Excerpt // The Experiment by Robin Lamont
John Harbolt wasn’t easily shaken. With over forty years of medicine under his belt, there was hardly an injury, disease, or fatality he hadn’t seen, and he’d treated just about everyone in the small town of Half Moon at some time or other. But on that late summer day, young Tori Lacey showed him something that baffled him. Her symptoms were inexplicable and downright scary.
She was his first patient of the day, a young woman who had battled her weight for years. In between the earaches and the sore throats, Harbolt had gently counseled her about diet and exercise. He hoped she wasn’t here to ask him about diet pills again, because as far as he was concerned, they were off the table.
After removing her file from the plastic holder bolted to the outside of the examination room, he adjusted his wire-rim glasses and straightened his lab coat. The younger doctors often wore khakis and a short-sleeved shirt at work, and maybe it put the kids more at ease. But Dr. Harbolt stuck with a freshly starched white coat, believing that it made his patients feel more confident in his abilities. And confidence in one’s doctor was important to the healing process.
“Tori Ann Lacey,” he announced jovially as he shambled into the room.
“Hi, Dr. Harbolt.” The morose girl before him sat on the table. She had taken off her running shoes but left her sweatshirt and shorts on.
“I haven’t seen you for a while,” he said, noting with some surprise that she had slimmed considerably, her round face now leaner and more mature. “How is college life treating you?”
“Ok, I guess.” Her voice and posture belied this.
“What brings you here today, my dear.”
“I don’t really know. But we thought you should look at these.” She pushed back the sleeve of her sweatshirt and held out her arm for inspection.
There were several bruises that vandalized the translucent skin of her inner arm. Dr. Harbolt held her wrist and peering over his glasses, looked closely at the red and purple marks.
He pressed lightly on one of them. “Does that hurt?”
She shook her head no.
“That’s the thing. Nothing happened. They just appeared.” She showed him another set of bruises on her other arm.
“Did you fall?”
“Knocked into something?”
“No,” she exclaimed, as though he didn’t believe her. “My mom thinks it’s my diet. That I should be eating meat.”
“And you’re not?”
“No. I needed to lose five more pounds for the track team, which I was having a hard time doing, so I switched over to a raw food diet. And it really helped because I made my goal.”
“And you were selected for the team?”
She nodded, anxiously chewing on a nail.
“Congratulations. You getting enough protein?” he asked, studying the bruising and letting her answer drift past him. This wasn’t because of her diet.
She rambled for a moment about nuts and spinach, then peeled off her socks and lifted her bare feet to the end of the examination table. “And then yesterday after a run, I found this,” she said. “I didn’t even show my mom ’cause she’d freak out.”
Dr. Harbolt caught his breath. It looked as though someone had taken a baseball bat to the soles of the girl’s feet. Fiery maroon blotches screamed out some kind of violence. Three of her toes had turned a dark purple.
“Good Lord!” he blurted out. “What happened to you?”
“Nothing! I’m telling you nothing happened,” wailed Tori. “They just … showed up.”
Copyright © 2019 The Experiment by Robin Lamont. Reproduced with permission from Robin Lamont. All rights reserved.
This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Robin Lamont. There will be one (1) winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on August 1, 2019 and runs through September 2, 2019. Void where prohibited.a Rafflecopter giveaway
Before becoming a novelist, Robin was a popular Broadway actress and singer, turned private investigator, and then New York prosecutor. She draws on these diverse careers for her work, infusing suspenseful plots with character-driven drama.
Robin’s prior work has garnered awards and recognition, including Suspense Magazine’s Best of the Indies and a Gold Medal in the Independent Publishers Book Awards for her novel If Thy Right Hand. Her book The Chain, which introduced Jude Brannock to readers, was a Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Finalist. Her screen adaptation of the book, Six Seconds, is currently under option.
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