Aphelion Issue 287, Volume 27
September 2023
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The Cool Zombie

by Ron Larson

The young man had done two really stupid things in his life. First, he had sold his soul to the Evil One in exchange for fame, wealth, and the promise of eternal youth.

That was right after his twenty-fifth birthday. Second, when he was thirty in chronological years, he recklessly tried to flee the paparazzi and totaled his Jaguar and temporarily ended his earthly journey. Thus he died rich and famous.

Because the contract did not cover accidents (thanks to the fine print), he subsequently found himself in hell, apparently doomed to live forever with his soul's clock stopped at age twenty-five.

Despite his foolish agreement, he was really quite a clever guy. He truly hated hell as much as the Devil hated holy water. So, with the hope of eventually leaving this unholy place, he opted to dissemble. By doing so, at first, well pleased the Epitome of Evil. For example, he introduced ways to make the furnace more efficient. He soon was the Devil's right hand man, but not long after, Old Scratch repented of this promotion.

"Hell's bells," he thought, "the guy's a natural. He's enjoying his work so much that I'm bored to death, and although I hate to admit it, I'm envious of him. Hades is Heaven to him. I made a bum deal, but what am I to do? How can I punish a man so loyal to me? And if I do so, he might think it's due to envy. This apparent masochist would probably enjoy even the severest torture."

In the middle of these musings, he received a call from a necromancer in Haiti begging him to grant permission to raise an army of zombies to do battle with God's reps who were putting a crimp in the style of his and his fellow conjurers. Beelzebub readily acceded to this request and notified him that he was sending a young man to lead the effort against God's warriors.

The Devil then informed the young man of his earthly assignment. His body would be freed from his grave. His soul, however, would remain with his superior. After the victory, his body would be returned to his grave.

After a minor earthquake, when hundreds of his fellow zombies were soon assembled in Port-au-Prince, the young man astonishingly told them of his experience in hell and how their souls were being abused. Their peevishness of being awakened from their slumbers was shaken off by learning of these outrages.

The young man then told them: "We have no quarrel with God and his followers. We made our beds, so we must lie in them. I propose that we raid hell and reclaim our souls."

After much stomping, loud murmuring, and vigorous nodding of approval, the young man said: "Let is now bow our heads and pray." After they all bowed, many with tears streaming down their hollow, pallid cheeks, the young man continued: "Dear Lord, we nominal religious fools realize too late our mistakes. Show us the way to hell so that we might reclaim our souls and then return to our graves with them. We do not ask for admission to Heaven. Please let us rest in peace."

And so it came to pass. If hell didn't freeze over, it seemed to be a reasonable, metaphorical facsimile thereof.


2016 Ron Larson

Bio: Mr. Larson is a retired community college professor (Ph.D.), and one of his hobbies is writing all kinds of fiction and poetry.  His work has appeared in such diverse magazines as Soul Fountain, Big Pulp, Westward Quarterly, The Horror-Zine, Tuck, The American Dissident, and Aphelion.  His website is ronlarsonclassics.com. His last Aphelion appearance was The Door in our October, 2016 issue.

E-mail: Ron Larson

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