Afterlife Protocol: Farewell

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Grieving leads to Desperation

The gathering at the house was as tense as expected, with three men and suits and limo taking up nearly the entire driveway. Andy, Lilly, and their mother Regina were anxiously awaiting for the impending arrival the coveted communication device as the rest of the family. Her grandparents’ home was a modest two three story with a fish pond out front, and a cement staircase that led to the front door on the second story while ground access was at the third floor. Andy had always been fond of this house, and was not looking forward to seeing it be sold off to a different owner.

She stiffened when one of the gentlemen, the shortest and leanest of three, stepped forward and cleared his throat. “It is truly a sad day when a country loses one of its great, and Randolph Gallager was one of these individuals. Devoted father, grandfather, and one of the greatest soldiers the United States Army had ever seen he will always be held in high regard by all of us, I’m sure!”

As the man spoke, Andy’s eyes scanned the three officials and frowned. None of them had a briefcase.

“Which is why it is with great regret, that the Farewell Protocol is denied in the case of Randolph Gallager,” the man’s announcement was loud, but was clearly laced with dread. Most likely in predication to the reaction of the family.

Shouts of demand erupted, but Andy paid it no mind. The announcement hit her the same way as a car would running over her chest, the weight was suffocating but she couldn’t scream out. The Farewell Protocol was a federal right to see off dead relatives or get answers to questions. It had become a right ever since it was discovered the dead could communicate through technology, it had been developed into a service ever since the discovery after the first email.

Andy had seen her family use it twice, once when her uncle died and another to pay respects to a tragic Christmas accident. So why... why was this situation any different?!

The man stepped back a little as some of the men in her family stepped froward, inciting his larger and more muscled coworkers to step forward. Clearing his throat, the man continued. “I am sorry to announce this decision, but due to Gallager’s involvement with the military we cannot run the risk of any classified information being released to the public. Therefore, you will not be receiving a designated cellphone to say your goodbyes”.

Andy glared, she would not stand for this but stiffened when her mother stepped forward. She glanced anxiously at her sister, who seemed be just as panicked as she did.

Regina walked forward, relieved that the rain had withered and an umbrella was not obstructing her face. As much as she fought with her mother at times, Andy held much respect and adoration for the woman. Regina was close to both of her parents and the only thing that matched her devotion to family, was her vast knowledge of the law. She was an accomplished in both tax and family law, as a bitter divorce had forced her to take up many skills.

Clearing her throat, she spoke “Under the federal Afterlife Farewell Protocol, all families legally registered in the United States have the right to at least one but no more than 50 messages per family member or loved one to communicate with the recently deceased before they move onto the afterlife”.

The blonde man nodded. “Yes... Ms...” the coworker whispered into his ear. “...Archerman... this is true, but there are several exceptions in place including military involvement that create complications to this privilege.”

“This is ridiculous...” Regina stated. “You can’t expect us to accept this...” Andy and Lilly stepped forward and stood at either side of their mother, they were just as angry but were just as lost on the revelation.

Clearing his throat again, the soldier sighed. “I’m sorry ma’am, but there’s nothing I can do. My condolences to you and your family.”

Andy scanned the front jackets of the men, she noted there were numerous military decorations but no names. “No identification? Even though you’re treating this as official military business?”

The man turned to her, and after receiving another whisper from his bodyguard he spoke. “Miss Andria Arch-

“Andy,” she bluntly interrupted. “Rolls off the tongue better.”

“Yes.... I’m afraid that the only title I can give you is Liaison Hamilton,” He looked at her straight in the face. “Even though this is a highly personal occasion, I’m afraid I cannot disclose my identity due to your grandfather’s involvement with government affairs”.

At this, Lilly spoke up. “This is absurd! We just poured our grandfather’s ashes over our grandmother’s grave, both buried and released on the same day! Haven’t we been through enough?!”

Once again the bodyguard whispered a name the man could care less about, Andy figured. “I’m sorry Miss Lillian... but there’s nothing we can do.”

“I’m filing a petition with your office,” Regina promised.

“See to it that you do.” Hamilton nodded and turned to head back to his limo with his bodyguards.

Thunder roared as the family shouted and cried in frustration as the long stretched vehicle drove off.

Andy clenched her fists as her mom and sister broke down, she was just as upset and angry as the rest of them but she wasn’t waiting around for official approval. She braced herself, for there was only one way she was getting a Protocol cellphone. She just desperately hoped, she had the nerve to do it.

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