Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1): Indoor Swimming Cetus

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Welcome to Olympus, where the Muses of Greek Mythology are charged with the responsibility of discovering, inspiring, and guiding the young incarnations of legends past until they once again take the form of greatness.

Embark on an enchanting journey through Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1), a YA fantasy novel series inspired by my backyard neighbors, Biltmore Estate, in honor of George Vanderbilt‘s extraordinary legacy. 

Join me, and a cast of brilliant film composers, as we awaken your imagination to the magic of the mountains during this year’s international A to Z Challenge (representing #TeamDamyanti).

For a detailed PHOTO TOUR of Biltmore Estate, including the indoor swimming pool measuring over fifty feet long, with a 17,000 gallon capacity, click HERE!  Want to read more? Visit my A to Z “Sneak Peeks” page!

Indoor Swimming Cetus

MAN OVERBOARD!” cried a boy from the basement door. Within seconds, every student within earshot was barreling down the stairs.

Tariro’s ebony face paled, alarm gripping her sea-green eyes. “What happened?” I asked.

“Someone’s in the pool,” she stammered.

“Someone’s drowning?” I prodded, pulling her towards the bowels of the house.

Tariro shook her head, lips trembling. “It’s Thursday…no one’s allowed in the pool on Thursdays.”

She wasn’t making any sense. “Why aren’t they allowed?” I tossed over my shoulder, navigating the narrow steps.


“What is that…like industrial pool chemicals?” I stumbled through the limestone tunnels, the humid air thick with fear.

Tariro didn’t answer, just shook her head, eyes wide with unexplained terror.

We tore past the dressing rooms into a hall crowded with bodies, the same expression of horror painted on their faces. Whispers spread like wildfire, the same strange word tumbling from their mouths.


I pushed past the mass of students, barely squeezing onto the oak planks. A briny haze choked the room. Frantic splashing echoed off the slick ghostly tiles that swallowed the walls and ceiling. An eerie glow pulsated from the water’s depths, throwing the room into shadows. I seized the wooden railing and peered over the edge.

Two phantom forms flailed in the pool—a boy wrapped around another, his powerful strokes driving them within reach of a ladder. A group of students reached for the drowning boy, pulling him onto the landing. Sighs of relief rippled across the room.

Before the raven-haired boy could hoist himself up the rungs, a deafening rumble shook the room. Shouts rang out as a massive form peeled away from the floor of the pool. The scaled tiles stretched and shifted into the shape of a serpent, its slippery tail slicing a path through the water toward the struggling boy. A pair of glaring green orbs slid open on its broad head.

© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary



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