First off, let’s get to the good news: I have a new mouse!
All hail the new toy!
Yes, I went with something pink and pretty, because yes, I can. Also, I like how it feels in my hand, and the pad makes things all that much easier to do thing, so I like it a lot.
Second off, the shoulder is feeling much better. I’m off to do my nails today, and I’m trying to come up with a good fall color, and I’ve been taking it easy this morning so that I’m not sitting around feeling nothing but pain shooting through my body. In a way I help the process by not doing a whole lot last night, and it showed in the fact I wrote only three hundred and fifty words.
Ah, but that helped, because . . .
The scene is finished, mostly due to writing almost sixteen hundred words this morning. It didn’t feel like I was pouring out words: actually, the whole process seems to have slowed down as I try to visualize what I want to say, and then find the right word for the visualization. And trust me, I’ve done a lot of visualization, starting with where Annie was taking Kerry . . .
(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)
Sequestered among several birch and pine trees sat one of the many covered stair casings that led to the school’s tunnel system. Every building save the Headmistress’ Residence Rhiannon were connected to the system, there were various locations on the grounds where access to the tunnels was possible. The covered staircase near Memory’s End and the one behind the Transformation Center were the most well known, though the staircases near Rhiannon Fettle’s grave—used by Wednesday Douglas to access Sunset Tower during the Day of the Dead attack—and the staircase just north of Perquat’s Grove were also familiar to the students.
Annie opened the entrance to the staircase and held the door for Kerry. Like most of the stairs in the coven towers, the circular stone structure was three and a half meter in diameter and descended easily six meters to the tunnels. She followed him down until their reached the bottom of the stairwell, at which point Annie stepped past him, open the door, and stepped out into the tunnel.
The tunnel was like the majority of the other tunnels under the school: six meters wide by four and a half meters high, with an arched ceiling segmented by columns and soft, indirect lighting. The staircase was situated to one side of a Y-junction, with two tunnels running off to the left of the staircase entrance, and one long tunnel vanishing off to their right.
Kerry let the door close behind him as he glanced from side to side, “Where are we?”
“Believe it or not, in one of the oldest tunnels at the school. I looked it up.” She pointed down the single tunnel. “That was one of the escape tunnels dug in 1762 when the grounds were expanded and the outer walls installed. The staircase behind you—” She pointed at Kerry and the door beyond. “—used to lead up into the wall where there was a hidden door leading to the outside. The idea was if the witches needed to evacuate the school, this was on of the ways they would leave.”
“Or if they were looking to get out of the school for the night.” Kerry stood beside Annie. “Then you could just jaunt out.”
“True.” Annie took his hand and led him down the left-hand Y-tunnel. “Just a little further.”
He stumbled along, smiling. “What is?”
The school tunnel system was something that I spent a lot of time figuring out, because with the school being spread out all over the place, and with it being situated on a small island right off the coast of Massachusetts–which is what Cape Ann really is–winter weather is gonna be a real bitch. So I figured the area under the school was riddled with tunnels, with most of them going way back to the 18th and early 19th Centuries.
This is what the area Annie’s discussing looks like–
That little Y in the upper left hand corner is where my kids are–you’ll see them if you look hard enough.
You can see so many things here. The Pentagram is right down there at the bottom, and near the middle-top is the lower storage areas of The Aerodrome. That little building basement in the upper right hand corner is the lower levels of the Flight School, and that blue spot near the “Y” I pointed out is the bottom of Van der Kroff Spring. And in case you’re wondering, those round things sticking through on the left side of the picture are the lower levels of towers are those stuck in the West Wall of the school.
Where is this headed?
They walked for a couple of minutes before coming to an innocuous passage cut into the right wall. The entryway was maybe two meters wide, and was difficult to see due to being located directly to the right of a tunnel support arch. “Here.”
Kerry squinted past the entrance. “Not very bright in there.”
“One of the reasons this tunnel doesn’t stand out.” She headed inside with Kerry right behind. “The first time I was down here I almost didn’t see this.”
Kerry glanced up at the ceiling. “I’m surprised the lights are still on.”
“You know it doesn’t take much to keep a lighting enchant going.” Annie couldn’t help but look around as well. “Once you craft one, they’ll run until dimmed or shut off.”
“Yeah.” He tightened his grip on Annie’s hand. “Do you know when this tunnel was put in?”
“No, but probably the same time as the two branching tunnels; Isis told me those were dug out in 1802 when they did the final expansion of the southern grounds.” She came to a slow stop. “Here we are.”
Kerry faced a large wood door slightly countersunk into the left side of the passage. Unlike similar ones in the coven tower, there wasn’t an electronic hand scanner in the wall to the right of the entrance. “And where is here?”
“Where we are.” She motioned to Kerry. “Go on in.”
He pushed it open and stepped through the doorway. On the other side was a room nearly the same size as their private lab in the lower levels of Cernunnos Tower: perhaps four and a half by three and a half meters. The walls didn’t seem finished: even in the dim light Kerry saw they were slightly rough, as if the room were cut out of the native limestone and then rendered flat enough not to be an issue.
What surprised Kerry was that the room wasn’t empty. Besides a few small wooden crates there were three items of furniture: a sofa and an easy chair positioned around a makeshift table thrown together from a slab of board sitting on top of a couple of crates and covered with a blanket. He stared at the tableau for a few seconds, then turned to Annie. “What’s all this then?”
So . . . hidden rooms, are there?
Yes, right there, if you must know.
The staircase that Annie and Kerry descended is there to the center-right, and they walked down the bottom corridor. I put this model together last night, because writing isn’t always writing, right? Let’s just say I needed to give the new mouse a workout.
Now, this is where it gets tricky, Kids–
None of this stuff existed last week.
I planed this chapter months ago: according to Scrivener, the chapter was created 21 June, 2015. But the first and second scene of this chapter weren’t all that well thought out, to be honest. Like I’ve said before, I do the meta plot thing and then let things come to me. And up until last week I had nothing for this scene other than a few mental images.
Until I imagined Annie and her mother together over the summer . . .
“Something I found.” Annie closed the door and crafted a couple of light spells to make the room brighter. “There: better.” She slowly made her way around the easy chair. “After leaving you at Advanced Flight a couple of weeks ago I decided to do a little exploring. There are a lot of tunnels in the southwest section of the school, but almost no one ever comes down here because there aren’t any buildings—”
“So no need to come down this way.”
“Yes. I’ve taken that one tunnel back to The Aerodrome a few times, but never ventured down this way. I actually found the passage outside walking down the left-hand tunnel: it runs all the way between them.” Annie paused behind the sofa and leaned against the back. “Found this room, looked inside, and . . .” She spread her arms wide. “Found this.”
“Yeah, but what is it?” Kerry stepped up to the table and prodded it with his foot. “This stuff has been here a while; that sofa looks like it’s older than my folks.”
“Mine as well.”
“How’d it get down here?”
Annie shrugged. “Someone likely made it using transformation magic.” She walked around and sat. “Come—” She patted the spot next to her. “Sit, my love.”
Kerry joined Annie and immediately wrapped his arm around her shoulders. “Exploring, huh?”
“Yes.” She snuggled against him, getting herself comfortable in his embrace. “I was curious.”
Annie crossed her legs and stared straight ahead with half-opened eyes. “Over the summer Mama and I were talking about school, and she began asking questions that . . .” She giggled. “I think she was asking about us without actually bringing up the subject.”
“Really?” He chuckled as well. “Like?”
“She asked me if we’d walked through Astria Portal. The way she phrased the question—”
“—She wasn’t asking if we’d walked.” He moved his fingers slowly against her jacketed arm. “So what did you do?”
“What I usually do in that situation, my love: I gave evasive answers.” She sighed and settled back into the hollow of his shoulder. “She told me about a place Papa and she used to go to, as she said, ‘be alone’. She said there was a spot near Gloucester Bend surrounded by trees: the way she described the stop it reminded me of where Emma and you hid—without the danger, of course.”
“She didn’t go on about what they did there, but it wasn’t necessary: it’s where they went when they wanted to be alone. She was telling me that story because—” Her hand glided across Kerry’s thigh. “—she wanted to know where we went to be be alone. Only . . . we don’t actually have a place like that. Not really.”
Yes, they don’t have a place like this–a place where they can go, well, you know. Do what kids in love do. Anne’s been doing a bit of looking, it seems, and she’s upfront not only about her explorations, but the reasons behind them–
“When I found this room, though, and I saw the furniture here, I realized couples use to come here. There was a lot of dust on the floor—”
“Yes, my love: I’ve cleaned up a bit before this.” She chuckled and pressed her finger against his lips. “Shush, and listen. No one has been here in decades, so I know this room is undisturbed. But it was used; a couple used to come here to sit, talk, relax . . .” Annie shrugged. “Who knows what else? It doesn’t matter. Since we both fly—” She grinned at the same moment as Kerry. “—we don’t need to worry ourselves that someone will notice us heading down The Chunnel to get here. Maybe security will see us open the doors to the staircase, but I don’t care; it doesn’t matter.”
Annie folder her legs under her as she wrapped her arms around Kerry’s shoulders. “What matters now, moyata srodna dusha, is that we have a place where we can ‘be alone’. Where we can come when we have free time and sit, talk, cuddle . . .” She leaned in and kissed him with great tenderness and passion. “And do that.”
Kerry moved slightly to his right and settled back into the arm of the sofa. “We’ll need some pillows to rest against.”
“There are blankets in those crates: I checked.” Annie lay against Kerry’s chest and listened to his rapidly beating heart for a few moments. “Tonight we’ll be alone: I’ll be here while you’ll be several hundred kilometers away. And in a week we’ll be even further apart. But . . .” She kissed him again, holding it for almost twice as long as the prior kiss. “Until you leave in a few hours, you are all mine.”
This is how my mind works, and how things come together in my head. I wrote a lot, I pushed the story to within a few hundred words of one hundred and forty thousand words, and I’ve opened up a little insight into my kids. And once more showed that when Annie wants something, she gets it–
All to herself.