“It was a long time ago,” I say.

“Of course it was,” Theo says.

Franny adds, “The last thing we want is for you to feel ostracized or punished in any way. Which is why we should have told you about the camera in the first place.”

I have no idea what they want me to say. That all is forgiven? That it’s perfectly acceptable to be spied on because of something I experienced when I was still in high school?

“I understand,” I say, my voice clipped. “It’s better to be safe than sorry. After all, we don’t want another mess on our hands, do we?”

I excuse myself from the table and make my escape between two of the statues. Both seem to stare at me as I depart, their blank eyes seeing nothing but knowing everything.

* * *

Theo follows me into the woods. His footsteps shush through the underbrush behind me, faster than my own, more familiar with the terrain. I quicken my pace, despite already knowing he’ll catch up to me. I just want to make him work for it. I veer left without warning, trying to outmaneuver him. Cutting across untrampled forest floor. When Theo follows suit, I do it again, this time zigging farther to the left.

He calls out to me. “Emma, don’t be mad.”

I make another sharp veer, heading off in a new direction. This time, my right foot gets caught on a tree root curving out of the ground. I trip and take a series of increasingly faltering steps, trying to right myself before succumbing to the inevitable fall.

The only thing I end up hurting is my pride. I land on my hands and knees, the blow cushioned by the leaves coating the soft, mossy earth. Getting to my feet, I see I’m in another clearing. One not as neatly maintained as the sculpture garden. It’s darker, wilder, on the cusp of again becoming one with the forest.

I rotate slowly, looking around, trying to get my bearings.

That’s when I notice the sundial.

It sits in the center of the clearing—a copper circle atop a tilted column of marble. Time has turned the copper a light blue, which makes the Roman numerals and compass rose etched into the surface stand out even more. The center of the dial bears a motto, written in Latin.

Omnes vulnerant; ultima necat.

I remember the phrase from high school Latin class, although not because I excelled at the language. In fact, I was terrible at it. I remember only because it sent a chill through me when I first learned what it meant.

All hours wound; the last one kills.

I touch the sundial, running my fingers over the words as Theo finally catches up to me. He emerges through the trees, slightly out of breath, his hair mussed by the chase.

“I don’t want to talk to you,” I say.

“Listen, you have every right to be angry. We should have just told you what we were doing. We completely handled it the wrong way.”

“That we can agree on.”

“I just want to know that you’re better,” he says. “As your friend.”

“I’m one hundred percent fine.”

“Then I’m sorry, okay? So is my mother.”

The apology, more forced than sincere, angers me all over again. “If you don’t trust me, then why did you invite me back here?”

“Because my mother wanted you here,” Theo says. “We just didn’t know what to expect. Fifteen years have passed, Emma. People change. And we had no idea what you’d be like, especially considering what happened the last time you were here. It was a matter of safety, not trust.”

“Safety? What do you think I’m going to do to these girls?”

“Maybe the same thing you said I did to Vivian, Allison, and Natalie.”

I stumble backward, gripping the sundial for support, the copper cold and smooth beneath my fingers.

“It’s because of that, isn’t it?” I say. “The camera. Digging up my health records. It’s because I accused you of hurting them all those years ago.”

Theo runs a hand through his hair, exasperated. “That couldn’t be further from the truth. But since you brought it up, I have to say it was a lousy thing you did back then.”

“It was,” I admit. “And I’ve spent years beating myself up over it. But I was young and confused and scared.”

“You think I wasn’t?” Theo shoots back. “You should have seen the way the police grilled me. We had cops, state troopers, the fucking FBI coming to the Lodge, demanding that I tell them the truth. They made me take a lie-detector test. They made Chet do it, too. A ten-year-old kid hooked up to a polygraph. He cried for an entire week after that. And all because of what you accused me of doing.”

His face has gone red, making the pale slash of scar on his cheek stand out. He’s mad now, piling it on to make it clear how much I had wronged him.

“I didn’t know any better,” I say.

“There’s more to it than that,” Theo says. “We were friends, Em. Why did you think I had anything to do with what happened to them?”

I stare at him, dumbfounded. The fact that he has to ask why I accused him makes my anger flare up once again. He might not have caused Vivian and the others to vanish, but he’s certainly not completely innocent. Neither of us are.

“You know exactly why,” I say.

Then I’m off again, leaving Theo alone in the clearing. After a few wrong turns and another stumble-inducing sneak attack by exposed tree roots, I find my way back to camp. I march to the cabins, seething all the way. I’m mad at Franny. Even more mad at Theo. Yet the bulk of my anger is reserved for myself for thinking that returning here was a good idea.