A narrow road meanders through icy, snowy woods behind the fictitious Verdell College School, the setting in my mystery novel, Icy Silence. The road leads to a river where the bodies of two young students are found submerged in a car. Even while the police investigate the mysterious deaths, gossip about a potential Romeo-and-Juliet-style incident spreads through the corridors of this exclusive boarding school.
When ghostwriter Megan Scott and investigative reporter Michael Elliott visit the school for a weekend career presentation, the forces of nature prevent them from leaving. Mrs. Desmond, the “tough as nails” school dean, gathers staff and students to inform them about a disaster that could have dire consequences for all of them.
Here’s an excerpt from her speech:
“As you know by now, this ice storm is not to be taken lightly. The province has declared a state of emergency. We have no power. This translates to no electricity, no heat, and no way to communicate with the outside world. Regarding the latter, please conserve the power in your phones by turning them off. You’ll want to call your family to tell them you’re okay when the power returns.”
Grumbles resonated as students empathized with one another on their mutual loss.
The dean went on. “The ice storm continues to create treacherous situations. Tree branches have littered the campus, blocking lanes. Before we lost power this morning, we’d already learned that roads in the area had been closed due to fallen trees and live wires. In other words, you can’t get to Verdell and you can’t leave it—even if you wanted to.”
“We don’t know how long this storm will continue,” the dean said. “Though our bottled water and food supplies are adequate, they will have to be rationed… Smaller portions will be served.”
When the dean confirms rumors about a potential killer in their midst:
Expressions of fear and disbelief surged across the room like a tsunami until a collective roar swelled in the air. The students’ faces mirrored their panic.
An ominous situation on all counts! If you haven’t read Icy Silence, click on Books to find out where you can get your copy.