The Dead Kid
by Darrell Schweitzer
Darrell Schweitzer is the author of the novels The Shattered Goddess and The Mask of the Sorcerer , as well as numerous short stories, which have been collected in Transients, Nightscapes, Refugees from an Imaginary Country , and Necromancies and Netherworlds . Well-known as an editor and critic, he co-edited the magazine Weird Tales for several years, and is currently co-editing anthologies with Martin H. Greenberg for DAW Books, such as The Secret History of Vampires.
Schweitzer says one of the inspirations for «The Dead Kid» was the true story of the «Boy in the Box,» whose corpse was found in a woods in northeast Philadelphia in 1957. The case remains unsolved, and there are police detectives who have obsessed over it throughout their entire careers and into their retirement. «They don't even know his name,» Schweitzer says. «He is a complete mystery.»
Schweitzer joked that given the mystery surrounding this case, the zombie tale he imagined is as good an explanation as any. Turns out that an informant—who is deeply unreliable—said that the boy's name was Jonathan . . . just like in this story.
So perhaps he has the real answer after all.