Dreaming Questions

First off, Blessed Samhain and Happy Halloween.  By now, in my fictional world, my kids are up and facing the day, and Kerry is probably getting ready for an exciting day of racing before preparing for an evening of costumed dancing.  What will Annie and he go as?  Hummm . . . I guess I gotta work on that, don’t I?

And speaking of Kerry–man, did I get a response yesterday!  The mystery dream ginger, aka Carrot Girl, has put in her second appearance, the first since she shook up Kerry way back in the middle of August.  Little did I know when Annie went in to her OTP’s dream and proceeded to get her ass kicked out that people would respond.  Then again, it’s a big moment in the story, and sort of sets the mood for the rest of Act Two and most of Act Three.  Like it or not, shit is hitting the fan, and there’s little gonna keep it from coming.

Speaking of Act Two–the last scene of Chapter Nineteen is finished, and that means the chapter is finished and so is Part Five.  2012 is done and gone, and 2013 came in with a bang–

Time to move on, yeah?

Time to move on, yeah?

Yes, it’s time to move on.  And since the last scene was only six hundred words and a bit of change–which means Chapter Nineteen is one of the shortest chapters I’ve written in the series–you’re gonna get it all.  Mostly because everyone who had questions about yesterday what to know what happened next.

Here’s where you find out–

 

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

The comforters wrapped around Annie as she tumbled off the sofa. She groaned when she hit the floor, slightly stunned due to the combination of impact and being kicked out of a dream so abruptly, then began trying to extract herself from the tangle of the blanket. Being wedged between the sofa and coffee table make her excursion difficult, and after a few seconds of getting nowhere Annie flew straight up about three meters and cast off the comforter.

Only then did she turn her attention to her soul mate.

She floated down next to the sofa and found Kerry still asleep but struggling. His body was twitching, mostly his arms and legs, and his head trembled. He didn’t appear at all relaxed: he was tense and his face pinched, as if he were in the middle of a struggle. His hands were balled into fist and he almost seemed as if he were pushing himself deeper into the sofa cushions.

He was mumbling, and Annie moved closer to catch the words as he hissed them out between clenched teeth. “You can’t . . . You can’t.” He whipped his head to the left and back to the right. “You can’t do—you can’t. I don’t want—” His voice grew louder. “You can’t do that. You can’t.” Kerry began thrashing about on the sofa, his face twisted into a fearful grimace. “Don’t do this. Don’t. Go away. Go Away. Go AWAY. GO AWAY—”

Annie couldn’t watch any longer. As dangerous as it might be to pull someone out of a nightmare, she knew that whatever was happening inside Kerry’s dream had something to do with the girl who’d thrown her out. She didn’t bother with subtlety as she grabbed Kerry by the shoulders and shook. “Kerry, wake up. Wake up—wake up now. Wake Up.”

He stopped shaking and screaming though his eyes remained closed—but only for a second. They snapped open as he unleashed a long scream. After five seconds he began shaking and gasping for breath.

Annie continued holding him by the shoulder as she tried to get his attention. “Kerry—Kerry.”

He finally heard her voice and looked in her direction. “Annie—”

“Are you all right?”

He seemed almost on the verge of hyperventilating. “Annie . . .” He gulped, trying to regain control and focus. “I didn’t—”

“What is going on?” Annie sat on the edge of the sofa, continuing to hold Kerry’s shoulders. “I was in your dream—”

He nodded, his head twitching slightly. “I know.”

“I saw her.”

“I know.”

“Who is she?” Annie leaned closer. “Who is that girl?”

He began shaking all over. “I—”

“Kerry, what’s wrong?”

“I—” This time he began choking for air. “I—”

She started stroking his cheek. “Shush, shush: it’s okay.” Annie wrapped her arms around him and held him close. “Don’t tell me now; not now.”

Kerry hugged Annie as he rested his head upon her shoulder. “I’m sorry—” His breathing slowed as his panic subsided. “I’m so sorry.”

“It’s not your fault, my love.” She closed her eyes as she hugged him tight. “Come on—” Annie stood and began gathering up the discarded comforter.

Kerry seemed confused. “What’s happening?”

“We’re going.”

“Where?”

“To the hospital.” She rolled up the comforter and tossed it into a corner of the sofa. “Deanna’s here, and I’m guessing Nurse Gretchen is as well.” She helped Kerry to his feet. “I have questions, and we need answers.” She lightly touched his chin as she smiled. “Whomever that was, she kicked me out of your dream—and I’m damned if I’m going to let that happen without at least understanding how and why . . .”

 

Annie gets tossed from Kerry’s dreamspace, and suddenly shit gets real.  She’s gonna find ol’ Carrot Girl and . . .

Like I've said, never piss off Annie.  Never.

Like I’ve said, never piss off Annie. Never.

Overly Attached Witchy Girlfriend is probably gonna end up tossing a few fireballs in someone’s direction, and that’s not gonna go well for them.  So grab the popcorn–

It’s probably gonna get interesting from here on out.

I’ve Seen the Saucers

As today is International Martian Attack Day (better known as the anniversary of Orson Wells’ “War of the World” broadcast), allow me to recount the day I visited the Martian invasion site in New Jersey . . .

Wide Awake But Dreaming

Oh, Hai!  It’s Soufflé Girl once again but this time I’m on the road.  Well, my machine isn’t a dud, all stuck in the mud, so that’s a good thing in my favor.  That might have given you a clue, so I’ll tell you straight out:  I’m in New Jersey, and I’ve been on the road since four-thirty, and as it’s now eight AM, you do the math on how long I’ve been traveling.

Why am I here?  Because no one would have believed in the early years of the 21st century that our world was being watched by intelligences greater than our own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns, they observed and studied, the way a man with a microscope might scrutinize the creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency, men went to and fro about the globe, confident of our empire…

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Engaging Nightmares

I think I mentioned something about this scene–well, maybe not this scene in particular, but what was coming.  I’ve hinted that some strangeness was about to go down, and guess what?  Here that is!

It’s a strange scene.  For one, it’s short:  about eight hundred and thirty words total, I don’t believe I’ve written much that’s shorter.  And because the last two scenes weren’t very long, Chapter Nineteen has the chance to become the shortest chapter in the book–so far, I should point out, but I can’t see many more chapters clocking in at around five thousand or so word.  I only say this because I know the next scene won’t be all that long, and once that’s written chapter and part are complete, and I can move on to writing about all the fun stuff about to come.

Because the scene is so short, you’re getting it all in one shot.  That means sit back and enjoy . . .

 

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

When Annie finally popped into her dreamspace she took a few seconds to calm herself and release her imaginary breath. She looked about her unformatted space and crafted a chair to sit in while she determined what she should do next.

As she’d drifted off to sleep she’d wondered if her crafting had been sufficient to dreamwalk: that she was here was proof enough that the spell worked, but she considered the possibility that it might not be enough to allow her to enter Kerry’s space. Though she wasn’t certain of the exact time, she knew some time passed between her falling asleep and the dreamwalk spell beginning.

However, Annie had a plan.

When she’d dreamwalked Kerry the week before she was able to pull him out of his space and into their shared space by using the corridor that seemed to link their individual spheres to the larger one. She planned to use her corridor to reach their shared dreamspace, then move down the other corridor to Kerry’s. It was also her hope that by sleeping next to Kerry the minimal physical distance would result in their being a minimal astral dream distance.

There was only one way to find out.

 

Annie is becoming the quite the little dreamwalker:

Though I'm of the opinion that Annie isn't seeing many Canadian Geese in Kerry's head.

Though I’m of the opinion that Annie isn’t seeing many birds flying about inside Kerry’s head.

But she just can’t let the little Ginger Hair Boy sleep.  Like a new witch with a shiny toy, Annie’s gotta go off and get inside his dreams so she can hang with him a while longer.  I mean, it’s not like she’s actually keeping him up or something.

So, then:  out of her head and . . .

 

Annie floated out of the imaginary chair, which vanished as soon as she was a half-meter above the seat cushion. While there weren’t visible landmarks in her space to let her know the location of the corridor, she remembered the feeling she’d experienced when she’d located it while in Kerry’s space: a sensation not unlike falling a short distance. She began moving in different directions in her dreamspace, looking for that same feeling. She wasn’t concerned about the time she’d spend looking for the exit: an hour here wasn’t much more than a minute in the physical realm, so while she might grow tired of looking, she wouldn’t run out of time.

She didn’t need to worry, however: after a few minutes of her current dream time she encountered the falling feeling and went into the sensation. Seconds later she was rushing along the narrow gold corridor, popping into the shared dreamspace moments later. Annie understood the topography of their dream world and zipped across the much later space until she felt herself falling once more, entering the corridor taking here to Kerry’s space.

The emergence into Kerry’s space was far different than the last time she’d dreamwalked him. Then the space was in the process of formatting itself and was filled with colorful mist; this time everything was a dull, uniform gray, including the fog which seemed to limit visibility to just a few meters.

Annie attempted to get her bearings, slowly walking away from the falling feeling at her back. When she’d appeared last time Kerry came into view almost immediately, but now there was nothing. It was entirely possible that all the gray fog were interfering with her ability to find him, and she wondered if perhaps Kerry wasn’t fully immersed deeply enough into REM sleep to be here.

Anything is possible. Annie set her hand upon her hips and set her weight on her right leg as she thought. I’m not an expert in dreamwalking, so everything that’s happening is an ongoing learning experience. She turned slowly intending to search in another direction. Maybe while I’m here I can try formatting

There was someone else here with her–and it wasn’t Kerry.

 

And . . . this isn’t what I’d call good.

 

She was almost face-to-face with a girl, one about three centimeters shorter than her with long, curly ginger hair and bright green eyes. Like Annie she, too, was dressed in pajamas, making Annie wonder if this girl was more than just a figment of Kerry’s dreams—Could she be a dreamwalker as well?

Annie managed a weak smile. “Hi, I’m—”

“You need to leave.” There was an edge in the girl’s voice that didn’t sound like anger. “You need to go now, Annie.”

“How do you know my name?” Annie tensed slightly; while everything in the dream realm was new to her, encountering someone or something that knew her name didn’t leave her at ease. “What are you doing here?”

The girl took one step towards Annie. “You can’t stay: you need to leave this dream—” She seized Annie by her upper arms. “—and leave immediately.”

There was no time to react: in an instant Annie was off her feet and spinning around as the girl drove her backward through the gray fog. Annie was too shocked to take action: for the first time she felt at a loss as to what to do, for while she could dreamwalk, she didn’t understand dream fighting . . .

The girl stopped and pushed Annie away from her hard. “Stay out of this dream.” She yelled as Annie hurtled away from her. “Stay out of his space.”

Annie flew back into the dream foam of Kerry’s space and slammed through hard. She was through in a moment and snapped violently into the astral dream realm—

 

Was  there a moment there where Annie thought, “This wasn’t what I expected,” as she was physically thrown out of Kerry’s head?  And here we see for the first time that there are things one can do to protect themselves from other dreamwalkers, but since Annie wasn’t expecting to run into others, why bother learning?  Because you never know who you’re going to run into while out on a dreamwalk?

And it would seem that Annie has met up with someone who’s been popping into Kerry’s head once in a while.  But, you know, this is one of the reasons your girlfriend flies into your dream, so she can make sure there aren’t any strange girls already there.  And not only did she find a strange girl, but said girl just kicked Annie’s ass–

You can bet she’s not gonna let this one go any time soon.

Close Out Returns

 

These days I find my mind wandering a great deal, and trying to stay on subject isn’t always the easiest thing.  Just like now:  mind is off somewhere else besides this blog.  Happens.

This scene was finally finished last night, and all three nights of writing came out about equidistant in terms of wordage every evening.  I don’t mind that, nor do I mind that I’m in a stretch where I’m only writing about seven hundred words a night these days.  You need to recharge now and then, and I’ve been running on low energy for sometime now.  The break was needed, and this is how I get it done.

Also, I’ve been more careful about how I’m writing these days, doing a bit more editing as I go along.  Couple this with the inability to get the words out quickly and you’re seeing seven hundred words written in two hours.  Not a great deal, but I’m almost one hundred and seventy-five thousand words into this work, so I get a little slack cutting, yeah?

With my kids alone down in the commons, how do you think this scene is gonna end?  How, indeed:

 

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

They kissed for nearly a minute, holding each other as they lay together on the sofa. The light in the ground floor coven had come down at twenty-two hours, leaving the fireplace as the source of most of the current illumination, and when Annie and Kerry finished their kiss they stared into the first for almost five minutes as they continued to hold each other.

Kerry touched Annie’s new earrings. “You make these look so good.”

Annie glanced down. “That’s because they’re beautiful.”

“That’s because you’re beautiful, Sweetie.”

“My love . . .” Annie blushed, not trying to keep her feelings bottled up when they were the only ones in the commons. In the last year Kerry had become extremely free with his complements, and though she was aware she wasn’t a plain girl, she’d never thought of herself as beautiful. And the way Kerry made his statements—she heard the sentiment in his voice and knew he wasn’t making here feel good—

He meant every word.

“You make me blush, you make me cry—” She kissed him before rolling around so her back was against Kerry. “You’re the only one who does that to me, my love.”

“Just as long as I never get you angry.”

“I don’t believe I could ever be angry with you.” She twisted around and smiled at him. “Frustrated once in a while, possible upset—but never angry.” A chuckle drifted from deep in her throat. “I’ll leave that honor for Lisa.”

 

Annie was always the Girl Who Didn’t Cry, and while all we’ve seen from her in the past is a single tear, she’d admitting that the tear came care of her soul mate.  Now we’re seeing that while she knows she’s pretty–not plain, I know, but she still thinks she’s pretty–she’s not beautiful.  It’s an interesting bit of modesty, because a lot of people would love to believe that a girl, like Annie, who comes from a bit of privilege and wealth, likes to imagine her shit doesn’t stink and she’s the beautiful creature under the sun.

And they both agree that Lisa is great for pissing people off, and they’ll leave that to her–and that she’ll likely leave Annie alone from now on.

What next, you say?  Well . . .

 

“And I don’t think she’ll be doing that any time soon.” He slid further down the sofa until he was laying flat with Annie next to him. “You know, with only a few of the instructors here—”

Annie knew where he was going with his line of reasoning. “Yes?”

Kerry gave her a huge, soft smile. “We don’t have to go to our rooms tonight.”

“I see.” She smiled back. “Do you think we can sleep down here?”

“I don’t see why not: it’s not like it’d be the first time.” He traced the edge of her nose. “And Professor Semplen probably won’t show until after we’re up, so . . .”

She began tapping a finger against his chest. “I was thinking—”

Now it was his turn to feint surprise. “Yes?”

“I was thinking the same as you.”

“I was thinking about this almost as soon as we came to the coven.”

“I thought about it after we arrived at school.”

 

I could say, “Hey, get a room, you kids,” but it seems like they’ll take the sofa.  And they’ve both been thinking about this?  Sounds like someone’s gonna be getting another talk from Nurse Coraline pretty quick–

 

They laughed together for a few seconds before Annie when for the pillows while Kerry retrieved the heavy comforters and reset the enchantment to lower the fire. A couple of minutes later the pillowed were in place, Kerry lay against the back of the sofa with his left arm draped over Annie as she pulled the comforter up nearly to their necks. He made sure he wasn’t holding Annie too tight. “You comfortable?”

“Yes, quite.” She adjusted her position slight. “I’ve got the comforter tucked slightly in the back, so I don’t expect to fall.”

“Good.” Kerry levitated his computer so it hovered overhead. He tapped the display a few times, then set it back down on the end table. “I set the alarm for six just in case.”

“Good idea.” She gave him a last kiss for the evening. “Good night, Kerry. I love you.”

He returned the kiss. “Leka nosht, Annie. Obicham te.”

Annie closed her eyes and felt Kerry’s breathing as he listened to his heart beat. She wanted to hear his body slow, be here as he drifted off to sleep. She’d not done this since they night they returned to Salem after their operation in Kansas City, and at the time she relished knowing he was comfortable enough with her next to him to fall asleep with her touching him—

In fifteen minutes time Kerry’s breathing deepened and slowed, telling her that he was unconscious. Annie allowed herself to do the same, though unlike the last time she’d listened to Kerry enter dreamland, this time she intended to join him . . .

 

There you have it, with Kerry heading off to dreamland, and Annie–that sneaky little girl–setting out to dreamwalk him again, or at least try.  First day home, and she can’t even bear to be without him for the night.  There’s an Overly Attached Witch Girlfriend meme in here somewhere.

Right now I’m at this point:

Which is where I should be, I guess.

Which is where I should be, I guess.

And there are two scenes remaining.  Not long ones–I’m guessing maybe a thousand words each–but this next one coming up?  Hold on tight–

Things are about to get a bit nutty.

Significant Significances

Far better mood I have this morning, thank you.  Yesterday was all about getting stressed out at work, then getting away, getting something to eat, coming home and trying not to lost my emotions.  Okay, didn’t quite make that last one, but everything else happened, and with gusto, as the old beer ads used to say.

It’s life.  Move on.

Things are downright cozy back at the coven tower, though it’s not quite as alone here as it was in the last scene . . .

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

For most of the night they sat before the fire, talking, listening to whatever played on Kerry’s computer, and watching students return to the coven. About twenty-one the last of the coven’s students arrived—D Level Darius Roy and A Level Nancy Piugattuk from Canada, and A Levels Huwey Juanico from the island of Guadeloupe and Menan Torres from Paraguay. Darius waved to his fellow racers as he headed for the stairs—the first time Annie could remember him doing anything that looked outwardly friendly—while the three A Levels sat off to one side of the ground floor for about fifteen minutes chatting. Before heading to their floor they came over to introduce themselves, hoping they weren’t “breaking the fishbowl” by speaking to upper levelmates. Everyone welcomed their warmly, and Kerry told them that this time late year Annie and he were living on their floor, and that while he couldn’t speak for all the students in the coven, those on the second floor were “pretty cool”.

Annie couldn’t keep the smile off here face, even after the A Levels went to their rooms. As much contact as they’d had with upper levelmates during the last year, they’d yet to have contact with the A Levels in their own coven, and she liked how Kerry made them feel welcome. A year ago at this time her moyata polovinka was a quiet bundle of nerves and unhappiness: now he was comfortable with both school, friend, and most of all, his soul mate. She also, in that moment, realized they would be the ones welcoming the new B Levels to the second floor . . .

Since this is the first time we’ve really seen the new students at Cernunnos, and like a lot of other towers the students are from all over the place.  Kerry and Annie, as pointed out, had little access to the upper levels of their own towers:  all of the older students they met came from the other four.  Here now, however, The Party of Five–well, Six for the moment–are taking time to say hi and make the new kid feel welcome.  This is something that’ll get touched on much later in the novel, but for now, it looks as if all the young witches have come home to roost.

Some, however, need to visit other parts of the school first–

As the time neared twenty-two Alex and Kahoku left; he was tired and want to get to sleep, and she wanted to bid him a good night. In the aftermath of their departure the remaining couples grew quiet as they listened to music. Penny and Jairo moved to the floor in front of the fireplace and cuddled, while Kerry lay back against the sofa arm while Annie lay back against him. There wasn’t a need for conversation: both couples wanted to reacquaint themselves with each other. Annie paid no attention to what her floor mates were doing: it was a habit she’d immediately picked up once they began attending the Midnight Madness. It was an unspoken rule that as long as you didn’t stare at others, they wouldn’t stare back.

And Annie was well aware Kerry and she did enough to warrant stares from others.

Alex returned a half-hour after leaving. Penny turned around to greet her, with Jairo taking his time moving around. “You give Kaho some good night snuggles?”

“I gave him more than snuggles.” Alex slid over the arm of the love seat where her levelmates had sat most of the evening. “I so missed him.”

“I know that feeling.” Annie pulled Kerry’s arms around her before adjusting the covers over her legs.

“I checked the status board in the Atrium on the way back—” Alex swung one leg over the love seat arm. “Only about half the instructors and staff are here.” She intertwined her fingers and cracked her knuckled. “Only three of the coven leaders, too.”

Kerry rested his chin against Annie’s shoulder. “Which ones?”

“Arrakis, Salden, and Palmescoff.” Alex snorted. “I met Palmescoff on the way over to Blodeuwedd; she was on her way to the Instructor’s Residence.”

“What was she doing?” Jairo snorted before asking the followup. “Checking on her students?”

“Probably. Don’t know. I didn’t go inside.” The blond Ukrainian girl wiggled her eyebrows. “We didn’t go right to his tower, if you know what I mean.”

Penny chuckled. “No need to elaborate.” She stood and helped Jairo to his feet. “And speaking of good nights, we’re heading up to the second for a few of our own.”

“Sounds like a good idea.” Alex was on her feet before she turned to the couple on the sofa. “You guys coming?”

“We’re going to stay up a bit longer.” Annie turned slightly so she rested on her side against Kerry. “We still have catching up to do.”

Yes, Annie and Kerry have “catching up to do”.  I guess that’s what kids there are gonna call it, right?  But we do get to see that the Lovey Dovey couple aren’t the only ones who do the snogging thing.  And Alex didn’t take her boyfriend right home?  Whatever could she mean?

So lets sorta bring the lights down a little on this party . . .

Penny was about to say something when Alex tapped her arm. “Come on; let the lyubyty ptakhiv have their privacy.”

“Yeah.” Penny gave them a wave. “See you guys in the morning.”

Jairo nodded. “See you later.”

Kerry gave them a short wave. “Mañana, guys.”

Annie did the same. “Have a good night.”

Alex was the last to leave. “Don’t stay up too late.” She chuckled as she bounded up the stairs after her friends.

It wasn’t until their friends were out of sight that Annie stretched out and relaxed. “Alone at last.”

“And I think completely this time.” He slid down slightly so he could rest his head. “We got the whole commons to ourselves.”

“Which mean we should make good use of the space—” Annie rolled around and gave Kerry a short kiss. “I missed you so much, my love.”

First comes the missing, then come the kissing, and then comes the . . . magic?

First comes the missing, then come the kissing, and then comes the . . . magic?

The scene isn’t quite over, and it’ll lead directly into two scenes that comes pretty much back-to-back to each other.  But I have to end this on off first, and that may happen tonight, as there is a bunch of stuff I should do tonight, but that I may put off until tomorrow–

We’ll see–won’t we, Scarlett?

Sliceable Life

Everyone, in life real or fictional, wants to have a place to call their own.  It’s one of the concepts I keep returning to in the novel, because it’s truly a focus for my kids.  They have their childhood homes; they have their rooms at the school; they have their space where they share dreams.  It’s something I feel right–had for a few years now–because I sometimes feel like I have no real place to live, that I have no real home at the moment.

But that’s me:  my kids, they’re finally back home to, as Kerry called it, “Salem Home.”  Like it or not, since about a week after they arrived at school back in their A Levels, they’ve called good old Cernunnos Tower home, or at least Annie started that and Kerry picked up on it quickly.  Everything after that was, “Let’s go home, Sweetie,” and given how they were developing as a couple it was easy to believe they were really sort of setting up a little mini home of their own.

And that’s where they’re at now, Back Home in Cape Ann, kinda beating the rush back to school . . .

 

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

The Jaunt from Vienna brought Annie and Kerry back to Salem around twelve-twenty, a far different time than their return the year before. They considered getting a quick bite before heading off to their rooms to do their adjustment, but they were informed at the station that the kitchen was in operation until twenty hours to accommodate all but those students returning late that night.  Knowing this they headed off to the tower to spent the next three hours in adjustment.

Cernunnos Tower was still nearly empty. The only students who’d returned were those from east and central Asia, Australia, and other parts of Oceania. Though a few students from Europe and the Americas were already back, the majority of the current traffic for the next hour or two was returning from Africa and Europe, and kids from North, Central, and South America would soon follow.

Adjustment was, as always quick and easy. They were given their coded mixtures as soon as they arrived, and upon returning to their rooms they changed into their pajamas—their bags were teleported directly from the station—drank them down, and crawled into bed. As they’d done on the flight over at the start of the school year, both kids slept soundly and dreamless, and when they awoke around sixteen-thirty, they were back on local Salem time.

Neither student changed back into street clothes upon awaking: since there weren’t classes or school events today, the feeling around the school was much like that of an all-day Midnight Madness. Nearly everyone wore some kind of sleeping garment, or at the least, something they were comfortable in which to relax. Annie and Kerry both wore their heaviest sleep ware and robes and kept to the tunnels when moving about The Pentagram. About the only difference in their apparel was Annie wore he Ugg boots to keep her feet warm while Kerry wore a heavy pair of socks with his slippers—again, much like they did during the Midnight Madness when the weather turned cold.

They had taken a table in the Dining Hall and had just placed their orders when Penny and Jairo entered the room with Alex and Kahoku close behind. The covenmates—and Alex’s boyfriend—ask if they could join them for dinner, and the six of them sat around the magically enlarged table chatting away while they enjoyed their light dinners, deserts, and plenty of hot chocolate and apple cider. Outside it was dark and the temperatures were dropping, but in the Dining Hall the lights were low, the environment was cozy, and the conversation between friends great.

Outside the sky was clear and the temperatures were near minus five Celsius, but the Ground Floor Commons of Cernunnos Tower was bright and warm now that the large fireplace was once more operational. It was the perfect place to hang out with returning friends—as they’d were all doing since they’d returned from dinner. Since there wasn’t much in the way of security at the moment—Sabrina was allowing all students access to the commons of all towers so they could mingle—Kahoku sat with the Cernunnos B and C Levels to enjoy their company, but mostly to be with Alex, whom he hadn’t seen since they’d left on Yule Holiday.

At no time did Annie mention that he’d dreamwalked Kerry on Boxing Day: given the way the other two couples commiserated about being unable to see each other for the two weeks they were away, she felt any mention of their dream time together would come across as bragging. She almost asked if they’d written to each other during their time away, but after Penny remarked about being able to make one call right after Christmas, Annie had her answer.

 

That penultimate paragraph was actually the first I wrote before writing all the other stuff before it.  That was how I envisioned the scene starting before jumping into a mini flashback showing the kids arriving back at school, but I kept moving it down until I got to where it is now, then I put the last paragraph in, called it a night, and sat down to watch Fargo.

But here they are, relaxing at school with two other couple that are closely becoming friends–yeah, even brought in Alex’s boyfriend from Laos–sitting in front of the big fireplace in the coven tower, talking and waiting for the night to come to and end.  After which . . .

Well, if this layout is any indication, it could be something crazy.

Well, if this layout is any indication, it could be something crazy.

But you won’t know that until tomorrow.

Teardrops and Titillations

Over the weekend I came to the realization about something in my stories.  It’s nothing major, but . . . I’m probably going to have to remove the song lyrics used in both novels, only because I likely will not be able to afford the rights to use them.  A lot of times you can get permission from the artist for their lyrics, but it’s also true that a lot of time the songs aren’t owned by the artist and are instead owned by someone who’s gonna say, “Sure, go ahead and use the song, Cassie,” but rather, “Where’s my money, bitch?”  It’s not a big deal–there are only four locations–but one of them is for a great scene that I’ll have to butcher just a little to make work.

I shouldn’t complain too much:  I’d probably go after fan fiction writers, or maybe not.  Haven’t decided on that yet.  I guess I need someone to do fan fiction first.

So, back to the airport and the gift Kerry gave.  He’s really free with the presents to Annie–so far two birthday gifts, one “Our First Meeting” gift, and now a Christmas gift.  Is he setting himself up for the time when he has to hear, “Remember when you gave me a charm bracelet for our First Meeting Anniversary?  Yeah, what ever happened to that guy?” followed by some mumbling in Bulgarian.  That will never happen, because Annie doesn’t expect gifts–that’s pretty much a given.  And as we see here . . .

 

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

Annie attempted a disapproving look, but the best she could manage was a half-smile. “We agreed we wouldn’t exchange Yule presents.”

“Yeah, well . . .” Kerry held out the present. “You can yell at me later.”

“Then I should see why I need to yell—” She carefully unwrapped the package, only to find a smaller wrapped box inside. She unwrapped this box as carefully as the first and discovered the contents to be a small, felt-covered box. “More jewelry, I see.”

“I once heard a girl can’t have too much jewelry.” He smiled. “But this is a little different.”

“Oh?” She popped open the box and discovered a pair of earrings: dark blue stones within a silver teardrop setting. “Kerry . . .”

He sat still, smiling back. “Am I gonna get yelled at still?”

 

No, you’re not gonna get yelled at, Ginger Hair Boy.  Not one bit.  And what are they?

 

“I don’t—” She removed one earring from the box and held it up to the light. “Kerry, are these . . ?” She set it back in the box. “They’re sapphires, aren’t they?”

“Yeah.” He nodded slowly. “I wanted to get you something with your birth stone.”

She stared into the box. “They’re beautiful. But—”

“I know I shouldn’t say this, but I didn’t spend a lot. I mean, I saw a few that were over a thousand pounds, but you’d have had a fit if I got those.”

“You’re right: I would.”

“I was going to get you lapis lazuli earrings because they’re also a September birth stone in the UK, but when I saw there wasn’t that much of a different in price, I went with the sapphires.” He tilted his head to the left as he admired Annie. “And I think teardrops suit you: nice looking without being too ostentatious.”

 

Sapphire earrings.  Kinda like–

Well, like these.  But with silver.

Well, like these. But with silver.

Yeah, what’s your twelve year old boyfriend gotten you lately?  A Starbucks drink?  It helps that Kerry has a bit of money to spend, and it should get pointed out now:  he’s not spent much on himself.  The big ticket items have been for Annie, and he’s figured not to spend that much.  He does point out that he had help buying them–he had Erywin and Helena jaunt him over to England one Friday when Annie was flying with Isis–and that he bought them in November.  And there’s a reason for that–

 

“Sneaky.” She crossed her arms across her body and sat back. “These aren’t the sort of earrings you wear every day.”

“No, they’re not. I figured they were something you could wear for special occasions—like Ostara, the Samhain Dance—”

“Going out to dinner with my parents at Yule?” Annie brightened the table with her smile.

Kerry nodded as he fidgeted with his tea cup. “Something like that.”

“Why didn’t you give them to me before we parted for the holidays?”

“Because . . .” He blushed once again. “I wanted to be the first to see them on you.”

He knows they’re not for everyday, but the idea that he wanted to be the first to see her wear them–that’s really sort of sweet and kind.  And Annie not only obliges, but brings up something else–

 

“You did? Hummm . . .” She removed her gold studs and replaced them with Kerry’s gift. Annie brushed her hair back so the earrings caught the light better. “How do they look?”

“Beautiful. Just like you.” He snapped a picture with his phone and passed it to Annie. “See?”

She scrutinized the photo, touching her earrings as she admired how they appeared. “You’re right: these are for special occasions—” Annie returned the phone. “Like returning home together.”

“You mean Salem home?”

“Do we have another at this point?” She crossed her legs. “You’ve given me a locket, a bracelet, and earrings as gifts—what’s next? A ring?” She held up her right hand and wiggled her fingers.  “Like—?”

“Umm . . .” Kerry tried not to show surprise, but given what Annie insinuated, he couldn’t help but feel a bit shocked. “We’re still kinda young for that, aren’t we?”

“Just a little.” Annie giggled as she leaned forward so she could speak softly. “My parents would have a fit if I were to become engaged now—even if I explained it was because we did see ourselves getting married.” She lay her right hand over Kerry’s left. “Besides, when the time comes for that, I want something far more special—”

“What’s that?”

“An Astral Etching.” She slowly rubbed Kerry’s hand. “My Mama and Papa both have them.”

Simple based upon the name Kerry was able to piece together an idea of what Annie meant. “Sound interesting.”

“And beautiful, because you created them—”

 

And here we have it:  the ring thing is finally mentioned, and Kerry isn’t so clueless that he doesn’t know what she’s talking about.  Annie is also smart enough to know that were she to come home that summer–at thirteen–wearing an engagement ring, there would be hell to pay.  Her parents would flip and she knows it.  We won’t even talk about Kerry’s parents . . .

But here’s something being mentioned for the first time:  an Astral Etching.  In time you’re going to find out exactly what those are, but for now it’s sort of left hanging.  However, like Kerry you can probably figure out what they are, and given that both her parents have them, it’s likely something engaged and married couples share.  And yes:  you’ll get to see one eventually.

But when all else is said for this scene, it’s Annie who finally drops the mic in a big way . . .

 

Just then the airport public address system sounded to let everyone know an announcement was forthcoming. “Ihre Aufmerksamkeit, bitte. Wird Herr und Frau Malibey bitte an der Kasse melden? Ihr Flug wird bald verlassen. Danke.” The message repeated in English. “Your attention, please. Will Mr. and Mrs. Malibey please report to the ticket counter? Your flight is departing soon. Thank you.”

Kerry continued looked upward for a few seconds after the announcement completed. He slowly lowered his gaze towards a smiling Annie. “Mr. And Mrs. Malibey?”

Annie quickly stood, pushing her chair back in. “I had to leave a message for when it was time to leave, and I wanted something that would catch our attention.” She took Kerry’s hand after his chair was in place. “We’ll be leaving in about twenty minutes.  Shall we?”

“Coming, Darling.” He walked with Annie, left hand in right, heading for the escalators that would lead them to Level 1, and the stairs there that would take them under the airport and to the jaunt station. He looked out through the Level windows at the tarmac beyond and spoke in a broad English accent. “Yes, sir, going home—” He raised Annie’s hand to his lips for a kiss. “Going home.”

 

There, she went and did it:  Mr. and Mrs. Malibey.  Over the loudspeakers.  In an international airport.  For all to hear.

"Attention, please.  Will the young man running screaming through the concourse please report to the Information Desk.  Your Wife-to-Be is waiting for you."

“Attention, please. Will the young man running screaming through the concourse please report to the Information Desk. Your Wife-to-Be is waiting for you.”

Good think Kerry loves Annie, or he would get . . . worried.

But they are finally going “home”.  And they’ll be there for almost the rest of the novel.  Where only good things will happen to them–

Right?