We Who Sing Beneath the Ground by Mark Morris, The Dark Magazine

Available on thedarkmagazine.com

This dark tale takes place in a small town in Cornwall England. The protagonist, Stacey, moves to this small town after she breaks up with her boyfriend (or husband–can’t remember), and starts teaching at a tiny country school.

When a quiet boy, named Adam, brings a strange sword-like object to school one day for show and tell, nobody can tell what it is. See, while it is curved like a sword, and seems jagged on one edge, it’s made out of some strange white-shell-like material.

thedark34-663x1024When Adam stops coming to school, Stacey takes a personal interest and after numerous attempts to contact his parents, goes and visits the farm the boy lives on. What she finds, is certainly not what she expects.

Where this story thrives is the tone and the way it increases tension. Until the final third, it’s exceedingly creepy and plays with the unknown well.

Where this piece falls down, for me anyway, is the ending reveal of the horror-esk part of this piece. But it’s not because the reveal isn’t interesting. For me, it’s because there isn’t enough foreshadowing of the eventual reveal. The sword-like object makes sense, but I feel like I could have been given a hint or two about the culture and folklore of the region in the early stages of the piece, as the reveal left me surprised because I didn’t have a foundation to understand the type of world I was reading about.

A well-written piece, but one I feel could have held my hand a little more. (C)

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