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The Calm Before the Start

Well, now, all was a good night sleep and so far a good morning.  Didn’t head out to Panera, which is something I haven’t been doing for a while now, mostly because I’m trying to catch up on my sleep, and getting up at five-thirty in the morning in order to sit and write is something I’m avoiding at the moment.

I am, however, not without coffee and my computer.

I am, however, not without coffee and computer.

As the picture shows I started the next scene this morning–actually, about seven-thirty, which is when this picture was taken.  Since then I’ve written almost seven hundred words, made a slight adjustment on my time line, and I’ve rocked out to the song that will be Kerry’s dedication to Annie when they attend their D Level Samhain dance.  Yes, I’m always thinking ahead, folks, because that’s the way I am.  I also know what song Annie will dedicate to Kerry during that same dance, because you can’t have one without the other now, can we?

At the moment we’re out of the school and up in the wilds far to the north, standing deep within the forests just south of the Allagash.  Since Annie isn’t here, I guess that means Kerry is the one doing the talking–or, in this case, the kinda deep thinking one might expect from a twelve year old–

 

All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry slowly walked about the area near the Start/Finish line of the Katahdin course, taking in the silence of Baxter State Park while remembering a lyric from Ashes to Ashes about the shrieking of nothing killing. All was calm and peaceful. It was cold with a hint of moisture in the air and the sky was a slate of gray overcast. It was exactly as described in the pre-race briefing.

The course cut an eighteen meters gap though the center Maine forest. It was wider here to accommodate the race start, but there were sections further up in the mountains to the south where course narrowed down to eight meters in a few places. That was one of the reasons for letting everyone do a course fly-through the day before, so they could familiarize themselves with the layout, and where they needed to make themselves aware of more dangerous sections of the track.

He wasn’t worried about the course layout for a few years of racing simulated courses on his computer taught him to visualize the straights, the turns, the elevation changes, even the intricacies of the chicanes. He’d become so caught up in getting the course right that during last night’s Madness Annie kidded that she’d finally encountered a foe to vie for Kerry’s attention. He apologized for thinking more of the race than his mila skŭpa, but she forgave him as she understood that today’s race was going to be one of the biggest events of his life . . .

Kerry smiled as he thought back to the moment early this morning, as they returned to the tower, when Annie pulled him to their bench under the covered walkway to Cernunnos Coven and told him not to worry, that if he could face Abominations and Deconstructors without fear, he wouldn’t find himself intimidated by the Katahdin course—

 

Annie pulling this boy to a bench to . . . talk.  Just talk.  Right?

I'm certain that's all it was.

I’m certain that’s all it was.

It’s not hard to believe that, in the Midnight Madness the night before, Annie was at her most understanding with a soul mate whose mind was was on something other than the girl in his arms.  As she told him before they headed off to bed he’s faced foes that intended to see him dead, so what’s the worse a track could do to him?  It’s not like it’s gonna throw death spells at him or bite off his head, both of which have already happened to him, so just relax, Racing Dude.  It’s gonna be all right.

Now that he’s all relaxed and has his head in the right place, let me do my best to screw that up . . .

 

“How do they do this?”

He smiled the second he heard the voice as he’d expected this moment since the morning briefing. Really the first time we’ve been alone since arriving at the Flight School— “Well if The Foundation can hide an entire school from people living a dozen meters from the walls—” He turned and faced Emma. “—keeping this a secret wouldn’t be a problem.”

“I guess you’re right.” She glanced up and down the course. “This doesn’t look like something they’d hide, though.”

“They probably don’t.” He turned in the direction of the first straightaway. “This could be passed off as a firebreak, and a few Glamor spells would probably make it look a lot more rugged than it appears to us.” Kerry was certain Emma wouldn’t understand what he meant by Glamor, as that was something Annie and he were now learning in Advanced Spells, giving them an better understanding of some of the magic employed to keep their school hidden from the Normal world.

She nodded slowly. “Probably.” Emma changed the subject. “How do you think you’ll do?”

“My goal is to finish and point.” Kerry chuckled. “Beyond that I don’t care. I know I’m not going to win, so there’s no point in working up by expectations.”

“Yeah, but don’t you want a good finish?”

She’s thinking about a great finish, rather than just finishing. Kerry wanted to tell Emma to get her mind off a podium finish, but he knew he wingmate too well for her to take his advice. “If I had to pick a finish, I’d like a top five. If not—” He shrugged. “I’ll take the points.”

 

Hi, Emma!  Gotta come over and talk, don’t you, Emma?  She most certainly does, because she’s Emma, and any time she can have a moment alone with the guy who’s been in a sleeping bag next to her’s while they camped out during the winter, she will.  Not that it’ll do any good, ’cause if only she knew about his dream with Annie where they woke up au naturel together, she’d not be a happy girl.  Not to mention crazy ginger Carrot Girl running around in his head–

He had the right attitude, though–just finish the damn race and pick up points–which is the message he leaves with her, as others are intervening in their quiet time–

 

Emma gave her wingmate a slight smile. “Sounds like a good plan.” She glanced over her shoulder. “I gotta go; Nadine’s waving me over.”

“I can see that.” He waved at his Advanced Spells classmate and friend. “Time for her to do the Team Captain thing.”

“More than likely.” Emma’s smile turned on full. “See you at the start.”

“And at the finish. Have a good race.”

“You, too.” She headed off towards her team mates, while Kerry decided now as good a time as any to do the same. Plus, it appeared that his team had the same idea—

 

One has to wonder what Nadine thinks of all this.  Kerry likely hasn’t said anything to her about some of the things Emma’s, um, done and said, though Nadine has been on their overnight campouts with Advanced Flight 1, and may have heard a few things floating about the Mórrígan Coven tower.  She also knows Annie, however, so Nadine is probably rolling her eyes every time she sees Emma cozy up to Kerry for a moment alone.  One has to wonder if a day will come when she’ll pull Emma aside and tell her to give the hell up.

But that day won’t be today.  Because there are other things afoot:

Maybe not on this path through the forest, but one much like it.

Maybe not on this path through the forest, but one much like it.

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