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:
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.
Now we just have to wait for Chapter Twenty-three.
Won’t that be fun?