Alanna covered her mouth as she let out a silent yawn. She had spent the entire night reading fanfiction and had no energy to go to school. Not like she wanted to go in the first place anyway, at least not after what happened five years ago. She smirked lightly. Five years? It still felt like yesterday to her. She shook her head to the thought and plugged in her earbuds as she blasted her music.
She had no destination in mind as she walked, school far from her priorities. It wasn’t as though her parents minded thanks to that lovely incident, heck they barely even talked to her now. The world was her playground! At least, in her mind it was. Amongst all the people walking with her on the street, she had to be the most careful amongst. She even compared herself to the mother who walked by her, gently rocking the crying baby in her arms. Yes, she had to be careful.
“Watch it!” Alanna blinked at the force of the voice. She had been rudely bumped by another, and upon looking up, was met with eyes dark with irritation.
“I’m sorry,” she murmured, unplugging one of ears with a soft pop. Music blared from the tiny white bud, and it seemed to have irritated the other more. Not that she cared what he thought.
“Stupid teenagers with their stupid music.” She rolled her eyes as he grumbled away, returning her earbuds where they belonged. At least she didn’t have to listen to him anymore.
More people passed by her as she walked. They all seemed to be busy, not caring about others in the least. She shook her head realizing she had no right to judge. Alanna refocused herself on her walk taking in the surroundings. So much had changed since she last remembered, she noted, eyes glued to the tall buildings near her apartment.
It was tall, perhaps tall enough to touch the sun if she looked at it from below. There was a glistening of metal shine to the outer walls of the complex, windows made from fiberglass. To her, it seemed like every building was being reinforced. Everywhere she looked more and more buildings stood tall. They screamed strength and fortitude. She laughed a little to herself.
Now that she thought about it, her family had only recently moved to that apartment complex. She remembered nothing of the event, only that she was already living there.
A sigh escaped her lips, she really didn’t want to think about things like those, so she continued her little journey around the city. She stopped by a bus stop, hoping that she could go a bit farther in the city. Just walking around had its limits and one of them made itself known to her early. She practically fell on the bench as her sore legs gave out on her. Alanna wasn’t used to walking this long. She laughed to herself quietly as she remembered the reason she never went into sports: she lacked endurance.
Bored, Alanna had begun swinging her legs as she waited for the bus to come. Even music couldn’t fully take away her freedom and she didn’t dare use the internet on her phone, so she opted in counting the clouds. She had reached thirteen when an elderly woman dressed in black had sat next to her. Alanna politely ignored her presence, no one really acknowledged anyone while waiting for the bus. Often people just tried to ignore the presence of the others, scooting away when they got too close. She returned to her counting. When she got to her seventeenth cloud, an odd ringing of bells had her unplugging the earbuds from ears.
It was a soft tinkling melody that held a sad tune. Once, twice, thrice it rang, sending a song of loss and misery down her spine. Along with the music came a procession of black. Men and women of all ages, ethnicity, and body structure walked the streets all dressed in black. Some wore long black robes like those Alanna had seen in her fantasy movies and anime. Some even had hoods covering their faces. She rose slightly from her seat to try and see what the people seemed to be hiding among the mass. It looked like a long black box. She squinted and remedied her thought: boxes. There was more than one.
One, two, five, seven boxes were hidden in the mass of people. At least, that’s how many Alanna had counted. She could be wrong, but there was no way to refute it. She continued her little observation of the event, curious as to what could be happening.
A man stood at the very front of the mass, at least she assumed it was a man. He held a staff that had a bell at the very end. It was most likely the bell she’d been hearing. Solemnly the procession walked until she saw no more of the people and no longer heard the bell.
“What in the world did I just see?” She asked herself completely baffled at what she’d just seen. Then she remembered about the old woman she saw and momentarily panicked; she absolutely didn’t want her to think she was a crazy person. Please no, she already had too much to worry about and being deemed insane would just add to her worries.
The elder chuckled to herself. “Haven’t been here long have you dearie?” she asked. Alanna gave a, hopefully, non-awkward smile.
“You could say that,” she grinned though her brows pinched together.
“That was a Funeral sweetie,” she told Alanna. “Nowadays, Funerals have been increasing at a horrible rate.”
“That must be horrible,” Alanna replied, trying to feign sympathy. The older woman seemed to be really disturbed about it, but really she could care less about it. “But you know,” she began, still a little confused, “I haven’t heard the news talk about that many people dying. Especially something this local, people should be talking.”
“Oh dearie no,” the elder woman exclaimed. “This is no ordinary funeral. It’s a Funeral conducted by the Undertakers.” The woman most likely saw the horrid confusion on her face as she continued to talk. “Surely you know what the Undertakers do? They’re responsible for sealing demons in Graves after all. Well, what you saw was the beginning of a Funeral, most likely for a possessed body. They walk from one location to another ringing that bell to calm the demon within the caskets so they’ll be ready for sealing. Sometimes the procession takes longer if the demon is particularly restless.”
“Why a procession in the first place?” Alanna was really confused about that idea. Wouldn’t walking be real tiring? Wouldn’t that just drain a person’s concentration?
“They walk to silence the words of the demon,” the old woman supplied. “Sometimes the demon tries to talk its way out of a Funeral, promising sweet prizes for releasing them. Walking helps the undertakers concentrate while they chant.”
“Hmm, is that so?” she hummed. “Well I guess that clears that up.” She did have one more question. Alanna turned to the elder woman, sitting back down. “How come you know so much ma’am? Does it come from experience?”
The old woman chuckled at her. “Wouldn’t you like to know?” Alanna saw a brief flash of images as the woman’s head split. She watched as a long tongue emerge from the split and rows of white and yellow teeth poked through the flesh of her head. Claws tore through the fingers of the old woman, ripping the nice black purse in her hands.
A demon, Alanna thought as she grimaced at the sight. Demons were grotesque, malformed humanoids; they were remnants of a failed superhuman experiment back in the past. It was an experiment gone wrong as humans tried to create a superhuman and only ended up with a creature that sought out human flesh and blood. “Demon” was the most appropriate word to describe them back then what with their strange abilities that could be categorized as “magic,” not that it was true, but as far as Alanna was concerned, Demons had magic.
She rolled her eyes when the Demon charged at her, long claws ready to rip her soft flesh apart. “Thanks for the food,” she murmured as the Demon paused to look down. A spear of sorts had pierced its belly, red blood flowing from the wound. Alanna cocked a brow at the Demon.
“H-how?” it stammered quietly, before falling limp and dead. Alanna cracked her neck as the limp body splattered on the floor. She stared at it for a few seconds before turning to the floating spear head. It had been dyed red with blood, but the blood quickly disappeared, absorbed by the spear. She watched the blood move through vein like structures in the spear. Thin red lines that seemed to illuminate on the bone colored spear. Blood travelled down in a swirling manner until the red disappeared and gold chains formed.
The spear twisted and turned, attracted to the body on the ground. Alanna let out a sigh. "Yeah yeah I know," she spoke softly and knelt by the dead body. The spear split in five smaller spearheads, the same number as the chains, and each chain was connected to a finger. The chains retracted short enough that each of its spearhead rested on the black band wrapped around Alanna's wrist.
She's watched the process for quite some time, but it still amazed her. The chains jingled quickly, as if to show irritation. "Shut up. I'm on it." Alanna quickly placed her right hand on the Demon's corpse. The large gem on her ring glowed a brightly color blue as soft aurora like lights erupted from the corpse and into her hand. As quickly as it appeared, the lights disappeared. She stood, dusting her knees free of dirt.
"So much for being careful," she murmured. The sun had began to set and the streets empty of any life. Alanna scratched her head at the sight, "I wonder if the city put out a curfew?"