Serendipity of the Silent Grove

Here I am, coming late, but finally coming.  Why is this?  Because I’ve spent the last two hours writing, and let me tell you, it’s been coming slowly.  Only half awake for most of the show, so mind isn’t working, fingers aren’t working, not much is doing what it should do.  It was like that last night when I was struggling to get five hundred words out.  It’s the post-NaNo collapse.  It has to be, right?

Part of the problem is finding the tone of the scene.  There are things that need to be said here, personal things, and when you’re cognitive functions are cooperating you find it all that more difficult to put them down in the computer.  So I have a feeling the first draft of this will be a bit rough.  Then again, whenever I start something like this off, I find myself hesitant to write–I think my mind rebels at the idea of laying raw feelings out on the page for all to see.

What is happening, you ask?  Well, let’s get into the not-so-action, shall we?

 

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

The children had walked in silence from the Witch House, and that silence intensified as the light wind which surrounded them from The Pentagram was absorbed by the mass of trees that made up Perquat’s Grove. Annie gazed up into the cloudy sky and sensed that it was manipulating her mood. She wanted to place blame on the sky for making her experience these feelings moving through here at the moment, for if she thought about the real reason she felt such trepidation—

It would only grow worse.

The reason they were walking in silence through the grove was because of her current feelings. It had started the night of their test run through Salem. Annie had pushed the concerns that drove these feelings aside for a couple of days, but by the time the Friday Madness came around she was back to these concerns that wouldn’t leave her. She didn’t let them interfere with her to the point that she couldn’t make it through a day without appearing addled, but by the following Wednesday night she was finding it difficult, if not impossible, to push away the concern.

This was why she asked to stop at Memory’s End on the way back from Sorcery class. It was why she asked to meet with Professor Arrakis.

It was why she told Kerry he needed to come with her when she spoke with the professor on Sunday. Because there were things she needed him to hear . . .

 

Uh, oh.  It looks like Annie is having a bad time of . . . something.  And she needs Kerry to hear things?  Not good, I’d say.

And Kerry knows something’s up . . .

 

Walking through the grove Kerry thought about Annie—what he’d noticed from her since last Saturday night, what he’d felt from her all this week, how he’d noticed her magic suffer just a touch. There was nothing he could say that was completely wrong with her, but he knew Annie’s moods by moods well now, and there was a problem of sorts.

He didn’t know what it was, however. It involved him, though, because after meeting with Professor Arrakis at Memory’s End the other day—a meeting that he only assumed because he was asked to wait outside—she said they were going to meet with her on the upcoming Sunday—

Today.

They reached a small clearing where the pines were planted four meters back from the path. On either side of the path were two benches large enough for four people facing each other. The quiet here was every more prevalent than when they’d entered the grove. Kerry looked about the clearing. “I like it here.”

Annie turned and faced Kerry, then looked around as Kerry did. “It is beautiful. So quiet.”

“This is the first time we’ve been here.” He looked up at the partially obscured sky. “Except when flying here.”

“But never landing.” Annie stood before one of the benches and stared at the back rest. “I wonder why we’re meeting Deanna here?”

Kerry shrugged. “Don’t know.”

“Usually we’d meet in Memory’s End—”

“And that’s true—” Professor Sladen stepped into the clearing from the same direction they’d come only a few minutes before. “—if you were meeting with Deanna. Today, however, you’re meeting with me.” She smiled as she adjusted the collar of her denim jacket. “She didn’t think you’d mind.”

 

So instead of the Sensitive Seer, Annie’s gotta spill her guts to the Lovable Lesbian.  But Erywin has a reason for this–

 

Annie was perplexed, however. “Why did she want you to meet with us?”

“Of the three of us who are full-time counselors, I’m the only one who’s been in a long term relationship. Coraline has a boyfriend and Deanna—well, we know someone’s sweet on her . . .” She winked at Annie. “But I’ve been with Helena for thirty years, and while not all of them the best, we’ve managed to make it work and we’re still together.” Erywin rubbed her hands to warm them. “First time to the grove?”

Kerry nodded. “Yes.”

“Perquat’s Grove: lovely place. Helena and I used to come up here all the time because not a lot of students visit. The ones who walk don’t like coming past the Witch House, and the ones who jaunt usually visit their own hidden locations.” Erywin waved a hand around. “All these trees come from different parts of the world: Alaska, Canada, Sweden, Finland, Russia. Henri Perquat spent thirty years developing this place for his own reasons—but that’s the way he was when he was groundskeeper.” She indicated the bench behind the children. “Why don’t you sit there and I’ll take the one across from you, and we’ll start, hum?”

 

Helena and she used to come up to this place all the time to–well, you can figure it out.  She’s relaxed in this place, even if they’re outside and it’s only 66 degrees–I checked–the pines around them block the wind.  So it’s not that bad a place to meet up.

And thus begins the session:

 

Annie was finding it difficult to start, so she tried a different tactic. “How much of our history—” she nodded towards Kerry. “—do you know?”

“Everything. I spent an hour with Deanna getting filled in on what you’ve discussed in the past, and the conversation she had with you both two weeks back concerning your dreams.” Erywin settled back into her bench. “So we can discuss everything.”

“Then you’re aware as to how long Kerry and I have actually known each other.”

“Absolutely.”

“We began seeing each other when we were maybe three, four years old. We only saw each other off and on for a few years—”

Kerry spoke for the first time since everyone sat. “Because of the time zones.”

“I can see that being a problem.” Erywin nodded towards Annie. “Go on, dear.”

“We’ve shard so much in our dreams, had so many experiences . . .” She turned to Kerry. “It was much better once you moved to Cardiff.”

“Well—” He appeared embarrassed. “Maybe for the dreams.”

“Yes, but do you remember what else happened that first dream we had together after you moved?”

 

Yes, Kerry:  we know it sucked to move, but you got to be closer to that dream girl of yours even though you thought she was a dream girl.  Annie’s getting to something, however:

 

“What happened?” While Erywin had a good overview of the children’s dreams, she lacked some details, and if they were willing to open up on this matter, then it was something she could use to help them—as well as something she could pass along to Deanna.

Kerry answered the question, never taking his eyes off Annie. “At the end we found out each other’s real names.”

“You mean you didn’t know them until after Kerry moved to Cardiff?”

Annie shook her head. “No. We’d not seem much of each other for about two years because of our sleep schedules—”

“But up until then we knew each other by our nicknames.” A wide grin spread across Kerry’s face. “My Chestnut Girl.”

“And my Ginger Hair Boy.” Annie took his hand in hers. “I remember that dream so well.”

Erywin’s tone grew soft. “Was that the one where you rode bicycles?”

“Yes. It was after it was all over that we . . .” Annie gave an almost imperceptible sigh. “Asked.”

“Who asked first?”

Kerry glanced at Erywin. “I did.”

Annie chuckled. “He finally got up his nerve.”

 

It’s nice to see them relax and not be so uptight in front of one of the people who is totally judging them on this Guardian operation.  So just spill those guts, kids–and they do in a rather unusual way . . .

 

“I did.” A dreamy look came into Kerry’s eyes as he spoke to Annie. “I really enjoyed today.”

“Today?” Annie giggled and slid closer to Kerry. “Are you sure about that?”

“It feels like a today. I know it’s really night.” A puzzled look came over his face. “This is such a strange dream.”

“Why is that?”

“Because it doesn’t feel like one, but I know it is.” He reached up as if he were going to touch Annie’s cheek. “Are you real?”

Annie’s eyes glimmered. “Are you?”

“I’ve always wondered . . .” Kerry slowly gulped. “Do you have a name? A real name?”

There was a slight pause, before . . . “Anelie Victoreva Kirilova. That’s my real name.”

Kerry’s eyes widened. “Victoreva is your middle name?”

“I’m Bulgarian, so my middle name is a patronymic.” She ran her fingertips over the back of his hand. “And do you have a real name?”

He nodded. “Kerrigan Rodney Malibey. Though everyone calls me Kerry.”

“Everyone called me Annie.”

“Pleased to meet you, Annie.”

“Pleased to meet you, Kerry.” She continued to stare into his eyes—

There was a loud double clap: both children turned towards Erywin. She allowed them a moment to collect themselves before she spoke. “That was incredible.”

Annie gave her a quizzical look. “What was?”

“You have no idea what just happened, do you?”

Annie’s expression showed her confusion. “We were telling you about our dream.”

“You were doing more than that—” Erywinn leaned forward. “Tell me: where were you when you were telling me about your dream?”

 

Keep in mind that both times they relived a moment in their dreams no one else was present, so this is the first time they’d been witnessed–unless Deanna saw more than she’s indicated that first time in Memory’s End, in which case she’s holding back information.  Maybe she saw herself holding back information, so she has to . . .

According to the kids this was the first time they discovered each other’s names.  Noticed they didn’t find out anything else–like, “Are you real?”–but that’s coming.  I know what it does, totally.  This also goes back to something that happened when they were about to begin their Evaluations and Assessments, and Isis spoke their names, and this happened:

 

The echo of the closed door faded away. Isis lowered her tablet to her side. “Well, best for last, hum?” Annie and Kerry stood together, silent in their apprehension. She chuckled, trying to lighten the mood. “Okay, well, you know what to do.” She nodded towards the door on her left. “Anelie Kirilova: Room One.” She pointed to the door opposite. “Kerrigan Malibey: Room Two.”

Kerry turned to Annie. “Anelie?”

She raised her eyebrows and managed a tiny smile. “Kerrigan?”

“Yeah.”

 

Kerry didn’t know who Annie was, even though he knew her full name a little over three years before.  We know that Annie knew who he was, so she was playing along, smiling weakly at this snub.  Of course someone dug a knife into her side during her E&A over this . . .

But where were those kids while they were talking about this dream?  I’ll probably write that tonight, since there isn’t anything on television and I’ll have time to add to this.  And speaking of adding to the manuscript . . .

Yes, another forty thousand plus into the word bank!

Yes, another forty thousand plus into the word bank!

By passing forty thousand words I have officially turned Act Three into a novel.  Given the length of the other two acts, I’ve pretty much written four longer novels and one short one worth of material in putting this story together.

I hope it’s all worth it; I’d hate to think I’ve spent the last year spending all this time on a bunch of stuff that won’t see the light of day.