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Sweet Fears & Horrors – Sticky Buns & Lakebridge : Spring (review & a recipe)

Lakebridge: Spring

Lakebridge: Summer

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.

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There is a running theme here on my website, a theme that fits within a sub-genre under horror in fictional  literature.. But I have an issue with the term genre. When someone asks me what genre I read, I run my mouth off with a list of things that apparently fit the bill but frankly I read from where it has taken me emotionally, psychologically, intellectually and even physically. Horror is one of these things. It is not a genre, It is a term used by the masses because we as a society find the need to label everything and fit it in its own special little niche.

 

 

As children we are afraid of the shadow of a tree branch across the quilt that grandma just tucked around us. We continue to have our heart rate increase as the clown that lives in the closet starts moving the boxes of old clothes around on his way closer and closer. The gurgling of the toilet is actually the alligator your brother told you about right before you went to sleep by yourself for the first time in the guest bedroom instead of the kids room with the babies. As we grow older our fears are laced by the world outside those bedroom walls. We are tainted with real world horrors, the terror of the falling towers, the death of our grandmother, the sniffle our child has turning out to be something so serious it requires them to be hospitalized, our imagination is lost to those of the real world. However in the case of a well written tale of horror, the author infringes our psyches, bypassing rational thought and stroking the fears and terrors we put into the back of the closet behind the box holding that quilt that used to keep us safe.

 

The experience I had was layer upon layer of different emotions which the characters pulled from me, dragging me into the closet of my childhood, and under the bed and clawing me from the safety of my cabin. To say I was a bit excited to find something which aroused these feelings of terror, which made my heart race, made me exclaim an “oh my god!” as a surprise turn in the action threw me off the cliff with the brambles in the bottom, and not the one that would have landed me in the drink is an understatement. I sat up, or hunkered down under the covers, I had to really pay attention or I would end up drowning under a bridge.

 

 

Oh yes, the bridge, just what is up with the bridge? It is New England,and Vermont, the beauty of the covered bridge is sprinkled all over the area. I used to live in New England and I remember driving every weekend to some corner of a small county just to see a covered bridge, or some other in the New England flavor. I am a huge fan of Lovecraft so living where his stories were wrought from was exciting and I live to experience, and breathe through my mouth, tasting life, not just sniffing politely in the corner of a coffee shop. I have a distinct memory of my first covered bridge, it was not anything special, that bridge but I remember looking into the shadows, not seeing the light at the other side, but of the way my chest tightened at the idea of walking through the shadows in the middle of the bridge. When I read Lakebridge, it was the thought of those shadows from my wanderlust years that popped up. As I have stated before, sometimes a bridge is not just a bridge. It drew not only me, but it drew the inhabitants of Stansbury. Each stating different reasons yet truthfully they are not. Is the bridge evil? I believe it is a symbol, a physical statement of what I believe Stansbury is.

 

As you can see, I find myself having difficulty describing this book and what it is about. It is about a small town with each character described and built much like Chaucer‘s characters within the pages of “The Canterbury Tales“, they embody the idealistic ideals of each member of a small town populace. The town sweetheart, our school teacher, the town quirky storekeeper, Gil who runs the gas station all tourists stop at, even the serial killer plays a very solid idealistic and necessary roll. There is hope, love, terror, birth, death and it is encapsulated and expanding, stretching from clearest of skies, the darkest stormy nights.

 

So go get that quilt from the box in the closet, making sure you shut the door tight behind you, Tuck yourself in and begin your own experience in the cycle of Lakebridge. Oh, that shadow? Do not worry, it’s just a tree branch, I swear!

 

But I have to give you something to snuggle up in bed with to keep your blood sugar up for when you start to really get scared. There is, or there was before it burnt down, a place outside of Middlebury that the former Sheriff Ben frequented called The Dog Team Tavern, it is based on a real place in Vermont, I hear they have these wicked sticky buns, and apparently Miss Troop was able to get the recipe! So, enjoy your horror and your sweet tooth!

 

This recipe, from the late, lamented Dog Team Tavern, is the best sticky bun recipe I’ve ever tried, and the dough can be made into yummy rolls as well.

 

Dog Team Tavern Sticky Buns
  • 1 cup freshly mashed potatoes, without peel (about 9 oz of uncooked potato)
  • 1 1/2 cups of the potato boiling water
  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 2 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspons salt
  • 1 package instant active dry yeast
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 7 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts (opt)
  • 2 sticks very soft butter
  • 1/4 cup ground cinnamon
Instructions

Stir together the mashed potatoes, 1/2 cup of the sugar, the room temperature butter and the salt and allow to cool to lukewarm. Add yeast, eggs and the reserved cooking liquid, mixing well, and then mix in the flour to form a wet, sticky dough. Knead on a lightly floured surface until dough is smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk. Punch down and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

While the dough is rising, butter two 13×9 pans. Spread brown sugar thickly on the bottom of the pans, then pour enough water on the brown sugar to form a thick, wet paste. (Optional: place walnuts on brown sugar paste.) In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 2 1/4 cups sugar, the cinnamon and the very soft butter.

When the dough is thoroughly chilled, roll it out into a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle on a well-floured surface and spread thinly with the butter mixture thinly, leaving a strip along one long edge free. Roll up dough, starting at the long edge opposite the clean edge and seal by pinching and pressing the clean edge into the dough. Cut the roll in half with the dental floss by slipping the floss under the roll, crossing the ends of the floss over and pulling it through the dough. Cut each of the halves in half, and continue this way until you have slices that are 1 inch to 1-1/2 inches thick (depending on your preference). Arrange slices cut-side-up in the pans so they are almost touching. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about half an hour. While rolls are rising, preheat oven to 350ºF (175ºC).

When rolls have risen, put in the oven and bake until golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Immediately unmold baked sticky buns onto cookies sheets and let cool. Serve warm.

Serves: 18
 

 The Lakbridge Cycle 

ABOUT NATASHA

Troop-Natasha-001

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 teaches high school students to love theatre.
Where to find out more about Natasha & Lakebridge

 

 

2 Comments

  1. Well, I don’t think I would be either one of them. I definitely would NOT be in a mini-skirt and I like to think I’m not a screamer, but I’m not pretty uncoordinated and doubt I’d be good with a crossbow. I’m more comfortable with a rifle or small fire-arm, especially revolvers. I’d probably be the type to find a good hiding place and defend myself from there, I think. 🙂
    Show me some love!

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