Chapter 001: Day Nine

Traditions are funny little things. They are usually started because something has gone terribly wrong with the present tradition, forcing someone to adapt and to create something "new". When these new ideas are discovered not to be as horrible as one might have imagined, then someone else recreates the new way, discovering that it can be easily replicated and people continue to be either consoled or delighted by the outcome. This was the case with the way the survivors handled funerals.

The very first person to die of the 113 was a young man in his twenties by the name of Paul or Stan; no one really remembered because it happened only a few days after the blackout. Paul, or Stan, had been walking along the station and tripped over his own shoelaces, hitting his head on one of the metal benches. He never woke up.

After a day or so, they knew they needed to do something with the body but were still trapped on the platform by the rioting down below. As unthinkable as it was, they decided, in the end, to simply push him over the side and onto the chaotic street below. After they had done this with the utmost reverence that they could muster, Paul's (or Stan's) friend told a short story about a road trip the two of them had been on the year earlier; and without understanding, a tradition that would outlast any of them had been born.

At Benedict's funeral service there would be no body, but a processional that would include anyone who wanted to tell a story about the one that had died. In the case of Benedict, everyone would want to say something.

The heads of the families decided that since the populace would already be gathered, they would announce that Sarah would take over the leadership of the survivors immediately. If the question had been posed to her at any other time or under any other circumstance, Sarah would have quickly refused, but not now. Being the only relative of Benedict’s that was of age, she was not so much asked as much as she was told that she would be the next leader.

She had relayed her personal story about Benedict very early on in the day, and then left as every individual told their short story about the man who had touched them all. However, the line was growing shorter and it was time for the announcement.


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