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Life After: The Cemetery Plot
(© Bryan Way)

This contribution is part of a series:-
1. Life After: A Deadly Secret (2-Aug-2006)
Two young people cross paths at the start of an outbreak, but one of them may not be what they seem.
2. Life After: The Phoenix (15-Jan-2009)
The story of a separated couple struggling to find the solution to their strife during an undead outbreak.
3. Life After: The Cemetery Plot (17-Jul-2012)
One man's obsession with cheaply burying his brother-in-law sees him get more than he bargained for.
4. Life After: Undeath Syndrome Surveillance and Diagnosis (7-Jun-2013)
An attempt by the CDC to diagnose and analyze the conditions that cause Zombies.
5. Life After: The Basement (7-Jun-2013)
Eric & Mia think they've found the source of a Zombie outbreak, but their reality is far worse than they imagined.

Page 1

(The Life After series is intended as a collection of short stories coinciding with the book of the same name.)



10-07-04, Thursday

A middle-aged man in an ultra-conservative suit walks into the bland room, quietly shutting the door behind him. He affects a mandatorily benign look of sincerity as he glides past the two people seated in chairs and behind the desk before taking a seat himself. He clears his throat ever so gently before advancing a box of tissues across the desk. "I’m so sorry for your loss."

Seated at the opposite side the desk are a man and a woman dressed in bland business attire. The woman swipes a tissue out of the box and ineffectually dabs at her dry eyes, while the man remains fixated on the muted sunlight drifting through the sheer curtains of the giant window. "Mr. and Mrs. Prendergast… it’s an unthinkable tragedy, when someone like Mr. Pelletreau passes away at such a young age. If you need anything in this time of mourning, you know we’re prepared to help in any way possible." Mr. Prendergast sighs softly through his nose as Mrs. Prendergast slips the crumpled tissue in her pocket.

"I don’t know if you were aware of this, but Mr. Pelletreau filed a pre-need with us several years ago…"

"Pre-need?" Mr. Prendergast interrupts.

"Yes… it’s a standard legal document outlaying the parameters of the deceased’s funeral arrangements. Mr. Pelletreau filled out a pre-need contract in 2001, and as I understand from discussing the issue with Mr. Pelletreau’s estate, he set aside funds to ensure that his wishes could be carried out. Mr. Pelletreau selected a casket, an Imperial Princeton Mahongany… the model available at the time differs slightly from the current one… he requested an open casket, which shouldn’t be a problem, and he selected a tuxedo.  He, uh… requested that his organs not be donated… he asked that his viewing take place here at the Donahue funeral home, and he had planned for the mass at St. Alban’s Church… and he wished to be interred at Brookwood Cemetery in Newtown Township at the family plot with a headstone he selected."

Mr. Prendergast again exhales through his nose.

"…is that everything?" Mrs. Prendergast asks.

"Yes… oh, and he requested a copper Triune burial vault."

"Vault?" Mr. Prendergast asks.

"Yes… it is standard procedure that a cemetery requires a grave liner or burial vault, and this was Mr. Pelletreau’s choice…"

As Mrs. Prendergast nods, Mr. Prendergast turns to her while remaining otherwise still. Keeping his mouth sealed, Mr. Prendergast pushes his tongue around the outside of his gums.

"…okay."

"Of course, if there any specific arrangements you’d like to make for the viewing or the funeral, there are several resources I can recommend…"

"How much?" Mr. Prendergast asks.

"…as I said, Mr. Pelletreau set the necessary funds aside, so…"

"How much?"

"Well, between the usual funeral home fee, embalming, tuxedo, casket, vault, headstone… and, of course, the floral arrangements you ultimately select…"

The funeral director slides a leather-bound file enclosure across the desk with a sheet of paper fixed to it. Mr. Prendergast picks it up as Mrs. Prendergast blankly stares at the desk with her hand resting at her mouth. "$25,000?" The director gives one brief, subtle nod.

"That’s the price?"

"Correct, and Mr. Pelletreau has already set aside the necessary funds…"

"…and that’s it?"

"Well, the pre-need contracts are designed…"

"We’re not…"

Mrs. Prendergast starts to extend her hand toward her husband and he stops himself. "The contracts are designed to ensure that the deceased receives that which they desired, and providing that the adequate funds are available…" Mr. Prendergast mutters a brief question to his wife, and then turns to the director.

[ Continue to page 2 ]



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Genre:Living Dead
Type:Medium length story
Rating:6.07 / 10
Rated By:37 users
Comments: 1 user
Total Hits:7579

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