Away and Gone

There it is, the penultimate part finished, and on to Part Fourteen, the last part, and the two last chapters of the novel.  I feel exhausted today:  don’t know why, but I’m completely dragging.  So much so that I’m having trouble typing; it’s like my fingers won’t go where they are supposed to.

Anyway, here is the last scene–well, most of it–and this is the last time you’ll see Salem in this story.  Say goodbye . . .

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

After breakfast Annie and Kerry decided to take a last walk around some of their favorites spots on the Salem campus. Hand-in-hand they walked out to the Witch House, back to Memory’s End, and finally ended up laying down on the north short of Lake Lovecraft, the place where so much had transpired for them. They headed back to the Great Hall for lunch, then took a long, quite stroll through the Chunnel and ended up close to the Flight School, gazing out across Selena’s Meadow and the hidden course where they first learned to fly.

The rarely spoke the entire time they were together. There wasn’t much to say beyond they were sad they had to split up for the summer but they’d be together again at the end of August. Everything they could say on that particular subject was said, and there was little need to say more. Any further words would simply intensify the growing misery of three months of separation, and they wanted to avoid that at all costs.

They’d decided, without saying a word, not to say a word.

The only bright spot in this day was the mystery of the “special accommodations.” Neither believed that their hotel reservations in Boston had somehow become lost. Annie said while they were walking the Chunnel that there were only two ways for things to get lost in The Foundation: one did their best to erase their existence from the world and go deep underground, or they were lost on purpose. And since she felt there was little chance their reservations had somehow erased themselves and went underground, it meant someone had taken the step to have them removed.

The bright point of all this was that they would spend two additional hours together at the school while they wanted for whatever transportation would arrive for them at seventeen-twenty. While the European students were getting ready to leave for Boston, Annie and Kerry went up to the near-silent hospital and asked Nurse Coraline if they could take a nap until it was time to go. As neither child was in need of medical attention—nor was it likely any other students remaining in the near-empty school would require emergency help and a bed—Coraline told them to lay down in Bay #1 and rest, and she’d wake them up by seventeen hours if they weren’t already awake.

They entered the bay, drew the curtain, and crawled into Bed #2—where they first truly slept together—snuggled together, and were asleep in a few minutes.

They awoke fifteen minutes before Coraline promised to drag them out of bed. After quickly making up the bed and letting Coraline know they were awake, they rushed down to the Dining Hall for a quick snack, which was all that the kitchen staff had to offer. They didn’t eat much; they figured they’d get dinner at some point in the evening, and they didn’t want to spoil their appetites for later.

They exited the Dining Hall through the front doors, something they normally did only on Mondays as they started their walk to Flight School when the weather was good, and entered the Atrium at seventeen-ten. Their luggage was wasn’t there; no one was there. The area was as quiet as the rest of the school, and Annie’s was only voice heard. “Where is everyone?”

Kerry shrugged. “I got no idea. We’re early, though.” He looked towards the East Hallway as if he expected someone to appear. “Maybe they’re still on their way.”

 

It was a nice little jaunt through the areas that everyone has already seen, and I could imagine the sadness they were feeling as they wandered around, alone, with their thoughts and each other.  And wondering where they were going to end up for the evening.

Fortunately Deanna finds them, and they gather in the ground floor jaunt station where Helena and Erywin are already waiting, and Isis, Wednesday, and Coraline are also waiting–for them to leave.  They finally decides it’s time to go . . .

 

With everyone finally in a nice, tight grouping, Helena nodded at Isis. “We’re ready.”

“Okay, guys—” Isis manipulated some of the controls before her. “Have a good holiday and see you next year.”

The fadeout and in were as the other times Kerry jaunted: one moment they were somewhere, and a second later they were in another place. This time they were in a plain room with dim lighting and few other features save for a door. This didn’t bother the women, however, who appeared to know their destination. Erywin headed for the door and opened it; the others followed her out into the light beyond, with Kerry bringing up the rear.

He’d only been here once before—nine months before—but he instantly recognized the location. “This is the Salem train station.”

“Yes, it is.” Erywin began walking towards a long, white courtesy van parked about fifteen meters away. “And our ride is here.”

They headed for the van—which had no markings—and the driver got out and began helping the women load their luggage into the very back. As soon as that was finished they all took their places inside: Deanna taking the passenger seat next to the driver, Helena and Erywin on the middle bench, and Annie and Kerry in the back. The moment everyone was buckled in they left the commuter parking lot, turned onto Bridge Street, and headed east.

Kerry didn’t know this area, which was all residential: Annie and he had stuck to the business areas when they were preparing for their field operation. They eventually turned south and headed deeper into this area, eventually passing Salem Commons before making a left on Derby Street and another right onto Hardy. They drove to the end of the road and pulled into a cobblestone driveway set before a quaint three-story building.

Deanna was the first out, followed by the women in the middle of the van, and lastly Annie and Kerry. The children looked around the well-kept yard before Annie turned to Helena. “Where are we?”

“You special accommodations.” Helena held out her right hand and motioned towards the building behind her. “Welcome to the Sea Sprite Inn.”

 

If you follow those directions you’ll know where they are–and what locations they’re across the street from.  But here are the special accommodations–watched over, apparently, by the three instructors who’ve watched them all year.

There isn’t much time left to find out what’s going to happen . . .

The long, strange trip is almost over.

The long, strange trip is almost over.