Series: Stand Alone Short Story
Publisher: Heroic Fantasy Quarterly (October 2, 2012)
Length: 12+ pages
My Rating: 4 stars
Continuing the story of Khraen the Corpse begun in Death at the Pass, Death and Dignity is an even more thoughtful yet devilishly funny Michael Fletcher short. My favorite grimdark author delivering yet another damn fun read.
In life, Khraen was Fist of Sorhd-Rach, First General of the Invincible Hand, powerful demonologist, and loyal servant to the Emperor of eternal Palaq Taq, who wielded the demon-infused sword Kantlament against his enemies. In undeath, he is a dead man trapped in the prison of his own rotting flesh hunted by sorcerers. Talk a horrible turn of events.
The story which flows out from this set up is not really about Khraen being hunted as much as it is the emotional turmoil our undead corpse is dealing with and his feelings of helplessness, as well as a brief character study of those hunting him. The best moments of the narrative where the author’s dark, gallows humor springs to life unexpectedly. The fact that the ending is rather surprising and open-ended merely an added plus.
Just as with the first installment of this series, Khraen, our animated dead guy, is the star of the show, the reason to keep turning the e-book pages. His struggle to accept his new undead life, reconcile his current state with his past life, and find some reason to keep existing damn interesting and a bit emotional at times. I mean, Khraen finds a way to laugh at his circumstances and trade a few jokes here and there even though he wishes he was still dead, and this refusal to give up made me really learn to like this dead guy, made me eager to read more about him and his journey.
But will you personally like this tale of Khraen the Corpse?
Well, it’s fast-paced, emotional, has some humor, can be read for free here, and shouldn’t take too long for you to finish. How could you not like that deal?