Finally, finally, finally . . . I finished the scene. With all my note taking and map watching and picture imagining, I finally got the sucker finished–and even managed to dip into the Phil Spector catalog to come up with a witty title for today’s post. I stand back; I kiss myself. Maw!
Believe me when I say this was on long and hard chapter to write. Of everything I’ve put together in two books, this is probably the longest I’ve gone without the main characters speaking to others. Yes, Kerry does have a short conversation with Vicky, and he yells a couple of times, but that’s all of about a hundred or so words out of the five thousand three hundred total. It’s all description, and that’s a pain in the butt, at least from where I stand it is, because I have to dream up everything. It’s always so much easier when Annie’s crashed out with Kerry on a sofa somewhere, whispering sweet Bulgarian nothings in his ear, which reminds me: does she really do that? Do they run off to that little hiddy hole they have and sit next to each other, and Annie places her lips close to his ear and whispers, “Ti si moeto malko vkusna tikva,” which is, “You are my tasty little pumpkin,” and then gives him a kiss and–
Hey, that’s a scene for another time, right? For now let’s get to the end of the scene at hand:
All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
While Kerry wasn’t a technical flier, there were certain track turns that he loved because of their complexity. Harvey was one of those turns: a difficult “S” turn that climbed three hundred meters to the 4K points of the course in just thirteen hundred meters. He went over the turn five times during the walk-through: twice during the two laps he was allowed to run, and three more times where he flew back from 4K to Cliffside Valley just to get a feel for turns and develop a rhythm.
He used that rhythm now.
With the snow closing in and streaming down the rough cut in the side of Hamlin Peak, Kerry wrapped around the course at the base of the actual ridge, then turned left and flew upward over the exposed rock face. He pushed his PAV up two hundred meters into a near white-out, then yanked the broom to the right flew across the escarpment to the eleven hundred and sixty meter level, then speed off up and to the left at nearly a hundred and seventy kilometers an hours, sliding through 4K as he continued turning to the left thought the light woods above the twelve hundred meter line and into the white out that currently engulfed Hamlin Peak.
Kerry loves those turns because, as you’ll find out later, he’s had experience on them–not at this school, but elsewhere. So what does it look like up close?
The point at the far left is about where he flipped off Emma while zooming along, then he starts the turn, he turns again, and then it’s up in the air you go. For just a little bit you’re actually hanging out over nothing, and it has to be kind of freaky to be at the top with all that snow swirling about, and catch a peek at the ground about seven hundred feet below you. Then you’re across, you turn again, and then it’s up the mountain to 4K, which is just about where this ends on the right.
If you look closely you’ll notice that it would have been easier to go straight at the bottom, following the creek bed, and continue straight on to the top of the mountain, but where’s the fun in that? I’m here to give my kids a challenge! Which they are getting . . .
The last of trees were replaced by low shrubs, but within a few hundred meters they faded away into the bare rock that made up the mountain summit. Kerry slowed to about two hundred kph, hoping he wouldn’t get run over, and watched as the gates began flashing. He remembered from the day before he’d pass through six before reaching the edge of the peak and the High Dive. The first flashing gate went by, then the second, and Kerry girded himself for what was coming next—
He flew through the sixth flashing gate and watched the ground vanish from below his feet. He angled the broom downward about sixty degrees, then hurled down the flank of Hamlin Peak at close to two hundred and fifty kilometers an hour.
The course from the High Dive to the basin floor was about a kilometer long and dropped about five hundred meters with an interesting twist on the decent: for the first two hundred and fifty meters it stayed at the initial sixty degree angle, then shifted to about an eighty-five degree angle for another hundred before cutting hard to the left and taking an easier decent to the Basin Ridge turn. Given the speeds down this section of the course, it was easy to make a mistake—and any kind of bad weather made the decent that much more perilous.
The bit about the side of the mountain sticking out I didn’t get until I started looking at Hamlin Peak in three dimensions, and that’s when I saw the formation as described. Sort of like . . .
No matter how you look at it, roaring twelve hundred feet/three hundred and fifty meters down a mountain in white-out conditions isn’t a lot of fun. Kerry’s already thinking this isn’t fun, but he’s feeling that with racing at the school: it’s almost a job, and you gotta work at it. And he’s doing that full-out now–
Kerry’s concentration didn’t waver, however, and ten seconds after flying over the High Dive the white out dissipated into heavy snow and the ground leveled out among the bare trees of Baxter State Park. He was around Basin Ridge and one his way to Campground, anticipating the slight rise as the course lifted above the trees for the first time as it followed one of the park’s roads towards Hamlin Peak’s southern flank, making it impossible for the placement of elevation gates at ground level. Kerry found this part of the course a bit more difficult to follow, for it didn’t trace the path of the road below exacting, and if one started following the course below instead of the one they were on, they’d soon miss a gate.
He didn’t make any mistakes, however. With the snow picking up Kerry stayed focused on the gates while the ridge line between Hamlin Peak and Mount Katahdin grew closer. He reached Saddle Climb and rushed up the mountainside, rising another three hundred meters in just under five seconds and clearing Katahdin Wave by only a meter as he was once more engulfed in a white out.
With no one near him, ahead or behind, he relaxed as he eased into the right hand turn leading to Hamlin Thirty-six. From this point on it was downhill all the way back to Section 8 and the Start/Finish line. There was only once more major climb ahead, but after what he’d just negotiated in Section 5, he wasn’t worried. He was going to get cold, he was going to get tired, and he was going to do his best to ignore the pain shooting through his left knee and upward into his thigh.
It was necessary, because he was going to finish this race.
There you have it: all five thousand and some words for the posting.
Long and over, and the end is near. Actually, since the next scene is The Finish, I’d say the end of something is close by.
But what I’m finishing only I know.