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At 6:30 AM, the lights went on, and Sheriff’s voice booirlies" I didn’t want to erase Jed’s scent by showering, so I just got dressed At seven, I shuffled out to roll call I had to clenchNorroup, and Five and Six in another--but this ot out there, V sidled up next to ’s happened," she hissed "Whatever you do, don’t say a thing I mean it, Brit Not a word" And then she disappeared to line up with all the Level Sixers

The counselors ca When they were done, they went and conferred with one another and Sheriff There hadn’t been a school-wide roll call since I’d arrived, so this was a rare event Everyone was buzzing, talking to one another about as happening V was giving

After soirls think you’re pretty s the crowd "I bet you think you’re so clever Well, let irls decided to take a little night off, didn’t you? We got a call thisthat soe Nah, I thought My girls are sot out our surveillance tapes, and you knoe found? We found that soot it on tape"

Shit, shit, shit, shit, I thought to et nailed, sent down the river to Level One or worse, part of ht for the world

"We got ourselves a bit of a probleood shot of who it was, but we’ve got so to find out just who our runaway is So before we get into this further, I’uilty party this one opportunity to step forward"

V was practically burning holes through me with her eyes, her brows in full-arch mode I kept my mouth shut

"I can’t say I’uilty girl is And rats don’t coirls are gonna help, too Starting now If anyone knoho our runaway is and wants to tell us about it, step forward I can promise you, you’ll be rewarded"

Tiffany! She would finkwhen I left, but who knew if she’d woken up to pee and saw that I washer way too But Tiffany atching Sheriff with rapt attention She was too duain, I can’t say I’irlies Disappointed, but not surprised So how about we add a little incentive to the pot, souilty party? As of right now, you are all dropped down a level"

A yell erupted from the crowd "No way" "That’s not fair!" "It’s not our fault" Everyone protested

"Quiet!" yelled Sheriff "You’re right, it’s not fair But we’re a family here and we take responsibility for each other’s actions One of you girls broke the rules So this is the way it’s gonna be until we figure out who ran out last night Now here’s where you girls can help yourselves I know that some of you must knohat happened Whoever did this didn’t act alone, is ame You have a week, and in that week I want to find out who ran out last night If any one of you names the culprit in a week, you’ll all be restored to your current levels If you don’t, you’ll drop down again Is that understood?"

Another ent up a I had to hand it to Sheriff He was ed him to be And his plan was successful I knew that the Sisters would never giveto let everyone drop a level I took a deep breath and started to work h the crowd

"That won’t be necessary, Mr Austin," V said, striding forward, just as Bebe yanked me back by e"

Just like that, everyone was silent, and then in unison, everyone gasped

"Larson, why am I not surprised?" Sheriff said "I will irlie The rest of you are restored to your levels, but let this be a warning: if any one of you runs out again, I will knock all of you down a peg, iht want to keep a close watch on each other, to prevent this kind of breach froet to breakfast"

The crowd shuffled away, atwitter with all the drama As our unit walked by, Sheriff called out "Hemphill, Howarth, Wallace, Jones, you come here" Bebe, Martha, Cassie, and I slunk over "Don’t think I haven’t noticed the little club you girlies have formed for yourselves Don’t think for a second I think any of you is innocent in thisyou very closely, waiting for you to slip up, and when you do, I’ht," he said, wiping the saliva from his lips

Silently, alked toward the cafeteria All around us, the other girls were giddy with gossip "Can you believe it? God, that was so stupid," one Level Three girl said

"I know Like, she’s Level Six She’s about to get out Why would she blow it like that?"

I ondering the very sa

As I walked down the hall, I saw her there, standing outside Sheriff’s office, looking s at es I knew she wanted e I knew that I should I should be grateful She saved my ass, took rateful I was furious