Maladaptive Bind 1.0: Novella Edition (Out of Circulation)

MALBookCoverRETIRED1-01
The 16,000 word novella edition has officially been retired from circulation as of August 2013. Stay tuned for updates on the expanded novel-length edition coming in September.  

Published in multiple ebook formats via Smashwords on October 16th 2012. 

Novella: Psychological Thriller/Paranormal Thriller. ~16,000 words.

Audience: Moderate*

*Read a book blogger’s review on Kat’s Book Reviews.

Synopsis:

Angela Thornley doesn’t know why she’s still alive. When park rangers found her, she couldn’t speak or move, let alone remember what the serial killer, “The Man,” did to her and her husband before he buried them alive. At least, not until she hears the social workers talk about putting her five-year-old son, Blake, in a foster home and she feels his little fingers slip from her hand.

Determined to function so she can protect and care for her son, Angela works hard to unlock and heal the dark memories of her kidnapping buried deep in her subconscious. But her journey leads to unsettling discoveries about the darkness she harbors in her own soul. Due to an unknown combination of genetic and traumatic triggers, Angela is beginning a rapid, painful transformation. The anger that kept Angela alive is also driving her to dangerous thoughts of retribution on the man that killed her husband and broke her spirit.

Soon, Angela begins attacking innocent victims she believes are “The Man.” As she struggles to cope with her transformation, she must determine how far she is willing to go to protect her son and avenge her wounded psyche before she becomes the very sort of monster that bit her.

(Ebook Bonus Content: Destiny of Species Chapters 1&2).

Excerpt: Chapter 1Trapped Beneath The Surface

He kept me in a box underground for a week. At least I think it was a week. It might have only been a few days, but when your only companions are the smell of dirt and urine; the clicks and whirrs of the vile equipment that’s both filling your lungs with oxygen and streaming cold serums through your veins to keep you paralyzed; and the inescapable darkness of a coffin that’s slowly going to suffocate you when that machine stops working, it feels much longer.
     “Mommy?” Little Blake gingerly squeezes my hand. The nurse told him not to touch me, I think, but he can’t help it. “Your hands are cold,” he says.
     Cold… It was cold in that box. I was shivering. The rusty manacles around my wrists and ankles rattled. My body was covered in sweat and grime and blood. Painful images flicker through my thoughts like shards of glass, cutting and searing my subconscious. Some recollections flash by so quickly I can’t really glimpse them.
     I remember screaming at my five-year-old to run and hide when The Man broke in and shot Michael in the shoulder. The Man didn’t catch Blake, thank God. I looked over at Michael, my poor husband. We were both chained to a couple of gurneys in some dingy little room with an orange light beaming on our naked bodies. I remember screaming while the man I loved stared back at me helplessly, drugged or else convulsing in his own fits of torment. I think there are scars…I hope there are scars on my body that prove somebody tortured me. But I’m not sure why The Man took us or what he did exactly…that’s all I can remember.
     “Mommy, are you lost?” my boy asks with tears in his voice. Emotions I can’t describe tear at my heart. A part of me desperately wants to wrap my arms around Blake while we cry together and I tell him I’m going to be all right now. But I can’t even shift my gaze off the cracked door of my hospital room or scratch the itch behind my knee. I can’t talk, I can’t cry. I’m frozen. A part of me is still trapped in that underground box, smelling dirt, listening with all terror for the life-dependency machine to fail, and peering helplessly into the darkness pressing in on all sides. I amlost. I swear that machine failed long before the park rangers found me, and a part of me died underground with my husband.
     The authorities found Michael’s body buried in a box a few feet away from mine somewhere in the snowy campgrounds of Zion National Park. We were spending the Christmas holiday to ourselves out there at my father’s old cabin. The man who kidnapped us is called simply that—The Man. That’s what he calls himself, anyway. He carved his initials—TM—into my face.
He’s killed nine people the way he tried to kill me. Married Couples all staying in remote areas of that park over the past several months. We had no idea. It wasn’t like we watched TV or listened to the news that often. We liked our space quiet…I only know all this because I hear the police talk with the people at the clinic about how they’ve never found one of The Man’s victims alive before and whether they’ve made any progress getting me to talk.
     A young woman with glowing dark skin, curly hair, and baby-blue scrubs slips into the room.
     “We can only keep him for so long,” I hear the social worker gentleman say to the woman investigator out in the hall. The social worker is wearing brown slacks and the investigator is dressed in a pale pink skirt suit, holding a clip pad in her arms. “If we can’t find extended family that are willing to take him, we’ll have to find a foster family.”
     “Blake,” the nurse says gently. “What did I say?”
     I feel Blake’s little fingers slip away. I gasp and grip his hand. “Don’t…” Speaking feels strange, disembodied to my ears. I think I scared my boy. He’s shaking. A sense of panic, of desperation swells inside me as I claw through the mound of my subconscious trying to get back to the surface. The nurse’s eyebrows climb up her forehead in surprise and she watches my struggle intently. “Don’t…take him…from me,” I manage. “Please. I’ll take…I’ll take care of him.”
     The nurse nods. “We’ll see what we can do, Mrs. Thornley. How do you feel right now?”
     My chest tightens and my breathing quickens. I’m trying to talk, but I can’t.
     The nurse puts a hand on my shoulder. “Mrs. Thornley, do you know where you are?”
     I feel confused. My vision is hazy like I’m in a dream, and my thoughts are all over the place. I shake my head. The woman tries to tug my son’s hand away from mine. “No,” I beg again, tightening my grip. “Ple…please…”
     “It’s okay Mrs. Thornley—”
     “No!”
     “Okay,” she says. “Okay. Just relax. Lean back and take slow, deep breaths.”
     With some reluctance I obey, sinking into my pillows.
     “Are you okay, Blake?” the nurse asks, looking at my son. “She’s not holding you too tight?”
     Out of the corner of my eye I see Blake shake his head.
     The nurse lets go of his arm. “Mrs. Thornley,” she says. I roll my eyes up to look at her. The room spins around me. Tears run down my face, so warm they sting my cheeks. “You’re at Artano Community Hospital in Saint George. You’ve been through a very traumatic experience, but you’re safe now. I’ll be right back—I’m going to get Dr. Reeder to see if she can help you through this. Will you be okay for a few minutes while I look for the doctor?”
     “I won’t…hurt him,” I say. “He’s…he’s my son.”
     “Alright. Don’t squeeze Blake too hard. Okay?”
     “Oka…okay.”
     I’m not sure by what mercy or negligence the authorities keeping my son in protective custody have allowed him to come visit me like this, but if they hadn’t I wouldn’t have found my voice again.
###


Would you like to read more? Purchase Maladaptive Bind here or check it out wherever ebooks are sold.

*This is an updatable post.

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Sarah E. Seeley is a fantasy and horror author, and an affiliate member of the Horror Writers Association. She has a bachelor’s degree in geology and loves exploring the science of human origins.

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