What do you see when you look into the mirror of your own self loathing? For years Phaedra Borruso suffered night terrors, horrible fantasies of personal destruction that left her bleeding—awake and asleep—until she arrived at October's Promise.
Dr. Allan Ryder opened his clinic, based his practice in clinical psychology, around an unrequited love. In healing Phaedra, he hoped to have exorcised that ghost only to have it resurrected years later when Phaedra, now an adult, returns more haunted than ever.
Can he see past the textbook treatments to what lies beyond the unconscious mind in time to save the young woman he really loves?
Warning this title includes graphic violence.
Silently, the ambulance rolled to a stop at the rear entrance of October's Promise. No flashing lights or strident siren marked its coming, but the wide admittance doors to the private facility slid open with a hurried whisper.
Dr. Allan Ryder stood inside the airlock waiting for Phaedra Borruso to be unloaded, again. He wasn't sure how he felt; numb was a given, disappointment most assuredly, but there was another emotion flitting at the edges of his mind, something akin to sadness.
In terse silence, the ambulance crew opened the rear doors and, as gently as possible, lifted down the gurney with attending metal trees holding various bags of intravenous solutions, including multiple units of whole blood.
Oh Phaedra, what have you done this time? The thought caused his stomach to lurch. It wasn't professional to feel emotionally tied to a patient. If her family hadn't insisted he would have been resolute that she see another doctor. But he was the only one who had reached the haunted young woman, so here she was again.
The driver hung back as the crew navigated inside the facility. Allan watched, striving for impassivity as her milk-white face slid past, framed by limp hanks of coal black hair. He didn't miss the presence of wrist, ankle, mid-arm and upper-leg restraints. They stood out crudely, gripping the metal rails before sliding under the thin blanket and mounds of bandages they didn't quite conceal. Allan turned to the driver; the man steadfastly stared at the pavement at his feet, clipboard extended.
"Is there something I should know about," Allan looked at the man's nametag, "Charlie?" The driver's mouth worked soundlessly before he grimaced. A weathered hand removed the blue uniformed cap and scratched at the salt-and-pepper hair. Red rimmed, grey eyes looked up, spooked and exhausted.
"I can't talk about what I didn't see, only about what I heard, and what I heard wasn't a woman's voice, not even one good at play-acting could make a voice like that, not overlapping."
"What do you mean, 'overlapping'?"
"Guess you'll find out on your own soon enough, Doc, that is if you bother to pay proper attention. But some illnesses need preachers not psychobabble." The driver aimed a look of disgust at the private facility for the mentally unbalanced.