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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
The Darkness: A Short Tale of the Dawning of the Darkness is a fantasy short story written by Justine Avery. The village was brimming with fear of the darkness. It came each evening, laying waste to each and every thing that lay in its path. There were no solutions to and no reasoning with its implacable nature, so the villagers lived each dawn to dusk as fully as they were able, and they spent the evening warding off their foe. Lunam was very aware of the awesome responsibility he had in his family’s home each night. While he was still very small, he was charged with holding up his torch in one corner of the stone-walled cottage through the endless hours, until finally his father would declare his watch over and gently take the torch from his tired fingers. Each morning, Lunam and his brother Lux would rush out to play in the brilliant sunshine; sometimes they’d visit Stella and Videre, the elders of the village, and speak with Videre. The couple had survived the darkness for far longer than any before them, and they held the wisdom of the people in their minds. But when Lux and his brother knocked on the door, Stella’s eyes were sad as she opened the door, and she told them Videre was gone.
Justine Avery’s allegorical fantasy short story, The Darkness: A Short Tale of the Dawning of the Darkness, is an epic tale in miniature, jewel-like and rich in imagery as the reader watches villagers holding torches up against the darkness in night-long weary vigils. I was touched by the image of those villagers and the opening description of the Darkness, a living, breathing and horrific entity, played itself out in my imagination. Avery skillfully and adroitly builds up a world of post-apocalyptic dimensions and plants the reader squarely in the minds and imaginations of two young brothers who dare to question the status quo and challenge the night. This is a well-written story filled with richly developed characters, and it works wonderfully.