Aphelion Issue 224, Volume 21
December 2017 / January 2018
 
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Forsythe’s Resurrection

by Fred D. White




Forsythe disliked being dead. Five weeks after being interred, he smashed through his coffin lid and clawed his way topside, intent on starting life anew. His jaw and neck were partially eaten away, but if he covered them with a beard, he probably wouldn’t turn a single head.
He headed home to Regina, his wife— risky because she used to wish him dead after he’d stumble in piss-faced drunk at three a.m. When she opened the door, she screamed and fainted. Forsythe dropped to his bony knees, shook her awake, and pleaded: “I know I’m an awful sight, Reggie, but I’ve renounced the sordid life I once led. Please give me another chance.”

Regina stumbled to her feet. “Get away from me, you monster!” She reached for a can of Raid and sprayed him.

“Stop that! Please, I’m a different person now!”

She continued spraying.

He coughed. “Look, darling—forgive and forget, I say.”

“You were hideous before, you’re hideous now. Why’d you come back?”

“For starters, being dead sucks. Besides, I want to redeem myself.”

“Too late for that.” Then she grinned slyly. “On the other hand, maybe there is something you can do “

He smiled with the part of his mouth still intact. “I’m all ears, darling. Well, not quite—but you know what I mean.”

“Listen, take a hot shower, put on fresh clothes, and we’ll talk. Oh, and do something to hide your neck and that grotesque gash across your forehead.”

“I’ll do what I can.”

Forsythe showered; the hot water was a godsend, although it sloughed off a lot of dead skin. Damn! Dead skin was better than no skin. He’d have to wear a long-sleeve turtleneck. He toweled himself off, very gently, rummaged through the closet and found the Rasputin beard he used to wear for Halloween to scare the crap out of the kids. Finally, he donned a baseball cap to hide the jagged scar where the pathologist had sawed through his skull. Finally, he applied some of his wife’s blush. Yes, that should make him look more alive—or at least less dead.

He displayed himself to Regina, arms extended. “Whattaya think?”

She studied him carefully. “You need a larger hat—better yet, a hoodie. And for heaven’s sake, wrap a scarf or something around your neck, what’s left of it.”

“Oh, right.”

“But that can wait. Sit your bony ass down so we can work out our little scheme.”

He sat. His joints ached from being immobilized inside the coffin for five weeks.

Regina opened a drawer and took out a steak knife. “I need to check something first—” and with lightning speed she shoved the knife into his upper arm.

Forsythe screamed. When he caught his breath, he gasped, “Bitch! I can still feel pain!”

Regina pulled out the knife and, grabbing a rag, wiped away the embalming fluid that oozed from the gash “Sorry, but pain is not what I’m concerned about.”

“Well, it’s what I’m the hell concerned about!”

“Don’t you get it? People will line up for miles, eager to stab you without worrying about murdering you, or getting blood all over themselves. Oh, Forsythe, we’re going to make a killing from this resurrection of yours.”

“But, Reggie, my love, the pain! I can’t possibly go through with it. I refuse!”

“You will go through with it, or it’s back to the grave with you.” She grinned maliciously and added, “This time in a coffin that’s escape-proof.”

“But darling, the pain is unbearable.”

“You’ll live, in a manner of speaking.” This time she shoved the knife into his abdomen. Forsythe lurched out of the chair, screaming in agony. Regina watched him writhing on the floor, with ever-growing anticipation.

THE END


2017 Fred D. White

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