The endearing and unflappable Dr. Annick Boudreau regularly confronts a myriad of mental health issues in her psychiatric practice at the West Coast Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Clinic. But even Annick is stunned when Sanjay, a young patient who suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, is arrested for the brutal murder of his roommate.
While Sanjay is tortured by repeated violent thoughts, he is horrified by them and Annick is convinced that he would never enact one of them in real life. But the police and prosecutor are convinced that they have caught the perpetrator and aren’t interested in looking very hard.
Unable to talk to the authorities because of doctor-patient confidentiality, Annick feels compelled to investigate on her own, whatever the risks
Part of chapter 1
“Do you want me to keep going?”
“I want you to move at whatever pace makes you feel comfortable. Don’t worry about time.”
“Okay. Well, then, like—I go to pull out the knife, but she’s still breathing. And then every, like, breath she takes is—it’s like kind of gasping? And it spatters, everywhere, blood. All over me, all over her.”
“It’s really important for me that you know that me asking about this, it’s not about judgment.”
“No, I know.”
“I’m just trying to get a fuller picture.”
“No, I know, I know,” he said, and he was beginning to cry now, ignoring the box of tissues on the stand next to him, and instead wiping his eyes, his nose, all of it with the heel of his palm. “I just don’t even like to say it out loud. Because…”
“It feels more real?”
“Yeah,” he said, the waves breaking over the shore, his cheeks flooding with salty rivulets dully reflecting the soft lamplight in the room. The overhead fluorescents were off.
They were always off. “I keep stabbing her and stabbing her, her eyes, her, like—her front. Like her, her down…”
The young man nodded and sobbed.
“It’s not okay,” he screamed quietly, grinding his teeth.
“She’s my mother. She’s helpless. What kind of person does that to their own mother?”
During sessions like these, Dr. Annick Boudreau wished she still had her hair.
From her mid-teens, the impossible, untouched mane of thick, chestnut curls had been her trademark, the first thing about her. There had apparently once, in the kitchen at home, been a few snips underneath a metal bowl, an attempt by her father to trim the silken toddler locks falling down past her chubby cheeks before a family Christmas portrait, but otherwise, the hairs on her head had never been clipped, besides the routine eradication of split ends. When it hadn’t been up in one of her elaborate braids, her hair had fallen right into her lap when she sat, and she could finger it imperceptibly while she listened to whomever was talking, pored over the details of their stories. But last spring, when her niece MarieÉlaine had begun chemotherapy, Annick had surprised her over the video chat with a cue ball—two shining Boudreau domes, one on the coast of the Pacific, one back home on the Atlantic. Now the crewcut was the first thing about Annick, which was fine—she had the cheekbones to carry the look, the dark eyes with lashes so long and thick they looked storebought—but at times like these, she didn’t know what
to do with her hands.
“Are you okay to continue, Sanjay?”
He nodded his head, biting back further tears. There was something still boyish about him; even in his mid-twenties, he hadn’t fully grown into himself. His hands were large and long-fingered, with matching big feet, but his wrists were like a young woman’s; he had a delicate chin, and downy sideburns not too far off of her own. He had shed none of his fragility since their first session, three months earlier.
Thank you, Charles Demers and Legend Press
About the author
Charles Demers is a comedian, author, actor, playwright, & screenwriter based in Vancouver, British Columbia. One of Canada’s top stand-up comics, he has opened for Sarah Silverman and Marc
His bestselling comic crime novel, Property Values, has been optioned for development as a feature
film by Pioneer Pictures of Los Angeles.