Getting Through the Day…

After all the fun that was my big post yesterday–and the two post I also did to catch up on my mermaid story–I neglected to point out that I’ve gotten through the first scene of Chapter 13 and I’m into the next–

Because of course I am.

After this it’s Samhain and meetings with parents and dancing and all that fun stuff.  But before we get there we have some other biz to follow up–and it involves Kerry.  Actually, it involves Kerry having a hard time coping during Wednesday breakfast.  Good thing he has a patient wife…

 

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

 

It was the Wednesday before the Samhain Races and Dance, and Annie was worried about Kerry. Not worried in the sense that she thought he wouldn’t be able to make the races on a he be unable to attend the dance, but worried in the sense that he wasn’t quite himself this morning.

Ever since greeting him as he left his room this morning, she found it impossible not to notice that he was moody, with his range of emotions seeming to hover somewhere between sullen and disgruntled. Except for those moments, however, when he not only seem to be back to his old self, in appeared to be somewhat over-exuberant. And just as soon as he would act that way, he returned to Sullen Kerry and stayed that way from the coven tower to the Dining Hall.

Though she hadn’t said anything at the time, Annie had noticed him starting to act this way while they were having breakfast last Saturday. She expected that some of his behavior was due to it being the second Saturday of the new race season and their coven would compete against Åsgårdsreia for the first time, but as the morning progressed Annie felt there was something else affecting his mood—something that had nothing to do with racing.

Seeing him the same way this morning, and knowing they weren’t facing anything out of the ordinary for the entire day, only one thing could account for his current mood—

She wiped her mouth after swallowing a spoonful of berries and yoghurt, then use the napkin to cover her mouth as she leaned slightly toward Kerry. “I think you need to see Coraline.”

His head whipped around quickly before he could take a bite of the corned beef hash he was quickly consuming. “WHY?” Once he realized he’d nearly shouted out the question, he set down his fork and spent a moment composing himself, so that when he spoke the next time his tone was calm and much softer. “Why?”

“I think your initial reaction should sufficiently answer that question.” She placed her right hand atop his. “My love, you’re not yourself. You been overly emotional since we left coven—” Annie leaned in close. “We both know why.”

 

Oh, boy, do we know why!  I like to joke that I enjoyed puberty so much I went through it twice–and if you think about it, once you start on a hormonal regiment for transitioning, that’s exactly what happens–so I know a little of what Kerry’s going through.  I had days where I would grow so angry I was ready to punch holes in walls and then run off to cry for a while because I felt I was totally worthless–and that all happened within the span of five minutes.

So Kerry is getting hit with the double puberty whammy here and he’s not dealing with it well.  And he’s well aware of what’s happening once it’s pointed out…

 

Kerry drew in a breath as he rolled his eyes. “I wish to hell this would just end.” He gave Annie’s hand a squeeze as he took a sip of his juice. “I know that’s what’s causing me to act this way, but I’ve got a learn to deal with this. I mean, could be stuck like this for another three, four months, right?” He gave his head a quick shake. “I can’t go running the Coraline every time I start feeling moody.” He patted Annie’s hand. “I mean, you learned how to handle this on your own.”

Annie snorted. “Not always on by own. When I entered puberty Mama came to me more than a few times with something to help with the mood swings and the—” She glanced down toward her stomach. “Cramping.

“Which means I didn’t learn how to adjust to these things on my own: I had help from my mother. And since your own mother isn’t here—not that I think she would help you if she were—there are others here to take her place. And Coraline is one of those people.” Annie looked into Kerry’s eyes with a playful yet stern look. “Which is why I think you should go see her.”

 

Could you imagine if this were happening at Casa Malibey over Yule, when Louise and Kerry are at home alone?

(Louise)  “Kerry?  Kerry?”
(Kerry?)  “WHAT?  What, MOM?”
(Louse)  “There’s no need for you act that way, young man!”
(Kerry)  *Begins crying*  “I’m sorry!  I didn’t mean it!  Why are you yelling at me!?”

 

So much fun.  And it’s not like Kerry could say, “Mom, I have girl hormones driving me crazy!” because Louise would probably think this was the result of some witch bullshit on the part of her son and withdraw even more.  Poor kid just can’t win.

After having it pointed out that Kerry’s on the verge of losing it, this means he’s gonna go see Coraline–right?  Right?

Right?

“The Calling” Scene 23: “The Friend”

It was around Christmas time and Penny was feeling slightly depressed. Aware that it was her decision to come to the pod and live with her mother’s people, it didn’t lessen the slight pain she felt knowing this would be the first Christmas she spent away from her mother, and her mother away from her. It wasn’t as if they did much for Christmas, but they always seem to find time to dress in their warmest pajamas and get under a fleece comforter and drink hot chocolate while watching a movie together—

Whereas today, she did more of the same thing she’d now been doing for six months.

There was time after school before she had to go to the communal area and eat second meal, so she swam off a few hundred feet so that she could be with her thoughts for a while, by now Singing Nymph was getting used to her being able to make her way around the pod dwellings without supervision, so there was no possibility that Saying Nymph would come looking for her in the next few minutes.

Penny found a nice secluded place to rest. She floated down on to the rock and curled her tail around her, adopting what she called the Ariel Pose. Although she couldn’t recall if Ariel had ever sat like this; it wasn’t hard to remember, however, that she had a green tail, red hair, and a clam shell bra…

Penny wasn’t seated for more than two minutes when her mermaid senses told her that someone was approaching, she’d gotten quite adapt to being able to pick up on the small magnetic field that each mermaid generated, but that allowed a patrolling mermaid to detect another one at distances up to five hundred feet. She knew some of the mermaids had to realize that she was here, and as had been drilled into her from day one, mermaids were rarely alone—

The mermaid glided into view from her left and Penny instantly recognized her as one of the girls from school, and the Crimson tail with the regular dots a bright orange further identified her as Curious Squid of the Magical Cove, who was almost exactly a year younger than Penny she sat quietly and waited for Curious Squid to approach her, because she knew it would be bad form to get up and swim off now.

The young mermaid with bright aqua hair and hazel eyes floated to a stop about six feet in front of Penny. “Are you okay?”

Penny nodded. “I’m okay. Just a little down.”

“Down?”

“A bit depressed.” Even after six months Penny often forgot that mermaids were slow to pick up on idiom.

Curious Squid nodded then looked at the wide rock upon which Penny was sitting. “May I join you?”

Penny tapped the space to her left. “Sure.”

The two mermaid sat in silence for nearly three minutes as Penny waited to see if her new companion was going to start the conversation. When it seemed almost as if Curious Squid was waiting for Penny to say something, the mermaid spoke. “Are you missing your binding mother?”

“Yeah.” Penny stared off into the luminescent depths. “Today should be December 23; tomorrow will be Christmas Eve.”

Curious Squid glanced over at her classmate. “I take it that’s a day of celebration.”

“It is. Mama and I would exchange presence at night after dinner.” She chuckled. “She always gave me enough of and allowance that I had money at the end of the year to buy her present. Since we didn’t have any other family, we were the family.”

“Sounds interesting. Wasn’t there any one else in your celebrations? Ever?”

A wistful look came over Penny’s face. “Last year Kemena came over at night on Christmas Eve. Set around in our pajamas and watched Ghostbusters.”

“What’s Ghostbusters?” Curious Squid’s brow wrinkled. “I’ve never heard of that.”

“It’s an old movie my Mama likes. It’s kinda funny.”

“I see. And who is Kemena?”

Penny immediately imagine Kemena’s face, digging it out of her memory. “She’s my friend back in Albuquerque. If I had to, I’d say she’s my best friend.”

Curious Squid leaned forward so she could see Penny’s face. “You miss her as much as you do your binding mother, don’t you?”

Penny slowly rubbed her hands together. “I guess I do. She knows what I am: she is the only other person knows him down here.” Penny glanced down her tail fin, watching as it curled and unfurled. “I hope she’s missing me, too.”

“I’m sure she is.” Curious Squid reached over and took Penny’s hand, much to the surprise of the young mermaid. “Can I tell you something?”

“Sure.” Even after six months Penny still found the touchy-feeley attitude of many the mermaids to be a little disconcerting. She was pleased, however, that she hadn’t jerked her hand away immediately.

“While you’ve become sociable since arriving, you don’t have any friends other than your cousin. And a mermaid without friends will die young from an empty heart.” Curious Squid shifted around and gave Penny’s hand a squeeze. “I would like to be your friend. I love listening to your stories of when you lived on land, but I also think you’re an interesting person. I’d like to get to know you better.”

Penny didn’t think any of what Curious Squid said was unusual–if anything, there was a great deal of truth in her words. Because since arriving, while she did feel as if she was now an accepted member of the pod, she felt that there was very little of a connection between her and the majority of the other mermaids with whom she came in contact every day. It was true that she was close to Singing Nymph, and considered her a friend, but she was also family.

It came to Penny that if she’d had a friend in the days leading up to this moment, it would’ve made hurt of missing Christmas Eve and Christmas a bit more dull.  She needed to be more than another communal member: she needed to be open.

She needed to show her heart.

Penny returned the hand squeeze as she flashed a grin in Curious Squide’s direction. “You know, making a new friend is a great Christmas present.” Her grin turned into a full smile. “Thank you for doing this.”

Curious Squid blushed. “It’s not a problem. After all, what are friends for?”

“The Calling” Scene 22: “The Routine”

After a couple of days Penny had fallen in to the same routine that a lot of mermaids in her position were following—or, as she liked to joke, she had gotten into the swim of things.

The first day in the pod was spent being shown around and introduced the people. With only about a hundred mermaids in the pod, she managed to meet everyone by the second meal. She loved hearing everyone’s extensive names and was told by Singing Nymph that each name had to do with circumstances relating to the mermaid’s conception. In the case of her own name, Singing Nymph said her binding mother’s had gone on to land to retrieve things needed by the pod—something that mermaids did every so often. On the way back to the ocean they were accosted by two men. One of Singing Nymph’s binding mother’s was knocked out, so the other used a particular ability known as Siren’s Song to force the two men to follow her out into the ocean. Once they were in water over their heads, Singing Nymph’s other binding mother drowned both men and retrieved her partner.

Not long after that she was quickened and at birth was given the name Singing Nymph the Bringer of Death. She said that it made her feel proud that, in a way, one of her mother’s was willing to kill so that she could be born. There were few mermaids who could claim the same.

The days seem to become the same. Penny would wake up at a particular time, usually the same time as her cousin. There wasn’t any actual meal like breakfast: instead, mermaids eight during a time that would normally be considered brunch for humans. The second meal always came late in the afternoon, but would still be considered early for humans.

All meals consisted of variations of the same thing: fish, shellfish, and vegetation like seaweed. It was all consumed raw, as there was no way to cook here five hundred feet below the surface of the ocean.

The first time Penny was given a raw fish to eat, she thought she was never going to get it down, but she found the first bite delectable and had no problem stripping her fish clean in no time. The only thing she could figure out was that by now being a full mermaid, her taste buds had adjusted to enjoy the normal diet.

The pod maintained fishery areas nearby, where schools of fish fed off the nutrients that filtered down from the surface. Sometimes groups of mermaids would go out on fishing expeditions and not return for more than a week. These groups would often come back with larger types of fish found in the deeper parts of the ocean, but every so often they’d return with a giant squid. Squid hunting parties were easy to figure out as about a dozen mermaids would go out; at least that many were needed to combat the creature and drag its carcass back to the pod.

Life in the pod was nothing like that found in a Disney movie. Mermaids tended to groom one another cleaning their bodies with mud and washing clean and one of the many undersea currents nearby. Scavenging and cleanup parties would spend a few hours every day cleaning up trash that floated down from the surface and would keep those items that would serve the most used to the pod.

Mermaids spent hours working with the fisheries, while others would go out on short patrols around the pod location. Penny asked why these were necessary and Singing Nymph told her that while there weren’t any pods nearby, they needed to be on the lookout for various sea creatures that could do them harm. But, she added, they were also ready to greet any new mermaids who happen to come their way, and Singing Nymph said that in time Penny would learn how to detect a mermaid coming in from a distance—the same way she detected Penny approaching the pod when she first arrived.

Three days pass before Penny discovered the one thing that Kemena had wanted to know the most: how mermaids went to the bathroom. Singing Them showed her location of a current about five hundred feet from the southwest corner of the pod as singing them said, make sure you’re a little upstream from the pod, relax, and let nature do its work. Penny did as told and found the experience rather relaxing. She asked how often it was necessary to use this current and Singing Nymph said their diet, being high in protein and fats, kept them from producing much waste, so a mermaid normally needed to relieve herself once every three or four days. Penny was also told that any waste liquids would go out at the same time, though there were few. Penny figured that out already: their bodies were under constant hydration and since coming to the pod she had get to feel thirsty.

The last thing she discovered was school. All young mermaids attended school until what was known as the Age of Attainment, which usually occurred around the time of a mermaid’s twelfth or thirteenth birthday. As Penny was already eleven she was told it might be a couple of years before she could reach the same level of experience, which meant she went to school with mermaids younger than her.

It was unlike school that she had known in Albuquerque. Everything was told verbally and they were expected to remember. Surprisingly, Penny remembered most of what she was told and she remembered her mother telling her that mermaids have remarkable memories. She was also surprised to hear teachings given on mast and even some science that had been picked up from those who would spend time on land. As her weeks in school continued, her instructor would often ask questions of her about what it was like living in Albuquerque, and what she knew of certain things that happened with humans.

There was always a relaxation time in the evening after the second meal. Though there were no clocks, Penny figured that relaxation time went from 5 PM to almost 10 PM, with most mermaids turning in sometime between nine and ten. She would often sit with Singing Nymph and some of her friends while some of the students would join them. It was very rare that Penny was allowed out of Singing Nymph’s eyesight, but on a few occasions she was allowed to go to their dwelling with some of the mermaids from school, and he would sit in there and talk until it was time for bed.

As Singing Nymph had told her, Penny quickly grew use to sleeping with another person. It was always the same: they would remove their jewelry, then Singing Nymph would ease herself into their sleeping hammock and Penny would follow. Sometimes they would talk for a bit before drifting off to sleep, but often they would immediately begin relaxing with Singing Nymph draping an arm over Penny as if to comfort and protect her.

Though Penny took the pod life immediately, she wondered how long would be before she began to miss her home in Albuquerque—

As she discovered, it took about six months.

Two and a Half Times a Thousand

This wasn’t supposed to happen for a few weeks, but given that I’ve been putting out as many as four posts a day in the last couple of weeks, it was inevitable that the date was gonna get pushed up.

What am I talking about?  This right here.  Post number two thousand, five hundred, or 2,500 if you prefer.  All in the raw.

Normally I do something special for these posts and I’d actually promised that for this post, but it’s not like I planned anything.  Not like when post 1,000 came up almost three and a half years ago at the end of January, 2014.  There’s a lot that’s happened since that post came out–some of which I’m about to go over.

For one, I didn’t exist.  At least not this way:

Well, hello there!

As much as I spoke of transitioning–or how little I did at that time, which was more the case–I hadn’t actually, really, truly begun the process to actually become Cassidy.  I was working in Harrisburg and was considering walking the walk, but it wasn’t until two months later, 30 March, 2014, that I actually started going out in public.  And it wasn’t until almost another two months later, on my birthday, 2014, by that I actually showed what I looked like:

Remember this crazy bitch?

When people say, “You’re changed,” in this case, I have.  I’m still somewhat surprised when I see pictures of myself back then and realize just how far I’ve really come.

Also, when I took that last picture, I’d learned only a week or so before that my contract with the state–sorry, Commonwealth–of Pennsylvania had been extended another years, so I’d continue living in Harrisburg at least until the middle of 2015.  That was two years ago, and it looks as if I’m here to stay until the “Commonwealth” decides to get ride of me.  Which I hope isn’t for a while ’cause I love living in Harrisburg.  It took 55 years to get here, but I’m finally sorta living the life I was meant to live.

And then there’s the writing.  Anyone remember what I was doing right before post 1,000?  That’s easy to check:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

 

The dining tables and chair were gone, replaced by large, comfortable reading chairs, love seats, sofas, and even—yes, there were even a few huge beds capable of holding a half dozen students easily, as a couple already were. Scattered around the hall were a few large carpets covered in throw pillows that reminded Kerry of the classroom in Memory’s End where they met with Professor Arrakis. The light was down in the hall, but there were small, brighter spots here and there coming from floor lamps set alongside a few of the large chairs and love seats.

As they entered the hall Kerry took in the relaxed but excited environment.  With each chair, sofa, or bed there was at least one table where one could set snacks, drinks, and various forms of entertainment.  Three girls to his right, sitting on a sofa and an easy chair, were playing cards on a coffee table made of a dark wood.  Another boy was sitting in one of the large chairs reading, a drink sitting upon the end table to his right.  The bed with the six girls had high, narrow tables at what he guessed was the head and the foot of the bed, and while they talked they were also munching on snacks kept in bowls on both tables.

Something caught Kerry’s eye: a group of five kids, three boys and two girls, sitting on the floor around a low, circular table. One of the boys had his tablet at his right and a cardboard screen in front of them, while the students had sheets of paper and dice laid out before them. “Hey, those guys over there are—”

“Oh, look.” Annie tugged on Kerry’s arm and pulled him along.  “There’s the perfect spot.”  She dragged towards a sofa located near the center of the hall, one facing the east wall. It wasn’t alone: there was also a table at each end of the sofa, an easy chair facing north and south, and a low coffee table in the middle of it all. Kerry was surprised no one was already sitting there—then again, there were maybe seventy people in the room and it looked as if there were plenty of empty places remaining.

 

That was the last excerpt I published before I hit post 1,000–it was actually post 998 if you need to know, and you can read it all here.  Yeah, it was the end of the first week of school at the Salem Institute of Greater Learning and Education, better known to all students and readers alike as the School of Salem, and a couple of little witches were off to enjoy the school-wide pajama party known as the Midnight Madness.  Back then I was about 125,000 words into the first novel and it would be another year before that experience came to an end.

And since then?  Well, my kids also made it out of their B Levels and are now about 170,000 words into their C Levels after a little more than ten months of writing.  Yes, it’s true:  I’m writing a bit slower than I did on the last two novels.  At the same time I’ve been busy–

First working on a political campaign:

Back when I believed in better days.

Then I got into protest:

First with all the ladies–

 

Then in support of immigrants and Muslims.

 

And once more with the Science Types.

 

All that political stuff, meeting and marching, takes up time, and I only have so much of that to spread around in a day.  It’s a trend that’s going to continue for a while, no matter what.

As for writing…  In the last couple of years I’ve branched out into writing TV recaps as well, because why not?  It’s not like I have anything else going on, right?  In the last two years I’ve started down that road and it does keep me busy, so much so that sometimes I’m writing more recaps than novel.  Sure, it seems like something that is kind of a pain in the butt for people who are following my writing, but it’s something that I enjoy doing and will likely continue doing for a while more.  Also, exposure–something that could kill me just like on the south flank of Everest, but what the hey?  Gotta take that chance.

Am I ever gonna publish?  Who the hell knows?  Sometimes I even wonder if I’ll get anywhere, but I keep trying.  It never hurts to try and the payoff can be rewarding.

Am I gonna keep blogging?  You know, it seems like every few months I feel like I’m about to kick this sucker away and give it up.  Biggest reason for that is this feeling that I don’t have much to say anymore.  Call it burn out, call it depression, call it for dinner if you like, but that feeling is there.  And yet…  every time I want to walk away I get pulled right back in, just like a certain mafia Don who wanted to quit the biz.  I’m told that I’m doing things that people notice, and while I’m sometimes damned to see what those things are, I’ll trust others to keep me honest.  ‘Cause when you’re too close to the action, you often can’t see the whole picture.

Future then?  Keep on swimming and keep on writing.  Because at this point I don’t know what else to do.  If I didn’t put words to computer paper I’d likely become more feeble and ignorant than I am now, and I don’t need that.  Most of all I can’t quit because that’s killing a dream, and I’ve already had so many dreams die that I can do that to one more.

That leads here, which is where I usually have a quote from Doctor Who, because I’ve done that the last few “special posts” I’ve put up, and it seems like a good thing to do now.  And both quotes go back to what I just said about killing dreams.  We need our dreams, even if we know they will never come to fruition, because when you least expect it, they do come true.  That happened with my move to Harrisburg and my transition:  I never expected the outcome that I live through today, because, as my best friend once told me, how do you know what’s coming tomorrow.  So:

 

“I am and always will be the optimist. The hoper of far-flung hopes and dreamer of improbable dreams. The wheels are in motion. Done.”  Doctor Who, The Almost People.

 

Keep it real, but at the same time never give up that your hopes and dreams are going to fade before you.  Always hold close to your heart and mind that tomorrow is the day when it all changes for the better and you finally see that dream come true.

At the same time:

 

“Be strong. Even if it breaks your heart.”  Doctor Who, Dark Water.

 

Shit is always gonna keep piling up and there are times when it feels like you’re gonna take that leap over the balcony because you can’t take it anymore.  By now, I know heartbreak, so this is a no-brainer.  It’s not always easy to be strong, but no one else is going to be strong for you, so it falls to each of up to say to hell with it and continue moving on.

Maybe for another thousand blogs posts.

You can never tell.

“The Calling” Scene 21: “The Dwelling”

Singing Nymph’s dwelling wasn’t far away: Penny and she only needed to swim about two hundred and fifty feet to reach one of the numerous huts that made up the pod’s living area. From the outside it look remarkably like every other building: a rectangular space perhaps twenty feet by fifteen feet with a dome-like roof maybe fifteen feet high. Just like with the building they had just left this made sense to Penny, for a mermaid wasn’t going the walk around their living area, she would swim. And they need that space to move around, particularly if there was another person with them.

The entrance was covered over with seaweed, which again made sense to Penny: doors would be unnecessary in the ocean, but a mermaid would probably still enjoy a little privacy. Singing Nymph pushed through the seaweed door and Penny followed.

The inside of Singing Nymph’s dwelling was rather spartan. The far end of the space consisted of a seaweed hammock attached to the walls and ceiling with strands of something that seemed to be organic. Closer to the entrance were two more hammocks that seemed more for reclining and sitting than sleeping. The wall opposite the entrance had a space set aside for what appeared to be various forms of body jewelry, and wall immediately to the right as he entered the dwelling had several racks made of what look like bone protruding from the wall where there was a variety of weapons.

Singing Nymph set her spear onto one of the racks before swimming into the center of the dwelling. She held out her arms and looked to her left and right. “Here it is. This is been mine for the last five years.”

Penny slipped the nylon carryall offer back. “How old are you?”

Singing Nymph took the carryall and set it on a hook where the body jewelry hung. “I’m twenty-three.”

“So double my age.”

“Yes.” Singing Nymph pointed out the different objects in the room. “The weapons you can figure out; I would prefer if you leave those alone for now. These—” She pointed to the two reclining hammocks. “—are for resting and sitting. Behind me is the bed. And over where I put your carryall, that’s where I keep my body adornments.”

Penny floated over and check out the jewelry. “There’s like a couple of dozen items here.”

“Yes, there are. Mermaids like to adorn themselves: that’s our one way of expressing her individuality. It’s funny that I wasn’t wearing anything today; I overslept this morning and decided I would put on something after I got back from patrol.”

“I see.” Penny turned so she faced her cousin. “My grandmothers had tattooing. Do a lot of mermaids have that?”

“It’s mostly the older ones who get that.” Singing Nymph smiled. “And by older, I mean those mermaids of reached about thirty years of age, when our bodies will pretty much stay the same for about a hundred years.”

“How do they do them? And what makes them glow like that?”

“An artist mixes squid ink with bioluminescent secretions. The ink is actually chiseled into the skin: the next time you’re close to your binding grandmothers take a look and you’ll see the raised surfaces on their body.”

Penny wanted to ask why the term “binding grandmothers” was being used, but figured she discovered this information later. “I’ll do that.”

Singing Nymph pull the chain that seemed to be made out of amethyst and emeralds and wrapped it around her waist so it hung off her hips and just below where her human-like abdomen merged with her scaly tail. She grabbed another article of jewelry off the wall and turned to Penny. “I had this when I was about your age; I think it’ll make a good first adornment for you.”

She slipped a loop over Penny’s head and pulled her hair out of the way so it rested around her neck like a necklace. It hung down in front of Penny’s torso and Singing Nymph showed her how to full her tailfins and slipped them through the bottom loop. Once the jewelry was in place it look like a harness of emeralds that ran down her torso and were secured at her neck and blow her butt.

Penny looked at down herself and admired how she looked. “Where you find all these gems?”

Singing Nymph smiled. “They’re all over if you know where look for them.”

“Well, I’d like to look for a few.” She smiled back at her cousin. “Thanks.”

“Thank you. It was the least I can do.”

“So…” Penny glanced at the reclining hammocks. “Do you want me to sleep over here?”

“Of course not.” Singing Nymph floated backwards and touched the large mass of seaweed behind her. “You’ll sleep here, with me.”

Penny felt a quick clutch in her chest. Not only was she used to having her own bed, but she had never considered sleeping with someone twice her age. “I don’t—”

Singing Nymph was in front of her with two quick flicks of her tail. “Little Bubbles, how old were you when you stopped sleeping with your binding mother?”

“Do you mean my mom?”

“Yes.”

“I was about eight.”

“Really. And you’re eleven now?” Singing Nymph chuckled. “You never thought it was unusual you’ve only been sleeping alone for three years?”

The moment her cousin brought up her former sleeping arrangements, it became clear that Penny hadn’t thought it unusual that she shared a bed with her mother until she was about eight and a half years old. Up until the moment she got her own room in bed, Penny sort of assumed this was normal. “That’s something mermaids do, isn’t it?”

Singing Nymph gave a slight nod. “It is. Mermaids are extremely communal creatures; we enjoyed being around each other. It’s rare for mermaid to ever want to be alone and if she is, she really stays alone for long. They’re just over a hundred of us in this pod, and you’ll find that you almost always have one of us. You at all times.

“And when it comes to sleeping, we’re just as communal. I’ve only recently received my own dwelling, and it is an unusual for another mermaid to come over and spend the evening with me. We find it comforting to have someone next to us while we sleep.” She gave Penny a warm smile. “I assure you, in a day or so it’s going to feel normal to you.”

Realizing she came to the pod to learn of her mother’s culture, Penny nodded and smiled back. “I guess I will.” She swam over to the hammock. “Is there a blanket that goes over this?”

“No. Let me show you—” Singing Nymph swim to the end on Penny’s left and spread the hammock apart, then slid inside with a few flips of her tail. Her head popped out the other end, resting against the bottom half of the hanging seaweed bed. “See? The top is a little shorter than the bottom, so we stay nice and comfortable.”

“It’s like a big sleeve. Your tail is hanging at the other end.”

“It’s all right: it doesn’t get cold.” Singing Nymph drew her arm out and motioned toward Penny. “Come on; you try it.”

Penny swam down by her cousin’s tail and pulled open the seaweed hammock, noticing there was more than enough room for them both. Doing exactly is Singing Nymph did, sliding inside and moving up through the sleeve with just a few, lazy slaps of her tail. A second later she was resting next to Singing Nymph, her back pressed against her cousin. “This is kinda comfortable.”

“I think you’ll find it exceptionally comfortable. In case you are wondering, when we get out in the morning just give you tail a couple of quick flips—”

“And will pop out the other end.” Penny did that and was up and over the hammock and swimming toward the center of the room in a matter of seconds. She waited for her cousin to join her before she spoke again. “So, what you want to show me next?”

On Beyond the Curtain: After All That

It was such a long… weekend.  Seriously.  It seemed to take forever to get in everything, and last night it felt like I was constantly going from six in the morning until ten last night.  But that’s all done and it’s Monday–

Which means I’m right back at work.

Seriously, I need one of those retreats where I just sit and write and relax.  Maybe next year?  At least find something on the ocean where I can set the laptop and listen to the waves crash while I figure out how to torture my kids.

But I’m not torturing them anymore–at least not in this chapter.  Seems Phee has a few words to say on that subject–

 

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

 

The Phoenix stood silently for a moment then slowly clapped her hands. “Bravo. I’m impressed.”

Annie’s face twisted around into a half smirk, half smile. “By?”

“When one says some of the things I’ve said to you to other kids your age, the common response is to deny everything I’ve said, because who wants to admit, at least at your age, that they’re not nearly as perfect as they’d like to believe? But not you guys.” The Phoenix gave a soft smile as she shook her head. “You both might’ve been pissed off and upset by what I said, but you never once denied my words. That’s a sign of maturity, being able to know when you have flaws and that you can work towards correcting them.”

 

Going all the way to the early days in Russel Square, what has been the ongoing mantra?  “It feels like we’re being tested.”  And when you get to school, who’s the biggest tester around?  I mean, getting into the school requires having to get your shit messed with by this old spirit, and who knows what else she does when she’s bored?

Really, though:  the whole conversation has been all about the button pushing.  And those they didn’t like it, Annie and Kerry never felt back on the, “That’s not true!” line.  Got a problem?  Sure do.  And I know it, so let me work on it.  And she likes to hear that.

This means she has but a few last things to say…

 

She stepped closer to the couple before turning to Annie. “I know how you feel about your parents, and it’s safe to say that one day you and your father will resolve your differences. It’s not going to happen overnight, but…” She playfully tossed her head to one side. “Eventually it will happen.

“As for you—” She turned towards Kerry. “I’d like to tell you everything is going to work out to your satisfaction, kiddo, but I can’t. It’s likely to get worse before it gets better—but just like with your significant other, in time you’ll work everything out.” The Phoenix patted Kerry on the shoulder. “Just remember: when you look like me, don’t forget the people you can turn to for help.”

He gave Annie’s hand a squeeze. “I won’t.”

“And with that—” The Phoenix half turned to her left and looked out upon Selena’s Meadow. “My business here is finished, Seer.”

Deanna took two more steps before stopping just short of the entrance to the ghostly pavilion. “As soon as I was brought here that became my immediate assumption.”

The Phoenix nodded. “They’re all yours, Deanna. Take care of them: you’ve got a couple of good students here.” A moment later the spirit winked out of sight with nary a sound.

Deanna joined her students in the pavilion. “Are you okay?”

Annie nodded slowly. “I’m fine.”

Kerry mimicked her actions. “As am I.”

“I’m glad.” Deanna sat on one of the long, translucent benches. “Now, if you wouldn’t mind, would you care to tell me what actually happened?”

Both kids looked at each other and started laughing, leaving Annie to respond. “Not at all, Deanna. It’s good to talk of these things…”

 

It’s not many kids at Salem who can say they’ve had a talk with the School Protector and walked away with only hurt feelings.  Before you know it they’ll be hanging out and telling tall tales.  Or not.  More likely the later.

Anyway, start of a new chapter tomorrow and all sorts of fun is about to go down…

“Sense8”, Season 2, Episode 5, “Fear Never Fixed Anything”

It’s time to make some noise…

The Snarking Dead TV Recaps

[Image via Netflix]

After four episodes of rather straightforward storytelling, we suddenly delve into another dark future that our sensates must face. The question now becomes, how are they going to pull themselves away from this abyss?

Fear Never Fixed Anything

Written by Lana Wachowski and J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by James McTeigue

San Francisco:

With the news that Jonas has been killed, the cluster gathers on Bug’s (Michael Sommers) boat and shares their grief together. For the first time since turning the tables on Whispers (Terrence Mann) the cluster feels lost, but they know the only choice they have is to continue moving forward.

Nairobi:

Capheus (Toby Onwumere) receives visitors: members of one of Kenya’s political parties who would like to have a word. And their word is a simple one: they saw the video of Capheus at the water riot in his later interview on television, and they…

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