The Girl With the Family Secrets

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

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

 

 

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

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

“I’m sorry?”

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

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

“You know that?”

“Oh, yes; I know that. Go on.”

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

“Did you race there?”

“Spa?”

“Yes.”

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

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

How do you know about that?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

“Yes, something like that.”

“I get it.”

 

Clever boy.

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

Something I’m going to write about tonight.

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

You are getting a lot bigger, you know that?

You are getting a lot bigger, you know that?

Finding Your Way Into First Night

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

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

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

Easy:  add another scene.

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

This is how we start.

 

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

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

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

 

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

But that situation changes quickly.

 

“Hi.”

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

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

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

She chuckled softly. “What are you reading?”

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s coming soon enough.

Just Another Bad Racin’ Deal

After the mess that was Sunday, Monday night’s offering were much better.  It was a far better time at work, and a far better time at home, even if I did have to pay my taxes and a few bills.  But for the first time in a while, I came home and wanted to write.  Because I not only had to finished my scene in the hospital, but I had to set up something else.

When we left off our duo of adult female instructors and staff, a duo of female students, and a lone boy all by his lonesome, it looked as if the women were getting pretty pissed at each other.  In fact . . .

 

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

Vicky took a deep breath and put her hands on her hips. “Don’t go there, Coraline. You know this sort of thing happens once in a while.” She nearly stuck a finger in Coraline’s face. “I can’t keep an eye on all the kids all the time; I also didn’t know they were going to get so far out in front—”

“Maybe they wouldn’t have if you hadn’t put them on advanced brooms this soon.”

Silence closed in on the ward as the School Doctor and the Flight Instructor stood staring at each other, each waiting for the other to say something. The silence was broken not by either woman, but when Kerry spoke. “It’s okay, guys.”

 

That’s it, Kerry: step right in between two women about to throw down. Mr. Clueless to save the day! What could go wrong?

Plenty, because he starts up with some really bad excuses for why he’s lying in bed with a broken ankle, a almost busted skull, and his knee destroyed. He would have made some stock car drivers happy with his “It’s just one of those racin’ deals” words–but with this crowd, not so much:

 

“Yeah, I mean . . .” Kerry found himself at a loss for words as he felt the stares of the two adults in the room upon him—

But mostly he felt Annie’s stare—and it wasn’t pleasant. As she had done moments before with Emma, her eyes were unwavering hazel orbs that radiated extreme cold. Kerry felt she wasn’t so much looking at him as she was seeing something she’d never encountered before—and she wasn’t happy about finding said object before her.

She slowly drew in a long, deep breath and momentarily held it, her eyes locked on him, never once turning away. As she exhaled a sound emanated from somewhere deep in her throat; Kerry had never knew such a sound could come from Annie, and he didn’t like what he heard. He almost looked away, but became afraid of what might happen if he did.

Annie spun on her heel and addressed the head of the ward in a low, dark tone. “Nurse Coraline, since Kerry can’t move, can I take he’ll be eating dinner here?”

Coraline glanced for a moment at the now quaking Kerry. “That’s correct, Annie.”

“Am I permitted to dine with him?”

Coraline fought hard to keep the smile off here face. “Are you sure you want to do that?”

“Oh—” She turned to once more stare at Kerry for a few seconds. “I’m sure.”

 

You’ve officially gotten The Look, kid. Congratulations. The growl was extra. No charge.

So Annie leaves, and Kerry decides to double down on being Mr. Clueless with Nurse Coraline, who, were she a real person, is having a field day with this kid, because she’s getting to school him on the Ways of Piss Off Girls–and she’s having a blast.

 

It was only when it was just Emma and Coraline that Kerry finally found the courage to speak in a soft, quivering voice. “Nurse Coraline?”

“Yes?” She moved out of the ward hall and into the space between the beds. She had a good idea about what he was going to ask.

Kerry didn’t disappoint. “Is Annie mad at me?”

“What do you think?”

“Uh . . . yeah?”

“Yeah is right.”

He looked off to his left, unloosing an exasperated sigh. “Why? What did I do?”

Coraline leaned closer and lowered her voice. “She’s upset about your accident—and the excuses Emma and you gave.”

“But—”

“Kerry, her dad was a racer here, and he did a bit of it on the outside after he got out of school.” She rested her hand against the headboard of the bed. “And she’s probably also heard all the same lame-ass excuses you gave her a minute ago.”

Learning back as best he could, Kerry threw up his arms and spoke in a squeaky, out-of-breath voice. “I didn’t know that. She never talks about her family or her father—how’m I supposed to know?”

Coraline sat on the edge of Kerry’s bed. “Red, let me tell you something about girls in general, and your girlfriend in particular.” She leaned forward until she was a few tens of centimeters from his face. “Saying that you didn’t know something—?”

Kerry gulped slowly, feeling like he didn’t want to know the answer. “Yeah?”

She scrunched up her face. “Doesn’t work.” She shook her head several times and smiled. “Nope. Not one bit.” She quickly stood. “I better check on Annie: it wouldn’t do if she tears up the menu by accident.” With that she departed the bay, leaving him almost alone.

 

Nurse Coraline’s bedside manner sometimes leaves a little to desire, but you can bet Kerry’s gonna remember all of this. Not that it’ll make much sense.

But really, the coda here elevates this beyond the mundane. Because obviously Emma hasn’t been paying attention for most of the last month and a half:

 

“Hey, Kerry?”

He turned towards Emma, who had been sitting quietly while Annie had gone cold on him. “Yeah?”

“Is Annie really your girlfriend?”

Uhhhh.” Kerry fell back into his pillow and stared at the ceiling. “Emma, I’m in so much trouble . . .”

 

Way to rub that salt into those wounds, Emma. Maybe you should have taken Kerry’s leg off, then he might have garnered more sympathy. And you would have been killed in front of the adults, but shit happens, right?

With this out of the way I’ll add a new scene tonight.  You’ll see it on the graphic below, and it’s something that I decided needed to be shown, in only because the following scene makes a little more sense with it.  Also, it’s going to open up a dynamic in the kid’s relationship, and important things will get said.  But one scene comes in, and I’ll pull another out because it’s not needed.   I’ll talk more on this tomorrow.

And old scene leaves, and a new appears.  It's the Circle of Writing, yo.

And old scene leaves, and a new appears. It’s the Circle of Writing, yo.

Broke Down and Hospital Bound

Depression is a mess.  Besides being tired and completely out of it for most of the morning, about noon I was hit with a bout of crushing depression.  I mean, the sort that has you locking up the sharp objects and has you taking to bed for the day.  Even the joking and kidding of some of my friends on line didn’t do much to bring me out of the funk.

Needless to say, I was also writing, because hell, yeah, I do that even when I’m alone, depressed, and crying.

 

I started out with this:

 

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

Kerry was beginning to feel as if he were on trial.

He had no recollection of what was done to him once Emma and he were picked up and moved to the hospital; Nurse Coraline put him under within minutes of determining his injuries. When he woke up he was in pajamas and lying in bed—the wall to his left told him he was back in Bed #2. The right side of his head was bandaged and he felt something pressing against a few of the ribs on his right side. There was a bright blue cast around his lowly right leg and foot, and his left knee rested upon a triangular pillow, held immobile by an invisible force.

 

From the first word, “Kerry”, to the last one, “force”, there was a period of maybe ninety minutes that flowed by slowly.  But, hey:  I’ve written through my depression before.  Besides, I needed to get this scene out–

Because I’ve got a couple of broke down kids in the hospital.

 

Emma sat on the edge of the bed next to him, Bed #1 where Annie had lay when they came in after their gardening a month ago, dressed in street clothes, her left forearm encased in the same type of blue cast as leg. Nurse Coraline stood at the end of his bed; Professor Salomon and Annie stood next to her. All had walked up moments before, probably having met outside Coraline’s office. The professor was still in her flying leathers, but Annie had changed back into her uniform before coming to the hospital, which likely meant the professor and she had taken Emma and his brooms back to the hanger after the crash.

Nurse Coraline pointed at Emma, who tried not to look at anyone when she was being discusses. “Your little moon princess over there got lucky. A lot of bruises and scrapes, and the only serious injury is a broken left forearm. I’m releasing her pretty much as soon as we’re done here so she can eat dinner with the rest of her covenmates.”

Vicky nodded, then looked at the boy in the bed. “And Kerry?”

“Oh, he’s a bit worse for the wear.” Coraline moved to his left side. “He’s got a nasty bump on his head and a slight concussion—”

“Did you tell him?”

Kerry looked up at Coraline. “Tell me what?”

“Anyone with a concussion is automatically grounded for a minimum of seventy-two hours. You can’t get back on a PAV until you’re cleared by the Flight Surgeon.” The right corner of her mouth curled upward. “That’s me, by the way.”

Kerry looked away, focusing on a spot between his other visitors. “Oh.”

“He’s also got two broken ribs, though it looks like his torso was compressed to cause them to break—”

Emma cleared her throat as she stared at the floor. “I fell on top of him.” Annie didn’t say a word, but she burned holes in Emma with her eyes. Kerry saw it; he was pretty sure Nurse Coraline caught it at well.

The good nurse continued with the litany of Kerry’s injuries. “He’s also has a broken right ankle, which should heal up completely before morning. But this—” Her hands hovered over the raised left knee. “This right here is gonna keep him confined to bed for the whole night and part of the morning.”

“Knee damage?” Vicky had suffered a broken knee when she’d crashed during a race while a D Level, and recognized the same immobilization she went through.

Coraline shook her head. “Oh, this isn’t just damage, Vicky. This is the trifecta of knee damage. He has an ACL tear, as well as tears to his medial and lateral collateral ligaments. I can’t figure out how it was screwed up so badly—”

Emma looked up, her face a mask of sorrow. “I did that, too. I slid into him and hit his knee with the shaft of my broom.”

Humph.” This time Annie didn’t bother hiding her displeasure. She took a step closer to Kerry, touching the foot board of the hospital bed. “He’ll have to spend the night here?”

“Afraid so, Annie.” She slowly moved to the end of the bed, standing directly across from the girl. “I’ve got the keep the knee immobilized while my little enchanted nanoids work on getting everything back almost good as new.” She flipped a withering look Kerry’s way. “You’re lucky this happened here. In a Normal hospital you’d probably be bedridden for over a month, and in physical therapy for months after. Here I’ll have you walking around tomorrow, though you’ll have to take it slow and easy.”

Kerry folded his hands across his stomach. “If I can’t get out of bed, how am I gonna go to the bathroom?”

“Ever heard of bedpans?” Coraline looked across Kerry’s bed at Emma. “You’re lucky you didn’t take his lower leg off. Then he’d be here for two or three days while it was reattached.”

 

Yeah, Emma, that’s the way to do things.  Not only screw up Kerry, but prove to his Soul Mate that everything she’s starting to think about you is true!

And this leads to our School Nurse/Doctor starting to ask Vicky why a couple of her kids are in the hospital with broken bones and torn up knees.  But, of course, Vicky has answers .  . .

 

The was a five second pause while the professor gave though to a myriad of answers before settling on the truth. “A long ways out. They took off near Gate Jump and I lost them. I had to go airborne and didn’t see them again until they were racing down West End—”

“Where were you when you lost them?” Coraline hadn’t ever raced, but as the school doctor she knew the locations of every section of all three courses.

“Just coming into The Narrows.”

“And you shot over to West End and found them there?” Coraline shook her head. “Why didn’t you stop them there?”

There was another pause, and when Vicky spoke her answer was half muttered. “I didn’t want to stop them because it was obvious they were flying pretty fast.”

Coraline took a step closer to Vicky. “You wanna define ‘pretty fast’ for me, ‘cause I know you, Vic: you’ve already had a peek at their flight recorders, so you know exactly how fast they were going.”

Vicky pressed the back of her index finger against her lips. “Emma hit a top speed of three hundred forty-seven kilometers per hour; Kerry hit three hundred fifty-one.”

Coraline’s eyes widened considerably. “Why didn’t you stop them in Sunset Boulevard—”

“Because both of them went through there between two twenty-five and two forty.”

“Kilometers an hour?”

“Yeah.”

The little finger of Coraline’s left hand began to twitch as she unloaded on Vicky. “We have kids who’ve raced for a couple of years that won’t fly two forty through Sunset Boulevard.” She turned and shouted at Emma and Kerry. “What the hell is wrong with you two? Three fifty through West End? You both could have been killed.” She turned back to Vicky. “And you waited until they were heading into Double Dip—”

“Because it’s a chicane and they’d have to slow—”

“Look how wonderfully that worked out.”

 

Yeah, Coraline’s not a happy woman.  Something about kids flying at high speed in unsafe conditions–it gets her riled up.

And because I know some of you are hung up on Imperial measurements, let me do the conversions for you:

 

“Emma hit a top speed of two hundred fifteen miles per hour; Kerry hit two hundred seventeen.”

“Because both of them went through there between one forty and one fifty.”

 

There you are:  they took Sunset Boulevard between 140 and 150 mph, and were zipping along West End at 215 and 217 mph.  I should point out that, if you’re a racing fan, 215 is almost as fast as the fastest recorded time set by a NASCAR stock car on a closed oval course–a speed of 216.309 mph, set by Rusty Wallace on June 9, 2004, at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.  When he did, however, he was locked up inside a car with a roll cage and a sitting in a special seat, and was pretty much strapped in so tight that if he had rolled he probably would have climbed from the wreckage without much help.  He wasn’t riding on a thin piece of flying carbon-carbon filament with his butt plated in a bicycle seat.  And he wasn’t eleven or twelve, either.

Oh, wait:  217 is faster, so Kerry says, “In your face, Rusty!”  Bring on the endorsements, guys, these kids could be your new superstars.

Assuming the girl friend of one of them doesn’t flip out . . .

I'm lookin' and I don't see the Annie murders idiot boyfriend scene coming next.  So Kerry can probably rest easy.  Probably.

I’m lookin’ and I don’t see the Annie murders idiot boyfriend scene coming next. So Kerry can probably rest easy. Probably.

The Boy Who Lay Broken at the Bottom of the Chicane

Today is starting with a bit of fuzziness, because I was out until two AM last night, and there was a vodka martini–shaken, not stirred–there as well.  So here it is, ten ’till eight, and I’m just getting into my post.  Oh, any my computer is being a pain in the butt as well, taking forever to come up.  This, too, also happens.

All of my racing scenes are finished, and they ended the way I expected them to end–with pain.  Though up to the point where everything get painful it was a good race.

 

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

Just like at Sunrise Bends, Kerry had caught up to Emma at Polar Turn, but as he tried to take the inside, she threw another block, forcing him to break and slow. While he wasn’t upset, he was getting a bit peeved that he wasn’t doing that to her, and she was taking every advantage of him—

She pulled away fact, accelerating down the straight leading to Northwest Passage. This straight was only three hundred and fifty meters, but it was a fast three-fifty that led right into the Northwest Pass, the last turn before heading into the two point two kilometer curving straight known as West End, the fastest part of the course, and the one section that Kerry had already taken at high speed.

Emma cut into the inside of Northwest Passage, holding good speed. Kerry was right behind her now, only about four meters back, taking the turn a little wider because he wanted to set up his exit and come out on a different line than Emma. He saw her line and had it figured out: she was taking the turn tight and would line up on the west side of the course. Kerry wanted to set up on the east side, so he’d have plenty of room to pass—before Sunset Boulevard, he hoped.

He knew what he had to do if he was going to get around Emma. It was just a matter of flying smart and not letting her action get to him. Because he’d realized what she was doing with her blocks: she was trying to rattle him. She was trying to get him upset—and when you’re upset, you’re going to make mistakes. Kerry wasn’t about to make a mistake. By they time they were in Sunset Boulevard, she’d follow him.

Emma was really turning on the speed, however. She zoomed out of Northwest Passage and was into the wide expanse of West End in a matter of seconds. Kerry pushed his broom forward, the air speed indicator a blur as he chased her down. The lines were set just as he expected, and while he knew he’d have a little farther to fly to be able to pass her, he also had more room to move, but being on the outside of the gently curving course, he saw further than Emma—which meant he’d catch his marks well before her.

I'd like to point out that there's another grave near Sunset Boulevard.  Nothing says, "Hey, kid, lets not forget your mortality," like putting graves near a race course.

I’d like to point out that there’s another grave near Sunset Boulevard. Nothing says, “Hey, kid, lets not forget your mortality,” like putting graves near a race course.  Though I do believe the graves were there long before the courses . . .

I did a check on the amount of time they’d be in West End going as fast as I know they’re going, and it’s not a lot of time–which means there’s a lot of quick thinking going on while they both zip alone.  I used to do a lot of computer racing–so much so that I had a good steering wheel with force feedback and a six-speed in-line shifter that I ended up breaking because I did way too much racing–and I used to be like Kerry:  I was always thinking as I raced, looking for my marks, checking the cars around me, thinking about how I was gonna set someone up for a pass.

Kerry is doing that as well, thinking about what’s ahead.  And he’s picked up what Emma is doing to him is–in the words of a racer who once won a race by “accidentally” getting into the back bumper of the guy in first place and spinning him out with about two-thirds of a lap to go in the race–”rattle his cage” a bit.  And both times she did so, it worked.  However . . .

 

He was only a few meters behind Emma when he saw the course curving to the left. They were entering Sunset Boulevard, and this is where Kerry expected to make his move. He waited to see if Emma would set up on the outside of the curve, or if she’d diamond the turn. She reminded hard against the outside line, just as he’d expected. Kerry took the middle of the corner, keeping his speed as he felt the g-forces picking up as he prepared to pass Emma on the inside.

He saw the upward flick of her head as she saw him coming. When he was three meters from her processor she cut hard to her left, throwing a block as she cut the turn in a hard diamond. Kerry didn’t slow this time, however. He went up and over to her right, setting up on the outside of the curve, maintaining nearly all his speed while she lost a few kilometers an hour due to her quick cut-over move. He glanced over his shoulder before shouting into the comm. “You seem to lack three dimensional thinking, Selene.” He returned his focus to the track, fighting to stay on course as he navigated the turn.

 

Sorry about that, Emma, but you can go over in this race, too.  Maybe she wasn’t paying attention to the races that day.

Let’s just take this to the end, so we can see how this ends in pain–

 

Kerry wasn’t taking any chances. He slipped to the middle of the course, read to cut left or right if Emma tried to pass. It wouldn’t be possible for her to go over or under him as he’d done seconds before, but then they weren’t officially racing, and maybe she wouldn’t care if she cut through one of the holographic rectangles, not if it meant getting around him—

“Selene; Starbuck. Stop NOW.”

The moment Kerry heard Professor Salomon shouting in the comms he pulled back on the shaft of his broom as hard as possible and struggled to bring the PAV to a stop. The broom turned sideways as he pulled back harder with his left hand than his right, but he managed a controlled, sliding stop.

Emma, on the other hand, wasn’t as quick. He saw the panicked look on her face as she realized she wasn’t going to stop in time and that she’d spear Kerry. She pulled hard to her right, sliding her broom at him, slowing considerably but not stopping . . .

Kerry screamed as the shaft of her broom hit the outside of his left knee; a second later Emma fell into him and pushed him over. They both tumbled several meters down part of the rocky incline that made up Double Dip. The second he hit the ground Kerry felt a searing pain in his right leg; something was broken, but he didn’t know what. Emma fell half on top of him, half on top of rock; she screamed as she rolled away from him. He finally came to his own stop when the right side of his head smacked a small rock, leaving him with an agonizing headache.

He lay on his back looking up at Professor Salomon hovering maybe five meters overhead. Even though he was slightly dazed, Kerry recognized Annie flying in from behind and sliding up next to the professor, looking none too pleased. He took a deep breath, wondering what was coming next while watching professor tap the side of her helmet—

The professor spoke matter of factly. “Coraline, I need a pick up.” She stared at the fallen racers while Annie glared at Kerry. “I’ve got two down in Double Dip . . .”

 

And thus I get my somewhat Swedish title for my post today (though the original title of The Girl with the Dragon TattooMän som hatar kvinnor–actually translates as Men Who Hate Women, but I won’t quite go there), because Kerry’s a bit busted up, and we see the beginning of an injury that’s going to plague him for, believe it or not, at least three more novels if these stories ever get that far.  And, it goes without saying, Annie’s a bit upset.  There’s a scene I’m considering adding, but I have decided upon that scene yet.  If I do, it explains a little about–well, you’ll see, because it would come after the next scene, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

After all, there’s a lot of writing to go.

North to the Passage

I woke up about five AM with The Musical Box running on repeat in my head for some reason.  This is not entirely impossible, because it happens quite often.  Not with this song, but many a morning I’ve opened my eyes to a new kind of way . . . sorry, just had to do that.  I’d much rather open my eyes to someone running their fingers over my arm, but you take what you’re given, and sometimes I’m given what I can handle.  Maybe the arm touching comes later.

Last night I wrote two scenes and started another, and one of the scenes is probably the shortest I’ve written for this novel–just under four hundred words.  Mostly what’s happening is Vicky and Annie are looking for my fast and furious duo, and neither are all that happy about having to hunt these two down.  This is all happening for our ladies back in the Sunrise Bends, while we know Kerry and Emma are way beyond that area, because . . . well, they’re racing, that’s why, and since we’ve already said they’re zipping along at over a hundred miles an hour in one stretch, they’ll outdistance the others in no time.

Lets take a look:

Not only a good shot of Northwest Passage, but you can see the whole school

Not only a good shot of Northwest Passage, but you can see the whole school.

Northwest Passage–which Kerry and Emma are approaching–is the closest turn to the bottom of the above picture.  Sunrise Bends is just off to the upper left of that blue lake-like thing, and that’s pretty much where Vicky and Annie are flying.  This means that K & E aren’t just setting their own pace, they’re burning up the track, and two women a mile away have pretty much figured out that they’re racing–

How do I know they’re a mile away?  I use my own rulers in Blender to figure out distances.  This is how I do it:

Draw quickly, and measure with a big stick.

Draw quickly, and measure with a big stick.

This is how I do it.  If you look at the tab on the left, you’ll see something labeled “Dimensions:” and right below that “X:” with the number 165m alongside.  When I set things up I did a little scaling, so that number really means 1,650 meters, or 1.65 kilometers.  And as we already know from Kerry, if 165 kilometers an hour is really 100 miles an hour, then 1.65 kilometers is a mile.  From Sunrise Bends to Northwest Passage is right about a mile away as the pissed-off instructor and fuming girlfriend fly.

And with the broom they have, they can fly pretty fast.

I just realized, I should probably draw a Quidditch field inside the school, just to give people a little sense of a scale.  After all, we do know those dimensions, and when we’re talking about flying a hundred miles an hour–or even faster in the upcoming scenes–it’d give people a sense of just how fast things move around this joint.

Now, what’s Vicky doing?

 

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

She thought about speeding through The Narrows and the Essess and hoping she’s catch up to the students as they were approaching Polar Turn. But I’m not going to find them there . . . She suspected that they were somewhere else now, too caught up in where they were doing to pay attention to comm chatter. She wasn’t going to find them sticking to the Green Line—

Vicky pulled hard on her broom and shot a hundred meters into the sky.

She was already facing towards the northwest corner of the school wall, which meant she was facing Northwest Passage, where the Green Line stopped paralleling the north wall and turned to the south. If there was anywhere they could be, Vicky figured they’d either be approaching Northwest Passage, or in it. And if they were in it, they’d likely be going slow enough that she could get them to stop.

She leaned forward, preparing to open up her Espinoza 6000. She gunned it forward, reaching three hundred kilometers an hour just in time to start slowing as she neared the Observatory. But she wasn’t just slowing because she wanted to come to a hover over Northwest Passage: no, she caught something out of the corner if her eye—

Two things, actually, moving at high speed down the West End straight.

Vicky jerked her broom to a quick stop and turned so she could get a better view. Yes, there wasn’t any doubt—and she couldn’t believe that she was seeing this. What the hell are they doing?

She pointed her broom in the direction of the speeding students and headed after them.

 

Well, Vicky, I think we can tell you what they’re doing.  The question is:  what are you going to do?

Meanwhile, back with the female side of Team Soul Mate:

 

By the time she reached the main curve of Sunrise Bends Professor Salomon wasn’t anywhere in sight. Annie was worried, because if she wasn’t visible, that meant Kerry wasn’t visible—which meant he was still flying with Emma—

That girl. Annie was quickly developing a bad feeling about Emma. Not a dislike, but an intense feeling that she was doing something right now that was going to get Kerry in trouble. Or worse, hurt. And if Kerry got hurt, she wouldn’t be happy.

Though right now she didn’t know who was going to make her the most unhappy.

 

This isn’t looking good for Kerry, who’s liable to face the Wrath of Kirilova.  And there’s that girl again.  Good thing these kids are too young to remember 1960′s television.

Only one thing left to do . . .

 

Annie was half way through the bend when she decided she wasn’t going to find Kerry like this, chasing down Professor Salomon. The only way she was going to find him, and convince him to stop whatever he was doing, was to leave the course and head out over the grounds. She was aware she’d probably end up in trouble as well, but there was always the chance she’d find him before the professor did.

It was a slim chance, but she had to try.

She jerked the PAV straight up and found herself just over the tree tops seconds later. She wondered about the best way to find him and decided heading to the other side of the school was the best decision. She could probably catch him heading down West End—

She saw someone flying at high speed from just beyond the Observatory, heading south. It had to be Professor Salomon, and if Annie wasn’t mistaken, she was following West End—

She had to be chasing down Kerry and Emma.

Annie pushed her broom forward, fast, chasing after the professor—

Chasing after Kerry.

 

Yeah, this is going to end . . . well, maybe today, maybe tomorrow.  But the end’s in sight, and no matter what the outcome, there’ll likely be tears shed.

I think the "Two For the Hospital" chapter is something known in writing as "foreshadowing".

If I were a writer, I’d say the “Two For the Hospital” scene is what’s known in the business as “foreshadowing”.

Behind in the Race

So far the morning isn’t working out well for me.  I’ve been up since four, and spent the time between then and six drifting in and out of sleep, not sure if I was dreaming or just thinking of things that I desire.  I know I laughed, I know I cried, and at one point I was sobbing openly.  Now I’m having the worst sort of cramping, probably because my body has decided that with the new hormones, it’s gonna show me all the fun I missed out on for forty year.  Thanks, you chemical nasties.  Thanks for nothing.

So, writing:  A short scene was written last night, and I wasn’t actually feeling the joy because I was getting stretched in about five different directions at the same time.  Not to mention I was feeling pretty worn out.  However, I am a trooper, and just started going slow, getting in my licks little by little, and remembering that the next two upcoming scenes are actually going to be short, maybe five hundred words each, so it’s possible I can crank out a thousand tonight after I go and had a good sit down dinner, the first in a while.

Vicky and Annie are up next, and it isn't going to be pretty for the boy.

Vicky and Annie are up next, and it isn’t going to be pretty for the boy.

Speaking of the boy, what is he up to?  This:

 

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

The course leading out of the Sunrise Bends was a long, lazy left-hand bend through The Narrows, so called because of the proximity of the Blue Line on the left and the one of the Wall Towers to the right. It was a quick six hundred meters run into The Essess and, beyond that, the Polar Jump, a technical stretch where one had to hold their speed least they lose ground against other fliers. Kerry willed his broom ahead, feeling the push back into the saddle as he accelerated quickly. In seconds he was flying through The Narrows, the wall and tower a blur to his left as he focused on catching Emma.

She slowed slightly as she set up for the long right-left-jump before making the sharp left at Polar Turn. Kerry sailed past, throwing a quick wave. “Sorry about that, Selene.” He chuckled mirthlessly, knowing she’d hear him in her comm.

Starbuck, you . . .” Her saw her approaching in his rear view and considered throwing a block at her, but gave up on that idea for fear she might not react fast enough. He’d fly clean, giving her plenty of room to get by if it was needed.

It was only now, as he approached Polar Jump, that he finally checked his air speed: 164 KPH. He didn’t need to do a quick mental calculation: he knew that just a little over one-sixty was the same as one hundred miles per hour, so right now Emma and he were traveling at about that speed—

Emma passed him, sticking her tongue out as she flew by. Correction: she’s flying faster than that. He shook his head and leaned out over the broom picking up speed once more as he sailed over the jump and towards Polar Turn . . .

 

It’s a mighty brave girl who’ll turn her head and stick out her tongue at someone as she’s sailing along at something close to, oh, maybe one hundred and eighty-five kilometers per hour–that’s one hundred and fifteen miles an hour for you Imperial Inclined.  What this really means is they’re going fast, and like Annie thought before, it’s something that could get them grounded.  It also means they’re covering a lot of the track fast.  Lookie here:

Don't I give you a lot better race coverage than ESPN?

Don’t I give you a lot better race coverage than ESPN?

The Sunrise Bends are on the upper right, with Sunrise Tower the one at the very top.  You drop down towards the lake and through the trees near that other tower:  that’s The Narrows.  The two little switch backs are The Essess, and where the track goes over that dark path, that’s Polar Jump, followed by Polar Turn.  From when the course straightens to the first of the Essess, that’s six hundred meters, or about two thousand feet.  Kerry’s through the first turn when he realizes he’d going about a hundred miles an hour–and gets passed, leaving him with about another six hundred meters before having to take the sharp left at Polar Turn.

From Sunrise Bends to Polar Turn, the course is about fourteen hundred meters, or a little over eight-tenths of a mile.  And they’re flying along at about one hundred miles an hour for maybe a kilometer–a thousand meters, six-tenths of a mile–which means, at their speed of forty-seven meters per second, they’ll cover all that ground in just over twenty-one seconds.

And they still have a ways to go . . .