The Werewolves Crew

Matt is an ordinary boy with a horrible family. One day he leaves for school and his life is thrown upside down when he encounters not only the police but notorious criminals The Werewolves Crew. As he's been chased through the streets for crimes he didn't commit, one of the Werewolves, a girl named Scar comes to his aid and makes him a member, Mutt.

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4. Hidden

   As they went deeper into the alley they passed the typical broken glass from bottles long ago emptied, and bin bags next to overflowing wheelie bins long ago abandoned. A lot of the gates were falling off their hinges or missing all together – it looked like no one had lived in the houses there for a long time. The long narrow path they were following slanted downward so Matt, from exhaustion, his injuries and the come down off the adrenaline was having trouble keeping up.  

  He followed quietly, attempting to keep pace with her as she made her way through so many twists and turns he was already lost. There was no chance that he’d be able to find his way back out now. Scar turned and noticed that he was looking uneasy, she slowed her pace, hoping he would fall in beside her again.

  Matt stuffed his hands in his pockets and hung his head, staring at the floor to avoid looking so useless in front of her. He occasionally kicked bits of rubbish out of the way in frustration.

  Did he think he was crazy for following her? Yes. Did he have many options? No. She’d known the police were coming, and for him no less. And she’d got him away. That had to count for something. Although he was still shaken up about everything he’d been through that morning she was by far the least scary thing he’d encountered. Scar. Scarlet?

  And that kiss, fuck, that kiss. Matt could still feel her pressed against him, he licked his lips remembering and felt the blood rush to – he snapped out of it and kicked an empty beer can into a wheelie bin. She turned at the sound, she was a few paces ahead of him, she had her hood down now and he could see that her hair was nearly down to her -

  “So where did you say you were taking me?” Matt was blushing for real now.

  “I didn’t.” She kept on walking as she answered. It’s not like she could tell him everything. What if he decided he wanted nothing to do with them? With her? He’d know the big bad secret. He’d know her name, her face. He could tell her police everything, what she looked like, where they’d met, how old she looked. It was too much to trust with a stranger.

  “That’s not an answer.” He looked at her with raised eyebrows and waited for a response. Matt picked up his pace a little, the alley levelling out onto a straight path.

  Scar let him catch her up and let out a frustrated breath. “We’re not far if you must know.”  

  “That’s all you can tell me,” the words fell out in a rush. “You can run after me, hide me from the police and drag me along after you, hell you can kiss me like that but you can’t tell me where we’re going?”

  Like that? Scar tried to decipher his meaning. She shook her head stubbornly realizing she’d missed his point. “It’s our base, like all these houses here,” she gestured to the otherwise empty alley, “it’s abandoned. No one has managed to find it so far and no one will.”

  “So what you said before,” his voice was somewhat calmer now. “About people like me, what did you mean?”

  Scar thought for a moment. “Well, runaways I guess. Some from the law, some from bad families or bullies, people who have been hurt really?” Just saying it out loud, made Scar sad.

  Matt voice was soft now. “Who hurt you?”

  She faltered. A knot the size of a boulder formed in her throat. “Um, I …”

  Matt quickly realized his mistake. “Shit, I’m sorry. That was rude. I didn’t mean anything by it.” He squeezed her shoulder for a second and Scar relaxed at the touch. The lump in her throat sank, leaving a hard rock in the pit of her stomach instead.

  Scar looked at him over her shoulder, his eyes were heavy with concern and she snapped out it. There wasn’t a lot she hated more than being pitied. “What did you do anyway Matt?” she said. More tackles she’d intended.

  “I broke a window,” he almost laughed, knowing that wasn’t likely to impress her. “Well two actually. I punched my dad’s car window as a parting gift.” She caught his hand and he winced. Scar turned it over and sure enough his knuckles were cut and swollen with bruises. They didn’t look broken, and she couldn’t see any shards of glass.

  “Ouch,” she grimaced. “You’re really in the wars.” She dug in her pockets and found a glove.

  “Thanks.” He pulled it on gratefully and forced a small smile at her.

  “Want the other one?” she asked once she found it.

  “Yeah,” he nodded and she tossed it to him. “I had my key in my hand when I made a fist so, you know…” he trailed off, looking like he was trying his best not to remember. She turned his hand over to see his palms cut to ribbons and stained with dried blood. “And then I didn’t really fancy going to school looking like this, I threw a rock at my classroom.”

  “School sucked,” she agreed, feeling awkward. She had no idea what high school was like. “Didn’t people see you?”

  “No,” he shook his head. “But the police were already after me.”

  “Oh.” She tried not to smile. “You really have a problem with windows don’t you?”

  “I think I got it all out of my system now.” He snorted a laugh. “But I don’t know what else they want me for.” He tried to act like it was no big deal but Scar wasn’t unfamiliar to the shadow of hurt that past over his features. Scar could see the pain hidden behind the act. God he really is like the rest of us.

  “What’s that supposed to mean?” she asked anyway. He had police on foot and cars following him, yet he looked like he’d been in a cage fight. She might have guessed bullies if she didn’t know better.

  “I think my dad called them and told them I was beating him and my mum or something,” he admitted. He sniffed and ran his sleeve under his nose. The pain was thick in his voice. Scar had a nasty feeling that wasn’t even the half of it.

  “Nice parents,” she noted plainly, not wanting to upset him anymore. The rock in her stomach turned to ice.   

  “You have no idea.” He dodged a broken bottle on the floor and exhaled loudly. His fear had subsided and now he was just exhausted.

  Scar felt guilty but her curiosity got the better of her. “So what happened to you?” she asked. He looked at her sullenly. “The bruises I mean.”

  “So much for I’ll show you mine if you show me yours,” he chortled lightly, that tiny spark of something returned to his voice, however briefly.

It took Scar a few seconds to determine his meaning but he continued regardless. “My dad is a piece of work. To be quite honest I should have left a long time ago, I probably would have if it wasn’t for mu-” he hesitated for a second. Scar was silent, she followed the maze that was the alley, until she was sure they were safe. She stopped and dropped her backpack on the floor to lean back against the wall.

  Matt copied her limply before carrying on. “If it wasn’t for her, but if this morning proved anything it’s that I’m no use to her anyway.” He hugged his elbows close to his chest. “So, he lost his job this morning and needed someone to take it out on. I was choice number one.” Matt lifted his shirt slowly, Scar’s eyes went wide with shock and her hand flew to her face to cover her mouth. Matt’s eyes were hooded, unreadable. He dropped his t-shirt back down, of all things, he looked shy.

  “Shit Matt.” His chest was mess of deep red gashes and dark nasty bruises. Dried blood was smeared all over him, making him look like an extra from a horror film. Now that his t-shirt was down she could see the blood stains coming through the black fabric.

  “It’s not as bad as it looks,” he folded his arms over his chest like he could hide what he’d just shown her.

  Scar was already on the ground, tearing through her backpack, she pulled out a green bag and Matt guessed it was a first aid kit. She rifled through it, desperately looking for anything that might help.

  Scar’s brain was a foggy jumble of shock, anger and panic as she found the pack of antiseptic wipes, that suddenly looked small and pathetic when faced with a real injury.

  “Why didn’t you tell me you were in so much pain?” She couldn’t help but scold him, she was angry with herself for not noticing. How could someone but so cruel as to do something so vile to another human being?

  “Who said I was in pain?” Matt tried to diffuse the situation but Scar just stopped and stared at him in disbelief. “That obvious huh?” he realized.

  “It is now,” she zipped the first aid kit up and opened the pack of wipes. “I can’t believe someone did this to you. I’m sorry.”

  “Don’t be,” Matt was the one who was shocked now. “Of everyone today, you’re the one, the only one, I have to be thankful for.”

  In another situation Scar might have blushed. Now all she could think was, “Why on earth didn’t you go the hospital?”

  “Scar,” he sighed. “The police were after me, and for a couple of cuts and bruises, there just isn’t a lot they could do.”

  “It would prove to the police that you were the victim, they’d be able to arrest your dad instead,” she argued.

  “Scar,” he looked down, staring at the rubble at their feet. “I’ve tried, as far as they’re concerned, these injuries could have just been a result of my dad defending himself from me. By the time I’d have made it to the hospital, he’d have already called the police crying wolf and I’d be the criminal again. It’s like saying the arsonist never gets burned, it doesn’t mean he’s the victim.”   

  Scar didn’t know what to say. “That’s all wrong.” She protested, “I can’t believe how cruel it all is.”

  Matt just shrugged. It broke her heart, whatever she could suggest, he would have thought of a thousand times already. The world really was a terrible place.

  Scar pulled herself together. “Take off your shirt,” she instructed. 

  “A little forward don’t you think?” There was a hint of a smirk on his face as he tried to lighten the mood.

  Despite herself it worked and Scar gave him a small smile. “You know what I mean,” she shoved him lightly in the arm. “You already flashed me anyway.”

  Matt gave a little laugh as he shrugged off his backpack and jacket in one, not able to stop the shyness creeping back in and then reluctantly lifted his t-shirt above his head with visible difficulty.

  Scar gasped quietly, hoping he hadn’t heard. Now that he was bare chested, it wasn’t just the injuries that surprised her. He had broad, angular shoulders and a muscular, sculpted chest and torso. With wisps of dark chest hair, unfortunately matted with blood. That’s when the mirage faded and she cleared her throat self-consciously.

  “This might sting a little,” she warned, lifting the wipe to his wounds.

  He winced at the touch and his jaw tensed. “We’re back to the damsel in distress thing again,” Matt blew out a difficult breath.

  “Decided you’re not a frog, have we?” Scar flushed as she ran the cloth down his chest in gentle, deliberate strokes.

  He winced and groaned as Scar got a fresh wipe and continued, what looked like torture. “Matt,” she croaked as he cried out. “I can stop, I thought I was helping.”

  Scar sounded innocent and Matt caved. “It’s not you, it’s just …” he practically doubled over.

  “Matt!” Scar caught him and helped him slide down the wall, trying not to scrape his still bare back on the jagged bricks. “Oh my god, what happened?”

  Matt sunk in her arms, too exhausted to feel embarrassed. “Do you mean just now or this morning?” he said in a useless attempt to distract her.

  “Don’t start with me,” she snapped, “which ever explains why you look like you are having a heart attack.”

  Matt had been clinging to his chest but let go as if to prove a point. “Don’t freak out, but I think my ribs are broken.”

  Scar, naturally, freaked out. “Why the hell didn’t you tell me?” she was appalled.

  “Not broke,” he murmured, clutching his chest again, “maybe just fractured.”

  “I don’t care, you should have gone to a hospital.” Scar covered her mouth with one hand and cursed loudly.

  “Scar it’s okay, it’s not the first time,” he tried to comfort but his voice cracked.         

   “What?” Scar practically shrieked. “And don’t you dare try to comfort me at a time like this!” Scar knelt in front of him, the fight fading out of her. Matt hung his head, he looked like he might pass out from the pain. She didn’t think she could have felt more sorry for anyone.

  She reached for her backpack and fished out a strip of painkillers and a bottle of water. “I don’t know if these will help much but it’s worth a shot.”

  Matt took them gratefully, gulping down half the bottle in one go.

  “Sorry,” he stopped himself. “Do you want any?”

  Scar was surprised by the gesture. “No thanks, I have another one. You can finish that.” He didn’t need telling twice but paced himself with the rest of the bottle.

  “I have a few breakfast bars if you want them?” she asked, already pulling them out and offering them to him.

  “That’s great.” He ate the first one in two bites and went straight on to the second. “You should have the last one.”

  Scar shook her head. “I had breakfast this morning, and they should help the tablets work too.”   

  “Thanks Scar.”

  Matt finished the bars and the water and leant his head back against the brick wall behind him. Scar desperately wanted to comfort but no words would come. They sat in silence for a few minutes. “I’m sorry,” Scar confessed eventually.

  He’d been staring down at the floor. “So you said, for what?” he looked up surprised, Scar looked away when he met her gaze.

  “For yelling,” she said, “and for hurting you.”

  “Scar,” he started. “You have nothing to be sorry for.” Scar knew he shouldn’t be the one comforting her right now.

  He shivered slightly in the breeze, goose pimples appearing on his arms. She found his t-shirt and gently helped him manoeuvre into it. He winced as he twisted to pull his arm through, Scar moved back to give him some space. Matt ran a distracted hand through his hair and Scar noticed a cut on his forehead when it started to bleed slowly.  

  “Do you want a plaster for that?” she asked.

  He lifted a hand to his head, his fingers came away red and he nodded. Scar turned away to get him a bandage and Matt deflated, some macho first impression he’d made, fucking fainting in front of a gorgeous girl. He could feel her unease.

  She crossed the alley and rooted through the first aid kit, pulling out a plaster before she knelt in front of him again to apply it.

  “Thanks,” he mumbled. Matt shivered again and shrugged his jacket back on, doing his best to mask his discomfort. Scar suddenly felt like this was the end of a bad date.

  “Listen,” Scar said, pushing her feeling down. “You’re hurt and there isn’t much I can do here so if you’re still up for it, I know people who can help you.” Matt glanced away and wiped his eyes roughly with his jacket sleeve. Scar’s heart panged and she pretended not to notice.

  “So who are these people then?” he asked. Matt was still on the floor, staring up at her. Scar moved to lean back against the wall feeling awkward. She looked at war with herself.  Thoughts of the Werewolves crept back, Scar didn’t even know if they’d made it back safely. And technically it was her fault. Best case scenario, they were worried sick about her. And pissed, definitely pissed.

  Scar shook her head as if to clear it. “Friends,” she answered doing her utmost to sound casual but she knew Rickie would be freaking out - bad.

  “You don’t look too thrilled about it.” He noticed. 

  Scar chortled. “I’m in trouble.” She ran an exasperated hand down her face.

  “Wait what?” he gave her a stricken look. “I thought we were safe?”

  “Oh no,” she assured him, “we are. I just mean they’ll be pissed at me.”  

  “Oh.” His expression told her he’d been expecting something worse.

  “What did you do?” he raised his eyebrows curiously. She’d well and truly done a number of Rickie this morning.

  Pushed Rickie down a flight of stairs, embarrassed him in front of all the Werewolves, screamed in front of police and then ran away after another guy, who just happens to be a really good kisser. Scar couldn’t quite believe the list herself. But all she said was, “Came after you.” The rest didn’t concern him yet.

  “Oh,” he sounded guilty. “Thanks,” he said. “I didn’t think you’d get in trouble for it.”

  “Not technically trouble, it’s what we do.” She explained. “But I sort of ran off to get you. So now, they don’t know if I’m safe and I don’t know if they’re safe. I kind of blew the mission.”  

  Matt made a face at her when she said mission. “‘We’ being the others you’re taking me to? And ‘do’ meaning kissing on the first date?”

  Scar floundered for a second before he cracked a smile. “I – I’m sorry …” she laughed to herself.

  “Don’t be,” he shrugged, smirking still. “I get it, and it worked.”     

  Scar ran her fingers through her hair. It was damp and sticking to the back of her neck, it was in the very unattractive state of windblown. And not the sexy dishevelled look that you saw models wearing on the fronts of glossy magazines either.

  “I just panicked,” Scar was suddenly feeling self-conscious and looked at her shoes.

  “And decided I just looked too good to resist, happens all the time,” he waved a hand casually.

  “Oh sure, the black eye really sold it for me.”
  “Aw,” he pretended to be wounded. “You don’t like my eyes?”

  You have no idea. “They’re gorgeous,” she mocked. “But I’m not planning on making it a habit.”

  “With me?” he asked, quickly adding “Or anyone?” the playfulness dropped from his voice slightly when he asked.

  Scar blushed. “With strangers, I guess.” Scar glanced up and noticed how he was looking at her. “What are you staring at?” she asked, her voice sharper than she had intended from embarrassment.

  “Nothing,” he coughed looking away awkwardly.

  Scar scorned herself. She didn’t mean to push him away.

  Matt groaned and crossed his legs. He wasn’t looking at her so she wasn’t sure if he knew she noticed. But she said, “Matt?” he looked up. “Do you need the toilet?”

  He half laughed. “That obvious, huh?”

  “Kinda,” she shrugged, offering him a hand up. He took it dubiously and she led him down a couple of different and equally decrepit alleys, nothing that hadn’t seen yellow rain before. “Here,” she said. “Can you find the way back?” He nodded.

  She turned to retrace her steps but he stopped her. “Scar, don’t you need to go?”

  “I think I can hold it.” She looked around and the thought made her want to gag. She’d hoped she’d left that part behind. “Meet back in a few minutes.”

  “No, wait.” He protested digging around in his backpack. He produced a packet of tissues and handed them to her. “Really.”

  She took them uncertainly, but just said, “Thanks.” Pulling half of them out of the packet she gave them to him. “It’s really gross.”

  Disappearing around another series of bends Scar found a less disgusting corner and relieved herself quickly, feeling revolted. She pulled her bottle of alcohol gel out of her backpack and poured a large amount onto her hands and rubbed it in until it was gone. Shuddering slightly she hurried back to find that was Matt already there.

  “Hey,” he said. She handed him the alcohol gel and put the unused tissues in her bag, wondering why she hadn’t packed some in the first place. “I thought you’d left me.” He was only half joking.

  “I think I risked enough to find you, wouldn’t really be smart to just dump you.” Scar leant her head back and looked at all the empty houses, thinking how easy it would be to just sneak in and not have to worry about the Werewolves drama. She could leave whenever she wanted. Open a window and feel the breeze. Sit out in the garden and listen to the birds and feel the sun on her face. It was all things she missed so much. It was claustrophobic inside and dangerous out. She sniffed wondering what she’d done that was so bad to deserve this life. 

  Suddenly he asked, “So why did you help me?” Scar was taken aback and realised she really didn’t know why. Werewolf instinct? To piss off Rickie? She’d had enough of being stuck inside, it was nice to act reckless after so long. “Well, I mean, I know it must be your thing,” he continued, “but why do it if you were going to get in trouble?”

  “It looked like you really needed help,” she decided with a shrug. He looked at her thoughtfully and decided he didn’t believe her. “It didn’t really seem like a choice.”

  “But why though?” He persisted, narrowing his eyes at her, studying her. “You don’t know who I am. Why they were after me, what I’d done. You still don’t know anything about me.”

  “Put it this way,” she said. “I know your type. This isn’t the first time I’ve come across someone like you.”

  “But you just met me and you trust me?”

  “Of course.” She stood up straighter against the wall. “You look like you’re ready to collapse, you don’t scare me.” Scar replied, almost smiling.

  A small smile crept on his face too and she was glad to have got through to him. “Really?” he teased.

  “Yeah,” Scar said. “Don’t you think you’ve got more to be scared of than me? I dragged you into an alley after all.”

  His mouth fell open and quickly closed again. “So is this where you bring all your victims?” he winked at her. “Maybe there’s a woods not far, think you could carry a body there?”

  Scar laughed. “You’re safe with me I promise.” She was thankful she’d managed to lighten the mood. He had a nice smile she noticed.

  They were quiet for a little while. Matt would have never guessed that after everything that had happened that morning, he would be sitting in an alley with a mysteriously gorgeous girl, who was unfortunately sending him mixed signals. He was almost convinced he’d end up in a jail cell for the night. Wherever she was taking him to had to better than his life now, it just had to be.

  Matt brought his knees up tucking them against his chest and let his head fall against them. His knuckles turned white as squeezed his fists together.

  Scar approached him carefully, she doubted anything she could say would make a difference, so instead she pried one of his hands open and held it like an anchor.

  He looked up and met into her gaze, it only took a moment for her to feel uncomfortable and she moved back reluctantly.

  He squeezed her hand in protest before she let go, he looked disappointed but dropped his gaze.

  She nodded, understandingly. She stood back up and leant against the wall opposite him.

    

***

 

  “Where is she?!” Rickie fumed pacing up and down a row of chairs, wearing out the soles of his shoes. “She should be back by now!”

  They were back in the theatre. After the police had gone after Scar and the boy, the Werewolves had been able to make an easy getaway. That was after they’d stopped Rickie from going after her. Statz practically had to drag him away. An hour later and Rickie was going out of his mind worrying about her. She could be hauled up in the back of a police car for all he knew.

  “Chill out, you know what Scar is like, she’ll be fine,” Statz assured him. He was sitting in one of the theatre chairs with his arms resting on the backs on either side of him, looking completely calm and collected – the polar opposite to Rickie.  

  “He’s right she’ll be fine,” Comet echoed, her voice was strained, really she was freaking out worse than him. Scar had been acting so weird all day, none of them knew what she was thinking. She could have been arrested by now, or she could have run away for good. It was little secret that she couldn’t stand it there most of the time. Comet sniffed, Scar was her best friend. It was hard to think that Scar could just leave her. She had to believe that Scar would bring back the boy and everything would go back to normal and they’d have a new Werewolf by tomorrow.

  Everyone back at the theatre were all just as nervous, although most people had more faith in Scar. She wouldn’t let the family down. They hadn’t encountered any more police of their way back. But they had no way of finding out where Scar and the boy were.

  They were all sitting around on theatre chairs high up in the stands, eyes pinned on the door. No one could figure out why Scar had acted so impulsive. They knew her well enough to know that she wasn’t like that. Rickie had finally pushed her too far.   

  “Who was that kid anyway?” Rickie roared at no one in particular.

  “He’s like us,” Fawn told him and he shot her an icy look which made her flinch.

  He ran his fists through his hair and looked as if he’d pull it all out, it stuck up at odd angles and he looked like a mad man. “I can’t believe she’d do this!” He shouted. He was turning red with anger. “I knew she should stay! It’s my fault, why did I have to give in so easily?” He kicked a seat and the hinges came loose and it crashed down a few stairs and dust flew everywhere. He didn’t even seem to notice.

  Comet gasped as he sent the chair flying and then trudged over to the Girl’s Corner realising she wasn’t going to get any comfort from Rickie, some leader. She slumped on one of the couches, with her head in her hands. “I hope she’s okay,” she cried.

  “It’s Scar, she knows what she’s doing.” Razor comforted, moving to sit next to her on the couch, patting her on the back uneasily.

  “I know, but what about that kid? He could have messed up and got them both caught.” She seemed to be thinking of the worst case scenarios only. Not that they were probably just sitting around bored waiting for the sun to go down.

  “She’d never let that happen. Werewolves are smart enough to handle this. Everyone needs to calm down.”

  “What if he’s a murderer or a maniac or a psychopath or crazy or-”

  “Comet!” Razor snapped, knowing Comet, the list would go on all day. “Calm down. You’re not making this any easier. She’ll be fine. She’s probably more scared than any of us, don’t forget.”

 

                                                            ***

 

  Scar twisted her hands together nervously and leant back against the wall. They’d been there for a couple of hours now but it felt like a lot longer. Matt pulled his knees up against his chest and wrapped his arms around them, making him look as small as he probably felt. Scar thought of doing the same but there was broken glass and rocks around her, it didn’t look comfortable to say the least. She leant against the wall and huffed quietly, this was always one of the worst parts – having nothing to do.

  He dug his hands into his pockets bored, and he pulled out his phone and Scar exploded. “What are you doing?”

  She snatched it out of his hand and started trying to dismantle it, she pulled at the back, nails digging into the side.

  “Hey, what are you doing?”

  “How do you get this thing apart?” she exclaimed.

  “Haven’t you ever seen a smart phone?” He plucked it out of her hand.

  “What’s so smart about it?”

  “It’s just a name, now what are you trying to do?”

                                                        

  “Take the SIM card out, the battery, anything. They can track us.”

  “For breaking a window? I don’t think they’d be that bothered.” He rolled his eyes and Scar flushed – how was she supposed to keep him from using it if she couldn’t tell him why?

  “Not just you, me.” Scar snapped instead. “And like you said, you don’t even know what they’re really after you for.”

  He raised his eyebrows before putting his phone away, he knew something was off. “I was going to offer you the phone to call these so called friends you were worried about.”

  “We’re not like that, we don’t use them. We should get going soon. I can’t take this boredom.”

  “You’re changing the subject.” Matt complained.

  “We just can’t take any chances, okay?” she felt stupid for enforcing another of Rickie’s rules. “You’ll understand later.”  

  “Do I even want to know what that means?” She looked up at him.

  “Maybe not,” she admitted. His face dropped and she looked away quickly, not wanting to start another argument.  

  “Who are you, really this time?” he asked, taking a step towards her.

  “Scar, like I said.” She muttered, not knowing how to answer the questions she was sure would follow.

  “That’s not what I mean,” he pressed moving closer.

  “I know what you mean, I just can’t tell you here.” Scar felt guilty, hadn’t he had a bad enough day? Yet she couldn’t tell him a thing with Rickie and his rules. That clearly didn’t help the Werewolves at all because it would actually be better if she could tell him the truth.

  Scar hung her head, suddenly fascinated by her shoe laces. “No, no, no, you run up to me in the middle of the street, kiss me out of nowhere and drag me along with you? No you’re not shy. So look at me and tell me what the hell is going on.” Scar threw her arms to the sides at a loss.

  “I’m not meaning to come off so secretive,” Scar looked up at him. “It’s just that the police have been looking for us for a really long time and for the sake of waiting just a bit longer I’m not going to be the one who blows it.” It all came out in a rush. “Oh and as for the kiss I didn’t see you complaining.”

  Matt backed down. “I can’t imagine being away from everything that long. You must have been young.” A smile pulled slightly at the corner of his mouth. “I do usually ask girls out first.”

  “And what if I say no?” she hugged her arms around herself shyly.

  “Well, you were the one that kissed me,” he reminded. Scar blushed. “And what, worried I’ll make too many people jealous?”

  Scar shook her head, “You don’t want to go there with me.”

  “I think I can decide that,” Matt shrugged. Scar turned away coming to her senses. Rickie would kill him before he took two steps through the door.

  “It’s complicated.”

  Matt couldn’t hide his disappointment. “Always is.”

  Scar was feeling cold and her feet had gone numb. She looked up at the sky, it was dark but on the brink of winter so it wasn’t as late as it looked. “Do you want to get going then?”

  “Sure, it’s not like I have much of an opinion on the place yet.”

  “Well it’s not like I can just show you pictures or something,” she sniped at him. Hunger was getting the best of her, plus now she could dread the Werewolves reactions the whole walk back.

  “Whatever,” he muttered. Scar ignored him and stalked off, going slower than she would have liked until he caught up with her.

  A scrawny looking cat saw them coming and hissed before disappearing over a wall. A dog started barking instantly.  

  Scar looked back at him from over her shoulder.

  “Is this a trap?” he gave her a half smile. Scar could hear the suspicion lingering, only adding to her guilt. She knew she’d have never put as much trust in to someone like he was doing with her. She’d been so young when she joined the others, it had taken her a long time before she’d felt comfortable with them.  

  As soon as Scar had started walking she instantly started to worry, first her pulse beat a little faster and then a cold sweat ran down her spine. She stopped to pull her hood over her head tucking her hair back behind her ears as she did. She turned around and pulled Matt’s up too.

  “I could have done that,” he said looking down at her.

  “Then why didn’t you?” she asked fighting to keep her voice steady.    

  “You’re really bitchy you know?” he said.

  Scar rounded on him. “What did you just call me?”

  Matt heaved a sigh. “I didn’t mean that.”

  “I cannot believe it. The shit I have gone through today.” All of Scar’s stress bubbled over at once. Matt took a startled step back. “If you didn’t want me to help then why did you stay? Seriously, why didn’t you just leave?” Scar threw her arms out, flustered. “I can’t believe I was so stupid. It’s only because I kissed you isn’t it. What was I thinking?”

  He was staring at her with heavy, sad eyes. “Scar, I stayed because I have nowhere else go. If it wasn’t for you, I’d be spending tonight in the woods or something. And that’s if I hadn’t already been arrested.”

  His words hit her harder than she’d expected and Scar put a hand on the wall to steady herself. “Matt,” Her thoughts were a jumbled mess of guilt, dread and confusion. “If you come with me you won’t ever leave. It’s hard, we’re all just people who’ve got nowhere else to go like you but, I shouldn’t be bringing anyone else to be trapped.”

  Matt stared at her, lost. “What are you talking about? Is this why you wouldn’t tell me before?” He caught her by the shoulders in tight grip.

  “Yes. Matt, go home. Go anywhere. Escape because I can’t. I’m stuck with them. We can’t leave.” Scar put her hands on her head, her thoughts reeling. The claustrophobia was crawling its way back into her mind.   

  “Scar, calm down,” Matt could see her fear and shook her gently, hoping to snap her out of it. “I have nowhere to go. I told you, I am not going home. I want to go with you. Do you really think I got the impression we’d be out and about every day? I need to just disappear.”

  Scar crumbled then, everything was too much. She leant her forehead against his chest, lightly.

  “Scar, if this place is really that bad, if it’s making you miserable why not just stay here?” Scar shook her head silently. She couldn’t abandon Comet and the others like that. Matt kept one hand on her shoulder and the leant over her with the other. She heard a gate behind her rattle and swing open. “See,” Matt sounded impressed. “We could just crash here, right?” 

  “No Matt, you don’t understand. They’re my friends and I can’t leave them.”  

  “Oh,” he frowned down at her. “It doesn’t matter. I still want to be the guy who runs away with the girl.” Scar dropped her hands from her face and looked up at him, speechless. “It might be crazy but if there’s other runaway’s how bad can it be?”

  Scar tried to compose herself. She stood up straighter and shook her head, like it would help her thoughts fall into place. “It’s not bad, really, it’s just, we don’t get out much. I went through so much today just to leave. It’s no way to live. Your whole life just hits a stand still as soon as you’re inside. The thought of being there forever-”

  “Who said anything about forever?” Matt still had hold of her shoulders. “Scar look,” Matt gestured around.

  “What?” Scar asked, not seeing anything particularly special.

  “We’re out now. Where ever this place is, we’re out now. We can do it again. I don’t know what you’re talking about yet but me and you, we can find a way.” Scar was astonished by his words. “If I promise that this place won’t be forever, that you won’t be trapped, will you calm down and I’ll come with you?”

  “Matt, I’m sorry for freaking out.” Scar stepped back letting his hands drop. “That was embarrassing. I just want you to know that you can leave now, that I’m not making you come. If I could go back and choose,” Scar swallowed hard. “I wouldn’t choose this.”

  “Maybe that’s because you didn’t know me then.”

 

  Scar could hear her heart beat in her ears. Thank God it was dark, she could feel her face glowing red after Matt’s words. Scar shook the thoughts away, it’d had been a stressful day. Scar felt her cheeks de-flush.

  Matt was following next to her. She felt a little sick to be heading back, the claustrophobia was barely being contained. Being on the run and living on the streets was no way to live either.

  Scar found the way out quickly. When they got to the street she hesitated, fighting the urge to turn back around. She swallowed down her fear and looked in to the dark street to check the street was clear.

  “Is that really necessary?” he whispered, feeling like they were in a really bad spy movie.

  “Yes.” She stepped out saying, “Keep your head down, walk fast and stick with me.”

  He nodded silently, suddenly feeling the pressure. He did not want to get caught after everything they’d already been through. He was reminded again that he still didn’t know what had she done to be on the run from the police.

  After so many hours hiding the exposure made him feel raw, and worse like he had a neon sign over his head screaming for the police to come running; ‘Here he is!’.

  Scar led him back to the crossing were she’d abandoned The Werewolves. Matt did a good job of keeping up and keeping quiet, he looked like he was nervous. She’d done this enough to be ready but not weary. Okay, she thought, that’s a complete lie. She was terrified, even more so now she had Matt to look after too.

  When they got to the crossing she waited until there was no traffic in sight before she crossed, and Matt didn’t figure she was being street smart. She dashed across the road and he trailed behind her.

  Scar headed down a street full of abandoned houses with boarded up windows and doors, the pavement was broken and uneven. Matt had never been in this part of town and the difference a few miles made was shocking. It looked like no one had been here for years. Now was not the time to be comparing the streets to those in zombie apocalypse movies but of course he felt his nerves spike.

  A cloud drifted over the moon above them so the only light was from the street lights buzzing above, flickering in and out of life as they past under them. This whole part of the town really was abandoned, there were no cars parked anywhere and not a person in sight, the roads were silent.

  “Where are we?” he whispered, anxiously. Scar understood his fear; following a girl he didn’t know through an abandoned town, he must have thought he was crazy.

  He looked down and grabbed hold of Scar’s hand and squeezed it tight. He hoped she took it as support for her and not that he was terrified. Scar’s heart jumped at his touch and she felt her ears burn all over again.

  “We’re nearly there, don’t worry. And we’re safe around here, no one’s ever around.” She explained, biting her lip, whispering even though there wasn’t a soul in sight. Matt nodded a little more comfortably.   

  They were walking in twilight now. There was a light drizzle of rain and their feet splashed in puddles on the road. The cold was bitter and Scar shivered pulling her coat tighter around her with her free hand. She hoped it wouldn’t be a bad winter this year – last year had been hell in the theatre.

  It wasn’t long before Scar stopped and looked around, Matt thought she might have gotten them lost but he realised she was checking the coast was clear again.

  When she was sure no one else was around, still hand in hand she pulled him down a road to an abandoned theatre. Scar stopped in front of it and Matt looked up to see that all the windows were boarded up and the doors were chained. Matt shuddered, it looked creepy, like the setting for a horror movie, the walls were crumbling and the placed looked eerie and decrepit. He imagined all kinds of nastiness behind those doors. He looked at Scar questioningly – she couldn’t be serious about this place, could she?  

  “What is this place?” he asked, staring up at the decaying building.

  “Headquarters,” Scar answered simply, a small smile on her lips, “Home.”   

  She visibly relaxed as she unlocked the padlock with a clip produced from her hair. Matt took a deep breath to try to calm himself down before she ushered him inside, quickly shoving him through the doors.

  Matt stumbled inside and stopped short with a gasp. Inside, far from the creepy place he was expecting with cobwebs, crumbling walls, holes in the floor and freaky echoes, it was actually amazing. He’d gone from hiding in alleys and running around abandoned streets in the rain, to standing on thick red carpets with chandeliers above his head.

  In front of him there was a huge staircase which he guessed led to the balcony seating for those who could afford it. And above him, elegant chandeliers sparkled and gleamed. Matt saw posters of different plays: Aladdin, Snow White, The Wizard of Oz and Robin Hood on the white walls, and there was graffiti in some places – the professional kind, not the crappy kind.

  The poster of Peter Pan was decorated with graffiti art all around it, like someone who was a really big fan had been let loose with spray paint. There was also a candy counter that made the place smell like popcorn.

  Matt looked around marvelling at how incredible it was for somewhere so old and of course, abandoned. The lights were dim and it was cold inside, but it felt almost cosy at the same time. Everywhere had an old feel to it. There was dust in the air, but it was clean enough, like no one had been there to trample the carpets in years. He guessed that that was true at least.

  Scar finished locking the door behind them and said, “Don’t say anything for a minute okay? They’ll be mad at me.” She knew Rickie would be ready to kill her. God knows what he’d want to do to some stranger.

  “Who?” he asked but she was already rushing towards a set of doors to the left. Scar stopped short and turned to him. “And Matt about earlier, in the alley, you know,” Scar blew out a breath. “What happens in the alley stays in the alley.”

  Matt couldn’t respond, all he thought was ‘ouch’.

  She looked back at him over her shoulder and warned him, “Brace yourself.”

  Scar took a deep breath and threw open the doors and a hell of a lot of voices cheered, “Scar!”

 

  Matt followed her through the doors and the sight was a hundred times more shocking than the lobby. There were a lot more people than he was expecting, at least twenty kids all descended on them.

  Matt saw a huge stage on the other side of the room, where most of them were congregated. The rest were on various theatre chairs and when they saw Scar they all ran to her. Matt was surprised they didn’t break their legs diving off the stage as fast as they were and racing up the stairs past hundreds of rows of chairs. The theatre was massive and Matt was left almost trampled and feeling really small. He didn’t think he could’ve been more confused if he’d tried.  

  “Scar!” Rickie shouted running towards her, almost tripping on the last step. He threw his arms around her and she looked stunned, he lifted her off the ground and she struggled against his hug, getting nowhere. “You’re okay?”

  “I’m fine Rickie.” She shrugged him off, taking a step closer to Matt and asked, “You’re not mad?”

  “Scar, are you crazy? How could you just run off like that? Anything could have happened to you!” he shouted, clearly mad.

  “I’m fine,” she rolled her eyes at him. Matt could see the relief on her face, although she was hiding it well. “I know how to take care of myself,” Scar insisted. He hugged her and she was almost lifted off the ground again. She was tiny compared to him and almost looked like a doll in his arms, like he might break her. He twisted his fingers in her hair and hugged her tighter. Matt felt his stomach drop a little and looked away feeling a wave of anger towards that guy.

  “Scar!” A blond girl screamed as she reached the top of the stairs. She pulled Scar out of Rickie’s arms and hugged her hard.

  “Comet,” Scar grinned, hugging her back. She was either happy to see her or happy to be out of Rickie’s bear hug. Or both, Matt thought.

  “Where the hell have you been, are you crazy?” she screeched, shaking Scar by the shoulders.

  “You know I’m crazy,” Scar joked, taking her arms from her shoulders. Comet hugged her again apparently finding it hard to stay mad for long.

  “I’m so glad you’re okay,” Rickie said. And only then did he seem to notice Matt standing behind her. Matt was feeling awkward with all the hugging and cheering but he was more baffled, he was still looking around stunned trying to take everything in.

  Matt gazed around the theatre not knowing whether to be amazed or intimidated. Ragged teenagers were spread over hundreds of rows of theater chairs, most of which were broken or hanging off their hinges.   

  They all looked grubby and rough, Matt wondered what the water and electric situation was here, chandeliers were hanging from the ceiling, tiny lights twinkling on red and purple curtains that were draped over the walls, so it couldn’t be too archaic. Graffiti reached as high as he could see.

  Mostly he noticed how young they looked. Too young to be taken from their families and homes, Matt wondered how bad their situations must have been to make them need to leave so young. Despite that they looked like they could handle themselves, but he barely registered that because Scar’s next words changed everything.

  “Oh,” she remembered, taking hold of his wrist to pull him forward so that he was standing next to her. “Everyone this is Mutt,” Scar introduced. “Mutt, welcome to The Werewolves Crew.”

 

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