At an ancient university hidden in the Scottish highlands, an unmotivated student will uncover the disturbing truth of his classmates' role in the Gothic establishment.
In the Scottish highlands in an unknown past year, a recent secondary school graduate and his mother tour an ancient, Gothic university. The narrator immediately hates the school due to its cold atmosphere and foreboding architecture. The president of the university is called away from the tour to attend a man being brought in on a gurney; after he is taken away, the president explains that the university is used as an emergency room, as the nearest hospital is hours away.
Despite his protests, the narrator attends the university come September. He is hesitant when asked for a blood sample, but assured that this is standard procedure. During this test, he notices a door in the school hospital apparently leading nowhere.
Over the course of the schoolyear, the first-year students become familiar with the sight of ambulances and bloody bodies. The narrator’s friend Simon talks about seeing a one-eyed woman being brought in on a gurney, and the narrator begins considering the possibility of a morgue existing beneath the school, and to a lesser extent the possibility of ghosts living in the university.
By December, the narrator has become romantically involved with a first-year student named Angie. On the penultimate night before holiday vacation, the university hosts a party which the narrator and Angie plan to attend. The narrator waits for Angie to finish applying her makeup, and asks about a box hanging on the wall of the women’s bathroom. Angie tells him the box is for feminine health products, which the school insists are not thrown away.
During the dance, Simon bursts in and stumbles drunkenly to the narrator, handing him a skeleton key. He is dragged away by Doctor Kendrick, an alcoholic school nurse who insists Simon is drunk. The narrator is not convinced, and leaves the dance for the school hospital. While there, he sees Simon being pumped full of clean blood to purge the alcohol in his system. When Doctor Kendrick leaves, the narrator uses Simon’s key to get through the secret door, into the hospital’s basement. He discovers a laboratory apparently dedicated to studying and manipulating human blood: Simon’s blood is being taken, not given. The narrator also sees a number of naked bodies stitched together via tubes of blood, being pumped in and out of their bodies. He recognizes the man he saw months back as well as the one-eyed woman, and realizes that the school is involved in something evil.
The narrator escapes the hospital and returns to the dance, wanting to share what he’s found with Angie; however, he becomes aware that the teachers and staff are all watching him carefully, implying that they know more than he assumed. The narrator leaves the university and walks to the nearest town, nearly freezing to death on the way.