I will admit: I was distracted last night. I was also tired as hell, but there were distractions. And the looking up of things. And Mothra–yes, she was on TCM last night, in the original Japanese with subtitles. “Moothh-er-raaaaaaa . . .” Yes, just love that, because who doesn’t love gigantic moths?
Back in my other world it’s birthday time–and since it’s the end of September, we know who is having that birthday. Annie has a birthday, and a special someone gets to take her off somewhere to have a mini-celebration–
As you’ll see in the excerpt they flew up–it’s after lunch, but you don’t see that part. And they have all the time in the world because they don’t have classes that afternoon. I should include the schedule in the book, just so people know, because you don’t see every class this time. But that’s besides the point: my kids are at the lake, they are off their brooms, and Kerry’s fidgeting with the backpack in one hand and a strange look on his face . . .
(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)
Kerry leaned their brooms against a nearby tree and shrugged off his backpack as he walked back. “Beautiful day.”
“Yes, it is.” Annie stood with her hands locked together in front of her belly and her feet pressed together. She shifted her gaze from one spot to another, attempting to appear as nonchalant as possible. “We won’t have many more of these.”
“No, we won’t.” Kerry pointed towards her legs. “You’ll have to start wearing tights then.”
She looked down at her bare legs and nodded. “Not that I mind: I rather like leggings.” She shrugged and settled her gaze upon a visibly nervous Kerry. “Did you have something you wanted to discuss?” Annie struggled to prevent the smile she felt inside from breaking out.
Kerry almost began stammering, then unzipped his backpack, and removed a wrapped package nearly as large as his tablet. “Happy birthday, Sweetie.” He extended his hand towards her. “You teenage girl, you.”
This was the first time today anyone brought up that she was now thirteen and no longer a tween-aged girl. “I am, aren’t I?” She accepted the present using both hands. “Thank you so much, my love.” She ran one hand over the wrapping. “I can’t wait to see what’s inside.”
“Then I’d start removing the paper.”
Like she did the year before, Annie carefully undid the wrapping paper. She saw that Kerry had taped it lightly so she’d not have a problem removing the paper the time. He learned from the last time—
She handed the paper to Kerry, who folded and returned it to the inside of his backpack while she examined the box. It was far larger than the one that held her locket, and the weight told her it was something far heavier. Annie also felt that after giving her the charm bracelet in Berlin, Kerry wouldn’t surprise her with another piece of jewelery—
She opened the box and discovered a hardback book inside. The dust jacket showed a gray surface with needle-like spires on the right side, and a brownish-colored world showing the outlines of North and South America on the left, There was a red boat-like ship skimming across the gray, leaving a trail in its wake.
It was the title, however, that immediately drew Annie’s attention: A Fall of Moondust, by Arthur C. Clarke: the book that he first read to her in their dreams.
Her fingers carefully touched the cover, as if she thought it was an illusion. “How did you get this?”
Kerry nodded towards the present. “Open it and turn to the inner title page.”
She found the page after a couple of page flips. Across from there she found a hand written dedication:
To My Chestnut Girl
The the next time you need someone to read to you, don’t look in your dreams: look across the tower
Your Ginger Hair Boy
A heaviness settled in over her heart, and Annie feared she’s show the same response as the one at Kensington Gardens. “This is—” Her voice broke as she tried to speak. “This is incredible.”
Kerry stared at the ground and shuffled his feet. “I didn’t know if you would—”
“Shush, you.” She slowly closed the book and pressed it against her chest. “My darling, this is perfect.”
Yeah, about that book . . .
I’ve mentioned many times that A Fall of Moondust is the second adult novel I read: The first of Earthlight, but Clarke as well. Originally I found them in an omnibus collection, with the two novels together, at the public library, but later I found a first edition Moondust at the library as well. It was this novel I read about a dozen times before buying a paperback version of the same story, and which I still own today.
Part of the “looking up of things” I performed last night involved getting information on this novel, but at the same time I wanted to see the covers–and wouldn’t you know it? There it was:
Now you know what Annie’s present looks like. And in the rest of the scene you’ll learn a little more, and see the aftermath of the giving. This won’t be a long scene–maybe another five hundred words–but it’s nice, it’s tender, and where I said before that Annie wants gifts that come from the heart, this one doesn’t get much more heartfelt.
Not every girl can say they were given, as a present, the book of their dreams.