Corrie worked on some homework until it was almost time for class, then realized she actually was hungry. She had just enough time to stop at the coffee cart and get a bagel, cream cheese, and latte before she had to be at her Intro to Lit class.
She hurried in to the class at the last minute and sat down beside Edie as she always did. She opened her cream cheese and started to slather it onto the bagel, so it took her a minute to notice that the class was really quiet. That could have been because it was time for class to start, but Professor Moran didn’t come in for a few more seconds, and when she did, the class went entirely silent.
The professor looked around the class with a small frown, but didn’t say anything about the recent deaths on campus. Instead, she just launched into a discussion of the chapters they’d read since the last class, like she always did. Corrie wasn’t surprised—she’d done the same thing last week, after Elrath’s death, even though they’d actually missed one of her classes that time.
Corrie was sitting near the front, since Edie always wanted to sit at the front for English classes, but she managed to take a look around the class under cover of getting her notebook out. She wanted to see what was making the professor continue to frown, and why the class still seemed quieter than usual.
She realized one person was missing—Jo, a girl in the class she didn’t know very well. She had a moment of panic, wondering if something had happened to Jo, too, before realizing that there would probably have been another announcement. Anyway, Jo could have just been sick or something. This close to final exams, it would be strange for someone to miss class if they could avoid it, but that didn’t mean there was no good reason.
The class discussion was quiet and desultory, but Professor Moran didn’t reprimand anyone. She didn’t seem to expect anything different. She did smile at Edie when she made a good point that showed she’d actually read the book, but that was the only interesting thing to happen in class.
When the professor dismissed them, Corrie turned quickly to the people who sat next to Jo, Jake and Rosa, who she was pretty sure were friends with Jo. “Hey, do you know where Jo is? Is she okay?”
They glanced at each other and Corrie’s heart sank. It wasn’t anything straightforward, was it?
“You heard about Sean, right?” Jake asked.
“Of course,” Corrie said.
“Jo and her parents thought that after two people got killed on campus and the administration won’t tell us anything about it, Chatoyant College isn’t safe anymore. She went home and she’s going to transfer to another college for next semester.”
Corrie’s eyes widened. “But the semester was almost over! What about her classes?”
“That’s why I’m still here,” Rosa said, shaking her head. “I might transfer next semester, but I want to get my credits first.”
“Do you really think it’s something about this school that’s dangerous?” Corrie had to ask, even though she knew the answer was that it was the school that was dangerous. But surely these people didn’t know that, and what evidence did they have?
“I don’t know,” Jake said. “But the administration is covering something up.”
“I don’t think too many people want to keep going to a school where the administration is covering up deaths,” Rosa said. “Who knows what else could happen that they won’t tell us about?”
“Yeah, that’s true,” Corrie said, nodding. “I guess I can’t blame her, or you, for wanting to get away.”
She was sure that she wouldn’t want to leave. But she knew a lot more about what was really going on behind the scenes than most others. How many people would be leaving?
“Besides, this place is weird,” Jake said. “Don’t you think? I feel like I never noticed before the last few weeks, but there always seem to be things that no one wants to talk about. Nobody knew who that Christy girl was, not really. How does anyone get away with having no friends at a place like Chatoyant College?”
“And what about her family?” Rosa added. “I heard that Sean’s family came this morning to take his body, and hopefully to get answers, but Christy’s family never showed up.”
“I didn’t realize that,” Corrie said. Of course, she knew that Elrath had no family left, and they probably wouldn’t have wanted his body if they did—nor would they have showed up publicly on campus. “I’m glad someone’s taking care of Sean, at least. And thanks for letting me know about Jo. I was worried for a minute there.”
Jake smiled. “That’s nice of you. But she’s fine.”
Corrie nodded and went to grab her bag. Everyone else had left the room. She tossed out the trash from her bagel and went to find Edie.