This is my first time hosting serial on Write Stuff. PG -13 for language
Bridger is a dystopian serial story about Charlane, a disgraced career soldier leading a security team at a remote research facility. When Char encounters a humanoid creature who claims to come from another world, she sees a chance to save her career—and the dying earth.
Char, a strong, career-driven woman, is fighting to overcome crippling self-doubt after she lost everything in a military scandal. She’d given so much to that career, including her marriage. Now she is starting over. Char doesn’t know that her value as a person doesn’t change based on what she accomplishes. Can she accept the unconditional love of those who care for her?
Our social media and celebrity culture has placed enormous value on beauty, fitness, and lifestyle. Our work culture pressures women to continually rise up the ranks and press for better jobs. All of these are worthwhile things, but they are not markers of personal value. A person is valuable because of who they are, not what they produce.
Charlane “Char” Lee-Thompson shifted her rifle. “Yeah?” Linc hadn’t said a damn thing in two hours. Char was about ready to fall asleep to the sound of her own boots crunching in the thin snow. Why had she agreed to switch shifts with Leander?
“Did you hear that?” Linc asked.
Char paused mid-step and glanced over. Through her night-vision goggles she could see Linc, also in goggles, standing still with his rifle clutched in front of him and his head tilted to one side, facing the fence.
Fort Situk was it night power-saving mode. Not a pin-prick of light shone from the metal and concrete walls of the building beside them. The nearest city was 200 miles away. Before she’d come up here she’d never seen such dark and she was damn sure that when their year-long security contract was up she wouldn’t miss it.
The wind turbines swished in slow circles above their heads.
“What did you hear?” Char asked after a minute.
“A yell, I think.”
Char tapped the button on the silver pod attached to her wrist and activated her comm. “Spurgeon, come in.”
His voice came softly over her ear bud a moment later. “Yeah, boss.”
“Were you guys yelling at us?”
“Were you dicking around?” Char asked wryly.
“No, boss.” Spurgeon sounded confused.
The other two soldiers were almost half a mile away on the other side of the compound. Char doubted Linc would have heard Spurgeon and Jesse if they screamed like banshees.
But then, it was pretty quiet.
“He says they weren’t shouting,” Char said to Linc. She scanned the barren Alaskan landscape beyond the fence, a low plain that swooped up into towering foothills.
“Maybe it was nothing,” Linc muttered. “I’m pretty, um… tired.”
Char sighed and took a deep breath, filling her lungs with smoky air. Ever since the wind had shifted to the west, the sky had taken on a bronzy hue and the air reeked like burning garbage. Leander had speculated it was Tokyo burning. The Federated American army had bombed the shit out of the Russo-Chinese city two weeks before.
They walked on and finished off the half-mile stretch of chain-linked fence, paused for a moment at the empty corner turret, and turned back.
“Wait.” Linc held up his hand. They were just about back to where he’d made them stop before.
“I didn’t hear anything,” Char said.
“I saw something.”
Linc pushed up against the fence, cupping his hands around his goggles and peering through darkness. Suddenly his body jerked.
“Boss, there’s a guy out there.”
Char followed his jutting finger. For a moment she saw just the uniform green area that represented snow. Her eyes locked onto a slow movement, a blob crawling along the ground. A head came up, and though there was no way it could see her, they seemed to lock eyes.
“Yeah, that’s a person,” Char said. She lifted her comm to her mouth. “Tower, I need a spotlight on the south side right now.”
“Copy that,” someone responded. A moment later, the white light burst from the tower. Char clawed her night vision goggles from her face and pressed her face against the fence.
A blood-streaked face lifted from the snow.
Continue the episode by clicking here.
Geralyn Wichers is a science fiction and fantasy author from Winnipeg, Manitoba
Her previous works include urban fantasy trilogy Society of Immortals, sci-fi dystopian story Sons of Earth, and We are the Living, a apocalyptic romance. Geralyn is a journalism student, photographer wannabe and coffee enthusiast.