The Bridge Between Lost and Found

Welcome to “The Bridge Between Lost and Found”, starring the winners of our commenting contest, Alex J. Cavanaugh, Crystal Collier, Yolanda Renee, Lisa Shambrook, C. Lee McKenzie, Roland Yeomans, Djinnia (Mandy), Denise Covey, Michelle Wallace, Arlee Bird and Mikkel Heimbürger. 

Colossal Trailer Music – Headless Body in Topless Bar – Snow Angels – Benjamin Zecker

In a sleepy little town nuzzled in the North Carolina mountains, down a yawning stretch of tree-lined gravel, leaning precariously over the embrace of two rushing rivers, was a peculiar place where lost things went to be found…

It was rumored that the rivers themselves reunited the patrons of Mik’s ‘Lost and Found Bar & Grill’ with what they sought. The legend, birthed around a twenty-first century campfire, ran through the waters into the gullible ears of those caught in its currents. It was a tragic tale of a young schoolteacher who was fatally afflicted, and the damaged soldier who loved her. The boy, determined to discover a way to save her, had stumbled upon a hidden shelter where they could live their remaining days in peace. She was to meet him on the bridge beneath the full snow moon. Sheets of ice had coated the planks, and the waters below grew restless. Before he could reach her, his traitorous leg buckled, sending him into the foaming mouth of a waterfall that swallowed him whole. The bridge bore the weight of the girl’s spirit ever since, her fiery hair seen trailing in phantom winds as she mourned the love she had lost that fateful fourteenth of February.   

Colossal Trailer Music – Headless Body in Topless Bar – Chaplin Walking – Oli Jogvansson

The locals suspected the sorcery was more likely in Arlee’s white bean chili. A spry chef with an enviable mustache and a mean bottle of moonshine, Arlee safeguarded his recipes as if they were the culinary equivalent to the holy grail.

Mik, the playful proprietor with a penchant for fixing things, and his wife, Yolanda, an amiable force with a fondness for matchmaking, welcomed customers every day of the year for nearly nine decades without divulging a single secret. But that did little to deter anyone within a hundred mile radius from lining up at their door. Valentine’s Day became especially popular, as folks were eager to feed upon riverside favorites that came with a side of spooky star-crossed love.

Colossal Trailer Music – Headless Body in Topless Bar – Skeletons Dance – Claudie Mackula

There was no sense in asking their staff, of course, for they were even more eccentric than their employers. For starters, their busboy refused to wear a shirt. Unsuspecting diners would get an earful of fire prevention tips while Roland, tall and topless, cleared nearby tables.

The waitresses, Michelle and Mandy, were a pair of charming identical twin teens who were reportedly adopted by the owners back in 2066, and refused to grow up. Mandy continuously serenaded customers with random song lyrics, while Michelle broke into dance routines at irregular intervals to the delight of the dinner crowd. During the lunch hour, the resident poet laureate, Lisa, would deliver a passionate helping of lyrical prose whether they ordered it or not. Breakfast was often a dicey affair when Denise served up sweet potato pancakes with stinging psych evaluations. Diners either had a breakthrough by the time they finished their hash browns, or they left with a doggy bag of egg salad and shame.

Their cashier, Lee, was also a bit bizarre. She shared heated opinions regarding one’s dietary decisions, often leaving patrons with a customized health plan highlighted beside their bill if they consumed anything deep fried.

Colossal Trailer Music – Headless Body in Topless Bar – Hansel and Pretzel – Snorre Tidemand

But the most curious character of them all was Crystal. A striking, red-headed girl who, despite the sixty years spent hostessing, never looked a day over twenty. A wealth of knowledge, she knew even the most obscure historical details. And there was the small matter of her head tilting at odd angles.

The public was more than willing to overlook any peculiarities the minute their food arrived.  

“How many?” Crystal asked, marking off names in the holoscreen.

“Two,” a boy squeaked.

“Some crazy bloke is on the bridge,” a voice snickered from the doorway.  

Her fingers froze in midair. She squinted out the window and shook her head. It wasn’t safe on the bridge this time of year. She knew better than most. She brushed past the line of bundled customers and stepped into the bitter cold that clouded their breaths.  

“Hello?” she called out. The vexing wind whipped around her head, tempting it loose. “The bridge is closed!” she warned, though truthfully, she made a habit of strolling across it every night. 

The man came closer, something about his gait seemed…familiar. He stepped off the bridge with a lopsided smile.

Colossal Trailer Music – Headless Body in Topless Bar – Moon Spell – Alexandros Nikolaidis

“Alex!?” she shouted, darting towards him, hope surging through her, but the momentum caught her head off guard. It toppled from her shoulders onto the snow, where it rolled across the space between them and landed at his feet. 

He bent down and gingerly picked up her head, carried it back to her empty shoulders, and secured it as best he could, considering.

“I see you’re still head over heels for me.”

Crystal wrapped her arms around him. “How…how are you…here?”

“Some kids found me a few months ago while they were camping. Took them awhile to restore my basic functions. After sixty years stuck under a rock, it was no easy task,” he whispered into her hair. “I’m relieved to see you’re safe.”

“It’s everything you said it would be.” She leaned into him.

Alex held her face between his hands. “So they’re not quick to disassemble you for having a screw loose?” he asked with a grin.

“They encourage it,” she smiled. “And there’s more of us, Alex. From all over the country. Entertainers, a nurse and psychologist, a literature professor, even a fireman. All of them damaged…like us.”

“Damaged or not, you’re worth more than a hundred new droids.” Alex reached into his pocket and pulled out a small metal object. “I was planning on giving you this gift before I went for a swim.” He placed the object in her hand.

It was a replacement titanium screw for her head. Something impossible to find in a world that considered her obsolete. In that moment, she felt the power of connection. Of acceptance. Of love. And for the first time in her existence, she understood why humans celebrated it.

© 2016 Samantha Redstreake Geary 

996 words


 Music Contest

Share your thoughts on our bizarre Tim Burton-inspired love story and Danny Elfmanesque music in the comments section below by February 24th for a chance to WIN a digital copy of Colossal’s enchanting album, Headless Body in Topless Bar!

Congrats to our album winners and many thanks to our composers, writerly cohorts and readers for joining our quirky adventure!

 Winners

Roland Yeomans
Crystal Hicken Collier
Denise Covey

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Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1): Elevator Music

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 photo of Biltmore Estate’s Otis elevator, one of the oldest operating systems in the world today, click HERE! Want to read more? Visit my A to Z “Sneak Peeks” page!


Elevator Music

IT FELT as if my arms would drop off my body at any moment. I took one look at the massive stone staircase and shook my head. “No. No way am I carrying these up those stairs.” The stack of leather bound books weighed about a thousand pounds, their breath stale with the dust of dead languages.

Tari’s brow wrinkled, her sea-green eyes darting between the daunting trek ahead and a small door hidden in the shadows. She shifted her arms around the half dozen books weighing her down, puffing at the inky ringlets dangling in her face. “We could take the elevator.”

“There’s an elevator?” I looked pointedly at her. “And why haven’t you shared this information before now?” I cocked my head. “Do you know how many times I could’ve been on time for class, had you shared this valuable shortcut?”

Tari bit back a grin. “It’s not exactly a shortcut.”

I blew out an exasperated sigh and trudged towards the door. “I’m willing to embrace the path of least resistance.”

The door beckoned, its frame split between oak paneling and ornate wrought iron swirls embedded in leaded glass. The door slid open on its own, revealing a cozy honeyed floor, gleaming brass lamps and intricate windows of metalwork.

I scooted aside to allow room for Tari, who was shaking her head. “What?” I asked, thinking things were finally looking up.

The door eased shut with the sound of pulleys and gears working to lift the cage. I caught a movement through the glass. Something small was swinging from a tail, like a creepy pendulum. “Is that…a chimp?” I asked, my eyes tracking its swaying limbs.

Tari nodded her head without looking at the upside down face sticking its tongue out. “Yup. That would be Otis. He maintains the cables.”

“A marble monkey maintains the cables?” I looked up at the shaking ceiling. “Oddly, that makes sense. Primates love heights.”

Another sound filled the shaft, akin to the tinkering tones of toy instruments.

“Oh, he’s playing elevator music. Excellent,” I looked over at Tari, her eyes watering with barely suppressed joy at my expense. “This is going to take awhile, isn’t it?”

“Yup.”


© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary


PHENOMENA Cover PHENOMENA’s EPIC HEROES CONTEST

Open Internationally!

Create an original Superhero story and/or artwork for a chance to WIN amazing prizes, including PUBLICATION in the first ever audiomachine companion ebook!

Click HERE for more details.

 

Candy Coated Christmas

2013-bad-santa-kittyMy rather cheeky version of a naughty Santa, clocking in at 499 sugary words, in honor of Ruth Long’s third annual Bad Santa Blog Hop! There are more fun tales to be read, so hop on over and have a few stabs at the big guy!

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Tantalizing tendrils of gingerbread tickle my nose, calling up memories of christmas cookies and hot chocolate.

It’s been years since I had the luxury of sugary confections.  All EMCTs are held to a strict regimen. Most recruits fall off the sled before a week is up. Surrounded by sugar plums, they end up knee deep in mini marshmallows, and a few candy canes later, their off the team.

A flash of red pops through the door. “Oh, thank goodness you’re here.”

“What seems to be the trouble, Mrs. Claus?”

“Nick’s not been himself lately,” she fidgets with the furry white lining of her sleeves. “It’s the elves, poor dears. They gave him an early gift, you see, to keep the edge off. He tends to get a bit snippy this time of year, ya know.”

“I’m still waiting for my eggnog,” someone barks from behind the door, “and don’t be stingy with the brandy!”

“Is that–”

“Santa? Yes, dear. That’s why I called. You see, he’s been watching episodes of Once Upon a Time. The elves thought it would keep his mind off things. Worked like a charm. Now, that’s all he wants to do. Hasn’t left the room for days. Come see for yourself.”

I walk past Mrs. Claus into the dark media room, my senses assaulted with stale peppermint and days old sweat. I glance at my watch warily. Only two more days till Christmas. “Santa? It’s me, Jack. Why don’t we step outside for a bit, get some fresh air, visit the reindeer.”

Santa grunted something unintelligible and waved me off, shoving a strand of strawberry licorice into his mouth. Bits of brightly colored candy peppered his knotted beard. His attention was glued to the program projected onto, what appeared to be, a newly installed screen.

“Won’t work, dear,” Mrs. Claus shakes her head, wispy white curls dancing wildly around her ruddy face. “We’ve tried just about everything. This calls for an Emergency Merry Christmas Technician intervention.”

“I’ll handle this.” I edge in front of the screen. “Santa, it’s time to get your gifts in order. Remember? Christmas is just around the corner.”

Something small and hard bounces off my forehead. “You bloody better well move before I reach for the rock candy, son.”

Another M&M meets the tender flesh of my earlobe.  “Millions of children are depending on you.”

“I’ve got the elves working overtime ordering on Amazon–free two-day shipping. Now, step aside son, this is the second season finale,” Santa seethes, chubby fingers curled into fists.

“I’m sorry sir, but I can’t do that. Christmas is too important.”

Santa’s eyes give an evil twinkle. “If I recall, these used to be your favorite,” he grins, offering a jumbo bag of Reese’ Pieces. “Why don’t you sit a spell. We can order season three on Hulu.”

The candy-coated pieces of heaven call to me. My failing resolve settles amongst sticky piles of discarded wrappers.

Santa pats me on the back. “There’s a nice boy.”

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© 2013 Samantha Redstreake Geary

Dogwood for Spooktoberfest!

SONY DSCHosted by Dani at Entertaining Interests and Jax at Bouquet of Books. Participants were challenged to compose a flash fiction piece of 300-500 words (mine is 352). The setting is chosen from one of four preselected pictures and the author must use three of the six magic words (in green).

To see all the possible settings and magic word choices, and to read more wickedly wrought tales, click HERE.

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“Alright, which one is it?” Birch barked, his breath coiling in tendrils of smoky irritation. He was anxious to return to the dance, before some other bloke noticed his absence and moved in on his date. It had taken Birch the better part of a year to gather up enough nerve to approach Holly. Instead of whispering sweet nothings in her ear, he’s stomping through the woods with a couple of sods.

“I…I dunno…they all look the same in this light,” Willow wheezed, his lanky form bent at the waist. In the space of an hour, he’d run this route twice. He didn’t much care for running.

“Looks the bloody same?” Birch throws his arms in the air. “Didn’t you think to mark it somehow?”

“I…I panicked. It..It all happened so fast,” Willow runs restless hands through a mop of wild copper curls. “I feel positively wretched. What are we gonna do?”

“Honestly, Willow. And you call yourself a wizard,” Hemlock shakes his head.

“We were running late and–”

“As usual. Ever hear of a timepiece, Willow? Magnificent inventions,” Birch tosses over his shoulder, the snapping of twigs underfoot punctuating his foul mood.

“Mum gives me a watch every year, they never keep the right time,” Willow thrusts out his wrist, “See for yourself–it moves anticlockwise.”

“Maybe it’s a time machine,” Hemlock snorts under his breath, “We could use one of those about now.”

“Bugger off,” Willow snaps. “It was his idea to cut through the woods. When we heard the howling, we took off down the hill. Bleeding idiot tripped over a skeleton. What was I supposed to do? Let him get eaten by a pack of werewolves? It’s not like I had any potions handy.”

They walk around in circles a bit, the sound of crunching leaves echoing the hopelessness of the situation.

“What kinda gammy spell did you use? You turned your little brother into a tree. A. Tree. In the middle of the woods. And ya can’t even tell us which bloody one he is. Blimey!”

“Mum’s gonna kill me,” Willow murmurs, “Dogwood’s her favorite.”

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© 2013 Samantha Redstreake GearySpooktoberfest Winner

Gary’s Anti-Blogfest!

GaryBlogButtonA tongue and cheek blog hop in honor of Mr. anti-blog hop himself, my dear friend, witty wordsmith, and fellow Tree of Life contributor, Gary Philip Pennick!

 Hosted by:

 

Without further ado, the top 3 blogfests that should never see the light of day:

The Dog Ate My Music:  A grueling countdown of your favorite country songs!

Grammar Slammer:  Most popular ways to slaughter the English language!

Decaf Delirium:  A caffeine-free month of stringing incoherent sentences together!

Shopping Cart DareDevils

shopping-cart-daredevils-kids-shirts_designFor my FridayFlash crew and all the parents out there who’ve had days like these:) 

Inspiring Soundtrack: The Parent Rap – Bluefish TV

Such a calm and docile Mom was Jennifer Jay
Such a model parent in almost every way

She had twin boys, mischievous and spry
Testing her limits daily, they were sneaky and sly
Taunting with their antics for every passerby

Sanity was a balancing act she won from sheer will
The scales never tipped
Until
An especially trying grocery trip had given her fill
And the calm and docile Mom wanted to kill

The tether finally snapped around aisle three
If animals could eat their offspring, then so could she

Her blood pressure soared, her vision blurred
The rushing of rage was all that she heard
With expletives vying for first seething word

The dam had broken, time to mop up the floor
With the pair of little stinkers bolting for the door
Jennifer Jay was angry now, burning to the core
After that
They didn’t shop with Mommy anymore

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© 2013 Samantha Redstreake Geary

I appreciate feedback, so comment, critique or just banter to your heart’s content! Should you leave a really awesome comment, I may share my fair-trade, shade-grown, bird-sanctuary, organic coffee with you:) Or, if you leave a link to your site, I can just pop in and say something witty after polishing off a cup or two!

Doggone It!

voodoo-dollFeeling a bit silly today, thought I’d share an “Office Space” moment for my FridayFlash crew and cohorts from my pharmaceutical research days!

Inspiring Soundtrack: Canibus With Biz Markie – Shove This Jay Oh Bee – Office Space Soundtrack

“You’re looking more tense than usual,” my snacking sidekick, Teresa, declares between bites of cheese crackers she found peeking out of my desk drawer.

 “Our boss is in league with the devil,” I sigh, looking around for eavesdroppers. “He’s stretching my thin tether to sanity with all this futile busywork. If we didn’t have so many pointless meetings, I might actually be productive.”

“Preaching to the choir sista! I’ve had three meetings already today, it’s not even noon,” she complains, sneaking a sip of coffee, “one of ‘em was just about planning next week’s meetings. I swear, between our boss and the half dozen more above him, we’re looking at a miserable life of servitude.”

One of management’s minions pins us with a suspicious glare. “Don’t get caught eating in the lab again, last time they confiscated my entire week’s supply of Cheez-Its – you still owe me a box,” I warn.

“You should hide your stash behind the chemical counter, like newbie over there,” Teresa quips, gesturing towards the newest white coat currently breaking protocol by weighing capsaicin out in the open. A fit of coughing erupts near the scales. “The toxic fumes add a distinctive flavor, don’t ya think?” she grins.

“This place is a regulation nightmare,” I reply, shaking my head. “If the stress doesn’t kill us, the chemical cocktail will do the job.”

“Hey, that reminds me – I’ve signed up for a new stress management course. Last night, we fashioned our very own voodoo dolls,” Teresa announces proudly. “It’s supposed to channel our frustrations. Mine resembled a sad little suit in dire need of a dress code intervention and breath mints.”

“I find that very disturbing,” I reply, snatching the now empty snack bag from her hand.

“Really? I found it very therapeutic,” she retorts. “Unfortunately, my dog used it as a chew toy this morning – it’s toast.”

“Hey, you guys hear the news?” asks Jason, our resident red-head, sporting an unusually wide grin. “Mr. Snod got attacked by a dog or something this morning. He’s down for the count until next week. All meetings have been cancelled until further notice. Crazy, huh?”

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© 2013 Samantha Redstreake Geary

I appreciate feedback, so comment, critique or just banter to your heart’s content! Should you leave a really awesome comment, I may share my fair-trade, shade-grown, bird-sanctuary, organic coffee with you:) Or, if you leave a link to your site, I can just pop in and say something witty after polishing off a cup or two!