When Osborne High reopens, only half the students attend class. Grandma Young didn’t want to send Makani, but she received a last-minute appointment to see a sleep specialist in Omaha and doesn’t want Makani to be home alone while she’s away. But Makani wants to go to school—she thinks it would be “cowardly” not to. She thinks she might have made the wrong choice, though, when she arrives and Darby and Alex aren’t there. Darby’s parents made him stay home, and Alex asked to. The atmosphere on campus is depressing.
The narrative has offered numerous hints that the killer is targeting—or at least, messing with—Makani over the past few weeks (the opened kitchen cabinets and the misplaced shoes at the foot of the stairs, for instance). This, in combination with the fact of the book’s title (There’s Someone Inside Your House) leads the reader to reasonably suspect that the killer could attack Makani while Grandma Young is away in Omaha. Finally, the depressing atmosphere on campus reflects the town’s collective state of mourning for the deceased students.
That morning, Principal Stanton makes an announcement that Sweeney Todd has been cancelled out of respect for the victims and their families. Makani fixates on Rodrigo’s empty seat in physics class. David sits beside the empty seat, looking distant. Everyone handles Rodrigo’s death differently. The football team upholds their tradition of wearing formal clothing on game days, but even this can’t disguise their inner anguish. Suddenly, students from different cliques can relate to each other, each having this tragic October in common. Everyone sits closer together in the cafeteria. Makani thinks about what a shame it is that it takes a tragedy to bring people together.
Cancelling Sweeney Todd makes sense—it’s certainly in poor taste if not downright traumatic to perform a musical about murder for a town that has been the target of a ruthless killer. That students from different cliques set aside their differences to mourn their fallen peers points to the idea that community and empathy are essential to working through traumatic experiences. It's worth noting David’s ambiguous reaction to Rodrigo’s death. Is his distant stare a symptom of grief, guilt, or apathy? Is he the killer, as Rodrigo suspected he was in his final moments, or is this a red herring Perkins inserts into the plot to mislead the reader?
Makani and Ollie sit together at lunch. Nobody sits with them. Makani thinks about the sensationalized news coverage of the murders. It feels scummy to see reporters attack grieving families with endless, probing questions. Makani tries to engage Ollie in conversation to make themselves appear normal to their gossiping peers. She asks him about his work at the police station, as Chris is still making him stay there while he’s at work. Makani offers to let Ollie hang out at her house the next time they have the day off school.
Makani’s disdain for the sensationalized news coverage is understandable—she seems to believe that that exploiting a community and interfering in their grieving process is immoral or ill-advised. At the same time, Makani’s negativity might also offer insight into her mysterious past in Hawaii. Was she, too, hassled by news reporters following “the incident,” and this is why she is so opposed to sensationalizing tragedy?
Just then, Makani receives a text. Hearing the notification ding reminds Ollie of something Chris said about Rodrigo’s murder. At the crime scene, Rodrigo’s phone was blowing up with notifications from friends checking in on him once rumors of this death made their way across town. Makani agrees that this is very dark.
There’s something rather macabre and darkly humorous about the rumor mill working so intensely that even Rodrigo, the murder victim and the subject of the latest gossip, can’t help but become involved. Word spreads so quickly in Osborne that even it reaches even the dead.
Across the cafeteria, Caleb Greeley and a few others lead the student body in a group prayer—a common occurrence here in Osborne, but something that never happened back in Hawaii. Makani hates the group prayers. She thinks Caleb and his friends are preachy. And while Makani sincerely hopes that prayer helps people like Grandma Young find peace with their lives, Makani is irreligious and doesn’t like people forcing prayer on her. Also, Caleb seems to be relishing the attention a little too much—which is a little suspicious. But Makani’s thoughts disgust her; she realizes that she’s speculating about Caleb the same way people are speculating about Ollie.
Makani’s issue with Caleb is similar to her gripe with the sensationalized local news coverage. She feels like such public displays of grief and solidarity are more for show than they are a legitimate exercise in mourning. When Makani considers that Caleb’s attempt to grieve the dead so publicly and obviously could be viewed as suspicious (maybe Caleb is the murderer and wants to appear overly mournful to prevent people from suspecting him of wrongdoing). She’s ashamed to have such a thought since she thinks it makes her no better than the exploitative local news, or the friends she’s feuding with over their distrust of Ollie.
Toward the end of the school day, Principal Stanton makes an announcement to thank the students who attended class. He also shares some good news: Rosemarie Holt won the barrel race at last weekend’s Sloane County Championship Rodeo. Ollie thinks Rosemarie should watch her back—the killer seems to target talented students. Ollie’s observation upsets Makani, but only because she doesn’t want other students to overhear and judge him. Just then, Makani gets a text from Grandma Young: she’s still in Omaha and won’t be back when school gets out. She asks Makani to hang out with Darby until she returns from the sleep clinic. Makani texts her grandmother back and invites Ollie to come over instead.
Does Makani dislike Ollie’s dark joke because she’s worried that it might fuel more rumors about him, or because she, too, has begun to take stock in these negative rumors about Ollie? Makani clearly trusts Ollie—she wouldn’t invite him over to her empty house if she didn’t—but, at the same time, the book has repeatedly shown how little people can know of other people, so it’s worth keeping an open mind and not being too quick to eliminate anybody as a suspect in the crime.