BY: DC MALLERY
Twenty-four-year-old Audra Carter, a deejay in Manhattan, won’t let mere blindness keep her from living life her way, sometimes even riding her bicycle through town, using her keen hearing and uncanny instincts to guide her. This is all much to the dismay of her father, Jenson, a neuroscientist who has devoted his career to finding a cure for her particular form of blindness. He now believes he has. With a number of test subjects, including Audra, Jenson takes his research to the next level, only to face apparent failure. Before long, a string of bizarre deaths involving the test subjects alarms Jensen and the FBI. Jensen is blamed for those deaths and fears his experiment was hijacked. Soon, Audra is kidnapped. As Jenson races to discover the truth, avoid the FBI, and save his daughter, Audra struggles with her captors and with a new and dangerous kind of seeing: darksight. Audra must not only master her mysterious darksight vision and fight oncoming madness, but also confront her past, to keep them both alive.
TAYLOR JONES SAYS: In Darksight by DC Mallery, Audra Carter has been blind for fourteen years, after an accident, and her father, Dr. Jenson Carter, is determined to find a way to restore her sight. He comes up with an unusual procedure that is supposed to help the brain relearn to see, using neurons in other parts of the brain. Not only is the procedure revolutionary, it also appears to be dangerous, for both Audra and her father…especially since people associated with the project have started dying.
Chilling, intense, and fast paced, this thriller will grab you by the throat from the very first page.
REGAN MURPHY SAYS: Darksight by DC Mallery is the story of a young woman, blinded in an accident as a child, whose father is a doctor determined to give her back her sight. Audra Carter has a strong sense of blindsight—the ability of the blind to sense where things are—and has long since come to terms with her blindness. But her father, Dr. Jensen Carter, has spent the fourteen years since she was blinded trying to find a cure for her. He has come up with a revolutionary new procedure which is supposed to reprogram her brain and give her renewed vision. The experiment doesn’t seem to work, at least not a first. But then Audra develops darksight, a strange new way of seeing. She would be ecstatic, expect that test subjects for the procedure are dying all around her, she is kidnapped, and her father is in danger…
Darksight is well written, fast paced, and intriguing, a fascinating page turner that will keep you enthralled all the way through.
WRAMC / AUTOPSY REPORT / CLASSIFIED / CPL CLARKE / JULY 13, 1991
Excerpts with redactions.
EXTERNAL EXAMINATION: Neck contusions are consistent with reports from Ward 54 that Corporal Clarke took his own life, using torn bedsheets to hang himself two weeks after he had forcibly extracted his own eyes with a canteen spoon.
INTERNAL EXAMINATION: Upon opening the vault of the skull, structural abnormalities due to previous wounds from shrapnel injuries sustained overseas are readily apparent. Wide shrapnel paths remain in the visual cortex, said wounds consistent with reports the patient lost all vision due to severe head injuries from a landmine explosion six months prior to his eventual suicide. The massive shrapnel insults to the occipital lobe no doubt rendered the patient cortically blind, long before the crude removal of his eyes with the spoon.
Even after removal of both eyes, and despite having been blind for many months, the patient claimed he could nevertheless see. He also described vivid visual hallucinations. Inspection of the midbrain reveals a possible source of the delusions—a profusion of fresh nerve growth crowding nearby tissues.
TOXICOLOGY: Analysis of histological slices of midbrain tissues indicates traces of [REDACTED]. The presence of [REDACTED] is consistent both with the profusion of fresh neural growth within the midbrain as well as the delusions. However, no conclusive diagnosis c
As to claims by the staff of Ward 54 that they too observed many of the same visual hallucinations reported by the patient, these assertions are deemed non-credible.
Per Directive 4729, these autopsy notes and all associated files are hereby classified and the decedent’s body will be cremated forthwith.
Signed /S. R. Calverson M.D./
Present day, Bratton Township, New York:
The rain was heaven.
It poured from rooftops, splattered on floppy trees, splashed in puddles. It was playing. It was romping. It was alive. So was she.
Twenty-four-years-old but giddy as a schoolgirl, Audra Carter peddled her bike into the Bratton University campus quad. The splatter of light rain on the pathway ahead was sharper than on the nearby grass. She kept the hiss of the front tire between swathes of fuzzy-sounding turf that lay to each side. Raff trotted nearby, occasionally racing ahead and darting across her path, his paws thwacking the pavement for a moment, the sound then muffled again by grass. He’d yip to let her know a pedestrian was ahead. She’d swerve onto the lawn then cut back onto the pavement beyond. Her only worry was someone might be startled by the dog and blunder into her way, an umbrella blocking their view.
She rang the bell of her bike—an old beach cruiser that still smelled like last summer even amid the spring rain—and peddled harder, riding faster now than she ever dared back when she was still a college student here.
The rest of the quad stretched out ahead of her now. On most days, its expanse could only be sensed by the chatter of students, the chirp of birds, the faint reflection of sounds off brick and ivy. On snowy days, and there had been many each winter, it was a silent void, inscrutable. Today its bounds were clearly painted by the sound of the rain. She pushed her helmet back to hear better. Ivy-covered stone buildings to the left. Water skittering across brick structures to the right. And always, the reassuring sounds of her guide dog Raff, never far from her, his panting breath, his little warning yips, the flutter of paws on wet grass, the jingle of the little toy racecar on his collar. He loved the rain too.
Audra let music flow through her mind, the Garbage song she loved so much. “Only Happy When It Rains.” She tugged her backpack tighter over her shoulders, her purse tucked inside, and peddled even faster. Raff soon yipped a warning and dodged left, so she swung that way too and then felt—more than heard—the mass looming in front of her. The uncanny feeling of pressure on her temples and on her chest. A keen intuition that something was there. She hit the brakes hard and swung even wider onto the grass away from the pathway.
“What the hell?” a man grumbled.
An older voice. Maybe some crotchety professor, head down in the rain, oblivious to the living and breathing world.
“Are you blind?” he growled as she road past him.
Not today, I’m not!
Audra grinned at the curious notion that rain sometimes made the sighted blind and vice versa. She peddled back to the pathway, Raff again at her side. The schuss of her bike’s rubber tires on soggy grass soon gave way to the hiss of asphalt. She knew just where the next turn would be as she followed the mental path charted out in her mind. She could hear the sidewalk slanting to the right, concrete instead of asphalt, a different pattering of rain. She turned and aimed for the wide gap between the buildings ahead. The structure on the left sounded pleasantly smooth, the old main library. The one on the right was angular, an ugly modernist behemoth, the newer campus research library. She wondered how the architects would feel if they knew even the blind found their building quite ugly.
Raff yipped again and Audra slowed, some voices ahead, more on the right. Something small skittered on the grass at her ten o’clock. Another dog! It yapped as if to confirm her guess. Probably a Pekinese. Raff swooped in to keep it from darting into her path. Raff was a yellow Lab, but he could herd other animals like a sheepdog. The yapping Pekinese now safely behind, Audra passed the library buildings marking the edge of the campus. She slowed as she approached the city street beyond and listened for traffic. Raff would warn her of any cars, of course, and would steer her to the side of the road. Still, one erratic swerve by a distracted driver and—
Screw it! Audra swung her bike off the sidewalk into the street. Raff sped up to run alongside, his nails loud now on the wet pavement. From his panting, he was nervous. Worried. Then the sudden sound of a car on a cross street.
Coming right at her. Fast.
© 2019 by DC Mallery