As a special thank you for helping me out during #SFFPit, here's an exclusive excerpt from my unpublished YA fantasy about a martial artist struggling with her narcolepsy and the dreamscape she drags her friends and family into. For those of you who don't know, I have narcolepsy, so this book is really important to me. I want to show what it can be like to live with narcolepsy, including breaking some of those stigmas and misconceptions about the sleep disorder, while showcasing a badass martial artist (and monsters).
Every line of her body was solid, down to the unusually deep curve between her jutting ribcage and her scrawny hips. When she moved up my bed, her bones cracked, and when I moved back against my headboard, she crawled halfway up my torso. Nose-to-nose, she smelled like rain, and water dripped off her hair onto my sternum. This woman had horns. Three horns as black as night and as difficult to decipher from the shadows as her inky, stringy hair.
I told myself what I always told myself, what my mother told me, what my doctor promised me, what my father used to say.
She was not real.
But she grinned when our eyes met, and that’s when I felt it.
Her fingers weren’t fingers at all—but claws made of bone—and the sharpened edge of one scraped a line right across my bicep. Blood trickled out. Blood, that shouldn’t have been affected by my narcolepsy’s imagination.
I fought back and screamed.
My mother burst into my bedroom on cue, as if she’d been anticipating another one of my midnight episodes, and as much as I wanted to tell her that I was fine now—that I understood my diagnosis—I secretly loved what happened every time she came. The hypnopompic hallucination disappeared, a side effect of my narcolepsy. A reoccurring, paralyzing side effect. They happened between sleep and wakefulness, and lasted anywhere from a few seconds to a minute. In public, I referred to them as nightmares, because people tended to shy away from anyone who had hallucinations, but they were nothing like nightmares. Hypnopompic hallucinations were alive when I was awake, and though I was awake, I could never move away. Not even from a woman with horns. She wasn’t my first, and she wouldn’t be my last.