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  • Writer's pictureC. L. Schneider

Indie Book Spotlight: Living Nightmare, by D. M. Dore

Updated: Sep 1, 2023



Night after night in the fourth-floor ward of the Mendwell Institute, Tobin Blake awakens

screaming from nightmares of gruesome deaths and tortured souls. Therapy isn't

helping, the drugs aren't helping, and lately the nightmares are getting worse. When a

new doctor and his hypnotist colleague arrive promising breakthroughs, most patients

are relieved, but Tobin senses something deeper is amiss.

Now a stranger is hiding cryptic clues and suspicious newspaper clippings beneath her

pillow, and when the nightly visions begin leaving bruises and scars on her waking body,

Tobin must fight to retain what's left of her sanity.

A riveting supernatural thriller that will leave you wondering where nightmares end, and

reality begins.



“Death should be final. For me, it’s what wakes me from a nightmare.

Not my death. Theirs. The second they stop breathing, my eyes open.

I feel everything: their disbelief, their fear, and the pain... Their pain digs its claws into my heart until I can’t think. They die. I die. I wake. I will never forget.” (Tobin)


What the hell?

Tobin Blake stared at the wooden railing in front of her in confusion. Where was she? The railing bent in a high arch. She frowned at it. A bridge? She was outside? How did she get outside? She was in bed a minute ago.

No. Not again. Her heart banged against its bone cage. Wake up. Come on, wake up. Sleep was bad. She had to wake up. If she was dreaming…

It was no use. She wouldn’t wake up until It happened. She couldn’t escape It. It controlled her.

Focus on the landscape. Panicking won’t help.

A river waited beneath the bridge. Dark black ripples of water reached out to meet the night sky’s spill of navy ink with a sparse sprinkling of stars thrown across it. Tobin sighed. Beautiful. She studied it like an artist would. Not to memorize, but to calm.

It didn’t work. Pressure built in her chest.

She wasn’t ready.

Tobin squeezed her eyes shut and took a deep breath. It did nothing to stop the sorrow snaking its way through her body. Not her sorrow, though it became hers anyway.

When her eyes opened, the sky was blurred by a wall of tears about to spill over. Too many emotions swirled inside her heart; she could hardly catch her breath from the weight of them. Cool winds brushed against her forearms, prickling the skin with goosebumps and making her shiver. Her arms were bare… she was in a tee shirt? Tobin furrowed her brow. That wasn’t right. What had happened to the long-sleeve shirt she wore to bed?

She wasn’t wearing her pants either; the ones she wore now were heavier. They slipped off her narrow hips to rest halfway down her butt.

Not wearing her own clothes, not good. Another shiver racked through her, a ghostly fingertip trailing down her spine.

Wake up. Come on. The words played on repeat in her brain, as if it would help.

Stupid. She was already losing ground. Breathe, Tobin. Just breathe. It’ll be okay.

Sorrow grew. She couldn’t stop it. Her heart was being crushed by sadness. It stole the air from her lungs.

Depression, a thick smear of tar coating her bones, left her feeling small. Insignificant. Unlovable. She wanted to give up. No one cared. Why should he?


Not her, but he.

Tobin scanned the area, searching for the person responsible for her heart’s battered condition. For the He.

The stars lit him up with a dim spotlight. He was a teenager in baggy jeans and a black shirt. His bleached hair, shorter on either side, glowed against the warm olive of his skin.

She was wearing his clothes. An exact match. She should have known. This was the way it happened every time.

He was in front of her, hands stuffed into the pockets of his jeans, shoulders slumped and head down. A punk, out to cause trouble—except the hurt and self-hate that crippled her with razor-sharp talons said otherwise. The only trouble he contemplated causing was to himself.

It was too much. The need to plug the hole of loneliness consumed him. Like a chord connecting her heart to his, his emotions pumped into her chest. His misery left her throat thick. She wanted to hug him, to let him know he wasn’t alone. Someone cared. She cared, but he didn’t see her. Instead, desperation bubbled inside him, inside her. He walked to the railing and looked down.

He wanted the pain to stop. She didn’t know how he could stand it, then realized why they were on the bridge. He couldn’t. He had given up. The realization was an electric shock to her system, setting off alarms inside her brain. Stop him. Change his mind. Do something!

She started forward. Nothing. Her feet were glued to the bridge.

Please, don’t do it! Her voice, a tool to save him, was withheld from her. Frustration left a sour taste on her tongue as tears rolled down her face.

She had to get through to him, though experience told her it didn’t matter: Tobin knew it wouldn’t work. It never worked. Still, somehow, she had to try. How? His anguish clogged her brain, making her thoughts sluggish, unclear.

Her heartbeat quickened, not in worry but with burgeoning excitement. His.

He climbed the railing, threw one leg over and then the other.

Don’t do it. Get down. Come on, just get down.

He struggled to stand, swaying on unsteady legs. The sensation was mimicked in her own legs and made her lightheaded. Or was she feeling the rush of adrenaline helping the teenager regain his balance?

Did it matter? The surge of euphoria, erasing the sadness eating her insides, scared her more.

The boy lifted his arms.

The wind dried the tears on her face and teased her hair, cooing in her ears. It seduced the boy; he was imagining his arms as wings, ready to carry him to the waves calling below. An oasis soon to become a refuge: his eternal home.

Laughter filled the air. Tobin’s heart seized. No!

The boy jumped.

She didn’t move, but the rush of the wind pulling the boy to his watery grave embraced her. The crashing of the waves was loud in her ears. The boy’s heart, her heart, sped up as it chased the feeling of flying, of freedom.

When the water hugged the boy, dragging him down and stealing his breath, Tobin woke.


About the Author

D. M. Dore is an avid reader from Quebec with a book collection slowly taking over her home. She has wide range of interests with a focus on sci-fi, fantasy, and all things supernatural. She wanted to be a superhero growing up (still does) and uses that dream to create characters with supernatural abilities, witches coming into their powers, and creatures fighting their inner demons.

Creativity and wild imaginations livened up her childhood as she and her five siblings put on homemade plays and pretended to be characters for children’s books. Writing became a new form of growing her already active imagination, and a way to share it with those around her. In her opinion, there’s nothing better than getting lost in a good story.

“Living Nightmare” is the first book of The Other Side of Gifted series, and takes readers into a world where there is a thin line between what is a dream and what’s reality.

She has a short science fiction story titled “Playing with Dolls” published in the second book of the UbiquiCity series and is currently working on the next book to her book series The Other Side of Gift where Tobin Blake must learn how to channel her gift before it destroys her, and what happens when her need for revenge drags her further into the darkness.


Purchase & Connect


Don't miss D. M. Dore's short story, Playing with Dolls, in the Ubiquicity anthology!

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