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The Dark Issue 7: The Dark, #7

The Dark Issue 7: The Dark, #7

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The Dark Issue 7: The Dark, #7

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Lançado em:
Feb 1, 2015


The Dark is a quarterly magazine co-edited by Jack Fisher and Sean Wallace, with the seventh issue featuring all-original short fiction by Angela Slatter, Patricia Russo, Sandra McDonald, and Brooke Wonders.

Lançado em:
Feb 1, 2015

Sobre o autor

Jack Fisher's first book was "Hold the Dog! 16 Days in Mongolia", an account of a strange trip across the Mongolian grasslands and deserts, from which all profits are donated to Mongolian charities. He has since written short stories, and in 2020 published his first novel, "The Liberty Arms". "The Liberty Arms" is set in a post-revolutionary London, and is the first book in "The New Society" trilogy. A prequel to the trilogy, "Rachel's Story", came out in late 2020. Jack lives in Manchester, UK, with his partner Christiane.

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The Dark Issue 7 - Jack Fisher


Issue 7, February 2015

Bearskin by Angela Slatter

In the Dreams Full of Sleep, Beakless Birds Can Fly by Patricia Russo

Welcome to Argentia by Sandra McDonald

A Spoke in Fortune’s Wheel by Brooke Wonders

Cover Art: Communion by Lane Brown

ISSN 2332-4392.

Edited by Jack Fisher & Sean Wallace.

Cover design by Garry Nurrish.

Ebook design by Neil Clarke.

Copyright © 2015 by TDM Press.



by Angela Slatter

Torben knows he has only one shot. The crossbow shakes in his grip. There is a single bolt and even if there were more he has not the strength to reload for the weapon belongs to Uther, the woodsman, who has left the boy to wait in the small, smelly blind set between the trunks of three ailing alders. The walls are of woven rushes and withy. The flimsy roof fell in who knows when and Torben feels the drip-drip-drip of snow-melt from abovenot that the weather’s warming up, but it seems the unhealthy branches won’t allow the ice to remain on their limbs much past daybreak.

The boy is cold in his pale wolf furs, despite their thickness. He never had a taste for hunting though Edvard, his father, tried to teach him. Henry, his brother, took to it like a duck to water, but Torben refused to attend what Edvard patiently told him. He has never learned the knack of willing himself warm, of wiggling his fingers and toes to keep the blood moving. Uther does not bother to instruct, or even to try, he simply slaps the boy about the ears each and every time he fails at one rough task or another. Torben suspects the man rather enjoys it and encourages missteps whenever he can. Edvard was always kind and tolerant, going over the same lesson time upon time, never punishing his youngest child’s inattention. Perhaps that’s why the lad suffers so now.

Thoughts of his father bring, as usual, hot tears which the boy wipes awayhe does not want them to freeze on his face. He has learned that much. He bites his lip and steadies his aching heart. He dare not think of his mother.

Torben presses an eye against the matting, but there is nothing beyond but a vastness of white broken only by thin naked trees. There is no canopy above of evergreens to offer any cover. He squints, trying to see if Uther is returning, slinky through the forest, quiet despite his hulking size. Yet no, there is not even the icy comfort of Torben’s gaoler on offer.

Gaoler. Not the word Aunt Bethany had used. Guardian. Teacher. Master to Torben’s apprentice. He’d asked over and again why? Why did he need an apprenticeship when Henry had been allowed to go to University. There was plenty of moneyall the problems his parents had caused were sortedwhy was he not to be given the same chance? Wasn’t that why they’d moved to Whitebarrow? So Henry could study medicine as he’d desired? It was a few more years, certainly, before Torben would be old enough, but his tutor said he was terribly bright for a twelve year old, that he had great prospects, great possibilities. It hadn’t occurred to Torben then, though it had many times since, that his repeated interrogations were the reason he now found himself huddled in Edmea’s Wood in the depths of winter, yearning for the company of a man he couldn’t stand. A man whose face wore the scars of a bear attack. A man who’d grown so tired of Torben’s stumbling and tripping, his barely swallowed whimpers, that he’d left the boy alone in the decaying blind with instructions to Fecking wait while he went and checked the traps on his own.

Torben sits back, tries to get comfortable; he can barely feel his feet and his backside has gone to sleep. Everything will hurt when he stands, when the blood flows back into his flesh and musclesoh yes, he has muscles now, not big ones, but they’ve replaced the baby fat he’d had in copious store before. The physical labour, the sparse diet, have stripped the excess from his bones. He is constantly hungry, a gnawing in his belly day and night, but he doesn’t dare steal. Uther is keenly aware of the quantity of provisions in the larder, and Torben is certain that the quiet, scrawny girl who keeps house for Uther would be unwilling to risk her master’s wrath all for the sake of the plump little rich boy who came to them weeping eight months ago.

He listens carefully in case Uther is sneaking up behind to scare him so he pees his pants again. Torben would have thought that trick one to grow old quickly, but apparently not. All he can distinguish is the wind rattling branches, the creak of frozen wood, the whoosh of

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