After a lot of writing over the past few days I decided to take it easy and write just short of four hundred words. Why? Well, I’m a little tired. See, last night was practice night and, for the first time in just about two months, I got to work out with the vets–
And I got my ass kicked.
I don’t mean like they literally hauled me off to a corner and started curbstomping me, but rather I was back to doing stuff I was doing last February, March, and April, before I got tossed in Derby Jail, and after two months of inactivity from what’s basically a lot of cardio, there were times when I felt like I was about to pass out.
I did 28 laps during pyramid sprints (you’re with a partner and while one of you skates, the other does squats and planks and other strength things), then five minutes of foot work. Then I skated a 27/5 and when that was over, we went back to doing about 10 minutes of foot work. Then we got into a pace line with about 15 people and did waterfalls. This is simple: the person at the back of the pack skates on the outside of the pack to the front and as soon as they pass the person in front of them, they get in line and follow, and so forth and on. We did that like five times, so you get this continuous motion of the pack moving in the center of the track, while people on the outside line are moving around them.
Then, still in waterfalls, we did toe stops on the inside line–which is to say, starting with the front of the pack, someone drops out every 10 feet and does a 180 transition toe stop. And just like with the ‘falls above, as soon as the person on your right gets back in the pack and goes past you, you follow. We did that 5 times. We also did the same kind of stops on the outside line 5 times.
I have to say I love this drill. When you’re doing them right and you’re moving along at a quick pace, it’s a lovely thing to see. And the more people in the pace line, the better.
Then we got into blocker/jammer drills and this is where I really had to draw on what little reserves of energy I had. We were doing bridging drills, which is to say four blockers run a jammer back fifty feet from where “the pack” should be, which is a totally legal move designed to wear out the jammer, who, if knocked out of bounds, has to come in behind a blocker least she get a penalty, and then continue skating in the correct direction on the track. (This is to prevent the jammer, who scores points, from gaining an advantage on anyone who she may not have passed for points. If she doesn’t come in behind the person who hit her out, she gets a cut track penalty and has to go to the penalty box.)
So, we have four blockers on the track and one jammer who gets run back. Everyone got to play each of the five positions.
Being a jammer is a whole lot of cardio. You’re skating hard, you’re jumping around on your toe stops–oh, and you’re getting hit as well. Some people love being a jammers, but there are a lot of former jammers who’ll tell you they don’t miss it.
So, blocking wasn’t that big of a deal, though I was rusty as hell. And tired. So I hung in as best I could.
But when I was jamming? Oh, shit. A couple of times I got light headed and had to stop and reset because I thought I was gonna pass out. Two months ago I’ve had kept going, but this is now and my endurance is down. I got hit out; I got knocked down. I was winded and I did my best, but there’s a whole lot of room for improvement.
Then we did the same drill again, only this time we had to bridge the jammer forward as well, which means more skating hard, more getting hit, more–in my case–feeling tired. But I’m getting there.
Then we finished out doing a lot of strength moves. When I got home all my gear and clothing was soaked with sweat. At one point the tape I use to keep my left wrist guard on got so wet it wouldn’t stick any longer. I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to move real well and I was right.
But… it was a lot of fun. I missed that shit. And I hope to do some more next week.
Now, on to writing.
So Annie pretty much got bum rushed outta the Astral Realm, which means there’s only one place her essence could go. And we’ll head there…
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)
Annie drew a sharp breath as she became instantly awake after snapping back into her body. She didn’t make a sound as being forced out of a astral projection was much like a big snap, the sensation she’d experienced when her homunculus was killed why she was puppettering.
She was awake for only few seconds when the light came on at a low level and Deanna knelt by her side. “Are you all right?”
“I’m fine.” Annie started to sit up and winced due to some pain in her lower back. “That hurt more than I thought it might.”
“I encountered The Phoenix. We chatted for a bit and then she—” Annie mimicked her finger-flicking motion. “Sent me back into my body.”
“Sounds like something she’d do.” Deanna sat on the floor next to Annie. “How was your projection, besides that?”
“I was good. I felt like I had control the entire time.” Annie looked to her right where Kerry still lay, eyes closed. “I didn’t see Kerry.”
“He fell asleep.” Deanna chuckled. “I don’t believe that was his intention, however.”
Annie grinned. “He was probably more tired than he’d thought.”
“Perhaps.” Deanna’s tone softened. “How was your visit with The Phoenix?”
It was impossible for Annie not to hear the concerned in her instructor’s voice. “You suspected she’d show, didn’t you?”
“She did when we went Astral Walking, so why wouldn’t I expect her to show up now?” Deanna looked at Annie carefully. “My question still stands.”
Annie knew she’d not avoid this discussion so she spoke. “She seemed interested that I was there. She took me to the edge of the outer walls and talked about what’s outside. I saw a wendigo; she gave some explanation on The Curtain. Not much more beyond that.” She considered adding one more detail and did. “She came to me looking like Kerry’s female self.”
“Oh.” Deanna seemed surprised. “Did she give a reason why?”
“She didn’t say. I assumed she was just trying to be slightly annoying.” Annie glanced over at Kerry for just a moment. “She said she was curious about Kerry’s transition and told me she watched us.” She looked back at Deanna. “I gathered from the conversation she’s been watching us awhile.”
Deanna gave one quick, curt shrug. “I’m not sure that’s a good thing.”
I stopped here because I know what Deanna wants to see about attracting the attention of way old spirits who like to fuck with you, and I knew it might take more than a few hundred words to get it down, so I’ll bring it to you tomorrow. You can guarantee that–