“The Calling” Scene 2: “The Promise”

As expected, Leigh didn’t discuss the matter of getting a pool with Penny right away, nor did she discuss the possibility of her going to a friend’s house to swim. Penny didn’t give up, however. Three nights later, again over dinner, she asked her mother about going to a friend’s house to swim. Her mother gave the same answer: it would worry her to have Penny at a pool where she might be in water over her head.

Penny stared at her food and pouted.

But she wasn’t about to give up.

She asked again two nights later, that again two nights after that. At school she asked her friend Kemena, whom she knew had a pool, if she could get her mom to call Leigh and explain that she’d watch the girls the entire time and never let Penny out of the shallow end. A few more days went by before Leigh received a phone call. Penny kept peeking out from her bedroom to see if she could pick up what her mother was saying. She couldn’t, but mama stayed on the phone for a long time, perhaps thirty minutes, and that was always a good sign.

The phone was still in her mom’s hand when she opened the door to Penny’s bedroom. “Do you know who was just on the phone?”

Penny knew better than to act stupid. “Was that Kemena’s mom?”

Lee crossed her arms as she leaned against the door jam. “It was. Kemena wants you to come over for swim date. Her mother said that she’d stay outside and watch both you girls while you were in the pool, and that she would make certain you didn’t get out of the shallow end.” Her face slid into half frown/half smile. “Did you ask her to have her mother call me?”

Mama.” Penny was on her feet, her hands curled into fists. “Please. Her mother will watch us. And I promise, I won’t leave the shallow area.”

“I know you won’t.” Lee stood and looked down at her daughter. “I’m going with you. And while you’re in the pool, I’ll be with Kemena’s mother, helping her watch you both.” She dug at the right corner of her mouth with a fingernail. “I guess we should go out tomorrow night get you a swimsuit.”

Two days later, on the Friday after school, Leigh and Penny showed up at Kemena’s house, swimsuits and flip-flops on and plenty of towels to use to dry off later.

As she promised, Penny stayed in the shallow end and played with Kemena while her mother sat with Adella, Kemena’s mother, who was short and extremely gregarious. A couple of times while they were in the water Kemena wanted to move on to the deeper area, but Penny held to her promise.

There was one moment, however…

Kemena decided she wanted to have a contest to see who could hold their breath underwater the longest. Penny wasn’t certain that she could do this: after all, the only water she’d ever been in was in a tub, and she’d never tried submerging yourself there. But a contest was a contest, and Penny didn’t want to disappoint her friend.

She took a deep breath and sank to the bottom of the shallow end.

Sitting on the bottom of the pool Penny felt completely at ease. Rather than look to see how Kemena was doing, she stared straight ahead at the far end where the diving board was. She followed the downward slope of the pool into the deep end and for a moment she felt as if she should be there, that it would be such a natural thing for her to swim around there near the bottom—

There was a commotion in the pool next to her and she felt herself being lifted off the bottom of the pool. When she broke surface she saw her mother there with arms wrapped around her in a worried look on her face. “Are you all right?”

“I’m fine, Mama.” She looked up and saw Kemena and her mother staring at her. Both appeared far more worried that her own mother. “What happened? Did I do something wrong?”

“The Calling” Scene 1: “The Question”

Now for something completely different…

As I mentioned yesterday there are group of artists who are calling this month #MerMay, and are encouraging people–artists mostly–to draw mermaid picture every day.  Now, I don’t draw, but I do write, which means I can be creative in my own way.

In the best way for me to be creative is to write a story.

This is going to be a most interesting story, because I am going to pants the hell out of this.  Any of you who know me are aware that I usually plot things out in the most minute detail before he began writing anything.  This time I’ve got a concept: writer mermaid story.  And that’s it.  Nothing else, nothing plotted out, nothing planned, nothing but sitting down and coming up with a story as it hits me.

And because MerMay is supposed to last every day through the month of May, this means that just like all those artists were drawing a picture of day, I need to write a scene a day and, in the end, produced thirty-one scenes that make a story.  That again is something I’m not used to doing–as if you didn’t know, I tend to be a bit wordy.

I figure I’ll keep each scene to five or six hundred words, which will allow me to produce one scene a day.  Or, if I get in a bind, I produced two or three scenes a day.  At best I’ll probably double up and do two scenes a day on a few days, maybe even three to get ahead of the curve.  Anyway you look at it, I’m setting myself up for some ambitious work, as I am also working on my novel and doing TV recaps.

But in a writer’s work is never done.

So here we go and as I write it you’ll see it.  If nothing else, I hope you find it entertaining.

The Calling

By

Cassidy Frazee

No one ever called Penelope Coffey by her given name: she was Penny to everyone. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d heard someone call her Penelope—it likely happened in school, probably back in the first grade. After that, after she made certain the teachers knew what she liked to be called, she was always Penny.

As far as nine-year-old girls went, Penny didn’t consider herself any different from her classmates and friends. She stood five foot four and had what the adults called an athletic build. Her strawberry blonde hair flowed over her shoulders and reached almost to her waist. Instead of blue eyes complimenting her hair, however, she possessed a pair that were a piercing slate gray, something people noticed immediately.

If there was anything that could be considered unusual about her, it was that she didn’t tan. She had so far lived her whole life in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and like most children her age she spent a great deal of time outdoors. No matter how much time she spent outside with her friends she never returned with a tan. A few time she even went without sunscreen, knowing there was a possibility she could get a bad sunburn even then, she didn’t tan.

Her mother, Leigh Ann, said it was due to their Irish heritage, and when she looked at her mom Penny could believe that story. Her mom was tall with a full head of red hair and striking emerald green eyes. And just like her daughter she, too, never seem to tan even though she spent a great deal of time working outdoors. She owned a landscaping company and when she wasn’t in the office handling scheduling and finances, she could be found outdoors working on sites. Leigh told her daughter they should consider themselves lucky, because the alternative would be spending a fortune and sunscreen every month.

But there was one other thing that Penny thought might be unusual—not only about her, but about her mother as well…

She brought it up one night with summer vacation only a month away and the activities of some of her other friends already in mind. “Mama, are we ever going to get a swimming pool?”

Leigh set down her fork and looked to her right where her daughter sat. “You know how I feel about swimming pools, honey.”

“I know you said you don’t want one, but you never told me why.”

Leigh’s expression softened a bit. “When I was a teenager I had a bad experience with swimming. Ever since then I’ve been hesitant about getting near, well, any kind of deep water.” She reached over and touched her daughter’s hand lightly. “And it would scare me tremendously to think of you being in a pool where you couldn’t touch bottom.”

Penny looked down at her dinner and tried to keep from frowning. “All my friends go swimming; most of them have pools.” An idea suddenly came to mind. “What if I stayed in the shallow end and didn’t actually swim? Then I could be in the water and you wouldn’t have to worry.”

“Well, we’ll see.” Leigh returned to her meal. “Finish your dinner and get your homework.”

After picking at her Salisbury steak a couple of times, Penny finally began eating. She knew what Mama usually meant when she said “we’ll see”: it usually meant there would be no more discussion. But this time Penny didn’t want it to be the end of discussion—

And Penny was nothing if not a determined girl.

On Beyond the Curtain: Getting An Understanding

The middle scene of Chapter Twelve was put in the book bank last night.  It was another seven hundred words, which brought the scene to a bit over thirty-six hundred words, which was a lot longer than I imagined it’d turn out when I first starting putting this together.  It’s funny how that works out.

Meanwhile I’m looking pretty sharp today.  Believe it or not I’m running a meeting today and I wanted to look my best.  And I do:

This is the fist time I've worn a full Dia ensemble that wasn't a dress to work. #BossLady #diaandco

A post shared by Cassidy Frazee (@cassidyfrazee) on

I’ve been “thinking through” the next scene and, damn, I’m coming up with something that’s gonna be strange.  I keep saying that, but so far this present scene has been pretty strange, so I gotta ramp it up for the next scene to come.  And that also means doing some research this afternoon…

Speaking of the strange, let’s get into that:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Annie quickly picked up on the need for such items. “So there are things in the Astral Realm for which we need to protect ourselves.”

Deanna nodded. “Of course there are. There are always spirits floating about within the realm, but the things you have to worry about the most are Phantasms and Wraiths. While one is more dangerous than the other, they can both cause you harm.”

Annie and Kerry exchange looks, with Kerry being the one to ask the question. “What are those?”

“Those are creatures that we are going to discuss at a later date. But for now—” She nodded toward the outer wall on her left. “It’s time to venture outward. Follow me.”

Deanna headed across the room to the west wall. Like the floor the wall was completely translucent, allowing everyone to see the spectral outlines of trees. She faced her students while motioning to all around her. “Even though were in the Astral Realm, we are still connected to the Physical Room. It’s a tenuous connection, but it’s one that has to exist, for if it didn’t none of us would be able to perform magic. That means that whenever your inside the Astral Realm, and you’re close to certain edifices in the Physical Realm, you’ll find those edifices possess a limited amount of physicality here. As you can see—” Deanna stomped her right foot twice on the floor, then rapped her knuckles against the wall. “Memory’s End is all around us, even though it isn’t exactly here with us in this world.”

Annie raised her hand and quickly asked a question. “Will we see this with every building?”

The seer shook her head. “Those structures that possess a greater quantity of mystical energy tend to be more visible in the Astral Realm. It’s one of the reasons why you can walk through areas of Europe and Asia and see structures everywhere, while you could walk through most of North America and see only a few structures.

“Now, it is true that we can still feel the building around us. However—” Deanna took three steps backwards and moved through the outer wall. Instead of plummeting to the ground she appeared to hover in the air. “Just because you can see and feel something doesn’t mean it’s impenetrable.”

Annie and Kerry exchanged smiles before Annie spoke. “What did you do to get through the wall?”

“Oh, just a bit of magic.” Deanna held up her hands as she smiled. “I’m afraid I’m oversimplifying the matter. You see, here the Phase spell is easy to craft because nothing truly has a physical presence—except that which you can create using mystical and dark energies. Anything which we encounter that was created within the Physical Realm is already somewhat insubstantial to us, so being able to pass through those structures becomes rather simple.”

“Once you know how to craft the spell.”

“Exactly. I intend on teaching you how to craft the spell, though I must warn you, the version you will learn from me can only be used here.”

 

Now you know how it is that there are certain things you can see in the Astral Realm–and you learn that not everything exist there.  So if one were to walk through a new housing development and all the homes were standing out in the Astral Realm, there would have to be something there causing that to happen.  Like being built on an old burial ground, maybe?

Tomorrow we’ll learn a little more, and maybe even get a visitor.  Maybe.