The last couple of nights have seen slow progress: I’ve been lucky to write about five hundred words a night. Part of it has just been my mood, which is very little on the dark side of late. I’m also finding this novel a bit more challenging than the last two, simply because I’m having to deal more with complex feelings. My kids are growing up fast and are at that point where they’re still kind the kids, but they’re so ready to start being adults, too.
And with witches is even more difficult because immature so much faster. Yeah, all that magical energy flowing to your body does strange things to you on top of the hormonal changes you’re already feeling. As I’ve stated before, the staff at Salem know that the school is a bit of a pressure cooker in that there are a hundred and fifty tweeners and teens all away from home for probably the first times in their lives, all going through puberty, and all learning magic. Things do get a bit nutty and when Coraline has mentioned that she’s had to sit with students and work with them through bad romantic and sexual encounters, she’s not kidding. Actually, why do you think the school has three counselors? Because they got a deal down that Witches R Us?
Now that we’ve dealt with Annie’s Friday morning, it’s time to deal with Kerry’s Friday morning. Of course, he’s not on school grounds. In fact, he’s not even in the same state–
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)
Kerry opened his jacket and gazed through the thin foliage on the southern flank of Mount Defiance at Lake Champlain a couple of hundred meters below, then glanced to his left and spotted Fort Ticonderoga a couple of kilometers away. Making certain his flight gloves were secure he removed his phone from an inside pocket and examined the photos he’d taken from the air only five minutes earlier before snapping another one so he can remember what the fort looked like from this vantage point.
“Hey, Kerry.” He turned and saw Emma rummaging around in her backpack. “You want a turkey or roast beef sandwich?”
“Roast beef, please.” Kerry headed back toward their small encampment with their backpacks resting against one tree and their brooms against another. Emma levitated the sandwich toward him and he snatched it out of the air the moment it was within arm’s reach. “Thanks.”
Emma nodded and leaned back against the tree as she unwrapped her own sandwich. “You’re welcome.” She took a bite of her sandwich as she stretched out her long legs. “Ugh, that feels so good. Felt for a while like my knees were hyperextending.”
Kerry sat on a rock outcropping a couple of meters from his wingmate. “I thought the broom was supposed to automatically adjust for your height?”
“It’s supposed to, but Vicky told me that may need to be some adjustments made.” She grunted. “It’s just a little bothersome; it’s not gonna kill me. Just need to stretch my legs for a few minutes when we reach each of our checkpoints.”
He nodded. “No problem. Just let me know how you feel when we get to them, okay?” He crafted up a small ball of cold fire and forced the sandwich wrapping inside, where was vaporized instantly. “Don’t forget to give me your trash before we leave.”
She flicked her trash and Kerry’s direction and watched it fly across the open space before he grabbed it and pushed it inside the cold fireball. “Keeping the Earth litter free through magic.”
Kerry shut down the cold fire spell. “And what better way to keep everything clean than by incineration.”
You finally get an idea of how the school gets rid of their trash; it’s very likely they have large bins full of cold fire and they just chuck stuff into them. If the fire is hot enough there’s almost no residue left over, and in Emma’s and Kerry’s instance, it’s likely all their leaving behind is some real fine ash that would be hard to detect with the human eye. And at the school, it’s probably a simple matter of transforming the ash into something that’s either easily transportable or easy to use in other applications–like say, transforming the ash into a form of fertilizer that can be used in the garden.
Emma looked off to her right and the Lake Champlain Valley. “We’ve got Fort Ticonderoga checked off the list. What’s the next two?”
“The next one is Pocono Speedway.” He closed his eyes as he drew in a deep breath of fresh air. “That’s about four hundred kilometers away in Pennsylvania. Then after that we come back into New York and get pictures of the Woodstock concert site.”
She sat back and stared off in the space. “You know where this speedway is at?”
“Sure I do. It’s outside Long Pond. I know the location from when I used to watch NASCAR.”
“Let me guess: the Woodstock concert site is near Woodstock.”
Kerry made a loud buzzing sound. “Oh, I’m sorry, Emma, but that is wrong. You care to try your luck at Double Jeopardy, where the prizes are bigger?”
Emma let her hands drop into her lap as she rolled her eyes. “Okay, smart ass. I’m sure you’re going to tell me exactly where the site is without looking.”
He got up to retrieve a metal water bottle and returned to his seat before answering. “It’s in Bethel, New York, about seventy kilometers from Woodstock.” He took a long swig off the bottle washing down his sandwich.
She didn’t doubt her navigator was wrong, but she was curious about the differences in location. “So why is it called the Woodstock Festival if it’s not in Woodstock?”
Kerry finished the rest of his sandwich and took another drink before giving the explanation. “They wanted to hold the festival in Woodstock but the promoters couldn’t get permission. They eventually held in on Max Yasgur’s farm outside Bethel.” He set down his water bottle and his feet. “The Woodstock concert location is kind of a trick question. It’s probably why Vicky gave it to us: she figured if she gave it to anyone else they go to Woodstock and get lost looking for the place.” He stretched his arms and shoulders. “Instead, we get to have our picture taken next to the Woodstock stage.”
The corner of Emma’s mouth turned upwards of a smile as she gave an approving nod. “And you’re probably the only kid in class who knows this.”
“Probably. It’s another one of those useless facts I happen to have hidden away in the back of my head.”
“I’m glad you do because it makes our job of finding these places a lot easier. Since we don’t have to spend a lot of time looking for our targets we can just race there, get our pictures, and get home before everyone else.” She levitated Kerry’s water bottle toward her so she could get a drink. “What did Vicky want to ask you without me present?”
Since I’m not going to answer Emma’s question today we may as well get to this snipe hunt Team Myfanwy doing for their first day of Advance Flight Two.
First off we have the points they are visiting and they are way the hell out away from the school:
Emma and Kerry are flying over a thousand kilometers through five states so they can get pictures at three different locations and be home by lunch. For these two it’s not a problem: Kerry knows his locations and Emma can stay a course like no one else. And zipping between destinations at 400 kph isn’t a problem, either, ’cause they both know they won’t miss their targets.
Their first stop–where this scene takes place–is on Mount Defiance overlooking Fort Ticonderoga, located in northern New York state.
Fort Ticonderoga is famous for being taken during the Revolutionary War by Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boy. The legend says that when the British demeaned to know on whose authority Allen demanded entry, he replied, “In the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress!”, but historians know Allen was pretty much an atheist and an extremely profane man, so people who’ve studied this moment believe Allen probably said, “Open the goddamn gates, you bastards!” Why didn’t we learn this in history?
Then it’s down to Pocono Speedway in Pennsylvania–which is a nice track but if you’ve seen one NASCAR track, you’ve seen most of them–and then off to the site of the Woodstock Concert, which is right where Kerry says it is, and is there for the same reasons stated. These days the site is a music and arts center with a covered concert pavilion, but that isn’t the Woodstock stage to which Kerry was referring–the area where the festival was held is now something of a tourist attraction and a historical site, and a duplicate of the stage is there to remind people how the place looked minus all the rain, mud, and trash. And the musicians tripping on acid, but that’s another story.
And knowing Kerry they’d someone get up on stage for their photo. Because that’s how he rolls.
Now that we know the sights, what about the meeting? Well…