Sunday, 10 September 2006

Anthony Clarke is Sick (review)

This is the first tale of the B.H.F Horror Stories book and sets the pace with an uneasy chill.
Anthony Clarke wakes up feeling unwell and his feeling are communicate to the reader from the off set creating a sense of mucas filled unhealthy.
Making the reader feel whatever ailment this man has with the use of common themes that play around things we have all had blocked nose,bad head and incessant weakness.
The tale quickly establishes the condition of the main character without over explaining and moving swiftly into advancing the story with natural pleasing pace.
As Anthony moves around his flat you also get the sense that the place hasn't been the most active of homes in quite a while almost as if Anthony has been in his slumber for more than a night.
Infact if it wasn't for the writer later explaining how often the main character did go to work I would be inclined to think that he had been in his house for some considerable time. Festering in his bed and struck down with some powerfully virus. This does however work well when we come to the climax of story of which I shall explain later.
Anthony Clarke then muses about his life a little allowing the reader a small glimpse into his history and how boredom and the numbness of being one of many has seemed initially enter his life and later almost consume him.
The nihilism of an office is cleary communicated in Anthonys thoughts it his clear that the man not only doesn't want to work in his office but feels it is detriment to his very existence.

After the short self reflection Anthony summons the the will to call into work however he is not calling in sick instead he wishes to play a prank.
The writer tells us how Anthony strives to spark life into his work place with simple gestures however when Anthony does get a reaction it is usually one of distain that he does not wish to encounter again.
As a joke our lead character calls his deparment and demands to talk to Anthony Clarke(himself of course).
At first the call is met with a little confusion as the girl at the desk (Debbie) doesn't seem to know if there is such a person in the company.
However then there is a short silence and then a young voice and this is where the chill kicks in. Anthony recognises the voice infact it is too familiar for comfort he recognises at his own from when he was younger.
His mind then tracks back to when he first startd the job and recalls that he received a call very much like this on the same day from a person demanding the same thing.

The disturbing fact causes our lead man to place the phone down and we are left to wonder what exactly are the consqences of this.
To me it appears that the writer has left things open maybe Anthony has called into a parallel universe or it could be that he has gone insane due to the numbness of his life.
There are a few possibilities but the way I read it is that Anthony Clarke has acutely ceased to be he has died possibly in his sleep and of the virus that he supposedly "awoke" from.
Somehow the dead ghost of Anthony called his younger self somehow breaking all barriers of time and physics with the untamed rules of the supernatural.
Of course this is just my interpretation of the events in the tale however what I do know is that the ending is far more than it seems and presents far more chilling question than we care to ask.

Review by:

James Stanger