So . . . camping. I haz it here. Well, I’ve had it for a few days now, ’cause it seems as if this is all that’s I’ve been writing about for the last few days. And it is somewhat crazy the amount of stuff I’ve had to look up for what turned out to be a three thousand word scene. So much to know, I’m telling you.
The scene is finished, by the way. Almost eleven hundred words were required, but it got there. This was pretty much all Kerry–pretty much, I say, because at the very end another person enters the stage. And since everyone knows her, there’s no need for introduction. Just keep the hissing to a minimum.
(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)
Two small light points hovered at the middle sides of the tent. Emma was sitting up on her cot, her sleeping bag pushed down about mid-torso so she could wear her half-zipped fleece jacket over her thermal undergarments. Her winter flight boots occupied the space between the head of her cot and the front of the tent, and her helmet, balaclava, gloves, and mittens were stuffed inside. Her heavy flying jacket rested on top of the boots; it would remain there until she was ready for bed, at which point she’d lay it over her feet. She looked up as Kerry entered the tent. “Is it still clear outside?”
“Yeah, the sky’s totally clear.” He fastened the outside cover in place and zipped the entrance closed. “At least we don’t have to worry about snow.” He sat on top of his sleeping bag, removed his gloves and mittens, and began undoing his boots. “Just the cold.”
Emma nodded. “Cold I can handle; snow, too.”
“Yeah, you get plenty of that in Bolder.” He set his boots and external gear and accessories aside just as Emma did with hers, then removed his winter flight jacket. Unlike their regular leather flying jackets, their winter flight jackets were like Normal extreme weather parkas outfitted with draw-cords, fastening cuffs, and a hood with a removable fur cuff, and designed to keep them as warm as possible while flying in sub-zero Celsius temperatures. “Man, I’m gonna sleep well tonight.”
“Oh, yeah.” She stretched her arms over her head. “This flying at night is crazy.”
“Yeah, well, we have a couple of winter flights coming up when we get back from Yule.” Kerry began unfasten his flight pants, which besides their undergarments and helmet were the only thing from their normal flight outfits still in use.
“You sure you don’t want me to turn around?” Over the last couple of weeks they’d agreed if they were going to share a tent they couldn’t spend their time worrying about being seen in their undergarments.
“Only if I’m getting down to skin—” He rolled up his pants and stuffed them inside his unzipped sleeping bag. “And I’m not.” He pulled off his fleece mid-layer jacket, rolled it up, and set it inside his sleeping bag as well. “Thanks for putting the hot water bottles in here.”
“That was the deal: while one is prepping outside, the other preps inside.” She glanced up at the ceiling. “Thanks for the lights.”
All the stuff I have down about their heavy boots and jackets, the gloves and mittens combos, the fleece jackets over their long undergarments, that’s all legit stuff need for walking around in near-arctic conditions. I know ’cause I’ve been looking this up like crazy, and even found a few websites that had information. The sleeping bags are correct for the climate as well, and the deal with putting your clothing and hot water battle inside them–those are tricks that let you sleep comfortably while being outside during the winter.
Since they are layered up, in the morning they can leave the heavy jackets off to the side and walk around with just their fleece and undies on and be comfortable. Once they are flying they’ll need the heavy outer gear because it’s going to be colder than hell while zipping around at a few hundred kilometers and hour. When they’re in the arctic they probably will stay bundled up all the time, except for those moments when it’s like a balmy -10 Celsius.
So Kerry’s not embarrassed about undressing in front of girls–I wonder where he got that habit from? We won’t go there yet, but he does have a few things to say to Emma:
“No problem.” Kerry bent his legs, raising his knees to his chest, and spun around until he was looking down the length of his sleeping bag. He slipped his body inside and zipped it most of the way up, pushing it down until it rested mid-torso like Emma’s. “You do need to learn that spell.”
“I know.” Emma looked down, her face growing red. “I just . . . I have a hard time with some of this stuff.”
“Like the fire spell.” Vicky was pushing a minimum set of spells they needed for camping on their own, and being able to create a fire using magic was one of them. At the moment Kerry was the only one in Advance Flight One who could perform the spell, though Elisha and Kalindi were close to crafting it successfully. “You gotta get that one down.”
“Yeah, but you can do it.” Emma leaned towards Kerry. “Why do I need to do it, too?”
“Because what if I got hurt? What if I end up with a concussion or was unconscious?” He looked away for a second. “What if I died?”
Emma’s eyes widened as the embarrassed blush vanished. “Don’t say that.”
A grin spread across Kerry’s face. “I don’t expect to die—at least not this year.” He waved at Emma to alleviate her fears. “I’m just kidding.”
“Well, don’t kid like that.”
“What I’m saying is you need to know that stuff so you don’t rely on me.”
Emma sighed. “I’m just not as good as you.”
“Don’t compare yourself to me—” He nodded towards the door. “Compare yourself to the others. They’re learning, too, and most of them aren’t any better than you.” He laughed. “You have one thing they don’t.”
“Me.” He nodded quickly. “When we get back from Yule I’ll help you get them going.”
Emma once again averted her gaze away, embarrassed by the offer. “Thanks.”
Like it or not Kerry just laid the “You’re not on my magical level” rap on Emma, but at least she’s smart enough to know it’s totally true. And thanks to a certain Dark Witch he does know a thing or two about teaching spells to others now. There was probably a time when he’d never have said anything like what he told Emma in private, and he certainly wouldn’t say it in public, but he is acknowledging that he’s got the mad magical skillz down, which is one of the reasons why Annie and he are sorta in all the advanced classes.
“It’s not a problem. I mean—” Kerry hadn’t wanted to bring this up, but it was best to get it out of the way early. “If we do the Express next year, we’ll have to trust each other with our lives. I’ll have to trust mine with yours, and I wanna know I can.” He couldn’t add that he’d already been through this kind of experience . . .
Emma got the message. Her demeanor changed as she looked directly at Kerry. “Okay, I get it. And I agree: I don’t want you out there doubting I can cover your butt.”
He nodded. “You got it.”
“Then we’ll work on that—” She extended her right arm and balled her hand into a fist. “Next year?”
Kerry bumped his right fist against hers. “Next year.” He pulled his tablet out from under his cot and checked the time before shutting it down. “We better get to bed: there’s gonna be a lot of flying tomorrow.”
“Right.” Emma spread out her sleeping bag before setting her jacket across her feet. While Kerry did the same with his jacket she removed her fleece jacket and stuffed it inside her bag. She lay down and zipped herself in, leaving nothing but her face exposed. “I’m ready.”
“Same here.” He waved his hand and extinguished the lights, then settled back and zipped himself up. He rested his head against the built-in pillow, feeling his clothes—heated by the hot water bottles—radiating their heat against his body. “See you in the morning.”
“You know it.”
Kerry rolled slightly to his left, keeping his face away from the exterior of the tent. He heard Emma chuckle as he made himself comfortable. “What is it?”
She let out with a long sigh. “This is the first time I’ve been on your left.”
Kerry chuckled. “So it is.” He closed his eyes and drifted off, thinking it best not to explain the sleeping arrangements he shared with Annie . . .
Yeah, best keep that last thought to yourself, Ginger Hair Boy, ’cause most of these kids would freak a bit if they knew about that. Then again, some of them have to expect something: after all the B Levels must have noticed that those two didn’t stay with them in a hotel in Boston before flying back to Europe at the end of their A Levels, and those same kids had to of noticed them entering or leaving a single room in Berlin. Maybe it’s one of those deals where if they don’t talk about it, it hasn’t really happened? Yeah, that works.
The good nights are spoken. Tomorrow it’s time to get up, have breakfast, break camp, and head back into the cold blue yonder.
And the third scene is going to be as different as the first two. In the first it was mostly Annie with Kerry there, while the second was Kerry’s observations with a bit of Emma thrown in. Next up are going to be those third party observations, and you’ll finally get to see a little of what’s happening up in the sky, and where this flight has not only been, but where it’s going.
It’s gonna be fun, I promise.