Knowing Unknowns

Chapter Thirty-Six is finished, almost reaching the same word count as the chapter before.  Which means the next chapter will likely be a little longer, and I’ll probably ride Chapter Thirty-Seven out until just past Christmas–and that means this current section, Part Twelve, will probably finish up right around the first of the year.  After this part’s out of the way, there are only five chapters remaining until the end.

It’s almost there:  it’s almost the end.

It's almost there; it's almost finished.

It’s almost there; it’s almost finished.

Only we gotta get out of Kansas City first . . .

So . . . the question was asked:  who is this new girl?  I asked it, and you can bet other people in the story asked it as well.  Don’t believe me?  Take a look–

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

“How is it that the Guardians missed this?”

Helena was asking herself the same thing. It didn’t worry her, but she was slightly bothered that what they’d discovered hadn’t appeared in any of the documentation she’d examined while preparing for this operation. “I have no idea, Erywin.” They were back in th instructor’s suite at the hotel after a quiet, hurried dinner, and Helena wasn’t concerned that they were going to be overheard using their own names. “You read the same reports I read. There was nothing there about this.”

Erywin hadn’t stopped pacing the suite since they’d returned. “Another Aware girl—speaking with Tanith. How long have the Guardians been monitoring her?”

“Months.” Helena turned to Kerry. “You’re certain that ID is correct.”

Kerry, who was sitting on the sofa with Annie, had the tablet next to him with the information still pulled up. “Ruth McRoberts. She’s in the school system and in the same grade as Tanith.” He sat back and tried to look confounded. “It’s legit.”

“I checked it as well, Helena.” Annie sat close to Kerry and nodded at him. “The software Isis gave us worked perfectly. I also looked up her address and found her home address and mobile number. It checks out with the number I pulled off Tanith’s phone when the picture they took together was sent to her.”

“But are we sure that’s not just a cover?” Erywin didn’t care for the feelings that sprang up inside her the moment they discovered that Tanith was being visited by another girl who was now only Aware, but whom appeared, based upon the brightness of her aura, had been that way for some time. “I mean, that has happened before.”

 

Erywin is alluding to something that’s about to break in a big way in this discussion, but Helena–trying not to be the paranoid sorceress and Guardian in the room–isn’t ready to go there.  She’s her own compelling counter-arguments.

 

“Honey . . .” Helena wasn’t ready to go where Erywin was already residing. “It is entirely possible the team that was here watching Tanith never encountered this—”

Kerry spoke up. “Ruth.”

“Yeah, her. That has happened before as well.” She pointed out the window to her left of where she sat. “There’s no coverage out there; The Foundation has no presence in this city. For all we know there are more than a few people out there who are ready to become Aware, or who may already be there.” Helena slapped the chair arms and sighed. “We only know about Tanith because she’s been observed.”

“Which goes back to my concerns about this Ruth.” Erywin finally sat on the edge of the bed and slipped off her shoes. “They’ve had Tanith under observation for a while, so why wouldn’t they have picked up any signs from her?”

“Maybe because they didn’t see them together.” Helena stood up, stripped off her jacket, and tossed it on the chair behind her. “Maybe they didn’t watch Tanith as often as they wanted us to believe. Or maybe the observation team consisted of arseholes who didn’t like coming to the middle of the US and did their job half-assed.” She turned to Erywin. “That’s been known to happen, too.”

 

Yeah, it’s always possible that the Guardians aren’t always the best of the best of the best, and they did a pretty crappy job keeping a twelve year old girl under observation.  However, that doesn’t address the two hundred kilo witch in the room . . .

 

“That’s bullshit, my darling.” Erywin was having none of these explanations. Having lived with Helena for thirty years, she knew her moods, she knew her body language, and she knew when she was trying to hide concerns from others—in this case, Erywin suspected she was trying to avoid bringing up a certain subject in front of the children. “You’re thinking the same thing that everyone else in this room is thinking about this girl.”

Helena turned on her partner with intensity. “And what is everyone else in this world thinking about this girl?”

“You know what I’m thinking—”

“Yes, I’ve figured that out.”

“Well—” She waved out an arm at the sofa where Annie and Kerry sat. “Why don’t you ask what’s on their mind?”

She almost told the children to go back to their room so she could discuss this matter with Erywin, but they were the most important part of the team, and they had a right to voice their opinions. She turned to the one closest to her. “Kerry, what are you thinking about this girl?”

He kept his eyes locked on Helena and didn’t once turn to Annie. “I wonder if she’s a Deconstructor.”

“Do you, now?” She knew he’d discuss this matter with Annie, so she wasn’t surprised by his answer. After all, of the two, Kerry had come the closest to having direct contact with them, and was probably leery of most contact.

He nodded. “Yes.”

She turned to Annie. “And you, Annie?”

Annie didn’t hesitate with her answer. “I agree with Kerry: I think she may be a Deconstructor.” She cast a sideways glance to the woman on her left. “And I agree with Erywin: I don’t see how the Guardians missed this girl.”

Helena sighed loud and long. “I agree. I’m wondering the same thing on both counts.”

 

There it is, out in the open:  the bad guys may be in town.  Perhaps they came for the ribs and stayed for the magical girl, or they just are here because they are.  Either way, things have possibly become a little dicey, and Erywin–who has found herself in this position a few times–what’s to know the story, morning glory.

 

Erywin crossed her legs. “So are you pulling your plug on this operation?”

There was a long pause while Helena turned and stared out the window. Based upon how she thought this conversation would go, she’d made up her mind considering the field op before they’d finished dinner. “No.” She turned to face Erywin. “I’m not.”

Erywin was off the bed in an instance. “And why the hell not?”

“Because everyone in the room thinking this Ruth girl may be a Deconstructor is not the same as her being one. And while I could shut this operation down this very second, doing so would leave Tanith in the lurch—”

“Not if you called in the Guardians and told them to take her under their wing.” Erywin wasn’t bothering keeping her feelings concealed. “You need to bring in a team that—”

“That knows what?” Helena waved her arm about the room. “This mission? The objective? We’re that fucking team, remember?” She calmed herself before she could explain more. “We know this girl, we know the local, and we now know there’s someone here who could be upsetting this equation. If this girl is a Deconstructor, she may know Tanith is on the cusp, and she should be preparing to force her into Awareness.”

Erywin calmed herself as well; it wasn’t good to be fighting in front of Annie and Kerry. “That would likely drive here insane.”

“It’s a possibility.” She turned to Annie. “You mentioned that Tanith and this girl talked about getting together for lunch tomorrow?”

“Yes.” Annie sat on the edge of the sofa and leaned forward. “They chatting about a lot of things, but they made plans to get together for lunch about thir—” She rolled her eyes. “About one in the afternoon.”

Helena nodded. “You said you have this Ruth’s number?”

“Yes.”

“I want you to use that number and send a message to Tanith telling her you can get to the mall earlier and you’ll meet for lunch around eleven.”

Annie had been shown how to do that, so she understood the how, but . . . “Why?”

“Because we’ve moving up the time table.” Helena turned to Erywin. “I want you and the kids to be at the mall first thing tomorrow. When Tanith comes in—” She swung around and faced Annie and Kerry. “I want you to do what you were planing to do later in the afternoon: make contact, convince her you want to show her something, then take here across the street to Washington Square Park and give her a demonstration.”

 

Like it or not, Helena is right:  they are the team for the job.  They’ve trained for a month, they know the area and the target, and if they bail there’s nothing that says the bad guys don’t swoop in and take this girl ahead of time and mess here up.  It’s not a good position to be in, and Helena will likely tell the people monitoring them of this twist, and that they may need to get out in a hurry.

In the meantime, however . . .

 

Helena knew, however, that this brought out another matter—and now that it was hanging in the air between Erywin and her, it needed addressing. “Honey, you brought a weapon, right?”

Erywin nodded. “As you instructed.”

“All right.” She glanced over to the sofa and slowly turned towards the children. Time to know our unknowns. “Kerry . . .” He turned his attention to the sorceress. “What can you do, sorcery-wise?” She glanced over at Annie, then back to him. “And I know Annie’s been showing you things, so don’t bullshit us. We need to know everything.”

He looked away from Helena’s glaze for just a second before returning it without hesitation. “The stuff we’ve picked up in class—”

“No: I need to know what you can do if your life—or Erywin’s life, or Annie’s life—depended upon your knowledge.”

“Right.” He glanced towards the window for a second, the came back to Helena. “Annie showed me how to do Shadow Ribbons. She also showed me how to put up a magical screen, and how to use dark energy with regular spells, and I’ve practiced doing that with our shields and with Air Hammer. And . . .” He slowly turned towards Annie.

She nodded towards Helena. “She wants to know: tell her.”

He stared off across the room, not looking at anyone. “Annie showed me how to do Electrify, both major and minor variants.” He looked up at Helena. “I don’t know how good it is, because I haven’t actually tried it on someone.”

“Understood.” Helena turned to Annie. “You know all the same, plus Exsanguination?”

Annie nodded. “And Cold Fire. I can do that, too.”

 

There you have it:  all the little things that Annie has been showing Kerry on the side.  See, this is what happens when you have a soul mate who can pretty much kill you with a look:  she starts showing you the same things she knows.  Just imagine if they do get married and they get into a fight . . .

That leaves on last thing that Helena needs to say.  And it’s not, “We’re having waffles for breakfast tomorrow”:

 

“Yeah, that might come in handy.” She stepped back to take in the room. Helena had hoped she wouldn’t have too make this speech, but given the unknown situation facing them, she felt it was necessary. “I’m saying this now because I don’t want to waste the time saying it tomorrow. What hasn’t been mentioned—but I’m certain Erywin has already considered—if that if Ruth is a Deconstructor, she’s not alone: she’s probably working with one, maybe two other people. Now they wouldn’t have seen us yesterday, because we masked our auras, but tomorrow, when you start showing her what you can do, it’s possible if they’re watching her they’ll see you. And then they’ll know for certain we’re on to them.

“The three of you, when you are on the op tomorrow, if things go sideways and you find yourself knee-deep in the shite, you have full authorization to do whatever is necessary to protect yourself and your team. And I mean anything—so if you find yourself facing down one of these bastards, don’t hold back: kill them.” She took a slow, deep breath. “Because they sure as hell aren’t going to hesitate to kill you . . .”

 

“So, kids, this is where your education in black magic has taken you:  be ready to off someone if becomes necessary, because if you don’t . . .”  You can imagine the kids might not have the easiest time sleeping tonight, wondering if they’re gonna have to fight for their lives and dust a few Deconstructors in the process.  And they won’t get any help from friendly spirits, or magic mirrors, or an army backing them up–

This is gonna be all on them if it it should turn bad.

No one ever said being a witch and a sorceress was gonna be easy.

Team Salem on the Job

First off, happy Winter Solstice to you all.  This is the shortest day of the year, and as I told some friends, it’s all uphill from here until June.  So while I would suggest going out and dancing naked around a tree, if you are of a mind, go out and do something to enjoy the day.  Me . . . I’ll probably stay home and write.

And speaking of writing, I finished up a scene I started last night.  I wanted to get that done before writing this post, and when I was done I checked my word count to see what I’d done this early, chilly morning, and discovered . . .

I don't read anything into this, but I do find it funny I've done this three or four other times.

I never read anything into this, but I do find it funny I’ve done this three or four other times.

So there:  finishing scenes and doing research–did I mention the research?

Yeah, that was last night, and one of the reasons I was a little choppy in my writing last night, because–well, you’ll see in a moment.

The actually moves over to the Crown Center mall now, but in order to get there, Annie has to do something she’s never done before . . .

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie was glad to be out of the cold, but in doing so she’d stepped into a world that was far different from what she’d experienced before.

For one, she’d ridden a bus for the first time . . .

Their instructions had been to wait for school to get out, then follow Tanith to the Crown Center mall. Her normal routine was take the public buses to the Center, spend a few hours eating and working on homework if necessary, then taking the bus home. Since Tanith would ride the bus, they would have to ride the bus just so they could keep an eye on her.

Annie had never ridden in a bus in her life. She’d taken the subway in a few cities in here lifetime—she’d loved riding those in Paris and Hong Kong—but busses were something completely foreign to her. She had a pass and had been given instruction about how it was used. Still, it was a new Normal thing, and when it came to trying something new that everyone around was comfortable using . . .

There were no problems, however: Kerry went first, which allowed her to watch him closely. He entered and used his pass as if he’d done this forever, and Annie did exactly as Kerry. They took seats tow rows behind Tanith—Kerry let her sit by the window, which she enjoyed—and they were off to the Center.

They were fortunate that the bus route they were on, the 123, went directly from the school to the Crown Center. They didn’t say much during the trip, just kept their eyes on Tanith and tried to appear as if they fit in with the other riders.

 

Annie’s never ridden a bus.  She’s been on subways, and has probably taken cabs and hired cars–read that as limos–now and then, but this is her first time doing the public transportation thing.  It’s not a big deal for Kerry–he’s probably ridden a bus or two–but whole new thing for our Girl From Pamporovo.

And the bus thing is what held me up last night.  See, everyone thinks I’ve got all my research down pat, but not always.  I’d intended for them to take the bus from Tanith’s school to the mall because that’s what she does, but what bus?  So I had to run out to the website that handles the Kansas City bus schedules, and hunt down the one they’d take from the school and that Tanith would take home.  And what I discovered is Route #123:

Get on this bus, kids.

Get on this bus, kids.

But in finding this route, I discovered that it doesn’t run on the weekends, which sort of threw a curve at my story, because something coming up real soon involves Tanith taking the bus to the mall on the weekends, and if the one that runs by her house doesn’t do the Saturday thing, well, then, I had to find a route–or routes–that did.

I know what some of you are saying:  “Just make it up, Cassie!”  And I could, save I’m dealing with the real world here, and sure as the sun comes up tomorrow–unless it goes supernova tonight, which it can’t, so I’m certain it’ll be up tomorrow–someone would read my made up stuff and go, “That’s not right; in Kansas City–”  Yeah, yeah, I know:  that route doesn’t exist.  I’ll probably get a few like that anyway, but who cares?  I’m in the ball park, and that counts more to me.

So they’re at the mall and things are getting set up . . .

 

Tanith made their operation easy by headed for the Z-teca Restaurant, which offered quick Mexican food, mostly burritos, but tacos and salads were also available. The nicest feature for the place was the majority of the seating was outside the store in the mall concourse. Neither of them wanted too eat much as they were going to dinner after Tanish was back home, so Kerry ordered a couple of tacos for himself, and a salad for Annie, while Annie found a seat where they could watch the concourse and their target.

The phone Annie carried was enchanted so that she could eavesdrop on a person from any distance as long as they were in light of sight. Helena had told them they didn’t expect Tanith to have much to say, but she might receive a call. Annie could also pick up any text message the girl received or sent, as the enchantment could protect on to Annie’s phone whatever Tanith saw on hers.

Kerry’s tablet would allow him to work on Tanith’s aura; he needed nearly twenty seconds with the individual in the tablet camera foci to get an interactive view of their aura. They couldn’t do it while they were invisible, and there were only a few times at school where they could have had a clear view of here as it was. This would be their first chance to get her in the clear, while they were visible, today.

 

Equipment is at the ready, the kids are all set to go.  What happens next?

 

He returned to their table about a minute after Tanith sat at her table and began picking at her quesadilla. “Here ya go, Sis.” He set the salad in front of Annie, giving a wink only she could see.

“Blagodarya vi, moya lyubov.” She figured no one in the mall would know she was saying “Thank you, my love” since she didn’t expect anyone else to understand Bulgarian. She slipped in an earbud as Kerry took his seat across from her so they could mentally speak in private. Did she check her phone when she was ordering?

He almost shook his head out of habit. No. She ordered her food and headed out here. I was right behind her the whole time. He nodded towards the girl sitting a few tables away. She’s checking it now.

Great. Annie held up her phone as if she were trying to get a signal and turned towards Tanith. She was half-turned towards her when Annie launched the enchantment and received a shiver in her right arm as way of letting her know it had taken. Done. Now we can catch her conversations.

Let’s just hope she says something interesting. He reached into his backpack—which he’d brought with him from Salem—and removed the tablet that had been on standby since they’d boarded the bus. No time like now to give her an aura check.

I agree.

 

So the spying begins.  All pretty simple at this point, but do they find anything?

 

Kerry lifted the tablet and pointed it at Annie. “Here, let me get your good side.” He positioned himself so that Tanith was behind Annie and he had a clear line of sight on her. He activated the enchantment and then pretended to so something else on the display. “Just a minute; the app is being difficult.”

“Okay.” Annie knew there wasn’t anything wrong with the app, and that Kerry was simply stalling so he could give the enchantment time to work.

A few seconds later he set the tablet on the table and removed the kickstand from his backpack. I should have done this . . . He attached it to the back of the tablet and kept it turned towards Tanith. He waved Annie over. “Here you go; take a look.”

Annie scooted around the table so she was on Kerry’s left. She scanned the display. “Looks good.” She offered another opinion to him silently. You’re going to scan her constantly?

I don’t see why not; this way we can get the best reading yet. He pointed at the display. Is that reading right, you think?

I think it’s reading perfectly. Tanith’s area, seen in real time, was a yellow wavering back and forth before Normal dullness and Awareness bright. She’s on the cusp; she’s becoming Aware.

 

There you have it:  All in All, Just Another Witch in the Mall–sorry, I had to do that.  Now that they’re watching her, time to get the other player in on the show . . .

 

Yeah, that’s what it looks like. Kerry tapped his right earbud twice to bring in the other two witches on watch. Yo, Mom.

Erwin’s thought came across loud and clear. Is that a proper way to address your loving mother, young man?

Sorry, I thought you were my real mom for a second. He flashed a smile at Annie then continued. We have a positive aura here.

You’re certain?

Annie chimed in. I’m looking at the display, too . . . Moma Phoebe. She grinned knowing how much Erywin hated her code name. Tanith is definitely on the cusp.

 

You gotta love the banter between everyone, and wonder if Erywin’s gonna get called “Phoebe” now and then back at the school.  Probably not, ’cause that would blow whatever cover they have going back at Salem and make other students wonder why they’re referring to the Magical Formula instructor by the name of a spacey blond from the show Friends.

Now they know this is happening, and everyone wants to talk . . .

 

Helena joined the conversation. How are you observing her?

I’ve got the tablet on a kickstand. Kerry touched the tablet and turned it slightly as another girl about Tanith’s age sat at her table. I’m doing a constant scan.

Annie removed her phone from her jacket. I’m monitoring her conversations, too. We should start getting something because someone just sat with her.

Who?

Girl about her age. She just sat and . . . Annie caught Kerry’s sharp intake of breath and turned to him. What is it?

He nodded at the display. Look.

Annie did and swallowed hard when she saw what he’d seen. Mom?

Helena’s tone of concern carried through her thoughts. What?

We have something here we weren’t expecting . . .

 

What?  Not expecting what?  Lizard people?  A transdimensional portal?  A thirty percent off sale at Forever 21?

You guys can make your own guesses . . . and I’m certain you will.

Champagne Dreams

Yes, the post is getting out a little late this morning, but only because I just finished writing fourteen hundred words to finish up a scene I started last night.  And seeing how I said yesterday that it’s one with Annie and Kerry, some of you are probably wondering about the title of the post.  Trust me, they’re not getting hammered on Korbel when they should be spying on Tanith.  The title refers to something else.  But of course it does.

We jump ahead a few hours and we’re outside Tanith’s school.  Someone else is there, too . . .

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry sat with his back against the tree truck, keeping it between him and the steady wind coming out of the north. He’d pulled up his hood and keep his hands in his pockets trying to remain comfortable, and found he was succeeding marvelously. Once more he was happy he’d packed the microfleece hoodie his grandparent gave him for Christmas, because not only was it warm, but it had enough internal pockets to hold some of the devices he was using for this operation.

He was sitting on the front lawn of Lincoln Preparatory Academy waiting for his partner in crime to join him outside. While he’d waited for a delivery from Erywin, Annie was busy following Tanith and waiting for the right moment to secure another tag on her so she’d be easier to track with his tablet. She’d said she’d likely have an easier time of placing a tag on her, and he didn’t disagree: after all, if Tanith noticed a boy following her—tagging her with an enchantment wasn’t something they could do while bending light around them, not yet—she’d probably think it a little strange.

So he went outside to wait for his phony mother while also waiting for his real girlfriend . . .

 

The thing that comes from this is there’s a lot of waiting going on.  That’s the spy business for you:  a day’s worth of boredom sometimes punctuated by a few seconds of terror.  But the terror part’s the one that everyone likes, right?  Well, only if you’re the reader . . .

And what about that real girlfriend?

 

“Miss me?”

He turned to his left and watched Annie fade into view as her light bending field merged with his. “I was counting the seconds.” He patted the ground to his left and waited for her to get comfortable. “You have any problem tagging her?”

“No.” Annie partially unzipped her jacket and removed the light scarf around her neck. “I followed her into the bathroom and put it on her there.”

“The girl’s bathroom.” He chuckled. “The one place I can’t go.”

“It’s not that great.” She stretched out her legs. “Most girl’s bathrooms aren’t nice.”

“It’s not much better with the boy’s bathrooms, trust me. The only nice one I’ve seen is back at our school.”

Annie nodded. “I agree.” She nodded at the bag on Kerry’s right. “Lunch?”

“Yeah.” He set it in his lap. “Mom brought it about ten minutes ago.” Kerry stayed with the code names and pronouns assigned as they’d been told. He reached in the bag and removed a wrapped sandwich. “Lean roast beef with lettuce and onion—and a touch of horseradish—on rye.” He handed it to Annie. “Oh—” He removed another item. “And a dill pickle. Just as you ordered.”

“Thank you.” She partially unwrapped the sandwich and breathed in the aroma. “Lovely. What did you get?”

“Turkey with lettuce and onion—and a touch of mayo—on sourdough.” He removed a smaller bag from the larger one. “With a side of potato chips.”

“Not regular chips?”

“I will admit they do chips up better in Cardiff than they do in the States, so I passed.” He pealed open the wrapping and took a quick bite of his lunch. “Not bad.”

“Mine’s good, too.” She removed her pickle from the plastic wrap it came in and nibbled. “Though the school makes them better.”

“They do have an advantage other places don’t.”

 

In case you were wondering, lunch is served right under that tree.

In case you were wondering, lunch is served right under that tree.

The one thing to take away is if your girlfriend likes onions, you better have them, too, otherwise you’re gonna smell it on her all day.  And Kerry loves that turkey, it seems.  So, once more, they are enjoying a nice lunch together on a chilly day, only this time they’re invisible under a tree in Kansas City instead of sitting out in the open on a bench in a park in Salem.  They love their lunches together, and the discussions that come with them . . .

And their discussion this time was a bit about romance.  Annie talks about the things she’s seen her parents do–little touches, kisses, terms of endearment–and she tells Kerry that romance in a relationship is important.  It’s also noted that Kerry’s seen none of that behavior in his parents, and why am I not surprised?  Annie attributes part of his wanting affection to having spent a little of his life growing up around her, and there is probably some truth in that:  he felt her love early on, and his soul cried out for whatever she radiated.  Annie comes right out and tells Kerry the truth:

 

Annie stopped him abruptly. “You’re not your parents; not in any way. You want affection—maybe that’s because you grew up, in a way, around me and you felt what I felt.” She lay her head against his shoulder for a few seconds. “I couldn’t be with you if you were like your parents. It would kill me.”

“I know. I think that’s what the girl in my rune dream was telling me.” He rested his head against hers for a moment before sitting up straight. They both finished their lunches in silence after a few minutes.

 

Pretty harsh, soul mate, but a whole lot of truth there.  And as Kerry says, it’s what the girl in his dream was trying to tell him:  he couldn’t be cold to Annie, she would hate it, and he had to open his heart to her in order to make her happy.  Smart girl, whomever she was.

They discuss a bit of the dream from the night before, and it’s obvious that Kerry is done California Dreamin’.  They both come to the conclusion that it wasn’t so much the home that Kerry was attached to as it was the personal items he left behind.  There was love in the memories those things brought, and when he left them behind, he left behind those memories.  But the home–screw that.  He knows it wasn’t a home, not based upon the definition that Annie gave him.

And that’s when Annie begins the reminiscing . . .

 

Annie took Kerry’s hand in hers and held it tight. “About a month before my eighth birthday my mother and I went away to a house her parents own just outside Pocancy, France. That’s in the Champagne region—do you know it?”

“I know of it. It’s like north-east France, right?”

“Yes. Beautiful country: lots of low rolling hills and fields and wooded areas. My grandparents have had that house there since the 1950s, I believe.”

“Why did you go there?”

“My mother had spent the summer on a project and she wanted to get away and rest.” She cuddled up against Kerry. “We spent three weeks there, with my father popping in every so often when he wasn’t testing or racing.” She smiled as the memories came back to her. “Every other day my mother and I went bicycling.”

“You did?”

“Yes. We’d ride maybe ten, twelve kilometers, stay out all day. That was how I got to see so much of the surrounding area.”

Kerry squeezed Annie’s hand. “Sounds wonderful, Sweetie.”

“It was.” She paused just a moment before telling him the rest. “I’d love to live there one day.”

“Really?”

“Yes. I have it written in my wedding book. A little château, walled off, with a garden in the back where I can grow vegetables and herbs. Maybe a small house in the back where I can have a lab like my mother’s.”

Kerry turned to Annie, a huge smile upon his face. “You have it all thought out.”

“Yes, I do.”

 

Leave it to Annie:  she knows what she wants, and she writes it down so she doesn’t forget.  And once it’s down in her wedding book, well, hell, it may as well be set in stone.  And since this was right before she turned eight, she was already in love with her Ginger Hair Boy, so you can imagine she was probably imagining him as the Master of the House.

Maybe right close to where the grandparents live.

Maybe it’ll be right close to where the grandparents live.

She adds something else in, which Kerry catches right away:

 

“What about your lake house?”

“Oh, I’ll always have my lake house; it’s not going anywhere.” She turned and gazed into Kerry’s eyes. “That will always be there for me to us, and once we learn how to jaunt, it won’t matter where we live, we can go there for a night or a weekend and get away from everything, just rest and relax and . . .” She pressed her cheek into Kerry’s arm. “Do whatever we like.”

He didn’t need to have “whatever we like” spelled out for him; Kerry’s suspicion was that it had something to do with what they’d already seen in their wedding vision. “You just said something telling—”

“What’s that?”

“You said ‘we’. When ‘we’ learn to jaunt ‘we’ can go there no matter where ‘we’ live.”

She lowered her head slightly and looked up at him. “Does that bother you?”

He shook his head once. “No.”

“Good. Because given what we’ve seen—given the possibility that it’s going to be true—my lake house will be your lake house one day.” She gave him a quick kiss. “And my house, wherever I live, will be yours as well.”

“A little château in France?”

“That’s one possibility.”

 

What’s mine is yours, Kerry, and she isn’t hiding it.  She knows their future together is possible, and she’s going with that.  There’s also the “whatever we like” line which Kerry gloams upon right away.  It’s an unfortunate fact that they both saw something that should have remained imagined for some time, and that will have an effect on them as time moves forward.  Annie could be talking about getting the Monopoly game out and spending the evening trying to force Kerry into declaring bankruptcy, but I’m gonna say she’s got something else in mind.

Kerry’s imagining something as well–

 

Kerry slipped his hand out of Annie’s and wrapped his arm around her. “I’m thinking . . .”

“Yes?”

“One day I’d like to wake up early and get the bikes out, and ride into the nearest town. Find a small cafe and sit and have breakfast—”

“Alone?”

“No.” He pulled Annie against him. “I’d do this with the person I love.”

She chuckled. “Anyone I know?”

“You do: she’s right next to me.”

Annie closed her eyes so she could visualize Kerry’s words. “What happens after that?”

“Well, we spend a couple of hours eating and talking before getting on our bikes and heading off—maybe riding to the next town, or two towns over, or maybe even another beyond that. Then we buy some things for lunch—bread, meat, cheese—”

“And a little wine.”

“Have to do that if we’re in France . . . We take that and find a nice, shady place on the side of the road, and have a picnic. Eat, relax, enjoy the weather.”

“Sounds wonderful.”

“It would be. And when we’re done, we bike home, take a nap—’cause we’re gonna be tired—and then clean up and get ready for dinner. And if we are in France, and we can jaunt, there are so many places where we could dine.”

Annie saw all this in her mind’s eye: the riding, the picnic, resting at home, getting dressed and going out . . . “And is there anything after that?”

“Sure we go home, or . . . we go to our lake house where we rest, relax . . .” He kissed her on the cheek. “Do whatever we like.”

 

He’s going with the idea that perhaps their future together is in somewhere in Europe–maybe a walled château in France–and that they’ll have access to their lake house whenever they need to get away.  And Kerry’s words have an affect upon Annie–

 

Annie heart raced as Kerry’s ideas for their day together came together in her head and the images became real. She so wanted to speak his name right now, but knew she couldn’t, that even though the odds they were being watched were small, she didn’t want to go against the instructions that Helena gave them this morning.

She half-unzipped her jacket, then took his hand and held it against her chest. “Do you feel that?”

Kerry sighed. “Yeah, I do.”

She pressed their hands into her shirt. “That will happen one day. I promise.”

He said nothing for a few seconds. “No, you won’t.”

Annie turned her hand and gave him a shocked look. “What do you mean?”

“It’s not yours to promise.” He smiled. “It’s mine.” He quickly kissed her on the lips. “And one day that will happen. I promise.”

She had agreed last night they wouldn’t think about a future wedding, that they wouldn’t discuss the mater out of fear they would destroy the possibility of it occurring. But after hearing this, Annie could do nothing but hope and wish that their visions come true. “I’m going to hold you to that promise, my love.”

Kerry did his best to ignore his own racing heart, if only to keep the emotions running through is mind out of his voice. “I’d expect nothing less, Sweetie.”

 

Racing hearts and emotions.  I think the next novel will end up titled B for Because Hormones Are Out of Control, as that’s going to be a problem by next year.  Or will it?  Because there are probably more than a few magical ways to keep these kids from getting too carried away.

Then again, I know things about that story, and . . . I can’t say.  I’m a stinker, I know.  And until I write it down in a story anything I say makes me an unreliable narrator, because I don’t want to tell you too much of their future.

But we know now:  Annie wants a future in France.  And Kerry can see them sharing it.

Pretty nice deal coming out of a spy operation, wouldn’t you say?

I Spy From the Park Side

Here I am, back to the writing, and a little upset because I broke a nail last night while writing.  I guess that’s one of the hazards I’m going to have to deal with now, snapping off nails every now and then because I’m pounding away on the keyboard.  Or I’m going to have to toughen them up a lot more than they already are.

I’ve waited all this time to grow them out and . . . sigh.  It’ll grow back.

Operation Spying On Maybe Aware Girl has begun, and believe it or not, it’s boring.  No, really:  they’re standing in a park across the street from the house where Tanith lives, and it’s cold, it’s windy–just generally not a pleasant time.  I know the weather because I looked it up, and I know the place because I’ve even got a picture of where Helena is standing when all this goes down–

You'd be able to see her if she wasn't invisible.

You’d be able to see her standing by that tree if she wasn’t invisible.

I have something similar set up for the next scene, which is Annie and Kerry, who are elsewhere at this time.  Where?  You’ll find out.

In fact, let’s get to that right now . . .

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Helena turned up the color of here long, leather jacket against the strong gusts coming out of the north. During the night the mild weather that greeted them when they arrived in Kansas City departed and turned chilly and windy. She didn’t mind the sudden change, though: she grew up on the north island of New Zealand, and the weather went from one extreme to another all the time. And this is a normal spring day for Erywin

She turned sideways so she didn’t take the gust straight in the face. It doesn’t help that we’re more or less standing out in the open with only a since tree to break the wind. And speaking of Erywin . . .

Her partner walked up the sidewalk from the corner and turned into the park, joining her under the lone tree situated in a perfect location that allowed them to observe while affording them some shelter from the elements. She placed her hand in the pockets of her jacket and rocked back and forth on her flat boot heels. “Nothing unusual going on in the back.”

“You watched for twenty minutes?”

Erywin nodded. The house they were observing was on a street corner lot, so observing the rear area wasn’t difficult. “Started the timer on my mobile the moment you told me she was out the front door.” She patted the device out of habit. “No one sneaking in or out.”

Helena nodded. “Were you able to get a scan of the inside from back there?”

Erywin shook her head. “No. The shielding was as strong back there as anywhere else. Maybe if we jaunted up onto the roof—”

“I’m not that eager—yet.” Upon arriving outside the house after their early breakfast, Helena attempted a scan on the Granstrom Home and discovered there was a heavy shield preventing any internal scans of the domicile. Helena wasn’t disturbed by shielding being there; most members of The Foundation had shielding of one form or another around their homes, but this was well beyond what she’d seen around most places.

Not to mention that she didn’t know Kaden could throw up shielding that powerful.

 

Right off the bad Helena’s Black Magic Senses are tingling, and that’s never a good sign.  She’s a suspicious person, and they are aroused.  Also, there’s another detail . . .

 

Erywin felt the anger radiating off the person who meant the most to her. “What’s bothering you, my pretty girl?”

Helena turned away from the house and began walking past the playground equipment towards the shelter in the distance. “The amount of shielding around the house concerns me.”

“Not normal?”

“It just seems excessive. It’s not as if we have that much around our house—”

“Yes, we do.” She took hold of Helena’s right arm. “But then, you have a reason for that. I’m certain he does as well.”

Helena slowly dropped the light bending spell, allowing them to turn visible slowly. “True; he is a paranoid Sideliner.” She shook her head. “The reports the Guardians supplied didn’t mention it was that extensive.”

Erywin was the first to admit that this operation spooked her, but based upon everything she’d read about Kaden, he was worried about being observed, so she didn’t find his measures all that unusual. “Perhaps we don’t need to see inside the house.”

“It would be nice to know what he’s up to in there.” The approached the open, modern shelter—somewhat like the pavilions back at Salem—and walked inside. Helena threw up a spell to help block out the north wind and sat. “I’d like to know if Tanith is in there doing . . . things.”

Erywin sat as well. “Or if he is.”

“Of if they both are.” She shrugged. “Let’s hope the kids are having a better time of things.”

 

Things, huh?  Like . . . stuff?  Magical stuff?  Which is possible:  maybe the Guardians suspect he’s starting to show his little girl how to do magic, but, again, he doesn’t want people snooping around–like Helena and Erywin are doing.  Oh, and where are the kids?  You’ll find out next scene.

In the mean time:

 

“It’s all right.” Erywin gave Helena’s hand a gentle squeeze. “What’s next?”

“Stick to the plan: you’ll go back to the hotel for now and take what we have and transfer it to our off-site storage, and I’ll head up to where Kaden’s works and observe him for a bit. When I’m done I’ll come back to the hotel.”

Erywin nodded. “And the kids stay on site all day?”

“Yes: that doesn’t change.”

“Understood.” Erywin looked about the park and took in the chilly, blustery day. “Not how I would have expected things to start. But . . .” She patted Helena’s hand. “Could be snowing.”

“I’ve had that happen.” Helena stared across the park at the Granstrom house. Though she knew Erywin was correct—that he was probably doing what he could to keep out unwanted observation from The Foundation—she was still bothered that she couldn’t get a look inside. What are you doing in there, Kaden? What are you hiding? Do you know what’s happening to your daughter, and you’re afraid some nice Foundation people are going to find out as well?  Well, too late for that—

She shook her head. “Let’s move on.” She stood and wrapped her coat around her. “We’re done here for the day.”

 

They’re done here for the day, and so am I.  And what the kids will talk about tomorrow–

It’s not really operation related.

What a surprise, huh?

Writing, Thoughts, New Plotting, and Time

Last night was about writing, but it didn’t involve much writing.  There wasn’t any writing at all, if you must know.

There are times when one has to make certain that their story is in good shape and the area ahead not only makes sense, but isn’t full of potholes and landmines.  And of all the parts of my story, the Kansas City trip was the foggiest because it was put together a long time ago–probably started thinking about it in detail in mid-September, 2013, and initially plotted it out in started time lining and getting it into Scrivener a month later–and I was only meta sketching it at the time.  I figured in the next few months I’d get some more detail behind it as I gave it more thought . . .

Little did I know it would be almost fourteen months before I’d get to this point.

So, with Helena and Erywin safely under the covers, and Annie and Kerry in bed and in their dream, it was time to figure out what was really going to happen over the next couple of days.  But at the same time, there was unfinished business concerning the earlier dreams that Annie and Kerry had.  After all, they were a thing in the story now and I wanted to know they were in the right places.  For them, that is.

So I started getting down to business.  And the first thing I did after eating last night was download the newest version of Aeon Timeline–which was easier said that done, because the connection at Panera kept dropping on me.  It took me three tries to get it onto my computer, but get it there I did.

And with that in place, I started figuring things out–

As you can see, it went in like a dream.  I know . . .

As you can see, it went in like a dream. I know . . .

Everything from the middle of the screen and on to the right was done a long time ago:  over a year back if I remember correctly.  All the stuff to the left, however, is brand new.  There is one dream missing–their first one–but they were pretty young at the time and it probably involved a lot of “Hi.  How you doing?” toddler stuff.  But as far as the main stuff talked about in the novel so far, that’s it.  I know when the things happened, and I have an idea what they talked about or did.  As you can see, there’s a good sized gap in there–a little over a year and a half–where not a lot happens, but you can assume it involved . . . kissing.

With the story almost complete I can actually show the full A Level time line that I developed and used for the story.  Ready?  Here you go:

In all its stunning glory.

In all its stunning glory.

One thing to point out here is that those areas marked “The Big Time” and “Kansas City” take you to other time lines, which makes this less crowded.  Also, I’m not showing individual things that happened to either kid, so “Annie’s Story” and “Kerry’s Story” bring up additional information.  Needless to say, once I laid out the story in Scrivener, I went back here to verify that everything worked out, and if I didn’t, I modified the line here until it did, and then changed the Scrivener layout.  Seems like a lot of work, but when you’re 365,000 words into a story, you’ll be glad you had this proofing behind you.

And speaking of Scrivener . . .

I also laid out the next two chapters–which, story-wise, is the next two days.  Funny how that works out:  three chapters in three days.  If only I could write that fast.  It now looks like this:

So much better I have to pat myself on the back.

So much better I have to pat myself on the back.

Nine scenes.  A couple of them are pretty short, most, I think, are gonna be between one thousand and fifteen hundred words, and I dare say a couple there will pop up over two thousand.  If I use twelve hundred words as an average, then there’s almost eleven thousand words to add for these two chapters alone.  And with Act Three currently sitting near fifty-seven thousand five hundred words, this is going to take the story up closer to seventy thousand words.  Which means by the time I finish this part the story will end up somewhere between seventy and seventy-five thousand words.

Looking at this, and looking at what I have ahead, this leads me to believe that Act Three is going to come out at right around one hundred thousand words, which will make it a third shorter than the first two acts.  Oh, my dear:  how can I handle that?  Can’t complain, because I figured Act Three would be the shortest part of the story, but still:  one hundred thousands words as a stand alone novel is a pretty good deal.

With all this said, tonight I get back into the writing.  If I manage to somehow do a scene a day, then this finishes up before the end of the year, and I can write and complete Chapter Thirty-Eight before the end of the year.  There are still several chapters to go, but having looked at them and knowing what goes in there–it looks as if this novel will finally see “The End” written around the end of January, 2015.

Now I have to figure out how I’m gonna celebrate that moment . . .

Home is Where the Dreamspace Lay

Sometimes last night Chapter Thirty-Five was finished, tidied up and put to bed.  The last of the four scenes was completed, and I’m happy with them–

I wasn’t happy with how I felt, but that’s another story.  Maybe a change of pace going out tonight will liven things up just a bit.  I don’t know:  of late I’ve been in a massive funk and it’s affecting my work and my writing, and I’m not sure how to stop it.  Maybe some plotting and time lining tonight will fix things up a bit and get my mind off in a different direction.

I did catch a minor flaw in my writing, last night–at goof, if you will.  After a conversation I had yesterday about Annie and her statements concerning her attending Salem, I went back and checked out the parts of the story where she mentioned this fact.  It happened with Deanna way back at the start of the school year, and I happened with Kerry twice:  once on 1 April in Salem, and then three weeks later in Kansas City.  There was one point where Annie remembers something about the time different without realizing it has something to do with something she did her in “Last Dream”, so I left it in because, yes, these kids both have slip-ups in memory, and that’s something relating to her dream.  (And I can also have her remember that when she’s in KC, I love how to work that . . .)

But the mistake I made came about three hundred thousand words apart.  When Annie is speaking to Deanna she mentions when she discovered Kerry’s real name and wrote it down.  She also mentions that later to Erywin.  We know she told Erywin it was after Kerry moved to Cardiff, which happened after he turned eight and the summer before she turned nine.  But she tells Deanna it happens before she turns eight.  Oops.  This is where I have to make sure I get some keywords in place in Scrivener so I can keep facts like this straight, because I know stuff I wrote in November, 2013, is probably just a little off from things I wrote a year later.

But you don’t want to hear about that.  You want to know what happens next, right?

Well, Annie’s standing in the middle of a road . . .

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie squinted as diffused light stuck her eyes. The scenery began coming into view, and she glanced right and left, taking in her surroundings. She was standing in a tree-lined street with houses on either side, though there wasn’t any traffic, nor were there any cars. Sound was absent: wind, animals, music, people being outside—there was nothing was dead silence.

She gazed down her body towards her feet. She was still dressed in her blue silk pajamas and her feet were bare. She touched the pavement with here toes: it felt like she was walking on the bed’s comforter and not something hard and unyielding.

She was aware shouldn’t be here, because she was in bed asleep.

Annie remembered getting under the covers and turning out the lights. She remembered Kerry telling her good night and that he loved her, and she doing the same. She remembered rolling onto her right side and feeling Kerry cuddle her and kiss the back of her neck before spooning up against her back and sliding his left arm over her tummy.

She remembered feeling content and happy and loved before closing here eyes—

 

Oh, Annie, you lovely girl.  Talking about falling asleep in bed with your soul mate.  But now she’s standing in the middle of a street in her pajamas.  And . . .

 

“Annie?”

She turned to her right and there he stood, slightly behind her and maybe five meters away. He was also dressed in his pajamas, but he wasn’t wearing his glasses. He always wears his glasses. She took two steps in his direction as he began walking towards her. The only time I’ve ever see him without them is when . . .

The moment he was within arm’s length Kerry took Annie’s hands. “Is this what I think it is?”

Annie looked up. “Does everything feel a bit strange to you?”

“Just a little.” He reached up and touched his face. “I’m not wearing my glasses.”

“No, you’re not.” She looked down the street past Kerry, then back to him. “This is—” A huge grin broke out on her face. “We’re dreaming.”

“This is our dreamspace.” He laughed aloud. “We’re dreaming again.”

 

Finally they are back.  This is what it’s like for them:  everything looks real, but there’s just enough off to make it seem not real.  And there’s a little test, just to see if it is real–

 

She wasn’t certain how they were doing this, but Annie was ecstatic to see them back in a space they’d shared so many times in the past. “Wait—see if you can change your clothes.”

Kerry closed his eyes and appeared to concentrate. A few seconds later his pajamas vanished and he was wearing the same outfit he’d worn from Salem. He looked down at himself. “Wow. I can do this.”

“Of course you can—” Annie’s own clothing changed, though instead of wearing the outfit she’d worn from school, she was wearing a tank top, jeans, and sandals. “You’re a witch, just like me. And if I can change, so can you.” She laughed and leapt against him. “I can’t believe we’re here.”

Kerry had never seen Annie so happy before—but then, this was their private world; this was a place they’d shared so many times in the past, and now, it seemed, it was open once more . . . “When we were talking about this tonight, something must have unlocked that allowed us to get back here.”

“It must have.” Annie continued hugging Kerry tight. “We were together last night—”

“But we didn’t figure out our last dream.” Kerry spun Annie around, laughing. “Oh, man. This is fantastic.”

“It is.” Annie kept her arms draped around his shoulders as she checked their surroundings. “Do you know this place? I don’t recognize it.”

 

We’ve seen Annie singing and showing off here nail polish, and now she’s leaping for joy.  Pretty soon she’ll want to go shopping, and she’ll end up dragging Kerry into every store she can find.  But that’s for a later date and a latter time.  Right now questions are asked, and Kerry does have an answer . . .

 

He nodded. “I know it.” Kerry pointed to the house behind her. “That’s my old house on Van Winkle Drive. This is Sleepy Hollow.”

Annie stared at the house. “I’ve never seen it from out here.”

“No. The only time you ever saw it in our dreams was out on the back patio and in my bedroom.”

She remembered something that he’d mentioned after returning from Yule holiday. “You didn’t go by here when you were visiting your grandparents, did you?”

He shook his head. “No.” He looked to his left, staring down the road. “My parents did, but I didn’t want to.”

Annie slowly untangled herself. “Why not?”

“I just—” He cleared his throat and looked away from the structure. “I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.”

 

Abandonment and separation play a big part in Kerry’s psychology, and both seem to go together.  It seems as if his life in California wasn’t much better than his current one in Cardiff, but he seems to have an answer of why he misses this place so much . . .

 

There were many things that Annie remembered from their last eight months together, but the thing that stuck out this very moment was one of the first things he said to her after she’d told him she loved him. “’This is a new chapter for me’.”

He shook himself. “What?”

“You said that our first night in the garden after you told me that no girl had ever said they loved you or called you their soul made.” She gently placed his left hand between hers. “You were talking about your E&A; it was the only thing you could remember.”

He allowed his mind to wander back to that moment. “I remember I was told not to dwell on the past.” He looked at the dream house and slipped his hands into his pant pockets. “And I haven’t been dwelling—”

“So why didn’t you go by and say goodbye?”

Kerry looked down and shook his head. “I couldn’t. I just couldn’t.”

Annie touched his chin and slowly raised his head. “My love . . .”

He blinked twice. “Yes?”

“Why can’t you say goodbye?”

“Because . . .” He swallowed and motioned towards the building. “I didn’t want to say goodbye without you.” He lowered his arms to his side. “I didn’t know why at the time I didn’t want to see this place; I kept thinking it had to do with what I remembered from the E&A, that I have to write new chapters and move forward.  But I know now:  this is where we met, were we played, where we learned about each other.  That’s why I couldn’t go . . .” Kerry stared deeply into Annie’s eyes. “You should be there when I say goodbye to my home.”

 

It’s not so much the memories he shared there with family and friends, but he now knows this is the place where he first met Annie, and he wants to be with her when he finally waves this place off.

However, Annie has some words of wisdom for him–

 

She turned and pointed towards the house. “That’s not your home, darling.”

“I know: it’s just a dream.”

“No, I mean . . . it’s not your home; it never was. It was a place that you lived until you were eight, and then you moved to Cardiff.” She took his hands. “Until you find a place where you can live with someone you love, and who loves you, and you both fill that place with your love, you won’t really have a home.”

She stood to his left and hugged him as they faced the front yard. “We shared many memories there, and many more in Cardiff, but those don’t mean nearly as much to me as bike riding in our dream countryside, or the place in the mountains where we picnicked—or your tree where you read to me.” She wrapped her arms around him and closed her eyes. “That place means more to me than either of these places you’ve lived.”

Kerry sniffed once and lightly pressed his head against hers. “I never thought of it that way.”

She nodded. “I know. You think of this place as where we first met, but really—” She pulled slightly away and looked around. “This place, our dreamspace, is where we first met, where we played, where we learned about each other. This is why I’ve missed out dreams: because this was our first home.”

He chuckled. “It is, isn’t it?” Kerry turned to Annie and kissed her lightly. “It’s our home.”

“And our home is filled with our love.” Annie nodded towards the house. “One day we’ll say goodbye to this place in person, but—” She stepped back and tugged lightly on his arm. “Show it to me so we can say goodbye now.”

 

When I wrote the above passage last night I was only concerned with getting it right, with writing it in Annie’s voice–which I do hear when I’m writing her dialog–and it didn’t affect me then, but just rereading it now . . . I teared up big time.  Yeah, I know:  I’m like Kerry.  Big surprise there.

But in those words you find the one reason out of many why Annie wanted Kerry to remember his dream, and why she wanted to return to sharing them with him:  because this is their home.  And you realize–and it’s something that gets brought up in another scene–that even Annie wants and needs a home.

Probably with here husband-to-be, but we know how goes, right?

And there’s on last thing:

 

“There were.” He laughed softly. “You really want to go inside?”

“Yes.” She kissed his cheek. “And then I want to see our tree again, and rest in its shade.”

He faced the house, holding Annie’s right hand in his left. “You ready?”

She stood alongside and faced the house as well. “I am.”

“Okay, then.” Kerry nodded sharply once. “Let’s do this.”

Annie nodded once. “Let’s.”

 

Those last four lines will get used at least once a novel, assuming I ever get around to writing them.  I also know something special about those words, too–I just can’t tell you, not just yet.

So, out with the old and in with the new . . .

Just like all my other plans so far, it's coming together--more or less.

Just like all my other plans so far, it’s coming together–more or less.

And as you can see I’ve already started some house cleaning.  I’ll finalize this layout tonight, and probably do a little writing an a little time lining, and in no time we’ll be through the Kansas operation–

Safe and sound, I hope.

The Deconstruction of the Wall of Dreams

There comes a moment when you have to pull out the last of the secrets and show them.  At least in this book, that is, because while I’ve presented a lot of secrets about my kids over the course of nearly fourteen months, there are a few that will carry over into other stories.

Right now, however, we’re dealing with secrets in the here and now.

Kerry is saying he’s figured out their final dream together, the one that both have had difficulty seeing, even with his memory block of their dreams removed.  It’s a big moment because it really defines why he lost touch with Annie, why he couldn’t remember all their dream moments together.

And how does he start?

 

 All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie almost slipped away from Kerry’s embrace so she could turn and face him. “Really?”

He nodded. “I think so.”

“When did this happen?”

He looked down at his lap, avoiding Annie’s sideway glance. “After we fell asleep last night at the Observatory, I had a dream, and . . .” Now he met her gaze. “I saw something.”

His last three words had Annie wondering: did he have a dream, or was it a vision? She knew her rune dream was actually a vision, and while Kerry’s seemed to be more of a dream, one could also debate that something was telling him of a possible future, and reminding him of the steps he needed to take to get there.

Annie waved her hand at two of the lights and extinguished them; she felt there was too much light in the room, and she wanted things a bit more intimate. “What did you see?” No matter if it were a dream or vision, Annie had to know something about that last moment they shared in dreamspace.

His voice remained low as spoke. “It was short. I saw us in a fog, talking—well, not really talking, but—” His face twisted into a grimace. “I was upset, standing there with my hands over my ears, and I could hear you saying you had to go away . . .” He gulped softly. “That was really all I saw, but it was enough to get me thinking when we were flying back to the tower.

 

Something triggered him up at the tower.  Maybe it was falling asleep together and being in close proximity to Annie, and having things just chipping away inside his head.  He goes on:

 

“I didn’t go back to sleep right away when we got back to our rooms. I stayed up and thought about what happened, starting at the beginning, and then read through the books, trying to find answers to what I was thinking.” He pressed his face into Annie’s hair. “I remember, I had a bad day that day; my mom was yelling at me about something—I don’t remember what, but I remember I went to bed upset and wanting to see you—”

“I remember I had a bad day as well.” Annie’s voice grew soft and tender. “My father and she were going on about my attending Salem and how it was going to be great for the family to have another Kililovi there—” She slowly shook here head. “By the time my mother was finished I didn’t want to hear about Salem anymore, I just . . .” She held onto Kerry’s comforting hand. “I wanted to see you.”

“We were both like that.” Kerry slid down on the bed a little so he was cheek-to-cheek with his soul mate. “In bad mood and wanting to see each other. Only . . .”

“Yes?”

“When I saw you I knew something was wrong, and I felt it hit me. You asked me how I was doing, and I asked you. Then . . .” He swallowed before speaking softly and slowly. “You said, ‘I have something to tell you; I’m going away’.”

Now Annie did sit up and turn her head. “Wait, I don’t remember saying it that way. I told you that I had news, that I . . .” The realization hit Annie that the moment she’d had so much trouble remembering returned to her as if it had happened just yesterday. “That I have something to tell you; I’m going away.” The shock she felt flowed into her face. “I did say that.”

Kerry nodded while keeping his eyes downcast. “I know you said that you were going away to school in America, but that came after. By that time—” He closed his eyes. “I was already starting to lose it.”

The scene rushed back into Annie’s memory: Kerry looking sad when he greeted her; her telling him she was going away; the look of anguish that took hold as he couldn’t believe what he’d heard; she telling him in a dejected tone that she was going to America in a few months, that their sleep schedule would get changed, that she didn’t know how it was going to affect their dreams—

And the crying, the moaning, the hacking sobs as Kerry . . .

Annie’s breath quickened. She tightened her grip around his hand. “You thought I was abandoning you.”

He opened his eyes and a few tears dribbled from his eyes. “Yeah.”

 

Finally, just by getting that first little part out of the way, Kerry is able to remember what he saw, and so is Annie.  It’s one of those, “Oh, really?” moments when it happens–and because strange things happen here all the time, it’s not that unusual for it to come together suddenly.

But Annie remembering she came on a little brash?  Well, we are talking about Annie here.  And that leads here to what she remembers prior to this night . . .

 

Don’t leave, please. They all leave. Everyone leaves me. That was what he told her in the middle of his delirium during their night on the ward. Annie also remembered what he told her at the end of the first Saturday Madness: My best friend . . . and the only one who loves me. She understood the meanings of these statements: He feels I’m the only one who loves him—and that he was afraid I was going to leave him. She closed her eyes an saw Kerry in that last dream, almost screaming out his sorrow. Just as his Chestnut Girl left him . . .

Annie returned to the hollow between his arm and his warm body and wrapped his arm around her. “I’m sorry I hurt you, Kerry. I didn’t realize I was saying those things. Only—”

He continued to speak in a low, calming tone resting on the edge of sadness. “Only why did I forget?”

“Yes.”

 

Which is the reason that Annie’s been looking at for almost a year.  And because she’s so close to the subject, right on top of the matter, so to speak, she misses the most important part . . .

 

He pulled Annie tight against him, as if he were trying to merge with her body. “It finally came to me because of our meeting with Erywin in the glen. The whole things about being able to affect a person’s subconscious while in a dreamspace—

“We determined one person can’t affect another that way.” Annie rested her head against his chest. “So I couldn’t have done anything to you.”

“You didn’t have to.” He sighed. “I did it. I affected my own subconscious. Because . . .”

Annie didn’t wait for him to answer, because she knew the answer. “Because we didn’t know you were a witch.”

“Right. Neither of us knew. The only people who did were The Foundation, and they weren’t telling you, so . . .” He slowly ran his fingers across Annie’s silk-covered tummy. “I changed the dreamspace without anyone knowing. And in doing so, I changed my own mind.

“Remember in my rune dream the girl who was talking to me . . .” He reached over and lay his hand over Annie’s heart. “She said before I could give you my heart, I had to break down the walls around it. That’s what I was reading about this morning—”

Dream walls.” Annie didn’t mean to sound excited but the answer was so obvious. “You walled off all your memories of me and our dreams.” She turned her head just enough that she could see his pouting face out of the side of her eye. “That’s why you suffered déjà vu—”

“But why I’d remember things every so often—usually when I was really upset.”

“You were getting upset—”

“—Because I was remembering. Not just the dream, but why I walled them off.” He turned his head as Annie did, and they were almost chin-to-chin as his spoke. “That’s why I didn’t remember anything: because I didn’t want to remember. I thought you were abandoning me, but before you could talk me down, before you could reassure me that things would be okay, I used magic before you knew what I was doing. I put everything behind a dream wall and sealed it off.” Kerry bowed his head. “I did that because I didn’t want to live without you in my life—so I removed you from my life.”

 

What happens when you have a secret witch getting all out of their mind over something?  They run the risk of doing magic and screwing things up.  Just as on this operation they’re doing they’re worried Tanith will do something in public that will hurt others, Kerry did something that hurt him–well, it messed up his ability to remember something that was important to him.  All because he’s quick to lose it emotionally, and he didn’t know he know magic.

And now Annie knows this:

 

She heard the pain in his voice: he’s still blaming himself for what happened. “Kerry, it’s not your fault for what happened. We were both in bad moods, I approached you wrong, and . . .” She shook her head. “I would have made it better if I’d been able.”

He nodded. “I know.”

“I never wanted to hurt you; I never want you hurt.” She kissed his nose before lightly caressing his lips. “I think I know why I forgot what happened, too.”

“Because you realized, at some level, that you’d set me off.” He turned his head and sighed so he wouldn’t exhale into Annie’s face. “And in doing so, you’d somehow pushed me away.”

“That sounds right. I could remember you—”

“And you remembered that you wanted me back.” For the first time he smiled. “I got that part.”

“I did: more than anything.”

He pulled her close and kissed her. “Why did you want me to remember everything? Even after I feel in love with you again?”

“Because I wanted all of you.” Annie settled back into his arms. “I wanted you to return to every moment we ever shared, because all of those moment were the best of my life.” She grinned. “And you should know by now, when I want something—”

“You get it.” He hugged her tight. “I know.”

 

All better now–right?  It would seem that things are right in the world again.  And it’s a simple reason why Annie wanted him to remember:  because she wanted him back.  All of him.  Because she’s a selfish girl, and no way in hell was she going to leave him not knowing everything they did.

There is, however, a final revelation . . .

 

Annie closed her eyes and found herself drifting. “It’s funny, but now I can remember it all.”

“So can I.” He used simple levitation to adjust the pillow behind his back. “I think I broke down the last bit of the wall around my heart, and that probably affect whatever block you had.”

The implication of such a thing washed over Annie. “Does that mean we’ll share dreamspace again?”

“It might. One of the books indicated that lucid dreaming is easier when there are no barriers in your subconscious to hinder your progress.” He shrugged. “We’ll have to see.”

Oh, I hope it’s so . . . Annie drew in a deep breath and released it slowly, feeling cleansed after. “I’m so glad I had you read all those books.”

Kerry said nothing for almost five seconds, then quietly cleared his throat. “I wonder if it was you who had me read those books?”

“You know—” She barely turned her head as she gazed to here left. “What are you thinking?”

“It was our first day at school, I knew nothing about magic, we go visit the school seer—who we won’t have class with for three years—and a while later you’ve got me reading all sorts of books on divination and visions and dreams . . . With all the magic I could have studied, why that?” He almost whispered the question. “Didn’t you say Deanna had us in a trance?”

Deanna’s words in the hospital a few weeks came tripping back into Annie’s memory—You were in a trance for almost eight minutes: it was necessary—and it made her wonder what else the Seer saw in her vision on the flight over the day before. Did she see herself giving me an hypnotic suggestion to put Kerry on that path because she knew it would bring us to this point? “If you don’t mind, I’d rather not think about that because—” She half turned in his arms. “—I don’t want to imagine what else Deanna may know about us.”

Talk about secrets.  Is Deanna responsible for getting them to this point?  Breaking down Kerry’s walls and returning him to Annie?  Did she know this all along, even that first time when Annie came to see her?  Hummmm . . . I could tell you, but I won’t.

I will, however, leave you with my kids getting into something else here.

 

Annie threw her right arm over Kerry’s body and hugged him. “But we’re here, love. We’re together, we’re alone—and we’re back to where we were a year ago.” She glanced upwards at his face. “At least I hope we are.”

“We’ll find out.” He touched the towel. “How’s the hair?”

“Dry by now.” She untangled herself from Kerry’s arms. “I just need to brush it out and we can go to bed.”

She was about to slide off the bed when Kerry lightly touched her arm. “Can I ask something?”

Annie turned back toward him. “Sure.”

“Could I . . .” A red glow filled his face. “Brush it?”

She whipped the towel off here head and let her hair cascade over her shoulders. “You want to brush my hair?”

“Yeah.”

“Why?”

“Because—” He looked down at his feet. “I never have, and now I can.”

“Well . . .” Annie’s hand slid over and took Kerry’s. “If you do this, I might get used to it.”

“But can’t do it unless we’re alone, so I wouldn’t be able to do it at school.”

“Then maybe—” Her eyes sparkled. “That will come after we graduate.” She slid off the bed and pulled him towards her. “Come along, my love: I’ll show you how it’s done.”

 

Uh, oh, Kerry.  You better not do that!  First it’s brushing her hair, then it’s fixing the cabinets in the kitchen.  Just you wait . . .

Last night was two thousand and eight words of fun.  Really, it was.  I thought I would be upset writing, because I was suffering some major depression, but writing about it pulled me out.  And now–

There's only one last thing for them to do before they gotta get to work.

There’s only one last thing for them to do before they gotta get to work.

By the time they get back to school they’re going to be completely different kids . . .