Krishna is quite unsettled when he bumps into a woman’s corpse during his morning bath in Kolkata’s Hooghly River, yet declines to do anything about it–after all, why should he take responsibility for a stranger? But when the dead start coming back to life en masse, he rethinks his position and the debate around how to treat these newly risen corpses gets a lot more complicated. In this story from Indrapramit Das, a journalist strives to understand Krishna’s actions and what they say about the rest of society and how we treat our dead.
An unusual philosophical take on a zombie story that I enjoyed a lot. I liked the open ending and the vivid prose:
Some were only days old, looking almost alive but for their slack faces like melting clay masks, their lethal wounds and bruises, their paled and discoloured skin, their jellied eyes and the sometimes lovely frills of clinging white crustaceans in their hair, the tiny flickers of fish leaping from their muddy mouths. Others were black and blue, bloated into terrifying caricatures of their living counterparts, who watched in droves from behind the lines of fearful policemen at the top of the ghat steps. Fresh or old, all these dead men and women wading back to the world were united by the ignominy of their ends, un-cremated and tossed into the tea-brown waters of the Hooghly to be forgotten. Most, Krishna noticed, were women. All had crows as their punishing familiars, which clung to shoulders and heads as they tore flesh away with their beaks.
Available online free here: http://www.tor.com/2016/02/10/break