“The Ereshkigal Working” — Jonathan L. Howard

Jonathan L. Howard is the author of the novels Johannes Cabal the Necromancer and Johannes Cabal the Detective. His short fiction has appeared in Realms of Fantasy and H. P. Lovecraft’s Magazine of Horror. He has also worked in the computer games industry since the early ’90s as a game designer and scriptwriter. He lives in Bristol, England.

If you were a necromancer, how would you feel if you found yourself in the middle of a zombie outbreak? One that threatened the future of the entire world? Well, if you’re Johannes Cabal, you’re not particularly worried—you’re just a little put out.

Cabal has an unusual way of looking at the world, and it’s not just because of his profession, although working with corpses might have colored his outlook. As quick on his feet as James Bond and as selfish as the worst comic book villain, Cabal is an unlikely savior of the world, but when he’s confronted by a magician with more ability than brains, this wizard of the dead is our last and only hope. Unfortunately, all he’s got on his side is one bumbling constable, a bit of rope, and top-notch reconnaissance.

This story fills the gap between the short story “Exeunt Demon King” and the first novel about Cabal, Johannes Cabal the Necromancer. Jonathan Howard says of this story’s inspiration: “I myself halted a zombie apocalypse a couple of years ago, and I remember thinking at the time, ’This would make a good story.’  ” 

We think he’s joking.