Welcome to the eleventh edition of Leighgendary Shorts.
This week we will be discussing Trauma Room by Samuel Peralta
In the trauma room, a man lies on a gurney, fragments of an assassin’s bullet in his skull. He carries a secret that could save millions of lives. And if he dies, that secret dies with him.
From award-winning author Samuel Peralta comes Trauma Room, a flash fiction short story that is at once a thriller, a glimpse of a future dystopia, and a love story – all in 1000 words.
Trauma Room is one of a series of standalone stories about a labyrinthine world where time travel is just beginning to be realized, where pervasive surveillance by telepaths is a part of life, where non-human self-awareness has begun to make humanity face difficult questions about itself.
Welcome to the Labyrinth. Welcome to Trauma Room.
Trauma Room (first featured in The Telepath Chronicles) is a short story that is part of Peralta’s Tales from the Labyrinth. Peralta’s Labyrinth also includes the following stories: Hereafter: A Story of Love and Time Travel, Liberty: Seeking Support for a Writ of Habeas Corpus for a Non-Human Being, Faith, and Humanity.
We are introduced to the main character as he is brought into the trauma room in the hospital. The senator was shot twenty minutes ago. The senator’s wife and son are there and she is trying to sooth the son and a doctor is holding the senator’s head while another starts the incision for a tracheotomy.
The main character says, “I can’t do this. No one’s ever done it before, breached a dead man.”
The colonel tells him the senator isn’t dead yet.
The main character turns up the collar on his suit coat and unfolds a hood that is lined with parabolic printed circuit board. He then tells us, “Telepathy is like radio. When you first tune in, you’re flooded with static, ambient noise, the almost-too-strong blare of someone else’s song. Knowing roughly where you want to be-the music you’re looking for-you ignore the static, turn the dial to scan for that frequency that will bring you the swell of strings.”
He knows that he is inside of the senator’s mind but there is nothing there. He starts to pull back on trying to find the senator’s signal, he thinks he might have gone too far. Once he pulls back some he starts to hear what the doctors are thinking.
He tries again but is still not getting anything, especially what the colonel is looking for, “the code-word that would abort the launch of missiles that, in seconds, could be skimming a predetermined path across the atmosphere, along the earth’s curvature, toward our enemies, toward a ricochet of mutual destruction.”
Somewhere behind him a person begins a mental countdown for the missiles’ launch.
He starts searching everywhere in the senator’s mind.
He finds it.
And then the telepath speaks.
It has been a while since I read this story so it was good to read it again. All of these stories are great and can be read in any order. I highly recommend them and I cannot wait to see where Peralta takes us next.
Giveaway: Samuel Peralta is going to giveaway a signed copy of The Telepath Chronicles, where this story originally appeared. This giveaway will run until Thursday, October 15, 2015, at 8:00 am (est). All you need to do is tell us your thoughts about the story or ask Peralta a question, and he said he would answer just about anything.
Did you enjoy this story? Why? Why not?