The Darkness

a Short Tale of Uncommon Daring & Ultimate Defiance

Everyone's afraid of the dark. Now, there's a reason to be.

* Award Medal for YA Sci-Fi & Horror, New Apple Summer E-Book Awards 2017
* B.R.A.G. Medallion Award, 2017
* Gold Medal for Best Short Story, Literary Classics Book Awards 2016
* First Place Award for Fantasy Fiction, CIPA EVVY Book Awards 2016
* Bronze Award for Fiction Short Story, Readers' Favorite International Book Awards 2016
* CIPA EVVY Award for Fairy Tale & Folklore Fiction, CIPA EVVY Book Awards 2016
* CIPA EVVY Award for eBook Design, CIPA EVVY Book Awards 2016
* Literary Classics Seal of Approval
* Bronze Award for Short Story Fiction, eLit Book Awards 2016
* Finalist for the EPIC eBook Award for Fiction Short Works, 2017
* Quarter-finalist for the ScreenCraft Contest for Cinematic Short Story
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The Darkness

Everyone's afraid of the dark. Now, there's a reason to be.

Lux and his younger brother Lunam enjoy the full freedom of the simple life and all the childhood adventures offered by growing up in a small village in a picturesque glen. Life is tranquil, peaceful, and just about perfect—except for one formidable fact…

Every day is followed by night. And, with the night, comes the DARKNESS.

Slowly shrouding the valley and relentlessly seeping into every nook and cranny on its nightly rampage, the darkness returns to feast on its victims. No man, woman, child, animal—or even, insect—is safe. The darkness consumes all; the darkness's hunger is never satisfied.

When the sun falls from the sky, the villagers, young and old, must take to arms, guarding their homes, loved ones, and livestock with every ray of light they can muster. Even young Lux and Lunam are well-soldiered in their responsibilities to safeguard themselves and their parents during the nightly vigil, the nightly fight to live to see another day.

It's always been this way—the truths and ritual passed down from generation to generation since ancient times. No one dares question why. Nothing can change the frightening fact of the lives of the villagers or emancipate them from their singular foe—nothing, except a child's imagination and a curiosity as immutable as the darkness's own appetite.

There's just one truth guiding every man, woman, and child to strive to see another day: "Darkness Comes but Once a Night."

The darkness washed in from the horizon like a tidal wave issued by an angry god—or some force yet more powerful and unquestionably more sinister. It rolled over the hills and flooded the valleys, creeping into every last crevice, tickling at every living thing still clambering across the earth as each senselessly squandered its last living moments.

Thick and syrupy, heady and humid, the darkness oozed, pulling and propelling its all-encompassing mass by its black fingertips, crawling and gnawing its way across the land of the still-alive. It seeped into ill-prepared homes, penetrated pores, mingled and danced with the air until all it reached was ultimately, utterly consumed.

And then, the shrieks sung out: the inevitable cries of pain, the hopeless calls of those caught in the clutches. Every night, the deafening chant resonated all evening long until the last life was seized, penetrated, and wholly devoured. The tempo varied—the tone, never. The cacophony of wails, the sound of desperation ravaged by defeat, knocked at eardrums and served as unrelenting reminder of annihilation pressing, pounding, prophetic at every door.

Merciless, the darkness was described. Implacable. Never-ending. Inescapable. Omnipotent. The only true—and most formidable—foe.

Questioning the essence of its existence, wondering at its impetus, or hesitating in the presence of its imminent, cyclic encroachment was heresy. All questions had been asked by ancestors long before; all suspicions had served as direct death sentences. Those facts were known to all, but the names of the imprudent deceased were not. Those names were struck from the spoken language eons before.

And the darkness advanced, drumming into every existence as an ominous drone—a venomous birthright. Always present, ceaselessly threatening. Infinitely unforgiving.

So it came—again, as always—this night.

"The torch, Lunam!" Clara growled at her son, perhaps too harshly but absolutely necessarily.

Four-year-old Lunam blinked beneath his blonde fringe, desperately calling on his own focus to remind him what was expected of him. More than the fear of death and his own disappearance into the night, Lunam wanted to please his parents, show that he was a good boy and listened to every warning, every lesson, since the day he was born within the same stone walls and beneath the same thatched roof.

"Lunam!" his older brother's voice came, hushed and urgent. "Here it is," Lux said, "Go to your post. Now!"

Lunam's tiny hand gripped the flaming torch as he bounded for the one corner of the cottage remaining unattended. He spread his thick legs wide and firm on the ground and held the torch high above his golden head with both arms. His body tipped backward as he looked toward the roof and the growing shadows he was tasked with vanquishing with amber light.

His brother held two larger torches, waving them in an intricate pattern all around his taller, thin frame as he skillfully chased away the first signs of darker hues inching their way through the thatching.

"Lunam!" Clara screeched, giving away her fear. "Higher! Watch the shadows!"

Her youngest son jerked his elbows straight again as he wondered how they loosened and allowed the torch to lower in the first place. He vowed to never take his eyes off the roof again, to not relinquish his post, to not allow the big black monster of the night to harm his family. Not this night.

"Lunam," Lux called out from across the room. "Good job, little brother," he encouraged with a quick, warm smile.

The child beamed his own smile up at the small dark patches in the thatching, feeling the strength and support of his brother's belief in him. The torch lifted yet higher in his hands, scaring a beetle straight into the roof itself where it would surely meet its doom as the darkness grasped its tiny body.

Lunam's lower lip stuck out as he held back a frown, resigning to bravery and to never letting his brother find him distracted by a lesser life and away from the safety of their own family.

"Lux," their mother called to her oldest, still with urgency but now more calm and controlled. "Mind your brother," she said before returning her concentration to her own defensive position and responsibilities as guardian against the night.

Lux smiled reassuringly again at young Lunam, admiring the assertive stance of the toddler-turned-soldier. ....

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Listen to a sample of the story...

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Narrated by:

Josh Cabot. Energetic, young and a master of a legion of voices, Cabot is a versatile and experienced British voice actor and audio producer with clients including The BBC, Audible, CeX, University College London and The Old Vic Theatre Waterloo. He holds both a First Class BA (hons) in Drama & Theatre Studies and a Masters Degree in Radio Production. (DP Talent)

Editorial Reviews

Readers Favorite 5 Star SealThe 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.

Literary_Classics_Seal_of_ApprovalWhat if being afraid of the dark was founded in a very real sense of self-preservation? Brothers Lux and Lunam live in a world where the shadows of darkness hold the power to snuff the very life from a living being. The boys have been taught, from a very young age, to fear the darkness with every fiber of their being.

Justine Avery's The Darkness is a spine-tingling short story that is pure magic and mysticism. The quality of writing, development of characters and imagery are all spot on. This short story packs a powerful punch as readers are drawn in and then thrilled with its rousingly good finale.

Reader Reviews

Magic is the term that comes to mind first when attempting to describe the impact of Justine’s prose. She has a mastery of expression of created fantasies that ring very closely to contemporary reality – and that is the mark (or one of them) of a first class short story master/mistress. ... In a very brief format ... Justine spins a tale that will mesmerize her readers – who grow in number with every new publication she creates. Brilliant tale told with perky style – another satisfying opus from one of our finest short story creators. Grady Harp, June 17

9Justine Avery's allegory of human ignorance and discovery reminds one of Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown". Both stories use darkness to generate the fear that ignorance creates.

The setting is perhaps post-apocalyptic. Avery's world in this fable lives in absolute terror of the dark, which the people understand as an ever-hungry force that eats light and life. The villagers, huddled against a forest, prep their homes against the dark like housepainters, "covering crevices and sealing cracks with previously prepared reams of paper, bolts of cloth ..." etc -- the point being, one must work very hard when there is a lack of understanding. Confused, fearful tales are handed down from one generation to the next.

The story focuses on two children, symbolically named Lux and Lunam (apart from being symbols simply as children), who do what all children must do: rebel against their circumstances. They are subtly inspired by the words of a village elder who may have lived long enough to have gleaned a thing or two, from simple longevity, about the darkness.

To say more is to spoil, but I think I can quote the last sentence without spoilage: " ... the tears of ancient suffering released and rained down over them both."

The lady can write.

5 out of 5.

Although a quick read, this book is captivating. It is full of imagery and characters the reader can relate to. In a parallel world, Avery explores themes that are very much relevant to life today. A very engrossing tale that has you cheering by the end.

The book, though fairly brief, was suspenseful and captivating. The author used the wit and magic of a child’s imagination to force the reader into an epic fight between the night and the Lux and Lunams. Each chapter was heart-racing and page-turning.

The Darkness is proof positive that much can be said in a well written short story. Don't let the over expansive verbiage distract you as it creates unforgettable imagery that illustrates the darkness in its truest form. At times the language and story are poetic and at the same time philosophically paints contrasts in our own lives. For such a brief story, the characters were well visualized and the reader is drawn to asking questions about them and their life immediately. At the risk of a spoiler alert (yes, the story is that good that I don't want to spoil the plot), I was absolutely expecting the story to finish in a similar vein to the movie "The Village" when I began reading it. Was I ever wrong! Many have commented this story is a quick read and it can be, but I encourage you to spend some time with it. Sit with it, think about it in the context presented as well as how parallels with life can be made. Short stories have not usually been in my reading list, (not intentionally omitted) but The Darkness has definitely lit (pun intended) my interest in this type of literature. Well Done!

Igniting the imagination of the little kid in all of us.

Justine Avery is clearly a very talented writer. Her short story "The Darkness," not only captures the imagination of the inner child in all of us, but also questions the strength that we may have lost as adults. We all remember what it was like to fear the ever darkening night. The request for a night light in our rooms that seemed to fight off the terrifying blackness that ate away at our childlike courage. Justine Avery's book is the re-ignition of that night light. With her elegant use of language that dances around the page, to her playful and rich characters, Justine Avery has you feeling like a child again; full of wonder and wishful thinking.

A great little story that I recommend. If you are dealing with a child who is afraid of the dark, treat them to this story and watch as the courage of a child ignites within them.

Avery hooks you from the onset again

Avery drops you into the thick of the story. Mystical and dangerous; innocent and brave, this story is fresh and yet familiar- reminiscent of childhood tales we all know. A great read for the bus or train, The Darkness is a magical take on the war between the light and the depths of Darkness.

Two brothers, Lux and Lunan, must fight against the darkness with their own childlike curiosity as the rest of their villagers, adults, attempt to do the same. Re-enter the mind of a child who is scared, scared beyond belief of the things we cannot see and do not know, however, who fights all they can with what they think. Reminiscent of M Night Shamalan's "The Village," read this thriller that enables you to see the extents of ritual and the great depths that the fear in one's mind can travel to in order to create situations that we perceive to be real but are unsure of their validity.

I'll be back for more books to read! A really good short mystery full of suspense.

Bought this book for an afternoon of reading and it is definitely good choice. A thrilling mystery that revolves around the story of two brothers. If you're a supernatural fan, this book will interest you in the way the scenes are set up. The description of the scenes in which the story takes places are described in a very errie manner, almost like a horror story. That of course piqued my interest since I'm a big fan of horror stories. The length of the book isn't too long so I finished within the hour, which is a plus because I can never put a book down without finishing it.

Great Read!

I loved this story ... this author has a different method of story telling which is refreshing to someone like me who seems to always have something to read. It's enjoyable to see that authors are still capable of creating stories worth the read! Keep up the great work!

This dark tale is about bravery. It is very descriptive and it's easy to figure out the answers to questions you have while reading this. Everything is pieced together so well and it is very interesting.

The book was short, but Avery packs a lot of intrigue into this ominous story. The writing is almost poetic and the story itself leaves just enough to the imagination to keep it interesting. The characters are relatable, but there's definitely an atmosphere of the fantastical as they conquer their fear of the darkness. It's the great story telling that readers will love the most and if you like creepy and suspenseful tales, then this book is one you should read.

A bit of gold within the dark

Reminded me of Neil Gaiman, this author keeps surprising me.

Following two brothers who are afraid of the dark, I found this book quite an enjoyment to read, I grew up reading everything Neil Gaiman wrote, and I am always looking for similar authors who can keep up with the magic.

I really recommend this book, it's witty, dark and funny, has great moments and a good developing arc.

The Darkness leaves one with the feeling that there is still hope at the end of every scary tale. The story is truly one of someone who does not accept the limitations that are in their way. Hope for me was the main theme of this book; A hope that bad times can past into good times for people that are willing to look for it.

The Darkness is a plot of bravery and true friendship. The author tells a plot of two brothers, Lunam and Lux, faced at odds of a dystopian world where an evil force consumes the ones they love while fighting it off: every single night. It is up to the curiosity and bravery of these two brothers to defend their village and learn more of themselves.

Justine Avery delivers an exciting story of intensity. This book keeps the reader on edge, wondering what will happen next. With vivid descriptions and an easy to follow plot, this story is ideal for any reader, especially those who love adventure, fantasy, or just a good short story.

The Darkness is yet another work by Justine Avery that leaves you with a mystery throughout the whole piece. She reaches for your curiosity and holds on to it until the very last page. This work in particular is set in a future setting, a genre that I always enjoy reading. The adjectives and other diction that Avery uses here is very creative and intriguing. This is a great example of Avery's writing and I would recommend this piece to anyone looking for an adventure to experience with a quick read.


The Darkness is a short story by Justine Avery. I was hooked on the story from the very first sentence. I love the amount of detail and the descriptors used. It kept up a suspenseful, fast-paced read. I love the concept of the story and how it kept you wanting to read to see where the story would take you. I also loved the symbolism I perceived through the context of new generations and the darkness/lightness. It is a touching story that I recommend highly!


Once again, Justine Avery has blown me away. "The Darkness" is a story about two brave boys in a strange world. But it's more than that, too. It's a commentary on hardship, the unknown and on death, and on how they are faced by children, adults and the elderly.

Ms. Avery takes her readers into the minds of two brothers, Lux and Lunam, and through them tells the story of a mysterious glen under siege for generations by a hungry darkness. Through their eyes is reflected our curiosity about the world to which we're introduced, and their probing, doubt and exploration echoes the reader's desires. This short tale crafts a concise narrative, interweaving love, loss, action and anxiety into a tapestry that tells the story of an entire lifetime. I highly recommend it.

Elegant, Poetic, and Poignant Mystery

The Darkness by Justine Avery is an elegantly written and poetic mystery. Beautifully worded, Avery calls on a topic as simple as 'darkness' to create, a deeply complex story. The Darkness is incredibly descriptive and paints beautiful and haunting images. Though it is a short read, Avery is able to delve the reader into another world and raise poignant, existential questions that go far beyond the confines of you average mystery. We are not left with all of the answers but with questions to ponder making this short book even more interesting. The comparison to Edgar Allen Poe drew me in and her distinct writing that carries you from one scene to the next and one character to the other kept me reading. I highly recommend this book.

Ever since he was a child, Lunam was taught to hold up a torch every night on top of their cottage until his father came to take it from him. This was a tradition to prevent Darkness from laying waste to their village, like it has previously done before. But during the mornings, Lunam and his brother Lux would explore the village and occasionally visit the village elders Stella and Videre. However, when Videre suddenly disappears without a trace, the two brothers question his disappearance which leads them down a wary path. Follow along their journey as they challenge the culture of their village and the ominous world they live in.

This fantasy short story novel had touches of brilliance in terms of imagery. I was literally able to imagine the various scenes throughout the book due to Avery’s descriptive language. From the moment you read the first chapter, you will understand the quality of her writing. Furthermore, the story is full of elaborately developed characters. I highly recommend this story to those who enjoy fantasy fiction and mystery.

Short, captivating read that spins your mind

Quite a quick read, but nonetheless captivating at every page. The Darkness is a spell-binding story of the unknown a supernatural, a mysterious horror plot that keeps you turning pages.

Avery is a skillful writer who writes with such interesting style and storyline. Loved the story and looking forward to many more from the author.

Justine Avery writes a short-story book that will take your breath away. It can be quite difficult for an author to create an engaging atmosphere to his/hers readers when the books are small but that’s exactly what was achieved here. Entertaining and dark, this book will keep you company even after you finished it. Just keep the light on!

Lux and his brother Lunam are the main characters and the way the author uses children to make you face one of the oldest and most common fears humankind has faced since the beginning of the times is quite interesting. There’s a deep psychological meaning that you were probably not expecting to face. The story leaves a big opening to your own interpretations and creates a perfect setting to get your imagination going.

With a deep poetic pace and its dark theme it can probably be quite interesting for Edgar Allan Poe readers. This little book is perfect to read while commuting. It’s easy to read, it has an interesting pace and a great atmosphere construction. I recommend it, for sure.

This is definitely a short story that has a lot of depth and is worth the read. From start to finish, I enjoyed every bit of it. It wasn't a very long read, but it was well-worth the purchase.

Without giving too much details and being a spoiler, this story is about a village that is scared of the dark and go above and beyond to protect themselves for when the darkness arrives. It has a lot of meaning behind it if you really think of it as how people can be scared or fear things that they simply don't understand.

I recommend this story for all ages as it is truly a great read. Although I will say that it is likely that young teens through adult will be able to gather their own meanings from the story versus a younger child that may have difficulty understanding the author's excellent use of wording. I definitely enjoyed this short story as it has an excellent message that can truly be appreciated.

Short & Sweet, Imaginative Tale

I really enjoyed reading "The Darkness." I'm reminded of Ray Bradbury or Ursula K. Le Guin. The glen is the setting in this story and the villagers all live in constant peril against the relentless attack of a powerful, lethal force that consumes in the night. Lux and his brother Lumen have been tasked, unbeknownst to them, with interrupting the status quo, and do so "brilliantly." This was an easy and thoroughly enjoyable read. I look forward to more of Avery's stories.

"The Darkness" by Justine Avery is a short story full of suspense that can be finished in a single sitting. In fact, you'll find it hard not to finish it in a single sitting, not because of the length, but because the author has the ability to grab hold of you in the first few pages and not let go until you're spent. "The Darkness" is no exception. Every evening the village that Lux and Lunam live in is engulfed in darkness. The darkness is an entity that attempts to overtake their lives. In this it has already succeeded. Lux and Lunam are children, brothers, who have grown up knowing nothing else but the daily struggle of survival against the darkness. At its core, "The Darkness" is a dark and terrifying story about hope and redemption, about brotherly love and sacrifice. I loved this story. My only complaint is it was too short. I wanted so much more.

What a great short story! The brothers of the story prove that love can overcome anything and that a little light in a dark world goes a long way. If you're looking for a story that you can finish in one sitting, this is it. The authors ability to weave the characters and deeper meanings of life and death left me craving the next tale. You won't be disappointed with this story.

Rich, vivid tale of light and darkness in an absolute delight

“The Darkness” is an adorable short story, perfect for those who want to devour an engaging and thrilling tale in one sitting. Two brothers, Lunam and Lux, live in a village where the battle with the darkness is an everyday mission. Wise beyond their years, these little heroes quest for knowledge and wisdom while they seek to vanquish the darkness. Throughout the story, the mystery of the darkness gnawed at me, and I delighted in pondering the source with each turn of the page. While the answer left me with more questions, I enjoyed imagining the possibilities even when the story was over. The author used such descriptive, rich language that I was able to see every moment in my mind’s eye. This was truly a lovely read.

Well Worth Your Time and Money -- and Spare No Expense on Proper Lighting!

As a writer, you have a limited amount of time to sell your story -- a paragraph or two and you’ve either hooked your reader or lost them forever. I am pleased to say that Justine Avery got me to take the bait; hook, line and sinker.

The imagery is rich, and paints a picture that is compelling and will stay with you until long after you have finished the story. While the darkness obviously plays no small part, her characters are refreshingly bright and luminous, standing out well against the much-detailed and vibrant setting.

I very much enjoyed this piece -- from start to finish -- and cannot recommend it highly enough. Ms. Avery will have you looking at shadows in a whole new light.

The Darkness: (a Short Tale of Uncommon Daring & Ultimate Defiance) by Justine Avery is an unusual story about Darkness. Follow Lux and his younger brother Lunam as they take part in the ritual of guarding their family from their most dreaded foe — darkness. Darkness is the only thing that is dreaded by the inhabitants of this city and this has been since time immemorial. But now things are about to change and a young kid’s curiosity unveils dread truths about the mystery of darkness.

This is a story about bravery and the liberating power of facing reality, a story that is filled with humor and powerful lessons for life. One can read it as an allegory or an entertaining story. The plot is intelligently imaged and beautifully executed and the idea behind the story is simply genial. I enjoyed this story for a number of reasons, including the author’s unique narrative voice, the beautiful prose, and the storytelling skills.

Lux and his little brother Lunam have been raised to respect and fear one thing. The darkness. Their deep and profound fear is not a simple childhood quirk, it's a way of life for their village. The darkness is a very real entity that consumes all of those around them. When the sun falls, the battle begins. A fight to survive until the dawning of the light.

This short story by Justine Avery is a mystical tale of good versus evil. Like Justine Avery's other short stories, The Darkness is well written and full of imagination and wonder. I was immediately drawn into the story through her flowing descriptions and acute awareness of how important it is to engage the reader quickly and completely in such a short medium. Author Justine Avery is a master at doing this. The Darkness was without exception. Dropped into the middle of the tale, I was quickly able to find me way around and into the hearts and minds of the characters, immediately drowning in their fear.

Justine Avery once again creates an amazing tale of suspense and magic in a short read with "The Darkness: (A Short Tale of Uncommon Daring and Ultimate Defiance). Highly recommend this, and all of her other short stories.

Justine Avery has done an amazing job with this short tale. I finished this read in one night and it was very well developed from beginning to end. It was really enjoyable and pleasant to feel like one was in the tale because of the vivid descriptions that she had provided and every detail made it seem so real. The characters were very well developed and it was real evident to see their growth from beginning to end. This short tale really keeps the reader on the edge of their seat because with every page turned, it becomes more suspenseful; and the reader anxiously wants to know what is going on. I do however wish this tale was much more longer because I feel like there could be more to the tale. Nonetheless, Justine Avery has started to become one of my favorite authors and I look forward to reading more of her works.

This short novel was an interesting read. The book opens with a delicious description about the darkness, "Thick and syrupy, heady and humid the darkness oozed", so your mind can get a full visual of how the darkness is effecting the village with its "black fingertips". The darkness described in the book can be related to my own life and what I consider "darkness".

The two boys that Avery uses in the book woke up something inside of me, to ask myself questions such as, will I always fear my darkness or could I be like the boys in the story and ask why do I have to be afraid, what is there to fear? You are able to learn so much from children.

To me the book is poetic from the way it is written, the words flow, and the vivid descriptions allow the reader to create a movie in their mind as they read. I wasn't able to put the book down, I was excited to see what was next.

In this short story from Justine Avery, a small village fights the deadly encroaching darkness every night. We follow two children as they proceed with their nightly struggle, and go about their daily routine including visiting the village sage. In a time when it can feel like darkness may surround us in the real world, it's wonderful to read this tale of the triumph of the human spirit. I would love to read more in this vein from Avery.

"The Darkness washed in from the horizon like a tidal wave issued by an angry god". From this first sentence, we are introduced to Justine's newest world: A small village surrounded by an amorphous mass known only as The Darkness. It is a land of extremes, where the villagers are hounded by the all-encompassing tentacles of the darkness each night, and spend their days in frenzied activity, using their fierce exultation in the sunlight to beat back the memories of the night before.

The Darkness is a very short read, yet quite drawing, due to both Justine Avery's impeccable prose and the allegory the story draws between what the villagers face, and what every person must face one day. The story also showcases Justine's trademark meticulousness, as each line seems to draw one farther into her world, and deeper into the metaphor she is creating.

Most thought provoking!

I found ‘The Darkness’ a delightful fanciful read. Ms. Avery’s book is a great lesson and reminder for all of us to trust our instincts, strengths and talents to stop and face our fears. The world even today is filled with unknowns and doubts but we should never give them more credence than our own resolve. Must read!

Justine Avery’s “The Darkness” has the feel of a 16th-18th century Renaissance era whereby life in a small village plays out to the fears and deluded control of an every night force that threatens the humanity of the town dwelling; that being, darkness. The storyline is fantasy-riddled, but poignant in its subtle yet profound message to the reader: Know who you are. A very short read, “The Darkness” hinges on, and captivates with, underlying truths of grasping one’s personal identity, if only the reader can catch the ‘light’ of what’s being spoken. Laced with clues and intrigue about the deceptive strength of “The Darkness,” the reader can conclude that one’s perspective surrounding fear can either ‘grow them, or stow them,’ depending on what one believes about oneself, and a given situation.

This is an amazing novel that fully captured my mind since last night. I could not stop before reaching the end, the author is really talented, and in a few pages could accurately symbolize a real situation of many many communities and people at many many different times. How darkness and ignorance as enemies may ruin our lives, how we over-estimate the power of unseen enemy and in the story how the people of a village spend, out of their fear of the darkness, their whole lives imprisoned in their village unable to explore the world around them. The story emphasizes the fact that darkness could not destroy the human spirit and our will to survive. You will get to love the four-years-old Lunam and feel yourself part of his adventure with his brother Lux and should discover with them how fear is in most cases exaggerated. The style of the writer is really unique and I am sure I will continue to follow her other novels, totally recommending this story.

Beautifully written! Such a vivid picture is painted by the words of Justine Avery. Well worth the .99, such a great read!!

This short story is very compelling with elements of community, brotherhood and lore. The village really comes alive through the early pages and the brotherly love between Lux and Lunam is sweet and genuine. The curiosity of the young boys drives their quest for knowledge. In the end, knowledge is power and makes all the difference.

The writing is very inviting and at times lyrical. The story was well developed and a refreshing read.

Avery's short novel is an interesting read. The reader is dropped into what feels like the middle of the story, and we aren't quite sure how we got there. Thanks to Avery's literary prowess, the reader begins to piece together what could have happened and what the villagers are going through.

The words flows rhythmically, and the vivid descriptions allow the reader to craft their own picture. Although I enjoyed the prose, I do believe the storyline is one most readers will already be familiar with. Something dark lurks outside their protective encampment, and the villagers are forced into a battle for their lives. Avery tells the story in her own way, but it still feels a bit like the same tale.

Avery's characters skillfully draw the reader in and the rich, finely crafted descriptions do not disappoint. Her ability to have the reader become invested in the story in such few pages speaks volumes about her skill, and her craft has been finely honed.

An intriguing read, certainly.

Just like a moth on your back porch can’t resist flying toward the light that you left on, so you’ll not be able to resist flying toward the light at the end of The Darkness -- at least I couldn't. Justine Avery has a real knack at keeping you keeping on…...Her words paint pictures….her metaphors intrigue…… And……. when you make it to the light at the end of The Darkness, guess what? You won’t be burned up like so many other moths are. Read it. You’ll love it. I did.

If you are afraid of the dark you may want to think twice about reading this Another well written short story from this author, the detail is exceptional and really makes you feel like you are there although that isn't necessarily a good thing in The Darkness! A very enjoyable read.

* Award Medal for YA Sci-Fi & Horror, New Apple Summer E-Book Awards 2017

* Award Medal for YA Sci-Fi & Horror, New Apple Summer E-Book Awards 2017

"New Apple's Annual Summer E-Book Awards was established to award excellence in independent publishing and to honor the creative achievements of independent authors."

August 2017

* B.R.A.G. Medallion Award, 2017

* B.R.A.G. Medallion Award, 2017

"indieBRAG provides an independent, international, broad-based, and reader-centric source to advise the public which indie books merit the investment of their time and money.  Our mission is to discover talented self-published authors and help them give their work the attention and recognition it deserves."

May 2017

* Gold Medal for Best Short Story, Literary Classics Book Awards 2016

* Gold Medal for Best Short Story, Literary Classics Book Awards 2016

"Chosen out of entries submitted from around the globe, these distinguished honorees are recognized for their contributions to the craft of writing, illustrating, and publishing exceptional literature for a youth audience. In this highly competitive industry these books represent the best of the best."

June 2016

* First Place Award for Fantasy Fiction, CIPA EVVY Book Awards 2016

* First Place Award for Fantasy Fiction, CIPA EVVY Book Awards 2016

"The CIPA EVVY Awards is an international book competition sponsored by the Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA), along with the CIPA Education and Literacy Foundation (ELF), to recognize excellence and achievement in independent publishing."

August 2016

* Bronze Award for Fiction Short Story, Readers' Favorite International Book Awards 2016

* Bronze Award for Fiction Short Story, Readers' Favorite International Book Awards 2016

September 2016

* CIPA EVVY Award for Fairy Tale & Folklore Fiction, CIPA EVVY Book Awards 2016

* CIPA EVVY Award for Fairy Tale & Folklore Fiction, CIPA EVVY Book Awards 2016

"The CIPA EVVY Awards is an international book competition sponsored by the Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA), along with the CIPA Education and Literacy Foundation (ELF), to recognize excellence and achievement in independent publishing."

August 2016

* CIPA EVVY Award for eBook Design, CIPA EVVY Book Awards 2016

* CIPA EVVY Award for eBook Design, CIPA EVVY Book Awards 2016

"The CIPA EVVY Awards is an international book competition sponsored by the Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA), along with the CIPA Education and Literacy Foundation (ELF), to recognize excellence and achievement in independent publishing."

August 2016

* Literary Classics Seal of Approval

* Literary Classics Seal of Approval

"The Literary Classics Seal of Approval is a designation reserved for those books which uphold the rigorous criteria set forth by the Literary Classics review committee, a team comprised of individuals with backgrounds in publishing, editing, writing, illustration and graphic design."

June 2016

* Bronze Award for Short Story Fiction, eLit Book Awards 2016

* Bronze Award for Short Story Fiction, eLit Book Awards 2016

"The eLit Awards are a global awards program committed to illuminating and honoring the very best of English language digital publishing entertainment by honoring the best e-books published each year for the North American market."

May 2016

* Finalist for the EPIC eBook Award for Fiction Short Works, 2017

* Finalist for the EPIC eBook Award for Fiction Short Works, 2017

The Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition (EPIC) annual ebook awards

March 2017

* Quarter-finalist for the ScreenCraft Contest for Cinematic Short Story

* Quarter-finalist for the ScreenCraft Contest for Cinematic Short Story

January 2018