“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.
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.
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.
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?”
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.
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.
Unfortunately, as it turned out, Corrie brought Byron along to have lunch with them. Dawn didn’t have anything against Byron… but she was pretty sure Corrie hadn’t told him about the faeries, unless she’d done so today, and she didn’t mention anything like that. “Don’t say anything,” she muttered to Naomi as they walked up to the sandwich station, a few feet away from Corrie and Byron.
Naomi nodded. “Of course.” They made their sandwiches.
Before they reached their own room, Dawn stopped Naomi. “Let me see if Corrie is in. If she’s here the explanations will go much quicker.” She knocked on the door, but no one answered. She tried the doorknob but, as she expected, it was locked. She felt an anxious twisting in her gut, but there wasn’t time to go looking for Corrie or Edie right now. Naomi was impatient and upset, and she didn’t want to make that worse.
Dawn grabbed the piece of paper out of Naomi’s hand, her heart beating hard. It could have been worse, yes… but it could have been better, too. Why had she had to use the word “faerie?”
She tried to calm herself down, though the continuing silence between them wasn’t helping. It was hardly the end of the world. She could trust Naomi for certain. They had shared other secrets. Dawn had just been hoping to keep as many of her friends safe as possible, so she hadn’t told anyone about faeries who didn’t need to know.
Support my Patreon! Pledging can get you access to exclusive patron-only stories and even exclusive prompt calls. If my Patreon reaches $190 a month, Chatoyant College will return to three updates a week!