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Slipping On the Beyond

Coldageddon marches on, though last night it seems as if my level of exhaustion was greater than what I needed to cough out of my lungs, because I was asleep after about ten minutes and I didn’t wake up until about an hour ago.  I’m really hoping to cough all this crap out of my lungs today and sort of dry like real quick, because one night of good sleep every three or four days is already old.

Even thought I finished Chapter Twenty-Three with a near eight hundred word burst yesterday morning, I sat down for a little last night an put in another five hundred thirty to get Chapter Twenty-Four going.  It was a good way to get what it probably going to be one of the strangest chapters I’ve ever written for any of these books, and that’s saying something.  Why do I say that?  Because I do.  You gotta trust me on this one.

This chapter starts out with kindly Professor Lovecraft, and we get a bit of an insight into how she starts her mornings at the Salem Institute of Greater Education and Learning:

 

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

Helena liked getting into her Witch House office early so she could get out early. She’d gotten into that habit during the days when she was running Guardian operations around the world and she needed to deal with business from the higher ups before getting into her day-to-day stuff. During the times she taught while still on active field duty getting up early and checking emails became more fundamental, as most of the people with whom she dealt operated out of Europe, giving them a five or six hour start on their day.

Though her actual field operative time was likely coming to an end, that didn’t mean the Guardians couldn’t find things for her to do. These days she was often called upon to consult on operations, to review upcoming operations, and to simply give opinions. These days she was reviewed ops from around the world, though most of what she saw originated in Amsterdam and San Francisco.

She came in early, usually before seven. She reviewed her email, read reports and offered assessments. Some of the names on the operation reports she recognized as they were Guardians she knew well, having performed in past operations with them and even developing a friendship with some over time. But there were more names that vanished from her sight, and Helena took this to mean those people had either moved up into office or teaching positions, or they were no longer in the physical plane of existence. Given what Helena knew of the operations those people had taken, the fact that she didn’t see their names any longer didn’t surprise her in the least.

No matter how much email she received there were two names that were important. She filtered her incoming mail so that any mention of those names in the header, body, or even in attachments, were moved to a special folder. There wasn’t any need to check that folder every morning, for alerts popped up on her mobile every time an email hit that folder. Those alerts were infrequent this year, and save for the flurry of emails that happened around the start of puppet training, had been quiet for most of the last month.

Helena hoped it stayed that way—just as she’d been promised at the start of the school year.

 

Just in case you were wondering, Helena does have  a special “A an K” folder set up for email inbound from the Guardians.  Yes, they are interested in these two, because if Helena has a special folder set up with scanning filters that look for their names, then she must get enough that she doesn’t want theirs to get lost in the rest of the weekly emails.  Imagine she if got owls.  “You, drop that one into that pile, you bloody bird.”  No, Helena would be zappin’ birds left and right:  she couldn’t put up with that craziness.

And then something happens that has never happened before:  she gets a visitor.  Oh, but you say, she gets visitors all the time.  Well, just look:

 

She was in the process of leaving the office and heading off to Mórrígan Coven tower for an early brunch with Erywin where there was a knock. She looked up and found the owner of one of the names that sent email into her special folder standing in her door frame—only it wasn’t the one she’d normally expect.

“Well, now.” She glanced up for just a moment, then looked down again to hide the grin on her face. “You’re not in morning flight class.”

“No, I’m not.” Kerry unzipped his heavy winter coat and stuffed his winter hat in one of the pockets. “Isis and Annie are going over some things relating to her solo flight next week, and they told me it wasn’t necessary for me to stick around.”

“So you came here.”

For a second he appeared embarrassed. “Yeah.” He quickly regained his composure. “Do you have a few minutes?”

 

Now we have Kerry coming to see Helena, and she’ll make an observation at the start of the next scene that I’m sure a few of you are now making.  Really, though:  it’s not what you’re thinking.  But this is a good start to what’s coming . . .

Which, as promised, seems to involve a lot of flying.

Which, as promised, seems to involve a lot of flying.

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