Fantastic stories lurk in The Dark Magazine. You won’t find gore, but you will find a treasure chest of creepiness and strange perspectives.
“Welcome to Argentia” by Sandra McDonald tells of a real place with a real history. The vengeful spirit of Argentia feels real, too. The land haunts and is haunted. It takes the lives it wants, whether shipwreck victims clinging to rocks or pilots in crashed transports. Individuals see glimpses of the land’s haunting before and after the U.S. Navy abandons its World War II base. A young man “looked out his window to see dark horses pulling wooden coffins down the road. There are no horses on the station, and certainly no need for coffins.” Mundane events are made terrible in “Welcome to Argentia.” This story reminds the reader how little control she has if she’s part of a larger narrative. The difference between life and death is less than she likes to think.
To the question of whether “Rumpelstiltskin” should be its own genre, “A Spoke in Fortune’s Wheels” keens yesssss. You remember the Rumplestiltskin story: years of modern retelling have mellowed the tale to something simply about a strange man spinning straw into gold and the price one woman pays for the favor. The story’s not so bad. Just a vehicle for a moral, right? Not the way Brooke Wonders tells it. Like so many other stories in The Dark Magazine, “A Spoke in Fortune’s Wheels” takes fairy tales back to their creepy roots. The girl in this story has a spinning wheel for a head. Nasty things happen to her after she meets the little man. This story disturbs, fascinates, and chills, which are all the right things to do in a horror story.
In “An Ocean of Eyes,” Sigrid (not her real name) tries to convince a brash stranger to leave town. He’s drawn to Ulthar because of a legend he doesn’t believe, and he’s a fool. A town with stories about cats devouring people alive should be avoided. Also, Lovecraft made this place. Cats and their toxoplasmosis victims are wily. Like whatever’s pulling victims into Newfoundland waters, hiding in a favor or lurking in a cat’s meow, the stories in The Dark Magazine sneak up on you. This is a great e-zine.
The Dark Magazine is available DRM-free from Weightless Books in single issues or as a 12-month subscription. “A Spoke in Fortune’s Wheels” by Brooke Wonders and “Welcome to Argentia” by Sandra McDonald are in Issue 7. Cassandra Khaw’s “An Ocean of Eyes” can be found in Issue 8.