Aphelion Issue 291, Volume 28
February 2024
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John Bates

by Ron Larson

Adapted from a story by Ambrose Bierce

He had been prostrated by a sudden fever
That caused him to cry out for freedom and air.
He soon found himself in a landscape of horror
Where there was silence and grayness everywhere.

He observed a number of weathered headstones.
Then he saw an old man approaching that night or day.
He cried out to him: “Please, sir, I am lost and alone.”
The stranger gave no heed and continued on his way.

He sat near a decayed tree and wondered what to do.
His eyes caught a fresh stone with his name and dates.
He then knew that his new afterlife was far from through.
Such is the tale told to a medium by one John Bates.

2017 Ron Larson

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