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The Dark Issue 45: The Dark, #45

The Dark Issue 45: The Dark, #45

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The Dark Issue 45: The Dark, #45

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Lançado em:
Jan 27, 2019


Each month The Dark brings you the best in dark fantasy and horror! Selected by award-winning editors Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Sean Wallace and published by Prime Books, this issue includes two all-new stories and two reprints:

"The Crying Bride" by Carrie Laben
"The Little Beast" by Octavia Cade (reprint)
"Butterflies and Hurricanes" by Julia August
"The Red Forest" by Angela Slatter (reprint)

Lançado em:
Jan 27, 2019

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The Dark Issue 45 - Carrie Laben


Issue 45 • February 2019

The Crying Bride by Carrie Laben

The Little Beast by Octavia Cade

Butterflies and Hurricanes by Julia August

The Red Forest by Angela Slatter

Cover Art: Valentine by Peter Polach (Apterus)

ISSN 2332-4392.

Edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Sean Wallace.

Cover design by Garry Nurrish.

Copyright © 2019 by Prime Books.


The Crying Bride

by Carrie Laben

Is your tape still running? Oh, they don’t use tape anymore? That’s clever. Very good.

But really, you came all this way to interview me about the family and what happened to the land and now we’re talking about ghosts! Now, in the twenty-first century, the magic future century we were all promised? No. I don’t believe in ghosts because the crying bride never haunted us. God knows, if anyone had reason to, it was her. You might think that would worry me now that I’m pushing eighty-nine but it doesn’t. It might surprise you, young lady, to learn that I’m pretty satisfied with everything I’ve done.

Yes, Cecelia. I always think of her as the crying bride because that was what I called her when I was a little girl, before I learned her real name. She was in the photo album, white dress with the train piled all around her feet, white flowers clutched in white fingers, tear-trails clear as knife cuts down her face once you knew to look for them. Her name was scratched out of the spidery caption beneath the photo and neither Ma nor Grandma would say it. There were no other pictures of her and I’m not sure why Grandma kept that one, except that it was also a picture of Ma and her brothers all together, dressed up sharp as members of the wedding party, and it wasn’t too long after that that Uncle Robert—he was the best man—went in the Army and no one would ever be able to take a picture of all of them together again. No, he died in a Jeep accident.

Have you seen the photo? She was very beautiful. Here, let me get it for you.

Whew! Even that little bit of walking takes it out of me now. Anyway, you can see there, the tears. You might not notice them if you just flipped by the picture, but as I said, once you learn to see . . . This was the first picture I ever saw of a wedding, you know, and it sort of superimposed itself on all the weddings I saw afterward. I never could quite believe the smiles, or think that anyone was really happy to look at someone else and say yes, this is the end, there will never be anything better or new for me again.

Oh dear. I’m sure your wedding will be lovely, sweetheart. Anjali seems like a wonderful girl and anyway, things are quite different nowadays. Girls marrying girls is a fantastic idea, compared to some of the men we used to have to marry! But, you know. If you ever need anything from your old auntie, don’t hesitate to ask.

Okay, okay. Yes, the apple orchard, we’re coming to that. The first time I realized that it was important I must have been about eight. I know I was outside and I wasn’t allowed to come back in, because your uncle Don was a baby and I would wake him and because my father was working night shifts at the bottling plant and I would wake him.

It was drizzling a little, on and off, so I went to sit under the apple tree that stood away from the house—there was only one apple tree then, no orchard. I was a dreamy child. I would sit in the grass and pluck it and braid it, or I’d make up stories about people so tiny that I had to be careful not to crush them with the heel of my shoe. Or I’d listen to the mourning doves perched up there and pretend they were telling me secrets.

I got hungry. It was the Depression and a lot of children went hungry in those days, as I was reminded every dinner time that I turned up my nose at something, and I was very lucky that we all lived on Uncle Ray’s farm, and I didn’t really know what hungry was, and so on. But it made me fretful. And just when I was thinking that I’d risk sneaking into the kitchen and making a noise, an apple fell right out of the tree and into my lap.

It was all wrong and I knew it, too early in the year for apples. But it looked fresh and delicious and I ate it anyway. Afterward the tree was my friend, and I’d be under it even when it wasn’t raining—even when Ma hadn’t told me to go outside! When I wasn’t around she couldn’t make me do chores and I didn’t have to listen to Donny bawling or Ma and Dad and Uncle Ray all yelling at each other when they got in a mood. I was closer to understanding the mourning doves than ever, and when I was hungry an apple always fell.

Nothing good can last, of course. School started again and then

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