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Chatoyant College

Chapter 43: Return

Leila didn’t get them lost, though. It was fully dark by the time they arrived, the stars beginning to appear as the trees thinned out. Dawn felt as much as saw them pass into the safe area of the woods and relaxed her shoulders. By then she and Naomi had joined the group, walking as close to the others as they could so as not to lose them in the darkness. They hadn’t said anything else, only waited and followed in silence.

Chapter 42: Ears

“Edie!” Corrie cried, and ran a few steps toward her. Dawn and Annie both followed with alacrity. But then they all stopped again when Leila joined Edie in the doorway. It was dark; Dawn couldn’t see what might be behind them.

But she did see something she’d never seen before. Leila had indeed been hiding something with her hair down earlier. It was subtle, but to Dawn’s Sight, obvious: her ears were delicately pointed and, on the edges, tinged with green.

Chapter 41: In Circles

In a panic, Dawn stepped back, reaching out behind her for something solid. Her left hand hit a tree trunk; her right hand hit something else, something narrow and soft. She was about to shriek when she realized it was someone’s arm. She clutched at it gratefully. “Dawn?” said Corrie, who evidently belonged to the arm. “Is something wrong?”

Dawn couldn’t seem to make her mouth work in order to answer. Instead, she let go of the tree and pointed ahead. Corrie stepped forward and gasped. “What… what is that?” she asked in a shaky voice.

Chapter 40: Searching

“I think we should just stick to this side of campus,” said Dawn. “This is where we’ve encountered faeries before. And I hate to say it, but we can’t keep looking for too long. Naomi’s right—there’s just too much to search for us to do a really effective job. If Edie isn’t back in the morning, we can enlist the help of Professor Lal.”

“And Professor Strega,” said Roe. “I’m sure she would help.”

“Are you sure we shouldn’t split into groups to search more efficiently?” Naomi asked.

“No!” said Roe and Corrie at the same time.

Chapter 39: In a Horror Movie

Dawn evaluated the group as they walked outside, heads uniformly bent against the rain. Corrie, Naomi, Annie, Roe, and herself. Corrie and Annie would both probably do just about anything for Edie, as she would herself. She and Corrie were her best friends, and Annie seemed to have a crush on Edie. She probably half hoped that it was true that Leila was a faerie because then they would be more likely to break up, leaving Edie single.

Chapter 38: Really Missing

Corrie didn’t even hear her own phone make the ringing sound. The first thing she heard was Edie’s cell phone, sitting on the top of the trunk at the foot of her bed. She snapped her phone shut and Edie’s went silent. Corrie stood up, walked across the room, and picked up Edie’s cell phone, though she didn’t know what she’d do now that she was holding it. Was there some clue as to why Edie had left without her phone? There was no note or anything.

Chapter 37: Last Hurrah

The three of them sat in silence for a few moments. Finally Corrie said, “We have to tell Edie. We can’t hide this from her.”

Naomi, resting her elbow on the desk, turned from the screen to look at Corrie. “Was that ever under debate?”

“Yes,” said Dawn. “I guess at least when we weren’t sure. And we’re still not completely sure, are we?”

“Sure enough,” said Corrie stubbornly.

“I agree,” said Naomi.

Chapter 36: Two Faces

Naomi and Dawn barely looked up when Corrie returned. She dropped herself down on the beanbag chair with a sigh from both her and the chair. “Find anything?” she asked, though she was sure she knew the answer.

Dawn shook her head, then reached the end of a page and looked up. “Where have you been all this time?”

Chapter 35: Gareth and Wendy

After skimming through four different yearbooks, Corrie stretched back in the beanbag chair, her back cracking slightly. Her eyes were tired, and so were her hands, from flipping the dry pages. “I need a break.” She jumped up. “I’ll be right back.”

“Don’t get lost,” Naomi said, barely looking up from her book. Dawn just nodded. Corrie closed the door carefully behind her and wandered down the hall.

Chapter 34: With Friends

Corrie unlocked her door and let Dawn and Naomi into her room, then sat down on her bed, staring at the blank wall above Edie’s bed. It was so hard to decide what to do. If Leila was a faerie, Edie could be in danger right now. But if she wasn’t and they said something, Edie and Leila would both probably get mad. And there was no way to prove or disprove it. None of them had seen anything.

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