Awake Time, Emma Makes Her Case

It’s been a busy morning for me, and here it is, just a little after eight AM, and I’m now getting around to writing my blog post.  That’s because I finished up the Awake scene, writing about six hundred and fifty words last night, and then finishing up with five hundred and thirty this morning.  I really wanted to get it out of the way, and considering I wrote nineteen hundred words in three days, it shows.

I think it’s due to coming up on the last three scenes in the chapter, when things sort of get crazy for everyone.  Not to mention, the next chapter is really important for my kids, and there’s one scene, Dreams on the Ward, that I’ve been waiting to write for a long time.

I see you hiding there.  Won't be long before I make you give up your secrets.

I see you hiding there. Won’t be long before I make you give up your secrets.

The last time we were here Emma was feeling a little uncomfortable with their hiding arrangements.  How are they doing now, you ask?

 

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

He really didn’t want to discuss the matter. “Emma, we’re fine. As long as we stay here, we’ll be okay.”

“Someone could find us.”

“No, they can’t.” As painful as it was to move his leg, Kerry rolled on his right side so it was possible to more or less face his wingmate. “There’s fifteen square kilometers of land inside the school walls; that’s about nine and a half square miles.” He shook his head. “No one’s going to find us if we don’t want to be found.”

The produced a silence that lasted all of twelve seconds. “It’s gonna get cold, though.”

Kerry chuckled, trying to keep the mood light. “We’ve been flying in cold conditions all day. It was this cold when we took off this morning, and the wind chill made it colder.” He tugged on the wool collar of his flight jacket. “These’ll keep us warm until we’re told what to do.”

“But what . . .” Emma looked worried. “What if they don’t?”

“Why would that happen?”

“What if there’s no one—” She started at the ground near her knees. “What if something happened?”

“Like?”

“What if there’s—”

“Emma.” It wasn’t as if Kerry hadn’t thought about this possibility, but there were too many things happening that made it seem impractical. “Have you heard anything bad happening?”

“No, but—” She appeared a bit sheepish. “We were asleep.”

“Are you hearing anything now?” Kerry slowly looked around their hiding spot. “It’s quite. If there was a war going on out there, we’d know.”

“Would we?” Emma chuckled just a little. “We didn’t hear those drain things go off.”

Kerry didn’t meet Emma’s gaze as he tried to come up with an answer, but couldn’t. She has a point; they didn’t make any sound. And if they didn’t— “I would think—”

“And we didn’t hear anything when those things were slamming into the defense screen.” Emma leaned closer to Kerry and spoke in a loud whisper. “We don’t know what sort of magic they’d use to break into The Pentagram. For all we know—”

He shook his head. “No, that hasn’t happen.”

“You don’t know.”

Yes, I do.” Kerry wanted to believe that The Pentagram was safe, that no one was attacking, or had attacked, it, and that it was still standing. It has to be okay, ‘cause . . . “It’s there. I know it is.”

 

Don’t go talkin’ about The Pentagram blowing up, Emma; you’re gonna get Kerry all upset.  And you don’t want to see him when he gets upset.  It’s telling, though, that bringing up mention that a certain someone may be in danger doesn’t set well with Kerry.  One would almost think . . . nah.  Not going there–

But that gets Kerry thinking . . .

 

Emma was way ahead of him, however. “Now that there are bad guys on the grounds.” She chucked. “If they’re locked down, why aren’t we?”

Kerry didn’t have a good answers for this question, either. The simply answer was to stay put, but Emma was quickly changing her mind about that. She wants to go and she wants to do it soon. He knew she was worried about being in the open, maybe even a little scared, but moving now wasn’t a good idea—Not to mention I can’t walk.

There was something else, too: a promise he’d made before leaving the Dining Hall. If you’re paired with Emma, don’t let her talk you into anything. He didn’t want to break that promise, not if he knew he was right. “I can’t move around well.” He slid his hand down his left leg. “You know?”

 

Yeah, don’t listen to that crazy ginger girl, the one that already tore up the knee you’re having trouble with again.

Unfortunately, she has a captive audience, which gives her the opportunity to chat on:

 

“But we have the brooms enchanted now; we don’t need to walk.” She moved closer to Kerry, under her head was next to his. “I have an idea; would you like to hear it?”

Everything was telling him, No, I don’t, but Kerry knew it would be rude not to give Emma a listen. “Sure.”

“Okay, okay. I’m thinking we could make our way over to The Diamond.”

“Whoa.” The Diamond was the huge indoor racing complex located away from everything in the southeast corner of the school grounds. Kerry had flown over it several times, and with racing season under way, he’d been there on a couple of occasions to watch the PAV oval racing. The Flight Class had been there at the beginning of October, touring the facility so they could familiarize themselves with the layout before they started flying there later in the year in order to learn the basics of racing. “That’s like a kilometer from here.”

“Yeah, but here’s what I’m thinking. You know how there’s a gap between the wall and the tree line?”

“Yeah.” Kerry had seen that line plenty of times flying around the school.

“Right. So . . . we can make our way over to the wall, and then fly south until we hook up with Reservoir—

“I see.” Reservoir was one of the main turns on the Green Line. It came out of the central woods, flew over the Cove Path, then turned close to the wall and hopped up over Cove Path again as the course turned east along the south wall. “Then once we’re over the path—”

“We’re on Gloucester Bend, and we open it up all the way to Chicane.” Emma face lit up for the first time since they’d fallen out of the sky. “It might take us like ten minutes to get there.” She pointed at Kerry’s PAV. “And since you got the brooms working for us again, we can make it.”

 

Kerry should look up the expression, “Hoist with his own Petard,” because he just did that.  Sure, totally not the same as being blown up, but you can bet this isn’t gonna go well for Kerry.

Then again, who is gonna get hoisted in the next scene?

Awake Time, Rise and Shine

Now we’re getting down to the end of the wire.  We’re out of the Great Hall and back onto the school grounds once again.  We’re back with Kerry and Emma, Team Myfanwy, and we’re about a half hour after sunset.  Of course, the whole “darkest before the dawn” stuff doesn’t work here, because dawn’s a long ways off, and chances are good they wouldn’t make it out in the open until then.

Maybe.  Who knows?  Do I?  Yeah, but I’m not telling.

Yet.

Let’s get this party started . . .

 

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

18:04 to 18:20

Kerry awoke to a dark forest and silence. He didn’t see much beyond the trees around him, which made the darkness a bit claustrophobic.

He lay upon his back breathing slowly, trying to remember falling asleep. He charged the enchantments in both PAVs, then became a bit dizzy, laid down—and now he was here, having no idea how much time had passed since then. He figured the person who would know best would be Emma—who was strangely silent as well.

“Hey, Emma.” He kept his voice low as he turned his head to the right. “Do—?”

Emma was sound asleep next to him. She was curled up on her left side, facing him, and her head was resting upon his outstretched arm—which he was just noticing was numb beyond the elbow. Kerry noticed she’d removed her goggles before laying down, which he took to mean that she’d probably decided to join him right after he’d passed out.

He tried slowly pulling his arm from under Emma’s head; that’s when he realized that she’d folded her hands under his arms before deciding to use it as a pillow. Since extracting himself quietly was out of the question, that left only one option . . .

“Hey, Emma.” Kerry shook her gently. “Emma. Wake up.”

 

Just want you want to discover:  your wingmate using your arm as a pillow.  Kerry finds out there’s no mystery as to why she conked out–

 

After a couple of shakes Emma’s eyes opened slowly. She looked around without moving her head, then realizing Kerry had shaken her awake, she slowly raised it from his arm. “Oh, hey—” She sat up and stretched. “Sorry about that.”

“It’s okay.” He flexed his arm a few times to get the circulation flowing before sitting up. “Did I just pass out?”

“Yeah. The moment you laid down, you were out.” She looked past him into the gloom for a second or two. “I laid down maybe two or three minutes later. I was feeling so tired—”

“Adrenaline crash.”

“What do you mean?”

Kerry looked for his goggles and realized they were still on his helmet. He took them off and wiped them. “We were high on adrenaline after nearly—well, not dying. Heart rate jacked up, breathing hard—we didn’t notice it.” He slipped the goggles back over his helmet. “After getting here and resting a little, it all stops and you crash.” He slowly brought his gloved hands together. “Boom. You just sort of pass out after that.”

“Yeah, that’s how it felt.” She nodded towards here broom. “Plus you also charged these up.”

“That I did.” He brought up the HUD of his broom and nodded. “Thirty-eight percent.”

Emma checked hers. “I’m up to forty.”

“That means we can fly just about anywhere now if we have to.” He shut his down and leaned back on his elbows, trying not to move least he twist his knee. “Now to just wait for the comms to come up again.”

 

Being out on their own as they are–in the dark in a lot more more than one way–they have no idea what’s going on around them, and that people are working to get everything back to normal.

And being out on his own, Kerry has to deal with the fact that he’s not alone . . .

 

“Yeah.” Kerry didn’t want to lay down because he was afraid he’d fall sleep again, and he didn’t want to leave Emma awake alone. On the other hand, there wasn’t much to do right now save to sit and wait. And sit is all I can do at the moment . . .

However, Kerry was worried Emma wasn’t going to be content with sitting and waiting. Since they’d awoke he’d watched her the best he could in the darkness. He saw the slight shifts in her body, the way she looked about, how she stared up into the sky when she radioed for help, hoping that someone would answer. He was aware that even though they were well hidden, Emma was worried about being out in the open.

He hoped she wasn’t going to mention their situation—

Emma soft sighed. “Kerry, I don’t know that we should stay here.”

 

Maybe he shouldn’t have charged up the brooms and told Emme they could fly now.

Another seven hundred and almost fifty words into the scene, and I do believe I’ll finished up tonight, because I don’t imagine it’s going to be a long one.  Then we get into the nasty stuff, huh?

I mean, how bad can it get when your next scene is titled Abomination?

I mean, how bad can it get when your next scene is titled Abomination?

Maybe if I’m really lucky I can almost finish this chapter by the end of the weekend–

Almost.

Tally Time, We Know and Worry

It was Dinner with Writing time last night, and I managed to do both and have a wonderful time.  I stuck with pasta and ice tea, and then, after getting out of the Internet, got down to writing.  Almost a thousand words of writing.  And I also got complemented on my look, so it’s a plus there.

Here is the Lady Writer in her natural habitate, feeling good after hearing good things said to her.

Here is the Lady Writer in her natural habitat, feeling good after hearing good things said to her.

The end of the scene Tally arrived.  We learn a little more about what happened, and what’s going on to get things up and running.  We know it’s almost another forty-five minutes before the ass kicking can commence, though for all we know, it’s already happening.

And we learn what Isis thinks was happening with the attack:

 

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

It was difficult for Isis to keep her unease hidden. “It’s difficult to get an exact number because f how the breach occurred, but after looking at the data, I’d say maybe forty to fifty Abominations, and perhaps thirty Deconstructors.”

“That’s quite a few.”

“Not as many as could have come thought.” She paused to take a short breath and slow her thoughts. “The modification Wednesday made to the enchantment did exactly what it was suppose to do: it concentrated more energy at the strike points and reinforced the screen at that point. They threw close to eight hundred Abominations at each of the three strike points—without that enhancement in place, they might have blasted a hole right through the screens.”

Mathilde’s breath caught in the back of her throat for just a second. To think there could be more here . . . “Where exactly did they strike?”

“South, central, and north ends of the school. They breached at the south and central points, but never made it through the north—don’t know why yet.” Isis paused for a moment, checking something on a monitor. “I think their plan was to blast through the screens and weaken them enough that they could send hundreds of Abominations through, along with a few hundred Deconstructors. With it being almost nightfall, and our detection and comm grids down, we’d have been at a huge disadvantage.” She tossed her head to one side. “They might have actually been able to overwhelm us.”

 

When it comes to taking down Salem, it looks like your round up your nasties and bum rush the stage, so to speak.  But Wednesday, good witch that she is, came up with a solution and got it into place.  That’s how you get things done; that’s how you keep people safe.

However, Isis still has a couple of concerns . . .

 

Isis cleared her throat. “I may have a situation, Headmistress.”

“Oh?” She didn’t care for the sound of this.

“Two of the missing fliers are A Levels: Emmalynne Neilson and Kerry Malibey—”

The Headmistress twitched the moment the last name was mentioned. “The one who is, um, seeing the Kirilova girl?”

Isis tried to keep from smiling when the Headmistress said “seeing”, because if what Wednesday said was true, there was a bit more than seeing going on. “The same.”

“I’d heard Vicky allowed those two to fly.”

“Apparently they both checked out on Espinozas at the beginning of the year, and Vicky felt they could do the job. They were the ones who called in the first breach and they handled that nicely.”

“What is the situation that has you worried?” Mathilde didn’t want to discuss this matter any longer than necessary.

“With them being A Levels, and from Normal families, we can’t tell their parents what happened to them in the instance—” Isis covered her mouth for a few seconds. “Well, you know.”

“Yes, I do.” The Headmistress gave the matter some thought. “We may need to work with the memory specialists in the Guardians.”

 

This is the first time we hear about not being able to tell the Normal parents about what their kids are really doing–and we discover that their a “memory specialists” working for one of The Foundation’s enforcement and intelligent groups.  Obviate, my ass:  for all we know they’ll give both families a new kid and make them think they were theirs all along.  Or maybe they’ll just be happy with a few cats . . .

 

“If Kerry is dead, it will be necessary to tell Annie Kirilova; she’ll need to know.” Isis lightly placed her index fingers across her lips. “Headmistress, her student file is Yellow Flagged.”

Nearly five seconds passed before Mathilde realized what her Director of Security was not only saying, but asking. “Isis, are you requesting a Maginul intervention if it’s necessary to tell Kirilova her boyfriend is dead?”

Isis stared hard into the video monitor. “Headmistress, the way Wednesday and the other instructors talk about them, he’s more than a boyfriend to her.” She shook her head. “If I have to deal with a grieving sorceress who already knows death spells, I’d like to know she’s not going to lose her shit and try killing everyone in the immediate vicinity.”

Mathilde said nothing as she held her chin against her right fist. “All right. If you should need to speak with Kirilova, consult with Coraline and determine your best course of action. If you need to administer Maginul, tell her I’ve given authorization.”

“Thank you—” Isis nodded slowly as she looked down. “Headmistress.”

 

It’s the first time you see two new things:  Yellow Flagged, and Maginul.  Yellow Flagged you might be able to figure out, since there have been clues spread around the story about Annie, and what this might mean–and, no, it has nothing to do with her daddy racing.  And Maginul appears to be something medicinal, since “Coraline” and “administer” are stated in the same sentence.  Poor Annie:  this is what comes of being a scary little girl.

And how does it finish?

 

“You’re welcome. And Isis?”

The director’s head snapped back up. “Yes?”

“You’re doing a fabulous job. The situation may have been far worse had you not spent as much time as you have preparing our defenses.”

Isis didn’t feel like she was doing a fabulous job, but Mathilde was right: the current situation could have ended up far more worse. “Thank you, Headmistress.”

“Please notify me the moment the detection and communication grids are back on line.”

“Will do.”

“One last thing—” Mathilde leaned closer to her monitor. “When they are up, would you pass along a message to the Ground and Air Assault groups?”

What does she want to say? Isis was curious, because the Headmistress wasn’t one for giving inspiring speeches. “I will.”

Her voice dropped into a lower, ominous tone. “I want those bastards removed from our grounds. I want them sorry they attacked Salem.”

“Don’t worry, Headmistress.” Isis smirked back, imagining the coming response to this order. “You’ll get that—and more.”

 

The magical version of “You Deconstructors, get off my lawn!” gets thrown out, and you understand Headmistress Mathilde is taking this break-in badly, personally even.  And since there’s a lot more of the book ahead, you can probably guess what happens to the bastards on the grounds.

Where are we in this mess?

Somewhere around here, I believe.

Somewhere around here, I believe.

Four scenes in this chapter, and two more chapters in Part Seven, before moving on to Part Eight and the end of Act Two.  It’s all coming together nicely–

Someone asked if they were going to get to see an Abomination.  Since I have a scene coming up named Abomination, it’s pretty much a certainty that I’ve given you my version of Chekhov’s gun, and if it isn’t going to be seen, then why talk about them so much?  Maybe I just like foreshadowing?

Or maybe I’m going to do something . . . bad.

Bwah, hahahaha!

Tally Time, the Tale of the Tape

Where to begin?  Probably with something that I feel is a breakthrough for me, and trust me when I say this, because I never speak lightly of breakthroughs.  Okay, sometimes . . .

Yesterday I mentioned that my HRT doctor said I was suffering from hypertension, and that I felt I needed to do something.  True, I do, and I’m planing on taking steps to bring it under control without having to resort to drugs first.  I spoke about this on Facebook with some friends, and I wrote something down that, at the time, didn’t strike me as strange, unusual, or even noteworthy.  But after some reflection, I realized I’d admitted something that, obviously, marked a change in my behavior.

What was it I said?

 

“I don’t want to die.  I’m happy and I want to stay that way.”

 

That, after much reflection, came as a bit of a shock, because I don’t think I’ve ever said either of those statements, individually or combined, at any time in my life.  Happy was always relative, and death–that’s something I knew would come one day, and so what, right?  But here I was, in an open forum in front of hundreds of people who knew me, saying that I didn’t want to die.

I think I’ve finally turned a corner.

You can tell I'm happy because I'm just one step away from becoming a feminine hygiene ad.

You can tell I’m happy because I’m just one step away from becoming a feminine hygiene ad.

Also:  writing.  I got through that last night, though not as far as I wanted, but you do what you do.  And I still managed nearly five hundred words, so I’m chugging along.

Now we reach the part, after Isis has thought about how hard it is to keep death out of the school, the tell the Headmistress the current count after the breach of their defenses:

 

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

Isis stared into the monitor, directly into the Headmistress’ eyes. “Right now we have, from the flyer’s group, eight missing and one confirmed death. Because we don’t have access to the detection grid, anyone who didn’t report in after the go to ground command is being listed as ‘missing’ until we can confirm they’re alive or . . .” She looked down as she cleared her throat. “Otherwise.”

Mathilde seemed to consider Isis’ report. “What was the situation surrounding this confirmed death?”

“Flier from Ceridwen was snatched off her broom about twenty-five meters from Laputa—the Observatory—by an Abomination and dragged into the forest. As they were in the process of locking down no one could go after her. Three people saw what happened; two were able to identify her.”

“You say she was from Ceridwen?”

“Yeah.” Isis checked a nearby monitor, but she already knew the covens of the missing and dead fliers. “Three from Mórrígan; two each from Åsgårdsreia and Cernunnos; one each from Ceridwen and Blodeuwedd.”  She turned back to the monitor.  “That’s the toll so far.”

 

Of course we know that two of those fliers–one from Mórrígan and one from Cernunnos Covens–aren’t dead, but since I can’t tap my characters on the shoulder and tell them that, this part of the story continues to believe that.  As for the others:  we know Kerry saw people falling from the sky, and Emma did as well, so it’s reasonable to say that some of those missing aren’t coming back to classes.

And we haven’t even touched upon the people on the ground . . .

What of the state of defenses, you ask?  The Headmistress asked, too, and Isis answered:

 

“We have two nodes coming up. Wednesday’s been on Sunset for about eight minutes now, and it looks as if we’ll be able to activate it in another five to seven. We have a second node in the southeast coming up; Wends was hoping to run into Erywin, and it looks like she did.”

“How is that coming along?”

“We started charging that node a couple of minutes ago. It should be ready to go in ten or so minutes.”

The Headmistress nodded. “What’s your estimation for bring both grids on-line again?”

Isis had those numbers all figured out. “There’s some staggering in the charging times, but it’s not significant. I figure to have both these nodes charged by 17:50. Give them time to move to the next location and start charging, that’s probably fifteen to seventeen minutes each to finish the next one. Looking at those numbers—” Isis scratched the side of her face a couple of times. “We’ll be operational between 18:20 and 18:30. Though I expect the comms to be up before then, only because those nodes require less energy.”

 

Given the time of the conversation–around 17:45–it’s another forty-five minutes before some serious ass-beating can take place.  The next part of the scene–which I’m doing during my “I’m Out Having Dinner and Writing Night” tonight–will mention what Isis believed the Deconstructor’s plan all along.  That and something else concerning a certain couple . . .

Looking over the remainder of Act Two, there are still a lot of things to write, but it’s nothing insurmountable.  It’s just a matter of time, and getting words down on the paper.  It’s slow going at the moment . . .

It doesn't look slow, however.

It doesn’t look like work, however.

But it’s getting there.  Maybe by the time the next NaNo rolls around, I can spend that time getting a novel ready for publication . . .

Tally Time, the Hard Salem Life

First, lets have some news, good and bad.  First the good news:  I’m doing fine in the transitioning area, and I was told by my doctor that I’ve got “boobage going on,” which is one of the reasons I love her.

But the bad new is I may have hypertension, and that’s not good.  Three times I’ve had my blood pressure taken, three times I hit 150 on the top end.  So I need to start looking into how to get that down, because I really don’t want to start on blood pressure medication, nor do I want a stroke.  No, I don’t.  Not at all.

This is my worried face.  It's not a good one.

This is my worried face.  Can you tell?

I snapped the above picture in a Panera about five miles from my doctor’s office in New Jersey.  Since I knew I’d get home late, I wanted to get in my writing–which is why I always bring my computer with me when I’m out like this.  You write where you can, and since I like going to Panera, if their wifi up working, I can hop online as well.  The wifi wasn’t working yesterday, which is why I was able to write over seven hundred words in about forty minutes.

Now comes the part of the post were we start talking about bad things at my school, and if you don’t want to hear about people dying, it’s best you move away from here and return to the Internet, where just about anything is found for the click of a Google.

 

Ready?

 

Let’s Go.

 

We’re at the point in the story where the security people know if any deaths occurred during the breach of the outer defense screens.  They go off of who didn’t make it back to one of the two safe areas, particularly with the comms down, and also if there were any eyewitnesses who saw someone dying.  It’s not a pleasant task, creating a tally of the dead, and Isis is particularly sensitive to this, because eleven years before, as a student, she lost friends at the school during a Deconstructor attack known as The Scouring.

We pick up in the story learning that death is something that is always around . . .

 

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

During her tenure as Director of Security for the Salem Institute, Isis Mossman found it necessary to report to the Headmistress on the circumstances surrounding the deaths of six students. Though much was done to prevent such a tragedy from occurring, deaths happened—and most were not accidents.

One of the non-accidents occurred during a Call Out Match, which occurred when differences between students could only be worked out in usually quick, one-on-one, combat. Two E Levels squared off n 2008 and one student fired off and intense barrage of magic that the other student—the girl who’d actually initiated the challenge—was unable to block or deflect, making their demise a sudden, blood-soaked mess—all of which was allowable because of the Foundation wavers the students signed before entering the combat area. Isis was required to investigate, though the root cause of the death was easy to determine, the solution would have made it necessary to either eliminate the use of additional spells—death spells were already forbidden in magical combat—or forbid this form of combat altogether.

The second non-accident happened three months after Isis became the security director in 2006. A transformation spell backfired on a C Level student during class, and despite the best efforts of Jessica Kishna and Nurse Coraline and her staff, they were unable to resuscitate the boy. Isis was unable to come up with a solution, other than the completely unacceptable notion of no longer teaching transformation spells . . .

 

When it comes right down to it, killing someone with magic is a pretty simple thing.  We’ve already seen Annie and Kerry being warned after their Self Defense and Weapons class not to use their Air Hammer spells against other students, because they could probably cut them in half like so many zombies were they to use them.  And Annie knows a death spell, so she’s already a dangerous little girl.

There’s also something else that one has to take into consideration in this little hot pot of magic:  under the right conditions students will snap and perhaps find it to difficult to go on . . .

 

The school took every precaution possible to prevent students from killing themselves. All high places from which one could jump were protected by safety enchantments; ingredients that could be used to manufacture poisons were monitored and secured. The detection grills were always on the lookout for students suddenly registering zero life signs, and the vitals of students who attempted suicide through bleeding out or asphyxiation were immediately noted, which always resulted in the instant notification of the hospital staff on duty.

The staff and instructors were also trained to notice changes in behavior that could lead to suicidal ideation and/or action. Everyone working at Salem had been a student, and they knew all too well the pressure-ladened environment that existed inside the walls of the Institute. They’d seen the same behavior in fellow students, and with the additional training they’d received, they could now recognize it in their own students. With enough recognition it was possible for someone to approach a student and tell them, “We should talk.”

Sometimes, however, there were students who were impossible to notice short of reading their minds . . .

 

The possibility of suicide at school couldn’t be any different than the chances of it happening in Normal schools.  It happens here, too, and if you’ve figured out from the excerpts that at least four students have killed themselves from 2006 to 2010, then you know being a witch doesn’t mean you’re immune to the pressures of life.  That’s why there are three counselors at the school, and others can be brought in on a moment’s notice.

Noticed I didn’t write how they died.  I did in the novel, and as you can guess, if you’re good with sorcery or transformation magic, you’re out as soon as you think about the deed.  It’s something Annie says in later years:  once you know a few death spells, if you want to die, you put your thought, energy, and willpower into it, and in two seconds you’re gone.

Like it’s said, the teachers there have a hard time trying to keep the lid on some people.  And as Isis notes below . . .

 

In each case Isis was able to determine that beyond better observation of the student body coupled with proactive counseling, there was little one could do to prevent a student who was sufficiently skilled in magic, superscience, or Gifts, from killing themselves if they were looking to end it all and move beyond The Veil.

Today was different, however. Today Isis was reporting of the deaths of students that she may have been able to prevent. She knew it was impossible to have a defense that was one hundred perfect foolproof, that someone was going figure out a work around given enough time—and that the situation on the school grounds could be worse.

It didn’t make her mood any better.

 

There I stopped, and tonight I get into Director Mossman’s report to the Headmistress, and we–well, actually you; I know what she’s going to say–discover how many students were lost, and how Isis might have to deal with breaking this bad news to a student just down the hall from her.

Now here is the strange thing:  all this time I’ve been looking at Chapter Twenty-Two, and I realized I left a scene out.  It’s right . . .

There, because being an Abomination and getting Intervention.

There, between being an Abomination and getting Intervention.

It’s a pivotal scene, and I can’t believe I left it out.  I know what it is, but . . . as Ricky would say, “You know how it goes.”  Sadly I do.  But I remembered it today.

And something else happened during the writing of the scene yesterday:

It has something to do with numbers, I know that.

It has something to do with numbers, I know that.

Act Two finally crossed a hundred thousand words.  So, between the two acts, I’ve two novels.  The question remains if I can finish up this act in another fifty thousand words.  I think I can–

Yeah, I really do.

A Different Kind of Magic

There are times when you need to step away from your confines and move out into the public, because it’s necessary to remind yourself that, yes, there is one out there.  Which was the point of getting out yesterday–because it was there.

I did a drive down from The Burg to one of the easternmost points of the State of Maryland.  In fact, the person I was with and I headed over into Delaware for a little shopping, making that my first visit to that state.  But I was out on the road early, heading south at 6:30 AM, the live recording of The Wall in Berlin blasting from the car stereo.  It was such that just as I was heading north up I-95 out of Baltimore that Comfortably Numb came on, and the combination of the sun shinning, the light traffic, and the sensation of being all wrapped up in my little warm cocoon produced one of those moments that you don’t forget soon, or ever.

And remember the talk that I was getting a makeover?  Yeah, I had some work done on my eyes, and tried a new shade of lipstick.  I also combined that with the first wig I ever owned, and it brought about a radical change in my appearance?  How radical?

Don't mind me; I'm just showing off my pretty face.

Don’t mind the Lady Writer; I’m just showing off my pretty face.

Yeah, pink nails and eyes, and it’s really a good look for me.  The smile helps as well:  I was having such a good time yesterday that smiling came easy.  A few of my friends even pointed out that I appeared “radiant”, and for the first time I saw that in this and another picture.  As for the people who mentioned that I looked a bit like a suburban soccer mom:  I do, and I don’t mind one bit.  It’s better that I look like millions of other women and not someone trying to relive their twenties.  That would be the disco era for me–well, I do have some platform sandals . . .

During the two hour drive two and from Maryland and The Burg, I did think about my story.  I thought about a lot of things, and for anyone reading this that happened to be on the I-695/I-83 junction and saw some crazy blond in a CR-V singing as loud as she could, bobbing her head and doing a lot of arm motions like she was performing–that was me listening to Paradise by the Dashboard Light.  Yeah, I do that sometimes when I’m in the car.

The upshot of all this is after making it home, after checking updates and loading pictures and the like, after saying hi to people I hadn’t seen online all day–I tried to write and found myself just too damn pooped to do more than start the next scene and produce about two hundred words.  I was tired, sure, but the subject had to do with the death of people at my fictional school, and the mind simple didn’t want to wrap around that nastiness.

It had been a good day filled with life.

I’ll leave the talk of death for later.

Out Time, With Friends

It’s been a busy day, and it’ll be an even busier one tomorrow.  I’ll be up at six and on the road not long after that.  Then it’s off to points south for an early morning meeting with someone I know from Facebook.  After that it’s going to be lunch and shopping, hanging out, doing girl things, and then a two-hour drive back home.

That’s why I’m writing this post at 11:45 PM on Saturday night, after spending a few hours with friends over a light dinner and a lot of talk.  Like I said, it’s been a busy day.

Did I mention the writing?

Between breakfast and a little shopping and taking a nap and going out, I managed five hundred and fifty-five words on the last scene.  That did this for Act Two:

About two hundred and fifty words away from six figures.

About two hundred and fifty words away from six figures.

And that leads to this:

And I'm onto a quarter here.

And I’m onto a quarter here.

This means by the time I get to the end of Act Two, I’ll have two full novels ready to go–with a little editing, of course–and another novel to go.  Do I feel tired?  Yeah, but I’m still going.

At this point in the story Erywin and Wednesday have come together.  Wends tells her friend what she’s going, and it goes from there . . . to the end of the scene.

 

 

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

This question brought forth a chuckle from Erywin. “You were hoping I’d show up.”

“I was betting on it.” Wednesday looked around as if she though they were being watched. “After Maddie, no one likes killing Deconstructors more than you. And with the comms down it’s hard for Vicky to keep an eye on you.”

“You know me all too well.” She held the tablet out for Wednesday to see. “Which ones do you want me to do?”

Wednesday pointed to the nodes she’d identified earlier on the south and east sides. “Those three will do the trick. Isis is watching the nodes, so the moment she sees energy getting dumped into one, she’ll start the charge up on her end.”

“Got it.”

“Take the bag.” Wednesday slipped it off her body. “I know what I need to do, and you can keep the tablet in case you need a reference.”

Erywin placed the tablet back into the bag, then set it upon the wall. “Thanks, but I’ve already a lot strapped on.” She patted her rifle. “Don’t need any more encumbrance.”

“Right.” Wednesday waited until Erywin was back on her broom before speaking again. “Have you seen any Deconstructors? Or . . . Abominations?”

“Yeah.” Erywin readied her rifle. “Not so many Deconstructors, but a few of us spotted the Abominations right away. I put down two.” She eyed Wednesday. “Any idea how many broke through?”

“Isis did a quick check of the data right after the breach. She figured maybe fifty Abominations and perhaps twenty or thirty Deconstructors.” She shrugged. “Maybe. Everything happened quickly, and her first priority was to figure out what was down—” Wednesday nodded at the node. “—and what was needed to get that back on-line.”

“Right.” Erywin brought up her HUD and gave it a quick check. “17:35. Local sunset is in a minute.” She turned and smirked. “I remember that from when I spoke with Harpreet this morning—for some damn reason . . .” She rose off the wall and eased out over the grounds before rocketing off to the southeast.

“Local sunset, huh?” Wednesday looked over her shoulder at the defense screen meters away. “Like we need any more darkness.”

 

It’s dark.

It’ll probably get a lot darker.

‘Cause next scene has to do with working up a body count . . .