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

Illumination Collaborative Flash Fiction Challenge Winners

Illuminations_Michael MaasIn the spirit of art influencing art, we joined forces in an epic collaboration where writers were given the opportunity to set their words to film composer, Michael Maas‘, inspiring music!

Michael Maas, along with fellow composers, Martin Hasseldam, David Christiansen, Sandro Schmidt and Stefano Fasce. who contributed to the “Piano and Strings Edition” industry release, read through all the entries and chose their top three favorites.

The winners will be awarded mp3 files of the five selected tracks from the exclusive film industry release “Piano and Strings Edition” as well as Michael’s new album, Illumination.

If you’ve become a slap-happy fan of Michael Maas‘ amazing music, his Illumination album is available on emusic, Amazon and iTunes!

Top 3 Winners

Nick Johns with Rise to Fall

C. Lee McKenzie with Revenge of the Earth

Lisa Shambrook with Remember Me

Congratulations to the winners and to all the incredible writers who participated in this collaborative challenge! Winnerssend me your email address to receive your music!

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Many Branches, One Tree

InsecureWritersSupportGroupIWSG meets the first Wednesday of every month. A community of brilliant writers led by Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Inspiring Soundtrack: Audiomachine – Tree of Life

For this month’s post, I want to send my heartfelt thanks to the talented group of writers that exceeded the Tree of Life: Branching Out challenge I set out before them in a way I never would have dreamed.

Each of these writers possess a unique gift for the written word. They collectively merged their storytelling skills to create an overwhelmingly beautiful saga, wrought with meaning and woven with the essence of music.

With each new voice, the epic tale grew, branching out in unique ways that reflected the individual while honoring the whole.

I am in awe of their abilities, their strength, their enthusiasm and their support.

I may have planted the seed, but it is you who breathed life into it. Rooted in passion, it thrived on your imagination.

You are the branches of this, the Tree of Life.

It is an honor to have worked with you, and on behalf of audiomachine and myself, I cannot thank you enough for the incredible journey…treeoflife_branchingout_badge

Amy Willoughby-Burle, John Wiswell, M. Pax, Al Diaz, Gary Philip Pennick, DL Hammons, Susan Scott, Ruth Long, Djinnia, Daniel Swensen, KC Hunter, Shannon Kenoyer Lawrence, Tina Downey, Beverly Fox, Michelle Wallace, Mina Lobo, Gwen Gardner, Angela Brown, Lisa Shambrook, Sarah Wesson, Leighton Williams, Elise Fallson, Vidya Sury, Damyanti Biswas and C. Lee McKenzie

Tree of Life Composers:
Paul Dinletir
Kevin Rix
Danail Getz
Jeff Marsh
Steffan Michael Koch
John A. Graves

Special thanks to:

Marc D’Amour of audiomachine, for his continued support of this project!

Jennifer Redstreake Geary who gave our collaboration a visually stunning logo!

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Tree of Life: Branching Out Featuring Lisa Shambrook

treeoflife_branchingout_badgeWelcome to the TREE OF LIFE: Branching Out collaborative writing challenge, where creative minds meet epic movie music. To read the collective story in its entirety as it unfolds and for more details on this groundbreaking collaboration with Audiomachine click HERE.

Today’s featured guest writer is the poetic soul, Lisa Shambrook. Discover those silly dreams that keep us alive at The Last Krystallos.

* Listen to the inspiring track from Audiomachine’s Tree of Life album featured in the sidebar music player

Inspiring Soundtrack: Audiomachine – Day One – Tree of Life

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As the storm finally subsided…and light, melodious rain fell, Zoe rested replete in Adam’s arms. Crepuscular rays bathed their searing, salty skin and Zoe’s soft smile lingered. Waves rippled and scintillating diamonds glittered on the ocean surface.

A drip, from the leaves above, sizzled as it touched her skin and Adam’s finger trailed the bead of water down to her breast, where he let it settle. Zoe raised her hand and stroked his thigh, their eyes meeting in calm satiety and love. Zoe’s hand smoothed across her belly and down into the sand.

“So, this is life…” Zoe sighed.

Adam nodded, “Giving and creating…” A wide grin spread across his freckled face as he lifted a daisy from behind her ear. “We’re intrinsic now…to this earth, to this life…to the dance of this planet.”

They laughed as an exultant neigh interrupted their moment, and they beheld their unicorn galloping across the endless stretch of sand and sea, daisies blooming beneath his hooves and waves crashing in his chaotic wake.

Laughter lit up the sky and Adam pulled Zoe’s lips to his. As they parted, a breeze danced across their bodies and they shivered in unison. Adam’s words resounded across the wide expanse as they embraced. “We are one.”

Across the ocean, on the far horizon, a mountain grumbled beneath simmering clouds.

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© 2013 Lisa Shambrook

ATTENTION FANS: You can WIN an autographed TREE OF LIFE Audiomachine album by LEAVING COMMENTS! On August 17th, two lucky readers will be chosen at random from the comments section of the story excerpts. The more you comment–the better your chances are of winning a piece of cinematic history! We want to hear from YOU!

Tree of Life_Album Cover

TREE OF LIFE is available NOW! Click on the following links:

Purchase a CD from CD Baby
Download it from iTunes
Stream it on Spotify      Download it from Amazon       Purchase a CD from Amazon