“What?” I slammed on the brakes, causing the seat belt to choke me. My gaze flew to the rearview mirror. Thank God no one was behind me. “What do you mean?”
“Supposedly she went out last night with some friends and they got separated. Doesn’t sound like a big deal, right?”
My grip tightened on the steering wheel. “Right.”
“Once everyone found each other later, Colleen never showed up. They went looking for her and ended up finding her purse and her shoes in this alley. Like you and I both know, that isn’t a good sign.” April’s voice heightened with excitement, because apparently there nothing was more exciting than a missing classmate. “But here’s the scandalicious part of it. Colleen was at that club last night. You know the one where supposedly all the aliens hang out? She was at Foretoken.”8
Colleen’s disappearance was all I could think about the rest of the day, shoving aside everything that had happened with Luc and my stupid phone.
I knew why Colleen had gotten separated from her friends. Obviously. It must’ve happened during the raid, and I was pretty sure I knew what alley April was talking about. The same one I’d nearly face-planted into after scrambling out of the window. I hadn’t seen a purse or shoes, but I also hadn’t been paying attention to anything other than getting away from that club and finding Heidi.
April had insisted that Colleen’s friends had gone to her house and her parents hadn’t seen or heard from her either. It may be too soon to say she was truly missing, but no one knew where she was and April had been right about one thing, though. A purse and shoes left behind in an alley? That was bad news.
When people disappeared under those circumstances, their stories rarely had a happy ending.
But wasn’t that Luxen found in the same alley? The one who was horrifically beaten? That was what Archer had said. He’d found Chas by the dumpster. And how coincidental was that? Colleen’s belongings were found in the same alley where Chas had been nearly beaten to death?
That was what woke me up Sunday morning and stopped me from falling back to sleep. Had Colleen seen something at the club Friday night, something like what I’d seen? Luc had said . . . God, hadn’t he basically told me that people got hurt when they saw things they shouldn’t? Maybe not in those words exactly, but that was how they’d come across. And he was definitely hiding Luxen at Foretoken—unregistered Luxen.
Did that happen to Colleen? She saw them or something, and now she was simply gone? Did it have something to do with had happened to Chas? Maybe he knew something, and when he woke up, if he woke up, he’d be able to tell someone.
Then again, Chas was unregistered. Who would he tell who wouldn’t jeopardize his safety?
A shudder rocked me as I flipped onto my side. I wasn’t close to Colleen at all. With the exception of briefly speaking to her Friday night, we’d maybe exchanged a handful of sentences. Despite that and because of the reality of the situation, I really hoped she showed up.
As I sat up and threw my legs off the bed, I couldn’t stop a horrible thought from forming. If something did happen to her, it could’ve . . . it could’ve happened to Heidi or me. I’d been in that dank, dark alley on Friday night.
I’d fallen into it, actually.
It could’ve happened to me when I went back to the club to get my phone. It felt like I’d tempted fate twice.
And who knew where Heidi had been until she made it to the car to wait for me? Another shudder rolled over me. That was scary to think about.
“That club is such bad news,” I muttered as I made my way to the bathroom.
Colleen would probably show up to school Monday morning. The days of people simply vanishing without trace were long over. People just didn’t go missing like that. Not anymore.
I kept telling myself that the whole time I was in the bathroom and while I changed into a pair of leggings and a long shirt. Hopefully the power of positive thinking was a real thing.
I snatched my poor cell phone off the nightstand and then made my way downstairs. Mom was already awake, in the kitchen, wearing a cream-colored robe and fuzzy kitten slippers that I swore were the size of her head.
Despite her poor clothing choices, Mom was gorgeous. Her short, sleek blond hair never looked frizzy like mine. She was tall and slender, carrying an innate gracefulness even when she wore giant kitten heads as slippers that I figured hadn’t been passed down to me yet.
I had a bad habit of comparing myself to Mom.