On Beyond September

It’s that time again, thirty days hath and all that.  The last month has been nuts, and it doesn’t look as if October is going to get any better–at least not on the surface.  I may need to start planing so I can get through the month with all my intact.

Not much writing last night because . . . honestly, I was in the middle of an emotional meltdown for most of the evening.  Hormones:  what can you say?  They can bite you hard at times, and it’s usually the Monday after my Friday injection that I start feeling the hammer drop.  But I pulled out just long enough to get a good thirty minutes in and pen all of the follow:  Annie in the Aftermath of the Morgue Comment . . .

 

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

Annie sat and ran Coraline’s last statement back a few more times: Someone not as smart would have put themselves in the morgue. And as the head nurse had said, she knew it to be true—just as she knew that Kerry was responsible for all his actions that led to where he was now. It didn’t do any good to blame Emma for his condition, because there were any number of things that could have put them next to The Diamond that wouldn’t have had anything to do with an idea she dreamt up. He could have ran when Emma was attacked—what did Nurse Thebe say? Abominations create a fight or flight reaction. Kerry decided to fight. He fought a creature that was scaring him to death, and would have killed him given the chance. And the whole time he managed to keep his wits about him to save Emma and fly off and have his accident . . .

“You should be dead.” Annie leaned forward, watching Kerry’s quiet, sleeping face. “You’re not because you struggled to stay alive and won.” She slid her chair towards the bed so she could run her fingers over his exposed right hand. “You came back to me; I know why. I wish you could talk. I wish you could tell me I helped keep you alive, that you were thinking of me—”

“Okay.” Annie quickly pulled away from Kerry and sat back as Coraline silently appeared at the foot of his bed. She glanced between Annie and Kerry before continuing what she was going to say. “Here’s what’s going to happen: first, you and I are going to get diner, and don’t tell me know, because I’m pulling my my Chief Medical Officer rank here and ordering you to get something to eat.” Coraline crossed her arms in a self satisfied way. “That means you can’t say no—you got it?”

Annie nodded slowly. “Yes, Nurse Coraline.”

“After that, you and I are going to head over to your tower—”

“Why?” Annie was almost ready to bound out of her chair, ready to challenge her.

“Because you need to pick up your pajamas, your robe and slippers—” Coraline shrugged. “Maybe your tooth and hair brush . . . ‘cause you’ll need need those if you’re gonna spend the night here and keep an eye on him—” She pointed at Kerry. “From there.” She pointed at Bed #1 behind Annie.

 

Wait, what’s this?  Annie gets an overnight in the hospital?

Seriously, what the hell is this?

Seriously, what the hell is this?

Just hope I can get thought the night in the right mind so you can find out tomorrow.

Frankness in the Hospital Ward

I didn’t intend to write last night, no, really.  I finished up a scene early in the morning, then settled down into the afternoon to hand write a six page letter that ran about nine hundred words.  Yeah, even then I’m yappy.  Then Breaking Bad was on and I didn’t want to miss that–

Except I knew most of the episodes they were running last night, so in between the moments where the show wasn’t being completely awesome, I managed to set up the next scene of Annie sitting in the hospital ward while someone near her slept, and a certain ginger head nurse comes  along and and tries to talk her into doing something else.  Usually the results are hilarious:  tonight they’re a little more grim.

 

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

20:45 to 21:00

“Why don’t we get something to eat?”

Annie didn’t bother looking at Nurse Coraline. She kept looking straight ahead, watching the unconscious Kerry breath slowly and untroubled. She watched his chest rise and drop, his face calm yet impassive, his body unmoving. Since they’d treated the last patient fifteen minutes ago, Annie was comfortable. She didn’t want to move; she didn’t want to leave.

She didn’t want Kerry out of her sight.

“Thank you.” She finally turned to look up at Nurse Coraline. “But I’m not hungry.”

Coraline smirked. “Bullshit.” The head nurse leaned against the foot of Kerry’s bed. “You’re had as much to eat today as me, and I know that’s not been a hell of a lot. You gotta be hungry ‘cause I’m hungry.” She softened her tone, hoping to get through to her young friend. “Come on, Annie: let’s get something to eat. They’re only going to keep the kitchen open for another ninety minutes.”

Annie’s face was as emotionless as Kerry’s. “I’m not hungry.”

“Oh, okay.” Coraline nodded slowly. “So you gonna sit here instead and stare at Kerry and think about how Emma is responsible for putting him in that bed?”

 

As noted, my instructors can get a little coarse with their language at times, particularly when they’re tired and hungry and not feeling sorry for little girls with mad death skills.  The thing is, she knows that’s exactly what’s going through Annie’s mind at the moment, and she won’t let her forget that she’s transparent right now:

 

“Um, huh.” Coraline took a step closer to Annie, sighing loudly. “I’m going to say something I know you’re not going to want to hear, but it’s true. You want to know who put Kerry in this bed?” She reached out and lightly touch his blanked-covered right leg. “This guy. Every decision he made led to this.” She gave him a light pat. “I can see it all over your face; you know it’s true.”

She wanted to argue, but Annie knew Coraline was right. I won’t ever tell you what to do or try either, Kerry. I can offer suggestions, or give advice, but you have to gain these experiences on your own. That’s what she’d told him that night, while he sat in this same bed, just over a week ago. He needed to do things he wanted to do and learn from the experience—thought Annie knew it wouldn’t always be easy. Learning about new experiences that way could be dangerous, and that was a lesson Kerry discovered today. “I know.”

 

I’ve spoken with people about this story, and one of the things I’ve always come back to his how quickly everyone here grows up.  The first two months at this school have been a real leaning experience for most people, and it’s continuing.  Three months ago Kerry was just another kid waiting for school to start in Cardiff, and probably moping about the house and playing on his computer.  Now he’s flying patrols, fighting monsters, and almost dying.  Not to mention the lying in the hospital unconscious and broken.

Coraline relates that one of her people and one of Isis’ people spoke with Emma–who’s now resting down in the Dining Room since she’s not as shook up any more–and she said Kerry saved her life long before she was attacked by a Lovecraftian monstrosity.  And she says–

 

“It happened when the breach occurred. They were between the points and got caught by one of the drain spells. Emma said Kerry yelled at her to land and then dropped straight down, and she followed him. She said if it hadn’t been for him doing that she’d have probably died, ‘cause she froze up.” Coraline cleared her voice. “They were a hundred and fifty meters up. That’s a long fall to your death.

“The point is, Kerry didn’t loose his head—probably because he’d heard that thing Helena says all the time—”

“A good sorceress keeps her wits about her—” Annie stared at Kerry with a slight smile affixed upon her face. “—while everything is going to hell around her.”

“Yep, that one. Kerry did just that. He’s smart and he knew how to keep his wits about him.” Coraline turned her head and looked at him as Annie was. “He was smart enough to know that Emma’s plan wasn’t that bad, and what to do when she was attacked. He figured out how to keep from being killed, and how to follow orders when he was probably scared to death.” She turned to Annie. “He put himself in that bed with those decisions, Annie. Someone not as smart would have put themselves in the morgue.” She waited for Annie to look at her. “You know that as well.” Coraline looked down the hall towards her office. “I’m being summoned; I’ll be right back.”

 

Yes, that’s what you want to hear when you’re a few weeks beyond 12:  your boyfriend was smart enough to end up in the hospital bed broken, instead of ending up dead.  It’s kind of a hard burn, but one that Coraline uses to put Annie in a different frame of mine.  “Yeah, your boyfriend did some stuff that screwed him up badly, but he might have really jacked himself and wound up dead.”  In a way it’s a nice way of telling her that she should stop feeling sad about what happened,

"Look on the bright side:  I don't have to learn Necromancy to call his ghost back so I can yell at him for being stupid."

“Look on the bright side: I don’t have to learn Necromancy so I can call his spirit back and yell at him for being stupid.”

Almost seven hundred words, and since I can see the end of this scene clearly now, I’m of the mind that another seven or eight hundred are gonna clear it up, because Nurse Coraline has something big to say–

You just have to wait to find out what.

Into the All Clear

After the busy day I had yesterday–and it was–I needed to have a small part to write.  And I knew this next scene would be small, because, well, I know my scenes.  There wasn’t much happening, so there wouldn’t be much to say.

But since it’s part of a chapter, it doesn’t need to be large–it merely needs to convey a message, to show the reader what’s happening in the story.  And this scenes gets right to the point and tells everything.  Let’s then get right into it, all of it, and what’s happening down at the school.

 

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

19:50

Upon returning to the triage center Annie imagined that things would become busy quickly, but she was wrong: almost nothing happened. A couple of students teleported in—one with broken ribs and another with a broken wrist—but they were quickly treated, after which they returned to the school grounds.

Otherwise it was quiet. Annie didn’t know if she should be worried that things were going badly for the Salem side, or if she should be happy that it was possible the Salem forces were overwhelming the Deconstructor forces.

Without updates from beyond The Pentagram, it was impossible to tell what was happening on the school grounds.

Nurse Coraline returned a little before 19:55; Annie noticed this because she happened to be standing next to one of the examination monitors and checked the time. She looked strained, but related to her staff that Professor Palmescoff was resting, that she was in a time field for now so if she her vitals should begin failing someone could get to her quickly. Coraline pulled Nurse Gretchen aside and spent a few minutes discussing something quietly: Annie suspected they were developing a plan for taking care of the professor should the current situation continue—

“Attention. This is Fortress.”

Annie, along with everyone else in the triage area, stopped what they were doing and began staring off into space. She raised her gaze slightly, not looking straight ahead but more at the darkened area that was the First Floor of the East Transept. She didn’t know why she did this, but there wasn’t anyone she wanted to turn to in this moment, and since the voice seemed to be coming from somewhere above . . .

“Based upon our analysis of our the school grounds, and information being related to us from our people in the field, and have concluded that the enemy forces which assaulted the school are now vanquished.” Isis’ voice—which Annie recognized without difficultly—tried to speak as dispassionately as possible, but she could hear a quiver behind some of her words.

“As such, the school is now being stepped down to Security Level One protocols. Which the outer defense screens will remain at full strength, The Pentagon defense screens will be deactivated, and students can leave their lower tower levels and move about the grounds—though we advice that students not venture far from The Pentagram until we are able to further assess the situation beyond the walls.

“We have also reestablished contact with one of The Foundation networks and expect to reestablish contact with the other two soon. They are aware of out situation, and Protectors are being dispatched to assist in the cleanup.

“I will instruct the kitchen to begin preparing dinner, and to remain open until 22:30 to accommodate all students, staff, and instructors. Students are now free to leave the lower levels and return to their rooms and the Great Hall.” Isis’ tired sigh was audible to everyone listening. “Thank you for your cooperation during this emergency. This is Isis Mossman, Director of Security, over and out.”

Annie wanted to run for the hospital ward, to see how Kerry was doing—Thebe had returned some time before and told her he was resting comfortably—but at the moment the teleport alarm went off and three people appeared in the staging area and slowly made their way—one limping severely—towards the triage center.

Kerry was going to have to wait.

Annie had work ahead of her.

 

There you have it, all five hundred and eighty-two words, one of the shortest scenes I’ve written.  The emergency is now over, and things can get back to–normal?  Or what passes for normal in this joint?  Anyway you look at it, the bad guys and their monsters are history, and probably in a rather permanent way if you think about it for any amount of time.

Two scenes left, and they’ll likely be close to or over two thousand words each.  Since the chapter is up to almost thirty-eight hundred words, those two scenes should drive this chapter up to near or over eight thousand words.  The next two scenes are going to be fun and hard to writer, particularly the last one, as it’s going to be personal and will reveal some secrets between Annie and Kerry.  But that’s okay, because why else be at school if they didn’t have secrets to tell each other.

And it looks as if I have plenty of space where I can tell secrets.

And it looks as if I have plenty of space where I can tell secrets.

Travels of a Crocheting Groupie

Over the years I’ve done some strange posts.  I’ve written about a variety of things, most of them revolving around writing, but sometimes I go places and do things that are interesting to others.  And there have been times when I’ve reveled things about myself that have surprised and sometimes shocked people.

This post . . . it’s a little of everything.  A tail of travel to exotic movie locations, a look at things on a long journey, and a bit of strange, personal information about me.

So, let’s get to the full disclosure:

I am a crocheting groupie.

I’ve been a member of a group on Facebook, HodgePodge Crocheting, for as long at the group has been around.  Why, you ask?  Do you crochet?  No, I am not a hooker, which is what we call someone who does.  Then why are you there?  Because my bestest friend, Tanya, owns the group, and she included me in the group when she put it together.  In fact, there are only three other people who joined before me, and the owner of the group is one, so there.

For the longest time I was a private groupie, because I wasn’t out as a woman yet, and the thousands of people in the group–yes, that’s true, we’re over three thousand strong–weren’t aware of my status as a transwoman.  But one day I jumped in on a question about gender identity in young kids, and that was it:  I was off and running.

These days I’m the Memestress and Keeper of Helena, our own Drama Llama, one of the Lorekeepers of TARDIS Knowledge, and a member in good standing.  I’ve also been promising to show off our groupie tee shirt . . .

See, a while back we sold tee shirts to our members, one with the group logo and the wording that proclaimed that we were proud HodgePodge Groupies.  Many members have already shown theirs, and I was getting questions about when I was going to show mine.  The answers were always the same:  I’m going to show it soon, and I’m going to do it at a famous movie location.

A couple of weeks ago, it was time to get to some picture taking.

To get to where I needed to go was gonna take some time, so I headed out early, pretty much as the sun was coming up, and began driving west:

Look:  mountains ahead!

Look: mountains ahead!

As you can see the Pennsylvania Turnpike is curving up into the mountains.  Just behind that “Blue Mountain” sign is the first of four tunnels I needed to traverse.  There are two just on the other side of the sign, then another about ten miles beyond that, and then further to the west, the Allegheny Tunnel, which is the longest on the turnpike.

Now, what do I do when I’m out driving for long periods of time?  Wouldn’t you know it, I shot a video!  First off, it’s not the car moving, it’s the camera:  I was holding it in my right hand while I drove with my left, and kept the vehical on cruise control.  The music is loud because that’s usually how I keep it when I’m driving.  Don’t try this at home, kids:  I’m a professional.  And at about forty-four seconds you’ll probably notice some caterwauling which is me doing my best to sing.

My best isn’t that good.

Beyond that is Sideling Hill–a place I visited last year–and this place:  Breezewood, home of a lot of places to stop and eat, as well as Gateway to the Abandoned Turnpike.

You should see this place at night--I have.

You should see this place at night–I have.

I needed to get a bit of breakfast and some coffee, and since I was running just a little ahead of schedule, it was a good place to relax and decompress.  Because I had a long ways to go to get to my first stop . . .

Right here, just south of Pittsburgh.

I heard the shopping here was a little "dead".

I heard the shopping here was a little “dead”.

I know more than a few of you are saying or thinking, “Cassie, why’d you drive half way across the state to visit a shopping mall?”  Because this isn’t just any shopping mall:  this is a famous movie location.  Monroeville Mall was the location for the filming of the original Dawn of the Dead, the second of the original George Romero zombie movies, released in 1978.  Filming took place from ten PM until 6 AM; at which point the mall Muzak came on and since no one knew how to switch it off, that was a wrap.

Since I was in the area I thought, hey, stop in and look around.  See if any of the undead are still around . . .

Zombies?

Zombies?

Yoo hoo?  You around?

Yoo hoo? You around?

Calling all Walkers.

Calling all Walkers.

Since it's fall, all the girls who love fall will be here trying to get their pumpkin spiced candles.

Since it’s fall, all the girls who love fall will be here trying to get their pumpkin spiced candles when they’re undead.

The mall has changed a great deal since 1978:  new stores, new look, probably even a layout change here and there–though the food court still looked pretty funky, so I gotta wonder if there’s been many updates there.  Since I didn’t see any zombies, I bought a pair of boots and a pair of flats.  Because . . . shopping.

Here we have Dawn of the Bitchy Resting Face.

Here we have Dawn of the Bitchy Resting Face.

But this isn’t where I really wanted to show myself wearing my groupie tee shirt.  I said I was doing it at a famous movie location, and I knew just the place.  Because before you can have a Dawn, you need a Night . . .

Night of the Living Dead wasn’t just a genre changer, it was a genre maker.  Before this movie zombies were some drugged-out losers controlled by a bokor.  Everything that we know and love about zombies started with this moving, and while many have added to the mythos, without this little film you wouldn’t today have a guy on TV running around drilling zombies with a crossbow, a woman lopping off heads with a katana, another guy running around yelling “Coral!” and a woman who wants you to just look at the flowers.

Romero started the zombie apocalypse with a virus brought back from space (just like Robert Kirkman would lie about a few decades later when he pitched The Walking Dead and said the zombies were begin created by aliens) and before you knew it, the dead were crawling around looking to add to their numbers and fill their bellies at the same time.  He didn’t have a lot of money for filming, and he pretty much had to just shoot wherever he could–like an hour up the road from Pittsburgh in Evans City.

All of the shooting took place outside a house that is no longer standing, and inside a house right inside town that is still there.  But George needed some place special for the opening shots, which would involve–what we didn’t know at the time–the first attack by a zombie on a living person in cinematic history.

Where would you do that?  Where do you think?

"I need dead people.  Where's a good place to find them?"

“I need dead people. Where’s a good place to find them?”

Welcome to the Evans City Cemetery, and that sign in the above photo was in the movie.  This is it:  Ground Zero for Zombie History, because up the winding road and at the top of the hill is where George filmed Barbara and her douchey brother Johnny visiting their father’s grave before Johnny stupidly joins the ranks of the undead.

Here’s the small chapel in front of which Johnny and Barbara stopped:

It looks a lot better when it's not in black and white.

It looks a lot better when it’s not in black and white.

Here’s the lucky couple paying their respects:

Johnny can't even remove his driving gloves.

Johnny still being a douche, however.

And the site today:

Much better in color.

Much better in color.

And then Mister Don’t Say the Zed Word shows up and Barbara trying to escape from the horror:

Run, Barbara, Run!

Run, Barbara, Run!

And almost forty-five years later, Cassidy is trying to do a Barbara.

Zombies?  Are you there?  This is Cassidy.  Come and get me.

Zombies? Are you there? This is Cassidy. Come at me, bros.

Famous movie locations:  since a lot of my friends, Tanya among them, are huge Walking Dead fans, where better to show off my HodgePodge Groupie tee shirt than the site of the first cinematic zombie attack.  And am I worried I’ll be attacked by the undead?  No.  Not only because it’s a bright, sunny day, but . . .

Back off, Walker dudes:  I got my hooks.

Back off, Walker dudes: I got my hooks.

And I bought a big one just in case things get serious:

I'd be about a million times more bad ass if I had a katana.  And I was a bad ass woman who knew how to use it.

I’d be about a million times more bad ass if I had a katana. And I was a bad ass woman who knew how to use it.

I even managed to get my get my favorite traveling companion in one shot, my trusty CR-V with almost 150,000 miles on the odometer.

 

A girl and her car can't be seperated.

A girl and her car can’t be separated.

So there you have it:  travels to Zombieland, with stop-offs for breakfast on the way out:

Good morning!

Good morning!

And a stop for pumpkin spice latte on the way back:

Here

Good afternoon.

All that took place two weeks ago, on a Sunday, the 14th of September.  But I wasn’t quiet done . . .

See, today–the day of this post–is my friend Tanya’s birthday, and one of the things I wanted to do was wish her a happy birthday in a special way.  Because she’s . . . well, she’s a friend like no other, and you do lovely things for those friends.  I had intended to film a message for her while I was snapping pictures back in Evans City, but then realized, “Nope, I’m in the zombie graveyard, I need a better place.”  Which brings me a little closer to home:  near my apartment, down in Riverside Park right by the river.

So, without further ado, my birthday greeting.

And there you have it:  the travels of a crocheting groupie out to show off her tee shirt to not only her friends in her group, but to her friends on this blog . . . and most importantly, to try and make today a special day for my friend and, in many ways, my creative muse.

Until next year . . .

End These Bed #2 Blues

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

“What will I do?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Just like Poppy, it keeps growing.

Just like Poppy, this sucker keeps growing.

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

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

Begin These Bed #2 Blues

I’ve written before about how sometimes you gotta hurt your characters, how it’s necessary to make them suffer a little so they’ll grow.  Though sometimes you just want them to hurt because–well, it’s good for the story.  Sometimes people get hurt and wounded and injured and beat all to hell because it’s gonna happen from time to time, and there’s little you can do about it.

That’s where I’m at right now:  one kid down with a case of broken body and unconsciousness, and the other there to see the effects after the cause.  And the nurse who’d trying to get it organized so she can fix the one who’s broken.

How’s that working out?

 

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

When they reached the bay with Bed #2 Annie acted at the pivot while Nurse Thebe swung Kerry’s head towards the head of the bed. She instructed Annie to release the stretcher, then phased it through Kerry’s body, lifted it over head, then swung it around and laid it atop Bed #1. She didn’t begin working on Kerry, however: Nurse Thebe instead turned and approached Annie.

“I know why Coraline wanted you to help me: she figured you’d work better if you knew what was happening to him, rather than imagining.” She half-turned back towards the unconscious boy. “This isn’t going to be pretty, Annie: he has two broken limbs and his knee is torn up again. He’s dislocated his shoulder and hip, and we’ll have to reset those. It’s likely he’s bruised over most of his body, and his complexion is going to vary from normal to red to purple to black.” She moved uncomfortably close to the staring girl. “You’ve never seen him like this before, and you might find it difficult to assist once you see him this way. If you think you’ll be unable to help, go—”

“I can do this.” Annie slowly drew in a breath and released it just as slowly. She never allowed her gaze to leave Nurse Thebe’s. “I know he won’t look good—but I can assist.” She quickly glanced at Kerry, then back to the nurse. “I can do this.”

Thebe slowly smiled. “Okay, then—” She tapped Annie on the shoulder. “Let’s get to work.” She immediately turned towards Kerry as she started giving orders. “Take a cart and go into the supply closet.” She turned just enough to point to the wall separating the bay from the waiting area. “I’m going to need the following: two Number One nanobindings; a Number Three nanobinding; Number Two skull cap; two dozen cleans wipes; a dozen Number Two bio-hazard bags; a half dozen Number Four bio-hazard bags; a half dozen medium towels.”

As Annie grabbed a nearby cart Thebe gave her the names of four IV units she’d need to give to Kerry for pain and mending, and to bring a quad IV stand. Annie reached the door to the supply closet just as Thebe shouted out the last item. “And a Number One catheter.”

Annie stepped back so she could see the nurse. “Really?”

Thebe turned and gave Annie as disbelieving a stare as she could muster. “You want him to pee the bed tonight?”

Annie shook her head. “No.” She slid open the doors to the closet and stepped inside.

 

That’s right, Annie:  don’t let Kerry pee the bed!  I liked writing this section only because it shows that in a world that knows about magic, there’s still a tie-back to advanced technology.  And there’s no better combination than Nurse Thebe herself, who is an AP, and Artificial Person, a self-aware android with magical enhancements built into her body.  You didn’t think someone taught her that magic, did you?

Now it’s time to get to business.  What was that Coraline said?  “Strip him, clean him, bind him.”  Let’s start with the first . . .

 

“All done.” She wheeled the cart to the foot of the bed and unhooked the IV stand from the corner.

“Fantastic.” Thebe held something in her right hand. “Hold out your hands.” Annie did as told, and the nurse slid form fitting gloves over her hands. “There, you don’t have to worry about contamination now. She pointed to the smock hanging just inside the bay. “Put that on.” As Annie slipped off her jacket and shrugged on the smock, Thebe moved the cart to the end of Bed #1. “Do you know how to phase clothing?”

“No, Nurse.” Annie understood the concept, but it was something she’d yet to learn, even with a little of her mother’s help.

“No problem. I’ll do most of that, then. Number Four bio-hazard bag.” Annie pulled on off the cart and was instructed to hold it open. Thebe stripped off Kerry’s jacket, folded it, and stuffed it into the bag. “Seal it and lay it on the stretcher. I’ll need to send this down to get it decontaminated.”

“Will he get this back?” Annie did as she was instructed.

“Sure. It’s just that it’s got human and Abomination blood all over it, and it’s going to need more than a normal cleaning. Another Number Four, please.”

Annie nodded and opened the bag; Thebe dumped Kerry’s flight pants in. Annie had noticed the blueish-green stains on the jacket and wondered if it had come from the Abomination: Thebe had just confirmed that fact. He not only fought it— She laid the pants next to the jacket. He damaged it. He was trying to kill it . . .

 

Kerry, aka Mr. Clueless, really was trying to off the Spawn of Cthulhu, and this is Annie’s first hint of this extremely stupid action–at least from her point of view.  But it only gets better:

 

They removed his boots and socks next, followed by his flight helmet and goggles. All that remained were his thermal undergarments, which were stained with dark splotches of blood. Thebe turned to Annie. “Do you know if Kerry wears his underpants under thermals?”

“I don’t know.” Annie didn’t. She worn her panties under hers, but she knew how different boys could be, and this was one of those areas that she’d never discussed—

“We’ll find out in a moment. Bag.” Annie held the bag while Thebe first stripped off the thermal shirt, then his leggings. She grinned as she stuffed them into the waiting bag. “I guess he does.”

Annie wasn’t paying attention to Kerry’s twisted and bruised body; her eyes were glue to his briefs. “Thebe, there’s something wrong—”

“Seal that, then wheel over the Number Two Bio-hazard container.” Thebe pointed to a green container in the examination bay across the hall. “Then ready a Number Two bio-bag. Okay?”

“Yes, Nurse Thebe.” She had the container next to them in a matter of second, then had the smaller bio-hazard bag open. “Okay, I’m—”

Thebe didn’t wait for Annie to finish. She pulled off Kerry’s underwear and dumped it in the open bag she held. “Dump it in the container, then get another bag ready.”

Before she could seal the bag, Annie was almost overwhelmed by the pungent oder emanating from Kerry’s underwear. “That’s—”

“Abominations are engineered to produce a flight or fright response in most people. I’m not surprised he lost his bowls.” Annie sealed the bag and flipped open the container with Thebe watching her. “I detected urine there as well.”

“He peed himself, too.” The more these facts pressed home, the angrier she grew with Emma, who was somewhere at the far end of the ward. She started down the quite hallway, wondering which bay held Bed #14. All I need is a minute with you. He literally had the crap scared out of him saving your worthless life

“Annie.” Thebe wanted for the girl to face her before continuing. “We have Kerry stripped; we need to clean him before I can set his wounds. Give me a half dozen of those clean wipes and ready another Number Two bag.”

 

There you go:  he fought and ran from a monster that literally scares the shit and piss out of you–and Annie is not happy.  Do not leave this girl alone on the ward floor with Emma, or it would seem there’s gonna be a bloody mess on Bed #14 to clean up.  And Annie probably doesn’t even need a minute with Emma–which is kind of a scary thought . . .

It was a strange night of writing, mostly because I managed almost thirteen hundred words, but I kept bouncing up and down emotionally throughout the night.  And since I was in public–it was “Write at Panera Wednesday”–it wasn’t like I could break down and start sobbing at my computer just to get it out of my system.  That’s one of the sucky things about writing in public.  That, and the possibility that someone will ask you what you’re doing.

I never get asked; I must look like I'm working on spreadsheets, or something.

I never get asked; I must look like I’m working on spreadsheets, or something.

Now to bind up Kerry–who I should point out is without garments while his girlfriend stands next to the bed–and move on to the next scene.  Yes, Twenty-three is coming along nicely.

The more of Act Two I finish now, the more of Act Three I can torture myself with in November.

Never Say Never Say Never Again

As you may have guessed, I’m riffing on a James Bond movie title.  And why am I doing this?  Because once again I’ve been saying there’s something I’m not going to do, but in the end I turn around and–well, it seems like I’m doing said not doing thing.

Allow me to explain.

NaNo is coming up.  If you write, and you spend any amount of time on the Internet, you know this, because about now is where everyone who writer–well, everyone who isn’t pretty much making a living off their writing, that is–begins talking about what they’re going to do during NaNoWriMo 2014.  It’s what all the cool kids do, doncha know?

You can tell she's a writer simply by the strategically placed bowl of fruit . . .

You can tell she’s a writer preping for NaNo simply by the strategically placed bowl of fruit . . .

Now, I’ve participated in three NaNoWriMos and two Camp NaNos, and I’ve had fun.  More or less.  See, NaNo is a huge lark for some people:  you get down and write, and when it’s over you file away the story and move on to something else.  For some people it’s a struggle, like pushing a huge stone up a hill, only you don’t know what kind of stone, and you’re not sure of the name of the hill, so you’re having to stop and ask questions of others along the way.

And for some, you get to the end of the month with this huge document in front of you, and you think, “You know, maybe I should edit and publish this sucker . . .”

I’ve done this last one once, and I plan on doing it again . . . once I get this monster of a Last NaNoWriMo story out of the way.

Yes, I see you.  Stop that gloating, right now!

Yes, I see you. Stop that gloating right now!

As I’ve said before, I’ve not given NaNo any thought because I’ve always writing anyway.  Of late it seems like I’m taking a night off here and there, but I’m keeping it going.  Slow but steady as they say.

Then, the other night, a friend asks if there’s anyone going to do NaNo this year, because her son wants to do it, and she’s thinking about doing it, and oh, man, it’s like dangling a big carrot in front of me, because when someone says, “Hey, anyone wanna WRITE?” I kinda want to join in the fun.  Also, she was the one who kinda sorta got me to do Camp this year, and even though I lowballed by total (I only did twenty thousand words), it still gave me a goal to shoot towards.

And since I find it hard to say “No” to this person . . .

Yeah, I’m probably going to do NaNo.  But what am I writing?  The same novel I started for last year’s NaNo.

Now hold up there, ’cause don’t start in with the “But you can’t do that!” because it’s already been done:  Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus was written over the course to two NaNos, so if she can do it, so can I.  The way I see it, I can set a goal of sixty or sixty-five thousand words–as I did last time–and do what I can to take a good bite out of Act Three of the novel.  I’m hoping to be almost finished with Act Two by the end of November, so using NaNo to write out close to seventy thousand words–if that is even possible–would go a long ways towards finishing the project.

And since I’ve already planed and plotted everything, it’s just down to the writing, isn’t it?

Oh, wicked NaNo and the friends I have who like to dangle literary carrots before my eyes.  I keep trying to walk away–

You keep pulling me back.

Again With the Medical Emergencies

Getting into a writing groove is a wonderful thing.  Every so often, maybe once a week, I find myself getting into them.  But I usually know when they’re coming due to my habits.

It’s rare I get one on a Monday evening.  But that’s what happened.

There is a little background to that, but I’m not getting into that right now:  no, that’s fodder for a later post.  Today we’re back in the Great Hall, and that’s where Chapter Twenty-Three stays for the duration.  Enough being outside; come in and stay warm.  Or at least stay out of trouble.

When we last saw Annie she was about to kill Emma.  Well, not really–maybe?  Perhaps?  Not saying, I am, but she wasn’t a happy girl.  So we’re a little further down the line at right about the moment Kerry takes his flying tumble.  Any idea who those people he saw were?

I believe we’re about to find out.

 

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

18:41 to 18:48

The teleport alarm seemed louder that it’d been when Emma was brought in. Annie felt a tightening in her chest, because she was torn by who might appear. If it wasn’t someone bringing Kerry in, that meant he was still out there—and if it was him, then . . .

Don’t think about it. That’s what Nurse Coraline said. That was easier said that done. Right now Annie was thinking about Emma up in the ward resting while Kerry could be—

Two women popped into the teleport area. Annie recognized them immediately: Professors Kishna and Palmescoff. Jessica Kishna held the writhing and moaning Madeline Palmescoff against her body while attempting to drag her towards the triage center. Nurse Gretchen ran over and picked up the injured Maddie, while Coraline barked at Jessica as she prepared to examine the woman. “What happened?”

“We were dealing with Deconstructors.” Jessica brushed some loose strands of hair from her face. “I ran in to help Maddie, who—” She shook her head as the moaning woman was laid upon an examination table. “She’d already killed three or four when she got hit from behind with something. I grabbed her and got us out of the area, but he must have put a trace on her and popped in right behind us.” Jessice looked at Gretchen. “One of our people is down right where we teleported in; you gotta get them.”

Coraline nodded at Thebe. “Contact Fortress and tell them to set you down where they pulled in Jess. Go out and bring them back.”

“Got it.” Thebe grabbed one of the levitating stretches and quickly made her way to the teleport area. A few seconds later she vanished with a pop.

Coraline started Maddie’s examination and started frowning right away. “Oh shit, her insides are liquefying.” As if on cue Maddie convulsed and began spitting up blood. She turned to Jessica. “She just rushed in and took on a bunch of them, didn’t she?”

“Not like we didn’t try to stop her when we figured out where a group of them were, but . . .” Jessica sighed. “Yeah.”

“Nothing I can do for her here . . .” Coraline pressed her palms together as she stood over Maddie. A white glow began peeking out between her fingers, glowing brighter by the second. Coraline yanked her hands apart and spread the white glow over the dying instructor’s body. Maddie stopped moaning, stopped convulsing, stopped doing everything—

“Okay, that’ll do.” Coraline gave her monitor a quick check, then turned to Gretchen. “She’s in status for twenty minutes; get her up to the OR and prep her. We’re gonna have to counter a Liquefy spell.” The teleport alarm went off, indicating someone was inbound. “I’ll be up as soon as I give this next one a look. Go.”

 

“One of our people is down–”  Yeah, three guesses as to whom that could be?

 

Annie didn’t move from where she stood, but her eyes followed Gretchen as she hurried towards an examination table. “Male, unconscious, apparently involved in a crash.” She slipped the stretcher onto the examination table and phased it through and out of the way. “I detected no signs of respiratory or pulmonary distress.”

Coraline nodded. “Always good.” She pulled off the patient’s goggles—

Annie closed her eyes and hoped Nurse Coraline wasn’t about to speak the name she was afraid she’d speak . . .

There was a sharp intake of breath from Coraline. “Oh, god: it’s Kerry.” She reached for the jacket when she noticed the stains. “Where the hell did all this blood come from?”

Jessica cleared her throat. “That would be from the Deconstructor he hit.”

Coraline spun around. “What?”

“That’s why Maddie and I are alive: he hit the guy.” Jessica laid her index finger at a point above her jawline next to her ear. “Right about here. With his broom—” She drew in a sharp breath. “At speed.”

Thebe nodded. “I saw the body: it wasn’t decapitated, but the cranium was shattered. There was little left.”

Coraline notice noticed gray flecks on Kerry’s face and helmet. “That would explain this other crap on him—” She touched the monitor over the table as the orange glow appeared in her left hand, which she placed directly over his head. “Okay, let’s see what sort of shape he’s in . . .”

 

As it is, not in very good shape:

 

Annie walked slowly towards the table as she listened to Coraline call out the injuries. “He’s got a concussion, but there’s no swelling; skull is intact—” Her hand move slowly over his face. “Facial bones are intact; jaw in one piece.”

She couldn’t see much but a still body and the nurses and doctor standing over him. “No damage to the throat or neck; spinal cord and vertebrae are intact. Okay: broken collar bone; broken left shoulder; right shoulder dislocated; left arm broken about a third of the way above the elbow.”

Her breath came in long, slow draughts as Coraline continued her litany. “Lungs and heart are intact; no fluid in the lungs. Four ribs broken. Stomach, liver, pancreas intact; bruising on the spleen. Small and large intestines intact; no detectable perforations. Spinal column and vertebra intact.” Coraline sighed. “Lucky as hell there.”

Coraline’s hand move over the mid-section of Kerry’s body towards his feet. “Pelvic bone is intact; no ruptures or damage to the genitals. Right hip is dislocated. Ah, shit—” She looked over the table to Thebe. “His knee is screwed up again: major tears to the MCL and LCL. And his right leg is broken about a quarter of the way below the knee, so watch that.”

Annie was standing next the table now as Coraline finished. “Everything else is good.” She shut off the monitor and pointed at Nurse Thebe. “Get him up to the ward. Take him to Bed Two; that seems to be a good one for him. Strip him, clean him, bind him.” She began barking orders as she stepped away from the table. “Bianca, you’re in charge until I get back.” She turned just before entering the portal. “Thebe, you’ll need help—take Annie.”

Right.” Nurse Thebe grabbed a stretcher and phased it through Kerry’s body. She made sure it was back in-phase and holding his weight before pointing at her helper. “Annie, take the end of the stretcher.” When she didn’t move, Thebe changed her tone so she’d get Annie’s attention. “Annie, come on—move.”

“Yes, Nurse Thebe.” She took hold of the stretcher, getting it behind her. She heard the count to lift it off the examination table, and followed Thebe’s instructors to head for the portal and the first floor of the hospital ward . . .

 

Now we know what happens when you hit a guy in the head with your broom:  not very good things.

This is leading up to Annie helping to get Kerry–well, not back on his feet, but at least healed.  You’ll see him over the next few scenes, but he’s not saying anything, as being unconscious tends to keep you quiet.  Don’t worry, though:  he won’t miss anything.  ‘Cause when he wakes up, Annie’ll have plenty to tell him . . .

One scene down, a few more scenes of patching up unconscious fliers to go.

One scene down, a few more scenes of patching up unconscious fliers to go.

Returning to the Intimate

Since I’d written in the morning, there wasn’t anything written yesterday afternoon or evening–which is good, because I spent most of the evening in something of a carb haze, as I’d went out for a late lunch/early dinner sort of thing, loaded up on bread and pasta, and then felt like I was going to fall into a coma the rest of the night.  It was a good thing that Breaking Bad was on, otherwise I’d have probably crashed by eight PM and woke up about 2 AM.

The closest I came to writing last night was readjusting the time line of the story.  There are things that needed to get tightened up, and I sluggishly went through that about the time someone was blowing up a nursing home on my television.

Message

Out with the old, and getting ready for the new.

The last chapter was all about protecting people and trying to stay alive.  And, in the case of one girl, sorta venting your death wishes in her direction, but we can’t be all sunshine and unicorns all the time.  This chapter is gonna be different.  It’s almost all gonna be scene from Annie’s point of view, with the exception of the scene All Clear, which really shows things from Isis’ point of view–though I’m actually rethinking how I want to write it now.  I like the idea of the whole chapter being Annie-centric, and I’ve already decided how to go about writing the scene.  Short, sweet, and to the point.

And it keeps the chapter on Annie’s point of view the whole time.

The interesting thing is that Kerry is actually in four of the five scenes as well, but he says almost nothing throughout the chapter.  Needless to say I didn’t kill him, but since the second scene is Back to Bed #2, astute readers will realize that Bed #2 seems to be the one he gyrates towards, and it only makes sense that we’ll find out what actually happened out in Selena’s Meadow, and just how badly he was hurt.  The last scene, Dreams On the Ward, it probably going to be the most intimate I’ve written, and it will start to answer some of the questions about how Annie knew Kerry before they met in London.  But only will it start:  there will be more head scratching, I’m sure, and it won’t be until sometime in the Third Act I give up all the answers.

Funny how I work that way.

In a way I’m glad the Attack chapter it over.  It’s been just a little over a month since I started, and it was a bit of a slog.  I’ve been through some personal issues during this time, and there’s nothing worse than dealing with your life while trying to create other lives.  Though this is the stock in trade for writers:  you put aside your own emotional and mental baggage for a while so you can develop emotional and mental baggage for your characters.  It’s totally tit for tat, and if you have to suffer through that stuff, it’s only fair you make your characters share.

It makes them so much more believable when they’re crying over nothing, don’t you think?

Intervention Time, Start to Finish

Chapter Twenty-two is history, complete, done.  I only managed about four hundred and fifty words last night, but this morning I felt inspired to complete the scene and end the chapter, and after a hour of writing I’ve accomplished that very thing.

Interestingly enough, Kerry’s final scene of this chapter had nearly the same word count as Annie’s final scene, though it was a few hundred words shorter.  Whereas Annie was all about bringing out the homicidal feelings, Kerry was fighting to stay alive.  One almost brought about death, the other was doing his best to avoid death.  A strange, neat little dichotomy, I believe.

Here it is:  Kerry’s run from death and the aftermath that brings a close to Chapter Twenty-two:

 

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

 

18:38 to 18:42

Kerry couldn’t get away from the creature chasing him.

Since running from The Diamond Kerry had tried everything possible to shake this thing on his tail. He’d zigged and zagged from east to west. He’d changed altitude rapidly. He’d made one high speed run from the south to the north and back several times.

Nothing worked. The creature kept on his tail, and was slowly closing the distance.

Kerry was tired and growing exhausted. It wasn’t the high speed runs from on end of the school to the other: it was the dips, the weaves, the turns at the north and south ends of the school, the ones that brought him closer and closer to the screens, which were becoming more difficult to see at hight speed in the growing darkness. The g forces were tremendous, like he’d expect in a race car. His head hurt, his back was sore, and his knee was on fire. He’s learned quickly to stay out of the area of the school north of the Observatory, because the area there was smaller compared to the rest of the grounds, and it was there he slipped up and not only all most slammed into the screens, but allowed this monster to gain a couple of meters on him.

And no one was responding to his cries for help.

He knew it was only a matter of time. Eventually he was going to miss a turn and go into the screens, or misjudge a weave and feel a tentacle wrap around his neck and rip him off his broom and drag him to the forest below. While he thought it was possible it might throw him to the ground and let him die on impact, a nagging fear in his mind told him it would pulled him screaming into the forest, alive, and it was there it would . . .

He turned back to the northwest, heading towards Sunset Tower and the West End portion of the Green Line. He couldn’t help but notice The Pentagram, glowing a soft blue in the darkness under the defense screens. Annie was in there, safe, maybe working, maybe wondering about him. He had no idea what the people inside the Blue Bubble knew, and even less what she’d know. The image of her face as they said goodbye in the Dining Hall this morning instantly came to mind, and he fought to control his emotions as he fought back the notion that the next time she saw him, it might be to identify his body—

 

Remember, parents:  the next time your kids complain that, two months into the school year, they’re bored with everything, tell them they could be flying for their lives trying to get away from some monster that probably wants to eat them.  They’ll likely remained bored, but at least you can lay some nightmare fuel on them.

But Nightwitch gets on the comm and gives him instructions to fly towards Selena’s Meadow, to come in close to the pavilion on the west side, and to break left when word is given.  It’s all quick and clear, and if there’s one thing Kerry’s shown throughout this ordeal, it’s that he knows how too follow orders.  With the word given he does exactly as told.

 

He reached the tree line north of Selena’s Meadow and pushed hard towards the ground, dropped almost seventy-five meters in a few seconds. He pulled out at just under three meters, and a couple of small adjustments set him at two meters as he stayed on the west side of the meadow and headed straight for Toft Pavilion. He didn’t look back; he didn’t glance over his shoulder; he didn’t bring up the rear view display. He didn’t want to know how close that thing was, if it was only a couple of meters away and was now reaching out to snatch him away—

Break left; break left.”

Kerry did exactly as instructed, throwing his broom into a sixty degree turn while speeding away from the pavilion as fast as possible. There were bright lights behind him, and Kerry didn’t need to look back to know someone was throwing some destructive magic at the creature.

For the first time since leaving The Diamond Kerry felt safe. He felt he could relax. Most of all, as he slowed he felt there was nothing more to do that find a place to stop and wait for orders, perhaps get taken to a place of safety—

He saw two people pop into existence up ahead on his right. It was hard to see given the night vision and distance, but it looked like two women, one supporting the other. A couple of seconds later another person, obviously a man, popped into view, standing behind the women. His right arm was drawn back slightly, and there was something blue and glowing in his hand. Kerry had seen this before—his exhausted mind recognized it from the time Annie showed him the spell. Kerry kept his eyes locked on the ball of cold fire in the man’s hand—

The broom shook hard; Kerry felt the force through his hand and up his arms as it threatened to wrench his shoulders from their sockets.  As he continued flying something warm and sticky splashed his face—

He sailed through the air, finally giving into the exhaustion that wanted to take him for the last five minutes. Kerry surrendered and went limp, waiting—

He barely registered smashing into the ground; he paid little attention to the violent tumble that followed. There was only one final thought:

Annie.

Darkness greeted him long before he came to a stop . . .

 

And there you have it:  Chapter Twenty-two coming to a stop, just like Kerry did.

I could end the novel right here, but that would probably drive a few people mad--myself included.

I could end the novel right here, but that would probably drive a few people mad–myself included.

Now we just have to wait for Chapter Twenty-three.

Won’t that be fun?

Aid Time, Angry Annie Aftermath

I’ve been rocking out on David Bowie this morning, writing to Station to Station, and now blogging to Scary Monsters and Super Creeps.  Both brilliant works, and standing up to what passes for music today.  Maybe it’s because I grew up in this time that I love the work so much, but the truth is I wasn’t a huge Bowie fan as a teen, and it’s only been in the last few years that I’ve been able to revisit his catalog and revel in his brilliance.

Why am I bringing up Bowie?  No reason.  Just into the music this morning as I grow closer to the end of Chapter Twenty-Two.  The penultimate scene is finished, and all that remains is the last scene, Intervention, then I can move on to the end of this long and dangerous day for my kids.  As for now, Annie’s part in this chapter is over, but Chapter Twenty-Three is almost all her observations of ongoing events inside the Great Hall as night falls.

Until then, she has to resolve these issues she is having–like whether or not to rip Emma’s lungs out and squeeze them . . .

 

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

Annie never let her emotions rule her; she never allowed them to driver her impulses. She’d told Kerry that she never cried, and it was also true that she was never angry in the ways that people understood anger. She wouldn’t scream or shout, but rather turn cold and keep her fury contained.

But now . . .

She’d never been in the position of having someone she loved put in a position of danger that could lead to injury or death. Kerry was out there, on the school grounds, perhaps with an Abomination after him—or maybe it had caught him and he was lying in the forest dead and . . .

Either way, alive or dead, whatever was happening to Kerry was due to this girl . . .

Annie pull Emma’s jacket tight around her throat. Her eyes never left those of the frightened and now-drugged girl, and Annie resisted the urge to shake and scream at her for being such a silly, stupid, ignorant girl, but she kept the words she wanted to yell at the top of her voice within her thoughts. How could you do this to Kerry? How could you not listen to him? How could you leave a safe place and lead him to his death

A hand tightened around the back of Annie’s neck and she was ripped away from Emma. She was pulled away from the triage area and towards the West Transept; a few seconds later Coraline spun her around and shook her roughly. “The hell is wrong with you?”

Annie quickly gathered her wits about her and realized what was happening. “I—”

“I said you could use that shit against the Deconstructors if they got in here.” She pointed back at the triage area a few meters away. “I didn’t mean you could use it on our patients.”

Annie’s vision followed Coraline’s outstretched arm. Emma was still in her examination chair; Nurse Gretchen hovered over the girl, swabbing away the rivets of blood emanating from Emma’s nose and tear ducts . . .

“Get her up to the ward: Bed Fourteen.” As soon as she received an acknowledgment from Gretchen, Coraline returned her attention to Annie. “You better have a damn good reason for what just happened, or I’m gonna lock you up in my office for the rest of this situation, Annie.” She folded her hands in front of her, trying not to come off as too domineering. “Well?”

 

The question came up yesterday, “Is Annie the only one who knows death spells?” and the answer to that is, out of all the A Levels, yes, she’s the only one who knows death spells–in particular, she knows one, Exsanguination, which is a D Level spell if one must know.  Both of Annie’s parents were pretty good with Sorcery, and while they didn’t go that route, they have books about the house, and little Annie found those books and read through them.  Ergo, that’s how she learn a death spell.

And what is Exsanguination?  Here is the definition:  “The action or process of draining or losing blood.”  In laymen’s terms it means you bleed a lot, and if you bleed enough, you’ll bleed to death.  Those rivets of blood coming from Emma’s nose and eyes?  Yep.  Annie was laying a little death spell on her, and if she’d actually put her mind to it, Emma would have had blood spurting from her nose faster than a teenage Japanese boy in a hentai animation.

That’s what she was being tasked to use on the “bad guys” if they got into the Great Hall.  Annie was gonna bleed them out–and not slowly.  Someone who knows what they’re doing, like Professor Lovecraft, could make a person bleed from every pore and opening in their body, which means you could put a person down in a mater of seconds.  Yes, it’s a messy way to go–but in my world it’s them or you, right?

There are other students who know how to do this sort of thing.  Do they used them against other students?  No.  Why?  For one, most students at the level where death spells are taught are also taught how to block them.  But also because if someone starts slinging that sort of magic, they’d vanish.  It’s that simple.  Kill a student while you’re a student and that’s it, you no longer exist.  Remember how Isis thought The Foundation might have to do something with Kerry and Emma’s parents if something happened to them?  They’d have basically made them vanish from existence, and anyone who’d come in contact with them would forget them–forever.  Same thing happens to wacky students going around trying to kill people:  they vanish.  Usually into Cloudland.  But that’s another story . . .

There was another question as well:  is that the only death spell?  Nope.  There’s no Avada Karvada in this world:  there are many ways to kick someone off this physical plain in a permanent fashion.  I know this because I have a list:

Spell List:  a work in progress you never leave home without.

Spell List: a work in progress you never leave home without.

Anything listed as “Sorcery (Morte)” is a spell designed to kill.  Yes, it can be used for other things:  Lovecraft used Electrify on Kerry the first day of Sorcery class because she wanted to see if she could get Annie to react, and her skill with the spell is such that she can shock you a little, or she could flat-out fry a person where they sat and they’d be dead before they knew they were dying.

Really, though:  any kind of magic could be used to off someone if you’re inventive enough.  During The Scouring–the other time The Deconstructors came and tried to destroy the school–Wednesday, while a student, killed a Deconstructor by creating a little tornado around his body and flaying him to death with dust and stone particles.  As she’s been known to say, Visualization, Energy, and Willpower:  if you can imagine it, you can make it happen.  If you can see how to do it, and you can channel that magical mojo into your Craft, all you need is the will to make it happen.

Annie’s had it drilled into her that using a death spell just to use it against someone is bad.  She had a slip-up, and . . . yeah, she explained to Coraline that she lose control for a moment because of what happened with Emma and Kerry, and it was her bad, don’t worry, it won’t happen again.  And Coraline, knowing how magic can go sideways when you’re upset, understands . . .

 

“Okay.” Coraline put a finger across Annie’s lips. “Don’t say that. Don’t think the worst.” She began slowly running her hands over Annie’s shoulders, trying to comfort her. “I’ll make this one up as a loss of control—” She leaned closer and eyed Annie hard. “But it’s not going to happen again—is it?”

“No.” Annie shook her head. “It won’t. I’m sorry, Nurse Coraline.”

“Yeah, well . . .” She looked back at the now-empty examination chair. “Emma’s the one you should apologize to, not me.” Coraline tapped Annie’s shoulders. “Let’s get back to work; I have a feeling more are coming.”

They’d taken no more than three steps when Coraline touched Annie’s arm and stopped her. “Hey. Kerry’s a smart boy.” She gave the worried girl a smile that she hoped would put her at ease, though she knew it likely wouldn’t. “If there’s anyone who can get away from an Abomination, it’s him.”

 

See?  All is forgiven–more or less.

As for that last statement, Coraline–

I may have something to say about that . . .

Though intervention usually means help is on the way . . .

Though intervention usually means help is on the way . . .

Aid Time, Emma and Annie’s Quiet Moment

Finally, a pretty good night of wirting, even if there were more than a few distractions happening.  But I’m used to that these days; it seems to be the way of a writer’s life.  You work your way through them, adjust, and keep moving.  As it was I managed about eight hundred words last night, but more importantly, I inched closer to the end of Chapter Twenty-Two.

This is the penultimate scene, and if you can’t tell by the title of the post, Emma and Annie meet.  How do they meet?  Like this:

 

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

18:32 to 1838

The warning alarm wasn’t loud, but the beep-beep-beepbeep-beeeeeeep was easily designed so as not to be mistaken as something other than an incoming teleport. The moment it started Coraline turned to the location about two-thirds of the way towards the center of the Rotunda and made her announcement. “We have incoming, people. Time to do our jobs.”

Annie got into position. Her instructions were simple: if anyone permitted to teleport through The Pentagram screen wasn’t who they were supposed to be, the Annie was to launch death spells on them without hesitation. She did so with the understanding that if any Deconstructors made it through the minute opening in the screens the Security Center allowed for emergency teleportation of the wounded, and they saw her standing off to one side watching everyone coming into the building, they might decide to launch a death spell her way first.

It was a calculated risk, and one she accepted ever since letting Coraline know that she could do the killing for them were it necessary. If you’re going to be a sorceress, you have to accept the life they lead. And it’s not always a safe one

An eerie silence filled the Rotunda right before the pop that came with the arrival of someone teleporting. Annie wasn’t certain who the person was, but Coraline rushed up to her, so she obviously knew the person. Addressing them by name helped as well . . .

“What do you have, Suhaila?” Coraline checked the person that Annie now saw this Suhaila cradled effortlessly in her arms. The Chief Medical Officer for the school motioned for the other woman to follow her to the triage area.

“Flier trying to get back in.” Suhaila didn’t have an issues with the person in their arms, which led Annie to believe she was an AP like all of Coraline’s staff. “Found her outside The Diamond; her wingmate and her reported in as soon as the comms were back on-line, and it was thought best to bring them in through there.” She laid the girl in on of the reclining chairs instead of on a stretcher. “She’s in shock: I think she was attacked by an Abomination.”

It was only when Coraline pulled the flier’s helmet off that Annie saw the cascading red hair that had been hidden there moments before she heard the question. “She got a name?”

Suhaila nodded. “Emma Neilson.”

 

Now we know who was supposed to go pick up the kids, and if there hadn’t been some Anime Wannabe hanging out and spoiling the night, Annie would be back with her Kerry.  Instead she gets the wingmate and some bad news . . .

 

Annie froze in mid-step as she listened to the conversation—

Coraline conjured the orange glow in her hand while looked at the monitor over the head of the chair. “Yeah, she’s in deep shock.” She nodded at Gretchen. “Okay, let’s bring her out.”

“Yes, Coraline.” She pulled a slap patch from her jacket and gently applied it to the right side of Emma’s neck. “That should do it.”

Coraline checked the monitor. “And three, two, one . . .” She placed her hands upon Emma’s shoulders as the near-catatonic girl gasped for air as she convulsed. The head nurse leaned in close to the girl’s head. “It’s okay, Emma; it’s okay. You’re in the hospital; you’re safe now.” As Emma stopped shaking and started to calm down Coraline turned to Suhaila. “You said you were out there to pick up two?”

“Yes.” She nodded slowly. “The other flier wasn’t there.”

“What’s their name?”

Annie shook her head slowly; she didn’t want to hear the name of Emma’s wingmate. Don’t say it; don’t say it. Please don’t say

“Kerry Malibey.”

 

No, not what Annie wants to hear.  Also, she didn’t want to hear an Abomination was there, so things aren’t looking up for her.  Even Coraline is a little worried–

 

Coraline shot a look in Annie’s direction, then quickly turned back to Suhaila. “Okay, we can take it from here. You need anything from us?”

“No.”

“Good, then.” She patted the security woman on the shoulder; as soon as she teleported out, Coraline turned back to the now fairly serene student in the examination chair. “Emma, I’m Nurse Coraline. You know me?”

Emma nodded slowly. “Yes.”

“Were you attacked outside The Diamond?”

Her eyes opened wide and she shook slightly. “I was. I—”

“It’s okay; you’re safe.” Coraline looked up at Gretchen. “There’s no injuries other than bruises and contusions.” She stepped away from the examination chair and led Gretchen away for consultation. “We can get her up to the ward—”

Annie wasn’t listening to their conversation: she had instead moved next to the examination chair and was now standing over Emma. She calmly looked over the girl before speaking. “Emma.”

Emma slowly looked up. “Oh, hi, Annie.”

 

I look at that last line and so want to write, “Oh hai!”–it’s so hard not to put that in.  Who’s the last person you expect to see after being attacked by a monster?  The girlfriend of your wingmate–I’m sorry, I mean, Soul Mate.  And, from the looks of it, a not so happy one . . .

 

She wasn’t in the mood for an “Oh, hi,” however. She wanted answers. “Where’s Kerry?”

Emma managed a weak smile. “He saved me.”

“What were you doing out in the open?” Annie moved so she was standing next to Emma’s raised torso. “Why weren’t you somewhere safe?”

“We couldn’t; we almost crashed.” Emma slowly licked her dry lips. “We were in the woods and Kerry got me to find a place to hide.” Her eyes rolled for a second. “It was nice, too.”

“What were you doing at The Diamond, then?” Annie’s voice remained steady and level, but a dangerous tone began creeping into her words. “Why weren’t you hiding?”

“I wanted to get underground.” Emma’s voice was growing distant as the medication she was given was removing all the effects of her shock. “I thought we’d be safer. Even Kerry thought the plan wasn’t bad.” She chuckled. “We were almost all the way there when Nightwitch told us to go there and we’d get picked up.” She nodded. “See? It was good.”

Annie leaned over Emma, the distance between their faces closing. “Emma, what happened to Kerry?”

Her voice was weak and far off. “He saved me.”

She grabbed Emma by the front of her flight jacket. “How did he save you?”

“He attacked the monster.”

Annie’s eyes turned cold as she calmly pulled Emma towards her. “He attacked an Abomination?”

Emma chuckled once more. “I heard him screaming at it, and then it screamed at him, and there was more screaming . . .” She gulped as her breathing turned ragged. “There was a lot of screaming.”

As her hands slipped up to the collar of Emma’s flight jacket, Annie fought to keep her anger under control. She was loath to show her feelings to others, but this very moment she felt as if she were about to go off on this stupid girl. “Mozhete glupavo malka kuchka . . .” She pulled the jacket tight around Emma’s neck. “What happened to Kerry? Where is he?”

“He flew off.” Emma continued speaking calmly, as though nothing out of the ordinary were happening. “He flew off and the monster went after him.”

Kerry’s out there with an Abomination after him—” Annie pulled Emma to within a few centimeters of her face.

Emma stared back at Annie as if dumbfounded. “He saved me—” She slowly blinked twice before chuckling. “You’re so lucky.”

 

Yeah, that little bit of Bulgarian there . . . Annie’s not happy.  And the “You’re so lucky” line . . .  Full disclosure here:  as I’ve stated a few times before, Annie and Kerry came out of a role play that me and another person did for most of a year.  This actual scene was more or less played out, with my friend playing Annie, and me playing Emma.  Some of what happened in this scene is as presented–I’ve had to change a few things, and our role playing scene was shorter–but what Annie does to Emma here is what my friend did with Annie.

And when I laid the “You’re so lucky” line on her, she lost it.  Annie literally went all murder time on the girl.  I was actually a bit shocked at how she went at Emma, but now I understand her motivation.  I understand that you don’t mess with her soul mate, and if you did something stupid that might have gotten him killed . . .

You’re gonna suffer, honey.

A couple of days ago I saw my friend who played Annie on-line, and I told her I was getting ready to write this scene, and after I said, “You’re so lucky”, she tells me–and here is the exact quote:  “And the lucky thing . . . honestly . . . If I could have gotten away with it, I would have pulled her lungs out of her body and squeezed them.”

No, she wasn’t bothered at all by what Emma did.

What does Annie do?

Well . . . I’ll write that up tonight.  Considering Annie’s the Dark Witch–what do you think?

And here Emma thought she left the horror outside . . .

And here Emma thought she left the horror outside . . .