The Dark - Issue 13, June 2016
Edited by Sean Wallace
Cover Artist: Peter Polach (Apterus)
Review by Sam Tomaino
The Dark ISBN/ITEM#: 2332-4392
Date: 30 May 2016
Here is The Dark #13 with two new stories. They are now monthly.
The issue begins with "The Hibernating Queen" by Leena Likitalo. -+- Karaval is a young bear and heir to the kingdom as her mother is queen. The first summer that her hair grows and her arms thicken delights her but her friends, the peacocks, warn her that she will soon be betrothed and have to take a husband. But she starts her first Feasting Season and that is not mentioned. She grows fat and enters hibernation. When she awakes she has lost weight. The guests at her first feast are all eligible males and she realizes that the peacock were right. What can she do? Good story, told well and what I think is supposed to be a commentary on human girls her age.
The first reprinted story is "Free Jim's Mine" by Tananarive Due. -+- In May of 1838 in Dahlonega, Georgia, runaway slave Lottie who is pregnant, and her Cherokee husband, Waya aka William, are trying to escape north and have come to her Uncle Jim's mine. He is a freed slave and there are rumors that he got his freedom through some kind of mojo. Her uncle reluctantly agrees to hide them in his mine, but that is fret with peril, too. In it lies a Cherokee legend that Waya had heard stories about. Well-done historical horror.
The other new story is "The Bat House" by M. Bennardo. -+- Bedelia builds something she has always wanted, a bat house, next to the house she shares with her sister, Patience. It's three feet tall and two feet wide and black with "a long, thin, slit for ventilation" across the front and a shingled roof. She says they might get three hundred bats which does not enthuse Patience. Some weeks later, Bedelia is wondering how they will know bats are living there, while Patience is reading the newspaper about "murders, plagues, famine, and death. Earthquakes in the Pacific have killed ten thousand or more, with aftershocks to follow." Patience has tried to ignore her sister's occult interests, but something is up. She extracts an unwise promise from her sister leading to the finale. Nicely done somewhat cautionary tale.
The other reprinted story is "The Slipway Grey" by Helen Marshall. -+- An old Afrikaner is telling his grandchild about an old friend if his named Jurie whom he met at university. Jurie is not that ambitious or smart, but he is succeeding at university while our narrator is not. How does he do it? Jurie teaches him a mind trick which he has since used to be successful. The trick actually helps him save Jurie's life at one point. But our narrator discovers something else and passes his wisdom along to his grandson. Charming and imaginative with a nice dark edge.
The Dark is a consistently enjoyable read and who could ask for anything more? It deserves your support. Check out their website (see link at the top of this review). If you want to give them more support, go to their Patreon site at www.patreon.com/thedarkmagazine.