Lessons of Life at Laputa

I won’t say yesterday was a strange and busy day, but it was.  I mean, up at 4:30, wrote six hundred words, had my car worked on, had my eyes examined, got new glasses, came home and alternated between watching television, napping, reading, and . . . yeah, you know this last one.

I started a new scene yesterday, but unlike other times when I just sort of spread that scene out over two or three days, I started writing and, no matter what, kept coming back to it.  When I’d get sleepy I’d take a nap.  When I’d get bored I’d read.  When I felt like I needed a distraction, I’d do something else for thirty minutes.

When I was finished with those, I’d come back to the writing.  Always.

It’s an important scene, because it’s a break at the Observatory–call sign Laputa, which if you’re not aware, is The Castle in the Sky, and not some random whore–for Kerry and Emma, and they’re both sore from riding in the cold for two hours straight, looking for things that may or may not be there.  But with the emergency on, one simply doesn’t fly into

 

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

Kerry carefully floated his broom towards the floor of the Observatory, following the hand signals of the student showing Emma and him where to land. He floated down towards a marked out circle just inside the open telescope dome, his feet lightly touching the surface—the first in over two hours.

Kerry had landed out on the viewing balcony twice before; this was the first time he’d actually flown inside the Observatory. He figured it was a safety precaution in case it was necessary to seal the dome. He turned and looked outside, trying to imagine seven or eight fliers trying to enter the dome at the same time, and hoped that if Emma and he had to make for safety, they were closer to the Flight School than the Observatory.

The girl who’d directed them in for their landing—a B Level from Cernunnos according to the stars on her jacket—approached as soon as Emma and he were on their feet. “I’ll take your brooms—” She grabbed them before they could respond. “—and get them stored.” She nodded in the direction of the chart tables. “Refreshments are back there; we’re got cots laid out for napping if you feel like it.” She started to turn way, then answered the question she knew was coming. “The professor’s back there, too; she’ll answer any questions you have.”

Emma spoke to the girl’s retreating form. “Thanks.” She took three slow steps, stretching her arms. “I don’t remember being this stiff after flight class.”

 

Such a controlled environment, with a near-military feel.  You can probably thank Isis for that:  it’s a good idea to keep the kids in line while they’re kinda fighting the good fight.  This goes back to what Vicky was asking–can you follow orders?  Because while being directed to a landing spot isn’t the same as being told to get your ass out of the air now, it shows you know how to stick to protocol.  And that may be the difference between living and dying . . .

Nothing has changed:  as Professor Bashagwani says, no news from Fortress is good news.  Emma wants to know something, however:

 

“Professor?” Emma leaned against the map table, the mug resting in both hands. “Can I ask a question?”

“Certainly.”

“We noticed that at certain parts of the routes the screens get darker. Why is that?”

“Safety feature for the enchantment.” Harpreet pushed a plate of sandwiches at the children, in case they were hungry. “The closer you get to the screen, the darker it becomes. When it turns black, you’re almost into it; at that point you need to stop or turn away.”

Kerry reached for one of the sandwiches. “Getting into it would be bad?”

“At full strength, like it is now, you’d die.” She slid the plate towards Emma, who shook her head. “When it’s at low power it would stun you or knock you out. But now . . .” She shook her head. “You’d end up like any Deconstructor trying to get in from the outside.”

Emma gulped; Kerry put away two quick bites. “Nice to know.”

 

Yeah, kids, those screens will kill ya if you get into them.  As the professor tells them, there’s no need for them to get close to the screens, so they didn’t need to know they’re flying next to a death trap.

Emma’s thinking about a nap:  after all, they only have forty-five minutes down time before they have to be back on patrol, and she’s checking out the two pilots already there napping.  Kerry, on the other hand . . . well, he’s got things going on in his head.  He’s thinking about something–or is it someone?

 

From that turn his gaze drifted to his left and the dome protecting The Pentagram. He allowed himself to imagine the scene there: all the students locked up in each of their towers; the Headmistress hiding somewhere in, or below, the structure; Professors Ellison and Arrakis somewhere in there as well, and then the triage center set up inside the Rotunda—

“The other fliers are up.” Emma strode up from behind. Kerry turned slightly to his left so she’d end up on his right. She noticed what he did and gave him a momentary glance, then looked off in the direction he was looking. “You thinking about The Pentagram?”

Kerry turned his head towards Emma for just a second, figuring out in a second what she was really asking: You thinking about Annie? “Yeah, I am.”

 

Why wouldn’t he be?  After all, she’s thinking about him, and of late she seems to occupy his thoughts.  And since Emma’s figured out Kerry’s thinking about her–well, she wants to know more.

 

“How long have you known Annie?”

Kerry had half expected this question for the last couple of minutes. He didn’t know why, but he’d suspected Emma wanted to know more about Annie and their relationship, and now was the time to find out. “Since the Saturday before we arrived at Salem.” He turned his face upwards into the red sky for a moment. “27 August, 2011. That’s when we met.”

“That’s pretty specific.” Emma giggled right after making her comment.

Kerry didn’t get whatever mood she was trying to set, however. “I met her in a bookstore near the hotel we were staying at in London. She was in this—” He stepped back from the railing and faced Emma before spreading his arms. “—big chair sort of hidden by a spiral staircase.” He chuckled now. “She didn’t get up from the chair when we talked. At the time I thought it was . . .”

“Strange?”

“Naw.” Kerry leaned against the chart stand and sipped his drink. “It was sort of cute.”

Emma twisted up he face as she shook her head. “Sounds a little rude to me.”

“Well . . .” Kerry shrugged and looked back towards The Pentagram. “You have to know Annie.”

 

And that’s exactly how he met her, because I went back and looked at that scene just to make sure my memory of the meeting was the same.  Just split-screened Scrivener and took a look.  And Kerry doesn’t care what Emma thinks:  he thought the way they met was cute, therefore it was.

Then Kerry drops this:

 

“Well . . .” Kerry set down his drink and turned back to staring at the distant Pentagram. “That’s kinda a strange thing—”

“What? Going steady?”

“No.” He hung his head for a couple of seconds. “There’s times when I get these feelings; it’s like these sensations of déjà vu, only—” He shrugged quickly then looked at Emma. “There’s times when I feel like I’ve known Annie a lot longer than a couple of months.” Kerry turned his gaze downward, contemplating his statement. “I know that’s impossible, because she’s always lived in Bulgaria, and I’ve either lived in California or Cardiff, and there’s no way I could have met her before coming to school, but . . .” Kerry shook his head slowly, touching his goggles as if he were lending him reassurance. “There are times when I’ve looked at her and I swear I’ve experiences that same moment with already. Like I’m doing it again.”

 

Annie has stated–without Kerry knowing this–that she’s known him through her dreams.  She  even mentioned on that night on 1 September, when she told him she loved him, that she’d loved him for a long time–“I know this is hard for you to believe, and it probably won’t make any sense, but I’ve loved you from before we met in London. From long before that.”  See, I looked up the quote, so I know what she said, and so does he.  There’s something going on, and considering he got hit with déjà vu the night of the Samhain Dance, that something is starting to catch up with him.

Most girls would probably have stopped questioning their wingmate about the particulars of a person they’re close to, but Emma is curious–real curious.  And she just has to pull the trigger . . .

 

Emma wasn’t sure what to should say or ask next—though there was one question that had been on her mind for some time, going all the way back to when they were in the hospital together after their racing accident. She debated asking it here, but given she might not get another chance for the rest of the day . . . “Kerry?”

“Yeah?” He didn’t look at her.

“Is Annie really your girlfriend?”

 

The problem with pulling the trigger on a loaded question is that the answer you get isn’t the one you expect.  In fact, it’s liable to kick your ass so hard you’re gonna wish you’d flown into those screens before asking–

 

He gave no indication that he’d heard the question; Kerry neither moved or uttered a sound. It was only some thirty seconds later, after the other fliers in the Observatory flew over their heads on their way back to patrol, that Kerry rolled his shoulders. He sighed before relaxing. “Moyata polovinka.”

Emma’s brow seemed to cover her eyes. “What’s that mean?”

“It’s Bulgarian; it’s what Annie said to me after the Samhain dance.” He slowly turned his head so he could see Emma clearly. “She’s more than my girlfriend, Emma—” He closed his eyes and opened them slowly. “She’s my soulmate.”

 

There you have it:  Kerry has finally crossed one of the lines.  That same night they both came into the school the following happened with Annie:

 

Stop worrying about that now; it will change. “Oh, Kerry—” She closed her eyes and laid her head against his shoulder once more. “I’m more than your girlfriend.” Tell him the truth, don’t be afraid. “I’m your soulmate.” She rested, now as content as she had when they’d left the hospital. Even with the misty chill around them, she felt warm and secure. “I’ll always be with you.”

 

Kerry said nothing at that, but he did kiss Annie, a first for them both.  Since then, for two months, Kerry hasn’t come right out and called Annie his soulmate, nor has he said The L Word; they’ve both sort of lurked in the background, unseen and unheard, waiting for the right moment to appear.

One of the two appeared.  And in showing, Kerry told Emma something he’s been unable to tell Annie.  Though he did tell Annie he wanted to talk to her this day . . .

Emma wanders off to take a nap, and Kerry–well, he’s ready to nap as well, but he has business to conduct before that occurs . . .

 

“Cool.” He turned his attention to The Pentagram once more as Emma walked away. He sipped the last of his hot chocolate, his eyes never leaving the shimmering blue bubble. Kerry finished the drink, but before gathering up the mug and returning inside, he raised two left fingers to his lips, kissed them, and held them out in the direction of The Pentagram.

“Stay safe . . . moyata polovinka.” He dropped his arm to his side and headed for the cot Emma was saving.

 

Just as Annie did with him as he was leaving the Dining Hall to go fly patrol.  He’s more in sync with her than he realizes.

If I could draw I'd do a picture of him holding a kiss out towards The Pentagram.

If I could draw I’d do a picture of him holding a kiss out towards The Pentagram.  So I have to settle for a lonely boy looking out from a high place to a lake.  Probably thinking about his soulmate–

The scene ran just short of two thousand words, making for a twenty-five hundred word day, and that’s something I haven’t done in a while.  But I needed to get this scene done and move on to Annie’s next scene.

All I can say is, Lisa shouldn’t have broke bad on her . . .

Sentiments of Fear and Protection

The internet is one more being helpful at Panera, so there isn’t a need to rush through my coffee and head home to write this.  Which is good, because I want to be out today.  I have a lot planed for this morning, afternoon, and even the evening, and the wicked can’t rest.  And this is just the first part.

Coffee and new brows.  It's a great morning to be . . . up.

Coffee and new brows. It’s a great morning to be . . . up.

Even though it was a long day yesterday, I managed a lot of writing.  Now, fifteen hundred and fifty words may not seem like a lot to some people, but given that I was a bit weepy last night, and my emotions were running all over the place, I consider it a great feat.  Not to mention it was an emotional scene, which did me little good as well.

We are back to Annie as the focus.  Isis has spoken and now it’s up to the Headmistress to get the students informed.  the news isn’t good:  students are being sent to their towers where they’ll stay, teams are being sent outside–people on the ground and people in the air.  And there’s a triage center being set up in the Rotunda.

Welcome to War Footing Central, population you.

My baby snakes, Annie and Kerry, are suppose to report to their towers.  The operative word here is “suppose” because there’s also been a call for volunteers . . .

 

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

Annie was on her feet moments before Kerry. She wondered if he was worried about what was happening, or perhaps even frightened. Being in the front as they were, it was impossible not to see the concern on the faces of the instructors and staff, and given that Kerry was only now learning about the dangers surrounding The Foundation—

Kerry.”

Annie turned towards the sound of the voice; Emma was standing only a couple of meters away. Oh, no: I know what she wants. “Emma—”

Kerry snapped out of whatever had held him seconds before. “What is it, Emma?”

The girl seemed like she was too excited to stand still. “Do you want to volunteer? I think Professor Salomon will let us if we ask.”

“Um . . .” He looked down for a moment. “I have to—”

Emma didn’t wait for his answer. “Annie, you want to? You’re a good flier.”

“No, Emma.” Annie didn’t care that she was using a far harsher tone that she should. “I’m not going out there.”

She didn’t seem to mind being shot down and turned back to her original target. “Kerry, come on. We can help out.”

Kerry nodded a couple of times. “Give me a minute, okay?” He looked at Emma with half-closed eyes. “Please?”

“Okay.” Having finally gotten the message she moved off out of earshot.

 

Emma of the Buzzkill, another ginger thrill seeker who wasn’t to go off into the wild blue yonder.  You’re just waiting for her to get whacked out at any moment by a certain Bulgarian witch.

Annie also knows her moyata polovinka, and she senses what he’s feeling:

 

By now Annie didn’t need to guess what Kerry was feeling: his entire body told the story. He wasn’t frighted—he was being torn apart by indecision. His mind is saying one thing, and his heart is saying another. She gently touched his left arm. “Kerry.”

He jumped as if shocked. “Annie, I—”

Go.”

For a moment Kerry seemed to not understand. “What?”

“Go. You want to, I know it.”

Emma quickly approached the table. “Kerry, we gotta—”

Kerry turned on Emma and nearly shouted. “In a minute.” He waited for her to retreat before speaking in his normal voice to Annie. “I’m sorry.”

“Why? Because you want to help?” Annie brushed his cheek. “I should have known my flier wants to be in the sky, even when there’s danger.”

His voice was choking with emotion. “I feel like I’m running out on you.”

Annie took hold of both his hand. “Kerry, please look at me.” She didn’t speak again until she knew she had his attention. “Do you remember when I said I’d never tell you what to do, that you had to learn these things on your own?”

He choked back tears as he nodded once. “Yeah.”

“I’m breaking that promise this one time—because if you don’t go and at least ask if you can help, you’ll hate yourself.” She looked at the floor and sighed. “Or you’ll hate me, and I couldn’t live with that.” She put her arms around him and hugged him tight. “Don’t hate yourself.”

 

When I wrote the first “Go,” it was all I could do to keep the tears back.  I felt the indecision Annie felt, because she knows it might not be all rainbows and sunshine out there beyond The Pentagram.  She also knows that if she doesn’t let me out to try this on his own, he’ll stew for however long they’d end up locked in their tower.  Let’s face it, though:  neither of them are Rapunzel, and the tower life isn’t for them.

This ends with a sweet parting:

 

When he broke the kiss seconds later Annie threw her arms around his neck and whispered in his ear. “Promise me one thing—”

“Yes?”

“If you’re paired with Emma, don’t let her talk you into anything.”

Kerry looked at Annie from the corner of his eye. “She won’t—”

“Promise. Please.”

He nodded slowly. “I promise.”

She kissed his check. “You better run, then.”

Kerry started to take a step, then stopped. “Talk to Coraline about doing triage.”

Annie had considered doing just that, but wanted to hear Kerry’s reasoning. “Why?”

“You know a little of that stuff working with your mother, right?”

“Yes.”

“And . . .” He looked up at the ceiling, then around the hall. “You’ll be in here. It’s gotta be better than being the only A Level in our tower.”

“I’ll do that.”

Kerry hesitated for just a moment, then drew close and pressed himself against her head. “We’ll talk when I get back.”

“We will.” She lightly slapped his arm. “Now go.”

He looked at Annie for a second or two as he rounded the table, then grabbed Emma before sprinting off to see Professor Salomon. Annie hopped against hope that when they asked if they could volunteer the professor would say no, but after a few seconds she saw Vicky nod followed all of them heading off in the direction of the Atrium.

Annie slowly closed her eyes and took a long, cleansing breath. She watch the three of them walk out of the hall before raising her right hand to her lips, kissing her fingertips, and holding them out after the departing boy. “Ostanete bezopasno, moyata dzhindzhifil kosa momche. Molya te, vŭrni mi.” She spun on her heel and began sprinting towards the west exit, waiving her right arm. “Nurse Coraline? Nurse Coraline.”

 

And there you have it:  my kids being separated for the first real time since they got together.  And what does Annie say there at the end as she blows him a kiss?

You should know by now I got this covered.

You should know by now I got this covered.

At this point it’s a matter of sealing up the joint and getting everything into place.  I even added another scene last night, which will be the next to write.  Not a big scene, but . . . well, the title is enough to tell you what’s coming.

Pain, that's what.

Pain, that’s what.

One last thing you might find interesting:  a few people found my use of Esperanto interesting, and even went so far as to look it up as they’d never heard of the language.  Well, I’m here to tell you, it’s possible you saw it and never knew it.  Did you know all the signs in the movie The Great Dictator were written in Esperanto?  Or that it was used in the television show Red Dwarf?  Here is a list of where it’s been used in movies and television, with the exception of one:  the great lost movie Incubus.  I say “great” only in the sense that I’m joking, and it is most well known for the fact that it was lost and only recently rediscovered in France, and that it stars William Shatner.  Yes, The Shat speaks.  the.  Es.per.an . . . to.  If you want to give it a look, you’ll find the movie here.  I warn you, it’s pretty fuzzy because the only remaining print was in bad shape, but you’re not really wanting to watch it, you’re waiting to hear The Incubus Girls (Yes, this is a real thing) speak in a made-up language.  And to see if Shatner chews up any scenery.

In that last matter, I’m certain you won’t be disappointed.

Where the Wild Feels Are

A funny thing happened on the way to the hormone treatment . . .

Let’s back that up just a little bit, because most of this happened long before I started hormones, long before I started writing.  Actually, it started when I was a kid.  I was what you’d say, “emotional.”  That’s what parents say when you cry a lot.  And I used to cry a lot.  Like all the time.  Stub my toe?  I’d cry.  Didn’t like what I was wearing?  I’d cry.  Weather changed?  I’d cry.  Though I loved the rain.  I loved to take walks in the rain, because it was so relaxing . . .

There are some who’d read that and say, “Wow!  Sounds just like a girl.”  Duh.  You’re catching on, aren’t you?  Yeah, that was one of those things, back when I was about seven or eight, when I realized that, in the immortal words of Micheal Jackson, I’m not like the other boys.  It used to drive my parents nuts.  My father hatted it, and my mother–well, she didn’t like it, either, and used to yell at me all the time to stop “acting like a girl.”  And, hey:  it worked!  Oh, wait . . .

The upside of all this marvelous treatment was a lot of depression and teaching myself to keep my emotions locked down.  Because one never knew when I might just bust loose with a laugh or a sob or a smile or a cry.  This was the sort of hell I went through in high school, and then later on in adult life.

I got to the point where I was “emotionally unavailable,” which is another way of saying I just shut everything down.  And because of that, I was always pairing up with people who were either the same way–or, as a person once pointed out, a lot like my mother in that they were critical of everything I did.  I was not good with relationship; I was not good with telling people how I felt.  To a certain extent I’m still like that in that I’m a private person–says the blogger spilling this all out at six-thirty AM.

About 2011 this all started changing.  Why?  Because I decided to start talking about my “secret” and I finally came out to a friend.  And they didn’t run away.  Another thing was happening then:  I was getting in touch with my emotions once again, which was a double-edge sword, because while it’s easy to talk of love and happiness, you can also fall into the pit next door which is sadness and pain.  But it’s all worth it, because, in the end, you’re feeling again.  You’re not some semi-dead hunk of flesh sitting in front of a computer waiting for the end to arrive sooner than later.  You’re alive; you’re writing again.

That’s really what opened up my writing:  being able to feel.  You can only pretend to write about people in relationships with other people for so long and not feel what that’s like before you understand that what’s coming out of you are words devoid of passion.  They are dead, just like the person writing them.

I’ve had people tell me that they love the romance developing between Annie and Kerry.  I’ve already said it’s a grand one, and it’s one that will build in time.  Last night I was thinking of a scene for Act Three, and while I realized that some people who’d read it would think, “Are you crazy to say this?” I don’t think it’s strange at all.  It’s sweet, it’s touching–and at the same time, it’s torturing a person who is deeply in love.  Because it’s what happens sometimes.  And why are they tortured?  Because they’re afraid they’re pulling someone all the way into their love in a way they might not want.

That's the problem with knowing people in supernatural stories:  you put someone in your heart, and before you know it, you're afraid they don't want to be there.

That’s the problem with love in supernatural stories: you put someone in your heart, and before you know it, you’re afraid they don’t want to be there.

I’ve come to realize over the last week or so that my emotional responses are changing again.  They’re not going away:  oh, no.  They’re dialing up; they’re getting more intense.  They’re also becoming what I might call a bit more personal and even maternal.  The one thing I have noticed, and it’s something I confirmed through research–my stress levels are not defined by my job or by money:  they’re defined by my relationships.  Or lack there of if you wanna put it that way.  But the thing that make me the most loopy these days is love.  I do feel it:  for my characters and for myself.  You can blame it on the demon lady hormones taking over my body.

My therapist says I’m tortured–probably just like a certain person in a monster of a novel I’m writing.  I’m not as bad as that, but I will admit to crying before falling asleep, and crying as I was getting up?  Why?  Because I love someone.  They mean the world to me.  They are the person I would die for if the zombies were coming and she needed saving.

But they are not with me, not at the moment.

Will that happen?

You have to wait and see.  You never know what will happen tomorrow.

But I believe you already!

Don’t worry:  I believe you.

Running on Sights

Long night–or should I say morning?  Was feeling a little emotionally out of it when I went to bed, and then I wake up at like three in the morning and having trouble getting back to bed because I’ve got a song stuck in my head and my dreams had me chased by the undead.  And as soon as I manged to fall asleep–zombie dreams come after me.  What did I ever do to them, other than have a couple of my students whack the hell out of them?  They should learn to mellow out.

Yesterday I said I’d post the video I made for one of my Facebook groups the other day, and when you get to the end of this post you’ll see it and a bit of my messy, somewhat stark abode.  But that’s at the end:  there are other things in between.

So three instructors arrive, two leave, and Annie is sitting there with Kerry and Professor Arrakis, and then this happens:

 

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

Annie was going to make a comment about the departing instructors, but Emma chose that moment to hurry over and stand across the coffee table from them. “Hi, um . . .” She turned to Kerry. “Would you like to dance?”

Kerry froze for a few second, his eyes locked upon Emma. “Um, yeah . . .” He cleared his throat twice, casting a sideways glance at Annie before continuing. “Um, I was, uh . . . I wasn’t planing on dancing—”

Annie jumped in to save her nervous boyfriend. “Kerry, go ahead. I don’t mind.”

He quickly turned to Annie as if to make certain she wasn’t playing with him. “You sure?”

She lightly touched his left hand. “Go ahead. I want to speak with Professor Arrakis anyway—” She leaned closer to him as she lowered her voice. “Girl talk, you know?”

He nodded. “Got it.” Kerry quickly rounded the table and joined Emma. “Okay, let’s do this.”

Annie was careful to note as the two walked away that he didn’t touch Emma—he placed his hand close to her back but never made contact—and kept her to his right as they headed for the dance floor. She’s not to his left; I’m the only one who ever walks on his left

 

Emma:  still being a buzzkill.  Though Annie did let he walk away with Kerry and she didn’t throw a spell at her back before she vanished into the crowd.  Because she’s talking “girl talk” with the School Seer–

 

“You were surprised.”

Annie looked straight ahead. “Yes.” She turned her head just enough to see her. “I was.” She finally turned her body enough that she wasn’t uncomfortable looking at the instructor. “I wasn’t expecting to hear him nearly tell Emma that he wasn’t going to dance with her.”

“He was going to say more than that; he was about to tell her that he wasn’t planing on dancing with anyone but you.” Deanna slid around so she was resting between the back and arm. “He’s changed.”

“Yes, he has.” She looked for him on the dance floor, then decided she trusted him enough that it wasn’t necessary to keep an eye on him.

“Quite a lot after his accident a couple of weeks ago.” She looked over her shoulder also searching for Emma and him. “His night in the hospital must have had a profound effect upon him.”

Annie didn’t want to speak of that night in the hospital. She didn’t want to speak of her anger at him, of her after-hours apology, and of the moments she spent in the near dark watching him sleep. Though she wanted to talk . . . “He’s so different tonight. Kerry’s always been attentive, but tonight he’s noticed so many small things . . .” She looked off to her right, towards the exit into the East Hallway. “He’s been so complementary tonight. Telling me I’m lovely, I’m beautiful . . .”

“You’re waiting to hear something else, aren’t you?”

Her eyes flickered over the seer. “Yes.”

Deanna nodded. “Perhaps—” She turned to watch the students dancing. “—he finally feels he’s worthy of giving you love.”

Annie’s attention snapped back to Deanna, her eyes filled with curiosity and interest. She knew it wasn’t an accident that the professor spoke nearly the same words that she’d spoken to Kerry that night in the hospital, telling him he was worthy of her love, and deserved all that she felt for him. “What do you know, Professor?”

 

Forget it, Annie.  you aren’t getting anything out of her.  That’s what it means to be a seer:  you have all these secrets you have to keep . . . and Deanna Arrakis is very good at keeping them.  This is going to cause a little back and forth between the instructor and Annie, but if you think Annie is going to learn her future while sitting at the Samhain dance, guess again.

I’m going to work on this scene right after this post goes out (at the moment it’s 7:10 AM, so figure before 7:20), because my afternoon is going to be way busy and I need to get my writing in where I can.  And I want to finish this scene and get then next going because there is fun coming, I tell you, fun!

The next chapter is nothing but laughs!

The next chapter is nothing but laughs!

Since a lot of you asked for it, here’s my video.  I’ve been asked in my Facebook group to do readings of my work, and there’s a very good possibility that’s going to happen.  For now, however, enjoy this.

 

The Calm Before the Seeing

First off, let’s move this out of the way:  after mentioning yesterday that I made a video for the first time, I had, shall we say, a few requests to see me speak.  Oh sure, I’ve presented pictures of myself, but never have I gone and made a fool of myself before one of those talky camera things.  So, today, I’ll upload the video to my YouTube account and present it here for you amusement.  You Have Been Warned.

And I had a session with my therapist, the first since starting my hormone treatment.  She was happy to see me, happy to see I appear happy, happy to hear how I’m moving forward in my life.  She also pointed out a few things she noticed about me, and this is where I do a Law & Order trope and invoke doctor/patient privilege so that I don’t have to go into just what it was she noticed.  While I’m open to a lot of things in my life, that isn’t one of them.

Which brings us to writing.  It must have been a good night, because I ended up just short of twelve hundred words for the evening, setting up a new scene at the Samhain Dance.  I also mentioned yesterday that I’d written six hundred and sixty-six words to finish the last scene, so imagine my surprised when I checked my word count this morning . . .

I believe I've moved into the Condo of the Beast.

I believe I’ve moved into the Condo of the Beast.

I love seeing number like that:  Ms. Rutherford would probably tell me that the Numerologists of the Foundation would find that an auspicious sign.  Given what I know is coming next in the scene, and the following scene, and the following chapter, they’re probably correct.

Onward to the party!

 

 

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

“Hope we’re not disturbing.”

Annie looked up along with Kerry and found Professors Sladen and Arrakis standing on the other side of the coffee table. Sladen’s costume was a simple affair: A rather plain halter top and matching brown wrap around skirt that feel to her knees, brown boots, and a braided gold and brown headband used to tie back her hair. She also carried a large fighting stick, maybe a jō, outfitted with leather bands to allow the user better control.

Professor Arrakis was far more elaborate and beautiful. She wore a bright green outfit that looked like a silk dress with a high collar and long sleeves, but Annie also saw what looked like the end of leggings just above her ankles. She also wore a helmet adorned with a feathered headband, and each wrist was covered with large gold wrist bands.

Annie shook her head. “No, Professor Sladen. We’re just sitting here enjoying the dance.” She was glad she didn’t need to raise her voice; there were enchantments in place to keep sound at a lower volume outside the dance floor, so people could enjoy the music and still carry on a conversation. “Please sit with us.”

“Thank you.” Erywin chose the chair to Annie’s left.

Deanna pointed to the empty spot on the soft to Annie’s left. “Would you mind if I sit next to you?”

She shook her head. “No, go right ahead, Professor.”

“Thank you.”

Kerry waited for both women to get comfortable before addressing Professor Sladen. “I recognize your costume—”

The right side of Erywin’s mouth curled up into a smile. “You do?”

“Yeah—where’s your Xena?” He looked around, grinning wildly.

Erywin laughed. “Either in the loo or preventing Armageddon from breaking out. She should be along shortly.”

“But your costume . . .” He looked around Annie at Professor Arrakis. “I have no idea.”

Deanna flashed Kerry a sweet smile. “You mean I’ve stumped you? I thought you knew everything.”

He shook his head. “Not everything. Not since coming here.”

“You have an honest boy there, Annie.” She smoothed down her skirt. “Razia Sultain, first female Muslim ruler in South Asia. She was the fifth Sultan of Delhi for four years, until 1240.”

 

See?  I not only give you a costume party, but a little history lesson.  And you discover that Kerry doesn’t know everything.

It’s not all fun an games at the dance, though.  As you can see when, as Kerry calls her, Erywin’s “Warrior Princess”, shows up to the party.

 

Professor Lovecraft walked up, greeted everyone with a hello, then sat in the open chair to Kerry’s right without asking. She leaned back and loudly exhaled her last breath before looking across the coffee table at both instructors. “I’m about to round up all your shieldmaidens and Celtic warriors and dump their asses somewhere north of the Observatory so they can beat the hell out of each other until no one is left standing.”

“Are they getting a big anxious for their annual skirmish?” Each Samhain the girls from the Åsgårdsreia fight team challenged the girls of the Mórrígan fight team to an “Ancestral Battle” fought with mock swords and shields. This had gone on for almost two hundred and sixty years, but in the last five years the lead up to the battle had begun to turn a lot more acrimonious, and it wasn’t unusual for the students to use the “Safe Space” status of the dance—meaning no one could be “called out” to settle their grievance with a real challenge fight inside Gwydion Manor—to start throwing a few non-magical punches back and forth.

“Coraline’s already fixed one broken nose—” She pointed at Erywin. “—that one of your girls threw, Honey.”

Erywin didn’t seem that concerned. She turned to Deanna. “I’m sure it wasn’t that bad.”

Deanna nodded as she he’d heard her fellow coven leader, but didn’t quite believe her. “Perhaps you could discuss protocol once again with them before they are unable to participate in the evening’s encounter?”

Helena nodded then stood. “That might not be a bad idea. I’ll help.” She turned to Annie and Kerry as Erywin rose from her seat. “You look lovely Annie. You’re . . .” She smiled slyly. “Good too, Kerry.”

Kerry almost laughed. “Thanks . . . Xena.”

Helena snorted. “I’m from New Zealand: who the hell else am I gonna come as?”

He pointed at her legs. “Your skirt’s a little long, though.”

Erywin stopped next to Helena as the later gave the skirt, which ended just above her knees, a tug. “Forgive me: I’m modest.” She turned and both teachers made their way through the crowd.

 

Helena?  Modest?  As with everything here, there’s probably a reason for that . . .

Also, you see the semi-informal school event that I actually blogged about way back on January 13 of this year, something I said I was going to write.  That post also included an excerpt from the first time Annie and Kerry attended Sorcery Class with Professor Lovecraft.  And here she is again, seven and a half months later, breaking up fights between the two groups of energetic fighting witches.  Just like Annie, I keep my promises.

Besides, these girls have been waiting months to kick each other’s butts.

"I'll break more than your nose, bitch."

“I’m gonna break a lot more than your nose.”

"You just screwed with the wrong Sheildmaiden."

“You just screwed with the wrong sheildmaiden.”

Let the Real Dance Begin

The strangest thing happened yesterday:  I made a video.  Really.  Not very long, just under four minutes, but it’s me, dressed pretty casually–like sweater over my pajamas casually–and I’m saying hi to a lot of women I know in a certain Facebook group to which I belong, and I’m talking about me and a little about my writing.  There was a time, even before my transition, that I’d never show my face anywhere:  I didn’t like taking pictures, and I never did video.  Now I’m sort of like:  eh, let’s just do this thing.  Actually I’m sorta like:  hey, I should do more.

Just one more thing to add to my multimedia empire.

I don’t know if this is a portent of something good or bad, but I wrote six hundred and sixty-six words lasts night.  Well, it is a Samhain dance, so you can excuse me if that number comes up and people are bothered.  Am I bovveed?  Do I look bovvered to you?  Actually, I’m at 668, so that makes me the Neighbor of the Beast, and they’re coming over tomorrow night for cocktails.

But seriously.  I managed to get out my video, get out my writing, watch a little television–which is probably why my word count was down–and even chat with people.  All in a night’s dealings.

But what about Annie?  Let’s see that gown.

 

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

Her gown was satin, the color of soft, creamy gold. It was sleeveless with keyhole shoulder pads, and she wore matching fingerless lace gloves on each hand. The gown pulled in slightly at the waist and spread away in a modified semi-tight A line. The original design of the gown has a plunging V line in the front and a scoop back; the back on this gown was normal, which the front dropped only low enough to allow her heart pendant to rest against bare skin. “Thank you, Nadine. I . . .” She leaned against Kerry. “It was all his idea, really.”

Kerry looked down as he grinned. “But you’re the one that makes the gown look good.” He brushed the back of Annie’s right hand. “I just thought about what would be nice.”

“Either way, you’re both killer.” Nadine continued to admire Annie. “I like the changes you made with the outfit, too.”

“I wanted something a bit more modest.” She touched her necklace. “I wouldn’t be comfortable wearing the original design.”

 

By original design she means wherever Kerry saw the outfit and got the idea.  She lets Mr. Geeky find the outfits, and she just does the alterations.

But there’s something else going on here:

 

“It looks better this way.” Kerry took Annie’s hand, raised it to his lips, and brushed a kiss against the back of her fingers.

Annie’s blush began spreading beyond her cheeks to her entire face. Kerry was his normal self throughout the day, but from the moment he saw her in this gown, his demeanor changed completely: he was attentive to her every need, he seemed to become more protective—and far more loving. Like now; Kerry wouldn’t have kissed me that way a few weeks ago

 

Ah, yes:  maybe Mr. Geeky is starting to get his feelings together  We might find out except for . ..

 

“Hey, guys. Hey, Kerry.”

Annie felt her stomach drop just a little as Emma walked up and spoiled the moment. There were many things she wanted to say, but as most of them were mean, she kept them in her thoughts. Though Kerry didn’t appear disappointed, he appeared to deflated slightly. Annie felt something float away from him—from them both, actually. It was the first time she’d felt this between them and wondered if it had something to do with the heightened magic permeating the grounds.

Kerry was polite to Emma, though. “Wow.” He didn’t move from Annie’s side, but did turn and twist his head as if he were taking her in from several different angles. “You decided to go all in on this, didn’t you?”

 

Emma:  buzzkilling relationships since two weeks before.  One day she’ll do that to the wrong witch–the wrong Dark Witch, I’m thinking–and she’s gonna have to watch her butt closely.

Here’s what I have:

Hey, looks different, doesn't it?

Hey, looks different, doesn’t it?

I’ve finished the entry into the dance, renamed the bonfire section, and altered the last part that I’d added.  The times are more in sync with what’s going to happen, too.  I’m doing this because, in my mind, I know how I want this chapter to now play out, and this is it.  Three little scenes, but I now know how they go.

Now for the magic to continue.

Twilight in the Night Ward

It is done:  Chapter Seventeen is done, finished, first drafted.

See all those "First Draft" labels?  I don't lie.  Much.

See all those “First Draft” labels? I don’t lie. Much.

In the last scene written Annie got caught, but the punishment . . . well, it’s not all that hard.  Really.  Nurse Coraline is a big softy.  Not only that, but Annie admitted something that she wouldn’t tell Kerry–probably not ever–but she would admit to another woman.

 

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

“It’s not just that, Nurse Coraline—” Annie hated to admit to anything bothering her; it wasn’t her nature. And it wasn’t like what she was about to admit to bothered her a lot, but given her current situation, she knew what she was about to say wouldn’t go beyond the person listening. “Kerry always sees me to my room. He’s the last person I see before getting ready for bed. And . . . we’re the only ones on the floor. Even though he’s on the other side of the tower, it’s comforting to know if I needed him, I only have to knock on his door.”

 

Now we know that there’s always a “Good Night” given somewhere on the First Floor of Cernunnos Tower, and that Annie had to go to the hospital to get hers that night–but that’s not the same, is it?  Doesn’t really have the same, loving impact that holding hands and giving someone a kiss and telling them “good night” before heading into your room to fall asleep has. Which is probably why Annie is back on the ward because . . . well, she has her reasons.

And Coraline has to lay down the law.

 

“Okay, Annie.” Coraline patted the girl’s shoulder. “Here’s what’s going to happen: first, consider this a warning. The rules I have about sneaking into my hospital are there for a reason, and I don’t like seeing anyone break them—even people I like. Should this happen again, there’s gonna be detention.”

Annie glanced down and nodded once. “It won’t happen again.”

“That’s good, because you don’t want detention from me.” She didn’t bother waiting for the question from Annie. “It’s always the same: you’re sent to clean up the morgue. In the lower levels. At night.” She slowly raised her eyebrows as she smirked. “No one ever wants a second detention from me.”

Annie met Coraline’s stare. “I don’t want a first.”

“Then don’t sneak onto my ward again.”

“I won’t.”

 

Yeah, girl, this is crazy, but you just snuck onto my ward floor, so how about heading down to the morgue at eight-thirty PM and doing a little dusting maybe.  No bodies lying about, but that doesn’t mean the place hasn’t been used.

But the Head Doctor/Nurse isn’t a total meanie:

 

“I believe you.” She slid her hand behind Annie’s shoulders and directed her back down the ward corridor. “Now, second: I’m gong to to walk you back to your tower—” She felt the girl stiffen under her fingertips. “I’ll see you into your commons, and I’ll give you something that will help you sleep. And I’ll watch you take it, just to make certain you have—”

Annie hung her head. “Yes, Nurse Coraline.”

“—after you spend some time with Kerry.”

Annie looked up, absorbing what she’d just been told. “Really?”

“Did you think I wasn’t going to give you at least a little time with him?” Coraline stopped in front of Kerry’s curtained-off bay. “Like I said, Annie, I’m a romantic, too. If I’d had a boyfriend in the hospital when I was an A Level, and I felt about him the way you feel for Kerry, I’d have probably risked detention to see him.”

“Thank you, Nurse Coraline.” Annie was genuinely touched. She knew Coraline was upset with her rule breaking, but she also sensed the honesty behind her actions. “How much time do I get?”

“I’ll give you thirty minutes.” She half way slid back the bay curtain and spoke softly. “I’ll come and get you when time’s up. No one will bother you, so Team Annie—” Coraline grinned broadly. “—can have enough time to comfort her sleeping boy.”

 

Team Annie.  Because only pervo vampires sneak into someone’s place of rest and sit their watching them while they sleep.  Nurse Gretchen already called Annie out on this, saying she was getting into some “strange Twilight stuff” with that, but that’s okay with Annie, because . . .

 

Annie sat and moved the chair as close to the bed as possible without scrunching her legs against the frame. She knew it likely seemed strange to both Gretchen and Coraline that she wanted to sit and watch Kerry sleep, but she felt that since she couldn’t share their dreams together—for whatever reason—this was the next best thing.

 

If I can’t see you in my dreams, I’ll do the next best thing.  Which means it must torture her to sleep across the tower from Kerry and not be able to do the same.  You can draw any conclusions you like . . .

But do it fast, because Samhain is up next, and believe me:  Halloween dances at a school full of witches and gifted kids might just be a lot of fun.

Anatomy of a Sneaky Girl

Well, now, it’s another day, it’s another Sunday, it’s another “The weekend is almost over” feeling.  We do this all the time, and it’s not a bad feeling–not as long as you do something with your time.

What did I do?  A lot.  Oh, yeah, writing, too, but I was doing a lot of other things as well.  So many that by nine PM I was falling asleep.  That’s an indication I was hard doing . . . something.  It’s not all just sitting on my butt in front of the computer.

Though it’s close . . .

If there’s one thing I have learned about Annie, it’s that she gets what she wants.  She’s explained that she’s been called “selfish” for this attitude, but she’s just a girl who knows what she wants, and she’ll keep at it until she gets it.  Or she just does whatever the hell she feels like doing, which is what she’s sort of doing now that she’s away from her parents and off to school with her Ginger Haired Boy.

What happens when he’s in the hospital and not sleeping across the tower from her?  What does she do when visiting hours are over?  What do you think?

 

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

Pushing open the door to the hospital waiting room slowly, Annie peeked in to see if anyone was present. The room was empty, as she’d expected, so she used the moment to slip inside and eased the door shut. She stood still for almost ten seconds, waiting to see if Nurse Gretchen came out of Coraline’s office, or from out of the ward. When she found herself still alone she moved ahead.

Annie knew what she was doing was wrong, that it was after visiting hours and sneaking onto the ward was going to be frowned upon. She also knew that using the Light Bending spell she’d learned in Transformation Class to allowed her to enter without being seen was also going to be viewed in a dim light.

She was facing a lot of detention to do this.

She didn’t care. She wanted to sit with Kerry for a little.

 

 

Who needs an invisibility cloak when you can just bend light around your own bad self? That’s a problem with this school: witches be roaming the grounds at all hours, sneaking into places they aren’t suppose to be.

Then again, all the instructors graduated from this joint, so what do you think that means?

 

She decided to move the chair between the beds so she could sit next to him for a while. If Nurse Gretchen walked in she could always jump up and get out of the way before she moved the chair back into place, but Annie considered the possibility of the night nurse walking in on her slim. It wasn’t like Kerry was a specialty patient in need of constant observation; he had only a broken ankle and a damaged knee. Unless he woke up and called for the nurse—

There was a tap on Annie’s right shoulder.

She turned and found no one there. A moment later the dim outline of a taller woman appeared, and within seconds the outline constituted into the form of Nurse Coraline. She cocked her right index finger at the invisible and motioned for her to come along. Annie dropped her Light Bending spell and followed Coraline into the corridor and to the far end of the ward where she’d held her conversation with Professor Lovecraft weeks before.

 

Coraline, she don’t miss a trick, and seems to know the same magic. She also knows something else:

 

Coraline didn’t bother with a privacy screen; she went right to the chastising. “First off, I have to say you really mastered that Light Bending spell that Jessica showed you. She told me Kerry and you both had it down pat, which doesn’t surprised me one bit.” She crossed her arms, trying to look as stern as possible. “What Jes didn’t tell you is while you can hide your physical form just fine, it doesn’t do a thing to disguise your aura. Which means you pretty much stood out like a beacon to me.”

“You were waiting for me?” Annie was surprised that her presence was expected. “Did Professor Arrakis say something?”

“Annie, I didn’t need a seer to figure this one out. The first time Kerry did an overnight you were in to complain that you were having ‘trouble sleeping’, and, oh, can I sit with Kerry for a few minutes? Then you were in just after visiting hours were over because you told Gretchen that you had to ‘apologize’ for something.”

Coraline shook her head. “No, no way. I figured you’d show up and it’d be a good idea if we had a chat. Of course, I didn’t imagine you were going to sneak into my ward . . .” She twisted her mouth up into a scowl. “There’s a half-dozen ways we know if someone’s coming into the hospital; even pretty much invisible, you still set off three of them. Just for future reference, in case you want to try this again.”

 

Here’s a woman who’s serious about kids sneaking into her hospital. Haven’t written the part up yet, but you never want detention from Coraline, because she’s a bit twisted when it comes to handing out punishment. And it’s not scrubbing bedpans, because there aren’t that many in this place. At least not used . . .

"Nurse Coraline, I don't know if I like the idea of using others for magical experimentation . . . what do you mean, you didn't say 'others'?  Why are you looking at me that way?"

“Nurse Coraline, I don’t know if I like the idea of using others for magical experimentation . . . what do you mean, you didn’t say ‘others’? Why are you looking at me like that?”

The Moment of Forgotten Love

I’ve written about love before, both times in stories set in a science fiction world I created over twenty years ago.  Actually there was a third story set in the same world that dealt with love, wanted and unavailable, and getting through that novel was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, because in pulling that story out of whatever crevasse of my mind held the damn thing, I also pulled out a lot of feelings that I’d not touched upon for a while.

You may have noticed I’m doing the same thing here, only . . . it’s a different kind of love.

The new scene I added to the novel was finished last night, with only a touch fewer than six hundred words needed to bring it to a conclusion.  After Annie’s profession of undying love, there weren’t a lot of places Kerry could go in his mind, wondering just what the hell this Girl From Bulgaria meant.  If I can figure it out, I’m sure he can . . .

 

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

“As would I.” Annie smooched Kerry on the right cheek, very near his lips. She lingered there for a few seconds, savoring the kiss. “Goodnight, my love.”

He folded his hands across his lap. “Night, Sweetie.”

She paused at the curtain. “See you in the morning.” She blew him a kiss, then departed.

Now alone, Kerry thought about the things Annie had said. He wasn’t all that interesting in her apology, or the information about her father—he continued going back to her talk of her love for him, and how she would love him—

He wanted to say “forever”, but it was more than that. And every day, as long as you live, you’ll hear me say those words to you. That was what she said. She wasn’t talking forever, not like someone would if they were talking about a long, indefinite period of time for which they didn’t know the end.

Annie said as long as I live. As long as I’m alive

From now until the day I die.

 

Yeah, dude, you’re getting it.  It’s easy to say, “I’ll love you forever,” because it’s a bullshit expression that runs out when the love does.  When you say, “As long as you live,” you’re setting a time frame for the object of the affection, saying you’re going to be their one and only until they kick this mortal coil, naturally or otherwise.  (Kerry needn’t worry that Annie’s gonna go all Dark Witch and plant his ass in the ground with some black magic–yet . . .)

Basically, she just set the limits for how long soul mates should exist.

And that brings out something else in Kerry . . .

 

But her saying that he deserved love—no one had ever said that to him before. Sure, his grandparents said they loved him, and when he was younger his parents told him the same, but it had been a long time—since leaving San Francisco—that he’d had anyone say “I love you, Kerry.” He’d not heard it from his father or mother. He’d not heard it from anyone else, because in all of Cardiff no one else was close to him.

The only person in the last five years who’d told Kerry they’d loved him was Annie. She was the only one who thought him worthy of her love—

Have I ever returned that love?

He lowered his head and a few stray tears dripped into his glass lenses. Why hadn’t he? Was it because he was unsure of his feelings? Was it because he didn’t know his feelings? Or was it because he knew his feelings, and he was afraid to express them? He’d told Annie he had trouble expressing his feelings, but there was a feeling deep within his self that told him . . .

There was a knock on the bay support. Kerry looked up and saw an outstretched arm reaching across the open curtain space. “Kerry?” Nurse Gretchen’s voice was soft, concerned. “Are you all right?”

 

It’s a kick in the brain pan when you finally realize that someone is madly in love with you, and you’re still uncertain about what you feel for them.  So what does he do?  Well, this is the event I called “First Night,” which means there are two other nights ahead, and during that time he’ll figure out what he should do–

Better hurry, Kerry:  Annie's waiting, and she'll probably wait another . . . five or six years for you to make up your mind.

Better hurry, Kerry: Annie’s waiting, and she’ll probably wait another . . . five or six years for you to make up your mind.

The Boy With the Long Emptiness

One of the maxims of writing is, “Write what you know”.  Which is a hard thing to do for this novel, because what do I know about witches and super science and secret organizations that run the world without us knowing anything.  Okay, for that last I have notes from last week’s meeting . . .

But this novel isn’t all about witches and magic and fighting off some dark, unseen presence–though give me a few more scenes and you might be surprised.  It’s also about feelings.  It’s about my two main characters learning about stuff, you know . . . things.  That’s what happened earlier in the current scene I’m writing:  Annie came back in to see the laid-up Kerry, apologized, and told him a secret.  It’s all good, right?

Kerry’s got a few secrets of his own.  He tells Annie he understands strange relationships with you parents, because he has the same.  But he doesn’t stop there:  oh, no.  That would be too easy.  Because Kerry’s been hanging around Annie for almost two months now, and he’s discovered that, after all the years of being around his parents and experiencing an unaffectionate relationship with them, he really does have feelings.

Which leads to this:

 

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

Annie nodded slowly, witnessing the emotions flowing across Kerry’s face. Something was bothering him, something that he wanted to say aloud, and she wasn’t about to leave him alone with feelings that seemed to bother him. “Kerry?”

He took two deep breaths before he quickly raised his head so he was looking directly at Annie. “A couple of years ago my mother told me she wished I wasn’t with them. I knew she didn’t mean that I wasn’t with them in Cardiff: she meant she wished . . .” He took a long, tortured breath as his gaze shifted away from Annie. “I wasn’t here.”

 

Write what you know–and I know that one.  Because my own mother dropped that bomb on me when I was ten.  Sure, I was probably driving her crazy with my depression and all the other baggage I was carrying, and this moment came after my parents pulled me out of therapy after two months–therapy that was suppose to help me learn how to “make friends,” because one of my mantras then was, “No one likes me.”  At that time in my life I never left the house except to go to school and places with my parents.  There was one point where I didn’t leave my room unless it was necessary for about two years.

I’m sure none of this had anything to do with the various sentences my mother threw at me from the time I was about six that always ended in, “Like a girl.”  Yeah, thanks.  Lots of help there.

Fortunately Kerry has Annie.  And while he might not understand everything there is to know about girls, he will understand this:

 

If she could have Annie would have taken Kerry and pulled him close and held him, but she couldn’t do that, not with him being unable to move. She moved as close to him as possible. “Do you remember when we had lunch in Russel Square?”

He didn’t look at her, but Kerry nodded. “Yeah. That was—”

“Do you remember telling me that you felt that no one cared for you, that you weren’t loved?”

Kerry gaze slowly returned to Annie’s hazel eyes. “Yes. I remember.”

She laid their hands upon her chest and held him tightly. “You’re wrong. You’re worthy of love, Kerry: you deserve love. You deserve to have someone tell you at least once every day that they love you. You deserve to hear those words and know them to be true.” Annie lightly, lovingly kissed his hand. “I love you, Kerry. I always will. And every day, as long as you live, you’ll hear me say those words to you.” She placed his hand against her right cheek and closed her eyes. “Every day.”

Kerry felt her warm cheek against his fingers, her skin against his. He started to smile, then the gravity of her words fell over him, and it was all he could do to stare opened mouth, his breathing coming in short, jagged bursts. As Annie opened her eyes and looked back into his, he finally found his voice. “Every day . . . That’s a long time.”

“Yes, it is.” Annie lowered his hand so it once more rested on the bed, though she refused to let it go. “Unless you keep letting Emma crash into you.”

He began laughing; Annie joined in a moment later. The seriousness of the moment was now in the past, replaced by their levity. Kerry coughed once. “Yeah, that could shorten my life considerably.”

“By more than a few years.” This time the lights across the ward were out for three seconds before coming back on. “And I think—”

“That’s your cue.” Kerry slid his hand from Annie’s. “You better get going before Nurse Gretchen throws you out.”

 

Of course he remembers, Annie:  it right there in that scene.

Of course he remembers, Annie: it right there in that scene.

The rest of the scene comes tonight, when Kerry starts to understand something important.  Something not just about Annie, but about himself.  Something that’ll bring another kind of hurt–

Don’t worry, kid.  You don’t have to stay empty forever.

The Girl With the Family Secrets

It was an interesting after-work situation yesterday, only because I did something I rarely do, which is venture out into public.  I was out because I had to pick up a book–yes, I still read–and then it was over for dinner.  However, the internet at my local Panera wasn’t working, so all I could do is write.  Damn it all, as they say, are you trying to make me productive?

It was a good thing there wasn’t an internet, because I cranked out nearly six hundred words in about twenty five minutes.  Ah, to be back in the old zone.  It was a good feeling.

 

 

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

“A little.” He nodded his head back and forth. “Mostly, though, I used to do computer racing.”

“I’m sorry?”

“A few years ago I got a racing program for my computer. It was really more of a simulation for grand touring cars—”

Annie couldn’t help but grin. “FIA-GT.”

“You know that?”

“Oh, yes; I know that. Go on.”

Kerry wanted to ask how she know about that particular series, but decided to tell Annie his story. “I have a steering wheel at home that I plug into my computer—gear shifter and foot peddles, too , so using the program was as much like driving the car as possible. The tracks were modeled perfectly on real courses, so when you raced at, say, Spa, it felt like you were really racing there with other drivers.”

“Did you race there?”

“Spa?”

“Yes.”

He nodded. “Yeah, that was one of my favorites. I did the twenty-four hour endurance race there a few times.”

This time Annie chuckled. “I know all about that one.”

How do you know about that?”

Like she’s going to tell you, kid.  Actually, you’re going to find out in just a bit.

This part was really easy to put together, because Kerry is speaking from the writer’s experience.  I used to do a lot of racing on my computer, using my GTR2 racing simulation game.  I also had the same wheel set up he had, which is how he know it was like driving a race car.

Ah, there you are!  Remember all the laps we put in before I wore you out?

Ah, there you are! Remember all the laps we put in before I wore you out?

That was my rig right there.  I wore out the gear shifter, and because I was unemployed at the time it went belly up, I didn’t use the rebate for the wheel to by a new one.  Which is probably a good thing, because I drove thousands of lap on that game.  Remember Kerry saying he did the twenty-four hour endurance race at Spa?  I did two.  The first one was in the rain and took 550 laps to complete.  The second one was in good weather and I managed 600 laps.  I didn’t drive both of them in twenty-four hours straight.  That’s insane.

He tells Annie about how racing was a challenge to him.  It wasn’t recklessness; it was about being good at what you do and having your car in one piece at the end of the race.  And he talks about setting Emma up:

 

“She threw a couple of blocks at me in the north part of the course. I figured out that she was trying to throw me off, to get me upset, so I’d do something dumb and lose ground to her. So . . .” His grin turned positively ornery. “I set her up on West End, and when she threw a block on me in Sunset—” He demonstrated with his hands how he got around Emma. “She wasn’t thinking about how this course is three dimensional. So I got her.”

Annie giggled and almost applauded. “I’m impressed. That’s a good thing you did there.”

He looked off to his left and scoffed. “Then again, if I hadn’t gotten in front of her, she wouldn’t have crashed into me.”

She gave his hand a stronger, lingering squeeze. “If you decide you want to race, you’ll quickly discover these things happen.”

“Is that what happened with your dad when he was here?” Annie grew still and quiet, though she didn’t turn her eyes away. “Professor Salomon told me a while back your dad used to race here, and Nurse Coraline told me the same.” He quietly swallowed, clearing his throat. “Does he still do that?”

“You could say that. He still races PAVs now and then, but . . .” She took his hand in both hers. “My father is Victor Kirilov; he races in the Formula One series. He also raced in FIA-GT for a while, which is why I knew about that.” She slowly breathed in and out. “The team he drives for is owned and run by The Foundation. They de-engineer super science technology and test it on their cars, so it can be used on Normal vehicles.”

 

So there it is:  it’s out.  Annie’s finally admitted that Daddy’s a big deal.  Of course Kerry is confused by the name.

 

“Oh.” Her smile was soft and enchanting. “That’s how it is with Bulgarian names. My family name is Kirilovi, with an ‘I’ at the end. My father’s name is the masculine version of the family name, which removes the final ‘I’. My mother’s name, and mine, are the feminine version of the name, with an ‘A’ at the end—hence ‘Kirilova’.” She leaned back slightly, hoping she hadn’t confused Kerry too much. “Do you understand?”

He nodded slowly. “It’s sort of like with Russian names.”

“Yes, something like that.”

“I get it.”

 

Clever boy.

The scene finishes with Annie’s true apology.  Sure, she was mad, but her real reasons for seeing Kerry tonight are as such:

 

“That’s okay; I understand—” He looked up as the lights in the ward flashed twice. “Is that your two minute warning?”

Annie was looking up as well. “Gretchen is letting me know my time here is almost over.” She took her time lowering her gaze, little by little, until she once more settled into his deep green eyes. “There’s my apology. I won’t be mad at you for the things you want to do, or at least try. 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. I’m never going to be that girlfriend who tells you what you have to do, what you must do, and what you can never do.”

She scrunched up her eyes and shook her head. “I know you like to fly, and there’s a fair chance you’ll want to try racing. And . . .” She tightened her grip on his hand. “I love flying with you, and though it might scare me horribly, I’ll watch you if you end up racing.” She bent over and kissed his hand. “I’ll never try and keep you from being the person you’re meant to be.”

 

And there you have it:  the real reason Annie’s there.  To let him be himself, she has to let him be himself.  Of course, there’s also something else going on here, because a while back she confessed to the School Seer that there was a lot more going on than meets the eyes.

Something I’m going to write about tonight.

They’ve got a few minutes before Gretchen kicks them out to get things said . . .

You are getting a lot bigger, you know that?

You are getting a lot bigger, you know that?

Finding Your Way Into First Night

When I’m putting together a scene I usually spend a lot of time figuring things out, looking at locations, getting a feel for the environment and characters.  Sometimes it takes days; sometimes weeks.

For the scene I started last night, I think I’ve spent maybe eight hours.

As I was writing about putting Kerry in the hospital, and the scene that comes after–which I’m not talking about, nuh, huh–I began feeling that something was missing.  What was missing was the sense that the way Annie left Kerry in his hospital bed, which right for that time, didn’t mesh with what came later.  So–how to fix that?

Easy:  add another scene.

Even though this story is plotted out to the max, that doesn’t mean things won’t pop up from time to time that either don’t make much sense and should be removed, or at the least, moved, or that something more is required.  In this case more was needed, and I obliged.  Because novels are a living work in progress, and sometimes you gotta fill in that work just a little more than it already is.

This is how we start.

 

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

Kerry was alone in the ward bay, the curtain cutting off Beds #1 and #2 from the ward corridor pulled three-quarter closed and open only near the wall on the other side of Bed #1. He sat quietly in his bed, his back and head raised so he could read—or, in his case, attempt to read. He’d spent the last twenty-five minutes since Annie’s departure trying to read, but he found it difficult. It wasn’t that he was dealing with distractions: rather, he found it difficult to concentrate due to his aching head.

The medication he was given was doing wonders to keep the pain at bay, but there were still small things that refused to leave him alone. If he turned his head too fast, it would start to spin. His right ankle was starting to itch constantly. And he found it bothersome to sit in the same position with his lightly wrapped knee locked in the same position, unable to move centimeter in any direction. It drove Kerry a little nuts to have to leave his left leg like that all day, through dinner, and now into the night before heading into lights out.

 

I have been in a similar situation, though not with broken limbs and a torn up knee.  I once damaged my neck in an accident and ended up in constant traction for two weeks, after which I needed to wear a neck brace for nine months.  I know all about lying there and being unable to do anything for hours on end–in fact, I couldn’t use the bathroom for the first two days, and couldn’t shower for the first week.  And when I was allowed to do either, I had a nurse standing right next to me the whole time.  Not a lot of fun, let me tell you.

But that situation changes quickly.

 

“Hi.”

Kerry looked up from his tablet: Annie was standing in the space between the curtain and the wall, dressed in her light blue flannel pajamas and her light robe. Her hands were at her side, and for the first time since he’d been admitted to the ward, she was smiling. “Hi.”

Annie walked in and pointed at the tablet. “What are you doing?”

He started the power down sequence and laid it across his lap. “I was reading.”

She chuckled softly. “What are you reading?”

Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman. I’ve had it for a while, but . . .” He shrugged. “Just never found the time to start. Though I might try tonight.” Seeing that the tablet was off, Kerry slipped it into a holder on the right side of the bed. “I didn’t get very far.”

Annie stood close to him on his right, examining his bandaged head. “Concussion bothering you?”

“A little, yeah.” He didn’t want to mention that he’d thought about their time together only a few moments earlier. “It’s, um, past visiting hours.”

 

Of course it’s past visiting hours:  do you think a little think like rules bothers Annie?

I’ve run though this scene many times on my walk back and forth from work, which is really a good time to be alone with my thoughts and work out what’s going on with my characters.  I know why Annie’s there, I know what she’s going to say, and I’ve already had her say some of it.  I know how Kerry will respond, and how he’ll confide in Annie with something.

And I know how the scene ends, which is going to lay some heavy moves upon my red haired boy, because Annie’s gonna say something that’ll likely rock him to the core–no, not that.  Get your minds out of the gutter.

It’s First Night for them both.  That means something to me, something the reader will find out in time.  And second night is set up as well.  Just look below:

Over by der by da tower, in da garden.  You know?

Over by der by da tower, in da garden. You know?  That’s how we’d say it in Chicago.

And the Third Night is quickly approaching as well.  It’s in Part Seven.

That’s coming soon enough.