These are the words that will always haunt Jacob Tyler, the last words spoken by his dying mother. For seventeen years Jacob led a near-perfect life, but that all changed with a brutal home invasion. Four months later, he struggles to return to the lively and humorous teen he once was. Though progress is made, it is wiped clean when he believes the killer has returned to toy with him. Now, along with his best friends Sarah and Keith, Jacob takes it upon himself to solve the crime that slowly destroys him.
A psychological thriller that aims to show how one horrible event can drive anyone to the brink of insanity, Paranoia is the debut novel from Ryan Fortier. Witness the devastating effects of insomnia, crawl inside a degenerating psyche, and discover how dangerous paranoia can truly be.
Targeted Age Group:: Young Adults & Adults
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I became a writer with Jimmy Neutron fanfiction early in high school. During senior year, I decided it was time to move into real fiction. I’ve spent the past seven years off and on writing and perfecting my debut novel, Paranoia.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The major character Jacob is based off of myself. He is quiet, introspective, and has a self-deprecating sense of humor. His best friends Sarah and Keith seemed like the best sidekicks for a character such as Jacob to have. Sarah is brilliant, headstrong, and a lifelong friend of Jacob’s. Keith is more athletic and is based on several of my more jock-ish friends from high school.
I sat there without motivation or reason. Everything that had come before was wiped away; I knew only the chair in which I rested. My eyes flitted around the room, breaths starting to come hard and fast. Slowly, my gasping was tempered by familiar sights. The bookcase filled with my father’s law tomes, his desk housing an exquisite collection of pens, the liquor cabinet with the lock Keith could never pick. I was home; I was safe.
I felt it suddenly; the pressure of a book in my hand. Had I been grasping it this whole time? The question disappeared from my mind in an instant; I became convinced it didn’t matter. I simply flipped the book open to a random page and studied its contents. Nothing made sense; a series of shapes and squiggles looked back up at me.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. My own voice was scratching the back of my skull; I could feel the thin slashes of its razor claws beneath my skin. The flashes of pain sent the walls convulsing and books tumbling off the shelves. Yet in spite of the world shifting, I remained fully balanced as I rose to my feet.
The scent wafting from the mug on my father’s table drew me in with primal instinct. My muscles moved without conscious effort, propelling me across the quivering floor. I couldn’t have halted if I wanted to, but of course I had no such desire. The elixir before me had become my lifeblood over the summer, and its strong scent and my body’s need had multiplied tenfold in the past moments.
I gripped the cup of coffee with unwavering strength; the cracking of the porcelain echoed throughout the room and sent splinters through each wall. Each new bout of damage echoed louder, emanating in a deafening cacophony that was only broken by a single word.
“Jacob,” a mixture of voices rang out.
The spreading web of broken walls halted at my name; it reached my ears just as I’d taken my first sip of the drink. My head snapped up; my eyes locked on the study’s door. The voices had come from beyond and I knew I must find them. Carefully, I set the mug atop the desk and headed across the room. I had no way of seeing it behind me, yet clear as day I knew the mug had toppled over and its contents were trailing me.
With each step forward, the puddle lurched after me and lapped at my rising feet. It became darker, more alien, and more alive. Tendrils formed and pulled the rest of it forward; thick drops of ebon death were left behind yet instantly replaced. My pace quickened as I entered the hallway and followed the amalgam of voices I was starting to recognize.
“Jacob!” it shouted again as I began to run down the hall. I could hear it now, the separate entities in that single word. Sarah’s worried shriek, Keith’s playful yet quivering tone, my father’s proud call, even my mother’s terrified gasp. Just as I’d recognized her voice, I stopped midstride.
The painting, that woman with the parasol, looked down at me. Those vacant eyes, those smudged black orbs, bore into my own. The creature behind me spared no quarter at my hesitation; I felt is clammy grip latch onto my ankles and pull itself up.
“Jacob.” I had no idea if the mouth moved; all I could focus on were those chilling, judging, scornful eyes. The liquid raced across every one of my limbs, shot out to the walls around me, and anchored me in place. While I was motionless and helpless, those fateful words were spoken. “We’ll love you al -”
Before she could finish, the liquid yanked hard and tore me apart.
About the Author:
Ryan Fortier is a 24 year-old veterinary student, novelist, and aspiring screenwriter. Paranoia is his debut novel. He is also working on a children’s television pilot and a novelization of this show.
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