Finally getting going after all this time; it’s been a slow morning of getting up, eating, writing, napping, doing something else, napping, and so on. This Christmas Day has been a dragging day, and I feel I was lucky to get written what was written. But I did write, even though I was told I should take a break. But five hundred and thirty-nine words when I’m half-asleep and I’ve no coffee–that’s a pretty good deal as far as I’m concerned.
What do we have here today? Well, Helena starts getting into her Worst Day Ever, which is the day she happened to be in the north tower of the World Trade Center when it was attacked. Some of this we already know, and what she mentions here was partially covered last year at this time, when Helena was thinking about something she did when she was about to do that same thing again . . .
All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)
Helena leaned back in her chair and stared at the ceiling for a few seconds, remembering as she gathered her thoughts. “I wasn’t real happy with the meeting location: I wanted something more secure, but I was overridden left and right. Given that, I made the best of the situation and made sure everyone had a safe jaunt local set up, just in case we needed to clear out in a hurry—” She chuckled quietly. “Which we did.
“We were only a couple of floors below where the tower was hit. Everything went to hell fast: ceiling exploded, hellfire rained down, all that. I got a warning only seconds before—” She shook her head. “That part’s all screwed up—just know that I was warned to get out, and the warning shook me enough that I lost seconds doing my job right.
“Anyway, the plane hit and people started dying fast. I grabbed two women and jaunted out, but not before we were struck by a part from the plane. The woman on my right died right away: she was cut in half at the hips and everything inside cascaded out. The woman on my left lived because we jaunted before the part got to her. Me?” Helena looked down and frowned. “I wasn’t quite as lucky. I lost both legs about mid-thigh just as we were jaunting—”
Kerry couldn’t keep the surprise and shock off his face and out of his voice. “You’re— Really? I didn’t know.”
“Yeah. Magic and prosthetics keep me walking, and no one who doesn’t know can’t tell, but it’s not like having the real thing. Now you know why I always wear my skirts a little long: even though the legs look natural, you can see the interface lines were they join with body. I’m a little self-conscious about that, as you can imagine.”
“Does Annie know about this?” Kerry couldn’t imagine that Helena hasn’t already discussed this with her.
“She does: we talked about this a few months back.”
Kerry nodded. “Okay. What happened after the attack?”
Now is the first time Kerry learns of Helena’s maiming, and we learn that Annie has this similar conversation months before–probably on Tuesday night when Kerry was busy learning how to turn rats into cups, which Jessica totally doesn’t do. Though she has changed into a cat before–a really big cat . . .
And this sets up something that Kerry’s never heard before–
“Yeah, that . . . My safe jaunt point was just off Washington Square Park. There we were: one alive, one dead, one dying. The uninjured woman paused just long enough to fire off a message that we were coming in for medical attention, and she jaunted us—the dead woman included—to out hospital in London.” She grimaced as she shook her head. “It didn’t do any good: I died about a minute after we arrived.
“This time I didn’t die like the first time. The first time I was like going to sleep and not dreaming. This time, though . . .” For the first time the grimness vanished and a faint smile drew across Helena’s face. “I woke up on the other side of The Curtain.”
“The Curtain?” This was a term Kerry had never heard before now. “What’s that?”
“I know I shouldn’t get into the cosmology of the universe; that’s something that you start to dove in your D and E Levels. But—” Helena shrugged. “Without telling you how everything works, you’ll never understand what I’m saying. Besides, you’re an advanced student when it comes to magic, so why not learn this now?”
The Cosmology of the Universe. Kerry’s about to get a lesson in the way everything works, and that’s going to move into a lesson in life and death, because if you’ve been keeping track, Helena mentioned something about waking up somewhere that probably wasn’t her bed.
Given food and coffee, I’ll probably show you where real soon . . .