Bed & Breakfast Bedlam - Abby L Vandiver

Bed & Breakfast Bedlam © 2015 Shondra C. Longino

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Bed & Breakfast Bedlam is a work of fiction. Any references or similarities to actual events, organizations, real people - living, or dead, or to real locales are intended to give the novel a sense of reality. All other events and characters portrayed are a product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

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Cover Design by Shondra C. Longino


Every day is the first day of the rest of your life.

Or so the saying goes. But most times, I’d say ninety-nine percent of the time, your life goes pretty much as you plan it – or don’t plan it. Mundane everyday sort of stuff. You go to college, you get married, have kids – or not. On a small scale the daily happenings in a person’s life are pretty much inconsequential and certainly not leading to anything monumental. But when viewed through the backdrop of history, sometimes, some of those insignificant, trivial day-to-day kinds of things have colossal after-effects.

For instance, the Archduke Ferdinand deciding to visit injured patients at a local hospital, and Gravilo Princip just happening to visit a certain café at the same time. Those innocuous decisions ultimately led to Princip assassinating Ferdinand and the start of World War I. Or, the small chunk of space debris innocently traveling through space that found Planet Earth in its path a few million years ago. It, in a one-in-four-hundred-billion chance, struck in the exact spot where its impact could cause the extinction of all the dinosaurs (although my mother has a different theory about that), making us have to spend tens of years and thousands of dollars to dig them up just to find out what they look like.

Archaeologists, like me, mark time around such events. Like BCE or AD (before the Common Era, although I prefer BC, and Anno Domini). Or like denoting an age, or period (like Victorian and Jurassic). Usually though, such history marking events happen over long periods, and are not classified as distinct times in our history until long after they occur.

But for me, the mammoth event that completely changed the course of my history, happened over the period of just one week. And it only took me one day to realize it.

What marked the complete and utter change in the course of my ordinary life? It was the death of a complete stranger.

Chapter One

Track Rock Gap

Gainesville, Georgia

Wednesday Night, BGD (Before Gemma Died)

My heart was beating out of my chest.

I stood with my back against the outside wall of a small wooden shed, sweat dripping down my face, and tried to slow down my racing heart. I knew if I didn’t, the sound of it thumping would give away my position.

“How am I going to get out of this?” I muttered

I felt my legs trembling, my palms were clammy, and my whole body was reeling in a flood of fear. I bent over, resting my hands on my knees, trying to catch my breath, and prayed. It seemed as if I could almost hear God saying in response, “That’s what you get, Logan.”

I should have listened to my mother.

My mother had told me not to go poking my nose (or the rest of me for that matter) into federally protected lands. But still, at nearly thirty, I had to rail against her advice just to prove I was capable of managing my life without her interference.

Look where that got me.

I peeked my head around the shed and tried to focus my eyes through the darkness.

Two U.S. Forest Service officers were shining their flashlights on the metal heap I had upended. It seemed that I didn’t have the criminal savvy or cat-like moves that I thought. Clumsy didn’t even start to describe the maze of mishaps that led me to my current predicament.

I slid down the wall, crouching I swiped the back of my hand across my forehead, and narrowed my eyes searching for a way out.

Hopefully, there was one.

I was at the Track Rock Gap ruins in Gainesville, Georgia. I had been here before – on the other side of the locked gate – as an archaeologist looking for ancient Maya ruins with my mother.

At some point, thousands of years ago, the Maya population disappeared