I hope that you all had a wonderful Indie Pride Day yesterday! However, I have decided to continue the festivities through today since Indie Pride Day is so important to me.
To start off today, I would like to share with you a sneak peek from my very first novel, Beautiful Nightmare!
Beautiful Nightmare was published when I was only eighteen years old, and I am so proud that it is the first novel that I ever completed, and that I was able to publish it.
Last August, I redid this novel and released a special edition version of it with an updated storyline, character profiles, and further author insights. I hope you enjoy!
What if your true love was only present in your dreams?
In the dystopian town of Lunamoon, everything is structured. Humans are created by science and everyone is programmed to follow certain regulations; but one girl, Shawneleigh, never lived up to the Council’s regulations. Shawneleigh has the disorder of narcolepsy, a disorder that causes her to fall asleep at random times without warning. Because of her illness, the Council banned her to life in a hospital since she cannot be counted on fulfill other duties. Lunamoonians all receive prophecies for their lives through dreams that the Dream Maker sends to them, but Shawneleigh hadn’t received a dream in years until she found herself falling into a dream during her sleeping spells. It is during these spells that she meets a man named August who claims to be the Dream Maker himself. He also lives in solitude outside of Lunamoon, and they begin to form a bond; however, Shawneleigh cannot control when she falls asleep, and soon August finds a way to manipulate her illness. The only problem is that when he manipulates her sleeping disorder, she continues to grow sicker. But no matter how hard they try, they can’t stay away from one another.
“Beautiful Nightmare: Some Dreams Become Your Reality” is novel about love, life, and the importance of those who care about you. Love, above all else, is the best thing that we have to give.
A SOUND pierced the prolonged silence as it erupted from a baby girl. It was a scream that Lunamoon had not heard in a long time, and this baby girl was no ordinary child. She was to be the first human to bring in Generation XXI.
The last notable human from the previous generation had died only a few hours before, and in Lunamoon a new generation would begin when all notable humans from the previous generation had passed away. But this time, Dr. Francis had chosen to bring in the new baby by disregarding the usual delay. His intentions had been to produce a more productive generation by cutting the process, but this baby girl had been created too soon.
Children in Lunamoon weren’t created in the ancient way, as penetration and human reproduction no longer existed. Unlike traditional birth, children were created in a laboratory in synthetic wombs. The babies would grow in these capsules and all of their essential nutrients would be injected into the capsules by Dr. Francis and the nurses over the required months. Each injection provided the children the exact amount of nutrients essential for them to form, but since this child had not received all of her injections she would be born prematurely. Unlike all of the other children, her health would not be perfect.
Once the children’s production was seventy-five percent completed, they were transferred to a room where souls would choose them. Once humans died and their souls left their bodies, the souls would be rejuvenated as they travelled the stars. However, the path that the souls took through the galaxy would determine the astrological sign that the new child would represent. This, in turn, would provide the new child with their own unique personality and the symbol for their astrological sign would appear next to their left eye. After Dr. Francis confirmed that a soul had entered a child’s body by confirming the imprint of their astrological sign, they would then return to their specified capsule to finish producing.
But this child had not had the chance to finish her production.
Agatha, a nurse maid assigned to work with the new children picked up the frail baby girl from the wash bin where she had been laid. She put a cloth around her and wiped her skin clean as she examined the symbol etched next to her left eye. It was a symbol of a goat with a tree above it, meaning that she was a Capricorn under the influence of the element of Earth. She was relieved to see that this baby girl did indeed have a soul, but her skin was almost translucent. She shook her head, fear sitting heavy on her chest before her brain cancelled the emotion out. She knew that she couldn’t do anything about her production now, it was too late.
Agatha pressed the child to her chest to keep her warm as she finished cleaning her off. Apart from her fragile skin, the rest of her physical appearance seemed normal. But her true disability was only noticeable in her mind. Within a compartment of her scientifically programmed brain, the wiring had not been completed. It was this section that controlled her sleep habits, and she would no longer be able to control sleep for herself.
The baby’s soft head was strewn with the beginnings of blonde hair and her eyes were a gorgeous swirl of emerald green. As she opened them, she scanned Agatha with curiosity, her brain already generating a file for Agatha in her memory. Agatha melted against her innocence, forgetting the errors that her body possessed as she rubbed her silken cheek. Despite her flaws, Agatha could see that she was strong. The way that she squeezed Agatha’s thumb proved it. She walked to the back of the hospital and into the Desensitizing Room, holding the baby close. The baby squirmed in her arms as though she knew what was to come.
“Your name will be Shawneleigh,” Agatha said, her tone soft as she tried to comfort the child. The child fluttered her small eyelids in return. “Don’t let anyone take your identity away from you.”
Agatha pursed her lips as she set Shawneleigh on the operation table, her movement becoming medical. She couldn’t feel the emotion behind her actions, and this was the only way that she was able to perform so many of these brain surgeries each day.
The Desensitizing Room was where infants would receive a brain alteration so that they wouldn’t be able to feel emotions for themselves. The operation wasn’t always one hundred percent successful, but if the baby were to feel emotion throughout their life they would feel the emotion for a brief moment before the mind was able to cancel it out. This was what Agatha’s brain had done for her when she had experienced a brief twinge of fear. The Council of Lunamoon had invented the procedure when they had observed how unnecessary emotions such as heartbreak, sadness and anger were. They had wanted the best for their people and they had always claimed that the operation would allow all citizens to lead a carefree life.
Agatha should have felt guilty for taking away the aspects of the new children that would make them unique, but she was numb to the emotion. This was the way it had always been and always would be. She would never feel any remorse behind her actions.
The Council would make sure of that.
As Agatha worked on Shawneleigh’s operation, she was interrupted from her work when she heard someone cry out. The cry was representative of that of a baby, but there hadn’t been any other children created in the lab for months. The previous generation had reached its capacity and the Council had stopped accepting new citizens, which was why the sound was so out of place. Without thinking, Agatha left the Desensitizing Room, leaving Shawneleigh on the operation table with her brain exposed. Her anesthesia would wear off soon and her mind would seal itself back together. Once it resealed, it would never be susceptible to being reopened again.
When Agatha made it to the Birthing Quarters, she was struck by the sight of Dr. Francis standing over a grey haired woman on a white cot that had been wheeled in. Her wrinkled face was moist with tears and beside her lay a baby boy. His screams rang out in constant streams.
“I didn’t…I promise…I didn’t do it…” the woman wept as she tried to coving Dr. Francis. Her brain operation had now grown invalid since she was older. Her brain now allowed her to cry and feel shame. She gripped the neck of Dr. Francis’s lab coat with shaking hands.
The doctor nodded his head, eyes revealing nothing. They remained hard and emotionless. However, Agatha knew what he was thinking because she was thinking the same thing. The baby lying next to the elderly woman had been born of natural means, but he had not been conceived through intercourse. Her soul had been selected by the stars to be the mother of the Dream Maker for the new generation. The Dream Maker was always born from a woman whom the stars had chosen, but the Dream Maker was never meant to be born on the same day as the first baby of the new generation.
Agatha knew that Dr. Francis was realizing the mistake he had made by trying to procreate the new generation too early.
All of the babies of Lunamoon were scheduled a specified date for their birth and that date would coincide with the date of another baby who would become their life mate. This connection of the babies would grow inside of them so that once they reached the proper age to enter the Mating Room, they would see one another and understand that the other was their life partner. But the Dream Maker was different. When the new Dream Maker was born, they were born alone. They would not live with the rest of the population and would not have a life mate. The doctor who helped to deliver the new Dream Maker always made sure that they would not see any other children and bond with them. This had always assured that the Dream Maker’s mind would remain clear.
But because this Dream Maker had been delivered on the day of Shawneleigh’s birth, Agatha wasn’t sure what would become of him.
She grabbed a blanket from a stack in the corner and wrapped the screaming baby boy inside as she tried to come up with a solution, making sure that the blanket covered his face. This way he wouldn’t be able to connect with Shawneleigh.
“Take him to the spare room for the time being,” Dr. Francis ordered, his voice sharp. Agatha nodded and scuffled back down the hall. But once she reached the end of the hallway, she heard a soft cry coming from the Desensitizing Room.
Shawneleigh’s anesthesia had begun to wear off.
Agatha knew that she had to get the Dream Maker to the room before he had any contact with Shawneleigh, but she couldn’t leave Shawneleigh alone on the operating table. She made sure the blanket was over the baby boy’s head as she went into the Desensitizing Room and scooped up Shawneleigh. As she juggled both babies in her arms, she made her way to the extra room and set the Dream Maker down on a cot.
As she began to leave the room and turn off the light, she looked back one last time to check on him; but once she did, her stomach began to feel heavy. The baby had managed to pry the blanket off of his head and his eyes were wide open, revealing two gorgeous pools of caramel with an orange swirl. He was staring right at Shawneleigh.
Gasping, Agatha pulled Shawneleigh’s blanket over her head to block her view and turned away from the baby boy, closing the door behind her.
Sweat began to roll down her back as stress took her over. Even though her mind would cancel out the emotion, it wouldn’t be able to stop the sweat from falling.
No one will know, she tried to convince herself while placing Shawneleigh in the Recovery Room. Her small green eyes began to drift off to sleep as though she hadn’t seen the Dream Maker at all. The babies won’t be able to remember this; they are much too young.
Closing Shawneleigh in her room, Agatha hobbled back to the Birthing Room and stood next to Dr. Francis. He was motionless next to the sleeping elderly woman. His back was to Agatha and he would not meet her eyes when she tried to get him to look at her.
“His name will be August,” he said in a low, choked voice.
“The Dream Maker, the baby boy.”
“But we cannot choose names for the Dream Maker, they choose their own later on,” she said, shaking her head. She didn’t want there to be anymore change, it was all too dangerous. He turned to her then, his hard eyes staring into her own.
“In these circumstances it only seems fit that we create his personality for him.”
Agatha played with her freckled hands. The names given to the children did define them and the personality that they would have. However, she didn’t think that the Dream Maker would fit the mold they tried to fit him into anyway. He wasn’t like the other babies; he hadn’t been crafted from molecules.
“Okay…I will go document the babies into the register then.”
As she slid down the stairs to her office, she glanced out of the window at the grey, motionless color. She felt as though the sky were threatening to consume her in its endless existence. Somehow, those who went against regulation always disappeared whether they meant to rebel or not. She had made a mistake that night by allowing the babies to create a bond, and it wouldn’t be long that she was able to hide it.
Something had changed that night. None of the previous Dream Makers had created a bond with other citizens, and Agatha feared that she had just changed the course of their entire world. She had shattered the regulations and now they would all come down like dominoes. Her fingerprints were all over this disaster, and she wouldn’t be able to hide from it. Her one duty in life had been to properly take care of the incoming Lunamoon citizens, and she had failed.
Failure was not an option when it came to the Council.
© A.M. Nestler, 2017