“Okay,” Dawn said quickly, not wanting Meg to get too upset. She was going to have to process the trauma eventually, but for now they still needed some answers. “What about the cold breeze? Did any of the rest of you feel it?”
“No,” Chandra said, shaking her head. None of the others responded.
“Professor Lal,” Dawn said, turning to her. “You remember the cold spot I noticed in class.”
Professor Lal nodded slowly, her lips pinched together. “You think that was the killer.”
“I’ve been looking for it on and off, since we had a hard time actually looking for the killer. Sometimes I can find it, and sometimes I can’t. If it’s moving around and it’s just a cold breeze, it would be really difficult for me to pick out from the rest of the moving air on campus.”
“Can you find it now?” Ginny asked quickly.
Dawn closed her eyes to block out the sick, shocked faces of the Circle of the Goddess members and tried to focus on the air currents on campus. She couldn’t locate a cold spot and she couldn’t pick out any breezes. “No.”
“It’s moved on, then,” Professor Lal said. “Perhaps it’s still roaming around campus, looking for its next victim. It can’t have left campus.”
“What does this tell us?” Professor Strega asked. “We are looking for a faerie that exists only as a cold breeze, with no body but teeth?”
“And that wasted away over many years, from a thin body to no body at all,” Ginny said.
“I begin to have some idea,” Professor Rook said. He and Professor Lal exchanged a meaningful glance.
“Dawn,” Professor Lal said, “would you be willing to look at the bodies now?”
Dawn took a deep breath. “Yes. Let’s get it over with.”
“I’ll come with you,” Corrie said quickly.
Dawn shook her head. “I don’t want anyone to have to see this if it’s not going to help.”
“I want to help you.”
“I don’t think it will do any of you any good to see the bodies,” Ginny said. “Lal, do you really think Dawn is going to see anything out there?”
“She may,” Professor Lal said. “She certainly has the best chance, if the killer has left anything behind.”
“Let’s just go,” Dawn said. Arguing about it was just making it worse. “Professor Lal, are you coming with me? I don’t think I can handle it by myself.”
“Yes, of course. This way.” Professor Lal turned her back on Ginny and walked quickly out of the building. Dawn followed behind as closely as she could. The professor led her off the path and toward the middle of campus, where the tape had been up for Elrath’s body.
There was tape up again, and two campus security officers standing by the tape. One of them nodded to Professor Lal and held up the tape so the two of them could duck underneath.
Dawn felt slightly sick before they even reached their destination. She could see that the tape was protecting two bodies fallen on the ground, and that they had lost a lot of blood. As they came closer, she could see them more clearly—a smaller woman with short hair, curled in on herself in a fetal position, blood soaking the ground in front of her, and a taller woman with long, red hair, her arms and legs splayed out. At first Dawn thought the red-haired woman’s head had come entirely detached from her body, but then she realized it was simply bent back at an unnatural angle, the throat torn out and blood covering the rest of the neck so that it looked black in the dim lighting.
Pieces had been torn out of their torsos, as well, and the taller woman had marks in her arms and legs. She must have fought harder, or perhaps the attacker had been hungry? Dawn couldn’t tell whether the bodies had actually been eaten or only torn up, and she didn’t want to look closely enough to find out.
“I don’t see anything strange,” she said, holding her arms tightly against her chest. “Nothing that couldn’t have been done with knives, I don’t think.”
“She has not left a calling card?” Professor Lal asked calmly. “Some sign of who or what she is?”
Dawn glanced quickly at Professor Lal. She sounded very confident about the killer being female. She and Professor Rook obviously had a faerie they knew in mind as the killer. “No… not that I can tell. It just ripped them up with its teeth.”
“Very well. Let us return.” Professor Lal put her hand gently on Dawn’s shoulder and turned her around. Dawn was very happy to get out of there, though she wasn’t sure she’d be able to get the image of all that blood out of her head.
“Dawn saw nothing of interest,” Professor Lal announced when they had returned to the magic building. “Let us go to the lounge to discuss this. Ginny, you will join us later?”
Ginny nodded. “Of course.”
As the three faerie professors herded Dawn, Corrie, and Edie to the stairs, Dawn glanced back and saw Ginny crouch down in front of Ash, the one who had spoken least, and take her hands.