Tunes and Trailways

It’s a lovely morning, with the sun shining and the temps in an area where I can enjoy wearing a long skirt and a flowing top–though the Weather Channel tells me it’s only forty-two outside, but it feels a lot warmer.  I’ll stick with my feels, particularly since I’ll be inside all afternoon getting a full-on mani/pedi.

Lotsa, lotsa, lotsa writing yesterday.  There was the scene I posted yesterday, a large part of which was written in the morning from six-thirty to eight-thirty.  Then I got into Chapter Three, and started in on the first scene for that, stopping long enough to watch Orphan Black.  By the time I’d decided I’d had enough, I’d written nine-hundred and forty-five words, which given the hundred I’d written in the morning meant I’d put in a solid day of writing.

Throughout the afternoon, however, I spent time getting the kid’s song list together, which, I have to say, is fun.  It’s a bit telling in their musical tastes that of all the songs on Kerry’s list, only two of the so-far sixteen songs listed were produced after he was born, while on Annie’s list all of the songs were produced after she was born, with the oldest song on her lift coming when she was two years old.  Kerry’s is a conglomeration of old prog and soft rock/pop, while Annie goes for Pop Princess/Indie Queen feel.  And, as always, listening to her stuff introduces me to a lot of different music, and it’s only a matter of time before I see if she’d like a few artists I’ve never normally given a listen.

Needless to say, this has also got my mind going on the events that are going to happen during the B Level Samhain Dance.  I’ve already received some suggestions about costumes–fun ones, I should mention–but there is one song in particular that I can see being asks for, and if I go in that direction–and trust me, I likely will–Annie is gonna break loose and bust some Dark Witch moves.  Just running the images for the scene through my head last night, put a huge smile on my face.

That’s me:  always thinking of different ways to make life fun for my kids when I’m not putting them through hell.

The first of three scenes has started, and I’m probably closer to the end of it than I am the beginning.  It’s 27 August, 2012, and that’s Travel Day for all the kids at Salem.  We know how Annie travels:  we saw it in the first scene of the last novel.  And Kerry sort of travels the same way now that he knows about witches and magic and jaunting.  However, his folks aren’t hip to that yet, so there’s a bit of the ol’ smoke and mirrors going on . . .

 

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

When the doorbell rang, Kerry didn’t need to check the time: his travel package said Ms. Rutherford would arrive at seven-twenty to take him to the train station, and his case worker was extremely punctual. He checked the clock in the lounge as he headed for the front door: it was seven-twenty.

Ms. Rutherford stood in the frame of the open outer door. She was young black woman dressed in gray business skirt and jacket, a cream colored blouse, and matching gray wedges. Slung over her right shoulder was the large tan purse she carried everywhere—one big enough to hold a tablet, mobile, and just about anything else The Foundation might give her depending upon whatever she might need that she couldn’t handle with her magic. “Good morning, Kerry.”

“Good morning, Ms. Rutherford.” He stepped back and to the side. “Please, come in.”

“Thank you, Kerry.” She entered the house and walked into the lounge with Kerry following. She stopped in the middle of the lounge to greet his parents. “Good morning, Mr. Malibey; Mrs. Malibey.”

Davyn and Louise stood in the arch separating the dinning room from the front lounge. Both were dressed for work, with Louise being a little more casual as she wasn’t in a management position like her husband. Davyn nodded. “Good morning, Ms. Rutherford.”

Louise smiled and nodded as well. “Good morning, Ms. Rutherford. You look wide awake for someone up this early.”

“I could say the same for you, Mrs. Malibey. I haven’t been up that long: I came into Cardiff last night and spent the night downtown.” She turned to Kerry for a moment, then back to his parents. “I knew we’d have a long day ahead of us, and I didn’t want to get held up coming in from London.”

“Kerry’s been up early as well.” Louise turned towards her son for a moment. “He was up before five getting ready.”

He looked up at Ms. Rutherford standing to his right. “I gotta get back on Salem time, don’t I?”

“Indeed you do.” She addressed his parent. “They start the day early at school. Most of the students are up around five preparing for the day ahead.”

 

Yeah, get ready for that day, Kerry.  Even though you won’t set foot in your new room, for four days, you’re back on the time you know you’re gonna have to work for nine months.  I should say, back on the schedule–you won’t be back on Boston time for a few more days.

There is small talk among Ms. Rutherford and Davyn and Louise, and that brings us to Kerry’s actual departure–

 

He stood in the entry to the lounge, his roll-on bag at his side and wearing his backpack. “Yeah, all set here.” Kerry gazed across the room to where his parents were standing together. “Well, I’m, uh, off, I guess.” He stood waiting to see if they would do anything.

His father dropped his sight for a second as he cleared his throat. “Have a good trip, Son.”

His mother’s headed half-nodded, half-jerked, as if she were having difficulty knowing what to do. “Have fun at school, Kerry. And lets us know when you get there.”

“I will, Mom.” He kept his face unmoving and expressionless. “I’ll send you an email when I get into my dorm.”

“Good. Then I guess we’ll see you when you come home for Christmas.”

He cleared his throat. “Yeah, I’ll see you then.” He waved slowly. “Take care, guys. Bye.” Kerry turned and headed for the front door. Once out on the walk he was vaguely aware that Ms. Rutherford was right beside him; out of the corner of his vision he saw her make a hand motion at the black salon with the tinted window parked at the end of the walkway, and the lid to the trunk popped opened. As they reached the car he saw Ms Rutherford get in on the driver’s side: Kerry placed his luggage inside the trunk and headed for the rear passenger side as the lid closed automatically. Seconds later he was inside, sitting comfortably with his backpack between his legs. As soon as the rear lid locked the driver put the car in gear and drove away.

Kerry didn’t bother looking back.

 

When I say Kerry suffers from a fear of abandonment, that all comes out of the lack of affection coming from both parents.  Maybe they’re afraid to give hugs to their only child in front of a stranger, but still:  that ending is cold, way the hell Queen Elsa of Frozen cold.  Annie is going to tell Kerry something later in this school year, and though it will take him some time to comprehend, when the time come he’ll take it to heart and never let it go.

We are here with this mess:

Eighteen thousand is looking pretty good at the moment.

Eighteen thousand is looking pretty good at the moment.

After two weeks I’m close to twenty thousand words, which I might pass tonight.  By this time next week I will for sure out of Part One and into Part Two, and the kids will finally be “home”.

And then I’ll see what fresh hell I can unleash upon them.

The Loneliness of the Dark: Calling America

Unlike when I started the last scene of Chapter Two, I had fun writing this.  I didn’t too much last night because, well, Forbidden Planet was on–again–and I was shifting attention between that and what I had before me on the computer, but this morning I was once more in the grove, and in two hours I managed almost thirteen hundred words.  Actually between eating, the bathroom, and other distractions, I only wrote about ninety minutes, so it was a good time to get a story down.

Last night I picked up from where Kerry said his hellos to Emma–who, it turns out, was–hey, see for yourselves . . .

 

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

“I was talking to someone.” She nodded. “I was just getting ready to log off when you called.” She leaned towards her own display. “What time is it there?”

“About three-fifteen.” He chuckled. “It’s early.”

“Why are you up now?”

Kerry caught a look on Emma’s face that made him believe that she was perhaps hoping he got up in the middle of the night to call her. “I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep.” He had little intention of telling her that an unusual dream had pulled him out of his slumber. “I wanted to talk with someone—”

“And here I am.” Emma gave here best smile as a response. “Everything else okay?”

“Yeah, it’s . . .” He made a face as he thought about the conversation with his parents about nine hours earlier. “It’s okay.”

Emma didn’t appear to believe that everything was okay. “How’s your vacation going?”

He shrugged. “About as well as I expected.” He chuckled. “How about you? Everything good on your end?”

“Oh, yeah.” She looked away from the computer for a moment, then yelled at an unseen visitor. “I’m talking to a friend.” Emma turned back to the computer, rolling her eyes. “My little sister’s bugging me.”

 

Wait, what’s this?  Emma has a . . . sister!  Tell us more!

 

“I didn’t know you had a sister.” While Kerry figured there were a great deal he didn’t know about Emma, her family was something she never talked about. Then again, which of us did talk about our families last year?

“Yeah, I got a little sister.” She turned her head and yelled once again. “Go away, brat.” She returned to the conversation, slowly shaking her head. “She’s been a pain in my butt all summer.”

 

I actually had fun writing those parts, because I can just imagine two sisters of that age, and the sort of stuff they do and say to each other (like Emma confronting her and saying, “I’m gonna kill you!” and maybe being able to do that one day.)

Of course, this brings up something that Kerry’s never had to worry about:

 

“She keeps asking me if I think she’ll end up coming to Salem when she gets older.” Emma set her shoulders before lowering her voice. “Good thing I don’t have to tell here the truth about how you really get accepted to school.”

He nodded. “At least not until the end of the next school year.” Kerry knew as well as Emma that once their B Levels were completed, they would return home with their case workers, reveal to their parents what they actually learned at school, and disclose their true natures.

“Yeah, well . . .” Emma half-smiled. “I don’t think I’ll have a problem.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Because so far my parents have been pretty good about school.” She smiled again. “So far they’ve believed all the stories—”

“So far you ain’t dropped the W Word on them.” Kerry almost chuckled. “It might be different then.”

Emma shrugged. “We’ll see.”

Kerry felt he was about to get a question thrown in his direction, and latched back on to something Emma brought up. “How old is your sister?”

The young witch smirked. “Three years younger: she just turned nine in July.”

“That means she’ll be starting her A Levels—”

“Stop it.”

“When you’re a D Level.”

“Oh, gosh.” Emma looked away and sighed. “I don’t know if I could stand her being at school—”

“Yeah, well, if you think she’s annoying now, wait until she finds out her big sister’s a witch.” He switched the conversation, but kept it centered on Emma. “Who were you chatting with?”

 

This is something that’s not been discussed so far, and that’s the question of siblings, particularly in Normal households where one child is Aware.  You’ll discover that many of the instructors have siblings, and that some of them eventually passed through Founder’s Gate before or after their brother or sister in the story, and in some cases a few of the instructors have either had children attend school, or have children who will.

It’s not always a sure thing, however, and stories will come out as the novels progress.  We may even get to see the family members of instructors and students show up in later stories . . .

Kerry discovers that Emma was speaking to Nadine about getting on the racing team, and that makes Kerry wonder if their ears were burning or something.  He doesn’t want to talk racing, so he goes in another direction and asks if she spoke with anyone else . . .

 

“Um, yeah: Professor Douglas and Director Mossman stopped back about a month ago. They said they had business in Denver and that they thought they’d stop in and see how I was doing.”

“That’s nice.” Kerry didn’t want to mention that when witches could jaunt long distances, “stopping in” wasn’t really that big of a deal. They probably used Denver as a cover for her parents. “You guys do anything?”

“We went to lunch and talked about things, you know.” Emma lowered her voice once more “Can I ask you something?”

“Sure.”

“Is there like, you know, something going on with them?”

Kerry suppressed a smile. “Like?”

“I don’t know.” Emma sat up and made a face like she was thinking about how to present her next statement. “They seemed awfully . . . close.”

As far as he knew he and Annie—and a few other students—were the only ones who knew that Wednesday and Isis were a couple, and since he’d promised not to say anything until they were officially out, he remained non-committal. “I think that’s possible. I know they went to school together and they’re friends, but I’ve seen that same thing.”

Emma nodded slowly. “I just never figured Professor Douglas was like, you know—” She whispered out the word. “A lez.”

 

Um, Emma?  I’m not sure your Mistress of Spells would want to know that you find her sexual orientation perhaps strange.  She’s probably not really homophobic, but I’m sure there are parts of the new world in which she inhabits that seem more different than others, and that’s one.

Kerry, though–well, he’s gonna have fun . . .

 

Kerry kept his face controlled, as Emma’s statement hit him the wrong way and he didn’t want their conversation to turn strange. Instead he laughed it off. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that . . .”

No, I didn’t mean it that way.” A slight panic began creeping into Emma’s voice. “It’s just that I never saw her as being gay.”

“Maybe because she looks like everyone else?” Now Kerry did laugh. “I mean, look at Erywin and Helena. You’d never know with them, either, until you saw them together.” Like I have.

Emma looked down and shook her head. “I don’t know how you can call them by their first names.”

“Who?”

“Professors Sladen and Lovecraft. Especially Lovecraft.” She shuddered. “She scares the hell out of me.”

“Helena’s not that bad, once you get to know her.” He shrugged. “And they’ve told me to address them by their given names when we’re not around other students at school, so it’s no big deal.” Not to mention I can address them by their given name since I’ve fought with Erywin and Annie against a bunch of Deconstructors that tried to kill us

 

Kerry’s not being mean; he’s just stating facts and being real.  And now we know:  Emma’s scared of Lovecraft.  And probably Lovecraft’s Favorite Student, too.  Speaking of which . . .

 

A sour look remained upon Emma’s face. “Yeah, I suppose.”

“They stopped by last month, too.”

Emma perked up. “Oh?”

“Erywin stopped in, picket me, and we went a talked a bit before hooking up with Helena in London.” He smiled. “I didn’t eat with them though—” His smile grew brighter. “Helena brought someone else to meet me for lunch.”

Emma wasn’t stupid, and she picked up on Kerry’s insinuation immediately. “That’s nice. How is . . .” A long time seemed to pass before Emma said her name. “Annie?”

 

That’s it, Kerry:  jab that knife between her ribs and twist.  The way he set up the conversation you know he wanted Emma to say her name–

Don't you have some meth to sell, Walt?

Hey, don’t you have some meth to sell?

And Emma had a hard time saying The A Name.  One could argue that Kerry is just being clueless, or one could argue that he was being mean.  I know which one, but I’m not saying.  But after a short chat about Annie–which makes Emma uncomfortable–Kerry switches gears once more:

 

“Everything but that.” Knowing that Emma didn’t want to talk about his soul mate, he veered in another direction. “Can I ask you a question?”

“Sure.”

“Do you think it’s weird that my closest friends at school are girls?”

Emma’s face pinched into a frown. “Why would I think that’s weird?”

“My parents did.” He slouched down into his chair. “We sorta had an—I guess you could say an argument of sorts about it.” After which I said some stupid stuff to shut up my mother . . .

“I don’t think so.” Emma shook her head. “You seem to related to us.”

“Wait—” He sat up again. “What do you mean, I relate to you?”

“You just do.” Emma looked back and forth, as if searching for information. “You seem to be more comfortable around girls. That’s probably why you have friends who are girls.”

Kerry had never considered that, nor had it come to his attention. With Nadine he’d bonded over music and magic. With Emma it had been flying and racing, and . . . Not gonna go to that last one, because it’s one-sided. And with Annie—no reason to examine why he was friends with Annie: friendship came with being in love. “I guess you’re right.”

“I know I am.” Emma had her own chuckle. “I mean, you’ve always been that way with me—”

“And with Annie.”

Time stretched out waiting for Emma’s reply. “And with Annie.”

 

Yeah, force that admission out of Emma again, dude!  That last line is enough to get Emma off to . . . wash her hair, yeah, that’s it, and Kerry is left alone once again.  Bringing about the end of the chapter . . .

 

Kerry closed Skype and returned to the darkness of his bedroom. Try as much as he wanted, he couldn’t speak with Emma about his feelings from last night, or tell her anything about the dream that woke him. This is why I wish Annie had a computer. He pushed the tablet to one side and opened a drawer. She’s probably up now, and I could have talked with her—probably while she eats breakfast. He removed several sheets of paper and a pen and set them on the table before him. For now I’ll have to settle for this . . .

He quickly organized his thoughts, set the pen against paper, and started the letter as he had each one this summer:

“My Darling Annie . . .”

 

So that’s Chapter Two out of the way, and Chapter Three awaiting my attention–and as you can see in the image below, I’ve rolled out of the novelette and into novella territory–

With a lot of smirking from Steven King, because I know how much he loves novellas--

With a lot of smirking from Steven King, because I know how much he loves novellas–

And with three more scenes in Chapter Three Part One will be done and I can finally get my kids back to school–or as they call it, “Home”.  I will point out that in one of the next three scenes the kids will have a short discussion on some of the things they went through during their A Levels–romantic things, that is–and an important question will be asked and answered about that time.  But as far as looking back on their trials and tribulations from their A Levels, that will pretty much be the only time they come up.  That’s because the kids are looking forward to their future–

And so am I.

The Loneliness of the Dark: Starting Out

I know there are studies that show that writers are able to alleviate their depression and sorrow through writing, and yet . . . we all know of at least one popular writer who ran the depression rails all the way to the end of the line and parked there forever.  That’s likely because other studies have shown that depression and creativity to hand-in-hand, and that’s one of the reasons so much artistic types are overcome by their demons, be it substance abuse and/or depression.

A lot of times we write to rid ourselves of our own demons, and that does help.  It also brings out moments where you, the writer, has to search your emotional closet looking for similar moments to mine for the entertainment of others.  It’s not fun, but depending upon your story, it’s often necessary.

Kerry’s in some dark spots right now in the story, and while I don’t like placing him there, it’s necessary.  Why?  Because . . . that’s the story right now.  I’m leading up to something, and while it’s not a nice thing to say, I gotta torture his ass just a little in their early chapters.  Not a lot was written last night, but I managed about six hundred and fifty words.  Part of it was due to my mood–I was more in a mood to kick back and just veg out a bit than getting into a story–part of it was not wanting to hurt Kerry some more, to dig into his soul and wound it once again.  His home live sucks, and he wants to be with the girl he loves.

And now there’s other crap at play . . .

 

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

Kerry’s eyes opened as he came out of the dream. He didn’t gasp for breath or jerk upright as characters did in movies when they awoke from a dream: he simply exhaled and rolled over onto his back, looking through the darkness at his his ceiling.

He had no idea how long he’d been in his dreamspace, but it hadn’t felt as if it’d been long. He remembered times with Annie when they’d spent an entire day, from sunrise until the next, talking, playing, laughing, enjoying each other’s company—and later, after the admissions of love, hugging, kissing, and cuddling. This time it was more like a quick “Hello, how are you?” and then back out into real life. Not to he had no idea who this person was who’d invaded the dreamspace he shared with his lovely Annie . . .

Kerry slowly drew back the covers and got out of bed. He quietly made his way out of the bedroom and walked the few steps to the toilet room. It wasn’t often that Kerry had to get up in the middle of the night to relieve himself, but for some reason now he found he needed to go badly. He sat and tried pushing the dream away, but the last thing the girl said stuck with him:

“You hold my life in your hands.”

He bowed his head and sighed. What did she mean by that? How is her life in my hands? I don’t even know her; how can I help someone I’ve never met? He finally put the dream out of his mind, finished up in the toilet room, and returned to his bedroom.

 

I’ve come out of a few dreams the same way as Kerry has, and it can be a bit of a shock.  I’ve never sat up in bed screaming, and don’t know anyone who has.  But it looks more dramatic on the screen when it show it that way, I guess.  And the dream was bothersome, because now Kerry’s got someone telling him he hold their life in their hands.  In his world, don’t think for a moment that dreams don’t have meaning.

And his mind wanders back to that world once he’s back in his bedroom . . .

 

It was impossible to return to sleep, however: the dream had left Kerry too wound up, and he didn’t bother getting into bed because he knew he would only toss and turn rather than return to sleep. Back at school he’d head off to the hospital and ask Nurse Gretchen for something that would let him sleep in ten minutes, then head off to Bed #2 for a couple of hours of sleep. There wasn’t any chance of that happening—not for another couple of weeks, at least.

Kerry chose to sit at his computer desk instead. He flipped on the small lamp to his left, casting light upon the desk and his tablet computer, while the rest of his room remained in darkness. He didn’t know what he wanted to do: usually he’d jump on the Internet and start reading whatever he could find, but this time he wanted to talk to Annie. If this had happened at school, he’d meet her in the Mezzanine Commons, in three hours time, and they’d discuss the dream over breakfast before heading off to—what class will I be in on Tuesday? He powered up his computer so he could check out the real schedule Ms. Rutherford had sent him, and not the fake one that came in his travel package . . .

His tablet was up and running after a few seconds, thanks to the modifications Salem Director of Security Isis Mossmaon performed on the system as a present for his last birthday. Kerry was about to bring up a browser and read the email attachment when he saw the Skype icon notification in the lower right hand corner pop up and display a familiar name. He checked the time on his computer—03:11—and performed a quick calculation in his head. Only a little after twenty hours there— His finger hovered over the notification icon. Why not see if she’s really on-line?

Kerry tapped the notification: Skype loaded and proceeded to call the user on the other end of the connection. A few seconds later—as Kerry was throwing up a spell that would keep the conversation localized around the desk—the call connected.

A red-haired girl wearing pajamas with unicorns on them stared back at him through his computer display. “Kerry?”

Kerry sat back and grinned. “Hi, Emma.”

 

Emma has pajamas with unicorns on them.  No word if they’re new, or if she’s worn them to the Midnight Madness.    You never know:  we may see them again.

There I left him–

The dark is never a fun place, particularly when you're alone . . .

The dark is never a fun place, particularly when you’re alone . . .

And I’ll return to him tonight so he can talk.

It’s not the person he wants to speak with, but . . . any port in a storm as they say.

Once Upon a Dreamspace Dreary

You wouldn’t know about it to look at it, but the eight hundred plus words I wrote for the latest scene took about two and a half hours.  I was super distractionable last night (is that a word?  Is now) and it seemed as if it were never going to get written—it damn sure wasn’t going to write itself, because my characters are too tired to do it without help, and guess who that is?

Also, after writing the longest scene of the novel, I turned around and wrote the second shortest.  Must be a “I need some time” thing happening there.  But, believe it or not, there is a lot happening in this scene.  It’s not just filler between one event an another:  it’s something more.

Here you go–you get it all.  Enjoy and be puzzled.

 

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

The second Kerry opened his eyes he recognized the dreamspace Annie and he shared. No matter the location there was always something that made him understand he was in a dream, and that his physical body was sound asleep. Most of the time it was because he was dressed in his pajamas, and he found it necessary to change into more suitable clothing.

Tonight it was easy to well he was in a dream: everything was a uniform gray, much like when he was was in the clouds near the top of Mount Katahdin prior to the Mile High Flight. He felt something solid under his bare feet, but it was hard to say if he were standing inside a structure or not: there was nothing here that gave any indication of shapes or forms near him—

“Hello, Kerry.”

It was a girl’s voice, though none he’d ever heard before—for certain it wasn’t Annie, for even here her faint Bulgarian accent came though. He quickly found the owner of that voice, however: she was standing directly across from him, perhaps eight meters away, slightly shrouded by the grayness. He wasn’t surprised that he’d heard her voice so clearly, for sounds and images came across far differently then they did in real life.

“You’re not Annie.” He didn’t shout, for there wasn’t a need. Just as she’d spoken in a normal voice, Kerry knew she’d hear him perfectly.

The girl took a step towards him. “No, I’m not.”

“You shouldn’t be here.”

Though she wasn’t completely clear yet, Kerry saw her look about. “And yet here I am.” She chuckled softly. “Can’t say why Annie isn’t here, but it’s probably a good thing, don’t you think?”

“I don’t know about that.” The gray spread away from his dreamspace visitor, and Kerry was able to see her clearly. While he couldn’t quite judge her height, he figured she wasn’t much taller than Annie or him. She wore a faded pair of jeans, sneakers, and a V-neck tee shirt. Her hair was shoulder length, curly, and a shade of red almost identical to his. Though he couldn’t make out her facial features well, even from this distance he saw she shared the same pale Irish complexion his mother and he possessed. “I’d rather Annie was here.”

The girl shrugged. “Maybe tomorrow night.”

Kerry finally found the opportunity to ask the question he wanted to ask at the start. “Who are you?”

The girl grinned. “You know who I am.”

“Afraid I don’t.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah.”

“Oh, well.” She snapped the fingers of her left hand. “Funny how memory works, isn’t it?” She took another step in his direction. “Don’t worry: in time we’re going to know each other well.”

Something twisted around in Kerry’s head, making him shiver even though there wasn’t any way he could feel a chill. “What do you mean?”

“You’ll see.” She motioned for Kerry. “Come a little closer.”

“Why?”

“Because eventually you’ll want to see me better.” She giggled. “You gotta trust me on that one, Red.”

Kerry took one step closer towards the girl, even though he thought getting closer to her was a bad idea as soon as it was mentioned. “How do you know that?”

“Know what?”

“That nickname.” He slowly took another step towards the strange girl. “Only Coraline uses that nick.”

“Oh, well . . .” When she smiled her teeth were bright against her alabaster skin. “You’ll find there’s a lot about you I know.” She she half-turned her head to the right as she pointed at him. “It’s you that needs to know about me. That’s why we’re finally meeting.”

Taking another step towards the girl made Kerry uneasy, but at the same time the urge to discover who she was and why she was here was a bit frightening. I should be able to make myself leave the space, but things are playing out for some reason. It’s like what happened with Annie and me in the last dream . . . “What’s some important about me getting know about you?”

“Because you need to understand—”

“Understand what?”

“Everything.” It was only after she winked at him that Kerry saw her eyes were as green as his. “You have to know everything.”

He finally forced himself to stop moving towards the girl, which seemed to surprise her. “Stop it.” After the evening he’d just had with his parents at dinner, he’d wanted to spend time with Annie talking and cuddling—not dealing with some dream sphinx. “Stop with the puzzles.”

“Sorry.” She stopped walking as well. “I forgot you’re analytical: you don’t deal with the abstract—at least not until you’ve had a chance to give it some thought.”

“Yeah.” He huffed out a semi-held breath. “Why do you want me to know everything about you.”

“Because . . .” She hooked her thumbs in the pockets of her jeans. “You hold my life in your hands.”

 

“You hold my life in your hands.”  Not like Kerry hasn’t done that already, but this is . . . something different.  How different?  You’ll find out–in time, of course.

So, there is only one scene to go in this chapter . . .

Looks like someone's making a Skype call to America.

Looks like someone’s making a Skype call to America.

And the novel is just over the fifteen thousand word mark.  This next scene may or may not throw it out of novelette size and into novella length, but if not, that will happen by the following scene, of that I’m certain.

And then it’s off to Berlin and a “Welcome to the Next Nine Months” meeting with a certain Chestnut Girl.

At Home With the Malibeys, the Final Questions

I’m back up to NaNo Word Count Speed once more.  Last night I wanted to finish this scene, even though I didn’t start working on it until after eight because I was tired and bored and I little afraid to say what needed to be said in the scene.  At least my face isn’t a total mess this morning, and the swelling has nearly vanished.

This last section of the scene was hard on me, because I had to hurt Kerry.  I know some of you are laughing because I’ve hurt Kerry plenty:  broken limbs, broken ribs, a few concussions, and a messed-up knee.  That stuff is easy to mend:  knit the bones, give bed rest, medication, and magic, and you’re good as new.

No, this time I had to hurt him.  He’s talked about it before, how his parents have been uncaring and unloving, and, in particular, his mother has said things to him that leads him to believe there are times she’d rather have a cat around the house than him.

And Kerry spoke up in a way at Mommy that probably isn’t going to please her–while, at the same time, she’s got some questions on her mind . . .

 

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

Louise stared back at her son for about five seconds before proceeding. “Annie, then. Tell me about her.”

“We’re in the same classes—” Kerry had already given some of this information to this mother not long after the first couple of letters, but figured he could fill in a few other details based around the fiction he’s been tutored on. “She’s also the only one in my level in my dorm, so we end up spending a lot of time together just because.” He shrugged, trying to appear nonchalant. “Because of that we spend a lot of time together studying, too. That’s one of the reasons we became friends.” That, and the fact we’ve known each other through out dreams since as far back as I can remember.

His mother appeared to consider Kerry’s words, staring at something over Kerry’s shoulder for about fifteen seconds. “Is she in that advanced class with you? When you mentioned that boy you know, you used plurals: ‘We hang with’; ‘We know’.” The right corner of Louise’s mouth curled upward into a tight grin. “And you did say you were in all the same classes together.”

There was something in his mother’s tone that he didn’t much care for, but he didn’t want to make another comment, not after his outburst moments before. He wasn’t certain what she was getting at, but he hoped she’s stop soon. “Yes, Mom: she’s in that class, too. We’re in every class together.”

“Who else from you year—”

“Level.”

“I’m sorry?”

“We say level, not year.” He smiled. “It’s just our term for things.”

 

That’s it, Kerry:  keep correcting your mother.  She’ll love you for it.

 

“Level, then.” His mother kept the sly grin in place. “Who else from your level is in the advanced class with you?”

“Um . . . no one.”

“Just you and Annie—right?”

Kerry nodded. “Yes. That’s right.”

“Hum.” Louise slowly interlaced her fingers and set her hands on the table. Her voice was softer, but the tone was nearly the same. “Kerry, do you like this girl? Do you like Annie?”

 

And here are where the loaded questions come in:  do you like this girl?  ‘Cause Mother wants to know.

 

The summer is almost over and now she wants to know how I feel about Annie? It had been their decision not to talk to their parents about their true feelings for each other, thought Kerry was aware that Annie’s mother knew a great deal more about how Annie felt for him. He agreed that he shouldn’t talk much about their relationship at school—and elsewhere. How could I tell my mother about our dream link without giving away what I am?

Kerry squirmed in his chair for a couple of moments. “She a friend, Mom—”

“Before this summer you never hand-wrote a letter in your life.” Louise unlaced her hands and set her left on in her lap, leaving her right one upon the table. “Now, every week, you write two, three letters.”

“I told you, that’s because she doesn’t have access to a computer or phone, so I can’t Skype or text her.”

“You could type and print out a letter.”

Kerry didn’t see a way around that question easily. “Annie asked me to write to her, so I do.”

“I know.” Louise tapped the table lightly. “And I know you, Kerry. You wouldn’t do that unless you liked her.”

As much as her relationship with her son may stink, Louise does know her son.  And when your computer savvy boy starts hand writing letters, then something’s afoot.  And, of course, his parents start taking the conversation of “You like a girl” into another direction:

 

His mother sighed. “We just want to make certain that you . . .” His mother slowly drew in a breath for a long, slow sigh as she looked up at the ceiling before speaking. “We don’t want you doing anything you could regret—”

Kerry started across the table and rolled his eyes. “Mom. What do you think I’m going to do?” He stared at his dinner with all sorts of thoughts running through his head. She’d die if she knew about all the times Annie and I shared a place to sleep . . . “And don’t worry: I’m not going to do anything stupid. I know better.”

“I know you’re smart—” His mother stressed the last word as if she were trying to prove that she didn’t believe it was true. “—but that doesn’t mean you know everything—”

“Mom, we already had that discussion at school with Doctor Gallagher.” The habit of addressing her as “Nurse Coraline” was strong, but during the times he was home alone he’d practiced using her other title, just in case. “It’s all right; you have nothing to worry about.”

 

You don’t know how hard it was to write “Doctor Gallagher”, because that’s not something my kids are used to saying.

 

His mother’s expression changed quickly from slightly smiling and somewhat concerned to coldly miffed. “You had that talk with the school doctor? When?”

“Back in March.” He didn’t need to think about the date: it was permanently etched in his mind.

“We never heard anything about this.” Louise glanced across the table for a moment, then back to Kerry. “We weren’t notified.”

“You didn’t need to be notified.” Kerry didn’t bother hiding his tone now: he was growing tired of feeling as if he was under interrogation. “When you signed the papers to send me to school your transferred your parenting rights to the school administration, and they usually let us choose if we want to do something.” He turned away from his mother, deadening her glare. “I was asked if by Doctor Gallagher if I wanted to have that talk, and left it up to me whether I wanted to have it, or not.” He let out a slow breath. “I said okay, and we talked.”

Silence descended over the dinner table. Kerry figured he’d said enough and there was nothing left remaining to speak about. “May I be excused?”

 

It’s never a good time to tell your parents that while you’re away at school you’re pretty much the master and mistress of your own decisions; they simply don’t like that.  Particularly control freaks like his.  And, Kerry:  you’re not about to be excused.  ‘Cause your mother has been hanging on your every word . . .

 

His mother pierced him with a stare. “What did you mean by ‘we’?” She leaned towards him. “You said we before, when you were talking about that girl—”

“Annie.” He barely croaked out her name.

Annie.” Louise didn’t raise her voice, but her tone betrayed her anger. “Did you have this talk with your school doctor with her there?”

Kerry knew he’d screwed up when he said “we”; he’d known it the second the word left his mouth, and he’d hope his mother would think that by “we”, he meant Nurse Coraline and him. He didn’t want to say why they were there: he wanted this to end. He needed this to end. “Mom—”

 

He didn’t so much screw up as his mother wants to know the meaning of every word and what he meant when he used them, and she’ll keep hammering away at him until he gives up the info she wants.  And it isn’t going to help that his father interjects with something from out of left field . . .

 

His father joined the conversation once more. “Kerry, did you do something with this girl? Something that made your doctor believe you both needed this talk?”

“No, Dad.” Kerry’s mind started racing as he thought about the best ways to spin the story so he didn’t say anything. “There wasn’t any—”

“Did you do something to Annie?” Louise’s voice started to grow louder as she started imagining her son being caught in the worst possible situation.

“No, I didn’t do anything.” He didn’t look at either his mother or father: Kerry didn’t want to meet anyone’s gaze. “I didn’t do anything; nothing happened.”

“Then why would you have this discussion together? Why?

 

Way to go, Dad:  throw it out there that maybe your son was caught doing something with Annie that he shouldn’t have done.  Just keep ramping up the pressure until something comes out, and you know it will, ’cause this isn’t going to end well for Kerry . . .

 

Because we had a vision . . . “Nothing happened—”

“Then why would you—”

Because I had a wet dream about Annie.” Kerry screamed out the words in this mother’s direction. He calmed himself enough to continue without yelling. “I had a wet dream, and I got freaked out by it—” I saw us together on our wedding night, and didn’t know what it meant at the time— “—and I went to the hospital and they called Coraline, the doctor, and she talked with me about what happened and asked if I wanted to have the talk—” He took a couple of deep, ragged breaths as he began returning to something close to normal. “—and before we did she found out from another counselor that something similar had happened with Annie—” She had the same vision months before, but couldn’t tell me about it because of an enchantment

Kerry closed his eyes as he lowered his head, fighting to control his breathing and his emotions. “We’re sorta like a couple at school: everyone knows that, everyone’s seen that. That’s why we had the talk together: because Coraline thought it was best we heard about this as a couple.” He swallowed once, then opened his eyes. “There, that’s what happened—” He turned to his mother. “Can I go now?”

Louise sat silently for several seconds before she hissed out her reply. “You’re excused.”

 

Yes, Newt, you can leave.  You can even take your shame with you.

 

Kerry bolted from his chair and trotted towards the stairs, running up to the first floor. He paused for a second at the top of the landing, seeing his red face in the large mirror his mother mounted there to “help the feng shui of the home.” He turned left and nearly ran into his bedroom, shutting and locking the door behind him.

It was only after he’d sat on the edge of his bed that the tears started. He’s said things that he swore he’d never tell anyone but those who already knew about the vision, but his parents badgering lead to him making mistakes, and those mistakes led to his revelations. I didn’t really say what happened, just the aftermath. He leaned over, his head nearly between his knees, as he sobbed as quietly as possible.

I’m allowed to be who I am at school. He sniffed, then decided it was better to let everything flow outward. I’m a witch and a sorceress, and I’m far more advanced than the other kids in our level. I’ve flown two miles into the air: I’ve raced another person at three hundred kilometers and hour. He sat up and wiped his cheeks dry. I’ve helped defend the school; I’ve fought monsters; I’ve saved people. I’ve been on a secret operation, and I’ve faced bad guys who wanted to kill me and others.

And all my parents do is embarrass me.

He lay back on his bed and waved his curtains closed, letting the room fall into shadow. Kerry levitated his glasses to his desk ,rolled over, and buried his wet face into his pillow.

He couldn’t wait to leave the summer behind and return to school.

 

I mentioned earlier that I had to hurt Kerry, and while nothing close to this ever happened to me, I’ve had conversations with my own parents, at Kerry’s current age, that felt more like badgering than just wanting to gather some information.  I never had “The Talk” with either of my parents:  my father didn’t want to give it (I found this out later in life), and my mother was so cold when she asked me if I “wanted to know about sex” that I just said no, and left it at that.  I was also about fifteen at the time, and had read enough of her books over the last five years to get an clear understanding of how reproduction worked.

I think my reaction would have been worse than Kerry’s.

Last night saw eighteen hundred words written, and this last scene was the largest of the new novel.  And . . . there’s something coming–

If you look closely, you'll probably fear what is meant by the titles of the next two scenes.

If you look closely, you’ll probably fear what is meant by the titles of the next two scenes.

Is it a good something?

Define good for me.

At Home With the Malibeys, Button Pushing

Before we get to the fun with our favorite Cardiff Kid, a side track into my life, and how crazy I can get at times.

Last night, after work, I went out for a nice, thirty minute drive, to see a wonderful lady who proceeded to shoot electricity into my face.  Yes, I started on electrolysis last night, and it was an experience, having your facial hairs shocked out of your body one at a time.  Actually, more like shocked until they are dead, and then plucked away.

I was in the chair for two hours, and there was pain.  I spent most of the time tense and clutching an armrest in one hand and a grounding bar in the other.  (Yeah, you gotta let that juice flow through you, baby.)  And when the two hours were over, most of the left side of my face and parts of my chin were swollen and numb, and stayed that way for a while–like, for the rest of the night–and I looked like I was attacked by bees.

I mean, it wasn't that bad . . .

I mean, it wasn’t that bad . . .

I’m going back for my next session next Monday after letting everything grow out for two days, which will make getting all the gray hairs easier.

So then the right side of my face will look like this.

So then the right side of my face will look like this.

There’s a lot of redness and just a bit of puffiness this morning, but as Cosima Niehaus once told one of her clone sisters, “Thank god for concealer.”  And it will be getting a workout today.

The personal horror show is over, let’s get back to the one starting up in my story.

Kerry is starting to get a bit of shit from him folks–and, yes, I did write after all the stuff I’ve shown you above.  Almost a thousand words of stuff, actually.  Kerry’s parents–well, his mother mostly, it seems–find it a little hard to believe their baby we-still-don’t-know-he’s-a-witch boy would have friends who are girls instead of hanging with the boys.  And that gets addressed.

 

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

Kerry slowly turned towards his mother, unsure if he’d heard her question. “What?”

“Do you have any friends at school who are boys?”

“Well, there’s a guy in the advanced class I’m taking who we hang with a little after class, and a couple of others we know in other classes, but—” He looked down at his fish and chips while clearing this throat. “Not really.”

His mother’s fingers lightly tapped against the table top. “Not really what?”

“I mean, I don’t really hang out with them.” He shrugged. “Not like, you know, close friends.”

His father decided to join the conversation. “So almost all your friends are girls?”

Kerry half-turned his head in his father’s direction. “Yeah, I guess.” He shrugged. “Is there anything wrong with that?”

Louise wrapped her hand around her glass of mineral water. “It might not be a bad idea if you had some male friends—” She looked across the table at her husband. “And not just this Girl Who Writes.”

Kerry heard the capital letters on each of the last three works, and he did his best to push any nasty comebacks aside. “I don’t know why it’s a big deal I don’t have any close friends who are guys—”

 

There’s that slam again, and this time, as I point out, Kerry’s hearing Mom capitalizing those words.  Again, wait for what happens there, and you’ll find out Mom is using some of Kerry’s geekness against him.

 

His mother shook her head. “You did when you were at school here.”

“No, I didn’t, Mom.” He scoffed loudly. “I didn’t have any friends here; everyone thought I was a strange American kid with a funny accent—remember? The only reason you think I had friends is ‘cause I told you the moment people found out you worked for the BBC, they wanted to know if I could get them tee shirts and stuff.” He pushed his half-eaten wrapper of food away. “Jeez.”

 

Kerry’s usually pretty calm and cool–when he’s not crying, yeah–but now he’s getting a bit flustered.  And kids from California have a funny accent?  Dude . . .

 

“I agree with your mother—” Davyn seemed to lean a little further forward, if that were possible. “Having some boys your age as friends—”

“Is boring.” Kerry couldn’t understand what the big deal was about his choice of friends. They were never like this when I was going to school here. “Besides, Salem is mostly girls anyway—it used to be an all-girls school, you know.” He turned from his father to his mother, and back. “Since it’s mostly girls, it makes sense that I’d make friends with them, right?”

“All the more reason I’d think you’d want to hang out with some boys.” He father sat back, chuckling. “There’s safety in numbers, isn’t there?”

 

Yeah, watch out, Kerry!  Those girls have cooties, and if you’re not careful, before you know it they’ll wanna do stuff like hold hands and kiss and sleep with you, and tell you all about how they’re going to marry you and . . .

Oops.  Too late.

Kerry starts asking his own questions, and . . .

 

“Only if you think the girls are out to get you.” Kerry decided to try and push the conversation back on his parent. “Didn’t you have any girls as friends, Dad?”

Davyn’s response was immediate. “No.”

Kerry needed a few seconds to comprehend his father’s answer. “You’re kidding.”

“He’s not.” Louise smiled at her husband. “Your father was quite popular with the women before we met.”

His father smiled back.  “The women I knew loved the accent.”

Kerry stared straight ahead through half-closed eyes. “I don’t want to know.” He turned back to his mother. “What about you, Mom? Didn’t you have any guys who you were just friends with?”

Unlike with his father, his mother didn’t answer for almost ten seconds. “Well, yes, there were a couple—”

Kerry raised his right hand as if he were celebrating a victory. “There you go—”

“They were gay.”

“Oh.” Kerry pursed his lips and blew out a raspberry. “I see.”

 

As I was told yesterday, the implications that his parents could be forming are (1) Kerry is a playa, or (2) Kerry is gay.  How do his parents get those ideas?  Well . . . they pretty much were that before they found each other and got married.  Makes you wonder if Louise figured she was getting the Bay Catch of the Day when she landed Davyn, because he’s got that Richard Burton accent thing going.  As Kerry says, I don’t want to know.

But, you know, moms being moms, she wants to know all about these . . . girls.  And now the uncomfort level is about to get cranked, and if you pay close attention, Kerry sort of gives away a little of the game in the process before–

 

His mother wanted to know more about Kerry’s choice of friends. “So, how do you know these girls?”

He looked up and nearly rolled his eyes. “Mom.”

“Mom, what? Don’t I have a right to know about your friends?”

Kerry wanted to tell her it was none of her business, but figured he would tell his parent as much of the truth as they wanted to know, then head for his room. “Nadine’s in the advanced class we’re in—”

“We’re?”

“Annie and I: we’re in an advanced class together, and Nadine’s there.”

“I see. Go on.”

He cleared his throat. “Nadine is also my keyboard tutor—”

“Wait?” Davyn cocked his head to one say. “A keyboard tutor?”

“Yeah. First day of school I found the school’s collection of keyboards, and the head of the Arts and Music Department, Professor Ellison, and I started talking. He found out I like a lot of old music, and asked me if I wanted to learn how to play better.” He nodded slowly, turning back to his mother. “He got Nadine to tutor me on different technologies and things like that, on top of learning to be a better player.”

For the first time during the conversation Louise seemed impressed. “I didn’t know that.”

Kerry shrugged. “All you had to do was ask about some of the stuff I do there.”

His mother didn’t care for the implication that she was uninterested in her son. “And Emma?”

“We’re in almost all the same classes, and she likes racing.” There’s a few other things that you don’t need to know about her, though . . . “Also, there aren’t a lot of Americans in our level, and she still sort of thinks of me as one.”

Davyn almost laughed. “Must be strange being an ex-pat in your own country.”

Kerry chuckled. “There’s so many kids from everywhere that you start thinking at times like we’re in our own little country.”

His mother snorted. “I can imagine—” She wasn’t interested in all the students at Kerry’s school—just one more in particular. “Now about The Girl Who Writes—”

Kerry had finally reached the point where he wasn’t about to take any more of his mother’s passive-aggressive attacks. “She’s not a Doctor Who episode, Mom. She has a name: it’s Annie. Okay?” It was only after he uttered the last word that he realized he had started breathing hard due to his anger.

 

–He starts to lose it on his mother.  You’re picking on the woman he loves, Louise–not that she knows that, or, as you will discover, she’d give much of a shit about.

Louise is referencing the Doctor Who episode The Girl Who Waited, which dealt with Amy being split into two parts, with one of them living alone through just over thirty years.  Given what his parents do at the BeeBee, it’s possible his father probably managed some of the sound effects processes for the episode, and his mother may have help on the visual effects.  Needless to say, the episode doesn’t end on a completely happy note, and Louise is likely jerking her son around a little, playing on his love of the show while at the same time kinda pointing out, without really knowing, that they both are waiting for this summer to end.  This was what Kerry meant when he said to Annie in London, “Better than The Girl Who Waits,” though Annie replied she does wait, and that eventually led to a tear running down her cheek . . .

Yeah:  Mother of the Year here.  I wonder what she’d say if she knew her son could blast her across the room?

Hey, how about a look at my novel so we end on a happy note?

Hey, how about a look at my novel so we end on a happy note?

At Home With the Malibeys, the Start of Dinner

I swear I’m not trying to rush into this story, but I spent most of the afternoon and evening working on this part–well, most of the afternoon was spent trying to futz around with the new Google Maps to make out a “fake route” for Kerry, because once I see a shiny toy like that, I have to make it mine.  While it would seem there are bugs to get ironed out in the new Google Maps to make the itinerary you’ll see below, it likely is coming.

I wrote almost fifteen hundred words over the course of several hours, because I wanted to get into this part of the story.  We didn’t get to see much of Kerry’s home life in the last novel, but this time we’re starting off with a little slice, and they’ll be more to come when we get into Yule holiday.  But right now in the story it’s two weeks before Kerry lights out of Cardiff, and the family has sat down for dinner . . .

 

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

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday were the days that Kerry’s mother Louise went into work at the BBC, usually commuting with his father, Davyn. Not only was Kerry left alone on those days, but the evening dinner usually consisted of take way, mostly Indian and Chinese, though fish and chips and kababs also made their appearance, and once in a while buggers and pizza would grace the dinner table.

Tonight dinner didn’t arrive until just after nineteen hours, due to traffic and a delay at the restaurant. Kerry’s parents picked up fish and chips, and while this has always been one of his favorites, since having the fish and chips at the school, the Cardiff fare simply wasn’t as good. He never let on, however, because he didn’t want to have a discussion about why the Salem food was so much better.

After all, when it’s made by artificial people using magical means, it was hard for Normals to match the results.

The seating was always the same: Davyn sat at one end of the table with his back to the family room, while Louise sat across from him with her back to the main lounge. Kerry sat between them, facing the wall separating the dining room from the kitchen, with his father to his left and his mother to his right. Even when they lived in California they ate in the same configuration when they all ate together. It was only during this summer home, after spending nine months at school with Annie that Kerry understood what Coraline told him that night he went to the hospital after his vision: all the girls save Annie sit on his right.

Even his mother.

 

That last part . . . there will be an answer, of sorts, as to why Annie is always to Kerry’s left, and he to her right.  Just give me another couple of hundred thousand words to get there, will ya?

 

His parents spent almost ten minutes going over their events of the day before Louise finally got around to checking up on her son. “How was your day, Kerry? Did you do anything interesting?”

Kerry actually had something interesting happen, something he’d expected for a few weeks. “My travel package came today.”

“What’s that?” His father barely looked up from his chips.

“My travel package for school arrived.” Kerry rubbed his hands against his thighs. “You know: tickets and itinerary. All the stuff I need to get to the staging point for returning students.”

“Oh.” Davyn finally turned towards Kerry, wiping his hands clean. “It’s time for you to return already?”

“Yeah, Dad.” Kerry tried not to sound sullen when he answered. “I told you about this last Thursday.”

“Hum.” His father shook his head. “It must have slipped my mind.”

“Where are you, um, staging this year, dear?” Louise barely remembered Kerry mentioning this last week, but didn’t want her son to think they were completely uninterested.

“Berlin.”

“Berlin? In Germany?”

“One and the same.” He fought hard to keep from rolling his eyes. Mom’s smarter than that: she’s trying to make conversation so Dad doesn’t look like he doesn’t care . . .

Vaguely remembering that last year Kerry stayed in London for a few days before heading to Amsterdam, she decided to see if he was doing the same this year. “How are your plans for this year? Staying in London again?”

Kerry shook his head. “Nope. Ms. Rutherford is coming here early on the twenty-seventh, and we’re taking a car to Cardiff Central, then the train into Paddington, a car from there to Liverpool Station, the train from there out to Stansted Airport, and from there I fly to Berlin.” He nibbled at a piece of fish. “Gonna make for a long day.”

 

That is the route as I worked it out.  It looks like this:

 

Car from home to Cardiff Cental
Train from Cardiff Central to Paddington
Car from Paddington to Liverpool
Train from Liverpool to Stansted Airport
Flight from Stansted Airport to Berlin Tegel Airport
Car from Berlin Tegel Airport to Crowne Plaza Berlin–City Ctr Nurnberger

 

There you have it.  You can probably figure out how he’s really going to travel, but for the sake of continuing to fool the parents, that’s what his itinerary says and what the tickets show.

Oh, and you can almost see the air quotes around “staging” when Louise says the word.

 

His father nodded. “Certainly sounds that way. Wouldn’t it be easier for you to leave for school from London?”

“Probably, but that’s not how The Foundation does thing. Berlin is the staging area for all the returning students from Europe, Western Asia, and most of Africa. Last year they staged out of Madrid, and, I think, next year we stage out of Paris.” He didn’t want to say he’d heard that from Annie during their last dream together.

Louise snorted as she played with her food. “Still doesn’t sound efficient.”

“Apparently it works, though. Gives The Foundation time to gather everyone up, and lets the students have some time in a different city every year.”

“Do you know which cities they visit?” When Kerry had returned home after school in early June, Davyn seemed primarily concerned with how The Foundation was able to ship students back and forth to various parts of the world. Kerry figured he was getting a feel for the sort of costs that were run up transporting kids every year.

Kerry nodded. “Amsterdam, Paris, Madrid, Rome, and Berlin. Last year the returning students were in Madrid, Berlin this year, next year Paris. Then I think . . .” He searched for something Annie had mentioned off-hand during their last dream. “We go to Rome and then back to Amsterdam. I remember hearing something about you always end up your last staging year in the city where you started.” Assuming you don’t start jaunting off to Salem by that time.

 

I’ve run through, in my mind, of course, all the cities that the Foundation is currently using for staging, and I even worked out the line.  A couple of things here, though:  once again, we are working with five points–like in a pentagram–and three of these cities are the locations for the main headquarters for The Foundation.  The Protectors headquarters (they are like The Foundation police) is located in Berlin, the Guardians headquarters (we know these guys) is located in Amsterdam, and the main Foundation headquarters is located in Paris.  How ironic that Annie and Kerry started out in the main city of the people they did a field operation for a half-year later.  One might imagine something dark and nefarious about that, but no:  it just happened to be in the schedule for the A Levels.

Now that travel is out of the way, the parental units try to do the small talk thing with the young don’t-know-he’s-a-witch-yet person:

 

Silence returned to the dinner table for almost a minute as everyone caught up on the food before them. Louise once more broke the silence. “You seem happy about going back.”

Kerry wasn’t going to try and hide his joy. “I am.”

“You were never like this when you were returning to school here—”

“That’s because it was the Cardiff schools, Mom.” Kerry tried to keep his tone as snide-free as possible, but given his hatred for time in the Cardiff school system, he wasn’t completely successful.

Davyn thought he’d try to lighten the mood by changing the subject. “I guess you’re looking forward to seeing your friends again.”

“Yeah.” Thinking about the people he knew who’d return to school with him lightened his mood considerably. “It’ll be great seeing them again.”

His father placed his folded arms on the table and leaned against them. “Who are some of your friends?”

“Well, there’s Nadine, and there’s Emma—” He blushed slightly as he grinned. “And Annie.”

His mother addressed her husband. “You know, the girl who writes all the time?”

 

Remember The Girl Who Writes, because it’s gonna make for some problems in a bit . . .

 

“Yes, that one.” Davyn turned back to his son. “Anyone else?”

Kerry didn’t have to think about that one. “A few of the instructors, also.”

“They have names?”

“Sure. There’s Erywin and Helena—you met them, Mom—and there’s Deanna and Wednesday, and Vicky.” He considered the others he knew. “There’s also Professor Kishna and Professor Semplen, but I don’t knew them well enough to call them by their given names.”

Louise eyed her son hard. “I was going to ask about that.”

“Yeah, some of the instructors want you to address them by their given names when you’re in private—” He realized he was missing someone. “Oh, and there’s Coraline—she’s the school doctor—and Trevor, our librarian and archivist.”

“I see.” Louise set her right knuckles against the bottom of her chin. “Those first three, though: those are classmates?”

“Yes, they are. Annie and Emma are in my level, and Nadine is an older—”

“Don’t you have any classmate friends who are boys?”

 

And leave it to Louise Malibey, mother of Kerry, to find a button to push.  “What?  Don’t you hang out with any boys?”  Yeah, push that button–push it!

So here we are–

Looking more like something I'd do for NaNoWriMo right now.

Looking more like something I’d do for NaNoWriMo right now.

–Eleven and a half thousand words into the new story, and only a little over a week is gone.  Not a bad pace, if I should say so myself.  It’s likely I won’t get much done tonight, however, as I’m off to get my face zapped again after work.  But I do wanna jump back into this scene, and into the next.  They are important.

Oh, and do you recall Annie telling Kerry in their last dream that there wasn’t any love in his house?

Yeah, remember that . . .