The Midnight Window: My Moon and Stars

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:

All thanks to Google Maps for making this possible.

All thanks to Google Maps for making this possible.

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:

My god: it's full of stars!

My god: it’s full of stars!

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–

Which, come to think of it, is sort of how Annie looked when she had Emma backed into a corner--

Though, come to think of it, this is sort of how Annie looked when she backed Emma into a corner–

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.

Joss, like Gene, has the geek gene.

Joss, like Gene before him, has the geek gene.

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.

In the Inn: Stated Feelings

Novel writing was had last night, and it was a bit more than I thought:  Six hundred an sixty-six words.  Oooooooh!  I’ve done that before, too, so maybe this isn’t a coincidence.  You never know, right?

I was jamming through some interesting music last night, as I got back to my Chicago pop roots while writing.  Started getting into some old Cheap Trick, particularly their 80s stuff, which is when they were writing some great pop while sounding a lot like early-60s Beatles.  Some of the stuff was successful, but one of my favorite songs was I Can’t Take It, which didn’t do well as a single or video, but was always a hit with the fans, probably because all of us have been in the position laid out the lyrics.  I also love the lyric progression during the song, which makes it difficult to sing if you don’t have music.

And the other I’ve got in my head this morning is If You Want My Love, which is probably their most Beatlesque song ever.  This is the alternate version of the song, which returns over four lines of lyrics before the ultimate fade out::

Yeah, I’ll probably have these stuck in my head most of the day, and at some point they’ll get added to Kerry’s song list.

As for Kerry–well, he’s learning that Erywin and Helena have made an offer to put him up should he get kicked out of the house by his parent, and now that we return from yesterday’s fade-out, we find it’s more than that:

 

The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

“Thought—” Helena crossed her arms and looked satisfied. “I believe we’re your only choice.”

There was something about the certainly in Helena’s statement that caught Kerry’s attention. “What do you mean?”

“She means we have rigged the game slightly in our favor.” Erywin glanced at the women on either side of her before turning back to the young couple at the foot of the bed. “The afternoon of your birthday, while Annie and you were out flying, we—Helena, Deanna, and I—contacted your case worker, Ms. Rutherford—”

Deanna deftly cut in on the conversation. “Actually, we went to see her: we jaunted to London.”

Erywin gave her a quick nod. “Yes, that’s true. We met with her for about an hour, and Helena and I explained how we thought if your situation at home were to deteriorate, we wanted you to come and live with us.” The instructor looked down for a moment. “We have a guest room at the Woodingdean house that we’ve never used because, well, we don’t actually have guests stay over night: anyone who shows up doesn’t require an overnight stay.”

“I went as a fellow coven leader and counselor.” Deanna looked to the women on her left with a slight grin on her face. “I wanted to assure your case worker that neither Erywin or Helena were intent on showing you any favoritism at school, nor would having you live with them affect the way they’d instruct you in the future.” She chuckled. “Which we know they won’t, but it helped to have another person with the same status as Erywin tell this to your case worker.”

 

Here is appears that all three instructors left the school the afternoon of 3 May, 2013, jaunted to London to meet with Ms. Rutherford, and let her know that The Mistress of Formulistic Magic and the Head Sorceress would put up Kerry for how ever long he’d require, and oh, don’t even consider any other location.

And what is meant by “The Woodingdean house”?  That’s Erywin’s house in England, specifically her home within the nice confines of Woodingdead, a suburb of the city of Brighton and home to about ten thousand people who maintain a village-like atmosphere while being completely unaware there are a couple of witches living in their confines.  It’s a nice, quiet place to live, and one that probably matches both women’s demeanor when they’re away from the school.

Just when you think you wouldn't know where witches live--

Just when you think you wouldn’t know where witches live–

And if Erywin has a home, does Helena as well?  Yes, she does, down on the North Island of New Zealand outside the town of Ngongotaha, which is located just north of Rotorua.  The place is also, I’m told, home to a large Māori population, and the second most spoken language in the area is Te Reo Māori, or The Language of the Māori.  All of which fits right in with Helena’s background.

So how does Kerry feel about this?  About how you’d expect:

 

For several second Kerry was unable to say anything. He knew Erywin and Helena—and Deanna, for that matter—considered Annie and he to be more than just students, that they considered them friend and respected the fact that they never tried to take advantage of that friendship. But this seems to go beyond mere friendship . . . “I don’t know what to say, guys.” He struggled to keep his emotions in check.

Erywin came over and slipped her arm around the boy’s shoulders. “You’re with friends, Kerry: there’s no need to say anything. We know how you feel.”

“And we knew this news might be a bit overwhelming—” Helena allowed her arms to drop to her side. “Which is why we didn’t spring this on you at dinner.”

“The thing is, Kerry—” Erywin’s tone softened slightly. “—I’ve been though this myself. I had to leave home mid-way through the summer after my C Levels because it had become too dangerous for me to stay. It happens even now: there are a couple of your levelmates who aren’t going home because The Foundation is fearful of what might happen when they come out to their parents.” She squatted down so she could better see Kerry’s face. “The same could happen to you, and if it does we want you to end up with people who not only care for you, but will try to make the event less traumatic.” She gave his hair a quick tousle. “That soul mate of yours isn’t the only one who loves you, you know.”

 

Finally we have one of the instructors expressing something that sounds a lot like maternal affection for Kerry, and likely Annie as well–after all, who was it who hooked these two up for a London lunch at the beginning of the novel?  It’s been stated that Erywin probably sees a lot of herself in Kerry, or at least Helena does, and that they also see a lot of Helena in Annie.  It’s quite likely that Erywin would probably be a better mother towards Kerry that Kerry’s own mom, and who know?  Maybe we’ll see that one day.  Makes one wonder how he’s flourish if he were to move to that environment.

After that there’s just a show fade-out:

 

Kerry couldn’t hold back any longer. The moment he wrapped his arms around Erywin and began hugging her, the tears began flowing. Though he’d always suspected Erywin’s—and, as well, the other instructors in the room— care for Annie and he went beyond mere academic interest, this was the first time any of them professed such deep affection. “Thank you, Erywin. And you know—” He choked up for a few seconds. “I feel the same way for you—” He looked towards the other women in the room. “All of you.”

Annie stood next to Kerry and held him close. “As do I—” She gave him a kiss on the cheek and turned to the older instructors whom she loved nearly as much as the boy who was her soul made. “As I always will.”

 

And we leave that part of the adventure behind.  There is but one last scene in Chapter Thirty-four, and once that’s written we’re prepared to not only leave Salem behind, the the whole of North America as well . . .

In the Inn: Setup Options

I was pretty much a–well, I won’t say bad girl.  Tired girl, yes.  Mostly due to starting some allergy medication yesterday that had me wanting to lay down for a nap about one-thirty yesterday afternoon at work.  Which I finally did when I arrived home and after l ate.

"I'll have Kerry professing his darkest secrets to Annie here just as soon as I lift my nose off the 'V' key."

Summertime, and your medication has you on the nod.

I also had a TV recap run about twenty-eight hundred words, because I’m a wordy bitch, and when I make promises to recap, I keep them.  The good thing is that was the last one for a Sunday for most of the coming summer, so that day is now free.  Of course I won’t be writing much over the summer, so there’s that, too.

So by the time I got to noveling I was beat as hell.  I manage almost four hundred words, but that was it:  after that point I was ready for bed–which, of course, I didn’t reach until almost eleven-thirty.  But!  I did tell everyone who is coming to visit in their Inn by the Sea:

 

 

The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie expected to see Erywin enter the room, and she did—along with Helena and Deanna, the same instructors who came to the Sea Sprite with them last year. Helena looked around the room with a smile on her face as Kerry shut the door and moved back close to the bed. “I hope we weren’t interrupting anything.”

She sat on the edge of the bed and crossed her legs. “Nothing out of the ordinary.” She reached for Kerry’s hand and gave it a squeeze. “Is there something with which we can help?”

Deann placed her hands in front of her, lacing her fingers together. “Actually, we’re here to see Kerry.”

“You’re here to see me?” He moved next to Annie and nearly put his arm around her shoulders before he stopped himself. “What for?”

“Nothing out of the ordinary.” Erywin took a step forward. “Actually, we’re here because of what’s going to happen tomorrow.” She lowered her head to clear her voice. “You’re aware of your options if things don’t work out at home after you come out?”

“I sure do.” Last Friday morning all the B Levels were summoned to the main conference room across from the Headmistress’ Office, the same place where Annie received her wings, and they were given an hour presentation on what to do if, after revealing their true nature and what they were really learning at school. “If things start to go sideways with the folks I’m to contact my case worker and tell them I need to be removed.” He raised his eyebrows for a second as he cocked his head to the side. “I mean, you were there—so was Deanna. So you should know.”

“Indeed I do.” As all coven leaders were present at the meeting headed by Isis and Trevor, Erywin knew exactly what Kerry and the other B Levels heard. “Therefor we want you to know that should things go ‘sideways’, as you say, and you are removed, you’ll be placed in another home—the home of more accepting witches.” She released a short sigh before smiling. “Helena and I have indicated that if you need to be placed in another home, we’d like to be your first choice.”

 

There you have it:  Kerry is getting an official invite from Helena and Erywin to come stay with them should he get kicked out of the house for being a witchy witch.  Which knowing his mom that might just happen.  All the hows and whys of this I’ll cover tomorrow–just let it be known, at least someone’s got his back and is looking out for his well being.

In the Inn: Rest and Recolections

Yesterday, squeezed in between the thirteen hundred word blog post and the fifteen hundred words of note I did for the mid-season finale of Fear the Walking Dead, I managed to start the penultimate scene for Chapter Thirty-four and plow about six hundred words into it before shutting down for the evening.

Like they say, there it is.

Like they say, there it is.

I know some people will say, “How can you write so much for the other things and only half as much for this?” and that’s a good question.  I probably has to do with the fact that I’m making stuff up as I go along, trying to come up with dialog and figuring out how these two kids are reacting to each other at the moment–really, that’s how it feels.

Looking at my numbers I’m currently sitting at three hundred eighteen thousand, five hundred words total, so my guess is that I’ll clear three hundred twenty thousand at the end of this chapter, and three twenty-five by the end of the last, which is gonna put me right where I said I should end up as well as bringing me in a hundred thousand words short of the last novel.  Three quarters of a million words written in about two and a half years is quiet a lot, and I do feel the need to step back and relax for a bit after this ends.  Because I do want to get into the third novel, and I need my wits about me for that.

And where does that lead?  We’re not at the school anymore, so we must be somewhere else . . .

 

The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie entered the room, left her bag near the door, and headed directly for the bed, where she dropped backwards with a thud on the mattress. She stretched her legs as she released a satisfied sigh she’d been holding in for the last hour. “This bed is just like I remembered from last year.”

Kerry set his bag next to Annie’s and looked about Room 308 of the Sea Sprite Inn, the same one Annie and he shared after finishing their A Levels last year. “The whole room looks the same.”

“Baseboard is a slightly different shade of white.” She closed her eyes and drew in a long, slow breath. “I noticed that right away.”

One of Kerry’s eyebrows shot up. “You noticed the baseboard?”

“I helped design a house, my love.” She giggled as she looked up into the bed’s canopy. “I have an eye for little details like that.” She raised her legs so she could examine her feet. “Alex did a great job with my pedicure.”

“Which I noticed right away if you remember.” Just like they’d done on their first night together, the Party of Five—now six with Kahoku coming over from his coven—had a small going away party on their floor with snacks and drinks. While they all talked about the summer holiday, music, movies, and video games, the girls rummaged through Annie’s collection of polish and did each other’s nails. Annie chose a deep metallic crimson that she’d gotten for Christmas and hadn’t tried, and before she asked what he thought, Kerry told her how lovely she made the color look, eliciting a smile and many kiss from her for the compliment.

 

Yes, it’s back to the Sea Sprite Inn, the same place they stayed last year and something that’s going to come up in a few more paragraphs.  The last paragraph is a good one in that it’s obvious Kahoku is really part of this little circle of friends, and if you remember from a long time back, when the kids returned from Yule, it was mentioned Sabrina left all the covens open so student could go from on to another without needing permission.  As Thursday night was the last before everyone started heading home, it was a good idea to open up everything so the kids could say their final goodbyes to friends.

It’s also interesting that everyone talked about the same thing while the girls we’re also doing each other’s nails.  Women:  we are multitaskers, are we not?  And we’ve already see that Annie likes getting her nails done, and she takes pride in having them done right.  Just wait until this summer:  Mama and her probably run off to one of the resort spas in Pamporovo to get their mani-pedis done every few weeks, because you can bet this is a habit Annie likely picked up from her mother.

Now that we know the who and where, is there anymore what?  Of course there is:

 

“Yes, you did.” She lowered her legs and patted the spot to her left. “Come rest for a moment. We have at least an hour before dinner.”

“As you wish—” He lay back on the bed and rolled over on his right side so he could hold her hand with his left. “Ms. Kirilova.”

She chucked again. “I loved hearing, ‘So nice you’re staying with us again’.” Annie rolled to her left so she could face Kerry. “Last year is was such a new experience, and this time I felt as if I were returning to a place we’d been visiting for years.”

“I think it helped that we’ve known for a week we were coming back. It wasn’t as big a surprise as last year.” This time Erywin came to them about twenty minutes after their return from Provincetown to let them know that, yes, they were once again sharing “special accommodations” this year after the school closed. “Last year it was like we didn’t know what to expect.”

“Uhmm—” Annie looked upward for a women. “I had a suspicion but nothing more. You, though—” Her smile lit up her face. “Wasn’t difficult to see you were still a bit clueless.”

Ha.” Kerry leaned closer and gave her a kiss. “Clueless no more, Ms. Kirilova.”

“I much prefer—” She snuggled close to Kerry to make it easier for them to kiss. “Mrs. Malibey.”

“Maybe Mrs. Kirilova-Malibey?”

She was about to give the question some consideration when they were a knock on the door. Annie turned her head in that direction. “It can’t be them this soon.”

“It’s not like we’re expecting any other guests.” Kerry slid off the bed as Annie sat up and smoothed out her skirt and blouse. He didn’t bother to see who was on the other side of the door: he figured it was one of the instructors from the school. It turned out he was only slightly right. “Oh, hi.”

 

That Annie:  she certainly loves hearing that married name.  It’s only a matter of time before a “Mrs. Malibey” slips out at school next year, leading to a lot of eye rolling and disgusted looks, because that’s exactly what teenagers like doing.  Oh, so much to write for the next book . . .

But before I get there I have to tell everyone who the “Oh, hi” was for, right?  I mean, that does make sense, doesn’t it?

Taking the Long Ways Home

Eight in the morning, and it’s time for the blog post–but only after two hours and just over a thousand words of novel writing.  Yes, I’ve been a busy girl, mostly because I’m off to get my nails done in a couple of hours and I need time to get ready.

But first, I’ve had this on repeat for most of the morning:  Moby’s God Moving Over the Face of the Waters.  Pay no attention to what the video cover page says: this version is the one found on I Like to Score, and is the one used as the outro music running over the credits for the movie Heat.  There are have been a few moments when this has started the tears a-flowing, because I’m imagining scenes where this can be used in my coming stories, and likely will.  Funny how my mind works, isn’t it?

The scene is over, and this is the last you’ll see of the school in this book.  After this everything takes place beyond the grounds, and half of the next chapter has my kids finally back in Europe for the summer.  But this goodbye is different than the one in the last novel.  Because this time they’re not standing around surrounded by silence–this time they’re surrounded by friends:

 

This excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Kerry chuckled as he kept his arm around Annie’s shoulders and pulled her closer. “What are you guys going to do next?”

Penny quickly checked her phone. “We’re all jaunting out at the bottom of the hour to Logan and then on to Heathrow and to the local station at Paddington. We’ll spend about an hour and a half there, then Alex and Kahoku are going their own separate ways.”

“It’s already past twenty hours in Savannakhet.” Kahoku spoke of his home town on the banks of the Mekong River in Laos. “I told my parents I’d be home no later than twenty-two thirty, so that gives Alex and me time to say goodbye.”

“You get home just in time to eat and adjust.” Alex gave him a peck on the cheek. “Lose a day going home, but at least you get it in a few months coming back.”

“What about you, Alex?” Annie figured the Ukrainian girl’s home was much like her own in terms of time changes.

“I’ll get into Kiev about eighteen-thirty, then fly home to Dubno. That should take me about an hour.” She sighed. “Just in time to eat, talk a little, and then adjust.”
Annie turned to Penny and Jario. “What about you?”

“I’ll be home, and Jario is almost on the same time as Salem, so we’ll hang out until about eighteen local before we head for home.” She gripped his hand. “That’ll give us almost four hours together. Then he jaunts back to Caracas, and I’ll fly home from London.”

“Venezuela’s a half-hour behind Salem because we’re right on the middle of one of the time lines, so it’ll be pretty much a normal day for me when I’m home: no adjusting needed.” Jario looked down as he smiled. “My case worker will be waiting for me at the airport to jaunt me home.”

“Mine does the same for me.” Kerry shrugged. “I don’t mind considering I gotta go like a thousand kilometers this time.”

Penny learned against Jario. “If you’d learned to fly, dear . . .”

“I did: I didn’t care for it.” He kissed Penny. “You girls are the fliers: I’m good with riding.”

“Just remember that.”

 

Now you see just how everyone is spread around the world, and even with being able to fly and teleport, getting from one place in the world to another is still gonna mess you up due to time changes.  This is how they play out:

B For Bewitching Time Zones Home

Party of Four going all over the world.

As you can see where their homes are concerned it’s still morning for Jario, late afternoon for Penny and Alex–and Annie and Kerry for that matter, too–and going into the evening for Kahoku.  And think about the A and B Levels that are still flying home:  this is why The Foundation starts shipping kids back to East Asia and Oceania just before midnight on the last Thursday at school.

And this is how the jaunts look.  First Penny and the other to London.

Just a leap over The Pond.

Just a leap over The Pond.

Then Alex heads home:

Homeward towards the Great Gates.

Homeward towards the Great Gates.

Followed by Kahoku, who has to go to the other side of the world:

Where it's a quick meal and off to sleep for that boy.

Where it’s a quick meal and off to sleep for that boy.

And lastly there’s Jario, who’s doubling back on everyone.

Can we say he's going Back to the Future?  Probably.

Can we say he’s going Back to the Future? Probably.

Even though they’re going home, does that mean everyone’s stuck on their little homeland islands.  Maybe not:

 

Annie shifted her gaze among the members of her group. “Are you still going to try and meet this summer?”

“Going to try.” Alex nodded toward the girl to her right. “Penny and I have plans, and Kahoku’s pretty sure he can get into Kiev at least once.”

“I’m probably going to jaunt down to South America to see my honey.” Penny smiled at the blushing boy at her side. “I shouldn’t have any problems flying from the airport to his home town.”

Kahoku appeared sad for a moment. “It’d be nice if we could all meet up this summer.”

Penny grunted. “Yeah. Even though it’s getting easier to use to the jaunt stations now, it’s kinda hard at times to work out everything when we’re spread all through the world.”

“We should do something one summer.” Kerry’s face lit up as his mind worked out possibilities. “I mean, after we finish our C Levels Annie and I will be able to access the jaunt systems without needing permission from our parents, so that would make it easier for us to get around. Maybe not next summer, but the summer after that—”

“I agree.” Annie believe she knew where Kerry was going with his impromptu plan. “And not just a one day get together: maybe something for the a few weeks.”
Alex tilted her head slowly to one side. “Like what? Backpacking?”

Kerry laughed. “Or backbrooming.”

“Like the Polar Express.” Penny laughed. “I could see that.”

Annie nodded. “We should start working on that next year.”

Penny nodded back. “We will.”

 

First we see that once the kids are past their C Levels they’re permitted to use the Jaunt System without parental controls, and you know what that means?  Sounds like a certain couple will be hooking up for lunch and more in another year.  Kerry has a local station that will take him to London, or he could just jet off and be there in under an hour.  Annie as well:  she’s 150 km from Sofia and could fly to the airport in under thirty minutes.  And just imagine what it’ll be like when they start jaunting on their own–won’t be able to keep them apart.

As for Annie and Kerry’s idea of “backbrooming” with the other four–yep, that’ll happen one day.  Probably.  Maybe.  Could be.  Just not any time soon.  But you know I already have something in mind.

With all this out of the way, there remains only one last goodbye–

 

“And with that you should get going so you don’t miss your jaunt.” Annie gave Penny a hug. “Take care.”

“You, too, Annie.” Everyone began hugging and shaking hands, wishing each other a good summer holiday. Annie and Kerry waved their goodbyes to their friends as the four walked off the floor and vanished down the stairs, leaving them alone on the second floor.

Annie gave a near silent mummer. “Well, we’re one of the last in the coven—again.”

“Only this time—” Kerry turned and examined the empty, silent floor. “I don’t feel as sad as I did last year.”

“That’s because we knew we wouldn’t be returning to the first floor. Next year we’re back here, but when it comes time to say our goodbyes to our C Levels—” She rested against Kerry’s shoulder. “I imagine we’ll feel the sadness once more.”

“Probably.” He turned to her. “We have a lot to do next year.”

She nodded. “All new classes and a group of B Levels to help transition out of the fishbowl.”

“Uhh.” Kerry rolled his eyes. “Don’t say ‘transition’.”

“Don’t worry, my love.” Annie chuckled as she kissed her nervous soul mate. “I’ll be here to help you through that as well. After all—” She pulled down the neck of her blouse just enough to allow Kerry a peek at her glowing medical monitor. “We’re connected; I’m not going anywhere.”

He kissed her lips. “I’d never let you leave.”

“I’d never want to leave.” They stared at each other in silence for nearly fifteen seconds before Annie stated the obvious. “Come on: we have more goodbyes to say. I want to catch Professor Semplen before he returns home.”

“Yeah, we should get going.” He slipped his backpack over both shoulders and set it in place. “Let’s do this.”

Annie secured her purse strap around her body. “Lets.”

They walked hand-in-hand to the stair landing, turning just before exiting the floor, and spent a few silent moments regarding the place that was their home for the last nine months. Kerry raised his right hand and gave a small wave. “Take care, and see you next year.”

Annie offered a smile as she looked in the direction of her former room. “Goodbye and farewell. And thank you for the memories.”

Together their turned and slowly descended the stairs, leaving their latest home behind, but not forgotten.

 

No tears this time, no feelings of melancholy, because next year they’ll be back on the same floor, only a little closer to the stairs.  It’ll be interesting to see them “helping” the new kids when they move up into the B Area–not that the can’t handle being leaders, but it’s almost as if they’re getting one more duty stacked on top of all the crap they’ll already have waiting for them.  When you show everyone you’re a cut above the rest, you are expected to prove that point.

And with that we say goodbye to Salem and hello to a little place right on the water–

The Day Before the End: Goodbye Once More

It’s rare that I go through an emotional roller coaster like I did last night, but it still happens.  Probably because I’m due for my shot tonight, and when I get to that point it’s hard to keep from getting emotional.  Throw into that mix a collection of songs that are going to have meaning in the upcoming stories, and I was ripe for the waterworks.

This all falls along the backdrop of everyone going home for the summer.  The school is shutting down, the last classes were the day before, and some of the students returning to Asia and Oceania departed from Boston some nine to ten hours earlier.  The novel is currently skirting three hundred and twenty thousand words, and it was only about three hundred thousand ago that my kids were meeting in a hotel in Berlin, unaware that they were going to meet up with a couple of girls who were going help them establish ties that would remain throughout the school year.

So much has gone down–

Writing looks easy, but believe me, being in a public places allows you to drown out all other distractions. Um, yeah.

How did I ever manage to get this far?

Pretty much by sitting down and writing nearly every night, that’s how.  And in a few more weeks you can take a rest.  Until then–the goodbyes begin:

 

This excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

The moment his computer shut down Kerry lifted it from its stand and slipped it into his backpack next to the portable keyboard and mouse. He turned his attention to his room while zip his pack closed, giving the place he’d spent most of the last nine months a final view.

His uniforms and shoes were inside his wardrobe, along with the few toiletries that he’d need when he return at the end of August. His bed was neatly made with the pillows set atop the comforter. The two framed works of art—the works that Annie gave him after each of the last two Ostaras—still hung upon the wall, but were marked with a note indication they were to be moved with the other things that were headed for the room where he’d spend his C Levels next school year.

He felt tears welling in his eyes as he looked about the room. I learned so much about myself this year—and about Annie as well. In a way he couldn’t believe he’d never set foot in this room again, but as always he’d wander back through his memories and remember the parting words of The Phoenix as he left his E and A: It’s okay to remember the past, but you can’t keep dwelling upon those moments. You have to keep writing new chapters.

 

Right there, those last lines from The Phoenix . . . I knew I was going to use them the moment I started writing this scene, because the one think Kerry has learned by coming to Salem is that his life is a story, and that’s something that resonates with him because, whether he’s aware of it of not, the summer of year before he started his A Levels, during a time when he knew the dreams he had of a certain Chestnut Girl were more than just dreams, and that there was something incredibly special about her, he heard one particular line in one particular TV show:

 

“Well, you’ll remember me a little. I’ll be a story in your head. But that’s OK: we’re all stories, in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?”  Doctor Who, The Big Bang.

 

Maybe subconsciously, like Kerry, I thought about that above line when I wrote it, but I can assure you there wasn’t a conscious connection when Kerry’s E and A was written in November, 2013.  It’s really one that I believe defines him these days, because it seems like he, as well as Annie, are constantly opening new chapters to their lives every day.

The thing is, when I brought brought up A For Advanced so I could copy and paste The Phoenix’s words, I started reading that part, the end of Kerry’s E and A, and I started crying like crazy.  I can’t say why, but I totally lost it.  I eventually resumed writing, but I needed about twenty minutes for the feeling to pass.  It was hard, trust me.  And I’m still surprised that going back into something I wrote three years ago can affect me so–

A lot like this, only worse. But I'm better now . . .

How is it I get this way reading my own stuff?

It’s a good think Kerry isn’t alone on the second floor, or he might be in his room crying for a while . . .

 

 

He allowed himself about fifteen seconds for a good cry before retrieving one of the towels in the hamper so he could wipe his face. “You were good to me—” He smiled as he looked about the room. “Be good to the next guy, ‘kay?”

There was a knock at the door. He finished wiping his face and tossed the towel back in the hamper before half turning to answer. “Come in.”

The door opened and Jario filled the entrance. “You about done?” He nodded to his left. “’Cause there’s someone out here who’s eager to see you.”

Kerry chuckled. “Can’t imagine who.” He hooked his backpack over his right shoulder. “Let’s not keep the girls waiting.”

Annie, Penny, and Alex were standing in the open area near the stairs talking. There were dressed the most relaxed either Kerry or Jario had seen them since the start of school. Alex wore a blue v-neck tee shirt and black capri leggings with sandals; Penny wore a yellow tank top and gray shorts with blue plimsolls; and Annie wore a light green floral print blouse with a black skater skirt and her favorite pair of brown gladiator sandals. Given that in the last week the temperatures had finally become seasonal—it was twenty-nine Celsius outside at nine hours, and was expected to top thirty-three C by late afternoon—the girls were dress for relaxed comfort.

All three looked in the boys direction as they entered the open space. “About time you show up, Kerry.” Penny laid her hand upon Annie’s shoulder. “Someone was about to see if they could break into your room and get you.”

“And she would have, too.” Kerry wrapped an arm around Annie’s shoulder and gave her a kiss. “Sorry. I just had to say goodbye.”

“I completely understand.” Annie kissed him back. “I hope it was a good farewell.”

“It was.”

“So was mine.”

“Um, hum.” Kahoku entered the second floor from the stair landing. He was attired just as comfortably as everyone else, wearing a white tee shirt, brown slacks, and black flip flops. “Don’t you guys ever get tired of these PDAs?”

Kerry exchanged a glance with Annie before answering. “Never.”

“Didn’t think so.” He moved in behind Alex. “Just so you know, you’re making it so the girls want more affection in public—”

“And there’s a problem with that?” Alex spun around in his arm. “Better watch out, or you might find there being fewer good night kisses next year.”

Kahoku looked sufficiently chagrined. “Consider it watched.”

 

The Return of the Dreaded Public Display of Affection!  And, it seems, some of the kids haven’t gotten used to them yet.  This is also the first time we’re seeing the boys in this little group of friends feeling the heat to also go PDA with their BGE, and Alex seems to be down in the “I want MORE” column for those affections, and has put her boyfriend on notice.  Hum . . . must be an Eastern European Girl thing.

Looks like everyone’s about to go their separate ways–but not before a short discussion . . .

The Final Days and Nights: The After Cs

An interesting thing has started popping up the last couple of days.  I haven’t been napping during the day when I return from work, but since I’m going to bed at the normal time, I’m sleeping well through the night.  Strangely enough, I’m not feeling that tired while writing, either, and that was evident last night when when I stayed at the computer from about seven forty-five until eleven-ten, when The Americans was wrapping up and going to black, finishing the first scene of Chapter Thirty-four.

And finished it is.

Right here, right now, all that and more.

Right here, right now, all that and more.

I cranked through almost eleven hundred words in that time, and that’s the most I’ve written in a while at night, without being fueled by coffee.  Needless to say, I’m kinda proud of myself.  Maybe I’m shaking off whatever funk I’ve been under of late, or maybe it’s the fact that I’m within sight of the end of this novel and I want it to end on a good, high note.  Though you know it’s gonna be sad, you still want it to be good.

So, this thing the C Levels have worked up for Annie and Kerry–what is it?  That’s a good question.  And I have an answer.  But first, more history, you might say–

 

This excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

“And what exactly was that?” After hearing the unflattering portrayal of the current D Level boys, Annie felt a wave of satisfaction that she hadn’t tried out for the coven race team.

Alex chose to speak. “When we realized that we were going to be the C Levels this year, it left us a bit worried—mostly because we knew you two were going to be the B Levels. That had us just as little—worried.”

Kerry scrunched up his brow as he looked at Alex. “Why would you be worried?”

She turned to him. “You really don’t know what others have said about you.” Alex turned to Annie. “Either of you.”

Annie shook her head. “We never heard anything when we were A Levels: we were in The Fishbowl, and our reputation wasn’t something we discussed with anyone in Advanced Spells.” She wasn’t telling the complete truth—they were aware that among their own level there was some talk about them surrounding their entry into Advanced Spells as well as their first group test in Basic Self Defense and Weapons. And they not only knew about being the Lovey Dovey Couple, but did little to stop that gossip—

 

Way back in the A Level book, about the time Annie hugged Kerry while they were both covered in zombie entrails, she thought about Helena’s words concerning having a reputation, and begun reasoning that the looks of shock on the faces of some of her fellow A Levels was a good thing.  They knew about their whole Lovey Dovey Couple rep because there were times when it made them cringe, but beyond that they never much heard of what the school, or their own coven for that matter, thought of them.

The main reason for them not hearing anything is, naturally, they don’t care.  Talk all the shit you want behind our backs, we’re not listening.  And since Annie kicked that one dude’s ass during a judgement, it’s likely they won’t talk shit to their faces, either.

So what did their coven and school think?

 

It was Jario’s turn to enlighten them. “In this coven, you guys were—” He almost seemed as if he didn’t want to say the word. “Scary. We knew you were in Advanced Spells, which was something no A Level had done. The word was that you were crafting spells that were a level or two higher, and that you were doing things right away in flight that most everyone else needed time to learn. Also, we heard you were both pretty good racers—”

“That last had Darius worried.” Penny chuckled. “We even heard him say he thought one of you was going to join the team and kick him out.”

While Kerry laughed Annie felt the need to retort one of Jario’s last statement. “I never actually raced, though. Yes, we had speed trials last year, but I didn’t compete against anyone.” She stared across the table. “That was that one time with Kerry and Emma—”

“Nadine worked your time trials, though, and she was one of the minions when Kerry had his accident.” Penny knew there wasn’t any need to elaborate on that particular A Level incident. “She told me you could easily average two-fifty on the Green Line, and that you hit over three hundred klicks an hour on West End.” She lowered her voice slightly as if divulging a secret. “She also said when you were looking for Kerry that, um, time he was racing, the flight data on your broom said you topped three-fifty as you cut across the grounds—”

“That’s fast.” Alex held up her beverage glass. “That’s racing speed.”

Jario jumped in before Annie—who was trying not to look impressed by what she was hearing—could say anything. “Also, Kerry flew patrol during Day of the Dead, and you worked triage: neither of those were shabby.”

Penny nodded once. “Like we said, people knew about you two, and here we were, thinking about how we were gonna have you sharing the floor with us. It was fairly intimidating, but at the same time—we thought we could do something with this.

“We hated how we were treated when we came up from the first floor, and that treatment caused one of us to leave. Given the rumors that you guys had pretty had top proficiencies in every class—” Once more Annie and Kerry exchanged incredulous glances, surprised by what they were hearing. “—there was little chance you were going to leave, but you could end up hate being with the upper levels.”

“And we didn’t want you hating us.” Jario leaned his forearms against the table. “We didn’t know if you were going to become friend, but we sure didn’t want you to be enemies.”

 

Annie and Kerry were Scary.  Hey, that kinda rhymes!  And this is the first time we’ve learned about Speed Demon Annie on a broom:  now we know how she can zoom along at three hundred kilometers an hour and not blink an eye.  And they were out there, as A Levels, getting their hands dirty.  But it’s the classes and other sorts of bad assery that got them noticed.  You have to love that Darius was afraid he was gonna get bounced from the team to make room for these two, and that’s probably something he should keep in mind for next racing season as well:

 

“Well—” Annie brushed a strand of hair from her face. “I’m happy how things turned out.”

“So am I.” Kerry looked at Kahoku and smiled. “It’s good we got to know you.”

“Yes, over Starbucks.” Annie actually giggled. “That first time Alex invited us in, that was really when we knew we’d be friends.”

Penny reached over and patted Annie’s hand. “I think I hoped for it that first time Alex and me met you guys in Berlin, but that day in Starbucks: that was—” She looked down for a moment as she looked down. “Magical.” They all laughed at the in-joke, and as soon as they grew quiet Penny got to the core of what she’d wanted to say. “You guys are gonna be the C Levels next year, and all the A Levels are coming up—”

“Yeah, I heard that.” Both Annie and he were told by Professor Semplen earlier that day that they’d lost only one student this school year, and theirs was the only coven that had all their A Levels moving up to the next level. “We’re gonna have a full floor.”

“You’re gonna have five kids from five different countries from four different continents, and all of them from Normal backgrounds.” Alex shook her head. “They’re gonna feel what it’s like to be outside the fishbowl for the first time, and—”

Penny smirked. “And they’re gonna have you guys to show them what it’s like to hang with the big kids. There are good things, though: we heard that Torres is coming alone with transformation magic, and Juanico and Piuugattuk are supposed to be pretty good sorceresses—”

“No supposing: they are.” Annie knew this from her times as one of Helena’s A Level minions. “They have considerable talent.”

“Same with Torres.” Kerry sat back and stuffed his hands into his jacket pockets. “She’s a little more advanced than the others in the class.”

Alex turned to Kerry. “Yazdi and Couture are supposed to be good fliers, too. Professor Semplen is already talking about getting them to try out for the B Team.” She nodded towards him. “Maybe you can help out there.”

“Anyway . . .” Penny moved forward in her chair so she could glance at both her friends. “Make them feel welcome; help them become part of the coven; be their friends. And when you come to the end of the next level—” A bright smile slowly spread across her face. “Make sure you make this message the most important you teach them.”

 

Everyone likes to make the “magical” joke.  I wonder if Isis has a unicorn the kids can get pictures with, instead of one of those squid-things hiding in the outer walls so they can feel extra magical.  And post the pictures on Facebook, where everyone will argue about it being a photoshop job.  Because.

There you have it:  five A Levels coming up next school year, and two kids to show them how to fit in and make them feel welcome.  And if anyone could do that, they can, because, in a way, Annie and Kerry are the best examples of their coven.  It’s going to be an interesting C Level.

It’s also time to start saying goodbye to the school.  And in the next scene, that’s exactly what happens . . .