Saturday, May 27
Corrie got back from the shower, rubbing her hair dry, and immediately checked her phone. No call from Professor Lal. She would have been surprised to get one so early, but she still wanted to check. She hoped they could get the chat with Troy and Link over with quickly.
Not that she would be able to enjoy her last weekend on campus very much regardless.
She’d taken a wide loop around the outside of campus for her run. Those paths sometimes made her nervous, so close to the forest, but it was a little better now that the barrier was up and she knew nothing could get in—at least not to suddenly attack her from the forest. And today she hadn’t wanted to be anywhere near the center of campus. She hoped they’d cleaned up the bodies and blood by now, but she didn’t want to risk seeing it. She was luckier than Dawn.
She didn’t know how to feel about Payton and Elena’s death. She’d hated them—they’d been prejudiced, inconsiderate people—and they’d died doing something spectacularly stupid and arrogant, in keeping with their characters. But they hadn’t actually deserved to be murdered, and she felt terrible that no one had managed to catch Gerlina before she killed them.
Then again, maybe their deaths had served a greater purpose. After all, if they hadn’t been attacked, maybe no one would have seen the attack while in trance and finally given a more useful description of the attacker.
Once Corrie was dry and dressed, she sat at her computer to play a mindless game on the internet until Edie got up. The two of them went next door to see if Dawn was up, and then they all headed to the dining hall together.
It was strangely quiet in there. It was just as crowded as it always was on a Saturday morning—at least, she thought so—but instead of a crashing waterfall of sound like usual, the hall was filled with a quiet buzz. Everyone seemed to be speaking in hushed, low tones.
The word must have gotten around about Payton and Elena. Corrie wondered what everyone had heard. Had Meg and the other surviving members of the Circle of the Goddess told people what they’d seen? Had anyone else seen the bodies or the blood? Or had they merely heard that the killer had struck again?
She wanted to ask, but didn’t want to make it obvious that she had privileged information. So she just tried to listen to the chatter as she stood in line for pancakes, but it was hard to hear anyone’s conversation.
When the pancakes were being made, though, the girl in front of her turned to chat. Corrie recognized her from art class—her name was Tessa and she had short hair and large eyes. “Hey, did you hear about those two girls? Payton and Elena?”
Corrie had to make a split second decision as to what information to give. “I heard something happened to them.” She hoped that was vague enough to get a good answer out of Tessa.
Tessa nodded. “They were murdered, just like Sean and Christy. The same thing killed them.”
“Thing?” Corrie asked cautiously. Maybe Meg had told her story.
Tessa made a scoffing sound. “You don’t think it was a human that attacked them, do you? They would have caught somebody who doesn’t belong on campus by now. And I heard their bodies looked chewed up, like they’d been chomped on by giant teeth.”
So maybe they weren’t hearing stories about faeries. But Tessa, and probably others, were coming to conclusions about monsters. “Did someone actually see the bodies? I would think the police would have taken them away.”
“That’s just what I heard.” Tessa shrugged. “Same as the other two. And we haven’t seen any police on campus. I mean, have you?”
Corrie shook her head. It was true, she hadn’t seen any police, and she hadn’t expected to. “I guess I was thinking of the campus security officers.”
“Like they’re any help. They can’t catch the monster, they won’t even tell us anything. Do you really think this campus is safe?”
“No,” Corrie said, and was glad she didn’t have to elaborate on that, because they were served their pancakes. She hurried back to the seating area and found Edie and Dawn. She still wasn’t sure what to make of the rumors, but it wasn’t good.
Talking about the bodies made her think of Dawn’s worries about nightmares. She turned to her friend to see that she had dark circles under her eyes and was generally pale. “Are you okay? You didn’t sleep well, did you?”
Dawn managed a half smile. “I slept okay once I actually got to sleep. I was afraid of seeing the bodies again when I closed my eyes, so I stayed up half the night reading webcomics. And then once it was light out I couldn’t sleep anymore because I was worried about missing the call from Professor Lal.”
“She hasn’t called yet,” Corrie said, checking her phone to make sure. “But I’m hoping soon.”