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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5. Mutt

  Everyone looked at Matt - or Mutt now. Dozens of sets of eyes stared at him.

  Matt’s jaw dropped open. These kids were The Werewolves Crew? The Werewolves Crew who just this morning managed to ruin his life? The criminals who couldn’t be caught? They were his age, and even younger by the looks of it. Matt’s head spun with the irony of it all. He looked down at Scar who wouldn’t meet his eye.  

  Matt could hardly take it all in, it just didn’t make sense that he’d end up here, with them. The stage at the bottom of the stairs was massive and strewn with sleeping bags, mattresses and blankets. They’d clearly made themselves at home. All the supplies were probably stolen from some other sap.

  Matt found his voice at last. “You’re The Werewolves Crew,” he couldn’t keep the anger from his voice. “You’re the reason I’m here.”

  “What?” Scar’s voice was quiet next to him.

  “Why didn’t you tell me?” Matt stepped away from her. “The store you guys robbed last night, my dad worked there, he left the door open and got fired this morning. He did all this to me because of you.”

  Scar’s hand flew to her mouth. A chorus of gasps echoes round the group.

Matt ran his hand through his hair and down his face. He felt the cuts and bruises, the ache in his ribs. How could he become one of them now?

  “Scar,” he muttered angry with himself. “I should have known.”

  “I shouldn’t have brought you here,” Scar put her hand on his shoulder.

  Matt pushed her away. “You should have just told me, none of this would have happened.”

  Scar looked around helpless but Matt had no sympathy. His mind was a whirlwind of confusion and betrayal. He didn’t know what he’d expected but it definitely wasn’t this. “This is wrong. What you do is wrong.”

  “We only take what we need-” Scar started to argue.

  “I saw the place,” Matt shot back. “It was trashed. The owner, he’s a nice guy and you’ve ruined his life, he has a family. You ruined my life.” Matt couldn’t look at any of them.

  “Trashed?” Scar thundered. “Trashed Rickie?” she reeled on him.

  “Scar,” he was almost smirking. “You know what it’s like, a few things get bumped and next thing you know-” Scar shoved him hard and he flew back into the guy behind him. His jaw tensed and Matt saw something in his eyes change.

  “I’ve told you so many times, you’re such a dick!” The blond girl had to hold Scar back. “It’s bad enough that we have to steal so much and hide and run, but do you really have to make everything so much worse?”

  Rickie stepped forward coldly. Matt could see Scar looking suddenly worried out of the corner of his eye. Rickie moved closer to her, he had the aura of a protective big brother or worse, overbearing boyfriend.

  “He’s the leader.” Scar told Matt, in way of justification. Matt felt sick just hearing her tone. “But he’s a prick.” Scar said directly at him, brazen again.

  “Scar, don’t be stupid, I’m sure Rookie here is a big boy. He doesn’t need you babying him.”

  “Mutt,” Scar snapped.

  “I like Rookie better.” He was looking at Matt distastefully, like he was a rubbish bag waiting to be taken outside.

  “He’s Mutt, end of.”

  He gave them both a glare with a forced shrug. “Fine - Mutt.” He said the name through gritted teeth and Matt felt his insides go cold.

  He couldn’t listen to any more of this. They were standing round deciding his Werewolf name. They were crazy if they thought for a second he’d stay with them.

  Before they could come up with some anymore bullshit excuses he turned sharply and made for the doors.

  “No!” Matt was rushed by so many people he wasn’t even sure whose voice it was.

  A firm hand planted itself on Matt’s chest, just high enough not to hurt his ribs. “You can’t just waltz out of here Rookie.” Rickie appeared in front of him, blocking the doorway like a boulder.

  “Rickie!” Scar raced over and slapped his hand off Matt’s chest but Rickie resisted and Scar was shoved backwards hard. A tall blond boy shot forward and caught her before she reached the stairs. Scar’s face was a picture.

  The crowd thickened then and Matt was taken back to every school fight ever.

  “Don’t touch her!” He pushed Rickie back out of reach of Scar.

   Matt was furious, and Rickie more so. He grabbed Matt by the front of his t-shirt. His eyes were wide and full of malice, he looked half crazy.

  “What the fuck man?” The tall guy helped Scar steady herself before advancing. But Scar was quicker. She wedged herself between Matt and Rickie and swung a wide fist right into his temple.

  Matt could see the eruption about to happen and took hold of Scar by the shoulders and tried to get her out of the way. “No!” she squirmed out of Matt’s grip. “Let everyone see him as the arse hole he is. Go on!” she screamed right in Rickie’s face. “Go on, do it and you’ll lose the respect of everyone here. You are no fucking leader.”

  Rickie raised his hand, practically a twitch, before thinking better of it. But that was enough. The Werewolves rampaged. Rickie was tackled by at least five guys who all struggled to get a hold of him.

  Scar was on the move instantly, shaking off her hand. She tapped Matt’s arm as she headed back towards the stairs. He wasn’t stupid enough to follow, if he stayed he’d have to hit Rickie and one punch to his ribs and it would be over before it started. Rickie was being dragged back down the stairs, though he didn’t seem to be resisting now.

  Matt took his chance and headed back out of the double doors into the lobby.

  The air was colder there and he took a deep breath. What the …? What the hell had he been thinking? Follow the girl and everything will somehow be okay? Nothing was going to change. He leant forward and placed both hands on his knees, bile rising up in this throat.

  “Matt.” Scar’s voice was delicate. She came up slowly and placed a light hand on his back as she knelt next to him.

  Matt collapsed against the wall, hands still on knees for support.

  “So much for a warm welcome,” her tone was apologetic.

  “Welcome?” he almost laughed. “You know I’m not staying right?”

  Her mouth opened in a small o. Matt was surprised to see how hurt she looked.

  “You can’t leave me here with them.” Her voice was little more than a whisper. Matt wasn’t even sure she knew she’d said it aloud.

  “What?”

  Scar was saved from answering when Statz bustled in behind them.

  “Man,” the blond guy blew out a huge breath. “Are you two okay? Sorry about that.”

  “Thanks Statz,” Scar’s eyes were dark.

  Statz took a few seconds to answer. He put a supportive hand on Matt’s shoulder. “Hey man, this whole thing here is complicated. We’ve all been through some shit times. Now that you’re here, this psycho dad of yours can’t get you.”

  “I didn’t come here to swap one psycho for the next.” Matt shrugged his hand away, standing up straight. “You expect me to stay here with that guy apparently out to get me?”

  “Listen man-”

  “No.” Matt turned to Scar and she stood up from her crouch. “Why didn’t you tell me? I could tell you didn’t want to come back, but this really? You shouldn’t stay and put up with him.”

  “You’re got a really, really bad impression of us. What with last night and now this, but that’s not what we’re about.” Matt turned to face Statz.

  “And if she’d got hurt?” he snapped. “Should she stay then?”

  Scar felt tears burning the backs of her eyes. “I can handle myself.”

  “You shouldn’t have to.”

  “Then don’t leave me here alone.” This time Matt knew she’d said it to him. A chill went down his spine. Her voice was so quiet there was no way that Statz had heard. 

  “Come and meet the rest of us,” she said louder this time. “We’ll get you food, a bed for tonight. Please Matt, sleep on it.” Her hazel eyes sparkled at him, brimmed with the threat of tears.

  Matt let that sink in. “Well, that is what you promised me.” He let his shoulders relax and gave her hand a quick squeeze.

  She let out a blissfully relieved laugh. “Thank you.” She whispered only to him.

  Statz led them back into the theatre and despite Scar being by his side he felt his stomach turn with dread. Or was it hunger? It was impossible to tell at this point.

  “Scar,” Matt slowed his pace, letting Statz get out of ear shot. “What is up with that Rickie guy?”

  “He’s a dick.” Scar scuffed her shoe against one of the steps.

  “You know that’s not what I mean. I saw the way he looked at you. Does he have a problem?”

  Scar felt her stomach tie itself into a knot.

  “Scar, crazy is a vague word, but is he?” Scar could tell Matt’s concern was genuine but it wasn’t for himself. It was for her.

  “Matt, it’s a touchy subject but … I think so. Maybe bipolar or just anger management I don’t know.” She shrugged, dropping her head. She hoped her lack of a normal education wasn’t as glaringly obvious as it felt. “No one else seems to notice anything more than he’s a nasty piece of work, sometimes.”

  Matt hated how helpless she looked. “Scar,” he placed a hand on her arm and stopped. She turned to him eagerly and the words died in his throat. “Scar, don’t take this the wrong way.” She nodded reluctantly and he went on, “I hate this place, I hate that you lied to me and I hate that I now have to be one of you. But I will not leave you here with him.”

  Scar felt her knees shake for a second, she had to fight the urge to hug him. “You don’t have to say anything. Just don’t keep lying to me.”

  “There’s nothing left to lie about.”

   Statz had stopped a few meters in front of them and was looking back over his shoulder almost cautiously. Scar noticed and hurried off down the stairs leaving Matt to follow.

  Scar stopped when she reached a sort of clearing amongst the chairs. As Matt came up behind her he saw that there were a load of couches. They must have had to take out some theatre chairs to get the space. A coffee table was perched in the middle and the rest looked like a teenager’s bedroom after a sleep over. Beanbags, sleeping bags and pillows dominated most of the space.

  A few of the girls were waiting for them and Matt wasn’t sure what to do with himself.

  “Hasn’t sunk in yet?” the blond girl asked him. Comet, he thought he remembered hearing Scar say. 

  Matt must have looked worse than he realized. “You could say that.”

  Statz crashed on to one of the couches, feet instantly up on the coffee table.

  “Mutt, you’ll be fine,” Comet was smiling up at him. “Rickie, he just needs to calm down.”

  “That’s one way of putting it.” A darker haired girl answered. “He needs to fuck off more like.” There was a bitterness there that Matt didn’t quite understand.

  Scar was lingering next to him and she shifted a few inches closer to him, before choosing a seat that Matt had room to squeeze in next to her. Matt dropped down and let himself sink into it. He slipped his backpack off and placed in on the floor next to her, it sagged like there was nothing in it.

  Scar felt an instant wave of pity for their new cub. “We have a kind of cloak room I’ll show you later, you can leave your coat too.”

  “No, I think I’ll keep that for a bit, it’s drafty in here.” Matt wasn’t ready to let his guard down just yet.

  “It’s been a really stressful day for everyone, just cut the guy a break.” Statz answer the brown haired girl. Matt couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Scar was right about the others not noticing.

  “I’m sorry about him. It’s not often he’s like that.” Scar apologized again. “I had no idea about your dad’s shop being trashed either.”

  “It’s not your fault.”

  “I’m just sorry all this happened because of us. Most of us here have run away from exactly the same thing. Yeah, we have to rob, but I don’t see another choice.”

  “I do get it. It’s just, small world, huh?”

  “Yeah, I guess it is.” Scar weighed up the chances of it being the one store in the whole town that his dad worked at and decided he was just lucky. Or unlucky, depending on which way you looked at it.”

  “Give it time. I’m sure everything will work out okay.” Statz assured him. Matt looked up, Statz had blond hair sticking up every which way on his head but seemed content with it. Scar just looked down at her feet.

  “Usually we’d give you a tour tonight but with everything that’s happened I think we’ll leave that for tomorrow,” Scar sounded exhausted suddenly.  

 “Plus Rickie is back there cooling off. Welcome to The Werewolves Crew.” Statz tried to sound optimistic, Matt heard Scar scoff.  

  “I don’t really feel like part of anything now.”

  “Sleep on it,” Statz said. “Trust me, when you wake up and don’t have to worry about getting hurt, or finding your next meal, and no more school, you’ll soon warm up to us.”

  Matt just felt sick thinking about the literals. And as for getting hurt, he wasn’t so sure. 

  Matt thought back to everything, he’d never see his room again or all his stuff, he wished he’d been able to pack properly. It was stupid the things you missed, he didn’t even have another pair of underwear with him.

  He’d never see his mates again, his teachers. His chair in class would remain empty for the rest of the year. Missing person posters would probably pop up on every corridor, pretending like it didn’t take something like this to happen before they gave a shit.

  Realistically it was a nightmare, they couldn’t really leave, how would he explain where he’d been? Or catch up with school to ever get a job. Matt had never realized how much he’d thought about the future. He’d never move out to go to university and leave his parents behind. This hardly counted, he didn’t have underwear or his toothbrush. He’d never meet someone and settle down, house shopping, wedding planning, kids. All these theoretical fantasies evaporated in his mind and he let his head fall back against the cushion behind him.

  Scar tensed next to him. But who was he kidding, those things were never an option for a kid like him. Not where he came from, maybe he was better off here to save himself the disappointment.

  “Honestly, the weirdest thing is, I just don’t get how you can all be teenagers?” was all he could bring himself to say.

  “So, teenagers are cunning, bad mouthed, ruthless, deceiving and rotted to the core delinquents, as most adults say these days,” the brown haired girl listed. She had her arms folded across her chest, concealing the band name on her t-shirt, her jeans were ripped and her hair was loose over her shoulders. She was lounging with her feet up on the couch like this was a common occurrence. “You look like you’ll fit in just fine, newbie.”  

  “That’s Fawn.” Scar introduced, “She’s cynical.”

  “Excuse me.” Fawn put her hands on her hips.

  “Oh he would have realized soon enough away.” Another girl waved a hand in her direction as if she were a fly she could swat. “I’m Razor.” She added, smiling brightly at Matt. She was all legs and chest and he had a feeling that was meant to mean something to him.

  “Hi,” he muttered, focusing on her briefly. Her disappointment was palpable.

  Suddenly Comet turned serious. “Oh and we’re not real Werewolves by the way.”

  Matt just stared at her dumbfound, he wasn’t quite sure if that was a joke or not.

  “Comet,” Statz lent forward. “I think he got that by himself.”

  She nodded encouragingly.

  Scar rolled her eyes but Matt saw the starts of smile creeping in.

  Matt forced a smiled at Comet then looked at Statz for answers, he just shrugged like ‘long story’.

  Scar looked at him embarrassed. “Yeah, you’ll get used to Comet.” She sounded almost apologetic, as if he was trying to cover for her.

  “Does she say that to everyone?” Matt asked, turning to her.

  “No,” Scar shook her head. “Most people catch on after the first full moon,” she winked.

  “Nice one,” Matt laughed, realizing how close she was to him.

  “Will you be alright for a bit if I go and put your stuff away?” Scar rested a hand on his shoulder for a second. “I’ll bring you some food out too.”

  “Food sounds great actually.” His stomach made a gremlin noise in response.

  “Okay, I won’t be long then,” she made to stand up. “Comet, want to help make some food to bring back?”

  “Oh Scar,” Razor stood up. “I’ll sort the food. Are you really going to leave your new cub alone with this rabble?”

  Scar looked at her skeptically. Razor leant over to take Matt’s backpack, “Rickie’s down there, remember?” her expression said ‘duh’ but Scar felt relief wash over her.

  Comet bounced up. “Yum, food.” She danced off to catch up with Razor.

  Matt lent back into the couch letting the cushions envelope him.

  “Look at that Fawn,” Statz sounded pissed off. “Kid’s not even been here five minutes and he’d got them waiting on him hand and foot.” Matt looked up and Statz cracked a smile, leaning over the table to punch him lightly in the arm.

  Matt deflated back into the couch. “Just don’t push your luck,” he mock whispered, looking from Fawn to Scar. “They don’t like women in the kitchen jokes. I asked for a sandwich once,” he blew out an exaggerated breath, “won’t be doing that again in a rush.”

  Matt chuckled lightheartedly. “What’s the matter Mutt? Wolf got your tongue,” Fawn asked him.

  “Wolf,” he trailed off. “This is insane.”

  “I know we’re a pretty strange bunch but if your family was anything like mine then you’re in for a blessing.”

  He knew there were truth in her words but he was having a hard time hearing her. He wasn’t sure all the new Werewolves were assaulted at the door.

  “But I’m seriously just one of you, just like that?” Matt was confused, how had he just been plucked off the street and landed in this group? He was half expecting to wake up any second. “It’s not like leader Shit head agrees.”

  Fawn snorted a laugh.

  “Yeah, that’s what we do. Take in kids and help them escape the law,” Statz sounded pleased with himself.

  “Really?” he pressed, “just anyone?” Matt remembered how unnerved he’d been not knowing who Scar was or why she was helping him. How did they know he wasn’t dangerous? He did he know that they weren’t?

  “Yeah,” Statz said. “Well no actually. Scar wouldn’t have brought you here if she didn’t like you,” he reasoned. “Or thought you’d fit in.”

  He remembered the kiss and thought figured that in some crazy, messed up way, he had gotten very lucky. But hadn’t she warned him not to say anything?

  “You guys saw him,” Scar sat up. “How was I supposed to watch him get thrown in the back of a police car?”

  Matt hadn’t realized just how close they must have been to him. He regretted being so callous to Scar that afternoon.

  “Just felt sorry for your arse then, not like she hadn’t been through enough shit to save you already.” Statz had a way of not making that an insult.

  “That sounds more likely.” He shot a sideways glance to Scar, who wore a knowing smile.

  “It’s a small world for criminals. We haven’t had a new Werewolf since last year,” Fawn told him.

  “But you guys are in the news all the time? My dad worked at the store you guys robbed last night. It’s a small world.”

  Statz looked down. “I didn’t get to say sorry about that man, couldn’t have been a fun morning for you.”

  “What gave it away?” Matt pushed his hair back, “the crack on my head, the black eye or the bloody t-shirt?”

  “You’ll fit right in Mutt.” Statz smiled approvingly. “Oh, and definitely the shiner.”

  Matt still couldn’t get used to hearing that name. ‘Mutt’. He couldn’t picture it scrawled on shops walls or in newspapers, he was just Matt. Plain, old, boring Matt.

  “You’ll get used to it here Mutt, we raid at least every three weeks, most of the time more than that. We keep are stocks way up, but since are numbers are always growing, well we do go through a lot of stuff.” Fawn tried to sound positive but Matt had barely heard a word after three weeks.

  Three weeks, that was nearly an entire month gone. Trapped there doing nothing with their lives. Not stepping outside once, seeing the sky, the moon or the stars. Not even feeling the wind or the rain. Suddenly everything Scar said made sense. He felt like someone had just trapped him in a shoe box.

  Scar must have sensed his feeling because she slipped her hand very discreetly into his.

  Matt promised himself if he ever got out, he would make the most of his life. All the hours spent staring out of a classroom window came into perspective. At least he could see outside, watch the world go by, maybe learn something. Maybe.

  Life wasn’t like the books you read in school. They all seemed to accept their fate too easily, not really questioning where they ended up or if they would ever get a normal life back.

  He let out a massive breath and his head fell into his hands. How the hell did he let his life get so screwed up? He’d never even been on a proper date, he was going to miss prom, graduation, fucking everything. Matt had taken all of this for granted for too long.  

  Scar’s hand dropped from his and rested on his knee, squeezing tight. He was reminded of the one good thing that had come out of today.

  When Matt looked up again Fawn and Statz shared a worried look. Matt had always thought of the Werewolves Crew as ruthless criminals and here they were looking ashamed to have screwed his life up. Werewolves with a conscience. Now Matt had no idea what to believe. They were a group of teenagers who were just looking for their next meal. Matt pulled himself together slightly. At least he was safe from his parents. Who in the hell were looking for these guys as the infamous Werewolves Crew?

  Fawn’s eyes looked heavy. “Sorry about causing so much shit for you,” she said. “I hate the thought of me just sitting here excited for the raiders to get back and this morning I was fast asleep while-” she trailed off. “Ughh, I just hate it you know, that there’s nothing we can do about people like that.”

  “Don’t worry about it.” Matt was shocked at the sincerity. “It can’t be any worse here.” He shook his head, correcting himself. “It can’t be much worse here.”

  “Matt, listen to me. There’s no way that he would have the gall to try anything else now. I promise you’ve left all that behind.” Scar took hold of his hand again. Matt thought back just a few hours, the ache in his chest still bothered him and it was the first time in his memory when he would go to sleep tonight and know he wasn’t going to wake up with fresh bruises. “He was a dickhead, I hate him. He got fired for leaving the door open.”

  “I still can’t believe that was him,” Statz exclaimed with a laugh, trying to lighten the mood. “We were all wondering who could be so stupid. It was the talk of the night.”

  “No one does it better than him,” Matt agreed, feeling slightly more at ease – nothing like slagging off someone to lift your spirits. God, what has life come to? he thought.

  “There’s something to be thankful for at least,” Statz grinned. “You clearly didn’t get your brains from him.”

  Matt felt a smile playing at the corners of his mouth. Still he remembered the promise he’d made to Scar, maybe he’d get them out. Surely no one would notice if they snuck out for a few hours. The thought of just staying here for the foreseeable future was daunting. Despite being safe, now he was lost.

  “You’re far better off here, Mutt.” He patted Matt on the back again and he almost protested at the sound of his new name before realizing with a mix of excitement and ruefulness that it was here to stay now.

 

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