Exclusive (Terrifying) Excerpt: Normal by Graeme Cameron

When a book achieves a Gold rating here at RT, we all sit up and take notice, because that means the title is something extra special. So when we saw the Gold review for Graeme Cameron's upcoming horror novel, Normal, in our April issue, we wanted to know what all the fuss was about. In case you too are curious about this wry, gruesome, terrifying tale of what happens when a serial killer falls in love, we scored an exclusive excerpt. 

Are all the lights on? Is the door locked? Okay, let's do this …

CHAPTER 4

The self-confident bounce was long gone. Erica didn’t move as I balanced the dinner tray in one hand and removed the padlock with the other. The sound of the key in the door, however, had her bolt upright and scrabbling backward across the rubber floor until her back thumped hard against the far side of the cage. She pulled her knees to her chin and glared up at me, wide eyes blazing with venom and fear, the tight, glowing curls of her hair now a matted, lifeless mess that cov­ered her face and clung to the tears as they streamed across her cheeks. Silently, she trembled.

“Erica,” I said softly. “It’s dinnertime.” I placed the tray carefully on the edge of the bed. A wooden tray, decorated with piglets and ducklings, with a built-in knee cushion filled with tiny beans. A plastic plate, dishwasher friendly, with a daisy-chain print around the rim. A matching tumbler filled with ice-cold Highland Spring. Still, not sparkling. Plastic knife and fork.

She neither moved nor spoke; just stared, knees shudder­ing, shoulders heaving with each shallow breath.

I joined her on the floor, sat facing her. “Come on, you need to eat something besides cereal. You’re looking thin.” No response. “It’s tasty. Try a bit, see if you like it?” Noth­ing. “Erica, listen to me. I’m not going to let you starve to death here.”

I could sense a change in her then, though she gave no vis­ible sign. I felt her desire to answer me back, to demand to know exactly what she would be dying of. But she still said nothing.

“Okay.” I sighed. “I’ll leave you alone. Do your best.” I pulled myself back up, turned to leave the cage. “Oh, and the sheets on that bed are brand-new.” I swung the door shut, turned the key on both bolts, reached down by my feet for the padlock. “You don’t have to keep sleeping on the floor.”

And then I took a full serving of orange sauce and green beans square in the face.

Read the full excerpt here >>

If you're feeling brave, Normal will hit shelves — both digital and physical — next week! And for more mainstream reads, visit our Everything Mainstream page.