As I like to say, another one bites the dust. Chapter, that is. Twenty-Six was completed last night after writing nearly two thousand worlds–well, one thousand, nine hundred, and fifty-seven. But who’s counting?
It was another case of stepping away from the drama that is the Internet and throwing on some tunes while I wrote. (Said tunes were, by the way, Tumbleweed Connection, Honky Château, and about two sides of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, all by Elton John.) I started about seven-thirty, finished about nine-thirty, and was happy that I’d banked a good set of wordage into the story.
What is happening? Well, Kerry is resting, and he gets rousted . . .
All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)
Relaxing on “their” sofa, Kerry had found himself drifting from full consciousness to something akin to a slight mediative state. He wasn’t thinking or contemplating the events of the day: he was doing everything he could to clear his mind and ready himself for his trip to San Fransisco.
It wasn’t going to be long now. The Dining Hall had been silent for the last thirty or forty minutes, and he was fairly certain he was the last person left in the hall, if not in the Great Hall. I’m departing pretty much as I came here. He turned his head to the right and half expected to find Annie sleeping in the crook of his arm. Amidst by the silence of the hall—
“Hey, you awake?”
He looked to his left and up and found both Isis and Wednesday standing behind the sofa. “Yeah, I’m awake.” He sat up and flung his left arm over the sofa back. Both women were wearing tee shirts, jeans, and athletic shoes; a small purse was slung across Wednesday’s body, and Isis carried her ever-present tablet. “Is it time to go?”
“Almost.” Isis checked her tablet. “You’ve got an escort, and we’re just waiting for them.”
“An escort.” Kerry turned and stretched as Wednesday and Isis came around to the front of the sofa. “What am I? Special?”
“I think so.” Wednesday chuckled. “So do a few of the other instructors—as does a certain young girl we know.”
It’s always nice when one of your instructors and the Director of Security come to get you. It’s even better when they tell you someone is coming to take you away. He also discovers Isis and Wednesday are in the final stages of shutting the joint down. Kerry learns that no one will be on the premises except for a certain school Phoenix and a few “beasties” that Isis refers to as her “pets”. Since Kerry saw one of her pets, he asks if there’s a difference between them and the Abomination he fought, and Isis tells him with a straight face that the creatures at the school won’t kill and eat you. That’s nice to know.
And he learns something else, too . . .
“O-kay. Is it gonna be late when you get home?”
“No.” Isis shook her head. “I live in Palm Springs, so I’ll be on Cali time just like you.” She checked her tablet. “I’ve already cleaned up, so I’ll pop home about nineteen-thirty, change, and head out for dinner.”
“Cool.” He turned to Wednesday. “What about you? I thought you lived in Austria.”
“I do. But this year I’m heading west for the holidays.”
“Oh? Where you going?”
“Um . . .” She ran a hand down her purse strap. “I’m heading out to Palm Springs, too.”
Kerry smiled broadly. “That’s great; you guys can hang out together then. You gonna be staying with Isis?”
“Yeah—” She turned to Isis, then back to Kerry. She raised her eyebrows a little before she spoke. “You might say that.”
A few seconds passed while Kerry studied the curious look on Wednesday’s face moments before he noticed a similar look on Isis’ face. Only then did he make the connection. “Oh—oh.” He reflexively looked around to see if anyone else was listening to them—which given they were the only ones in the Dining Hall, was impossible. “Really? You guys?”
Isis nodded. “Yeah. For three years now. Only we’re not as open about it as Helena and Erywin—”
“At least not yet.” Wednesday grinned. “The staff and instructors know, but there’s only a few students who kinda figured it out, and they’re not talking.” She crossed her hands in front of her. “You’re the first student who knows for sure.”
Now you know why Isis was so worried about Wednesday making the trek outside when here non-pets were running loose on the school grounds. There was a little more that simply friendship involved, and when I think about their history together–I know they actually played a huge part in saving the school during The Scouring because I wrote that novel–I had to ask, “Why did they wait so long?” Um . . . that’s another story.
Kerry’s escort is Ms. Rutherford, who was the woman who picked him up from home, who chaperoned him and Annie and two other kids to Amsterdam, and who was in on Annie’s reason for being in London and gave her free reign to take Kerry out on a day stroll. Sure, that all happened about two hundred and fifty thousand words ago, but I remember. And rewrote it. A couple of times.
Then jaunt from Salem right to San Francisco International Airport–
. . . where he’s told The Foundation not only has jaunt stations there, but at nearly every major airport in the world. It makes “Hiding in plain sight in the Normal world” that much easier. And there’s something else Ms. Rutherford wanted to say as well, which is why she woke up early—like two AM to start getting ready early–to take him across the US:
“Yes. I’ve been assigned as your intermediate.” They rounded a corner and stepped onto an up escalator. “That means when you’re away from the school—like this, on holiday, or during the summer—if you need assistance with something, I’m your point of contact to the Foundation.”
“Why would I need something from The Foundation when I’m off from school?” They stepped off the escalator and Kerry followed the young woman as she turned left. “In case there’s trouble?”
“That’s one of the reasons.” Ms Rutherford walked slowly so Kerry didn’t have to hurry alongside her. “You likely won’t need much now, or over the coming summer, but once you come out after your B Levels—” She snapped her fingers. “Ah. That’s usually when you want to talk to someone.”
He knew about The Foundation policy not to reveal to the parents of those students coming from Normal backgrounds the true reason for his attendance at Salem until after they’d completed two full school years. The reasoning was since they’d lived as Aware witches with their Normal families all that time, there was nothing to fear from that point on. “Could their be trouble?”
Ms. Rutherford stopped outside a set of double doors and turned to Kerry. “You’ll receive more orientation on this next year. Just know that if there was a problem, I could help you.” She placed her hand on the handle and pushed the door open. “Shall we?”
The whole “Getting Outed as a Witch After Your B Levels” is something that won’t come up until, well . . . if there’s a third novel, you’ll see what happens. You’ll hear about it if there’s a second novel, but you’ll see it in the third. Will there be trouble? Not gonna say.
They meet another woman who Kerry is handed off to; she’s going to take him the rest of the way to meet his parents. Ms. Rutherford tells Kerry he’ll get her contact information tomorrow by email, and says she’ll see him at the end of the school year in Amsterdam. Now that the new woman, Naseema, has Kerry, the subterfuge of being Aware in a Normal world begins.
Naseema began doing her job as soon as Ms. Rutherford was gone. “Here is your travel packet, Kerry.” She handed him a manila folder which he placed in his backpack. “Your ticket and boarding pass for the flight have been processed and are suitably worn. Your ticket and pass for the return flight are in there as well—” She removed a luggage tag from her pocket and wrapped it around the handle of his bag. “You were briefed on your flight here?”
“United Flight 477.”
“Aircraft type—” The woman gave Kerry a pleasant smile. “Since I was told you tend to know those things.”
He did. “757.”
“First class, second row—seat 2F.” He pointed to his right. “Window seat on the right side of the plane.”
“Outstanding.” She opened a second set of double doors that had been behind her when he entered the room. “This way, please.”
Yeah, he falls into that role pretty well. And there’s more . . .
Kerry followed Naseema out onto one of the concourses. She spoke they walked towards what he figured was the Arrivals area. “We sent a car for your family: your parents and grandparents are waiting for you.”
“They didn’t think it was strange?”
“They were informed of your travel plans two weeks ago—well, the Normal ones.” She grinned. “We let them know it’s a common service given to our students.”
That should impress them. “What about when I return?”
“We don’t imagine there’ll be any issues. We know your parents are flying out the day before, so they’ll say their goodbyes then. You’re supposed to take a late flight, so we don’t anticipate your grandparents will accompany you to the airport.’ She shot a quick glance to her left, eying him. “I’ll come for you. There shouldn’t be any issues driving into the city, but if there is we can jaunt to the airport.”
“Sounds good.” Ahead were the doors leading to Arrivals. “Thanks for all this.”
“You’re welcome. And Kerry—”
They stopped a few meters short of the automatic doors. She stepped close so she could keep her voice low. “You should begin getting used to this treatment. This is the way things are done in The Foundation: this is your life now.” She nodded towards the exit doors. “Let’s not keep your family waiting.”
He walked through the doors with Naseema to his right. The second he was through the doors he spotted his mom, his dad, his grandparents. He waved to them as he began to smile. His gaze shifted from his family to a nearby clock, which showed the time 7:21.
His smile grew wider as he calculated the time for the other side of the world. It’s 5:21 in Pamporovo; Annie’s probably waking up right about now . . .
It’s crucial to note that Naseema drills into him that he’s special, that the sort of treatment he’s getting is normal for him now, and that he’s no longer some kid from California moved to Cardiff, Wales: he’s important. This is something Annie’s already come to understand: she’s lived this way all her life. And it’s something that Kerry will get used to, though he’ll be in a slightly different position as he deals with his Normal family . . .
So there they are, both my kids finally at their holiday destinations, separated by 10598.29 kilometers, or 6585.472 miles. I know ’cause I checked on the map below . . .
Also, Kerry’s last thought is of Annie waking up. Since the first scene of Chapter Twenty-Seven is Morning in Pamporovo, and that it starts at 5:21 AM, anyone wanna bet what Annie’s first thoughts are?
Lay your money down now . . .