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Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Fifth Floor by E. H. James

The Fifth Floor by E. H. James
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery, Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (13 pages)
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Jeremy Brogan’s first day as a night watchman, at the most haunted hospital in the country, may just turn him from a die-hard skeptic into a believer after all.

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.

Imagine patrolling an abandoned hospital wing at night The only sound you hear is the slight squeak of your shoes as you make your rounds. Suddenly you spot toy ball bouncing in the middle of the hallway. How would you react?

Jeremy accepts his new job secure in the knowledge that ghosts don’t actually exist and that all of the stories he’d heard about St. Michael’s were urban legends. He’s an easy guy to like and the type of person I’d want to be around in an emergency. Even when he’s surprised or afraid taking care of those who need help is his first priority.

With the possible exception of giving birth, no one looks forward to being hospitalized. Even the most routine procedures carry certain risks and while most people who are admitted eventually recover there will always be those who were too injured or sick to survive. Add in the pain that comes after surgery or an accident and I can think of few places creepier than a wing full of rooms where countless individuals suffered and died. It’s to be expected that some of these poor souls are stuck on the fifth floor.

The ending was a chilling surprise. In retrospect Ms. James did provide a few well-hidden clues earlier on but I was still taken aback by the last few paragraphs. This is one of those stories that grows better with every reread.

The Fifth Floor is a jolt of adrenaline. Before beginning it turn on every light in the house, make sure the doors and windows are locked, promise yourself that you won’t stop reading investigate any strange noises you hear and prepare for a wild ride!

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