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Britney King LLC

Fever Dream: A Psychological Thriller (Ebook)

Fever Dream: A Psychological Thriller (Ebook)

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A gripping thriller that follows a woman in a desperate search for answers after she’s institutionalized against her will.

About The Book

The year is 1962, and every night Grace lays her head on her pillow at the Texas State Lunatic Hospital, she reminds herself she is not what they say she is.

Her children and her husband are not dead. They’re searching for her.

Someone knows the truth.

Strangely, that someone is hell-bent on making sure the truth stays buried.

The question is…why?

Meanwhile, Grace has bigger fish to fry, starting with her new roommate.

Elizabeth is certifiable, and she has star status—a deadly combination, Grace realizes.

The kind of woman who has everyone in the palm of her hand, Elizabeth gives even the most menacing of nurses a run for their money, takes bad intentions to a whole new level, and makes crazy look seductive as hell.

Grace learns fast: the best way to deal with lunacy is to befriend it. It may be her only ticket out. She also learns there’s more to her new bunkmate than meets the eye. She’s vile, she’s cunning—and possibly faking it.

The question is…why?

With riveting twists and a breakneck pace, Fever Dream is a propulsive thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

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Prologue

October 1962

Closed mouths don’t get fed. I wish she would stop saying that, for a lot of reasons, the main one being, I’m not so sure. Actually, there are a lot of things I’m not sure about, come to think of it. Too many to count. I realized this the other day in my session with Dr. Branson. That’s what I was thinking, sitting there eyeing his slick auburn hair, his finely chiseled jaw, and those broad shoulders that seem meant for something other than psychiatry. He does not belong in a place like this any more than I do.

Unfortunately, only one of us knows it.

I told him this, but only once. He looked at me like a person looks at you when they think you’re crazy. No matter what anyone says—even Dr. Branson with his charming smile, those mischievous eyes, and his overly kind demeanor—I am not crazy. This I know to be true. And right now, it’s maybe the only thing I know.

Dr. Branson sits across from me again today, his hands folded in his lap as he rather passionately explains the procedure. A Frontal Leucotomy, he repeats, as though he really needs me to understand. He’ll drill a pair of holes into my skull, on both sides, one side first and then the other. Once the holes are drilled, he’ll push a sharp instrument—a leucotome—into my brain. Then, he’ll sweep the instrument from side to side to cut the connections between the frontal lobes and the rest of the brain.

“It’s a five-minute procedure. Very quickly done,” says Dr. Branson. “This is what we do when the medication is no longer working. And in your case, I’m afraid we’re out of options.”

Out of options—that’s a term I know well.

“The leucotome contains a retractable loop of wire that, when rotated, cuts a circular lesion in the brain tissue.”

Dr. Branson pauses just long enough to look at me skeptically. “Do you understand what this means?”

He doesn’t wait for an answer. “The nerve pathways between lobes in your brain will be severed. Once those connections are damaged, it will stop the undesirable behaviors. This will lead to great improvements for you overall.”

A smile slowly spreads across his face. “This means a better quality of life. And a brighter future.”

He says it like he’s speaking of someone else’s brain, not mine, like it’s nothing personal. His body language does not match his words as he explains how lucky I am to have been selected to receive this treatment. I am young and healthy, making me a perfect fit to undergo the procedure.

He says there are a lot of patients who would kill to be in my position. It’s a poor choice of words, if you ask me, but Dr. Branson does not seem to notice, nor care. He is here to make an impression, not on me so much as the rest of the world. He wants to leave his mark as a pioneer of psychiatry, and I am going to be a part of that, he explains further. Together, we are going to ease my suffering. Together, we are going to show what’s possible.

I guess what he’s trying to say is that this is a big deal. As though I don’t know. I used to look forward to our visits, if for no other reason than they broke up the monotony of the day. Of course, this was before I realized what was happening, that I was being groomed to be his next pet project.

Now, here he is, the man of the hour, wasting his breath, both literally and figuratively, and I’m not sure why.

Dr. Branson doesn’t need my buy-in. Yesterday, I lost my third appeal. Now, not only am I out of those, I’m out of time. A lobotomy is scheduled for tomorrow morning, and nothing Dr. Branson says, and nothing I say, is going to change that.

Clearly, this train was set on its course well before yesterday. I can see that now in hindsight. I have seen what his “advanced medical procedure” does to its recipients, and I want no part of it. I tell him this, and he brushes me off.

I was lucky to have my day in court, Dr. Branson says. Wheels of justice grind slow but grind fine. That was Sun Tzu or somebody. The Art of War, he tells me.

Maybe he has a point. The others, I don’t think they even got that—a hearing, I mean. I got three. Never mind that it was never going to be a fair fight; it is what it is, and I’d best be thinking about my next move.

There are only two people I know of who possess the power to stop this, myself not withstanding. Problem is, one of them is presumed dead, and the other wishes she were.

I know I should be thankful she’s not, and I would be, if only she hadn’t gotten me into this mess, at least partially.

I just pray this latest thing she’s come up with is not a trap. Before the enemy attacks harder, it gives its opponent something invisible but powerful. It is called hope.

Making a pact with her was the last thing I wanted to do. I’ve seen the kind of damage she can do. Last night as I lay awake in the dark, she leaned over my bed and whispered: He’s going to use a long, ice pick-like device inserted above the eye through the thin layer of bone, penetrating into the brain’s frontal lobe. And this is what you want?

She hummed a tune, and later she said: It’s your call. Just say the word. 

She was wrong, however. She spoke of the new method of performing the procedure, and Dr. Branson is old school. Not a point worth arguing, but when she put it like that, I realized, what choice do I have? 

The choice between the end of life as I know it and becoming an actual, bona fide murderer, is not really a choice at all. It’s a matter of self-preservation. My husband is looking for me. He loves me. He is expecting me to walk out of this place.

“I don’t want this,” I say to Dr. Branson with his perfect smile and his tired excuses. “I do not consent.”

He leans forward and pats my knee gently. “Soon, you will see. It was for your own good.”

The moment he puts his hand on me, I realize she is right. I know exactly what I have to do. Her plan is not a good one, not by a long shot. But it’s all I’ve got.

I am not a bad person, and I am not crazy. Even if the decision I’m about to make is a little of both.

The patients are running the asylum. My husband often said that when he arrived home after a long day at the office. The kids would be running amok, me in the kitchen tap-dancing around the chaos, trying to get dinner on the table. It seems sort of foretelling now, but I realize it’s just an expression. My love will understand why I had to do what I did. God, please, let him understand.

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