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

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!

 

 

Something Wicked This Way Comes

The crisp, cool fingers of Fall paints the landscape with crimson and gold. Pumpkins peer out from patches of tangled vines, their blank faces eager to carve out a grin or grimace. The specter of Halloween awaits in the shadows, hungry to pounce. It slithers under beds. It lurks behind cracked doors. It burrows beneath creaking floors.

What better way to embrace the bumps in the night than to forge ones of your own that fright. If you’ve the courage to join Yolanda Renee & Denise Covey’s fearful WEP Halloween challenge, I hear the treats are worth the tricks.

I’m joining forces with Sub Pub Music to create a creepy atmospheric journey through a classic childhood tale gone horribly awry. Knock on my virtual door October 21st – 23rd, wager which fairytale we’ve twisted and you’ll walk away with a digital copy of their latest haunting album, Cryogenesis, featuring dark & daring composers Mikkel Heimburger, Cody Still, Nick Road, Ciaran Birch, and Martin Hasseldam.

I should warn you, those who stray from the correct path may be detained indefinitely within the confines of our cryo chamber.

Cryogenesis – We Are All Aliens – Mikkel Heimburger

Cryogenesis_cover


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

To Encourage and Inspire

ENCOURAGEMENT AWARD2 samThere’s no better way to jump back into the writing community than joining WEP’s fun-filled challenges! Support and kindness run through the veins of this talented group. At the prompting of my dear friend & brilliant writer, Damyanti, I tossed my literary hat into the “Spectacular Setting” ring, where Yolanda Renee & Denise Covey rolled out the virtual welcome mat and made everyone feel right at home. I’m honored to be the recipient of their encouragement (special thanks to Donna Hole) and will take this as a sign that I’m traveling down the right path.

The feedback was especially reassuring, since the excerpt I featured, The Weight of Wonder, was taken from my YA fantasy novel, Architects of Illusion. As I wrestle with the final draft of this beast, I find myself questioning what it is, exactly, that I wish to accomplish in literature.

Really Slow Motion – Illume – Rain Boy – Phillip Lober

My writing has evolved into something more. I dream of traveling well beyond the act of telling a compelling story that resonates with readers across the world.  I want my words to not only capture the imagination, but inspire and encourage, with layers of deeper meaning that reaches into a reader’s heart and strengthens from within. I want to be a driving creative force that awakens the mind and charges the spirit to see past the impossible in a world where limitations reign.

What do you hope to accomplish with your writing?


This is Epic Music Vol 1Unravel the mystery of UNCHARTED by September 7th HERE, and YOU could bring home a signed, This Is Epic Music Vol. 1, via co-founder & president of Immediate Music, award-winning composer, Yoav Goren!


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

The Weight of Wonder

I’ve joined in the “Spectacular Settings BadgeSpectacular Settings” fun, where the Write Edit Publish gang shares an inspiring setting along with one of their own creation!

Luckily, setting and I are well acquainted, after spending the past 100 days in the grips of  The Great Discontent’s Instagram #100DayProject , sharing oodles of my photographs featuring Biltmore Estate, the magical setting of my upcoming YA fantasy series, Architects of Illusion (think Harry Potter meets Night at the Museum with a Greek mythology spin).

Nestled a mere 5 miles from my humble abode lies the 1895 jewel of Asheville, NC–George Vanderbilt’s 250-room chateau, crowning 8,000 sprawling acres of a majestic mountain paradise. Every detail of Biltmore lends weight to its wonder, sparking my imagination and unveiling the magic within.

It is here, where our story begins, in the mystical heart of the Olympians. Forged by Hephaestus, ruled by Hera, and run by the Muses, Olympus rests in the boundary between our world and that of myths. It is a place of power and illusion, where statues draw breath at dusk and dawn, legendary creatures lurk in every corner, and the fate of mankind rests in the young minds of those chosen by the gods.

Biltmore Front Lawn_1

I raced past rows of tulip trees, the whispers of dryads trickling from their laughing leaves. Rain licked at my skin and kissed the carpet of grass that stretched before me. The shimmering forms of Hyades pulled out from the sheets to dance amidst the drops. Petrichor, leader of the water nymphs, slipped in beside me. Flashing a mischievous smile, she motioned for me to follow.

We darted past the trio of drowsy tortoises, their necks reaching out towards us, patina beaks dripping with liquid secrets.

I tore up the slanted stairway, my hands sweeping across its jagged limestone throat. At the top, Petrichor stopped to stoop behind the rocky railing, her translucent finger pressed against slippery lips, urging me to be silent. I sunk to my knees and peered through the wall’s teeth, searching the lawn for the prowling lion.

© 2015 Samantha Redstreake Geary

Day 100_Biltmore

Clouds, swift and dark, swept the rain across the dusky sky towards the mountains. Petrichor and her Hyad sisters slipped away with the wind, leaving me surrounded by silent sentinels. Behind me, the towering hemlock Dryads flanked the boundary between the wild woods that spilled over the landscape, and the wave of majestic elegance that broke into the clearing.

The glass eyes of the manor winked with light as shadows crept across its face. The last fingers of sunset played along its edges, setting the stone ablaze. I felt the pull of dusk upon the veil of magic, letting loose spirits both benign and savage.

The clicking of hooves over gravel pulled my gaze to the gates. Atop the pillars, the sphinx stretched the stone from their limbs. The lavish carriage sped beneath them,  pulled by a pair of bare-chested men with long, fair locks, their flesh fading into the familiar hindquarters of horses. The soft green glow of a Naiad broke the surface of the fountain as they passed, curiosity tugging her to the water’s edge.

I spied my playmate dashing alongside the coach, his stone paws muffled by the grass. In one powerful leap, he settled back upon his pedestal, suitably fierce, before the coach came to a stop.

A powerful current sent my nerves skittering with a sense that whoever was inside that carriage carried the winds of change. Our fates were intertwined, the connection charging the air like a living thing. I knew, in that moment, my life would never be the same.

© 2015 Samantha Redstreake Geary