“We have to check it.”
“Please. He’s been missing for so long.”
“We said we’d never look at it again.”
Rose looked at her sister, her face softening. “Lily, we can’t. We promised mom and dad, and after what happened to Mike..”
“I know! But please, Rosie. He’s just a kid.”
Rose sighed. The truth is, she’s very worried herself and have thought about looking at The Book several times in the last few hours.
She looked at the clock. The last time anyone saw Lily’s thirteen-year-old son was nine hours ago.
Fuck. “Okay, let’s look.”
“Oh, thank you thank you!” Lily exclaimed tearfully.
The two women headed up to Rose’s room to get The Book from the chest hidden in the back of her closet.
It was too dangerous to open, but far too important to store elsewhere.
The Book has been in their family for six centuries. It contains the names, births, marriages, and deaths of all their ancestors. Every year, the names and dates appear covering the births for twenty-five years.
The next twenty-five years.
Rose was ten the first time she had a glimpse of The Book. She knew that the chest was to come to her – it was passed on to the eldest child of the current holder – but it was only on that spring afternoon that she was able to take a look at what’s inside.
At first glance, the only thing impressive about The Book was it’s size. Twenty generations back and one generation forward means it’s larger and thicker than usual.
Other than that, it was almost too ordinary. Rose knew The Book now held the names and dates of coming generations, at least those born by 2069.
It was now 2019.
She lifted it out of the chest and removed the cloth wrapped around it. Rose stood up and carefully placed it on the table. She looked at her teary-eyed sister.
“Lily, before we look, you should..”
“I know. I know there’s a possibility his death would say 2019. I don’t want it to, but I need to know.”
Rose nodded, carefully opening the book. She turned the page to the year 2006. Finding her nephews name, she took a deep breath before she looked under the Death column.
“Oh, thank God,” Lily sobbed out.
“Okay, okay,” Rose can’t help breathing a sigh of relief. “Kid’s gonna live up to his 80’s. Let’s just wait for him to get back okay? We’ll find him soon.”
Lily moved forward to hug Rose, nudging The Book off the table in the process.
In their relief, the sisters ignore the loud thud as The Book hit the floor. After a moment, they broke apart and grinned at each other.
“Okay, I swear that’s the last time we look,” Lily said.
“I keep putting this off but we really ought to put this in a safety deposit box,” Rose said as she reached down to pick up the book.
“Rosie? What’s wrong?”
The Book had fallen open on the year 1983. Rose’s year of birth.
She stared at the Death column on her name.