We’re happy to host an excerpt from YA Paranormal Thriller “Blind Study”. The book sounds like an excellent read. Enjoy the snippet!
Read The Excerpt
“Great to see you all,” Emo-lady said. “And I do mean all—it looks like everyone came out, doesn’t it?” I turned to look. Clearly I’d missed a number of people coming in while I was in my fugue. There was now a group of fifteen or so people grouped around the therapist in a semicircle. “I’m Lacey, and I’ll be heading up the group therapy sessions here. If you feel the need for something more one on one, I’m also available to see individuals on Tuesday afternoons. See me after session or talk to your nurse if you’re interested.
“Now, before we begin, I want to set a few ground rules, so everyone knows what to expect. No one is required to share. You can go through the entire six weeks without saying a word, if you like. That being said, please don’t pressure your fellow group members. Discussion and debate is healthy and encouraged, but name-calling and hostility is not, and will not, be tolerated. Any questions?” No one raised their hands.
“Okay, now if we could go around the room and introduce ourselves, just your name and anything you want us to know.” Lacey smiled at the person on her far right, closest to the door, nodding for them to begin.
I didn’t even bother trying to remember anyone. No one volunteered much; most just stuck to first names, like me and Bonita, but a few added marital status, children, etc. My ears perked up when it came to Riley, but he only said his name. I wished he’d felt more like sharing.
“And now we’ll open up the floor for anyone who wants to speak. I’ll propose the topic of your experience here so far, but if you have something else you want to share—”
A woman in her fifties sitting midway between Riley and I raised her hand timidly. Lacey glanced at the notebook in her lap.
“Anna, right?” The woman—who looked like an Anna, brown as a twig and just as fragile—nodded. “The floor is yours.”
“Hi,” Anna said, still seated. “Well, I guess—I’m one of the lucky ones, I got the drug and not the placebo—” I saw some lips tighten, a few pairs of eyes cut angrily away, “—and I’m really, really happy—it’s done wonders, but—I’m scared. I’m scared the pain is going to come back. It’s like I’m being haunted by it. Every time I forget and move too quickly, or bump myself on something—my heart stops, and I freeze, just waiting for the pain to kick in.” She sighed and looked down at her hands. “This is going to sound really stupid and ungrateful—and I don’t want to sound ungrateful, because I’m so happy, I’m so happy it’s working, but—sometimes, I wish the pain would just hit. Because then I could stop worrying about when it’s going to happen. I’m afraid one day I’ll wake up and the pill will have stopped working and…boom. I can’t relax. I can’t even sleep properly.” She shook her head and looked up.
“I’ve had these dreams, ever since I started on the meds, where I’m locked in a dark, stone room, all by myself. And then last night—last night it changed. These—these men came into the room, and they—it’s just like the fibromyalgia pain, but the worst of it, and all at once. It was just like it. It was so real. When I woke up, my throat was sore, like I’d been screaming all night.” Anna rolled her eyes at herself. “I mean, I know what the dreams symbolize, but—”
Anna went on, but I wasn’t listening anymore. Every inch of my skin had constricted into goosebumps. My eyes locked with Riley’s, and I knew he was thinking the same thing.
Then Riley cut his gaze away from me, scanned the room, and his lips parted. I followed his eyes, and my frozen heart thudded brittle in my chest.
Riley and I weren’t the only ones reacting to Anna’s story. Several people, including Tasha, were showing subtle signs of fear or discomfort. Faces were suddenly pale, eyes wide; there was an awful lot of fidgeting going on. I glanced at Lacey, wondering if she’d noticed, but she was intent on Anna, drinking up the story of her torment.
I looked back at Riley, who once again was looking at me. We need to talk, he mouthed, and I nodded once, slightly.
Title: Blind Study
Author: Jacquelyn Sylvan
Genre: YA Supernatural Thriller
Eighteen-year-old Alice has spent the last year of her life in a hospital bed, held hostage by pain from a freak accident. Doctors can neither explain nor cure her condition, and her medical insurance is about to run out. Then, she’s offered one last chance—inclusion in a study for a revolutionary new pain medication.
Miraculously, the medication works. There’s only one side effect—vivid, terrifying nightmares, of imprisonment in a pitch-black cell, with no memory of her identity or how she got there. At least, she thinks that’s all they are, until someone from her dreams shows up in real life.
When other sinister happenings cross the boundary between dreaming and waking, Alice must choose: return to a half-life of isolation and agony, or confront the malevolent force behind the dreams, before she and those she cares about are trapped in their nightmares forever. But by the time she makes her choice—it may already be too late.
Before Jacquelyn Sylvan became a writer, she worked as a waitress, video store clerk, trail-riding guide, and veterinary technician, among other things. She’s a few inches shy of five feet tall, which means she’s sometimes mistaken for a child when she rides her bike, and often looked at suspiciously by amusement park ride operators. When she’s not writing, you’ll probably find her watching Vampire Diaries or trying to warn people about the impending penguin apocalypse. Jacquelyn lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two cats, and two very large dogs. Her YA novel, Blind Study, a supernatural thriller, comes out August 20, 2013.