A Link Back to the Link

You know what I’m going to say, ’cause it was Recap Night yesterday, but because I have a good deposit in the word bank I can still lay stuff out,  and that’s why you’re still reading.  I’m just about at six thousand words total in the story, which is a little behind my average of about five thousand a week, but I’m pretty certain that by the time the middle of August rolls around I’ll be over the fifteen thousand word mark and probably into novella territory.

But last night it was finishing up Stranger Things before spending three hours to write my recap–yeah, it takes me that long–and then maybe another twenty minutes of watching some TV before I finally went to bed tired as all hell.  It was a long day, and today will likely be as long because I would like to finish this current scene and get into the next one.

Oh, and maybe watch a little TV, too. Damn you, streaming media!

Oh, and maybe watch a little TV, too. Damn you, streaming media!

Annie has now guessed that Ms. Rutherford–or Berniece, as Annie is calling her, ’cause this is a more relaxed environment and Annie is all about that–is a Protector, it’s up to her guest to spill the beans.  Is she or isn’t she?  And the answer is…

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

“You have access to reports on our academic progress, to issues which are personal, and you know the things we’ve done with the Guardians. I don’t believe you are a Guardian, so that leaves being a Protector.”

Humph. You are quick to figure things out.” Berniece tugged a bit on the skin below her lips. “The Educational Division develops and monitors curriculum as well as hiring and supervising staff and instructors, but they felt it was best if someone else watched over the students when they were away from their schools and step in to assist them should the need arise.” She crossed her arms over her stomach. “Plus, since we’re already trained to write details reports, it allows us to begin the process of constructing a Foundation member’s dossier.”

“So you see everything.”

“Not everything. For example, I know that over this last school year the Guardians had you undergoing marionette training under the supervision of Lovecraft and Chai, and the reports I’ve seen indicate you’ve both done well for yourselves.

“I’m also aware that in the third weekend in April, 2012, Kerry and you left school grounds with Lovecraft and Sladen. Now, the report I received was heavily redacted: I know you left late Thursday afternoon and didn’t return until early Saturday night. Though I can piece together enough to figure out you were on an Observation and Pickup Op, I have no idea where you went, who you were their to watch and/or pickup—though I do know you must have encountered a bit of trouble.”

 

One could say that Annie, Kerry, and Erywin did encounter a “bit of trouble” when they were on their field op, and Annie is probably giggling inside at the comment.  But she is curious about something–

 

Annie couldn’t imagine the Guardians would have published any details of their battle with Deconstructors on the Link Bridge, but she eager to learn how Berniece was aware they’d seen action. “How is that possible?”

“Though jaunt logs and medical records. Kerry and you jaunted to Salem from the CDC in Atlanta, and you spent the night in the Salem hospital—probably in the same bed.”  Berniece chuckled. “Doctor Gallagher’s reports indicate Kerry suffered from a heavy electrical shock as well has having a slight concussion. And you had a broken arm and a concussion as well.” She flipped her right hand to one side as if she were casting something away. “Ergo, something happened while you were on your op. And if you were in that sort of shape, I can only imagine what happened to the people on the other side of your conflict.”

It wasn’t only the fact that she’d signed a non-disclosure document with the Guardians that precluded her from commenting on Berniece’s last statement, but there was also the sense that the Guardian has entrusted he with a special duty, and Annie didn’t want to betray that trust. “I wouldn’t know what happened.”

Berniece almost laughed. “Spoken like a true Guardian.”

Annie smiled back. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.” The smile faded slowly. “What’s going to happen with Kerry?”

“For the moment, nothing:  life goes on as it would normally.”  Berniece took a moment to scratch the area between she brows.  “We don’t consider the Malibeys a high risk family, so I don’t anticipate they’ll attempt any violence towards Kerry.  Depending on what he told them after he left, they probably don’t want to try anything.”  She tapped the arm of her chair.  “He has a panic button, and he’s assured me that if the situation at home gets too bad he’ll leave.”  There was a monetary pause as she checked her nails.  “We’ll both have to wait and see.”

 

This means that Ms. Rutherford sees stuff about their operations–as in, they went out on one–but that’s as deep as the dirt goes.  It is a bit funny that Annie immediately slips into “I can neither confirm or deny that rumor” mode when it looks like Ms. Rutherford is looking for answers.  She’s also probably worked on a line like that for years, even that she’s always wanted to be a Guardian.

But the important part is, what is going to happen with Kerry.

You’ll find out soon enough.

Sense8, Season 1, Episode 7, “W. W. N. Double D?”

The Snarking Dead TV Recaps

[Image via Netflix] [Image via Netflix] It’s Episode 7, and that means we’re now beyond the half-way point of Sense8 and heading towards the end. And after what happened last week, things are starting to get even more crazy—

W. W. N. Double D?

Written by The Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by James McTeigue

Seoul:
Sun (Doona Bae) finally arrives at prison. She gets off the bus looking a bit apprehensive, because who knows what’s coming next.

San Francisco:
Nomi (Jamie Clayton) and Amanita (Freema Agyeman) are on the roof of a parking structure.  Nomi wants to find out what’s going on, but she needs to level the playing field to get there, so she’s making contact with one of her old hacking buddies.  Neets asks if she can trust this guy, and Nomi finally tells her girlfriend that this was the guy who should have went to jail for hacking…

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Secrets Outside the Secrets

I surprised myself last night, I really did.  Just when I didn’t think I was going to have a good writing session, I sat down and worked my way through a little over nine hundred words, and that ended up getting the scene right around twenty-three hundred words, with more to come.  I may get in a few this evening–maybe just to finish a few thoughts–but my best guess is I’ll finish the scene tomorrow night.

And then I get to write about angsty Kerry.  It’s so much fun.

"So far it's going great.  If only I could get this story to write itself."

“So far it’s going great. If only I could get this story to write itself.”

Yesterday we got a little bit of info on what happened in the aftermath of jaunting out of Casa Malibey, and we got to see what Berniece Rutherford really looks like.  And while we’re on the subject of Kerry’s case worker, Annie has a few more questions:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Though she was the one who first told Kerry about the slow aging of witches once they were through puberty, Bernice’s appearance only emphasized the point even more. “I’m certain I will. You must excel at this job.”

Bernice shrugged. “Not really. It’s common for The Foundation to choose case works who are only a few years removed from their own graduations. They feel it’ll help us empathize with our charges since we went through the same things only a decade before.” She glanced towards the unlit fireplace. “My own case worker was twenty-four when I same out.” She took a long sip of her tea before setting it aside. “One of the advantages you get being born into a Normal family is you get someone to help you through school.”

Being a Legacy it was true that Annie didn’t require a case worker since, as her mother said once, she didn’t need to live outside The Foundation system as much as a witch from a normal background. “Yes, I don’t need a case worker—” She eyed her guest. “But I have one anyway—don’t I?”

“Because of your relationship with Kerry—which we both know is more than just a relationship.” Berniece crossed her legs. “I see all the reports on you as well as Kerry. I know your proficiencies in magic; I know how well you tutor each each. I know of your astral bond—” She motioned with her hand towards Annie. “—and I know why there’s a medical monitor etched into your chest.” She smiled moments after her host glanced downward as if to assure herself that the enchantment wasn’t showing. “You’re a part of his life, and he yours, so I am kept aware.”

 

This is the first time we actually learn that they are a package deal, and that Annie is looked at just as much as Kerry.  And by saying that Berneice knows they are more than just a couple, she’s referring to the special situation that originally brought them together.  In a way, Ms. Rutherford is sitting across from one half of the youngest married couple in The Foundation, and she isn’t there to give Annie an update on her boyfriend–she’s there to tell her about her husband.

But Annie has some ideas about the person in the lake house with her she needs to discuss:

 

Annie was curious about how much the case worker was aware of their lives. “You know of our shared vision, yes?” She nodded back over her right shoulder. “You’ve spent enough time looking up there for it not to be a coincidence.”

Berniece looked downward with half closed eyes. “I have read the report on your shared vision, and what represents to you.” She scratched the bridge of her nose with a nail. “I also get reports on your Guardian activity.”

“You do?” Annie was surprised to hear this. “Why do you get that?”

“To keep track of your progress—I mean, in a way what you do with them could be considered part of your schooling.”

It was only then that Annie figured out something about the woman across from her. “You work for the Protectors, don’t you?”

“Why do you say that?”

“You have access to reports on our academic progress, to issues which are personal, and you know the things we’ve done with the Guardians. I don’t believe you are a Guardian, so that leaves being a Protector.”

I wonder if Berniece knows about Annie’s rune dream, too?  Probably, because those dreams were an important part in both their lives.  Annie’s likely showed their link to their astral bonding–and may have indicated that the Three Bindings took place–and Kerry’s dream not only reminded him that he, too, was connected to Annie through their astal bonding, but there was a “someone” inside them waiting for their chance to merge and become one with him.

Ever think Berniece reads these reports and wonders what of crazy hell she’s gotten herself into?

I guess this means we find out if Ms. Rutherford really is a Protector.  I mean, after getting you to this set up, it wouldn’t make any sense not to give you a payoff.

The Aftermath of the Aformentioned

So, actually, a pretty productive weekend.  Did some editing, did shopping, did writing, did TV watching, had diner with friends, stayed out of trouble.  As of last night I climbed over the five thousand word mark in the new novel, which is about where I expected to be after a week–well, eight days, but there were a couple of days there where I didn’t actually do a lot or any work on the new novel, so more like five thousand in six days.

I quibble.

And that brings us to the post of the morning:

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

“Thanks, Cassie:  I wondered when you were getting to the point.”

I do get there, eventually.

If scene one was a lead-in to a flashback, and scene two was the flashback, then it only seems to reason that scene three is gonna bookend scene two.  And that’s just what happens:  we now head back to the House by the Lake and finish up what was started a few thousand words back:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

“You jaunted out of their house?” Annie leaned forward and snorted. “I wonder how shocked they were by that?”

Berniece snickered before taking a sip of her tea. “Quite a lot, I imagine.”

“Did Kerry know you were going to do that?”

“No. I thought it best he not know.”

Annie nodded in agreement. “Probably would have made him more nervous.”

“And that was something he didn’t need.” Berniece set her cup and saucer on the end table next to her chair. “I didn’t want to add to the stress he was already under.”

“Then why did you jaunt out?”

“Why not? His parents knew I was witch, so why pretend that I can’t do simple magic?”

Annie couldn’t argue with her logic. Magic is something we do; why pretend you can’t? “I imagine Kerry had to explain what happened.”

“More than likely.” Berniece sighed. “Poor kid.”

 

Having Ms. Rutherford jaunt right out of sight while standing in front of Kerry’s mom probably didn’t help Louise’s nerves much, though I imagine Kerry probably chuckled after that happened.  Ah, just wait until Kerry starts doing that:  he’ll be like Carl and never stay inside the house.  Though that might not be a thought that went running through his mom’s mind at that moment . . .

 

“Why didn’t you stay with him?”

“Because his mother and father wanted me to leave, and to go against their wishes would have created a situation.” Berniece passed her hand over her tea cup and a wisp of steam rose from the water. “We’re instructed to become confrontational only if necessary, and it wasn’t necessary. Not at that moment.”

Annie didn’t belabor the point: it didn’t take much imagination to see the harm that would be caused by an Aware case worker getting into a fight with the Normal parents of a young witch. It would hurt Kerry more than help him if she’s refused to leave. “Have you heard from him since last night?”

 

You could say, “She should have stayed there while Kerry’s parents ripped him a new one for no good reason,” but why?  To force yourself into the conversation?  To prove you’re not going to let the Normal people push you around ’cause you’re one of the Aware and better than them?  Bang-up job you’re doing there to keep people from shitting themselves, because you’re not helping your cause by being an asshole to the parents.

It’s really a shitty place to be, but Ms. Rutherford will say things later on to support why she doesn’t think it’s a problem.  Besides, it was pointed out that Kerry can stand up for himself these days, though when it comes to his parents, there’s still a lot of internalized conflict there.

Now, has Kerry contacted his case working?  Well . . .

 

“No.” She removed her mobile from her purse and checked something. “I had a Watcher go by his house around twenty-two thirty last night, and their message then said that he was up in his room at his desk doing something while his parents where still in the family room watching TV and talking.” She put her phone back in her purse. “No messages this morning, but that’s not usually. They’ll likely take a pass by his house before noon.”

“I see.” Annie didn’t find it unusual that a Watcher had checked in on Kerry, or that Berniece asked for the check-up. “How long will that continue?”

“For the next few days. Just to make certain things haven’t turned bad.”

“You don’t expect that, do you?”

“No. But best not to take chances this first week.”

“True.” Annie cleared her throat. “May I ask a question?”

Berniece sipped her tea before answering. “Go ahead.”

“May I see what you really look like? I mean—” She gave a small grin. “You showed Kerry.”

“Oh, of course.” In seconds Berniece shifted from her older, more adult appearance to her unaltered appearance. “Sorry: guess I’m still in the habit of looking that other way.”

“You’ve had to look that way with us for a year and a half, so I see how it might be hard to break.” Annie reexamined her guest. “You do look young.”

“Remember this when you’re my age: you’ll look the same.”

 

Now you know that Ms. Rutherford showed up in “older mode” when she walked into the Lake House, and part of that may have been due to knowing she might meet Annie’s parents.  She can do away with that now because, well, the magical cat is out of the bag, and there’s no need to hid among your own kind–a phrase she used with his parents, and which may have not been the best phrase to throw out there.

The process here with the excerpts will be to put out about five hundred words daily, while writing a little more than that every night when possible.  That way I stay ahead of posting and don’t feel pressured to get the new content in before putting it out for all to see.  Right now I’m two posts ahead, and if I can get another six hundred into the story tonight it’ll stay that way.  I do hope to not feel pressured to write, because in the last few months of the last novel the pressure was there in droves, and I really want to avoid that at all cost right now.

Right now, the only one who should feel pressure is a certain ginger in Cardiff…

Handling Change Like a Pro

Now, while I didn’t do a lot of writing yesterday, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t working at writing.  See, I was down in the editing, trying out a new writing tool:  ProWritingAid, which is found online and for which I’m supplying a link.  This came recommended to me by another writer, and for those of my friends who also write I’m recommending it to you.

See, I know I’m not a perfect writer.  Sometimes I’m not even a good writer, and sometimes I’m a lazy writer because I’m tired and I’m just trying to make a word count.  There are things I do in my writing that aren’t right, and though I do my best to prevent that from happening, things slip through.

So having this tool is nice.  At the moment it’s a web application, but there is a desktop version currently in beta testing that will be availble for a licence fee of $40 a year.  Depending on how much you write, that $40 might be worth it.

Usage is simple.  First you cut and paste what you want analyzed into the window on the first page:

Here's a few words I just finished writing.

Here’s a few words I just finished writing.

Then hit the big green button and wait for your report.

Which you may or may not want to see.

Which you may or may not want to see.

I enjoy seeing the overused words, because know there are words in my lexicon that end up being rode like a lathered horse in my novels.  Under Writing Style Check you can see I have repeated sentence starts, which is probably due to using the word “she” time and again in this particular piece.  I have an issue with sentence length here, but it’s the opposite of what I normally get, which is three or four sentences that are too long.  Here they are two short, and that’s probably due to the amount of dialog used in that particular excerpt, which does not involve a character named John Galt.

This has helped me catch and clean up more than a few issues, and I’ll use it on the scenes I’ve already edited in A For Advanced while running my new work through it as well.  It might not make me a perfect writer, but I’m betting it’ll make me a better one.

Speaking of writing–

The last few days have seen us reading about what happened to Kerry on his big Coming Out Night, and we’ve went from “I’m a witch” to “Oh, shit!  You’re a witch!”  And given that at least one third of the Malibey clan is just a tinsy bit high strung it’s not surprising that shit goes off the rails fast:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

“I see.” Louise folded her hands across her lap and stared unfocused into space. “I need you leave.”

“I beg your pardon?” Ms. Rutherford cocked her head to one side. “Is there a—”

“I need you to leave.” Louise straightened as her eyes turned cold. “I want you out of this house, and I want you out now.”

Even before picking up Kerry this evening Ms. Rutherford had known there was a possibility things might not work out for the best, and events seemed to be taking a turn in that direction. It wasn’t her intention to argue or make Kerry’s parents see reason: her only concern was being with Kerry during his reveal and making certain he was aware of his options should the situation at home grow worse. “I understand.” She reached for her handbag which was on the floor. “I’ll be on my way.”

Wait.”

 

Ah, the old Facebook trick of getting ready of telling someone to leave a group, but then taking a few minutes to get in a few verbal licks before kicking them to the curb.  Good thing Ms. Rutherford isn’t on Facebook, though she is completely aware of how this trick usually plays out, because it’s been used in movies a million times–

 

Ms. Rutherford never liked situations where she was told to do something, then ordered to do just the opposite. It usually never went well. “Yes?”

“I want you to tell whomever it is you report to that I am not happy with what transpired tonight.” Louise paused to take a breath as she appeared to try and control herself. “I’m not happy with what I’ve learned today, and I’m certainly not happy that we’ve been lied to by your organization. I am particularly upset with the fact that we’ve had no input on our son’s education, and that your school feels they are the only one with an opinion here.”

“I’ll let them know.”

“Also—” Louise’s green eyes took on a dark hue. “Let them know that we are going to seriously reconsider allowing Kerry to return in the fall.”

What?” Kerry was almost out of his chair after his mother’s comment. “You can’t—”

 

Oh, please Kerry:  you knew this was coming.  And you had to expect what follows:

 

Shut up.” His mother’s eyes flashed anger as she jabbed a finger at her son. “This is partially your fault for not saying anything.”

“What was I supposed to say? That I was a witch?”

“You can be quiet—”

You wouldn’t have believed me if I had told you.”

SHUT UP. We’ll discuss this later.” Louise was on her feet facing Kerry’s case worker as Dayvn looked on embarrassed. “You can go now.”

 

Yes, Kerry, it’s your fault you’re a witch!  And you didn’t tell Mommy, so double your fault.  However, that doesn’t mean your case working doesn’t have a parting shot–

 

“Very well.” Ms. Rutherford got to her feet slowly. “One last thing before I leave—”

“What is it?”

“The Foundation believes that only among his own kind—among other witches, that is—will he flourish. They’ve already seen him grow both in both skills and personally, and they feel this will continue until he graduate.” She lowered her voice slightly. “Trying to prevent Kerry from returning to Salem would be a mistake, and The Foundation would take an extremely dim view on that action.”

Dayvn finally stood next to his wife. “Is that meant to be a threat?”

“Simply a statement of fact, Mr. Malibey. Nothing more.”

“Never the less—” He pointed towards the kitchen. “As my wife said, you need to leave.”

“And I will.” Ms. Rutherford turned to Kerry. “You’ll be all right?”

He looked up and nodded. “I’ll be okay.”

“He’s not your concern.” Louise now stood face-to-face with the Foundation witch and acted as if she were about to give the woman a push. “I’ll show you to the door.”

“That won’t be necessary.” A slight grin formed in the corner of Ms. Rutherford’s mouth. “I’ll show myself out—”

 

It’s official:  the Malibey’s have gone all Vernon and Petunia Dursley on their boy and are not happy there is a witch in the house.  Given that they’re always seemed a bit distant from their son anyway, Kerry will probably take this all in stride and chalk it up to more parental bullshit he needs to deal with.

However, Berniece Rutherford is speaking with Annie, and she will know the whole story of how Coming Out Night went.  She also knows how crappy Kerry is treated, and that Mommy Malibey has struck Kerry on occasion only because she can, and that’s something that doesn’t sit well with the Soul Mate of Pamporovo.  So one has to wonder:  how much longer before Kerry’s mom figures out that this Girl Who Writes is also a witch, and when does she discover that’s Annie’s also the Witch Who Can Blast You Through a Fucking Wall If You Piss Her Off?

"Hi, Mrs. Malibey.  I hear you have a problem with my soul mate--"

“Hi, Mrs. Malibey. I hear you have a problem with my soul mate–“

I have a feeling Annie will be one wife who doesn’t put up with bullshit from her mother-in-law…

Stranger Things, Season 1, Chapter 1, “The Vanishing Of Will Byers”

We’re now getting into “Stranger Things”, and Rachel is gonna tell you all about them.

The Snarking Dead TV Recaps

Netflix Stranger Things Season 1 Episode 1 Boys in the rain [image via Netflix] The time is November 6, 1983. The place, a secret laboratory that isn’t really so secret because it’s just there, right in the middle of a small town called Hawkins (referred to as “Spielbergian Americana” by one of the Duffy Brothers). It’s so not secret that Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) passes it on his way home from a D&D tournament at his friend, Mike Wheeler’s (Finn Wolfhard), house. As a result of this, when there is a breach and something escapes the not-secret secret lab, Will is the one that comes across the critter with big hands in the woods. It is also the reason why he goes missing. But, before that can occur, we learn that weird things happen with the electricity — and, in particular, the lighting — when the not-secret secret thing with big hands is about. Even still, Will manages to get home, load up a…

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Truthing the Magical Way

Yesterday I promised that we’d get to see Kerry showing the parents what he could do witchy wise, and today that time has come.  We know Kerry is trying to convince his folks that, yes, he’s really one of those people who do real magic and just don’t pretend, and given that they’re being such hard sells–well, sometimes drastic measure require drastic actions …

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry sat back slowly while keeping eyes locked on his mother. Before leaving Berlin he’d told Ms. Rutherford that his mother would have the hardest time with his coming out, and expected at least one outburst from her. “Okay, Mom.”

Louise turned on Ms. Rutherford. “Why are you having us listen to this bullshit? Why are we really here?”

“We’re here because it is necessary for Kerry to reveal the true nature of his studies.” Ms. Rutherford remained icy calm as she faced a hostile parent—something with which she’d had personal experience in the past. “Everything Kerry’s told you is true—”

“You expect us to believe he can actually do magic?” Louise scoffed loudly. “You made it sound as if you had something important to tell us—”

“It is important, Mrs. Malibey—”

“And you throw this—this goddamn nonsense at us.” Louise looked as if she were about to stand. “This is—”

Kerry.” Ms. Rutherford put just enough volume and tone in her voice to shut down the conversation from the other side of the room. “Maybe now is the time to do what we discussed.”

He nodded. “Yeah.”

Louise immediately perked up. “Do what?”

Kerry’s eyes focused on nothing as he slipped into deep concentration. “Show a practical application.”

“Of what?”

He looked up and at his mother. “This.” Kerry held his hands up and flicked out his index fingers—

 

Do we expect you to believe your son can do magic?  No, Mrs. Malibey; we expect you to die!  Oh, wait:  wrong story.  Anyway, Kerry’s about the lay the mojo down, and–well ….

"I'm always amazed . . . that I actually wrote this crap."

“Yeah, Kerry:  show us what you got.”

Okay, then here goes:

 

All the window shades dropped simultaneously and what little outside light there was dimmed considerably. The door to the kitchen quickly closed and latched, and a black curtain seemed to fill the opening between the family and dining rooms. A moment later all the lights in the room went out, and the family room turned dark instantly.

A bright glowing sphere formed in front of Kerry and rose off his upwardly turned left hand until stopping a few centimeters short of the ceiling. It grew slightly brighter until the family room was filled with a soft white luminescence.

Kerry looked upward for a moment, then turned is gaze across the room to his parents. He crossed his arms. “That should do it.”

His parents sat looking about the room in surprised and confusion which Kerry had expected. Louise slowly turned to him. “Wha—what happened?”

“I used a variation of the levitation spell to drop the shades and shut the kitchen door.” Kerry sat back, looking somewhat pleased. “I threw a masking effect across the windows and did a kind of privacy curtain over the dining room entrance—” He looked to his left at his work. “It’s not that good, but I’ve only been working on something that big for about a month. And last I did a simple light spell and levitated it up towards the ceiling so we can see.” He shrugged. “Pretty simple.”

Davyn emerged from a semi-stupor brought about by Kerry’s crafting. “Simple?”

“Yeah, it really is, Dad—”

“What Kerry means is it’s simple for him.” Ms. Rutherford glanced over towards the boy on his left. “This is the reason he’s in all the advanced—”

“Stop it.”

Ms. Rutherford grew quiet and waited a few moment for Louise Malibey, who now seemed on the verge of being either confused or frightened, to gather herself together. “Is something the matter?”

Louise half-closed her eyes. “Stop this: just stop it.”

Ms. Rutherford nodded towards her left. “Kerry?”

“Sure.” He made the slightest of motions with his left hand: instantly the blinds rose to their proper open position, the door to the kitchen opened, the light ball near the ceiling vanished as the light came on once more, and the privacy effects on the windows and dining room entrance vanished. He leaned forward, rubbing his hands against his thighs. “There.”

Lousie stared hard at her son. “You did that.”

Kerry gave a slight nod. “Yeah, I did.”

“That wasn’t a trick.”

“No, it wasn’t.” He held back from chuckling. “No one from The Foundation came in while the house was empty and set this up so I could trick you.”

Dayvn seemed to relax though he appeared wary and apprehensive. “So you used—magic?”

This time Kerry nodded twice. “Yes: I used magic.”

 

Yeah, Mom, I used magic.  So this cat’s out of the bag and is never getting back in–then again, what cat ever does?  Boxes, however:  all bets are off about when they’ll get out.

I wanted Kerry to do something that would show he’s really skilled with crafting the Art, as they say back at the school, but not do something that would literally scare the shit out of his parents.  Fireballs and Cold Fire?  They wouldn’t have dug it.  Shadow Ribbons?  Too sinister.  Air hammer?  Yeah, blowing out the windows in the family room would have made a statement.

And, yes, he could have done a little transformation magic like change the color of his hair or darken his complexion, but he’s probably aware by now that his parents would probably have freaked out even more if they knew their had their own little Mystique living under their roof, and that their child is a person who can literally become you if they want.

This, however, does lead to a few questions and a revelation–

 

Louise turned to Ms. Rutherford. “So all the students at school are witches?”

Ms. Rutherford remained calm. “Yes.”

“And the instructors?”

“They’re witches as well: it’s necessary.” She sat back just a bit. “And before you ask, yes: the staff at school are witches as well.”

Louise looked downward as she swallowed once. “That must mean—” She looked at the woman sitting across from her. “—you’re a witch, too.”

“I am.” Ms. Rutherford crossed her arms and gently rubbed her chin with her right hand. “I went to Salem, just like Kerry.”

Dayvn nodded slowly. “When did you go?”

“I started in 2001: I was among the first A Levels to begin the new century.”

“When did you graduate?”

“2007.”

Both of Louise’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. “How old were you?”

“Seventeen.” Ms. Rutherford looked at Kerry with a certain pride. “The same age as Kerry will be when he graduates.”

“But—” Louise looked down and away as if she were having difficulty understanding something. “That was only six years ago.”

“Yes, it was.” Ms. Rutherford chuckled lightly. “In case you’re wondering, I’ll be twenty-three in about six weeks.”

“You don’t look anything like twenty-three.”

“I know. When we’re dealing with the parents of children from Normal backgrounds—non-witches, mind you—we try to make ourselves look more ‘age appropriate’. It allows the parents to feel more comfortable when dealing with us. But now that you know I’m a witch, there really isn’t any need to keep up the charade—”

Though she didn’t change in height or size, Ms. Rutherford’s features flowed from that of a woman who may have been in her mid-thirties to someone who appeared to be maybe three or four years older than Kerry. The transformation took place in less than three seconds, and when it was over she spoke to the visibly shocked adults. “This is how I really look. And how I’ll look from now on when I speak with Kerry and come for him.”

 

Now this little bit of writing required that I do something:  mainly, figure out all the stuff with Berniece’s life.  I knew a little about her, but it was only in this moment of writing that I locked her down to an age and attendance.

And that means having to get a time line ready.

And that means having to get a time line ready.

And it also shows that The Foundation is thinking ahead in that they like the people who have to deal with their student’s parents to look–let’s say “professional”.  Which is to mean age appropriate, as she says.

And that makes things a bit more interesting when we realize that those moments in which Ms. Rutherford comforted Kerry when his moments of need, she’s really only ten years older than him and Annie.  And that means she probably does relate to him better, because it wasn’t that long ago she may have went through the same things he’s going through now.

It’s also easy to see that here are at least three people at Salem that she may have known, though it’s doubtful she was ever friends with them.  Even her covenmate Wednesday would have been an E Level once Berniece was out of The Fishbowl, and that’s a pretty big gap to jump in terms of friendship.  Still, she would have likely known those three people, and she likely would have had Erywin, Jessica, Maddie, Ramona, and Mathias as instructors, and maybe even Helena, too; I’d have to check on that last.  She’s a good person to have as your case worker if you need something done, because she knows people, yeah?

So now that the Malibey’s have seen transformation magic up close and personal, they’re okay with it–

 

Louise’s face froze into a tight mask. “You look like a teenager.”

“Well—” She glanced over to Kerry, who was examining his case worker’s true appearance. “I do look like I’m eighteen, but that comes with being a witch.” She turned back to Louise with a smile. “It comes with being what I am.”

“I see.” Louise folded her hands across her lap and stared unfocused into space. “I need you leave.”

“I beg your pardon?” Ms. Rutherford cocked her head to one side. “Is there a—”

“I need you to leave.” Louise straightened as her eyes turned cold. “I want you out of this house, and I want you out now.”

 

–Okay, maybe not.  Then again, we knew Louise Malibey was going to be a hard sell, and we weren’t disappointed.

The question remains:  where happens next?

I guess you’ll have to wait and see, won’t you?