Chapter 1

“Hey,” said a girl’s voice from behind me. “You gonna move, or what? There are other people trying to get in, you know.”

I turned around and saw a girl, around my age, dresses in the Deton school uniform, a.k.a., every other stereotypical boarding school uniform ever: black loafers, white stockings, a blue pleated skirt, and a white button-up short-sleeved shirt.

“Sorry,” I said as I looked down at my feet.

“It’s okay,” she replied. “The name’s Claudia. You?”

I didn’t understand how she could just talk to people like that. I could never do something like that.

“Simon,” I said as I slowly looked up at her face.

She had curly brown hair in a ponytail, except for two strands that hung down the sides of her face. Her eyes were brown, and she was wearing rectangular glasses.

“Hello, Simon,” Claudia said. “I’m new here, and I get the feeling you are, too. Maybe we should stick together. Strength in numbers, right?”

Her confidence overwhelmed me a little bit, but I knew that if I didn’t get better about my social skills, I wouldn’t be able to leave this damned school.

“Sure,” I said.

“What’re you here for?” she asked.

“I’m antisocial,” I replied. “You?”

“I called one of my old teachers a whore in the middle of class,” she said. “It’s not like it was a lie; she literally sold sex to all of the male teachers. The best part: not only were all of them married, so was she.”

I was amazed.

“How did you know?” I asked.

“I went in to ask one of her…clients for help on homework that he didn’t explain very well,” she said. “I saw it happen, and I saw him pay. Then, I followed her, and saw her with every single other one of them.”

“Okay,” I said, suddenly getting confidence. “A few questions: How did she not know you were following her? Why didn’t you report her? And how did she not get caught, if she was doing it at the school?”

“Well,” Claudia began, “the principal, the super intendant, and the dean were involved, so she wasn’t about to get caught or reported, and I was able to follow her because I know how to hide in bathrooms and in hallways close to where she was.”

“Final question,” I said. “Why did you call her a whore if you knew she wouldn’t get fired?”

“I was telling the students,” she said. “And it would have worked, if she hadn’t pissed me off so much that all I was able to say was, ‘You mother-fucking whore!’ If I hadn’t been so pissed, I would have told the actual story, and even if I had gotten kicked out, the other students would have believed me.”

We were at the main building now. It was large, made of brick, and looked as if it had been built in the 1800’s, which it had been.

“Well,” I said, “Time for orientation.”

Claudia and I entered the building.


As I unpacked my stuff in my dorm, I thought back to what had happened that day. At orientation, I had fallen asleep within five minutes, and Claudia woke me up as soon as it ended. We had then gotten out schedules and room assignments. Then, we went to pick up our books for the school year. Claudia and I had the exact same schedule, which was odd, so we got our books together. Then, we were sent back to our dorms.

As I finished unpacking my books, I saw a piece of paper sticking up through the floorboards. I pulled it out and looked at it. It was a page from someone named Patrick’s journal.

I read through it, but didn’t believe a word of it. It was so unbelievable that this Patrick person had to be insane. And the Alice person couldn’t be real; nobody in their right mind would listen to that shit.

Nevertheless, I thought it would interest Claudia. I sneaked out my window and ran across the courtyard, hiding behind things so that I wouldn’t be seen by the security guards. I was glad for my navy blue pants, black shoes, and black hair, but my white shirt could still give me away very easily.

Finally, I made it to the girls dorm. Claudia was staring out her window on the second floor. I threw a rock at it, and the glass cracked. She opened her window.

“Hurry,” she said, not even bothering to ask what I was doing out so late.

I climbed up to her window, and crawled through. It wasn’t against the rules to go in the other gender’s dorm unless it was after ten o’clock at night.

Her room was exactly the same as mine: wood floors, a bed with plain covers and a white pillow, tan walls. I could tell they had designed all the rooms to be exactly the same.

“So,” Claudia said. “Get lost? The guy’s dormitory is on the other side of the courtyard.”

“I found something in my room,” I said. “I thought it might interest you.”

I took the paper out of my pocket and handed it to her. She read through it, and handed it back.

“Sounds interesting,” she said. “Let’s do it.”

“Do what?” I asked.

“I think you know,” she said.

I did. She wanted to follow in his footsteps.

“I don’t think that’s a good idea,” I said. “We could get in trouble.”

“That’s what makes it fun,” Claudia replied. “Come on. Take a risk.”

I thought about it for a minute.

“I guess we could,” I said.

“Meet me at the library after class tomorrow,” she said.

I left her room, a bit uneasy at the prospect of trying to figure out what this person had been hallucinating about.


From the journal of Patrick Brendon

September 7, 2009

My first day back at Deton was…interesting. Alice and I finally got to see each other after three months. That was nice. It’s Prof. Carlton’s last year here. It’s weird, he just started here when I was a freshman. Anyway, Alice and I helped the freshmen figure out where everything is and what to do if they get lost.

The weird part was later. I was heading back to my dormitory to unpack when I overheard Dean Carter on the phone with someone else. She said “Last year’s offering wasn’t enough…I know it was a small class, but not by much. Look, I think we’re going to have to start staging a serial killer… I know they aren’t physically dying, but as vegetables, they’re pretty much dead…okay, whatever.” Then, she hang up.

I immediately told Alice, and she said that to put my suspicions that Deton was killing off the seniors, we could look in the library. I won’t go into detail, but we found that no Deton graduate is in any news story, they are all unemployed, none of them have phone numbers, and all of their home addresses are Deton’s address. I don’t know what’s going on here, but Alice and I are going to investigate further.

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