Let’s get the personal business of the way first. The stuff I need for my weekend Women’s March on Washington–which occurs in a little less than two weeks–has begun arriving. Tonight I get my portable phone charger; tomorrow I get my wall socks; and I’m waiting for my thermal underwear and mukluk insoles to ship out. Yesterday, however, I received my first item:
Yes, the Pussy Hat is here and while it’s a little big it’s still wearable. One shipment I’m worried about is the thermal undergarments: they’re coming from Land’s End and I haven’t received notification that they’ve shipped. I’m hoping that all ships this week, and the one shipment I can do without are the new insoles for my mukluks, because all have wool socks as of tomorrow.
And the totally ironic thing is the weather for 21 January in DC is expected to be somewhere between 50 and 55 F/10 to 13 C. If we get those terms I may not even need the thermal undergarments. But it’s always nice to have them just in case.
Now, let’s finish up but I was in the middle of yesterday.
There’s about a thousand words left in this last seen, which just happened to be the first of Chapter Eight. Last night they ran off another eight hundred and fifty words, and I figure I might have another fifteen hundred to two thousand words to write to finish off this current scene and the chapter, at which point I can move into Chapter Nine, which finishes off Week One and it’s the kids to the Midnight Madness.
Things are zipping right along.
So, let’s finish up with the meeting in the Witch House and see how Helena and Erywin are dealing with Kerry’s particular situation…
The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)
Helena moved her chair closer to her desk so she could lean her arms against the top. “No one is thinking any less of you, Kerry, and no one in this room believes they can’t count upon you. As you indicated, your main concern is whatever group you’re working with—but you need to watch your own arse as well.”
A concerned look came over Erywin’s face. “If you’re feeling a little bit of trepidation about any, you and I can always speak. I mean, I do have a little bit of an understanding of what it’s like dealing with what might seem unusual emotions.”
Annie leaned so she was a bit closer to Kerry and could speak softly. “Something to consider, my love. And it couldn’t hurt to discuss these things with another person.”
He gave a slight nod. “Maybe later.”
Helena yawned for a few seconds. “Oh, sorry: didn’t get much sleep last night. Anyway, I have given you notification that you are in an on-call status with the Guardians as of this moment. Congratulations.” She threw up her hands in mock cheer. “You’re now like hundreds of other Sentinels wondering if you called out on a field operation any time soon.”
It seems as if this is about the third or fourth attempt to get Kerry to “talk things out”. There’s a bit of a conundrum here with the boy, because for all of his life he’s been conditioned not to talk about his feelings, simply because his parents don’t want to hear about them. Now he’s starting to find himself wading into some shit and he’s hesitant to put his feelings on display. Sure, he might talk to Annie, but she’s not a trained counselor. Getting him to open up to adults who really do want to help him is going to be something of an ongoing battle.
And with Helena’s last statement Annie hear something that may or may not be good for her–
Hearing the phrase “on-call status” made Annie wonder about their actual standing with The Foundation intelligence division. “Does this mean we’re—?”
“Actual Guardians?” A faint smile crossed Helena’s lips. “That was the last thing is gonna bring up during this meeting. You’ve both been moved to Provisional status, which is to say you’re old enough to go out on field operations, but you’re not old enough to be sworn in as actual operatives.”
“Because you have to be considered emancipated before the Guardians will allow you to take the oath. One of the reasons you are allowed a Right of Refusal is because you haven’t reached the Age of Emancipation, but once you hit that then you can have the Guardians Oath administered and become full-time Sentinels.” Helena chuckled as she scratched her arm. “Of course, once you are full time that means that you can’t turn down any missions unless you have a damn good reason. Taking that oath means you get all those nice Guardian benefits without being able to walk away from the shit missions when you feel like it’s necessary”
“I didn’t expect it to be perfect.” Annie gave a slight shrug. “One has to take the bad with the good.”
Helena raised one eyebrow. “What do you expect the good to be in the Guardians?”
Annie had her answer ready. “To be able to protect The Foundation and its people, and by extension Normals who know nothing of our existence but benefit from our largess.”
Helena turned to Kerry. “What about you, Ginger Boy? What does serving the Guardians mean to you?”
Kerry had an answer ready as well. “By protecting the interests of The Foundation we keep the rest of the world safe. We’re not protecting a single country; we’re basically protecting people the world from the bad guys who would like to turn the lives of Normals to… shit.”
It was evident from Helena’s reaction that she hadn’t expected these responses. She turned to Erywin. “I really expected something a little more boilerplate.”
“You should know better.” Erywin chuckled. “You dealing with two highly motivated teens here.”
“Obviously.” Helena swiveled her chair back towards the two across the desk. “All right, is all I have to say. If it becomes necessary to have another meeting like this in the future, I’ll send you both a secure email with nothing more than the time: you’ll know where were going to meet.”
Both Annie and Kerry nodded with her replying. “Always here.”
At times it’s interesting to watch the reaction of adults around Annie and Kerry. We know they’re bright and articulate, but they’re also quite perceptive. Helena asked a gotcha question and then admits that she expected the kids to give a far more boilerplate answer than what they actually gave. In short, she had low expectations for what they were going to say–which is something she shouldn’t have done. But as Kerry might say, everything is a test, so perhaps Helena was actually testing the kids. Perhaps? We don’t know–well I do, but you don’t.
And with that it’s time to close down this meeting:
“Correct. Okay, you two, that’s enough for now.” Helena stood as did Erywin. “Kerry, as soon as I hear something back from San Francisco I’ll let you know. For that will likely send you a secure, encrypted document. And if you get one of those—”
Kerry gave a slight nod as he stood. “Read, delete, and clear deleted messages.”
“Sounds as if you been doing this spook business for a while.”
“I know how to take precautions.”
“Good.” Helena waved both kids toward the door. “Go on now. I understand a couple of instructors are taking some kids into Salem for lunch and an afternoon of shopping and relaxation. If you get back to the Great Hall by ten, I’m certain Erywin and I will be more than happy to let you accompany us.”
Annie waved back. “See you both at ten.”
Rather then head back up to the ground floor of the Witch House, Annie and Kerry decided to take the tunnel back to Memory’s End and emerge above ground there. They felt that is no one would be in the comments—at least not in this area school—they would be able to speak freely.
Annie felt she needed to reassure Kerry. “I hope you don’t think that we don’t believe you could do a field operation as a girl.”
He shook his head. “I don’t. Anyway, it was my suggestion I don’t go out like that right away because I’m not sure I can handle—you know—” Kerry tilted his head to the right as if to indicate something. “Like Erywin said, all the hormones and stuff.”
Annie gave Kerry’s hand a squeeze. “It will take some time you to filter through all the feelings. As Erywin said we’ve had time to learn, whereas you’re going to be instantly immersed. But I want you to know I’ll be there to help you in any way I can, though it may not be much.” She gave their arm a playful swing. “I won’t abandon you.”
Kerry leaned into Annie and rested his head against hers. “I know you wouldn’t. You’re the last person who would ever abandoned me.”
As Annie kissed his head only one thought remained in her mind: I’ll always be with you—until death do us part.
Annie seems to enjoy the idea that the boy by her side will be with her until the day one of them dies. If one didn’t know any better, one might say Annie almost saw the relationship as something of a fairy tale–and given that some fairy tales were gruesome and bloody as hell, perhaps she’s not wrong. The only question remains there is will they live happily ever after? Like I’ve said before, I know when, where, and how they die, which means I know how they lived. I know their happiness, I know their sadness, and I know some of their regrets.
In other words, they’re going to have lives like a lot of us.
Only we don’t get to have real magic in ours…