Wednesday, May 10
Dawn woke with a suddenness that had her gasping, arms shaking. For a moment, she thought she had dreamed the sound that had awakened her, a heavy pounding. There was no one else in the room—no, Naomi was there, Dawn realized, as her eyes adjusted to the darkness. Her roommate was still asleep, curled in her bed, which comforted Dawn. She’d probably just had a bad dream.
Anyone would have bad dreams on this campus.
But then she heard it again, closer this time—or maybe it was just easier to hear because she was fully awake now. Something was slamming against something else, many times in rapid succession.
She gripped the sheet. She couldn’t tell whether it was inside or outside.
It happened again, a little bit further away than the last one. Now she was sure it was inside. Was someone pounding on doors in this hall, trying to get in?
Well, she wasn’t going to let them get away with that. She grabbed her cell phone, ready to call Lorelei, the RA, and slipped out of bed. She moved quietly to the door—the pounding came again, much louder this time. Were they just across the hall? She opened the door cautiously.
She came face-to-face with Lorelei herself, whose face was white, her hair in a tangled braid. “Dawn, good. Help me wake some of the others. Is Naomi in there?”
“Yes,” Dawn said, staring at her. “What’s going on?”
There was a sinking feeling in her stomach. Something terrible must have happened. This wasn’t the first time Lorelei had woken the hall in the middle of the night, but Lorelei was usually fairly unflappable. Dawn had never seen her looking this upset before.
Lorelei shook her head. “I have to get everyone up and into the common room so we can make sure everyone’s here. I’ll explain then. Can you get Naomi up? I think I heard Edie’s voice, so she and Corrie should be up soon.”
“Of course.” Dawn hurried back into her room to pull on a pair of pants—she wasn’t going down to the common room in just the T-shirt she’d worn to bed. It was really getting to be summer weather now, and she’d been overheated.
She flipped on the light and looked at Naomi, who didn’t stir. Of course, considering the shrieking alarm she needed to get up in the morning, Dawn shouldn’t have been surprised that Lorelei pounding on people’s doors hadn’t awakened her. Out in the hall, Dawn could hear the door-pounding continue.
She walked over and shook Naomi’s shoulder. “Wake up, Naomi.”
Naomi blinked her eyes open slowly. One of her blonde dreadlocks had come untwisted and fallen over her eye. “What? Whazzup?”
“I don’t know, Lorelei says we all have to go down to the common room.” Dawn tugged at Naomi’s arm, wanting to get her out of bed. She didn’t trust her roommate to understand what she’d said and listen if she left her alone, since she was still mostly asleep.
Naomi yawned and rolled over. Dawn thought for a moment that she was going back to bed, but she used the movement to drop her feet onto the floor and push upright. “Okay. Lead the way.”
Dawn did lead the way, but only over to Corrie and Edie’s room next door. She rapped lightly on the door—Lorelei was gone, and other girls were starting to emerge into the hallway.
Before she even finished knocking, Edie was pulling the door open. “Dawn? Do you know what’s going on?”
Dawn shook her head. “Lorelei said she’ll explain when we all get down to the common room, so let’s go.”
“Corrie,” Edie called over her shoulder. “Come on, we have to go down to the common room.”
Dawn looked up and down the hallway to make sure everyone she knew was there. She saw Annie, Roe, and Roe’s roommate Talia walking through the fire door at the end of the hall with a small crowd of others. “I’m going to make sure everyone is coming.”
She started at the very end of the hall, the room across from the bathrooms. When she tried the knob, the door opened. “Hello? Anyone left in here?” She was answered with silence, which she hoped meant that the three inhabitants had already gone downstairs.
Edie saw what she was doing and started to check other rooms. The next room, across from Dawn’s, had two people in it whispering together; Dawn told them to hurry down to the common room. Before she reached the middle of the hall, Corrie had come out (wearing her sneakers) and started checking rooms as well, though Naomi just stood in the middle of the hall, looking confused.
Finally, Dawn was pretty sure everyone was on their way down to the common room. She directed her friends to head down the stairs and took up the rear.
She tried to focus on walking down the stairs, on the fact that her boyfriend Rico was undoubtedly already down in the common room waiting for her, but her stomach roiled. She was glad Lorelei had asked for her help; Dawn always wanted to have something to do. Now that all she had to do was wait for the RAs to take attendance and explain, she was terrified.