Decisions Done Dark

It’s been a strange night and morning, let me tell you.  This morning my computer has been slow to come up and do anything, to the point where I’ve already rebooted once to get it going again.  That tends to happen any time the anti-virus program decides to update, which is pretty much every other day, it seems.  But here I am, typing away at six-oh-eight in the morning–and I’ve been messing with this computer just short of an hour, so that should give you an idea of when I got up.

And getting up . . . the vivid dreams are back, people.  The last couple of nights I have had some amazingly interactive dreams, so vivid that at one point I felt someone pushing at my back so hard that it woke me up.  Seriously.  I could feel a person there.  The thing is, in my dream I was laying down, so that would mean someone was pretty against my back in bad.  If only . . .

But before that there was writing, and it was good.  One scene, short–if you want to call eleven hundred words short, so be it–and it’s setting up all the stuff that’s happened and confirming whether or not my little kids are ready for the spying witch thing . . .

 

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

“Which brings up the next point . . .” Helena had been dreading this part of the conversation, because she knew Erywin wasn’t a fan of what they were doing. “Are they ready for this operation?”

Erywin rubbed her hands together for a few seconds. She had to give an answer—and an honest one that Helena wouldn’t see though. “From a professional standpoint, they’re ready. We already know they have the skills, and they’ve shown that in their test runs here and in the city. They’ve been able to conduct themselves as excellent witch out in Normal public, and have taken great care to blend in with the rest of the population. Given Kerry’s background, and with Annie being in the semi-public eye for a part of her life, I didn’t expect this to be a problem. They both know there are lots of eyes watching them.

“As for their emotional maturity—they can handle this. They haven’t complained when we’ve given them little to do other than follow people around, and that’s going to be a huge plus for them once we’re in Kansas City. They understand this isn’t going to be a glamorous operation: it’s more sneaking and peaking, and they’re expected to blend into the surroundings like any other pair of tweens.” She rolled her shoulders and sighed. “All my personal opinions aside, they can do this.”

 

Erywin was the key in this, really:  she knows people well, and if she said Annie and Kerry weren’t ready for this thing, Helena would have pulled the plug.  But she also knew she had to be honest with Helena, who after thirty years would know if her partner was giving her a line.  Who else can you trust if not someone whose life you’ve shared for that long?

And we find out why Helena hasn’t tried harder to stop this . . .

 

Helena nodded slowly. “And just so we’re still on the same page, I still share many of your personal opinions.”

“Yes, but you’re not doing anything to put a stop to this.”

“And you know the reason why.” Helena pushed back into her chair and stretched. “We let them go now, with us handling them in the field, and there’s less of a chance for everything to go tits up and for them to come back in worse shape than they left. Otherwise . . .”

Erywin wasn’t about to leave the comment hanging. “Would they really turn this into a training operation just to get them in the field?”

“They could. It would be completely legal, and were that to happen they couldn’t use their Right of Refusal to turn it down. All they’d need to do is bring them to a facility, do a workup on them, and then turn them loose in a city—who the hell knows what might happen?” Helena pulled her mobile from her jacket and laid it upon her desk. “And they could also do this during the summer, when there’s limited visibility on our side. No: this is the best course of action. We can keep them in our sights and come home if shit gets too deep.”

 

See?  I have little Catch-22s everywhere.  Just label it a different way and there you are:  you’ve got a couple of twelve year olds spending the summer perhaps running for their lives.  See, it’s not a “Field Operation”, it’s a “Monitored Test”.  Just like it’s not torture, it’s “enhanced interrogation”–and a monitored test could end up being just about the same thing.

But did you think things we’re going to happen with a bit of a twist?  Guess again!

 

“And it’s all on us now.” Erywin stood up and started slowly pacing the room. “I worry about myself.”

“You’ll do fine.” Helena meant it, too. She didn’t see this as a dangerous operation, and was aware that her partner could take care of herself in any situation. “If you could fly Air Patrol during the Day of the Dead, you can handle this. I wouldn’t have asked you along if I didn’t think you were capable.”

“I know. Still, I have by doubts—”

Helena’s mobile buzzed. She snatched it off the desk and checked the message. “Son of a bitch.”

Erywin didn’t like the tone of her lovely girl’s voice. “What?”

Helena typed in something quickly and sent off a message before tossing the phone down. “They moved the operation up a week—” She sat back, smoothing out her hair. “We leave this Thursday.”

“You did say we could expect this.”

“I know. But for the reply to come back so fast . . .” She shook her head. “They must have known they were going to move it up a few days ago. Which is why they asked for a decision by tonight.” She chuckled. “Bastards.”

Erywin leaned on the back of one of the chairs. “You could still kill this operation.”

“I could, but I’m going to let it go.” Helena shrugged. “Like you say, we knew it could happen, and I was half expecting this. No, we go on. Like it or not, this isn’t a huge deal breaker.”

 

So it’s the Tuesday night follow the Sunday meeting in the Grove, and now it looks like our Fearsome Foursome is going to leave sometime Thursday afternoon or evening.  And the next scene is a late night one with the kids, and it’ll serve to clear a few things up, as well as push Act Three over the fifty thousand word mark, and maybe even three hundred and sixty thousand words.

Half way out of this chapter and one step closer to the next part.

Half way out of this chapter and one step closer to the next part.

If there aren’t a lot of distractions at Panera tonight, I could finish the scene, and that would mean I’ve been ready to start on the next part, Kansas City, by Friday or Saturday.  I already know there are things in the first chapter of that part I want to add, so I’ll likely start layout out those scenes as soon as I can.

Oh, and you’ll see some surprising things in Chapter Thirty-Five.

Trust me.

The Persistence of Visions and Love

It only took me about three hours–and staying up past my normal bedtime–to churn out just a word over fifteen hundred to finish the scene, put finish it I did.  It’s gonna need a good polish, because it’s not my best first draft, but it’s right where I want it, and that’s the idea behind a first draft.

Also, it does sort of have a rambling quality to the discussion.  I mean, we are talking about a twelve year old girl–twelve-and-a-half now, if you consider Annie’s birthday was in September–and Kerry just a few weeks short of his twelfth birthday, so it’s not unusual for them to be a bit inarticulate when it comes to pour out their hearts to an adult.  Although I should say Annie’s doing all the pouring right now, while Kerry has been sitting quietly.

So lets see what Annie has to say.  Do you remember she wrote something in that center part of her book?  She does:

 

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

Before Erywin could question further Annie continued, her voice growing dream-like. “I’ve updated the portraits over the years. In the middle of August I did the first one of us together, and wrote next to it, ‘I’m off to Salem to see my love, my future husband’.” She turned a faint smile towards the professor. “Rather presumptuous of me, don’t you think?”

“We all do things like that when we’re in love, Annie.” She patted the young girl’s hand. “You feel in love with someone, and you wanted to share your life with him. I know that feeling, believe me: I’ve done the same.”

“Did you plan your life with Helena without telling her first?” Annie sighed and seemed to wilt. “I did. I went and decided I was going to marry, decided how it was going to be, how I was going to look—and when I found someone I loved, I went ahead and made them my fiance. Because that’s how I am: selfish.” She looked at the ground and snorted. “What Annie wants, Annie gets. Just ask my mother.”

 

And this has been a running theme with her:  Annie is a selfish girl.  She’s brought it up, Deanna brought it up, and her mother believes it all too well.  Annie’s beating herself up over it and getting right down to the core of the matter:

 

For the first time she turned to Kerry, who had sat quietly through her conversation with a face that showed almost no emotion. “I never gave you a choice, my love. I decided everything for us, and in the years we were together in our dreams—even before you know I was real, before I knew you loved me, even before you knew I was witch—I never asked what you wanted. I never thought that you might want the same thing I wanted. What if you wanted something else?”

She turned back to Erywin. “What if he decided to stay with me because he felt obligated? What if he did and then hated me for what happened? What if he was miserable because I never asked him what he wanted because I knew what I wanted.”

“And there’s the problem—” She sighed. “All these things I wanted, I desired, they were there every time we visited in our dreams. What if they influenced my visions? I had my lake house vision after I knew Kerry was real—what if I only saw him in that vision because I wanted him there? What if what I wanted directed Kerry’s visions? What if—”

“That’s impossible.”

 

Annie has a lot of “What If?” going on, and she finally comes out and asks Kerry, “What if you’re not happy?  What if this isn’t want you want?  What if you stay with me and you’re miserable?  What if you’re pretty, what if you’re rich, here’s what they said–”  Sorry:  Annie almost broke into song there.  It’s all interesting questions, until someone–probably the boy who’s been listening to this for a while–lays just a bit of a smackdown on her.

But Annie’s so convinced she’s right, she’s gonna give him an argument–

 

Annie’s turned towards Kerry, who was now staring back with a look plastered across his face that didn’t hide his feelings. “But when we were in our dreamspace I could manipulate parts of the dream—”

“Because your magic allowed it; it was a form of lucid dreaming.” Kerry bowed his head for a moment. “You couldn’t have affected my subconscious with your own subconscious desire; it doesn’t work that way in dreamspace.”

“But what I wanted could have ended up in your mind—”

“I doesn’t matter what you wanted: you would have had to actively implanted a notion, and then erased my memory of the event.”

Annie wasn’t going to accept Kerry’s retorts. “What I saw in my visions—”

“Has nothing to do with what I saw in my visions.” He stood, shaking his head. “Annie, I know you want to think that you made me have those visions, but you couldn’t. Deanna said something the other night: you can’t make someone have visions. I know that, too, because I read it in those books you had me study. That’s how I also knew that . . . thing that happened to me was really a vision.”

 

This is the problem when you give your boyfriend a lot of books to read:  he reads them, then has the answers you don’t want to hear.  And he’s right:  Deanna already told Annie that she couldn’t make them have visions.  Annie’s position is that she influenced him with her subconscious, but Kerry’s got that one down:  no, you couldn’t.  Doesn’t work that way.  I know ’cause I read about it.

And now that he’s on his feet, it’s time for him to get something off his chest.

 

He approached Erywin as he addressed her. “I know Coraline said I was bothered when she saw me that night, and I was—but not because of what I saw, but more because . . .” He grimaced a little as he looked for the right words.

Erywin stepped in to help. “Unexpected and messy?”

“Yeah.” Kerry rolled his eyes. “But by the time we made it to lunch, I knew I’d had a vision—I knew it because of all the stuff I’d been reading about divination and visions and dreams for months. I also knew from reading that the best odds you could get have for a vision being true or not were fifty-fifty.” He turned towards Annie, who was now listening silently. “This was before I knew you had your vision, and that it was the same thing I’d had—”

“But you had yours months later.” Annie appeared to want to jump out of her seat. “Yours could have occurred—”

“You couldn’t make me have a vision. It’s impossible. If Professor Arrakis couldn’t do it, you couldn’t.” He turned back to Erywin. “Coraline and Deanna probably mentioned that I was upset, that I was agitated, but it’s not for what you think—”

 

And that is probably the only time Kerry has ever talked back to Annie like that, because he has to cool her down, and the only way to do it is by telling here in no uncertain terms that she can’t be right.  Sort of like a good sorceress keeping their head about them . . .

Which is what he does as he continues on why he was “agitated”–

 

He stood in front of Annie. “I wasn’t upset that I saw us together on our wedding night; I was upset that there was a chance that what I saw wouldn’t happen.” He slumped as all the energy seemed to leave him. “If it didn’t happen, it’s because we split and weren’t together any more. Or . . .” He looked down, whimpering once. “Something bad happened to one of us. Something—”

Annie jump out of her seat and took Kerry’s hands. “My love, nothing is going to happen to us, not like that.”

 

There it is:  he made the connection that if it doesn’t happen, it means they are no longer together.  Either they broke up, or–in a point he’s made before–one or both of them are dead.  And there’s more coming–which means, if you know Kerry, you know what else is coming . . .

 

When he looked up Annie saw that Kerry was fighting to keep his emotions in check, but it was clear he was under tremendous stress. “The morning after we told each other our names I came downstairs in the morning, and my mother was like, ‘What’s wrong with you? Why are you so happy?’ I didn’t know it, but I was smiling: my mom said it was the first time in four months I’d smiled. You know what I told her? I said, ‘I’ve been bike riding with my Chestnut Girl’. She thought I was nuts; she even said so. But I didn’t care, because I knew it was true. It was the best time I’d had in a long time—and it was even better because I shared it with you.

“You’ve been in my life as long as I can remember, and I can’t think of what I’d do without you, Annie.” His shoulders started to heave as he started to lose the fight with his emotions. “I’m not good with expressing myself—I know that. My family isn’t like you’re: there’s no romance and little in the way of affection. But that doesn’t mean I don’t know how I feel about you.” The tears started stream down his cheeks. “I don’t want anything to happen to you—to happen to us. I don’t want us apart; I don’t want you . . .”

Annie wrapped her arms around Kerry and comforted him as he released the pent up fear mingled with his love. “It’s okay, it’s okay. I’ve got you. I’ve got you.”

Kerry buried his head into her shoulder. “You said you never gave me a choice, that you decided everything for us.” He wrapped his arms around Annie’s waist and held her tight. “You been giving me a choice for the last ten minutes—” He pressed his cheek against hers. “I’m still here. I didn’t go. I couldn’t go. I don’t want to go.” Kerry kissed her cheek. “I don’t ever want to go.”

 

Annie told her mother about her Ginger Hair Boy, and we finally discover that, at one time, Kerry told his mother about his Chestnut Girl, and he was happy about it.  Mister Mope was actually happy after month of being sad and depressed, all because a girl in his dreams took him bike riding.  And yes, he cries, because Kerry hasn’t learned how to keep a rein on his emotions.  He’ll learn one of these days.

First scene out of the way, and it was a long one:  longer than all of Part Nine.

Funny how that works out.

Funny how that works out.

But the other three scenes should go quickly, because I don’t anticipate them being very long.  And I should point out that I’m about twenty-five hundred words away from fifty thousand for this act, which means Act Three is shaping up to be rather short compared to the first two.

Then again, I haven’t gotten to Part Twelve yet.

The Open Book

As much as I wanted to crank out about fifteen hundred words last night, it was impossible to do that.  Not only was I fighting off fits of depression yesterday–I thought I was done with that, but I was wrong–I started suffering back spasms throughout the day, and it was difficult to sit at the computer for very long and type without feeling the needs to go lay down for about twenty minutes after sitting at the computer for about the same amount of time.  It feels better now, but then I’ve been laying down for the last six hours.

We’ll see what tonight brings.

As such, I only managed about six hundred and seventy words–but as I’ve said in the past, they were good words.  This is a point where Annie is talking about her book, her wedding book.  Erywin asked how it came to be in her possession, and in these six hundred and seventy words she tells you a little about what she’s done with it.  Not a lot, but . . . we learn a few things about what’s inside the book . . .

 

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

She nodded slowly. “I have. I knew a girl when I was growing up that had one, and a few of my students have had them.” She softened her tone, trying not to shake Annie. “When were you given yours?”

“On my fifth birthday. My mother gave it to me in private, after my father had departed to return to his work. She explained what it was for, what I was suppose to place upon the pages. I wasn’t certain what she meant: I was five, and while I knew about my parents being married, I didn’t know what I would do with my own book.

“A few weeks later I was staring at all the blank pages in the book, and I began having ideas. I’d started sketching about that time—I wasn’t very good because I was starting to learn—but I loved to draw.” Her eyes focused on something beyond Erywin as she thought about her first drawing. “It was my wedding dress. I’ve made much better sketches of it since that time, but the first one is still there.”

“I’m going to take a guess and say your wedding dress is pretty simple.” Erywin lay her hands on her thigh. “I can’t see you wearing something grandiose, Annie.”

She nodded slowly. “Yes, it’s something simply: no long train or massive amount of embroidery, just a simple white dress and matching dress sandals.” She continued staring off at something off I the distance. “I drew how the ceremony would look behind my parent’s home, in the field—that’s why I’ll wear sandals: it’s summer.”

“Sounds wonderful.” Erywin didn’t try to make eye contact with Annie, who seeing her memories. “And the reception?”

“There’s a small hall in Pamporovo that I want for that. I don’t anticipate a lot of people attending the wedding—just family on . . .” Annie paused and met Erywin’s gaze. “Both sides.”

“I see.” Erywin didn’t want to ask the obvious question, so she took the round about method. “What else do you have drawn in there?”

“My bridesmaid’s gowns—though I don’t expect to have a lot of them. I don’t even know if I’ll have them . . . The sketches of my lake house are there: all of them. Everything I wanted it to be, I drew there first.”

“That makes sense. According to Deanna, that’s where you’re going to spend your wedding night.” Erywin tip topped carefully into the next question. “Was that a vision as well?”

“Yes, it was. I saw it while I was standing by the short of the lake—it’s just over four hundred meters from my parent’s home—and I turned around and I saw the house . . .” Annie’s eyes rolled up just a touch. “And someone else.”

Erywin figured she didn’t need to make more than one guess. “Someone who’ll spend the night there with you?”

Annie didn’t try to obfuscate her answer. “Yes. My husband.” She barely made a sound as she cleared her throat. “The center of the book is where you’re support to write your name, and across from your name you write the name of the boy you’ll marry. When I attended private school before coming to Salem, a couple of the girls who had books talked about how they already had two or three names across from theirs.” She snorted. “Stupid girls.”

“And how many names do you have in your book?” This was another question Erywin didn’t have to ask, but knew it was necessary.

“Just one.”

“And when did you write that down?”

Annie sighed and closed her eyes: it wasn’t that she didn’t want to see Erywin, but she didn’t want there to be any chance she’d notice the expression of the third person present. “The night he told it to me.” She opened her eyes slowly. “I should say, the morning after he told me. The moment I woke up, I went to my book and wrote in Kerry’s full name. Later that day I did a rough sketch of him and, over time, managed to capture his likeness as he was then.” She leaned towards Erywin. “My name is across from his, and my portrait sits below my name, staring at Kerry’s.” She grew silent as her eyes turned towards the sky.

 

I suppose there’s a meme here where someone says to Annie, “You only had one name in your book!  One NAME!” and then if it’s the Worried Annie she give them the worried look, and if it’s the Not Worried Annie, she probably sets them on fire.  I just joke about that:  Annie hasn’t set anyone on fire–

Yet.

But now we know some of what’s in the middle of that book.  We know there are names and sketches, and it’s been mentioned in the story–back when they were in their last night in Amsterdam–that Annie had the chocolate wrapper Kerry gave her on the Chunnel ride there, and there’s something else written that we’ve yet to hear about.

But you know we will.

And we’ll probably hear from Kerry as well–who has been awfully quiet during all this.  Hard to say what he’s going through–well, I know, but you don’t.  You’ll have to find out.

The upshot of all this is that Act Three is just a few tens of words past forty-six thousand words.  It’s also a couple of thousand past three hundred and fifty thousand, so I upped the counter once more–to four hundred thousand words.

One more bump is all I can take.

There’s been a whole lot of upping of late.

With three parts remaining, I expect the counter to get upped one more time, and then that’s it:  no more upping.  There won’t be any need to up it beyond that–

You can’t go too far beyond “The End”, you know.

Beyond the Dreamstate

Here I am, finally on the web, but running late again due to . . . well, I woke up, didn’t like that I was running late again, and decided to change up my routine a little.  Yes, I’ve eaten and had my coffee, but I’m also finished with shopping and thinking about doing a little running around today.  But all is pretty much finished for the day that needs to be finished.  That means I have time for things . . .

I also didn’t believe I was gonna write as much yesterday as I did.  It was a blah, miserable day, rainy and cloudy and full of depression.  Between naps and just sitting around doing nothing I kept Scrivener up and the story ready, and when I felt like it I’d write something.  By the time I rolled off the computer about ten-thirty, I’d added fourteen hundred words to the scene–and it’s not finished, in case you were hoping for a quick resolution.  Nope.  I don’t roll that way.

I be writin', readers be waitin'

I be writin’, readers be waitin’

Yesterday we ended with Annie and Kerry discovering their real names, and Erywin seeing something strange happening between them.  Which means that’s as good a place to pick up this party as any–

 

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

“You were doing more than that—” Erywin leaned forward. “Tell me: where were you when you were telling me about your dream?”

They stared at each other puzzling over the question. Kerry smiled when he realized the answer. “We weren’t here.”

“No—” Annie smiled as well. “We were back on the hill.”

“How is that possible?”

“I don’t know, but—” She turned to Erywin. “Do you know what happened?”

“I think . . .” The instructor looked from one child to the next. “You were staring at each other, but you weren’t seeing each other. Your eyes were unfocused, and you were both speaking in a soft near-monotone. I think you were experiencing a waking dreamstate.”

Annie turned to face Erywin across the path. “It’s happened before. Once when we were recounting our rune dreams and Kerry remembered—” She glanced at him out of the corner of her eyes.

Kerry spoke right up. “I remembered the first time I said I loved her.”

“And there was another time when he remembered something else—” Annie didn’t wait for him ask a question. “It was the night after the Day of the Dead. You remembered the first time you read to me.”

“I did?”

“Yes.” She touched Kerry’s hand. “It was the first time I knew for certain that you must have remembered our dreams together.”

Kerry looked down for a moment, and when his gaze met Annie’s once again, there was a touch of sadness in his eyes. “That was months before I completely remembered them again.” He slowly leaned against the back of the bench. “I wish I could have known them then.”

Annie was unable to look at Kerry. “I wish it had been possible, too.” She turned to Erwyin. “I don’t know that it matters, though.”

 

Waking dreamstates–something new to ponder.  So now that they remember they sort of fall into this thing where they’re actually back in the dream.  Strangeness, yup.  It’s right there.

But it’s that last night that gets Erywin going–after all, she’s a couples counselor–I even went back and edited this part:

 

“Deanna felt that your reason for speaking was something of a—” Erywin glanced at Kerry for only a second. “Well, that you may have needed someone who understood long term relationships. And of us three full-time counselors, I’m the only one who’s been in a long term relationship. Coraline has a boyfriend and Deanna—well, we know someone’s sweet on her . . .” She winked at Annie. “But I’ve been with Helena for thirty years, and while not all of them the best, we’ve managed to make it work and we’re still together” Erywin rubbed her hands to warm them. “First time to the grove?”

And anyone who can spend thirty years with the Mistress of All Darkness and not have been killed at one point must be doing something right, so dealing with these kids should be a snap.

And that’s what she does–though she gets a little help with indecision:

 

Erywin quickly picked up on the moods across from her. Kerry was quickly becoming concerned, and Annie appeared worried about—well, it was impossible, but given the subject of most of the conversations with Annie that Deanna related to her, Erywin was fairly certain she could pin down the issues here. “Annie, would you like to sit next to me while you tell me what’s on your mind?”

Annie was about to say “No” when she felt a light touch on her right arm. “It’s okay.” Kerry nodded across the path. “Go ahead.”

She twisted around so she could look at him. “Are you sure?”

“I can hear you from over here.” He chuckled. “It’s okay.”

She started to stand, the stopped. “Kerry . . . I’m going to say things that—”

He shrugged. “If I’m being a butthead to you, I’d like to know.”

“It’s not that—”

“Then it’s okay.” He leaned over and lightly patted her thigh. “I promise I won’t get upset.”

Annie finally stood. “You promise?”

“You know it.”

Erywin welcomed Annie over and had her sit to her right. She spoke with Kerry first, however. “While I’m with Annie, you can listen, but I would politely ask that you not interject a lot of comments.” She flash a smile across the path. “I’ll be with you in no time at all.”

She turned to Annie. “Also, I want you to speak as if Kerry’s not there. You’ve both shared a great deal up to now—personally and emotionally—and since you wanted him here originally, don’t hold back. As I always say, we can only get to the heart of the problem if we open up the chest.” She smiled and then launched into her first question. “When you learned each other’s names, you didn’t actually know if Kerry was a real person, did you?”

 

You know Kerry isn’t your average guy if he’s just gonna sit there and say nothing!  But he does remain quiet while this exchange goes down . . .

 

Annie relaxed and kept her focus on Erywin as she answered. “At the time, no. I knew there was something unusual about how we’d meet in dreams, and I’d wondered why I wasn’t seeing him that often for almost three years, but I hadn’t actually made a connection that he was real, and I saw him that night because he was only two hours away.”

Erywin nodded slowly. “So when did you know Kerry for certain was real?”

“A few days later. I asked my mother to look him up.”

“She knew about him?”

“She knew about my Ginger Hair Boy.” Annie grin was full of happy innocence. “She was able to find him using Foundation search engines.”

“And there was no mention about The Foundation watching him.”

“None at all; that’s why I didn’t know he was a witch.”

“Doesn’t surprise me—” Erywin glanced at Kerry. “They’re usually very tight-lipped about who they are observing. And at that age—” She looked across the path. “How old were you?”

Kerry shifted on the bench. “I’d turned eight the month before.”

“See?” Erywin slid around on the bench and slipped her right leg under her left. “Only a few people would have known then that he was being watched. When did you finally learn he was a witch?”

 

So Kerry could be found in Foundation search engines, which doesn’t really mean anything other than you don’t get a lot of strange pop up ads when you’re looking for something.  Like Nadine mentioned when she was getting sheet music for Kerry’s and her’s performance, The Foundation is plugged into everything, so Welcome to the Pond, you can find just about anything if you like.  More than likely they found Kerry’s school records, and maybe even travel information, maybe even his birth records.  We also find out something else–

 

“When my mother told me at the beginning of August that he was attending Salem.” Annie didn’t mind answering that question as it was something she’d told Kerry two weeks ago. “Before that I always figured he was a Normal.”

“Deanna told me that you’d let him know on your tenth birthday that you were a witch.” Erywin had shown great surprise when Deanna had mentioned this fact, because it was such a soul baring expression. If The Foundation had known she’d said this, they’ve have probably grabbed them and give both a little memory adjustment. “Why did you do that?”

“Because I loved Kerry, and he’d told me he’d loved me a few months before.” She slowly shifted her head a little to the left and right as she thought about her statement. “Kerry already suspected that I could manipulate the dreams somewhat, so I figured he should know.”

“You could manipulate dreams?”

“Only a little. Like creating the bicycles and the landscape we rode through—small things like that.”

 

Annie broke a rule:  she admitted to a Normal that she was one of the Aware, and a witchy witch at that.  Then again, Annie has shown she’s not really good with rules, and if she feels like breaking them, she will.  Like, you know, crashing out in a hospital bed with your convalescing boyfriend–he needed help, so rules are for suckers!

And speaking of rules, Annie shows that she not only does what she wants, but this relationship with Kerry in the Dreams–she felt something . . .

 

Erywin didn’t think those things were that small, but Annie was advanced for a witch her age, and if Kerry and she were experiencing some kind of shared lucid dreaming, that kind of manipulation was entirely possible. “So a few months earlier—that was Kerry’s ninth birthday?”

“Yes.”

“That was when he professed his love.”

“Yes.”

Now ask her the real question. “When did you fall in love with him, Annie?”

She swallowed once as she closed her eyes. “I fell in love with him not long after I turned seven.”

Erywin cleared her throat and shifted a bit. “You knew you were falling in love with someone who might very well have not been real?”

“I was aware of that, but—” She once again closed her eyes as she shook her head. “I felt otherwise at times. I knew there was a good chance Kerry was just a dream creation, but . . . I could touch him, feel him, sense his emotions.” Annie shrugged. “Maybe it was because I was Aware, but I just knew, before I confirmed it, that Kerry was real.”

“And you never said anything.”

“I wasn’t seeing him that much while asleep—but I promised myself I would find out his name when I had the chance.”

“Like when you saw him the night he needed you?”

Yes.” A broad smile opened upon Annie’s face. “It’s funny, but I wanted to see him as well, and as I was going to bed I had the strangest feeling I would see him.”

“And you did.” Erywin gave Annie a relaxed, friendly smile. “You were going to ask him his name—and he beat you to it.”

“He did.” Annie returned the smile. “I was so happy that he told me—”

“Because now you could look him up and know for certain he was real?”

The smile vanished from Annie’s face as her demeanor changed, growing more serious. “There was . . . another reason.”

 

The night Kerry needed someone, Annie also needed someone, and one might think that the universe was conspiring to bring them together that night, because Kerry was in pain and needed comforting, and Annie was in love with someone she hadn’t seen in a while and she needed to be with him.  It was also a great leap of faith on here part to believe Kerry was real, but as she said, maybe being Aware did something to make her know he wasn’t just a boy in her dreams.

Stranger and stranger.

But Annie’s getting serious again, and that usually means trouble.  And since Erywin is there to help, she doesn’t waste time asking, “What’s up, Buttercup?”  The answer she gets isn’t the one she expected . . .

 

“I see.” All the while Erywin felt the conversation leading to this point. “And what was that reason?”

The was a pause, an extended one, as Annie looked down at the space between her and Erywin. She finally lifted her head, a far less serious expression stretched across her face. She answered the question with her own question. “Erywin, have you ever seen a girl’s wedding book?”

She nodded slowly. “I have. I knew a girl when I was growing up that had one, and a few of my students have had them.” She softened her tone, trying not to shake Annie. “When were you given yours?”

 

Wedding book?  Like that big book Annie brought with her from Pamporovo?  The one with writing inside and a certain chocolate wrapper kept pressed between the pages?  The one she’s never shown anyone?

The one she’s never mentioned to Kerry?

Ummm . . . Naw.  That couldn’t be the problem here.

Could it?

Serendipity of the Silent Grove

Here I am, coming late, but finally coming.  Why is this?  Because I’ve spent the last two hours writing, and let me tell you, it’s been coming slowly.  Only half awake for most of the show, so mind isn’t working, fingers aren’t working, not much is doing what it should do.  It was like that last night when I was struggling to get five hundred words out.  It’s the post-NaNo collapse.  It has to be, right?

Part of the problem is finding the tone of the scene.  There are things that need to be said here, personal things, and when you’re cognitive functions are cooperating you find it all that more difficult to put them down in the computer.  So I have a feeling the first draft of this will be a bit rough.  Then again, whenever I start something like this off, I find myself hesitant to write–I think my mind rebels at the idea of laying raw feelings out on the page for all to see.

What is happening, you ask?  Well, let’s get into the not-so-action, shall we?

 

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

The children had walked in silence from the Witch House, and that silence intensified as the light wind which surrounded them from The Pentagram was absorbed by the mass of trees that made up Perquat’s Grove. Annie gazed up into the cloudy sky and sensed that it was manipulating her mood. She wanted to place blame on the sky for making her experience these feelings moving through here at the moment, for if she thought about the real reason she felt such trepidation—

It would only grow worse.

The reason they were walking in silence through the grove was because of her current feelings. It had started the night of their test run through Salem. Annie had pushed the concerns that drove these feelings aside for a couple of days, but by the time the Friday Madness came around she was back to these concerns that wouldn’t leave her. She didn’t let them interfere with her to the point that she couldn’t make it through a day without appearing addled, but by the following Wednesday night she was finding it difficult, if not impossible, to push away the concern.

This was why she asked to stop at Memory’s End on the way back from Sorcery class. It was why she asked to meet with Professor Arrakis.

It was why she told Kerry he needed to come with her when she spoke with the professor on Sunday. Because there were things she needed him to hear . . .

 

Uh, oh.  It looks like Annie is having a bad time of . . . something.  And she needs Kerry to hear things?  Not good, I’d say.

And Kerry knows something’s up . . .

 

Walking through the grove Kerry thought about Annie—what he’d noticed from her since last Saturday night, what he’d felt from her all this week, how he’d noticed her magic suffer just a touch. There was nothing he could say that was completely wrong with her, but he knew Annie’s moods by moods well now, and there was a problem of sorts.

He didn’t know what it was, however. It involved him, though, because after meeting with Professor Arrakis at Memory’s End the other day—a meeting that he only assumed because he was asked to wait outside—she said they were going to meet with her on the upcoming Sunday—

Today.

They reached a small clearing where the pines were planted four meters back from the path. On either side of the path were two benches large enough for four people facing each other. The quiet here was every more prevalent than when they’d entered the grove. Kerry looked about the clearing. “I like it here.”

Annie turned and faced Kerry, then looked around as Kerry did. “It is beautiful. So quiet.”

“This is the first time we’ve been here.” He looked up at the partially obscured sky. “Except when flying here.”

“But never landing.” Annie stood before one of the benches and stared at the back rest. “I wonder why we’re meeting Deanna here?”

Kerry shrugged. “Don’t know.”

“Usually we’d meet in Memory’s End—”

“And that’s true—” Professor Sladen stepped into the clearing from the same direction they’d come only a few minutes before. “—if you were meeting with Deanna. Today, however, you’re meeting with me.” She smiled as she adjusted the collar of her denim jacket. “She didn’t think you’d mind.”

 

So instead of the Sensitive Seer, Annie’s gotta spill her guts to the Lovable Lesbian.  But Erywin has a reason for this–

 

Annie was perplexed, however. “Why did she want you to meet with us?”

“Of the three of us who are full-time counselors, I’m the only one who’s been in a long term relationship. Coraline has a boyfriend and Deanna—well, we know someone’s sweet on her . . .” She winked at Annie. “But I’ve been with Helena for thirty years, and while not all of them the best, we’ve managed to make it work and we’re still together.” Erywin rubbed her hands to warm them. “First time to the grove?”

Kerry nodded. “Yes.”

“Perquat’s Grove: lovely place. Helena and I used to come up here all the time because not a lot of students visit. The ones who walk don’t like coming past the Witch House, and the ones who jaunt usually visit their own hidden locations.” Erywin waved a hand around. “All these trees come from different parts of the world: Alaska, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Russia. Henri Perquat spent thirty years developing this place for his own reasons—but that’s the way he was when he was groundskeeper.” She indicated the bench behind the children. “Why don’t you sit there and I’ll take the one across from you, and we’ll start, hum?”

 

Helena and she used to come up to this place all the time to–well, you can figure it out.  She’s relaxed in this place, even if they’re outside and it’s only 66 degrees–I checked–the pines around them block the wind.  So it’s not that bad a place to meet up.

And thus begins the session:

 

Annie was finding it difficult to start, so she tried a different tactic. “How much of our history—” she nodded towards Kerry. “—do you know?”

“Everything. I spent an hour with Deanna getting filled in on what you’ve discussed in the past, and the conversation she had with you both two weeks back concerning your dreams.” Erywin settled back into her bench. “So we can discuss everything.”

“Then you’re aware as to how long Kerry and I have actually known each other.”

“Absolutely.”

“We began seeing each other when we were maybe three, four years old. We only saw each other off and on for a few years—”

Kerry spoke for the first time since everyone sat. “Because of the time zones.”

“I can see that being a problem.” Erywin nodded towards Annie. “Go on, dear.”

“We’ve shard so much in our dreams, had so many experiences . . .” She turned to Kerry. “It was much better once you moved to Cardiff.”

“Well—” He appeared embarrassed. “Maybe for the dreams.”

“Yes, but do you remember what else happened that first dream we had together after you moved?”

 

Yes, Kerry:  we know it sucked to move, but you got to be closer to that dream girl of yours even though you thought she was a dream girl.  Annie’s getting to something, however:

 

“What happened?” While Erywin had a good overview of the children’s dreams, she lacked some details, and if they were willing to open up on this matter, then it was something she could use to help them—as well as something she could pass along to Deanna.

Kerry answered the question, never taking his eyes off Annie. “At the end we found out each other’s real names.”

“You mean you didn’t know them until after Kerry moved to Cardiff?”

Annie shook her head. “No. We’d not seem much of each other for about two years because of our sleep schedules—”

“But up until then we knew each other by our nicknames.” A wide grin spread across Kerry’s face. “My Chestnut Girl.”

“And my Ginger Hair Boy.” Annie took his hand in hers. “I remember that dream so well.”

Erywin’s tone grew soft. “Was that the one where you rode bicycles?”

“Yes. It was after it was all over that we . . .” Annie gave an almost imperceptible sigh. “Asked.”

“Who asked first?”

Kerry glanced at Erywin. “I did.”

Annie chuckled. “He finally got up his nerve.”

 

It’s nice to see them relax and not be so uptight in front of one of the people who is totally judging them on this Guardian operation.  So just spill those guts, kids–and they do in a rather unusual way . . .

 

“I did.” A dreamy look came into Kerry’s eyes as he spoke to Annie. “I really enjoyed today.”

“Today?” Annie giggled and slid closer to Kerry. “Are you sure about that?”

“It feels like a today. I know it’s really night.” A puzzled look came over his face. “This is such a strange dream.”

“Why is that?”

“Because it doesn’t feel like one, but I know it is.” He reached up as if he were going to touch Annie’s cheek. “Are you real?”

Annie’s eyes glimmered. “Are you?”

“I’ve always wondered . . .” Kerry slowly gulped. “Do you have a name? A real name?”

There was a slight pause, before . . . “Anelie Victoreva Kirilova. That’s my real name.”

Kerry’s eyes widened. “Victoreva is your middle name?”

“I’m Bulgarian, so my middle name is a patronymic.” She ran her fingertips over the back of his hand. “And do you have a real name?”

He nodded. “Kerrigan Rodney Malibey. Though everyone calls me Kerry.”

“Everyone called me Annie.”

“Pleased to meet you, Annie.”

“Pleased to meet you, Kerry.” She continued to stare into his eyes—

There was a loud double clap: both children turned towards Erywin. She allowed them a moment to collect themselves before she spoke. “That was incredible.”

Annie gave her a quizzical look. “What was?”

“You have no idea what just happened, do you?”

Annie’s expression showed her confusion. “We were telling you about our dream.”

“You were doing more than that—” Erywinn leaned forward. “Tell me: where were you when you were telling me about your dream?”

 

Keep in mind that both times they relived a moment in their dreams no one else was present, so this is the first time they’d been witnessed–unless Deanna saw more than she’s indicated that first time in Memory’s End, in which case she’s holding back information.  Maybe she saw herself holding back information, so she has to . . .

According to the kids this was the first time they discovered each other’s names.  Noticed they didn’t find out anything else–like, “Are you real?”–but that’s coming.  I know what it does, totally.  This also goes back to something that happened when they were about to begin their Evaluations and Assessments, and Isis spoke their names, and this happened:

 

The echo of the closed door faded away. Isis lowered her tablet to her side. “Well, best for last, hum?” Annie and Kerry stood together, silent in their apprehension. She chuckled, trying to lighten the mood. “Okay, well, you know what to do.” She nodded towards the door on her left. “Anelie Kirilova: Room One.” She pointed to the door opposite. “Kerrigan Malibey: Room Two.”

Kerry turned to Annie. “Anelie?”

She raised her eyebrows and managed a tiny smile. “Kerrigan?”

“Yeah.”

 

Kerry didn’t know who Annie was, even though he knew her full name a little over three years before.  We know that Annie knew who he was, so she was playing along, smiling weakly at this snub.  Of course someone dug a knife into her side during her E&A over this . . .

But where were those kids while they were talking about this dream?  I’ll probably write that tonight, since there isn’t anything on television and I’ll have time to add to this.  And speaking of adding to the manuscript . . .

Yes, another forty thousand plus into the word bank!

Yes, another forty thousand plus into the word bank!

By passing forty thousand words I have officially turned Act Three into a novel.  Given the length of the other two acts, I’ve pretty much written four longer novels and one short one worth of material in putting this story together.

I hope it’s all worth it; I’d hate to think I’ve spent the last year spending all this time on a bunch of stuff that won’t see the light of day.

The Future Without Shades

First off, Happy Flight 19 Day!  If you’re not sure what that is, pick up Close Encounters of the Third Kind and watch the opening where the sun came out at night to sing.  You can also read about them here.  Just remember:  anyone can get lost on a dark and stormy night, especially us writers and post World War II fliers.

Second, if you were expecting to see another excerpt today, sorry to disappoint you.  I got home last night pretty much burned out and not feeling good, and since I had something else to work on, I got into that for more than a few hours.  By the time I got around to my writing time I couldn’t really get the scene started, and the hundred or so words I did write seemed pretty weak.  So I’ll recharge as best I can today and start on it tonight, because things are gonna get said in this scene, and a few more secrets will pop out.

"And then Kerry loses it and kills his whole family!"  "Really?"  "Do I look like I'd lie?"

“And then Kerry loses it and admits the real reason he’s going to the hospital all the time!” “Really?” “Do I look like I’d lie?”

And that last part brings up the third part here, the telling of secrets.  If you’ve been following the comment sections for the last couple of months, you’ll see I’ve been engaged in a conversation with one of my readers over this novel–in particular, there’s been a whole lot of questions about Annie’s and Kerry’s relationship.  Some of the questions have made me thing, some have made me smile, some have made me sad, and some I’ve laughed out loud after reading them.  But there seems to be one answer that I inevitably come back to almost every day:

“I can’t answer that because it hasn’t happened yet, and if I did, I’d give things away.”

That’s really one of the hardest things I have going for me in this series, because I have pretty much meta-plotted out a lot of the story for like–well, actually, decades.  It’s one of the reasons I have a time line that goes out beyond a hundred years of their lives, because I needed to know how they lived, how their friends around them lived, and eventually how they all died.  I’m like that because I’m a bit strange, right?  I mean, who knows their characters to death–and beyond?

Along the way over the last three years I’ve let slip a few things here and there.  We know Kerry will come out as a witch at the end of his B Levels.  We know that Annie and Kerry end up in the middle of Russia in the middle of the night and see an aurora–I actually had two blog posts on that.  Back in December of 2011 I first mentioned The Polar Express, a trip Kerry goes on for a weekend, and I left clues here and there that Emma is his wingmate on that flight.  All the way back in March of this year I wrote about an event where Annie and Kerry will be tested during their C Levels, and they’ll leave the school and head to the land of Walker Chow and hope they don’t end up the same way.  I’ve even mentioned, in sort of an off-hand way, that Annie and Kerry tour Europe one summer while they’re between levels.

That’s just a little of what’s a huge story–

Oh, and I mentioned I know what happens to them after they die.  Yeah, I even went there.

I’ve sometimes had to become a bit of an unreliable narrator so that I don’t give anything major away, and some of the things I have mentioned are painted in real broad strokes–I mean, okay, the kids go on a summer tour of Europe.  But what else do you know?  Not much, really.  I know it all, however, and sometimes I really want to spill it–but I can’t.

I have tons of notes and all my time lines, and a couple of months because I actually left written instructions on where all that stuff goes if something should . . . well, we know what I’m going to say.  Some lucky person gets the legacy of all this unfinished work, and what they do with it–if anything–is up to them.  They’ll get a huge first novel and then a lot of information on what could have been, and if they want they could give it all a go and write all that stuff out.

Or probably not.  I mean, I could easily have a good fifteen years ahead of me, writing full-time, getting all the story out.  Assuming it ever got published and read.

The future is there, and even though it’s bright I don’t need shades to see it.  All I gotta do is start up my computer, look over a few things, an instantly be transported to a world of my own creation.

I do wonder, sometimes, if someone else I want to show around will ever go there with me . . .

Come See Me Across the Water

Lookie here:  I’m being interviewed over on the blog of Jeno Marz, a writer from Latvia and author of the Falaha’s Jounery trilogy.  I’ve known Jeno for a couple of years now, and I have to say, this was one of the more interesting blog interviews I’ve ever done.

So come on over and see me!