Mike handed me the old leather-bound journal, and what looked like the upper right quadrant of a map. Three of its sides were carefully ripped, and singed a bit.
The book seemed to have been taken better care of, or in a safer place, considering it was not singed, only dirty. I placed them into the safe deposit box, then led the way out of the bank.
“Where to now?”
I closed my eyes against the scorching sun as we exited the bank, and fought the emotions building in my chest. “I have something I need to do.”
I had known Mike for a few days now, but he had an uncanny way of making me uncomfortable, of seeing straight through me, and completely understanding me. All those things, all at once. Part of me hated feeling so bare in front of him, part of me was relieved that I didn’t have to feel everything alone.
When we got back to Millennium Park, I stuffed the tail of my shirt full of the stones once decoratively placed around the faded, broken park sign, he did the same.
“So you’re the one marking the graves?” There he went, reading every move I made.
I couldn’t speak without crying, so I didn’t speak, I only nodded once.
We placed the stones around the portion I had marked with a flag made out of an old shirt.
“What are you calling this one?”
It was a few minutes before I could actually speak, and even when I did, I could hear the strain in my own voice. “I found several small bones, and I’m thinking they were just playing in the park when it all happened. I’m calling it something simple. Millennium Park Grave Site. Maybe one day, we’ll know who’s buried here. Right now, I just want them to not go unnoticed.”
Mike bent down beside me and helped me place the stones. “How big is this one?”
“I think they rounded all the bodies up and laid them where the pavilion once stood. Look at how it’s fresher than the ground of the playground demo.”
He nodded. “Makes sense.”
We worked in silence after getting more stones. “They’re calling it The Great American Genocide.” He chuckled a little, though nothing was funny. “I think they should call it the Attempted American Genocide.”
“I think it’s ironic the initials for their coined phrase is The GAG.”
“Well it didn’t work, now did it.”
A let myself smile, “Nope.”