On to the final scene of this chapter, and this thing has went through about a dozen revisions in my head yesterday. I do that, particularly when I’ve not much to do at work, and I’m still working out the bugs of putting a scene together. I even went so far as to change the title of the scene from Dry Run to Salem Secrets, because by the time this is all over–the scene, that is–it’ll all be about the secrets.
For the first time during school the kids are on the loose. There’s a test going on and . . . how about I let Annie tell you about it?
All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)
Annie turned left as she walked out onto Essex Street and tugged her scarf tight around her neck. The weather had take a chilly turn in the last couple of days, and after the unseasonal weather of a couple of week before it had turned blustery once more. Given that she’d known she was going to spend several hours walking the streets of the real Salem, Massachusetts, she’d dressed for the weather and wore her winter parka, wrap-around ear muff, and gloves to the rest of her ensemble. She’s also brought her large purse, the one large enough to hold the small tablet she’d been given for today’s dry run.
The exercise was simple: Helena and Erywin were wandering different parts of the tourist section of the city, where they were placing light tag spells on different people. Then they’d contact either Kerry or her, tell them who to look for and where they were located, and it was up to them to locate the person, hit them with a stronger tag spell that they’d been taught over the last week, and follow them around the town until they’d settled down somewhere or left the vicinity.
They’d been wandering the streets of Salem since ten-thirty, arriving here before they could have lunch at the school. Helena told them that not sticking to a normal eating schedule was an occupational hazard of a field operation, and warned them it might be a few hours before they had the opportunity to eat—and even then it likely wouldn’t be a sit-down meal. Annie took this to mean they would likely be eating on the run—
She was surprised to discover Erywin waiting for her after she’d followed her last target to their destination. She handed Annie a bank card and told her to get lunch for Kerry and herself, and then told her where she could find her field operation partner. Annie was headed for Kerry now, lunch sack in hand, and a bounce in here step that hadn’t been there thirty minutes before.
So out and about doing the secret spying following you around thing, and it’s cold, it’s windy, and they’re hungry. Really, not a good time to be out. Like that bothers Helena.
And right about then she contacts her partner in crime . . .
She turned her focus down Essex Street and sent out her thoughts. Are you at the park?
His answer came right back. Yep. I’ve been here about fifteen minutes.
I’m not that far away. She picked up her pace as she passed Derby Square. You should see me in another minute. As she approached Washington Street she saw Kerry standing across the street. There you are—
I see you. He waved as if to make certain she really did see him. I’ve got our bench all picked out.
Annie hurried across the street to Lappin Park and fell into Kerry’s arms. She accepted the warm kiss he offered, and she wasn’t hesitant to return it in kind. She finally broke the embrace and looked around. “Not a lot of people here.” She popped the ear buds out and stuffed them in her purse, as they could now speak normally.
Kerry stripped off his gloves and stuffed them in his coat pocket. He’d dressed for the occasion as well, though instead of ear muffs he wore a navy blue ski cap pulled down over his ginger hair. “Given the weather I’m surprised there’s anyone around town for us to follow.” He nodded at a bench on the Essex Street side of the park as he began removing his backpack. “Our table awaits, m’lady.”
She sat next to Kerry, happy that with him sitting to her right he was helping block the wind coming from the southwest. “Where did your last target go?”
He pointed to his left, up north Washington Street. “Restaurant called Melita Fiore. She was meeting someone for a late lunch, I think. What about yours?”
“They went into the Front Street Coffeehouse, about a block and a half south of here. Fortunately it was close to the sandwich shop—” She reached into the sack and pulled out a wrapped cylinder “Turkey Rollup, as you requested.”
“Thank you.” He slowly unwrapped it and slowly took a bite. “What did you get?”
“Chicken Salad Rollup.” She unrolled hers and took a smaller bite, almost nibbling at her lunch. “Erywin gave me a bank card for lunch. She said they won’t need us until close to fifteen hours.”
Kerry checked his phone. “It’s almost fourteen now—” He leaned forward, his elbows on his knees and his backpack between his legs. “Nice of them to give us a break.”
So how do I know these things like locations and weather? I went to a site and got the historical information for that day, then I went into Google Maps and found these places that they speak off, and to figure out what to eat, I located the online menu of one of the eateries in Salem and found something the kids might enjoy for lunch.
This way I be writin’, and the other be lookin’. It also cuts down on getting back to the old nasty Internet and getting distracted.
I also did a few other things, namely went into street view and looked at the location around where Annie and Kerry are seated because I just wanted to see what they are seeing, and also get a good idea about where they are sitting. It might sound like a level of detail that isn’t necessary, and you’re right: it isn’t. But it’s cool to be able to do this . . .
Don’t worry, I saved the pictures for you as well. First we have the view of Lappin Park, just as you see it above . . .
And here’s the view across the street of the Essex Street Mall, from whence Annie emerged with lunch, and what they can see if they turn their heads.
And while they’re at it, Annie realizes they’ve company–sort of . . .
She chuckled and lightly tapped his arm. “Silly.” Annie ate in silence for a few minutes as she watched the cars moving along the streets and the few people out on this raw day. Every so often her attention was drawn to the statue maybe five meters away on their right: a large bronze of a woman ridding a broom passing before a crescent moon. She had to admit it was a beautiful statue . . .
Kerry was watching Annie out of the corner of his eyes. “You’re eying Samantha.”
Annie turned her attention to him. “The statue has a name?”
“Not the statue itself, but the character does. I looked it up while waiting for you—” He twisted around to face the statue while he gave Annie an explanation. “It’s Samantha Stephens; she was a character from a TV show in the 1960’s. She was also a witch—”
“That must be why she’s riding a broom.”
“Yeah.” He turned back to Annie laughing the whole time. “The show was about this witch who marries—well, we’d say he was a Normal guy. However, the dude she married didn’t want her to do any Crafting, so she didn’t.”
Annie’s brow furrowed into deep lines of confusion. “That’s stupid. Why would he do that? Or she, for that matter?”
“I don’t know—it’s was the 1960’s, so it’s a little before my time.” He chuckled again. “That was the whole premise of the show. She was married to a non-witch, she didn’t do magic, her family were all witches—” Kerry gave an exaggerated shrug. “Hilarity, right?”
“I don’t believe I’d have found it funny at all.” Annie looked over Kerry’s shoulder at the statue again. “Why is it here?”
“I looked that up, too. They filmed some episodes here, ‘cause, you know, Salem—”
“Home of the Witches in America—”
“And the people who put it up thought it would be good publicity. It was put up like seven years ago.” He shrugged. “I want to get your picture in front of it before we leave.”
“A witch with a witch.” She laced her arms over his shoulders. “If you insist.”
“And I want a picture, too.”
“You’ll get it. Maybe we can get Erywin to snap a picture of us together.”
Annie nodded. “We can ask.”
That Annie: she has no feel for the American classics! And Kerry wanting to do a little sightseeing, because why not? They’re out, they’re alone–or are they?–and they can see a few of the sights while they’re not working. However, talking about witches and Normals gets Kerry to doing something that’s known to get him in trouble.
He rested his head against hers for a few moments. “Does that happen a lot?”
“What?” She pulled back because she recognized the tone in his voice: something was on his mind.
“Witches marring Normals—” Kerry scratched the back of his neck. “How often does it happen?”
Annie didn’t know exact numbers, but she was aware of a few facts. “Not very often. It’s not like there aren’t Normals who know about us—like your family will once you’re allowed to come out to them. Once they know the truth about you, they’ll likely become Allies—”
Kerry slowly rolled his eyes. “We can only hope.”
Annie ignored his answer. “Normals and the Aware do marry and even have children: look at this couple we’re going to observe. It’s just that . . .” She shrugged. “It is difficult unless they marry an Ally. Otherwise they usually end up like this Kaden we’re going to see: they don’t do any magic, they just stay hidden all the time.” Annie shook her head. “I wouldn’t want to live that way.”
There’s where I ended, a few words short of fourteen hundred total, getting ready to talk about . . . what? Witches and Normals living together? Marriage? Kids?
You’ll be surprised.