But it’s not all that bad–trust me!
And a good day–and other days! Enjoy!
It’s an interesting day, filled with lots of doubt, crying, and indecision about my future. It’s also the day I picked up my first driver’s licence outside the State of Indiana and I’m shocked–Shocked, I tell ya!–that they actually put an “F” on it for “Sex”. Even with all the bad stuff happening to me today–and last night, let’s not forget last night–I had one bright spot that made the day shine.
And speaking of shinning… Today is an important day in my story history. For today is the eighteenth birthday of The Heartbreaking of Bolder, Colorado, Emma Neilson, making her the next to last member of her graduation class to reach the Age of Emancipation within The Foundation. And if you’re paying attention, that means there’s just one other birthday from that class to celebrate, and that’s Kerry’s, which happens in two weeks. That means Emma is probably out getting loaded somewhere–I’m sure she’s got ID that will let her get served–and Annie is counting the days to when Kerry and she can put their names on that wedding licence application.
And speaking of Emma–well, not yet, but just wait!
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)
Annie turned to Helena. “And why does it appear my code name is ‘White Queen’?”
Helena glanced off into space for a few seconds. “That may have something to do with me.”
“How is that possible?”
“Because my code name is Black Queen.” The sorceress scratched at her right cheek as she continued. “My mother called me that when I was a girl and it stuck with me when I came to school. Once I started going out on Guardian field ops it became my official code name and has stuck with me ever since.
“When I was out in San Francisco right after the first of the year—”
“What were you out there for?” This was the first Kerry had heard of Helena making trips to the North American headquarters of The Guardians.
“Had to do with the operation Annie was on while you were doing the Polar Express.”
Keep in mind I’m writing of future events, and this one happens after Annie’s Girl’s Weekend Out with The Guardians and Emma’s and Kerry’s Polar Express. In fact, this is happening two weeks after those events transpired, so it’s totally legit to speak of them in the past tense.
And what happened out there in the City By the Bay?
“Anyhow, when I was out in San Fran a few weeks back, getting intel on our—” She motioned between her and Annie. “—operation, some of the wags in the meeting called you White Queen because of our association.”
Annie gave this news a few seconds of consideration. “Maybe they feel I’m a bit of your opposite.”
“Or maybe they came up with that because a lot of Guardians are smart arses. Anyway, when your code names arrive don’t be surprised if that’s yours.”
The office was quiet for a few seconds before Kerry spoke in a soft voice. “What about mine?”
“Someone at that same meeting mentioned that.”
Helena chuckled. “About a third of the way through the meeting several pictures of your, um, other self, were displayed and a couple of them were of your and Annie together. A couple of people in the room called you the Red Queen and one even said that given your history of pop culture you’d probably appreciate Annie’s and your code name.”
Annie looked to her right once more. “What do they mean by that?”
Kerry didn’t have to think long on the matter once again. “It’s all comic book stuff, even your name, Helena. The Black Queen and the White Queen were members of The Hellfire Club in the X-Men comics. The Black Queen was a student of The Shadow King and was the leader of The Pale Riders during the Age of Apocalypse. The White Queen—” He chuckled. “She’s just a bitch. And she has a habit of not wearing a lot.” A smile slowly formed on his face. “The Black Queen and White Queen also have something in common.”
“Their first name: it’s Emma.” Kerry waited for Annie and Helena to exchange looks before telling them the rest. “Specifically, The Black Queen is Emma Steed—named after Emma Peal from The Avengers—and the White Queen is Emma Frost.”
While Annie simply stared at Kerry in silence, Helena seemed to speak for both women. “I’d make sure a certain ginger from Colorado doesn’t discover we’re sharing her name—” She arced her right eyebrow. “At least in a way.”
Annie humphed. “I know I won’t tell her.”
Kerry nodded. “I won’t, either.”
“Now that we know our code names—” Helena pointed at Kerry. “What about yours?”
“Oh, yeah. The original Red Queen of the Hellfire Club was Margali Szardos, who was a powerful sorceress, really big into demons, and the adoptive mother of Nightcrawler. In the Days of Future Past story, Psylocke was the Red Queen.” Kerry shrugged. “Given some of the stuff I know, I can see that name fitting.” He glanced at both women. “Even though I not completely thrilled to have that moniker laid upon me.”
“If I’m going to have the name Emma following me around, you can have a girl’s code name.” Annie smiled as she finished her sentence then turned to Helena. “One last thing: what’s a media team?”
The Guardians know Kerry far too well by now and seem to be thinking along the same lines. While I’m certain Helena’s mother called her daughter “The Black Queen” because of her eyes and attitude, she does also link up with her two protegees, the White Queen and the Red Queen, so there’s a lot of Guardian symmetry going on here. Also, every geeky word Kerry said is all true because you know it is.
I’m also pretty certain he’ll need kid Annie about having a code name for a character named Emma, because… well, don’t mess with little witches who may react badly to Gingers From America. Yeah, don’t go there, kid.
Besides, you don’t want Annie digging into your comic collection and finding an outfit for you to wear based upon one of your code name’s characters. You don’t. And you know it…
It’s a chilly morning here in the highs are expected to be around 40 F/4 C later in the day. Here in the United States, it’s Groundhog Day, and as we speak there are people standing in a public square in the town in central Pennsylvania preparing to worship affect rodent with a claim can predict the weather. I can predict the weather, Jack: it’s going to be cold, it’s going to be gray, and it’s going to last rest of your life. Or so says Bill Murray.
But this is another important day. Because if you been following this blog for any amount of time you would know that two years ago today a rather important event happened in my life. Today is the day that, after more than half a year of hiding, I came out of work and began living my life 24/7 as the woman I am today. Or as I like to say, the groundhog came out of his burrow, saw his shadow, and said we had six more weeks of winter, where has I came out of my closet, saw my shadow, and decided to remain a woman.
Today is my Groundhog Day. I’m going to do my best to make it a good one.
Meanwhile, back in the Ready Room of the School of Salem, someone’s trying to do something they shouldn’t. And they just opened a can of shit they’ll probably wish they hadn’t…
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)
Both Emma and Kerry look back over the shoulder and found Franky Smith and Koyanagi Jiro, coven mates as well as wingmates, standing in the center aisle as they poked fun at Emma. Kerry immediately got the reference: kaiju were the enormous monsters from the movie Pacific Rim, which it premiered over the summer. And given the look on Emma’s face, she understood the references well.
They were both about the let the remark go when Jiro spoke. “We better go get ourselves a couple of Class 3’s so we can nuke this sucker before she goes on a rampage and starts tearing up the school.”
Franky laughed. “Yeah, nuke her from orbit so we can be sure.”
Kerry looked straight ahead and sighed. “That’s Aliens, guys.”
Jiro looked confused. “What?”
He half turned his head so he was now looking more at the ceiling instead of the two troublemakers. “’Nuke ‘em from orbit’ is a quote from Aliens; kaiju are from Pacific Rim. So what you want to say instead is—” He turned to Emma with a serious look on his face. “’All right, Mako. Get ready, this is for real.’”
Both Franky and Jiro appeared displeased as Emma and Kerry laughed, and Franky decided to voice his displeasure. “Well, excuse me, Malibey, for not being at the same level of idiot geekness as you. Instead of worrying about movie lines, maybe you should wonder about whether or not your wingmate’s PAV is going to be able to lift her monstrous frame off the ground.”
Emma instantly stopped laughing and got to her feet. She turned to face the Canadian boy and didn’t hold back. “I’ve had enough of your bullshit, Franky, so why don’t you just kiss my ass?”
First off, never go for the geek reference when Kerry is around ’cause he knows all the references. It’s obvious he saw Pacific Rim over the summer–yes, he could have as it came out 12 July in the US and UK–and if you don’t think for one moment he didn’t have all the pertinent quotes memorized after a week, you don’t know Kerry. And for anyone to mis-quote something from Aliens? Get ready for the pain.
Emma must have saw the movie, too, ’cause she knows what Franky’s talking about. Sure, Kerry made her laugh by including her in a bit of geek take down, but since Franky is a mean little asshole he doesn’t know well enough to back away and lick his wounds, and his next quip gets Emma on her feet and swearing. We know she’s somewhat scared of Annie, but Franky ain’t Annie and she lets him have it. Maybe she feels save in the Ready Room, or maybe she’s decided to blow assholes off–
And that’s when it gets real–
Franky said nothing as he stared back with open score at the defiant girl, while Jiro appeared uneasy and seemed to want nothing to do with the rest of the conversation. Finally the Canadian boys spoke. “You’re acting pretty brave all of a sudden.”
“Brave has nothing to do with it.” Emma hooked her thumbs on the pockets of her flight jacket. “I’m just through taking your crap.”
He smirked. “You’re trying to get me to call you out, aren’t you? You trying to get me out to the Manor so you can get me in the ring?” Franky looked slightly to his left. “Is that it, Kerry? You gonna be her champion?”
Kerry sat looking straight ahead as he released a long, loud sigh. “Emma doesn’t need a champion; she can take care of herself.” He tilted his seat back a touch as he crossed his feet at his ankles. “She shouldn’t have any problem dusting you.”
Franky shook his head as if he hadn’t heard correctly. “What did you say?”
Kerry finally tilted his head up and looked back. “Emma doesn’t need my help to beat your ass. You’d know that if you weren’t so damn stupid.”
By this time the whole Ready Room was silent as the other pilots watched this confrontation unfold. Everyone waited to see what happened next: Franky’s jaw tightened as he looked away a couple of times. “You want me to call you out, don’t you? You two had this all planned.”
Kerry stared up at the ceiling and moaned while Emma rolled her eyes. She shook her head as she replied. “Yeah, Franky, you’re right: we had this all planned out. ‘Cause we knew you were going to walk in here and act like the jerkoff you normally are and make rude comments about my height. You got us all figured out, dude.”
“The question now is—” Kerry finally sat up and spun around in his chair so that he was looking straight at Franky. “What are you gonna do about this?”
Jiro came over and tugged on Franky sleeve. “Come on, man. Leave these two alone. It isn’t worth getting involved.”
Franky snorted and turned away. “Yeah. Let’s get our seats.”
Emma sat down the moment the two boys were seated. She spoke with Kerry in a hushed tone. “I do not want to put up with this BS the rest of the year.”
Kerry glanced to his right, a slight smile on his face. “Keep putting him in his place the way you just did and it won’t be necessary.”
She said her left elbow on her chair arm and rested her chin in the palm of her hand. “You really think I could take Franky in a judgment match?”
Sure, Kerry may have helped set up the shot, but Emma put it away and finally brought the shame to Franky. It’s not hard to do because the kid is a total dipshit, but Emma has never stood up to people like this and it’s all new for her. There weren’t any threats, but there were a lot of well-placed comments that did the trick. Because this happened in front of the class, it’s likely Franky won’t try dissing anyone in class anytime soon–least of all Emma.
Now, concerning a theoretical judgment match between Emma and Franky, I’m sure Kerry has some sage advice. He could even use a Pacific Rim reference to get his point across–
Yeah, that’ll work…
Here we are once more on the trip to Kiev and while the chicken jokes are in short supply, we’re getting a chance to see Annie let her hair down and relaxing with someone her age. Kerry never seems to change that much when he’s away from Annie, but Annie gets to be more open and friendly when she’s away from school and/or her parents, which is how she is most of the time when it’s just Kerry and her out.
So how is the sushi setting with the East Euro Girls?
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
Alex didn’t wait to finish her roll before speaking. “So it’s like the sushi in Tokyo?”
“I wouldn’t know—” Annie shrugged. “I’ve only has sushi in Osaka and Kyoto.” They exchanged stares across the table before both laughed. She set her chopsticks aside. “I hate to talk about that stuff: I always come off like a little rich girl.”
“If you didn’t want to look like a rich girl you should have left that purse at home.” Alex chuckled as Annie wrapped one hand around her Louis Vuitton bag. She sipped some tea so to wash down the last of her roll. “Don’t worry about how you appear; I don’t mind. And you’re lucky to have gone to those places. I’ll get there one day: Japan’s one of the places I want to visit when I do my Real Life Experience.”
“I want to go there as well.” Annie held her tea cup in both hands. “I want to visit the countryside and stay in ryokans the whole time.”
“What’s a ryokan?”
“It’s a type of inn. It’s all traditionally Japanese: you wear yukatas—it’s like a kimono—sit on the floor to eat and sleep on a futon.”
“Sounds like fun.” Alex ate another roll but waited until she swallowed before speaking. “You going to do that before your RLE?”
Annie stared off into the distance. “I’d like that.”
“You want to do that with Kerry?”
“Naturally.” Annie picked up he chopsticks and reviewed the food that remained. “We should order more.” She motioned at Alex. “Get what you want: I trust you.”
A wicked smile appeared on the blond girl’s hair. “They make a non-alcoholic mojito here: it’s Sprite, limes, and mint mixed together. We should get a pitcher and then tell everyone when we go back to school that we were drinking mojitos before we went shopping.”
Even though it seemed a bit silly on the surface, Annie knew there were times when it was necessary to break out of seriousness that usually surrounded their lives and have fun. “Why not? Penny and Kerry did something fun while they were together last week, we should, too.”
I learned all about ryokans back in the mid-90s when I was kinda seeing a Japanese woman and became interested in visiting the country and getting out into the countryside. These are a popular way of getting into the Japanese way of life, though if you really want to get down and dirty in that respect, try a minshuku, which is the equivalent of a Japanese family bed and breakfast where you are pretty much living with the family: think of if as an AirBnB with the owners still there. Now we gotta wonder what Annie looks like walking around in a kimono, though I think she’d probably be cuter dressing up with the Harajuku Kawaii Lolita set.
It is true: Annie is, deep down, a little rich girl and she can’t hide that. She’s in nice clothes and carrying a Louis Vuitton purse, so it’s difficult not to see her as someone who’s used to having nice things in her life. And she’s worldly, something impressed upon me by the Original Annie back in the days of the first Foundation novel. What this means is that she’s a bit of a princess, sure, but that doesn’t prevent her from enjoying hanging with people less well off than her. Given that Annie’s not one for dealing with bullshit she probably wouldn’t want to hang with other people from her financial demographic ’cause they’re simply no fun at all.
But wait: the girls are gonna have virgin mojitos? Sure. Because it’s fun. Like Alex says, when they return to school in about seven weeks they can tell their friends, “When Annie and I went to lunch we had mojitos with our sushi,” because when you’re thirteen and fourteen it’s all about having fun.
And this makes me want to have a mojito with dinner tonight because why the hell not?
Now that we know the girls want silly fun, what is this about Penny and Kerry? Well…
“Great.” Alex gave the order for a dozen more rolls and the virgin mojitos to their hostess, then waited for her to leave before speaking with Annie. “What did they do?”
She ran her finger around the rim of her tea cup. “They had lunch in the village of Snape.”
Alex needed a few second to digest this information. “Wait: is that like the Harry Potter Snape?”
Annie nodded. “The same. He wrote and said it was like ten kilometers north of where they were hiking—”
“They went hiking?”
“Yes. Kerry said they talked while they walked and then headed north to this village and had lunch. He said the character in the books was named after the town and he wanted to be able to tell people at school that they were there.” She took a final sip of her cooling tea. “So, you see: silliness. We can do the same.”
“Sure can.” She grew silent as their pitcher of drinks arrived and she poured them both a glass. “Is he gonna take you there?”
“He said he will—if not next month, then next summer.” Annie raised her glass and reached across the table toward Alex. “To having a good day.”
Alex clinked her glass against Annie’s. “To a good day.” She then downed about a third of the drink before setting it aside. “Can I ask something?”
So, a little left over from the last scene. When I was looking at the whole “Walking around in the Rendlesham Forest” thing I started looking at a few things beyond that area, and lo and behold, I found a little village–
I found the village of Snape. No, really.
Some rather easy looking shows that this tiny burg in the east of England is the one whose name was used by another writer who likes witches for one of her main characters, a rather dark and gloomy character with greasy hair who is an expert in, um, potions and dark magic. And into this two come two witches, both great fliers, both great with, um, “mixtures”, and one of them great with that ol’ dark sorcery stuff, and they sit down for a lunch at the Golden Key Inn and probably laughing about how there were now witches in Snape, likely leading Kerry to do at least one really bad Alan Rickman imitation. Because it’s all about fun and that’s how he rolls.
I guess tomorrow is when we find out what Alex wants, huh? I mean, that would make sense…
Crazy things happening, yo. One of the things I started doing the last couple of days is putting some song lists together of tunes I listen to on YouTube. Part of this is so I can have something to listen to as I’m walking to and from work–yes, I’m like all the other girls now with my earbuds walking to my own soundtrack–but then I thought, “Hey, you know: I have a lot of music in my novels: A lot of it,” and since I am a bit scatterbrained at times I figured it might not be a bad idea to put them all together so I can jam out on them from time to time.
Therefore, if you are interested, I have compiled all the songs that I can think of that put in an appearance in the story so far, and–SPOILERS!–this includes songs that haven’t yet appeared. They are also in chronological order, with Zoo Station–the song Vicky and Kerry flew to during his broom checkout–being first. And as you’ll see there are just over two dozen songs, with may more to come in time.
And in case anyone is wondering I also have a song list for everything that Kerry plays during Ostara, but that list is private as it has every song he plays so neener neener, you can’t have all my secrets.
With music out of the way let’s get on to the quick history lesson.
Kerry created a dream version of a place he knew outside of San Francisco: Battery Spencer.
Naturally Annie–who living in the mountains thousands of kilometers away–asks the question most people would ask:
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
Annie looked around just a bit puzzled. “What’s that?”
“This.” Kerry stomped his bare foot on the dirty concrete. “This. This used to be part of the defense of San Francisco.” He sat on the edge of the low structure, his feet almost touching the ground. He looked at Annie as she joined him. “Back over a hundred years ago they had all these guns in place around the Golden Gate—” He pointed towards the water in front of them. “—that’s the straight there—they were here to keep out enemy ships that might try to sail in and attach the city and ports. There used to be couple of big guns here, a few more down the coast—” Kerry waved his arm to his right. “—and a bunch of them over on the south side.”
“I had no idea.” Since Annie had spent her entire life living in the mountains she couldn’t imagine living in an area where these defenses existed. “Where are they now?
The guns, I mean.”
“Scrapped. All this stuff was obsolete by the 1920s because everyone was building huge war ships and aircraft carries. They pulled the guns out of here in 1942, melted them down, and used them for other things. There’s only one gun left over on the other side by the Presidio. It’s just used for demonstrations.”
“Interesting.” She loved how animated Kerry had grown talking about something that she’s never heard him mention in all the time they’d been together. He’s proud he was able to create all this; it’s likely this place was important to him. “What’s the Presidio?”
Kerry began rocking back and for as if he were anxious to do something. “It used to be a military base that was supposed to defend the city. It was shut down a while back and the buildings sold for development. The Disney people bought one of the buildings—” He stared at the bridge with a wistful look upon his face. “That’s where my parents used to work.”
“At this Presidio?”
“Yeah. That’s where ILM has their offices.” His chuckled was almost unheard. “That’s where the Yoda statue is.” Kerry finally looked at Annie. “I had my picture taken in front of it when I was six.” He grew quiet as he turned back towards the bridge.
First, the defenses. Like Kerry said, back in the extremely late 1800–mostly in 1895–a whole lot of gun emplacements were set up overlooking the Golden Gate, the entrance to San Francisco harbor. There were, for the most part, 10 inch guns set up on platforms that allowed them to drop down for loading, then pop up for shooting. There were at least two guns at Battery Spencer, and at least a half dozen more spread down the Marion Highlands, including two that were buried inside a hill.
On the southern approach there were even more, with a few going as far down the south coast as to be almost outside of the city limit. The idea was that any enemy ships that tried getting into the harbor was gonna get blasted to hell and gone before the got too close.
By the way, Battery Chamberlain, seen in the picture above, is that “one guy left” that Kerry mentions, and there are demonstrations these days showing people how it worked.
Not only did the Golden Gate have guns, but there were hardened forts as well. There was Fort Point which was, um, on the point right there where the straight narrows, and is more well known as that building the Golden Gate Bridge goes over–
And further inside the harbor was Fort Alcatraz, which is known these days as that prison that no one could escape. These places were chock full o’ guns as well and ready to blast any bad guys who made it past the outer defenses.
Overseeing this all was the Presidio, the military installation tasked with overseeing to the protection of the city. It was put in place originally by the Spanish in 1776 and was inactivated as a military base in 1994, which made it one of the oldest active military bases in this country. It’s all parkland these days and is open to any and all.
As Kerry also pointed out, the Presidio is where his parents used to work as Industrial Light and Magic–their former employee–has their offices on the old base. On the picture above ILM occupies a few buildings in the group of four at the very right center. And in the courtyard of one of those buildings–the one at the bottom of the group–is the Yoda Fountain, where Kerry was photographed standing in front of the grumpy old puppet.
Yeah, Kerry has a lot of memories of this area and Annie prods him a little to talk–
Annie rested her hand over his. “When were you here last?”
He didn’t need any time to consider the answer. “Like the middle of June after my seventh birthday. My parents were working and my grandmother didn’t want to do a lot of walking, so it was just my grandfather and me. He brought me up here, then we went to the Nike base down the ways, and before we went home we actually walked out on the bridge.”
“You did?” Annie grew a little excited. While she’d crossed many river bridges in Europe she’s never stood on a structure as huge as the Golden Gate Bridge. “How far out did you walk?”
“Out to about a hundred or so meters beyond the north tower.” Kerry held his arm next to Annie’s face and sighted down it towards the spot he remembered. “Right about there.”
“That had to be exciting.” Remembering what Kerry was like then—the intelligent boy who only saw a certain Chestnut Girl in his dreams once in a while but knew her presence meant he had someone with whom he could talk for what seemed like most of a day—she imagined he felt a combination of exhilaration and fear as he walked out on the bridge. “What was it like?”
“Windy.” He laughed. “And chilly, but you dress for that around here. I remember how far down the water seemed: like eighty meters or so.” He glanced at Annie. “Not so far these days, huh?”
She gave him a slow shrug. “It is if you fall.”
“And what is this Nike base you mentioned?”
Yeah, what is that Nike base you mentioned. Well, I’ll mention that tomorrow–along with a dirty little secret Kerry figured out about Annie. Will it change his perception of Annie? Ummm, probably not, but he’ll have fun pointing it out.
I’ve reached the last scene of the penultimate chapter, and the end is pretty close at hand. There are only four scenes remaining, and I may actually remove one of those because it might not be necessary. I guess when I start writing these scenes this weekend I’ll know of the one I think needs removing goes.
But that’s for later, maybe Friday–no, make that Saturday, because tomorrow night I’m gonna be super busy–but for now I need to start my kids out on what for them is their last night together in North America as B Levels, and the next time they’re back in this longitude they’ll be ready to take over as the C Levels of the Second Floor.
It’s also the last day that this novel visits: 1 June, 2013. There are no more days after this, either, so you know this is gonna end on a particular note. But that’s as few thousand words away. Right now that day is starting–and about as early as you can imagine:
The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
Kerry sat in the bay window of Room 308, his back pressed against the window frame as he gazed out upon the darkness over Salem Harbor at just a little past midnight on the first day of June. The residents nearly two kilometers across the water were dark, and the only major light source in sight was the small light station a half a kilometer away, located at the end of Derby Wharf.
The rest of the area was as dark as the skies he remembered the first night he spent at Camp Baxter during his first overnight camping flight, thanks to the same magic used to screen out all local light pollution.
So we’re back in that bay window at the Sea Sprite Inn, only this time we’re seeing things from Kerry’s perspective rather than Annie’s. And when the time is stated as a little after midnight, that’s not a joke: the scene is listed in Scrivener as taking place at ten after midnight. Like I said, start of the day.
And I even have sort of the view of the area:
The Sea Sprite Inn would be right in the middle of the frame at the edge of the shore, and the room overlooks the harbor beyond. The lighthouse is over middle right, half a kilometer from the inn, and the far shore is, as measured, almost two klicks off in the distance. No word yet if anyone’s going to be eating at Witch’s Brew Cafe in the morning.
The evening went almost the same as last year. They walked to the same restaurant they visited last year—the same where Kerry’s birthday dinner was held—and met up with Coraline and her fiancé, though this time Trevor joined them for dinner: he was staying with the other A and B Levels in Boston and would fly with them in the morning. After they returned to the Sea Sprite Annie and Kerry rested for a bit talking and listening to music, then cleaned up and prepared for the night ahead.
Just like last year, neither expected to get much sleep.
Annie shifted around in Kerry’s embrace, getting comfortable against him and the pillows they were resting upon. She rested against him as she also gazed out the window. “No moon tonight.”
“No, it’s waining tonight.” He tightened his arms around her slightly, giving her a long, slow hug. “I checked before we left the school.”
“Hum.” She pointed out the window to star about twenty degrees above the horizon. “The red one there: what is it called?”
“That’s Antares, in Scorpius. It’s one of the largest stars that we can see, too.” He knew what she was doing and pointed to another start in the sky, a little further to the east. “But that one is brighter.”
She lay nearly on her back and stretched her legs. “And what is the name of that star?”
“That’s Altair. It’s also a big start, and spins so fast that it spreads out at the equator.” He played with a few strands of Annie’s chestnut hair. “Either are the brightest stars in the sky, so just like last year we can use them both.”
And what is Annie doing? She’s looking for the brightest star ’cause the moon isn’t up. It’s a continuation of what they pledged the year before: when you see the moon, look at it and know I’m looking at it, too. And if you don’t see the moon, pick the brightest star in the sky. Any day now Kerry’s probably going to teach Annie to say “My Sun and Stars” in Dothraki when he tells her she’s the “Moon of My Life,” because the kids at Salem don’t need another reason to roll their eyes at these two.
So what are they seeing? Oh, something like this:
This is a screen shot from my newest program, Stellarium, which is open source and free–though you should leave a little donation, as I did–and is a powerful planetarium program that will allow you to track the sky, day or night, from anywhere in the world. Yesterday, when I should have been writing, I was playing with different sky views, and I actually got an idea of the sort of sunshine Kerry’s going to get when he’s off on The Polar Express in the next book. Spoiler: it’s not a lot.
This means I’ll have something else to waste my time on–I mean, use as a tool to help with getting scenes right. After all, I can now use this to see the local condition as a particular location–like when Kerry has to face his parent at the end of the day, novel time. So much fun.
So, what becomes of this star gazing?
“Good.” She pointed towards Altair. “I like the blue star: it reminds me of coolness, and that which is cool can be warmed through cuddling.” Annie looked up at Kerry and smiled. “Red is anger, and I never want to be angry when thinking of you.”
“Or of a scorpion.” He chuckled before kissing her on the forehead. “Altair is it. Though watch out for the Monster From the Id.”
Annie giggled for several second. “What are you talking about?”
“Nothing—” He gave his head a single shake as he quickly glanced out the window with a slight smug on his face. “I’m just being silly.”
“Better than how you were last year.” She reached up and touched his cheek. “No tears this year; I like that.”
He pressed his hand against hers. “It isn’t because I’m not sad—”
“Then tell me.”
That’s where I left off, and when this starts up again, we’ll discover just why Kerry has no tears. And . . . we’re gonna see something else as well. Something you would never imagine.
Now, as I leave off, I must delve into a bit of geekness due to something Kerry said above. While looking at Altair he tells Annie, “Though watch out for the Monsters From the Id.” In the movie Forbidden Planet Altair was the star around which the planet Altair IV orbited, and that’s where the crew of the United Planets Cruiser, the C-57D, landed, made contact with Doctor Morbius and his daughter Altaira, learned about the Krell–and then had everything go straight to hell on them when their were attacked by the invisible monster later known as The Monster From the Id, which was really nothing more than an energy construct created by Doctor Morbius’ subconscious while he dreams.
In a way, this is a form of Dreamwalking that may just be possible in my world, and if it is, people better look out, because this Monster From the Id vaporized a space ship just to keep it from leaving the planet. Any witch who could do this would be a force to recon with–
The movie had a budget of $1.9 million, which in 1956 was a hell of a lot of money for any movie, and unheard of for a science fiction movie from the 1950s. The Monster From the Id was animated by Joshua Meador, who was on loan from Walt Disney Pictures (making this the first time Disney allowed one of their own people to work on another movie), and he actually slipped in a couple of what we would today call “easter eggs” during the attack sequence: the creature has a small goatee (Doctor Morbius is the only person in the movie with the same feature), and the monster roars much like MGM’s (the studio that made the movie) Leo the Lion does at the start of the movie.
The biggest contribution from the movie was to science fiction itself. Two of the main props–Robbie the Robot and the model of the C-57D–were used for years in other movies and TV shows. (Robbie has twenty-five credits to his “name”), Gene Roddenberry was heavily influence by the movie when he created Star Trek (as I’ve pointed out before, the time the C-57D enters orbit around Altair IV is 17:01, which is also the registration number of the Enterprise), and both Babylon 5 and Firefly/Serenity borrowed from the movie. In fact, a large part of the end of Serenity is related to Forbidden Planet in that the crew finally travels to Miranda and discovered information about the creation of the Reavers in Alliance rescue ship, C57D. Forbidden Planet is based in part on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and in that play Miranda is the daughter of Prospero, a great sorcerer, so the crew of the Serenity reach Miranda and discover that the Reavers are pretty much the Caliban of their universe.
There you have it: we start out with my kids stargazing together, and end up with lesson in science fiction history.
Never let it be said I don’t give you anything.
The last twenty-four hours have been strange and good ones.
First off, yesterday morning someone decided to leave a long, transphobic rant in the comments of yesterday’s blog post. I gave it a quick read-through then sent it off to spam, since that would pretty much block that person from posting here under that email again, then blocked their their Google + account, which appeared to have been set up just to make their post. About an hour after that happened I did some of my computer magic and discovered that (1) they were on my site for fifteen and a half minutes, (2) they posted from an iPhone, which is probably why they were on my site for so long, (3) the owner of the phone comes from a city in eastern West Virginia, and (4) their email had vanish. Yes, you can run, but I will find you.
Then, walking home last night, I pulled a muscle in my left calf. This is the same muscle that I tore teaching aerobics about twenty-five years ago, and it had started acting up on me yesterday morning as I got out of bed. I’ve tried heat and ice on it, and today it’s in better shape though still sore. So today I stick to flats throughout the day.
The good is that I opened boxed for a gift exchange I was in, and I scored a few nice things:
The mermaid socks I can’t wear because I have huge calves, so I’m giving them to the daughter of a friend who was also in the exchange as she watched a video of me opening my gifts and loved the sock.
Now I have a couple of cool wall hangings, a novel, a frelling bag–
If you know your characters, from left to right it’s Sarah Manning and Helena from Orphan Black, Michonne from The Walking Dead, and behind Helena is Baby Groot who, I should point out, was hand made for me by my gifter.
Oh, and there was one other gift: a pink oneies that was made special for me.
Yes, now I can stay warm–and I do mean warm, ’cause that’s fleece–during the winter when there is no one else to keep me warm. And hope I don’t have to use the bathroom much cause getting into that is like putting on a space suit.
Now . . . what about writing?
Well, my calf isn’t the only thing hurting. The last couple of days I’ve had considerable pain in the knuckles of my pinkie and ring fingers of my right hand, and it was hurting so much last night that I found it difficult to type. I managed only a little better output than I had the evening before–about four hundred and sixty-six words this time–and it didn’t help that my left calf was killing me as well, which means I should have been sitting down with my feet propped up instead. And I just remembered: the battery on this computer lasts about four hour now, so I could have tried writing that way instead. Okay, note to self: try that tonight if you have to write.
What I did get out not only advancing things a little, but ends in a way that no one would ever expect . . .
All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
Kerry asked about visiting, Annie said yes, as she thought going to the wall was a good idea. Getting there wasn’t a problem: Kerry pulled his broom from Hammerspace and was airborne in about ten seconds, and Annie was alongside, floating into the air with aid from her Flight Gift. After the quick flight to Sunset they landed atop the wall and found a place to rest.
They did something there a few meters from Sunset Tower that they’d never done before: the sat upon the raised outer segment of the wall and dangled their legs over the edge of the fifteen meter high ledge. Annie watched Kerry carefully position himself so he wouldn’t tumble, realizing that his fear of heights hadn’t completely left him yet. She found that phobia a bit usual, as he didn’t have problem flying a couple of kilometers above the ground, but he was still shaky sitting at the top of a fifteen meters wall.
They sat quietly for about ten minutes, holding hands and watching the western light diminish as the sun vanished below the horizon. It was only when it seemed the gloom beneath their feet had become a tangible thing did Kerry speak. “What are you thinking about?”
She half-turned her head to her right. “I’m wondering about what you’re thinking.”
He chuckled. “Me, huh?”
Kerry stared off to the west towards the town of Annisquam and the harbor beyond. “I just wonder if we’re going to get hit with any more strange stuff before we leave school?”
Annie carefully regarded the question. “While the past few months have been rather revealing and not a little unusual, I believe everything out of the ordinary has likely come to an end.”
“Yeah. Probably.” He released Annie’s hand and set his elbows against his thighs before leaving slightly forward. “You want to see if this Three Bindings thing is going to affect us, don’t you?”
“Naturally.” She swung her right leg up and under her left so she could turn and face Kerry. “You know me well enough that you shouldn’t even have to ask that question, my love.” Annie returned to sitting with her legs over the wall edge. “And I know you well enough to know you want to know if it’ll affect us as well.” She cranked her head around so she could see him clearly. “You should know better, Mr. Malibey.”
He laughed aloud as he turned towards Annie. “I do know better than that, Mrs. Malibey, it’s just—”
Kerry caught himself himself a few words later but couldn’t turn away from Annie, who stared back with a look of amazement on her face. She found her voice a few seconds after silence fell between them. “Well . . . that’s something I hadn’t expect to hear.”
And those last paragraphs will have me digging into the last novel, because that’s where this is going in a way: back to the past.
All I have to do now is get through the day.
Hola, and welcome to The Cold Burg, where the wind chill is keeping everything down below zero.
That’s outside the coffee shop I’m sitting inside right now, though that picture was taken right before eight AM. The Pennsylvania capitol building is behind me, so you know I’m in Harrisburg–or I’m really good with picture editing.
Busy day yesterday with writing and video blogging, and this morning I have just over a thousand words out of the way to finish my latest scene, and I’ll do a couple more videos this afternoon once I’m back inside the warm confines of my apartment. But for now it’s time to bring my kids back into the fold and show a little of what Annie did for her part in the Ostara Celebration. It’s nice, you can bet.
All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)
There were two canvases before him: Kerry turned his attention to the one of the left first, partially out of habit, partially because it was the more colorful of the two. The painting depicted a girl in light blue pajamas floating in a field of gray mist surrounded by a variety of blues, reds, pinks, aquas, and yellows, hovering over three large crimson and violet spheres run through with tendrils of turquoise. The girl was herself surrounded by a small field of faint white, giving her the appearance of a corporeal ghost.
He didn’t need to think about the symbolism of this work. “That’s you dreamwalking, isn’t it?”
Annie grinned. “Did you noticed the title?”
He looked at the card on the stand, which was written in both the English and Cyrillic alphabets. “I don’t even want to try saying that. I’ll end up butchering the words.”
“It’s Na Povŭrkhnostta v Tsarstvoto na Sŭnishtata, which translates as Afloat in the Realm of Dreams.” She gave him a knowing look. “That’s me dreamwalking you.”
He continued examining the painting. “It’s beautiful.”
“I can’t wait to teach you—” She chuckled. “Though I need to become better before that can happen.”
“Just give it time.” He turned to the canvas on the right. “There’s no need to know what this one’s about—” The second painting showed him siting on his broom, outfitted in winter flying gear, kissing Annie, who hovered in mid-air just to his left. All around them was dark, though it was possible to make out the huge structure covering the entire space behind them. Unlike the last painting there was almost no color in this one: it was all blacks and grays, punctuated by the brightness of their faces, close together and locked in an deep, tender kiss.
If he had any doubt about the source of the painting, the title cast aside those doubts. “Night Flight to Fenway. I like that.”
“I like what’s going on.” Nadine stepped up to join them, replying to Kerry’s comment before Annie could speak. “You two.” A broad grin formed while she shook her head. “There’s no place you’ll do a PDA, is there?”
Annie grinned back at Nadine. “No. Why would you think otherwise?”
“I don’t. I think it’s sweet as hell, actually.” Nadine glanced between the two. “I’ll bet you’d kiss in your dreams if you could.”
The couple exchanged glances before Annie laughed while Kerry blushed. “Yes, we would.”
We now know Nadine approves of those public displays of affection, and she actually calls it a PDA, which given that today in my world it’s Valentine’s Day, though I never get to partake any PDAs of my own. Then again, Nadine’s a couple of years older, so the whole “Let’s lock lips” thing isn’t something to giggle over. Like a few others at Salem, romance is serious business with her.
Quickly we discover that Nadine isn’t there just to admire the artwork . . .
Nadine knew better than to dig any deeper into Annie’s cryptic comment. “Next year you’re gonna have to paint something that doesn’t have you two in flying gear.” She turned to Kerry. “Ready for the big night?”
“About as ready as I’m going to be.” The right side of his face turned up in a smirk. “I just hope the rhythm drummer can keep up with the lead tonight. He got it right during our dress last week, but—” He shrugged. “He’s blown the bridge a couple of times.”
Nadine turned to Annie. “That’s what he gets for using two drummers.”
Kerry pretended to be indigent. “That’s how the song was played live. Two drummers, no waiting–except for when Phil had to come down and sing.”
“The dude’s gotten it right for a few weeks now.” Nadine crossed her arms. “I don’t think you have any worries there.”
He nodded. “I only have to worry about the vocals now.”
“That was your choice.”
“You’ll do fine with the singing.” Having sat in on their dress rehearsal she didn’t need to question either person on the specifics of their performances. “It won’t be any more difficult than when you played and sang last year.”
Nadine nodded. “Just a longer song.”
“It was either Burning Rope or Cinema Show—” He chuckled. “I went with Burning Rope ‘cause I figured I had less of a chance of screwing up a seven minute song than a ten minute song.”
Annie nearly rolled her eyes. “You won’t screw up.”
“Annie’s right; you got this.” Nadine lowered her voice just a bit. “Though if you’d played the ten minute song Professor Ellison would have let me add another song to my set.”
“I think it would have been tough finding something to go with Cornflake Girl and Run.” Kerry looked around to see if anyone close by was listening to them. “And if you had played a third, people would think Ellison was giving us preferential treatment.”
“Which he sorta is seeing how you’re using the Quadra for your performance.”
“I didn’t expect that.” He pursed his lip for a moment. “Not that anyone other than us three know how important that instrument is in my song.”
Nadine shrugged. “Screw everyone else. I’m glad you’ll use it tonight.” She glance to Annie before turned back to Kerry. “I’m going to check my setup.”
“I’ll be along in about five minutes.”
She nodded to them both. “See you back stage.”
So there you have it: by Nadine showing up and talking a little musical shop, you learn what they’re playing during the Ostara Performance. Even though their songs are wildly different, they’re using two instruments are similar, so it kinda makes sense they’d work together up to a point.
Nadine’s playing Cornflake Girl by Tori Amos as her first song. Tori normally uses a Bösendorfer baby grand piano, which was the piano of choice of Franz Liszt as well of that for Queen, Peter Gabriel, and Roy Bittan. This is why the Yamaha P-255 is being employed, because Nadine wants a hard-core sound without requiring a baby grand on stage. Which she could totally do if she wanted–
Her second song is Run by Collective Soul. This song has more of a subdued feeling, and while the piano isn’t as prominent in this song, she’s employing the Mellotron M4000D for the string parts. It’s an interesting choice for her, as some people have referred to this as an indie song to which one can slow dance. And who knows: maybe a few kids will jump into the aisles and do just that during her performance.
No one is dancing to Kerry’s tune, however. As he indicated, he’s playing Burning Rope by Genesis, which is a seven minute song that was the longest tune on the album …And Then There Were Three… When this song was played live during the 1977-78 Mirrors Tour four different keyboard instruments were employed, and that’s what Kerry is doing with his performance. And being a pedantic little prog rock geek, he’s also asked for, and gotten, two drummers to play in his accompanying band. The reason for this is simple: back in the “old days” while Phil Collins would do all the drumming on the albums, they used another drummer for concert tours–in the case of the Mirrors Tour and all later tours, it was Chester Thompson. However, Phil not only sang in concert but also drummed on a number of songs, and whenever there was a long instrumental section he’s run back to the drum kit behind his section of the stage and join in the drumming.
This is why Kerry has two drummers: because that’s the way it was played. His lead drummer, however, isn’t coming down off her kit to sing: Kerry’s doing the vocals as well.
(I should point out that the “house band” being used by Nadine and Kerry–and the other students who require musical accompaniment–are all former students with extensive musical backgrounds. This will get a mention in the next scene. Are any of them famous? I’ll never tell . . .)
The video below is Burning Rope as recorded 13 October, 1978, at Chicago’s late, great Uptown Theater, and this is pretty much how it’ll sound when Kerry plays. This is taken off a broadcast from my favorite radio station back home, WXRT, which means this is mixed right off the band’s soundboard. The image in the video also shows Tony’s set up for the tour. The keyboards he’s “facing” are a Hammond T-102 organ with the ARP Quadra digital synthesizer sitting on top. The Quadra that Kerry is playing–and which is constantly mentioned in the scene–is the same one heard in this recording; it’s making that “Wha-wa-wa-WAAAAAA-wa” sound in the song intro. Kerry isn’t using an organ, but is employing the Akai MPK61 Midi Keyboard Controller to replicate an organ sound.
In the image the keyboards on the right of Tony are a Moog Polymoog 203a sitting atop a Yamaha CP-70 electric grand piano, which was the standard for portable concert pianos back then. The Yamaha P-255 is used in place of the CP-70, and the Mellotron M4000D is used in place of the Polymoog 203a to produce the string sounds as well as an additional synth sound at the start of the mid-song bridge.
Have I put too much thought into this? No more than Kerry would. Hummm . . . it’s almost like we’re the same person.
There you have it. All you ever wanted to know about songs you’re never going to hear. But what about the paintings? Let’s get back to that . . .
Kerry turned back to Annie’s paintings. “Sorry about that.”
“Not your fault.” Annie took his hand. “It’s your time to shine as well.”
“My time comes later.” He pointed at the paintings. “This is your time, and we shouldn’t talk shop now.”
She loved that he was so apologetic. “You love my paintings?”
“They’re wonderful. Though I’m surprised you got the Fenway one out so quickly—”
“I started sketching it that night. Only took me two weeks to paint.”
“You’d could never tell. I love the difference between light—” He indicated the painting on the left. “—and dark.”
“Just wait until you see the dream realms with your own eyes.”
“Can’t wait.” He moved closer to the painting of them kissing. “I’ll never forget this moment.”
“Nor will I.” She held him close. “First time to show us kissing.”
“Like no one’s seen that.” He squeezed Annie’s hand. “Though we do need a painting that doesn’t have us in flight gear.”
“Well . . .” She leaned in so she could whisper in his ear. “There was another dream scene I could have painted.” Annie giggled softly. “Then I’d have only needed to explain why we were under a comforter.”
Could you imagine Annie painting the scene of them in the hotel in their dreams? “Oh, this is a little something that happened to Kerry and I over the summer before we returned to school. The comforter? It’s there because we were naked under that–” Eyes bugging, blood squirting from noses–it would make for a hell of an Ostara presentation, that’s for sure.
The question arises, too: which painting does Kerry get? He got the Bulgarian back yard scene from last year, so will Annie give him the kissing picture this year since she already has one of them together? Or is going to give him the dreamscape painting? Do you think I’ll answer that question in the next scene, which is the last of Chapter Twenty-six?
Hummm . . . Yeah, I probably will at that. After all, Kerry wants to know as well, so someone’s gotta tell him.
It’s 15 F/-9 C outside, which means I’m gonna have a cold walk into work in about an hour. It’ll be almost Annie and Kerry cold outside, but don’t worry: I keep bundled up.
My coat even has a hood, so I could go flying if I wanted to fly–assuming, you know, that I had a broom or could fly like a bird like certain characters of whom I write. But I can’t do that, so I have to deal with trudging around in the cold on foot. Flying to work would be nice, since it’s only a mile away and I’d be there in no time.
Speaking of getting somewhere in no time . . .
The next part of the scene has been in my head for a long a long time–probably a bit longer than the “Resting in Fenway” scene as a whole. I’ll get to the part I really love in a second, but here are the kids, with the music on, and it’s bringing back memories of a far warmer time than what they’re experiencing now:
All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
Annie couldn’t prevent the smile from appearing on her own face. Kerry’s reference wasn’t difficult to pick up: when they were together in Berlin, she’d played Muse’s song Madness more than a few times when they were in their hotel room—sometimes so much that she expected Kerry to make mention of the replays, or at the least roll his eyes every time began playing.
To her surprise he not only didn’t complain or mention the constant performances, but after a while Kerry actually appeared to enjoy the song, and there was one time when Annie came out of the bathroom and caught her soul mate reading the lyrics on his computer while the song played. The song played during the last Samhain dance, and Annie wondered if perhaps Kerry asked one of the instructors—maybe Deanna, though more likely Erywin—to play it early.
She leaned in close, stretching out her body so she was nearly perpendicular to her boyfriend. “You like this, hum?”
“Well . . .” He turned up the volume just a little. “It reminds me of a special few days.”
“Oh?” She moved her face closer to his. “I felt it was a special time as well, my love.” She touched the tablet display and turned up the volume as loud as possible, letting the sound fill the dark, empty stadium. “No one around to hear—”
“Only us.” Kerry sat back in the broom’s saddle with his eyes half-closed. “A long way from summer in Germany.”
“I have on my charm bracelet; that means it’s always summer no matter where we are.” Annie slipped through the air until she was hovering over the end of his broom. “And no matter what is happening with these dreams, know I’ll always be here for support.”
Kerry grinned as she semi-mimicking the current lyric. “So is this real love, or is it just madness?”
“Umnik.” For the first time since leaving the school she flipped back the hood of her coat. “You know better than that.”
What Annie said there was “smart ass”, but the literal translation is more like “big nerd”, showing that Annie can swear and be on point the whole time as well. We’re heard Annie swear before, but usually she just calls someone a bitch, and that usually comes right before she starts to light them up.
This scene does relate back to the days when the kids were in Berlin, way back in the early parts of Act One. And it also relates back to the song mentioned in the scene. This was another one of those, “Ah, ha!” moments for me, because when I decided to use this song in the background of the story, I first saw it in this scene, which then set me to wondering, “How did it get there?” A little quick research showed that the song was released just the week before my kids hit The Big B, and knowing Annie’s taste in music is a little more modern than Kerry’s, I had no problem seeing her dancing around her room and the lake house while getting ready to leave for school with her dancing around to the beat–something she’s already told us she does.
Pretty much a Chicken coming before the Egg moment, wouldn’t you say? First I see the scene in Fenway, then I think of the song, and then I incorporate how the song came into my kid’s lives before I write the scene in which that happens. Yes, my mind works in strange ways.
Oh, and here’s the tune in question, in case you want to imagine what’s happening next with a little music to make it complete.
For your interesting worthless fact of the day, if you played the video, you heard a distinctive “Bromm bromm bromp” through much of the song. The instrument making that sound is a Misa Kitara digital MIDI controller, which looks a lot like a tablet surface built into a guitar, and is played a lot like one, only instead of strumming strings, you run your fingers over the tablet. Now you know something you likely didn’t a few minutes before.
Annie has her hood back–what could that mean?
“Yes, I do.” Kerry flipped back this coat hood as well, exposing a relaxed face and affectionate eyes as the song segued into the guitar break. “So much, Sweetie.”
She twisted her body around until her feet were away from Kerry and appeared to be swimming towards him. Isis said that first day we were mermaids of the air. The song reached the crescendo as she pushed with her arms towards him, as if she were moving through water. I am more than that.
Annie whispered a version of a line from the song while centimeters from his face. “Imam nuzhda ot vashata lyubov, skŭpa moya.” She took hold of the collar of his coat and turned her head as her lips met his. She felt the music swell around them as she held the kiss while floating together meters above the ground. She didn’t want to break the kiss; she wanted to hold it, to press it into herself and keep it there through the winter, into the spring, and take it home for the summer—
I love him so much. My soul mate; my husband to be. She finally broke the kiss so she could stare into his eyes—
Kerry sighed as his head tilted back, enraptured in ecstasy. He took Annie in his arms and clenched her tight. “Will come to me in my dreams—” He whispered into her ear. “Will you come and rescue me?”
Annie pulled herself against him tight. “I will come anywhere to rescue you, my love.” She kissed him again. “Anywhere.”
The song finished and Annie looked up as she found them surrounded in silent. “A little more of this—” She reached down and stopped the music stream. “And a little more of this.” She took his face in her hands as she kissed him once more.
Now . . . what Kerry said there at the end goes back to one of the lyrics of the song. What is sung is, “Come to me/Trust in your dream/Come on and rescue me”, and some people–if they were, say, a writer–would say that’s foreshadowing. Perhaps they’re right. Perhaps they’re not. Only I know for sure. Bwah, hahahaha!
Annie also said something, more or less, from the song. Her whispered line is, “I need your love, my darling,” which is something that’s sung after coming out of the instrumental bridge, and happens when the song moves towards the crescendo. Her love, her soul mate . . . her husband to be. Annie’s always got her eyes on the prize, and at that moment she had him right there, all alone in the dark in a baseball stadium.
There isn’t much left to this scene, but I have to say: after waiting just about a year to get it written, I’m finally glad to have made it real. Now if I could only get someone to draw a picture of the moment.
That would be perfect.
I don’t get out my these days–that’s sort of clear to a lot of people. And one of the things I don’t get out to do is see movies. Most of that is due to having sort of a high standard when it comes to seeing a movie, and that’s to be entertained without having too much of my intelligence insulted. That’s why I’d only seen Mad Max: Fury Road this year of 2015 and nothing else. I’m just a cranky bitch when it comes to film.
Yesterday, however, not long after posted on my blog, I headed out to see The Martian, the movie based upon Andy Weir’s 2011 novel of the same name. One reason I wanted to see the movie was because it was science fiction, and from everything I’d read of the novel, pretty accurate science fiction, with the emphases on science. I will say now that I have not read the novel, but I’m probably going to pick it up and give it a read just to see the differences between the printed and visual versions.
The interesting thing about the novel is how it came about. Weir wanted the novel as scientifically accurate as possible, and did a lot of research on the surface of Mars, on botany, astrophysics, space craft design, and orbital mechanics, going so far as to write is own program so he could track the orbits of the ships in his novel.
Weir had been writing since his twenties, and The Martian was his first novel. He shopped it around, and when none of the publishing houses showed interested, he started publishing the book for free on his website, going thought chapter by chapter.
After a while people asked him to put out a Kindle version of the story, and he did, and he sold the book for $.99, the lowest price one can offer for a work on Amazon. After he sold thirty-five thousand copies in one month, Crown Publishing Group approached him and asked if he’d like a sweet deal for his book. The deal made him another one hundred thousand dollars and got him a movie, so it sounds like he got what he was looking for.
If you’re asking, “What’s this about?”, it’s about a guy who, through no fault of anyone, gets stranded on Mars and has to find a way to stay alive until he’ rescued.
That’s the story in a nutshell, and without going into a lot of detail, it’s what the movies shows. What I loved was the attention to detail and how everything was so . . . sciencry. As I indicated I haven’t read the book, but there were things in the movie that because of my knowledge of Mars and space stuff in general, I got right away. (There was a scene in the movie where the main character was looking at a map, and the minute he realizes something and was hit with a light bulb moment, so was I. Geeks, I know.)
The movie is magnificent in appearance. The Mars stand-in was Wadi Rum in Jordan, which has stood in for Mars in a couple of movies, and one of the locations used in Laurence of Arabia. With the help of a little CGI you feel like you could be there on the Red Planet. All the tech looks workable and has an authentic feel. And the spaceship Hermes and the Mars HABs . . . Oi.
I can look at the ship above and see stuff that’s supposed to be there on a real spacecraft, and that makes me happy. There are things I saw happening in the movie that shouldn’t have happened (when you decelerate in space, your engine is supposed to be pointed towards the forward edge of your orbit, thank you), but they were minor and nitpicky. Even Weir admits that he made the storms on Mars more visually impressive than they would be in real life because, you know, sometimes you have to do that.
The characters are good, though I think NASA in the middle of the 21st Century would be a tad more diverse than shown, and in one major instance, a character was completely whitewashed. The moment I saw the character’s name I thought “Shouldn’t she be Korean?” This, again, came without reading the novel, and after a little investigation last night I discovered I was correct. It isn’t impossible to find an actress of the proper ethnicity these days, so Hollywood, you need to stop that shit right now.
There is one scene in the movie that got a huge laugh out of the audience I was with–and with me as well–and without going into detail:
I came out really happy, not only because I saw what I’d say was a real science fiction movie, but because there was a scene involving engineering that was done while ABBA’s Waterloo played on the soundtrack. I mean, come on: that’s something I’d do in my stories, so you know I was smiling like crazy and bouncing in my seat as the scene played out. And in a moment of disclosure, in a game I was running some twenty years ago, I’d planed to use Waterloo as a song-over during a scene were some people were preparing in invade a planet.
See? Great minds think alike. And so do those who know what makes science fun.
Here I was, yesterday, saying I wanted to finish this scene and chapter, and guess what? Did! Totally did. No, really.
And as you can see Chapter Seventeen awaits, where it’s a week later and–humm. Looks like the kids are heading home for the holidays. Yes, it’s that time, when the school shuts down for two weeks and all the kids go home to see their parents. And if you look closely, you can see that Kerry is heading back to Cardiff and Annie is heading back to Pamporovo.
Actually, Chapter’s Seventeen and Eighteen deal with the kids being away from each other–the first scene of Chapter Sixteen is one of only two times you’ll see the kids together the next two chapters–but that’s in the future, and right now we’re finishing up the present, and it’s time to get my kids together again.
(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)
The dots on within the image had already crossed half the map when Nurse Bianca called the deck and informed the girls that Nurse Thebe and she were downstairs with warming blankets. Alex was able to get off a quick thank you when Kerry called in. “Flight Deck, this is Overnight. On my mark lowing to four hundred kph and beginning our decent.” He paused for about six seconds before continuing. “And . . . mark.”
Emma, as group pilot, gave the overall command. “Overnight, slow to four hundred kph and follow us down.”
Penny kept her eyes on the display, watching the dots descend towards Cape Ann. She nodded her approval. “Smart move. Forty kilometers out, coming in at four hundred kph—”
“They’ll be here in ten minutes.” Annie figured out the plan during the time Kerry informed them.
“A little more, actually.” Alex waved her hand over a pad. “Lights up on the roof and the Clock Tower. They should be able to see us now.”
“And we need to do now is lay out a landing pattern.” Alex walked over to the window and looked out onto the darkened meadow. “And light a few fires to everyone can warm up on the spot.”
“Good idea.” Penny tapped Annie on the arm. “You’re helping, right?”
“I wouldn’t miss this for the world.” Annie gave the display another look. “You think I’m waiting up here—”
“—While he’s down there? Nope.” Penny tapped near her ear piece. “Overnight, this is Flight Deck. We have the Flight School overhead lights and the Clock Tower beacon lit, and we’re going to set up your landing grid for you. Over.”
Emma returned with the acknowledgment. “Roger, Flight Deck. Should be on the ground soon. Over.”
All three girls were about to turn from the hologram when Kerry’s voice broadcast through the room. “Hang on, Overnight: A little homecoming music is in order. Hit it.” Immediately four loud guitar cords rang out followed by a heavy drum and bass rhythm. A few seconds later the vocals rang out: “Home by the sea/home by the sea—”
Annie chuckled. “I’ve heard this one before.”
Penny stared at the dots in the tank with a smile on her face. “Bloody hell.”
“That’s my Darling.” Annie grabbed the coats and levitated them towards the girls. “They’ll be her in a few minutes.”
Once more the Flight Deck is running pretty smoothly considering it’s being run by three teenage girls. They got the action down. This is why when the bad guys came calling, the school just locked shit up and put the kids out there with the adults, because nothing is crazier than a teenage witch.
“That’s my Darling.” I actually loved writing that line, because if there’s something Annie’s doing this year, it’s getting loosened up around people. Well, people she likes. Other bitches best watch out or they’ll get a lightening bolt shot their way.
And here we have Kerry bring everyone home with music–He’d actually sort of foreshadowed this back on PEI:
“Already figured that out.” He pushed the map display to his right until they were looking at the western coast of Nova Scotia. “Right there.” He marked the point. “About as west as you can get before you run out of land. Which means . . .” He sketched a line to the southwest until he encountered a well-known point of land. “Rockport. And our home by the sea just to the west.” He quickly connected the marked points on the map, creating a line from their current location back to the school. “There’s it is: that’s the route.”
“Our home by the sea”. So what song does he play coming in? Why, Home By the Sea, what else?
Not only does he play it, he plays it loud:
All three girls hurried downstairs and found Bianca and Thebe waiting just outside the main hangar door. Penny began pointing to different spots around them. “Alex, set up three fires on the right, I’ll do the same on the left. Let’s get them in a large semi-circle.” She pointed straight ahead. “Annie, could you set up a row of lights for about twenty, thirty meters, maybe five meters apart?”
“Not a problem.” Annie rose about a half-meter off the ground and crafted a white light source on the ground before floating out about five meters to do the same thing again. She did this five more times, setting up a thirty meters runway for the flight to line up on and bring them into the group of fires Alex and Penny created.
She floated back to where the girls and nurses stood. Annie adjusted her wool cap and glanced skyward. “Do you hear that?”
Alex looked up and grinned. “Music?”
“Yes.” Annie grinned wildly. “Kerry must have it his tablet loudspeakers.”
“Jeez.” Penny shook her head. “Vicky must not worry they’re going to be heard from the ground.”
“It’s not like any of the Normals would see them.” She pointed towards the southeast. “I think that’s them.”
Annie saw two sets of yellow-white lights moving off to her right: one seemed to indicate where to turn, and the other seemed to point downward. The continued moving to her left as they now appeared to quickly lose altitude over the east wall. At the north end of the meadow tree line the lights continued swinging to the left, then stopped and began approaching her.
She heard Penny giving instruction for the flight as they lined up on the makeshift runway. The music was easily discernible now, and she could now clearly make out the lead flight, bundled up tight against the cold, with nary a square . Kerry pointed downward with his left hand until they were within touching distance of the ground, at which point he flattened his hand and spread out the lights at his fingertips, while Emma waved her right hand overhead to slow the group, then pumped a fist into the air bringing the flight to a complete stop. The last few lines of the song played—”Cause you won’t get away/So with us you will stay/For the rest of your days/Sit down/As we relive our lives in what we tell you”—before Kerry punched his tablet and shut down the song.
Emma pulled down her balaclava before looking backwards over her shoulder. “Dismount.” She was off her broom a few seconds later as Kerry pulled down his balaclava and slipped his goggles up onto his forehead.
Each of the girls grabbed a couple of warming blanket. Annie immediately made clear which team she was going to treat. “I’ve got the lead.”
Penny chuckled. “Figured that.”
Annie saw Kerry drop his backpack and come around the front of his broom and hold up his right hand for Emma to slap. They exchanged a quick nod before Kerry turned towards Annie, a huge grin affixed upon his face. “There you are.”
“Here I am.” She secured one of her blankets around Emma’s shoulders before doing the same to Kerry. “You need this.” Standing this close she saw patches of frost on his parka, and noticed his glasses were partially fogged. “Come on, both you—” She took Kerry’s hand and waved for Emma to follow. “Come warm up.”
Kerry does a quick high-five with Emma–who seems to have a good pair of lungs on her and likes being in control–and then he’s like, “Open arms for my Sweetie!” Annie’s being nice handing a blanket to Emma, but then she’s not going to be a bitch a ignore her like someone used to do her. And there’s frost on Kerry’s parka–probably from when he warmed up coming down to the school. The temps went up considerably, believe that.
The entire flight had left their backpacks next to their brooms and was now crowding around the fires as the nurses examined a few of those students seen shivering. The two instructors went from student to student asking them them how they felt, patting each on the shoulder. Vicky checked on Emma before turning to Kerry. “I see you’re in good hands.”
Kerry wrapped his blanketed arms around Annie. “In the best, Nightwitch.”
“As I thought.” She stepped towards the middle of the runway. “Okay, listen up—” She raised here voice so everyone could hear. “As soon as you’re warmed up and feeling better, move your brooms and your packs to the hanger—do not unpack them now—then go get something to eat. As there’s no racing tomorrow, we’ll have a debriefing at nine, and after that we’ll unpack and put away our gear. And anyone who doesn’t want to change now let me know and I’ll have housekeeping move your clothes back to your dorm rooms.” She flipped her parka hood back, removed her wool hat and flight helmet, and shook out her hair after stripping off her balaclava. “It was a pleasure flying with all of you.”
“Hey.” Emma pulled her blanket tight as she stepped closer to Annie and Kerry. “I’m gonna see if Nadine will give me a jaunt to the Dining Hall.”
“No problem.” He grinned back at his wingmate. “After flying a couple of thousand kilometers, I think we’ll walk back.”
“Okay, then: catch you later.” She gave them both a wave and walked off.
Finally alone, Annie unzipped Kerry’s parka, pushed back his hood, and removed his head gear, dropping it to the ground next to them. “Feeling better?” She slipped her arms under his parka and around his torso.”
“I am now.” He leaned his head against her shoulder. “What’d you do last night?”
“Hung out with the girls and Jairo.” She felt comfortable and secure against Kerry’s body. “Penny and Alex had me over to sleep with them: they asked Professor Semplen to get housekeeping to move another bed into their room. They said they didn’t want me sleeping alone.”
Kerry held tightly on to Annie. “That was nice of them.”
“It was.” She whispered into his ear. “Did you miss me?”
He moved Annie back so her face was mere centimeters aware, then kissed her slowly for almost twenty second. “Oh, Darling—” He pulled her into a warm embrace. “Every second I was away.”
“So did I, my love—” Annie closed her eyes and held on tightly to her soul mate, least she slide to the ground. “So did I.”
No racing, just Midnight Madness after a little dinner and a cup of something warm, and some warm arms to lay in. Annie got to do a bit of a sleepover with her covenmates, and Kerry is giving her a long, lingering kiss in a fire-lit PDA, probably because his lips are cold. Yeah, that’s what it is.
Everyone’s home in what turned out to be a long chapter–one of the longest, actually–and now it’s time to send the kids away for a few weeks.
Where a few more surprises await them . . .