Author: Chidumebi Ikechi Njoku-Browne

“I want to change my afterlife!”, screamed Jeanette McCormick at the floating hologram in front of her. It was a hologram of a Renaissance-era Cherub, wearing an anachronistic late 20th-century full male business attire which looked out of place with its little wings flapping furiously in the image as its furrowed brow perused through the dossier it had on her soul.

“Jeanette McCormick, born on goldilocks type planet Catho-5 in the Paulinian region in 4372 of the Gregorian calendar. Deceased as of 4512 due to old age.” The cherub droned in a horrendously robotic facsimile of a child’s voice, “You have been dead for 500 years and a resident of the Catholic afterlife server for that period. Your request is being processed for the hearing, but this interview is necessary to determine intent for transfer to a different afterlife server.”

Jeanette sat back in her silver floating chair, wishing she could have had an angel to read to her instead of a cherub, at least they sounded less off-putting and were programmed with more emotional range in their expression. Other than that, the afterlife server she had been in was, in fact, a paradise. She had gotten to meet souls old and new in this place and she did indeed wish that she could continue to stay here forever as she had originally intended, but circumstances had changed.

“None of my family are here,” she began, holding back the growing lump in her throat, “For the past 5 centuries I have roamed this heaven and I just found out that after I died most of my family converted to a different religion just so that they could go to a different afterlife.” The tears then started to flow, “So that they would not have to spend forever with me.”

The cherub dispassionately entered her words into a document floating in front of it. To this program, this woman’s case was unusual but not unprecedented. The parameters it could adjust were limited compared to higher programmed entities but transference requests like this were best left to these lower AI that could not develop sympathy algorithms for these cases. Thus, once the woman finished her sobbing tale it sent the information and waited with her to see if there would be an approval for a hearing. Within minutes it got a response, its blank expression counter to the woman’s hopeful face at the quick return.

The next sentences to come out of the cherub’s mouth shocked Jeanette to her core.

“Jeanette McCormick, since your request was familial related, the request was sent with an attachment to all relatives that knew you in life. They have all sent a counter request that you do not join them in the afterlife, citing your personality and presence being a detriment to their collective mental health.” The cherub stated with finality before ending, “Thus your application to move to the Baptist afterlife server has been rejected on these grounds.”

Thus, with that, the cherub disappeared and Jeanette was returned to the copy of the large mansion she had when alive. She had built this by herself in the afterlife with modifications to have rooms for all her family members. Now she was to be forever alone, each room being a reminder of how much her family hated her.