Christopher Williams watches as Emily disappears into the female dorm house and prays she will be safe there.
Safe from whoever took the solitary student in the room next to his in the dark of the night and left no trace.
Safe from whoever had the power to cover it up so effectively that when Christopher brought this to light to the administration he was told that the boy had had a family emergency.
Never mind that the boy was raised in foster care and never adopted.
Against his better judgment, Christopher turns from the dorm to make the trek to his own before it got dark.
Donald barely looks up from the television when Christopher steps in, which would make him such easy pickings to whoever is out there.
“Hey,” Christopher calls.
“Hey,” Donald repeats.
“Did you ever hear the kid next door come back?”
Donald yawns before changing the channel. “Nope.”
Christopher kicks off his shoes before moving to his suitcase. “Seriously, that doesn’t bother you at all?”
“Nope. He’ll show up again just like the last guy.”
Freezing in his tracks, Christopher turns to Donald. “Last guy?”
“Mhmm. A few of us were unlucky enough to be dropped off here a whole weekend before classes started. And one of the guys- Joe I think it was- disappeared the first day without a word of warning.” He reaches down and pulls up a bowl of popcorn.
Christopher waits for him to continue, but when he doesn’t, he says, “And?”
“And then he showed up just before classes started.”
“Did he say anything about where he was?”
“Said he had to go somewhere to talk about a special scholarship or something. Didn’t strike me as the scholarly type, but whatevs.”
“Did he seem… different?”
Donald shrugs. “Barely knew the guy. But there was this one thing...”
Christopher leans forward, ready for whatever strange truth Donald was going to throw at him.
“Before hand, Joe was bragging about never following any rules but his own and all that. Dunno all the details- I was barely listening. But when he came back...”
“Well, I only seem him from a distance now, but even from that distance, I never did see a more straight-laced rule keeper.” Donald laughs and shakes his head at this before turning back to the television.
Christopher blinks, soaking it all in. How Donald could be so calm about something that was obviously so wrong is beyond him. There is obviously something very, very dangerous going on.
Then again, danger is an uncomfortable fact, and one of those truths that are just too much about some people.
Not that Christopher is going to stop trying. “Donald, I think we need to be very, very careful.”
Donald glances up. “What? Are you actually freaked out about this?”
Christopher pushes himself up to his feet. “I have seen a lot of things that seem like something out of an adventure novel or something science fiction. And believe me, that science isn’t so fictional anymore.”