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Mid-Level Samhain: The Walk Between the Bonfires

A lot has happened in the last day, most of it not involving me knocking someone off their skates and/or me falling down.  As I told renxkyoko yesterday, I was going to finish the last scene of Chapter Sixteen and finish Act One as well.  And guess what?

I did!

It took a little over seven hundred words to get there, but it was gotten.  I was actually up at 5:30 this morning putting a bit of polish on the scene, but for all intents I put it in the novel bank last night.  And since I’m in a good mood and don’t feel like stretching this out, here’s the last scene of Act One.

Enjoy.

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

After spending most of the evening dancing and speaking with friends, it was near twenty-three forty-five before Annie and Kerry were able to leave the Samhain dance and head to Selena’s Meadow to participate in the last event of the evening. Rather than walk there, they returned to the coven tower so Kerry could retrieve his broom and flew to a landing area just east of the Flight School hangar entrance.

The Samhain Bonfires were located in the southern section of Selena’s Meadow, about one hundred and fifty meters from where Annie and Kerry touched down. The bonfires were much like the ones lit at Beltaine: about ten meters high and fifteen across, situated with a twenty meters gap between them. The bonfires represented the ability to destroy the collected waste of the prior years by burning it to cleanse it from one’s life. Students spent the morning cleaning up around their towers so that the refuge could be burnt once the fires were ignited, but there was another reason for their existence…

Annie and Kerry approached the fires together, hand-in-hand, as they had the last two times they’d performed this ceremony. There were only five students already at the fires, but by the time they arrived they’d completed their actives and were on their way back to The Pentagram.

The Guardians of the Flame this year were Professor Semplen—who had come to the dance as Nikola Tesla—and Professor Palmescoff, who was dressed in the traveling outfit worn by Nellie Bly when she journeyed around the world. Once they were closer Kerry greeted them. “Good evening, Professor Palmescoff, Professor Semplen.”

“Good evening, children.” Professor Semplen adjusted his glasses. “Are you enjoying the evening?”

Kerry nodded. “Quite. It’s been excellent so far.”

Professor Palmescoff smiled at both students. “And why are you here now?”

Annie lowered her head as she intoned in a serious voice. “We are here to allow the flames to wash over us so we may be rid of the negativity that we’ve collected during the previous year.”

Maddie nodded and motioned towards the bonfires. “Continue onward. And may you find yourself cleansed.”

“Thank you.” Annie bowed, took Kerry’s hand, and walked forward towards the bonfires.

A path was marked out so that students wouldn’t wander too close to either bonfire, but Annie found it difficult to believe that anyone would make the mistake of not traveling down the middle. The heat here was intense but bearable and even at a normal walking pace they’d finish their passage in under thirty seconds.

Annie glanced at Kerry’s face as they neared the mid-way point. While his head was up his eyes were closed and he appeared to breath slowly, as if he were absorbing the heat of the fires into his very being. It was his face that Annie focused on the most, however: he looked completely at ease for the first time today, as if he’d reached an epiphany concerning the day’s events and finally put them behind him.

She waited until they finished their passage and were about thirty meters from the fires on their way into the meadow before she spoke. “You looked calm.”

He raised his left eyebrow. “You mean when we were back between the fires?”

“Yes.”

“I was.” Kerry looked back over his left shoulder. “I always love walking through there. It’s kinda of comforting.”

Annie was aware that since their first time through Kerry always looked forward to their walk between the bonfires. “That is quite true, my love. Did you cleanse yourself of all that happened today?”

Kerry pulled out his broom. “Let’s get back to the garden and I’ll tell you there.”

Annie went into a hover about a meter off the ground. “Excellent idea.” The moment Kerry had his broom out he jumped on and quickly rose from the meadow with Annie beside him, holding her top hat in place as she flew. A minute later they were touching down on walkway about half pay between Founder’s Gate and the Great Hall’s main entrance.

Annie adjusted her hat as she touched down. “And once more we end a Samhain celebration in the Pentagram Gardens.”

“I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Kerry slipped his broom back into Hammerspace before covering his mouth with the back of his hand as he yawned. “Umm, sorry.”
Annie giggled at the impromptu yawn. “It’s quite all right. I think you’re earned the right to be a little tired right now given your day.”

“Speaking of which—” He took her hand and led her along the path into the darkened garden. “Yes, I did feel as if I was being cleansed of all the BS I’ve dealt with today. Walking between those fires with you felt—” He drew in a long breath and released it slowly. “Invigorating.”

“I’m glad.” She kissed his lips for a long time, holding his face between her hands the entire time. “Given all that happened to you today, you deserve a bit of peace.”

“Well, it wasn’t just crap I had thrown at me today: I had a bit of happiness as well.” He pulled her close and gave her a tight hug. “We’re gonna spend Yule together.”

She rested her head against him. “I’m so glad that’s happening as well.” Annie looked up. “I can’t predict what’s going to happen—”

“Doesn’t matter.” Kerry shook his head. “We’ll be together the entire school year for the first time. That’s all that matters.” He started to lean in to give her another kiss when he yawned again. “Whoa. I didn’t expect that.”

“Oh, no need to apologize.” Annie hugged Kerry’s arm, feeling content as they strolled through the dimly-lit garden. “Are you going to tell your parents where you’re spending Yule?”

He shook his head. “Why should I? They didn’t exactly do me any favors today by telling me about their trip.” He looked away as he sighed.

By now Annie was cognizant of all of Kerry’s tells when it came to his moods and this one was easy to discern. “Did you tell your parents about what you were doing today?”

“Yeah. I told them about the race and that it would mean a lot to me if they showed up to watch.” Kerry struggled for a moment as he brought his emotions under control. “She told me about their holiday today just to mess with me; this was mom’s way of letting me know she’s still pissed about me coming out as a witch.” He looked down. “What a bitch.”

Even though Annie had already called Kerry’s mother a bitch on a couple of occasions, she was surprised to hear him use the expression, for until now she’d never heard him say anything derogatory about either of his parents. “Forget what she did: I wouldn’t let it concern you.” She stopped and stood before him. “I can’t say our Yule will be perfect, but I predict it will be far better than their holiday.” She rose up on tip-toes to kiss the tip of his nose. “Moyata srodna dusha.”

Kerry smiled and leaned closer for a kiss. “My precious wife.” Their lips were almost touching when he was siezed by another powerful yawn. He pulled away as he covered his mouth. “Oh, man.”

Annie giggled. “It’s all right. You’ve had an extremely full day and probably need your sleep.”

“Yeah.” He nodded slowly. “It’s starting to feel that way.”

She took his hand. “Then let’s go home, shall we, my love?”

Kerry nodded sheepishly. “Lead on, my dear.”

They returned to the coven tower in silence, neither speaking during the walk through the ground floor commons or up the stairs to the first and second floor. It was only once they were outside Annie’s door that Kerry finally spoke. “Thank you for everything.” He gave her a kiss that seemed to stretch on for many minutes, but only lasted fifteen second in reality. “You made it all better.”

“And thank you for finally accepting my invitation.” Annie raised her eyebrows as she smiled. “Even if it was given by my mother.”

“Yeah, well, I won’t make that mistake again.” He kissed Annie once more. “Good night, Annie. I love you.”

She rested her head against his chest. “Leka nosht, Kerry. Obicham te.”

He ruffled her hair. “I’ll see you in the morning.” There was a finally kiss of her head before he took two steps back. “You were the cutest Death tonight.”

She rocked back and forth on her boot heels, a huge smile upon her face. “I know.” She opened the door to her room. “See you in the morning, my love.” Annie stepped inside and vanished through the dark shielding enchantment before the door closed.

Kerry hurried to his room so he could get ready for bed. All the excitement and emotions of the day were catching up to him and he felt as if he wasn’t going to remain awake for long. He removed his broom from Hammerspace and set it on a stand in the corner before changing into his pajama pants and night tee shirt. He didn’t worry about changing his hair: the enchantment used to color it was about due to expire and his hair would be back to normal in an hour or so. He considered using the bathroom but put the thought aside as he was hit with another massive yawn and figured he’d didn’t have to worry about using it until morning.

His routine finished he slid under the covers and commanded the lights to shut off. He spent a moment to look out the window at the darkness beyond, then relaxed and closing his eyes—

Before he was aware of it happening, he found himself falling into a deep, peaceful sleep.

 

End Of Act One

 

Interesting things going on.  Kerry finally calls his mother a bitch and admits, more or less, that he’s not happy that she decided to fuck with him on a day he told her was important to him.  This means that Lousie’s actions at the start of the day are even shittier because she knew she stood a good chance of crushing her son’s spirit.

Yeah, she’s a bitch.

Also, he doesn’t intend on telling his parents where he’s spending Yule.  And why should he?  Kerry likely knows if he sent of an email that says, “Hey, Mom, I’m staying with Annie and her parents for Yule, I’ll have fun while you’re Down Under trying to avoid being killed by the wildlife, LOL.”  This would probably earn the Headmistress a letter or maybe even a–gaspvisit!  With Annie and Kerry being called to the office to deal with this bullshit.

Well, maybe Kerry would deal with it.  Annie would probably start bleeding Louise out.

Act One, Season of Change is finished.  And as excepted, it did clear two hundred thousand words:

All you need to see if right here.

 

Now that I have this act behind me, it’s on to Act Two, Season of Hell.  And the hell starts early–

With something I’ve been waiting to write since 2012.

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