The Dark: Issue 2, December 2013

 Cover of The Dark, Issue #2. Art by Beth Spencer.

Cover of The Dark, Issue #2. Art by Beth Spencer.

As did Issue #1, the December 2013 issue of The Dark contains four stories. And as in that first issue, all four stories are great.

Only two issues in, and The Dark is already costing me more money than the cover price—BECAUSE IT'S INTRODUCING ME TO NEW AUTHORS AND THEN I HAVE TO BUY THEIR BOOKS, AHHHHHH.

Case in point: After reading Our Lady of Ruins, by Sarah Singleton, I immediately bopped over to Amazon and bought her Booktrust Teenage Prize-winning book, Century.

The Nameless Saint, by Willow Fagan, reads like a modern-day fairy tale, with a little girl facing off against a witch-figure whose mostly well-intentioned—but, you know how different intent and impact are—life choices have very much made her who and what she is. I especially loved this line, which probably could apply to 70% of Twitter at any given time:

She raises her hands to her head and pauses, caught between closing her ears and listening.

I love that.

For me, this was another across-the-board strong collection, but E. Catherine Tobler's Wrought Out From Within Upon the Flesh was far and away my favorite. While this issue was published in 2013, this particular story felt very... relevant to the current day. Then again, maybe these issues just always feel relevant:

She shifts only enough to allow the people to see it is the same for her legs, chains all the way down. He has made her this way—beautiful, untouching and untouchable—a thing that cannot move beyond the limits he has placed upon her.

And even though Amanda E. Forrest's Five Boys Went to War is a sad story, it's also a warm one—I'm glad the issue ended on this note rather than the Tobler story. I loved it, yes, but it was also so gut-wrenching that it's still with me, well over a week later.