On Beyond September

It’s that time again, thirty days hath and all that.  The last month has been nuts, and it doesn’t look as if October is going to get any better–at least not on the surface.  I may need to start planing so I can get through the month with all my intact.

Not much writing last night because . . . honestly, I was in the middle of an emotional meltdown for most of the evening.  Hormones:  what can you say?  They can bite you hard at times, and it’s usually the Monday after my Friday injection that I start feeling the hammer drop.  But I pulled out just long enough to get a good thirty minutes in and pen all of the follow:  Annie in the Aftermath of the Morgue Comment . . .

 

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

Annie sat and ran Coraline’s last statement back a few more times: Someone not as smart would have put themselves in the morgue. And as the head nurse had said, she knew it to be true—just as she knew that Kerry was responsible for all his actions that led to where he was now. It didn’t do any good to blame Emma for his condition, because there were any number of things that could have put them next to The Diamond that wouldn’t have had anything to do with an idea she dreamt up. He could have ran when Emma was attacked—what did Nurse Thebe say? Abominations create a fight or flight reaction. Kerry decided to fight. He fought a creature that was scaring him to death, and would have killed him given the chance. And the whole time he managed to keep his wits about him to save Emma and fly off and have his accident . . .

“You should be dead.” Annie leaned forward, watching Kerry’s quiet, sleeping face. “You’re not because you struggled to stay alive and won.” She slid her chair towards the bed so she could run her fingers over his exposed right hand. “You came back to me; I know why. I wish you could talk. I wish you could tell me I helped keep you alive, that you were thinking of me—”

“Okay.” Annie quickly pulled away from Kerry and sat back as Coraline silently appeared at the foot of his bed. She glanced between Annie and Kerry before continuing what she was going to say. “Here’s what’s going to happen: first, you and I are going to get diner, and don’t tell me know, because I’m pulling my my Chief Medical Officer rank here and ordering you to get something to eat.” Coraline crossed her arms in a self satisfied way. “That means you can’t say no—you got it?”

Annie nodded slowly. “Yes, Nurse Coraline.”

“After that, you and I are going to head over to your tower—”

“Why?” Annie was almost ready to bound out of her chair, ready to challenge her.

“Because you need to pick up your pajamas, your robe and slippers—” Coraline shrugged. “Maybe your tooth and hair brush . . . ‘cause you’ll need need those if you’re gonna spend the night here and keep an eye on him—” She pointed at Kerry. “From there.” She pointed at Bed #1 behind Annie.

 

Wait, what’s this?  Annie gets an overnight in the hospital?

Seriously, what the hell is this?

Seriously, what the hell is this?

Just hope I can get thought the night in the right mind so you can find out tomorrow.

Frankness in the Hospital Ward

I didn’t intend to write last night, no, really.  I finished up a scene early in the morning, then settled down into the afternoon to hand write a six page letter that ran about nine hundred words.  Yeah, even then I’m yappy.  Then Breaking Bad was on and I didn’t want to miss that–

Except I knew most of the episodes they were running last night, so in between the moments where the show wasn’t being completely awesome, I managed to set up the next scene of Annie sitting in the hospital ward while someone near her slept, and a certain ginger head nurse comes  along and and tries to talk her into doing something else.  Usually the results are hilarious:  tonight they’re a little more grim.

 

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

20:45 to 21:00

“Why don’t we get something to eat?”

Annie didn’t bother looking at Nurse Coraline. She kept looking straight ahead, watching the unconscious Kerry breath slowly and untroubled. She watched his chest rise and drop, his face calm yet impassive, his body unmoving. Since they’d treated the last patient fifteen minutes ago, Annie was comfortable. She didn’t want to move; she didn’t want to leave.

She didn’t want Kerry out of her sight.

“Thank you.” She finally turned to look up at Nurse Coraline. “But I’m not hungry.”

Coraline smirked. “Bullshit.” The head nurse leaned against the foot of Kerry’s bed. “You’re had as much to eat today as me, and I know that’s not been a hell of a lot. You gotta be hungry ‘cause I’m hungry.” She softened her tone, hoping to get through to her young friend. “Come on, Annie: let’s get something to eat. They’re only going to keep the kitchen open for another ninety minutes.”

Annie’s face was as emotionless as Kerry’s. “I’m not hungry.”

“Oh, okay.” Coraline nodded slowly. “So you gonna sit here instead and stare at Kerry and think about how Emma is responsible for putting him in that bed?”

 

As noted, my instructors can get a little coarse with their language at times, particularly when they’re tired and hungry and not feeling sorry for little girls with mad death skills.  The thing is, she knows that’s exactly what’s going through Annie’s mind at the moment, and she won’t let her forget that she’s transparent right now:

 

“Um, huh.” Coraline took a step closer to Annie, sighing loudly. “I’m going to say something I know you’re not going to want to hear, but it’s true. You want to know who put Kerry in this bed?” She reached out and lightly touch his blanked-covered right leg. “This guy. Every decision he made led to this.” She gave him a light pat. “I can see it all over your face; you know it’s true.”

She wanted to argue, but Annie knew Coraline was right. I won’t ever tell you what to do or try either, Kerry. I can offer suggestions, or give advice, but you have to gain these experiences on your own. That’s what she’d told him that night, while he sat in this same bed, just over a week ago. He needed to do things he wanted to do and learn from the experience—thought Annie knew it wouldn’t always be easy. Learning about new experiences that way could be dangerous, and that was a lesson Kerry discovered today. “I know.”

 

I’ve spoken with people about this story, and one of the things I’ve always come back to his how quickly everyone here grows up.  The first two months at this school have been a real leaning experience for most people, and it’s continuing.  Three months ago Kerry was just another kid waiting for school to start in Cardiff, and probably moping about the house and playing on his computer.  Now he’s flying patrols, fighting monsters, and almost dying.  Not to mention the lying in the hospital unconscious and broken.

Coraline relates that one of her people and one of Isis’ people spoke with Emma–who’s now resting down in the Dining Room since she’s not as shook up any more–and she said Kerry saved her life long before she was attacked by a Lovecraftian monstrosity.  And she says–

 

“It happened when the breach occurred. They were between the points and got caught by one of the drain spells. Emma said Kerry yelled at her to land and then dropped straight down, and she followed him. She said if it hadn’t been for him doing that she’d have probably died, ‘cause she froze up.” Coraline cleared her voice. “They were a hundred and fifty meters up. That’s a long fall to your death.

“The point is, Kerry didn’t loose his head—probably because he’d heard that thing Helena says all the time—”

“A good sorceress keeps her wits about her—” Annie stared at Kerry with a slight smile affixed upon her face. “—while everything is going to hell around her.”

“Yep, that one. Kerry did just that. He’s smart and he knew how to keep his wits about him.” Coraline turned her head and looked at him as Annie was. “He was smart enough to know that Emma’s plan wasn’t that bad, and what to do when she was attacked. He figured out how to keep from being killed, and how to follow orders when he was probably scared to death.” She turned to Annie. “He put himself in that bed with those decisions, Annie. Someone not as smart would have put themselves in the morgue.” She waited for Annie to look at her. “You know that as well.” Coraline looked down the hall towards her office. “I’m being summoned; I’ll be right back.”

 

Yes, that’s what you want to hear when you’re a few weeks beyond 12:  your boyfriend was smart enough to end up in the hospital bed broken, instead of ending up dead.  It’s kind of a hard burn, but one that Coraline uses to put Annie in a different frame of mine.  “Yeah, your boyfriend did some stuff that screwed him up badly, but he might have really jacked himself and wound up dead.”  In a way it’s a nice way of telling her that she should stop feeling sad about what happened,

"Look on the bright side:  I don't have to learn Necromancy to call his ghost back so I can yell at him for being stupid."

“Look on the bright side: I don’t have to learn Necromancy so I can call his spirit back and yell at him for being stupid.”

Almost seven hundred words, and since I can see the end of this scene clearly now, I’m of the mind that another seven or eight hundred are gonna clear it up, because Nurse Coraline has something big to say–

You just have to wait to find out what.

Into the All Clear

After the busy day I had yesterday–and it was–I needed to have a small part to write.  And I knew this next scene would be small, because, well, I know my scenes.  There wasn’t much happening, so there wouldn’t be much to say.

But since it’s part of a chapter, it doesn’t need to be large–it merely needs to convey a message, to show the reader what’s happening in the story.  And this scenes gets right to the point and tells everything.  Let’s then get right into it, all of it, and what’s happening down at the school.

 

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

19:50

Upon returning to the triage center Annie imagined that things would become busy quickly, but she was wrong: almost nothing happened. A couple of students teleported in—one with broken ribs and another with a broken wrist—but they were quickly treated, after which they returned to the school grounds.

Otherwise it was quiet. Annie didn’t know if she should be worried that things were going badly for the Salem side, or if she should be happy that it was possible the Salem forces were overwhelming the Deconstructor forces.

Without updates from beyond The Pentagram, it was impossible to tell what was happening on the school grounds.

Nurse Coraline returned a little before 19:55; Annie noticed this because she happened to be standing next to one of the examination monitors and checked the time. She looked strained, but related to her staff that Professor Palmescoff was resting, that she was in a time field for now so if she her vitals should begin failing someone could get to her quickly. Coraline pulled Nurse Gretchen aside and spent a few minutes discussing something quietly: Annie suspected they were developing a plan for taking care of the professor should the current situation continue—

“Attention. This is Fortress.”

Annie, along with everyone else in the triage area, stopped what they were doing and began staring off into space. She raised her gaze slightly, not looking straight ahead but more at the darkened area that was the First Floor of the East Transept. She didn’t know why she did this, but there wasn’t anyone she wanted to turn to in this moment, and since the voice seemed to be coming from somewhere above . . .

“Based upon our analysis of our the school grounds, and information being related to us from our people in the field, and have concluded that the enemy forces which assaulted the school are now vanquished.” Isis’ voice—which Annie recognized without difficultly—tried to speak as dispassionately as possible, but she could hear a quiver behind some of her words.

“As such, the school is now being stepped down to Security Level One protocols. Which the outer defense screens will remain at full strength, The Pentagon defense screens will be deactivated, and students can leave their lower tower levels and move about the grounds—though we advice that students not venture far from The Pentagram until we are able to further assess the situation beyond the walls.

“We have also reestablished contact with one of The Foundation networks and expect to reestablish contact with the other two soon. They are aware of out situation, and Protectors are being dispatched to assist in the cleanup.

“I will instruct the kitchen to begin preparing dinner, and to remain open until 22:30 to accommodate all students, staff, and instructors. Students are now free to leave the lower levels and return to their rooms and the Great Hall.” Isis’ tired sigh was audible to everyone listening. “Thank you for your cooperation during this emergency. This is Isis Mossman, Director of Security, over and out.”

Annie wanted to run for the hospital ward, to see how Kerry was doing—Thebe had returned some time before and told her he was resting comfortably—but at the moment the teleport alarm went off and three people appeared in the staging area and slowly made their way—one limping severely—towards the triage center.

Kerry was going to have to wait.

Annie had work ahead of her.

 

There you have it, all five hundred and eighty-two words, one of the shortest scenes I’ve written.  The emergency is now over, and things can get back to–normal?  Or what passes for normal in this joint?  Anyway you look at it, the bad guys and their monsters are history, and probably in a rather permanent way if you think about it for any amount of time.

Two scenes left, and they’ll likely be close to or over two thousand words each.  Since the chapter is up to almost thirty-eight hundred words, those two scenes should drive this chapter up to near or over eight thousand words.  The next two scenes are going to be fun and hard to writer, particularly the last one, as it’s going to be personal and will reveal some secrets between Annie and Kerry.  But that’s okay, because why else be at school if they didn’t have secrets to tell each other.

And it looks as if I have plenty of space where I can tell secrets.

And it looks as if I have plenty of space where I can tell secrets.

Travels of a Crocheting Groupie

Over the years I’ve done some strange posts.  I’ve written about a variety of things, most of them revolving around writing, but sometimes I go places and do things that are interesting to others.  And there have been times when I’ve reveled things about myself that have surprised and sometimes shocked people.

This post . . . it’s a little of everything.  A tail of travel to exotic movie locations, a look at things on a long journey, and a bit of strange, personal information about me.

So, let’s get to the full disclosure:

I am a crocheting groupie.

I’ve been a member of a group on Facebook, HodgePodge Crocheting, for as long at the group has been around.  Why, you ask?  Do you crochet?  No, I am not a hooker, which is what we call someone who does.  Then why are you there?  Because my bestest friend, Tanya, owns the group, and she included me in the group when she put it together.  In fact, there are only three other people who joined before me, and the owner of the group is one, so there.

For the longest time I was a private groupie, because I wasn’t out as a woman yet, and the thousands of people in the group–yes, that’s true, we’re over three thousand strong–weren’t aware of my status as a transwoman.  But one day I jumped in on a question about gender identity in young kids, and that was it:  I was off and running.

These days I’m the Memestress and Keeper of Helena, our own Drama Llama, one of the Lorekeepers of TARDIS Knowledge, and a member in good standing.  I’ve also been promising to show off our groupie tee shirt . . .

See, a while back we sold tee shirts to our members, one with the group logo and the wording that proclaimed that we were proud HodgePodge Groupies.  Many members have already shown theirs, and I was getting questions about when I was going to show mine.  The answers were always the same:  I’m going to show it soon, and I’m going to do it at a famous movie location.

A couple of weeks ago, it was time to get to some picture taking.

To get to where I needed to go was gonna take some time, so I headed out early, pretty much as the sun was coming up, and began driving west:

Look:  mountains ahead!

Look: mountains ahead!

As you can see the Pennsylvania Turnpike is curving up into the mountains.  Just behind that “Blue Mountain” sign is the first of four tunnels I needed to traverse.  There are two just on the other side of the sign, then another about ten miles beyond that, and then further to the west, the Allegheny Tunnel, which is the longest on the turnpike.

Now, what do I do when I’m out driving for long periods of time?  Wouldn’t you know it, I shot a video!  First off, it’s not the car moving, it’s the camera:  I was holding it in my right hand while I drove with my left, and kept the vehical on cruise control.  The music is loud because that’s usually how I keep it when I’m driving.  Don’t try this at home, kids:  I’m a professional.  And at about forty-four seconds you’ll probably notice some caterwauling which is me doing my best to sing.

My best isn’t that good.

Beyond that is Sideling Hill–a place I visited last year–and this place:  Breezewood, home of a lot of places to stop and eat, as well as Gateway to the Abandoned Turnpike.

You should see this place at night--I have.

You should see this place at night–I have.

I needed to get a bit of breakfast and some coffee, and since I was running just a little ahead of schedule, it was a good place to relax and decompress.  Because I had a long ways to go to get to my first stop . . .

Right here, just south of Pittsburgh.

I heard the shopping here was a little "dead".

I heard the shopping here was a little “dead”.

I know more than a few of you are saying or thinking, “Cassie, why’d you drive half way across the state to visit a shopping mall?”  Because this isn’t just any shopping mall:  this is a famous movie location.  Monroeville Mall was the location for the filming of the original Dawn of the Dead, the second of the original George Romero zombie movies, released in 1978.  Filming took place from ten PM until 6 AM; at which point the mall Muzak came on and since no one knew how to switch it off, that was a wrap.

Since I was in the area I thought, hey, stop in and look around.  See if any of the undead are still around . . .

Zombies?

Zombies?

Yoo hoo?  You around?

Yoo hoo? You around?

Calling all Walkers.

Calling all Walkers.

Since it's fall, all the girls who love fall will be here trying to get their pumpkin spiced candles.

Since it’s fall, all the girls who love fall will be here trying to get their pumpkin spiced candles when they’re undead.

The mall has changed a great deal since 1978:  new stores, new look, probably even a layout change here and there–though the food court still looked pretty funky, so I gotta wonder if there’s been many updates there.  Since I didn’t see any zombies, I bought a pair of boots and a pair of flats.  Because . . . shopping.

Here we have Dawn of the Bitchy Resting Face.

Here we have Dawn of the Bitchy Resting Face.

But this isn’t where I really wanted to show myself wearing my groupie tee shirt.  I said I was doing it at a famous movie location, and I knew just the place.  Because before you can have a Dawn, you need a Night . . .

Night of the Living Dead wasn’t just a genre changer, it was a genre maker.  Before this movie zombies were some drugged-out losers controlled by a bokor.  Everything that we know and love about zombies started with this moving, and while many have added to the mythos, without this little film you wouldn’t today have a guy on TV running around drilling zombies with a crossbow, a woman lopping off heads with a katana, another guy running around yelling “Coral!” and a woman who wants you to just look at the flowers.

Romero started the zombie apocalypse with a virus brought back from space (just like Robert Kirkman would lie about a few decades later when he pitched The Walking Dead and said the zombies were begin created by aliens) and before you knew it, the dead were crawling around looking to add to their numbers and fill their bellies at the same time.  He didn’t have a lot of money for filming, and he pretty much had to just shoot wherever he could–like an hour up the road from Pittsburgh in Evans City.

All of the shooting took place outside a house that is no longer standing, and inside a house right inside town that is still there.  But George needed some place special for the opening shots, which would involve–what we didn’t know at the time–the first attack by a zombie on a living person in cinematic history.

Where would you do that?  Where do you think?

"I need dead people.  Where's a good place to find them?"

“I need dead people. Where’s a good place to find them?”

Welcome to the Evans City Cemetery, and that sign in the above photo was in the movie.  This is it:  Ground Zero for Zombie History, because up the winding road and at the top of the hill is where George filmed Barbara and her douchey brother Johnny visiting their father’s grave before Johnny stupidly joins the ranks of the undead.

Here’s the small chapel in front of which Johnny and Barbara stopped:

It looks a lot better when it's not in black and white.

It looks a lot better when it’s not in black and white.

Here’s the lucky couple paying their respects:

Johnny can't even remove his driving gloves.

Johnny still being a douche, however.

And the site today:

Much better in color.

Much better in color.

And then Mister Don’t Say the Zed Word shows up and Barbara trying to escape from the horror:

Run, Barbara, Run!

Run, Barbara, Run!

And almost forty-five years later, Cassidy is trying to do a Barbara.

Zombies?  Are you there?  This is Cassidy.  Come and get me.

Zombies? Are you there? This is Cassidy. Come at me, bros.

Famous movie locations:  since a lot of my friends, Tanya among them, are huge Walking Dead fans, where better to show off my HodgePodge Groupie tee shirt than the site of the first cinematic zombie attack.  And am I worried I’ll be attacked by the undead?  No.  Not only because it’s a bright, sunny day, but . . .

Back off, Walker dudes:  I got my hooks.

Back off, Walker dudes: I got my hooks.

And I bought a big one just in case things get serious:

I'd be about a million times more bad ass if I had a katana.  And I was a bad ass woman who knew how to use it.

I’d be about a million times more bad ass if I had a katana. And I was a bad ass woman who knew how to use it.

I even managed to get my get my favorite traveling companion in one shot, my trusty CR-V with almost 150,000 miles on the odometer.

 

A girl and her car can't be seperated.

A girl and her car can’t be separated.

So there you have it:  travels to Zombieland, with stop-offs for breakfast on the way out:

Good morning!

Good morning!

And a stop for pumpkin spice latte on the way back:

Here

Good afternoon.

All that took place two weeks ago, on a Sunday, the 14th of September.  But I wasn’t quiet done . . .

See, today–the day of this post–is my friend Tanya’s birthday, and one of the things I wanted to do was wish her a happy birthday in a special way.  Because she’s . . . well, she’s a friend like no other, and you do lovely things for those friends.  I had intended to film a message for her while I was snapping pictures back in Evans City, but then realized, “Nope, I’m in the zombie graveyard, I need a better place.”  Which brings me a little closer to home:  near my apartment, down in Riverside Park right by the river.

So, without further ado, my birthday greeting.

And there you have it:  the travels of a crocheting groupie out to show off her tee shirt to not only her friends in her group, but to her friends on this blog . . . and most importantly, to try and make today a special day for my friend and, in many ways, my creative muse.

Until next year . . .

End These Bed #2 Blues

What starts always has an ending, and getting Kerry into bed and mended has reached that point.  I thought about all the stuff I could have added to the scene, but the reality is you keep the story stripped down too what is needed, and not what you want to show.  Even so, it took almost another eight hundred words to get to that point.

"I could have left in the part about Annie going down and whipping Emma with some rubber tubing, but I'll save that for another scene!"

“I could have left in the part about Annie going down and whipping Emma with some rubber tubing, but I’ll save that for another scene!”

Here we are, then:  Annie and Nurse Thebe discovering that, yes, Kerry had the crap scared out of him.  And it’s time to do some clean up . . .

 

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

After handing over the clean wipes Annie opened one of the bio-bags and held it while Thebe opened one of the sterile wipes and began cleaning Kerry’s groin. As she would use up the wipe, Thebe would drop it in the open bag and unseal another package. As she was opening the fourth package the nurse cast a sideways glance at her young assistant. “You may not want to mention that you were here while we cleaned feces from his nether regions.” She chuckled. “Or that you saw him naked.”

Annie calmly regarded Nurse Thebe and her comments. She had been right about one thing: seeing Kerry now, with parts of his body broken and twisted, and large sections of his skin discolored from sickening yellows to horrifying reds to deep purplish-blacks, was heart rendering. She wanted to use his injuries to further fuel her anger towards Emma, but instead she found it driving her to help him, to make him whole and healthy again. Hurting her won’t help him him get better—but working on his like this will.

As for Thebe’s last comment . . . Annie raised an eyebrow and kept an unwavering gaze upon her face. “Yes, well . . .” The right corner of her mouth curled upward for three second before settling back to something normal.

A slight grin played across Thebes. “Yes well—” She tossed the wipe into Annie’s bag. I’m done here. Seal that and throw it into the container.” She grabbed the catheter off the cart and began unwinding it. “Then you can give me hand with this.”

 

First off, Annie’s getting out of her murder mindset.  That’s good, because there was never any option open where Annie was gonna go off all Natural Born Sorceress on Emma and torture her for what happened.  She’s starting to understand that revenge isn’t going to work, no matter how much she wants to let the Dark Witch inside run free.

And two:  what’s with the raising of the eyebrow when asked about not saying anything to Kerry about seeing him in the all together?  Of course the idea is to leave the reader guessing about what that means–and that’s what I’m doing.  I mean, I know what she means, but that’s because I’m Annie.  And Kerry.  And Nurse Thebe.  It’s a little crowded in here, let me tell you . . .

 

Thebe slowly made her way to the foot of the bed and faced Annie. “First, we’re going to reset his dislocations; I can do the shoulder on my own, but you’ll need to help me with the hip. Then we’re going to wipe him down and get him as clean as possible without scrubbing him down—you’ll take the right side and I’ll take the left, because I need to reset his broken limbs and I know how to work around them before I put on the nanobindings.”

She looked down Kerry’s body. “I’ll place those on and immobilize his left side so the shoulder and collarbone will heal. I’ll clean his face and hair and get the skull cap on. All I’ll need to do after that is get him into a gown—”

“What will I do?”

Thebe laid a hand lightly upon Annie’s shoulder. “You’ll be back in the triage center helping out. I can do all those thing in about fifteen minutes.” She gave the shoulder a slight squeeze. “He’ll be in good hands, Annie. You’ve no need to worry.”

Annie slowly turned to her left and saw her love and soul mate still out, broken and bruised—and knew what Nurse Thebe was telling her was the absolute truth. I can’t help with the bindings, but I can help those who come into triage. Once I’ve helped clean you, my duties are elsewhere

“—My love.” The sigh that escaped was slow and low, as were her words.

Thebe didn’t ask need to ask Annie what she’d said because her hearing was better than those of a natural person. And she could imagine what this girl was feeling. But she’d allowed Annie to see her boyfriend’s condition, and she’d allow her to help him as much as was possible—

After that, she needed to seed her back where she could help others while Kerry slept and began mending.

She tapped Annie on the shoulder. “Come on; we’ll do his hip first, and then you can start cleaning while I do the shoulder.”

Annie turned back and smiled. “Yes, Nurse Thebe.”

 

Back to triage with you, Annie, where things are . . . well, we don’t know.  But there’s been a little adjustment to the time line, and that might give Annie something to do.  I know there is something in the next scene that should be pretty clear based upon the scene name.  And then after that we move on to other things . . .

Just like Poppy, it keeps growing.

Just like Poppy, this sucker keeps growing.

Really, the end for Act Two is in sight.  I can see it–

Pretty much like Annie can see something coming her way . . .

Begin These Bed #2 Blues

I’ve written before about how sometimes you gotta hurt your characters, how it’s necessary to make them suffer a little so they’ll grow.  Though sometimes you just want them to hurt because–well, it’s good for the story.  Sometimes people get hurt and wounded and injured and beat all to hell because it’s gonna happen from time to time, and there’s little you can do about it.

That’s where I’m at right now:  one kid down with a case of broken body and unconsciousness, and the other there to see the effects after the cause.  And the nurse who’d trying to get it organized so she can fix the one who’s broken.

How’s that working out?

 

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

When they reached the bay with Bed #2 Annie acted at the pivot while Nurse Thebe swung Kerry’s head towards the head of the bed. She instructed Annie to release the stretcher, then phased it through Kerry’s body, lifted it over head, then swung it around and laid it atop Bed #1. She didn’t begin working on Kerry, however: Nurse Thebe instead turned and approached Annie.

“I know why Coraline wanted you to help me: she figured you’d work better if you knew what was happening to him, rather than imagining.” She half-turned back towards the unconscious boy. “This isn’t going to be pretty, Annie: he has two broken limbs and his knee is torn up again. He’s dislocated his shoulder and hip, and we’ll have to reset those. It’s likely he’s bruised over most of his body, and his complexion is going to vary from normal to red to purple to black.” She moved uncomfortably close to the staring girl. “You’ve never seen him like this before, and you might find it difficult to assist once you see him this way. If you think you’ll be unable to help, go—”

“I can do this.” Annie slowly drew in a breath and released it just as slowly. She never allowed her gaze to leave Nurse Thebe’s. “I know he won’t look good—but I can assist.” She quickly glanced at Kerry, then back to the nurse. “I can do this.”

Thebe slowly smiled. “Okay, then—” She tapped Annie on the shoulder. “Let’s get to work.” She immediately turned towards Kerry as she started giving orders. “Take a cart and go into the supply closet.” She turned just enough to point to the wall separating the bay from the waiting area. “I’m going to need the following: two Number One nanobindings; a Number Three nanobinding; Number Two skull cap; two dozen cleans wipes; a dozen Number Two bio-hazard bags; a half dozen Number Four bio-hazard bags; a half dozen medium towels.”

As Annie grabbed a nearby cart Thebe gave her the names of four IV units she’d need to give to Kerry for pain and mending, and to bring a quad IV stand. Annie reached the door to the supply closet just as Thebe shouted out the last item. “And a Number One catheter.”

Annie stepped back so she could see the nurse. “Really?”

Thebe turned and gave Annie as disbelieving a stare as she could muster. “You want him to pee the bed tonight?”

Annie shook her head. “No.” She slid open the doors to the closet and stepped inside.

 

That’s right, Annie:  don’t let Kerry pee the bed!  I liked writing this section only because it shows that in a world that knows about magic, there’s still a tie-back to advanced technology.  And there’s no better combination than Nurse Thebe herself, who is an AP, and Artificial Person, a self-aware android with magical enhancements built into her body.  You didn’t think someone taught her that magic, did you?

Now it’s time to get to business.  What was that Coraline said?  “Strip him, clean him, bind him.”  Let’s start with the first . . .

 

“All done.” She wheeled the cart to the foot of the bed and unhooked the IV stand from the corner.

“Fantastic.” Thebe held something in her right hand. “Hold out your hands.” Annie did as told, and the nurse slid form fitting gloves over her hands. “There, you don’t have to worry about contamination now. She pointed to the smock hanging just inside the bay. “Put that on.” As Annie slipped off her jacket and shrugged on the smock, Thebe moved the cart to the end of Bed #1. “Do you know how to phase clothing?”

“No, Nurse.” Annie understood the concept, but it was something she’d yet to learn, even with a little of her mother’s help.

“No problem. I’ll do most of that, then. Number Four bio-hazard bag.” Annie pulled on off the cart and was instructed to hold it open. Thebe stripped off Kerry’s jacket, folded it, and stuffed it into the bag. “Seal it and lay it on the stretcher. I’ll need to send this down to get it decontaminated.”

“Will he get this back?” Annie did as she was instructed.

“Sure. It’s just that it’s got human and Abomination blood all over it, and it’s going to need more than a normal cleaning. Another Number Four, please.”

Annie nodded and opened the bag; Thebe dumped Kerry’s flight pants in. Annie had noticed the blueish-green stains on the jacket and wondered if it had come from the Abomination: Thebe had just confirmed that fact. He not only fought it— She laid the pants next to the jacket. He damaged it. He was trying to kill it . . .

 

Kerry, aka Mr. Clueless, really was trying to off the Spawn of Cthulhu, and this is Annie’s first hint of this extremely stupid action–at least from her point of view.  But it only gets better:

 

They removed his boots and socks next, followed by his flight helmet and goggles. All that remained were his thermal undergarments, which were stained with dark splotches of blood. Thebe turned to Annie. “Do you know if Kerry wears his underpants under thermals?”

“I don’t know.” Annie didn’t. She worn her panties under hers, but she knew how different boys could be, and this was one of those areas that she’d never discussed—

“We’ll find out in a moment. Bag.” Annie held the bag while Thebe first stripped off the thermal shirt, then his leggings. She grinned as she stuffed them into the waiting bag. “I guess he does.”

Annie wasn’t paying attention to Kerry’s twisted and bruised body; her eyes were glue to his briefs. “Thebe, there’s something wrong—”

“Seal that, then wheel over the Number Two Bio-hazard container.” Thebe pointed to a green container in the examination bay across the hall. “Then ready a Number Two bio-bag. Okay?”

“Yes, Nurse Thebe.” She had the container next to them in a matter of second, then had the smaller bio-hazard bag open. “Okay, I’m—”

Thebe didn’t wait for Annie to finish. She pulled off Kerry’s underwear and dumped it in the open bag she held. “Dump it in the container, then get another bag ready.”

Before she could seal the bag, Annie was almost overwhelmed by the pungent oder emanating from Kerry’s underwear. “That’s—”

“Abominations are engineered to produce a flight or fright response in most people. I’m not surprised he lost his bowls.” Annie sealed the bag and flipped open the container with Thebe watching her. “I detected urine there as well.”

“He peed himself, too.” The more these facts pressed home, the angrier she grew with Emma, who was somewhere at the far end of the ward. She started down the quite hallway, wondering which bay held Bed #14. All I need is a minute with you. He literally had the crap scared out of him saving your worthless life

“Annie.” Thebe wanted for the girl to face her before continuing. “We have Kerry stripped; we need to clean him before I can set his wounds. Give me a half dozen of those clean wipes and ready another Number Two bag.”

 

There you go:  he fought and ran from a monster that literally scares the shit and piss out of you–and Annie is not happy.  Do not leave this girl alone on the ward floor with Emma, or it would seem there’s gonna be a bloody mess on Bed #14 to clean up.  And Annie probably doesn’t even need a minute with Emma–which is kind of a scary thought . . .

It was a strange night of writing, mostly because I managed almost thirteen hundred words, but I kept bouncing up and down emotionally throughout the night.  And since I was in public–it was “Write at Panera Wednesday”–it wasn’t like I could break down and start sobbing at my computer just to get it out of my system.  That’s one of the sucky things about writing in public.  That, and the possibility that someone will ask you what you’re doing.

I never get asked; I must look like I'm working on spreadsheets, or something.

I never get asked; I must look like I’m working on spreadsheets, or something.

Now to bind up Kerry–who I should point out is without garments while his girlfriend stands next to the bed–and move on to the next scene.  Yes, Twenty-three is coming along nicely.

The more of Act Two I finish now, the more of Act Three I can torture myself with in November.

Never Say Never Say Never Again

As you may have guessed, I’m riffing on a James Bond movie title.  And why am I doing this?  Because once again I’ve been saying there’s something I’m not going to do, but in the end I turn around and–well, it seems like I’m doing said not doing thing.

Allow me to explain.

NaNo is coming up.  If you write, and you spend any amount of time on the Internet, you know this, because about now is where everyone who writer–well, everyone who isn’t pretty much making a living off their writing, that is–begins talking about what they’re going to do during NaNoWriMo 2014.  It’s what all the cool kids do, doncha know?

You can tell she's a writer simply by the strategically placed bowl of fruit . . .

You can tell she’s a writer preping for NaNo simply by the strategically placed bowl of fruit . . .

Now, I’ve participated in three NaNoWriMos and two Camp NaNos, and I’ve had fun.  More or less.  See, NaNo is a huge lark for some people:  you get down and write, and when it’s over you file away the story and move on to something else.  For some people it’s a struggle, like pushing a huge stone up a hill, only you don’t know what kind of stone, and you’re not sure of the name of the hill, so you’re having to stop and ask questions of others along the way.

And for some, you get to the end of the month with this huge document in front of you, and you think, “You know, maybe I should edit and publish this sucker . . .”

I’ve done this last one once, and I plan on doing it again . . . once I get this monster of a Last NaNoWriMo story out of the way.

Yes, I see you.  Stop that gloating, right now!

Yes, I see you. Stop that gloating right now!

As I’ve said before, I’ve not given NaNo any thought because I’ve always writing anyway.  Of late it seems like I’m taking a night off here and there, but I’m keeping it going.  Slow but steady as they say.

Then, the other night, a friend asks if there’s anyone going to do NaNo this year, because her son wants to do it, and she’s thinking about doing it, and oh, man, it’s like dangling a big carrot in front of me, because when someone says, “Hey, anyone wanna WRITE?” I kinda want to join in the fun.  Also, she was the one who kinda sorta got me to do Camp this year, and even though I lowballed by total (I only did twenty thousand words), it still gave me a goal to shoot towards.

And since I find it hard to say “No” to this person . . .

Yeah, I’m probably going to do NaNo.  But what am I writing?  The same novel I started for last year’s NaNo.

Now hold up there, ’cause don’t start in with the “But you can’t do that!” because it’s already been done:  Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus was written over the course to two NaNos, so if she can do it, so can I.  The way I see it, I can set a goal of sixty or sixty-five thousand words–as I did last time–and do what I can to take a good bite out of Act Three of the novel.  I’m hoping to be almost finished with Act Two by the end of November, so using NaNo to write out close to seventy thousand words–if that is even possible–would go a long ways towards finishing the project.

And since I’ve already planed and plotted everything, it’s just down to the writing, isn’t it?

Oh, wicked NaNo and the friends I have who like to dangle literary carrots before my eyes.  I keep trying to walk away–

You keep pulling me back.