The Future in the Mall

And now we start the dance . . .

This is an important chapter, only in that it’s the heart of the operation I’ve been building up to for the last thirty-five thousand or so words.

See the numbers under "Total Word Count"?  Scrivener and I keep track.

See the numbers under “Total Word Count”? Scrivener and I keep track.

Which means about half of everything I’ve written so far for Act Three (which is now just over sixty-five thousand words) has led to this moment–or should I say, series of moments.  Can’t say how much is gonna get written in the next three scenes, but this chapter will probably take the act over seventy thousand words, and I’m more than certain I’ll end this act somewhere between ninety and one hundred thousand words.  Not quite the length of the other two acts, but you’re still getting a novel out of just this part.

What is happening?  Kids Hanging at the Mall, that’s what.  Only a couple of the kids are there not to window shop, but to keep an eye out for someone important . . .

 

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

Kerry stood to the left side of the main mall entrance watching his tablet display carefully. If he read everything correctly, Tanith was off the bus and walking towards the main entrance—she couldn’t be more than fifteen meters away, and closing. He pressed the bud tightly into his right ear and send out his thought to Annie and Erywin. She’s right outside the entrance; should be here in a few seconds.

He heard Annie’s voice in his head. I see her— Kerry looked up and saw Tanith about to step inside. I’m ready.

Same here. He waited for Tanith to walk by before sliding tablet into his backpack and slinging it over his shoulder. He stayed about four meters behind her, keeping his eyes straight and locked on the back of the girl’s head. He knew Annie was waiting not far from where they ate yesterday, and she’d wait until Tanith was sitting before she’d approach. For now, it was Kerry’s job to watch and keep his distance . . .

Not that there was a chance he’d lose her. Nothing was open yet: most of the stores would open at eleven, but a few of the food places would open in about five minutes. Kerry had confirmed those times last night with everyone before Annie sent off the message to Tanish asking her to meet “Ruth” for an early lunch and some shopping. It was agreed that it was a good idea to get her there early so she’d have to wait, making it easier for Annie to approach and start a conversation, and that was the plan they were following this morning.

 

It’s on, as they say.  Tanith is there and the game’s afoot.  Erywin’s also in the mall, but she’d a floor above and using magic to look through the floor at the action below, and waiting for them to come up to the second floor so they can take the walkway across the street to the park where they’ll give Tanith a little demonstration of their powers.  For all intents and purposes the kids are on their own.  All they have to do, as Kerry thinks at one point, is to get to talk to them.

And that’s where Annie swings into action . . .

"X" marks the spot of the action.

“X” marks the spot of the action.

 

He caught Annie looking in his direction; he nodded, then looked towards Tanith. She nodded then stood. Slowly she walked up behind Tanith as Kerry left his spot and moved towards the two girls. He took a seat a couple of tables away as Annie reached their target . . .

“Excuse me.” Annie stepped around to face Tanith while holding up her phone. “Could you tell me the time: I’m not certain my mobile is working right.”

The young girl looked up at Annie with a puzzled look on her face. “What do you mean?”

“I mean, I’m not certain my time is right.” She nodded towards Tanith’s purse. “Could you check yours and tell me the time?”

Kerry saw Tanith nearly roll here eyes. “Your phone’s picking up the signal from the tower; there’s no way you can set it.”

That was Kerry’s cue to step in. “That’s not really true—” He stood alongside Annie but spoke to Tanith. “Maybe the SIM card is locked on the last time zone it was in.” He’d come up with this bit of technobabble because he figured Tanith wouldn’t know enough to realize if he was BSing her or not. He turned to Annie. “Where did you come from?”

“Boston.”

“Well, that could be it . . .” He turned back to Tanith as he sat in the chair across the aisle from here table. “Could you check your phone?” He set his backpack on the floor next to him.

The girl did roll her eyes this time, but reached into her purse to check here display. “It’s ten-thirty.” She held the display out for Annie to examine. “See?”

“Yes, I do.” Annie checked her own display, then pretended to touch the screen. “Thank you.” She turned to Kerry. “And thank you, too.”

Kerry nodded. “No problem.”

Annie didn’t leave, though. She stood staring at Tanith as if she were seeing her for the first time. “You have a lovely aura.”

Tanith looked like she’d been told there was something hanging out of her nose. “What?”

 

And that’s how you start a conversation:  “My phone is jacked, do you have the time?”  Then someone comes over, talks crap, you get the time, and then–“You have a lovely aura.”  And, of course, the person you’re telling this to is going to be very receptive . . .

 

“You have a lovely aura. It’s becoming brilliant . . .” She lowered her voice as if she were telling a secret. “But you feel that, don’t you?”

Tanith sat back and crossed her arms. “You crazy or somethin’?” She shook her head and looked around Annie. “I’m waitin’ on someone, so if you—”

Kerry cut in on the conversation. “We’ve seen it. We saw it yesterday.” He reached inside his backpack and removed his tablet. “We got it right here.”

Tanith scrunched her brow as she turned to Kerry. “You were doing what?”

He ignored her and addressed Annie instead. “You want to show her?”

Annie didn’t take her eyes off Tanith. “Is it clear?”

Kerry looked about one last time, making sure they weren’t being observed. “Yeah, it is.” He levitated the tablet about five centimeters above his right hand. “Like right now.”

Annie nodded and held her left hand close to her body. The tablet quickly floated from Kerry’s hand to hers; the moment she had it she punched up a picture and turned the display so Tanith could see the image there. “This was you, yesterday. That’s your aura. It’s changing: it’s become like ours.” Annie motioned towards the chair on the other side of the table. “May I sit?” She didn’t wait for a yes or no: she pulled the chair out, sat, and set the tablet upon the table. “Thank you.”

 

That’s Annie for you:  she wants to sit, she sits.  And a little “Float the tablet from one person to another” stuff always works wonders, too–you just have to be certain that no one is watching.  Which is why Kerry was looking around first before kicking that off.  He’s even ready to step in and help explain their actions–

 

Tanith started at this strange girl who had just sat across from her. “Who are you?” She looked down at the tablet. “How did you do that?”

Kerry leaned towards the confused girl and remembered back to his first night at Salem. “It’s a kinda magic.” He smiled and winked at her as Coraline had done with him.

“Yes.” It was time to make their pitch, and Annie knew if they couldn’t pull this off in the next five minutes or less, they’d lose Tanith. “It’s just a small example of what we can do.”

“We?” She turned to Kerry. “You did that, too?”

“Just a little.” He nodded towards Annie. “She did the heavy lifting.”

Tanith chewed on her lower lip for a few seconds before speaking to Annie. “What do you want?”

Annie folded her hands over the tablet. “To show you something.”

“Whaddaya want to show me?”

There was a quick glance towards Kerry, then Annie was completely focused on the emerging witch across from her. “Your future . . .”

 

Do you think Annie tried out cryptic lines on Kerry while they were sitting in bed last night listening to pop music?  That would be an interesting scene to write–assuming, of course, they weren’t talking about things like, “Um, you think we’re gonna have to kill anyone tomorrow, Sweetie?”  “Probably–”  (Gives him a kiss)  “See you in the morning!”  (Snuggle snuggle)  Naw, I think even Annie would be a little bothered by the idea she might have to take out a bad guy in the morning–

Just a little, though.

The next scene, though–it’s going to be interesting.