Today, we’ve got a little exclusive piece for you. Grimm – The Chopping Block, which is a novel set in the same world as our beloved NBC show, Grimm, is soon to be released. Not only is it set in the same world, but includes our favourite characters, too. If you enjoy the show, you’ll certainly enjoy this!
Here’s an extract from the book:
Long before her world had been turned upside down by her newfound knowledge of Wesen and the Grimms who hunted them—one of latter, smaller group included her boyfriend Nick Burkhardt—Juliette Silverton found comfort in the familiar setting of the Roseway Veterinary Hospital where she spent her days.
Sipping coffee and chatting with Zoe and Roger in the reception area, before office hours officially started, helped ease her into the workday. Checking on any animal patients who’d needed to spend the night in one of the many crates in back provided comfort to the pets while they were separated from their homes. Meeting with loving pet owners and treating their four-legged friends preemptively was the most rewarding part of her day. Even treating those with maladies or accident victims gave her a sense of satisfaction, knowing she made a difference by helping pets and their owners get back to the stress-free enjoyment of each other’s company. But some maladies had no prescribed treatment. Sometimes the conversation was about ending the life to end the pain. Some days were hell.
Juliette sat forward in her office chair and closed the folder that contained the printout of Roxy Bremmer’s test results. When the Bremmers brought in their six-year-old yellow lab, she’d exhibited discouraging symptoms: vomiting, loss of appetite and lethargy. Now Juliette’s fears had been confirmed. The blood work indicated Roxy was azotemic, with moderately elevated BUN and creatinine values, consistent with renal failure due to pyelonephritis—kidney infection—or a toxin. Consequently, she had to break the worst possible news to the family.
She sighed and pressed her fingertips to her forehead.
After a few moments to compose herself, she stood up and attempted to brush the creases out of her white lab coat. She stared down for a moment at the folder with the damning test results, then snatched it off the desk and strode from her office, down the short hallway to the examination room where the Bremmers awaited her.
When she opened the door, they stood on either side of the stainless steel examination table, Balding Barry on the left, pale Melinda on the right, both of them with a hand on Roxy, who looked miserable. She managed a solitary tail thump in greeting—and another when Juliette patted her head—but the effort seemed to drain her. Juliette had expected to see Logan, their teenaged son. A small relief. Kids and teens took this kind of news the hardest. Or maybe they were less conflicted about expressing their emotions in public over the death of a pet. Roxy had been a companion for Logan for a third of the boy’s life. At least he’d be spared this one detail of the painful ordeal.
Before she opened her mouth to deliver the news, Juliette felt her professional mask slip into place. A clinical detachment necessary when a doctor must tell a patient—or, in this case, a patient’s owners—that she was out of answers.
“Melinda, Barry… I’m sorry,” she began.
Melinda Bremmer clapped a hand over her mouth to stifle a cry of dismay.
So much for the professional mask, Juliette thought. Unlike my emotions, I can’t disguise the sting of my words.
“What—what is it?” Barry asked, after clearing his throat.
“The test results,” Juliette said. “I’m afraid they indicate kidney failure.”
“But—how?” Melinda asked. “What does that mean?”
“The likely cause is a kidney infection,” Juliette informed them. “Or a toxin—”
“Toxin?” Barry said, frowning. “Poison? Somebody poisoned our dog?”
“No,” Juliette said. “I’m not saying that. It could have been anything. For example, ethylene glycol—antifreeze—if ingested. It’s sweet and it only takes a small amount.”
“Oh…” Barry turned away from them, gripping his jaw in his free hand.
Melinda stared at him, confused, glanced at Juliette to see if she understood, and then returned her attention to her husband.
“Barry…? What is it?”
“Ah, Christ,” Barry said. “Logan.”
“What about Logan?”
“That damned clunker of his,” Barry said. “He’s been fixing it up, tinkering…”
“I—yes, but how?”
“When it started raining the other day, he drove it into the garage,” Barry said. “And… I’m not positive, but I think the radiator was leaking.”
“But the dog—how—?”
“When I went out to check on him—” Barry’s voice grew tight with suppressed emotion “—Roxy was in the garage with him.”
“So Logan… he’s—it’s his…” Melinda pressed her hand to her mouth again, fingers clamped over her trembling lips. “Oh, no. Oh, God, we can’t tell him. If Roxy—this will crush him.”
Juliette pursed her lips and blew out a breath she’d been holding. She hadn’t thought the day could possibly get worse. She’d been wrong. If—realistically, when—the dog passed, their son would blame himself. He would always blame himself.
If only they’d brought the dog in within eight hours of ingestion, Juliette could have treated the antifreeze toxicity with Fomepizole or 4-MP. Too late for that, now that kidney failure had set in…
Melinda directed her tear-filled eyes to Juliette.
“How can we fix this, Dr. Silverton? What can we do?”
“If Roxy drank antifreeze,” Juliette began, then started over again. No easy way to say what she had to tell them. “With kidney failure, I’m afraid the prognosis is poor. Very poor.”
“What do you recommend?” Barry asked.
“Normally, for cases like this, I would recommend… euthanasia.”
“Oh, my God!” Melinda cried. “Logan will…”
“There’s nothing else?” Barry asked. “No treatment…? Nothing?”
Juliette took a deep breath. Something. Maybe.
“I can’t guarantee… And I don’t want to give you false hope.”
“There’s a ‘but’ in there somewhere, Doctor,” Barry said, quirking a hopeful smile. “Tell us. Please. We’ll take any chance. Whatever the odds.”
“We can try supportive treatment for a day or so,” Juliette offered. “See if her condition improves. Treat it aggressively with I.V. fluids, anti-nausea meds, and—”
“Do it,” Barry said. “Whatever it takes. Roxy—she’s a part of our family.”
“Okay. I’ll need you to sign a few papers.”
Juliette mentally ticked off the indicated I.V. protocol: Lactated Ringer’s Solution; metoclopramide, H2 blocker for nausea; antibiotics to treat the infection. Still, it was a long shot and they needed to know that.
“You should prepare yourselves, in case—”
“We’ll cross that bridge if we come to it,” Barry said, clinging to a buoyant optimism that the treatment would work. He’d circled the table and wrapped an arm around his wife’s shoulders. “We’ll get through this, Lin.”
His wife nodded silently and wiped away a tear, unable to find enough hope to give it voice. Or perhaps unwilling to disturb its fragility.
After the Bremmers had gone and Juliette had started Roxy on the supportive treatment, she returned to her office and collapsed in her chair, exhausted.
Poor Roxy, she thought. Poked her snout into something sweet, unaware of the mortal danger it represented. Even now, with her life hanging in the balance, she’s too confused and miserable to understand the cause of her pain.
Juliette worried that, despite her cautions, she’d given the Bremmers unrealistic expectations. When they returned tomorrow, the news would be bad, if not worse, because they had allowed themselves to believe Roxy would get better.
And yet, who was Juliette to deny them their hope.
Not too long ago, she had all but given up hope that she would find her way back to Nick. She caught herself rubbing her hand where Majique—Adalind Schade’s cat—had scratched her. That memory was always a jolt to her consciousness. She’d fallen into a coma and had awakened with all her memories of Nick and their life together excised. For a long time, she’d tried in vain to remember him. Eventually, the memories had returned, but in an incomprehensible flood, as if a dam had burst in her subconscious. And for a while, that had been almost as bad as having no recollection of their time together.
She’d fought her way out of the darkness, reclaiming the memories one by one, until she felt whole again. Then Nick had finally told her he was a Grimm and what that entailed. No sooner had that revelation come, than Nick’s friends and acquaintances revealed their true nature to her as Wesen. Suddenly her reclaimed world included Blutbaden, Fuchsbaus and Eisbibers and many more Wesen she had yet to see.
For a while, every time she looked at a stranger, or even people she had known for years, she wondered, “Is she Wesen? What about him?” She was afraid she’d drive Nick crazy with all the questions. For now, her questions represented a light that kept the overwhelming darkness at bay, stopped the strangeness from closing in on all sides of her. The world she’d known her whole life had basically woged in front of her. She wouldn’t tell Nick, but that scared her and thrilled her and made her want to call a time out so she could take a deep breath, absorb it all and exhale.
I need a big red “Pause” button.
“No,” she said softly, chiding herself. “That’s not what I want.”
Hadn’t her life already been paused long enough? Sure the changes were scary and challenging, but it felt wonderful to have her life back, memories intact, and to understand why Nick had kept certain things from her.
The first time Nick tried to tell her what he was, she thought he’d gone crazy, suffered some sort of delusion or psychotic break. But no more. No more doubting the truth of Nick’s words. The facts were undeniable. Part of her relief came from knowing they could finally move forward again emotionally, after having their relationship stall and subsequently derail.
And yet, she occasionally worried that something could happen to sabotage their progress. Not another cat-scratch-borne illness, but something else unexpected from Nick’s dangerous world. At those times, her recovered memories of her life with Nick seemed like a jigsaw puzzle suspended in the air by a slender thread, swaying precariously, in danger of falling with the next gust of wind into hundreds of jumbled and lost pieces.
I hope you all enjoyed that as much as I did!
Remember, Grimm – The Chopping Block is out in the UK on 28th February from Titan Books. Go get yourself a copy!