It’s been a good, productive morning here in The Burg, even though I wasn’t sure it was going to go that way. I woke up not knowing if I was going to stay in or go out–you know, “Should I Stay Or Should I Go?” One of the eternal questions that are always asked and eventually answered.
And answer I did, for I finally decided that I wasn’t going to spent time sitting in my apartment, not when I could be outside on a bright, sunny morning. So I hopped in the car and drove up to the other branch of the coffee shop that I visit on Sunday mornings, only this one is located in old Uptown neighborhood of Harrisburg.
Since this place is only a mile and a half from my apartment, maybe I’ll try walking here once the weather gets better. I can totally do that, I know I can.
Once more we’re back in the Salem School Hospital, Bay #1, and Coraline’s about to speak with her Very Important Patient. Kerry’s doing a little better than he was when he first arrived, but he’s not one hundred percent, as one might say if they were discussing their racing condition. Only Kerry’s not racing anyone right now–or is he?
All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
The lights were set at half-full, giving the space enough illumination without being too bright. The head of Kerry’s bed was at full elevation, allowing him to set straight up: Coraline took this as a sign he wasn’t ready to head off to sleep. He didn’t have his glasses on as they were still in his room in the tower, left there when Nurse Gretchen brought him to the hospital, leaving Coraline to make a mental note to have Gretchen pick them up in the morning so Kerry would be able to see once out of bed.
Annie sat to Kerry’s left, holding his hand but looking in Coraline’s direction as she entered. She didn’t know if they were talking before she entered the bay, but she figured that they were both sitting quietly, waiting for her to check up on Kerry as Gretchen told them she would. Annie might comfort Kerry, but she wouldn’t question him only to have me question him again. Coraline headed up the center of the bay between the beds so she could check Kerry’s displayed vitals. She doesn’t want to waste time—and it’s likely she already knows the answers to most of her questions . . .
Seeing there wasn’t anything physically wrong with her patient, Coraline pulled out the chair next to the right side of Kerry’s bed and sat where she could see both Annie and him without a problem. “Hey, Red.” She gave him her best smile. “You relaxed?”
His smile was weak. “I feel calm.”
“That’s better than when you came in.” Coraline slid a little closer to Kerry’s bed. “I want you to get back to sleep as soon as possible, but before that happens I need to ask you a few questions first. I won’t keep you long; I just need to know what happened to I can tell Deanna when I see her later today.”
His smile grew a bit brighter. “You’re going to meet with Deanna?”
“And Erywin, too. We’re getting together a lunch to talk about you.”
He turned to Annie. “See? The brain trust is gonna figure this out.”
Annie returned his smile, but Coraline saw the stress in her eyes. “It’s a good think, my love.”
Coraline nodded. “Yes, it is.” She kept her tone relaxed. “You had a dream, right?”
Since Coraline already knows Kerry had a dream, she’s asking a rhetorical question. Probably because she wants to see what he’s going to say so she can tell “The Brain Trust” makes of his answers. At least he doesn’t start tap dancing–
“It was one of those, wasn’t it?”
He turned to Annie before turning back to Coraline. “Yeah. She was there. She was in my house.”
While she wasn’t an expert on dreams, this new development led her to believe events were coming to some sort of conclusion. “What happened?”
He looked down the length of his bed before speaking in a low, dejected tone. “She got in the house. I was on the landing and I heard her come in the front door then come up the stairs. She looked kinda—” He pursed his lips for a few seconds. “She was sad.”
“How do you know?”
“I just do. She got to the landing and sorta stared ahead for a few seconds—” He faintly chuckled. “Funny thing, though—”
Coraline was encouraged that Kerry could chuckle about anything at this point. “What is?”
“She turned to the right when she stepped off the landing. In my want to go into my room you have to turn left off the landing, but she turned right. You do that and you’ll walk into the wall.”
“Did she come into your room?” Though Coraline made a note of this point, she moved the conversation along as she worried Kerry might become fixated on a particular scene.
He began his answer with a sigh. “She did. After she stepped off the landing everything jumbled around—” His eyes closed for a moment. “Way it is in a dream, right? After that I’m sitting in my room in front of my computer and I hear my door open, and there she is walking inside . . .”
Coraline prodded him along as his pause stretched out. “And?”
He shrugged. “I can’t remember. I just know we talked.”
Annie squeezed his hand. “Tell her what you told me?”
Kerry almost seemed to nod, though Coraline thought he might be fighting to stay awake. “I think I might know who she is now. I keep getting—” He touched his temple with his right hand. “It’s like I know her name, it just won’t come to me.”
“And I’m not going to try and make you remember.” Coraline patted his right arm. “I’ll pass this along when we meet and see if it means anything.”
He pushed the pillow up behind his head and settled back. “Whatever.”
This is the first time Kerry’s expressed the feeling that maybe he knows the name of Carrot Girl–the cute name one of my readers gave to this mysterious dream vixen. Up until ow he’s said he doesn’t know her, but now–hey, maybe he does. Or maybe he doesn’t, because the name is there somewhere in his memory and it won’t come out. Either way you look at it, like Coraline imagines, things seem like they’re coming to a head. And Kerry seems tired of it all, because when has he ever said to someone, “Whatever.” Like never, that’s when.
This leads to an interesting discovery, and the need for Coraline to do her doctor thing:
Coraline ignored his dismissal, writing it off as a symptom of the evening’s activities. “Just a few more things and then it’s time to put you to bed, okay?” She didn’t wait for his reply. “Your vitals show advanced exhaustion, so I need to ask this question: have you been avoiding sleep?”
He didn’t try to dance around the question. “Yes. I’ve been staying up late to keep from sleeping.”
“Because you were afraid to dream.”
“How long has this gone on?”
“Since right before Katahdin.” His face grew slack as he continued. “Like the Wednesday before.”
“Why did you do that?”
He met Coraline’s gaze. “Because I felt something coming. That how it felt.” He broke away and stared down at his lap as his demeanor turned dismal. “Like something bad was going to happen.”
“It’s okay, Kerry.” She patted his arm again, trying to comfort. “We’re gonna help you, don’t worry. It’s gonna happen.” Coraline quickly moved on. “Now, for the rest. First, I’m placing you on magic restrictions: no crafting of any kind until further notice. Given your current condition, I can’t risk you trying to craft a spell and having it get away from you. This doesn’t mean you can’t go to class—”
He nodded once. “Just no magic.”
“Right. And don’t let me hear you tried something, ‘cause . . .” She shook her head gravely. “I’d have to do something to ensure you couldn’t do magic, and I don’t want to do that. Okay?
“Second: you’re also grounded until further notice as well. I don’t want you need a broom, and I sure as hell don’t want you on one. And if you’re grounded—”
“No racing.” He pulled his shoulders inward as he hung his head.
“Yeah. Can’t have you racing for the same reasons I can’t have you doing magic. Holoč’s aware, and he said he’ll take care of things with the team.” She gave his right hand a pat. “I’m sorry, but I can’t have you on a course when you’re like this.”
“It’s okay.” He bravely smiled as he lifted his gaze towards the school doctor. “I understand.”
The last surprise to come out of this is that Kerry’s felt something bad is about to happen, and that’s kept him up so he does’t have to dream, that’s serious shit. And, as you’ll find out when I post the rest of this scene, it doesn’t do him any good. Coraline’s put the hammer down on him, and maybe another seven, eight hundred words will finish this out.
I’m surprised I pretty much breezed through almost eight hundred and eighty-five words. I have to admit, it hurts writing this ’cause I’m hurting my kids. I’m not doing Kerry any good, and I’m damn sure not helping Annie out any, either. As it was pointed out to me the other day, Annie’s went through a lot with Kerry, and it’s a testament to how much she loves him that she’s put up with so much. Why? Because as I said before, Annie has her eyes on the prize, and the prize is Kerry, and it’s Kerry because she loves her little ginger oh, so much. And she knows that were their roles reversed, he’d be right there for her, too. Though he’s only had to defend her once from certain death–when he was literally the Last Boy Standing in The Link of Kansas City–Annie knows Kerry would lay his life on the line for her. It won’t happen here, but believe me: he would do so. Because I know so.
Nails get done this afternoon, then it’s back to the casa tonight to finish this scene. And finish it I so want–
‘Cause the scene that follows is going to show something no one–including me–as so far seen . . .