Living Beyond the Walls

I’ll tell you, I had every intention of getting into writing last night.  Computer was ready, I was ready, there was nothing on television, I was ready for music and typing out words.

But life never lets you do what you want to do, right?

As I’m leaving work I check my phone and find I missed a call.  I check it, and it’s from the place where I was getting my new glasses from, and they tell me they’re it.  So I get home, get ready–just to even go out a have to get ready a little–and head out.  Fortunately traffic isn’t bad, but I still have to make a run to somewhere on the north side of the city.  And I notice that traffic going into the city is bad because of a wreck.  Not something good, particularly when things are backed up for miles.

I get my glasses–yeah, they look great . . .

Oh, and new earrings, too.  Wonderful.

Oh, and new earrings, too. Wonderful.

. . . and after picking them up I decides I need to pick up a few things at Target, and then get something to eat.  I wasn’t planing on staying out long, but I didn’t want to try and fight my way back through the traffic, so I took my time with my dinner.

By the time I rolled back to the apartment to snap the above picture, it was about eight PM.

Then I had to roll out and do something on Facebook, because I’m hosting a book club this month, and I had to set up which three books people can choose from.  Since I’d made my selections months ago it was just a matter of doing the ol’ cut and paste and getting things in place before setting up a poll, but it still took time to get that and the notifications together.  And as soon as I finished getting that set up–

The questions came.

Because they always do when there’s a new book.  Because people want to know things, they have interests in what you’re presenting.  I should have known, but sometimes I can be . . . clueless.  It’s not an easy feeling.

Oh, and I didn’t mention the PMs from people wanting to get together in a couple of weeks.  Did I mention that?  No.  I have now.

This is life, and it’s something I haven’t experienced in a bit.  It’s where unexpected things jump out at you and you do what is necessary to handle them.  My plan had been to come home, start dinner, get the book club stuff set up, eat, then write.  Silly me:  what did I know?

It’s a nice change up to be able to do something unexpected–and I had been waiting for my glasses for a few days, so there was a bit of excitement there.  I just didn’t expect it all to happen like . . . this.

Writing tonight, I promise.  I’ve got Isis trying to explain a school break-in where there shouldn’t be one, and gargoyles hiding in the wall.  I’ll get back into my fantasy . . .

And hope that life doesn’t throw a curve at me tonight.

Defenders Inside the Wall

If it seems like the writing has been light of late, you’re right:  it has.  I didn’t write at all Friday, my output Thursday was light, and yesterday I finished up the shortest scenes in this current chapter.  Personal and mental issues have been a bitch this week, but today . . . yeah.  I’m feeling much better.  I have one scene remaining to round out Chapter Twenty-one, and that’ll lead up to Chapter Twenty-two, Attack, which is where everything goes to hell.

But right now, it’s a good morning.

Look at that smiling face.  How could anything be wrong with that my awesome going on?

Look at that smiling face. How could anything be wrong with all that awesomeness going on?

So where are we?  Well, Annie cursed some smart mouth girl who decided to keep taking about That Girl–no, these kids have no idea who Marlo Thomas is–and then lay down, knowing she couldn’t get the images out of her head.  As for Kerry–hey, it’s out flying.  Still.  Let’s check in, shall we?

 

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

 

Kerry was getting cold once more. Emma and he were coming up on ninety minutes in the air since leaving the Observatory after their rest, and since then the sky had become overcast and the wind had picked up to the strongest it’d been all day. Though it was near the mid-fifties in temperature, the lack of sun and the wind turned the air cooler than it really was.

He put it out of his mind and kept his eyes peeled on the ground.

Emma and he were on the Low Road, taking the left turn at Sunrise Tower that would take around toward the Narrows. Even though they were still above the outer wall, being this close to the tree tops seemed to cut down on some of the wind coming out of the west. Or it could all be physiological, like being higher made you feel cooler.

He didn’t have time to think on the matter: The second left-hand turn was coming up.

Yeah, just because you love to fly, it doesn’t mean you’re going to like flying this stuff.  Kerry figured it out early:  it’s a job.  There are expectations, and you damn well better met them.  And at this point you can’t ask to sit down, ’cause if you do you’re screwed for anything else you want to do in the future.  You’re labeled a slacker from there on out, and that’s not a good thing.  Not at this school.

Don’t worry, however:  things are about to get interesting . . .

 

There was a flaring of light in the screen about five meters above the wall and some thirty meters before reaching the Narrows turn. Kerry was on it instantly. “Carrier; Nightwitch, this is Myfanwy. There’s something happening on the screen just above the wall.”

The response on the general channel didn’t come from Carrier or Nightwitch, however. “All flights, this is Fortress. Hold your positions; repeat, hold your current position.”

Kerry brought his PAV to a stop in mid-air; Emma pulled up alongside. He continued watching the flaring on the screen for a few seconds before seeing the flaring grow brighter and then appear to push through to the inside. “Fortress, this a Starbuck. Something just came through the screen.”

Emma reported in as well. “Confirmed, Fortress.” She scanned the forest before. “Fortress, I see someone on the ground.”

I see someone as well.” Kerry noticed someone close to the wall, lying still, and noticed another person, maybe five meters from the first. “We have two inside.”

If Isis was worried by the report she didn’t allow those emotions to appear in her voice. “Myfanwy, this is Fortress. We see them: please stand by.”

 

There you have it:  break in, just as the scene says.  So you got a couple of eyes in the sky watching at least one guy walking around inside the school grounds, but Fortress is on the case.  And that leads to this . . .

 

Something massive stepped out of the wall behind the Deconstructor and leapt at him. The man half-turned before he was knocked to the ground and nearly trampled by the huge, four-legged wingged creature, which to Kerry looked exactly like a—

Emma held onto her PAV tightly. “Kerry, di-did you s-see that?”

“Yeah, I saw it.” He looked over to his wingmate. “That was a—”

 

Yeah, Emma, what was that?  Unfortunately, there are ears everywhere.

 

“Myfanwy, this is Fortress.” Like before Isis’ voice was clear and calm. “I’m switching to the private channel; standby one.”

Kerry looked straight ahead waiting to see what Fortress wanted, feeling the bottom of his stomach dropped down below his broom saddle. He figured what Emma and he was about to have relayed to them might not be good . . .

“Selene, Starbuck, this is Fortress.” Kerry shot another look at Emma, who was staring back with a look of semi-fear on her face. “There are some things around the school grounds I’d rather not become public knowledge.” Kerry was now watching the presumably stone creature return to the wall with the body of the Deconstructor in its mouth. “What you witnessed was one of them.” The creature walked into the wall, merging with it seamlessly, taking the Deconstructor inside. “I would appreciate you both keeping quiet on this matter. Do you copy? Over.”

Kerry understood his options: he could say yes and it was pretty good odds that he’d remain in the air, or he could say no and . . . the likelihood that he’d be ordered to head to Laputa or Carrier and then, from there—who knew? He stared off into the distance. “Fortress, this is Starbuck. I copy. No talking on this end. Over.”

“This is Selene, Fortress.” Kerry didn’t look at Emma, but he picked up on the slight quiver in her voice. “I copy as well. All is good. Over.”

“Roger that. Switching off from private.” A few seconds later Isis was back on the general channel. “All flights, this is Fortress. You may resume patrols. Over and out.”

 

“Yeah, kids, we got monsters in the wall, and we’d like it if you keep your mouths shut.”  And given this is a school full of witches, if you don’t keep your mouth shut, they can probably do more than sit you down.  And who wants to take that chance?

Kerry’s cool and wants to get back to what they’re doing, maybe put in another hour of flying because heading to Laputa for another forty-five minutes of R&R.  However, he is flying with That Girl, and while she said one thing, he mind’s somewhere else . . .

 

As they pushed their brooms forward towards The Narrows, Emma reached up, touched her helmet and turned off the comm. “Kerry—”

They slowly rounded The Narrows before Kerry switched off his own comm. “What?”

“That was a gargoyle.”

He nodded slowly. “Yep.”

“Doesn’t it bother—”

He shot concerned look her way. “We’re not suppose to talk about it.”

“We’re not on comms.”

Kerry waited a couple of beats before answering. “You sure?”

Emma didn’t bother answering. She turned her attention back to the route unfolding before them and reactivated her comm—

 

Gargoyles.  I love them.  I used them in Her Demonic Majesty, and the wee beasties are hanging out in the school walls here, too.  And while Kerry might be a tad clueless at times, he’s smart enough to know that just because the comms are off, that doesn’t mean that someone–like, say, Isis, the Goddess of School Security–might still be listening in on a conversation.  So be content that you got to see a gargoyle, Emma, and keep your mouth shut.

The last scene, which I hope to start sometime today, involves the instructors, Isis, and the Headmistress, discussing how someone could get past their defenses and gain entry to the school grounds.  Not everything is as it seems; there are things at play, and they’ll make sense once I have it written out.

At least that’s my hope.

Just like gargoyles, there are things you haven’t seen yet.

From the Space and Time to the Sensuality

First there will be some geek talk, and then I’m Bringing Back Sexy in an open and honest way.  If you don’t want the sexy, read the two paragraphs after this one and bid the page Audios!  No harm, no foul, and You Have Been Warned.

Onward.

 

 

For the last few days I’ve found myself in some rather interesting conversations.  Naturally, because of my geeky nature, and those of others I know, we’ve chatting up a lot of Doctor Who this week because it’s time to come up with another Doctor, and for us who are into this sort of thing, we like to talk about it.  It also helps that BBCA has been running shows all week, so that gives us the opportunity to re-watch episodes that we’ve already seen a dozen times, and snark on about what we like and what we don’t like.

"Seriously, she thinks Rose is the best?  I'm gonna have to set this bitch straight, won't I?"

“Seriously, she thinks Rose is the best companion? I’m gonna have to set this bitch straight:  that’s what The Internet is for!”

It’s been a lot of fun chatting this stuff up, particularly since I consider myself to not only be an expert on the show–because I’m old and from Chicago, which was one of the only places that used to air the show in North America in the 1970’s and 1980’s–and because I’ve personally turned a few people onto the show over the years and made them nearly as geeky as me.  Nearly, I say.  That means when the lowdown on trivia is needed, and information is required for aspect that elude others, I’m the Go To Girl for All of Time and Space.  Just call me Idris, because I may as well travel around like that.

It’s a lovely diversion, but it’s not the only one . . .

‘Cause now comes Sexy Time.  You want more?  Come on in.

 

You ready?  Let’s go, let’s go.

 

. . .

 

. . .

 

. . .

 

There’s another conversation I’ve been falling into as well, and that’s something we, in the one group I’m in–are calling our “Sex Education Talk.”  Though “sex education is really a bit of a misnomer:  it’s more like the ladies getting together and talking about kinky-ass sex–in some cases actual kinky ass sex.  It’s really been all over the place, particularly in the area of toys, which seem to get used a lot.  I don’t have a problem with toys, or lotions, or wearing articles of clothing to help ramp up the passion and sensuality, or just the out-and-out Let’s Get Down and Bang This Gong feeling that’s gonna hit in any second now.  Particularly this last, because if they’re one thing I love, it’s sexy clothing or night gowns, or even a bit of fetish wear if you can find some that (a) fits and (b) doesn’t feel like you’re encased in something unyielding.  Unless that’s exactly what you want . . .

"Hi, honey.  Guess what's for dinner?  Tacos!  You better say yes if you know what's good for you--"

“Hi, honey. Guess what’s for dinner? Tacos! You better say ‘I’m so hungry’ if you know what’s good for you–“

It’s refreshing to sit and read some of the things my lady friends have experienced, some of the wildness they’ve gotten into, and some of the advice they have for those who may be less experienced in this area.  Because if there’s one thing we’re not open about is sex.  Particularly these days, when you have buttheads running for public offices who say watching women walk around topless will lead to men becoming gay.  Dude:  projection is a total bitch.  You should do something about that.

I haven’t said much about sex in the group simply because most of what I know these days ends up on the printed page.  Sure, I’ve written erotica, most of which is pretty strange, and probably goes well beyond anything my friends would ever consider–unless it is their total kink to turn into a human-like centaur with the fully functioning genitals of both genders, and then have a couple of women get down on them.  Then they’re right up there in my ballpark, ’cause that’s how my mind works.

I am happy to know sexy is alive and well with all kinds of people, but I’m also a little saddened because it’s not something I experience.  Intimacy is something I haven’t known in some time, and likely isn’t in the cards for some time to come.  That’s kinda of choice, and it’s . . . well, complicated, just like time travel.  The reasons for it I won’t divulge, but needless to say depression played a part there, a singular lack of love played another part–and these days I’m so uncomfortable with my body that it’s difficult for me to think about getting intimate with myself.

I’ve had the “sex talk” with my HRT doctor.  We’ve discussed the changes I’m going through, which is really nothing short of Puberty Mk 2.  My doctor is also trans, so she’s been through the same thing I’m going through, and had some advice for “exploring,” if we wish to call it that.  My reactions are decidedly feminine these days; stimulation starts in different places within the body than where they happened before.  There are physical reactions now that were never present in the past, and with continuing hormone treatment those reactions will become more pronounced and intense.

I did reassure my doctor that I wasn’t about to go running around town looking to score because that’s never been my style.  I’ve always been tentative about meeting other people face-to-face, and I’ve always been uncomfortable about my body and putting it on display for others.  Even more so now, because with the physical changes I’m also experiencing the insecurity that comes with those changes.

While I would love to get a sexy night gown and feel good about myself, I’m afraid I wouldn’t, just because it’s hard for me to feel that way.

This is my idea of sexy night gowns, though my sack of potatoes body wouldn't look nearly as nice in this one.

This is my idea of sexy night gowns, though my sack of potatoes body wouldn’t look nearly as nice.  Also, I’ll do without the Hello Kitty slippers as well.

It’s taking time to get to the place where I’ll be as comfortable talking about vibrating rings and beads and schoolgirl outfits as my friends–though I really sort of see myself as the domineering Headmistress in the corset dress wearing her shiny black boots, so watch out, girls.  That doesn’t mean I can’t write about it, and I have developed some good ideas that could turn into short, hot stories.  And once I’m though with this monster of a novel I could just do that–

Or maybe I should jump in and write about a woman who spends so much time in a sexy crocheted body suit that she just can’t find the time to take it off–

Hey, you should hear some of my other ideas.

Dark Witch Rising

Twenty-four hours can bring about a nice change.  As I said yesterday, sometimes you need to get out and change things up a bit, just to make things better.

That’s sort of what I did yesterday.  I got home from woke, changes, threw on my jean skirt and a nice top, put on my sandals, checked my makeup, and headed out.  I needed to pick up a few groceries, but since I intended writing first, I stopped at Panera to set up the computer and get something to eat.

And with the eating and a little social media out of the way, I put on a live recording of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, recorded at the Shrine Auditorium in late January of 1975, and got to town.  I didn’t leave until just over two hours later, when I was thirteen hundred words into the scene, and and it was finished.  I was proud, because this scene needed to get finished.

Writing looks easy, but believe me, being in a public places allows you to drown out all other distractions.  Um, yeah.

Writing looks easy, but believe me, being in a public places allows you to drown out all other distractions. Um, yeah.

See, this scene is all about Annie.  Unfortunately for her, Nurse Thebe blabbed to the other girls about Annie being an amazing zombie killer, and how she worked up an Air Hammer spell in a matter of seconds while hordes of the undead–okay, four–bore down upon her.  When you get that sort of hype laid upon you, naturally others want to see you in action.  Since Annie was told not to use the spell on anyone living–since she could like, you know, kill them–a subject was needed . . .

 

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

Sahkyo pointed at the hovering nurse. “What about Thebe? She’s not human.”

Annie was going to explain why using Thebe as a test subject was out of the question when she addressed the subject. “I may not be human, but I can be damaged. Nurse Coraline wouldn’t appreciate my being put out of action because of a spell.”

Annie nodded slowly in the nurse’s direction. “Thank you.”

“On the other hand . . .” Thebe looked over her shoulder. “I do have something Annie could use as a test subject.”

Nurse Thebe headed over to where the stretchers sat and returned with one. She set it upright, floating a few centimeters above the floor. “You can use this.”

Annie didn’t want to show off, not for these girls, not for the nurse, either. “I don’t want to damage it—”

“It’s made of carbon mesh suspended between carbon-carbon fiber poles.” Thebe shook her head. “One can support a ton. You’re not going to damage it.” She let her fingers glide over one of the poles. “And it’s floating, so there’s no resistance. It’ll simply fly backwards.”

 

Sure, don’t hurt the artificial person (or AP), but beat up on those stretchers all you want.  Annie therefor bows to peer pressure and decides to give a quick demonstration.

 

 

She held her right hand at her side and relaxed. “Remember that to make this spell work, you gather air together at a point.” A small swirling ball began forming in the palm of her hand. “Once you have drawn it to your point, you pull it tighter, as if you’re squeezing it with both hands.” The ball began to shimmer as Annie used energy and willpower to compress the mass. “Then, when you are ready, you choose a target . . .”

Annie didn’t throw the air ball as much as she pushed her hand in the direction of the stretcher. She didn’t need to throw it; her willpower drove the Air Hammer forward faster than the eye could follow. Almost instantly the stretcher was struck with an audible thwack and thrown backward back into the far north wall of the Rotunda before bouncing off with a loud and and falling to the floor.

Neither girl nor Nurse Thebe said a word for almost five seconds. The first reaction came from Sahkyo. “Damn. That’s, um . . .” She tightly closed her eyes for several seconds. “The best I’ve ever done was little better than a breeze.”

“The energy required is minuscule.” Annie slowly turned towards the girls. “It’s all visualization and willpower—”

“And a lot of luck.”

 

And what’s a demonstration without someone coming in to mouth off?  Which is when Lisa shows up and starts talking shit.

 

Annie looked over her shoulder, half-turning to her right. Lisa was approaching the group slowly, her hands behind her back with her eyes turned towards the floor, and an unusual smirk upon her face, as if she knew something that she was keeping from everyone else.

Lisa stopped about five meters from Annie. “After all, isn’t that how you did that during class? You got lucky?”

“I don’t believe in luck.” Annie crossed her arms. “It had nothing to do with our coven test that day.”

“Not even a little.”

“No.”

Lisa shrugged. “Maybe not with you, but I’m guessin’ . . .” She half turned to her left, the smirk growing. “Kerry probably used a lot of luck to make that same spell work.”

Annie’s eyes narrowed. “Kerry is just as skilled; he doesn’t rely on luck, either.”

“So you say.”

 

Yes, she does say, Lisa, but that’s not going to keep you from not only mouthing off, but insulting others as well.

 

 

Thebe joined the conversation. “What you’re pointing out is wrong, Lisa.”

She turned on the nurse. “What would you know about it? You’re not even human.” The smirk returned. “You can only do magic because supertech allows it—right?”

Lisa’s last statement didn’t set well with Annie. She knew Thebe wouldn’t get angry—while APs could get mad in the right situations now wasn’t one of those—but that didn’t mean she couldn’t express her feelings. While she kept her tone normal, the words were spoken in a low, slow voice. “That’s not only a rude thing to say, it was stupid.” She decided to get in a dig of her own. “You sent two of your own covenmates to the hospital that day: you’re in no position to make light of the abilities of others.”

The smirk vanished as Lisa’s face froze into an unemotional mask. Only her eyes gave any indication there was something going on inside her mind. “That was an accident.”

“A preventable one if you’d bothered to think.” She slowly pulled her hair back and laid it behind her ears. “Don’t speak of others using luck when you couldn’t find any of your own.”

Annie is now the Queen of Zingers, which doesn’t set well with Lisa–

 

The stare Lisa affixed upon Annie turned deadly. She crossed her arms, flexing her fingers across her forearms. “So you think Kerry’s not gonna need any luck—” She nodded up towards the skylight. “Bein’ out there.”

Annie huffed. “He doesn’t need luck, Lisa. I’ve already said that.”

“Even if the bad guys come?”

“Kerry knows what to do if there’s trouble.” Annie returned Lisa’s deadly stare. “I’m not worried.”

“Not even a little?” Lisa tossed her head from side to side.

Annie breathed deeply through her nose. “No.”

“I mean a lot of things could happen.” She glanced up at the skylight once again. “These Deconstructors, they could fly through the screen and shoot him down—”

“Not likely.”

“Or they could take him out from the ground with a fireball or somethin’.”

Though she didn’t show it, Annie felt her irritation growing. “If there are any problems, Kerry will head for safety.” She’d discussed this matter with Coraline only an hour earlier, and knew what the fliers would do in the instance of major attack. “He knows what to do.”

“Maybe he does—” Lisa waited as Annie began to turn away. “That doesn’t mean Emma does.”

 

Oh, yeah:  you had to go there.  Just like Emma had to pull the trigger on “Is Annie your girlfriend?”, Lisa’s gotta jam that same button ’cause she knows a little something about what makes Annie’s mind start seeing bad things.  And she just isn’t gonna let up . . .

 

 

Annie froze in mid-turn. She swiveled her head around towards Lisa. “You don’t know—”

“I saw them leavin’ together; I’m guessin’ ol’ Salomon put them together.” The smirked turned to a tight grin. “Which means they’re probably flyin’ around, chattin’ up a storm—”

“Kerry wouldn’t chat up a storm.” Annie’s eyes were now dark hazel pinpoints. “He knows better.”

“Yeah, but what about Emma? You know—” Lisa held her hands out parallel to each other. “Miss ‘Hey Kerry, Come Race With Me’?” She pushed her hands together and made a crashing sounds as they collided. “You know how well he was listenin’ then.”

It took an bit of effort for Annie to dispel what she was feeling before speaking. “Kerry isn’t out there listening to Emma; he knows what to do.” She turned away from Lisa. “Nothing is going to happen.”

“Maybe you think so—” Lisa turned to follow Annie as she slowly walked away from the conversation. “But, you know, if things don’t happen to Kerry—”

Annie spoke without looking at her tormentor. “Be quiet, Lisa.”

“—that doesn’t mean somethin’ won’t happen to Emma—”

Annie stopped and looked over her shoulder, her eyes on fire. “Enough.”

“—and Kerry’s just stupid enough to help her—”

You shut up.” Annie spun around and pointed at Lisa, her face cold and hard, her eyes the only indication of her emotions.

 

Kerry likes to call Annie his Dark Witch for a reason, and Annie keeps telling him it’s not joke, that she does have darkness, that it’s not a game.  When she spins around and points at you and tells you to shut up in a low, harsh voice, shit’s about to happen.  What happens is Lisa is rendered mute.  Wanna guess why?

 

 

Thebe did a quick scan of Lisa’s face and throat. “What the—?” She turned the angry girl in the direction of the triage center. “Go sit down; I’ll be with you in a moment.” She waited for Lisa to stalk off out of earshot before approaching Annie. “What did you do to her?”

Nagesa and Sahkyo were right behind the triage nurse. Shakyo seemed shocked. “You cursed her, didn’t you?”

Ignoring the girl’s question, Annie spoke to Thebe. “I used Paralytic.”

Thebe’s eyes narrowed. “That’s sorcery.”

Annie nodded. “Yes, it is.”

Nagesa said nothing, but Sahkyo found it almost impossible to contain herself. “You’re not suppose to use sorcery on another student—” She turned to Nagesa. “Not outside the ring, that is.”

If Thebe was troubled by this information, she didn’t let it show. Her calm profession demeanor reassessed itself, and she took control of the situation. “She didn’t mean it, though.” The nurse positioned herself so she could face all three girls at the same time, and she kept her voice soft so it wouldn’t travel. “You both wanted to see the sort of spells Annie knew. She showed you Air Hammer, and you wanted to see more. She showed few others, but . . .” She glanced over her shoulder at the now-sitting Lisa. “One got away and paralyzed Lisa’s vocal cords.”

“It won’t last long either—” Annie gave the tiniest of shrugs. “She’ll be able to speak in a few hours . . . but it’s not like she needs her voice to do this job.”

“No, she doesn’t.” Thebe grew closer to Annie. “And you won’t do that again, will you?”

Annie didn’t blink. “I have no reason to now.”

“Good.” Nurse Thebe stepped back a few paces. “I’ll tell Coraline what happened after I look at Lisa.” She walked away without another word.

Annie didn’t bother following Thebe as she departed; she focused instead on the two girls who continued to stare at her with some disbelief. She finally cracked a slight smile. “Hope you saw enough.”

Nagesa nodded. “When did you find time to learn Paralytic?”

“I taught it to myself two years ago.” Annie spoke nonchalantly about the spell. “My mother allowed me to use a construct so I could test the spell.”

“You taught yourself?” Sahkyo almost yelped out her question.

“Yes, I did.”

“Damn, girl—” She swung back and forth, her face lit up. “You’re like Lovecraft, you know that?”

Annie chuckled softly. “I’m sure she’d consider that a complement.” She lowered her gaze slightly. “If you’ll excuse me—” She quickly pointed at the benches along the south wall of the Rotund. “I’d like to rest.”

 

Yes, consider it a complement when the upper coven levels start comparing you to the school’s Dark Mistress of All.  Though Helena might say something different . . . naw, who am I kidding?  She’d smile like mad knowing Annie cursed some loud mouth who wouldn’t shut up.  If the roles had been reversed, and Lisa was running off at the mouth about Erywin, Helena would have set her on fire.

Moral of the story:  never piss off the Head Sorceress.

So finally, three out of five scenes complete, Chapter Twenty-One closer to finished, and the attack is coming.  You know that because you can see the title on Chapter Twenty-Two.  Right?

Caption here

I’m nothing if not subtle.

The next scene should be short, and the last scene will get some staff and instructors talking.

And thanks to everyone who left me messages yesterday.  It’s nice to have supportive fans out there.

The Juggling of the Duties

The novel did not advance quickly last night.  If anything, I managed a few hundred words–just under three hundred, in fact–because . . . well, so many things happened last night.  Allow me to explain–

Believe it or not, I’ve got a bunch of different things floating around at the same time.  Mine is not a simply life of “Get up, work, come home, eat, write, sleep.”  There are times when it does feel that way, but last night wasn’t one of those night.  No, it was more like I had miles to go before falling off into sleep.

First off, I walked throughout most of the day like a zombie.  It wasn’t a good time, because my “Hey, it’s four AM, let’s get up” body was doing just that to me, and I’d only gotten to bed just a little after midnight, so I was running on just under four hours of sleep.  Not a good way to start the day.

"No, I can write code when I'm half asleep . . . Um, what does two plus two mean?"

“No, I can write code when I’m half asleep . . . Um, what does two plus two mean?”

Then I get home feeling sleepy at four-thirty in the afternoon, and it’s time to eat.  And write.  Only it takes an hour to get dinner ready, and I can’t concentrate on writing.  So I jump online for a bit and chat up a bit.  And then I get into discussions with people:  we talk about things they’re working on, I give a few opinions on copyright protections (this is something that’s come up a lot among the people in the crocheting group in which I hang out), I lay out a few memes for people because, in another life, I am The Memestress, and I come bringing the snark.

One of the things I got involved in while on line was helping out a woman who was having a problem with mold in her house.  She rents but it seemed the landlord not only wasn’t going anything about the mold, he was being confrontational about it.  As I have mad Google skills (no, I won’t spell it the other way), I did a quick search and discovered three sites in the city where she lives (which, by the way, is not in the U.S.) and posted them for her to use.  It does appear that she received help with her problem, and she posted a thank you on my Facebook wall which greeted me this morning when I logged in.

Ah, but then!  I had to take over asking questions in a book club.  Yes, the person who was running the show this month went MIA, and I sort of got elected to step in and ask questions for the book in question, which I read.  So late at night, as I was trying to work on my novel, I jumped in and set up a few questions for other people–in fact, I did a few more this morning, because I’m nothing if not diligent.

There you have it:  my crazy night.  Juggle, juggle, juggle.  Maybe tonight I can actually get back to work on my novel . . .

Maybe.

"I need to have Annie kick some ass here.  People better just leave me--oh, look, a message!"

“I need to have Annie kick some ass here. People better just leave me–oh, look, a message!”

How to Sling Your Spells

Much like Saturday, yesterday was a bit of an unusual time.  I spent most of the day busy with one thing or another:  breakfast in the early morning, getting ready in the late morning, heading off to get a pedicure in the early afternoon.  Yes, I went out and got a pedi; yes, it was enjoyable; yes, I enjoyed getting pampered.  I also have nice toes now, which is an incredible improvement over how they looked at the start of the week.

The working of the novel, however, was a different story.  It seems like this whole last weekend was spent catching up on my rest.  The afternoon and evening was spent trying to stay awake while, at pretty much the same time, I was working with someone to explain copyright law to people who didn’t quite have a good grasp of what it meant to make something that was more or less the spitting image of a well known animated character and then selling said object.  As someone who spends time creating things from whole cloth, you want to help people understand that you can be sued to hell and gone for copyright infringement, and simply saying you’re charging “For your time”, or that changing the name of that Micky Mouse doll you made to “Drugged Out Meth Rodent”, isn’t going to save you in the end.

It’s back to the Rotunda now and Annie’s listing to two of the girls talk about the sort of magic they’re gonna use if the big bad invade The Pentagram.  Annie’s thinking that if The Pentagram is breached and invaded, Isis is gonna evacuate the school and probably blow the place like a modern day Enterprise.  Or not:  she’s probably got more than a few tricks up her sleeve.

The problem is, while Annie isn’t talking about these matters and what she can do, it doesn’t mean someone else isn’t.

 

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

That meant there wasn’t a need to worry about what spells the volunteers would use to defend the Great Hall. Annie had no intention of mentioning her skills—

Thebe, however, did that for her.

Between Sahkyo talking about her fireball spell skills, and Nagesa discussing her ability to use Electrify effectively, Thebe decided to tell the girls about how Annie worked up the Air Hammer spell in a matter of seconds and used it to become a fearless zombie hunter.

 

The same nurse who help heal her sprained wrist drops a dime on Annie and blabs about how she whacked out the fake undead a month back.  Which you have to admit isn’t a nice thing to do, but Thebe probably had a reason for doing so–like, letting everyone know that if they are attacked, everyone can stand behind Annie and let her do the heavy lifting.

Naturally the girls want to know how she did it:

 

Now that she was drawn into this matter, Annie realized there was no leaving it sit without explanation. “It was a matter of using the proper visualization.” She sighed softly. “I put that together with the energy needed, and produced the desired effect. It’s that simple.”

“Not only that—” Thebe took a step closer to the group, putting herself almost directly between Sahkyo and Annie. “She showed Kerry—her . . .” The look she gave Annie indicated she didn’t know if she should use the correct description.

Annie wasn’t bothered to use the term. “’Boyfriend’ is what you want to say.”

Thebe nodded as Sahkyo simply stared at Annie. “She showed her boyfriend how to use it as well—”

The discussion was really peaking Nagesa’s interest. “When?”

“Right after she figured it out.”

What?” The way they said the word together told Annie the discussion wasn’t going to end: it was obvious Nagesa and Sahkyo wanted to know everything.

 

Yes, keep talking up how great they were . . . though Nagesa probably knows a lot of this already, since she knew who Annie was, and more than likely knows she’s out of The Fishbowl and swimming in The Pond.  You can also bet that people are gonna wanna see her toss one of these spells off.

What do you wanna bet?

Yeah, I can add a few more words in that scene.  I'd say the bet is pretty good.

Yeah, I can add a few more words in that scene. I’d say the bet is pretty good.

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 . . .