Never Say Never Say Never Again

As you may have guessed, I’m riffing on a James Bond movie title.  And why am I doing this?  Because once again I’ve been saying there’s something I’m not going to do, but in the end I turn around and–well, it seems like I’m doing said not doing thing.

Allow me to explain.

NaNo is coming up.  If you write, and you spend any amount of time on the Internet, you know this, because about now is where everyone who writer–well, everyone who isn’t pretty much making a living off their writing, that is–begins talking about what they’re going to do during NaNoWriMo 2014.  It’s what all the cool kids do, doncha know?

You can tell she's a writer simply by the strategically placed bowl of fruit . . .

You can tell she’s a writer preping for NaNo simply by the strategically placed bowl of fruit . . .

Now, I’ve participated in three NaNoWriMos and two Camp NaNos, and I’ve had fun.  More or less.  See, NaNo is a huge lark for some people:  you get down and write, and when it’s over you file away the story and move on to something else.  For some people it’s a struggle, like pushing a huge stone up a hill, only you don’t know what kind of stone, and you’re not sure of the name of the hill, so you’re having to stop and ask questions of others along the way.

And for some, you get to the end of the month with this huge document in front of you, and you think, “You know, maybe I should edit and publish this sucker . . .”

I’ve done this last one once, and I plan on doing it again . . . once I get this monster of a Last NaNoWriMo story out of the way.

Yes, I see you.  Stop that gloating, right now!

Yes, I see you. Stop that gloating right now!

As I’ve said before, I’ve not given NaNo any thought because I’ve always writing anyway.  Of late it seems like I’m taking a night off here and there, but I’m keeping it going.  Slow but steady as they say.

Then, the other night, a friend asks if there’s anyone going to do NaNo this year, because her son wants to do it, and she’s thinking about doing it, and oh, man, it’s like dangling a big carrot in front of me, because when someone says, “Hey, anyone wanna WRITE?” I kinda want to join in the fun.  Also, she was the one who kinda sorta got me to do Camp this year, and even though I lowballed by total (I only did twenty thousand words), it still gave me a goal to shoot towards.

And since I find it hard to say “No” to this person . . .

Yeah, I’m probably going to do NaNo.  But what am I writing?  The same novel I started for last year’s NaNo.

Now hold up there, ’cause don’t start in with the “But you can’t do that!” because it’s already been done:  Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus was written over the course to two NaNos, so if she can do it, so can I.  The way I see it, I can set a goal of sixty or sixty-five thousand words–as I did last time–and do what I can to take a good bite out of Act Three of the novel.  I’m hoping to be almost finished with Act Two by the end of November, so using NaNo to write out close to seventy thousand words–if that is even possible–would go a long ways towards finishing the project.

And since I’ve already planed and plotted everything, it’s just down to the writing, isn’t it?

Oh, wicked NaNo and the friends I have who like to dangle literary carrots before my eyes.  I keep trying to walk away–

You keep pulling me back.

Again With the Medical Emergencies

Getting into a writing groove is a wonderful thing.  Every so often, maybe once a week, I find myself getting into them.  But I usually know when they’re coming due to my habits.

It’s rare I get one on a Monday evening.  But that’s what happened.

There is a little background to that, but I’m not getting into that right now:  no, that’s fodder for a later post.  Today we’re back in the Great Hall, and that’s where Chapter Twenty-Three stays for the duration.  Enough being outside; come in and stay warm.  Or at least stay out of trouble.

When we last saw Annie she was about to kill Emma.  Well, not really–maybe?  Perhaps?  Not saying, I am, but she wasn’t a happy girl.  So we’re a little further down the line at right about the moment Kerry takes his flying tumble.  Any idea who those people he saw were?

I believe we’re about to find out.

 

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

18:41 to 18:48

The teleport alarm seemed louder that it’d been when Emma was brought in. Annie felt a tightening in her chest, because she was torn by who might appear. If it wasn’t someone bringing Kerry in, that meant he was still out there—and if it was him, then . . .

Don’t think about it. That’s what Nurse Coraline said. That was easier said that done. Right now Annie was thinking about Emma up in the ward resting while Kerry could be—

Two women popped into the teleport area. Annie recognized them immediately: Professors Kishna and Palmescoff. Jessica Kishna held the writhing and moaning Madeline Palmescoff against her body while attempting to drag her towards the triage center. Nurse Gretchen ran over and picked up the injured Maddie, while Coraline barked at Jessica as she prepared to examine the woman. “What happened?”

“We were dealing with Deconstructors.” Jessica brushed some loose strands of hair from her face. “I ran in to help Maddie, who—” She shook her head as the moaning woman was laid upon an examination table. “She’d already killed three or four when she got hit from behind with something. I grabbed her and got us out of the area, but he must have put a trace on her and popped in right behind us.” Jessice looked at Gretchen. “One of our people is down right where we teleported in; you gotta get them.”

Coraline nodded at Thebe. “Contact Fortress and tell them to set you down where they pulled in Jess. Go out and bring them back.”

“Got it.” Thebe grabbed one of the levitating stretches and quickly made her way to the teleport area. A few seconds later she vanished with a pop.

Coraline started Maddie’s examination and started frowning right away. “Oh shit, her insides are liquefying.” As if on cue Maddie convulsed and began spitting up blood. She turned to Jessica. “She just rushed in and took on a bunch of them, didn’t she?”

“Not like we didn’t try to stop her when we figured out where a group of them were, but . . .” Jessica sighed. “Yeah.”

“Nothing I can do for her here . . .” Coraline pressed her palms together as she stood over Maddie. A white glow began peeking out between her fingers, glowing brighter by the second. Coraline yanked her hands apart and spread the white glow over the dying instructor’s body. Maddie stopped moaning, stopped convulsing, stopped doing everything—

“Okay, that’ll do.” Coraline gave her monitor a quick check, then turned to Gretchen. “She’s in status for twenty minutes; get her up to the OR and prep her. We’re gonna have to counter a Liquefy spell.” The teleport alarm went off, indicating someone was inbound. “I’ll be up as soon as I give this next one a look. Go.”

 

“One of our people is down–”  Yeah, three guesses as to whom that could be?

 

Annie didn’t move from where she stood, but her eyes followed Gretchen as she hurried towards an examination table. “Male, unconscious, apparently involved in a crash.” She slipped the stretcher onto the examination table and phased it through and out of the way. “I detected no signs of respiratory or pulmonary distress.”

Coraline nodded. “Always good.” She pulled off the patient’s goggles—

Annie closed her eyes and hoped Nurse Coraline wasn’t about to speak the name she was afraid she’d speak . . .

There was a sharp intake of breath from Coraline. “Oh, god: it’s Kerry.” She reached for the jacket when she noticed the stains. “Where the hell did all this blood come from?”

Jessica cleared her throat. “That would be from the Deconstructor he hit.”

Coraline spun around. “What?”

“That’s why Maddie and I are alive: he hit the guy.” Jessica laid her index finger at a point above her jawline next to her ear. “Right about here. With his broom—” She drew in a sharp breath. “At speed.”

Thebe nodded. “I saw the body: it wasn’t decapitated, but the cranium was shattered. There was little left.”

Coraline notice noticed gray flecks on Kerry’s face and helmet. “That would explain this other crap on him—” She touched the monitor over the table as the orange glow appeared in her left hand, which she placed directly over his head. “Okay, let’s see what sort of shape he’s in . . .”

 

As it is, not in very good shape:

 

Annie walked slowly towards the table as she listened to Coraline call out the injuries. “He’s got a concussion, but there’s no swelling; skull is intact—” Her hand move slowly over his face. “Facial bones are intact; jaw in one piece.”

She couldn’t see much but a still body and the nurses and doctor standing over him. “No damage to the throat or neck; spinal cord and vertebrae are intact. Okay: broken collar bone; broken left shoulder; right shoulder dislocated; left arm broken about a third of the way above the elbow.”

Her breath came in long, slow draughts as Coraline continued her litany. “Lungs and heart are intact; no fluid in the lungs. Four ribs broken. Stomach, liver, pancreas intact; bruising on the spleen. Small and large intestines intact; no detectable perforations. Spinal column and vertebra intact.” Coraline sighed. “Lucky as hell there.”

Coraline’s hand move over the mid-section of Kerry’s body towards his feet. “Pelvic bone is intact; no ruptures or damage to the genitals. Right hip is dislocated. Ah, shit—” She looked over the table to Thebe. “His knee is screwed up again: major tears to the MCL and LCL. And his right leg is broken about a quarter of the way below the knee, so watch that.”

Annie was standing next the table now as Coraline finished. “Everything else is good.” She shut off the monitor and pointed at Nurse Thebe. “Get him up to the ward. Take him to Bed Two; that seems to be a good one for him. Strip him, clean him, bind him.” She began barking orders as she stepped away from the table. “Bianca, you’re in charge until I get back.” She turned just before entering the portal. “Thebe, you’ll need help—take Annie.”

Right.” Nurse Thebe grabbed a stretcher and phased it through Kerry’s body. She made sure it was back in-phase and holding his weight before pointing at her helper. “Annie, take the end of the stretcher.” When she didn’t move, Thebe changed her tone so she’d get Annie’s attention. “Annie, come on—move.”

“Yes, Nurse Thebe.” She took hold of the stretcher, getting it behind her. She heard the count to lift it off the examination table, and followed Thebe’s instructors to head for the portal and the first floor of the hospital ward . . .

 

Now we know what happens when you hit a guy in the head with your broom:  not very good things.

This is leading up to Annie helping to get Kerry–well, not back on his feet, but at least healed.  You’ll see him over the next few scenes, but he’s not saying anything, as being unconscious tends to keep you quiet.  Don’t worry, though:  he won’t miss anything.  ‘Cause when he wakes up, Annie’ll have plenty to tell him . . .

One scene down, a few more scenes of patching up unconscious fliers to go.

One scene down, a few more scenes of patching up unconscious fliers to go.

Returning to the Intimate

Since I’d written in the morning, there wasn’t anything written yesterday afternoon or evening–which is good, because I spent most of the evening in something of a carb haze, as I’d went out for a late lunch/early dinner sort of thing, loaded up on bread and pasta, and then felt like I was going to fall into a coma the rest of the night.  It was a good thing that Breaking Bad was on, otherwise I’d have probably crashed by eight PM and woke up about 2 AM.

The closest I came to writing last night was readjusting the time line of the story.  There are things that needed to get tightened up, and I sluggishly went through that about the time someone was blowing up a nursing home on my television.

Message

Out with the old, and getting ready for the new.

The last chapter was all about protecting people and trying to stay alive.  And, in the case of one girl, sorta venting your death wishes in her direction, but we can’t be all sunshine and unicorns all the time.  This chapter is gonna be different.  It’s almost all gonna be scene from Annie’s point of view, with the exception of the scene All Clear, which really shows things from Isis’ point of view–though I’m actually rethinking how I want to write it now.  I like the idea of the whole chapter being Annie-centric, and I’ve already decided how to go about writing the scene.  Short, sweet, and to the point.

And it keeps the chapter on Annie’s point of view the whole time.

The interesting thing is that Kerry is actually in four of the five scenes as well, but he says almost nothing throughout the chapter.  Needless to say I didn’t kill him, but since the second scene is Back to Bed #2, astute readers will realize that Bed #2 seems to be the one he gyrates towards, and it only makes sense that we’ll find out what actually happened out in Selena’s Meadow, and just how badly he was hurt.  The last scene, Dreams On the Ward, it probably going to be the most intimate I’ve written, and it will start to answer some of the questions about how Annie knew Kerry before they met in London.  But only will it start:  there will be more head scratching, I’m sure, and it won’t be until sometime in the Third Act I give up all the answers.

Funny how I work that way.

In a way I’m glad the Attack chapter it over.  It’s been just a little over a month since I started, and it was a bit of a slog.  I’ve been through some personal issues during this time, and there’s nothing worse than dealing with your life while trying to create other lives.  Though this is the stock in trade for writers:  you put aside your own emotional and mental baggage for a while so you can develop emotional and mental baggage for your characters.  It’s totally tit for tat, and if you have to suffer through that stuff, it’s only fair you make your characters share.

It makes them so much more believable when they’re crying over nothing, don’t you think?

Intervention Time, Start to Finish

Chapter Twenty-two is history, complete, done.  I only managed about four hundred and fifty words last night, but this morning I felt inspired to complete the scene and end the chapter, and after a hour of writing I’ve accomplished that very thing.

Interestingly enough, Kerry’s final scene of this chapter had nearly the same word count as Annie’s final scene, though it was a few hundred words shorter.  Whereas Annie was all about bringing out the homicidal feelings, Kerry was fighting to stay alive.  One almost brought about death, the other was doing his best to avoid death.  A strange, neat little dichotomy, I believe.

Here it is:  Kerry’s run from death and the aftermath that brings a close to Chapter Twenty-two:

 

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

 

18:38 to 18:42

Kerry couldn’t get away from the creature chasing him.

Since running from The Diamond Kerry had tried everything possible to shake this thing on his tail. He’d zigged and zagged from east to west. He’d changed altitude rapidly. He’d making one high speed run from the south to the north and back several times.

Nothing worked. The creature kept on his tail, and was slowly closing the distance.

Kerry was tired and growing exhausted. It wasn’t the high speed runs from on end of the school to the other: it was the dips, the weaves, the turns at the north and south ends of the school, the ones that brought him closer and closer to the screens, which were becoming more difficult to see at hight speed in the growing darkness. The g forces were tremendous, like he’d expect in a race car. His head hurt, his back was sore, and his knee was on fire. He’s learned quickly to stay out of the area of the school north of the Observatory, because the area there was smaller compared to the rest of the grounds, and it was there he slipped up and not only all most slammed into the screens, but allowed this monster to gain a couple of meters on him.

And no one was responding to his cries for help.

He knew it was only a matter of time. Eventually he was going to miss a turn and go into the screens, or misjudge a weave and feel a tentacle wrap around his neck and rip him off his broom and drag him to the forest below. While he thought it was possible it might throw him to the ground and let him die on impact, a nagging fear in his mind told him it would pulled him screaming into the forest, alive, and it was there it would . . .

He turned back to the northwest, heading towards Sunset Tower and the West End portion of the Green Line. He couldn’t help but notice The Pentagram, glowing a soft blue in the darkness under the defense screens. Annie was in there, safe, maybe working, maybe wondering about him. He had no idea what the people inside the Blue Bubble knew, and even less what she’d know. The image of her face as they said goodbye in the Dining Hall this morning instantly came to mind, and he fought to control his emotions as he fought back the notion that the next time she saw him, it might be to identify his body—

 

Remember, parents:  the next time your kids complain that, two months into the school year, they’re bored with everything, tell them they could be flying for their lives trying to get away from some monster that probably wants to eat them.  They’ll likely remained bored, but at least you can lay some nightmare fuel on them.

But Nightwitch gets on the comm and gives him instructions to fly towards Selena’s Meadow, to come in close to the pavilion on the west side, and to break left when word is given.  It’s all quick and clear, and if there’s one thing Kerry’s shown throughout this ordeal, it’s that he knows how too follow orders.  With the word given he does exactly as told.

 

He reached the tree line north of Selena’s Meadow and pushed hard towards the ground, dropped almost seventy-five meters in a few seconds. He pulled out at just under three meters, and a couple of small adjustments set him at two meters as he stayed on the west side of the meadow and headed straight for Toft Pavilion. He didn’t look back; he didn’t glance over his shoulder; he didn’t bring up the rear view display. He didn’t want to know how close that thing was, if it was only a couple of meters away and was now reaching out to snatch him away—

Break left; break left.”

Kerry did exactly as instructed, throwing his broom into a sixty degree turn while speeding away from the pavilion as fast as possible. There were bright lights behind him, and Kerry didn’t need to look back to know someone was throwing some destructive magic at the creature.

For the first time since leaving The Diamond Kerry felt safe. He felt he could relax. Most of all, as he slowed he felt there was nothing more to do that find a place to stop and wait for orders, perhaps get taken to a place of safety—

He saw two people pop into existence up ahead on his right. It was hard to see given the night vision and distance, but it looked like two women, one supporting the other. A couple of seconds later another person, obviously a man, popped into view, standing behind the women. His right arm was drawn back slightly, and there was something blue and glowing in his hand. Kerry had seen this before—his exhausted mind recognized it from the time Annie showed him the spell. Kerry kept his eyes locked on the ball of cold fire in the man’s hand—

The broom shook hard; Kerry felt the force through his hand and up his arms as it threatened to wrench his shoulders from their sockets.  As he continued flying something warm and sticky splashed his face—

He sailed through the air, finally giving into the exhaustion that wanted to take him for the last five minutes. Kerry surrendered and went limp, waiting—

He barely registered smashing into the ground; he paid little attention to the violent tumble that followed. There was only one final thought:

Annie.

Darkness greeted him long before he came to a stop . . .

 

And there you have it:  Chapter Twenty-two coming to a stop, just like Kerry did.

I could end the novel right here, but that would probably drive a few people mad--myself included.

I could end the novel right here, but that would probably drive a few people mad–myself included.

Now we just have to wait for Chapter Twenty-three.

Won’t that be fun?

Aid Time, Angry Annie Aftermath

I’ve been rocking out on David Bowie this morning, writing to Station to Station, and now blogging to Scary Monsters and Super Creeps.  Both brilliant works, and standing up to what passes for music today.  Maybe it’s because I grew up in this time that I love the work so much, but the truth is I wasn’t a huge Bowie fan as a teen, and it’s only been in the last few years that I’ve been able to revisit his catalog and revel in his brilliance.

Why am I bringing up Bowie?  No reason.  Just into the music this morning as I grow closer to the end of Chapter Twenty-Two.  The penultimate scene is finished, and all that remains is the last scene, Intervention, then I can move on to the end of this long and dangerous day for my kids.  As for now, Annie’s part in this chapter is over, but Chapter Twenty-Three is almost all her observations of ongoing events inside the Great Hall as night falls.

Until then, she has to resolve these issues she is having–like whether or not to rip Emma’s lungs out and squeeze them . . .

 

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

Annie never let her emotions rule her; she never allowed them to driver her impulses. She’d told Kerry that she never cried, and it was also true that she was never angry in the ways that people understood anger. She wouldn’t scream or shout, but rather turn cold and keep her fury contained.

But now . . .

She’d never been in the position of having someone she loved put in a position of danger that could lead to injury or death. Kerry was out there, on the school grounds, perhaps with an Abomination after him—or maybe it had caught him and he was lying in the forest dead and . . .

Either way, alive or dead, whatever was happening to Kerry was due to this girl . . .

Annie pull Emma’s jacket tight around her throat. Her eyes never left those of the frightened and now-drugged girl, and Annie resisted the urge to shake and scream at her for being such a silly, stupid, ignorant girl, but she kept the words she wanted to yell at the top of her voice within her thoughts. How could you do this to Kerry? How could you not listen to him? How could you leave a safe place and lead him to his death

A hand tightened around the back of Annie’s neck and she was ripped away from Emma. She was pulled away from the triage area and towards the West Transept; a few seconds later Coraline spun her around and shook her roughly. “The hell is wrong with you?”

Annie quickly gathered her wits about her and realized what was happening. “I—”

“I said you could use that shit against the Deconstructors if they got in here.” She pointed back at the triage area a few meters away. “I didn’t mean you could use it on our patients.”

Annie’s vision followed Coraline’s outstretched arm. Emma was still in her examination chair; Nurse Gretchen hovered over the girl, swabbing away the rivets of blood emanating from Emma’s nose and tear ducts . . .

“Get her up to the ward: Bed Fourteen.” As soon as she received an acknowledgment from Gretchen, Coraline returned her attention to Annie. “You better have a damn good reason for what just happened, or I’m gonna lock you up in my office for the rest of this situation, Annie.” She folded her hands in front of her, trying not to come off as too domineering. “Well?”

 

The question came up yesterday, “Is Annie the only one who knows death spells?” and the answer to that is, out of all the A Levels, yes, she’s the only one who knows death spells–in particular, she knows one, Exsanguination, which is a D Level spell if one must know.  Both of Annie’s parents were pretty good with Sorcery, and while they didn’t go that route, they have books about the house, and little Annie found those books and read through them.  Ergo, that’s how she learn a death spell.

And what is Exsanguination?  Here is the definition:  “The action or process of draining or losing blood.”  In laymen’s terms it means you bleed a lot, and if you bleed enough, you’ll bleed to death.  Those rivets of blood coming from Emma’s nose and eyes?  Yep.  Annie was laying a little death spell on her, and if she’d actually put her mind to it, Emma would have had blood spurting from her nose faster than a teenage Japanese boy in a hentai animation.

That’s what she was being tasked to use on the “bad guys” if they got into the Great Hall.  Annie was gonna bleed them out–and not slowly.  Someone who knows what they’re doing, like Professor Lovecraft, could make a person bleed from every pore and opening in their body, which means you could put a person down in a mater of seconds.  Yes, it’s a messy way to go–but in my world it’s them or you, right?

There are other students who know how to do this sort of thing.  Do they used them against other students?  No.  Why?  For one, most students at the level where death spells are taught are also taught how to block them.  But also because if someone starts slinging that sort of magic, they’d vanish.  It’s that simple.  Kill a student while you’re a student and that’s it, you no longer exist.  Remember how Isis thought The Foundation might have to do something with Kerry and Emma’s parents if something happened to them?  They’d have basically made them vanish from existence, and anyone who’d come in contact with them would forget them–forever.  Same thing happens to wacky students going around trying to kill people:  they vanish.  Usually into Cloudland.  But that’s another story . . .

There was another question as well:  is that the only death spell?  Nope.  There’s no Avada Karvada in this world:  there are many ways to kick someone off this physical plain in a permanent fashion.  I know this because I have a list:

Spell List:  a work in progress you never leave home without.

Spell List: a work in progress you never leave home without.

Anything listed as “Sorcery (Morte)” is a spell designed to kill.  Yes, it can be used for other things:  Lovecraft used Electrify on Kerry the first day of Sorcery class because she wanted to see if she could get Annie to react, and her skill with the spell is such that she can shock you a little, or she could flat-out fry a person where they sat and they’d be dead before they knew they were dying.

Really, though:  any kind of magic could be used to off someone if you’re inventive enough.  During The Scouring–the other time The Deconstructors came and tried to destroy the school–Wednesday, while a student, killed a Deconstructor by creating a little tornado around his body and flaying him to death with dust and stone particles.  As she’s been known to say, Visualization, Energy, and Willpower:  if you can imagine it, you can make it happen.  If you can see how to do it, and you can channel that magical mojo into your Craft, all you need is the will to make it happen.

Annie’s had it drilled into her that using a death spell just to use it against someone is bad.  She had a slip-up, and . . . yeah, she explained to Coraline that she lose control for a moment because of what happened with Emma and Kerry, and it was her bad, don’t worry, it won’t happen again.  And Coraline, knowing how magic can go sideways when you’re upset, understands . . .

 

“Okay.” Coraline put a finger across Annie’s lips. “Don’t say that. Don’t think the worst.” She began slowly running her hands over Annie’s shoulders, trying to comfort her. “I’ll make this one up as a loss of control—” She leaned closer and eyed Annie hard. “But it’s not going to happen again—is it?”

“No.” Annie shook her head. “It won’t. I’m sorry, Nurse Coraline.”

“Yeah, well . . .” She looked back at the now-empty examination chair. “Emma’s the one you should apologize to, not me.” Coraline tapped Annie’s shoulders. “Let’s get back to work; I have a feeling more are coming.”

They’d taken no more than three steps when Coraline touched Annie’s arm and stopped her. “Hey. Kerry’s a smart boy.” She gave the worried girl a smile that she hoped would put her at ease, though she knew it likely wouldn’t. “If there’s anyone who can get away from an Abomination, it’s him.”

 

See?  All is forgiven–more or less.

As for that last statement, Coraline–

I may have something to say about that . . .

Though intervention usually means help is on the way . . .

Though intervention usually means help is on the way . . .

Aid Time, Emma and Annie’s Quiet Moment

Finally, a pretty good night of wirting, even if there were more than a few distractions happening.  But I’m used to that these days; it seems to be the way of a writer’s life.  You work your way through them, adjust, and keep moving.  As it was I managed about eight hundred words last night, but more importantly, I inched closer to the end of Chapter Twenty-Two.

This is the penultimate scene, and if you can’t tell by the title of the post, Emma and Annie meet.  How do they meet?  Like this:

 

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

18:32 to 1838

The warning alarm wasn’t loud, but the beep-beep-beepbeep-beeeeeeep was easily designed so as not to be mistaken as something other than an incoming teleport. The moment it started Coraline turned to the location about two-thirds of the way towards the center of the Rotunda and made her announcement. “We have incoming, people. Time to do our jobs.”

Annie got into position. Her instructions were simple: if anyone permitted to teleport through The Pentagram screen wasn’t who they were supposed to be, the Annie was to launch death spells on them without hesitation. She did so with the understanding that if any Deconstructors made it through the minute opening in the screens the Security Center allowed for emergency teleportation of the wounded, and they saw her standing off to one side watching everyone coming into the building, they might decide to launch a death spell her way first.

It was a calculated risk, and one she accepted ever since letting Coraline know that she could do the killing for them were it necessary. If you’re going to be a sorceress, you have to accept the life they lead. And it’s not always a safe one

An eerie silence filled the Rotunda right before the pop that came with the arrival of someone teleporting. Annie wasn’t certain who the person was, but Coraline rushed up to her, so she obviously knew the person. Addressing them by name helped as well . . .

“What do you have, Suhaila?” Coraline checked the person that Annie now saw this Suhaila cradled effortlessly in her arms. The Chief Medical Officer for the school motioned for the other woman to follow her to the triage area.

“Flier trying to get back in.” Suhaila didn’t have an issues with the person in their arms, which led Annie to believe she was an AP like all of Coraline’s staff. “Found her outside The Diamond; her wingmate and her reported in as soon as the comms were back on-line, and it was thought best to bring them in through there.” She laid the girl in on of the reclining chairs instead of on a stretcher. “She’s in shock: I think she was attacked by an Abomination.”

It was only when Coraline pulled the flier’s helmet off that Annie saw the cascading red hair that had been hidden there moments before she heard the question. “She got a name?”

Suhaila nodded. “Emma Neilson.”

 

Now we know who was supposed to go pick up the kids, and if there hadn’t been some Anime Wannabe hanging out and spoiling the night, Annie would be back with her Kerry.  Instead she gets the wingmate and some bad news . . .

 

Annie froze in mid-step as she listened to the conversation—

Coraline conjured the orange glow in her hand while looked at the monitor over the head of the chair. “Yeah, she’s in deep shock.” She nodded at Gretchen. “Okay, let’s bring her out.”

“Yes, Coraline.” She pulled a slap patch from her jacket and gently applied it to the right side of Emma’s neck. “That should do it.”

Coraline checked the monitor. “And three, two, one . . .” She placed her hands upon Emma’s shoulders as the near-catatonic girl gasped for air as she convulsed. The head nurse leaned in close to the girl’s head. “It’s okay, Emma; it’s okay. You’re in the hospital; you’re safe now.” As Emma stopped shaking and started to calm down Coraline turned to Suhaila. “You said you were out there to pick up two?”

“Yes.” She nodded slowly. “The other flier wasn’t there.”

“What’s their name?”

Annie shook her head slowly; she didn’t want to hear the name of Emma’s wingmate. Don’t say it; don’t say it. Please don’t say

“Kerry Malibey.”

 

No, not what Annie wants to hear.  Also, she didn’t want to hear an Abomination was there, so things aren’t looking up for her.  Even Coraline is a little worried–

 

Coraline shot a look in Annie’s direction, then quickly turned back to Suhaila. “Okay, we can take it from here. You need anything from us?”

“No.”

“Good, then.” She patted the security woman on the shoulder; as soon as she teleported out, Coraline turned back to the now fairly serene student in the examination chair. “Emma, I’m Nurse Coraline. You know me?”

Emma nodded slowly. “Yes.”

“Were you attacked outside The Diamond?”

Her eyes opened wide and she shook slightly. “I was. I—”

“It’s okay; you’re safe.” Coraline looked up at Gretchen. “There’s no injuries other than bruises and contusions.” She stepped away from the examination chair and led Gretchen away for consultation. “We can get her up to the ward—”

Annie wasn’t listening to their conversation: she had instead moved next to the examination chair and was now standing over Emma. She calmly looked over the girl before speaking. “Emma.”

Emma slowly looked up. “Oh, hi, Annie.”

 

I look at that last line and so want to write, “Oh hai!”–it’s so hard not to put that in.  Who’s the last person you expect to see after being attacked by a monster?  The girlfriend of your wingmate–I’m sorry, I mean, Soul Mate.  And, from the looks of it, a not so happy one . . .

 

She wasn’t in the mood for an “Oh, hi,” however. She wanted answers. “Where’s Kerry?”

Emma managed a weak smile. “He saved me.”

“What were you doing out in the open?” Annie moved so she was standing next to Emma’s raised torso. “Why weren’t you somewhere safe?”

“We couldn’t; we almost crashed.” Emma slowly licked her dry lips. “We were in the woods and Kerry got me to find a place to hide.” Her eyes rolled for a second. “It was nice, too.”

“What were you doing at The Diamond, then?” Annie’s voice remained steady and level, but a dangerous tone began creeping into her words. “Why weren’t you hiding?”

“I wanted to get underground.” Emma’s voice was growing distant as the medication she was given was removing all the effects of her shock. “I thought we’d be safer. Even Kerry thought the plan wasn’t bad.” She chuckled. “We were almost all the way there when Nightwitch told us to go there and we’d get picked up.” She nodded. “See? It was good.”

Annie leaned over Emma, the distance between their faces closing. “Emma, what happened to Kerry?”

Her voice was weak and far off. “He saved me.”

She grabbed Emma by the front of her flight jacket. “How did he save you?”

“He attacked the monster.”

Annie’s eyes turned cold as she calmly pulled Emma towards her. “He attacked an Abomination?”

Emma chuckled once more. “I heard him screaming at it, and then it screamed at him, and there was more screaming . . .” She gulped as her breathing turned ragged. “There was a lot of screaming.”

As her hands slipped up to the collar of Emma’s flight jacket, Annie fought to keep her anger under control. She was loath to show her feelings to others, but this very moment she felt as if she were about to go off on this stupid girl. “Mozhete glupavo malka kuchka . . .” She pulled the jacket tight around Emma’s neck. “What happened to Kerry? Where is he?”

“He flew off.” Emma continued speaking calmly, as though nothing out of the ordinary were happening. “He flew off and the monster went after him.”

Kerry’s out there with an Abomination after him—” Annie pulled Emma to within a few centimeters of her face.

Emma stared back at Annie as if dumbfounded. “He saved me—” She slowly blinked twice before chuckling. “You’re so lucky.”

 

Yeah, that little bit of Bulgarian there . . . Annie’s not happy.  And the “You’re so lucky” line . . .  Full disclosure here:  as I’ve stated a few times before, Annie and Kerry came out of a role play that me and another person did for most of a year.  This actual scene was more or less played out, with my friend playing Annie, and me playing Emma.  Some of what happened in this scene is as presented–I’ve had to change a few things, and our role playing scene was shorter–but what Annie does to Emma here is what my friend did with Annie.

And when I laid the “You’re so lucky” line on her, she lost it.  Annie literally went all murder time on the girl.  I was actually a bit shocked at how she went at Emma, but now I understand her motivation.  I understand that you don’t mess with her soul mate, and if you did something stupid that might have gotten him killed . . .

You’re gonna suffer, honey.

A couple of days ago I saw my friend who played Annie on-line, and I told her I was getting ready to write this scene, and after I said, “You’re so lucky”, she tells me–and here is the exact quote:  “And the lucky thing . . . honestly . . . If I could have gotten away with it, I would have pulled her lungs out of her body and squeezed them.”

No, she wasn’t bothered at all by what Emma did.

What does Annie do?

Well . . . I’ll write that up tonight.  Considering Annie’s the Dark Witch–what do you think?

And here Emma thought she left the horror outside . . .

And here Emma thought she left the horror outside . . .

That Which I Left Behind

If you come here looking for more of the novel today, nope, won’t find it.  There was some, but not a lot.  Why?

Sickness.  For the most part.

I did as I am want to do; blog in the morning and head for work, though sometimes those lines get blurred just a little.  But if you’ve been following me for the last few days you’ll know I’ve not been feeling one hundred percent, or even close to seventy or eighty.  It’s been like a low-level “blah” that had taken over, and it was messing me up something bad.  A few headaches, some dizziness, and a bit of nausea.

It was the last that really hit me yesterday morning, and I was unable to work through it as I have over the last couple of days.  So it was a quick walk to the bathroom to, um, purge, you might say, and then back to my desk.  I repeated that about ten minutes later, and once back at my desk I was about to pen an email to my manager telling him I was leaving for the day when he strolled in and I told him in person.

"I have to leave for the day; I don't feel well.  PS:  sorry about the bathroom."

“I have to leave for the day; I don’t feel well. PS: sorry about the bathroom.”

After a slow walk home I crashed and slept for about an hour, hour and a half.  I think it was more than an hour, but I’m not really certain because my head was kinda spinning a little by the time I made it through the door.

The thing is upon waking up I felt fine.  My head wasn’t spinning, my stomach had settled down, and I could actually wear my glasses without feeling like my head was spinning out of control.  In short, I seemed much better, and told my friends this amazing fact.  With this I changed my clothing and went out to pick up a few groceries, then decided much later to do an early dinner, with my computer, and get in some writing.

See?  Pretty much better.

See? Much better because I’m doing what I always do.

The writing wasn’t there, however.  I knew what I wanted to write, but I couldn’t get my head around it.  I’d written twelve hundred words the night before, and a lot of times when I do that I can’t find the focus to do the wording.  I manged just a little over four hundred, but when I realized more wasn’t coming without some teeth pulling, I shut it down, just as William Gibson suggested.

I realize today that I will be incredibly busy over the next week.  I have a novel for my book club to finish, a letter or two to write, and a few other things planed.  Next Friday I do my shot in the morning because I have labs in the afternoon, and the next shot after that I’m going to do a little video for.  I’m also planing on doing another video reading, probably within the next couple of weeks.

And the novel; don’t forget the novel.

This is all going somewhere.  I just wish I knew where.