Conversing With the Midnight Witch

Sure, it took me three days to write a fourteen hundred word scene, but it’s done, isn’t it?  Well, you didn’t know that until now.  Yeah, it’s done, finished, completely.  I’m one short scene closer to putting Chapter Fifteen to bed, and I should be able to knock that out today.  Right?

No problem.

Look at all the First Drafts just hanging around doing nothing.

Look at all the First Drafts just hanging around doing nothing.

I’ve struggled with energy levels again, and yesterday was no exception.  It was necessary to get into the coffee in the afternoon, and that did wake me up enough to keep me going until close to eleven PM.  Which is what I needed, ’cause it seemed like every time I turned around I was getting distracted by something shiny.

But I was also back in the groove, and once I get those first few hundred awkward words out of the way, I tend to get something going.  And what was going on was Annie and Kerry walking back to their tower with Professor Wednesday following behind under the pretense she was walking back to the Instructor’s Residents, which is on the other side of the Pentagram walls just beyond Cernunnos Coven.

Of course, there was more to Wednesday’s tagging along that just heading off to bed . . .

 

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

As suspected, they were almost to the covered section of the path leading to Cernunnos Coven when Wednesday spoke. “Tell me: what did you think of tonight’s class?”

Annie stopped and faced the instructor. “It wasn’t what I expected.”

“No.” Kerry shook his head as he pulled his hand away from Annie’s. “I didn’t know what to expect, really.”

“What did you think of us, Prof—um, Wednesday?” Annie was extremely curious to find out what sort of ideas the professors got about them and their growing abilities.

Wednesday placed her hands on her hips and began to slowly shift her weight from leg to leg. “About what I expected. You both came in nervous; you were both a little intimidated by the size of the class and the openness; when it was time to get up and do your spells individually in front of everyone, you were both a little rattled—but, you recovered, pulled off the spell, and even managed to have fun when we went to free lab.” She grinned lopsidedly. “I saw you both with big smiles on your faces while you levitated those two plushes between you.”

Kerry grinned remembering what they did. “Yeah, that was fun.”

Annie nodded and grinned at Kerry. “Yes, it was.”

“There you go—” Wednesday patted both kids on their shoulders. “You lived up to my expectations, and it looked like you were having fun. A lot better than the lab in Basic Spells, huh?”

 

Given that Wends was a little nervous about the new witches on the block, it only made sense she wanted to get and give impressions.  But there was more to the conversation–there always is . . .

 

“I figured you would.” Wednesday sighed while looking around as if she expected someone to pop out of the garden at any moment. “How does it feel to be out of the fishbowl?”

The look on Kerry’s face made it appear he hadn’t escaped from anything. “We’re still A Levels, right?”

“Yes, you are.”

“What do you mean, then?”

Wednesday stopped looking around and remained focus on Annie and Kerry while she spoke. “Well, lets point out the obvious: you’re still A Levels; you’ll continued to have an assigned table for dining and meetings; you won’t have upper levels bothering you during the day.

“But that said—you’re different. Like it or not Vicky started you in that direction, and what you did in Ramona’s class last Friday solidified that opinion among your level mates—”

Annie nodded once. “I know we upset a few of the students—”

Wednesday cut off Annie with a sharp laugh. “Upset? Do either of you have any idea what you did last week?”

 

So how upset were those students, Wednesday?  I’m sure you’re gonna tell us–aren’t you?  Of course you are.

 

Kerry shrugged. “I guess—” He turned to Annie.

Annie turned to him, then back to Wednesday. “We thought we may have scared a few students.”

“Not just a few, Annie: about a third of your level.” Wednesday shook her head. “Your zombie kill spree was how I got involved in this, because Ramona wanted to know if I was teaching you guys Air Hammer on the side. And I saw the video of what you did—it was pretty freakin’ incredible: you cut through those homunculi in under a minute. But do you know what the most lasting image of that little feat was?”

“Us standing together?” Having not seen any video of Annie and he taking on the homunculi, Kerry was unsure where Wednesday was going.

“You left out the part where you were hugging and smiling while covered in gore. You should see it; I could get you a screen capture.”

Both kids chuckled, and Annie bounced on her toes. “I’d love to see that.”

“I can do that. I’ll get you a hard copy and send the digital to Kerry.” Wednesday’s chuckle was as vibrant as her smile. “Ramona said four students came to her after class expressing concerns about you two. By Saturday lunch time she’d spoken to six more.” She shook her head. “You didn’t just maybe frighten them: you scared the hell out of them.

“Yesterday I knew someone was going to ask about you, and just as we were starting lab someone did. I told them I’d moved you over to my Advanced Spells class, and that you wouldn’t be back.” She stifled a quick yawn. “A few were puzzled, a few seemed pissed, a few didn’t care—but about a third of the class seemed relived.” She nodded off in the direction of Founder’s Gate and the south Pentagram wall. “And Vicky took you off of Covingtons and put you both on Espinozas after a week . . .” She shook her head. “Nah, you guys aren’t really seen as A Levels by your own class. And you have upper level kids who know about you now—that’s rare.” She reached over, touched their shoulders, and gave them a gentle squeeze. “You guys are the pretty much the first breakouts in thirty years. Welcome to the rest of the pond.”

 

Kill a few zombie homunculus, get yourself covered in what passes for blood and brains, and before you know it you’re scaring the shit out of your fellow classmates.  The upside is you find yourself swimming about in the pond with the rest of the cool fishes, which could be a little intimidating . . .

 

Annie reached over and didn’t just take Kerry’s hand: she wrapped herself around his left arm and hugged her head against his shoulder. “I think I’ll like the pond, Wednesday.”

Kerry nodded as he leaned his head against Annie’s. “Me, too. Um . . . You only want us calling you by your first name—”

“In class and where there’s no one else around.” She patted Kerry on the shoulder. “The rest of the time you gotta do the ‘Professor Douglas’ stuff or Mathilde will get upset.”

“We wouldn’t want that.” Annie sighed quietly with Kerry pressed against her.

“No, you wouldn’t.” Wednesday stretched out her arms. “It’s getting on towards midnight. You better get to bed; you have Jessica first thing in the morning, and you don’t want to nod off during her lab.”

Kerry could only image what Professor Kishna would do if someone fell asleep in her class. “Sounds like a good idea.”

“It is.” She finger waved to them. “See you later.” She teleported away, leaving them alone in the garden.

 

It only makes sense that Annie doesn’t mind being pushed out of the fishbowl:  she’s a pond sort of girl.  Actually she’s a lake house sort of girl, but only a few people at Salem actually know that.  No point in letting the other kids know you had your own little home-away-from-home when you were nine, right?

And with Wednesday gone home to sleep–you gotta love being able to teleport just about anywhere you want to inside the school grounds–that gives the kids a moment of serendipity:

 

Annie could have stood right where she was all night were it not for Transformation Class in the morning. This was the first time in a long time that she felt completely alone with Kerry, without fear of anyone watching or interrupting. If only it could be like this all the time . . . She wondered if he were deep in thought, or if he were enjoying the moment as was she. “You thinking about something?”

“Not really.” He stretched against her, sighing. “It just hit me that we’re . . .”

“Yes?”

“Well—special.” He turned and snuggled tight, hugging her body with his other arm. “I’ve never been special before.”

“You have always been special, Kerry.” She looked into his blazing green eyes. “You’re a special person as a witch, you’re a special student . . . and you are exceptionally special to me.” She kissed his cheek. “Always.”

Kerry stepped back enough that Annie slid off his shoulder. He smiled broadly, still holding her right hand. “I like that.”

“Just like?” She swung their arms back and forth.

“Well . . .” Kerry looked down, his eyes shielded. “Okay, maybe more than that.”

Annie stopped swinging their arms and paused, lost for a second in the moment. “Yes, you do.” She tugged him towards the tower. “Let’s go home.”

The mantra for the young and alone when it’s time to call it a day:  “Let’s go home.”  I actually like that I’ve had Annie say this, now for a second time, because it gives the kids a feeling of residency rather than making them seem like borders at a private school.  Like it or not, Salem is their home; the place they work, eat, sleep–and live.  The tower is their home base, their place to crash and meet and, with their little lab in the sub-levels, make magic to their heart’s desire.

It’s just about everything a couple of eleven and twelve year old witches could ever want.

I hope they don’t mind when the bad comes knocking.