This installment of Watch This Space is a change of pace. ASPA author W. O. Cassity is a man of eclectic tastes and interests. His debut novel, Heir of the Blood King was well-received. Now, he’s writing a horror series called A Short Journey Into Darkness. The first installment, Dementia Praecox, releases today.
Here’s an excerpt:
Skulking over the ledger’s musty-scented pages, Dr. Livingston dipped the oversized quill into the emerald-green inkwell before penning the latest entry:
11 November 1877
Bethlem Royal Hospital Bedlam
Subject 41 expired at approximately 10:22 p.m., possibly due to cardiac arrest once again. I wait for my assistant Hensley to deliver and release the corpse to the hospital morgue. My only concern is that there may perhaps be further inquiry into the claw-like contusions upon the deceased’s forearms and along his facial cheeks. I still cannot fathom how the subject, who was restrained, managed to damage himself in such a way. Both Hensley and I agree that the peculiar wounds appeared to spontaneously appear across the patient’s flesh of their own accord.
Having witnessed this entire incident, I must admit that further precautions are still a necessity as I continue to push on toward a resolution to this condition. The screams of the patient still reverberate within my ears at those haunting terrors, which only existed in his tormented mind. My first assertion is that the patient’s experience became so vivid, he was somehow able to enact the subjective manifestations of his consciousness into literal lacerations upon his extremities. Perhaps Hensley and I are the first to witness the true potential of the human mind to inflict its falsely perceived stimuli upon the body during a controlled experiment. Mind over the material world indeed! This may warrant further exploration in the future after I have completed my current work toward a cure for dementia praecox.
When Hensley returns, he will prepare Subject 42 for her time in the chair. I will administer the new cocktail of ingredients according to the schedule after readjusting the chloroform and nitrous oxide levels for proper sedation during the procedure. Even though she’s much smaller than Subject 41, we still need to gauge the appropriate levels of anesthesia so Subject 42 will remain conscious yet controllable and programmable during the procedure.
As I understand it, Subject 42 has a peculiarly heightened state of hysteria, so perhaps this will allow us to mark any substantial improvements in her mental realignment using the electric resonating device with profound measure. It was difficult to identify the response from Subject 41 due to his condition’s tepid state and mannerisms.
Regardless of tonight’s setbacks, I have the utmost certainty that I can mitigate the issues Subject 41 experienced tonight. It is too soon for me to surrender now and too dangerous for me to stop. Questions are being asked already and if I do not have an answer to Annabelle’s condition soon, I may not be able to cure her ailment before they forcibly return me to New York if they discover what I have been doing. Certainly, they would shower me with accolades upon my substantial progress, but the board will need to see results and I need to save Annabelle if I am to marry her. She would definitively accept my proposal of marriage with a clear mind, for who else could liberate her from Dr. Kraepelin’s diagnosis other than the youngest fellow to be accepted by Bethlem Royal Hospital? At the age of thirty-seven, I will become renowned for such an achievement and therefore, Annabelle would accept me unconditionally.
- L., PhD
Edgar rested his quill in the inkwell and remained still as he pondered what outcomes awaited him in the final experiment of the evening. A rapping at the heavy oak study door rescued him from his reverie.
“Yes, what is it?” he asked.
“Dr. Livingston, Subject 42 is now prepped for the resonance procedure,” Hensley responded. “Should I start charging the apparatus?”
“Indeed, Hensley. I shall be there momentarily.”
I’m totally digging the creep factor here. Intrigued? Here is the buy link for Dementia Praecox.
Just who is W. O Cassity? W.O. Cassity grew up in the Mississippi Delta Valley dreaming of new worlds fueled by his passions for writing and playing tabletop games with his friends. As an adult, he relocated to Nashville, Tennessee where he pursued a career in IT and Telecommunications, working for companies such as Dell Computer Corporation, Verizon Wireless and Asurion. Will returned to his childhood passions sharing those experiences with his children. He went on to release his debut novel, “Heir of the Blood King” which was well received. He also has an ongoing horror short story series, “A Short Journey Into Darkness”. Will and his wife, Barbara, currently reside in Arkansas with their four children, three dogs and one very stinky cat.
Author W. O. Cassity was kind enough to answer Pandora’s Dirty Dozen. Here’s what he said.
1. Describe your books and your writing style.I like to immerse the reader into vividly detailed environments with a real-time feel of what’s happening in the story to enrich the reading experience. My preferred point of view is 3rd Person, limited perspective and I generally tell my stories in the past tense.
2. Talk about your process. Where do you write? When do you write? Are you linear or do you write scenes and put them together later? Who are your muses and where do you get your best ideas?I try to write everyday and I do most of my writing in the bedroom in the morning while pouring through a cup of coffee. A good number of my stories are related to impressions I had while dreaming, so this writing routine allows me to capture that dreamlike feel in my stories.
3. Tell us about your latest release.My latest release is title Dementia Praecox and it explores a topic very dear to my heart: Mental illness. Dementia Praecox was the first clinical term used to describe the mental condition of schizophrenia, which plagued my maternal grandfather most of his life. I wanted to tell a story of a mad scientist in a gothic period story experimenting on patients in a cold, calculating manner. Obsessed with his goal to cure his beloved, the patients are treated like lab rats. In the end, Dr. Edgar Livingston accidentally succeeds in a way that unlocks the full potential of his patient’s mind, opening pathways that should remain closed in the real world.
4. What is your current project?I’m working on a story tentatively titled, “A Guest In Solitude” with a poetry and prose inspired writing style similar to Poe’s “A Tell-Tale Heart”. It features an older man isolated in a rustic cabin whose solace is disrupted by a mysterious haunting voice whispering to him from under the front door.
5. Now about you… Very generally speaking, where do you call home?I grew up in the Mississippi Delta Valley and so, I’m a Southern by nature. I never quite fit into my community, so I have traveled and brought those experience back home.
6. As a reader… What genre do you most often read? What is your all-time favorite book, and why?I enjoy reading horror and fantasy stories, but my favorite novel is Frank Herbert’s Dune. The world building is immersive and the inner dialogue of the characters captured my imagination and left me with the feeling that I belonged in his beautiful, yet dark world.
7. What do you like to do when you’re not writing or reading?I enjoy gaming with my family and deep philosophical conversation, as well as spending time doing both with my wife and children.
8. We all have guilty pleasures. I enjoy boy bands. There, I said it. What is your guilty pleasure?Even though I have no guilt, my obsession is chocolate even though I know it isn’t good for me.
9. What superpower would you choose, and why?Flying. Even as a young child, I immersed myself in dreams and during my waking hours, I was fascinated. Lucid dreaming allowed me to take charge in those wayward nightmares to put me in control of the situation. I would usually fly to escape my nightmarish dilemmas. This process also help me escape the cruel realities that occurred in my traumatic childhood.
10. If you could live anywhere, you’d choose…Where isn’t as important as who I’m with. I want to be with my wife and children in a place that values freedom of expression.
11. I wish _________________ would read my book.Neil Gaiman
12. In the airport, you overhear a heated argument between a husband and wife. You:politely ignore it.
Contact links for W. O. Cassity:
Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/wocassity
Goodreads Author: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13834500.W_O_Cassity