Nanoprep 2020 Day 16: Funeral Procession
By Robin de Voh on 2020-10-26
"They look so stupid," Chloe said, smirking. She looked at Chase, sitting closely next to her, and he shook his head while smiling, seemingly agreeing.
They were sitting on a tombstone, looking out at a socially distanced funeral procession of -- as mandated by the measures -- a maximum of 30 people. Solemn faces, some covered in veils, but all covered in face masks.
"Glad we don't have to worry about it," Chloe said as she floated off the tombstone and onto the ground in front of it.
"It's weird, isn't it? The whole world is obsessed with this disease, but I can't remember what it feels like to be afraid for my health, you know?" Chase said, still on the tombstone, now leaning forward a bit.
Chloe nodded, though she still kind of remembered. She'd died about 2 years before, but Chase, he'd been dead for nearly 15. They were the same age -- sort of -- since they had died at around the same age, 22 and 23. If they had been alive and had aged, it would have been super creepy at this point. But, speaking of creepy, they were ghosts, they already were super creepy.
Chase had figured out what his unfinished business was about a year back, but meeting Chloe had convinced him to stick around until she had figured out how to go towards the light as well. Solidarity. And, perhaps, he liked her a bit.
"Who do you think they're burying?"
"I doubt it's anyone I know," Chase said.
"Not what I mean, more, like... Never mind," she said as she lifted off the ground. "I'm going to go see."
"Alright, I'll be here," he said.
Chloe had more interest in the living left than Chase could muster. It seemed the longer it had been since you were alive, the less interested the living were. As she floated away, he leaned back again and just looked at the procession, now further away.
"Face masks. Who would've thought this would ever happen," he scoffed.
Chloe made her way down the hill they had been on and down to the procession. She looked around to see if anyone had a condolence card with them showing who it was for, but she didn't see any. She floated towards the start of the procession and saw two people, early 40s maybe, arm in arm, crying.
"Oh," she whispered. She stopped. She realized it was probably their kid they were burying.
Then she got a tap on the shoulder. Startled, she turned around quickly but also floated backwards a bit.
"Hi," an unfamiliar face said to her.
It was a girl, maybe 16 or 17, and she was a ghost like her. Not floating, and not as see-through as her or Chase, but definitely a ghost. After all, only ghosts could touch other ghosts.
"Hi," Chloe stammered. "Who are you?"
The girl turned her head and looked at the funeral procession.
"I'm her," she said as she pointed towards the casket. "Dead now."
"Ah, I'm sorry," Chloe said. "That must suck."
"Kinda, yeah. I didn't expect it, but here I am. You're also dead, right?"
"I am, have been for a few years now."
"How'd you die?"
"That's kinda personal," Chloe said, looking away awkwardly.
"Sorry, I'm not really sure how to act right now. If it helps, I died of this corona thing."
"That's the disease they're wearing the face masks for, right?"
"Yeah," the girl said, her eyebrows furrowing, "at least they're wearing them. I should have too."
Chloe looked at the girl questioningly.
"Sorry, what's your name, actually?"
"Aria, sorry. And yours?"
"Nice to meet you, Chloe. Interesting circumstances, of course."
"Hey, before we continue, you want to meet my friend?"
"Sure, I've got nowhere else to be at the moment. I'm not too keen on seeing my own funeral service."
Chloe smiled and waved for Aria to follow her, as she started moving towards Chase.
"Chase, meet my new friend, Aria," Chloe said.
"Ah, hi," Chase said, nodding slightly.
"He takes a bit to warm up," Chloe said to Aria.
"That's okay. So, I died of corona, I guess, and now I learn that ghosts exist, and there's a couple in our local graveyard," Aria said with a wry smile. "Not how I expected my week to go, to be honest."
Chase perked up.
"You died of corona?"
"What was that like?"
"It wasn't great, it was like getting a flu, but that flu just kept getting worse, and then I was put into a coma and now I'm here."
"Damn. At least I just had an old-fashioned car crash," Chase said.
"Yeah, my death wasn't as topical as yours either," Chloe said to Aria.
Aria coughed. "Sorry, guess I'm not quite over it yet," she said, coughing once more.
Chloe took a floating version of a step back.
"What do you mean you're not over it? You mean corona? You're a ghost, how can you be sick?"
Aria shrugged while she coughed a couple more times and managed to squeeze out an "I don't know, I don't know how ghosts work, either."
Chase sat there, unmoving, just kind of observing.
"Chase, you should take some distance too."
"Nah, I haven't been sick since I died, I doubt this will be a problem."
Aria kept coughing, and it sounded like it was getting worse.
"Chase, I really think we should keep our distance. We don't know what this means, okay?"
Chase got off the tombstone and floated towards Aria. He clapped her on the back a few times to try and help her clear her cough. It seemed to help a little and Aria's breathing slowly returned to normal.
"Thanks," Aria said to Chase.
"No problem," Chase said.
Aria had seemed a bit better and stuck around, so the three of them had hung out. Well, Chloe slightly less, as she tried to keep her distance, trying to see what would happen and figure out if this coughing ghost situation was a problem or not. One thing she'd learned from observing the world over the past year or so had been that nobody understood this disease fully.
And she had been right. It had taken a few days, but eventually Chase had developed a cough as well, which got worse over the course of a few more days.
And they had all found out what happened when a ghost died when Aria... Well, died again. She went out like a puff of smoke, the wind dissipating her incorporeal being as she went. Chloe and Chase had been silent for a good long while after that happened, until Chase spoke up.
"Do you think that'll happen to me?" Chase asked Chloe, moving towards her.
"Dude, keep your distance, okay?" Chloe said. "And I don't know. Do you think that was her soul? That she moved on?"
"I didn't get a feeling like she moved on, it kinda felt like she just... Stopped being."
Chase coughed again.
"You're getting worse," Chloe said, looking worried. "I think..."
"I know what you're thinking and I'll just say it, I don't want to."
"Do you want to disappear? Just, on the wind, like her?"
"No..." he said, looking away towards where Aria had been.
"Well, then you should go. Before it's too late."
Chase sighed. He had said he needed to think about it, but an hour later he came back and said that she was right. He had waited for her to be able to come with him when they both knew how to. But his time, unexpectedly so, had come. Again. In a different way.
"Find me over there, okay?" Chase said.
"I'll try, I promise," Chloe said.
Chase nodded and realized he couldn't give her a goodbye hug. He sighed and closed his eyes, thinking real hard on the things he'd been avoiding thinking about. As he thought and pieced thoughts together, worked through his unfinished things, a light appeared underneath him and he started sinking into it.
Once he noticed, he opened his eyes and looked up at Chloe.
"See you there."