“Holy Shit that’s gruesome!” Zane’s voice cracked.
“Okay. That’s it. I’m out. I’m going to the boathouse and see if there’s a boat for us.” Blane sounded almost as panicked as Zane.
Riko’s first instinct was to make sure everyone was together. The killer would have a harder time getting them if they were in a group. She knew it wasn’t true. Missy died while they all watched a tv screen.
“That sounds like a good plan,” Riko told them.
“No it’s a terrible plan,” Sandrine said through her sobbing. “If we split up we’re dead… dead!”
Trying to sooth her, Riko whispered, “If we can get off, we’ll be away from this killer.”
The two men nodded and walked back into their rooms to get dressed. Not wanting to deal with the mess that was Abe, Riko closed the door. She moved towards Ethan’s room, to tell him what happened and Sandrine followed her wordlessly.
It was strange to have someone like Sandrine be in shock from a murder. From what Riko had read she’d been implicated in more than her fair share of deaths. Maybe she was faking? If she was, she was a really good actor.
She knocked on Ethan’s door and held her breath as she waited for him. He came to the door looking groggy. He was only in his underwear, and his naked torso made Riko blush. He wasn’t built like a body builder, but he was toned and in great shape.
Seeing her face he said, “Who?” She told him about Abe and how Sandrine had found him. He shook his head and replied, “I’ll be right back.”
While they waited, Riko changed into a pair of comfortable jeans and an Ottawa Police Service baseball tee-shirt. In high school she’d played a little baseball, so when she joined the force she was happy they had a team. The team mostly played against other emergency services and it was all just for fun, but she took pride in the fact that they’d won.
“Cute.” Sandrine’s tone was half admiring, half sarcastic. She must have been feeling better.
Ethan came back out and smirked at Riko. “Ok, let’s get some breakfast.”
“How can you think of food?” Sandrine looked annoyed.
“We’ll all think and survive better if our blood sugar is regulated.” Ethan glared at her, daring her to say anything.
The cafeteria was just as they’d left it the light before. Zoe and Kate were sitting together in the far corner eating canned fruit straight from the cans.
“I saw eggs, bacon, ham, cereal, and a whole lot of fresh fruit yesterday. Why are you eating that?” asked Sandrine.
“It’s the hardest thing to tamper with. I’m not eating bacon soaked in arsenic or fruit with razor blades in it.” Kate’s voice was steady but Riko could hear the note of panic hiding behind her logic.
“That’s a good point,” Ethan said, surprising her. “I know it sounds totally paranoid but we have no idea what this crazy person wants from us or to do to us. Poisoning the food makes sense.”
“I don’t like it,”Riko grumbled and made her way to the kitchen. In the fridge, pantry, and everywhere else she looked she saw ways to die. “Even the coffee could be ruined,” she muttered starring at her favourite brand of coffee. “and they have mint chocolate chip coffee.”
She reached into the pantry for a can of peaches when she heard Sandrine swear and punch the wall. “I will not live in a state of terror,” Sandrine growled and for the first time since last night, Riko saw some of the fire and anger that had made the other girl the school’s most feared bully.
“My cousin owns a restaurant, smell and taste everything a tiny bit. If it tastes off don’t eat it. Riko give me a hand.” Sandrine started piling all the dishes, including the reusable coffee filters, into the industrial sized dishwasher. “These things heat hot enough to melt the flesh off a turkey. They’ll kill anything that some psycho would put on the dishes.”
Sandrine barked orders at Ethan and Riko as if they were kitchen hands in a reality TV cooking show. Before they knew it they had a big hearty breakfast on the table. The smell of bacon enticed Kate and Zoe over and after Sandrine ate a few pieces of everything, they all tucked in for a big breakfast.
Despite, or possibly because of, the trauma of the past few days they all ate more than they’d normally consider. When the meal was over Sandrine said, “It’s going to take more than a few terror tactics and bad booby-traps to kill me.” She said it with bluster but then cringed. Everyone was silent for a moment expecting something to happen. When nothing did they all laughed a little.
“Riko, you’ve got to stop him,” Arun shouted as he ran into the dining room.
Everyone jumped. “What’s wrong?”
“Jonathan, Zane, Blane, and I were trying to get the old boat we found in the boat house working,” Arun panted. “We had it running when Jonathan found a flare gun and threatened to shoot if we didn’t get off the boat.”
Everyone got up and ran as fast as their full stomachs would allow them.
They got close to the boathouse in time to see an old fishing boat pull out. Jonathan’s laugher could barely be heard over the thrum of the engine.
From a distance Riko could see Zane and Blane on the dock looking downtrodden.
They all watched as the boat grew smaller and more distant. “Maybe he’ll tell people where we are,” suggested Ethan. Almost perfectly timed with his words, they all got a text message. As they pulled out their phones, the boat exploded.
The fifth was a jerk who loved a good burn, now in a ball of fire it’s his turn