by Hunter Shea
Published by Silver Shamrock Publishing
Available in paperback and eBook
Newlywed Cassandra Pagano falls ill on her wedding day, resulting in surgery and recuperation in the hospital’s intensive care unit. Though still deeply ill and fading in and out of consciousness due to the drugs, she’s allowed home to recover providing she’s treated with 24 hour, round-the-clock care. Her distraught husband Brian and mother Alice take it in turns to look after Cassandra at the couples new home, and learn how to use the IV equipment in order to keep Cassandra on the road to recovery. However, when both Brian and Alice begin to see a little boy running around the home and frequenting Cassandra’s bed, they wonder whether they’re cracking up or if something is trying to connect with her. With Cassandra’s recovery taking longer than expected, they begin to question whether the boy is a guardian angel or a sign of more sinister forces at work.
Author Hunter Shea effectively conveys the pain, sadness and despair in his 113 page story THE WAITING, as well as the hope that lives in family members when a loved one is suffering. It’s hard to see Brian, a devoted husband, become tired and losing himself as he desperately tries to be there for his sick wife whilst simultaneously working a demanding job to pay the bills that continue to mount. It’s no easy task to physically and mentally manage all this and is heart-wrenching to read. Thanks to the descriptive language and anguish that Shea pours onto the pages, it’s not hard to imagine what he’s going through. His mother-in-law Alice too feels the pain of a mother unable to help her daughter. As they always say, no matter how old you are, you’re still a baby to your parents and for a guardian to be unable to relieve their offspring’s suffering is an upsetting scenario to read about. Their pain is confronted by fear when a supernatural aspect is brought into the story in the form of the mysterious spirit of a young boy. Is he simply a harmless spirit trapped in the home or has he ill intentions towards Cassandra? We read how Brian must grapple with this potential threat whilst trying to summon the energy to stay strong, not only for himself but for his sick wife. It will be a battle in many ways but one that Brian and Alice seem up to the challenge of.
THE WAITING isn’t your typical horror book in that its ghostly element isn’t the crux of the story though is intertwined as a family fight to see their loved one return to health. Shea cleverly introduces the supernatural angle gently through little things such as items being moved and creaks in the home, before the boy’s presence is finally made known. He merges the two effortlessly in a fictional retelling of his own experiences, much of which mirrors that which we read here, including the appearance of a young boy in their marital home. His use of the written word captures all the emotions that Brian goes through in dealing with the illness of his loved one and the ambiguous threat he finds invading his home. This is matched by the pace of the story which keeps you turning the page until the story comes to its timely conclusion.
An inspiring tale of hope and devotion to those we love, no matter what obstacles one may face.