proud of you, mom. Just like I am,” Dylan nodded. His dad would have asked for nothing more than their happiness, and both of them had certainly found just that.
“My precious boy,” Caroline smiled, “I couldn’t be prouder of you if I tried.”
The music began. That was their cue. The wooden doors in front of them swung open dramatically, exposing the aisles of guests waiting patiently inside. To the familiar tune of the ‘Bridal Chorus,’ Dylan escorted his mum down the aisle. Glancing left and right, Dylan was so pleased to see so many familiar faces in attendance. Many of Caroline’s colleagues, and Ed’s deputies of course. Helen and Steve were there, as was George, but most pleasingly, the entire pack were sat right at the front. Jono’s beautiful face was waiting patiently for him on the front row. He looked so dashing in his suit. Dylan was so lucky.
Also looking dashing was Ed, wearing the finest suit Crystalshaw town had to offer as he watched in awe from the altar. Dylan took his place on the front row, in between Jono and Josh. The atmosphere among them was electric and powerful. The happiness was contagious.
Suddenly, it felt like Dylan’s entire journey up to that point had been worthwhile – every second of it.
Glancing around, taking in the sights, Dylan felt strange. The room was near-enough empty, completely lacking in homely warmth and character. It was strange to think it was basically going to be home for a while.
The only decorations the room had were a select few furnishings, most of which came in pairs: two ready-made beds, two wardrobes, two desks, and a single bedside table in the middle. All were necessary of course, but there was nothing Dylan found inspiring. It needed sprucing up.
“I cannot wait to stick some posters up on these walls,” Jono commented. Of course, he had come prepared with a stash of pictures and posters to add flavour to their new space. Naturally, they were sharing a room together, and it was so exciting. In fact, their entire living situation was pretty awesome, when Freddie, Josh, Lily, Alex, Yasmin and Oscar were the other occupants of this dorm.
“Shame the beds are separate,” Dylan coyly mentioned. He and Jono were more than a little used to sharing at night – single beds against opposing walls simply wasn’t good enough.
“Straight down to business, Mr. Drummond. I approve,” Jono smirked playfully. Instantly, Jono slid the bedside table out, while Dylan pushed the left bed towards the middle. Jono took charge of the bed on the right, and both beds slid together directly in the middle. Instantly, the room felt much cosier.
“Maybe we’ll have to try these beds out,” Jono teased.
“They’re gonna hear us,” Dylan thought practically, even though he was just as keen as Jono.
“You think they’re all gonna be celibate?” Jono debated. He had a fair point – college was no time for naivety. They deserved a little one-to-one time after the effort of dragging their suitcases around the ridiculously huge campus.
“Well I suppose a test run of the beds won’t be such a bad thing,” Dylan smirked, pressing his lips lovingly against Jono’s. He could never get bored of that sensation; it was so special. They climbed on top of their now-double bed, without breaking the kiss, grappling to remove each other’s t-shirts.
“Hey, I was wondering,” Yasmin strolled in. Dylan quickly broke away, trying and failing to look natural. An awkward silence ensued – Yasmin obviously knew what they were up to, and it wasn’t often she was left speechless, “…You know what, it’s not important.” She quickly backed up out of the room and pulled the door firmly shut behind her.
Dylan caught eyes with Jono as the awkward silence resumed. As if on cue, they burst out laughing, collapsing next to each other on the bed. There was no way to style out a moment like that. Embarrassing, but very funny.
“I think we need a knocking rule,” Jono giggled. Dylan caught eyes with him again, the laughter fizzling out as if it had run out of petrol. After a few seconds, Dylan resumed the kiss. After all, they definitely wouldn’t have been disturbed any time soon after that.
Blu-tacking a couple of photos of his family by the side of his bed, Oscar was keen to settle in to his new bedroom as quickly as possible. College was yet another huge change in his life, in what had been the busiest year ever. Moving school during senior year was one thing, becoming a werewolf was another. He was ready for some stability, but that wouldn’t come until he felt comfortable at college. Everything was new and strange, but at least he had his friends around him.
Wham! Yasmin rushed in; the door slamming way too hard behind her. She looked flustered, as if she’d seen something troubling.
“Where’s the fire?” Oscar queried, worried.
“No fire,” Yasmin replied, “But there’s a lot of heat next door.”
“Oh boy,” Oscar immediately knew what she meant. Dylan and Jono were clearly wasting no time in getting acquainted with their new beds, “I assume the beds have already been pushed together?”
“In record time,” Yasmin laughed, “I think I need brain bleach.”
Oscar knew he could laugh about anything with Yasmin. She was the first friend he made in Crystalshaw; she showed him the ropes at school, and now they could be there for each other at college.
“Look, are you sure you don’t mind sharing?” Oscar offered. Of course, it felt traditional for boys and girls to share with their own gender only.
“I mean, considering the two couples aren’t ever going to separate, my options are you or one of my two ex-boyfriends,” Yasmin playfully replied, “I trust you, Oscar, and I hope you’re comfortable trusting me.”
“Sure,” Oscar replied, “I guess you have nothing to worry about, you’re not exactly my type.” Yasmin laughed. They understood each other so clearly.
Without as much as a knock, Freddie breezed into the room. He looked flustered, as if he was going through the most stressful ordeal of his life.
“I can’t find anything. My phone’s on six percent, and my charger’s gone AWOL,” Freddie vented.
“Don’t panic,” Yasmin instantly reassured him, “Use mine for now. It’ll be around somewhere.”
“What if I left it at home? I knew I’d forgotten something,” Freddie continued to worry.
“Sammi’s coming to visit this week, don’t stress she can bring anything we forget,” Yasmin reassured, “Besides, we’re only twenty minutes away.”
“I’m not sure Sammi’s going to want to do me any favours,” Freddie panicked, his mood visibly becoming glummer.
“You need to talk to her, dude,” Oscar advised, “Nobody abruptly ditches you for no reason.”
“Except Sammi, clearly,” Freddie sighed.
“Besides, there are gonna be so many girls around,” Oscar encouraged, “Fresh start. We’ll be each other’s wingmen, alright?” Freddie smiled, clearly appreciating the motivation. It was a new chapter for everyone, and they had to make the best of it.
Though the mundane corridors of Crystalshaw High were completely unchanged, Sammi knew her final year of school was going to be quite unlike any other. Most of her friends had moved on to college, and suddenly, school felt like a huge and lonely place.
Sammi had never really connected with most people from her own classes. It didn’t really help that she couldn’t share the greatest, most significant part of her life with them, either. She couldn’t discuss werewolves. She couldn’t mention the real reasons her long-lost twin died and came back to life. It caused a disconnect.
“You have got to be kidding me,” Jeremy complained. At least she had her brother with her. The last members of Dylan’s pack left to defend Crystalshaw High.
“What’s up?” Sammi was confused – why was he complaining?
“Math first lesson,” Jeremy sighed, “AP Calculus.”
“Why did you pick it?” Sammi laughed.
“I need it for college,” Jeremy groaned. It felt weird to be making such big decisions for the future already; Sammi had spent so long selecting her high school classes.
“Only one more year,” Sammi encouraged, “Then we’ll be off to college with the others.”
“You’re missing them already, right?” Jeremy acknowledged. Sammi wasn’t sure how much she believed in the connection twins apparently shared, but Jeremy always seemed to know what she was feeling. Perhaps there was some truth to it?
“It feels so empty here. The bench shouldn’t have been that quiet. I keep expecting to see Josh mucking about, or Yasmin with five textbooks in her arms,” Sammi opened up.
“Or Freddie,” Jeremy brought up.
“Meh,” Sammi side-lined the thought. She didn’t want to discuss him and had already made that crystal clear.
“You can’t ignore him forever, Sammi,” Jeremy refused to give up. However, Sammi was equally as stubborn. They had met their matches.
“Watch me,” she smirked, strolling into Miss Asahd’s classroom. Inside was a mix of faces she knew well, and some she’d never been in class with before. New year, new classes. Sammi headed for the best seat that hadn’t been taken yet – third row, second from the left. As far back as she could get.
Jeremy nabbed the seat directly to her left. To her right was an empty set, and no matter who sat there come start of class, it would have remained blank as far as Sammi was concerned. After all, the seat’s eventual occupant was bound to completely ignore her too.
“Okay class, finish your conversations please,” Miss Asahd strutted in, immediately carrying an air of authority. She made math classes bearable; it always used to be Sammi’s least favourite, but nobody had a way with words quite like Miss Asahd. Everything sounded easy when she explained it.
Rocking up casually just after Miss Asahd was Sammi’s eye candy. His name was Felix, and he was the new basketball team captain. There was no doubt about it – he was no Brett. Brett was a keen motivator, passionate yet kind in his approach. Felix was driven, but almost too driven; it came across as if he were an arsehole.
Felix only had one potential seat left in the room. The desk to Sammi’s right. Darn. There was no way she could sneak a quick peek at his gorgeous face without making it obvious. Naturally, Felix slammed his book on the desk without even looking at Sammi. He didn’t care.
“Good morning. I’ve taught many of you before but for those of you who don’t know me, I’m Miss Asahd and I will be teaching AP Calculus this year,” the introduction began. Her attention already drifting, Sammi noticed Felix in the corner of her eye, swigging a drink of water. His free hand ran through his dark shaggy locks. Sammi loved what she saw, yet hated that he’d obviously never look twice at her.
“For your first assignment, I’m placing you in groups of three,” Miss Asahd continued. Oh boy. A group of three. Sammi just knew she was going to hate that.
“Our first group is Sammi, Jeremy and Felix,” Miss Asahd listed. Sammi had never felt such a mixed set of emotions. Though Felix audibly sighed next to her, she was thrilled to have the chance to chat to him. Maybe this was her moment?
Making a cup of tea, Josh was struggling to locate everything he needed in the new kitchen. There were so many cupboards both high and low, and there wasn’t a single mug in sight. He was strangely close to making his tea in a wine glass.
“Is this what you’re looking for?” Lily directed him to the mug tree on the counter behind him. Typical. Hidden in plain sight.
“Starting as I mean to go on,” Josh laughed, styling it out. As he grabbed a mug, Josh examined the full view of the communal area. The kitchen was open-plan, connected to the spacious living area. After all, it had to house eight people. At the far end of the room were three sofas, all positioned at sensible angles facing a television. A large dining table was in the centre, big enough to fit more than eight people for sure. Josh loved how huge the place was, and how modern in design it was. Living with all of his friends was going to be awesome.
“I guess it’s kinda weird to be starting from scratch,” Lily made conversation. He knew Lily’s first attempt at college hadn’t turned out so well. Even at a new place, those feelings must still have been lingering.
“It can’t be any worse,” Lily nervously laughed, “I’m relieved I’m not doing it alone this time.”
“If you ever need anyone to talk to, feel free to come in and see me, if you’re comfortable with that, of course,” Josh offered. The entire pack had been so helpful to him whenever he needed it. Repaying the favour was the absolute least he could do.
“Definitely,” Lily smiled back.
“How’s my beautiful girl doing?” Alex strolled over. He looked elated and chirpy, more than anyone else in fact. Instantly, Lily’s face lit up too. It was like his positivity was spreading.
“Just helping Mr. Rayner find what’s in front of his eyes,” Lily smirked playfully.
“Hey, there’s no need to expose me,” Josh played along, a smile painted widely across his face. Alex was chuckling too; Josh loved seeing spirits raised high. It was a far cry from where they were at the start of the year.
“I spoke to Sindy, she said all is good, but she still hates us for leaving her,” Alex kept the tone light.
“She’s got Misha there, they don’t need us,” Lily replied, “I do miss her though. Nobody makes a cup of tea like Sindy.”
“Erm, excuse me?” Josh interrupted, pretending to be offended, “I’ll just make one for myself, then.”
“Oh, well I’m open to persuasion,” Lily winked. Josh laughed; nothing could have brought his mood down. His only concern was that good moods always had an expiration date.
Jono immediately loved the hustle and bustle of college life. Groups of people walking all over the gorgeously designed campus, laughing with each other and enjoying themselves. It was a positive atmosphere all around, and it was difficult to resist sharing in the vibe.
Crystalshaw College was relatively new. As a result, every building looked very modern. There were small shops and cafés dotted around, as well as quiet side rooms to study with computer access. Jono’s favourite part, though, was the amount of green space. It was perfect for picnics, chilling out by the nearby lake, or even studying when the sun was in a favourable mood. He just knew he’d be spending so much time outside.
While Jono was wide-eyed at all he could see, Dylan seemed more reserved. Together, they had decided to spend the afternoon exploring and making the most of the free time they had before lectures began. Jono hated seeing Dylan feeling low. He wanted to do everything in his power to put his mood back on the right track.
“Something tells me you’re a million miles away,” Jono probed.
“No, not at all,” Dylan unconvincingly replied. He was the worst liar.
“And in reality?” Jono continued. He wasn’t giving up that easily.
“I feel strange, like I shouldn’t be here,” Dylan confessed.
“How do you mean?” Jono dug deeper, listening carefully to what Dylan had to say.
“So much happened at school. Werewolf stuff, you know? It was like a hotspot,” Dylan explained, “And we’re not there to stop it anymore.”
“Dyl, you can’t go and take another year of school,” Jono replied, half-jokingly.
“I know, but what if something happens? I know we’re not miles away, but it’ll still be too late by the time we get there,” Dylan continued, “I feel useless.”
“Sammi and Jeremy have school covered,” Jono assured, “Crystalshaw can’t rely on you forever. Dylan Drummond deserves to move on with his life. Crystalshaw will be fine.”
Jono could see Dylan was pondering on what he’d said. He couldn’t disagree. They had their own lives to live, and they deserved a fresh start.
“Hey, I know what will help,” Jono continued.
“Chocolate?” Dylan hopefully replied as they passed a snack shop.
“Well, duh,” Jono laughed, “But something else too. We should join a society. Find some people who share common interests with us.”
“Okay, but what?” Dylan seemed genuinely unsure. Their lives had been chaotic since they met; downtime was a rare treat.
“Big Brother?” Jono joked.
“Don’t deny it, that would actually be amazing,” Dylan smiled. Jono loved that his mood was already picking up. He was doing his job just right.
“You’d just want to discuss how hot Tyler is,” Jono sussed. Dylan nodded in agreement – he knew he was right. After all, long curly hair was Dylan’s weakness.
“That’s it,” Dylan realised, “LGBTQ+. They must have a society for that, right?”
“Almost definitely,” Jono looked enthusiastic, “I think someone else might be interested in that, too.”
“Oscar?” Dylan presumed, “Sure, it’d be great.” Dylan and Oscar had become very close friends over the summer, both through socialising and werewolf tips. Oscar’s wolf was well-controlled, and the full moons were getting easier and easier to manage. Jono loved to see it; it meant a lot that Dylan had made such an effort with him. The three musketeers.
The day was dragging. Lunchtime was never-ending. Sammi was bored. She missed having company at the bench. All of the laughter and banter that used to occur. It just wasn’t the same without the pack, not that Jeremy was bad company by any means. The Lunar Sanctum had taught her never to take her brother for granted.
Sammi just wasn’t feeling the motivation to learn. School felt like her last priority. She had seen so much that others her age couldn’t even comprehend. Not to mention what happened to Jamal. She had killed him, and there was no escaping that. He may have been evil and nasty, and surely seconds away from killing Freddie, she was still haunted by his face. It was like she was being punished.
“Sammi?” Jeremy grabbed her attention. She had drifted into her head, not for the first time that day.
“Sorry, what did you say?” Sammi zoned back in.
“Are you okay? You’re so distant today,” Jeremy realised.
“I don’t know. I feel weird,” Sammi sighed.
“What’s the matter?” Jeremy enquired, keen to help.
“Where to start?” Sammi sighed, “My friends have left, I’m single, and I’m being taunted by my own head with the ghost of the person I killed.”
“Shit,” Jeremy paused. Sammi could tell from his pensive facial expression that he was considering his response, “I guess, breaking up with Freddie…”
“Dude,” Sammi sighed. She didn’t know how to make her feelings about Freddie any clearer. Discussion was still off the table.
“I can’t help if I don’t know what’s happening,” Jeremy insisted.
“Alright, whatever,” Sammi caved in, hoping it would get him to leave the subject alone, “I can barely cope in my own head right now. It’s not good for Freddie to be around me. He deserves a fresh start.”
Jeremy paused again. Sammi took a deep breath. She was letting her emotions consume her, and that wasn’t good. The only problem was that control was getting tougher.
“Look, it’s your life, you’re in charge, but I’ve learnt first-hand that you can’t afford to take anything for granted, because it can be snatched away in an instant,” Jeremy advised. Sammi paused, thinking. He had a point, but it wasn’t fair to string Freddie along. He didn’t deserve that.
“What’s up nerds?” Felix slammed his bag on the bench and sat himself next to Jeremy. Sammi could have done without whatever he was going to say – eye candy was better kept silent.
“Hi,” Jeremy replied, putting on a friendly smile for Felix’s sake.
“So, when are we starting this math assignment shit?” Felix enquired. Sammi was taken aback; she wasn’t expecting any productivity out of him.
“Err, tonight, round ours,” Sammi found herself suggesting before she could stop herself, “You know where we live, right?”
“Yeah, big house, can’t miss it. I’ll see you there,” Felix smiled kindly. Sammi was actually impressed – perhaps there was more to Felix than she realised?
Feeling apprehensive, Dylan wasn’t sure what to expect from the LGBTQ+ society. He loved the idea, but what was it going to entail? He’d never been a part of a club or group like that before. Uncertainty always made him nervous, and college was a gigantic avalanche of uncertainty.
The club was taking place in one of the small study rooms. It had an array of chairs arranged in a circle, with tea, coffee and a selection of treats laid out. A small crowd of people were inside already, the total almost doubling with the arrival of Dylan, Jono and Oscar.
“This seems cosy,” Jono commented.
“Yeah,” Dylan concurred. He still felt nervous, but it was nice to see how casual everyone was. Nobody had dressed up for a special event, it was simply casual and relaxed, and Dylan was relieved.
“I’m gonna get some cookies,” Oscar mentioned, spying the snack table. Dylan couldn’t even think about snacks, though; his stomach was too busy performing somersaults.
“Hey, welcome,” one of the attendees approached. They were pretty, with long, flowing auburn hair straight down her back. The most comforting part about them, though, was their comforting and welcoming smile. It was kind and genuine, and Dylan felt better just for seeing it,” What are your names and pronouns?”
“I’m Jono, this is Dylan, and over there, that’s Oscar,” Jono took the lead, as he always did in a social situation. It happened like clockwork without Dylan ever having to ask, “Pronouns are he and him for all three of us.”
“Awesome. I’m Alora, pronouns they and them,” Alora introduced. Dylan loved how open everyone could be about their pronouns – inclusivity was important, and he wished it was more prevalent everywhere.
“Nice to meet you,” Jono smiled kindly.
“Let’s grab a seat, apparently there’s a lot of demand so we there may not be enough seats,” Alora explained. Dylan sat next to Jono, who was in between him and Alora. The chairs weren’t the most comfortable, but Dylan couldn’t complain, “How do you two know each other?”
“Dylan’s my boyfriend,” Jono answered proudly. That word still carried so much weight for Dylan. It made him feel so happy.
“Sweet, how long have you been together?” Alora queried.
“Almost three years,” Dylan replied, feeling comfortable enough to join the conversation.
“Aw, a high-school romance, I love that,” Alora gushed, “My girlfriend went to a different college. You’re really lucky to be here together.”
Dylan nodded, knowing it was true. He was so fortunate to have Jono. He made every situation five hundred times more bearable. He’d never take that for granted.
No matter how hard he tried, Freddie just couldn’t get into the party mood. Lily had insisted in them all attending the freshers' welcome party, hosted in what would usually be a communal restaurant area. It made for a perfect party space, with a large dancefloor, but Freddie wasn’t feeling it. The music was too loud and the dancefloor was too crowded, so he’d made himself comfortable at one of the side-tables. He wished he was curled up in bed.
It wasn’t that he didn’t like college so far. The dorm he shared with the pack was beautiful. It was well-worth hacking the system to ensure they were all placed together. The source of Freddie’s sadness was Sammi. He knew he’d be separated from her at college, but he at least assumed they’d remain a couple. Long-distance could have worked for a year until she joined them.
The truth was, Freddie could guess why Sammi dumped him, and he wasn’t annoyed. She’d been through a traumatic event with Jamal, and she hadn’t been the same after that. Freddie just wished he could have broken down her walls to help her, instead of being pushed out.
“Come on, dude, dance with me,” Josh attempted to persuade him.
“I’m not feeling it,” Freddie remained firm, preferring the comfort of his table.
“It’s a new start for all of us, don’t miss out,” Josh persevered. Annoyingly, he was right. There was no more perfect opportunity to start a clean slate. Sammi was old news, and she wasn’t there at college. Perhaps he had to take a step in the right direction?
“Alright, just for a little bit,” Freddie gave in, Josh already pulling him from his chair by the wrists. Together, they joined Lily in the middle of the dancefloor. Some mindless dance track was playing, pulsating synths blaring out any hope of conversation.
Freddie surprised himself, quickly getting into the groove. He, Josh and Yasmin danced together, and for a moment, all of his worries seemed to evaporate. All that mattered were his friends. Lily and Alex were dancing side-by-side, Dylan and Jono were awkwardly bopping on the outskirts, and Oscar had found a couple of boys to dance against. Everyone was enjoying themselves in just the way they wanted to.
In the corner of his eye, Freddie spotted a girl. Not just any girl, but one of the most beautiful girls he had ever seen. She had long, flowing blonde hair all the way down to her waist. Her skin was flawless, and she was dressed in the most impeccable sea blue dress. What’s more was that she was looking directly at him, as if she were inviting him over. An invitation Freddie didn’t want to decline.
Carefully manoeuvring through the busy dancefloor, Freddie landed just in front of her. Instantly, she wrapped her arms around his waist, without a word being spoken between them. The electricity in the air said everything, anyway.
Freddie gazed into the girl’s eyes. They were a gorgeous bluey-green, and Freddie could have gotten lost in them forever. The room may as well have been empty in that moment; Freddie didn’t care about anyone else.
Suddenly, her eyes glowed. A gorgeous bright sea blue, much like Yasmin’s. Maybe she was a nix? Freddie glared his vibrant yellow eyes back, proving his trust. He had a good feeling about this. All of a sudden, he didn’t want the night to end.
Not having checked her phone in a while, Sammi was surprised to notice the time. The evening had gone very fast, which meant only one thing – she had actually enjoyed Felix’s company. The math project wasn’t especially strenuous, so they had spent most of the evening laughing with each other. It was a side of Felix she had never seen before.
For a while, too, Sammi had been able to brush her worries aside. She hadn’t thought about werewolves, or Jamal, or even Freddie at all. It was liberating to have a distraction, even if it was bound to be temporary.
“Mrs. Johnson totally caught me chewing gum,” Felix laughed.
“Oh boy, there’s nothing she hates more,” Sammi recalled.
“I bet she lost it,” Jeremy added.
“She flipped. I got detention that night and she made me scrape off everyone’s disgusting dried gum from underneath the tables,” Felix shared. Sammi winced at the thought; the underside of every table in the school was coated in gum, and it was rancid.
“No way,” Jeremy’s face curled up in disgust. The laughter fizzed out for a moment, silence filling the gap it left behind. Conversation had worn out.
“You know, you’re both cooler than I thought,” Felix complimented.
“Thanks, I think,” Sammi chuckled, “You too, for what it’s worth.”
“People talk a lot, not so much about you two, but about your friends,” Felix explained, “So much weird stuff happened with them. They missed so much school, and the rumours are wild.”
“Rumours?” Sammi played dumb. She knew the unspoken secrets of Crystalshaw High. Werewolves were hidden in plain sight. People talked, but with no proof, it could never escalate.
“Werewolves. People say they’ve seen glowing eyes and sharp fangs. It sounds stupid,” Felix continued.
“Very,” Jeremy agreed, keeping their cover. After all, he was the one at risk of being exposed. He had the most to lose.
“But I think I believe it,” Felix dropped the bombshell. Sammi’s heart sped up, stressing her out. Damage control was imperative.
“Really?” she tried deflecting. Jeremy looked worried. He wasn’t sure what to say.
“Yeah. Werewolves exist, I know it,” Felix remained firm. Sammi was speechless. She didn’t know what to do.
2: Safety Net Written by MarthaJonesFan
Wrapped up cosily in bed, Freddie didn’t want to get up. He was in no rush, and his mind was still processing the night before. It felt like a wild dream, as if it had come and gone within a second.
Before Freddie could find anything out about who the girl was, she had vanished. No goodbye, no introduction, nothing. He had no idea how to find her again, either, but Freddie was absolutely sure he would. Something as special as that couldn’t be so brief.
“Oi, lazy bones,” Josh threw a pillow at Freddie. He was already up and about, making full use of his werewolf healing powers to swerve the hangover.
“What? What’s the rush?” Freddie groaned.
“It’s a new day, I’m not wasting a second of this free time before lectures,” Josh harped on. Freddie didn’t care, though. He only had one thing on his mind.
“I’m not feeling it,” Freddie rolled over to face away from him.
“What? Come on, you were living your best life last night,” Josh encouraged, trying his best.
“Exactly, now today is one big bump back down to earth,” Freddie sighed.
“You didn’t get her number? Dude, that’s dating 101, I can’t believe it,” Josh replied, disappointed.
“She vanished, it wasn’t my fault. I didn’t even find out her name,” Freddie felt deflated.
“The thrill of the chase,” Josh excitedly plonked himself down at the foot of Freddie’s bed.
“She wants me to track her down?” Freddie was confused, “Why didn’t she just tell me her name? That would have been so easy.”
“Who told you girls were easy?” Josh laughed, “Neither of us have had much luck with girls, dude. Not even the same girl.” Of course; Freddie found it so strange that both he and Josh had dated Yasmin. Freddie and Yasmin as a couple felt like ancient history – their friendship was solely platonic, and it was all the better for it.
“So, how do I find her?” Freddie pondered, feeling lost.
“You’re a werewolf. Track her scent,” Josh suggested.
“You think I caught any sort of scent last night? There were hundreds in the room, and still all I could smell was alcohol,” Freddie felt exasperated. He was out of options.
“Well, lucky for you I haven’t actually decided what to do today,” Josh persisted, “Get ready. We’re finding your girl.”
Freddie wasn’t sure what to expect. Would they be able to find her? Was he getting his hopes up? Freddie knew he probably was, but he was going to try his best. He had nothing to lose.
There was nothing Lily enjoyed more than a quiet stroll first thing in the morning. Fresh air helped her gather her thoughts, and she had a load of crazy thoughts racing through her mind since restarting college. Arriving brought mixed emotions; a fresh start was exciting, and there was the potential for so many amazing things to happen. Not to mention how Lily was now surrounded by all of her friends, as well as Jono.
On the other hand, Lily’s only prior college experience hadn’t been so positive. Travelling far away was supposed to be her great moment of independence, where she truly got to be the person she wanted to be. Ultimately, she had jumped into the deep end and the current was too strong. It was true – packs were stronger together.
At least it hadn’t been a complete waste of time. She had made friends for life in Sindy and Misha, and they had spent the best summer together at the lakehouse. The mission had mainly been to distract Misha from everything that had happened with Monroe and Jamal, and it turned into the most brilliantly therapeutic couple of months. It felt slightly weird that they were continuing on at Washington while Lily had transferred.
Thankfully, she had Alex with her. The best part of her college experience had been meeting him, and now they were stronger than ever. Living together at the lakehouse had given her the dose of independence she so desperately wanted.
“It’s so pretty here,” Jono commented, examining the sights around campus. Lily had vowed to spend more time with Jono, seeing as they were living together for the first time in a year. Dylan had tagged along too, which Lily didn’t mind. He was family, and quite frankly, she was closer to him than most of her blood relatives.
“Just wait until the parties really start. Beer cans will decorate every sidewalk,” Lily reminisced, thinking about the state of Washington after freshers’ week.
“Probably from your parties,” Dylan called out. Lily blushed, knowing he was spot on. Their graduation party over the summer was the only event she’d hosted in ages. She missed hosting deeply; it was the time when she felt most at home.
“I hope it doesn’t end like this one,” Jono pointed ahead to the restaurant, which had served as the venue for the freshers’ party the night before. However, it didn’t inspire positive memories from the night before. Police tape guarded the entrance, and two deputies stood either side. Ed’s sheriff car was parked outside. Something bad had happened. A shiver travelled down Lily’s spine.
“What the hell?” Lily was gobsmacked.
“Can you smell that?” Jono wondered. Lily paid attention to her nose. There was a strange, damp scent in the air, quite unlike anything or anyone she’d met before.
“Something weird is going on. Come on, let’s speak to Ed,” Dylan suggested. Lily couldn’t deny it – she was intrigued.
Watching Sammi fret was making Jeremy anxious. She already had enough on her plate; Jamal had knocked her for six, and the break-up with Freddie was affecting her more than she was letting on. So much had changed, and Jeremy understood. Neither of them had experienced any level of normality in a long time.
Jeremy couldn’t lie – he really missed the pack, too. They weren’t far away, but when he had school and they had college, social visits weren’t going to be the priority. It was like a barrier had been raised between them, and he and Sammi were on their own.
“What if he tells people?” Sammi panicked. It was all they had discussed that day. Felix had left quite the impression on them, and it wasn’t a positive one.
“He doesn’t know what I am. We didn’t confirm anything,” Jeremy attempted to reassure her, but he was also trying to convince himself, “He’s just speculating, like most people do. He was right, there are rumours.”
“What if he tries to get proof, though? He thinks we’re the key, but we’re more than that. You’re more than that,” Sammi worried.
“Then we keep him close. He wanted to be friends, so let’s be friends. If we’re his friends, he won’t want to cause any harm,” Jeremy decided, “Perhaps he’s better off knowing my secret?”
“No way, are you for real? We don’t know this guy at all,” Sammi panicked further.
“Exactly. This way, we keep control, we tell him on our terms, and nothing more needs to be done,” Jeremy reasoned. It was the key skill he had learnt from Dylan during their time in the Lunar Sanctum – they had to remain optimistic.
“Hey guys,” Felix grinned excitedly, joining them at the bench, “What’s up?”
“Hey,” Jeremy smiled back. Already, he was putting his plan into action. Keeping Felix on their good side could be just the solution to containing the rumours.
“I spent last night doing loads of research,” Felix dived straight in, continuing the previous night’s discussion. He slid a folder out of his rucksack and shoved it down on the table. Jeremy flicked through it, seeing printouts of werewolf mythologies from various websites. Half of the myths were completely inaccurate, of course.
“What are you going to do with all that?” Sammi nervously queried. She still seemed tentative over the plan.
“Prepare ourselves. Knowledge is power, right?” Felix justified. In his eyes, it made perfect sense, but he only knew half the story. He had put two and two together to get five, and he needed to know most werewolves were not a threat to him.
“Maybe we don’t need to?” Jeremy found himself saying. This was it. This was the crucial moment.
“Why not?” Felix enquired. Sammi shot him a worried glance, but Jeremy knew he was doing the right thing. After all, it was his life, and he needed to be in control of it.
“Because I’m a werewolf,” Jeremy revealed, glowing his eyes. Felix’s face was a picture – pure confusion, shock, and strangely, a load of excitement. The secret was out, and Jeremy wasn’t sure how to feel. He was placing his trust in a stranger, and it could easily backfire.
Grabbing the carton of milk out of the now-packed fridge, Yasmin was surprised by how quiet the dorm was. It was part of a tall, wide building with various floors and dorm rooms, so she’d expected a lot of noise. She supposed it was the effect of a hangover from the freshers’ party, but even her own dorm was perfectly tranquil.
Most of the pack seemed to have gone out. A quick scout-around the house revealed Oscar and Alex were the only two at home, and Alex was still sleeping; the downsides of not having werewolf healing powers. Surprisingly, even Freddie and Josh seemed to have gone out. It wasn’t like them to be up and about so early when they didn’t need to be.
“Bathroom’s free,” Oscar notified. Each bedroom had an en suite, and Oscar was using it to get dressed, allowing each of them a level of privacy. So far, sharing with Oscar was going pretty well.
“Thanks, I’m not in a rush. Trying to enjoy not having to study or get up early for a few more days,” Yasmin informed.
“I thought you’d be raring to go,” Oscar chuckled.
“Sort of,” Yasmin tentatively answered, “I suppose I’m enjoying the relaxation. This is the most chilled I’ve been since…” She tailed off, not sure of the best way to phrase her sentence.
“Since you met Dylan?” Oscar understood. He got it in one – her life changed when she met Dylan, and at the time, she had no idea.
“Right,” Yasmin smiled knowingly, “I’m not complaining. My life is different in just about every way, except the bad luck in the dating department.” She laughed, and Oscar did too. Humour and self-deprecation were always the best ways to cope, Yasmin found, “Without Dylan, I’d probably never have spoken to Jono, or Lily, or Freddie, or Josh. My dad would have murdered so many more werewolves. Anything bad that’s happened to me, I can deal with, because I’ve gained so much from meeting Dylan. I’ve gained my best friends.”
“Same,” Oscar agreed, “I don’t know what I’d have done in Crystalshaw without you all. Becoming a werewolf? That’s a small price to pay.”
“Do you ever think about how normal life would look?” Yasmin wondered. It was something she thought about more often than she’d care to admit. Normality was a strange fantasy, and not something she ever envisioned she’d have.
“I don’t think I’ve ever known normality,” Oscar considered, “I had friends at my old school, but we were definitely the outsiders. Nobody would have called us normal.”
“Normality’s boring,” Yasmin affirmed, “That’s always what I’ve decided. Our lives are dangerous, but they’re exciting. We get to see what nobody else in the world sees. You can’t tell me that’s not awesome.”
Oscar smiled. Yasmin admired the kindness in his eyes. Even the supernatural world couldn’t take that away from him.
Suddenly, Yasmin was no longer in the room. In the blink of an eye, she found herself in the restaurant, where the party had taken place. This time, though, it was empty. The decorations were up, the food and drink were out, the music was playing, but not a guest in sight. Yasmin knew exactly what was going on. The nix was trying to tell her something, and it was important she paid attention.
Appearing directly in front of her, in the centre of the dancefloor, was an older man. He immediately looked wise, wearing round spectacles and, oddly, striped pyjamas. He must have been a professor at the college.
“Hello?” Yasmin nervously greeted. She knew how to treat a vision – probing for clues was the best skill she had.
“You’re a nix,” he simply said. His facial expression remained vacant. It was clear; he was dead.
“How is that relevant?” Yasmin made sure to ask the right questions. Visions weren’t meet-and-greets with the dead. Sympathy was a waste of time.
“You are similar,” he added. Nothing made sense. Similar to a nix? What did he mean?
“Who is?” Yasmin considered her next question.
“My killer,” he coldly answered. His mouth began to trickle water, followed by his nose. Quickly, water started to ooze out of every possible exit. It was a horrifying sight; Yasmin felt sick.
Back in the dorm. Oscar was staring worriedly at her, not sure what to do. Yasmin was shaken. Her premonitions were never unfounded, but were always so vague.
“What happened?” Oscar desperately questioned.
“Something bad,” Yasmin gravely answered. Something more was going on.
Half an hour down, Josh was getting sick of knocking on dorm doors asking about an unnamed girl with the vaguest description ever. It was tedious, and so far, they hadn’t even gotten close to finding her. However, this was for Freddie. A chance at giving back to his best friend. It was the least he could do.
After all, Freddie had gone so far to help Josh out. In the darkest hour, Freddie had never stopped fighting for him. He was the first to forgive the horrifying things Josh had done under David’s spell. He owed Freddie everything.
“Nothing,” Freddie rejoined Josh at the top of the staircase. They had exhausted all options. There were no more dorms left.
“Maybe she doesn’t study here? Anyone can get in,” Josh pondered. As much as he wanted to make the most of his free time, Freddie was priority. He deserved his full attention.
“It’s hopeless. I wish I’d never seen her. It got my hopes up. Just another disappointment,” Freddie was disheartened. It only made Josh more determined to succeed.
“Maybe we just need more details? Think, was there anything else?” Josh probed.
“Glowing eyes aside, no,” Freddie casually murmured. Way too casually for such an important piece of information.
“Glowing eyes? She’s a werewolf? Dude, this is important, all we had to do was howl,” Josh groaned. They could have saved so much hassle.
“No, they were light blue, like Yasmin’s. I think she was a nix,” Freddie pondered.
“I thought nixes were rare. Yasmin’s never met another like her before,” Josh recalled. In fact, even the Bestiary barely had any information on nixes.
“I know, but there she was, I’m sure of it,” Freddie confirmed.
“Does she know who you are?” Josh queried.
“I think so. I glowed my eyes back. She knows I’m not human at least,” Freddie explained.
“Okay, so it’s fair to assume she knows you know what she is,” Josh tried his best to piece the information together.
“Huh?” Freddie was lost. Josh couldn’t exactly blame him, either.
“She’ll be waiting somewhere she knows you’ll look,” Josh thought, “Where can you find a nix?”
“By water,” Freddie knew, “There’s a lake a couple of minutes away.”
“Come on then, Romeo,” Josh smiled. He was desperately hoping that his theory was correctly. Freddie deserved good news.
Being the stepson of Crystalshaw’s sheriff certainly carried its perks for Dylan. It meant that none of the deputies even thought about challenging him when entering a crime scene. In fact, a couple even said hello to him. It made investigating supernatural goings-on surprisingly easy.
The summer had been rather uneventful after the Lunar Sanctum closed down. Though Monroe threatened an army, none of them had showed up, and Dylan had enjoyed a quiet few months as a result. Adjusting to the end of high school was weird, so Dylan appreciated the time he spent with both friends and family, even if those lines had very much blurred.
One thing Dylan couldn’t forget was Caroline’s bittersweet facial expression from the day before. She and Ed had helped them move in, dropping Freddie and Josh while Jono drove Dylan down in his cosy little car. Though Caroline was undoubtedly proud, she looked so disappointed to be losing not just her sons, but Jono and Freddie too. They were a unit, and Dylan was grateful for each and every one of them.
“What’s happened?” Lily was horrified at the state of the restaurant. Dylan was taken aback, too. It looked a complete state, and not because of the littered plastic cups decorating the laminate floor. The room had been flooded with water, just a couple of centimetres high, but enough to be ruining Dylan’s new shoes. Most worryingly, though, was the dead body in the centre. A man, lying face down, with greying hair and long pyjamas.
“I saw him last night,” Jono recognised, gobsmacked, “He was supervising. He’s a professor.”
“Who would kill a professor?” Lily wondered.
“I think the bigger question is where did this water come from? This isn’t a leak, there’s too much for that,” Dylan considered. It wasn’t adding up.
“Look who it isn’t,” Ed walked in with a proud smile on his face. It had only been twenty-four hours since Dylan last saw him, but it felt amazing to be reunited. It had been an emotionally exhausting day, and familiarity was very much welcomed.
“Hey,” Dylan smiled back, hugging Ed tightly.
“How did I know you’d find your way here?” Ed remarked.
“Just checking you’re doing your job,” Dylan joked, “What’s happened?”
“Hard to say,” Ed replied, “The CCTV is bust, and there were no witnesses despite the freakin’ party.”
“This place was heaving, even when we left,” Lily added, “Surely someone saw something?”
“Look at his clothes,” the ever-observant Jono pointed out. His journalistic eye was second to none. He was right, too. The professor wasn’t wearing the evening suit Dylan remembered seeing him in. The pyjamas were quite the contrast – bright and stripy, with slippers on his feet.
“No wonder nobody saw. This can’t have happened during the party. He came back,” Dylan pieced it together.
“But why? We still don’t know what did this,” Lily queried. She was right – nothing made any sense.
“Guys,” Yasmin rushed in, Oscar trailing behind. She skidded to a halt, noticing the state of the room.
“You saw him, didn’t you?” Dylan identified. He knew a Yasmin vision when he saw one, “Who is he?”
“Yes, and I don’t know, but water trickled out of his body. He said the killer is similar to me,” Yasmin relayed.
“A nix?” Dylan wondered. Nixes weren’t usually killers – they predicted deaths, they didn’t cause them.
“No, similar. Not the same,” Oscar observed, “What’s like a nix?”
“I know how we can find out,” Dylan thought, whipping out his phone. The downside of living so far away from Crystalshaw.
Sammi had suspected it would only be a matter of time before Dylan called on her for help. Quite why he didn’t take the Bestiary with him, Sammi didn’t understand. All they needed to do was photocopy it – one for college and one for the lakehouse.
Though she was happy to help out, Sammi felt flustered. She didn’t think her day could be any crazier than the last, but it was certainly well on its way. Jeremy telling Felix the truth was such a risky move. They didn’t know how trustworthy he was, and now their greatest secret was in his hands.
No matter how hard they tried, they couldn’t shake Felix off. He was like a dog with a bone, understandably considering Jeremy’s bombshell. However, they had a job to do, and they needed to reach the lakehouse. The Bestiary was kept there, and Sammi wasn’t sure she wanted Felix to know about it. After all, it was their only copy, and if anything happened to it, they were screwed.
“Is this where the pack lives?” Felix excitedly interrogated. Sammi had never seen him so giddy before; he was usually the most chilled-out person around.
“No, it’s where my cousin usually lives, when she’s not at college,” Sammi answered. The lakehouse was Lily’s domain, but she didn’t live alone. Of course, she had Alex, and George moved in when he returned from London alongside his girlfriend, Mia. It was the strangest living arrangement Sammi had ever heard of. The boyfriend, the ex, and his new girlfriend. All things considered, it was strangely harmonious, “Just…don’t say a word and let us get on with it.”
As if dealing with Felix wasn’t bad enough, Sammi hadn’t seen George since she broke up with Freddie, and Mia knew nothing of the supernatural world. This was going to be awkward as hell.
“Oh, hey,” George poked his head out from the living room as the front door clicked shut. He didn’t look so pleased to see Sammi, but she wasn’t getting into that. An awkward silence followed. Sammi didn’t know how to follow that.
“I’m Felix, by the way,” Felix broke the silence. So much for keeping quiet.
“Who’s he?” George interrogated.
“Nobody,” Sammi swerved.
“Oh, I thought I could hear voices,” Mia came downstairs. Sammi had met Mia a few times now and she was super nice, though extremely protective of George. She was a social butterfly, much like Lily in fact. George clearly had a type, “Hey guys.”
“Hi Mia,” Jeremy spoke up, noticing Sammi’s awkwardness, “We just need to find a textbook that we left behind over the summer. Mrs. Johnson will go crazy if we don’t give it back.”
Smart. Sammi admired Jeremy’s quick-thinking. She supposed he’d learnt that after years of being shrouded from the world by their dad. He needed quick-thinking to escape.
“Sure, take as long as you need,” Mia smiled, bouncing into the front room, taking George’s attention away from Sammi.
“Woah, you could cut the atmosphere with a knife,” Felix remarked.
“Dude, shut up,” Sammi groaned. However, she needed to put the animosity aside. Dylan needed her, and that was her only priority.
Nervously approaching the lake, Freddie had butterflies swarming around in his stomach. He so desperately wanted to get lucky and find the mystery girl he had fallen so quickly for. It was hard to explain why he felt how he did, but he could only describe it as electric. He hadn’t felt this way about anyone before.
It wasn’t that he didn’t care for Sammi any longer, but it was like he no longer cared about the end of their relationship. This sensation was new. Freddie had never felt more spellbound by anything or anyone.
The sun was reflecting off the gorgeous blue lake, surrounded by crisp green grass. It looked so beautiful, like a child’s painting. Freddie had never seen an area so gorgeous. It was the perfect setting.
“There she is,” Josh pointed. Sure enough, he was right. The same girl, bathing in the shallow lake, singing loudly yet delicately to a song Freddie didn’t recognise. Her beautiful golden locks were flowing down her back even when wet, and her natural bluey-green eyes shone brightly in the sunlight. She was just as breath-taking as Freddie remembered.
Turning around, her drenched hair flicking sprinkles of water behind her, she immediately fixed eyes on Freddie. She stopped singing and smiled invitingly, but Freddie was nervous. He didn’t want to mess it up.
“Go, you got this,” Josh encouraged. That was the push Freddie needed. Cautiously and sheepishly, he neared the girl, pausing at the head of the lake.
“Don’t be afraid,” she invited him into the water. This was the first time Freddie had heard her speak.
“I’ll get my clothes wet,” Freddie worried. Without saying anything more, the girl slowly moved her arms to the side, brushing them away from her body. Directly in sync, the water parted, like two invisible barriers had been built. Freddie was amazed. He jumped down onto the bone-dry sea bed, standing eye-to-eye with her.
“I’m Summer,” she introduced. At last, he knew her name.
“Freddie,” he replied.
“A cute name for a cute boy,” she replied, placing her damp hand on his cheek. Freddie had never experienced such elation before. This was exactly what he dreamed of.
“I thought I’d never find you again,” Freddie revealed.
“I told you all you needed to know to track me down,” Summer replied. She was immaculately spoken, and her voice was one of wisdom and experience, “And here you are. An intelligent beta is the strongest of its kind.”
“That’s what my alpha taught. Violence is a last resort,” Freddie mentioned, “And you’re a nix?”
“You’ve seen my kind before?” Summer looked surprised.
“My friend is one, though I’m not sure she can do this,” Freddie pointed at the impressive water barricades.
“It’s about learning. A nix can do so much,” she answered, “A bit like this.” Summer placed her calm, soothing lips on Freddie’s. It was the most magical kiss ever. Freddie had waited all day for this moment. It was everything.
Taking a breather outside the restaurant, Dylan was overwhelmed. He was certain that something bad was happening, and he’d only been at college for two days. It was like trouble had followed him away from Crystalshaw town and into the college. Was his mere presence enough to cause death? He felt cursed.
Though Dylan had seen so many different supernatural creatures, he felt more exposed at college. He knew the safe places at home. His bedroom, the treehouse, the lakehouse, the school, Jono’s house, and he could go on. College was new, and Dylan barely knew his way around. There was a lot to adapt to, and suddenly the pressure was on.
“Hey,” a comforting voice came from behind him. Lily had followed him out, “Getting a bit much, huh?”
“Was a couple of weeks to settle in too much to ask for?” Dylan sighed. He knew the supernatural world didn’t work to a schedule, but Dylan’s life couldn’t stop progressing. It was a lot in one go.
“I know exactly how you feel. One year ago, I was on my own, fighting a battle that was hours away from home,” Lily recalled, “At least you have us. Don’t forget that.”
“I won’t,” Dylan confirmed. Lily was right. He had all the people he needed around him, and that was the best safety net he could ask for, “Are you okay?”
“I think so. I wasn’t sure about starting over, but it was the right thing to do. I don’t care what comes our way now. Werezombies, vampires, whatever. I know we can handle it,” Lily assured.
“Werezombies?” Dylan chuckled.
“Shut up,” Lily laughed with him. Dylan saw Lily as the big sister he never had. She was always there for him, and Dylan was always keen to return the favour where he could.
Buzz! Dylan’s phone vibrated harshly. Sammi was calling back. With Lily’s words placed firmly in his mind, Dylan was motivated. He needed to know what this creature was. He answered the call and placed the phone on loudspeaker.
“Hey, so, we’ve found something,” Sammi launched straight into the explanation, “Water creatures are few and far between, but the one with the biggest Bestiary entry is the siren.”
“I’ve heard of that,” Dylan immediately thought of Doctor Who – one of his favourite shows to binge with Jono, “They live in water and sing to lure their victims to their deaths.”
“Pretty much, but I think there’s more to it than that,” Sammi informed, “Much like a nix, they can summon water, but they can also excrete it. They create water, Dylan.”
“No wonder it was flooded,” Lily thought.
“They’re bad news, Dylan. Sirens are cold-blooded killers. If there’s one in Crystalshaw, we’re all in danger,” Sammi warned. Dylan’s stomach dropped. This was serious, and lives were at stake.