All The Pretty Dead Girls

All The Pretty Dead Girls by John Manning Read Free Book Online

Book: All The Pretty Dead Girls by John Manning Read Free Book Online
Authors: John Manning
she put her window back up. He winked at her before putting his sunglasses back on and walking back to his patrol car. Sue sat there, watching him in the rearview mirror as he made a U-turn and headed back down the shady lane in the direction of the highway.
    Sue giggled. Becca would be proud.
    The campus was on the other side of Lebanon, and she made sure she followed the speed limit as she drove through the center of town. There was a town square with a courthouse, and little businesses lined the streets that surrounded it. Church spires poked up through the trees. People milled about on the sidewalks, some of them still in their church clothes. Sue drove on, the businesses and houses growing farther and farther apart until she was out of the town and in the country again. Through the bushes on the side of the road, Sue soon became aware of a brown brick wall. It was high and imposing, and Sue realized she had reached the campus. The wall seemed so coldly impenetrable to her—keeping people out of Wilbourne, and keeping the girls in.
    After another mile, she saw the massive brick entryway into the campus. A huge wrought-iron arrangement of curlicues and flowers branched from one brick column to the other, and in Gothic letters was spelled out WILBOURNE COLLEGE . Driving through the gates, she followed the campus map the school had sent to her. She was looking for her dormitory, Bentley Hall. All around her, girls were meandering across the campus, some carrying books, most of them in little groups. A pang shot through Sue’s stomach. They all look like they know everybody already. I know no one.
    Up ahead, she saw the sign for Bentley Hall. The parking lot in front was already full, but Sue pulled up underneath a big oak tree and sat there for a moment.
    This is it, she thought, I’m finally here.
    Excitement and trepidation warred within her. She was thrilled to be on her own, but also suddenly frightened. She supposed the fear was normal. She’d grown up very protected, very sheltered. Now she was taking her first steps on her own.
    But there was something else, too.
    She glanced up at the windows of Bentley Hall. They seemed so dark. Almost as if the glass were painted black. They’re tinted for privacy, she supposed. But for some unknown reason, those black windows terrified her.
    Watching from inside her car, Sue felt as if she had entered another world. All noise from the outside world was cut off by the sturdy construction of the Lexus. As she watched the girls stroll past, their lips moving in conversation without making any sound, Sue shivered. Why was she suddenly so afraid?
    Get over this, she told herself. You’re here. Go for it!
    There were no signs prohibiting parking, so she figured she could leave the car here, at least for now, at least until she got her parking sticker and found her way around. Sue took a deep breath and got out of the car. She stood there for a moment and looked around. The grounds of the campus were immaculately kept. A huge fountain in the middle of a big expanse of lawn bubbled to her left. Bright yellow marigolds and sunny pink petunias bordered the paved pathways leading from Bentley Hall to the other buildings, most of which were red brick, with a few hewn out of brownstone.
    Sue’s heart was thudding in her ears as she removed her suitcase from the trunk. Everything else she’d shipped on ahead of time. Ahead of her, there was considerable activity in the dormitory parking lot. Several girls were dragging boxes and suitcases out across the pavement toward for the front door. Sue was glad that Gran had insisted on shipping everything. She pulled up the suitcase’s tow bar and started rolling it through the parking lot, and pulled it up over the curb.
    Bentley Hall was enormous. Four floors high, made of neat red bricks and those large dark windows heading off in either direction from the main entrance. A wrought-iron statue of a woman in nineteenth-century clothing stood

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