"James was more than a good husband and good father, he was a good man…" Jacqueline said as she stood in front of the small crowd all dressed in black. Her smile was serene and empty, as was the smile on everyone's faces. Everyone's, that is, except for the young woman's in the front row. The black veil she had one could not hide the pain, the fear, the fits of sobbing that made everyone nervous.
"Sara, shhh! You can't let them hear you!" said the boy next to her in a hoarse whisper.
"I know…" she whispered back. "I… can't help it!" She shrank back and leaned into the boy.
At the pulpit, Jacqueline continued. "I was so proud of my husband when he spearheaded the Epigenetic Futures initiative, which has changed our world, our way of life." She looked down at her children with that same serene smile, despite the fact that her daughter continued to sob.
In the back of the church, one of the large doors opened just enough for two men to walk in. They wore black suits with black ties, but their suits sported an emblem on the arm. "EFC" was emblazoned across it. The men remained in the back of the church. The entire the congregation looked back at them, and there was even a pause in the eulogy, but the interruption was brief.
"Sara, you need to be quiet!" her brother reiterated. "They're here!"
Sara clung to her brother's arm tightly. "I can't…"
"Every hardship in life leads to changes in our epigenetic code, which affects future generations. With that in mind, we decided to eliminate pain, famine, disease, and even sorrow from our genes. We wanted to create a happier, healthier society. We did it for our children." Jacqueline noticed the men stand up and walk down the aisle towards the sobbing Sara. She cleared her throat and looked down at Sara. "So we must be strong, be happy. We must celebrate James' life and move on."
The men walked right up to the front row. One of them put his hand on Sara's shoulder, making the girl jump in her seat and let out another sob.
"Wh-what do you want with my sister?" her brother asked.
"This young woman is damaging the future genetic code. Please let go of her so we can take her in."
He held on tighter to her.
"What is going on?" Jacqueline asked and came down from the pulpit. "Who are you? What are you doing with my kids?"
The men turned their attention to the woman. "EFC, ma'am. We're here to protect our property."
Although she knew very well what the men meant, she still needed to confirm. "What do you mean 'your property?'"
"The genetic code, ma'am. Now please stay out of our way." The man who was not speaking pulled the boy away from his sister. Someone in the audience stood up, but he didn't dare move. Everyone understand what would happen if they interfered.
Despite knowing, Jacqueline moved down from the pulpit. "No, you can't take Sara! She just lost her father! She's only a kid!" She rushed to defend her daughter, but one of the men got in her way.
"Ma'am, please calm down." he said, but soon the boy was tugging at him as well. Without a word, he pushed Jacqueline to the ground and picked the struggling boy up.
"Michael!" Jacqueline cried. In moments, both of her children were being taken away. But when the men made it to the door, they were greeted by an usher who stepped in their way. Several other members of the congregation stood up and approached them.
The men found themselves backing away, only to be surrounded by the entire congregation. The usher, a man who looked like he might be more at home on a motorcycle than in a church, folded his arms over his chest. "Put the kiddies down."
The agents did as they were told. One of them put his hand into his jacket, as if to pull for a weapon, but the other stopped him. "We will be keeping an eye on all of you." He turned to his partner. "Come on, let's not make this into a public relations fiasco." With that, they walked past the usher and left the church.
Jacqueline got off the floor, her face streaming with black tears as the children ran into her arms. After a moment, she stood up, wiped some of the mascara off her face, and faced the crowd.
"I think it's time we took back our future. For our children."