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:
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 . . .