Here I am, back to the writing thing, though I have to say I’m starting to love doing a video for the blog, and I’m thinking this could become a regular thing. Maybe like something I throw together on a Saturday morning. We’ll see.
But the writing–sorry, I mean editing. Part One of A For Advanced is complete, and it’s a happy time, let me tell you. I’m down to the Little Amps coffee house with my regular table next to the entrance, and I was going through the last scene of Chapter Two with lots of eagerness and enthusiasm.
I should also point out that the above picture was taken with my phone–as is the one below–and then I simply bluetoothed it over to the laptop for upload here. Suddenly I’ve discovered all this technology that’s been missing from my life, and I am so happy I have it now.
And I’ve been jamming along with my Song of the Day, which has been in heavy rotation this morning: It’s My Life by Talk Talk. Gotta love those 80s synth beats.
But what of the editing, Cassie? Well, since you asked–
Chapter Two is a whole lot of travel to America, and this last scene deals with the kids finally arriving in Massachusetts and riding the rails to their final destination. It’s a fun scene and one that’s loaded up with mystery, mostly because no one knows what await them at the end–not even Annie, who’s heard little about the actual school itself from her parents.
And as usual, there are a few in-jokes in the story . . .
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
Thirty minutes later the students were standing on a small train platform a few blocks from the center of the real town of Salem watching they train they’d ridden from Boston depart the station. There was no school and no special train waiting, only a slightly chilly night air and a light rain greeted them in the gathering darkness. The weather wasn’t a bother for Annie as she’d worn a long sleeve top during the flight, and Kerry removed a dark red hoodie from his backpack and pulled it on over his tee shirt. Most of the other kids threw on light jackets or sweatshirts to fight off the cool breeze drifting in from the Atlantic.
Three minutes after arriving at the Salem station, another train approached from the south. It slowed before pulling to a stop in front of them. Collin was the first to ask what most were thinking. “What’s this?”
The short blond woman in the long skirt—Kerry thought of her that way since none of the adults had introduced themselves—eagerly answered. “This is our transportation to the school.”
“You’re kidding.” Collin’s skepticism seemed well founded. The “transportation” consisted of a small engine and a single passenger car no different than the one they’d rode from Boston. There was no markings to distinguish the train as being unusual other than a few “Special Charter” signs near the car doors.
The woman popped up the handle on her roll-on bag. “What were you expecting, The Hogwarts Express? That’s fiction, lad—” She waved an arm at the train car. “This is reality.” She turned to the group of somewhat disappointed children. “Come along, kiddies.”
The remark about a “special train” comes from earlier in the scene, when many of the students remarked they were taking “The Salem Express” to the new school, when instead they got on a MBTA commuter train out of Boston’s North Station. Yes, they got their own car, but still, way to buzzkill the fantasy.
And “The short blond woman in the long skirt” is Erywin, in case you were wondering–she of the smart mouth and a desire to smack any student who says she teaches potions. Of course we don’t learn that until later . . .
This is also the first time when Kerry begins suspecting something strange is afoot, and we more or less hear the catchphrase for him throughout the novel:
She turned her attention back to Kerry, who was looking about the car. “What is it?”
He didn’t say anything for a few seconds, then leaned over so he could speak to her without being overheard. “Are you tried?”
“Not at all?”
“I feel a little tired from all the activity, but otherwise I’m fine.” Kerry sat back and said nothing, but that wasn’t going to do for Annie: he suspected something and she wanted to hear his thoughts. “Why do you ask?”
Again he lowered his voice so he wasn’t overheard. “Is your home on the same time as Paris?”
It was a strange question to ask, but rather than ask why he wanted to know Annie answered truthfully. “We’re an hour ahead of Paris.”
“Okay. So you’re two hours ahead of Cardiff.”
“If you say so.” Now she had to know where his questioning was going. “Why do you want to know?”
“I know we’re on Eastern Time here—that’s five hours behind London and Cardiff, and seven hours behind the time at your home.” His demeanor turned grave. “You should feel like it’s close to three in the morning, and I should feel like it’s about one.” He nodded towards the girls from Turkey and Oman. “Those two should feel like the sun’s coming up tomorrow.” He shook his head. “But everyone’s acting like they probably should for eight PM here–or twenty hours where you’re from.” He smiled sheepishly. “Slipped back into American time counting there.”
Oh, he is always so clever. She’d taken trips with her parents to Japan and Australia, and the reasons for everyone falling asleep right after eating wasn’t difficult to fathom. Still, Annie couldn’t tell Kerry what she knew about why no one was falling asleep because of their individual time differences— “Everyone is probably excited; that’s why no one’s sleepy right now.”
Kerry didn’t like Annie’s answer, but didn’t have anything better to offer. “Maybe.” He sat back and sighed. “I’m probably over-thinking this.”
“Yes, you are.” She giggled as she lightly tapped the side of his head. “Put your mind on hold and enjoy the ride.” He laughed and took her advice, riding in silence for some time after that.
Yes, that Kerry is such a clever boy–and he’s only going to become more cleaver over time. And in time we’ll know how it is Annie knows all about his cleverness.
Most of all we come to the end of the scene, and in a way it’s the end of one journey and the start of another, and that trip starts under the leadership of someone we come to know somewhat well in this novel and the next:
A woman standing a few meters from the bus waited while everyone filed off the bus. She was dressed in formal business attire: dark red skirt and jacket and a white blouse that seemed to glow in the darkness. This woman reminded Kerry of Ms. Rutherford, and though this woman wasn’t black he saw that she appeared to be of mixed ethnicity.
She approached the French woman the moment everyone was off the bus and addressed the French woman, speaking English with an Americanized accent. “Welcome back, Headmistress.” She nodded to the other adults. “Good to see you all.”
Mathilde relaxed for the first time since Amsterdam. “It’s good to be back.”
The new woman deftly adjusted her stylish red horn rimed glasses. “May I see the attendance?” She held up the tablet she carried in her right hand; Mathilde checked something on hers, then tapped the tablets together. The new woman examined her display before nodding. “That’s it then.”
“All students are accounted for?”
“Thank you.” She glanced at the other adults, the turned and addressed the new woman. “If you don’t mind, we’d like to freshen up.”
“Go on: I’ve got this now.” The woman waited for the headmistress and the others to walk up a paved path and vanish before address the students. “You can leave your luggage here; I’ll see to it that it gets back to you a soon as we getting the housing sorted out.” She took a step back. “Follow me, please.”
They turned onto the same path used by the others. It headed up an slight incline that wasn’t difficult to walk. It was what lay at the end of the path that drew everyone’s attention: there was another large wall and another huge, open archway. To the left of the archway an immense tree stood maybe ten meters from the wall, and through the archway a building was just visible in the darkness and mist, one that felt rather than appeared massive and old.
The children followed the woman into the archway. In the middle she stopped and turned to face them, framing herself so the colossal building was positioned perfectly behind her. She allowed the children a moment to take in their surroundings before addressing them. “My name is Isis Mossman, and I’m the Director of Security. On behalf of Headmistress Laventure, the staff, and the instructors, it is an honor to introduce you girls and boys to your new home-away-from-home.
“Welcome to Salem.”
There you have it: “Welcome to Salem.” The kids are more or less standing in the front door–
The night is still young. There are actually two more chapters ahead before this night comes to an end and Annie and Kerry began to take stock of their new home–
And Kerry discovers just how deep this rabbit hole into which he’s fallen goes.