With an estimated publishing date of 8th February, Lab Rat is finally about to see the light of day again. It's on pre order with Extasy Books right now.
The cover is finalised and I'm delighted with it. It so encapsulates my poor little Gabriel. To whet your appetite, here is an excerpt. Gabriel is rembering something that happened when he was thirteen.
It’s the lights. I hate the lights—they’re so bright. I don’t like bright. I want to go back to my room. It’s not bright in my room. It’s dim and cool and safe. I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to think. I don’t want to…
“Good morning, Gabriel. Are you going to be a good boy today? You weren’t yesterday, were you?”
“I want to go home.”
“All in good time. We have work to do today, and the sooner we get it done, the sooner you can go back to your room. One more day. Just one more day.”
“Can I go home then?”
“We’ll see. Relax now, Gabriel. You know it’s easier when you relax. I’m going to give you an injection, and I want you to relax and let your mind open. Relax now, Gabriel. I’m going to start now. Remember to relax.”
The lights. I hate the lights. I hate the lights. I hate them. I hate… I hate…
It’s the screaming that wakes me every time. This time, though, it’s different. The screaming is still there, the absolute panic. But this time I’m not alone. There’s someone here with me. My housemates never come near when I’m screaming—they know better. It scares them. It scares me.
I prise open my eyes, and shock stops the screams. It almost stops my heart. I try to push him away, but he holds on. He’s in my bed. He’s…dressed, but I… I’m not. What the fuck happened last night?
Was I that drunk?
“Get away from me.”
“When you stop shaking.”
“Fuck that. Get away from me.”
I manage to push him back, and he stretches out like a cat, propping that head with its glorious hair on one hand.
“What the fuck are you doing here?”
“That’s okay. I wasn’t expecting thanks. Not from you.”
“Thanks? What do I have to thank you for?”
“Well, I could have left you unconscious on your doorstep, but I thought you’d be more comfortable in bed.”
“I… What? I… You undressed me?”
Laurie shrugs. “You threw up.”
I groan. I’m not worried about passing out or throwing up—that’s not unusual for me, especially after alcohol—but the thought someone saw it, saw me, and took off my clothes… I’m horrified. No one sees my body. No one.
“Get the fuck out of here.”
“Just as well I wasn’t expecting thanks, isn’t it? Otherwise, I might be feeling crushed right now.”
“I don’t give a shit. Get the hell out of my room.”
Laurie’s face turns introspective. He reaches out and runs his finger over my arm. The touch sends shivers through me, and for a moment I freeze, staring at his hand. It’s been a long time since anyone has touched me, especially there.
Stunned, I raise my eyes and gaze into the deep blue orbs. “Is it because of that?” he says softly. “It’s
all right. It doesn’t bother me.”
My heart is pounding. I’m overwhelmed. I can’t cope with this. I shake my head. “Get out of my room. Get out…get out!” I’m acting unreasonable, but I can’t help it. I’m getting hysterical, but I can’t help that either. By the end, I’m screaming at him.
Looking completely shocked, he does what I ask.
I collapse back on my pillow, shaking…and not because of the alcohol or the fits. What the hell just happened? No one, no one, sees me naked. No one sees. But Laurie…Laurie is… I turn onto my side and hug myself. I’m hardly aware of the tears until they overwhelm me, and I sob until I’m exhausted.