The Real Before the Dreams

Today is 1 November, better known as Día de Muertos, the Day of the Dead–or as some places call it, Día de los Inocentes, the Day of Innocents.  If you know this story then you know this is a big day around the Salem School, and an even bigger day for quite a few people.  Of course we’re in the real world here–if there is such a place as the “real world”–and the events of that day happened four years ago, so my kids would be E Levels right now–Annie is sixteen and Kerry fifteen–and believe me, they got a whole lotta things to do in their penultimate school level.

But that’s some time off in the novel future.  Right now there are other problems–

Here we see the aftermath of Annie’s meeting with The Dreamgirl, and she said they were going off to the hospital, and so they did.  I know this because a certain doctor comes in the next day–

 

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

Coraline Gallagher loved to get back into the flow of routine once she was back on the grounds of the Salem Institute for Greater Education and Learning. The hospital was kept open during Yule for there were always a few students who remained behind over the holidays for one reason or another, and a member of her staff remained on the grounds during that period: this year the “Stay Behind” was Nurse Gretchen Rogge. It mattered little, however, as Coraline lived just outside the actual city of Salem and could jaunt in with only a few minutes notice.

Still, she always felt the need to arrive around six-thirty the Sunday morning before classes were to resume on the new calendar year and begin returning the hospital to full readiness. She went over the reports of student visits; she examined those few notices sent over the Foundation Medical Network; and she checked in on those students still in the bay due to injury or illness. Normally this last never happened, for it was rare to have kept overnight any students from what was commonly known as Returning Saturday.

This year was different.

The moment she pulled up the list of patients for 06/01/2013 and saw “Bay #1” there wasn’t a need for her to check names—or to know that while Bed #1 was listed as “Occupied”, both patients were laying in Bed #2. Though she didn’t need to look, she cracked the privacy curtain just enough to see her favorite couple sleeping peacefully, each with an arm draped over the other.

Given the nature of the report taken by Nurse Gretchen early that morning, Coraline put in a call to the one person she knew could help before settling back in her office chair with a cup of coffee and a bagel sent up from the kitchen while she finished up what little work was needed to put the Yule holidays behind her.

She was in the middle of her third cup of coffee and staring off into nothingness when there was a tap-tapping upon her door. Coraline sat up straight and waved the door open. “Enter.”

 

When I wrote the forth paragraph last night I had to chuckle, because I could imagine Coraline rolling her eyes when she saw “Bed #1: Occupied” with Annie’s name next to the listing and seeing that Kerry was in Bed #2.  “Suuuuuure she’s in that bed.  Let me just scribble ‘Who are we kidding?’ in the Notes–“.  And these days Coraline doesn’t seems too concerned that the headmistress is gonna show up and want to see the students in Bay #1.  She’s probably been filled in already that they have a couple who like sacking out on the same sofa–oh, what: Mathilde’s already seen them crashing out on the sofa during the Midnight Madness, so nothing new there.

Now, who is this visitor?  Hummm–guess.

 

“Thank you.” Deanna tugged her dark sweater downward and took a seat. “Thanks.” She took a moment to stretch. “Nothing like getting started early. What’s up?”

Coraline slid the tablet with Gretchen’s report across her desk. “A certain couple we both know well seems to have had an interesting evening.”

Deanna scanned the report, pushing the tablet back when she finished. “That’s interesting.”

“What I find interesting is Annie was dreamwalking.” Coraline tapped the arms of her chair. “Did you know this?”

“Yes, I did; she told me a few months ago that she was working on dreamwalking, and had been since the last summer.”

“Did you tell her that dreamwalking could be dangerous if she encountered something unexpected?”

Deanna crossed her legs as a smiled ticked the right corner of her mouth. “She knows now.” She glanced off to the corner of the office. “Besides, do you think she would have listened?”

Coraline gave the matter only a moment’s thought. “Probably not.”

“I knew she was trying to reach Kerry and didn’t expect she’d have problems, but . . .” Deanna shrugged. “Getting a Kick Out probably scared the hell out of her.”

 

If you’re gonna talk dreams, you’re gonna need to talk to Deanna.  While she’s the resident seer, she’s also the person who is the expert on all things astral and dreamlike–stuff she doesn’t get around to teaching until the D Levels, which gets mentioned in this scene.  Now we know what a Kick Out is, because we saw it happen to Annie.  And, for the first time, we see where Deanna knew Annie shouldn’t be dreamwalking without proper instruction, but let he do it because the hard-headed little Bulgarian wouldn’t have listened.  Or . . . did Deanna know something else?

Before we get to that point, we deal with this–

 

“When I spoke with Gretchen she said both of them were pretty upset. She gave them something to help them sleep.”

“Where are they now?”

Coraline nodded towards the door. “In the lounge area down the end of the ward. They slept until seven-twenty or so and started in on breakfast about fifteen minutes ago.” She stood and adjusted the sleeves of her teal thermal top. “I don’t think they’ll mind the visit.”

“Sounds good.” Deanna spent a moment admiring something she’d never seen on Coraline before. “New boots?”

“Yes.” She twisted her right leg back and forth for her fellow counselor’s benefit. “Bought them after Christmas. They look good over my jeans.” Coraline headed out of the office with Deanna right behind her. Given that the seer was also dressed simply in a sweater, jeans, and sneakers, it wasn’t hard to notice something that wasn’t part of Deanna’s normal school attire. “Nice nails, by the way.”

“Thank you.” Deanna checked her light blue manicure out of habit, only because she usually didn’t bother with such niceties. “I had them done in Lyon on Christmas Eve.”

Coraline glanced at Deanna as they headed down the corridor to the far end of the ward. “I sure they were a big hit on Boxing Day.”

 

Wait, what is this “Big hit on Boxing Day” stuff?  Well, we’re starting to peek behind another curtain, one that we’ve not seen much of with the instructors.  This is where we see they have lives as well . . .

 

Deanna looked straight ahead. “You knew about Trevor and I having dinner?”

“Yes.”

“How?”

“Oh—” Coraline smiled. “I have my sources.”

Deanna suspected Coraline heard something from one of the kitchen staff, who fell under Trevor’s jurisdiction. “I’m sure you do.”

“Where did you eat?”

“In Stockholm. We jaunted up there, ate, then ended up in Copenhagen for evening tea.

Coraline looked at Deanna and nodded her approval. “Sounds lovely.”

“It was. How was your Christmas dinner with Donald?”

It was Coraline’s turn to be surprised. “You knew about that?”

A tiny smile crept upon the seer’s face. “Yes.”

“How?”

“I have my sources as well, you know.”

Coraline figured Deanna likely has a divination flash. “You didn’t tell anyone, did you?”

She gave the school’s doctor a comical smirk. “You know I wouldn’t.”

“Thanks.”

 

We knew a little about Deanna and Trevor, because that’s been hinted at for a while.  But Coraline and a new boyfriend?  Not so new, it turns out:  it was mentioned in A For Advanced that Coraline brought a boyfriend to the dinner the night the kids stayed at the Sea Spirit Inn, and that he didn’t know he was dating a witch.  Well . . . it looks like that could change–

 

“Not that people here don’t know about him—after all, you guys have been seeing each other for about—what? Nine months?” She lowered her voice. “Is it getting serious?”

“Yeah, pretty much.”

They stopped just short of the black privacy screen separating the ward from the lounge area. “Are you thinking of having The A Talk?”

The A Talk was the term used for any time someone Aware began getting serious with a Normal person and it became necessary to talk of The Foundation, magic, and the Aware person’s true nature. “The W Word hasn’t come up yet, but . . .” Coraline’s eyes shone. “It might not be long before I gotta step out of the shadows.”

Deanna took Coraline’s hand and gave it a squeeze. “If you need help—”

“Oh, don’t worry: I’ll ask. I figure when the time come I’ll bring Donnie here and show him around.” She chuckled. “Maybe I’ll ask these two to show them what we were like when we were kids.”

Deanna laughed. “We were nothing like these two.”

“True. And speaking of these two—” Coraline nodded at the privacy curtain. “You ready?”

“As ever.”

“Well then—” She waved the curtain down. “Okay, you two: you got company.”

 

The A Talk.  You sit the Normal down that you’re dating and to explain that, um, Honey, when I say I can work magic, I’m not kidding.  Annie wondered if she’d have this talk with Kerry, the “I Don’t Remember” Kerry, mind you, because she’d already told the “I’m In Your Dreams Riding Your Bikes” Kerry that she was a witch when she was ten, so he knew–and I should point out that what Annie did was a complete violation of Foundation Law, but then, what happens in dreams stays in dreams.

This could lead to some interesting discussions:

"How will you tell him you're a witch?"  "I'll turn him into a newt and let him get better."

“How will you tell him you’re a witch?” “I’ll turn him into a newt and let him get better.”

But that’s for another day.

Tomorrow we have a meeting with out little dreamwalker.