Enter Samhain

You know the hardest part of doing today’s post?  Trying to find pictures of witches that are, you know, sexy, or taken from movies where the witches are, you know, sexy.  And not named Hermione.  It’s a pain, I tell you.

Like this. Annie could kick the asses of all these poseurs now.

Annie could kick the asses of all these poseurs right now.

One of the interesting things about writing up a scene at a Samhain dance is figuring just how crazy you can get.  You’ve got your normal witches, you have people with “super powers”–haven’t seen many of them, but there are a few, like Isis, who can fly without invoking magic to do so–you’re got a fair number of great sorceresses . . . and then you have the transformation experts who are making the costumes and changing the bodies.  If you’re a master transformationest, like Jessica, you’ll find yourself pretty busy for the few days leading up to the dance.  At Salem, when you say you want a makeover, you’re liable to come out the other end a whole new person.

And it’s not just the dance, but a busy day all around . . .

 

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

Growing up Annie had heard many stories about Salem’s Samhain celebrations. She heard about how all the students participated in a fall cleaning of their rooms, which involved dusting, sweeping, and changing of their bed sheets, which was something usually left to housekeeping. As much of the dirt and dust was bagged, and the students were required to take the small bags and leave them outside the coven tower entrances, where they were collected and sent off to be consumed in the two huge bonfires in Selena’s Meadow.

Breakfast and lunch were turned into a brunch starting at seven-thirty and lasting until ten-thirty. This was due to the Samhain Races, which started at noon and usually went on for three hours. Unlike other race days, all coven teams paired off to race each other for five lap heats on the Blue Line. Since there were five covens, most of the races were elimination heats that continued until the two teams that had won the most heats finished with a ten lap race alternating between the Green and Blue Lines. Not only was it a huge day for compiling team points, but many pilots saw their individual point standing change for the better—or worse.

The Samhain Feast began at sixteen sharp and went on until seventeen-thirty. After that the students hurried back to their towers and prepared their costumes for the Samhain Dance, which many saw as a glorified Halloween dance, but as the tradition had been in place since the nineteen-thirties—when the dance was then known as the “Guiser’s Celebration”—it was felt there was little need to change things now.

 

No trick or treating here; it’s all serious business, and probably a lot of quick healing at the hospital when someone crashes and burns, which tends to happen when you’re racing Class 1, 2, and 3 PAVs and a racin’ deal goes bad.

Though I managed almost seven hundred an fifty words I didn’t get into the dance proper.  That’ll start happening tonight.  I did get as far as this:

 

They stepped into the room and were greeted by Head Chef Agnes Piña, who’d transformed herself into a beautiful silver android. She turned to the assembled crowd and made the announcement that Kerry had emailed into the staff earlier in the evening. “Ladies and Gentlemen, Miss Annie Kirilova and her escort, Kerry Malibey.” She nodded at Kerry. “Mr. Malibey, I need you to surrender your weapon.”

Annie watched Kerry undo the heavy belt around his waist and hand it over with the authentic looking pistol still in the holster. “I’ll need a receipt for that.”

 

Kerry with a pistol:  that’s a dangerous situation.  At least he checked it at the door . . .

No matter how crazy you think you can get things, a lot will be left to the imagination.  I’ll do my best to channel the madness, but the real focus is on my two main characters, and a few interlopers here and there.

There’s a lot more magic going on here than meets the eye.

Twilight in the Night Ward

It is done:  Chapter Seventeen is done, finished, first drafted.

See all those "First Draft" labels?  I don't lie.  Much.

See all those “First Draft” labels? I don’t lie. Much.

In the last scene written Annie got caught, but the punishment . . . well, it’s not all that hard.  Really.  Nurse Coraline is a big softy.  Not only that, but Annie admitted something that she wouldn’t tell Kerry–probably not ever–but she would admit to another woman.

 

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

“It’s not just that, Nurse Coraline—” Annie hated to admit to anything bothering her; it wasn’t her nature. And it wasn’t like what she was about to admit to bothered her a lot, but given her current situation, she knew what she was about to say wouldn’t go beyond the person listening. “Kerry always sees me to my room. He’s the last person I see before getting ready for bed. And . . . we’re the only ones on the floor. Even though he’s on the other side of the tower, it’s comforting to know if I needed him, I only have to knock on his door.”

 

Now we know that there’s always a “Good Night” given somewhere on the First Floor of Cernunnos Tower, and that Annie had to go to the hospital to get hers that night–but that’s not the same, is it?  Doesn’t really have the same, loving impact that holding hands and giving someone a kiss and telling them “good night” before heading into your room to fall asleep has. Which is probably why Annie is back on the ward because . . . well, she has her reasons.

And Coraline has to lay down the law.

 

“Okay, Annie.” Coraline patted the girl’s shoulder. “Here’s what’s going to happen: first, consider this a warning. The rules I have about sneaking into my hospital are there for a reason, and I don’t like seeing anyone break them—even people I like. Should this happen again, there’s gonna be detention.”

Annie glanced down and nodded once. “It won’t happen again.”

“That’s good, because you don’t want detention from me.” She didn’t bother waiting for the question from Annie. “It’s always the same: you’re sent to clean up the morgue. In the lower levels. At night.” She slowly raised her eyebrows as she smirked. “No one ever wants a second detention from me.”

Annie met Coraline’s stare. “I don’t want a first.”

“Then don’t sneak onto my ward again.”

“I won’t.”

 

Yeah, girl, this is crazy, but you just snuck onto my ward floor, so how about heading down to the morgue at eight-thirty PM and doing a little dusting maybe.  No bodies lying about, but that doesn’t mean the place hasn’t been used.

But the Head Doctor/Nurse isn’t a total meanie:

 

“I believe you.” She slid her hand behind Annie’s shoulders and directed her back down the ward corridor. “Now, second: I’m gong to to walk you back to your tower—” She felt the girl stiffen under her fingertips. “I’ll see you into your commons, and I’ll give you something that will help you sleep. And I’ll watch you take it, just to make certain you have—”

Annie hung her head. “Yes, Nurse Coraline.”

“—after you spend some time with Kerry.”

Annie looked up, absorbing what she’d just been told. “Really?”

“Did you think I wasn’t going to give you at least a little time with him?” Coraline stopped in front of Kerry’s curtained-off bay. “Like I said, Annie, I’m a romantic, too. If I’d had a boyfriend in the hospital when I was an A Level, and I felt about him the way you feel for Kerry, I’d have probably risked detention to see him.”

“Thank you, Nurse Coraline.” Annie was genuinely touched. She knew Coraline was upset with her rule breaking, but she also sensed the honesty behind her actions. “How much time do I get?”

“I’ll give you thirty minutes.” She half way slid back the bay curtain and spoke softly. “I’ll come and get you when time’s up. No one will bother you, so Team Annie—” Coraline grinned broadly. “—can have enough time to comfort her sleeping boy.”

 

Team Annie.  Because only pervo vampires sneak into someone’s place of rest and sit their watching them while they sleep.  Nurse Gretchen already called Annie out on this, saying she was getting into some “strange Twilight stuff” with that, but that’s okay with Annie, because . . .

 

Annie sat and moved the chair as close to the bed as possible without scrunching her legs against the frame. She knew it likely seemed strange to both Gretchen and Coraline that she wanted to sit and watch Kerry sleep, but she felt that since she couldn’t share their dreams together—for whatever reason—this was the next best thing.

 

If I can’t see you in my dreams, I’ll do the next best thing.  Which means it must torture her to sleep across the tower from Kerry and not be able to do the same.  You can draw any conclusions you like . . .

But do it fast, because Samhain is up next, and believe me:  Halloween dances at a school full of witches and gifted kids might just be a lot of fun.

Anatomy of a Sneaky Girl

Well, now, it’s another day, it’s another Sunday, it’s another “The weekend is almost over” feeling.  We do this all the time, and it’s not a bad feeling–not as long as you do something with your time.

What did I do?  A lot.  Oh, yeah, writing, too, but I was doing a lot of other things as well.  So many that by nine PM I was falling asleep.  That’s an indication I was hard doing . . . something.  It’s not all just sitting on my butt in front of the computer.

Though it’s close . . .

If there’s one thing I have learned about Annie, it’s that she gets what she wants.  She’s explained that she’s been called “selfish” for this attitude, but she’s just a girl who knows what she wants, and she’ll keep at it until she gets it.  Or she just does whatever the hell she feels like doing, which is what she’s sort of doing now that she’s away from her parents and off to school with her Ginger Haired Boy.

What happens when he’s in the hospital and not sleeping across the tower from her?  What does she do when visiting hours are over?  What do you think?

 

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

Pushing open the door to the hospital waiting room slowly, Annie peeked in to see if anyone was present. The room was empty, as she’d expected, so she used the moment to slip inside and eased the door shut. She stood still for almost ten seconds, waiting to see if Nurse Gretchen came out of Coraline’s office, or from out of the ward. When she found herself still alone she moved ahead.

Annie knew what she was doing was wrong, that it was after visiting hours and sneaking onto the ward was going to be frowned upon. She also knew that using the Light Bending spell she’d learned in Transformation Class to allowed her to enter without being seen was also going to be viewed in a dim light.

She was facing a lot of detention to do this.

She didn’t care. She wanted to sit with Kerry for a little.

 

 

Who needs an invisibility cloak when you can just bend light around your own bad self? That’s a problem with this school: witches be roaming the grounds at all hours, sneaking into places they aren’t suppose to be.

Then again, all the instructors graduated from this joint, so what do you think that means?

 

She decided to move the chair between the beds so she could sit next to him for a while. If Nurse Gretchen walked in she could always jump up and get out of the way before she moved the chair back into place, but Annie considered the possibility of the night nurse walking in on her slim. It wasn’t like Kerry was a specialty patient in need of constant observation; he had only a broken ankle and a damaged knee. Unless he woke up and called for the nurse—

There was a tap on Annie’s right shoulder.

She turned and found no one there. A moment later the dim outline of a taller woman appeared, and within seconds the outline constituted into the form of Nurse Coraline. She cocked her right index finger at the invisible and motioned for her to come along. Annie dropped her Light Bending spell and followed Coraline into the corridor and to the far end of the ward where she’d held her conversation with Professor Lovecraft weeks before.

 

Coraline, she don’t miss a trick, and seems to know the same magic. She also knows something else:

 

Coraline didn’t bother with a privacy screen; she went right to the chastising. “First off, I have to say you really mastered that Light Bending spell that Jessica showed you. She told me Kerry and you both had it down pat, which doesn’t surprised me one bit.” She crossed her arms, trying to look as stern as possible. “What Jes didn’t tell you is while you can hide your physical form just fine, it doesn’t do a thing to disguise your aura. Which means you pretty much stood out like a beacon to me.”

“You were waiting for me?” Annie was surprised that her presence was expected. “Did Professor Arrakis say something?”

“Annie, I didn’t need a seer to figure this one out. The first time Kerry did an overnight you were in to complain that you were having ‘trouble sleeping’, and, oh, can I sit with Kerry for a few minutes? Then you were in just after visiting hours were over because you told Gretchen that you had to ‘apologize’ for something.”

Coraline shook her head. “No, no way. I figured you’d show up and it’d be a good idea if we had a chat. Of course, I didn’t imagine you were going to sneak into my ward . . .” She twisted her mouth up into a scowl. “There’s a half-dozen ways we know if someone’s coming into the hospital; even pretty much invisible, you still set off three of them. Just for future reference, in case you want to try this again.”

 

Here’s a woman who’s serious about kids sneaking into her hospital. Haven’t written the part up yet, but you never want detention from Coraline, because she’s a bit twisted when it comes to handing out punishment. And it’s not scrubbing bedpans, because there aren’t that many in this place. At least not used . . .

"Nurse Coraline, I don't know if I like the idea of using others for magical experimentation . . . what do you mean, you didn't say 'others'?  Why are you looking at me that way?"

“Nurse Coraline, I don’t know if I like the idea of using others for magical experimentation . . . what do you mean, you didn’t say ‘others’? Why are you looking at me like that?”

The Moment of Forgotten Love

I’ve written about love before, both times in stories set in a science fiction world I created over twenty years ago.  Actually there was a third story set in the same world that dealt with love, wanted and unavailable, and getting through that novel was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, because in pulling that story out of whatever crevasse of my mind held the damn thing, I also pulled out a lot of feelings that I’d not touched upon for a while.

You may have noticed I’m doing the same thing here, only . . . it’s a different kind of love.

The new scene I added to the novel was finished last night, with only a touch fewer than six hundred words needed to bring it to a conclusion.  After Annie’s profession of undying love, there weren’t a lot of places Kerry could go in his mind, wondering just what the hell this Girl From Bulgaria meant.  If I can figure it out, I’m sure he can . . .

 

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

“As would I.” Annie smooched Kerry on the right cheek, very near his lips. She lingered there for a few seconds, savoring the kiss. “Goodnight, my love.”

He folded his hands across his lap. “Night, Sweetie.”

She paused at the curtain. “See you in the morning.” She blew him a kiss, then departed.

Now alone, Kerry thought about the things Annie had said. He wasn’t all that interesting in her apology, or the information about her father—he continued going back to her talk of her love for him, and how she would love him—

He wanted to say “forever”, but it was more than that. And every day, as long as you live, you’ll hear me say those words to you. That was what she said. She wasn’t talking forever, not like someone would if they were talking about a long, indefinite period of time for which they didn’t know the end.

Annie said as long as I live. As long as I’m alive

From now until the day I die.

 

Yeah, dude, you’re getting it.  It’s easy to say, “I’ll love you forever,” because it’s a bullshit expression that runs out when the love does.  When you say, “As long as you live,” you’re setting a time frame for the object of the affection, saying you’re going to be their one and only until they kick this mortal coil, naturally or otherwise.  (Kerry needn’t worry that Annie’s gonna go all Dark Witch and plant his ass in the ground with some black magic–yet . . .)

Basically, she just set the limits for how long soul mates should exist.

And that brings out something else in Kerry . . .

 

But her saying that he deserved love—no one had ever said that to him before. Sure, his grandparents said they loved him, and when he was younger his parents told him the same, but it had been a long time—since leaving San Francisco—that he’d had anyone say “I love you, Kerry.” He’d not heard it from his father or mother. He’d not heard it from anyone else, because in all of Cardiff no one else was close to him.

The only person in the last five years who’d told Kerry they’d loved him was Annie. She was the only one who thought him worthy of her love—

Have I ever returned that love?

He lowered his head and a few stray tears dripped into his glass lenses. Why hadn’t he? Was it because he was unsure of his feelings? Was it because he didn’t know his feelings? Or was it because he knew his feelings, and he was afraid to express them? He’d told Annie he had trouble expressing his feelings, but there was a feeling deep within his self that told him . . .

There was a knock on the bay support. Kerry looked up and saw an outstretched arm reaching across the open curtain space. “Kerry?” Nurse Gretchen’s voice was soft, concerned. “Are you all right?”

 

It’s a kick in the brain pan when you finally realize that someone is madly in love with you, and you’re still uncertain about what you feel for them.  So what does he do?  Well, this is the event I called “First Night,” which means there are two other nights ahead, and during that time he’ll figure out what he should do–

Better hurry, Kerry:  Annie's waiting, and she'll probably wait another . . . five or six years for you to make up your mind.

Better hurry, Kerry: Annie’s waiting, and she’ll probably wait another . . . five or six years for you to make up your mind.

The Boy With the Long Emptiness

One of the maxims of writing is, “Write what you know”.  Which is a hard thing to do for this novel, because what do I know about witches and super science and secret organizations that run the world without us knowing anything.  Okay, for that last I have notes from last week’s meeting . . .

But this novel isn’t all about witches and magic and fighting off some dark, unseen presence–though give me a few more scenes and you might be surprised.  It’s also about feelings.  It’s about my two main characters learning about stuff, you know . . . things.  That’s what happened earlier in the current scene I’m writing:  Annie came back in to see the laid-up Kerry, apologized, and told him a secret.  It’s all good, right?

Kerry’s got a few secrets of his own.  He tells Annie he understands strange relationships with you parents, because he has the same.  But he doesn’t stop there:  oh, no.  That would be too easy.  Because Kerry’s been hanging around Annie for almost two months now, and he’s discovered that, after all the years of being around his parents and experiencing an unaffectionate relationship with them, he really does have feelings.

Which leads to this:

 

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

Annie nodded slowly, witnessing the emotions flowing across Kerry’s face. Something was bothering him, something that he wanted to say aloud, and she wasn’t about to leave him alone with feelings that seemed to bother him. “Kerry?”

He took two deep breaths before he quickly raised his head so he was looking directly at Annie. “A couple of years ago my mother told me she wished I wasn’t with them. I knew she didn’t mean that I wasn’t with them in Cardiff: she meant she wished . . .” He took a long, tortured breath as his gaze shifted away from Annie. “I wasn’t here.”

 

Write what you know–and I know that one.  Because my own mother dropped that bomb on me when I was ten.  Sure, I was probably driving her crazy with my depression and all the other baggage I was carrying, and this moment came after my parents pulled me out of therapy after two months–therapy that was suppose to help me learn how to “make friends,” because one of my mantras then was, “No one likes me.”  At that time in my life I never left the house except to go to school and places with my parents.  There was one point where I didn’t leave my room unless it was necessary for about two years.

I’m sure none of this had anything to do with the various sentences my mother threw at me from the time I was about six that always ended in, “Like a girl.”  Yeah, thanks.  Lots of help there.

Fortunately Kerry has Annie.  And while he might not understand everything there is to know about girls, he will understand this:

 

If she could have Annie would have taken Kerry and pulled him close and held him, but she couldn’t do that, not with him being unable to move. She moved as close to him as possible. “Do you remember when we had lunch in Russel Square?”

He didn’t look at her, but Kerry nodded. “Yeah. That was—”

“Do you remember telling me that you felt that no one cared for you, that you weren’t loved?”

Kerry gaze slowly returned to Annie’s hazel eyes. “Yes. I remember.”

She laid their hands upon her chest and held him tightly. “You’re wrong. You’re worthy of love, Kerry: you deserve love. You deserve to have someone tell you at least once every day that they love you. You deserve to hear those words and know them to be true.” Annie lightly, lovingly kissed his hand. “I love you, Kerry. I always will. And every day, as long as you live, you’ll hear me say those words to you.” She placed his hand against her right cheek and closed her eyes. “Every day.”

Kerry felt her warm cheek against his fingers, her skin against his. He started to smile, then the gravity of her words fell over him, and it was all he could do to stare opened mouth, his breathing coming in short, jagged bursts. As Annie opened her eyes and looked back into his, he finally found his voice. “Every day . . . That’s a long time.”

“Yes, it is.” Annie lowered his hand so it once more rested on the bed, though she refused to let it go. “Unless you keep letting Emma crash into you.”

He began laughing; Annie joined in a moment later. The seriousness of the moment was now in the past, replaced by their levity. Kerry coughed once. “Yeah, that could shorten my life considerably.”

“By more than a few years.” This time the lights across the ward were out for three seconds before coming back on. “And I think—”

“That’s your cue.” Kerry slid his hand from Annie’s. “You better get going before Nurse Gretchen throws you out.”

 

Of course he remembers, Annie:  it right there in that scene.

Of course he remembers, Annie: it right there in that scene.

The rest of the scene comes tonight, when Kerry starts to understand something important.  Something not just about Annie, but about himself.  Something that’ll bring another kind of hurt–

Don’t worry, kid.  You don’t have to stay empty forever.

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.