Dawn finished her lunch and sat with her friends until they’d finished theirs as well. Then the three of them started meandering toward the auditorium. They were fairly early, and it wasn’t a particularly nice day out—the sky was gray and drizzly—but Dawn could easily compare the weather today to weather they’d had on campus at other times and be more than satisfied with this.
“Do you think they’ll tell us what they did with her?” Edie asked, sounding worried.
Dawn didn’t have to ask who she meant. “Not at the assembly. If they wouldn’t tell us what their plans were last night, I doubt they’re going to make a school-wide announcement.”
“We didn’t really ask,” Corrie pointed out. “And I assume they’re going to tell everyone that they’ve caught the killer. I mean, they have to tell everyone, or people will just continue to think there’s a killer loose on campus. So if they’re telling us today, then maybe they’ll also tell us what they did with her.”
“If they’re telling us the killer has been caught, people will just assume she’s going to jail,” Dawn said. “I would think they’d like to let that assumption stand.”
“Hmm,” Corrie said. “Maybe.”
When they walked into the auditorium, it was still nearly empty. There were two other small knots of students already sitting in the seats, both of them quietly talking amongst themselves. Corrie led the way to seats in the center and near the front of the auditorium, but not right in the front row. Dawn thought they’d have an excellent view of the stage, as long as no one tall with big hair sat down in front of them.
The auditorium slowly filled in around them. Roe and Annie joined them, then Rico and Duncan (Dawn switched seats with Edie so she and Rico could sit next to each other). Dawn felt a tug on her hair, and looked back to see Naomi seated right behind her. She grinned.
But by the time scheduled for the assembly to begin, she didn’t think the auditorium seating was even halfway full. Probably less than that, since the way people were scattered around the seats made them stand out and the empty seats seem to recede into the background. This couldn’t be anywhere near the whole school, even accounting for those who had transferred or gone home for the summer already. No one at all had sat down in front of them.
Looking around, she realized she didn’t see anyone she recognized as a senior. She definitely didn’t see Link or Charlie anywhere, and she was sure they would have come if they thought they were supposed to; Troy was there. The administration must not have sent that email to the graduating seniors. Maybe the rest of the school was getting an announcement that the seniors would get on the day of graduation.
A woman walked out onto the stage, and the quiet chatter of the audience quickly hushed. It wasn’t Professor Lal—Dawn took a moment to recognize Dr. Everson, a steel-haired woman Dawn knew was the president of the school.
“Thank you all for coming,” Dr. Everson said, frowning as she looked around at the assembled students and adjusted the microphone on the podium. Dawn couldn’t tell whether she was frowning because there were so few of them or whether that was just her default expression. “The school has an important announcement to share with those of you who may be returning next year. You likely all know Professor Lal.” Dr. Everson held her hand out to the right, and Professor Lal walked onto the stage from the wing. “For those of you who don’t, she is the head of our magic department here. She will be sharing important information with all of you.”
The two women traded nods, then Dr. Everson walked back the way Professor Lal had come. Professor Lal stepped behind the podium, looked at the microphone, and didn’t touch it, though she was several inches taller than Dr. Everson.
“You all know about the killer who has been attacking students on campus,” Professor Lal said. Her voice carried better than Dr. Everson’s despite the microphone’s distance. Was she using magic? Most likely—why wouldn’t she? “The first piece of important news is this: the killer has been caught and no longer poses a danger.”
Applause broke out through the students, but it was tentative. Professor Lal obviously had more she was going to say, and Dawn suspected that without specifics about the killer and how she had been caught, people weren’t going to be satisfied.
“The second piece of important news,” Professor Lal continued, “is that a secret has been hidden from many of you for years. It is time for that secret to be revealed.”
Dawn’s eyes widened. Was she about to tell everyone about the faeries?
Before Professor Lal could say anything else, the auditorium filled with gasps, screams, even swearing. Corrie’s breath hissed in between her teeth, and Roe cried “Oh!” from Dawn’s left.
Dawn looked around in startled confusion. What were they all reacting to?