“Excuse me, sir!” The skeleton approached Mortis, brandishing a glossy brochure in its bony fingers. “Do you have a minute to talk about our lord and savior Graculus, Lord of Bones, and the benefits of converting to Skeletonism?”

Mortis’s bleary eyes rolled wetly in his zombified skull. These days it was getting tougher and tougher to avoid harrassment by various undead fundamentalists trying to get him to convert.

“No, I was raised a zombie and I will die a zombie,” he said. “Again.”

Cutting to the other side of the exhibit hall, a plastic case with a DVD rattling inside was thrust in his face. “Would you like to take a free stress test? Cleanse your body of potentially harmful magicites? It’s free!”

Mortis looked at the pitchman, a leathery apparition just short of a mummy in appearance, with sorcery for eyes and an affect that crackled with arcane energy. “Let me guess,” he said. “You want to tell me about the life of Ulgathk the Ever-Living, the Elder Lich, so I can buy the first Ascent to Lichdom course.”

“Lichology is a relevant and authentic faith,” the undead huckster said. “What good is worldly currency when you can ascend to immortal godhood and power in the afterlife by following our programs?”

“Uh-huh. How many of your members have actually ascended to lichdom, then?”

“That information is proprietary, copyrighted, secret, and an article of faith,” the lich snapped.

“Come on, just a ballpark guesstimate,” Mortis said. “I’ll take your DVD if you tell me.”

“This conversation is over,” the Lichology pitchman said. “Spread your nasty magicites elsewhere.”

Tacking back toward the middle, Mortis kept up his search for Necrosia. She was supposed to be manning the Fast Zombie lifestyle booth someplace, but it was just too crowded to see much. Too many new converts this year, and lots of beyond-the-grave shysters looking to take advantage.

A translucent form shimmered before Mortis, its message written in unliving ectoplasm: LOW-INTEREST FIXED-TERM SUBPRIME HAUNTINGS!

“Would you like to hear about leaving the world of the flesh behind? Work off one haunting and this lifestyle could be yours!” the ghost warbled in a reedy voice.

“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” Mortis said. He cut directly through the specter, ignoring its protests, before continuing into the crowd.

  • Like what you see? Purchase a print or ebook version!