Chapter 122:

The Cremation

The Y-files [GL]

We arrived early at the funeral parlor. There were quite a lot of students from our school waiting outside of the hall, and I was surprised by the number of couples among them.Bookmark here

Had there always been so many lesbian couples at our school or had I just started to see it recently? I certainly did not remember anyone showing it this obvious. So many of them stood hand in hand.Bookmark here

Anna walked next to me, she looked serious and professional. The mood in the crowd was pretty somber like you would expect when somebody young dies. A lot of people approached me to give me their condolences. They had most likely seen Anna's video, the one that she spread to teach me the importance of information control. So all I could do was nod friendly.Bookmark here

I noticed mom talking to Josh and Nicole so I quickly made my way, to be able to do some damage control. When they noticed me, Nicole immediately hugged me and said, you can come and sit with the family today. If you want, there is still time. You can still give her a final greeting, she has been prepared for the people that were close to her.Bookmark here

This was our chance. This would a lot simpler than the complicated plans we had devised. I accepted the invitation but said that I would first inform another close friend of Louisa of this. Anna stayed with mom Nicole and Josh. I felt a little worried at that combination, but there was no time to waste if we wanted to put the voodoo dolls in the casket.Bookmark here

I made my way to Elsa and told her that we had a chance to greet Louisa. She immediately realized this was our chance.Bookmark here

We were led into a small room where Louisa lay in an open casket. They had made her pretty like a porcelain doll. Elsa took her doll and put it into the casket.Bookmark here

“Shouldn't we hide it? If anyone sees and takes it out this is all for nothing.”Bookmark here

I took my doll and gently put it underneath Louisa, making sure to disturb her the least possible. Shivers went through me while I touched her corpse, so I quickly finished up. I noticed Elsa looking at me with fear in her eyes. “ I-I can't do that, Claire. I am not hat strong. Being in his room seeing her is already more than I can take.”Bookmark here

I guess there was no other way. I stepped over to Elsa and took her hand in mine. “Close your eyes, I will guide your hand. The book said it's important that you do it after all.”Elsa meekly nodded. I guided her hand to pick the doll back up and then again, gently put the second doll underneath Louisa.Bookmark here

“There, you can open your eyes again, you've done it,” I said.Bookmark here

I saw the relief come over Elsa and she left the room as quickly as I could.Bookmark here

Now that I was alone with Louisa, I said “I really do not know how I should feel about you, with all that I found out. Of all the crazy stuff you did, the only thing you never tried was talking to me, or lay contact in a normal way. Because of that, even though you were obsessed with me, you were a stranger to me. Maybe things could have gone differently, but they didn't. Due to everything that happened, we are the only two that know that now.”Bookmark here

The room was quiet after my words. I was making my way to the door when Josh and Nicole entered. Josh looked at me and said
“She looks so peaceful, doesn't she.”Bookmark here

I nodded respectfully. Then he said, “I was wondering if I could ask something of you, Claire.”Bookmark here

“Of course, if there is anything I can do to help.”Bookmark here

“At home, I noticed we haven't got a decent picture of the both of you together, and I wondered if you would allow me to take one now.”
I must have misheard that. “Pardon me?”Bookmark here

He took out his camera and said “If you just pose with her, I can make it look like she is sleeping peacefully on your lap.”Bookmark here

I looked at Nicole for help from this madness, but she looked at me with expecting eyes. They were grieving parents, and I wanted to do my best to help them, so I took a step toward the casket and looked at Louisa. I put my hand in her direction and felt my mind protesting. Enough is enough. I can't desecrate Louisa like that, just for her crazy parents. I felt like I was being pushed against the wall, forced to do stuff that I really did not want to do, or ever wanted to see happen. Tears started dripping from my eyes. No, I could not do this. This was way too much.Bookmark here

“I-I'm sorry, I can't.” I ran out of the door crying. I wanted to have nothing to do with Louisa or her crazy family. The second I was outside of the parlor, mom caught me and took me into her embrace. “I know dear. It's terrible that she isn't coming back.” It wasn't the reason I was crying now. I was crying but it felt good to feel the embrace and support of my mother nevertheless. “But remember you have Anna now. Make sure to hold on to her tightly, so you never have to feel like this again.”Bookmark here

Mom released her embrace and passed me to Anna, and went to talk to Ms. Lourdes herself.Bookmark here

Anna looked at me with a worried look on her face and quickly hugged me. “Elsa told me everything went fine. So did something happen after she left?”Bookmark here

Anna looked shocked at me when I told her what Josh and Nicole had asked of me. Just putting it into words again was enough to make me start crying again. Anna hugged me and tried comforting me.Bookmark here

I heard a lot of people in the crowd mentioning that I was the girl that tried to stop Louisa, and they looked at me with eyes full of pity.
More people came over to offer me condolences.Bookmark here

A little later Josh and Nicole were back outside and walked toward me. “We wanted to say we're sorry. We were really touched by seeing how much you loved Louisa. Know that you are always welcome in our home.”Bookmark here

The bell rang to announce that we were allowed inside the crematory.Bookmark here

“You and your mom can come and sit with the family. It's only right.” I looked at Anna, and she gave me a little nod, to show me that she understood that I could not sit with her.Bookmark here

So, there I was, sitting in between mom, Josh, and Nicole. Josh and Nicole had asked me to be the last person to speak since everyone thought I was the last person to talk to her when she was alive. I think they put some special kind of symbolic meaning to that fact in their heads.Bookmark here

We were listening to music and some family members saying a few words while we were shown a slideshow of pictures. After a few minutes, I started to notice that I was in quite a lot of those pictures.Bookmark here

I heard some whispers saying “Did you know those two were childhood friends? Poor Claire.”Bookmark here

The ovens were already lighted, and we could see the flames raging inside.Bookmark here

It was about time for me to start the speech I made with Anna's help. As I got up to the stand with the micro, I thought about the voodoo dolls. I hoped we did not make a mistake, and Elsa and I would not burn alive as soon as the coffin went into the oven. That was a common situation in horror movies, was it not?Bookmark here

I looked around the room. I had kept my promise to myself, and made a speech in which I would not lie. I did my best to make my voice sound solemn.Bookmark here

“When a tragedy like the suicide of someone close to you occurs, all that we, the people that have been left behind can do is try to find some meaning in it. Louisa's death started a wave of change in my life and the lives of a lot of people in our school and country. Yuri awareness has never been so high as it is today, and similar occurrences are being prevented on a day-to-day basis. Unfortunately for Louisa, these changes came too late, and because of this we are gathered here today for this sad occasion.”Bookmark here

Then, I directed myself to Louisa's coffin, the doors of the oven opened at that point, and the coffin slowly started to ride toward the flames. I noticed that I felt really hot. I felt sweat forming on my back. Was the warmth of the oven spreading? I could not help but think it was the dolls getting closer to the flames that made me feel like the room temperature just shot up several degrees.Bookmark here

I felt a bit nervous and scared. Had we been wrong? Would Elsa and I burn in a second?Bookmark here

In a wavering voice, I said the last words of my speech:Bookmark here

“Louisa, I am sorry we were too late to help you, but we will do our best to give meaning to your passing and we will make sure nobody needs to go through the same kind of suffering as you did.Bookmark here

Due to the wavering sound of my voice, a lot of people in the crowd had started crying. Mom thought I had started to cry too and had come up to guide me back to my seat.Bookmark here

The coffin was now completely engulfed in flames, I still felt incredibly warm, but except for feeling incredibly hot, nothing happened. I wasn't spontaneously combusting. Nothing felt different from before. I guess that was the most likely outcome. I looked around the room and noticed that everyone seemed to be suffering from the high room temperature. Next to me, Elsa was the only person in the room with a relieved look on her face.Bookmark here

Then I heard one of the undertakers scold one of the staff members “You put on the heating instead of the AC. Those ovens get to 1000°C, when they open you need to cool the room, not heat it even more! How many times must I tell you!Bookmark here

I chuckled realizing how stupidly I got caught up in a fantasy but remembering where I was, quickly sorted my face out again.Bookmark here

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