004 - The Funeral Parlour

Most of the city’s funeral parlours belong to one company, but a handful of allegedly independent firms survive. In reality, all of the city’s funeral parlours are owned by big business in some way or other, including a small, somber brick building in the deep southeast. This particular funeral parlour has allegedly been closed for years, but lights can be seen in the windows at night, giving credence to the story that it’s haunted. It isn’t. What’s going on inside is far stranger.

In order to gain admittance, you will have to wear traditional funeral attire: black and subdued rather than anything flashy or informal. Bringing flowers is said to help. When you’re admitted, whatever you do, do not sign the book or you will find that the exit is barred for you. Instead, offer your condolences to the mourners, who seem to be a collection of people of all ages and races, most of whom are wearing old, worn suits or patched dresses.

The funeral repeats itself every night at eight. If you come at any other time, you will be required to wait in the main hall while the staff prepare. During the ceremony itself, never volunteer to speak and never view the body. Both would draw too much of the deceased’s attention. Instead listen with rapt attention to the eulogy, as it is a valued component of the secret history. Leave before the funeral is done, and just like in those old Greek stories: never eat anything anyone offers you.

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