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Springtime For Kerry: The Pushers

We come to the end of the scene, and it was a bit of a chore getting it all together, let me tell you.  Because . . . I don’t know why.  Sometimes things flow pure and easy, and some times you gotta pull them out of your head with a pair of pliers.

But I did something that will set me up, kinda, for the next scene.  May I show you?  Of course you’ll say yes.  So . . . here:

What the happy hell is this?

What the happy hell is this?

Glad you asked.  Kerry is playing in the Ostara Presentation, and he’d doing keyboards once again.  So is Nadine, and because of this they pooled their talents and decided that they’ll perform different songs, but since they’re playing pretty much the same instruments, they’ll go on back-to-back and use the same set up.

You know me:  I gotta see what that looks like, so I did.  I found the actual dimensions of equipment available in March of 2013, and I modeled it up.  And what are these things?  Well, if we assume that the stick figure in the middle is Nadine/Kerry, and they are facing the keyboard on the right, then it’s easy to describe . . .

The unit to their right is a 37 key Mellotron M4000D with an add-on MIDI processor (not shown here, but it’d be set up to the right of the instrument).  This is used to produce all the string and vocal sounds either would need.  In front of them is an 88 key Yamaha P-255 digital piano, which is pretty much the standard for that sort of instrument.  On their left the bottom keyboard is a 61 key Akai MPK61 Midi Controller (with the MIDI processor rack set up just to the left of the instrument) which both kids will use to replicate an organ, and the top keyboard is a classic 61 key ARP Quadra digital synthesizer which Kerry is playing during his performance.  And if you’ve followed this story all the way from the last novel, you’ll know that one, Kerry’s already played that instrument, and two, he’s over the moon about playing it during his performance because there’s a massive amount of geeky musical pride in being able to perform a song that used to be played on that very keyboard, and was done so live many times over.

But that’s for the next scene, and believe it or not, you’re not even going to see this.  It’ll get mentioned, but . . . nope.  No seeing.  Not like last night.  However, there is the scene to finish up below, and it picks up from Coraline’s “But?” which isn’t to be confused with–you know.  Let’s not go there; let’s go here . . .

 

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

“The last week he’s been a little slow in his casting.”

“Slow in terms of the others, or slow in terms of how you both normally cast?”

“How we normally cast.”

Coraline grinned. “Which means he’s still faster than the majority of the school.”

Annie chuckled. “Yes, it’s true.”

“Did he give a reason for slowing his crafting?”

“As he said, stress over Ostara.  I think he’s still recovering from what happened on Katahdin.”

“Probably.”  Coraline rested her chin on her right hand.  “Has he had any other dreams?”

“He said he’d tell us if he did, and he hasn’t.”  Annie wanted a few of her own answers before offering any more. “What’s wrong with him?”

Coraline didn’t see a reason to keep the girl in the dark. “He’s overly tired. The scans here show a build-up of beta-amyloid in his body, and that’s an indication that he’s either not sleeping well, or he’s suffering from insomnia.” She shrugged. “He’s back there napping now—”

“Are you certain?”

 

There you have it:  Kerry’s tired.  Overly tired, to use Doc Coraline’s expression.  Beta-amyloid is a real protein that accumulates in the brain if, as Coraline points out, suffer from insomnia or just don’t sleep, and can lead to problems down the line if it doesn’t get flushed out with a good night’s sleep.

But this napping thing:  how does Coraline know Kerry’s back there in Bay #1 asleep?  Well, it’s a kinda magic . . .

 

“Yes, I’m certain.” Coraline’s grin transformed into a sly smile. “Since he was pretty much out of it I crafted a quick spell around him that was going to make him drowsy. It would only stay in place for maybe two or three minutes, but that’s all he’d need.”

Mama used to do something like when she’d set me down for a nap. Annie remembered, starting when she was two, all the times her mother would have her take a nap in the afternoon, and when she resisted closing her eyes and going to sleep, her mother would smile and run her finger down the bridge of her nose and over her cheeks and chin, and in a few minutes Annie would fall into a deep slumber. She was doing the same thing to get me to fall asleep—at least at first. Once I discovered Kerry there in my dreams, I didn’t need a reason to nap in the afternoon. “How long will he sleep?”

“A hour, maybe ninety minutes.” Coreline got up and headed for the door. “Come on.” Once again Annie followed the doctor, only this time out of the office and back to the bay. She saw Coraline slowly crack the curtain open and looked inside the dark space. “Come—” She waved Annie forward. “Look.”

Annie peeked inside. Kerry had managed to pull the comforter over him before falling sleep. He appeared peaceful and unconcerned, so different than the way he’d acted less than fifteen minutes earlier. “I’m glad he’s resting.”

“I am, too.” Coraline waved Annie back and resealed the bay. “The way he appeared when we first entered the ready room, I’m surprised he made it as far in the heats as he did.” She shook her head. “Then again, that’s what Salem does.”

Annie repeated the quote that was considered the unofficial motto of the school. “’Push you as far as we can, then push you beyond that’.”

“That’s what we do. We push each level as far as we can to see what they’re capable of doing, then we push them more.” Coraline crossed her arms. “And then you two—” She leaned against the bay partition and looked down while shaking her head. “Advanced classes, racing, gift training, minion work, and Ostara presentations.” She chuckled as she stood. “Sometimes we’re so busy pushing you as hard as we can that we forget.”

Annie closely scrutinized the school doctor. “Forget what?”

Coraline patted Annie on the shoulder. “That you’re only twelve and thirteen.” She slowly moved around her on her way to her office. “That you’re only kids.”

 

“That you’re only kids.”  No truer words spoken, because there are time when people seem to forget that these two, who put themselves though so much shit in such a short time, are actually just young kids.  And while the other B Levels are pushed, Annie and Kerry are pushed, though Annie will have the last thought on this matter at the end of the last scene of this chapter.

Right now we are three scenes down–

And if my counting's right, two to go.

And if my counting’s right, two to go.

So let’s get over to the Ostara Presentation and see what my kids are going to do–

Or in Annie’s case, done.

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