Tom Raimbault: A delusional author who has difficulty distinguishing fantasy from reality. Those are the crucial ingredients in writing dark fantasies and horror."
Maybe he's a walk-in from another planet. Or maybe he's an incarnate from another star system. Whatever he is, one thing is for sure: Tom Raimbault is one of those guys who are waiting for the mother ship to land.
Every night as Tom slips into bed, he powers on his spirit box, and checks for any new messages from the discarnates. It isn't uncommon to hear a message such as, "Good morning!"
But why should they greet Tom with this sort of message?
It's because he is about to be received into to the astral realm where he most often spends some hours on board the Arcturian starship, Athena. Through astral projection, Tom travels to the area in our solar system between Jupiter and Saturn where he is received by Arcturians for more instruction and training.
Afterwards, Tom begins the waking portion of his day during the witching hour where he spends about an hour of writing, followed by a rigorous workout. He then prepares for the day, eats breakfast and leaves for work. But about midway through the commute, he suddenly feels weak and exhausted. It is necessary to pull off the highway and meditate where he is, once again, guided through the astral plane onto the Arcturian starship, Athena, for debriefing. Upon his return, Tom is fully merged and part of the physical world here on Earth.
At work, Tom develops alien implants. His lab has been secretly contracted by a mysterious customer that is suspected to have direct ties with the Zeta aliens. The implants are used on Earth abductees who are brought onboard Zeta spaceships for studying and various experiments.
Tom has a dreadful phobia of having things tied around his neck. This is because in one of his past lives, Tom was a witch who was put to death--by hanging--for practicing witchcraft.
As a writer, Tom specializes in the genres of fantasy, horror, macabre and erotica. Many of his works are published. Be sure to check out Tom’s ongoing Mapleview project, a series of novels that relay the strangeness and horror of his fictional town, Mapleview. Currently published in the series is Amber—the death mask, and The Tree Goddess—a novel of mystery and macabre.
And don’t forget his debut publication, Freaked out Horror—ghosts, the macabre and really, weird things!
Tom Raimbault resides in the Chicago land area with his wife and two daughters. When not writing, he works as an RF technician at the lab of Freescale Semiconductor. He is self-described on his resume as a “technology professional” who has worked with cellular and IP infrastructure, biomedical equipment, emergency two-way radios and computer hardware.
Tom began to produce weird writings back in 2000 while working the graveyard shift. The nightly edits were emailed to a small collection of coworkers who looked forward to something unusual to keep them awake or humored.
This practice was ended when he was moved to a different shift. Sadly, his enjoyment of writing was forgotten for several years until the autumn of 2007 when old friends received a “blast from the past” email with the recognizable words, “Hello All”. The strange writings and short stories had resumed and a personal website was soon to follow.
Be sure to check his blog where he shares his daily freestyle writings, short stories and even deleted scenes or excerpts from his published books. http://talkaboutafterhours.blogspot.com/
Where to find Tom Raimbault online
Pias the Gypsy has his heart set on young Melanie. He wishes for her to become his Gypsy bride. But it’s going to require much time and patience to win Melanie, who is imprisoned at home and under the reign of her evil overlordess mother. Melanie hates her Mother, and for good reason. She actually wishes for Pias to finally abduct her and make her his Gypsy bride.
Freaked out Horror Series—suspense, erotica, and gore
A sexually-aggressive stranger offers a night of terror by stalking a woman who is home alone. New-found lovers discover the pleasure of cutting and drinking one another's blood during sex. An old lady is victim to neighborhood harassment by the kids, but tonight she has her bloody revenge. This Freaked out Horror series is journey into the realm of suspense, erotica, and gore.
Freaked out Horror Series—the paranormal
A disturbing presence lingers on the grounds of an equestrian estate, and stalks a young girl who is staying there. The ghost of a deceased mother makes herself known and protects her living daughter from a questionable man. An invisible old man torments 2 young children in their home. Can orbs in photos prove he is there? This Freaked out Horror series is journey into the realm of the paranormal.
Freaked out Horror—new age of clown stories
A circus clown falls in love with an autistic girl who is confined to a wheelchair, but it ends in tragedy. An ugly man disguises his ugliness and malicious intentions by dressing up as a clown. A pot-smoking clown owns a mental hospital in the attic of his home with a controversial treatment program. This Freaked out Horror series is a journey into the new age of clown stories.
Freaked out Horror Series—playing with the dead
An antique record with mysterious violin solo from 1904 is a message from the dead. A female, human skull purchased at an odds and ends shop turns out to make an excellent lover for its new owner. A mother loses her precious daughter to a brutal murder, and then seeks comfort through conjuring up her spirit in a psychomanteum. This Freaked out Horror series is journey into playing with the dead.
Freaked out Horror Series—urban legends
Bachelor's Grove Cemetery; cited as one of the most haunted locations in America. Resurrection Mary; the most famous ghost hitchhiker who appears on a late night highway. And what sort of mysterious history can remain in the ground for many decades, only to bring terror when unearthed? This Freaked out Horror series is journey into the realm of urban legends.
How to Get with Jenny Robin
The Cableman has fallen in love with a customer, Jenny Robin. But she's not interested! Then the Cableman meets Melissa; a cosmic sorceress who is in contact with extra terrestrials who are en route to Earth. Through her communication portal she learns that Jenny Robin is the center of an interplanetary mission. But can her apprentice, the Cableman, finally get with Jenny Robin?
After the terrible things that Amber did while married; she's divorced, estranged and forever banished from the castle-like mansion. Now she resides in Mapleview and must start a new life.
But things have really looked up for Amber. Long lost lover from younger years is back in her life. But a wicked, old witch casts a love spell on Amber's lover. Can Amber's power stand up against this witch?
Red Hot Candy
Lana tosses and turns in bed at night and can't get to sleep. Perhaps what she needs is some candy; a nice, long lollipop stick that she can dip in and out of her mouth while sucking on it. Then again, maybe she needs more than a lollipop. Maybe she should go out into the night and find some hot candy to really satisfy her!
Jeremy is a sick, twisted pervert who is too disgusting to have any success with women. Then one afternoon he discovered a plastic doll that looked, exactly, like a woman who turned him down for a date. It was the start of a new hobby of collecting dolls just to abuse and torture out of pure, sickening delight. But the dolls came to life and had their revenge!
He has such an addiction and fascination with the things learned and seen. This couldn't possibly be real, only moments of extreme fantasy intensified by hopes and wishes. But is it really just a dream? Can remote events from blocks or miles away be carried across the reflection in the water? Today we show you how to conjure up a lover by opening the portal of fantasy!
Don't Let Them Get You!
Paul can still remember with clarity those unbelievable moments of childhood terror when the extra terrestrials would abduct him. He tries to ignore the memories and denies any annunciation of another encounter. But tonight they will return for him. Paul can't let that happen! Their examinations and experiments are nothing short of horrific. You'd run for your life, too, if knowing what they do!
The Amazonian Woman from Another World
A seven foot Amazonian red head communicates with Riley at night in his dreams. Little does he know that she comes from another planet. And how does Riley's wife react when she awakens to discover her husband covered in interdimensional, ectoplasmic gel?
The Cableman's First Time
Countless women depend on the Cableman to handle their special needs and care for their lonely hearts. But it required some intense training from his very, first customer on the first day of his job. Veronica trained him so well! And it was all her pleasure!
Flash fiction about a strange, old witch who operates a carousel ride. Why do all the children scream and cry in horror while riding the most beautiful attraction in the park? The story is short enough to read while you are... maybe waiting in line to ride the carousel? Mwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!
The Grandmother Clock
A look of sadness fell across Grandma's face as-if she didn't understand what triggered the punishment she was about to endure. Father created a most peculiar piece of art that would sit near the fireplace during those times when Grandma would visit. When Grandma began to exhibit those mean, nasty and unbecoming facets of a bitter, old woman; the clock had the power to transform her!
A work of flash fiction that briefly passes on a dark, literary portrait for your reading pleasure. Never before in the realm of macabre and horror has a simple item such as a hairbrush been used to disturb the reader with lasting images to haunt throughout the rest of the day.
The House where Sex Lives
This is the house where sex lives; a house where every erotic desire and fantasy is explored; where screams of ecstasy can be heard through every open window, behind every curtain and through every wall. Then again, curtains are rarely used; especially if she happens to showcase her naked body through the open windows. Curtains might only be used for an evening dance of curvy shadows.
The Lonely Old Woman who Lives in a Cottage
Waiting to take in and shelter small children who might have gotten lost in the woods; the lonely, old woman who lives in a cottage bakes pastries and candies to feed them. She collects Raggedy Ann & Andy Dolls and practices by reading them lovely fairy tales. If only her dream would finally come true.
Well tonight, Andy and Trish find themselves at the old lady's door and asking for help.
To Draw Down Saturn
Phineas should have learned his lesson the last time he attempted to draw down a planet. Venus burned him with the flames of passion. But now Phineas has a new quest; to draw down the splendor and beauty of Saturn. Such a thing might only prove to be a serious lesson. One should be careful when calling upon the planets!
Late Night Call for the Cableman
Poor, lonely, sex-starved Danielle would do anything for a little love and attention from a man. But she's been experiencing a bad streak with love. That's when the Cableman walked into her life and brightened her day. But how did he get away? Fortunately, he left his business card. The Cableman better hold onto his hat. A late night call might lead to more than just correcting bad cable signal!
Amber - the death mask
Young and beautiful Amber had a simple wish: to fall in love, get married and live happily ever after. Lucky for Amber, she has a special gift in which all things wished for come true. But having this dream come true was tagged with a price. Her husband had a death mask made of his late wife, Linsey. Now a mystical relic that grants the power of clairvoyance, it warns the family of Amber.
The Wife's Panties
Women's panties, every man has a fetish with them. A used pair of panties that have been carelessly tossed in the corner by a beautiful woman can quickly become a cherished treasure by an admiring man.
Arrested by the Cableman
If you ever thought of stealing cable in this town, think again! For if you happen to be a hot, gorgeous blond; the Cableman will arrest you, restrain you in his van and then strip search you for a full-body examination with sexy techniques to jolt a confession from you. He has no business touching the suspect that way! But he's the stoned, crazy Cableman; and no one steals cable in his town!
The Dollification of Mrs. Martz
On brisk, autumn morning; Kimberly Martz was abducted in a forest preserve near her home. She was brought to place to be transformed into a life-sized doll, then owned and objectified. Sometimes men like to play naughty games with a doll. In these moments, a doll cannot say, "No!" She must remain silent and play along.
On a cold, snowy Sunday afternoon, a stranger loudly rapped at the window of a family home and demanded to be let in. How did such a dangerous person find his way into the home? What terror did he bring the family on that dreadful afternoon?
The Tree Goddess: a novel of mystery and macabre
Founded in the 1830s, the fictional town of Mapleview has the reputation of being blanketed by a sentience of paranormal activity and urban legends. The town is suddenly plagued by a series of mysterious disappearances; and although the Mapleview police have its most experienced detectives assigned to the case, they can provide no answers. Could it be the dark, centuries-old history of Mapleview?
A Captive to the Island of Naked Women
To discover an unheard of population of beautiful, naked women who reside in an elaborate city, off some remote island, should be a man's ultimate dream. But this society of naked women had never seen a man before. And their mysterious Book of Laws spoke of the day such a creature would arrive.
Just how far will a voyeur go to see the private activities and life of a neighbor living across the way? It’s an obsession accompanied by overpowering adrenaline, near hyperventilation and fantasies that are much too real. Join the main character as he takes us on a personal tour of the voyeur's life; along with the many tricks of the trade that often follow madness and unexpected endings.
Freaked out Horror
Journey into a world of horror beyond your wildest expectations: a large collection of 24 short stories by author, Tom Raimbault; a writer who delights in pushing the boundaries of macabre and horror. A public gallery is now open for your reading pleasure; a world of the strange, the macabre and the bizarre!
Tom Raimbault’s tag cloud
Tom Raimbault's favorite authors on Smashwords
Smashwords book reviews by Tom Raimbault
on April 02, 2010
This is a fine example of true, classic horror as it illustrates someone who had performed a devious act only to suffer a consequence beyond anything imaginable! It’s a firm reminder not to throw caution to the wind because strange things do happen.
I don’t want to give the plot away, but I was angered with what the main character did. Even so; his interrupted, morning ritual literally had me squirming in my seat. At one point, I said out loud, “Oh my God! I can’t take much more of this!” Your choice of words had me feeling his pain and madness.
I’m giving this piece a rating of 5. Great job!
- The Anthill
on April 02, 2010
The author mentions in his biography that he grew up on a steady diet of The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. It certainly shows in this short story! It’s refreshing to find an author who finds serial killer movies boring and offers hope to restore the days when horror was pure art.
I really enjoyed this work, but I will mention to future readers that it has a “creeper effect”. Initially it seemed like the story portrayed too much normalcy and a slight conflict between the main character and his wife. And yet there is something happening in the background, building and building, causing fear and wonder of what’s soon to occur.
And just like every Twilight Zone and Outer Limits episode, the ending is well worth it! I give this short story a rating of 5 stars! I will definitely be reading more from this author.
- Gas For Grass
on May 05, 2010
Here's a story that the author labeled as bizarro. And once you read it, you will agree that this work is delightfully bizarre. I would say that the story is a mix of a few other genres to include erotica, horror and comedy -- even a brief moment when I squirmed in my chair towards the end upon realizing what was about to happen.
I highly recommend this short story to anyone and hope you enjoy it as well as I did.
- Closing My Eyes Helps Me To See Clearly
on June 18, 2010
I struggled with this work. It truly does take time to think of the meaning. And I believe that Robert Williams (below) says it quite well in his statement, "It can't really be described in terms of having a plot."
You simply must read this story! The scenes and imagery are incredible, each one likened to a series of stanzas -- as if loose poetry.
Kipp's story is certainly worthy of a 5 star rating. Very few writers are willing to press the boundaries in such a way that this story does.
on Sep. 20, 2010
The author does an excellent job in making the reader squirm and become nauseous at the various scenes in this story. It's like a disturbing painting. It might even make you fearful of mushrooms, or develop an aversion towards them at the least.
- Porn Can Be Fun
on Sep. 27, 2010
The interesting point illustrated in this story is how our moments of passion contain thoughts that stray from one fetish to the next. If one lets go in the moment, he or she will become absorbed in a myriad of fantasies, further proof that our own minds can be the best sex organ.
Well done with this story!
- Love and Death
on Oct. 13, 2010
Love and Death: a short story that will have you at the edge of your seat, in suspense, feeling for Detective John Murphy. There is a hidden lesson to be learned towards the end of this story, but I won't disclose that to the reader. You'll get the best effect if you read the story.
I will say that the opening setting plunges the reader in one of those unfavorable moments during rush hour, when we inch through traffic with rain hitting the windshield. The icing on the cake: Detective John Murphy's archenemy has called. This is the serial killer who has caused much torment for a number of years. He reveals that another murder is just minutes from taking place, and then provides the address.
My mind swung from one possibility to the next as Detective Murphy finally arrived to make the disheartening discovery. But the discovery was only the beginning of horror and suspense. Throughout the remainder of the story, I felt as though the serial killer was just over the detective's shoulder, about to do harm to him or his loved ones.
I give this suspense thriller 5 stars. I read it at work while in the lab, literally sitting at the edge of my seat. Occasionally, my hand would slap the workbench while exclaiming, "No! No way!"
I strongly recommend this book to anyone looking for a nice blend of mystery and suspense.
- Die Already
on Nov. 24, 2010
Not only did the harsh title, Die Already, grab my attention; but the disturbing artwork for the cover further pulled me in. The art alone of his stories are certainly worth collecting as they create feelings of a strange uneasiness. Really, the cover of this story is simply a young lady with a terrible neck injury. But a deeper looks reveals a subconscious suggestion of so much more that can disturb us. To me, the young lady takes on the features of a warped, antique doll that also possesses the attributes of a child. Combining these three elements, I am immediately reminded of innocent, yet, damaged antique dolls that only wish to be burned—already dead and forgotten, just somehow remaining in existence.
But enough of the artwork! Reading the story affects me as I immediately realize that the narrator certainly does have a terrible curse. Throughout his accounts, I found myself wondering how such a curse would impact someone emotionally, mentally or socially. And these things are briefly discussed; his fear of being out or around crowds. It will make perfect sense when you read it.
Kipp does quite well in illustrating the horrible scenes, giving us a front-row seat into the possibility of creatures that cannot die no matter how traumatizing an injury might be. At one point, I recalled a horrible sight that I experienced on the road some years ago. Somehow that gruesome scene became part of the story for me.
Being a fan of Kipp Poe Speicher's writings, I'm beginning to notice a certain style or flavor to his stories. He likes to integrate serious injuries or fatal wounds to the already morbid circumstances.
Let me also mention that there was just no chance of a positive outcome for this dark tale. Some part of me struggled to maintain hope that the ending would have a splash of something positive. But no; the curse was so terrible!
I give this story a 5 star rating, and recommend it to anyone who is a fan of horror.
on Dec. 31, 2010
Being an author, myself, I follow Jesi Lea Ryan on Facebook & Twitter, and was excited to see that she had released a short story on Smashwords. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to read it.
Being an author of horror, fantasy and dark erotica; to me the title Delia-Boobelia reflected a story that might have been humorous with a few sexy twists. The title did, after all, have the word boobs in it, and I like boobs! Funny thing: I never bothered to read the synopsis, just simply downloaded the PDF and started to read.
The title is very suiting for someone like me because it results in a harsh slap to the face, not once, but several times. I immediately felt sorry for the main character who was going through a difficult time in her life. Throughout the story I would click the tongue against the roof of my mouth while exclaiming, "Awe..." :-(
After the first page, I realized that this is not a story created to entertain the reader. This is a story that places the reader in the main character's shoes and attempts to educate us of the often shrouded, dark world that girls in early puberty (especially those who develop early) must endure. I immediately developed a respect towards the author and allowed her to tell me this horrible, horrible tale.
I cannot believe the terrible things that happened to this poor girl. After witnessing her thoughts, I believe it should serve as a lesson that young girls need to be educated by their parents to recognize certain situations as being wrong, and the appropriate action to take. You'll see what I mean when you read this story.
Like I said, this is not an entertaining read such as a macabre or erotica work, designed to take us over the edge into some strange territory. This is a blunt impression of reality that takes us to some truly, dark places. It serves to educate.
I give this story 5 stars. Very, well done!
on Jan. 03, 2011
This is the second story of Ian Woodhead that I've been exposed to, his first being Spore. I'm beginning to notice a certain influence of H.P Lovecraft in Woodhead's style of horror. But don't take that to mean that Woodhead strives to write in the classic style that many Lovecraftian writers attempt. No, Ian Woodhead is definitely a modern-day, self-made writer with creativity that of his own. I make the Lovecraft connection because both stories I've read of his illustrate eerie realities brought on by mysterious, vile invaders such as sickly, contagious fungus or, in this case, mysterious lumps that creep and crawl along surfaces.
The only thing I'll reveal about the plot of Lumps is the fact that a boy notices the family home to be under attack by mysterious lumps. But no one in the family will believe the boy's account of these. The story soon took on an element of mystery for me as I wondered what these lumps were. Was the boy simply having ocular migraines? Did he have a brain injury that caused visual distortions? Or were these supernatural invaders that could only be detected by the eyes of a young person?
I liked Woodhead's play on psychedelic influence midway in the story. At some point, an entire room had become violently under attack by these lumps as they made geometric shapes along the walls. The boy suspected that perhaps his older sister had put hallucinogenic drugs in his food, and simply waited for the effects of those supposed drugs to wear off.
But all of this is only half of the terror. Just wait, that's all I can say! Oh, and "Wow..."
As an American reader, I also find I have a fascination with Woodhead's subtle revealing of British culture. He doesn't do this intentionally, of course. Ian is only writing from a place and culture that he is part of. But I paid close attention to characters that exclaimed catch phrases identifiably as British. At some point, an untalented, amateur comedian appeared on some TV show. I could actually see the show and shenanigans on the TV and could actually imagine a family home in the U.K watching it. And the main character enjoyed some interesting meals that I've never even imagined.
I give the story 5 stars! I hope that the author continues to dream up this style of horror and give us more!
on Jan. 24, 2011
The opening and closing to this story are a complete contrast from one another. Bridget goes to great length, in the beginning, to illustrate a beautiful and serene place that Mother Nature had reclaimed. If you spend time out in nature, then you certainly know of this place.
But there is an ugliness to this sanctuary that many might overlook. Only the person who is responsible is full aware and in tune with what lies beneath the beauty.
Everlasting love: it's something that we all wish for in our lives. To finally have a beautiful person at your side, sharing your life as the days go by; and perhaps that person might fall in love and see the beauty in you.
But how long does it last? Do you have a sense of anxiety when the season changes or your relationship is under a new circumstance? Maybe you can "cripple" your lover, make him or her appear less beautiful to prevent losing what brings you such happiness in life. As the years go by and your lover ages, he or she might feel like a prisoner.
The years of jealousy, possessiveness, separation anxiety and dependence are often overlooked by those who see nothing more than a beautiful love from the distance.
I give this story 5 stars! Bridget did an excellent job in captivating the horror of possessive love. And if you are prisoner of such painful, destructive love; do read this tale and learn of the ugliness that lies beneath the beauty of that quiet and serene place.
- The Rot
on March 21, 2011
A hot-button topic has recently appeared in every day conversation, suggesting that our country's leaders may not be looking out for our best interest. Who hasn't come to this conclusion in recent times? It would appear that politicians and company CEOs, alike, have it their only objective to make obscene amounts of money--whether it be for personal use or campaign funds. How far will these leaders go to get exactly what they want? What sort of sacrifices can be made? To make this issue all-the-more angering, it would appear that it's the ordinary, everyday citizen who pays the bill and often receives one injustice after another in doing so.
Conspiracy theory: it's a topic that creators of horror fiction have suddenly embraced. We truly are fearful of those who lead this country. What if politicians could do something horrible, and do it to those who are in most need of help in this country, all for the sake of a personal gain?
When reading the first, few paragraphs of The Rot, I couldn't help but feel for those less fortunate than me. When waking up this morning, I heard nothing but peace and quiet in my house. I had hot water in my shower, and the plumbing didn't sputter and spray air for some moments before finally spiking cold water. I'll go so far as to say that my environment was nice and clean; and I had food in my refrigerator for breakfast. Is it any wonder that I had a sense of guilt while experiencing a small moment of the main character's day?
But his day was only going to get worse!
I give this story 5 stars. Kipp did a great job in embracing a new terror that disturbs and outrages us. Well done!
on April 13, 2011
I think the simple title, I, had me much intrigued at the beginning of this work of short fiction. Was it going to be tragic tale of a lone survivor of some war or disaster? Was it going to be a simple writing on psychology or consciousness? I soon learned that the story serves many lessons throughout, one of them being controversial, but certainly something worth thinking about.
Regrets; chances never taken; courses of action that prove disastrous: these are all things we must consider in our romantic journeys through life. I think most adults can look back at a time in life when a true love was abandoned for what was thought to be the right thing. Maybe it was a career choice. Maybe reasoning told you that it was best to leave this person. Or, as in the case of this story, maybe you turned away from someone who you were deeply in love with, all for the sake of a commitment made with someone else.
What would you do in this situation? Most people do the right thing and push away that newcomer, all for the sake of maintaining a commitment. But then the years pass with an onslaught of the "what-ifs" and the "maybe-I-should-haves".
I actually learned a dark lesson from this story. Being a writer of horror and macabre, I think I'm well qualified to state the ugly truth of this piece. It's better to have that "fling" or that extramarital affair than to push aside a newcomer who you have fallen in love with. But that isn't a license or a "green light" to enjoy a life of regular, taboo relationships! Be sure it's with a once-in-a-lifetime special person. If you discard that newcomer, it will surely haunt you for many years.
But then there's a second story layered over the first. All I'll say is that it illustrates further actions that lead to regret. It's the ending of the story that has me completely stumped. I actually don't like the ending! I think I understand what these star-crossed lovers have in mind. All I can say is, why; why would they have resorted to such a drastic measure?
Written in a poetic format and highly thought-provoking, I give this story 5 stars. I was very close to rating it 4.75 because of the diffused ending. But I'm quite sure the rash of negative emotions and speculations is the exact effect that Kipp was going for.
- The Dam
on May 15, 2011
Occasionally, I get these recurring dreams of being in a large, darkened, industrial area with mammoth machinery. The interesting thing about this dream is the fact that it's necessary to cross long, metal, grated bridges to get from one area to the next. I know the source of this dream, but have never understood the subconscious connection. It has to do with a maintenance job I had at a Sears department store, nearly 20 years ago. Part of my duties included watching over the HVAC equipment in the penthouse, a large area that contained enormous machinery.
The most interesting region of this area was a network of chambers that housed what looked like mammoth circulation fans that might be used as engines in commercial jets. To enter this area, one would have to unlock a steel door that resembled the entryway from one hallway to the next in a submarine. It was necessary to lock this door before venturing deeper inside; for upon opening one of the doors to enter a wind tunnel that led to several chambers, an intense air pressure had the potential to throw the entry door open.
Each chamber was frightening enough on its own. These large fans generated enough air pressure to make the opening of a door nearly impossible. Inside a chamber, only a protective grate stood between a person and a large vortex of high-speed fans that could liquefy one in a matter of seconds.
Although a dark, dramatic and horrific place; I would often visit these chambers. But then there was another place I liked to visit. Rather than venturing in the chambers, sometimes I would step outside onto the store's roof. Right before me was a large, metallic housing; perhaps 1-and-a-half stories tall. I could climb a metallic, grated ladder that led to the top of the housing. At its center was an enormous blade that rotated high speed and discharged air. You know the central air fan that sits outside a house and spins during the summer months? This was the exact same thing, but was large enough to accommodate a department store.
Often I would stand on the top of this housing and use it as an observation deck. The fan blade was horrific, but the scenery before me amazing—yielding the surrounding neighborhoods and even the Chicago skyline.
I couldn't help but think of this dramatic area of oversized machines and my recurring dream while reading Bridget Squire's short story, The Dam. The main character visited a city dam for a job interview and was given a thorough tour of his hopeful place of employment. Along with the impressive machinery that he would oversee if hired, he immediately took notice of strange noises that resembled voices that cried out for help.
I can't help but wonder if Bridget visited such a place and used it as inspiration to write this story. I can say, first hand, that being alone in an area of such astronomical machinery; eerie, ghostly noises can be heard. You can't help but wonder if something horrific ever happened and the ghost of that unfortunate person calls out for help.
I've noticed that Bridget has a talent for writing stories that represent our subconscious fears of eerie places. Consider her story, Well, a tale of an old, abandoned well and a horror that resides within it. What sort of nightmarish perceptions might we have of old wells in desolate places? And in reflection of reading The Dam, what sort of fears might we have in dramatic, fearsome machinery that has the seeming ability to overcome the powers of nature?
The Dam is classified in the genre of teen and young adult horror, and for good reason. The story is pretty straight forward, easy to understand, and presents nothing mysteriously complex to grasp. However, Bridget's literal illustrations of the eerie surroundings, along with the frightening phenomenon experienced, make this tale equally enjoyable for adults. If there is ever a new generation of the Twilight Zone created, I could actually see this story being turned into an episode
I give The Dam 5 stars. I can tell that the author did some research or had some experience in a place like this. I really wish that Bridget had a blog in which she took the reader behind the scenes and discussed these things in further detail. Still, she's a talented writer and I look forward to reading much more!
- It Was The Dead Who Groaned Within
on Oct. 03, 2011
Just in time for Halloween, Kipp Poe Speicher has come through with another tale of horror to add in your e-reader collection.
The cover artwork for his new story, It was the Dead who Groaned Within, immediately pulled me in. Maybe it's because I have a fondness for the forest, especially when a landscape can produce eeriness. It immediately suggested to me of something dead which had been resurrected, now pawing its way out of the grave. Credit should be given to photographer, Christine Nichols, who gave Kipp permission to use it. And if you look close enough, the outline of the lighting looks like the classic ghost with arms stretched out, perhaps wailing and calling out frightful screams. I'm sure it was no accident for Kipp to choose this photo. It was the Dead who Groaned Within is classified as a zombie apocalypse, a condition in the story that the reader will soon realize while reading it.
What I find interesting about the formatting is the fact the Kipp partitioned the story, each with its own name. Where-as I simply partition a story with three asterix symbols in between two paragraphs to note a transition of time, or perhaps the end of a character's memory, Kipp actually gave these partitions names: Awakening, Fading Into View and Faded Blues. It actually brought the piece to life, giving it its own spirit!
And he did something else that I'm sure the reader will pick up on near the middle of the story. Written in first person narrative, I found myself asking, "What in the Hell is wrong with the main character? Is he on some kind of psychedelic trip in which his mind is in two places at one time and experiencing thoughts in retrospect while engaged in normal, everyday transition of time?"
Ah, but the main character can only wish for this! His plight is far graver than a temporary moment of madness. And it's about to get even worse! No cliffhanger ending in this story; the final few paragraphs are nothing less than a shocker.
I give It was the Dead who Groaned Within nothing less than 5 stars! Thought provoking, shocking, disturbing while at the same time enabling one to feel what the character is experiencing (no easy task considering his condition); I strongly recommend that you add this to your collection of horror.
- May Be Crazy
on Oct. 11, 2011
I think one of the most depressing places I've ever visited is a nursing home; and I'm sure you feel the same way, too. Upon entering, you are immediately greeted by lethargic senior citizens who slump in their wheelchairs while nearing a diabetic state after breakfast. Sometimes I wonder if one or two of these unfortunate residents become lost in some fantasy that causes him or her to truly believe to be merely waiting for the bus, or perhaps even a spouse to drive up and honk the horn. It was only a kindhearted visit to an imagined loved one who was struck with a bad case of old age. And despite how selfish the masked thoughts might be, the delusional person realizes how good it will be to finally leave for the afternoon and go home, far away from the depressing nursing home.
I've sat in these nursing homes before with a sense of not only sadness but revulsion. No outside air ever enters a nursing home. It could be a beautiful day in spring with gorgeous, fresh air; but still, the windows are closed. And there might even be heat coming out from the ventilation registers. For you see, older people catch draft easily and can quickly be struck with pneumonia. Along with the stagnant air and heat, there is most often a sickly smell in the air.
Younger nurses or caretakers who just started working in the nursing home appear to do their best to remain lively and somewhat bubbly while wheeling people into the recreation lobby or the cafeteria. But if a nurse or caretaker has been there for a while, that perky face is replaced with a frown, even near bitterness. In all the months and possibly years of being kicked, slapped, bitten, called foul names, accused of mistreatment along with exposure to regular deaths must certainly drain the life out of someone who works in a nursing home. And if one has been there long enough, he or she begins to look like all the old people!
Visiting a nursing home (I imagine) is probably the only experience I've had that could be similar to visiting a mental hospital. Fortunately I've never stepped foot into one of those! Already with acute mental disorders; drugged with anti-psychotic pills such as Haldol along with tranquilizers, lithium and God knows what else; a patient's realization that leaving the hospital is impossible can leave him or her feeling hopeless.
And then there are the unmentionable horror stories of patients being neglected and abused. Some are heavily drugged for no reason. Others are beaten or sexually abused, unable to fight while in restraint or possibly in a catatonic state. And just how many perfectly normal people are locked away in an insane asylum, simply because a family member had him or her declared mentally insane for one evil purpose or another?
Mental hospitals surely have an excessive amount of negative energy. It wouldn't surprise me if such places are haunted for many decades after a facility had been shut down. And I couldn't help but wonder if horror writer, Bridget Squires, was ever exposed to a mental hospital. Perhaps she had a family member or friend who spent time in one of these places and spoke of the horror.
After reading her short story, Well, I was curious of reading something from her, The Dead Don't, series. But after the first initial paragraphs of the first story in the series, I quickly changed my mind! It's a little brutal for me. But I won't speak on behalf of everyone else! Others would surely enjoy her Dead Don't stories that are written so well and with such descriptive imagery. The mental impressions will surely disturbed you. Not only is Bridget an incredibly talented horror writer, but I do believe she has certain degree of being crazy. That's the mark of true horror writer.
Maybe Crazy does have some disturbing descriptive imagery. But it's forgivable because the patients in the mental hospital now have their sweet revenge.
I give this story five stars. Calling to mind the suffering and abuse that patients in insane asylums sometimes endure, it also reminds us that many of the people belong there. And there's a chilling reminder that one should not work in such a place for too long!
October 11, 2011
- The Infirmary
on Sep. 05, 2012
All of us are insane--I certainly included--and we all dour part in covering up our madness. It’s for the best. You certainly can’t “lose it” and suddenly become dysfunctional.
I remember some years ago when my dear, late grandmother was in some semi-functional state of Alzheimer’s disease. Everyone began to notice that something wasn’t right. She was seeing things and interacting with elf-like creatures that, of course, were not there in reality. My parents moved my grandmother in and took her to a psychiatrist who recommended that she spend a week in a psychiatric ward for diagnosis and evaluation.
I’m sure there are many who might disagree--especially if ever having a bad experience--but a psychiatric ward is different from an insane-asylum in that is actually a place that provides positive, medical treatment for psychological disorders. Usually just a secure floor at the local hospital; psychiatric wards treat and diagnose patients who suffer from depression, bipolar illness, suicidal tendencies, anxiety, eating disorders, etc. Patients are given counseling along with possible medication to improve conditions. A typical stay is about one to three weeks.
Although plenty of normal, everyday people have spent time in psychiatric wards, my grandmother was not happy to be there. When visiting her, she confessed that she feared I believed her to be insane.
“Oh, that’s not true, Grandma! I’m the last person who should be pointing fingers. I’m crazy.”
“Of course I am!” I reassured her. “They just haven’t caught on to me.”
It was merely all in good fun; something to help cheer her up. But it brings to mind a good point. We never want people to catch on to our insanity. We never want to “lose it”. This is the theme illustrated in Bridget Squires' new short story, The Infirmary. It takes place in what many would describe as one of those horrible, state-funded insane-asylums that never really provide help or improve the quality of life for patients. It’s a sad place where people go when no one cares and wish only to dump a mentally unstable person in a place far away. I’m sure many unfortunate patients can relate to Sarah’s belief that her sanity is the only thing left to hold onto. She even refuses to cry in the face of those who abuse and neglect her by restraining her in a straight jacket or forcefully administering experimental drugs with needles. There was no hope for Sarah in this story. The only thing left to cling to was her self-perceived sanity and a chance to escape to peace and solitude in an area called the Infirmary.
The Infirmary is highly disturbing and--at times--confusing as it relates to the thoughts and feelings of Sarah. Is she hallucinating? Is she confused by some traumatic event that occurred which brought her to the insane-asylum.
I give The Infirmary five stars! It’s thought provoking, angering and forces the reader to consider those less fortunate who must endure the hands of heartless, psychiatric care.
September 5th, 2012