End These Bed #2 Blues

What starts always has an ending, and getting Kerry into bed and mended has reached that point.  I thought about all the stuff I could have added to the scene, but the reality is you keep the story stripped down too what is needed, and not what you want to show.  Even so, it took almost another eight hundred words to get to that point.

"I could have left in the part about Annie going down and whipping Emma with some rubber tubing, but I'll save that for another scene!"

“I could have left in the part about Annie going down and whipping Emma with some rubber tubing, but I’ll save that for another scene!”

Here we are, then:  Annie and Nurse Thebe discovering that, yes, Kerry had the crap scared out of him.  And it’s time to do some clean up . . .

 

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

After handing over the clean wipes Annie opened one of the bio-bags and held it while Thebe opened one of the sterile wipes and began cleaning Kerry’s groin. As she would use up the wipe, Thebe would drop it in the open bag and unseal another package. As she was opening the fourth package the nurse cast a sideways glance at her young assistant. “You may not want to mention that you were here while we cleaned feces from his nether regions.” She chuckled. “Or that you saw him naked.”

Annie calmly regarded Nurse Thebe and her comments. She had been right about one thing: seeing Kerry now, with parts of his body broken and twisted, and large sections of his skin discolored from sickening yellows to horrifying reds to deep purplish-blacks, was heart rendering. She wanted to use his injuries to further fuel her anger towards Emma, but instead she found it driving her to help him, to make him whole and healthy again. Hurting her won’t help him him get better—but working on his like this will.

As for Thebe’s last comment . . . Annie raised an eyebrow and kept an unwavering gaze upon her face. “Yes, well . . .” The right corner of her mouth curled upward for three second before settling back to something normal.

A slight grin played across Thebes. “Yes well—” She tossed the wipe into Annie’s bag. I’m done here. Seal that and throw it into the container.” She grabbed the catheter off the cart and began unwinding it. “Then you can give me hand with this.”

 

First off, Annie’s getting out of her murder mindset.  That’s good, because there was never any option open where Annie was gonna go off all Natural Born Sorceress on Emma and torture her for what happened.  She’s starting to understand that revenge isn’t going to work, no matter how much she wants to let the Dark Witch inside run free.

And two:  what’s with the raising of the eyebrow when asked about not saying anything to Kerry about seeing him in the all together?  Of course the idea is to leave the reader guessing about what that means–and that’s what I’m doing.  I mean, I know what she means, but that’s because I’m Annie.  And Kerry.  And Nurse Thebe.  It’s a little crowded in here, let me tell you . . .

 

Thebe slowly made her way to the foot of the bed and faced Annie. “First, we’re going to reset his dislocations; I can do the shoulder on my own, but you’ll need to help me with the hip. Then we’re going to wipe him down and get him as clean as possible without scrubbing him down—you’ll take the right side and I’ll take the left, because I need to reset his broken limbs and I know how to work around them before I put on the nanobindings.”

She looked down Kerry’s body. “I’ll place those on and immobilize his left side so the shoulder and collarbone will heal. I’ll clean his face and hair and get the skull cap on. All I’ll need to do after that is get him into a gown—”

“What will I do?”

Thebe laid a hand lightly upon Annie’s shoulder. “You’ll be back in the triage center helping out. I can do all those thing in about fifteen minutes.” She gave the shoulder a slight squeeze. “He’ll be in good hands, Annie. You’ve no need to worry.”

Annie slowly turned to her left and saw her love and soul mate still out, broken and bruised—and knew what Nurse Thebe was telling her was the absolute truth. I can’t help with the bindings, but I can help those who come into triage. Once I’ve helped clean you, my duties are elsewhere

“—My love.” The sigh that escaped was slow and low, as were her words.

Thebe didn’t ask need to ask Annie what she’d said because her hearing was better than those of a natural person. And she could imagine what this girl was feeling. But she’d allowed Annie to see her boyfriend’s condition, and she’d allow her to help him as much as was possible—

After that, she needed to seed her back where she could help others while Kerry slept and began mending.

She tapped Annie on the shoulder. “Come on; we’ll do his hip first, and then you can start cleaning while I do the shoulder.”

Annie turned back and smiled. “Yes, Nurse Thebe.”

 

Back to triage with you, Annie, where things are . . . well, we don’t know.  But there’s been a little adjustment to the time line, and that might give Annie something to do.  I know there is something in the next scene that should be pretty clear based upon the scene name.  And then after that we move on to other things . . .

Just like Poppy, it keeps growing.

Just like Poppy, this sucker keeps growing.

Really, the end for Act Two is in sight.  I can see it–

Pretty much like Annie can see something coming her way . . .

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.

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 . . .

A Different Kind of Magic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It had been a good day filled with life.

I’ll leave the talk of death for later.

Lessons of Life at Laputa

I won’t say yesterday was a strange and busy day, but it was.  I mean, up at 4:30, wrote six hundred words, had my car worked on, had my eyes examined, got new glasses, came home and alternated between watching television, napping, reading, and . . . yeah, you know this last one.

I started a new scene yesterday, but unlike other times when I just sort of spread that scene out over two or three days, I started writing and, no matter what, kept coming back to it.  When I’d get sleepy I’d take a nap.  When I’d get bored I’d read.  When I felt like I needed a distraction, I’d do something else for thirty minutes.

When I was finished with those, I’d come back to the writing.  Always.

It’s an important scene, because it’s a break at the Observatory–call sign Laputa, which if you’re not aware, is The Castle in the Sky, and not some random whore–for Kerry and Emma, and they’re both sore from riding in the cold for two hours straight, looking for things that may or may not be there.  But with the emergency on, one simply doesn’t fly into

 

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

Kerry carefully floated his broom towards the floor of the Observatory, following the hand signals of the student showing Emma and him where to land. He floated down towards a marked out circle just inside the open telescope dome, his feet lightly touching the surface—the first in over two hours.

Kerry had landed out on the viewing balcony twice before; this was the first time he’d actually flown inside the Observatory. He figured it was a safety precaution in case it was necessary to seal the dome. He turned and looked outside, trying to imagine seven or eight fliers trying to enter the dome at the same time, and hoped that if Emma and he had to make for safety, they were closer to the Flight School than the Observatory.

The girl who’d directed them in for their landing—a B Level from Cernunnos according to the stars on her jacket—approached as soon as Emma and he were on their feet. “I’ll take your brooms—” She grabbed them before they could respond. “—and get them stored.” She nodded in the direction of the chart tables. “Refreshments are back there; we’re got cots laid out for napping if you feel like it.” She started to turn way, then answered the question she knew was coming. “The professor’s back there, too; she’ll answer any questions you have.”

Emma spoke to the girl’s retreating form. “Thanks.” She took three slow steps, stretching her arms. “I don’t remember being this stiff after flight class.”

 

Such a controlled environment, with a near-military feel.  You can probably thank Isis for that:  it’s a good idea to keep the kids in line while they’re kinda fighting the good fight.  This goes back to what Vicky was asking–can you follow orders?  Because while being directed to a landing spot isn’t the same as being told to get your ass out of the air now, it shows you know how to stick to protocol.  And that may be the difference between living and dying . . .

Nothing has changed:  as Professor Bashagwani says, no news from Fortress is good news.  Emma wants to know something, however:

 

“Professor?” Emma leaned against the map table, the mug resting in both hands. “Can I ask a question?”

“Certainly.”

“We noticed that at certain parts of the routes the screens get darker. Why is that?”

“Safety feature for the enchantment.” Harpreet pushed a plate of sandwiches at the children, in case they were hungry. “The closer you get to the screen, the darker it becomes. When it turns black, you’re almost into it; at that point you need to stop or turn away.”

Kerry reached for one of the sandwiches. “Getting into it would be bad?”

“At full strength, like it is now, you’d die.” She slid the plate towards Emma, who shook her head. “When it’s at low power it would stun you or knock you out. But now . . .” She shook her head. “You’d end up like any Deconstructor trying to get in from the outside.”

Emma gulped; Kerry put away two quick bites. “Nice to know.”

 

Yeah, kids, those screens will kill ya if you get into them.  As the professor tells them, there’s no need for them to get close to the screens, so they didn’t need to know they’re flying next to a death trap.

Emma’s thinking about a nap:  after all, they only have forty-five minutes down time before they have to be back on patrol, and she’s checking out the two pilots already there napping.  Kerry, on the other hand . . . well, he’s got things going on in his head.  He’s thinking about something–or is it someone?

 

From that turn his gaze drifted to his left and the dome protecting The Pentagram. He allowed himself to imagine the scene there: all the students locked up in each of their towers; the Headmistress hiding somewhere in, or below, the structure; Professors Ellison and Arrakis somewhere in there as well, and then the triage center set up inside the Rotunda—

“The other fliers are up.” Emma strode up from behind. Kerry turned slightly to his left so she’d end up on his right. She noticed what he did and gave him a momentary glance, then looked off in the direction he was looking. “You thinking about The Pentagram?”

Kerry turned his head towards Emma for just a second, figuring out in a second what she was really asking: You thinking about Annie? “Yeah, I am.”

 

Why wouldn’t he be?  After all, she’s thinking about him, and of late she seems to occupy his thoughts.  And since Emma’s figured out Kerry’s thinking about her–well, she wants to know more.

 

“How long have you known Annie?”

Kerry had half expected this question for the last couple of minutes. He didn’t know why, but he’d suspected Emma wanted to know more about Annie and their relationship, and now was the time to find out. “Since the Saturday before we arrived at Salem.” He turned his face upwards into the red sky for a moment. “27 August, 2011. That’s when we met.”

“That’s pretty specific.” Emma giggled right after making her comment.

Kerry didn’t get whatever mood she was trying to set, however. “I met her in a bookstore near the hotel we were staying at in London. She was in this—” He stepped back from the railing and faced Emma before spreading his arms. “—big chair sort of hidden by a spiral staircase.” He chuckled now. “She didn’t get up from the chair when we talked. At the time I thought it was . . .”

“Strange?”

“Naw.” Kerry leaned against the chart stand and sipped his drink. “It was sort of cute.”

Emma twisted up he face as she shook her head. “Sounds a little rude to me.”

“Well . . .” Kerry shrugged and looked back towards The Pentagram. “You have to know Annie.”

 

And that’s exactly how he met her, because I went back and looked at that scene just to make sure my memory of the meeting was the same.  Just split-screened Scrivener and took a look.  And Kerry doesn’t care what Emma thinks:  he thought the way they met was cute, therefore it was.

Then Kerry drops this:

 

“Well . . .” Kerry set down his drink and turned back to staring at the distant Pentagram. “That’s kinda a strange thing—”

“What? Going steady?”

“No.” He hung his head for a couple of seconds. “There’s times when I get these feelings; it’s like these sensations of déjà vu, only—” He shrugged quickly then looked at Emma. “There’s times when I feel like I’ve known Annie a lot longer than a couple of months.” Kerry turned his gaze downward, contemplating his statement. “I know that’s impossible, because she’s always lived in Bulgaria, and I’ve either lived in California or Cardiff, and there’s no way I could have met her before coming to school, but . . .” Kerry shook his head slowly, touching his goggles as if he were lending him reassurance. “There are times when I’ve looked at her and I swear I’ve experiences that same moment with already. Like I’m doing it again.”

 

Annie has stated–without Kerry knowing this–that she’s known him through her dreams.  She  even mentioned on that night on 1 September, when she told him she loved him, that she’d loved him for a long time–“I know this is hard for you to believe, and it probably won’t make any sense, but I’ve loved you from before we met in London. From long before that.”  See, I looked up the quote, so I know what she said, and so does he.  There’s something going on, and considering he got hit with déjà vu the night of the Samhain Dance, that something is starting to catch up with him.

Most girls would probably have stopped questioning their wingmate about the particulars of a person they’re close to, but Emma is curious–real curious.  And she just has to pull the trigger . . .

 

Emma wasn’t sure what to should say or ask next—though there was one question that had been on her mind for some time, going all the way back to when they were in the hospital together after their racing accident. She debated asking it here, but given she might not get another chance for the rest of the day . . . “Kerry?”

“Yeah?” He didn’t look at her.

“Is Annie really your girlfriend?”

 

The problem with pulling the trigger on a loaded question is that the answer you get isn’t the one you expect.  In fact, it’s liable to kick your ass so hard you’re gonna wish you’d flown into those screens before asking–

 

He gave no indication that he’d heard the question; Kerry neither moved or uttered a sound. It was only some thirty seconds later, after the other fliers in the Observatory flew over their heads on their way back to patrol, that Kerry rolled his shoulders. He sighed before relaxing. “Moyata polovinka.”

Emma’s brow seemed to cover her eyes. “What’s that mean?”

“It’s Bulgarian; it’s what Annie said to me after the Samhain dance.” He slowly turned his head so he could see Emma clearly. “She’s more than my girlfriend, Emma—” He closed his eyes and opened them slowly. “She’s my soulmate.”

 

There you have it:  Kerry has finally crossed one of the lines.  That same night they both came into the school the following happened with Annie:

 

Stop worrying about that now; it will change. “Oh, Kerry—” She closed her eyes and laid her head against his shoulder once more. “I’m more than your girlfriend.” Tell him the truth, don’t be afraid. “I’m your soulmate.” She rested, now as content as she had when they’d left the hospital. Even with the misty chill around them, she felt warm and secure. “I’ll always be with you.”

 

Kerry said nothing at that, but he did kiss Annie, a first for them both.  Since then, for two months, Kerry hasn’t come right out and called Annie his soulmate, nor has he said The L Word; they’ve both sort of lurked in the background, unseen and unheard, waiting for the right moment to appear.

One of the two appeared.  And in showing, Kerry told Emma something he’s been unable to tell Annie.  Though he did tell Annie he wanted to talk to her this day . . .

Emma wanders off to take a nap, and Kerry–well, he’s ready to nap as well, but he has business to conduct before that occurs . . .

 

“Cool.” He turned his attention to The Pentagram once more as Emma walked away. He sipped the last of his hot chocolate, his eyes never leaving the shimmering blue bubble. Kerry finished the drink, but before gathering up the mug and returning inside, he raised two left fingers to his lips, kissed them, and held them out in the direction of The Pentagram.

“Stay safe . . . moyata polovinka.” He dropped his arm to his side and headed for the cot Emma was saving.

 

Just as Annie did with him as he was leaving the Dining Hall to go fly patrol.  He’s more in sync with her than he realizes.

If I could draw I'd do a picture of him holding a kiss out towards The Pentagram.

If I could draw I’d do a picture of him holding a kiss out towards The Pentagram.  So I have to settle for a lonely boy looking out from a high place to a lake.  Probably thinking about his soulmate–

The scene ran just short of two thousand words, making for a twenty-five hundred word day, and that’s something I haven’t done in a while.  But I needed to get this scene done and move on to Annie’s next scene.

All I can say is, Lisa shouldn’t have broke bad on her . . .

Signposts Amid the Shadows

I’m touching on writing a little here, but I’m getting into some other stuff as well–like mental illness.  That’s a heavy thing, so if you don’t want to read what I have to say, look at the picture and move along.

This looks like it's near Annie's house--which makes sense, since I'm going to talk about her.

This looks like it’s near Annie’s house–which makes sense, since I’m going to talk about her.

Onward, then.

 

Though it may seem like a strange thing to consider when writing a novel about tweens and teens who are training up to be magical people, one of the things I had to consider when putting Salem together was the issue of counselling and mental health issues.  That’s a very important thing to consider when you one realizes that pulling some kid in off the street and showing them they can alter reality to suit their whims may just put a weird-ass bend on their personality in time.  The Foundation isn’t going to be happy if, after your second year at school, you turn your parents into ferrets and keep then in cages the whole summer.

And that’s a minor thing.  Imagine what happens when you get really good?  Say . . . like my main characters.

There will come a time at Salem when the pressures of what’s happening in their lives becomes a little too much for Annie and Kerry, and they start to lose it a little.  I mean, Annie admitted first day of Sorcery class she knew how to kill someone with black magic, and Kerry was already seen suffering from depression.  Sure, becoming better witches is going to make their feel a lot better–until they snap.

Then all hell breaks loose.

In these stories there will come a time where Kerry nearly dies.  There will come a time where Annie loses her shit and almost kills someone in school.  There will come a time where both Annie and Kerry will be put through a most stressful day that pushes them physically, magically, and mentally right to the edge and beyond.  There will come a time where both of them are faced with a situation that may seem like it’s the final night for them both, and they not only talk about their impending demise–they promise each other that if one should die, the other will follow, because continuing to live without their soul mate simply isn’t an option.

That’s an issue that’s really simple for them as well.  Annie points out that they both know enough transformation magic and sorcery that if they wanted to die, it would be over in less time than it would take to work up the spell.  Stop your heart, freeze your blood, shut down all chemical reactions in your brain:  stuff they could do to others they could easily do to themselves.  It would be quick, it would be painless, and they’d know someone would be waiting for them on the other side once they were gone.  It’s not something either would do because of depression:  they’re not like that.  But to join the other in death?  Yeah, not a second thought is needed.

It’s the  part about being able to do this to others that keeps The Foundation on their toes.  At various times in the stories they both get counselling.  They both suffer depression; they both go through periods of intense anxiety; they both exhibit signs of PTSD at various times.  All before they ever get out of school, so imagine what their adult lives are gonna be like.

But they get great counselling.  The Foundation has some of the best counselors in the world, and when you have a couple of people like Annie and Kerry representing your future, you want them to get the best psychiatric case possible.  And they do.

They live in a world where they can get all the best medical care possible.  They live in a world where, after a particularly hard day of fighting the magical fight in the shadows, they can spend the next month chilling and talking to someone about the experience.  They go to a school that has enchantments in place to prevent people from jumping out of high towers, or crashing brooms into walls at a few hundred kilometers an hour, or setting themselves on fire, or any number of ways one may try to harm themselves.  They live in a world where certain people–whose names start with an A and a K–could, if they decided to just go completely batshit insane, could do up River Tam considerably and take out a couple of dozen people with their minds.

It’s not a perfect location for that, but the school does its best, because training kids up to be the future shadow runners of the world is sometimes gonna leave an invisible mark.

We, on the other hand, aren’t that lucky.  I’ve never hidden my own mental illness, never admitted that it isn’t there.  Between depression, being bi-polar, and having GID, I’ve been a mess most of my life.

Mental health treatment in the country of my birth is a joke.  Most of it isn’t covered by insurance.  Nearly all my therapy has been covered out of pocket since 2009 on, and believer me, it’s not cheap.  I don’t take meds because I (1) have no health insurance, and (2) didn’t like how I felt when I was on meds, which was either zombie-like or not much better than I was before getting on them.

These days I do what I can to get by, and I’m usually successful.  Usually.  I have my “Break down and cry” moments, and they’re usually bad, but I get over them and move on.  I was crying Sunday when I went out to pay a bill, because I do that–cry, not pay bills.  Saturday night . . . well, that was a disaster.

I have a hotline number on my phone, and my therapist’s number as well.  When I’m feeling bad I don’t go out on my balcony, because I live twelve stories up and I have enough knowledge of physics and laws of gravity and acceleration to know once you’re over the side it just about two seconds and done, finished, out of the blue and into the black.  Quick, easy, and pretty much painless.

When I’m feeling really bad I visualize.  I have two people that mean everything to me.  One is my daughter.  The world can suck enough and she doesn’t need anymore suckage in her life.  The other is a person I spoke of last week, the one person who means the world to me.  When I get really bad I imagine her alone in a room in the dark, crying because she’s heard that I’ve move on beyond The Veil and I’m not coming back.  I hold that image in my mind for a few moments, then shuffle all the bad shit away and move on.

I’d die for her, but not that way.  It isn’t fair to her.

My novel kids will not always have an easy time.  Before they turn eighteen they’re going to see a world of shit, and it will be difficult for them to walk away unscathed.  It’s stuff that they’ll take into adulthood, things that will remain with them for a long time.

But I’ll take care of them in the end and see they get help.

If only I could do that for everyone.

Where the Wild Feels Are

A funny thing happened on the way to the hormone treatment . . .

Let’s back that up just a little bit, because most of this happened long before I started hormones, long before I started writing.  Actually, it started when I was a kid.  I was what you’d say, “emotional.”  That’s what parents say when you cry a lot.  And I used to cry a lot.  Like all the time.  Stub my toe?  I’d cry.  Didn’t like what I was wearing?  I’d cry.  Weather changed?  I’d cry.  Though I loved the rain.  I loved to take walks in the rain, because it was so relaxing . . .

There are some who’d read that and say, “Wow!  Sounds just like a girl.”  Duh.  You’re catching on, aren’t you?  Yeah, that was one of those things, back when I was about seven or eight, when I realized that, in the immortal words of Micheal Jackson, I’m not like the other boys.  It used to drive my parents nuts.  My father hatted it, and my mother–well, she didn’t like it, either, and used to yell at me all the time to stop “acting like a girl.”  And, hey:  it worked!  Oh, wait . . .

The upside of all this marvelous treatment was a lot of depression and teaching myself to keep my emotions locked down.  Because one never knew when I might just bust loose with a laugh or a sob or a smile or a cry.  This was the sort of hell I went through in high school, and then later on in adult life.

I got to the point where I was “emotionally unavailable,” which is another way of saying I just shut everything down.  And because of that, I was always pairing up with people who were either the same way–or, as a person once pointed out, a lot like my mother in that they were critical of everything I did.  I was not good with relationship; I was not good with telling people how I felt.  To a certain extent I’m still like that in that I’m a private person–says the blogger spilling this all out at six-thirty AM.

About 2011 this all started changing.  Why?  Because I decided to start talking about my “secret” and I finally came out to a friend.  And they didn’t run away.  Another thing was happening then:  I was getting in touch with my emotions once again, which was a double-edge sword, because while it’s easy to talk of love and happiness, you can also fall into the pit next door which is sadness and pain.  But it’s all worth it, because, in the end, you’re feeling again.  You’re not some semi-dead hunk of flesh sitting in front of a computer waiting for the end to arrive sooner than later.  You’re alive; you’re writing again.

That’s really what opened up my writing:  being able to feel.  You can only pretend to write about people in relationships with other people for so long and not feel what that’s like before you understand that what’s coming out of you are words devoid of passion.  They are dead, just like the person writing them.

I’ve had people tell me that they love the romance developing between Annie and Kerry.  I’ve already said it’s a grand one, and it’s one that will build in time.  Last night I was thinking of a scene for Act Three, and while I realized that some people who’d read it would think, “Are you crazy to say this?” I don’t think it’s strange at all.  It’s sweet, it’s touching–and at the same time, it’s torturing a person who is deeply in love.  Because it’s what happens sometimes.  And why are they tortured?  Because they’re afraid they’re pulling someone all the way into their love in a way they might not want.

That's the problem with knowing people in supernatural stories:  you put someone in your heart, and before you know it, you're afraid they don't want to be there.

That’s the problem with love in supernatural stories: you put someone in your heart, and before you know it, you’re afraid they don’t want to be there.

I’ve come to realize over the last week or so that my emotional responses are changing again.  They’re not going away:  oh, no.  They’re dialing up; they’re getting more intense.  They’re also becoming what I might call a bit more personal and even maternal.  The one thing I have noticed, and it’s something I confirmed through research–my stress levels are not defined by my job or by money:  they’re defined by my relationships.  Or lack there of if you wanna put it that way.  But the thing that make me the most loopy these days is love.  I do feel it:  for my characters and for myself.  You can blame it on the demon lady hormones taking over my body.

My therapist says I’m tortured–probably just like a certain person in a monster of a novel I’m writing.  I’m not as bad as that, but I will admit to crying before falling asleep, and crying as I was getting up?  Why?  Because I love someone.  They mean the world to me.  They are the person I would die for if the zombies were coming and she needed saving.

But they are not with me, not at the moment.

Will that happen?

You have to wait and see.  You never know what will happen tomorrow.

But I believe you already!

Don’t worry:  I believe you.