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The Last Laps: Running Red

I expected to do more last night, but you know how it is:  real life in the way and all.  However, this time it was different–

I had a visit from the Real Annie.

I should put a trademark up there ’cause it is sort of like that when she shows up, which she hasn’t in a long time due to–well, life on her end.  She managed to catch up on a few things with me, and I let her read some of the sections of B For Bewitching that she hasn’t seen.  I also gave her a complete copy of the first draft of A For Advanced, pretty much the only one in existence, and it ran, with everything–copyright notice, table of contents, and cast of characters sheet–1,181 pages.  That’s a big book.

However, the penultimate scene was started, and it heads into an area I’ve never covered before, and that’s the school Red Line race course.  Not most of it, just a small part, but it’s probably the easiest part to set up:  the last couple of areas at the south end of the school grounds.

Just follow the kind of highlighted yellow line.

Just follow the kind of highlighted yellow line.

The big spike to the right that seems to end lower down like some king of bow tie is the section known at the start of the scene as Down and Around.  That’s because you drop about three hundred meters almost straight down at the ground, then turn, twist, rise, twist more while dropping, rise again, and then finally come out of the turn more of less flying level.  The last section mentioned, Up and Over, is the part of the course that headed directly over The Diamond, where it goes–get ready–up and over the building.  Pretty simple, yeah?

The Red Line is like this all over:  it’s high, it’s low, and it twists all over the place.  It’s like being on a gigantic roller coaster, only you’re a kilometers up in the air at times before rushing straight at the ground at three hundred kilometers an hour.  Try finding that ride at your local amusement park this summer.

The difficulty of the course isn’t what’s on Kerry’s mind, however–

 

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

Kerry came out of Down and Around with what felt like half of all the teams combined dogging him. It was like they were told in the ready room meetings: the racing was going to be intense, and it’d stay that way for a full fifteen laps. Coming to the end of Lap 13, and his last circuit of the Red Line, he’d found that assertion to be completely factual.

Things shook out pretty much as people expected. Rivânia, Nadine, and Penny took off in a hurry, got ahead, and stayed there while the other dozen fliers remained about ten meters back. Starting with the first circuit of the Red Line the enormous pack broke in two: positions ten through fifteen formed the back pack, and Kerry found himself in the front pack of positions four through nine that, besides him, consisted of Alex, Rezi and Getasew from Åsgårdsreia, and Nattat from Mórrígan.

And one other: Lisa.

Somehow she’d found herself in the Top 10 heading into the Red Line and remained with the front pack through their return to the Blue Line. The larger packs closed up again once they returned to the Green Line for two laps, but upon reaching the Blue Line both packs began spreading out and becoming one, with position changes happening constantly throughout the race.
Kerry did as Annie said when they last spoke: he ran his own race. He didn’t worry about the others: he knew they were going to run their own races as well—

Still, Kerry couldn’t shake the feeling he was being stalked.

A couple of times throughout the race he’d catch sight of Lisa maybe seven, eight meters back, holding position and not making a move towards him. He wasn’t sure if it was because of the other fliers around him, or if she was waiting for a moment to strike, but Kerry was certain that despite the warnings given in the Ready Room, she was going to try and prevent him from finishing in the Top 5.

He was positive she wasn’t going to try and hold him up, either.

He rolled up and to his left, then dip towards the ground and into Up and Over, the last major turn on the Red Line before they rejoined the Blue Line. Though he’d overflown The Diamond many times—including the first time he checked out on an Espinoza—it was always a huge thrill to approach the enormous building from near ground level before shooting up to the roof, speeding along the length of the structure while zooming back to the Start/Finish line. There wasn’t any difference this time, either, only it would be the last time this season he’d do it officially.

He shot through the last two elevations gates as he made his quick decent to ground level, then leveled out, flew through Start/Finish, and arced to his left as he entered the Blue Line for one last lap.

 

Four hundred ninety-five words, and I don’t imagine it’s going to take much more than this to finish the scene.  The resolution is almost here–

As is the end of this chapter.

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