'TRAUMATIZED' a short story collection by Alexander S. Brown - a review - by POLLY RIGORMORTIS (aka; R. Phillip Roberts)
I just love Halloween, as it is always one of the busiest nights in the ER. Perfect time for harvesting all those organs I discreetly sell on the black market, too. And this past Halloween was no different.
There I was, just minding my own business, taking in a little reading in the staff lounge. I was really getting into a particularly nasty little tale, the last one of the fifteen in the book, actually, when they paged me.
"Nurse Polly! You're wanted in emergency! Nurse Polly! Please report to emergency!" the female voice squelched amidst the sporadic feedback coming through the hospital intercom system.
Upon hearing this voice, anyone in near vicinity to one of the hundreds of speakers strategically situated throughout the hospital, usually cringes at what sounds much like someone slowly raking their nails across a chalkboard.
Generally, it never bothers me, but since I was immersed in my book, it startled me and made me flinch. Dammit! Not now! I'm in the middle of a really good story, for chrissake! And I want to know what happens! I think to myself, just as the voice begins to crackle over the PA system once more.
"Attention! Nurse Polly! Get your ass to the emergency ward, STAT! Dr. Hardwood has a special case for you! Yoo-hoo! Polly Rigormortis, where are you? Do I have to send the dogs out after you... again?"
"Oh no! Not the dogs!" I muttered aloud, followed with a hearty little chuckle.
With an audible sigh, I marked my place in the book, setting it on the coffee table, then reluctantly rose up from the leather sofa. I straightened the plain white standard issue uniform I am forced to wear, as I made my way to the lavatory and the mirror above the sink inside. I fixed my hair, making sure every long lock of blondeness was just right, then slipped a hand into my hip pocket and pulled out my trademark red lipstick, applying a liberal amount to my lips. "Ah! Perfection!" I said, blowing a kiss at my own reflection.
As I made to exit the lounge, I glanced over at the coffee table one more time, disappointed that I could not finish reading the last twisted tale within. I think, Well, at least it will be waiting for me when I get back, then headed down to the ER and whatever trauma case awaited. I let out a little laugh, seeing as the title of said book was actually called, Traumatized, written by a little known horror hack by the name of Alexander S. Brown.
Seeing as I was in no hurry to get down to the ER and save another pathetic dying soul, I nonchalantly strolled down the hall toward the elevator. My mind wandered back to the fourteen stories I had already finished, as well as the one I had yet to get all the way through.
I found each one of the macabre little tales to be quite enjoyable, even a little creepy. Chock full of monsters, ghosts, and even voodoo dolls, the stories reminded me of some of my favorite authors, such as Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft. Some of them even had that Rod Serling's Twilight Zone feel to them. All good tales, indeed. And all from the same author.
This book was no anthology full of various unknowns, either, which usually only hold a few stand out stories at best. This was a real page turner, and very hard to put down, once you get started. And the stories are the kind that cling to you, much like the smell of death does, no matter how hard you try to get rid of it.
Pretty soon I found myself scrubbing up and about to enter the ER operating room, when Dr. Hardwood came out. I could tell by the way he walked hunched over and all quiet like, that things had not gone well. He was completely splattered with blood and gore, as well as were the others who had been on Dr. Hardwood's emergency surgical team.
Each of those men and women had a strange look in their eyes, as if they had seen something the likes of which none had ever seen before. No doubt, that whatever had happened in there had scared the whole lot of them.
"Another casualty, doctor?" I asked, grinning from ear to ear behind my surgical mask.
Dr. Hardwood looked at me with faraway eyes, then pulled his mask off. "Yes, Nurse Polly! Would you mind cleaning things up for me? None of us seem to be feeling very well at the moment, it seems."
"Sure, Dr. Harwood!" I said, then headed into the surgery room, leaving the doctor and his staff to their thoughts, as they made to remove their soiled and contaminated surgical gowns to begin the laborous task of scrubbing down.
I entered the surgery room unprepared for what awaited me. Now I'm not one to get freaked out by anything, and I mean anything. But this was unlike any post-surgery mis-hap I had ever seen in all my days as a nurse. There was quite literally a mass of blood and gore everywhere.
As I walked toward the body on the gurney, prepared to begin the removal of its vital organs, I almost vomited from the smell that assaulted my senses. It seemed to permeate the air and somehow managed to seep through the mask covering my mouth and nose. It reeked worse than an outhouse full of urine and excrement on a hot summer day.
I approached the body anyways, intent on getting my organs before hauling the remains of the corpse off to the morgue. The chest cavity was wide open, making my job a little easier than usual, and so I stuck my hands inside and began to feel around. As I felt for the heart, my hand came across something that should not be in there.
I extracted the foreign object that was all covered in slimy red goo. I held it up and was surprised to see that it was the book I had been reading in the lounge. In fact, it even had my bookmark, suggesting that it was indeed the very same book.
Astonished, I watched as the gooey gore began to crystalize and fall away, leaving in my hands a pristine and untainted book.
The letters of the title, Traumatized, began to glow and I almost dropped it and ran. But instead, I opened the book to where I had marked it and began to read.
By the time I had finished the last story, which I had begun a little earlier that evening, I had forgotten all about harvesting the organs from the cadaver upon the table. And since my shift was almost over, I slipped the book into the hip pocket of my apron and began cleaning up the emergency OR.
When I arrived home later that night, I took the book out and examined it. It showed no signs of ever having been submerged within the innards of a dead corpse, and it no longer glowed. Shrugging it off, I tossed it on the kitchen counter and went to bed.
I had some serious nightmares that woke me up. I believe that I even screamed. When I switched on the light, I almost screamed again, because there on the pillow next to me was the book, the title on the cover glowing once again.
It was at that moment that I knew I would never be able to stop reading the stories contained within, over and over and over again. I highly recommend this book. And I gaurantee that you will not be able to stop reading it. In fact, I doubt you will ever be able to get rid of it, just as I cannot seem to be able to. I have tried, and it just keeps coming back to haunt me.
*Polly Rigormortis gives this book her highest rating of two (count 'em).. two "in-your-face" fist-pumping middle fingers (oh yeah... it's a good thing).
Review found on: http://eve-l-dewer.angelfire.com/read001.html
Buy Traumatized at: www.traumatizedsouls.com