Believe it or not I finished the scene last night. It required a nearly nine hundred word burst of writing power, but I pulled it off–and in doing so, I finished the first scene of this chapter to go over two thousand words.
Anyway . . . it may feel like a lot isn’t happening in these almost nine hundred words, but that’s because it’s all instructions followed by feelings. This scene is not so much about flying as it is about knowing who you are and recognizing you have fears, and once you know they are there, you try to deal with that shit. Remember this, ’cause while I won’t test you on this, it is gonna show up in the next novel big time.
But first we gotta get through the instructions. And here they are:
(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
“You feeling rested? Over.”
“I think we about as rested as we’re going to be, Flight Deck. What do you think, Starbuck?” She leaned in and kissed Kerry on the tip of his nose. “Do you feel rested?”
Kerry wiggled his eyebrows as a smile brightened his face. “I feel rested and well, Flight Deck. Over.”
They had no problem hearing Vicky’s chortle over the comms. “They’re you’re ready for the next objective. Over.”
Annie slowly floated back from Kerry. “We’re ready to go. Over.”
“Then here’s the info: your next objective as another orange marker buoy, this one hovering at an attitude of one hundred meters above sea level. Just like Marker 1, Marker 2 has an active tracking system you’ll detect once you’re three klicks out from the marker.
“The marker is off on a heading of one forty-nine—that’s one-four-nine—degrees, at a distance of sixty-two point five kilometers. Your time-on-target will be fifteen—that’s one-five—minutes after departure from Marker 1. Also, you are to maintain an altitude of two hundred meters above sea level for the duration of this leg. Any questions? Over.”
“No, Flight Deck.” Annie reflexively shook her head even though Kerry was the only one to see the action. “Everything is understood. Over.”
There was a slight pause before Vicky returned. “How much time do you need to compute speed? Over.”
“It’s figured, Flight Deck.” She looked at Kerry as she checked her goggles and parka hood. “Sixty-two point five times two is one hundred twenty-five, and twice that is two hundred fifty. Any speed above two hundred and fifty kilometers an hour will get me there in fifteen minutes or less. Over.”
Vicky cleared her throat. “Sound good on our end, Athena. Let us know when you’re ready to depart so we can monitor and start the clock. Over.”
“Roger. Over and out.” Annie slipped the balaclava over her face. “You ready for another high speed run?”
Sure this is a load question, because what’s Kerry gonna say? “No, I’d rather take my time getting to Marker 2”? Not gonna happen, ’cause a certain soul mate would kick his butt. Annie’s not all about that, however, and this is where the feelings come in:
Kerry covered his face as well. “What speed are you setting?”
“We did three hundred on the last leg—” She appeared to think for a moment. “That’s seventy-five kilometers in fifteen minutes, so we should get to the next buoy in about twelve minutes.”
“Sounds about right to me.” Kerry started punching up things on his tablet.
Annie floated closer and motioned to Kerry to shut off his comm, and spoke as soon as she was certain they weren’t being overheard. “Feel nervous?”
“About going that fast two hundred meters up?” Kerry shook his head. “I got this, my sweat little banitsa. I’ll just stay focused on you, and—” He tapped his tablet with a flourish. “I’ve got a tune lined up that will take us all the way to the next marker.”
She arched her eyebrows. “Really?”
“It’s almost twelve minutes long. That will get us there.” He relaxed in the saddle and chuckled. “Really, if something happens to my broom while I’m zipping along at three hundred kph, drowning is gonna be the least of my problems.” He looked down at the ocean below them. “This is your flight: you do what you have to do, and I follow.”
She floated over his broom and pressed her forehead to his. “I love you so much.”
“And I love you, wife of mine.”
Annie remained in place with her eyes locked on to his. “That’s the first time you’ve called me your wife.”
“Well, you call me husband-to-be, so—” Though his smile wasn’t visible through the balaclava. “And the only one who heard me say that is you.”
Since the whole “You’re linked together for life” thing came to light, Kerry’s been pretty quiet about the matter. Yes, he’s been known to say that he expected to marry Annie, and that he thought there was a good possibility she’d end up his wife. But beyond the time Annie stopped during their walk from the Instructor’s Residence to the hospital and laid the “I’m a witch and your wife” speech upon his young mind, he’s not said a lot. This is really the first time he’s come right out and called Annie “wife”. Not “wife-to-be” or “maybe-wife”–nope, he goes all in with this deal. Though he’s probably not going to lay that down in front of the student body during meals or class or the Midnight Madness, but in private moments, it’s the truth he knows. It’s all in those three little words.
And Annie? You have to ask?
Enough of the feels: let’s get this party on the, um, road.
“That’s so true.” Annie pulled back about three meters, her mood lifted tremendously by Kerry’s pronouncement. She tapped her comm on. “Flight Deck, this is Salem Final Solo. Preparing to depart in fifteen seconds. Over.”
Vicky was waiting for Annie to speak. “Roger, Athena. We’ll start the timer the moment we see you move. Over.”
“Good, Flight Deck. See you soon. Over and out.” She activated her HUD and turned until she was facing her new course heading as Kerry pulled along side. “I’m ready.”
“As am I.” He pointed towards the open sea before them. “After you.”
“Thank you.” Annie waited a few seconds then launched herself out over the sea, dropping her altitude was two hundred meters while picking up speed. Unlike the last leg Kerry stayed four meters to her right and slightly behind, and about twenty seconds after leaving Marker 1 behind he started playing the song. The sound of guitar strings being slowly strummed surrounded them. “I don’t know if I’ve heard this before.”
“You haven’t: this is Cinema Show.” Kerry leaned out over his broom as he adjusted to the slipstream. “It starts slow, but picks up a lot about half way through.”
Annie didn’t care. Despite the cold and the rain, she felt warm and comfortable inside, all due to three words spoken by Kerry. She glanced over his way and gave a slight wave. He say it’s his job to follow me— She turned back to her HUD, keeping her attention on her course and altitude while listening to the music. I’ll hold him to that for the rest of his life.
You have one job, Kerry! One job! And you better do it right, ’cause thirteen year old witches are not to be trifled with. So when does the Astral Etchings for the “rings of forever” begin? Um . . . I know when, but I’m not saying. Not yet.
Oh, and what is Kerry playing? As he said, Cinema Show, the live version as performed by Genesis during their And Then There Were Three… Tour, which was the last time this song was played in its entirety. Like he says, it’s a nearly twelve minutes long song, at around the eight minute mark the tempo goes from about 3/4 time to 8/8 time because Tony Banks sometimes played like a maniac, and for some reason whenever he played the keyboard solo of this song he sped it up like he needed to finish because he had to go to the bathroom, or something.
Two more scenes and then Annie’s home. Well, really, in the last two scenes it is Annie being home–