Home > Sanctum (Asylum #2)(9)

Sanctum (Asylum #2)(9)
Madeleine Roux

“It’s just . . . Felix said ‘follow,’ and it was . . . I don’t know. A cry for help, I think. I was sure getting away from Brookline would help him, help all of us, but that hasn’t been the case, has it? We’re still messed up and I keep wondering if maybe the only way forward is to go back. ‘You’re not finished’—that’s what the photos say, right? Well, maybe we’re not.”

“I was worried you were going to say that,” Abby replied, pursing her lips. Her skin, ashy from an obvious lack of sleep, didn’t at all match the bright homemade paintings decorating the room behind her.

“But not surprised,” Jordan added. Abby gave him a warning look. “What? It’s too late at night to worry about feelings and crap. Meanwhile, I’m all finished with these coordinates. Survey says ten-twenty Ellis is the first address. Thirteen-eleven Virgil is address number two. Then we’ve got nine-twenty-two Blake and finally thirty-nineteen Concord. They’re all, surprise, surprise, in spitting distance of the college.”

“So what’s it going to be?” Dan asked, trying his best to keep the undercurrent of excitement out of his voice. “Do we forget today ever happened and hope this all goes away? Or do we see what’s behind door number two?”

“And by door number two, you mean the place where we almost died,” Abby said. “I don’t know, Dan. What are you thinking, we’ll just waltz back onto campus with a set of directions and say, ‘Excuse me, sir, do you know why our psychotic sort-of friend might have sent us here?’” Abby took a deep breath. “I mean, no offense. I just really don’t follow.”

For once, Jordan didn’t have anything snarky to add. He was clearly awaiting Dan’s answer, too. But Dan had thought this through already. Really, he had Sandy to thank for the inspiration—she was the one to suggest he look at other colleges.

“How would you guys feel about a prospective students’ weekend?”

In the dream, Dan could actually feel the heat of the flames as they spouted out in front of his face. He began to sweat, ducking the gout of fire just as it left the performer’s mouth. Then he spun to glare at the man—didn’t he see him there? But the man was laughing, wiping the fuel off his lips and slapping his thigh. The whole carnival began to tip slightly, the ground shifting under Dan’s feet. This was probably what being drunk felt like, he thought, wandering aimlessly through the striped tents.

No, not aimlessly . . . Something was guiding his path. He didn’t know what he was heading toward, only that he had to get there. Answers. Answers to questions he was only now brave enough to ask. What if he could make his family do anything he wanted? What if mind control wasn’t magic, but science?

He was getting closer, just barely staying upright as he left the last of the tents behind and approached a ragged stage. In his sweaty hand, Dan clutched a slip of firm paper. “Admit One.” The old coot waited for him onstage, patient, watchful. He really didn’t look like much, but appearances could be deceiving. . . .

A shrill bell pierced the vision, and just like that the dream vanished.

Dan sat up fast in bed, instantly dizzy. The dinging outlived the dream, and he scrambled, trying to find his phone on his bedside table. In the process, he knocked over the bottle of Benadryl, which he’d left open after taking a pill to fall asleep.

Bleary-eyed, he found the phone next to the overturned bottle. He rolled onto his back, bringing the screen close to his face.

Missy had texted him.

Wish u had made it 2 the party. We all missed u!

Dan groaned and dropped the phone back on the bedside table. He probably should have at least texted her to say happy birthday, but it had slipped his mind. Too tired to reply, he pulled the blankets up over his head and tried to fall back asleep.

A single thought kept him awake, and for once, it wasn’t a bad one: soon he wouldn’t have to worry about Missy and Tariq. He would get to see Abby and Jordan, his real friends.

Chill drizzle flattened his hair, and Dan parted it and combed it with his fingers again. He fidgeted on the sidewalk, cold and anxious, drumming on his legs from inside his pants pockets. Cars drifted by, filling the air with the soft shhush-shhush of tires slicking across wet pavement.

Finally, a new bus pulled up, brakes squealing, and he could see Abby’s bright face peering out at him from above.

He waved, adjusting the heavy laptop bag slung over his shoulder. Already he had checked three times to make sure he had packed all of his meds, but now he checked the laptop bag again, almost as a nervous tic.

Just like when they first got to NHCP, Jordan and Abby had taken the same bus. The smell of diesel wafted over Dan, mingling with the wormy petrichor scent lingering on the pavement. He hunkered down into his jacket and stamped his feet to get warm. It was slightly colder here than at home, already wintry in late October. Tiny filaments of rain clung to the cold trees, benches, and cracks in the sidewalk. Down the block from the bus stop, the town businesses had put jack-o’-lanterns and twinkling purple lights out to decorate for Halloween.

Mist rolled down from the hilltop campus, blanketing the town in a milky glow.

“Hey,” Dan greeted. “You guys finally made it.”

Abby was the first one off the bus, and he hurried forward to help her with her bags. She wore a bright yellow peacoat with a sprig of peacock feathers pinned to the lapel and a floppy knit cap. Sometime since the last time he had seen her, Abby had dyed a chunk of her hair electric blue. They hugged, and Dan gave her a light kiss on the cheek.

Hot Novels
  • Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Chris
  • Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades #3)
  • Never Too Far (Too Far Trilogy #2)
  • Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades #2)
  • Library of Souls (Miss Peregrine’s Peculi
  • Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1)
  • Fallen Too Far (Too Far Trilogy #1)
  • Forever Too Far (Too Far Trilogy #3)
  • Ugly Love
  • Allegiant (Divergent #3)
  • Hold on Tight (Sea Breeze #8)
  • Bared to You (Crossfire #1)
  • The Destiny of Violet & Luke (The Coinc
  • Captivated by You (Crossfire #4)
  • Uprooted