Life After: The Cemetery Plot
(© Bryan Way)
This contribution is part of a series:-
1. Life After: A Deadly Secret (2-Aug-2006)
2. Life After: The Phoenix (15-Jan-2009)
| ||Two young people cross paths at the start of an outbreak, but one of them may not be what they seem.|
3. Life After: The Cemetery Plot (17-Jul-2012)
| ||The story of a separated couple struggling to find the solution to their strife during an undead outbreak.|
| ||One man's obsession with cheaply burying his brother-in-law sees him get more than he bargained for.|
(The Life After series is intended as a collection of short stories coinciding with the book of the same name.)
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
"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."
again exhales through his nose.
everything?" Mrs. Prendergast asks.
"Yes… oh, and he
requested a copper Triune burial vault."
"Yes… it is
standard procedure that a cemetery requires a grave liner or burial vault, and
this was Mr. Pelletreau’s choice…"
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.
"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.
"…as I said, Mr.
Pelletreau set the necessary funds aside, so…"
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.
Mr. Pelletreau has already set aside the necessary funds…"
pre-need contracts are designed…"
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.
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