Inside the Walls: Try It Baby, One More Time…

I know what you’re thinking:  you’re getting a blog post out now?  You know it, baby.  And the reason for this is I’ve been feeling under the weather for most of the day.  Even though I was out on a busy day yesterday–breakfast, practice, helping a teammate with new skate, going to a movie and catching up on old news with a former teammate–today the cold I’ve been fighting off for the last week decided it was time to hit.

So I’ve been coughing and sneezing and dealing with a runny nose that doesn’t seem to know when to stop.  I hope this means my sinuses will have dried out by tomorrow morning, otherwise I’ll need to deal with this shit at work.

As for writing–

I began writing this morning and ran out of steam after about four hundred words.  I was going to finish up during the afternoon, but feeling run down has a way of making you not want to do anything.  Finally, after eating, I cranked out another three hundred words and finished the scene.

That means the kids are back in the Great Hall and on their way to the hospital–right?

Right.

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

They quickly headed to the main hospital entrance and proceeded to the third floor, where Coraline, Deanna, Erywin, and Jessica were waiting for them still attired in the casual clothing they wore to dinner. Erywin spoke as they entered the main space. “Did you enjoy your time outside?”

Kerry nodded. “Quite a lot. It was nice being away from here even if it was a little cold.” She turned to Coraline. “I hope you don’t mind.”

“Not at all.” Coraline shook her head. “I can imagine you were getting a little buggy after having been kept here all day.”

“Just a little.”

“It was more than ‘just a little’.” Annie took Kerry’s hand. “I experienced her moods before and after going out. She enjoyed the experience immensely.”

“Well, how about a little more fun?” Coraline flashed a bright, wide smile. “Let’s try another transition before I put you guys down to bed for the night?”

Kerry nodded. “Yeah, why not?”

Annie touched the ginger girl’s shoulder. “It’s been almost a day; maybe you’ll have control now.”

“Let’s hope so.” Kerry pointed at the partitioned area about five meters away. “Change back there?”

While Kerry changed Coraline prepared the dais and recording equipment used in the six previous controlled transition attempts. By the time Kerry emerged from behind the privacy partition dressed in her smock and socks everything was ready for her. The school’s doctor perked up as her patient approached. “Since you know the drill we can get right to the test.”

“Right-o.” Kerry stepped up upon the dais as shook herself once as she relaxed. “Ready to go her, Doc.”

“Then let’s get to it. Begin recording.” Coraline’s voice shifted into the professional tone she used in the other attempts. “It’s 27 October, 2013, time 21:53. I am Doctor Coraline Gallagher and this is Attempt Number Seven of Kerry Malibey’s attempt to control her Bigender Gift. Kerry is in position and ready to go. As before, witnesses are Jessica

Kishna, Deanna Arrakis, Erywin Sladen, Isis Mossman, and Anelie Kirilova.” She looked in Kerry’s direction. “You ready?”

She nodded. “Ready as ever.”

“Then let’s get started.” Coraline stood upright and looked about the room before focusing on Kerry. “As before, attempt transition on my mark. And… three, two, one—Mark.”

Kerry closed her eyes on three, squared her shoulders on two, and slightly dipped her head on one. At mark her brow furrowed as she concentrated…

 

So it’s time for the test–the seventh.  And Kerry’s on the podium, dressed and ready to change.  And does she?

 

An eye blink later the boy who was at the Samhain Dance with Annie only twenty-four hours earlier stood on the dais.

For a moment no one said a word nor reacted. It was finally Kerry who noticed there wasn’t any hair lining his face before looking at his hands. After a couple of seconds of scrutinizing them his chortle sounded like an explosion. “Holy shit.”

While everyone behind her began exclaiming over the success of the voluntary transition, Coraline remained intent on the test. “Kerry—Kerry.”

He quickly focused. “Yeah?”

“We need to see if you can transition back to…”

He shrugged. “To a girl?”

“Yes.”

“Okay.” He squared his shoulders. “Give the word.”

“You know what to do—” Coraline waved her hands to hush everyone. “Go on my mark.” She swallowed. “And… mark.”

In the same blink of an eye moment Kerry changed from the Ginger Hair Boy back to the girl he’d been for nearly an entire day. She reexamined herself. “I think I got this.”

Coraline began chuckling. “I think you do. Go ahead and—”

Kerry instantly transitioned back into his male self. “Change?”

“Exactly.”

Annie moved away from everyone and stepped up next to the dais. “How are you feeling?”

“Feeling?” Kerry stepped off the dais without permission and stood next to Annie. “I feel great.” He took her right hand and kissed it. “You might say, I feel like my back to my old self…”

There you go.  You knew it had to end sometime during this day, and we can finally get back to using “he” pronouns and not get confused if she is meant to be Annie or Kerry.

But, you know, the day isn’t quite over yet…

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The Riot Act

I’ve been off-line for a while on the writing: even getting a new post out on the blog has taken a bit more time than I’ve spent in the past.  Part of the reason is due to commitments at work, and the few I have within my personal life.  One of those commitments involves my participation in roller derby. and as of last Monday, 27 November, that participation took a new turn.  No, I didn’t do anything spectacular: on the contrary, we made a huge shift in the way things are handled at practice…

Our last main coach, Anita Blade, retired as of the end of the last bout back on 12 November and after that we began looking for a new coach, a search in which I had a bit of a say.  After a week we had the people who were going to lead us into 2018 and they agreed to take up the challenge.

And who are these crazy people who decided to take up the challenge?

The first was someone I knew from my time doing practices in York.  Madhouse Mexi agreed to step in and help Ida with training the fresh meat and getting them certified as quickly as possible.  Mexi’s a good person and I like her, as she’s also ready to step in and show you where you’re doing something wrong before suggesting how to go about fixing the problem.  She let me know that even though I still need to do my 27/5 to certify, there are a few area where I’m “deficient” and I’m likely gonna have to improve those areas before the certification goes in and my derby name goes on.  I have no problem with this: she’s the coach, she’s seen me in practice, and she probably knows me better than me.

But our new head coach is Roxie Riot, who has a long history with HARD: in fact, she helped get our league started way back in the early days.  Yes, she knows a lot of the “old school” stuff, but she’s also interested in bringing us into the current way things are being played, and we’re starting to see that in the way we’re drilling.

About those drills…

There’s a lot more urgency in our drills these days.  We get out on the floor and we work.  We’ll spend a lot of time working on something, then rush over to the wall and get a drink before getting back on the track.  And I do mean rush: these days we have 30 seconds to get over, grab a drink, and get back to work.  No more fooling around and bullshitting.  Even though it’s the off-season, it’s still time to drill.

So in last week’s practices, numbers 65 and 66, a lot of time was spent on skills and learning how to defend in a lane.  (Lanes are a concept that have become important in derby, with one imagining four lanes, 1 through 4 from the inside to the out, going all around the WFDTA track.)  The first Monday it was the skills sessions, with everyone showing what they could do.  This is the area where I need work, particularly in plows and in endurance.  It was tiring, but I made it through, and in a way parts of it were a lot of fun–while other parts were a complete pain in the ass and frustrating as hell.  Wednesday was more about footwork and learning to cover the track–

It was also where I got hurt.

It’s been a while since I’ve been hurt at practice, but last Wednesday, the 29th of November, just one day shy of six months I’ve been in derby, it happened.  I was up trying to guard the track and Mexi was skating as a jammer.  When she came at me I tried my best to get in front of her, or at least to her side, and block her, and at the last moment I sort of lunged at her and lost my balance for my troubles.  I went down on my foot, but as I hit the floor my body went backwards while my leg seemed to move forward–

My right thigh muscle pulled and I felt it do so from my hip to just below my knee.

It hurt.  A lot.  I knew I made a sound but I wasn’t aware that I screamed as I hit the floor, something that was confirmed by several teammates.  Roxie was standing next to one of them and she told me she heard Roxie say something like, “I hope that’s not a broken leg,” which, when I think about it, might very well had happened.

But it wasn’t.  I’d pulled one of my thigh muscles enough that he hurt like hell, but it was still in one piece.  As we walked off the floor Roxie asked if I could still feel the muscle as we walked and I told her I could.  She said that was good, ’cause if I couldn’t feel it that mean I’d ripped something and I needed to go to the hospital.

No hospital for me, however: just a lot of rest.

We made it through last week and this week–Practices 67 and 68, which I’ll write about later–and we’re starting to pick up a lot of things.  I’m also starting to get even more comfortable on my skates, and just the other day I was side surfing for a bit, which surprised the hell out of me.

Before you know it, I may just be out there doing something nutty–

Like playing.

Inside the Walls: Feeling Alright

Look here!  It’s a real post!

While there was some writing today, there was partying last night.  My team had their banquet last night and I decided to get all dressed up so I’d fit in.  I haven’t really gotten dressed up in a while, but this was some next level shit if I should say so.  Instead of trying to tell you what I was like, let me show:

Slay, bitch. #HARD #OffSeason

A post shared by Cassidy Frazee (@cassidyfrazee) on

 

Yes, I’m wearing a domino mask, and I commented that if my hair was purple I’d look a little like Hit Girl from KickAss.  But I wasn’t as murderous as her: I had dinner, I had one drink, and I did some dancing–even once in my heels.  Yes, for the first time I was dancing in high heels and pulling it off.

Oh, and we had the party in a skybox at a race track:

The track beyond. #HARD #OffSeason

A post shared by Cassidy Frazee (@cassidyfrazee) on

 

Since I survived the evening, that means I did some writing this morning.

It’s a continuation from last week, with Annie and Kerry sitting on the wall talking.  And Annie shows concern–and it goes from there:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

“And you are doing so with quite a lot of grace.” Annie slid her right arm around Kerry’s left. “How are you feeling now?”

Kerry pulled Annie tight against her. “I’m feeling pretty good right now. Getting out and walking around—once I got used to knowing we wouldn’t be seen, I began enjoying the evening. Got to spend it with people I know—” She lay her head on Annie’s shoulder. “And you.”

Annie was pleased that her soul mate felt better, but she also knew part of the reason she felt better came from Coraline giving her a mixture before they departed the hospital. Coraline told Kerry the medication would “help her relax”, while Annie was aware the medication was actually a mild antidepressant that would help Kerry deal with her current frame of mind. I’m certain she knew what that mixture was for as well: Kerry may have felt depression taking over, but she’s not so ignorant as to not know when she’s being given something to help her cope.

“I loved being with you.” Annie reached over and ran her fingers down Kerry’s cheek. “And so you know, it was nothing like being out with Alex when I was in Kiev. She’s a friend, but you’re someone—” She gave Kerry a soulful look. “Someone far closer to my heart.”

Kerry laughed as she pulled back. “Well, I would hope so.” She stared at Annie for a few seconds as if unsure what she should do next, but was saved a second later by a pop behind her. She glanced over her shoulder. “You rang?”

Isis stood some four meters away, a coat thrown around her shoulders. “Coraline wants you both back at the hospital.”

Both kids carefully swung their legs over the wall and stood, smoothing out their coat, before approaching the Chief of School Security and taking her hands. Annie squared her shoulders. “I’m ready.”

Kerry nodded once. “Let’s rock.”

Isis visualized their destination and jaunted to the first floor West Transept just outside the Security Center and the secured jaunt station. She released the student’s hands and began walking towards the walkway. Kerry held up a moment and spoke with a slight quiver in her voice. “It’s okay to go out there?”

Isis turned and smiled. “It’s almost twenty-two hours: everyone’s in their towers either chillin’ in the commons or in bed. The Great Hall is empty.” She waved the girl forward. “Trust me.”

Annie gave Kerry a slight nudge. “You know Isis wouldn’t bring us here if it wasn’t safe.”

“Yeah. I know.” She walked past the security chief and proceeded directly to the first floor walkway, stopping at the railing. “Wow.” She examined the darkened Rotunda. “It really is empty.”

“You were expecting to be greeted by all your adoring fans?” While Annie suppressed a chuckle Isis gave Kerry a smile as she waved her onward. “Come on: Coraline’s waiting for us.”

 

So they are off the wall and back in the Great Hall–in fact, they’re probably looking over a part of the school they walked through hand-in-hand nearly twenty-four hours earlier.  That means once they’re back in the hospital it’s likely Kerry’s going to do something–

And we all know what that is…

Inside the Walls: The Chocolate Statement

Hope your turkey weekend was a good one.  Mine wasn’t bad, though I had to deal with an annoying super bout of depression yesterday that did little for me beside make me want to do nothing.  But I got through it and–guess what?  Did a bit more writing.

As you can see I’m just a touch over five hundred words into the next scene–

Really, I’m doing it.

 

–and that’s going to set up the last scene of this chapter.  Which I do hope to get to this week.

But dinner is over and it’s time for the kids to get back to the school.  though that doesn’t mean returning immediately to the hospital’s third floor:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

At the conclusion of dinner in Salem everyone—Annie, Kerry, Coraline, Erywin, Deanna, Jessica, Isis, and Headmistress Laventure—jaunted back to the secure station on the first floor across from the school’s Security Office. Before leaving the room Mathilde told the two girls that given the time—a little after twenty-one hours—they could go anywhere they liked on the school grounds as long as they stayed way from and out of the coven towers—

Kerry knew exactly where to go.

Without having access to her broom Isis agreed to jaunt Annie and Kerry to the North Cove Entrance, one of the openings in the Outer Walls that allowed Normals to use a walking trail created before the walls were extended that far to the southwest, the Cove Path, which was heavily enchanted to prevent Normals from accidentally straying on to the school grounds proper. From there Annie and Kerry left the path and headed about forty meters to the north, to where one of the many sets of stairs leading to the top of the Outer Walls was located. After reaching the top, they continued heading northward, walking slowly, hand-in-hand.

They reached the next tower on the well—the one everyone called Double Dip Tower even though it had no official name—and continued walking until they reached what at one time had been the western-most tower of the Outer Wall, Sunset Tower. There they sat on the outer edge of the massive walls, holding hands while scanning the illuminated darkness beyond the school.

Nearly five minutes went by before Annie glanced to her right. “Still thinking about dessert?”

Kerry smiled and nodded. “Oh, yeah. I can’t get over how good that tasted.”

“I told you.” After they finished their main entrees Annie suggested that Kerry try the cherry-covered chocolate mousse that Coraline, Deanna, and she enjoyed so much. Kerry remarked that she didn’t care much for chocolate other than the school’s famous hot chocolate but after a bit of nudging from the others she gave in and ordered the dish.

Much to no one’s surprise, Kerry not only loved the dessert, but afterwords couldn’t stop talking about how delicious it was. Annie even chided her on the way back to the Salem jaunt station, telling Kerry if she spent more time as a girl in the future, the school may need to watch their chocolate inventory.

Annie patted Kerry’s left knee. “You know why it tasted so much different tonight, don’t you?”

Kerry glanced over. “From how I’ve tasted chocolate before?”

“Yes?”

“Because of all the estrogens in my system.” She ran her hand over Annie’s. “Changes my sense of touch, my sense of smell, and my sense of taste.” Kerry shook her head. “Again, I knew there would be these changes, but it’s a lot different living through them.”

“And you are doing so with quite a lot of grace.” Annie slid her right arm around Kerry’s left. “How are you feeling now?”

 

First off, let’s look at where all this is taking place.

Finally getting out for the night, even if it is a ways from the living areas.

 

The North Cove Lane entrance is to the lower left of the picture and is one of two open portals that Normal traverse on to school grounds.  As mentioned, everything is so enchanted that even when they want to stroll off the lane they can’t–though they might believe they are.  Remember, The Foundation uses enchantments and Glamore magic to make Normals think they’re hiking through the woods on Cape Ann, when in reality they just sort of find themselves being moved about without knowing where they were outside the walls.  Sunset is all the way up at top center: it’s where Wednesday went to recharge the detection node during the Day of the Dead.  And now the kids are resting there.

We find out Kerry has developed a taste for chocolate, something that can happen when you’re suddenly flooded with estrogens.  Trust me on this one: I was like Kerry and not much of a chocolate lover, but I love it far more now.  Funny how that happens.

Now that we know dinner was a hit, it’s time for Annie to find out how Kerry’s feeling.

I’m pretty sure she’s in better shape.

Posting on a Saturday Afternoon

Sure, it’s a late post, but it’s the thought that counts.  Enjoy!