Out of the Transept and Into the Vault

Part Seven, the longest day in this school’s history–and it seems like the longest one in my writing history, too–is finally over.  The Wednesday Night Panera “Dine and Write” went well, oh so well.  I managed to close out the scene, which in turned closed out the chapter, which in turn closed out the penultimate part of Act Two.  So long, you Day of the Dead.  It was nice knowing you.

There are moments in your life when you want to cheer that you had a job well done.  This is one of them.

There are moments in your life when you want to cheer that you had a job well done. This is one of them.

And what happened in the final part of the scene, where Deanna looked about ready to rip Annie a new one?  You can find out for yourself . . .

 

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

Deanna leaned against the railing. “In all the years you knew your Kerry, did you ever imagine that he would become a witch? Or a sorceress? Did you ever imagine that you’d both go to school together? That this Normal boy would become as good as spell crafting as you, a witch whose lived with magic all her life?”

Annie glanced at her soul mate and realized a truth that had eluded her until this moment. “No.”

“Did you even wonder if it were possible?”

She shook her head. “No.”

“And yet, here he is alongside you at all times: in your coven where you sleep, in the Dining Hall when you eat, on the grounds as you walk, and in your classes where you learn. Even in the air along side when you fly.” Annie blushed at the mention that she had been flying around the school grounds with him on the weekends. “And let’s not mention the Midnight Madness, where you both are so close as to be inseparable . . .

“Let me as your opinion on another matter: we don’t know for certain what happened yesterday when Kerry rescued Emma. We know he was hurt, and we know he manage to draw it away.” While her smile remained friendly, Deanna’s eyes bored down into Annie’s feelings. “Imagine that it was you instead of Emma. You know your Kerry: what would he have done?”

Once again Annie glanced down at him, only this time her view didn’t waver. She continued staring in his direction, watching him sit with his hands in his lap, staring straight ahead, watching students as they walked through the large expanse.

Deanna didn’t wait for Annie to answer, because she knew she was afraid to say what she knew. “He’d have fought that creature for as long as it would have taken to know you were safe.”

Annie looked away from Kerry and nodded slowly. “Yes.”

“He would have fought that Abomination—something he’d never seen before—until either it, or him, or both of them, were dead.” Deanna leaned towards Annie, her voice cold and merciless. “You know this.”

Annie said nothing, for the seer was right: she knew Kerry well enough from their years together that, as he’d stated not that long ago, that she was everything to him, the most important person in his world. If there was anyone he’d do everything in his power to protect, it was her.

She finally looked up and slightly raised her eyebrows. “Yes. I know this.”

 

Annie does know this, too, because if you believe her hype, she’s known Kerry most of her life.  There’s no guessing with her:  she’s really certain that, as Deanna suggests, Kerry probably would fight some Lovecraftian creature to the death to protect her.  Because he’s that way.

And then Deanna lays this on our spoiled little girl:

 

Deanna nodded. “Maybe he doesn’t remember your dreams; maybe he doesn’t remember all the time you’ve already spent together; maybe he doesn’t remember that he loved you before you came to Salem. But he is your Kerry, and he loves you now. Actually, you have something special . . .”

“What’s that?”

“He’s fallen in love with you again. You: a girl he didn’t have any idea existed before you met him a little over two months ago. Without knowing a thing about you, he stood by your side, he spent his nearly every waking moment—and not a fun unconscious moments—with you, and he’s pledged his love to you.” Deanna finally turned so she could see Kerry sitting below, waiting for Annie. He looked up and waved; Deanna waved back. “In almost every way, he is your soul mate.” She turned her head and smiled at Annie. “There are a lot of people here who are envious of you, young lady. The first time they hear him say he loves you, they’re going to become jealous.”

Annie was facing in Kerry’s direction as well. She didn’t take her eyes off him. “That’s their problem, not mine.”

Deanna chuckled. “As I would expect you to feel.” She lowered her gaze and her voice took on a consolatory tone. “I’m sorry I called you selfish.”

“Well—” Annie sighed softly. “I was being selfish.”

“You’re in love; you’re allowed to be selfish now and then.” She stepped back from the railing and motioned for Annie to follow. “Come on; I want to say hello.”

 

I ended the scene pretty much there because to include anything else was to drag it out.  We know the kids did a great job, we know Kerry’s hurt, we know Annie’s pretty much happy and will find herself growing happier.  So th-tha-tha-that’s all, folks!  No more Attack Day.

But wait!  There’s more!

Damn right, because then I jump into the first chapter of Part Eight and not only started the scene, but eighteen hundred words later, I finished it.  It was probably the best day I’ve had writing-wise in a while, and I was well into NaNo word count territory, because I ended the evening with about twenty-three hundred words total.  (I managed almost five hundred words on the nose finishing up the last scene.)

We’re over to The Witch House now, and Annie’s down in The Black Vault, the area where all the pretty dangerous material on sorcery is kept.  (And if you want to know:  yes, the really dangerous material on sorcery is keep in the Library in the under-lock-and-key-and-spells Special Section which is protected by wards, enchantments, and Mr. Parkman.)

 

Helena pointed to the empty spot on one of the bookshelves. “Because a volume is missing, and it’s a companion to the other three volumes by Gilaromey.” She shook her head. “I know The Vault inside and out, and have pretty much memories the locations of every volume here.” She laid her right index finger against her lips and cleared her throat. “That way if when I need to look something up, I don’t have to go searching.”

“Makes sense.” Annie also suspected that Helena had probably put The Vault together, and was the one to determine where every book was place.

“So . . .” Helena positioned herself next to the still-sitting student and kept her eyes locked on the volume in Annie’s lap. “If you’re reading Gilaromey, you’re reading up on shadow magic.”

Annie looked up, chuckling. “Nothing escapes you, Professor.”

“Gilaromey is the expert on shadow magic, and required reading for anyone whose interested in mastering that particular craft.” She reached down and checked the title on the spine. “You’ve skipped the theory and went right for the practical application.”

“I’ve read Matters of Light and Darkness.”

“Why am I not surprised?” Helena waved over another chair and positioned it next to Annie’s, though she was careful to keep about a meter between them. She sat and made herself comfortable before saying any more. “Shadow crafting is the most difficult thing for a sorceress to learn, much less master.”

Annie had heard this mentioned before, but was never given a reason for this belief. “Why is that?”

“You said you’ve read Light and Darkness, yeah?”

“Yes.”

“What does he say about darkness?”

“That most sorceresses deal only with what is real, and that darkness isn’t real—it only appears real to the senses.”

Helena nodded. “You got it. Darkness is nothing more than the absence of light, which means it only exists when light doesn’t. If magic—particularly sorcery—is meant to be the manipulation of what is real, then how can one control something that doesn’t actually exist?” She held out here arms and groaned as she stretched. “It’s a concept that a lot of great sorceress couldn’t ever get.”

 

Now we’re talking:  a couple of sorceresses getting down into some strange magic.  And they do chat about it, and it comes out that Annie’s sort of in awe of Helena’s life, since she learned a lot of sorcery when she was like seven and eight, which is something that happens when you mother and grandmother are pretty bad ass sorceresses as well.  But Helena’s laughing this off, because from where she’s sitting, her life wasn’t that amazing.  In fact, it had a lot of sucko moments:

 

She pushed herself deep into her chair, looked up and sighed. “Let me tell you a story: we had chickens on our estate because my mother had a thing about using fresh eggs in her cooking. While we had setting hens, we also had a fair number of clucks walking about that were meant for the dinner table.

“When my mother felt like chicken, she’d go out, point at a bird, and Blood Hammer that bastard. Boom! The head not only blew right off, but the hen usually bled out on the spot. Hey, better butchering through magic, right?

“When I turned eight I was told that I would take over the duties of Family Hen Killer, and I would need to learn the Blood Hammer spell. But rather than have my mother teach me, she handed me over to my grandmother for tutoring—only because she was the Queen of Morte. If there was killing to be done, Grandma was the one to handle the deed.

“I start learning Blood Hammer from her, and I sucked at it. Yeah, she had their version of our practice dummies, but after a few days of practice she started me out on chickens.” Helena started guffawing while remembering her trials and tribulations. “At first I don’t do shit to these birds, except cause a few to pass out because I’ve got too much blood to their little chicken brains and they can’t handle the stress.

 

“Honey, go out and use some magic to kill a couple of chickens.  We have company coming over!”  They should have gotten the house elf to do that . . . oh, wait:  wrong world.  And it’s sort of assumed that when Helena says “estate”, she’s not talking about some suburban bungalow:  she’s probably talking a very nice joint where she grew up.  With chickens.  Whose heads exploded from time to time.

Then she talks about how she screwed up one spell and literally made a chicken explode.  No exaggeration:  the way she tells it there was a fowl mess all over the yard.  Get it?  I know . . . well, apparently someone else didn’t get the joke, either:

 

“I’m laughing my ass off, and then I get this hand grabbing me by my hair, and my Grandma is dragging me off to a quiet part of the yard where she proceeds to beat the shit out of me. She never laid a hand on me, didn’t have to: it was all combat spells, like that bloody Air Hammer you’re learning to control.” She looked down as she twisted up the right side of her face. “She wailed on me for close to five minutes, and when she was done she just turned around and headed back to the house. I laid there for about ten, fifteen minutes, then managed to get to my feet and walk to my room. I passed both my mother and Grandma in the kitchen, and neither said a word to me.

“I didn’t say anything for a couple of days, not until Grandma came back to continue the lesson. The first thing I asked was why she tore into me like she did, and she told me, ‘While that may have seemed severe, it’s nothing compared to what you would have felt had that spell Backlashed.’ I got it right away: you screw up a death spell, and the Backlash from said spell could kill you.” Helena finally raised her head and looked at Annie. “I never screwed up a spell that bad again.”

Annie wasn’t sure if she should say something or not. She’d never heard of any such cruelty like that in her family, but she didn’t discount that maybe, perhaps a few generations back, someone on either side of her family may have done something similar. I don’t know how I would have reacted if Mama had done something like that to me. But there was one question she had to ask . . . “Did you learn Blood Hammer?”

“Oh, yeah.” Helena grinned and nodded. “Got it right later that day, and took over the chicken killing duties the next day.” She laid her crossed hands upon her lap. “Was pretty good at it, too.”

 

There you have it:  the Mistress of All Things Dark started out as the family chicken killer.  Just point and Boom!  I got your chicken, Mama!

The end of Act Two really is in sight now.  And by tonight I’ll be at least half way, or maybe more than half way, through Chapter Twenty-Five, which isn’t a big chapter, but it’s setting things up for the next chapter, which is the month down the road that Annie is thinking about–and which is not making her happy.  I’ll get to that when . . . well, when I get to it.

Writers be writin' . . .

Writers be writin’ . . .

Triage Time

Yesterday was Attack, today I bring you Triage.

Whereas the last scene was all about Kerry, this one is all about Annie.  It’s the same time frame, but from a different perspective–as if I need to tell you.  That’s why the time stamps, so people will see this is all happening about the same time.

Let get right into what’s going on inside the Great Hall.

 

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

17:06 to 17:10

The lights were on in the Rotunda now that the sun was nearly set. They’d actually come on almost thirty minutes early; Annie suspected Nurse Coraline asked for them on, as the encroaching gloom was becoming a bit overwhelming for the other girls.

With the approaching twilight the blue dome over The Pentagram shone brighter than during the day. There was a light glow that was most noticeable when standing near the middle of the large, open space beneath the skylight, but even from the slides it drew the eye upward.

Annie tried not to spend a lot of time staring up into space, and once her noon rest had completely she’d set about sorting supplies with Nurse Bianca and Sahkyo, who was still in awe after her little demonstration before her rest. Annie wanted to keep busy so her mind wouldn’t wander and she’d begin thinking of all the nasty, horrible things that Lisa’s taunts had brought up, but there was only much they could do until it became necessary to spring into action and do what was necessary to tend to the incoming wounded—

She considered wandering across the Rotunda and walking up to the East Transept Gallery on the First Floor, because she wasn’t feeling sociable. Annie was tense because her sense was bothering her—the other sense that was developing, but that she’d yet to use. She stopped and rolled her eyes at that thought, because she knew better. I’ve had visions before, though not like that one . . .

But this wasn’t so much a vision as a sensation of something coming, that an event was about to occur, one so large—

 

Damn those visions.  And when she talks about that vision–hey, you know eventually I’ll get around to telling you what it was.  This makes Annie a bit like her mom, but we already know she’s special in a witchy way . . .

Unfortunately, we already know she’s right.

 

There were numerous flashes overhead bright enough to drag Annie’s attention. But these flashes were blue: they were red and crimson and orange, and were coming from beyond The Pentagram screen. She spun around towards the triage area. “Something’s going on out there.”

Nagesa was now looking up and out through the skylight. “That’s the outer screen.”

“You sure?” Before the girl could answer there were two yellow flashes bright enough to leave afterimages on Annie’s eyes. She saw the blue Pentagram screen vibrate and cycle through several different shades of blue before returning to its normal appearance. “What was that?”

Coraline teleported onto the ground floor from where she’d been in the hospital. “Did you see that?”

Nagesa nodded. “Yes. Annie saw it, too.”

 

Everyone starts seeing flashes in the sky, it’s not a good sign.  Well, anytime there were flashes in the sky people usually took it to mean that bad things were coming.  All they need now–

–is to hear a warning from the Voice of Doom . . .

 

“Attention, this is Fortress. Our outer defense screen has been breached and hostiles are now inside the school grounds.” The voice continued on as if they were announcing a change in the lunch schedule. “We are instituting Level Three Security protocols. All coven administrative assistants will escort their students to the safe zones in the coven tower sub-levels; all upper coven tower level are to be evacuated immediately. Students are to remain in the coven tower sub-levels until further notice.” There was a slight pause as if the person making the announcement was checking to see if there was additional information. “That is all.”

 

Get the kids in the basement–sorry, the sub-levels–and get them even more protected.  This is what is known as “Go Time” for the Triage Group, and it’s time to Coraline to rally ’round the troops.  As you will see, this is where people find out about that, “Did I sign up for this?” clause that usually comes from volunteering  for something and not thinking through just what that something really means.  Like, you know:  being above ground in an exposed area when everyone else is heading underground to safety . . .

 

Coraline clapped her hands together hard. “Everyone, over here.” She waited for all the nurses and triage volunteers to gather around before launching into her speech. “This is it, guys. We can expect casualties to come in at any time, because if there are bad guys on the grounds, that means they’ll be fighting.”

“Wait a minute—” Lisa moved around Nurse Gretchen so she was standing directly in front of Coraline. “They said to evacuate the towers—”

“Do we look like we’re in a tower?” Coraline spread her arms and looked around. “No, honey: you stay right here.  That’s the job.”

Sahkyo was the next with a question. “Is there any point where we would leave?”

“Yeah . . .” Coraline nodded slowly. “Security Level Five.”

“What’s that?”

Annie figured it best to stop anymore questions. “And what is Security Level Four?”

Coraline tackled the questions by order of their numbers. “SL Four has all the students evacuating the towers and moving to secure bunkers below the sub-levels of the Great Hall.”

This was the first that Annie knew there was something below the sub-levels of this main building. “And Five?”

The silence stretched on for close to five seconds. “Full evacuation of the school. If we ever get to Five we’ve lost, or are about the lose, The Pentagram.” She changed her tone to one of optimism. “But that ain’t happening today, kids. We’re gonna be okay. Just trust in our teams out there to handle the situation, and we’ll do our job if they come in. Okay?” She examined the faces of the four volunteers and knew she could depend on at least three of them, which meant Coraline wasn’t worried. “Let’s find our places, everyone.”

 

Look at Coraline:  is she bovvered?  Does her face look bovvered?  No.  And she’s pretty sure she can count on most of her girls.  There’s even one girl in particular she needs a favor from . . .

 

Annie turned and headed for her station, but she’d only walked a couple of meters when Coraline tapped her on the shoulder as she passed behind. “Annie? A moment, please?”

Coraline headed for the West Transept; once they were out of sight of everyone, she asked the most blunt question she’d ever asked a student. “Could you perform Exsanguination on a person if necessary?”

 

In case you were wondering from the last time Lovely Professor Lovecraft brought this up, Exsanguination is the draining of blood from a person in sufficient quantities to cause death.  That’s why it’s considered a death spell, because in right hands one could drain the blood from another person quickly enough to just up and kill them, letting them collapses in a heap around a pool of their own fluids.

Annie’s now got the school doctor asking her if she could kill someone for real.  What does Annie say?  What do you think?

 

Though she was a bit shocked by the question, Annie wasn’t surprised. Coraline knew about her skill with Air Hammer, and she figured she’d not only read The Foundation entry reports, but had received updates from Professor Lovecraft. There was only one answer she could give. “Yes.”

“You’re certain?”

“Yes, Nurse Coraline.” She glanced in the direction of the triage center. “If it means no one getting killed.”

“Okay.” She rubbed here chin. “Are there any other Morte spells I should know about?”

“I’ve practiced Resistance, but I don’t know if it is that good.”

Coraline nodded. “If there were any trouble in here . . .” She gently laid her right hand on Annie’s shoulder. “I don’t want you to hold back. You have my permission to go at any bad guys as hard as you like.”

Annie never expected to find herself in a position where a member of the school staff would give her permission to kill Deconstructors indiscriminately. Then again, this is what I get for not going to the tower . . . “I’ll do my best, Nurse Coraline.”

She gave Annie’s shoulder a squeeze. “I hate to lay this on you, but you’re the closest we’ve got to a bad ass sorceress right now. My nurses can help, but . . .” She also glanced in the direction of the triage center. “If it gets crazy in her, they’ll be busy.”

Annie placed her hand on Coraline’s. “I’ll do what I can.”

“Okay.” Coraline gave Annie a little pat on the shoulder. “Let’s get to our places.” She turned and headed out of the transept.

Annie started ahead for a few moments, going over Coraline’s words. She’s giving me permission to kill—just like I was a real sorceress. It wasn’t that Annie was bothered by the idea that it might be necessary to throw spells with the intention of killing others . . .

But she was troubled by the thought that she would find it enjoyable.

 

So there you have it:  Annie is promoted to Triage Bad Ass Sorceress and told to smite the bad guys as much as possible–and she’s worried that her inner Dark Witch is gonna enjoy the hell out of that should it happen.  Just what every twelve year old needs to think about:  Am I gonna like having to bleed out bad guys should it come to that?  Ah, that Annie:  don’t get on her bad side.

With this scene, almost another twelve hundred words, I’m close to going over my “Biggest Novel Ever” limit, and Kerry’s going to do that in the next scene.  Given that Annie started this mess way back in October, it only right that Kerry tip it over the top.    Maybe tonight, after I finish my nails, we can see if Kerry gets out of the sky in one piece.

I mean, if he doesn't, I'm gonna have to shorten the novel considerably . . .

I mean, if he doesn’t, I’m gonna have to shorten the novel considerably . . .

Defenders Inside the Wall

If it seems like the writing has been light of late, you’re right:  it has.  I didn’t write at all Friday, my output Thursday was light, and yesterday I finished up the shortest scenes in this current chapter.  Personal and mental issues have been a bitch this week, but today . . . yeah.  I’m feeling much better.  I have one scene remaining to round out Chapter Twenty-one, and that’ll lead up to Chapter Twenty-two, Attack, which is where everything goes to hell.

But right now, it’s a good morning.

Look at that smiling face.  How could anything be wrong with that my awesome going on?

Look at that smiling face. How could anything be wrong with all that awesomeness going on?

So where are we?  Well, Annie cursed some smart mouth girl who decided to keep taking about That Girl–no, these kids have no idea who Marlo Thomas is–and then lay down, knowing she couldn’t get the images out of her head.  As for Kerry–hey, it’s out flying.  Still.  Let’s check in, shall we?

 

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

 

Kerry was getting cold once more. Emma and he were coming up on ninety minutes in the air since leaving the Observatory after their rest, and since then the sky had become overcast and the wind had picked up to the strongest it’d been all day. Though it was near the mid-fifties in temperature, the lack of sun and the wind turned the air cooler than it really was.

He put it out of his mind and kept his eyes peeled on the ground.

Emma and he were on the Low Road, taking the left turn at Sunrise Tower that would take around toward the Narrows. Even though they were still above the outer wall, being this close to the tree tops seemed to cut down on some of the wind coming out of the west. Or it could all be physiological, like being higher made you feel cooler.

He didn’t have time to think on the matter: The second left-hand turn was coming up.

Yeah, just because you love to fly, it doesn’t mean you’re going to like flying this stuff.  Kerry figured it out early:  it’s a job.  There are expectations, and you damn well better met them.  And at this point you can’t ask to sit down, ’cause if you do you’re screwed for anything else you want to do in the future.  You’re labeled a slacker from there on out, and that’s not a good thing.  Not at this school.

Don’t worry, however:  things are about to get interesting . . .

 

There was a flaring of light in the screen about five meters above the wall and some thirty meters before reaching the Narrows turn. Kerry was on it instantly. “Carrier; Nightwitch, this is Myfanwy. There’s something happening on the screen just above the wall.”

The response on the general channel didn’t come from Carrier or Nightwitch, however. “All flights, this is Fortress. Hold your positions; repeat, hold your current position.”

Kerry brought his PAV to a stop in mid-air; Emma pulled up alongside. He continued watching the flaring on the screen for a few seconds before seeing the flaring grow brighter and then appear to push through to the inside. “Fortress, this a Starbuck. Something just came through the screen.”

Emma reported in as well. “Confirmed, Fortress.” She scanned the forest before. “Fortress, I see someone on the ground.”

I see someone as well.” Kerry noticed someone close to the wall, lying still, and noticed another person, maybe five meters from the first. “We have two inside.”

If Isis was worried by the report she didn’t allow those emotions to appear in her voice. “Myfanwy, this is Fortress. We see them: please stand by.”

 

There you have it:  break in, just as the scene says.  So you got a couple of eyes in the sky watching at least one guy walking around inside the school grounds, but Fortress is on the case.  And that leads to this . . .

 

Something massive stepped out of the wall behind the Deconstructor and leapt at him. The man half-turned before he was knocked to the ground and nearly trampled by the huge, four-legged wingged creature, which to Kerry looked exactly like a—

Emma held onto her PAV tightly. “Kerry, di-did you s-see that?”

“Yeah, I saw it.” He looked over to his wingmate. “That was a—”

 

Yeah, Emma, what was that?  Unfortunately, there are ears everywhere.

 

“Myfanwy, this is Fortress.” Like before Isis’ voice was clear and calm. “I’m switching to the private channel; standby one.”

Kerry looked straight ahead waiting to see what Fortress wanted, feeling the bottom of his stomach dropped down below his broom saddle. He figured what Emma and he was about to have relayed to them might not be good . . .

“Selene, Starbuck, this is Fortress.” Kerry shot another look at Emma, who was staring back with a look of semi-fear on her face. “There are some things around the school grounds I’d rather not become public knowledge.” Kerry was now watching the presumably stone creature return to the wall with the body of the Deconstructor in its mouth. “What you witnessed was one of them.” The creature walked into the wall, merging with it seamlessly, taking the Deconstructor inside. “I would appreciate you both keeping quiet on this matter. Do you copy? Over.”

Kerry understood his options: he could say yes and it was pretty good odds that he’d remain in the air, or he could say no and . . . the likelihood that he’d be ordered to head to Laputa or Carrier and then, from there—who knew? He stared off into the distance. “Fortress, this is Starbuck. I copy. No talking on this end. Over.”

“This is Selene, Fortress.” Kerry didn’t look at Emma, but he picked up on the slight quiver in her voice. “I copy as well. All is good. Over.”

“Roger that. Switching off from private.” A few seconds later Isis was back on the general channel. “All flights, this is Fortress. You may resume patrols. Over and out.”

 

“Yeah, kids, we got monsters in the wall, and we’d like it if you keep your mouths shut.”  And given this is a school full of witches, if you don’t keep your mouth shut, they can probably do more than sit you down.  And who wants to take that chance?

Kerry’s cool and wants to get back to what they’re doing, maybe put in another hour of flying because heading to Laputa for another forty-five minutes of R&R.  However, he is flying with That Girl, and while she said one thing, he mind’s somewhere else . . .

 

As they pushed their brooms forward towards The Narrows, Emma reached up, touched her helmet and turned off the comm. “Kerry—”

They slowly rounded The Narrows before Kerry switched off his own comm. “What?”

“That was a gargoyle.”

He nodded slowly. “Yep.”

“Doesn’t it bother—”

He shot concerned look her way. “We’re not suppose to talk about it.”

“We’re not on comms.”

Kerry waited a couple of beats before answering. “You sure?”

Emma didn’t bother answering. She turned her attention back to the route unfolding before them and reactivated her comm—

 

Gargoyles.  I love them.  I used them in Her Demonic Majesty, and the wee beasties are hanging out in the school walls here, too.  And while Kerry might be a tad clueless at times, he’s smart enough to know that just because the comms are off, that doesn’t mean that someone–like, say, Isis, the Goddess of School Security–might still be listening in on a conversation.  So be content that you got to see a gargoyle, Emma, and keep your mouth shut.

The last scene, which I hope to start sometime today, involves the instructors, Isis, and the Headmistress, discussing how someone could get past their defenses and gain entry to the school grounds.  Not everything is as it seems; there are things at play, and they’ll make sense once I have it written out.

At least that’s my hope.

Just like gargoyles, there are things you haven’t seen yet.

Questions Asked and Yet Answered

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, I’m awake and alive (the two can be, at times, mutually exclusive), and I made it through another Saturday which wasn’t one of the best, but it was better than I expected.  There wasn’t as much writing as expected–I feel just short of six hundred words before I was busy doing some research during the afternoon, and there were distractions like Where Eagles Dare being on TCM (bit of trivia:  it has the highest body count of any Clint Eastwood movie–total 100 people–and it was the last movie where he didn’t receive top billing) and then Orphan Black Season Two starting an hour and a half later, seestras.  But the quantity isn’t important:  it’s the quality.  And it ended with one of the more important things I’ve written for the story:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie patted the envelope with her right hand. “Ms. Rutherford left prepaid debit cards with £200 on them for us to use. No need to worry about money for the day.”

“Oh.” Kerry’s eyes took on a far away look as he seemed to consider Annie’s words.

Seeing the indecision on Kerry’s face, Annie knew the time had come to push the forty-four percent odds in her favor. She reached out and touched his hand; Kerry’s head swiveled around to face her immediately. “Would you like to do something? Would you like to go somewhere with me, Kerry?”

 

Yeah, those last two questions are going to come back a few more times in this scene, and later–well, I know what sort of importance they play much later in the story, and the effects are going to be fairly tramatic.  You wouldn’t think that would be the case, but it will.  It’s gonna tear someone’s heart out.

Don’t worry:  they’ll get better.

Yesterday’s post seemed to generate a few of my more interesting comments, which were along the lines of, “Wait, there’s werewolf erotica?  Since when?”  Since people were writing, that’s when.  Off the top of my head I can’t remember the actual title, but back in the days when Rome was pretty much kicking everyone’s ass, one of the more popular books around had the main character turn into an ass and head off some sexual adventures.  It has been pointed out by no greater an authority on the mater than Cracked.com (I was biting my inner lip when I wrote that) that strange fetishes have been around a long time–sometimes centuries, sometimes a lot longer than we’d like to admit there’s recorded history.

I like to make fun of the various sorts of erotica out there on the Internet, until I remember that (1) these people are writing, and (2) some of them are selling a lot.  What that says about people in general I’ll leave to you, because if you read some of my stranger erotica, you’d likely lump me in with the dino porn women.

If you are curious about the the sort of things out there, never fear!  I’m gonna show you, because I’m that sort of gal.  Click on any of these links at risk of your own sanity, and lets remember that every link takes you to that wonderful purveyor of reading material, Amazon.com, and not some shady, back-asswards website where the Internet has crawled off to die.

Without further ado:

"How is that even . . . no, no, no!  Why did I look?  Why?"

“How is that even . . . no, no! Why did I look? Why?”

Maybe you’d like some Kraken erotica?

There are also some excitable werewolves, and a leprechaun you might not want to meet.

Maybe you’re not the Mother of Dragons, but you could be the lover or one–or two.

I don’t remember reading about this Minotaur when I was into Greek Mythology–

Speaking of Dino Porn–yeah, it’s here.

Gay Cuttlefish Shapeshifter Erotica–that’s not something I made up:  I’ve taken that right off the Amazon page for the story.  You’re welcome.

Even unicorns won’t escape my gaze!

Last but not least, if you’re interested in how someone works to write stuff like this, they talk about it in long piece from io9:  How to Write a Sex Scene Between a Unicorn and a Rainbow.

Hummm . . . I think my work here is done.

Coven Cravings

After a few days of bringing you the lowdown on layouts and software, I was tired.  My eyes were also hurting, going through some itching and burning that may be due to The Burg, or could be due to a ghost living in my apartment.  Either way, I was ready to decompress.

I’ve mentioned before I don’t watch television that much, though there are a few things that keep me interesting.  I watch Project Runway, which ends tonight, which may be a good thing as there was far too much drama this season.  I’m half way through Torchwood:  Miracle Day and Orphan Black, both of which I’m loving, though I’m not keen on the Americanization of Torchwood, but I blame the network for that.  As for Orphan Black–I wanna have my own Clone Club, and slap the Soccer Mom just because.

Last night I was waiting for a show to come on, so it was through Paranormal Activity and PA2.  I’d never seen either, though I knew how the first ended.  (I know the alternate ending as well; it’s online.)  No big scares for me, and the second movie tells you everything you need to know about why the first happens.  Thanks a lot, sis!

But then it was on to American Horror Story:  Coven, and what the hell did I see?  First off, gattor hunters baggin’ a big, then Stevie Nicks wandering through the swamp in her hippie dress and high heeled boots.  Poke Salad Annie, the dead gattor came to life and ate the swampbillies, chomp chomp.

It guest goes straight to hell on the crazy train from there–but that’s a good thing . . .

I love strange and crazy.  I was glued to the TV when Twin Peaks was on, I dug The Prisoner when I was a kid, and I know there are others out there, but my mind is a blank right now.  Last night, however, I get sarcastic witches with drinking problems; immortal racists; Angela Bassett, for whom I would crawl across broken glass just to say hello; a Frankenstein boyfriend; Stevie Nicks again, healing up the boyfriend with moss and alligator shit before foreshadowing her intentions like it was the Bat Signal; crazy witch sex with snakes; and a minotaur.  All because I wanted to see the girl with the killer fairy vagina, which is pretty cool method of keeping unwanted bros away.

I know the episodes are already filmed, but with the filming having taken place in New Orleans, the producers missed a golden opportunity.  I want you to imagine this . . .  Nic Cage’s character from Bad Lieutenant 2, showing up at the witch coven with his lucky crack pipe.  it would have been gold, I’m telling you:  gold!  It would have taken the show into heights of insanity that would be discussed a thousand years from now by the necromancers who’ll return to the Earth.

Like it or not, I have another show to watch.  Will it be enough to hold me over until Day of the Doctor?

Maybe I should start working on my spells.

The Nonsensical Fantastic

I belong to a lot of groups.  Some are about writing, some about things science fictiontiony, some about makeup and clothing, some about how to cook the best meth.  (No, that last is just a joke.  A joke.  Does anyone remember laughter?)

Over the last few days a thread popped up in one of these groups, and it made my head hurt.  Without getting into too much detail, someone decided that, for their story, they needed a Hollow Earth.  Not only did they need one, but they needed it bigger, and they needed populated . . . and they needed it to occur naturally.  They also wanted to know if the people on the inside of the world would ever know that their are people on the outside, and if the people on the outside would ever know about the people on the inside, and could they detect each other like they would an earthquake, and . . .

Ouch.  My head hurts.

I know what you’re thinking:  “Cassie, you’re being a bitch.  You’re gettin’ all up in this guy’s stuff just because you think the primary plot element of his story is crazy.”  Yeah, I’m like that.  I look at things that aren’t and say, “Hey, you know if you don’t have a spinning molten metallic core in your planet, you’re never going to have magnetic fields, and eventually everyone dies.”  I know–bitch, right?

I am the first to admit than when I want something in a story, I go for it.  Magic?  Sure, why not?  I’ve done it in one story, and I’m going to do it in another.  Superpowers?  You know it, because I know I’d look great in a boob window.  Psychic abilities?  I have a whole series I could write around a couple of ladies who possess them.  How do all these things work?  Damned if I know, because it’s all stuff that’s happening at quantum levels of nature, and you need to get people brainer than me to puzzle that stuff out.

Tell me you have a naturally occurring hollow planet, or that you’re packing up your planet and moving to another system because everything’s used up, and I start looking at you funny.  Because there are some things that just aren’t meant to be.

Suspension of disbelief is something all writers have to deftly balance when working their craft.  You can throw a few pieces of Handwavium into your story to make it fantastic, but if you maintain the internal consistency of the world, things’ll be groovy.  (And Handwavium?  Yeah, that’s a real word.)  But if you do something stupid like, oh, I don’t know, synthesize someone’s blood and discover that it’ll bring people back from the dead hours after they croaked, then you’ve officially crossed the border into Bullshittia without your passport and there’s no coming back in one piece.  (This also goes for dumping a dead body on a newly created planet and having it restore someone to the age they were when they died.  Yeah, the border guards should have stopped you.)

Nothing wrong with the fantastic.  We love to read it, love to wallow in it, too.  But we own it to ourselves to keep it somewhat real as well.

Otherwise someone like me comes along and . . .

The Sun On the Trail

So far this morning I’ve woken at four AM, drove through the darkness to arrive at my local Panera for a breakfast sandwich and coffee, and spent ten minutes helping someone get the wireless card in their computer running.  Yes, I’m off and running, and it’s not even seven AM.

Now I have the earphones in and I’m listening to City to City, and Baker Street is playing and the day feels good.  Never mind the fact that my right eye was bothering me again last night, making it difficult to do anything because my left eye was the only one that wasn’t all clouded up with junk and burning.  Still, I worked on, because that’s how it goes, right?  You work thought it, even if it means you feel like lying down and doing nothing but moan.

I managed to finish my school layout last night.  This is something I started back before my Camp Salem AboveNaNo story started, and it was also something I’d need for the novel that follows.  What you see to your right is the school grounds from the air:  all the buildings, all the towers and walls, all the roads and trails, even a couple of lakes and springs and a large meadow.  There are even a few things that, if you squint, you’ll see, like trees, covered stairs leading below, and a couple of graves.  Yes, I said graves, because we have dead people hanging out at this joint.  I know every point on this map, because I’ve pretty much lived with this place for a couple of years.  Some might say I’ve lived in it, but what do they know?

But do I stop at what you can see?  No.  Because there’s always more to the picture than you can see . . .

I also designed the tunnel and basement system that runs under the school.  Salem BelowIt only makes sense:  this place is right on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, and during the winter you’re gonna get snow and cold and even a Storm of the Century every so often.  When that happens you don’t want your kiddies walking a half mile through ankle-deep snow to their next class–ergo, tunnels.  And basements where dangerous experiments are held, or where control rooms are set up, or where you have a lot of storage because you never know when you’ll need something.

There are only a couple of features that need adding, but I can get to that later.  The Salem Institute of Greater Education and Learning is complete.  All that remains is the writing of its tales.

Speaking of tales, I set up the Scrivener project for the short story I’m going to write.  I’m going to start on that today at some point, and I do promise it’ll be a short story–which is why I used the short story template for my project.  This isn’t going to be dragged out:  it’s going to be quick and to the point.  The story is really more about how one character takes to having to do “official” things, and it’s meant to be something of a character-building bridge than anything else.  No great ideas will be developed; no terrors quelled; no threats extinguished.  Just fun.

At some point this morning I’m going to head up north and get pictures of the Appalachia Trail.  I discovered it’s about twenty minutes north of me, so I’ll drive to the point where it crosses the river and walk across.  That way I can say I hiked the Trail.

Maybe I should bring my survival gear.  You never know what dangers are lying in wait for me . . .