I’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*.
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.
“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.
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.”
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.”
“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.”
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.”
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.
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
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!