People want to forget. No one would ever say it, but I think this town will be glad to see our class leave. They put up all the memorials you’d expect, but there was no need: we’re living reminders. Year after year, walking the streets, sitting in the diner, popping up in marching band and on the baseball teams.
When I wake up, all my friends are dead.
I don’t know when they stopped breathing, or how long I slept while they dropped off one by one. Josie’s basement is a windowless place where time does not matter, the lights set low. She’s sprawled across a couch, lips gone gray underneath the plumping lip gloss she uses to cover the fact she’s started shredding them with her teeth, devouring herself with need when there’s no needle in reach.
Mae wakes, as she does every morning, to the sound of a train.
Even before she opens her eyes, she can feel the low rumble of it straight through her toes, but it’s the whistle that finally tears at the thin gauze of sleep. She turns over to peer through the blinds. Just beyond their backyard, a long chain of silver cars is streaking past.
Two weeks from now, she’ll be standing in the middle of Penn Station, waiting for a train not so different from this one. The minute she steps on board, she’ll no longer be a fixed point on the map, the way she’s been her whole life.