*Chapter 12: Funeral*
It's been two days since the death of Mardic Flynn, a close friend to Maria, Abraham, and Shadow, and a great son to his parents. Now he is gone. After the murder happened in the Christmas Party, Veldon was captured by Shadow who helps the security. Now, Veldon and Widow are locked away in the cell room that was below. So the two won't be near anyone else. They can't escape the cell block since it's full of security, cameras everywhere, and soundproof walls and glass in front of them. Nobody was the same since the party incident. Even Maria couldn't come out of her room for two days until the funeral day that's tomorrow. Gerald tried to talk into her about coming out, but she refused the offer, and refuse to eat, but to drink water. Abraham tried his way to talk to her, but Maria refused as well. It's up to Shadow to talk to her, but...he will think that he will fail as well. Still, he had to try. Shadow came to the door, and knock three times. There is no answer. Shadow knocked again, and still no answer. He knows Maria is in there. With a sigh, Shadow got the door open since it's not locked. He took a step inside and found the room is dark and quiet. Yet, Maria is on her bed, holding a pillow close, and her tears were falling from her eyes.
"What do you want?" She asked, in a shaky voice. "I don't want to come out. I need to be alone."
"Maria, it's me." Shadow said. Maria turned her head back to see him.
"Oh." She said, slowly sitting up. "I...wasn't expecting you, Shadow." She wiped her tears away. "But, I can't talk about it, you know that. It's...it's too much." Shadow place his hand over hers. "Shadow, I'm so sorry about the party, but...I didn't know that was going to happen."
"It's not your fault." Shadow said. "Veldon and Widow are locked away. They won't be bothering us anymore. Gerald and I will always check on them from now on. But, we are not forgetting what Veldon did. He will pay for this." Maria sniffed a little. Shadow wiped the tears away from her eyes. "I won't let anyone hurt you. I promise you that." Shadow said. Maria hugged him, burying her face on Shadow's head. The black hedgehog wrapped his arms around her waist.
"Thank you, Shadow." Maria said. "For everything..."
"You're welcome." Shadow replied. "Now, will you please come out of this room? Your grandfather was worried about you, and he needs to speak with you."
"Yes. I should see him." Maria said. They both walk out of the room until Shadow heard voices behind him. He walked down the corridor and saw two security men with two family members that Shadow had never seen around the ARK before. A man with a black goatee, saying to the men that he is a doctor himself, and beside him is a girl with black short hair and glasses. She looked like she is around Maria's age, but maybe a year or two years older.
"So, you are friends with Mr. and Mrs. Flynn who recently lost their son and come here to give support and stay for a few days after the funeral?" The man asked.
"Yes sir. I'm Dr. Howard Taris. My daughter, Valerie." The doctor said. The girl smiled a little, but too shy to speak.
"Alright. You two follow me. I will take you to Professor Gerald." The other security man said by gesturing the small family to follow him down the corridor. Shadow watched them in silent. There are some friends from Earth that the professor worked with or others in the ARK knew. Of course, Mardic was killed and people have to show support. Since tomorrow was the funeral, Shadow will have to be there with Gerald and Maria.
The next evening, Maria was dressed in a black dress, black shoes with black leggings, and her hair was down with no headband. She sighed a little, trying to be strong for this night. She really hates funerals. She doesn't want to see the loved ones in the coffin, and be taken away down to Earth where they could be buried. Maria had to be there for Mardic's funeral. Maria walked out of her door and see Howard and Valerie coming in, dressed in black. Maria heard they arrived, but she didn't have the chance to see them in person.
"Oh, you must be Maria." Howard replied.
"Yes. And you are Dr. Taris?"
"Yes. Pleasure to meet you." The doctor sticks out his hand for Maria to shake. As they shook, Valerie stares at Maria in silent, holding her hands together like a little kid. Maria found this girl a little odd, but she couldn't blame her. "This is Valerie. She's a little shy, but I'm sure you two will be great friends while we stay for a few days." Howard said. Maria nodded at him, then looked at Valerie.
"I guess you knew Mardic too." She said. Valerie frowned a little.
"I only talked to him on the phone." She said. "He can't come down where I live."
"...I can't come down there either." Maria said with a sad tone in her voice. "...Mardic was a good fried. He's like a big brother to me. I guess he was the same to you, huh?" Valerie only gave her a shrug.
"I'm very sorry for the loss, Maria. Mardic was a good kid." Howard spoke. "Let us follow you to the hall where the funeral was held." Maria nodded and walk down the corridor as Howard and Valerie follow her. As they walked, Valerie came by Maria's side.
"Um, how long have you been up here?" She asked.
"...Since I was born." Maria replied. "I hear Earth was a wonderful place to live. It's my dream to go down there with my grandfather and friends. But, now...Mardic was in the better place now. I want to discover Earth with him. I guess...I guess he will be with me in spirit since I can't see him."
"When Mardic and I talked on the phone, he told me everything about this place, and you. And he said something about the hedgehog who is his friend too." Valerie said. "You guys have animals up here? Can I see them?"
"Valerie." Howard said. Valerie turned to him, and made a sorry look. Now is not the time.
They arrived at the hall and there are people dressed in black. Men in black or gray, and woman in dresses. Maria saw the Flynns by the doorway to see Mardic in the coffin. The mother was crying, dabbing her eyes with a tissue. Maria came up to them and hug them both. Howard and Valerie watched in silent as Maria walked inside the room. As the Taris family talked to the Flynn family, Maria saw a brown coffin, and there is Mardic inside in a suit, and his skin was pale. Maria's tears were forming as she came close to the coffin.
"Oh, Mardic..." She whispered. "I'm so sorry..." She touches the hand. "Oh god...you are so cold." She looks at the face. It look like Mardic was sleeping peacefully, but Maria knew that he will never wake up. He is dead. Killed by Veldon who was now locked in the cell room. "I will miss you, Mardic. Shadow will miss you. Abraham will miss you. And...Valerie and her father are here to show support." Maria says. "Everyone you know and love are here for you. Please hear us."
"Maria?" Gerald says by the doorway. Maria turned to see him there with Howard and Valerie. "Let them see him." Gerald said. Maria nodded and walk out of the room and let the family see Mardic. She can hear Valerie sniff a little. Gerald brought his granddaughter into a hug. "So glad you are here." He said.
"How could I not, grandpa?" Maria asked. "I have to come here for my friend." Gerald nodded and pull away. "Where's Shadow?" Maria asked. "He's coming too, isn't he?"
"Yes. He's with the guards to check on the cells. For safety's sake, dear." Gerald replied. "Now, come up on stage with me. We're going to start in a few minutes." Coming in the hall is Shadow, wearing a black jacket that was buttoned, but his white fur was shown. He approached the stage with Gerald and Maria, telling them that Veldon and Widow are still locked in tight in their block and nothing could go wrong. Gerald thanked the hedgehog and told him and Maria to sit on the chair that's by the stand where Gerald would announce soon. Shadow sat next to Maria, but noticed Howard and Valerie coming out of the room where the coffin is.
"Do you know them?" Shadow asked. Maria looked over and nodded.
"Well, I just met them, but they are nice. They knew Mardic's parents, and him. Valerie said that she and Mardic talk on the phone." She said. "So, they will be here for a couple days before going back home."
"Hmm." Shadow murmured. Now, the funeral had started, and the coffin was below the stage where Gerald, Maria, and Shadow stood. Gerald was giving a speech about Mardic's life on the ARK, but also on Earth. Maria never thought that Mardic was from Earth, but she didn't want to think about that now. Gerald called his granddaughter up, since she wanted something to say. She came up on the stand and took a breath. Everyone was watching her in silent, some are in tears, some remain strong.
"Um, I just...I just wanted to say that..." Maria started. "Ever since I was a baby, Mardic was there for me whenever I needed him. But, since I now knew that he was born on Earth and come up here for me, I'm glad I met a boy like him who cares so much about me." She said. "We do everything together. He dreams of becoming a scientist like his father. And I dream of going to Earth with him and everybody I love so much. Mardic was a great friend to me, to Abraham, and to Shadow." She turned back to see Shadow looking at her. "Mardic and Shadow are close, and they set this Christmas Party up for me so I can have a holiday spirit, and...I love them for doing a nice thing."
"Aww." Valerie whispered in the front row.
"Mardic may be gone, but...he will never leave our hearts." Maria said. "Mardic, we will miss you. You may be gone, but not forgotten." She shuts her eyes, tears falling from her eyes, and she opened them again to look at everyone. "Thank you." She walk back to her seat and dry her tears. Gerald came back to the stand.
"Thank you, Maria. That was beautiful." He said. "Mardic Flynn will be dearly missed, but like my granddaughter said, he will never be forgotten." Everyone nodded. After a while, the men took the coffin out of the hall as everyone watched in silent, and in sorrow. The Flynns said goodbye to Gerald and everyone. They have to be in the ship to be at the graveyard. Maria cried a little as the coffin is gone. Shadow took her hand, soothing her.
Maria walked down the hall to get to her room until a deep voice was heard in thin air. She froze at the spot and look around for someone, but no one was around. She is alone. That voice was unfamiliar. Who was that? The girl thought she must've hearing things and made it to her door until she feels dizzy. She groans a little and holds her head with one hand, and covered her mouth with the other as she coughs.
"Don't fight it, human girl." The deep voice says. "Unleash your anger and madness."
"Ugghh..." Maria grunted, sinking to the floor. "Who...are you?"
"Someone who can guide you." A voice said. An alien creature appeared before her from behind. No other than Black Doom. "Do you wish to avenge those who were destroyed by their own race?" He asked. "Do you wish to have that human's blood on your hands?"
"Get...out!" Maria said with a grunt, not turning to face him. She was scared to face him. "Get out of here!"
"Such a poor little human." Black Doom chuckled as he circle her, and everything around them fades away and turn into ruins of space. "This is all in your mind, child. Your madness will take over your mind."
"Go away! Leave me alone!" Maria screamed, shutting her eyes. "Get out of my head!"
"Hahahaha." Black Doom laughed as he watched the girl starting to tear up. "You need revenge on that human, child. Unleash your anger and madness. Humans like him can destroy you. They are afraid of your sickness, and die because of you." Maria then opened her eyes and they are no longer blue... Black Doom laughed evilly. "Perfect..."