Disturbed teen meets impassible therapist meets faceless killer meets white trash drama. A compact, rapid-fire psychological thriller.
I've never had a dad. My mom was shot dead in front of me when I was five. You probably guessed I'm not a very typical teenager. My nightmares are so nasty I wake up more tired than when I go to bed. I thought my life was going to stay the dull ache that it had always been, until I found out the nightmares could be controlled. And *used*.
This is the story of me turning it all around.
First English publication by French writer Julien Boyer, Headshot is set in an anonymous European city where an orphaned teen is struggling with traumatic nightmares of the day her mother was murdered. With the help of her new therapist, she tries to confront them, and finds out that the darkest secrets of her childhood are hidden within the dreams. As she digs deeper and deeper into the dream world, she comes to the realisation that dream and reality are closely intertwined.
The TV was on, and Eeva was watching. She didn’t know what the happy people on-screen were about at all, but they looked happy. Mom liked them, so she liked them as well. One of them was hoovering the floor with a shiny purple vacuum cleaner. The same one Mom kept in the closet. Now, the man on TV was showing how easy it was to empty it. He held the whole thing over the bin, flicked a switch and a neatly packed chunk of dust slid out of the container. Mom never managed to take out such a perfect cube of dirt from the one they had. She had to reach in for it. It was messy and it made her curse a lot. The happy man on TV wasn’t cursing at all. He was beaming, very content. He said that the first people to call would get some sort of steam accessory that went on it, for only twenty-nine nineenine. Or maybe hundred-twenty-nine nineenine. The figure didn’t stay up long enough on the screen for her to be sure. It didn’t matter though, because they already had the steam-thing too.
She really liked to see their vacuum cleaner on TV. But they always played the one with the cocktail machine right after. She didn’t like to see the cocktail machine on TV. Mom had ordered it too, but only Mom was allowed to use it. And Eeva didn’t like it when she did. She watched anyway, feeling a bit tense.
Next, the happy people on TV started on about the one that made you lose weight. That one always confused Eeva because the happy people were lifting weights and doing push-ups instead of losing weight. She had asked Mom to explain, but Mom always shushed her without answering. She would have asked again, but Mom was in the kitchen. Eeva brought back her attention to the TV. She had heard the humming of the cocktail machine.
Before the happy people went on to show how the food processor could be used to make all sorts of delicious-looking meals, she heard a great noise coming from the kitchen. She was so startled that she actually jumped in the air. Like when Mom slammed the kitchen door really hard. But the door was open and hadn’t moved. And there were no other doors over there. The fridge maybe, but it would have made all the bottles chink and there had been no such sound. Just that loud slam and nothing.
Mom didn’t reply. That happened sometimes when she used the cocktail machine too much. But it was too early for that.
“Mom?” She stood up.
Everything was so still. The chatter from the happy people had been absorbed by the silence. The door of the kitchen was a bit ajar, inviting. She stood up.
“Mom! It’s not funny!”
Sometimes Mom and her would play hide and seek. And sometimes Mom would hide so well that she couldn’t find her. Then Mom would happen upon her with a big “Booh!” and she would be so scared and so upset that Mom had stopped doing it. Or so she thought. She stood up and took a few steps towards the kitchen. Nothing moved. Had she gone somewhere and Eeva hadn’t noticed? But then, who had made the noise?
“Mom! I’m scared!”
She took another step. She could see the fridge now. The fridge was open. But she didn’t pay attention to it because she could also see Mom’s hand. As if Mom was lying on the floor. She froze. What was happening? Why was Mom lying on the floor? Maybe she needed help standing up! Eeva took the three remaining steps to the kitchen door. Mom was on her back. And she was surrounded with a pool of thick red goo. And a bit of her head was missing.
Eeva screamed at the top of her voice.