Tom Raimbault


When author Tom Raimbault was a teenage boy, he experienced a moment of terror in which he was thrown out his bed by a malevolent spirit late at night. It should be clarified that this spirit didn't actually enter the physical space where he slept on that particular night. Rather, it somehow accessed his consciousness as he tried to enjoy sweet dreams. The spirit coerced Tom to poise himself at the edge of the bed and then jump onto the floor. Upon relaying the incident many years later, he recalls growling some seconds before taking the plunge into darkness.
Then his feet hit the floor which caused Tom to fully wake up. Terribly frightened and confused as to what happened, Tom screamed in terror and, of course, woke up the entire family. His startled father rushed into his bedroom to see what was the matter.
"It threw me out of my bed!" Tom declared to his father, who probably figured his son merely had a bad dream. But to Tom, the incident was very real. To this very day he knows what happened. Through dreaming, he had exposed himself to what was perceived as some dark and evil place in the astral realm where (what he perceived to be) a malevolent spirit with hyper dimensional existence managed to affect him here, in the physical realm. For many months, thereafter, Tom had to learn how to protect himself while dreaming. And it caused him to have the unfortunate phobia for some years after of his inherent skill of astral projection. It wasn't until he was in his early twenties that he resumed the practice of projecting his consciousness outside of the body.
On that fateful night of being thrown from his bed; Tom had a series of bizarre dreams, afterwards, of a barn. It was an old barn that people had converted into a living area; not a farmhouse, but a barn. In his young mind, Tom concluded these people to be evil, perhaps even possessed by demons. And the barn held a mystery that could never be solved. You see, one would never want to enter the building because its infinite interior of ever changing, and "paradoxical" realities would trap an unfortunate visitor forever! The old building was a portal to some reality that we could never comprehend in this world.
But what does Freudian dream analysis suggest of a barn?
If one sees a barn in his or her dream, it often represents inhibited feelings or instincts that remain locked within the subconscious. With this revelation it's safe to conclude that on that fateful night, Tom simply had fragments of himself trapped within the subconscious mind. The malevolent spirit that threw him out of his bed could very well have been his Jungian shadow that was yearning to be consciously embraced and brought to light. You see, we as humans need to call to light and explore the dark facets of our psyche. Enlightenment does not happen by concentrating on "fluffy bunny" thoughts and imagining beings of light and benevolence. We need, rather, to expose the darkest corners of our subconscious, and understand them. Once set free, only then can we begin to experience states of enlightenment. Subconscious manifestation, after all, is one of our lifelong journeys.
And that, my friends, is one of the purposes of writing for author Tom Raimbault. It could very well be his personal plunge into the dark corners of the subconscious mind where he extracts and brings to life the many nightmarish realities, some of which defy all logic or reasoning, but are for some reason bothersome and anxiety-provoking.
Ask someone who is a fan of Tom Raimbault's writing; he or she might comment that "Tom writes those horror books."
The reader interpreting his stories as being horror is fine for author Tom Raimbault. But, as he often lectures, "Horror has been tainted in the modern age in much the same way that the celebration of Halloween has been poisoned. For some reason, most people have come to see horror as blood and guts or evil. What fun is that? Horror is so much more and should offer a glimpse of what life beyond the veil is like."
Tom further self-describes his writings, "Rather than write of blood and guts or feed people's obsession with demons and Hell, I simply write what I like to call dark fantasy, dark romance, paranormal or bizarro fiction."
There is usually some supernatural element in author Tom Raimbault's writings that imposes itself our world. Characters have psychic abilities. Magick is a common theme. In many stories, those who have passed on to the other side continue to exist by simply reaching their hand through the veil and intertwining their dimension into ours. And most often, there is a lesson to be learned for conducting oneself unconscionably. It's old fashioned horror; elegant with integrity and always maintaining a respect for God.
​You can feel good knowing that this is the sort of person writing the Mapleview series of books.

Where to find Tom Raimbault online


The Dead Forest
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 30,600. Language: English. Published: December 16, 2016 . Categories: Fiction » Horror » Ghost
Too bad Mother and Father couldn't protect their beautiful daughter from her dangerous boyfriend. The forest is now haunted and echoes her final moments of desperately crying for help.
The Psychomanteum
Price: Free! Words: 3,320. Language: English. Published: December 16, 2016 . Categories: Fiction » Horror » Ghost
A young girl is brutally murdered and her devastated mother resumes contact through a psychomanteum.
The Pocket Watch—a different tale
Price: Free! Words: 3,790. Language: English. Published: December 16, 2016 . Categories: Fiction » Horror » Ghost
Some cursed items are discovered during a dig out in the forest. One of these is a pocket watch which soon causes catastrophe for its new owner.
The Ghost of Jack
Price: Free! Words: 1,630. Language: English. Published: December 16, 2016 . Categories: Fiction » Horror » Ghost
A late night diner is haunted by a ghost that likes to pull pranks on visitors.
The Friendly Fort
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 19,730. Language: English. Published: December 16, 2016 . Categories: Fiction » Horror » Ghost
There's a long-forgotten cemetery in the middle of the forest which is surrounded by paranormal phenomenon and occult activities. It hides a shameful history.
The Caretaker
Price: Free! Words: 2,960. Language: English. Published: December 16, 2016 . Categories: Fiction » Horror » Ghost
A short tale that's a mishmash of urban legends surrounding Bachelor's Grove Cemetery.
The Bathtub
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,940. Language: English. Published: December 16, 2016 . Categories: Fiction » Horror » Ghost
A disturbing presence lingers outside the bathroom window and makes bath time scary.
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,990. Language: English. Published: December 16, 2016 . Categories: Fiction » Horror » Ghost
She lives in an old cottage-like house. Her deceased mother watches over her.
Price: Free! Words: 3,200. Language: English. Published: December 16, 2016 . Categories: Fiction » Horror » Ghost
An invisible, mean, old man torments two children. Can orbs in a photo prove he is there?
From Lilian—1904
Price: Free! Words: 2,520. Language: English. Published: December 16, 2016 . Categories: Fiction » Horror » Crime
A mysterious violin recording from 1904 might be a message from the dead.
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 20,030. Language: English. Published: January 1, 2015 . Categories: Fiction » Romance » Suspense
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.
Don't Let Them Get You!
Price: Free! Words: 2,960. Language: English. Published: February 28, 2012 . Categories: Fiction » Horror » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
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 Grandmother Clock
Price: Free! Words: 3,180. Language: English. Published: February 28, 2012 . Categories: Fiction » Horror » General
(3.00 from 1 review)
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!
The Lonely Old Woman who Lives in a Cottage
Price: Free! Words: 2,510. Language: English. Published: February 28, 2012 . Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories
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.
Freaked out Horror
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 77,830. Language: English. Published: December 11, 2009 . Categories: Fiction » Horror » General
(4.00 from 1 review)
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

alien abduction suspense    bizarre    fantasy    fiction    freaked out    ghost    gypsy    horror    macabre    romance    short story    strange    weird   

Tom Raimbault's favorite authors on Smashwords

Bridget Squires
Latest book: The Infirmary.
Published August 31, 2012. (4.50 from 2 reviews)

Smashwords book reviews by Tom Raimbault

  • Nick 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. Great job!
  • Spore 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.
  • 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. Tom Raimbault Chicago, Illinois
  • 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. Tom Raimbault Chicago, Illinois
  • Lumps 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! Tom Raimbault Chicago, Illinois
  • Well 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! Tom Raimbault Chicago, Illinois
  • i 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. Great job! Tom Raimbault Chicago, Illinois
  • 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! Tom Raimbault Chicago, Illinois
  • 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. Tom Raimbault
  • 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! Tom Raimbault 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.” “You are?” “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. Tom Raimbault Frankfort, Illinois September 5th, 2012