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Beyond the Valley of Ashes

It’s late, isn’t it?  Yep, but it’s been a busy morning, really.  And yesterday was all sorts of busy.  I was out shopping:

Total clothing score!

Total clothing score!

I had a great full-vegan lunch:

Mine is on the left, and I loved the ruben rice bowl.

Mine is on the left, and I loved the reuben rice bowl.

And, oh:  I checked out a Tesla S Sedan.

I could love this dash.

I could love this dash.

And jumpseats in the back for the kids!

And jumpseats in the back for the kids!

Looks good on me, don't you think?

Looks good on me, don’t you think?

This morning it’s been writing and getting some food.  Mostly writing, because that keeps me busy.  And it keeps the story moving forward, which is important, right?  Because, strangely enough, people are interested in my kids.

And this is an important part of the story, because Kerry is off the leash, he’s in a park with Emma, and Annie is four hundred kilometers away.  The last time Kerry was alone with Emma was when school was letting out for Yule, and we know what happened then.  So . . . Wingmates On the Loose.  What could happen?

Well, a lot of talking, actually . . .

 

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

It was no surprise they made it to New York City in two hours. Since Advanced Flight One began Emma and he had developed a great rapport as pilot and navigator. Kerry was great with maps and geography, so it didn’t take him very long finding their destinations and plotting a course. Emma had developed a good feel for reading weather conditions through the broom’s advanced look-ahead systems, and she could calculate times based upon time and speed in her head quickly and accurately the first time, which made filing a flight plan easy.

There was slowly strolling down Herbert Hover Promenade when it became obvious Emma was thinking about their flight. “What’s up after here? Montauk, right?”

“Yes.” For their Scavenger Flight Vicky they’d already visited five locations: the former location of the Danver Asylum; Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts; the Capitol Building for the state of Connecticut in Hartford; the port of New Haven, Connecticut; and Old Field Point on the northern short of Long Island, New York. The Unisphere was their current location, and only three more remained: Montauk Point Lighthouse on the southern tip of Long Island; Woods Hole, located on Cape Code, Massachusetts; and Plimoth Plantation, nearly fifty kilometers to the north. After the plantation, then only need to fly the eighty kilometers across Massachusetts Bay to return to the school—which if they did at three hundred and fifty kilometers an hour would put them on the ground in less than fifteen minutes later. “We just gotta fly out to the end of Long Island for that, then do another water crossing to get to Woods Hole.”

“Uh, huh.” She glanced at him out of the left corner of her eyes. “How did you know Montauk was at the end of Long Island? You said back at the school you’d tell me.”

“Right.” He stared straight down the lane, his eyes focused on their objective. “It was in a science fiction novel.”

Emma’s eyebrows climbed quickly towards her hairline. “What?”

“There was a scene in a novel where a couple of people had to go to a spaceport to get a ship, and it was stated it was out by Montauk Lighthouse. After I read the book I looked up the location to see if there really was a lighthouse there, and—” He shrugged. “That’s how I know.”

“More stuff you know because you just do.” She smirked. “You and your science fiction stories.”

“Well, that’s where juanting came from—” He cocked a strange look in her direction. “—or did jaunting come from The Foundation first, and the author put it in his story to tell people that it existed?”

 

Now you know what all those points on the one map I showed were for:  they were the points on their Scavenger Flight.  And they had a lot of them for some reason–probably because they’re so good at what they do.  Actually, that’s why, and it’ll get brought up later.

There’s Kerry talking about what seems to be his favorite novel again, The Stars My Destination–which happens to be one of my favorite novels as well.  And just so you know Kerry–and I–are telling the truth, I found a copy of the novel as it was serialized in Galaxy Magazine in 1956 and 1957, and if you look at the highlighted sections, you’ll see what Kerry was talking about.

See?  They even have jaunting.

See? They even have jaunting.

And that’s how he knew where Montauk Lighthouse was located, just like he said.

But Emma isn’t thinking about lighthouses–she’s got something else in mind.  No, not that, but someone else–

 

Emma shrugged. “I have no idea. Maybe Mattie will tell us in history one of these days.” They walked in silence for another thirty seconds before she brought up something that had been on her mind for a while. “I heard a rumor about Annie.”

Kerry was fairly certain he knew what this rumor was. “And?”

“Some of my covenmates said Annie didn’t use levitation in her Judgment Trial, but that she was actually flying—you know, like—”

“Like using a Flight Gift?” Annie had spoken with Isis the next night while Kerry was in Advanced Transformation, and she was told that while she wasn’t in trouble for using her gift to win her trial, the rumors going around the school about what she was doing with her Friday mornings at the Aerodrome were going to stop being rumors. Annie let Isis know that wouldn’t be a problem, and told Kerry that night that if anyone should ask if she could fly, he should answer truthfully. “Yeah, she did.”

“How long did you know?”

“Since the beginning.” Answer truthfully. “At the end of last school year we were told we’d be tested for gifts when we returned, and that’s what happened our first Saturday back. That’s when they told us about our gifts—”

Our gifts?” Emma looked at him strangely. “You, too?”

“Yeah, I’m a Mimic. That’s one of the reasons I’m in Advanced Transformation: Jessica’s teaching me how to better my ability to transform different parts of my body.”

“Wow.” She grinned widely. “Why didn’t you say something?”

“’Cause we were told not to talk about it to others.” He shrugged. “That’s why people didn’t know Annie could fly.”

“Hum.” Emma nodded once. “I can see that. So, what can you do with this Mimic? Just change parts of your body?”

“It’s more than that: I can change stuff so it’s just like that of other people. Here—” Kerry stopped Emma before looking around to make sure they were alone. “Watch this—” He looked at Emma for a couple of seconds before his hair grew out down to his shoulders, his now curly locks a duplicate of Emma’s. “See?”

Her eyes grew wide as she chuckled at the sight. “That’s just like mine.”

“Yeah, it should be exactly like yours—without the styling, of course.” He returned his hair to its natural state. “I could do this last year to a limited extent: just hair shade and complexion. I practiced with Erywin a few times—” He didn’t go into any detail on why he was trying to match Ewywin’s hair color. He turned and continued heading towards their objective. “Now Jessica’s got me learning how to narrow thing down so I can so different areas—”

“Like?”

“Eye color, nose and lip size—” He turned from Emma for a moment. “I’ve been doing extremities like fingers, hands, arms . . . It’s not hard with the guys, but trying to make changes with the girls isn’t easy. You guys have small hands.”

“Well, yeah.” She sighed, the smile still on her face as she examined Kerry and saw him as a completely different person. “So, how does it work? What kind of magic is it?”
Jessica had explained the way the Mimic Gift worked, but as Kerry didn’t want to spend five minutes giving that explanation to Emma, he pared it down. “It’s not really magic, it’s just something I do—that’s the way it is with Gifts. My aural aspect kinda touches yours, and since your aura is a reflection of your physical aspect, it means I can make it part of my physical aspect.” He shrugged. “It’s really a lot more complicated than that, but that’s basically what happens.”

“Okay.” Emma looked straight down the path towards the clearing ahead. “You practice with Annie? You know—” She quickly glanced in his direction. “Change things so your parts are like hers?”
He nodded. “Just my hair and complexion and stuff, though I’ve done her eyes.” He chuckled. “She gets a little weirded out by that.”

“I can imagine.” They stopped in a small half-circle where two wide, parallel paths converged so they was smaller and closer together as continued towards the Unisphere. “Do you know what this place is called?”

“I think it’s Astronaut Court.” He pointed to the statue to his left at the top of a small, terraced garden. “I know that statue is supposed to be famous, but I don’t remember what it’s called.”

She giggled. “Finally, something Kerry Malibey doesn’t know.” Emma looked towards their goal. “How’s Annie?”

 

Yeah, how is Annie?  Oh, she’s not here, is she?  Ding Ding Ding!  Let’s see where this goes . . .

 

“She’s good.” Kerry didn’t try to deflect the question: this was the first time Emma and he had been alone since they’d started flying, and he figured it was only a matter of time before she returned to a subject he knew had to be on her mind. “We’re both real busy, though, what with all the advanced classes and the Gift training.”

“Is that what she’s doing this morning?”

“Yeah. Isis and she are supposed to be flying around Cape Ann this morning, getting her more used to the colder weather.” He sighed. “She should be sitting down to lunch right about now.”

“Where as we have to settle for energy bars, jerky, and water.”

“Such is our curse.”

She laughed. “Yeah.” Emma grew silent as she seemed to grow slightly withdrawn. “Can I ask you something?”

Here it comes— “Sure.”

She slowly sighed. “Are you happy?”

“You mean with Annie?”

“Yeah?”

Just like with talking about their Gifts, Kerry didn’t want to hide anything anymore. “Yes, I am.”

She looked down at her feet. “I still like you.”

He nodded back. “I know.”

 

Eleven months after the cat was let out of the bag, it’s out again, though this time it seems as if Kerry was expecting something.  Well, let’s see where this goes–

Oh, wait:  that’s it.  That’s as far as I got before I went out shopping.  But!  I’m going to finish the scene this afternoon, and, I promise, I’ll post the remainder tonight so people don’t go to bed wondering what happen to these two.

Trust me:  you’ll see it almost as fast as I will.

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16 thoughts on “Beyond the Valley of Ashes

  1. Wow ! Emma’s not even trying to be subtle. It’s like, Are you happy with her , Kerry ? ” Kerry hesitates. ” If you’re not, why don’t you try me for size? I’ll make you even happier.” Kerry doesn’t respond.

    I seriously believe Kerry should say something to Emma regarding that line of questioning. And she doesn’t give a hoot about Annie.

    But the fact that Kerry hasn’t told her , in no uncertain terms , to take a hike, is very telling.

    As I’ve been saying all along, Keerry’s easy.

    Annie has already put Lsa in her place. Kerry should do the same. .. By confessing again, what does she expect to happen ?

    Deanna is right. Annie shouldn’t be too trusting. And Kerry’s passive.

      • He’ll say something lame .

        He really should tell her UNEQUIVOCALLY he doesn’t want to hear such stuff from her, period., and she shouldn’t waste her breath telling her this stuff.

        The problem is, he gives Emma hope there’s a chance . He hasn’t given any indication that he dislikes her overtures. Reminds me of his ” I thought you liked me! ” thing. At this point, I still don’t get that statement.

        • You’ll have to see. It’s coming.

          And what he was thinking was why would you do this knowing you know I’m with Annie. 1, he was thinking like “If you like me as a friend, you wouldn’t do this”–because that’s how he thought of Emma–and 2, do you seriously think Kerry would know, at that stage in his life, really know how to deal with a rival? It really confused the hell out of him.

          • That’s true. he doesn’t know what to deal with rivals. All he knows is, it’s nice that he has a friend who also likes him romantically.

            To be honest, I can’t put my finger on it. He already feels lust and love… so I can’t understand why he doesn’t know what Emma’s feeling. My bottomline hunch is, Emma’s been put on reserve.

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