“Zombie Season” — Catherine MacLeod

Catherine MacLeod has tried to watch Night of the Living Dead, but every time she does, she spends so much time with her hands over her face she can’t actually claim to have seen it. When not cowering behind her hands, she writes fiction, which has appeared dozens of times in the Canadian science fiction magazine On Spec, and in other magazines such as Talebones, TransVersions, and the French-language magazine Solaris. Her work has also appeared in anthologies Tesseracts 6, Bits of the Dead, and Open Space. Forthcoming work includes her story “Stone,” which will appear in Horror Library #4.

Death is a horrible and terrifying thing, but it’s a reality that has to be faced. When a loved one dies, most people don’t feel like doing anything but grieve. Sadly, there are a whole host of practical issues that have to be attended to—phone calls to make, financial affairs to be put in order, and funeral arrangements to be made. A coffin must be picked out, the body must be prepared, and a service planned. And, of course, before a person can be buried in the ground, someone’s got to dig the hole, and that’s when society turns to our gravediggers.

We all know this is a vital occupation, but perhaps because of our discomfort with the idea of death, we tend to form some pretty strange ideas about those who dig graves. Ask your average person to picture a gravedigger and what do they imagine? Some weirdo, right? Some lurking creep with frenzied hair and haunted eyes, a guy with a strange voice who spends too much time by himself. It’s an ugly stereotype, and it’s high time that something was done to set the record straight. Gravedigging is an honorable profession, and our gravediggers deserve better treatment at the hands of authors and moviemakers.

We hope that our next story, which portrays a gravedigger as a brave, zombie-battling hero, will eliminate those negative preconceptions and give everyone a more positive, wholesome image of gravediggers everywhere.