Books of the Dead

On the table in the dining room are ten five-subject spiral notebooks and one single-subject notebook. Each section is devoted to a state; the single-subject notebook is for Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, Canada, and the rest of the world. There's a handful of pens and pencils in a mug without a handle.

The notebooks are filling up with names, people organized by state and listed with the towns and cities in which they vanished, and sometimes other towns and cities in which they lived.

These are Books of the Dead.

Amy takes a pencil and finds the notebook labeled "Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland," flips to the last section, and adds three names.

Robert Jay, Baltimore, also Worcester, MA
Elise McMillan Jay, Baltimore, also Manchester, NH, and Worcester, MA
Vida McMillan, Baltimore, also Manchester, NH

Her parents and her mom's sister. Amy has never met anyone as sad as her Aunt Vida. After her husband left her she changed back to her maiden name. She had twin boys, but Mike was killed in a car accident (he and a friend were broadsided by a truck in bad weather) and Jack, who'd joined the army, died in Afghanistan. And now they're all gone.

Amy closes that notebook and finds the one with New Hampshire so she can add her mom and aunt, and then fishes out "Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri" from the pile. She taps the pencil point with her finger and finds the first blank line in the first section.

Robert Jay, Worcester, vanished in Baltimore
Elise McMillan Jay, Worcester, also Manchester, NH, and vanished in Baltimore
Renata Jay, Worcester

Her parents, again. Her dad's sister-in-law.

Glory Vasquez, Somerville
Sandra Cardellini, Everett
Michelle Moses, Jamaica Plain
Marie Felix, Quincy

Girls who worked at the garage with her, and Marie who kept the books and - you wouldn't know it to look at her - actually owned the place. Amy doesn't know if Mish's girlfriend is still alive, but doesn't want to write down her name in case she is.

Andrew Lin, Medford
Annalisa Carter-Liu, Medford
Lindy Geoghegan, Medford

Andy and Annalisa lived downstairs, Lindy across the street.

Paul-Michel Collins, Cambridge
Deirdre McAllister, Brighton
Paula Christopher, Worcester
Stephen Otto, Worcester
Grace and Gerald Levin, Newton Highlands
Duncan Portero, Lowell

Her friends. Her old roommate and her husband. The kid she picked up hitchhiking.

She looks at the list of names and wishes there was a Book of the Living. A place to list the people she talked to or saw before she left. A way to remember that some people survived.

Tobias Hickman (Toby), Somerville
Josephine Moeller (Jo, Josie), Allston
Philip and Cassidy Geoghegan, Medford
Dean Christopher, Haverhill
David Jay, Worcester
Renee Jay, Indianapolis, also Worcester

Amy Jay, Medford, also Worcester