From Arizona to Vermont – by Natasha Troop of the @LakebridgeCycle #FourthWallFriday
In honor of my transformation and coming back, I am bringing back the post that made Fourth-Wall Friday a “thing”
Sometimes a bridge is not just a bridge Natasha Troop author of Lakebridge Series
Gil was making a last minute adjustment to his trebuchet before his assault on the cracker-box castle he had constructed on the other side of the store. He already destroyed the outer wall and his forward sentries, the Christmas Moose, were eagerly signaling him to attack before the Hunter/Defender Moose regained their position. Someone decided it would be fun to dress up a bunch of stuffed moose dolls in little Santa outfits, which always made him crack up to think of a moose Santa driving a sleigh pulled by reindeer. And he could never quite wrap his head around the moose dressed up like hunters. That was just wrong.
He carefully placed the load in the miniature trebuchet’s basket and was about to fire when the little blue Civic pulled into what passed for a parking lot outside of his store. He noted that it had Arizona plates that were personalized with the letters GARRR and wondered if the driver was a pirate. He watched as a very tall woman extricated herself from the little car and marveled that they had come so far in the construction of little cars that tall people could drive them without feeling claustrophobic. She was dressed like a fashionable hippie and he could make out tattoos on her chest that he decided he would avoid staring at because if he stared at her chest, she might take it the wrong way. Then again, her chest was just about eye level for him. He supposed shewas used to it.
The woman walked in, took in the battle scene in the shop and smiled in a sly, knowing way that made Gil like her right away.”I take it the forces of Christmas are winning the day?” Her voice was deep and full of mirth.
“Indeed! One more shot and we should wipe the whole thing out.”
She motioned for him to continue. “Please don’t let me stop you from finishing your good work, then.”
He nodded to her. A forward sentry nodded to her. She nodded back to the sentry, which made Gil wonder just how much of his fantasy was fantasy. He shrugged and let the trebuchet do its work. The load sailed just over the top of the wall, taking out a small display of smoked salts made by Fletcher Donnelly, a reclusive artisan who lived about a mile down a small road that was not a road from Shelley. He apparently liked everything to taste like smoke.
He turned back to the woman.
“Just a bit off. We’ll get it next time.”
She laughed. “I’m sure.”
“So what can I do you for, m’lady?”
She walked up to the counter. “I’m on my way to Montreal on some personal business and for some reason just felt drawn to this town. Like I had to stop here.“
Gil knew the feeling. “I know the feeling. You seem really familiar. Do I know you?”
She smiled. “It’s possible. I’ve been around.”
“So have I. I was in Arizona once…“
She kind of faux-frowned. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay. Too hot for my tastes, though.”
“I know, right? I know people there who love the heat. Who think the lack of rain and seasons and all the damned heat are just the best environment to live in and I am well and truly happy for them. I am. But I don’t like to have to run my air conditioner 24/7. It’s just not what I call healthy. Plus there’s too much dust. We have haboobs, you know.”
“What’s a haboob?”
“It’s a dust storm. True story. The local news started calling them haboobs and some of the local crazies went crazy and demanded that they call the storm by American name and not some crazy Muslim name. Freedom storms? Anyway. We have haboobs.“
“I didn’t experience any of those.” It kind of made Gil sad.
“I’m sure you’ll make it through life without that experience though.“
“True enough.” He had to ask. “Are you a pirate?”
She laughed. “I’m a Pastafarian and all Pastafarians are pirates.“
“Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, love. I’ve been touched by his noodly appendage.” That sounded awful and awesome at the same time.
“Do you practice piratical activities?”
She looked around to see if someone else was in the shop. She gave a cold eye to a Hunter Moose and did that thing where she motioned with her fingers that she was watching him, which made him think of his high school English teacher, Ms. Stevenson, who actually made reading fun.
“I have been known to both swash and buckle, yes.” And then she laughed.
“So what do you do when you’re not involved in nefarious sea-based activities?”
“What’s your name?”
“We’re getting to know one another, so we should have names. I’m Natasha but my friends call me Tasha.“
“So you could just introduce yourself as Tasha then.“
“But that would make an assumption that we are friends, Gil. But we can act as friends, so you may call me Tasha. And, in answer to your question, I teach theatre arts, sometimes English, make cookies and write books.“
“What kind of cookies, Tasha?” She could be his friend.
“They started off as snickerdoodles and evolved.”
“Evolved?” It made Gil imagine cookies possessed of intelligence, which frightened him because he imagined Tasha as a piratical captain with a crew of strangely possessed pastries.
“My spouse and I decided to fill them with deliciousness.”
“Much better than filling them with awfulness.“
“What do you write about?”
Tasha smiled. “I write about how people think and how that affects the way they process the world. Minds don’t work in a straight line. Thoughts meander and travel great distances before making their way back to the point. My work is full of tangential narratives. Right now, I’m doing a kind of experiment in horror fiction where I’m writing four books about a series of events in a small town. Each book is written using a different horror sub-genre.”
Gil smiled as if he knew what she was talking about but actually just kind of thought she was obviously an English teacher.
“So what can I get for you?”
“I actually came in to see if you had any birch beer. My spouse and I honeymooned up in these parts and fell in love with the stuff. We actually ended up in Salem on Halloween. It’s our favorite holiday and this is our favorite part of the world. Salem was a blast, but we really fell in love with Vermont most of all.”
“What’s not to love? So where is he?”
“She’s out in the car waiting for me to bring her some.”
Gil raised an eyebrow. “She?”
Tasha smiled and nodded.
He shrugged. It wasn’t like he hadn’t met a good number of lesbian couples in his life. He did live in Vermont after all. “I have a few bottles back in the cooler.“
She went back to the cooler and grabbed two bottles, careful not to disturb the battlefield a she brought them up to the counter. She opened her blue purse that had an insignia of a hitchhiking hand on it and the words, “DON’T PANIC” in large, friendly letters on the outside. It seemed to be made of terrycloth. She saw him look and smiled.
“It was a present from my friend, Becca, for my 42nd birthday. Because now I know the answers to life, the universe, and everything.”
“And those would be?”
“Don’t keep your spouse waiting too long in the car for starters.” She saw the apple cider donuts. “I’ll take a bag full of those, however. Nothing says, ‘I’m sorry’ like a warm bag of donuts.”
Gil laughed because he felt exactly the same way. “It’s a good thing you stopped in just now. The donuts are free with any purchase today.”
She smiled. “You don’t have to do that, Gil.”
“I don’t have to do anything. I just do things as I will.“
“Fair enough.” She left a $20 on the counter and started walking out with her purchases.
Gil began to protest and then thought better of it. She was within her rights to do as she would as well. “Have a great trip up north!”
She turned as she was exiting. “Thanks, Gil. Good to know you. I’ve heard there’s a covered bridge in these parts. Know anything about that?”
For a moment Gil thought to show her the Lakebridge, but he liked her too much. “Nothing worth seeing, Tasha.”
She nodded. “Have fun storming the castle!”
He watched her carefully reinsert herself into her little blue car and drive off. As he turned back to his attack, he congratulated himself on not having let his eyes linger long enough on her breasts to see what was tattooed there.
Natasha Troop is the author of Lakebridge: Spring
and Lakebridge: Summer
. I cannot wait to share my thoughts on the series. Gil happens to be one of the main characters in the series. I want to thank Natasha right now for gifting me with such an incredible introduction to her world! I can only hope she has fun in Vermont and can cross my fingers she gets me some Birch Beer too!
Vermont, picturesque and lovely, attracts visitors from across the country in search for the perfect picture, the perfect fall foliage or perhaps a taste of maple syrup. Stansbury is best known for the odd covered bridge that spans Stansbury Lake and goes nowhere, connecting no roads and serving no known purpose. The locals call it the Lakebridge. Very few know of its mysterious origins and fewer care to know more.
Those visiting the town perhaps take a few snapshots and leave, their curiosity quelled by an uneasy feeling that they shouldn’t think on it anymore. The tourists will eventually leave Stansbury, but its residents strangely linger, seemingly held captive by a force they barely recognize. They also do not think about the town’s mysterious artifact much except in passing, all but Gil, his father, Ben, and a few others. They know of the bridge’s dark history and understand that it is responsible for every horror that ever befell the people of Stansbury: the people who fear the bridge but will not speak of it. The bridge makes people do things – bad things – so that it can continue to love and care for them all. Some have tried to destroy the bridge, but as long as the bridge is fed with the lives of the innocents of Stansbury it will go on – loving the people of Stansbury. Lakebridge: Spring is the first of a four book cycle revolving around Stansbury and the Lakebridge.
Natasha grew up in Southern California and received her Bachelor’s degree from UCLA in Comparative Literature. She also holds Masters Degrees in both Secondary Education and Creative Writing. Natasha currently lives in the Phoenix area with her spouse, son, daughter and menagerie of pets, including a Basset named Moose and a very overprotective collie dog. Aside from writing she enjoys teaching high school students to love theatre.
Summer will be FREE
from 5/20 – 5/24
AND if you have read the first two, you can grab Autumn to review for free HERE
If you are a horror fan, if you are a fan of the unknown, if you want your mind blown, PLEASE pick them up today!
My reviews can be found below.
REVIEW OF LAKEBRIDGE SPRING
REVIEW OF SUMMER (with a recipe from a place in the book for sticky buns)
REVIEW OF AUTUMN
If you are interested in more from Natasha Troop, especially my Fourth-Wall Friday posts from her, just do a search for her name or Peruse all my #FourthWallFriday
posts! If you are an author who is interested in participating with this amazing series on the blog, just throw me a line from my contact page!