Monday, October 29, 2012

The Visitor's Room, Laura & The Fifth Floor by E H James : Guest Post & Spotlights


by E H James

When I write short stories they always tend to be about something paranormal or horror, and they can range from the unusual to quite gory, if I feel the story requires it. I’m not sure why I keep going there when I think short story, although I did write one about time travel. My first love of writing is horror/paranormal, an influence of Stephen King. So these three short stories are about something paranormal.

In Laura you have George, a business man ready to retire after years of working and traveling to conduct business on his company’s behalf. He hates to fly so he has driven to see this last client. In a way, he appreciates the time alone to reflect and contemplate. Over the years he has seen some odd things in his travels, but what he experiences this night is beyond anything he could have imagined.

I don’t want to give it away so I won’t say too much. It’s late, it’s just stopped raining, he’s really tired, and he can’t wait to get home. A young girl is standing on the side of the road in a dress, and she is soaking wet. He stops to ask if she needs help, or a ride, and she accepts. From there things get progressively strange, and what finally happens makes him question all that is real.

In The Visitor’s Room, you have Amy, a 17-year-old patient in the psych ward of a hospital. She is biding her time while she waits to be released, as she encounters a number of strange fellow patients. But then strange is not a word you would use there, for what is strange to someone wandering the halls of a psych ward? Only the more she sees and hears, the more she begins to question her own sanity. Again, I don’t want to give away the ending so I should stop there.

In The Fifth Floor, you have Jeremy Brogan, a man in his early twenties newly hired to be night watchman at St. Michael’s Hospital. His job is to patrol the empty upper floors every hour of his shift. He assumes this will be easy money, even boring after a while. But a die-hard skeptic of anything paranormal is something he will not be by the time the night is through. You see, he knows St. Michaels reputation for being the most haunted hospital in the country, but he never gave any of that a serious thought. Maybe he’ll think twice next time someone tells him to watch his back…that is if he makes it through this night.

Title: Laura

Genre: Paranormal (Short Story)

Publisher: Musa Publishing

Release Date: January 13, 2012

George had seen some pretty strange things over his lifetime, travelling those roads. But if he had thought he’d seen it all, he was sadly mistaken. For if he thought finding Laura alone, along some deserted roadside, in the middle of the night, was strange, then he had no idea that what was to follow would challenge the very boundaries of everything he’d ever known.


The road was long and black before him, stretching out into the night. He hated these rural roads with no street lights, no homes, nothing but blackness pressing in around him. He strained to see the lines in the road, swallowed as they were by a heavy black haze.

But the rain had stopped now, and the wipers screeched in complaint as rubber drew across the dry windshield. He turned them off. The remaining water formed rivulets that ran together, making their way slowly up the glass.

At times like these, he wished he had gotten the radio fixed. He reached for the dial as though it would work this time, but all he got was a faint popping sound and some static. He turned it off and leaned back into his seat. “Damn.”

His annoyance wasn’t so much at the dead radio as at himself. He should have started sooner. He'd had one—no, two—drinks for the road. Now, here he was with two more hours of driving ahead and already it was well past midnight. He couldn't refuse a free drink, though. After all, he was retiring next week, and this was the last time he’d have to make a trip like this—all the way out here, into the middle of nowhere, holding the hand of one more client.

He drew his hand across his face as if to pull the weariness from his mind. Straining against the darkness, he thought he saw something in the headlights, a movement perhaps, maybe a reflection. He slowed down, staring out into the blackness. It was then that he saw her, standing on the side of the road. She turned toward him, staring into the headlights. 

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Title: The Visitor’s Room

Genre: Paranormal (Short Story)

Publisher: Musa Publishing

Release Date: March 23, 2012

If Amy thought this day on the psych ward would be just like any other, she would be wrong.

For although everything seemed normal, well as normal as a place like that could be, there was something that was not quite right. That she couldn’t put her finger on it only made it all the more perplexing.

Don’t go asking questions you don’t want to know the answer to, especially when you're on a psych ward, and even you begin to question your sanity.


“Today’s as good as any to get a shock treatment.”

Amy lifted her head from the pillow to see Larry standing at the foot of her bed.

She waited as he turned and shuffled out the door, then laid her head back down and closed her eyes. Sleep began to return.

And then he was back, the rhythmic swish of slippers on tile as he approached. “Today’s as good as any to get a shock treatment.”

She sighed and waited a moment. Silence. Melanie was sound asleep in the next bed, unaware of the intrusion.

“Today’s as good as any to get a shock treatment.”

“Larry!” she said, her eyes snapping open. “Shut up and get the hell out of here!”

Larry smiled half-heartedly, turned, and wandered again from the room. This time, his shadow disappeared out of the doorway completely.

That had done it. She was definitely awake now.

She looked at Melanie and frowned.

Dead to the world. Like I should be. That girl could sleep if a freight train came roaring through here. Then again, who knows what meds they have her on this week?

She climbed out of bed and pulled on her slippers — blue terry cloth, just like her bathrobe, so cheap, her toe poked through the seam.

She padded over to the window.

The sun was rising over the horizon, but the building directly across the street was still buried in darkness. She wasn’t normally awake this early — though someone did knock promptly at seven every morning to inform her breakfast was ready.

It was quiet though. Peaceful as a grave. She could get used to this.

And then she heard it: the sound of water dripping.

Stepping away from the window, she walked — as she had yesterday and the day before, and every day for the past three weeks — to the bathroom. The sound wasn’t louder there, but she couldn’t imagine where else it might be coming from. It wasn’t muffled, as it would have been inside the wall. No water came through the collapsible ceiling. It wasn’t raining. No drain pipes ran outside her window.

The sound was like Larry: it came and went and was irritating.

And now it was gone. 


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Title: The Fifth Floor

Genre: Paranormal (Short Story)

Publisher: Musa Publishing

Release Date: August 10th, 2012

Jeremy Brogan thought being a night watchman at a hospital would be easy, wandering long, dark, empty halls late at night. It might even get kind of boring after a while…except Jeremy is working at St. Michael’s, the most haunted hospital in the country.  

It’s a good thing Jeremy doesn’t believe in ghosts. Everything he sees and hears must have some kind of an explanation, right?  

That he had to patrol the fifth floor was bad enough, but never in his wildest dreams did Jeremy think he would wind up in the basement. Now all he wants is out…only the hospital and its inhabitants may have other plans.


“Is this your first night?” the old man asked, standing up from the desk. Where he had been sitting, his head just barely could see—or be seen—over a counter that the desk sat behind. He walked round the counter toward Jeremy.

“Yes, it is.” Jeremy fidgeted with the buttons on his jacket. “I suppose it’s obvious. Isn’t it?” He tried to smile, pressing his lips into a grin. “Actually, I’ve never done anything like this before. I guess I’m a little nervous.”

The old man watched Jeremy for a moment, and then patted him on the shoulder. “You’ll be just fine.” The old man walked back behind the counter to retrieve his metal lunch pail from the desk.

“By the way, my name is Jeremy Brogan.” Jeremy reached over the counter offering his hand.

“Jake.” The old man grasped hold of Jeremy’s hand and gave it a firm shake. “Jake Edwards.”

“Say, do you mind me asking how long you’ve been working here?”

“It’ll be…forty-two years next month.”

Jeremy’s brows moved up on his forehead. “Forty-two years?”

“Yep.” Jake nodded, his gaze wandering. “And not once did I miss a day of work.”

Jeremy leaned his back against the counter. “That’s incredible.”

“Yeah, I guess it is.” Jake shrugged. “Never really thought about it.” He slid his hand over the smooth worn surface of the counter, as he walked back around to the front. “I can honestly say I’m going to miss it.”

“Miss it?”

“I’m retiring next week.” He paused as though thinking on what he just said. “I’ll tell ya, I’ve been looking forward to this day my whole life. Waiting and dreaming about what I’d do when that day came. But now that it’s here…it’s going to feel strange not coming in here every night.” 

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E. H. James is an author writing novels and short stories in the science fiction, horror, thriller and fantasy genres. Laura, The Visitor’s Room, and The Fifth Floor are paranormal short stories released through Musa, with The Visitor’s Room winning book of the month, for April, in the Mystery category, at Long and Short Reviews. 

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 Laura, The Fifth Floor or The Visitor's Room.
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1 comment:

Lizzy said...

I love short stories that are done well. These three look interesting. Love to check them out.