The word is out that I don’t have work again today, but that won’t keep me inside, for I’ll likely head into the office for a few hours. Got to, my pretties, for no play, no pay, as they say. But I’ll be able to write tomorrow–I mean, there was a lot yesterday . . .
Though I didn’t expect to keep at it as much as I did, by the time I called it quits last night I’d put twelve hundred and fifty-two words into the story bank, and that’s quite a bit. It was slow because trying to take these images in your head and make them into strings of words that make is a hard job, and right around eight PM–or, as my kids would say, twenty hours–I twisted my face into a thoughtful grimace and said, “Hey, I forgot to eat dinner.” So I made some egg rolls and got right back into things.
The reason it took so long is due to having to stop and recharge. It’s always a pain in the ass writing description of things that are happening while making it sound interesting. And this is one of those times when when writing it is a real drag. I can see what’s happening in my head, but since you can be there, you only get my words. They’re not that bad, but it would be far more interesting if we could just plug our minds into some Matrix and download our imaginations for you to see. Though if I could do that I’m sure some of you would flip ahead to see what’s going to happen in a few more chapters–
Meanwhile . . . Ready, Steady, Go–yeah? Kerry was about to kick off wildly into the great open space, and he had a goal of catching Rivânia so he could regain position. It’s about time he did just that–
All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
Go was a kilometer and a half of flying over the valley between two peaks separated by Wassataquoik Lake. While only a small portion of the course few directly over the lake, but nearly the entire way was over empty air. Only, as Kerry noticed while covering a few hundred meters after a three gee burst of acceleration, the air wasn’t empty; the snow was back, and far heavier than it had been back in Section 2. While he saw Rivânia four hundred meters ahead and closing, she was becoming fuzzy and indistinct in the deteriorating weather. This is only seven hundred and fifty meters— Kerry locked his focus on the Rivânia’s processor. The snow is gonna suck climbing Hamlin.
He was only one hundred and fifty meters from Rivânia, and maybe four hundred meters from Needle, and his speed was holding steady at four hundred and eighty. There wasn’t time to think: Kerry was going into Needle in three, two, one . . .
It was called Needle because the course narrowed between low, forested peaks, and Kerry reached the spot at the same time as Rivânia. She’d begun slowing only a few seconds before entry, where as Kerry didn’t slam on the air brakes until he alongside the Uruguayan girl. It was a risky move, and even if he pulled it off, he was gonna hurt by the time he reached Gully. He cleared Rivânia by about three meters before throwing his PAV into a murderous right hand diving turn down the mountain towards Clench—so named because of the racers who said they “clenched up” as they fought to keep from flying off the course or crashing into the ground. There was little in the way of a margin of error at this point, and the majority of five second penalties for missing an elevation gate happened in this stretch.
The snow didn’t let up as Kerry headed down the mountain, and he nearly touched two gates before getting his speed down into a manageable range where he could safely negotiate the left hander down to Gully. He was starting to see why Nadine and Rivânia said that while they loved Katahdan, they were happy they only had to fly it once a year. He was almost out of Section 3, about a third of the way through the first lap, and he found the course far more taxing mentally than even the Red Line. He flared out Gully then relaxed for a moment before preparing for Sixty Up, which was exactly as named: a sixty degree turn to the left and up, leading out of the South Branch Trout Brook and back into the mountains.
Let’s take a look at where all of this pretty much happens:
This is Section 3 of the course, pretty much from Slip on the right to Clutch on the left. Go is that long line stretching across the middle of the picture, but because Google Earth is a bit of a butthead when showing distance, the line hugs the earth. In reality the course goes straight across that wide area, from one to the other, and yes: it’s three hundred meters, or a thousand feet, to the lake below. This is not really that much–the K1 turn on the Red Line goes up six-tenths of a mile into the air over the school–but it does become a bit of a vertigo-inducing moment as you’re racing through the woods before–BAM!–you’re out in the open with nothing but lots of air under your feet.
And then when you’re through zipping over the void you’re hanging on to keep from crashing as you fly right back into the woods and into another difficult downward spiral before heading back up the hill, so to speak. Which means we’re heading into Section 4 of the track–
Here we go:
Kerry made his way through Section 4 without difficulty. Bump and Drop Off were tricky, but the snow was lighter and once past Drop Off the course stayed fairly level, with the ups and downs being more spread out over the twelve-and-a-half kilometers leading up to the Fade Away turn and the entry to Section 5. It was almost possible to relax as he made the easy turn at High Sweep and head off at at fast clip towards Approach. He could almost feel the chill as he headed into the valley and the entry into Annis. The snow started once more and grew thick fast as the wind swirled between the thousand meter high ridge to his left and the twelve hundred meter North Brother to his right. He lowered his head as he leaned forward—
There was movement behind him; a flier came out of the snow approaching slowly. For a moment he figured it was Rivânia until he noticed the blue piping on the shoulders and helmet. Kerry knee throbbed as his suspicions changed moved away from Rivânia. He checked the IFF enchantment used to tell a person who was in front and behind them—
He was right: it was Emma.
Kerry put her as much out of his mind as possible so he could prepare for the turn at Fade Away and the six kilometer long, eight hundred meter high climb to the Hamlin High Dive. Section 5 was considered the worst part of Katahdin: technically challenging and as intimidating as hell. During yesterday’s walk through Kerry took his time flying this section in decent weather: now it was likely he would spent most of this section racing in a white-out. And if that was the case, the last thing he wanted was someone trying to do anything they could to pass and perhaps even run into him—again.
It was three kilometers to Harvey, and he didn’t want to deal with Emma before getting there, or even after he made it through. He expected her to do something before Harvey, however, because he suspected she wasn’t going to force an action in bad weather conditions that could cause her to wreck. Not to mention that Race Control was probably watching her closely now, and if she pulled another stupid move in a section of the course where everyone was expected to watch out for each other, there was a good probability Vicky would either hit her with a time penalty that could reach upwards of a minute or more, or order her off the course.
If he gave her the chance to pass in the next three klicks, she’d take that chance. And if he didn’t give her an opening, she might take it anyway—
Kerry knee throbbed again as he hurried through Fade Away, making his gee meter spike in the process, before heading up Cliffside Valley at four hundred kilometers an hour. Emma was right behind him, maybe ten meters, but she was closing. Kerry didn’t want to go all out: the area here was narrow, and the snow was now heavier than back in Annis. He kept his attention on the deteriorating course ahead, but every few seconds he shot a glance at his rear view. Emma continued closing, and he figured if she was going to make a move, it would happen in the next few seconds up ahead—
Hey, it’s Emma! Hi, Emma! Here to wreck Kerry again?
Now, the above paragraph was the last thing I wrote last night. There was more I wanted to write, but it was getting late and I was tired, but little did I know I’d be awoken at five-twenty due to someone out on the street below screaming–one of the pleasures of living in the city, let me tell you. There was something else I wanted to write, however, to put a coda on this post, and the moment my computer decided to play nice with me I fired up Scrivener and started in on that sucker.
I should also point out that the above view is how it looks when I’m doing the writing for this scene: I got my score card, and I know my players. Just gotta talk about it, right?
Anyway, here’s what happens . . .
They headed into Basin Squeeze and two things happened almost simultaneously. First, the snow began swirling around much like it had coming through Annis, only worse. Kerry figured the wind was being funneled down from Harvey Ridge and being spun around in the little basin as the foot of the embankment. And second, Emma decided now was the time to make her move. He could only think of one reason why she was doing this now, and Annie’s words came back to him in that instance: Stop making it sound like she’s somehow your equal—she isn’t.
Time to make those words ring true.
With wingmate only a meter behind Kerry pushed his broom hard to left, cutting her off. He executed a barrel roll while never losing speed, bringing his helmet to within centimeters of hers so he’d get her full attention. Then he landed upright about a half a PAV length ahead on her right, flipped up his visor with a simply levitation spell he knew wouldn’t get him in trouble, and turned a withering glance back before flipping the finger in her direction. “Stay the hell away from me, Emma.”
Within a matter of a few seconds Kerry flipped his visor down, turned his attention straight ahead, and with great pain, slammed on his air brakes, threw the broom into a vicious right hand turn, and began the difficult climb up Harvey Ridge without losing any time or position.
So: cut to the left, barrel roll over your wingmate all the while matching her speed, then flip her off right before slamming into one of the most difficult turns on the course. All the while it’s snowing like hell. And being broadcast back at Salem. I’m certain there’s one witch who just pumped her fists in the air and mumbled something in Bulgarian about showing that bitch who’s the better racer–
Believe it or not I’m getting close to the end of this scene. Maybe that will happen today.
After I go into work for a little bit and do . . . word stuff. I think.