Return of the Zombie

“Oh come on, Mom.”

Stephen’s mother crossed her arms in that way that let him know there would be no discussion. “Absolutely not. I want you to put everything back in the box. Then go wash your hands. I’m calling the police.”

“The police?” He rolled his eyes, not believing that she was making such a big deal over it. “Why?”

“Why?” she shrieked. “Look at that and tell me you don’t know what’s wrong.”

Stephen looked down at the open crate. Inside were the contents of Mama Midnight’s Voodoo Zombie-Making Kit. He’d seen the kit advertised in the back of one of his comics. Included was a spell book, thirteen bags of mystic herbs, a cloth mat inscribed with arcane symbols, a small black metal cauldron and a boy’s corpse vacuum-sealed in plastic.

The boy was dark-skinned and looked to be around ten years old, the same age as Stephen. His eyes and lips were shut; but he didn’t look as if he were sleeping. He didn’t look real at all, almost as if her were a plastic model rather than a real boy. But there were pockets of moisture in the sealed plastic and one touch revealed soft, yielding flesh.

Stephen said nothing. If his mother had let him use the kit, he’d be able to bring the boy back from the dead; but she was being completely unreasonable. He’d been dreaming of creating a zombie friend for the last six months, three of them saving his paper route money and another three waiting for the kit to arrive. He’d told his mother about it and she’d said nothing at the time. He couldn’t understand why it was suddenly a problem.

Of course, Stephen’s mother had been growing more unreasonable for the past two years. First, she’d divorced his father, even though he’d promised to do anything she wanted if they could just stay together. Then she’d moved herself and Stephen to another state where he didn’t know anybody and his father wouldn’t even be able to see him on weekends. She’d told him to try making new friends; but now, when he was about to literally make a friend for himself, she was forcing him to send it back.

“Bitch,” he muttered under his breath.

“What was that?” He didn’t answer, but continued staring at another friend he wouldn’t be allowed to keep. “Alright, go to your room.”

Stephen stomped up the stairs to his lonely bedroom, already making plans for Mama Midnight’s Voodoo Doll Kit, which would be arriving in three to four weeks.


Michael R Penkas has had stories published in Hell in the Heartland, Book of Dead Things (2nd ed.) and Tales from the Red Lion (2nd ed.). He can normally be found Monday nights at Twilight Tales, a Chicago-based reading series. His whereabouts during the remainder of the week are both unknown and unlikely.