The Dark - Issue 12, May 2016
Edited by Sean Wallace
Cover Artist: Kids by Vincent Chong
Review by Sam Tomaino
The Dark ISBN/ITEM#: 2332-4392
Date: 29 April 2016
Here is The Dark #12 with two new stories. The Dark is now a monthly publication.
The issue begins with "The Haferbräutigam" by Steve Berman. -+- Plűschow, after being in prison in an Italian jail for pederasty, has finally returned to Germany in what, one assumes is the early part of the twentieth century. He sees a remarkable young man at the train station and is immediately attracted to him. Plűschow approaches him and escorts him into the train. When Plűschow tells him his name, the young man merely introduces himself as the The Haferbräutigam. As their train ride and conversation progresses, Plűschow becomes frightened over what this young man might be and his effect on others. I googled Haferbräutigam and found an entry on Plűschow which said he returned to Germany in 1907 and referenced this very story. The word Haferbräutigam (oat bridegroom) is a younger version of Hafermann which is a "male corn demon who steals children". You don't need to know all that to find this story chilling.
The first reprinted story is "The Body Finder" by Kaaron Warren. -+- Years ago, Franks daughter was murdered and he had killed the man who did it, not finding out where her body was. He had gone to jail and when he came out, he searched for her body. He did not find hers but he found others, eventually being aided by a hand-held device. On his latest jaunt, he finds another body. Real chill at the end of this one.
The other new story is "Caroline at Dusk" by Kali Wallace. -+- Haunted by the death of her sister, Maggie, Caroline is visiting Ireland, staying in a little cottage there. A gun, much like the one that killed her sister has shown up in the house and she does not know how it got there. Something large lurks outside. Quite effective.
The other reprinted story is "The Jacaranda Wife" by Angela Slatter. -+- In 1849, James Willoughby finds a woman sleeping under a jacaranda tree. The indigenous people of Australia believe that such women come "from the great tree deeply embedded in the soil...white-skinned...violet-eyed..they bring only grief". They shun her. James is enchanted by her and takes her in. The woman scares, Martha, his Irish housekeeper but eventually takes pity on her. The woman is mute, so James calls her Emily. He marries her but she keeps silent. She becomes pregnant and spends her time underneath the jacaranda tree. The indigenous people abandon the house. It is Martha who knows what must be done. A sad, bittersweet tale.
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