We all know what’s going to happen today, don’t we? It’s the end of the line for a certain story, just as I promised.
Last night and this morning I wrote just one word short of fourteen hundred to finish the story of my kids and their B Levels, and because this is the last of that story, you’re getting it all with few interruptions. Well, one of two, but that’s it. And as stated before, since Kerry started this novel, it’s up to him to finish it . . .
The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
The car was outside Cardiff Central Station when Ms. Rutherford and Kerry exited the train station not long after jaunting in from Berlin. Though the sun was still up—with it now a little after twenty hour, it wouldn’t set for another hour—it was falling behind the building of central Cardiff.
They didn’t stay long at the station. The boot opened as soon as they exited the station; Ms. Rutherford got in behind the driver as Kerry put his luggage in the back and closed the lid, and as soon as he was inside with Ms. Rutherford and his seatbelt was locked, the Mercedes C300 Sedan pulled away from the entrance and merged into early evening traffic.
They were only thirty seconds away from the station when Ms. Rutherford handed Kerry a small, button-like object. “This is your panic button. You know how they work.”
Kerry immediately picked up that his case worker was not asking a question but making a statement. “Activate the enchantment and you’ll teleport off to a predetermined location.”
“The spot picked for you is safe and secure, and you can go there any time, day or night. Once that’s activated someone will be with you within five minutes; I’ll arrive within fifteen. Ms. Rutherford gave Kerry a sharp look. “You need to either keep that on you at all times, or somewhere close by where you know it won’t be disturbed.”
Kerry opened one of the small, side pockets of his backpack and slipped the enchanted device inside. “It’ll be safe there.”
Silence filled the back of the Mercedes for almost another minute, the Ms. Rutherford glanced out the window at the passing scenery. “I know about your Gifts.” She turned to the boy on her left. “Both of them.”
He nearly did a double take with his case worker. “They told you? About . . .” He shrugged. “That?”
“The one that requires you being monitored?” She half smiled. “Yes.”
“Because you’re my case worker?”
“That’s one of the reasons.” Ms. Rutherford slid around in her seat as best she could with the seatbelt on so she could better see Kerry. “Because we sometimes have to hear secrets about our characters, my division is attached to the Protectors and not the Educational Council. That’s one of the reasons why I’m aware of your Bigender Gift. Also—” The half smile softened into something comforting. “I’ll be with the group that will come to get you should you have your first transition over the summer. I asked to be included as a member of Doctor Gallagher’s group as soon as I learned of her plans.”
“When was that?”
“A couple of weeks after your monitor was attached.” She face forward once more, softly chuckling. “Coraline agreed that it’d be best to have me deal with your parents while they prepared to move you somewhere—” She looked at Kerry out of the corner of her eye. “Well, where they can make you more comfortable.”
Kerry was made aware of this situation weeks back when all the B Level were given their “Returning Home” orientation. He knew he could call or text Ms. Rutherford at any time—he had her number in his phone—but the panic button was a special situation in case things at home took a turn for the worst and the student in question found it necessary to leave right that moment.
He was surprised by the revelation that Ms. Rutherford would be the person to speak with his parents should he have his first transition while home for summer holiday. Just that little bit of knowledge left him feeling that much more reassured that if the event did happen while he was home, he’d find himself being taken care of by people who cared. “Thank you, Ms. Rutherford. That means a lot.”
“It’s the least I can do for you.” She settled back in her seat. “It’s also my pleasure and honor to make certain you’re handled in the best possible fashion.”
I wanted to get a feel for how it looked in Cardiff as Kerry returned home, and found some new landscapes for Stellarium, and the one I found–well, it’s not in Cardiff, it’s actually from Sofia, Bulgaria, which must be come kind of strange coincidence.
But it’s a good enough view, and I’ll stick with this.
This is also the first time we learn that Ms. Rutherford is actually a Protector, who are like The Foundation’s own police force. If you want a comparison, The Protectors are like the FBI, The Guardians are like the CIA, and The Marshals, who haven’t really been discussed, are like The Foundation’s own special forces unit comprised of witches with military-grade, magically enhanced bang-bang. She knows a lot of things, but not everything, about Kerry, because while she has a security clearance, it’s not as high as the one Kerry already has.
We also see the magical “Get Out of Dodge” piece of this homecoming: every student gets a panic button just in case things at home suddenly go sideways and they need to beat a hasty retreat. And you can bet someone will be checking up on Kerry over the summer, for should his parents go all tyrannical on him, he could just blast them through a wall and burn down the house. People in The Foundation would much rather he just jaunt out of a bad situation rather than go full-on Natural Born Killer on his folks. And given that the family abode is empty at least three days out of the week, how hard would it be for a team of Protectors or Guardians to jaunt inside and set up some of those bugs Helena once checked for in a motel room in Kansas City? The answer is, “Not very.”
Speaking of the Malibey Home, we’re almost there:
Neither spoke during the remainder of the short ride home. It wasn’t until the car pulled up in front of his house and came to a complete stop that Ms. Rutherford spoke. “Remember, Kerry: if the situation should turn ugly in the next few minutes, it is not a reflection upon you. Who you are, what you are, should be judged on your attitude and behavior, not fear.” She gave his hand a slight pat. “Just be yourself and nothing more.”
Kerry looked up the path to his front door hoping that everything went well and didn’t degenerate into any of the worst case scenarios he’d worked out in his head over the last few weeks. “I’ll remember that.” He looked ahead at the seat back in front of him. “I guess we should get this over with—” He threw open the passenger door and stepped out into the cool, clear, Cardiff evening.
He was half-way up the walk when the front door flew open to reveal his mother ready to receive them. “Kerry.”
“Hi, Mom.” He immediately picked up on the tone of her voice: he was worried. Kerry wished he knew what she’d been told about his return, but I was impossible to ask that in front of her.
Ms. Rutherford held the outside door for Kerry. “Good evening, Mrs. Malibey.”
“Good evening, Ms. Rutherford.” Louise Malibey stepped back so Kerry could enter. She addressed him as he set his luggage on the ground floor landing. “How was your flight?”
“It was good, Mom.” He looked behind her and gave a slight wave. “Hi, Dad.”
“Welcome home, Son.” Davyn Malibey joined his wife. “Hello, Ms. Rutherford.”
“Good evening, Mr. Malibey.” She closed the door behind her and turned toward Kerry’s parents. “I’m happy to see you both.”
“Well, you did ask us both to be here when he came home.” Louise turned to her son. “Is everything all right?”
Being a mom, Louise Malibey goes right to the “What’s wrong?” option for his meeting. Because we know something must be wrong if Ms. Rutherford wants to talk to his parents, right? We know that’s not the case, and Ms. Rutherford step in to chill this shit out:
Ms. Rutherford cut off Kerry before he could reply. “Is it possible we could all sit down and talk?”
Davyn pointed down the hallway behind him. “We can all sit in the family room. Come this way—”
The family room was large room with lots of windows in the back of the house, situated between the kitchen and dining room, and the sun room leading to the back yard. Louise and Davyn sat on the sofa facing the television: Kerry and Ms. Rutherford pulled the chairs from either side of the sofa and place them so they could set facing his parents. As they were sitting Louise expressed what she was feeling. “Ms. Rutherford, when we got your message I got worried. It sounded so important, and yet—”
“I didn’t give you any details?” She set her bag on the armrest and crossed her legs. “It was a rather generic email, and for that I apologize. I didn’t mean to cause undo concern.”
“But the tone made it sound like there’s something important you needed to discuss.”
“And there is. But first, I need you to understand—” She looked at Kerry, sitting to her left. “This meeting has nothing to do with Kerry’s academic standing at school. He remains one of the best students in his level, if not in the entire school.” She gave him a broad, pleasant smile. “There’s only one other student I know of who is Kerry’s equal.
“This also has nothing to do with his behavior, either. Kerry’s disciplinary record is clean: it’s actually quiet outstanding. One might say—” She gave him a knowing look. “—he’s done far more than most students over the last two years to help out around the school.”
Hum, I wonder who this other student is who’s Kerry’s equal? Maybe a soul mate from Bulgaria? We’ll discuss that matter later: right now, we’re getting down to the big moment–
“Then this is about what?” Davyn seemed perplexed that whatever the reason was for being in this discussion had nothing to do with his son’s grades or discipline.
Ms. Rutherford looked thoughtful for a moment. “This is more of a—you might say, a personal matter.”
“Oh, God.” Louise held her forehead for a moment. “Kerry, what did you do?”
Kerry turned to Ms. Rutherford instead of replying to his mother. “I should tell them.”
Ms. Rutherford nodded. “It’s time.”
“Yeah.” Kerry scooted to the front of his chair and leaned forward, resting his forearms on his legs. “Well, then: here goes.” He swallowed once and exhaled slow as he looked at his parents. “Mom, Dad . . . I’m a witch.”
And that’s it: that’s the end of the novel. It’s over, it’s done, it’s 327,931 words written in 422 days, for an average of 844 words written per day.
But wait! What about Kerry’s parents response to his coming out? What is that “The End” crap up there? Well, you see, I’m leaving what happens after the reveal for the beginning of the next novel.
Yes, afraid so, folks. I knew the ending of this novel before I ever began writing, and that ending had Kerry announcing his witchness followed by the words “The End.” I also knew that the next novel, C For Continuing, is where the reader discovers his parents reaction, and this is something I’ve had planed since the days when I was laying out the time line for A For Advanced. Yes, as Skye Hegyes commented about a week and a half back, I’m being a bad witch by ending the second novel on probably the biggest cliff hanger I could find, and I’m not doing it to be mean–that’s just the way this story rolls.
Don’t worry, though: you’ll only have to wait a few months to see how this is going to turn out.
I mean, it’s not like we’re talking forever . . .