The Coming of the Chestnut Girl

First off, I am coming to you from the Real Home, the ancestral estate in Northwest Indiana.  I made it in one piece and actually pulled into the garage exactly twelve hours after pulling out of the garage in The Burg to start my trip home.  And I only nearly fell asleep at the wheel once, about ninety minutes out from my destination.  That woke me up enough that I was able to get home in one piece.

And here I am this morning, no makeup, my library behind me featuring to the right of my head my three Pat Cadigan novel.

And here I am this morning, no makeup, part of my library behind me featuring to the right of my head my three Pat Cadigan novels.

The other news concerns the current scene.  The last time I made the six hundred and thirty-five mile journey between where I work and where I live, I was so tired that I couldn’t write a word.  Yesterday, however . . . I started out the scene during my second rest stop and managed three hundred and twenty-two words.  Last night, though it took me about three hours, I managed just over twenty-four hundred words, finished off the scene, and brought this part of the story to a conclusion.  Then I headed off to bed and slept straight through for close to eight hours of sleep.

What happened?  What did Annie and Kerry talk about?  I did considering posting recipes  for wild duck, but I know I’d get killed if I did that.  That said, let’s get into the scene.

 

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

As he spoke the last word of his tale Kerry winced and touched the side of his forehead. Both actions bothered Annie, for she assumed the worse: his déjà vu was back, and would likely affect him more than it had ever before. His description of his dream showed that some part of him remembered her and the first time he read to her under his tree in their shared dream—but there was something else mentioned, something that almost made Annie gasp.

She was worried that if Kerry was that close to the memories of his dreams, the déjà vu would not only try and prevent him from speaking, but could cause him actual harm. She eyed his broom; she thought it might be necessary to fly it to the hospital so she could summon a nurse—

Kerry shook his head and mumbled just under his breath. “Moyata polovinka.”

Annie had kept her distance while Kerry related his story, but the moment he spoke she was alongside him. “Are you all right?” She touched his head. “What’s wrong?”

“Just my head—” He shook it slowly. “I don’t know; must be the weather playing with my sinuses.”

Annie saw his eyes, saw they weren’t glazed, saw he was in control of himself. This hadn’t happened before, and when she considered what he’d said—he’d literally summoned his mate as a form of willpower—she believed Kerry was doing something he’d never tried before:

He’s fighting the déjà vu. The rune dream triggered something and he’s fighting . . . She almost gasped again. Is he trying to remember?

She ran her fingers through his hair. “With the weather changing so fast, it’s possible.” She ran her fingers down his cheek and then to his arm. Given all that he’d said, given what was happening at the moment—and given what may lay ahead, Annie knew there was only one question she could ask:

“Kerry, who’s the Chestnut Girl?”

 

Yeah, Kerry:  enough of the teasing.  Who’s this Chestnut Girl?  We want to know before a John Gault-style campaign starts at the school.

 

“When I was younger—I mean like three or four—I used to have these dreams of a girl who’d come and visit.” Kerry remained conversational and didn’t appear to suffer any sudden twitches or pains. “I don’t mean like she’d visit me at home: she’d show up in stuff that I was dreaming about and we’d do stuff—play mostly, but I can remember talking as well.

“We never went by names, though there was something she used to call me—” Annie whispered under her breath as Kerry spoke the words aloud. “The Ginger Hair Boy. Since I didn’t know her name, after a while I started calling her The Chestnut Girl, because that’s how her hair looked to me.”

“A chestnut color?” Annie brushed her hazel hair back off her shoulders, wondering if Kerry would notice.

“Yes. I mean, I was probably five when I started calling her that, what did I know?” He shrugged, then turned his head as if something had poked him.

 

Now we know:  she was a girl in his dreams.  Not only there, but Annie wants to know about something else:

 

“What was this tree of yours?” Annie found it a little difficult not to ask these questions before being led.

“There was this tree—couple of trees, really, but this one in particular—where I used to go and sit and read, because I was tired of sitting in the house alone.” A puzzled look appeared on his face as he explained. “My parents used to leave me alone the summer after I turned six so they could both work. My grandparents didn’t live that far away, so if I needed something I’d called them and they’d show up.”

“Why didn’t they just watch you?”

“Don’t know; never figured that one out. Anyway, after a while I got tired of being in the house by myself, so since I knew the code to open the garage door I’d walk to this tree with a book and sit there and read.

“There was one time when I feel asleep—at least I think I was asleep, though it didn’t feel that way—”

Annie felt him rambling, trying to move into this memory. “I know exactly what you mean; the dream is so lucid it feels real.”

“Yeah. That’s how this was. I was sitting there and she shows up and wants me to read to her. I mean, it was kind of weird, but at the same time—”

Something in his tone caught Annie’s attention. “Yes? What was it?”

He looked at the ground for a second. “It was kinda romantic. I was sitting there, she was cuddled against my left shoulder, and she held the book and turned the pages while I read. It was . . .” A bright blush spread across his face. “Sweet.”

Annie nodded in agreement, but inside she was barely containing her excitement. In the hospital I was on his right shoulder—but he remember how it happened in the dream. He’s remembering. “I does sound sweet.” She stepped up and took his hand. “And romantic.”

“It was.”

 

And, yes:  if you’re wondering, I deliberately busted up Kerry’s left side so when that same scene played out in the aftermath of the Day of the Dead, things would set up differently.  That way, when Kerry began to talk about this moment in his life, he’d get the scene right as he remembered, and this is the clue to Annie that he is remembering.  Plotting:  strange things happen.  And you’ve seen nothing yet, really, because there are more questions, and Kerry has more answers . . .

 

“It’s okay, love. There’s still plenty of time . . .” She lightly rubbed his right arm. “Did you ever see her after those readings?”

“That’s funny; she started showing up again after I moved to Cardiff.” He kept from looking at Annie, and it wasn’t long before she caught the telltale sniff of his tears. “I hated moving; I hated Cardiff. Mostly I hated leaving things behind, things that meant a lot to me. I was a mess that first week in Wales; I didn’t want to do anything. I stayed in my room all the time and didn’t care if I got over jet lag—not that my parents cared. All they’d say is I’d ‘get over it’.

“The first time I got used to sleeping on the normal time she showed up—my Chestnut Girl—”

“Yours?”

“I know.” He finally raised his head, showing Annie his tear-stained cheeks. “I got to where I thought of her as, you know . . .” He looked away for a second. “Being with me.”

Annie chuckled, knowing how close to the truth he was. “The girl of your dreams.”

“I know, it’s silly.” His face began drawing long. “You probably think I’m horrible, going on about this dream girl.”

“No, I’m not.” She held Kerry’s hand. “What happened that time in Cardiff with her?”

He perked up a little as he told the story. “She shows up, and it’s pretty obvious I’m upset—even in a dream she knows this. She asked what was bothering me, and I told her about the move and having to leave things behind, especially my bike, and how I’m hatting being in Cardiff. And she looks at me and says—”

Still holding his hand, Annie gazed into the tree line as she spoke the words that Kerry was going to say. “Would you like to do something? Would you like to go somewhere with me?”

Kerry smile and broke into a slight laugh. “Yeah, that’s what she said.” He squeezed Annie’s hand. “I remember you said something like that in London.”

 

And that last line of Annie’s brings me to this–

Note to self:  make sure you use this quote a year from now.

Note to self: make sure you use this quote six months from now.

The bottom part was first drafted during last year’s NaNoWriMo, and then edited in April of 2014, and during the edit I made sure I left a note reminding me to use that quote again.  That’s how I roll, people:  keep thinking ahead, ’cause you know the scene you’re on now will get written, and this is a good connection.  Also, I did my edit based around what I would write, so wibbly wobbly timey whimmy for real.

And what happened after he met up with her feeling all sad and depressed?

 

Rather than correct him Annie urged him on. “What happened after she asked you?”

“I said yes, and like—” He chuckled again. “Magic, there were a couple of mountain bikes next to use, and the landscape around us was—it reminded me of the Napa area in California, all hills and long stretches of fields. She asked me if I wanted to go bike riding, and we went off and road for what seemed like days.”

Annie held her breathing in check as she remembered the moment, remembered the things that happened, the words that were spoken—and what was said at the end before the dream ended. A moment that changed my life . . . “Now I know what that girl said at the end when she mentioned a bike ride.”

The smile on Kerry’s face was by far one of the brightest he’d ever sported. “It was perfect. Never got tired, never got sweaty, never too hot—just riding and talking and enjoying each other’s company. My mother told me in the morning I looked the happiest I’d been in almost a year.”

 

It made Kerry happy, and it did something to Annie as well.  (And you can ask what, but la la la, I have my fingers in my ears, I can’t hear your pleas . . .)

There is a question that goes back to the very end of Kerry’s dream, and Annie isn’t about to let it go.

 

Annie decided the moment was now: she had to follow up the rune girl’s statement and see if he remembered everything. “What did the girl in your rune dream mean when she said, ‘Look how that turned out’.”

For the first time in a stretch Kerry closed his eyes and winced, and as he did his hand clamped around Annie’s. She didn’t yelp from the quick pain: instead she sought to pull him back to his recollections. “It’s okay if you tell me, Kerry. I don’t mind, really. I mean . . .” She swallowed and hoped Kerry didn’t see the lie appear upon her face. “You’re talking about a dream girl, right?”

He kept his eyes closed as he spoke through clenched teeth. “Right—” He placed the back of his left hand upon his forehead and grunted as he did before—

Annie thought he was going to lose his connection to the memories, to his dreams—to their dreams. She pulled him close so she could whisper. “Please tell me, Kerry. I know it hurts, but you were told it would hurt. You were told it would—” Then she remembered what Deanna told her on the sofa during the Samhain dance: If you try to force these issues, they’ll never turn out satisfactorily, and you don’t want that. And she couldn’t have that . . .

“Kerry.” She continued whispering, but changed her tone from one of desperation to compassion. “Tell the story if you can. If not I’ll understand. I’ll always understand—” She kissed his tortured forehead. “I’ll always love you no matter what.”

 

For the first time there’s something Annie wants, and . . . she lets it go.  She decides if it’s gonna hurt Kerry to the point where something extremely bad could happen, she doesn’t want it.  She decides that not knowing is better than harming her soul mate.

And for that, something wonderful happens . . .

 

The pain continued for several more seconds before Kerry slowly dropped to his knees, then sat back—but he didn’t appear to be in pain any longer. “My ninth birthday—” He turned himself so he was facing Lake Lovecraft in the slowly vanishing light. “It was almost a full year that I’d been in Cardiff—and it seemed like once a week, sometimes twice a week, she’d be there in my dreams.”

Annie sat down on his left. “Your Chestnut Girl.”

“Yep. And that night I knew she’d show up. I just knew it.” Kerry stared off into the distance as he spoke. “She did. As soon as I fell into my dream, she was there, looking . . .” He slowly shook his head. “Beautiful as always.”

“What happened?” Annie slid closer, but resisted taking his hand.

“She asked me what I wanted to do—I’d told her some times before when my birthday was—and I told her I wanted to go bike riding. And we did, just like that first time I was able to sleep in Cardiff. And when we were ready to take a break—” Kerry motioned to the area around them. “We went up on this small hill, maybe like twelve or fifteen meters above one road, and sat there about two-thirds of the way up.”

He drew up his knees and hugged them as if he needed something to comfort. “We’d been talking through most of the dream, and it wasn’t like some of the things we’d talked about before: we’d started getting more personal as time went on—”

Annie hugged her knees, too. “Almost like a real person.”

“She—” He didn’t look anywhere but straight ahead. “Was. She was real. A real person with real emotions. I felt them, ‘cause she was always nice to me.” He buried his chin into his knees. “I wasn’t to her.”

 

Leave it to Kerry to beat himself up over what he thought was a dream–and then finally admit, he may have know that his Chestnut Girl was real.  And Annie helps him remember the one thing he’s kept hidden for so long . . .

 

It was in that moment Annie knew what to do, because she remembered this moment, and remembered where it led. She lay her hand lightly upon his left arm. “What’s on your mind, Kerry? You’ve been quiet since we climbed up here.”

“Just—things.” He looked down over his knees at his feet.

In that second Annie felt the way she had that night of the Day of the Dead, when she and Kerry were reliving their first dream at his tree. They were still on the north shore of Lake Lovecraft, but at the same time she could see the hillside around them, the countryside around them, the road below, their bikes propped against a low tree . . . We’re here. He’s remembering. He knows this.

She rubbed his arm. “What sort of things?” She pulled away at that moment as she didn’t want to scare him by being too personal.

“Just, you know—” He turned his head and smiled at her.

Annie smiled back as coyly as she could. “No, I don’t know. Tell me.”

“Well . . .”

“It’s okay if you tell me.” She slapped at him playfully. “Please tell me.”

“Okay.” He half-turned his head away so he wouldn’t have to look at him. “I’ve been thinking about the time we spend together, and . . .” He rested his head against his arm.

She chuckled. “Come on; it’s not fair you having secrets.”

He went back to not looking in her direction. “I think you’re a nice person.”

“Oh?” She slide perhaps two centimeters closer. “I’m really that nice?”

“Well, you’re better than that.” He sighed. “I like you.”

Annie raised her right eyebrow. “You do?”

“Yeah.”

“You like me a little?”

“Not really; I mean—” Kerry stumbled over his words. “I like you more than a little.”

“How much?” Annie didn’t bother hiding her smile. “What’s more than a little?”

Kerry raised his head off his arm and returned to looking straight ahead. “What I mean—” His voice was ragged with emotion. “I like you a lot more than I probably should.”

As she did that night, Annie reached across his body and touched Kerry’s left hand. “What do you mean?”

A pause, two seconds, five passed—then Kerry turn his body so he was able to look at Annie without turning just his head. His face was the most expressive she’d ever seen. “Annie, I love you. I’ve loved you for a long time—”

In that moment the dream spell dropped, and both were back on the shore, both sitting in the growing twilight, but Kerry was still turned towards the smiling Annie, finishing his statement. “—and I don’t know that I could ever be without you.”

A dawning awareness overtook him concerning what had just happened, but Annie wasn’t about to let the moment end that way—for she had her own part to play. “That’s okay, Kerry—” Her smile was as warm as it had been when she finally admitted her love to Kerry in the same dream. “I’ve loved you for a long time now, too.”

 

What has Annie wanted from Kerry all this time?  She wanted him to remember that, for almost three years now, that Kerry knew she was real, that they’d known each other most of their lives, and that he’d loved her for a couple of years before they met up at school.  It may not seem like much to you, but to Annie–oh, it meant the world.

And even brought this moment of comfort:

 

He reached out and grabbed her hand. “Annie?”

“Kerry?”

He tried to speak, but gasped once, twice, then almost fell into her. “It’s you.”

“Yes, it is.”

“It’s really you.” Tears began streaming down his face.

Annie pulled him closer to him. “Kerry, what’s wrong?”

“How could I not know?” He wrapped his arms around her. “How? Why didn’t I know it was you?” He hugged her, sobbing. “Why didn’t I know you were my Chestnut Girl?”

She held him in her arms, patted his back, rubbed his head, anything she could think of to console him. “It doesn’t matter, Kerry.” Annie buried her face into the shoulder of her sobbing soul mate. “It doesn’t matter, because you know. You know now.” She hugged him tight and never wanted to let go. “You know now.”

Seventy-six hundred words just to get through a bunch of dreams and hear, "You know now."

Seventy-six hundred words just to get through a bunch of dreams and hear, “You know now.”

There you are:  all the dreams told and the secrets more or less exposed.  Yes, there is something else following, and it should wrap this up nicely.  In fact, I may be able to write the next scene and the last one today.  I might actually finish them tonight.

Which is good, because the sooner I do, the quicker I can go back to torturing my kids some more.

 

 

NaNo Word Count, 11/22:  2,741

NaNo Total Word Count:  42,360

A Boy and His Dreams

First off, let me preface this by saying everything was written after getting back from a three-and-a-half hour manicure and pedicure touch-up, and after eating.  It was a great time writing, probably because I’ve had this particular scene in my head for about, oh, three years.  Yeah, these things happen, and they’re strange, I’ll tell you.

Also, last night’s scene ended up being longer than all of Chapter Thirty-One.  Ah, but there was so much more to cover, and a lot more interesting things happened.  The same can be said for nearly every scene in this chapter, but this is the set up for something important–

And lastly, if you don’t want to read something that will, frankly, come across as somewhat adult, then you might wanna go read something else.  If you are interested in what’s going on, read on–but I warn you, there is the possibility you could be shocked.

That said, onward.

 

It’s a few days after Ostara, and Coraline is summon to the hospital close to midnight.  Why?  Well, I think this might offer a clue . . .

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

Coraline stepped into the doorway of her office just as Nurse Gretchen looked up, as she always did whenever Coraline was called out in the middle of the night and checked in with her staff first. The chief medical officer of the School at Salem always wondered if her night nurse picked here up on their magical sensors, or if she used her enhanced sense to determine the exact moment someone was going to darken this doorway.

In this case Coraline already knew why she was called out, so it was a simple matter to skip the preliminaries and go right to business. “Where is he?”

“Where else?” Gretchen got up and came around the desk. “Bay One, Bed Two.”

Coraline looked over her shoulder and chuckled. “The good ‘ol One-Two.” She lowered her voice in case their visitor was listening. “You pick up anything out of the ordinary on the prelim scan?”

“Only one thing—” Gretchen filled in a specific piece of missing information. “Other than that, everything seems fine.”

“Yeah.” Coraline nodded as she turned. “I kinda figured it might be that. Back in a bit.” She headed straight for Bay #1 and knocked on the curtain frame. “Kerry?” She slowly opened the curtain and peeked inside.

 

Gee, who spends all their time at this hospital in Bay #1, Bed #2?  He’s a little out of it, and he’s feeling down in the dumps, it seems . . .

 

“Hey, Red.” Coraline stepped in and locked the curtain behind her, activating the enchantment that would keep their conversation unheard outside the bay. “How you doin’?”

“I’m okay.” Kerry slowly sat up and dangled his legs over the side of the bed.

He’s not looking at me—so unlike him. “Nurse Gretchen said you came in all upset. You wanna talk about it?”

He glanced up for just a second. “Yeah.”

“You sure?” She positioned herself so she was right in front of the boy. “If you want you can just rest here for a while—”

“Naw.” He finally looked up with tired eyes. “We can talk.”

“Okay.” She pointed at Bed #1 behind her. “You want me to sit over here?” She motioned towards Kerry. “Or would you rather have some company?”

Kerry scooted a little to his left and patted the bed with his right. “You can sit here.”

Coraline remained silent for a few seconds before chuckling. “You’re gonna treat me like all the other girls . . .”

“What do you mean?”

She turned and gently set herself next to him. “You always have the girls sit or stand on your right if possible. The only one who’s ever on your left is Annie.”

 

This is really a habit of his:  Kerry always on the right, Annie on the left, and all the other girls get to sit or stand at his right.  It wasn’t spoken of in yesterday’s excerpt, but Natalie’s equipment was set up on Kerry’s right side . . .

So what’s going on here?  Let’s let him speak:

 

“Probably.” Coraline decided she needed to give the doctor-patent confidentiality speech: she was certain Kerry knew it, but she wanted to set his mind at easy. “You’re aware that as the chief medical officer here—as well as being a counselor—that anything you say to me stays with me. I’ll only speak to another doctor or counselor if you give me permission to do so—otherwise whatever we talk about stay with us.” She leaned forward so she could see his face. “Okay?”

He raised his head so he wasn’t looking at the floor, but he looked straight ahead; he avoided looking at Coraline. “Sure.”

She started using her “I’m Here For You” tone, the one that she knew worked well at getting troubled kids to open up. “So what brings you to us tonight? It’s not like you to come here in the middle of the night.” Coraline wanted to add Unlike your girlfriend but knew he wouldn’t find the comment at all funny, not in his present state.

Kerry continued starting at Bed #1 for about ten seconds before he allowed his head to drop slightly. “I had a dream.”

 

Yeah, a dream.  And he remembers.  That’s the scary part, that he’s admitting to Coraline that he remembers a dream–something he’s probably never mentioned to her, but that Annie knows.  So what happened in the dream.  Well, um . . .

 

Kerry cleared his throat. “It was about Annie.”

“Okay. Well, then: did something bad happened to her?”

He shook his head. “No.”

“Was it—” Coraline shrugged: even though she knew Kerry wouldn’t see it, she knew he’d feel the bed shake. “You know, was she in trouble? Was she having a problem and you couldn’t help her?”

This time there was no hesitation. “She was . . . sitting on a bed.”

“I see.” Coraline began picking her words carefully. “What was she doing?”

“Just sitting.” He shook his head. “Knelling, really. Sitting back on her heels.”

“Okay, I can imagine that. Was she, um—how was she dressed?” She leaned forward a little more, trying to get Kerry to look at her. “Was she in her uniform? Or like jeans and a pull over? Maybe her nightclothes?”

He shook his head. “She, um . . .” He coughed once. “She wasn’t wearing anything.”

 

Okay, then, as my daughter would say.  So where is this leading?  Well, some of your are like Kerry, and have figured it out–

 

Coraline saw no need to stretch things out any longer: it was time to help him understand. She softened her voice more, taking on the role not of the professional, but of the confidant. “Kerry, did something happen that brought you out of the dream rather quickly? Something unexpected?” She leaned far enough forward so she could see his face in three-quarter profile. “Something you couldn’t control?”

Finally Kerry turned his head and looked into Coraline’s face. “Yeah.” He shook his head twice, then turned back to his stare point.

She sat up and let a few seconds to pass so the moment and emotions could settle. Then she reached out towards the boy. “Hey, Kerry—” She wrapped her arm around him and pulled him into a side hug. “Come here. Come here.” She offered her comfort for about fifteen seconds before she released him. She continued speaking in her soft, relaxing tone. “You had what we in the medical business call a ‘nocturnal emission’.” She smiled softly. “You’re pretty smart, so it’s a pretty good bet you know it by another name.”

For the first time since Coralie came to speak with him Kerry chuckled. “Yeah, I’ve heard it called that.”

Of course he has. “Well, just to let you know, there’s nothing unusual about this: it’s all part of growing up and going through puberty.” She gave his right arm a gentle squeeze. “And you are definitely going through both right now. Just so you know, you’re not the first boy to show up here in the middle of the night that’s had this happened—” She tilted her head towards him. “Or the first girl, either.”

Kerry turned to her, his tone indicating he’d learn something new. “Really?”

“Yep. They may not talk about it much, but it happens.” Coraline leaned towards Kerry until their heads were nearly touching. “I can speak from experience on this one.” She winked before sitting up straight again.

His face lit up as a huge grin cracked across his face. “You?”

“Yeah. I wasn’t much older than Annie is now the first time it happened to me.” She tapped her fingers on her thigh. “That’s my point, Kerry: this can happen to anyone, and usually does at least one.” Her voice returned to a more professional tone. “Have your parents ever talked with you about this? Or, for that matter, any other stuff that has to do with this part of growing up?”

Kerry scoffed. “Are you kidding?”

 

Yeah, are you kidding?  Kerry’s parents have done the greatest job of not doing anything right in raising their near-genius witch son, so who really believes they’re gonna spend some time discussing puberty with him?  Coraline offered to speak with him, as a doctor, about these “issues”, and this exchange occurs:

 

His brow furrowed slightly. “I don’t need permission from my parents?”

“Kerry . . .” Coraline chuckle was almost a laugh. “You’re a witch and a sorceress; you flew a patrol that helped defend the school; you almost died a couple of times, broke a half-dozen bones, was unconscious for almost eight hours . . . and you saved someone’s life by fighting a monster.” She turned her head slightly to the side as she grinned. “Other than the first time you asked to come here, when have you needed to asked them to do anything else?

“You now know how The Foundation works: you control your destiny, and you are the one who says whether you want to have this talk—” She shrugged. “Or not. It’s up to you, Kerry, and you alone.”

 

No, Kerry:  any kid who fights a monster when they’re eleven doesn’t need permission from their parents for a sex talk.  Besides, it’s not like his parents are aware of anything else that’s happening to him at school–or appear to care.

But wait!  It’s not just this right of growing up that’s got Kerry bothered.  See, in the dream there was stuff going on–you know, things?  And that’s what actually has him in a bit of a lather . . .

 

Coraline considered telling Kerry that Gretchen and she figured out what happened because he hadn’t done as good a job cleaning up himself, but figured she’d leave that for their talk. “You know, given the relationship Annie and you have, I’m surprised this hasn’t happened earlier.”

Kerry turned away from Coraline and stared at Bed #1 for about fifteen seconds. She wondered if he was thinking about the times she’s lay there while he slept on this bed, but that changed when he spoke. “She was different.”

“Who was?”

“Annie. In the dream.” He turned back to Coraline. “She was different.”

Coraline was curious about his statement. “How so?”

“She was . . .” While he normally didn’t have issues stating what was on his mind, Kerry struggled to explain himself. He turned to Coraline. “She was like you—” He placed his hands in front of his chest as if he were holding something. “Curvy.”

Oh, yeah: curvy. Coraline fought to keep from chuckling, but she couldn’t hide her grin. “You mean she had developed.”

“Yeah.”

“So she was—older?”

“I think so.” He looked across to Bed #1 again. “It wasn’t hard to miss: everything in the dream was so vivid.”

Coraline wanted to know more. “Can you tell me?”

“Well . . . We were in a bedroom—”

“We? You were there?”

“I think so; it felt like I was seeing things from my point of view.”

 

And establishing that, he continues:

 

“The bedroom we were in didn’t have a wall on one side—on my right: just a railing. And it was all dark except for a glow I saw out of the corner of my eye. It was . . . I think it was a fireplace, ‘cause I could hear crackling.” Kerry sniffed the air as if he’d detected an oder. “Cherry wood. I could smell it. That’s what was burning.

“I was walking on a hardwood floor—I could feel it. And when I sat next to Annie I felt how soft and cool the comforter was . . .” He seemed embarrassed. “I don’t think I was dressed, either.”

“That’s okay. Can you tell me more?”

“There was Annie.” Kerry continued staring straight ahead while his voice took on a dreamy quality. “I could smell her hair. It was nice, like it always is ‘cause she uses this special shampoo from home . . . And she was wearing perfume; I could smell it on her neck and . . .” He touched himself over his heart. “There. It was . . .” He slowly closed his eyes and sighed. “Lovely. And her skin was so soft. I know what that sort of feels like, ‘cause I’ve feel her arms when we’re in the Midnight Madness, and her cheeks are soft, really soft, and her—”

 

Astute readers are gonna notice a clue right away, but for the rest of you–naw, not saying a word.  Needless to say, after a bit of back and forth, Coraline lays things out for him to see:

 

Coraline didn’t need to consider what she was going to say next, because she’d already made up her mind. “Kerry, you know how I said that I won’t talk about this conversation to anyone—unless there’s something I think needs to be discussed with another person?”

“Yeah?”

“I think . . .” Tell him, he’ll understand. “I’m not completely certain you had a dream, and I’d like to get a second opinion—if you’ll let me.”

A slow awareness began to dawn in Kerry’s eyes. “You think—?”

“This can be a strange place, Red, and not everything we think is normal is what is seems.” She looked to him and smiled. “Can I have your permission to speak with another counselor?”

Though the dream, and the aftermath, had disturbed him greatly, Kerry agreed with Coraline that not everything here was what it seemed. “Sure. Go ahead.”

 

Kerry ends up spending the night, and Coraline ends the scene by telling Gretchen she needs “to see a woman about a dream,” and that is that.

Or . . . is it?

It’s a strange world these kids are living in, and nothing–not even strange “My body is doing weird things!” events that happen while growing up are, um, normal.  And dreams aren’t always dreams.  Sometimes they’re more–

And when they’re being had by a kid who can’t remember his dreams, well, it’s time to sit up and notice.

There’s the opening salvo–

As you can see in the scene titles, nothing much out of the ordinary is gonna happen . . .

And as you can see in the scene titles, not much more out of the ordinary is gonna happen . . .

This is where I start to lay out most everything, and really show their relationship.  Where it may be going–

And where it’s been.

 

 

NaNo Word Count, 11/16:  2,513

NaNo Total Word Count:  31,103

Night Ward Dreams: Love of Past and Present

Here we are, the last almost nine hundred words of the final scene of the penultimate chapter of the longest day of the school.  Really:  the first scene of Chapter Nineteen, was finished on 8/02/2014, and this was finished last night, 10/07/2014.  Two months to get through one day.  Not bad when I’ve written 46,777 words for Part Seven, this part, so far.  As I’ve said before, it’s about twenty thousand words a month, give or take a thousand here and there.  Now I can think about Chapter Twenty-four and bringing the final section of the penultimate part of Act Two to an end.

Yule is looking so much closer now, both in the book and in real life.

Yule is looking so much closer now, both in the book and in real life.

Annie remembered a dream she’d shared with Kerry, one that he seemed to remember as well.  Annie was seeing things that had happened a few years in the past, and Kerry–well, it’s hard to say what he’s seeing.  But he seemed to know what’s going on based upon their conversation . . .

 

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

There wasn’t a need to prompt Kerry: he immediately knew who was asking the question, and where it was being asked. Still staring up into Annie’s face, his eyes unfocused as he answered in much-younger boy’s voice. “Um, reading.”

“Uh, huh.” Annie felt a childish amusement come over her, just as it had that moment five summer ago. She imagined herself as she was that day, standing in her pajamas—she hadn’t learned how to create different clothes around her in a dream yet—her hands behind her as she swayed back and forth with a slight grin on her face. “What are you reading?”

A sheepish tone crept into Kerry’s voice. “Science fiction?”

“Science fiction.” She chuckled. “I don’t know much about that.” She nodded towards Kerry as if she were nodding towards the book in his hands all that time ago. “What is it called?”

A Fall of Moondust—” He paused a couple of seconds. “By Arthur C. Clarke.”

“Sounds interesting.” Annie twisted around and sat cross-legged on the bed, facing Kerry. His hand remained in hers. “What’s it about?”

“About a boat on the moon that sinks.”

“Really? Can they do that?”

“Well . . .” Kerry tried to shrugged but winced instead. “I don’t know. It’s an old book. But it’s good; I like it.”

 

I’ve said that one of the first two adult novels I read was A Fall of Moondust, and I was a little more than seven at the time, so Kerry’s got me beat in the reading department.  I love that novel, even though we know–as Kerry hinted–that the scenario laid out in the novel couldn’t possibly exist, it was a great, fantastic book when it came to opening up one’s imagination.

Now Annie is a cheeky girl, and probably more so back when she was approaching her seventh birthday.  She’s even more cheeky now, and she’s not only got her boyfriend calmed down, but she’s reliving a special moment with him, one that she remembers clearly.

 

“I see.” Annie scooted a few centimeters forward. “Would you like to read to me?”

“You want me to read to you?” Kerry looked surprised, just as he had the first time.

“Yes. I’d love that.” She remembered that was the first time she’d used that word with Kerry.

He didn’t seem to know what to say next, then a smile slowly grew across his face. “You’re the Chestnut Girl; I remember you from other times.”

“Uh, huh.” She nodded. “And your my Ginger Hair Boy.” She giggled. “Remember?”

“Yeah, I remember.” His smile softened as his eyes shifted to the left. “You can sit on the log there and I’ll read.”

“I have a better idea.” In their dream she’d done everything from his left side, but that was broken and immobilize. She’d have to work with his right side, and she wondered if it would cause a problem with his memory of this event and bring on another bout of déjà vu.

Annie slid off the bed, then pulled the covers back and slid back on. She nestled herself between Kerry’s torso and his right arm, nestling her head in the crook of his shoulder. She figured that the dislocation and the broken rib on his right side was completely healed by now: when he didn’t wince or twitch she knew she was correct. She reached for the covers and pulled them back into place, covering them both. “There.” She sighed and snuggled closer. “Much better.”

Kerry didn’t move, didn’t complain, didn’t even ask what she was doing. His question was one that a six year old boy who was asked to read to a girl would ask. “How am I suppose to read to you? I don’t think I can hold the book.”

Just as he asked the first time. Annie looked up from her place next to him so she could see his face. “I’ll tell you what: I’ll hold the book and turn the pages when you say so. That way all you have to do is read.” She rubbed her head against him. “Okay.”

“That sounds okay . . .” His voice took on a sleepy tone, as if he was finally winding down from the sorrow that had gripped him moments before. “I can . . .”

 

Lay there in a hospital gown with your girlfriend snuggled against you?  Cheeky girl.  But she’s also calmed him down and put him back in the mood to sleep, so . . . she did here job.  She was a friendly face that talked him down.  It’s also the first indication that Kerry does know Annie is his Chestnut Girl–he seems to know a lot more now.

It also looks as if Annie’s in for the long haul in Bed #2 . . .

 

Annie saw Kerry’s eyes flutter, and in that moment she wasn’t an almost seven year old girl sitting in the crook of the arm of a six year old boy with whom she was sharing a dream—she was back in Bay #1, cuddled up next to her soul mate. “Kerry?”

“I’m tired, Annie.” He turned his head enough that he could see her lying snuggled next to him. “I feel so tired.”

“Then you need to sleep.” She laid her hand part-way across his chest and circled it over his heart. “I won’t go anyway. You’ll be safe.”

“Okay.” He rubbed his check against the top of her head. “Good night, Annie—”

She was about to tell him the same when Kerry finished his thought:

“I love you.”

 

And there you have it:  he finally says the magic words.  It could be argued that he may not know what he’s saying, but someone else could argue that he’s pulling those words from his subconscious, and it’s something he’s wanted to say for a while–and with the filters off, he’s saying them.

It doesn’t matter to Annie:  she heard them.  And she reacts the way you might expect her to act.

 

Annie gasped in a near-silent voice. “Good night, Kerry. I love you.”

He chuckled as he fought to keep his eyes open. “You’d say it in Bulgarian.”

She chuckled as well. He would know that.  “Yes, I would . . .” She leaned up and kissed his cheek. “Leka nosht, Kerry. I az te obicham.”

“Um, hum.” His eyes closed and his breathing slowed as she sunk back into sleep.

Annie made herself comfortable against Kerry’s torso. She only now realized that his right arm was draped over her torso, making sure she was secure against him. “That’s it, my love.” She stopped rubbing his chest and left her hand there. “Sleep and dream. And remember it so you can tell me in the morning.”

Sleep began to take her as she wished her soul mate into dreamland. “Dream of your tree in California.” Her eyelids fluttered. “Dream of reading to your Chestnut Girl.”

Her eyes closed as she sunk into the same sleep that was claiming Kerry. There was only one thought left that needed saying before she joined him in unconscious bliss . . .

“Dream of us.”

 

They are off to a different dream land this time, and as the next scene is Waking with Coraline, one could guess that, well, they’re going to wake up with Coraline.  What is that going to look like.

I’ll write it tonight and show you tomorrow.

Sweet dreams.

Night Ward Dreams: the Tree

When we last saw Annie and Kerry, its was the middle of the night, Kerry had just come out of a bad dreams, and he was crying and going on about his Chestnut Girl–who, it appears, is Annie, as she admitted as much.  But now . . .

What is this tree thing in the ward?

Like I said, this last scene will probably raise as many questions as it could answer.  This is, by far, the most personal moment between Annie and Kerry, and right now we’re into the lead-up to that point in time where so much is going to be exchanged.  At the moment, however, there’s a wildly sobbing boy in Bed #2, and Annie’s feelings are all over the place . . .

 

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

Kerry wasn’t listening, however. He was lost inside something unseen, and it was driving him into uncontrollable crying. Annie didn’t know what she should do: even though Kerry now remember her from his dreams—and believed she’d left him, for some reason—she knew the hazards of pulling someone out of déjà vu. The last time Kerry was stuck with déjà vu he’s suffered blinding headaches: would pulling him out this time hurt him even more.

That’s when Annie was struck with a realization: What if his nightmare wasn’t about the events of the day? What if he was dreaming about me? What if that’s why he called my name—because he was seeing the last time we were together over the summer.  She couldn’t ever know, not unless Kerry could remember his dream and tell her . . .

 

Annie wouldn't probably  look like this at the moment--okay, she might if Kerry had said Emma left him.  Yeah, definitely.

Annie wouldn’t probably look like this at the moment–okay, she might if Kerry had said Emma left him. Yeah, definitely.

And her hypothesis is valid because she doesn’t know what’s going on inside Kerry’s head, how much he really knows.  And since it seems he can’t remember their dreams together–

So what is going on, because obviously he’s remembering something.  Annie knows this, and decides on a course of action.

 

What should I do? What to do? There was only one thing to do, and though it was a risk, she felt there wasn’t any choice, for to leave Kerry stuck in his current state of déjà vu, remembering a dream that was obviously painful, would harm him, possibly even injure him more severely.

Annie had to replace that dream with one that she knew would make him happy.

She had to do it now.

“Kerry—” Annie kept her voice low and comforting while holding her fact close to his. “Do you remember your tree? Do you remember?” She wasn’t certain if that would be enough to get through to him, but it was one that she knew was happy. If there was anything that would bring him out . . .

The sobbing didn’t stop, but it slowed—enough that Kerry was able to speak through the tears. “My tree?”

“Yes.” A faint smile played on Annie’s face. “Your tree.”

 

There’s the tree!  And what is that tree?

 

“Yes.” A faint smile played on Annie’s face. “Your tree.”

His breathing began to slow though the tears continued flowing. “My tree.”

“The one you used to sit under when you used to read when you lived in California.” Her smile grew broader. He’s calming down. “Why did you go there?”

He said nothing for about five seconds. Kerry sniffed three time, bringing the tears under control. “It was at the end of the lane, and away from my house.” His breathing slowed. “I wanted to get out of the house; I didn’t like being there alone all the time.”

“You weren’t very old.” Annie hoped he didn’t slip back into another fit state of déjà vu because she brought up things that only he should know. “About six, right?” She ran her fingers over his wet cheek. “You parents didn’t mind?”

“They didn’t know most of the time.” He swallowed hard, then looked to his right and left. “They were always at work.” His voice grew faint, the words interlaced with sniffles. “My mother only cared when I wasn’t at home.”

 

Kerry’s parents worked at ILM, so because Daddy was busy with the sound effects, and Mother was doing visuals, Kerry spent a lot of time alone.  Sure, the grandparents weren’t that far away, but still . . . since dad had to make blasters go Pewh, pewh, pewh, and mom was rendering Jar Jar Binks, a six year old boy was sitting under a tree reading and being visited by Bulgarian girls.  It’s all your fault, people.  Just remember that.

 

Now that he wasn’t sobbing, Annie had to see if she could break past his déjà vu. He’s calming down; he’s growing more aware. She had to see if she could make him remember. “Kerry—” You have to ask: you can’t not ask. “Do you remember the first time you read to your Chestnut Girl under your tree?” She had to ask one last question . . . “Do you remember the first time you read to me?”

Kerry didn’t cry or wince, but instead started silently at Annie for about ten seconds. Finally there was a long, tired sigh . . . “Yeah.”

Annie felt her heart swell with joy. “You do? You remember?”

He blinked twice. “I remember . . .” He slowly turned his head to his right. “You were standing there, weren’t you?”

 

Now it’s getting interesting because not only is he remembering, but Annie is as well.

 

“Yes.” He’s remembering. I can’t believe it . . . “I was right over there, about three meters away, standing jut on the other side of the log that was there.” She kept her voice low and soothing, least she jar him out of the moment. “You were so young—six, yes?”

“That summer.” He barely nodded. “Yeah. I was six.”

“And reading off on your own.” Annie stroked his cheek. “I remember standing there, seeing you sitting against that tree with that book in your lap.” In that moment she could actually see the moment, and it wasn’t the broken boy she loved laying in the bed before her, it was her Ginger Hair Boy, the one she’d already known for a few years, the one she’d grown up seeing maybe ten times a year while he lived in California. “I remember saying—” She pulled her hand back and sat up straight. “What are you doing?”

There wasn’t a need to prompt Kerry: he immediately knew who was asking the question, and where it was being asked. Still staring up into Annie’s face, his eyes unfocused as he answered in much-younger boy’s voice. “Um, reading.”

 

He’s gonna tell you what he’s reading, but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for that.  And yes, Annie:  you mentioned he’s six.  I’m gonna have to go back and make sure you don’t repeat yourself, because you’re the sort of girl who doesn’t.  And there’s a good possibility that I may finish this tonight.  May.  Because . . . well, this sort of dream doesn’t go on forever, does it?

Night Ward Dreams, the Beginning

Writing last night, writing this morning.  Here it is, almost nine AM, and I’ve been at work on the story for nearly and hour and a half.  I know that because I’m playing the recording of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway concert recording from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, and they’re playing Riding the Scree now–and the time mark is 1:36:00.  Gotta have my music when I write.

Since It’s going to be a busy afternoon I needed to get this out now, least I miss it later tonight.  And I didn’t want to do that because this is an important point in the story–and one I’ve been dodging because of the feelings it brings out in me.  That’s one of the nice things about writing in public:  you can’t stop and begin sobbing openly in a cafe unless you want people to come over and ask what’s wrong.  do you say, “I’m upset because I’m pouring my emotions into my fictional character?”  Yeah, that works.  But only if people already think you’re a little off.

We left Annie in the bay with Kerry, and she was watching him sleep.  Yeah, we got Team Annie hard at work.  But let her explain–

 

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

She finally looked over to Kerry’s bed. The whole med bay was silent—all the equipment was set up not to make sounds at night—and there were only a few things glowing softly in the dark, which made it difficult to see him, but not impossible. He was out, sleeping peacefully, not making a sound save for his slow steady breathing.

Annie wanted to lay back on her pillow and drift off to sleep while watching him sleep. She remembered what Nurse Gretchen told her that first night, that she was doing something seriously strange. She didn’t care: there was something comforting about watching her soul mate sleep. In their sleep were their dreams, and that was where she found him, learned about him, and grew to love him.

In a way sleep was their bond. She missed what they once had; now, she could only watch him and hope that they somehow reconnected—

Kerry’s right arm was outside the blanket: his fingers began twitching.

 

That makes some sense:  Annie is suppose to have met Kerry in their dreams, so why wouldn’t she feel connected to him when he sleeps?  But now he’s waking up, and that’s going to bring out another connection . . .

 

Kerry’s head turned lightly to the right. He moaned softly.

But it wasn’t a moan: it was a sob. She’d caught the intake of breath just before it returned as a low, long cry. He turned his head further to the right and this time there was no mistaking the sorrowful whimpering. Kerry’s head jerked to the left then back to the right before he took a deep breath and the tears came streaming down his cheeks.

Annie was frozen on her bed. Kerry wasn’t awake, but he was under some kind of distress. She believed he was having a bad dream, one that likely had something to do with the experiences of the day. She questioned the wisdom of waking him: on one hand she didn’t want him to suffer, on the other he’d be through the the dream shortly, and there was always some danger involved when waking someone from a nightmare . . .

Kerry clenched his hand into a fist and moaned louder than the first time. As his hand unclenched he twisted his head around as if he were trying to avoid a blow. With tears streaming down his face he quietly cried out one word:

Annie.”

That was all she needed to hear. Annie was out of her bed and standing next to Kerry’s, leaning over so she could see his face. She didn’t worry about the consequences of waking him: she laid he hand lightly against his chest and began shaking him gently while calling his name in as soothing a tone as possible. “Kerry. Kerry. Please, wake up.”

 

Nurse Annie to the rescue!  She doesn’t want him to suffer, so she brings him out of whatever nightmare is troubling the boy.

 

She shook him for another few seconds, careful not to press too hard against his chest least she hurt him. Finally his eyes opened normally and started up at the ceiling. She wasn’t shaking or convulsing as people did in movies when they came out of a bad dream: he lay there fighting against the hacking sobs that didn’t want to stop.

Annie took his hand before leaning towards his face. “Kerry, it’s okay—” She gave his hand a squeeze. “It’s okay. You’re safe now. There’s nothing to worry about.” She hesitated for a few heartbeats, then slid up onto the bed next to him, his hand still locked in hers. “Shush, shush . . . It’s okay. I’m here.”

Kerry brought his breathing under control as the tears tapered away. He blinked three times before he could focus on the person sitting next to him. “Annie . . .” The name emerged as a whisper before a faint smile began to play over his face. “You’re alive.”

She chuckled. “And so are you.” Annie tucked her bare right foot under her left leg, letting her blue flannel pajamas keep it warm. She watched Kerry’s eyes move about, taking in his surroundings. “You’re in the hospital. Don’t try to move; the left side of your body is immobilized. You broke your left arm and left, and damaged your knee again.” She saw the awareness of his situation register, but Annie saw how his eyes seemed to say something else. He’s disoriented, just as Coraline said he would. He knows where he is, but at the same time he’s not completely sure . . .

 

Kerry is out of it:  he’s hurt and it doesn’t take long for him to figure out he has a bad concussion.  Annie talks him down out of his confusion and pain, but there are things on his mind.  Things that have been there a while, and that he wants to get out . . .

 

He didn’t appear sleepy, not yet. Kerry continued staring up into Annie’s eyes. “I didn’t know if I’d see you again.” A film of tears appeared over his eyes. “I didn’t know—”

Annie wanted him to relax, not work himself into a crying jag every few minutes. She hushed him. “It’s okay, my dear.”

He sniffed back his tears. “I didn’t know if I’d see you again, Annie. I didn’t know if I’d tell you what . . .” He trailed off and started to look away, but didn’t. “I didn’t know—”

Shush, shush.” She lightly patted his cheek. “You’re safe. You’re protected. Nothing is going to happen to you.” Annie slid closer to Kerry so it was easier to press his hand against her torso. “We have plenty of time to talk. No need to do it now.”

“I know.” He smiled through the remnant of his tears. “I just—” He began to whimper again. “I don’t wanna forget.”

 

He’s not a forgetful sort of kid, but of late his mind has played a few tricks on him–like not being able to remember dreams.  What he keeps wanting to discuss probably isn’t a dream, but Annie’s not ready to hear it now.  After all, Kerry would probably get it all messed up anyway.

However, there’s also something else on Kerry’s mind–something troubling . . .

 

She started to slid off the bed. “Let me call—”

Kerry’s grip around Annie’s hand tightened. “Don’t go.”

Annie moved back to where she’d been on the bed. “I’ll stay.”

He grimaced as a light sheen of tears began to cover his cheeks once again. “Don’t leave me, Annie. Please don’t ever leave me.”

She’d never heard him say this before, and it shocked Annie just the tiniest bit. Why does he think I’d leave him? “I won’t leave you, Kerry. I promise.”

He either wasn’t listening or couldn’t understand what she was saying. “Don’t leave, please. They all leave.” The tears were fully flowing now. “Everyone leaves me.”

What is going on? Annie was growing worried: this was something she’d never heard Kerry express. “No one is leaving you Kerry. I won’t leave you.” She pushed ahead with something she’d told him once before, but felt he needed to hear again. “I’ll stay with you for the rest of your life.”

He was lost in whatever fantasy had popped up inside his mind. “They all leave me. They do.” The tears and sobbing were coming on now. “My parents don’t want me—”

Annie held his hand tightly. “That’s not true.”

“My grandparents don’t talk to me—”

“Kerry, you love your grandparent.”

“They hardly ever talk to me. I never hear from them.”

She shook her head. “That’s because of distance and the time difference—”

She left me.”

 

Uh, oh.  She left you?  If you’re wondering who “She” is, you’re not alone, because there’s a certain Bulgarian girl wondering the same thing–

 

She left you? Annie was confused, because there had never been a mention of another girl—nor did she ever remember talking about one during their dream time together. Is he talking about Emma? She had to know. “Who left you, Kerry? Who did?”

Kerry’s voice rose as he cried out his response. “My Chestnut Girl—she left me.”

Annie release Kerry’s hand as she sat up straighter. There was little that shocked her so much that she allowed her emotions to show, and she was grateful that they were alone, for now was one of those moment when her unfiltered emotions appeared etched across her face. “No.” She shook her head slowly. “No, Kerry.” She slowly learned towards her sobbing love. “She didn’t, my love—she never left you. I never left you, Kerry. Don’t you see? I’m your Chestnut Girl.”

 

“I’m your Chestnut Girl.”  Any time you can shock Annie you’ve done something extraordinarily frightening.  And Kerry just brought up something that has shaken Annie right to her core–something that made her respond with the four words at the start of this sentence.

What does it mean?

You know the answer.

Is it safe to say everyone has miles to go before they can sleep?

Is it safe to say everyone has miles to go before they can sleep?

Matters of Imaginary Life and Death

If you’re expecting to find stories here today, you’re sadly mistaken.  Yesterday–and last night–were some of the strangest there were, believe me.  It seemed as if I spent part of the day busting urban myths–which, by the way, I love doing, particularly when they’re of the heinous and vile kind–before getting into a discussion at the end of the evening where the term “Moving the Goalposts” became not so much an expression as a spectator sport.

"No, seriously, you win.  You've already expanded the argument past three stadium and a cricket pitch!"

“No, seriously, you win. You’ve already expanded the argument past three stadiums and a cricket pitch!”

At least the most interesting thing I learned last night if that if you have uncontrollable hiccups, the only way to stop them is by internal digital massage of your rectum.  Yes, that means exactly what it says.  You’re welcome.

"Go to the other room; I'll be in shortly.  That's a little nurse's humor!"

“Go to the other room; I’ll be in shortly. That’s a little nurse’s humor!”

Since tonight is “Go Out to Eat and Write Night,” I promise to finish up the current scene and start on the next.  I mean, I should be able to rip off over a thousand words tonight, I promise I’ll get cracking on the last scene in Chapter Twenty Three.  I wouldn’t lie.  Mostly wouldn’t.

However, I was working on a few things last night, if only in my head and talking scenes out loud.  One of them had to do with characters having babies–yes, that does happen, particularly to characters in my world.  It seems as if a few people have children:  the Headmistress does, as does Professors Simplen, Salomon, and Kishna.  Though the families don’t live at the school, some of the instructors teleport home and visit when they can–Professor Simplen does this a lot of Sundays.

I was imagining two of my characters discovering they were in a family way, and how they were affected by their feelings, and how they found themselves at that point.  That’s actually what a large part of my non-computer evening was about, and it was fun to be able to do something like that once more, because I’ve been away from doing things like that for the last month, and I need to get back into doing these things.

And then there were my dreams . . .

For some reason I had an extremely vivid dream last night, and it seemed to have something to do with an end of the world event–or maybe it was just the state of Pennsylvania finally running out of money and being unable to do anything.  I know part of it happened down on Second Street here in The Burg, because I recognized a few of the restaurants–one of which was on fire.  Someone must have been displeased with their appetizers.

But a large part of it had to do with getting a family out of the area and to–somewhere else.  I think Boston, because I heard that name come up a few times, and I knew we were heading east. The only problem was no one seemed to be in much of a hurry to get their asses in gear.  It appeared I was the only one with an agenda, and everyone else was like, “Eh, end of the world, let me finish this email.”  Really strange situation, and I couldn’t understand why I was there for a group of strangers who didn’t seem to care that I was there.

Had to be a group of editors.  Just had to be.

Killer of Dreams

Writing is a hard business.  Not just the publishing end of it, but getting down in front of the computer or your typewriter, or even your paper, and you gotta put those words down, one after another, and you keep doing it until you finish the damn thing.  Start, write, finish.  That’s the deal.

Sometimes, however, that becomes easier said than done.  Things wear at you; things tear you down.  We all know stories about authors who are just one step away of completely losing they minds–or, in the case of a few, having lost it completely and they decided to write though the madness.

That’s how I’ve felt for a while; that I was writing though some madness that wouldn’t leave me alone.  It just gnawed at me like a beast picking you apart slowly but surely.

And last week it nearly won.

I had a hard time of things last Friday, and was pretty much at my wit’s end for more than a few things.  It was a tough time, and if not for the help of a lot of friends who came to my aid, I might still be rolling through that madness.

I haven’t forgotten what happened, and I’m truly moving ahead to make things better.  But last night . . . I had some thoughts I had to get out.  Thoughts that weren’t going to stay quite any longer.

I’ve been playing with video a lot of late, and getting some of the things I’ve said uploaded to a YouTube account.  I’ve had fun it with, because it’s a different medium and there’s things that come out on video that you can’t hide unless you’re a very good actor.  I’m not a very good actor; when it comes to my emotions, things tend to come spilling out these days, because hormones jack with you like you wouldn’t believe.

I put a twelve minute video together last night, after the television and computer were off, and talked a little about the state of mind I’ve labored under for a while.  It’s a hard video; there’s a lot of feeling in my voice, there’s true feelings coming out, and more than a few tears come out.  I don’t mind that last, because tears are good.  They mean I can’t hold back, and given how things keep welling up inside these days, I don’t want to keep them in.  I gotta let them out.

Jim Butcher was the one who, a few years ago, said giving up on writing is the same as killing your dreams, and there are no truer words spoken.  I mention that in the video, and you can see how it makes me feel to think about doing just that.  It’s a thing I’ve done before, and I know others have as well.  I’m a firm believer these days that dreams should never die, because without your dreams, what do you have left?

Watch if you like, but be warned:  it’s pretty raw.  That’s how stream of thought is–it’s real, and it just comes at you.

Like life.

But if it helps other writers out there articulate what they also feel from time-to-time, then I’ve done something good.

That’s what really counts.