As they pulled into the church parking lot, Sam found a spot and turned off his car. He reached across Kya to open the glove box then handed her a small box of tissues.
At first, she felt slightly offended by his gesture, feeling that it was a sexist commentary on women always crying, but that notion passed in an instant when she looked into Sam’s face. Concern poured from his eyes which were locked on hers. Kya placed the box in her small black handbag, and took a deep breath. The sun almost blinded her as she exited the car. It felt like a cruel joke that the weather didn’t reflect the mood of the day, as though it wasn’t important enough for the universe to show respect for her lost friend.
The main area of the church, a long room with high ceilings, stretched outwards and crossing the distance felt like it took an eternity. Sam took Kya by the arm, and in doing so, steadied her slow march towards the front of the room. A rainbow of sunlight from the stained glass windows poured down on the rows of wooden pews. Kya slid into a nearby seat and noticed that Amelia’s sister Ainsley was absent. There were only a dozen people scattered in clumps around the church. It looked empty compared to the hundreds of people that it could potentially hold. The sheer lack of people surprised Kya. She looked around and saw none of Amelia’s co-workers from the Noble Brew, nor anyone else that she recognized. It angered her that so few people cared.
After a space of time that could have been an hour or only a few minutes, a procession of a handful of people entered the church. Amelia’s sister, Ainsley, held the hands of two small children, presumably her son and daughter. They followed two men in suits who pushed a simple, unadorned wooden casket to the front of the church. All of their faces seemed emotionless.
“No pallbearers.” Sam mumbled under his breath.
“Hmm?” Kya said mindlessly.
Dazed and confused, the time spent in the church passed in a haze. Kya stumbled as she came back from the swarm of thoughts and emotions that had consumed her. She realized she was standing in the small graveyard behind the church. In front of her was a casket, a priest was in the middle of saying a few words, and a gentleman along the edge of the small group began to hand out long stemmed red roses.
Kya turned to her left, and then quickly to her right, searching for Sam. Her startled movement attracted his attention and they looked at each other.
He looked at her solemnly and pointed his right index finger at his cheek.
At first, Kya was confused, but then realized that her face was wet. She opened her purse and retrieved a handful of tissues from the packaging. They came out in a clump, but it wasn’t a priority for Kya to sort them out. Wiping her face, she started to feel like it was difficult to catch her breath.
A few people began placing flowers on the casket, and Kya was not one holding a flower.
As the last of the flowers handed out were placed, Kya inched forward and closer to the two larger men that she stood behind.
Sam bent down and whispered into her ear, “Go if you want to. No one will stop you.”
Kya felt that there was an endless torrent of tears flowing from her eyes, but Sam’s words propelled her forward, and she pushed through to the front of the small crowd. Grabbing one of the roses still on the ground, Kya placed it on the casket and stepped backwards into the crowd. She turned and continued back towards Sam’s car, unable to stop. She wanted to escape. She wanted to yell. She wanted to pound on the casket and tell her friend to stop being dead. Standing by the car, she tried to open the door, but it was locked. A moment later, she heard the telltale click that let her know that it was likely unlocked. Kya opened the door, and sat inside.
Less than a minute later, she was joined by Sam. “Are you okay?”
Kya tried to stifle her crying, and held her breath. She stared out the window, and saw dark tendrils crawl across her vision.
“Uh, are you still there?” Sam’s concern was palpable.
Kya gasped and felt better. Her sight returned, and she held up her hands, and looked at them. A wad of tissue still in her right fist, she took another deep breath. “Yes. Sorry.” She wanted to explain herself, but the words didn’t come to her. She leaned back into the seat, and closed her eyes. “Can you please take me home?”
Sam turned on the car and began to leave the church. As they exited, they could see the small cluster of people still standing around the graveyard, some talking to each other, others holding each other for consolation.
Kya broke the silence as they stopped at the first set of traffic lights. “I think I’m going to go find out more about the guy that gave me my powers. I think I’m going to track him down tomorrow.”
“Okay.” Sam paused as the light changed and the car sped up once again. “That might be a good idea.”
The next day, Kya grabbed her laptop and began to search out information on darkly wrapped figures, passing on Supers by touch, and mysterious men. All of her searching led her to strange places on the Internet written cryptically, and with strong warnings of government involvement. Something seemed very wrong, and many of the online bulletin boards had no responses to messages asking if the original people posting were still alright after they had not posted on the site for an extended period of time. One reply on such a thread that Kya had found had a message that simply stated, “there goes another one.”
Kya grabbed her purse, jacket, and put on her shoes. She knew that she needed to focus on a new mission. A mission to find the mystery person that gave her the Supers she now had. As she boarded the bus she checked the map on her phone to see where the last stop on the South street bus line was. She had never been to that part of the city. The strong, ever quickening thud of her heart rattled her chest, her knees bounced rapidly up and down. She checked her phone again, seven more stops. Outside the city rolled on. The buildings seemed darker here, a lower quality of build, and shorter. The tallest building seeming to be no higher than ten stories. Everything was still densely packed. It looked like care was being taken to maintain it.
Dazzling works of art were painted on the sides of many of the buildings in blues, grays, blacks and purples. The graffiti depicted scenes of shadows dancing, shadows with angels wings reaching out to other shadows, and while no form was ever shown to cast the shadows, the artwork seemed to celebrate these dark figures.
Kya remembered the man who had given her powers, and wondered if these pictures were of people like him. She wondered if they were the ones preserving this part of the city, an area that seemed like it had been slapped together in haste.
“Last stop!” The bus driver called, reviving Kya from her musings.
“Thank you.” Kya stepped out of the bus into the sunshine. She looked to the west and saw a number of closed shops, but down about a block there was a sign lit up with an older, oddly coloured light that cut through the glare: Gennie’s Diner