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Undying Love | Audio
By James S. Dorr
James Dorr's current collections, DARKER LOVES: TALES OF MYSTERY AND REGRET and STRANGE MISTRESSES: TALES OF WONDER AND ROMANCE, are available from Dark Regions Press, while other work has appeared in ALFRED HITCHCOCK'S MYSTERY MAGAZINE, NEW MYSTERY, ABORIGINAL SF, FANTASTIC STORIES, DARK WISDOM, GOTHIC.NET, CHI-ZINE, ENIGMATIC TALES (UK), FAERIES (France), and numerous anthologies. Dorr is an active member of SFWA and HWA, an Anthony (mystery) and Darrell (fiction set in the US Mid-South) finalist, a Pushcart Prize nominee, and a multi-time listee in THE YEAR'S BEST FANTASY AND HORROR.

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       My new girlfriend, Cynthia, has to be the stupidest woman I've ever met. How stupid is she? On our first date she actually told me she thought chocolate milk came only from brown cows.
       But she's a good sport. She knows she's not smart. "I've no brains at all," she admitted herself. Then she kind of blushed, a real pretty blush. One that attracted me to her right then.
       Zombie women, you know, can't blush. Someone told me once it had to do with the blood being all congealed in dead people's veins. But then we zombies aren't that great ourselves in the smarts department either, if you think about it. You have to figure, with the time we've spent in the grave, between our deaths and, well, you know, whatever it is that made us get up and start walking around. Do the things we zombies do. With all that time, with the worms and beetles dancing around in the excavations they've made of our own brains, it stands to reason we're not exactly in line for careers as rocket scientists.
       But that would be okay. I mean, what the heck, we all have our faults, don't we?
       What bothers me, though, is that being a zombie has been such a disadvantage in romance.
       The problem is, I still feel like a young man, but zombie women -- well, you know how they look. It isn't their fault, it's just that with men a little dehydration in the tomb only makes us look more rugged. I mean, if it hasn't gone too far. But with zombie women, at best their faces make them look like they're eighty or ninety.
       With regular living women, though, the problem is that, no matter how well we might be getting on, the time will come when we zombies will need to have a snack. And there's nothing that ends a romance faster than trying to eat your would-be soul mate's brain!
       Trust me, I know. First off, she'll start screaming, which isn't a good start for any kind of relationship, really. Then she'll run away, if she's quick enough, or, if she's not, you crunch through her skull and munch on its innards. The thing is, either way, you can kiss off the idea of having a second date with her.
       And don't even get me started on women who know karate.
       But Cynthia, even before I got hungry -- you know, during that period when you think that maybe, this time, you can still suppress your zombie urges -- she came out, right off, about how she had no brains. And she's so dumb she wouldn't have had the imagination to make something like that up --
       Let me just say, it was love at first sight.

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