Since it’s not just my heroes I torture, I thought I’d share this little snippet from Underground’s MIND KILLER… Tamia Kuan definitely qualifies as a tortured soul. I ought to know… A lot of Tamia’s experience with life is drawn from my own experiences, and where they could have gone, had Fate not rescued me a little sooner than it did Tamia… The night terrors and PTSD are mine. Her reflections on how she used to deal with it are, thankfully, not… which is not to say the thought never crossed my mind, as a kid.
“Old Demons” – Excerpt from MIND KILLER (Underground, Book 2):
Tamia bolted upright in bed with a cry of terror, drowned out by the harsh thump of her heart in her ears and the rasp of her labored breaths. Her eyes cast about wildly in the dim light, and the darkness closed in with a familiar terror. She didn’t have any phobias about the dark, except when the nightmares came back. Then, every shadow was a threat, an enemy that could destroy everything she held dear.
After a moment, her pulse settled, and she realized where she was. She was in the Underground, and she was safe here. Safer than she had any right to be. God, she was such a coward!
As the adrenaline of fear drained away, Tamia sobbed and buried her face against her knees. She hadn’t had that nightmare in years. With an indrawn breath, she dragged a hand across her face, and noticed that it trembled.
This was new territory for her. She hadn’t had these nightmares since she was in ‘Frisco. Back then, when the nightmares came back, she just drowned them out with whatever drug was available, until she was so strung out the pain went away. But she couldn’t do that, anymore. Tamia drew in deep gulps of air and tried to calm herself. It didn’t work. She was too nervous, too scared. Her heart beat like a trip-hammer, and she couldn’t think. Her overwrought mind craved a fix like she hadn’t in years, and her body shook with the ghost of remembered withdrawal.
Like amputees, Detoxees had phantom pains, too. Only this pain burned her gut, and turned her emotions inside out. But she learned a trick, all on her own, in Detox. If she imagined the feeling of that high, she didn’t need the drug, to make the craving go away. She didn’t need anything to calm her tremors.
With a deeply indrawn breath, Tamia closed her eyes and tried to imagine the sting of the needle as it slid through her skin, followed by the rush of oblivion.