The Past Through a Present Gate: The Long Walks

I was busy last night, believe me.  Busy trying to write; busy trying to stay focused; busy playing with new toys.  In the end I accomplished all three, but it was a struggle.

First, the toys:  since the new version of Google Maps has come out, I’ve been playing with devising routes to use within the story.  Last night part of  that evening was taken up checking on a route that is described in the third paragraph in the excerpt.  It’s not am exact took yet–there are some interesting choices that it picks when you’re walking, and they haven’t worked out how to layer the map yet so you can plan a route using planes, trains, and automobiles–but it’s still a lot of fun with play with and a time-consuming black hole that keeps you from writing.

Then again, the whole of this chapter sort of starts out like this . . .

First we leave the hotel and head through the park through the gate.

First we leave the hotel and head through the park through the gate.

Then, later in this excerpt, Annie will ask about something way off in the distance, and wants to know if they’re going there.

I've got that added to this trip as well--

I’ve got that added to this trip as well–

Then from there, if they decide they don’t want to hail a cab–

They can make the trip home from there.

They can make the trip home from there.

They’ll be plenty tired, but it’s not like anyone is going to wake them up in the morning.  After all, they are on their own for the most part–as are the other students attending this party.  And their first day back, they want to bask in that loving glow of being together.

With that said . . .

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

The sun had set an hour before and the sky was well approaching nautical twilight when Annie and Kerry strolled through Pariser Platz towards the eastern side of the Brandenburg Gate. The lights were coming on, illuminating the gate so that it could be seen clearly from the western end of the Tiergarten, at couple of kilometers away. The weather had been cool all day, around fifteen Celsius all day long, but the sky had remained mostly clear without a threat of rain, which made for an enjoyable day.

The day had went as expect. They’d spent the morning in the hotel cafe enjoying snacks and soft drinks while they worked out how they wanted to spend the next few days. They greeted Professor Semplen and Professor Grünbach, who were chaperoning the returning B Levels—as well as a few C and D Level students—back to school. They had lunch and talked and laughed before going up to the room to clean up before heading out.

They took the underground into the city. They visited Checkpoint Charlie, then walked a couple of blocks west to one of the surviving sections of the Berlin Wall. They walked north to Potsdamer Platz and spent about ten minutes there looking around before walking a few blocks over to the Berlin Philharmonic Hall. They hailed a cab and took it north to the Reichstag Building and hung out in the Platz der Republik for a while before heading over to the Spreebogenpark and a quiet, slow walk along the banks of the Spree River.

 

Just this part alone kept me, um, “busy” for about an hour.  It’s amazing how caught up you can get in something like this–

Just like I am right now--see?

Just like I am right now–see?

There’s the walk, laid out for all to see.  For a little trivia, Friedrichstraße 46 is the actual location of Checkpoint Charlie, one of the controlled passages between then West and East Berlin.  And the stop at Niederkirchnerstraße 1 is where one of the remaining stretches of the Berlin Wall exists today.  That spot is also the former location of the Gestapo and SS headquarters, upon which now sits a museum.

And after this walk ended . . .

 

Then it was another cab back to the hotel for a nap and early dinner before heading out into the coming evening for a walk through the Tiergarten to take the long way around so they could walk through the Brandenburg Gate.

Though there was a crowd mulling around the historic landmark, Kerry didn’t feel like he was stuck in the middle of huge throng of people. He felt calm and relaxed, if only a little tired from all the walking. Even with all the walking he felt he’d gotten enough rest to keep from burning out and growing stiff, though he wondered if he’d been throwing out a little transformation magic here and there to off-set the fatigue he should be feeling at this moment.

Annie doesn’t seem that tired either. Kerry gave her hand a squeeze, making her glance at him and smile. Then again, she does a lot more walking back and forth between her houses than I do at my place. None of this really concerned him at the moment: he had other things on his mind.

As they cleared the gate and walked out onto the western plaza, Annie pointed westward down Straße des 17. Juni towards the Berlin Victory Column in the distance. “Are we heading down there?”

“I’d like to, but first—” He pointed towards a large lamp post off to their left. “Let’s go over there for a moment.”

Annie nodded and walked alongside her soul mate. She was aware of his moods, and he knew there was something on Kerry’s mind. When they’d been out walking this afternoon he’d kept conversation to a minimum, as he usually did when they were out sightseeing—much like he’d done when they’d toured London last year. Annie didn’t have to remember that Kerry had been a completely different person then, but it wasn’t hard to tell he was acting different this evening.

 

Kerry with something on his mind?  Perish the thought!  He does have something on his mind, and we’re gonna find out what right now–

 

They rested under the light post, which was on and growing brighter in the gathering night. He leaned back against the post before wrapping his arms around Annie. He pressed his lips softly against hers and drew out a long kiss from his soul mate. He’d already kissed Annie a dozen times since meeting her upon his arrival in Berlin, but right now this was the best kiss he’d received today. Perhaps the best of the night—no, the best of the night was yet to come . . .

He rested his forehead against Annie’s. “You know how great you make me feel, just being here with me?”

“Maybe a good as I feel with you?” She hung her hands over his shoulders and signed. “If only every day could be like this—”

“We’d get tired walking around all day.” They both chuckled as he straightened. “Tomorrow is gonna be fun—”

“And there won’t be as much walking.”

“No, there won’t.” He took a moment to shrugged off his backpack. “But before we do anything else—”

He unzipped one compartment of his backpack and reached inside: a moment later he extracted a small but long black jewelry box. “Happy Anniversary, Sweetie.”

 

Kerry has changed a lot in the last year, just as Annie thought.  He isn’t the same kid that walked through Founder’s Gate at school, and it’s rather telling that he’s walking through another gate a completely different person.

Right now they're standing by that big light pole on the left.  If you squint hard, you can imagine two twelve year old kids standing there.

Right now they’re standing by that big light pole on the right. If you squint hard, you can imagine two twelve year old kids standing there.

Annie is, needless to say, touched right to her soul.  And what is the gift?  Let’s see:

 

Annie was almost at a lost for words. “You remembered.”

“The day we first met face-to-face at Bount Books?” He shook his head. “Not a chance.” He turned the box around for her. “Go ahead: open it.”

She opened the jewelry box and removed the gift, holding it up so they could both see. “A charm bracelet—”

“Yeah.” Kerry snapped the box closed and returned it to his backpack while Annie examined the bracelet. “Let me have that—” He took it from her and stretched it out. “Give me your left hand.”

Annie held out her hand and let Kerry fasten the bracelet around her wrist. Only then did she give it a close examination . . .

The strand holding each of the charms was silver, and of high quality from what Annie saw. The charm holders were small, hollowed-out silver spheres that fit over the strand, of which there were about a dozen. At the moment only two charms were present: a small circle with an “A” pressed against a light green background, and two entwined hearts with “A” and “K” pressed into them, side-by-side. “It’s beautiful.”

“Thank you.” Kerry stared at his feet while the blush crept into his cheeks. “I hoped you would like it.”

“I love it.” Annie wrapped her arms around his shoulders and neck and kissed him. “I’ve never owned a charm bracelet before, and now I have one to match my locket. Thank you, my love.”

“You’re welcome.”

She held up her wrist for Kerry to see. “I know the meaning of the hearts, but what of the A?”

“Well, it was my understanding that your charms are supposed to mean something.” Kerry pointed at the single letter. “I thought it might be nice to have something showing every level of school we’ve finished. So . . . A.”

“I see.” Annie hung on Kerry, smiling. “You said ‘we’.”

“I did, didn’t I?”

“You did.”

“That’s because we’re in this together.” He pulled out his mobile.” Let me get pictures of you in front of the gate.”

 

This whole last section I wrote this morning, starting about five-ten and finishing up about ten minutes later.  It actually started out as a gold locket, but then it wouldn’t match Annie’s silver locket if that was the case, right?  And I want them to match because it’s important.  After all, Kerry would pick up on a little detail like that.

A little over eleven hundred words for this scene, and the novel just cruised over twenty-two thousand words.  A pretty good output for almost three weeks of writing.  And I realize, once I’ve finished this scene, it’s not just Chapter Three that’s complete, it’s Part One of Act One.  I hope that by tomorrow evening I can start on Part Two and get my kids back to school–starting with a great idea for their flight home.  I should get to that soon–

Not much more to go for this chapter--but I've said that before.

Because here’s not much more to go here–but haven’t I’ve said that before?

Reacquaintance at the Crowne

And just like that, I’ve done in another scene and passed twenty thousand words in the novel, and that last took just two and a half weeks.  I even took note of word number twenty thousand, because why not?  I like doing that stuff.

I wasn’t only writing, however:  I was playing around with the new Google Maps, which I didn’t think I was going to like at all, but now that I’m figuring out things I can do with it, it’s a whole lot of fun.  It’ll show up in tomorrow’s post more, because I did some checking on landmarks for that scene, and the result are pretty impressive.

But for now, it’s back to Berlin . . .

First off, there’s the matter of Kerry’s room in the hotel, which is at the Crowne Plaza Berlin City Center–and we do mean right in the city center, more or less.  You’ll see what I mean when I lay out the maps tomorrow, but they are close to a lot of stuff . . .

Hotel on the left, and on the right, far in the background, the impressive building is actually a Bus/Underground hub.  The Foundation thinks of everything.

Hotel down the street on the left, and on the right, far in the background, the squat, impressive-looking building is actually a Bus/Underground hub. The Foundation thinks of everything when it comes to location.  So do I.

So after the Lunch in London, after the French Dream Connection, after the Dinner Embarrassment, after the Early Morning Pick Up, Kerry’s finally back where he wants to be–with Annie.  Alone.  For what will be, for now, another four months . . .

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry opened his arms as Annie skipped towards him, wrapping them around her as soon as they touched. They gazed into each other’s eyes for a few seconds before kissing long and passionately. Though he’d been with Annie only a few weeks earlier, and they’d shared a couple of dreams, he felt as if he’d not seen her in the longest time.

When the kiss finally broke he burned his face in here chestnut hair. “Hi, Sweetie.”

“Hello, my love.” Annie kissed him on the cheek. “I’m so happy to see you.”

“As much as I am you.” He kissed her cheek back. “I’m surprised you could get in here.”

“Oh—” She flashed a broad grin. “The hotel was more than accommodating.” She stepped back and pulled him along. “Come see.” She led him through the now open double doors to the room beyond.

The bedroom was nearly the same dimensions as the living suite behind them. There was a table and chairs next to the window on their right, a king-sized bed against the wall in front of them, a couple of chest of drawers across from the foot of the bed and against the wall on their left, next to the entrance to the master bathroom. Atop the chest of drawers across from the foot of the bed was a small television: it was currently turned it to a music channel that Annie muted the moment she heard Kerry entering the other room.

He looked around and gasped in a small, quiet voice. “Wow. This is better than the room we had in—that other place.” He remembered what Helena said about The Foundation using listening spells at some hotels, and didn’t want anyone who could be listening in knowing he’d spoken about something of which he wasn’t supposed to speak.

“Yes, it is.” Annie hung on to his left arm. “It’s a deluxe suite: one of the Crowne’s best.”

 

As I pointed out yesterday, since they’re returning students there’s no need for The Foundation to go through all the subterfuge they went through for the “You Know Nothing” A Levels who didn’t know the real story.  No more screwing around:  you know the people who pay for your education can pay for a lot more, and they’re doing just that.

Of course, Kerry needs a little more information . . .

 

“Leave it to The Foundation to spring for some good rooms.” He turned to Annie. “Is your room like this?”

“Oh, yes.” She nodded slowly. “You could say it’s identical.”

Kerry was about to ask for her room number when he saw the quizzical look on Annie’s face, and as he watched her brows slowly arched upward did her finally understand. “Oh. This is your room, too.”

Annie’s eyes rolled up in her head as she laughed. “Vie ste tolkova nevezhi.” She threw her arms around his neck and kissed him. “Of course it’s my room. Tova e neshto dobro az te obicham.”

Kerry was aware that “obicham” was the Bulgarian word for love, and since he’d heard Annie say “Obicham te” many times before, he was aware she was telling him that whatever she’d said the first time, it didn’t matter, because she loved him. He went up on his toe and kissed her forehead. “I az te obicham.”

 

And here we are again, with out kids sharing digs.  I’ll get to the Who and What part in a second, but first, there’s Annie spouting off some more Bulgarian.  I use one of the online translators to get my sentences, and eventually I’ll find someone who knows Bulgarian to give me exact translations.  But a quick overview of the above–

“Nevezhi” is clueless, which we all know Kerry to be.  “Obicham”–as Kerry also pointed out–is one of the words for love.  “Obicham te” is “I love you,” and what Kerry says in return is “I love you, too.”  An interesting thing is that “He obicham” mean “I dislike/hate you,” which kinda makes it the Good/Ungood of the Bulgarian world.  I keep track of all this through my scene notes:

Which also keep track of what words hit a milestone.  I'm strange that way.

Which also keep track of hotels and what words hit a milestone. I’m strange that way.

But the question remains:  who put this together.  Annie has it figured out . . .

 

She hugged him tightly before letting him go. “Your accent is coming along.”

“I’ve been working on getting it right.” He examined the bedroom before turning back to Annie. “Who put us together like this?”

“I believe . . .” Annie went over and sat on the end of the bed. “Ms. Rutherford book this room.”

“How do you know that?”

“Because there was a message waiting at the front desk when I checked in with Mama.”

Hearing Annie speak those last few words peeked Kerry’s interest. “She didn’t read it, did she?”

“No. Papa and she brought me to the airport, and Papa went on to work while Mama came with me to the hotel.” She grinned up at the still standing Kerry. “Did you come in a Mercedes?”

“Yeah.” It was his first time riding in one, so he made sure to examine it closely. “It was an E-Class.”

“They’re nice: Papa’s driven them on a few occasions.” Annie returned to the previous conversation. “Mama went back to the airport as soon as I was checked in; I read the message as soon as I got to the room. It said you’d check in about an hour after I arrived, and that I should leave—” Annie glanced down at the floor for a moment, and when she looked back at Kerry, a sly grin was faintly visible upon her face. “—a suitably ambiguous message telling you where I was.” She shrugged. “So I did.”

 

Now we know Papa drives Mercedes at times, and what sort of cars they took from the airport to the hotel in Berlin.  Again, The Foundation is being nice to their returning students, and it shows.  Though they probably didn’t have anything to do with booking to twelve year old kids in the same room, but what the hell?

So with that information out of the way, my kids can get down to what they’ve been waiting to do for a long time . . .

 

“And it was good.” Kerry sat to Annie’s right, as he always did. Now that the excitement of their reuniting was over, he could relax and enjoy being close to his soul mate once more. It’s not like when we were in London. He reached up and brushed her hair back from her right ear, bringing her small gold hoop earrings into the light. He ran his finger over her ear ridge, eliciting a giggle as she tilted her head towards him. “Does that tickle?”

“Yes, it does.” She pressing her head against her shoulder, trapping his fingers between. “We have almost all day today, all day tomorrow, and most of the day Wednesday.” She slid towards Kerry until their thighs and hips were touching. She took his hand and massaged it between hers. “You should unpack, and then we can work on what we’re going to do the next few days.” Annie nuzzled their combined hands. “You have your computer in your backpack?”

“In the next room.” Kerry’s heart softened being close to Annie once more. He’d felt this way for the first five minutes they were together in Russel Square, and that feeling of closeness, of togetherness, of love . . . of excitement: it was back. He was with Annie once again. “I wouldn’t ever leave it at home.”

“I didn’t think you would. And I know you can put it to good use here.” Annie turned slowly so she was facing him. “Just like you did in London.”

He didn’t attempt to pull his hand free from Annie’s grip. “You know your way around Berlin?”

“Not like I know other cities.” She leaned closer to her love. “Wait until next year when we’re in Paris . . .” Annie pulled her right leg under her, making herself a little taller. “I know that city so well . . .”

She pressed herself against Kerry, pushing him backwards. She fell next to him but kept herself propped up on her elbows. She gently lay a kiss upon his lips, holding it for five, ten, fifteen seconds before she stopped. “Seven week since the last time we kissed like that.”

“Yes, it has been that long.” Kerry wrapped his left arm around Annie and let his fingers glide over her back. “But it’s over.”

“Though you know what?”

“What?”

Annie slowly settled next to Kerry, snuggling against him while laying here left arm across his chest. “The days passed a great deal slower than I expected.”

 

Annie’s gettin’ her moves on!  Well, she is the more aggressive of the pair, though Kerry is starting to come along.  Knowing Mr. I Analyze Everything, it’s pretty much even money that he knows if he tries a similar move like Annie just pulled, things might happen, and he has enough embarrassment in his life without that happening.

Just give him time, though.  They’ll be more then enough opportunities to blush for his girlfriend.

Willkommen in Berlin und Schmerz

I’m in Berlin–well, not me, exactly, but Kerry is there.  But getting there wasn’t easy, and as the title of this post indicates, there were issues along the way.

Last night was my second electrolysis session, and I did things a lot differently than last time.  I put a topical on my face; I brought my ibuprofen with me to take afterwards, and I let my whiskers grow out an extra day, which had me at work yesterday with a bad case of cactus face.  So I was ready, more or less.

What I wasn’t ready for was the pain.

We debated why it hurt so much more this time, but the pain was far worse at times than the last session.  I came to the conclusion that it was due to the last session being in the down hormone cycle leading up to my shot, and this one last night came a few days after my shot, when I’ve got all those nice hormones coursing through my body, and my skin is nice and sensitive.  More hairs came out, and there was less swelling, but jeez:  I was squirming a lot.

Trust me:  it hurt a lot more than it looks.

Trust me: it hurt a lot more than it looks.

I needed ice on my face after this one, and then . . . I felt like a cold was coming on.  So I heated up to medication and had a nice hot cup of Away With You Cold while I kept icing my face.  After about an hour or so it was much better, but you know where they is going:

Not a lot of writing was done last night.  Nope, not at all.

That doesn’t mean there wasn’t writing, but three hundred and twenty words is not my best effort.  Given how I felt it was a wonder I got that much done, but one must do what they can to get that girlish skin, right?  And I did my best, that’s for sure, while going back for more next week.

For now, however, Kerry is right where he should be . . .

On the way to the hotel . . . welcome to Berlin, kid.

On the way to the hotel . . . welcome to Berlin, kid.

And what is it like there?  Glad you asked.

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry entered the hotel room and hurried his luggage through the door before it latched shut. In about a half hour he’d traveled eleven hundred kilometers, with most of the time spent getting from one jaunt station to the other. And as Ms. Rutherford had said, getting checked in at Tegal Airport took about two minutes—he had to give his name and press his left palm against a screen to prove he’d arrived on schedule in Berlin—and then another twenty minutes to drive to the City Center Crowne Plaza Berlin on Nuernberger Strasse.

And also as Ms. Rutherford had promised, when he asked for Annie Kirilova’s room number, the manager informed him that a message concerning Miss Kirilova’s room would be found in his own room. Ms. Rutherford arched her brows, smiled, and told him to enjoy his stay in Berlin before turning on her heel and returning to the car waiting outside.

Kerry examined in his room. In a way it reminded him of the suite in Kansas city except there wasn’t a bed here. There was a large closet on the right as he walked in; before him was a entertainment center with a television atop, and across from that was a large soft. Closer to the window overlooking the park beyond was a table and chairs. There were a set of closed double doors in the left wall on the other side of the entertainment center—

There was also an envelope next to the television.

Kerry set his backpack down and reached for the envelope, opening it as quickly as his fingers would allow. The message left for him was simple:

I’m closer than you think.

Annie

“’I’m closer than you think’—” Kerry sighed. “What does that mean?”

The double doors opened slowly. “It means—” Annie leaned against the door on her right and turned towards her astonished soul mate. “—I’m closer than you think.”

 

Nice surprise, don’t you think?

Dweud Ffarwel i Gaerdydd

No, the title of this post is not my attempt at making it look like I’m clearing my literary throat.  That’s Welsh, aka Cymraeg, and it just sounds that way.  (Really, it sounds a lot like “Kemm-iag”, which should make it easier.)  The title is Say Goodbye to Cardiff, and that’s what Kerry is doing right now:  heading through the city on his way to Berlin.

There’s some unfinished business to catch up on while they make their way through the city

You turn here, Kid, so start talkin'.

You turn here, Kid, so start talkin’.

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

It was only after the salon made the turn onto Newport Road and began heading into city did Kerry speak. “Are you really going to give that letter to someone?”

“I fully intend to hand this letter over to the right people.” The right side of Ms. Rutherford’s face turned upward into a slight grin. “They’ll even see to it that it’s read and documented. And, as promised, in four to six weeks your parents will receive a letter from Salem—it will even have Headmistress Laventure’s signature affixed.” She pulled out her mobile phone and spent about thirty seconds sending a message before returning it to her purse. “Nothing will change in school policy, though, so no need to worry. I would, however, suggest that whatever you said to your parents—”

“Don’t say it to them again.” Kerry nodded. “I know. It was a dumb move on my part.”

“How so?”

“Mom sort of beat up on me in her own special way—” He felt there wasn’t any need to go into details of the conversation from two weeks earlier. “I blurted out something hoping it would get her to stop, and it only made things worse.”

 

There’s a bit of an in-joke at the start of that last line, one I didn’t realize until after I’d written it and I could look back and say, “Hey, I made a funny.”  Your Own Special Way is a Genesis song found on the album Wind and Wuthering, and it was written by . . . Mike Rutherford, Ms. Berenice Rutherford’s namesake.    Yeah, in joke . . . moving along now–

 

“Am I correctly in thinking it had something to do with the—” She twisted her right hand in the from the right to left and back. “—aftermath of the vision you had in March?”

Kerry shot a sideways glance at his traveling companion. “You know about that?”

“I know about almost everything that happened to you last school year. I have to: I’m your case worker.” Ms. Rutherford pushed herself into the corner of the seat and crossed her legs. “Don’t worry, Kerry: I’m good at keeping secrets.”

“Like?”

“You really want to know?”

He shrugged. “Only if you can tell me.”

“I don’t know all the details of your life. I know the details of your actions during the Day of the Dead attack; I know about your progress throughout your classes; I know about the awards and citations you’ve received—” Her mobile beeped and she took a moment to check the message before continuing. “I know that in April Annie and you left the school late on a Thursday afternoon and you both returned the following Saturday afternoon with injuries that made it necessary for you both to spend the night in the hospital.

“The information I have is that you were on a Guardian training operation, but I’m smart enough to fill in the blanks to realize Annie and you were out on something a little more detailed than training.” She glanced over the driver’s shoulder at the road ahead. “Like I said, I know almost everything—” She chuckled as she turned back. “Just enough to be there with a helping hand when you need one.”

“Good to know.” Kerry had wondered how much of his Aware life was know to Ms. Rutherford, and her quick explanation told him everything. Not that I was worried about her knowing all the details of Kansas City, but at least I know what I can discuss with her—when that time comes. “And you’re right: it was because of the . . .” He grinned despite his best effort to keep a straight face. “Aftermath.”

Ms. Rutherford nodded once as they turned onto Glossop Road. “Do me a favor?”

Kerry knew the answer to the forthcoming question. “Don’t do that again?”

“Exactly.”

As we turn onto Glossop Road, remember Kerry:  the wet dreams you have at Salem stay at Salem.

As we turn onto Glossop Road, remember Kerry: the wet dreams you have at Salem stay at Salem.

 

We finally get conformation as to how much Ms. Rutherford knows.  It’s a lot–not as much as Helena and Erywin know, but probably on par with what the Headmistress and Isis and even Deanna and Coraline know.  Otherwise how is she gonna be his best bud when he needs her the most.  It also helps not having to explain “aftermaths” that you shouldn’t have to explain anyway.  Then again, the whole of the B Level has the “I Gotta Come Out As a Witch” line hanging over him all year, so, you know, explanations are gonna be needed at some point . . .

That’s not for another one hundred and fifty thousand words, at least, so let’s talk about the real travel plan:

 

“Don’t worry. I won’t.” He tapped a rhythm on his thighs for a few seconds as the salon turned right on to Moira Terrace. “What’s the real travel plan?”

“We arrive at the train station and then jaunt straight to Berlin Tegel. You’ll get checked into The Foundation system there, and then we’ll take a car from the airport to the hotel.” Ms. Rutherford watched the walls of Cardiff Prison go by as the car merged with Adam Street. “That should only take about twenty minutes, maybe twenty-five.”

 

Hey, Cardiff Prison:  looking good this morning!

Hey, Cardiff Prison: looking good this morning!

 

“Are you staying with us in Berlin?”

“No. Once I get you to the hotel you’re on your own and I’m on my way back to London.”

Kerry checked the road ahead. “Got it. Anything else I should know? There weren’t any details in my travel package.”

“It’s all simple: ask for the manager when you arrive at the check-in counter, tell them you’re with the SIGEL and show your ID. They’ll get you checked in without a problem.”

 

No problamo:  just walk in and flash your ID.  It’s what all the cool twelve year old kids from SIGEL are doing this year.  Oh, and one last thing–

 

“Okay.” There was another thing that wasn’t in his travel package. “Do you know what room Annie’s staying in?”

Ms. Rutherford smiled. “That information will be waiting for you in your room.”

He frowned. “You can’t tell me?”

“Kerry . . .” The car hung a left on Stryd Bute, now only a few hundred meters from the station. “Don’t you want a surprise now and then?”

You're turning in here:  the least you could do is give Kerry some nice information to lighten up a gloomy place.

You’re turning in here: the least you could do is give Kerry some nice information to lighten up a gloomy place.

Cardiff is behind Kerry and me for a while, at least until I write about Yule.

Onward to Berlin!

Tunes and Trailways

It’s a lovely morning, with the sun shining and the temps in an area where I can enjoy wearing a long skirt and a flowing top–though the Weather Channel tells me it’s only forty-two outside, but it feels a lot warmer.  I’ll stick with my feels, particularly since I’ll be inside all afternoon getting a full-on mani/pedi.

Lotsa, lotsa, lotsa writing yesterday.  There was the scene I posted yesterday, a large part of which was written in the morning from six-thirty to eight-thirty.  Then I got into Chapter Three, and started in on the first scene for that, stopping long enough to watch Orphan Black.  By the time I’d decided I’d had enough, I’d written nine-hundred and forty-five words, which given the hundred I’d written in the morning meant I’d put in a solid day of writing.

Throughout the afternoon, however, I spent time getting the kid’s song list together, which, I have to say, is fun.  It’s a bit telling in their musical tastes that of all the songs on Kerry’s list, only two of the so-far sixteen songs listed were produced after he was born, while on Annie’s list all of the songs were produced after she was born, with the oldest song on her lift coming when she was two years old.  Kerry’s is a conglomeration of old prog and soft rock/pop, while Annie goes for Pop Princess/Indie Queen feel.  And, as always, listening to her stuff introduces me to a lot of different music, and it’s only a matter of time before I see if she’d like a few artists I’ve never normally given a listen.

Needless to say, this has also got my mind going on the events that are going to happen during the B Level Samhain Dance.  I’ve already received some suggestions about costumes–fun ones, I should mention–but there is one song in particular that I can see being asks for, and if I go in that direction–and trust me, I likely will–Annie is gonna break loose and bust some Dark Witch moves.  Just running the images for the scene through my head last night, put a huge smile on my face.

That’s me:  always thinking of different ways to make life fun for my kids when I’m not putting them through hell.

The first of three scenes has started, and I’m probably closer to the end of it than I am the beginning.  It’s 27 August, 2012, and that’s Travel Day for all the kids at Salem.  We know how Annie travels:  we saw it in the first scene of the last novel.  And Kerry sort of travels the same way now that he knows about witches and magic and jaunting.  However, his folks aren’t hip to that yet, so there’s a bit of the ol’ smoke and mirrors going on . . .

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

When the doorbell rang, Kerry didn’t need to check the time: his travel package said Ms. Rutherford would arrive at seven-twenty to take him to the train station, and his case worker was extremely punctual. He checked the clock in the lounge as he headed for the front door: it was seven-twenty.

Ms. Rutherford stood in the frame of the open outer door. She was young black woman dressed in gray business skirt and jacket, a cream colored blouse, and matching gray wedges. Slung over her right shoulder was the large tan purse she carried everywhere—one big enough to hold a tablet, mobile, and just about anything else The Foundation might give her depending upon whatever she might need that she couldn’t handle with her magic. “Good morning, Kerry.”

“Good morning, Ms. Rutherford.” He stepped back and to the side. “Please, come in.”

“Thank you, Kerry.” She entered the house and walked into the lounge with Kerry following. She stopped in the middle of the lounge to greet his parents. “Good morning, Mr. Malibey; Mrs. Malibey.”

Davyn and Louise stood in the arch separating the dinning room from the front lounge. Both were dressed for work, with Louise being a little more casual as she wasn’t in a management position like her husband. Davyn nodded. “Good morning, Ms. Rutherford.”

Louise smiled and nodded as well. “Good morning, Ms. Rutherford. You look wide awake for someone up this early.”

“I could say the same for you, Mrs. Malibey. I haven’t been up that long: I came into Cardiff last night and spent the night downtown.” She turned to Kerry for a moment, then back to his parents. “I knew we’d have a long day ahead of us, and I didn’t want to get held up coming in from London.”

“Kerry’s been up early as well.” Louise turned towards her son for a moment. “He was up before five getting ready.”

He looked up at Ms. Rutherford standing to his right. “I gotta get back on Salem time, don’t I?”

“Indeed you do.” She addressed his parent. “They start the day early at school. Most of the students are up around five preparing for the day ahead.”

 

Yeah, get ready for that day, Kerry.  Even though you won’t set foot in your new room, for four days, you’re back on the time you know you’re gonna have to work for nine months.  I should say, back on the schedule–you won’t be back on Boston time for a few more days.

There is small talk among Ms. Rutherford and Davyn and Louise, and that brings us to Kerry’s actual departure–

 

He stood in the entry to the lounge, his roll-on bag at his side and wearing his backpack. “Yeah, all set here.” Kerry gazed across the room to where his parents were standing together. “Well, I’m, uh, off, I guess.” He stood waiting to see if they would do anything.

His father dropped his sight for a second as he cleared his throat. “Have a good trip, Son.”

His mother’s headed half-nodded, half-jerked, as if she were having difficulty knowing what to do. “Have fun at school, Kerry. And lets us know when you get there.”

“I will, Mom.” He kept his face unmoving and expressionless. “I’ll send you an email when I get into my dorm.”

“Good. Then I guess we’ll see you when you come home for Christmas.”

He cleared his throat. “Yeah, I’ll see you then.” He waved slowly. “Take care, guys. Bye.” Kerry turned and headed for the front door. Once out on the walk he was vaguely aware that Ms. Rutherford was right beside him; out of the corner of his vision he saw her make a hand motion at the black salon with the tinted window parked at the end of the walkway, and the lid to the trunk popped opened. As they reached the car he saw Ms Rutherford get in on the driver’s side: Kerry placed his luggage inside the trunk and headed for the rear passenger side as the lid closed automatically. Seconds later he was inside, sitting comfortably with his backpack between his legs. As soon as the rear lid locked the driver put the car in gear and drove away.

Kerry didn’t bother looking back.

 

When I say Kerry suffers from a fear of abandonment, that all comes out of the lack of affection coming from both parents.  Maybe they’re afraid to give hugs to their only child in front of a stranger, but still:  that ending is cold, way the hell Queen Elsa of Frozen cold.  Annie is going to tell Kerry something later in this school year, and though it will take him some time to comprehend, when the time come he’ll take it to heart and never let it go.

We are here with this mess:

Eighteen thousand is looking pretty good at the moment.

Eighteen thousand is looking pretty good at the moment.

After two weeks I’m close to twenty thousand words, which I might pass tonight.  By this time next week I will for sure out of Part One and into Part Two, and the kids will finally be “home”.

And then I’ll see what fresh hell I can unleash upon them.

The Loneliness of the Dark: Calling America

Unlike when I started the last scene of Chapter Two, I had fun writing this.  I didn’t too much last night because, well, Forbidden Planet was on–again–and I was shifting attention between that and what I had before me on the computer, but this morning I was once more in the grove, and in two hours I managed almost thirteen hundred words.  Actually between eating, the bathroom, and other distractions, I only wrote about ninety minutes, so it was a good time to get a story down.

Last night I picked up from where Kerry said his hellos to Emma–who, it turns out, was–hey, see for yourselves . . .

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

“I was talking to someone.” She nodded. “I was just getting ready to log off when you called.” She leaned towards her own display. “What time is it there?”

“About three-fifteen.” He chuckled. “It’s early.”

“Why are you up now?”

Kerry caught a look on Emma’s face that made him believe that she was perhaps hoping he got up in the middle of the night to call her. “I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep.” He had little intention of telling her that an unusual dream had pulled him out of his slumber. “I wanted to talk with someone—”

“And here I am.” Emma gave here best smile as a response. “Everything else okay?”

“Yeah, it’s . . .” He made a face as he thought about the conversation with his parents about nine hours earlier. “It’s okay.”

Emma didn’t appear to believe that everything was okay. “How’s your vacation going?”

He shrugged. “About as well as I expected.” He chuckled. “How about you? Everything good on your end?”

“Oh, yeah.” She looked away from the computer for a moment, then yelled at an unseen visitor. “I’m talking to a friend.” Emma turned back to the computer, rolling her eyes. “My little sister’s bugging me.”

 

Wait, what’s this?  Emma has a . . . sister!  Tell us more!

 

“I didn’t know you had a sister.” While Kerry figured there were a great deal he didn’t know about Emma, her family was something she never talked about. Then again, which of us did talk about our families last year?

“Yeah, I got a little sister.” She turned her head and yelled once again. “Go away, brat.” She returned to the conversation, slowly shaking her head. “She’s been a pain in my butt all summer.”

 

I actually had fun writing those parts, because I can just imagine two sisters of that age, and the sort of stuff they do and say to each other (like Emma confronting her and saying, “I’m gonna kill you!” and maybe being able to do that one day.)

Of course, this brings up something that Kerry’s never had to worry about:

 

“She keeps asking me if I think she’ll end up coming to Salem when she gets older.” Emma set her shoulders before lowering her voice. “Good thing I don’t have to tell here the truth about how you really get accepted to school.”

He nodded. “At least not until the end of the next school year.” Kerry knew as well as Emma that once their B Levels were completed, they would return home with their case workers, reveal to their parents what they actually learned at school, and disclose their true natures.

“Yeah, well . . .” Emma half-smiled. “I don’t think I’ll have a problem.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Because so far my parents have been pretty good about school.” She smiled again. “So far they’ve believed all the stories—”

“So far you ain’t dropped the W Word on them.” Kerry almost chuckled. “It might be different then.”

Emma shrugged. “We’ll see.”

Kerry felt he was about to get a question thrown in his direction, and latched back on to something Emma brought up. “How old is your sister?”

The young witch smirked. “Three years younger: she just turned nine in July.”

“That means she’ll be starting her A Levels—”

“Stop it.”

“When you’re a D Level.”

“Oh, gosh.” Emma looked away and sighed. “I don’t know if I could stand her being at school—”

“Yeah, well, if you think she’s annoying now, wait until she finds out her big sister’s a witch.” He switched the conversation, but kept it centered on Emma. “Who were you chatting with?”

 

This is something that’s not been discussed so far, and that’s the question of siblings, particularly in Normal households where one child is Aware.  You’ll discover that many of the instructors have siblings, and that some of them eventually passed through Founder’s Gate before or after their brother or sister in the story, and in some cases a few of the instructors have either had children attend school, or have children who will.

It’s not always a sure thing, however, and stories will come out as the novels progress.  We may even get to see the family members of instructors and students show up in later stories . . .

Kerry discovers that Emma was speaking to Nadine about getting on the racing team, and that makes Kerry wonder if their ears were burning or something.  He doesn’t want to talk racing, so he goes in another direction and asks if she spoke with anyone else . . .

 

“Um, yeah: Professor Douglas and Director Mossman stopped back about a month ago. They said they had business in Denver and that they thought they’d stop in and see how I was doing.”

“That’s nice.” Kerry didn’t want to mention that when witches could jaunt long distances, “stopping in” wasn’t really that big of a deal. They probably used Denver as a cover for her parents. “You guys do anything?”

“We went to lunch and talked about things, you know.” Emma lowered her voice once more “Can I ask you something?”

“Sure.”

“Is there like, you know, something going on with them?”

Kerry suppressed a smile. “Like?”

“I don’t know.” Emma sat up and made a face like she was thinking about how to present her next statement. “They seemed awfully . . . close.”

As far as he knew he and Annie—and a few other students—were the only ones who knew that Wednesday and Isis were a couple, and since he’d promised not to say anything until they were officially out, he remained non-committal. “I think that’s possible. I know they went to school together and they’re friends, but I’ve seen that same thing.”

Emma nodded slowly. “I just never figured Professor Douglas was like, you know—” She whispered out the word. “A lez.”

 

Um, Emma?  I’m not sure your Mistress of Spells would want to know that you find her sexual orientation perhaps strange.  She’s probably not really homophobic, but I’m sure there are parts of the new world in which she inhabits that seem more different than others, and that’s one.

Kerry, though–well, he’s gonna have fun . . .

 

Kerry kept his face controlled, as Emma’s statement hit him the wrong way and he didn’t want their conversation to turn strange. Instead he laughed it off. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that . . .”

No, I didn’t mean it that way.” A slight panic began creeping into Emma’s voice. “It’s just that I never saw her as being gay.”

“Maybe because she looks like everyone else?” Now Kerry did laugh. “I mean, look at Erywin and Helena. You’d never know with them, either, until you saw them together.” Like I have.

Emma looked down and shook her head. “I don’t know how you can call them by their first names.”

“Who?”

“Professors Sladen and Lovecraft. Especially Lovecraft.” She shuddered. “She scares the hell out of me.”

“Helena’s not that bad, once you get to know her.” He shrugged. “And they’ve told me to address them by their given names when we’re not around other students at school, so it’s no big deal.” Not to mention I can address them by their given name since I’ve fought with Erywin and Annie against a bunch of Deconstructors that tried to kill us

 

Kerry’s not being mean; he’s just stating facts and being real.  And now we know:  Emma’s scared of Lovecraft.  And probably Lovecraft’s Favorite Student, too.  Speaking of which . . .

 

A sour look remained upon Emma’s face. “Yeah, I suppose.”

“They stopped by last month, too.”

Emma perked up. “Oh?”

“Erywin stopped in, picket me, and we went a talked a bit before hooking up with Helena in London.” He smiled. “I didn’t eat with them though—” His smile grew brighter. “Helena brought someone else to meet me for lunch.”

Emma wasn’t stupid, and she picked up on Kerry’s insinuation immediately. “That’s nice. How is . . .” A long time seemed to pass before Emma said her name. “Annie?”

 

That’s it, Kerry:  jab that knife between her ribs and twist.  The way he set up the conversation you know he wanted Emma to say her name–

Don't you have some meth to sell, Walt?

Hey, don’t you have some meth to sell?

And Emma had a hard time saying The A Name.  One could argue that Kerry is just being clueless, or one could argue that he was being mean.  I know which one, but I’m not saying.  But after a short chat about Annie–which makes Emma uncomfortable–Kerry switches gears once more:

 

“Everything but that.” Knowing that Emma didn’t want to talk about his soul mate, he veered in another direction. “Can I ask you a question?”

“Sure.”

“Do you think it’s weird that my closest friends at school are girls?”

Emma’s face pinched into a frown. “Why would I think that’s weird?”

“My parents did.” He slouched down into his chair. “We sorta had an—I guess you could say an argument of sorts about it.” After which I said some stupid stuff to shut up my mother . . .

“I don’t think so.” Emma shook her head. “You seem to related to us.”

“Wait—” He sat up again. “What do you mean, I relate to you?”

“You just do.” Emma looked back and forth, as if searching for information. “You seem to be more comfortable around girls. That’s probably why you have friends who are girls.”

Kerry had never considered that, nor had it come to his attention. With Nadine he’d bonded over music and magic. With Emma it had been flying and racing, and . . . Not gonna go to that last one, because it’s one-sided. And with Annie—no reason to examine why he was friends with Annie: friendship came with being in love. “I guess you’re right.”

“I know I am.” Emma had her own chuckle. “I mean, you’ve always been that way with me—”

“And with Annie.”

Time stretched out waiting for Emma’s reply. “And with Annie.”

 

Yeah, force that admission out of Emma again, dude!  That last line is enough to get Emma off to . . . wash her hair, yeah, that’s it, and Kerry is left alone once again.  Bringing about the end of the chapter . . .

 

Kerry closed Skype and returned to the darkness of his bedroom. Try as much as he wanted, he couldn’t speak with Emma about his feelings from last night, or tell her anything about the dream that woke him. This is why I wish Annie had a computer. He pushed the tablet to one side and opened a drawer. She’s probably up now, and I could have talked with her—probably while she eats breakfast. He removed several sheets of paper and a pen and set them on the table before him. For now I’ll have to settle for this . . .

He quickly organized his thoughts, set the pen against paper, and started the letter as he had each one this summer:

“My Darling Annie . . .”

 

So that’s Chapter Two out of the way, and Chapter Three awaiting my attention–and as you can see in the image below, I’ve rolled out of the novelette and into novella territory–

With a lot of smirking from Steven King, because I know how much he loves novellas--

With a lot of smirking from Steven King, because I know how much he loves novellas–

And with three more scenes in Chapter Three Part One will be done and I can finally get my kids back to school–or as they call it, “Home”.  I will point out that in one of the next three scenes the kids will have a short discussion on some of the things they went through during their A Levels–romantic things, that is–and an important question will be asked and answered about that time.  But as far as looking back on their trials and tribulations from their A Levels, that will pretty much be the only time they come up.  That’s because the kids are looking forward to their future–

And so am I.

The Loneliness of the Dark: Starting Out

I know there are studies that show that writers are able to alleviate their depression and sorrow through writing, and yet . . . we all know of at least one popular writer who ran the depression rails all the way to the end of the line and parked there forever.  That’s likely because other studies have shown that depression and creativity to hand-in-hand, and that’s one of the reasons so much artistic types are overcome by their demons, be it substance abuse and/or depression.

A lot of times we write to rid ourselves of our own demons, and that does help.  It also brings out moments where you, the writer, has to search your emotional closet looking for similar moments to mine for the entertainment of others.  It’s not fun, but depending upon your story, it’s often necessary.

Kerry’s in some dark spots right now in the story, and while I don’t like placing him there, it’s necessary.  Why?  Because . . . that’s the story right now.  I’m leading up to something, and while it’s not a nice thing to say, I gotta torture his ass just a little in these early chapters.  Not a lot was written last night, but I managed about six hundred and fifty words.  Part of it was due to my mood–I was more in a mood to kick back and just veg out a bit than getting into a story–part of it was not wanting to hurt Kerry some more, to dig into his soul and wound it once again.  His home life sucks, and he wants to be with the girl he loves.

And now there’s other crap at play . . .

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry’s eyes opened as he came out of the dream. He didn’t gasp for breath or jerk upright as characters did in movies when they awoke from a dream: he simply exhaled and rolled over onto his back, looking through the darkness at his his ceiling.

He had no idea how long he’d been in his dreamspace, but it hadn’t felt as if it’d been long. He remembered times with Annie when they’d spent an entire day, from sunrise until the next, talking, playing, laughing, enjoying each other’s company—and later, after the admissions of love, hugging, kissing, and cuddling. This time it was more like a quick “Hello, how are you?” and then back out into real life. Not to he had no idea who this person was who’d invaded the dreamspace he shared with his lovely Annie . . .

Kerry slowly drew back the covers and got out of bed. He quietly made his way out of the bedroom and walked the few steps to the toilet room. It wasn’t often that Kerry had to get up in the middle of the night to relieve himself, but for some reason now he found he needed to go badly. He sat and tried pushing the dream away, but the last thing the girl said stuck with him:

“You hold my life in your hands.”

He bowed his head and sighed. What did she mean by that? How is her life in my hands? I don’t even know her; how can I help someone I’ve never met? He finally put the dream out of his mind, finished up in the toilet room, and returned to his bedroom.

 

I’ve come out of a few dreams the same way as Kerry has, and it can be a bit of a shock.  I’ve never sat up in bed screaming, and don’t know anyone who has.  But it looks more dramatic on the screen when it show it that way, I guess.  And the dream was bothersome, because now Kerry’s got someone telling him he hold their life in their hands.  In his world, don’t think for a moment that dreams don’t have meaning.

And his mind wanders back to that world once he’s back in his bedroom . . .

 

It was impossible to return to sleep, however: the dream had left Kerry too wound up, and he didn’t bother getting into bed because he knew he would only toss and turn rather than return to sleep. Back at school he’d head off to the hospital and ask Nurse Gretchen for something that would let him sleep in ten minutes, then head off to Bed #2 for a couple of hours of sleep. There wasn’t any chance of that happening—not for another couple of weeks, at least.

Kerry chose to sit at his computer desk instead. He flipped on the small lamp to his left, casting light upon the desk and his tablet computer, while the rest of his room remained in darkness. He didn’t know what he wanted to do: usually he’d jump on the Internet and start reading whatever he could find, but this time he wanted to talk to Annie. If this had happened at school, he’d meet her in the Mezzanine Commons, in three hours time, and they’d discuss the dream over breakfast before heading off to—what class will I be in on Tuesday? He powered up his computer so he could check out the real schedule Ms. Rutherford had sent him, and not the fake one that came in his travel package . . .

His tablet was up and running after a few seconds, thanks to the modifications Salem Director of Security Isis Mossmaon performed on the system as a present for his last birthday. Kerry was about to bring up a browser and read the email attachment when he saw the Skype icon notification in the lower right hand corner pop up and display a familiar name. He checked the time on his computer—03:11—and performed a quick calculation in his head. Only a little after twenty hours there— His finger hovered over the notification icon. Why not see if she’s really on-line?

Kerry tapped the notification: Skype loaded and proceeded to call the user on the other end of the connection. A few seconds later—as Kerry was throwing up a spell that would keep the conversation localized around the desk—the call connected.

A red-haired girl wearing pajamas with unicorns on them stared back at him through his computer display. “Kerry?”

Kerry sat back and grinned. “Hi, Emma.”

 

Emma has pajamas with unicorns on them.  No word if they’re new, or if she’s worn them to the Midnight Madness.    You never know:  we may see them again.

There I left him–

The dark is never a fun place, particularly when you're alone . . .

The dark is never a fun place, particularly when you’re alone . . .

And I’ll return to him tonight so he can talk.

It’s not the person he wants to speak with, but . . . any port in a storm as they say.