Review: “The Room Below” by Wilbert Stanton

5 of 5 stars.

Included in Chronology published by Curiosity Quills Press, this compelling tale rides the line between urban fantasy and urban legend, not unlike the television show Supernatural. Told in the first person, the teen-aged narrator has already broken up with her girlfriend and committed suicide [and been brought back to life] by the time the story opens. She is not ready to atone or make nice with her parents who, not knowing what else to do, leave her at Haven Falls, a mental hospital, with bandaged wrists.

Haven Falls is the beginning of a complex psychological trip made nightmare by a combination of depression, drugs, physical trauma, and legend. Luckily, after a rough initial meeting, roommate Cassandra seems to have friendship in mind, if not more. Upon meeting, Cass’ gift of a razor-blade was less well received. Girls are disappearing from Haven Falls, and the staff is not acknowledging their absence. Internal legend holds that the hallways are off-limits after midnight lest one wishes to “disappear”. The wheezing breath heard in the corridors at night, the screams of the girls missing by morning, are enough to keep everyone on edge. Legend holds of a room a level down where the disappeared are dragged.

The tale includes a drug-haze worthy of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and a night naked in a refrigerated solitary cell. The story ramps up as Cass goes missing one night . . .

This story is eerie in all the right places and highly recommended.
[Check out my other reviews here.]

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