Penumbra: The Best of Vol.1
Edited by Celina Summers
Cover by Kelly Shorten
Featuring: Andrew Kaye, Terra LeMay, Rachel Acks, James Beamon, Chuck Rothman, Nyki Blatchley, Damien Walters Grintalis, Nathaniel Lee, Daniel Ausema, Bruce Golden, Rebecca Birch.
This includes my story A Deed Without a Name, from Penumbra's Shakespeare issue:
Nothing was visible of the sun, from where I sat waiting for them to come, except its scattered light seeping through black clouds like blood through a bandage. It was only mid-afternoon, but the stain barely showed above the dark edge of the land, already waning into an early, stormy winter's night. Looking up through the branches of the dead oak tree, I saw towering layers of cloud stacked unevenly. A sharp wind shrilled against the twisted tree.
The oak crested a slight swell in the dismal undulations of the plateau, twisted in the throes of its death by lightning many years ago. I sat cross legged beneath it. My clothes were mere rags that looked sometimes grey, sometimes a bright motley, but neither the wind nor the coming storm bothered me. They’d be here soon.
Few came this way. Perhaps a holy man would cross the moor on his pilgrimage; a knight-errant would search for adventure; a wandering peddler or minstrel sought the quickest way to the rich markets. It was something else, though, that I waited for.
Out of the gloom to north, south and east, three figures emerged, muffled in cloaks and hoods. They moved slowly and laboriously, and the smallest of the three stumbled as though it could go no further. Each approached the dead oak, as if using it as a goal to help them keep going. They stopped at last, staring at one another, perhaps wondering whether to greet a new comrade or flee from a dangerous enemy.
They didn’t notice me, sitting beneath the tree. I didn’t expect them to.