She nudged me with her arm. “You’ve just been really quiet all day.”

Had I? “I didn’t get much sleep last night.”

Zoe caught up with us as we began to clear the hill. “You look like you could use a nap.”

I laughed under my breath. “Yeah, I really could.”

“Did Luc keep you up last night?” Heidi grinned.

“What? No.” I’d already told them about my trip to the club yesterday. Of course, I’d left out, well, everything. When they asked if I learned anything about my mom, I’d . . . I’d lied, and I hated doing that. “I just couldn’t sleep. Did Emery keep you up last night?”

“I wish,” Heidi said, and sighed.

I was about to ask if she’d spent time with Emery last night, but Zoe stopped in front of me as we reached the entrance of the parking lot. “What in the hell?” she said.

Curious, I stepped around her. There was a car parked in the middle of the parking lot, right where cars drove through to get out. It was a newer model. A Ford. A few people stood back from it.

“Isn’t that . . . Amanda’s car?” April suddenly walked past us, her blond ponytail swaying.

“I don’t know,” Zoe answered.

April slid past a small group. “Yeah. That is her car and it’s running.”

I trailed behind April, glancing at Zoe. She shrugged. Amanda hadn’t been in chem today, but if that was her car and it was running, then was she . . . ?

It happened so fast.

“Oh my God.” A girl stumbled back from the car, dropping her bag just as the driver’s side came into view.

I saw it—saw everything before I had a chance to look away, to not see what would forever be imprinted in my mind.

Amanda was sitting in the driver’s seat, her posture rigid. At first glance I thought she was driving—I thought everything was okay—but then I saw that her head was tipped back against the seat, her long blond hair falling over her shoulders. Then I saw her face.

Someone screamed.

Someone grabbed my arm.

Someone was tugging on me.

But I saw her face through the windshield.

I saw where her eyes should’ve been, but they were just burnt-out black sockets.

* * *

“How are you handling everything?” Mom asked as she picked up a lid and placed it on a pot later that night.

I watched my Mom from where I sat on the kitchen island, my chin in my hands as she dumped popcorn kernels into a pan. Popcorn nights were kind of a tradition in our house whenever we both were home. Normally we chatted about school and watched really goofy movies, but tonight was different.

Amanda Kelly was dead.

She had been murdered in the same way Colleen had.

It looked like she’d been electrocuted, but we all knew that was what it looked like when a human was killed by a Luxen using the Source. Colleen. Amanda. Both killed in the same way. Both left at the school in a very public manner, to be found.

I shuddered.

Police had arrived before any of us could leave the parking lot. I think we were all questioned. I had no idea if Amanda had been kept like Colleen, alive for days after she’d disappeared. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to know.

“Evie?” Mom said softly.

I peeked up at her. “Yeah, I’m okay. Just . . .” I lifted a shoulder. “I was thinking about everything.”

Mom came around the island. “I wish you never had to see anything like that.”

“Me too.”

She cupped my cheek in her cool hand. “I’m sorry, hon.”

My gaze lifted to hers, and I wanted to ask what other terrible things had she seen. She worked for the Daedalus. I knew they were responsible for things just as horrific as what had happened to Amanda and Colleen. I looked away and her hand fell to the side. “Do you . . . do you think a Luxen is responsible?”

“I don’t know.” She turned, walking back around the island. She clicked the stovetop on and blue flames roared to life. “It seems to be that way.”

“Why? I mean, why would they do something like that, knowing how people already feel about them?”

“Why does a human kill innocent people? A lot of times we don’t have all the clues or answers. I think sometimes they are some people are just . . . evil, and I imagine it’s the same for the Luxen.” One of the kernels popped, smacking off the lid as she looked over her shoulder at me. “I just want you to be extra careful, Evie. Pay attention to your surroundings. Listen to your gut. Just like it was after the invasion.”

Pressing my lips together, I nodded. “So you think there is, like, a serial killer Luxen?”

Mom turned back to the stove, shaking the pan. “I don’t know what to think, but being careful and vigilant never hurts.”

I twisted my hair in my hands and tapped my foot off the base of the island. “I wonder if the cops will figure out what it has to do with the school.”

“I wonder the same.” As the popping slowed, Mom turned off the stove and moved the pot to one of those trivets I never used. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

Was I? I’d seen a . . . a dead body today. From a distance, but I’d seen enough, and my head was wrapped up in everything Luc had told me. So I guess I was okay, all things considered.

It was killing me not to talk to my mom about everything I’d learned, and my mind raced to come up with a plausible way to bring up what Luc was and what he’d said about the Daedalus without her suspecting I’d been in contact with him.

What did Mom know?

“So, I was . . . thinking about what you told me about Dad.” I kept twisting my hair, searching for a way to broach the topic with her. “You said he was responsible for taking something from Luc. A girl, right?”

Mom glanced up, and a long moment passed. “I never said it was a girl, Evie.”

Oh crap. She hadn’t? I couldn’t remember. My heart thundered in my chest. “Yeah, you did. You said it was a friend. A girl.”

“Did I?” She stared at me for a long moment and then sighed. “I don’t know the details surrounding what Jason did. I just know he did something he shouldn’t have.”

She was lying. Anger sparked deep inside me. She was totally lying. “It had to be pretty major for you to be worried about Luc.”

“I don’t want you to stress over what I told you about your father. Not when this terrible stuff is happening to your classmates. Okay? What your father did is in the past.”

But it wasn’t.

Exhaling roughly, I let go of my hair and hopped off the stool. It was time to change the subject before I blurted out things that showed I knew too much. I walked over to the counter and grabbed a large bowl. “Do you have to work this weekend?”

“I may head in for a few hours tomorrow.” She pulled the lid off the pot, revealing fluffy white heaven. “What do you have planned?”

I sat the bowl on the island and then grabbed the saltshaker, dumping a salt mine’s worth on the popcorn. “Nothing, really. Might take some pictures. I have a paper to work on.”

“How about you work on the paper first and then go take pictures?”

“That sounds too reasonable.”

“Or stay in, especially after what happened this last week.” She switched the popcorn to the bowl as I walked to the fridge. “What movie do you want to watch tonight?”

“I think I saw that movie about the haunted doll was available.”

“You want to watch a horror film?” Surprise filled her tone. “Since when?”

I raised a shoulder as I opened the door. “I don’t know. In the mood for something different.” Scanning the fridge, all I saw was a sea of blue. I frowned, craving a Coke. “There’s nothing to drink.”

“What?” Mom laughed. “There is a whole fridge full of soda.”

“Yeah, but I want a Coke.”

“A Coke? You never drink Coke.”

I shrugged again as I reached in, grabbing two bottles of water. “Do you want the spray butter?” I looked over my shoulder, finding Mom staring at me with her lips parted. “Uh, why are you looking at me like that?”