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((This is the funeralpost, collaborated between me and Ricky))

(For those interested, this is the song Ray is singing.)

Ray didn't know how long it took to finish the graves. He kept at it until his arms were dead, passed it off once or twice to Alex or Allen, but he did most of the work. Somewhere early into the work they tended to Isabel's wounds. Then she was part of the grieving.

When they were done they had to somewhat shallow, but serviceable graves.

Ray had gently set the two girls into their respective graves, set their arms across their chests. Not for any particular significance, but because it looked right. He had hoped it made them look peaceful.

Everyone else had kept mostly grim silence as they got deeper into the gravedigging. Felicia, especially. He figured she must have just been fighting to keep from crying. But now was the time to grieve. Ray had lost a friend; Felicia had lost more than that.

"Felicia." He said. She looked at him, seeming lost, distant. "Come here."

He stood up, in front of the two graves, and waited for her to walk over.

If they had to grieve, they would do so together.

With a short nod, Felicia obeyed. Her legs were made of lead and each step drained her, but she made her way to Ray, unsure of what she could possibly say or do. Her voice had been stolen by Rosa's murderer, along with her joy and her strength. So instead of saying anything, she collapsed towards Ray yet again and his her face in his shirt.

She felt so awkward, clinging to him like some sort of hanger on like that. For a moment, she even feared what Ray might do. He was grieving just as much as her right now, it wouldn't be fair to take that away from him. None of this was fair, really, but she hardly needed to add to it.

Before she could find the drive to pull herself away and cry into her own sleeve, Felicia heard the lightest of noises from the man... the friend... who supported her. It was hard to hear above the vulnerable-sounding chokes and sobs she was making, but they were there. She couldn't see his face, but she knew: Ray, too, was crying.

It was in this moment that she didn't just cling to his shirt, but wrapped her arms around the boy, offering what little comfort she could give as she took her own. It was only when Ray's shirt was dampened with her tears and it became hard to breathe that Felicia pulled back, sniffing and trying to contain herself for at least a few moments more.

"I-I don't know what to say..." she whispered, shaking her head at Ray. "What d-do I do... what can I say to her?" Her teeth clenched together right there to stop the tears from coming. She had never been to a funeral, but at these sorts of things, weren't people supposed to walk up and say some words for the... ... the departed? Would it be bad if she couldn't think of anything to say? She could only pray that being too stricken to speak wouldn't make her a bad friend or a bad girlfriend.

"I'm just lost... I don't know what to do, Ray..." Felicia managed to say, turning herself to stand beside the boy. A brother in more ways than one, somebody who knew just what she was going through. Because they were going through this together.

Truth be told, Ray didn't know what it was Felicia could say. Truth be told, he didn't know what he could say. The words seemed to catch in his throat and die.

"You...you don't need words, girl. I think...think we need just to be here."

But even that didn't seem right, as Ray stared down into the holes at the two girls. Andrea had suggested somebody say something, and it seemed a good idea. But like Felicia, Ray was dead-tongued.

He thought back to the funerals he had been to. There had always been tearful words by family members, sometimes poignant ones. And here he was, unable to say anything. He'd never been much of a talker, before the island. Annaliese had actually gotten him to say more in two days than he had his whole school year at Bayview Secondary.

He thought back to the funeral of his uncle, a devout Southern Baptist who had died of a heart attack at 60. That funeral had been as much a celebration as it was a time of grieving. There was full service. There was singing.

Ray looked up, realizing what now what he wanted to do. He reached out, gently pulling Felicia back. He took a breath, and after steeling his nerves, dipped once again into the list of songs that his father used to listen to, long ago.

Annaliese came to Ray because of a song. He'd send her off the same way.

"Ain't no sunshine when she's gone...
It's not warm when she's away..."

Ray did his best to match Bill Wither's somber tone. It wasn't too hard, Ray had the soulful voice, husky as it was. What was difficult was holding onto it as more sobs threatened to choke out.

"Wonder this time where she's gone
Wonder if she's gonna stay
Ain't no sunshine when she's gone
And this house just ain't no home
Anytime she goes away..."

As he sang, he rocked Felicia in his arms. He was drawing as much strength as he could from the contact as he sang. Still, he almost faltered during the "I know" verse. Halfway through the words his voice cracked, and the crying almost took control. But he held on. He owed it to both of these girls to hold on. He couldn't stop his eyes from welling up with tears.

He finished the song, letting the final words slip out to the breeze. He remained silent a while afterwards, looking at the two girls. There wasn't much else he could do for them at this point.

As she listened to the song, Felicia let the mellow tones of Ray's voice flow through his chest and into her ear which pressed against it. She not only heard his voice but felt it, hanging onto every word. She didn't go to church as a child, but she remembered that song from somewhere.

The pain in Ray's voice had never left, it seemed, but something had risen up behind it. Her ear couldn't pick it up, but when the music reached her heart, that was able to uncover the immense strength Ray must've been using in order to do this. The tears streamed down her cheeks once more, but none of the sobs or wheezes came with it. Whatever strength Ray had developed, Felicia let it fill her and make her strong too.

"Thank you, Ray..." she whispered, finally able to look down towards the graves. "... Thanks..."

Ray shook his head at Felicia's words.

"Was nothing."

He picked up the shovel.

"Let's seal them up now."

- - -
Sometime after they started burying the bodies, they heard the announcement that there was an escape. Ray was still too far into himself to feel happy, even as the group started to head out to salvation.

((Raymond Dawson, Felicia Carmichael, Isabel Guerra, Andrea Raymer, and Allen Birkman continued in The Cavalry Arrives))
Edited by Outfoxd, May 30 2011, 10:22 PM.
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