A Blind Eye

WEP HalloweenI’ve joined forces with Sub Pub Music and artist, Jenny Vyas to create a creepy atmospheric journey through a classic childhood tale gone horribly awry (a story that spooked the pjs off me as a kid) for Yolanda Renee & Denise Covey’s fearful WEP Halloween challenge! Knock on our virtual door October 21st – 23rd, wager which fairytale we’ve twisted and you’ll walk away with a digital copy of Sub Pub Music’s latest haunting album, Cryogenesis, featuring dark & daring composers Mikkel Heimburger, Cody Still, Nick Road, Ciaran Birch, and Martin Hasseldam. Those who stray from the correct path may be detained indefinitely within the confines of our cryo chamber *cue evil laugh*.


SHUTTER by Jenny Vyas

Sub Pub Music – Cryogenesis – Cryogenesis – Cody Still

Mist, silent and sinister, spills through the chamber’s silver veins. A silent thief come to steal the warmth from our bones. It licks at our legs, hungry for heat. It slips past our lips, stripping our lungs of breath and smothering our screams…

“I see our mysterious guest has successfully thawed,” called a cheerful voice beside us. Memories scattered in the wake of a woman wrapped in a gleaming white gown. A haze of spun sugar clung to her shining flaxen waves.

We winced as her chair screeched a complaint against the stone floor. Our skin, wrapped in a warming sheet, shivered beneath a phantom blanket of ice.

Tegrel stirred.     

“Where are we?”

“Somewhere safe,” the woman smiled. She folded her arms atop the metal table that stretched between us. “I understand you’re a bit, foggy. An unavoidable side effect, I’m afraid. I do hope my inquiry won’t be too tortuous,” she purred, tilting her head with feigned concern. “I was alerted the instant your status improved. I wanted to handle your case, personally. I’ve no doubt our little chat shall be far more interesting than this evening’s stale corporate affair,” she winked. “Now then, let’s start with your name.”

We stared at the woman whose sweet scent and syrupy words oozed with something sinister. We tightened our grip on the pulsing fabric, its label catching on our fingers.

KRYOS Pharmaceuticals

ASCENT by Jenny Vyas

Sub Pub Music – Cryogenesis – Oscillation – Ciaran Birch

“KRYOS is growing desperate. Animal trials have failed,” father whispers to mother across the candlelit table. “The Pestis has infiltrated the world’s population. Humanity is a hair’s breadth away from extinction.”

“We were doomed the moment Monsainto gained control over the global food supply,” mother says, her fingers absently brushing the angry blemish along her collarbone, courtesy of the corporation’s more nefarious animal subjects. Our scars run deeper than most.   

The Pestis was rooted in the GM toxins that polluted the most vital elements to our survival. Our food. The regrettable, long-term, unintended side effect? A catastrophic inability to reproduce.

“KRYOS isn’t the solution,” mother squeezes his hand. “They’re nothing but a cannibalistic corporation eager to claim their share of the spoils. It’s up to us to turn the tide.”

Our lips curled with contempt.

“Who are you?” we demanded, dropping the offending blanket.

“Someone who needs answers.” She clenched her jaw. “Your undocumented cryopreservation is terribly troubling. KRYOS prides itself on following proper protocol. Why, one tiny slip on our side of things, and, well,” she leaned forward as if sharing a secret, “the consequences would be…severe.”

UNHINGED by Jenny Vyas

Sub Pub Music – Cryogenesis – Shield of Fate – Nick road

“That damnable woman!” father shouts. “Dr. Syngenta’s expedited testing of her vaccine. On children, no less,” he swallows back the horror. “I traced the unregistered KRYOS chambers to Monsainto’s classified facility in Creve Coeur. The woods bordering the lake are restricted to high-level corporate personnel. I won’t have access. We need someone on the inside. A child.”

Mother pulls her hand away, “No,” she says, shaking her head vehemently. “Shalen’s not ready. Tegler is too unpredictable! It’s too danger–”

“We don’t have a choice,” father cries.

“Imagine my surprise when a prohibited child popsicle conveniently turns up in one of my chambers during a witchhunt,” the woman seethed, her breath a cloying vine of venom. “Property that was to be disposed of after a rather distressing incident.”   

Tegrel bristled.

“We’re not your property!”

She rose from her chair, a glint of menace flashing in her crimson glare. “Oh, but you are. You and your gloriously untainted blood.”

F A C A D E

FACADE by Jenny Vyas

Father wraps his arms around us. “I’ve run dozens of blood tests. There’s no sign of Pestis. You’re safe.”

“What about Tegrel?” we whisper into his coat of wool and woodsmoke.

His embrace tightens. “Tegrel will protect you from the real monsters in this world.”

“Delightful news!” The woman beamed. “Your blood, my dear, may hold the key to our elusive cure,” she rubbed her palms together. “Available at an absorbent consumer cost, of course.”

BURROWS by Jenny Vyas

Sub Pub Music – Cryogenesis – Sentenced to death – Martin Hasseldam

“I’m not feeling particularly welcoming, Dr. Wood,” the blonde woman hisses, her gun wavering in the space between fire and flesh. “I assume you left a damaging trail for the authorities,” she spat. “No matter. Nothing an unfortunate forest fire can’t fix.”

A massive wolflike creature leaps from the corner, it’s snarling snout dripping with savage fury.

“Dorothea, NO!” Father shouts.

With a piercing howl, the beast tackles the wicked woman to the ground, jagged jaws tearing through blood and bone, until a flash of blue fire finds its mark in the heart of our mother.

Our eyes land on the spidery scars. Ragged and raised, they crept down the woman’s neck and crawled beneath her clean, white gown.

Vengeance, eager and persuasive, slithered through the seams of our thoughts. 

LET ME IN by Jenny Vyas

Sub Pub Music – Cryogenesis – we are all aliens – Mikkel Heimburger

Tegrel pushes past me with a guttural growl. Father spies us in the shadows of the cryo room. He shakes his head, wide eyes begging us to stay hidden. We hesitate a heartbeat too long. A corporate guard seizes our arms and tosses us into the nearest chamber. The steel mouth slams shut and swallows us whole. We throw ourselves against the glass, crying out for father, but he cannot come. He’s pinned to the ground, battered and broken and still…

“It hasn’t escaped my notice, your mention of others. I’m sure your siblings are worried sick. We should find them, don’t you think?” she asked, eyes glowing with greed. Another unsullied urchin would raise her profit margin through the roof.

“Tegrel stays close. He watches over us.”

“What a brave brother you have. There’s all manner of monsters lurking about. You’re both better off under my protection,” she nodded with approval, turning on her heels to head for the door. “I’ll notify my guards to collect him.”

“But he’s here,” we taunted. “In this room.”

The woman, creator of orphans, scavenger of souls, spun around, her triumphant smile slipping into a scowl. “What are you playing at?” she challenged.

Beneath the table, our fingers shifted into claws.

We leaned forward and whispered, “Tegrel protects us from monsters.”

© Samantha Redstreake Geary 2015

Word Count: 1000


Cryogenesis_cover


RUNNER UP BADGEHALLOWEENAlbum Winner!

Congrats to Djinnia for being the first to guess the origins of this tale: ‘Shalen and Tegler‘ are indeed ‘Hansel and Gretel‘! Many thanks to the WEP gang for joining our journey to the darkside!

 

 

Spirit of the Blue Swallow

Feather Ball created by Visionary Glass Arts

In honor of my dear friend, Michelle Wallace of Writer-in-Transit, I’ve created a special tribute to the spirit of Ubuntu–a humanist ideal hailing from South Africa which, roughly translated, means “human kindness”, a beautiful idea embodying the essence of connection, community, and mutual compassion.

We live in a more interconnected world. Each of us is capable of using our skills and gifts for the greater good of humanity.

I invite you to discover the many amazing tributes of my fellow writers listed here.

Joining me in this collaborative journey is German artist, MikroMatique, also known as the brilliant cinematic composer, Sandro Schmidt, whose breathtaking music is beyond inspiring.

Featured inspirational track ▶ Tears of Angels

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The sky is ablaze with angry red streaks that claw their way across the horizon, casting the solitary structure and the surrounding bones of Baobab trees in shadows that shift with the sleeping sun.

Our salvation hovers in the space between solid and specter.

The metal rhino screeches to a halt, its armored plates slipping and sliding along the massive body. Steam rises from its snout, curling up a pair of formidable horns to collide with clouds of chalk that coat the glass.  The automaton driver snaps open the steel jaws of the carriage, jolting me from the velvet seat.

My trembling grip on Chipo’s fingers tighten, his small hand steady and sure, ignorant of the peril awaiting him. I couldn’t bear to tell him. He followed me blindly, never questioning the frantic actions dragging us halfway across the thirsty grasslands. I’ve enough fear for the both of us.

Crisp air creeps under my threadbare coat, nipping at skin laced with sweat. I pull at the leather straps near my brother’s neck, willing the fading warmth to wrap around his frail frame. He tilts his head and smiles up at me, his eyes, one a glowing amber, the other a vibrant blue, reflect an unfailing trust.

He was an unexpected gift, one we guarded fiercely for seven years. He was safe, until the day our baba and mai were killed. We were sent across the valley to my father’s brother, whose drive to drink drove his debt beyond the reach of two extra mouths. Within a week, our guardian gloated over the generous roora offered for my hand by a powerful clan near the Zambezi river.

My brother was to be sold into a life of servitude stretching far across the valley towards the east mountains–his fate left to the cruel devices of a society that will deem him damaged by the strange silence and ceaseless calm that surrounds him. They will poke and prod and pierce until his secret spills from his blood.

There is no hope for an imperfect boy in a perfect world.

So we stole away in the steel cage of the General’s son, chasing the breath of a chance to a place steeped in magic and mystery.

I edge closer to the timber and iron door, the promise of heat seeping from beneath. The slice of light grows wider with unseen hands, tendrils of sweetly-scented smoke beckoning us forward. A massive fire roars in the center of the spherical room, its flames glinting off iron rivers that run along a network of intricate symbols carved into the rough serpentine walls.

I call out into the cavernous room, my voice swallowed by a sea of glass chimes. Chipo tugs at my sleeve, his chin tilting towards the sky, eyes wide with wonder.

My gaze is drawn to the vaulted timber ceiling where hundreds of clear orbs wink in the firelight. They float above us in all manner of shapes and sizes, their centers swimming with soft, spirited colors.

“What is this place?” I ask, more to myself.

“The place where dreams are born,” a deep voice answers.

I snap my head forward to find a woman standing near the fire pit, swathed in sheer emerald robes embroidered with glowing gold that reflects the warmth of her crinkled eyes. Her ebony skin is crisscrossed with the lines of a long life.

“Where dreams are protected,” another figure appears, taking the shape of a beautiful woman near the age of our mother, her flawless features resembling sculpted Shona stone. The shimmering scarlet of her dress flickers as if made of fire.

“Where dreams take flight,” a young girl whispers from the shadows, materializing near the growing flames. The light dances on rounded caramel cheeks dusted with freckles and glints off a gossamer gown that swirls about her ankles in vivid shades of liquid indigo.

I pull Chipo behind me and back up slowly towards the door.

“No need to fear us. We mean you no harm,” the older woman offers. “Quite the opposite, in fact. I am Rutendo,  the guardian of Faith. “ She gestures towards the motherly figure. “This is Rudo, guardian of Love.”

The young ethereal girl steps forward. “And I’m Tariro, keeper of—”

“Hope,” I mumble, my mind trying to wrap around an astonishing truth . “The legends are true.” Chipo ducks under my arm to stand beside me.

“There’s a grain of truth in many myths, Mudiwa,” Rutendo smiles warmly.

“How–how do you know me?”

“We know all our children, beloved.” Rudo glances upward, sweeping her open palm towards the glittering glass.

“What are they?” I ask, following her gaze.

“They’re the hopes and dreams of every living child,” Tariro breathes reverently.

“Each feather represents the spirit behind the dream,” Rutendo says affectionately.

“Some are collective hopes—their spirits joined together to achieve a common dream,” Rudo adds, plucking a rounded ball from the air. Four multicolored feathers swirled within its crystal walls.

Like the hopes of a family, I think to myself. The broken dreams of my parents dig into the fresh wounds of their loss. I can’t do this alone. I can’t save Chipo without them.

“What troubles you so, child?” Rudo asks gently.

“My brother. He’s…a natural born. Unmodified. Unaltered,” I bite back the anxiety of long buried secrets. “My parents never reported him, or his…imperfections. Interactions with others is difficult for him. He rarely speaks…even to me. But he can sense things no one else can. See and hear beyond our capabilities, even with our genetically perfected pedigree,” I snort. “He has a gift. But our society wouldn’t take the time to understand it. Without our protection, he’ll be labeled an outcast…or worse.”

I glance at my brother, balancing precariously on a wooden stool to graze the glinting glass balls with his fingertips. A laugh escapes his lips that’s more magical a sound than the enchanting chimes falling around us.

“Other hopes belong to a single spirit, and it is up to them alone, to see it fly.” Tariro cradles a long, translucent orb in her cupped hands. Inside floats a solitary feather painted a lustrous, metallic blue. “This is a feather of the Blue Swallow—a rare and magical bird wiped from the skies over a century ago. They were the closest creatures to the divine. The swiftest flyers of the land, soaring into the sky above all others, delivering messages to the Great Spirit. They are a guide to those who are conscious dreamers, capable of greatness,” she glances lovingly at Chipo, “however misunderstood.”

Chipo hops down from the stool and walks over to Tariro, cocking his head at the fragile feather in her grasp. He brushes the glass with his fingers, a strange, knowing smile lifting his lips.

Tariro places the Blue Swallow feather into his hand. “It belongs to an extraordinary spirit. One just as rare, just as magical, who swims in the tears of angels and whispers in the ear of the divine.”

Chipo walks over to face me, the gleaming swallow feather held between us. He tilts his head and brushes away the salty rivulets running down my face. “Don’t worry, Mudiwa. I can do it,” he whispers, “I can fly.”

He opens up his palm and smiles as his hopes and dreams float back to the sky in a cascade of chimes and a child’s laughter.


© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary

ubuntu-blog-hop

Beyond the Binding Composers for Relief Companion Collection Cover Reveal

InsecureWritersSupportGroupIWSG meets the first Wednesday of every month. A community of brilliant writers led by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Visit the Insecure Writer’s Support Group website and database! You’ll find everything from writing to marketing, along with encouragement and support!

In December, we launched a global campaign to support the relief effort in regions of the Philippines devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). The collaboration began with Peter Ebbinghaus and the brilliant music of over 30 composers hailing from 16 countries, giving rise to the inspiring Composers for Relief album. An amazing cast of 28 authors added their voice to the music, breathing life into words woven with hope for humanity.

Even now, the collaboration has captured the creative minds of film students at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology in Malaysia, whose GLOBAL VISUAL HARMONIES project, under the direction of Ray Kril, adds a stunning element of hope in the form of short films inspired by the album. A documentary of the relief efforts is also underway. Watch the magic unfold, HERE.

It is an incredible experience when a community spans crafts and continents to make a positive difference in the world. There’s no limit to what we can accomplish together. I appreciate, beyond measure, those of you who joined me for the journey.

We dedicate this collection of hope to those who have lost their loved ones. Though we are scattered across the globe, we are connected to your anguish. You are not alone…

beyondthebinding_cover_finalBeyond the Binding

Ebook Available NOW on Amazon & Smashwords

Coming Soon to iTunes, B&N, Kobo, Sony & Diesel

Cover designed by Jennifer Redstreake Geary

All proceeds of the Composers for Relief  album and Beyond the Binding will go to Gawad Kalinga (“give care”) and GVSP (Gualandi Volunteer Service Program), to support the relief efforts for victims of the deadliest natural disaster in Philippines’ history, Super Typhoon Yolanda.

Embark on an exciting journey Beyond the Binding of the imagination with 29 authors from across the globe, in a groundbreaking collaboration where music meets fiction. Surrender to soaring compositions as they surge through the veins of every story, capturing the triumphant pulse of the notes in heart pounding sci fi, enchanting fantasy and gripping slices of realism.

MOONLESS

Enter to WIN copies of the Beyond the Binding ebook and Composers for Relief album during Crystal Collier’s VALENTINES GIVEAWAY celebrating the release of MOONLESS in print!

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Composers for Relief Album Cover

Composers for Relief

Album available on ITunes, Amazon, CDBaby & Spotify

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AWAKENING

by Samantha Redstreake Geary

Inspired by the Composers for Relief Album

There are secrets behind these sleeping trees. I can feel them prickling up my spine, itching for me to find them.

A twinge of pain tugs at my arm, pulling my gaze to the bright crimson drops dripping from my fingers, their warmth sinking into white powder.

I cradle my wrist, wincing from the pull of tender skin. I’ve ripped the wound wider in my haste, ensuring another scar. The deepest marks of my past go beyond the binding of flesh and blood, threatening to swallow me whole as I chase the dying breath of a ghost…

***

“It’s a false lead. I’ve checked it out. The place is empty,” Dumakulem throws his hands up, waving off the surrounding agents. “Missed all the excitement, Peter,” he slapped me on the back. “Aside from an astonishing amount of rodents subletting a Steinway, there’s nothing of interest down there.”

“They’re banned, regardless of condition,“ I replied, motioning for the shadow hovering near the entrance. “I’ll have the handlers bring it back to headquarters.”

Dumakulem reached for my arm, pressing it down slowly. “That won’t be necessary. There’s no threat. Unless the rats take up lessons, it’s worthless.” He flashed an easy grin, but not before I saw a trace of something else flicker behind his eyes.

Fear.

He turned from the stairs, leading me to the doorway. “Let’s grab a bite on the way back. I’m hungry enough to eat that piece of drywall you call food.”

“It’s a Quinoa bar,” I stepped in beside him, unease tightening around my collar. “It’s about time you eat something besides bacon. Although, your body would most likely go into shock.”

I told myself it was nothing. He wasn’t the same since he lost his daughter. Death has a way of changing people. I should know.

Dumakulem let out a raucous laugh. “There’s never a Right Time to eat that cra—”

A deafening crack split the air.

The ground beneath us rumbled and shifted, shaking loose its skin. The mouth of the building stretched, its jagged teeth threatening to snap shut, the floor of its tongue rippling back and forth, throwing us from our feet.

The earth quaked, pitching bodies and debris into clouds of dust. In seconds, we were adrift on an ocean of crumbled concrete and shattered shards, the bones of the building laid bare.

“Dumakulem?” I shouted, coughing on the choking haze. Something stirred in the rubble—a snatch of red glistening in a sea of grey.

Dumakulem’s body lie broken under a beam, his breath ragged. Ruby rivulets poured from his mouth, pooling on the ashen floor.

“P—Pete,” he rasped, eyes wild.

I tore at the metal beast biting through his ribs, my flesh ripping on its claws, but it was hopelessly anchored to the earth.

 “Aurrrrra,” he moaned.

I bent over his bloodied face, powerless to save him. “I’m gonna get you out of here…just breath…keep breathing.”

“F-find…Aur…ora,” he pleaded.

“Aurora?” I asked, desperate to understand. “I don’t

A sickening crunch drowned my words as his chest caved under unforgiving steel.

***

The Phoenix hums near my ear, its wings flapping fervently. The steady scarlet pulse of its throat echoing the drumming dread of my uncertain heart. I’ve come this far in search of answers that may be my undoing.

A faint amber glow flickers in the frozen valley.  An unregistered dwelling in a forbidden territory basking in a betrayal its isolation hoped to conceal.   

I sync my synaptic sites to Moonside, the molecular machinery linking our thoughts, our senses. A hybrid Trochilidae, the part bird, part micro-mechanical system curls its icy fingers around my mind, its stannic presence flooding my mouth. I close my eyes and look through those of the bird, guiding it across the arctic expanse Into the Unknown corners of a life I thought I once knew.

It slips inside soundlessly, scanning each room within the slumbering walls with rapid precision. The house is empty, save for the startling evidence of treason scattered in a single room, digging deeper into the fresh wounds of a fraudulent friendship.

I cut a path through the sea of snow, breaching the boundary easily. Too easily. I trained him better than this. Dumakulem was careless—believing these savage mountains alone would guard his secrets.

I cross the threshold into air heavy with cinnamon and burning pine,a strangely familiar scent tied to the thread of a memory wound tight beneath my rib.

***

The chasm between us had grown, the silence thick with regret. Celestia left months ago, her sorrow sliding further down a path I couldn’t follow.

Until the night I came home to an inviting fire and foreign swirls of sugar-spun air.

Celestia floated from the kitchen, an apparition of silken skirts and copper curls. “I’m baking a pie. Apple,” she smiled warmly, offering a steaming steel mug, her hands wrapped tight around the flashing red words PRETENDING TO BE AWAKE, a gift from Dumakalem.

“What’s this?” I asked, voice trembling with confusion and relief.

A Cup of Peace.”

In the space between melancholy and madness, she changed. The past was paved over with New Days, full of unexpected, unexplained behavior. I never dared to question where she’d been or mention the alarming nature of her actions.

Music was outlawed nearly a century ago, the idea of it fading into obscurity. Only highly disciplined agents were exposed to the arts, in order to recognize the threat in the field. And there I was, haunted by a forbidden melody that spilled from the lips of my wife when she thought herself alone.

I was plagued by the archaic words she strung together in the sighs of sleep, their meaning bound to the dusty breath of books banned long ago.

But I was willing to look past all this. I would have done anything, risked everything, to give her the Beautiful Life she sought. I fooled myself into thinking she was safe.

***

“I’m afraid there’s No More.”

I whirl around to face the voice cutting into my thoughts. A woman emerges from the shadows, a storm of silver spirals framing a network of lines that traced her long life across olive skin, her flowing flowery shift at odds with the frigid climate.  

I shoot Moonside a disapproving glare. It’s sensors must be faulty. I couldn’t afford to risk a mission for an inferior Phoenix, regardless of sentiment.

“No more?” I ask.

“Pie. It was apple.”

Icy fingers skitter along my skin. “I’m not here for…pie.”

“Clearly, you don’t know what you’re missing,” the woman cocks her head, studying me. “Only a handful of us left with the skill to bake one.”

She frowns at my dangling arm. “You’re bleeding on my rug.”

I glance down, following the ruby trail that bloomed into the floor. The woman motions towards the kitchen. “There’s a towel by the sink I never liked. Feel free to bleed on that.”

I cross the room and grab the cloth, tying it around the gaping gash. Most people cower in the presence of an agent. Her ease was disarming. “I’m here on behalf of the Imperium, investigating allegations against—”

“My son,” the woman interrupts, chin held high, her words pinning me with unsettling candor. “I know why you’re here, Peter. I’ve come a long way to speak with you.”

She must have traveled from the Philippines for the funeral. “I’m sorry…Mrs.—”

“Call me Idiyanale,” she insists, settling into a threadbare seat facing the dying fire.

I move closer to Idiyanale, a shimmering wave washing over her form. I steady myself against the hearth stones. The blood loss was catching up to me. “I wish we could have met under better circumstances. But, I can’t ignore what’s behind those doors,” I cast a meaningful glance behind her.

Idiyanale’s gaze doesn’t waver. “I’m not asking you to.”

“Why risk imprisonment by staying here?”

“For the fading memory of a dying breed who believes in Fighting Back,” she sighs.

That was not the answer I was expecting.

“Don’t look so surprised, “ her keen eyes register my shock. “The urge to fight for what we believe in is woven into the fabric of Our Nature. We’re meant to defend the ones we love—to ensure our future. The Imperium can’t possibly contain the will of a people, even after ripping it from our ribs.”

“The Imperium will never lose contr—”

“It’s already begun.”

In a world where everyone’s free will, with the exception of a select few from the ruling class, is extracted by the age of two, encountering a resistant citizen was unheard of. Until a year ago, when a spark of unrest ignited a raging inferno that consumed everything I held dear…

***

Celestia was captured in the currents of the uprising, its hungry flames licking the life from her bones as it consumed the Extraction headquarters. The Phoenix found her in the smoldering smoke, but it was too late.

I waited by my wife’s side, her life bound by a single, silken thread, its sustaining light pulsing with the promise that This Is Not the End. Through it all, Moonside never left her side, as if lamenting her slow descent into darkness. She favored that bird, believing it was different than the other hybrids. You’re a hard soul to save, she’d say, but that doesn’t stop it from trying.

It wasn’t me who needed saving.

Seven days later, she broke the surface of her fitful sleep only to plunge into the seas of oblivion. All I had left were memories and mourning bird. A Requiem for a Queen followed, the ruler of my life locked inside a cold casket, a snaking line of inky figures shrouded in grief whispering God Is With You, grinding my barely beating heart further beneath a hard packed layer of vengeance.

Despite a chain of raids and interrogations, the Insurgence would Rise Again and again, growing steadily stronger. Incidents increased exponentially in the past year, triggering riots across the country. The Imperium dedicated all field agents to uncovering the origin of the uprising.

***

I shake myself from the shackles of memories I long to forget. “Extraction maintains the peace,” I argue, “There’s no need to fight. The Imperium ensures our safety through submission.”

“The Imperium’s motives for extracting our free will lie somewhere on the Continuum between pacifism and brutality.”

“It’s the resistance that killed your son,” I swallow the acidic anger lodged in my throat. “And my wife.”

Idiyanale shakes her head, eyes a reflecting pool of pity. “I’m sorry…about Celestia. But her blood is on the Imperium’s hands.”

“You’re treading a dangerous line

“That line was crossed the moment they first tore the possibilities from a child’s Existence. This is what Dumakulem fought against. What Celestia hoped to conquer. Honor their memory by listening to your heart over your orders,” Idiyanale pleads.

“What do you know of my wife?” I demand.

“That she never stopped loving you…she loves you still. Your Heart Is Brave, Peter. Even now, she knows you’ll make the right choice, though it won’t be easy. The right path never is.”

“You’ve no idea what you’re—”

Spes Et Libertas.”

The last time I heard those words, they were slipping from the sleeping lips of my wife. “Wh—what did you say?”

“Hope and Freedom. This is the pledge of the resistance. Celestia was one of us. ”

I feel the tattered tether to sanity snap. “No…that’s impossible.”

“Celestia came to us, broken, fragile. She felt lost in her own skin. We all go through it, before the Awakening.”

“I don’t understand.”

“With the proper catalyst, The Power of Will can heal. It takes time to knit the fabric of our being back together. When your wife returned, she was—”

“Changed.”

“Whole.” Idiyanale beamed. “Her soul found Rebirth quicker than most. She had something to live for. She believed the best—”

The Best Is yet to Come.” I whisper, falling into the chair behind me. “That’s what she said to me, that first night. She said I needed to have faith. I don’t even know what that is…” I throw my arms up. “But she was wrong. There was nothing but pain in the end.”

Idiyanale closes her eyes. “We can’t always save the ones we love, but you never truly lose them. Their spirits watch over you when you need it most.” She gazes off into some far off place. “The day my son fell to his death…there was someone else who needed saving.”

Her words sink in, drowning in the pool of my thoughts. It took me a full minute to realize someone else had walked in the door. Moonside was frantically fluttering near the edge of my nose, its wings grazing my skin in warning.

“Peter?”

Dumakulem’s wife approaches cautiously, a small figure peeks from behind her hip. Ana reaches an arm protectively around the little girl, nudging her towards a door. “Go on. Give us a minute.”

The girl’s ebony curls bounce against her shoulders as she skips from the room.

Ana gives me a cursory glance, her emerald eyes guarded. “You look like hell.”

“It’s been an eventful day,” I sigh, gesturing towards the window where crystalline fingers climb up the glass. “I’m not overly fond of dangerous secrets…or snow.”

“We’re not overly fond of visitors.” She walks to the hearth, picking up an iron rod to poke at the pulsing ashes. “Dumakulem thought we’d be safe here.” A raven curtain falls across her face as she leans over to feed the fleeting flames a bite of wood. “The Imperium mustn’t find us, Peter. You have to understand–”

“How can I possibly understand all this, Ana? You know the penalty for treason!” I jump from the chair and snatch her arm, forcing her to face me. “You risk your life for…for what?”

“For that One spark of Hope.”

“Is that how you turned Celestia?” I accuse.

Ana flinches. “We never intended to hurt anyone.” She confesses, flames dancing in her gaze. “She was…suffering, Peter. Just as we had only a few years before. We saw the signs. We knew how to help her.”

“What are you saying? That she was…sick?”

“Some of us can feel the phantom limb of our extraction.” Ana clutches her chest, eyes wide with wonder. “When nurtured, somehow it…mends itself. We become whole again. But the healing process is…painful. After,” her eyes grow dark, “the realization of what was stolen from us is…unbearable.”

Ana lays her palm against the cage of my heart. “We were never meant to be mindless machines, surrendering our choices, our freedom, to a corrupt few. We were designed for so much more than this.”

Snatches of a haunting melody slip through the cracks of a closed door. Recognition pulls me like an invisible thread, beckoning me. I brush past Ana and open the door.

Antiquated relics wink from walls in glistening gold and burnished browns. They curve into corners with strings stilled in stands. In the center, is the girl, her delicate hands flying across a blur of black and white, flooding the room with a familiar song.

Something inside my chest stirs.

Ana edges behind me. “Dumakulem brought home a harp from one of the first raids, too exhausted to haul it to headquarters in the dead of night. The next morning, we found her plucking notes from the strings as if she’d done it a thousand times. She wasn’t yet two.” Ana walks along the walls, her fingers brushing over each polished surface to the memories beneath. “No matter what he brought home, she could play it…beautifully.”

“Who is she?”

Ana faces me, her hands cupping my shoulders. “We couldn’t bring her in for extraction, not after that. She’s special, Peter.”

“She’s your daughter?” I clutch the door frame, the realization stealing my breath. “The one who…died?”

Ana drops her hands to her side, her expression fearful. “I’m sorry, Peter. We had no choice. He didn’t want to lie to you.” She shakes her head, eyes pleading for me to accept the impossible. “We couldn’t afford to be discovered. She’s an instrument of the Renaissance. Her music…it…changes people.”

“She’s the source of the uprising…” I fall back, lurching away from her, away from a truth I couldn’t bear to hear. “Are you insane? Your resurrected daughter is being hunted by every agent in the Imperium! By ME!”

Ana charges towards me, conviction burning in fearless eyes. “Aurora is a beacon for A New Dawn. I need you to help us. I’m asking you to protect her. Please, Peter…”

“Aurora,” I murmur—the name that’s haunted me, that drove me to this place. “The raid,” I grasp the full meaning behind Dumakulem’s plea. “She was there.”

Ana nods. “She made it out of the building’s basement without a scratch. No one knows how she survived.”

“Someone else needed saving…” I whisper, echoing the words of Idiyanale. “Dumakulem’s mother. Where—” I search around me. “Where is she?”

Ana shakes her head, confusion wrinkling her brow. “She’s gone.” Ana reaches into her pocket and pulls out a sleek silver device. “Idiyanale was killed in the same explosion that took Celestia. They were there together.” She calls up a three-dimensional image of smiling faces in an animated summer scene. “This was taken a few hours before they left for the protest. They were…very close.”

There, in the center of the crowd, is my wife, looking so…alive. Standing by her is a woman wearing the same flowing, flowery frock I’d seen only moments ago.

I stumble against the wall and slide to the floor.

“Peter?” Ana crouches down in front of me, her hands gripping my arms.

A laugh climbs up my throat. “She came a long way to speak with me…”

Ana’s eyes swim before me, weary with worry. I should worry. I’m losing my mind.

“Who came a long way, Peter?”

 Pain and loss collide, coursing through my veins, consuming everything in its path. “She wanted me to know…Celestia loved me…loves me…still.” I steady my spinning head against my knees as the music lays waste to the remains of sanity.  

Moonside perches on my shoulder, its beak nudging my neck.

Suddenly, a blanket of silence falls over me, deafening in its emptiness. I sense a small weight settle beside me on the floor, surrounding me in cinnamon. I dip my head to look at the little girl with Dumakulem’s eyes that flicker from me to the Phoenix.

She strokes the bird’s glowing ruby chest. “Hello, Moonside. Thank you for bringing Peter.” It glances briefly my way before hopping onto her finger. Traitor.

Aurora tilts her head, studying me. “Don’t be sad, Peter. She wouldn’t want you to be sad.” Aurora gently traces her finger along the path of liquid sorrow staining my cheek. “She wanted you to hear it…the song I wrote for her. She asked me to play the Hymn of Faith for you…before she died.”

I swallow a sob.

“Can you feel it?” Aurora asks.

“What’s…happening to me?”

Aurora lays her small palm against my chest, a knowing smile lighting her face.

“You’re Awakening.”

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© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary

Old Soul

Biltmore Wisteria

Wisteria
Biltmore Estate

My 8 sentence excerpt for Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday. Click on over to these talented writers and preview some amazing stories!

Inspiring Soundtrack: Hans Zimmer – Inception – Time

I first met Frederick under the fragrant canopy of a lone wisteria tree that thrived with wild abandon amidst the ruins of a sprawling country estate. He was the grand architect of its gardens, long before the landscape was suddenly, irreparably erased.

Through his stories, I can picture the vibrant colors of the roses, inhale the sweet aroma of azaleas, feel the velvety lambs ears and taste the tangy wild raspberries nestled in earthy greens. I can almost hear the chatter of squirrels in phantom trees and the echoes of songbirds in ashen skies, losing myself in a time when life thrived here in abundance…now, all that remains is the memory.

He has built me a new world, a better world, from the remnants of his.

Through him, I’ve learned to coax new life out of the reluctant soil – an endangered survival skill lost over a century ago. Though I’ve shared this knowledge with the others, I dare not speak of him, not when his name and likeness haunts the ancient, crumbling halls of our new home.

The closest I’ve come to living is through the words of a ghost.

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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!

Wings of Icarus

Steampunk Icarus Wings

Steampunk Icarus Wings
by Thin Gypsy Thief Studios

The ancient Greek myth of Icarus with a Wild West Steampunk twist – My first Steampunk attempt!

Dirty Goggles Blog Hop                * Fan Favorite Winner!
Title: Wings of Icarus
Word Count: 696
Author: Samantha Redstreake Geary
Category: Wild West Steampunk 

Inspiring Soundtrack: In Time – Choral Theme

I am trapped inside the belly of the beast as it claws its way through the desolate deserts of the Diné, a home I can no longer see through the smoldering breath of this iron horse. The greedy goliath devours the steel tracks with unparalleled speed, the distance between me and everything I’ve ever known, growing with each relentless bite.

Several days have passed since I was ripped from my people by the mad architect of this monstrosity. My father, Captain Daedalus, staked his claim over me following the death of my mother. His reasons remain a mystery.

Once a Navajo slave of General Minos, mother had fallen under the spell of the Captain, who promised a life of freedom to her and their unborn child. But freedom came with a price he was unwilling to pay. She escaped, shortly after I was born, and found solace within her tribe, but remained as unforgiving as the desert heat.

In the years that followed, Mother had grown weary with fear. She had visions that haunted her dreams and plagued her days. It was written in the stars, she said, that he would charge into my life on a seething steed and steal me away from the spirit of this serene land.

I was to be trained, by the fiercest of our clan, to be a warrior.

After completing my spirit path, the seer presented me with a new name, Icarus, “guardian of the sky”. Mother fashioned me an eagle fetish, a great honor among our people. A symbol of both healing and hunting, eagles are the messengers to the Gods, harboring great power while maintaining balance. It was intricately carved from translucent chrysocolla, the vivid blue-green swirls representing the skies. A cerulean azurite stone, sharpened into an arrowhead, was secured to its wings with copper wire.

The eagle was a talisman of protection, a reminder of my heritage and the only thing left of my mother.

Loss and rage bite into my palm as their grip tightens.

Imprisoned within the Labyrinth, a fearsome structure of cold metal designed by an even colder heart, I stare at my captor with barely concealed contempt as we wait outside the General’s chambers.

“Come now child, it can’t be all bad! I’ve rescued you from squalor, put a shiny roof over your head and decent food in your belly and all I get for my troubles is the evil eye,” the Captain huffs, clearly put-out that I’m not grovelling at his feet.

“You kidnapped me from my family, stripped me of my freedom and locked me up like one of your dogs!” I spit.

“You have your mother’s spirit, no doubt about that!” he sneers, “but take care to keep your tone more civilized, lest you find yourself sharing quarters with the swine.”

An intimidating guard opens the door to a lavish apartment, “The General is ready to see you now. Leave the savage here,” he glares in my direction. A cloud of tobacco wafts through the cracked door into the hall,  carrying their voices on a spicy scent that stings my nose.

“Captain, we took a very expensive detour to collect your, err, property. I hope, for your sake, the native rat is as valuable as you claim,” General Minos warns, “I’ve gone to great lengths to fund this contraption – I expect you to deliver what was agreed upon!”

“The Labyrinth is the technological achievement of the age, sir. This modern steam engine is impervious to attack and the weapon I’ve secured within its bowels holds the key to our domination. We need her to control the Minotaurs, General. I assure you, she is worth every penny,” the Captain boasts.

I strike both guards down with the venom-tipped cactus spines concealed in my fetish. Instinct urges me to grab a set of wooden wings off the wall and secure it to my back, unsure of the complicated mechanism. I push through the tiny window and climb out, grabbing hold of the bars leading to the top of the speeding behemoth.

The metal cylinder between my shoulder blades hums to life as I flip the switch.

I spread my wings and jump.
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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!

Eve

SoundClick Artist - daedalus

Daedalus

My Weekend Writing Warriors excerpt. Click on over to these talented writers and preview some amazing stories!

Beauty meets the Beast in a dystopian future.

Inspiring Soundtrack:M83 – Undimmed By Time, Unbound By Death – Oblivion Soundtrack

After the biochemical devastation our planet endured centuries ago, those of us who survived have been searching for a way to turn back the harsh hands of time. The burden weighs heavily upon us –  to reintroduce our species, now endangered, back into its natural environment.

A world that has learned to heal itself.

We scoured the scorched earth to find her, our Eve, the last of mankind found untainted.

A single strand of hair harboring a helix of human hope.

I watch as her eyes flutter open for the first time, this beautiful creature whose curious gaze finds me and does not falter.

What must she think of me, this shell of a man who survived the end of the world yet bears the scars of its battles – I am barely human anymore.

I reach my hand out and gently grasp her flawless fingers in mine, “Welcome to Eden.”
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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!