Tobin wakes in the middle of the night to someone shuffling around her room, and is given an ominous warning.
The night nurses wouldn’t react to her screaming. They were too used to that happening whenever she had a nightmare.
Tobin squeezed her eyes shut. Her heart threatened to beat its way out of her body when she sensed someone hovering over her.
Don’t do it, she told herself. Her breath froze. She opened her eyes and gasped.
Shock was barely a spark before temper took over.
Two days after completing the odd questionnaire from Dr. Owens and Ms. Mercy, Tobin is called into the office to discuss her answers. A theft of a secret possession causes Tobin to panic.
"About the questionnaire...” The doctor’s voice changed a fraction, chilling. Tobin’s gaze met his. The smile returned to his face. Her eyes went to his lips. Hmm. The left side of his lip twitched. A false smile, unable to keep its shiny veneer? “I noticed you didn't answer them all."
"That's not true.”
Tobin finds herself part of the clinical trial led by Mendwell's newest staff members: Dr. Howard Owens and hypnotist Meredith Mercy.
"Hello, everyone,” he said. “I’m pleased to be here. Thrilled to be given the chance to help as many of you as I can." He gave a wide smile, meeting each patient’s gaze individually. Tobin stared at the floor.
Hannah's lost time is getting worse. Tobin urges her to talk to Dr. Dawson but will she? An overheard conversation leads to Tobin finding out about Mendwell's history.
Seconds ticked by audibly, the sound coming from the large clock that hung in the nurses’ break room. It sounded amplified to Tobin’s ears, or perhaps her senses were supercharged from worry. She inched further down the corridor and was about to give up when a flicker of movement in the distance caused her to hesitate.
The impossible has happened. A week passed and Hannah's still Tobin's roommate... but it seems Hannah has a secret.
While the outside world had moved on, life within the walls of Mendwell saw little change: the daily routine of medication, sessions, and the handing in of journal entries continued as usual. Tobin was glad that her bond with Hannah was growing stronger. Inwardly, however, she was increasingly concerned.
Something was wrong with Hannah, and Tobin wasn’t sure what to do.
The fourth-floor ward gets new patients... and Tobin gets a new roommate suffering from hysterical amnesia.
Patricia didn’t seem to like the idea of Hannah coming to the ward: they knew nothing about her. Apparently she had been found wandering down a road at midnight, in torn jeans and a ripped blouse. Her clothes were blood-splattered, her face and hands as well.
Ange is gone, and with her absence from the ward, Tobin hides away in her room until a surprise visit from her parents forces her out.
Time played trickster in the following days. It appeared stagnant yet the hours sped by, leaving Tobin in a permanent state of disorientation. Fall catapulted straight into winter, burying fallen leaves beneath a layer of ice and snow. Nightmares bled into each other, and Tobin aged another year. The passing of her twentieth birthday went by unnoticed.
Ange's news she's leaving hits Tobin hard. Now Tobin must say good-bye to the only friend she's ever had.
"Tobin, I’d like you to meet our newest addition: this is Angela."
"Oh no, Ange, please,” the girl cut in, eyes not moving from Tobin’s face. "We’re going to be best friends. You have, like, the coolest power ever."
"Power?" Tobin blinked. Seriously? She really hoped the girl was kidding. She had to be, right? Sure, they were in a nuthouse, but—powers?
Ange has news that upsets Tobin.
A nurse walks in while Tobin's writing in her secret journal. Will she be able to hide it in time, or will her precious thoughts be confiscated?
Words were trying to build inside her chest, making it feel tight and achy. She needed to get them out before they consumed her. Sitting on the floor between the wall and the bed, she found a blank section on one of the sheets and began to write. It was too soon, she decided. That’s why she was upset.
Tobin runs from Dr. Dawson's office, terrified by the thought of being restrained at night and meets a new nurse. Will Marie be like the others, or see passed the gossip?
Tobin blinked at her in surprise. “I couldn’t.”
Marie took Tobin’s hand in hers and placed the container on her palm, closing her fingers around it. “Of course, you can.” She patted Tobin's hand before letting go.
Tobin gazed at her hand. When was the last time someone had given her a present?
After an unpleasant visit from her parents, Tobin has a nightmare of a hit&run. What happens when she wakes to find she carries the victim's wounds on her own body?
His face was her reflection. A darkening bruise ensnared one of his eyes, pieces of stone embedded in his bloodied skin. Blood oozed from a wound hidden by his short curly hair. His heartbreaking brown eyes implored her. Her own filled with tears, which spilled down her face.
After an uncomfortable lunch date with Ange & her uncle, where he was more interested in "powers", Tobin wanted to be left alone. Instead, she got a surprise visit from her parents.
"You blame us? Her dreams are our fault because we raised her to be self-reliant?”
"That’s not what I said.” Dr. Dawson rubbed his face in exasperation. “But it's possible that she had too many responsibilities growing up. Her imagination didn’t get a chance to grow. As a result, it became stunted."
Tobin was invited on a lunch date with Ange and her uncle. Despite not wanting to go, she finds herself pushed into the outing by her doctor. It's time to leave the ward.
The place was called “Prestige.” The garish sign was enough to make Tobin cringe. The word was written in red with gold highlights. The “P” was over the top, with a twirling cursive loop. She and Ange weren’t going to fit in.
Last week's chapter had Tobin watching the rather formal Travis Barton meet his energetic niece Ange. Today we learn how Tobin feels &... they are about to go on an outing?
This was all his fault. The clothes, the outing, everything. He had jumped at the invitation for Tobin to attend the lunch date with Ange and Mr. Barton, accepting on her behalf. To help her socialize.
Ange meets her uncle for the first time, and Tobin worries about what will happen once her friend leaves Mendwell.
“He’s coming, Tobie. Today.” Ange hugged Tobin, swaying. When she released her hold, she spun in a circle. “I wish he was here already.”
Tobin couldn’t help but smile at Ange. “When’s he expected?”
“Oh, not for at least thirty minutes,” she whined and flopped onto Tobin’s bed.
“Are you kidding? Thirty minutes is ages.”
Tobin waits for her parents to visit her at Mendwell, and readers get a glimpse into the past and how she grew up. Tobin writes in her secret journal.
Dr. Dawson could study the Dream Journal all he wanted. He could share the entries with coworkers. She didn’t care. The messy, finger-smudged, ink-spattered pages in her hands, however, were hers. She wasn’t sure if the nurses were aware of their existence, but as long as no one asked her about them she was happy.
Readers meet Ange, a fellow patient and self proclaimed bestie to Tobin. To Ange's mind, they are gifted.
“I don’t get it. She did what?”
“Made it open. With wind. Her power.”
Right. Tobin sighed. A quick search of the room made her hesitate. She didn’t want to hurt Ange’s feelings. Still…
“It might have been wind, but not from a person.” Tobin gestured across the room where the tables were. Behind the tables were the four windows. “A nurse must have opened a window. It was wind from outside.”
In this chapter we meet Tobin's doctor, and we learn more about how the reactions of fellow patients hurt her more than she wants to admit.
“They hate me,” she admitted after a minute of silence. She couldn’t look at him when she spoke, could barely get the words out. Writing was easy. Talking, she wasn’t good at. She bit her lower lip, eyes still downcast. Sharing pieces of herself was like pulling out a splinter with salad tongs.
After waking from a nightmare to a roommate requesting a room change, Tobin ventures out of her bedroom and into the fourth-floor ward of the Mendwell Institute.
"The stares were the worst. The moment she left her bedroom they were on her like an unwanted touch. No one came near Tobin but their gazes followed her as she walked down the off-white hallway with its six bedrooms, doors opened, on either side. The opened doors were a rule of Mendwell’s."
Here I am reading the first chapter to my novel "Living Nightmare", hoping to intrigue viewers into wanting to learn more about Tobin Blake and her struggle to find answers to the nightmares plaguing her dreams.
It might not be a flawless read but I gave it my best. If I'm lucky, it will be enough to entertain.
The video was taken a few days ago but I needed my freakout and stress time before posting. If all goes well, I'll soon be a pro with a chapter-a-week video being uploaded. ;)