This review is in response to a request by the author. I received no compensation, neither money nor a free book, for the review. I consider very short stories as reading prompts for students who are not overly fond of reading. Those interested in the genre horror would be interested in this selection.
The Surgeon In The Woods by Jamie C. Pritchard is a very short 16-page story of a medical school student who couldn’t make it. He was very bright and entered his first medical school having already memorized most of the textbooks in his final year of high school. Initially, his professors loved the intelligence and diligence displayed by the new student. Class colleagues were at first annoyed as he always took center stage in each class. Professors became less happy with him as he began to challenge them on every topic. Professor Fenwick, his head teacher and mentor, defended him as much as possible but eventually concurred with others that he had overstayed his welcome at Chulton; he was not a team player. He was kicked out.
But there were other medical schools. At Berkley, his behavior changed. He didn’t compete with other students; he didn’t challenge professors. However, he was not personally satisfied. He had been given credit for one year of medical school completed at Chulton but the pace at Berkley was still too slow. All his frustrations were kept inside. Looking for an outlet, he decided to do experiments on his own, experiments that couldn’t be done in the straitlaced environment of Berkley, experiments that Berkley residents couldn’t conceive of. Things were going well until he forgot a memory stick in a laboratory. His new head teacher and mentor, Professor Nilsson found it and examined the contents. Nilsson decided that at the very least medical ethics had been disregarded. Some experiments may have violated criminal codes. Although Nilsson could have called the police, he instead expelled our very promising medical student.
After striking out at yet another medical school, the promising student decided to continue his experiments on his own. He found an almost abandoned brick structure located so deep in a forest that no one ever visited. He rewarded himself with medical equipment that he was able to steal from Berkley. He deserved it, such great talent should be rewarded. He felt that with the house, the equipment, and unlimited time he would finally be able to show his former head teachers and mentors how creative he could be.
And he did.