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Three Sixty-Six

Up front and personal, I’m gonna tell you all that this week is going to be like ultra stressful.  I have taxes to pay and recaps to write, and that all starts tonight.  That also means I’ll likely struggle to get out wordage towards my own novel, but after this week is over I can kinda relax and kick back and cruse for a couple of months.

Now, back in my current work . . . the shenanigans are over, and I’m inching closer to the end of the novel.  Really, it seems unlikely, but I’m guessing this book is gonna be finished up by the end of May, because after Chapter Thirty is in the bag there are only five more chapters, and I see Thirty-one being a little meaty, but after that Thirty-two through Thirty-five should fly.  But when I say the end is in sight, it really is this time.

Where does the final scene of Chapter Thirty take us?  Somewhere close, that’s for sure–

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie appeared at the Headmistress’ office five minutes before the requested time of sixteen fifteen and was informed by Sabrina—who besides acting as the school AI doubled as the Headmistress’ assistant—that she was to wait until the headmistress was ready to see her. With that she sat outside her office and waited.

Though nothing was said in the aftermath of their rather public return from here final solo flight, Annie was certain this meeting concerned that event. In the hospital for the post-flight check up, Coraline mentioned, while doing her best not to smile, that everyone in the Great Hall heard their buzzing of The Pentagram, and they were likely too busy watching where they were flying to notice the people who ran out into the garden to watch. No mention was made of the headmistress, or if she heard them, but Isis did point out that it was a good likelihood she was in her office in the East Transept at the time of their return.

There was one other thing that had Annie believing she was going to meet the headmistress: Sabrina mentioned that she needed to wait as there were other people on the way. To Annie’s thinking other people equaled Kerry, hence the wait and the other instruction she’d been given before reporting to the Great Hall—

Vicky opened to the door to the waiting area and held it as Kerry, still attired in his flying gear, entered the room. He appeared tired and a bit apprehensive, and the fact that Vicky was with him didn’t easy Annie’s concerns. “You look as if you’ve come straight from the flight line.”

“I did.” He slid his hands into the pockets of his flight jackets. “I got back thirty minutes ago from a two-and-a-half hour, high-speed, snip hunt.” He turned and plopped down in the chair next to Annie’s. “I didn’t expect to fly another six hundred kilometers today.” He shifted his eyes to the right and upwards.

Vicky chuckled. “It’s not like you haven’t flown a thousand kilometers in a day before now, Kerry.” She leaned against the door across from where the children were sitting.

“Yeah, but today—” He shook his head. “Wasn’t like flying this morning.”

“Can’t always have happy wingmates, can we?” The door Vicky was leaning against opened slightly. “Be right back.” She entered the room beyond and let the door close behind her.

 

Four hundred words and the set-up’s in place.  And you’ll get to see what is going on behind the door that Vicky entered probably tomorrow, because I’ll have time between my Fear the Walking Dead recap and Better Call Saul to get to this sucker.  You will see, and a few of you may go, “Eh, that’s all?”  But it’s important to me, I assure you.

However, this excerpt isn’t the focus of today–

Once upon a time I showed up with a post I wrote on a Saturday morning at the Camp Hill Panera where I pretty much said that writers were master bullshitters all because our stock in trade was telling lies and getting paid to do so.  And then right after that I threw out a quick “I’ll just leave this here” and presented the following:

 

“ . . . Half the summer gone, and another half to go, and I miss you more every day. I can’t wait until the travel packages come, cause that means I’ll only have to wait another two week before I see you again. And then I can be happy once again.

“Keep me in your wishes as you head off to sleep, and hope to see you in our dreams again soon.

“Obicham te, moya Chestnut Girl.

“Vinagi si polovinka.

“Kerry.”

Kerry Malibey shook out his left hand to lessen the cramp that threatened to take control. After six weeks of writing by hand he’d finally gotten to the point where he could pen a six page letter and not get overtaken by cramps until he’d reached the last page—so much unlike the horrors of the first few weeks, where he had to stop after a page because of the pain.

He sat back as his computer began playing the first notes of Night Ranger’s Sing Me Away. Sometimes when he wanted to get lost in his compositions he’d slip in the earbuds and turn up the music, but today the music emanated from his Foundation-modified speakers, sounds as if it was being played on the highest quality stereo system. His father asked almost a month ago why the sound was so clear, and Kerry told him that the Director of Security at the school was something of an expert with computers and had done something to his speakers to make everything sound better.

Kerry remembered smiling the moment his father had left the room, for he knew he hadn’t lied that much.

He folded the letter and slipped it into the envelope before affixing the address he knew by heart:

Annie Kirilova
C/O 864 Smoljin FMS
4870 Pamporovo, Bulgaria

It was after the second letter he’d received from Annie that his mother asked him what the three letter code after his street address meant, and Kerry said that it was something The Foundation had worked out with various postal authorities around the world that allowed students in their educational system to send mail to anywhere in the world without having to pay postage.

He hadn’t stretched the truth there much, either, only he omitted the part about code being used to separate the letters so they could be picked up later, sorted, and jaunted to the nearest center closest to the recipient’s address. In this case he knew that scanners at the Cardiff mail station would see FMS—or Foundation Message System—and would know to segregate the letter so that it would find its way to Annie, who lived in Pamporovo off local highway 864, the next day.

Foundation Message System— Kerry almost smiled as he sealed the envelope. When you absolutely, positively, need to get a letter to anywhere in the world the next day, accept no substitutes . . .

Kerry.”

He muted his computer before getting up and heading for his semi-open bedroom door. He stepped half way out onto the first floor landing. “Yeah, Mom?”

“You have a visitor.”

“What?” In all the time he’d lived in Cardiff Kerry had only ever had one visitor—Mr. Mayhew, who first brought him word of The Foundation and the school at Salem. Well, two visitors if he were to count Ms. Rutherford, who took him to Amsterdam and later became his personal case worker. If the only people who come to see me are from The Foundation, that means—

He stepped out onto the stair landing and looked down to the ground floor entryway.

His mother stood at the bottom of the stairs looking up towards him, but someone else stood next to her, a woman with dirty blond hair who smiled the moment he came into view and whose accent he knew intimately. “Hello there, you clever boy.”

Erywin.” Kerry almost took the steps two at a time in his rush to the bottom of the stairs. Without thinking he flew into her outstretched arms and gave her a great hug. “How are you?”

“Doing well, doing well.” She released him and patted him on the shoulder. “Care to do introductions?”

“Oh, sure.” He turned to his mother, who was staring in their direction with enormous disbelief over what she’d just seen. “Mom, this is Professor Erywin Sladen, my chemistry instructor from school. Erywin, this is my mother.”

Erywin extended her hand. “How do you do, Mrs. Malibey?”

His mother shook Erywin’s hand. “Louise Malibey, Professor.” She turned her attention to her son. “Do you address all your instructors by their given names?”

Erywin defused the situation immediately. “Only the ones who’ve given him permission to do so, Mrs. Malibey.” She patted Kerry on the shoulder. “Kerry is not only one of my exceptional students, but a good friend as well, and he knows when we’re meeting in private or outside the main school environment, he’s allowed to address me by my given name.” She flashed a grin at Louise. “It seems only fair, since we address all our students that way.”

“Well . . .” Louise looked at her son and released a slow sigh. “I guess it is a different sort of place after all.”

“Told you.” Kerry turned to Erywin. “What are you doing here?”

“Helena needed to take care of some Foundation business, and rather than head into London, we decided to used the Cardiff offices instead. So while she’s off filling out paper work, I thought I’d stop by and visit our favorite . . .” Erywin’s eyes twinkled. “Ginger Hair Boy.”

Kerry’s breath caught for a moment as Annie’s favorite name for him was spoken aloud in front of his mother. There wasn’t a single possibility that his mother would know what the phrase meant, but it was still shocking to hear it spoken aloud in front of her. “Thanks, I, um—”

“So where are you from, Professor?” It was like Louise to know more about the strange woman calling upon her son.

“Woodingdean, just outside Brighton.”

“Brighton? Seems like London would be a lot closer than Cardiff.”

“Yes, well—” Erywin glanced towards Kerry. “Getting up a little early to come here was worth the effort if it meant seeing this lad.”

Louise was touched by the sentiment Kerry’s instructor was expressing. “That’s quite nice of you, Professor.”

“Please, call me Erywin.”

“Thank you, Erywin.” Louise chuckled. “You didn’t tell me your instructors were so young, Kerry.”

A few seconds passed before Kerry understood what his mother mean. He knew his mother had turned forty a couple of years earlier—as she’d made a huge deal of the matter—and that Erywin was only a few years older. Yet, seeing them standing face-to-face, he saw that the leader of Mórrígan Coven appeared as a woman perhaps in her mid-twenties—

Witches don’t age as fast: that’s what Annie said. And this is the first time I can see that proof up close. “Um, yeah, well—”

“Oh, I’m not that young, Louise.” Erywin chuckled off the suggestion. “I moisturize a lot; helps keep the skin fresh, yes?”

“I suppose it does . . .” Louise pushed the comment aside as one that didn’t require followup. “And this Helena—”

“That’s Professor Lovecraft.” Kerry pursed his lips. “She teaches Literature.”

Erywin followed up his statement. “Mostly ancient, but she does find her way into modern tomes now and then.”

“I see. And does she live close by? You, I mean. Since you’re traveling—”

“She’s my companion.”

“Companion?” Louise cocked her head slightly to the right. “I don’t—”

Mom.” Kerry nearly rolled his eyes.

It finally hit Louise what they were both telling her. “Oh—Oh. I’m sorry; I didn’t mean anything—”

“It’s quite all right, Louise.” Erywin placed her hands before her as she smiled brightly. “I would have said ‘wife’ but the UK is a little slow on allowing us lesbians to marry. Given the work you do, at least you didn’t ask me if I own a TARDIS.”

Kerry half turned away to keep from laughing, though a snort did manage to escape. “That would certainly be a fast way of getting here.”

“Yes—” Erywin turned to the boy with a wide grin stretched across her face. “It’d almost be like magic, wouldn’t it?”

It was Louise’s turn to keep from rolling her eyes listening to Kerry and his instructor joke. “Erywin, would you like some—tea? Or something else?”

“Actually . . .” She cleared her throat before adjusting her shoulder bag. “I was about to ask if I could take Kerry to lunch.”

“Really?” The excitement he’d felt upon first seeing Erywin returned, and he didn’t bother keeping his tone neutral. “Can I, Mom?”

“I assure you, Louise, I’ll have him back before dinner. Say . . . no later than eighteen?”

For a moment Louise was a little apprehensive about letting her son take off with this woman she’d just met, then she realized that Kerry had just spent the last nine months in her presence, which meant she was at least somewhat trustworthy—Not to mention if I say no, Kerry’s going to mope for the rest of the day . . . “Yes, of course. I don’t see a problem.”

“Thanks, Mom.” He started to head up the stairs, then quickly turned back to Erywin. “I just need to grab something first.”

“Not that bloody computer, I hope.”

Kerry caught the shape look his mother gave Erywin. While he was used to hearing his instructor say things far worse than “bloody”, he had to guess that his mother wasn’t used to hearing a teach swear in front of a student and his mother. “No, I got something I wanna post—”

“Oh, sending off another letter to The Girl Who Writes?”

“Mom.” Kerry shot a death stare at his mother. “I wish you wouldn’t call her that.”

Erywin worked to defuse the situation. “Hurry up, then: we don’t want to keep Helena waiting.”

“Right.” Kerry dashed upstairs to retrieve the just-finished letter, then placed it in his backpack before slinging the later across one shoulder. As he bounded down the stairs he caught Erywin’s questioning stare. “You know me; the backpack goes wherever I go.”

“Indeed I do.” Erywin waited for Kerry to join her before she addressed his mother. “Like I said, I’ll have Kerry back so he doesn’t miss dinner.” She held out her hand once more. “It’s been a pleasure chatting with you.”

Once more Louise shook hands. “Same here, Professor.” She glanced at her son. “Enjoy yourself, Kerry.”

“I will, Mom.” He held the door for Erywin and followed her outside.

The houses along Timbers Square were quite: no one was out and about as Erywin and he walked along the access to Albany Road. They were half-way to the main street before Kerry spoke. “We gonna take a cab?”

“You’re jesting, right?” She pulled her mobile from her purse and glanced at the boy walking to her right. “How’s your light bending?”

“As good as it was in Kansas City.” This was the first time in months that Kerry had found reason to mention the location of their Guardian field operation.

“Which means you can fade us out before we reach the main road.” Erywin tapped the surface of her phone. “I know the perfect place for us to speak.”

“I though we were going to lunch?” Kerry began crafting his spell so they’d fade out as they reached Albany Road.

“Helena’s still conducting business.” Erywin gave the screen one last tap and held it firm in here left hand. “We ready?”

“We should be invisible as we turn the corner.”

“Good.” She held out her right hand as they stepped around the corner. “Shall we?”

“Yep.” He took Erywin’s hand as he completed the spell.

Erywin trusted Kerry’s ability and knew no one would see them wink out of existence as they walked along a busy street. They were a half-dozen steps onto Albany Road when she tapped the screen with her thumb and they vanished with a soft pop

 

Yes, here it is, a year later, that I put this up on my author’s page:

Doesn't look like much, does it?

Doesn’t look like much, does it?

Actually, day Three Sixty-six happened yesterday, and that’s the reasons for the title of this post today.  That day back in Panera I got up with the intention of starting the novel, and wrote about two thousand words in three and a half hours, something I don’t do much of these days because it always seems like I’m fighting exhaustion and depression, so there’s a lot of struggling.  But I keep moving forward best I can, and last night’s writing session pushed the full word count to two hundred ninety-one thousand, two hundred and nine words, which means it’s highly likely that I’ll hit the three hundred thousand word mark sometime next week.  And when you do the math that means my daily word count is:

291,209/366 = 795/day

Just short of eight hundred words a day for three hundred and sixty-six days.  Given that I usually start a new scene with around three or four hundred words, I often take Fridays off, and the days of getting a thousand words a day in are few a far between, it means I’m still making a lot of headway.  And where someone once say five hundred words a day equals a one hundred and eighty-two thousand word novel after a year, well, here’s your proof that even a little more than that a day will get you almost three hundred thousand words in a year with a leap day.

I’m coming up on nearly two and two-thirds years that I’ve worked on these three novels–yes, there’s a third, albeit much shorter novel that came before A For Advanced–and I thank everyone who’s hung around this long and so far.  But, you know, it does feel like I need a break–

I was asked yesterday if there were going to be anymore cliffhangers equal to what came down with Kerry’s reveal, and the answer is yes, there is one, perhaps two.  And then after that–I got to get to editing.  I’ve two novels I want to put out, and the chances are good editing them well is gonna take up most of the summer.  And that means . . . no C Level novel until at least August.  Or September.

You’ve heard that one before, haven’t you?

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9 thoughts on “Three Sixty-Six

  1. I remember this exerpt ! !
    Oh, and no new novel til August or September ? Nooooooooooooooo! ! !
    That’s so mean, mean, meaaaaaaan ! !
    Have mercy. You can’t do that, Cassie. What am I going to do ? I need my Annie and Kerry fix everyday ! ! !

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