“Come on,” Dawn said quietly to Rico, shifting so his arms weren’t around her anymore and taking his hand instead. She couldn’t just stand here and speculate—she had to find out what Lorelei knew.
They worked through the crowd to find Edie with Corrie right at the front. Dawn hadn’t been able to see her because everyone between them was taller than Edie. “Where did Charlie go?” she asked when she reached them.
“He’s calling other RAs,” Corrie said. “They said the missing people were probably in other dorms.”
Dawn nodded. Just like Naomi had been the last time. “That’s good. And I guess he has to let the other dorms know that we have some of their people.”
Lorelei had been talking to another girl who had her hair in a similar messy braid, but a guy in boxers and a hoodie led the other girl into the kitchen area and started putting water in the kettle. Lorelei turned to them. “Thanks for helping get everyone down here, Dawn.”
“You’re welcome,” Dawn said. “I was glad to have something to do. Do they really not know who the body is?”
Lorelei shrugged. She still looked very worried, though she was less pale. “They didn’t give us a name or a description, but I think they know who it is. They said they just wanted to make sure she wasn’t the only one something happened to, but not to explain the truth until we had located everyone.”
“If they know who it is, this is a bad way to communicate with people,” Rico said, more sharply than the slow, quiet way he usually spoke. “Everyone’s going to freak out thinking that one of their friends is dead.”
Corrie rubbed her head. Her hair had grown in somewhat from the buzz cut she’d been given back in December, when the hospital had been trying to diagnose her mysterious magical illness, but it was still short and fluffy. “This probably isn’t just to locate any other victims,” she said quietly. “If someone else is missing, they could be the killer.”
Corrie’s words sent a chill down Dawn’s spine, but she wasn’t exactly surprised. That would explain why the security guards had asked Lorelei not to explain why they were looking for everyone. If the killer had a chance to prepare, they could pretend to be as shocked as anyone. But Corrie was right—it was more likely that the killer, if they were a student or someone on campus, had already left.
But it seemed much more likely to her that the killer was someone who did not live on campus and who didn’t expect any retribution for their actions.
Edie swallowed. “Lorelei, do you think it’s… you know?”
Before Lorelei could answer the question they were all thinking, Charlie opened the door again. The room grew quiet except for the rattle of the kettle on the stove as everyone turned to him. He smiled at them all, though his smile looked strained. “Good news. Ben and Alisa are both safely in other dorms. Lashonda, Hope, your RAs know you’re here. We’re all safe.”
The girl in the kitchen gave a sob. A few other people cheered. Dawn felt her shoulders relax, but she was still worried. Somewhere, on at least one dorm on campus, the students must be getting bad news. If the guards knew who the victim was and it was a student, would they have told her RAs? Or would they be waiting to make sure their identification matched the name of the missing student?
What if the victim was a faerie? Would they have lost their glamour at the time of death? That would make identifying the victim incredibly difficult. Maybe that was why they weren’t saying anything.
Someone else pushed through to the front of the crowd—Derwen. She was, as far as Dawn knew (and she was the one most likely to know), the only faerie in the dorm. “Do you know anything?” Dawn asked her.
Derwen shook her head. Her eyes were wide. “I don’t know anyone who… I mean, it seems really stupid, doesn’t it, killing someone in the middle of campus? And why would they announce it?”
“What, you think they should cover it up?” Corrie said.
“No, I just mean, they usually try to keep this sort of thing quiet.”
“Maybe the killer is human,” Edie said. “Or maybe they don’t know. Lorelei, do you have any other details?”
Dawn looked around, but Lorelei wasn’t there. She had gone deeper into the crowd, talking quietly with people. They probably needed her more than Dawn and her friends did. After all, for most students, the campus had seemed safe. None of them would know how many people had died on this campus in the past.
Charlie was still with them, though, and he spoke. “That’s all they told us. I think you’re probably thinking along the right lines—but don’t go out looking for anyone, all right?”
“Of course not,” Corrie said. “Can we leave the common room? I’d like to be able to speak more clearly.”
“You guys can go,” Charlie said. “I’d better stay here and make sure people are all right. But now that we’ve located everyone, you can go back to bed. Just don’t leave the building,”
“Absolutely not,” they all agreed. Corrie opened the door, and the five of them quietly slipped out.