Yesterday was all about me, but–what about my kids? Well, they’re around. In particular Annie, who’s hanging out at the Flight School waiting for Kerry to return. That’s one of the reasons this is all about Annie right now, because Kerry is somewhere in the air and on his way home. Annie, however: she’s back at the school and, believe it or not, hanging with the girls. Which girls, you ask? Let’s get right into the action, because I didn’t show you much yesterday.
(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)
The Flight Deck was on the second floor of the Flight School, situated directly over the first floor Briefing Room. Normally it was used during emergencies—it was from here that Holoč Semplen kept track of the fliers on patrol during the Day of the Dead attacks—but today it was being used for its other purpose, which was to monitor student flights beyond the walls. Not every student flying outside the walls was tracked: only those PAVs with active tracking were watched, and the school could only track up to one hundred kilometers from the Great Hall.
Today the Flight Deck was in use today to monitor the return of the Salem Overnight flight. Only four brooms were under monitoring—Vicky’s, Erywin’s, and the minions—but the moment they hit the One Hundred K Bubble, as the monitoring zone was called, they would show up on the only piece of equipment in the room: a large holographic imaging system three and a half meters across.
Because the flight was expected to take time no one was required to monitor the surrounding area until sixteen hours. Penny and Alex volunteered to wait for the overnight flight, and Annie joined them because of her obvious connection to one of the fliers. The girl welcomed their covenmate because there wasn’t a lot to do except wait, and Annie welcomed being allowed on to the Flight Deck because she didn’t want to wait for Kerry alone.
This is one of those situations where there isn’t a lot to do, and frankly, the Security Office could monitor this thing rather easily. One of the things that happens in my world is seeing The Foundation hand responsibilities off to these kids at an early age, because–well, this is a school, isn’t it? Not everything here is about book learning and spell crafting: some of it is about shouldering responsibility and seeing how it’s handled. Going all the way back to the first full day Annie and Kerry had together in London, Kerry remarked that their day tripping seemed like some kind of test, and Annie didn’t argue in the negative. Ms. Rutherford had it called about who would go and who would stay, and both kids were semi-aware of something happening in the background.
It’s the same at Salem. Kids are sent out on patrols, they’re sent out to fight, they’re given minion positions over other students. The Foundation is watching to see how you handle this stuff, and the ones who can are treated far differently than the ones who can’t. After all, these kids are going to run the world from the shadows one day–don’t you want them to know how to handle simple responsibilities?
Now, the girls have their music, so you can imagine the Flight Deck is rocking, and they start talking about their families. Penny and Alex want to know about Annie’s because she was born into a family of witches, so it has to be a lot more interesting, yeah? She tells them a lot of the same stuff Kerry’s already heard, though she leaves out some details. There’s another question they have, too:
She knew it was likely that one of the girls was going to ask a question that had hung around her since the start of her B Levels, and Penny was the one to ask. “Why didn’t you take Advanced Flight One? You’re a good flier, and I’d think you’d want to fly with Kerry—” The girl stole a quick glance at the holographic image in the middle of the room. “Why turn down the class?”
The answer was one she’d given to Kerry, but she’d never given to anyone else. “I enjoy flying. I had issues early on with flying a broom, but once I started Basic Flying I discovered how enjoyable flying was. Particularly that first time I went flying with Kerry: all we did was fly slowly around the grounds, seeing as much as we could, making that landing at the observatory . . .” Her smile was bright and warm. “That moment when we walked into the Dining Hall in our flight gear with our brooms over our shoulders, I told Kerry at Beltaine that I felt a bit of pride having everyone looking at us and realizing that here we were, only a week into our A Levels, and we were already flying around the grounds like we’d been there for months.
“However, I’m a casual flier: I like to get on my broom and just go somewhere. I don’t want to spend time figuring out course and speed and altitude and where we’re going to stop along the way: I simply want to fly.
“And that’s what I like about Kerry. He understands that I don’t enjoy all those things that he finds interesting. He’ll do all the figuring, and let me do the flying.” She chuckled. “He doesn’t way much, either, when we fly. The time we flew out to Pearl Hill on Graduation Day, he figured out the best way to get there, but once we were airborne we talked, he played music, and the extent of him giving directions was to indicate what heading we needed to follow. There was any worry about how fast to go or high to fly: It was go this way—” Annie pointed into the distance. “And we did.”
Annie’s the sort of person who likes to get in their car and drive, and doesn’t care about the reasons the car goes, or how to figure out things like routes and fuel millage. She knows Kerry has some interest there, but what she likes about him is he doesn’t get on her case because she doesn’t know, or care to know. Daddy is a little more exacting when it comes to this stuff, which may be one of the reasons why she doesn’t like flying with the family. She’s a perfect fit with Kerry: he likes the planing, she’s into the ride. Although, we’re going to have to see Annie deal with the planning part soon . . .
There is one other things, and it comes after Alex makes a comment about how she could never be as good a “dark crafter” as Annie:
Annie raised her eyebrows slowly. “How do you know what I do for ‘dark crafting’.” She fought to keep from smiling; she’d never heard anyone use that term before concerning sorcery.
Alex glanced at Penny, who glanced back. Alex sighed slowly. “We hear things from other students.”
Now Annie was curious; she knew there had to be rumors about Kerry and her, but until now she’d never bothered asking anyone what they knew. “Such as?”
Penny spoke up. “That you have private access to the Black Vault; that Lovecraft tutors you and that you’re showing things to Kerry.”
There was a pause of nearly five seconds before Alex ask a question that had been on her mind for a while. “You know death spells, yeah?”
Since Alex and Penny were her friends, she didn’t see a reason to lie. “Yes. I’ve never hid that.”
“Some kids say you’ve taught them to Kerry.”
She paused for just a few seconds. “Really?”
“You’re not going to tell us?”
“It’s not for me to say.”
Alex look as if she were considering pushing for an answer when popped up out of her chair. “Hey, they’re here.”
So students do whisper about the Dark Witches. It’s to be expected, because they are a hell of a lot different than the rest of the students at the school–and with only one hundred and fifty students present, they’re gonna stand out in their own good time. What else is whispered? Hum . . . use your imagination.
Here we are:
And if I’m lucky I can put Chapter Sixteen to bad and clear one hundred and fifty thousand tonight.
Just like Kerry, I’m almost home.