“The Witches’ Bridge” - Adele Gardner

My story takes place in a fictional version of one of my favorite places in Virginia, Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens, Williamsburg.  I’ve been attending Howl-O-Scream with my brother Theo, and often my sister Melody, since it first began, and I look forward to it every year.  If you love Halloween like I do, this is the place to be!  Get yourself a pass and go back as many times as you can!  There are so many spooky treats, from haunted mazes (at a variety of fear levels) to roving monsters to spooky music to Halloween song-and-dance numbers (including the Count in the Sesame Street Forest of Fun).  The decorations throughout the park are fantastic.  All the shops are filled with ghoulish goods, and some of these haunted mazes are so creepy I find myself actually believing I’m trapped in the catacombs with living skeletons!

 One year, I actually saw something so frighteningly real it inspired this story.  I stood in terror, wondering if I dared intervene, while a man bounced a protesting woman in his arms, dangerously close to the railing of a bridge.  But thankfully that real-life story did not take the direction mine does.  What happens in my story is entirely fictitious.  And I’ve always found Busch Gardens to be an extremely safety-conscious and safe place.

 Can you tell I love Halloween with a passion?  Every year, I celebrate by creating new costumes, running through as many haunted houses as I can find, and writing more Halloween stories and poems, usually by night on black paper with a raven nearby . . . a little black cat . . . and, I hope, some ghosts.  I really loved sitting in my backyard and writing “The Witches’ Bridge” in the days leading up to Halloween.  And I must confess - some of my best ideas for stories and poems are ones I’ve jotted down in the spooky ambiance of Howl-O-Scream!

Theo & Adele Gardner, terrified at Busch Gardens Photo by Theo Gardner

Theo & Adele Gardner, terrified at Busch Gardens Photo by Theo Gardner

Adele Gardner - Adele Gardner goes by her middle name to honor her father and mentor, Delbert R. Gardner—poet, scholar, and WWII veteran — for whom she’s literary executor. Adele’s Sherlock Holmes mystery, The Adventure of the Hidden Lane,” appears in A Study in Lavender. She’s had over 325 short stories, poems, artwork/photographs, and nonfiction published in Daily Science Fiction, Legends of the Pendragon, The Doom of Camelot, American Arts Quarterly, The Cape Rock, and Magill’s Choice: 100 Masters of Mystery and Detective Fiction.

Her poetry collection, Dreaming of Days in Astophel, appears under the byline, Lyn C.A. Gardner. Visit Adele on Facebook and www.gardnercastle.com.