Yes, it’s taking some time to get to this point, because I’ve taken my time trying to get the feel of this post right, and because I’ve stayed in today and made my own coffee and had a little late breakfast, and generally feel pretty good today.
Also, I did not expect to write close to a thousand words. Must be the post, or the scene, or what the scene means. Right now it turns happy even though it’s dark and cold, because my kids actually seem to be enjoying themselves. It’s because, as they were told in the pre-flight briefing, they are considered good enough to be out on their own, that they’re not going to blow shit off and hang out at the Salem Starbuck’s and enjoy coffee drinks until the instructors show to haul their asses back inside the walls.
Nope, these kids know their stuff. And they’re proving they know why they’re out there–
All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
“It looks good.” Annie enlarged her HUD and showed the map from their current position in Danvers to Everett in the south and Arlington to the west. “The way I see the route we follow US 1 all the way to this curve near the Rumney Marsh Reservation—” She tapped the display. “Then turn west-southwest until we reach Salem Road, and follow that to the intersection.” She minimized her display and spun around to face Kerry. “What do you think?”
His face was unreadable behind his balaclava, and he kept his tone as neutral as possible. “I can neither confirm or deny that’s a good route.”
“Spoken like a true chase.”
“That’s the way I gotta be.” He pulled down the lower part of his mask so Annie could finally see his face. “How you feeling?”
Annie pulled down her mask as well so Kerry could see her face. “Cold. But not that bad. We haven’t been out that long—”
“No. But there’s a ways to go—”
“And I will survive. As will you.” She floated a half a meter closer. “You think I’m okay.”
His eyes asked the question before his words. “Why do you ask?”
“Because your question is obviously rhetorical; you only asking to satisfy your own curiosity.” She pointed at her head. “If you thought there was a problem you’d have asked Vicky to switch over to the private comm and you’d move far enough away that I couldn’t hear you speak. No.” She shook her head under her heavy hood. “You know I’m fine.”
Kerry waited a few seconds before giving his reply. “We’ve been doing this for months. You know how it works.”
“I most certainly do.” She tapped the right side of her hooded helmet. “Flight Deck, this is Salem Night Solo. We’re ready to proceed. Over.”
Kerry is gauging how Annie thinks she feels, and she knows that’s exactly what he’s doing. They read each other well, and as Kerry points out they’ve been doing this for months, so they know how the other acts and what they are looking for. This is why they’re advanced witches: they are driven to be the best. Well, Annie was from the start, but she got someone else on-board with that idea, and to be honest, he didn’t need a lot of pushing because being better was always on his list of things to accomplish.
This gets them going again . . .
“Roger, Night Solo.” Vicky went right back into command mode as she issued instructions. “Proceed at comfortable speed to your next objective. Call in when you are on target. Over.”
“Understood Flight Deck. See you soon. Over and out.” Annie pulled her balaclava back up over her lower face. “Are you ready?”
“As ready as you.” Kerry did the same with his balaclava. “You look like you’re about to run.”
“I am.” She mimicked a runner’s stance as best she could in mid-air. “Let’s go.” Annie launched herself to the south, leaning down forward while keeping the ribbon of light that was US 1 to her left.
“It’s seventeen kilometers to the bend and another seven after the turn to the intersection. Going one hundred kph and we’ll be to the bend in ten minutes, to the intersection less than five minutes after that.”
“You got those calculations down.” Kerry matched Annie’s speed while keeping his position of just behind and to her right.
“I use the flight calculator in the Band—” She shot a quick glance to her chase. “I can’t do those calculations in my head as fast as your other wingmate.”
“That’s the only advantage she has over you, Darling.” Kerry chuckled. “I’d rather fly with you any day—”
“And anywhere?” Annie glanced down to check her position then straight ahead once more.
“Even at night?”
“Into the darkest night, malkiyat mi sarmi.” He tapped at his tablet display. “We need some flyin’ tunes.”
There you go: given a choice of wingmates, Kerry knows who he’d rather fly with–and who he thinks is better. And given that this conversation is being monitored, there’s a certain instructor who knows this as well. Though you gotta wonder if Vicky and Isis are sitting in the Flight Deck rolling their eyes as they listen to this. It’s not like they can shut off the comms, because they have to make sure Kerry isn’t helping Annie in anyway, but still: they gotta be rolling the eyes hearing this conversation.
And now there’s music? Really? Hell yes:
“You certain it won’t become a problem?” In none of their flights away from the school—particularly the last solo flight—did Kerry play music while they flew. She knew he liked to have music when they were traveling, but when they were out doing something for class he always stayed reserved and kept the frivolity to a minimum.
“If Flight Deck objects they’ll let me know.” He pulled up until he was nearly alongside Annie. “Let me know when you’re about to turn so I can fall back.” He flipped his finger up the display and looked straight ahead as a sound like someone marking time by tapping metal filled the air. Drums and bass set the rhythm as a synthesizer drove the tune onward . . .
The music lifted her spirits and brought a smile to her face. She normally flew with her arms at her side and back, but now she raised them, flying with them extended to her sides and sped on through the night like a small plane. Neither Vicky or Isis radioed in to tell Kerry to turn off the music, so Annie took that to mean they didn’t have a problem with them enjoying the flight.
The Normal world passed one hundred fifty meters below them as they headed south towards Boston. Annie followed her flight plan, keeping US 1 to her left, watching for the point ahead where I-95, just on the far side of her guide path, took a hard right and headed west. She looking over at Kerry again and saw his head bobbing within the confines of the hood of his cold weather coat. He looks happy because he loves flying with me. She dropped back slightly so she was even with him and slide close to his broom. “What is this song? I’ve never heard it before.”
This has been something I’ve seen as a scene from back around the time I was putting this novel together almost a year ago, and it’s become one of my favorite images. Annie flying along in the night with Kerry on his broom alongside, and music blasting as they flew over US 1 on their way into Boston, and her knowing he loves being up there with him. I’d originally picked a different tune for this trip, but over the summer I knew Kerry would go a far different route, because after all the time he’s spent listening to music with Annie, his taste are starting to spread just a little. I mean, look at him in Berlin . . .
So what’s the tune?
“Ultravox, Reap the Wild Wind.” He half-turned his head towards her. “Sorta fits, doesn’t it?”
“It does.” She pointed down before nodding ahead. “I-95 going west; we keep going south.” She pointed to her left. “Salem and Marblehead over there—”
“And the Atlantic just beyond.” He chuckled. “Hope I didn’t give anything away.”
“Nothing that I didn’t already know.” Annie pointed a little to the left. “Keep following the road for now.”
“Roger, Athena.” Kerry pulls out about a half-meter so Annie would have plenty of room.
Okay, so Kerry didn’t toss in something from the current century in which they are currently living, but it’s hard to say if Reap the Wild Wind was something he listened to a lot in the past. Naw, he probably did listen to it, but not a lot because it’s too upbeat for the old semi-emo Kerry that existed back pre-to-mid-A Levels.
Here you go: a little night music to fly you through the night.
And this interlude leads them up to the point where it’s time to head on to the objective. And that’s where they’re going in a hurry–
In the distance, only a few kilometers ahead, she saw the huge S turn that US 1 made before becoming the Northeast Expressway heading into Boston. This was her mark, the point where she stopped heading south and turned towards her objective in the west. As they flew over the various shopping centers below, all the while keeping in a long, wide turn that followed the highway, Kerry played another song, one that sounded more like the sort of songs he listened to regularly. “I’m going to turn—” Annie waved back with her right hand. “Get behind me.”
“Got it.” Kerry swept in about two meters behind her. “On your six.”
“Okay; follow me. Turning to the right now—” Annie never slowed as she rolled slightly to her right and carried the one hundred kilometers an hour through a near eighty degree turn. After a couple of seconds she spotted her destination, a large circle interchange north of a large, snaking band of darkness she knew to be the Mystic River. She lined up on the well-lit circle and pressed ahead. “Next stop is about five kilometers ahead.”
“So say you.” Kerry pulled back along side. “Nice turn.”
“Wasn’t it, my love?” She laughed, ignoring the cold surrounding them. “Nice song. Never heard this one either.”
“Sing Me Away, by Night Ranger.”
“Sing Me Away?”
Kerry leaned over his broom. “Oh, yeah. Eighty’s music has a good beat, and you can fly to it, too. And we are both singing away to somewhere tonight.”
“Hum.” She folded her arms back to her side, preparing to come to a complete stop in another couple of minutes. “Just don’t sing away from me tonight.”
“Me? Go away?” Kerry slid in close enough to reach out and give Annie’s hand a quick squeeze. “The thought never crossed my mind.”
They work well together–that’s been stated. And you see it there. Kerry knows this is Annie’s show, so when she tells him to move, he does, no questions. And before they reach their next objective he pops in another song, Sing Me Away, which has been a favorite of mine since it first appeared.
This is how I came up with the title for today’s post: take two song titles and mash them up. Works for me, right?
So what was covered in the above scene of about thirteen hundred words? Have a nice map:
With this scene out of the way, that means I’m getting into another scene that I’ve also known for about a year, and which has been one of my favorites for nearly the same amount of time.
I certainly hope I do it justice when it’s written.