Chapter 52: Hero Complex
Dawn sat down on Corrie's bed with a thump. "Great. Has someone else been kidnapped?"
Edie shook her head, starting to pace around the room. "I don't think so. All the other rooms are full, aren't they? And Lorelei knew Annie was missing, so she would probably remember someone else, too."
"No one's missing from my floor, that I know of," said Rico slowly. "But it could have been from another floor, couldn't it?"
"I doubt it," said Dawn. "Everyone on this floor heard it--most people were looking out their doors, anyway. And you barely heard it, right?"
"Right," he said. "No, I guess it must have been from this floor."
"Lorelei certainly assumed it was," Corrie pointed out.
Rico walked over to Corrie's bed to join Dawn on it. "I don't know how she could have heard it from all the way down on the first floor, though."
Edie sighed and stopped pacing. "I guess it doesn't matter. There's nothing we can do about it now."
"How can you say that?" Dawn asked. "Somebody might be hurt or in trouble!"
Edie shrugged pragmatically. "Screams are usually urgent, right? So if they were hurt or in trouble, they would have been hurt or in trouble on Thursday night. If it wasn't dealt with right away, either it wasn't important or it's too late to help. And nobody admitted to having screamed, so probably whatever happened wasn't important."
"They might have been embarrassed," said Annie softly.
"Edie's right, though," Corrie said. Edie smiled at her, relieved to be supported. "If she was embarrassed, whoever it was, it must not have been something so important that she needed rescuing."
"So you can give your rescuer complex a rest, Dawn," Edie teased.
Dawn smiled weakly. "I guess you're right. It just feels weird, like I thought the hard part was over and there's still things to worry about."
"I'm worried about something else," said Corrie. "What about the other musicians? They were human, too. Annie, what were they like?"
She shrugged. Her face was starting to get some color in it again, which Dawn was pleased to see--her skin was still so white as to be translucent, but that might have just been her natural skin color. "We never had time to talk. We were playing all the time. They had been there a lot longer than I had."
"Should we try to rescue them, too?" Rico asked.
"I don't know," Edie said, trying to remember the expressions on their faces. "None of them looked like they cared about being rescued."
"What would we do with them if we rescued them?" Dawn asked. "I mean, we're taking Annie back to the college where she belongs. But where would we send the others? We don't even know who they are."
No one had an answer for that. Finally Corrie nodded reluctantly. "If the faerie stories I've read apply here, then they haven't aged, either, however long they've been with the faeries. There's probably no place in the world for them."
Thinking back on what the other musicians had looked like, Edie nodded, forced to agree with Corrie. Some of them might have been with the faeries for decades, if not centuries. It was too late to worry about them. "It looked like they were collecting musicians," she said slowly, thinking about it. "Like they'd built up their collection over a long time. Maybe they were trying to create an orchestra."
Annie shrugged. "That might be right. I don't know how they get only musicians to come, though..."
"You said it was music, right?" Dawn said. "They probably just lure the most likely people to want to follow music."
"I don't think that quite works out," Corrie said. "First of all, if these faeries fit the folktales we know--and they seem to in most ways--then music is just the standard way of getting people distracted. Second of all, they had to get them to bring their instruments somehow."
"And they were all really good," said Annie. "The others, I mean. And I'm definitely still improving, though like I..." She trailed off, her pale blue eyes widening. Her hand went up to cover her mouth. "Oh, shit."
"What's wrong?" Edie asked, walking quickly over to her.
Annie shook her head ruefully. "I just remembered something. I think I get it now." She took a deep breath, letting her hand fall to her lap again. Part of Edie was repeatedly noticing how terribly cute Annie was, but she pushed that part away, reminding herself that they'd all just come out of a stressful situation and Annie was almost certainly straight anyway. "I was in the All-State Orchestra back home in Pennsylvania, and I've won some musical awards. And I realized that I told Ever about that on Thursday afternoon."
"Oh. Wow." Shit is right, thought Edie, though she didn't say it out loud. "I guess when Ever said it was her fault..."
"She meant it literally," Corrie finished.