The Post Of the Forth

Well, I hope you all had a good Second Civil War Day!

First off, I didn’t have a good day yesterday.  In fact, it was one of those “My Brain Wants Me Dead” sort of days and I spent most of it in bed crying–when I wasn’t sitting around crying, that is.  I cried so much yesterday by 9 last night my eyes hurt.

Today, however, I’m better.  Much better.  And I started out the day right by doing something I’d promised to do:  be in an Independence Day parade with my teammates.  Not only that, but I said I would skate.  That’s right: skate on the street and hand out fliers.

 

That was the “before” shot.  It was hot out today and it got hotter as we skated.  Even though it was a mile, we had to go up one small hill and then come down a bigger one–and I did this with my other teammates without going on my butt.  Yay!

Since there is a “before”, that must mean there are “afters”.  Yup.  Here they are.

Yeah, it was hot.

 

But we could still pose for a picture.

 

And a few hours ago the skies opened up and it began raining.  Which means I needed another picture:

Rains in Harrisburg

I Bless the Rains Down in Harrisburg.

I

‘m loads of laughs.

Also, the piece I was interviewed for by The Central Voice, an online LGBT publication, finally saw the light of day, and you can read that right here.

Now, one thing I alluded to in my video the other day… since I’m on a derby kick today I may as well tell everyone I’m going to attend another clinic, this time on the evening of the 13th of this month, which is a Friday if you didn’t already know. It’s one being given by Laci Knight, a player who gave a clinic back in February and of which I was an observer.

So what’s the big deal about this one?  I’m not going to just watch–I’m gonna skate! Yes, I decided to up my derby game and this time, with the approval of coaching, I will strap on my skates and be my own hero.  And at some–probably an hour into the clinic–I’ll also probably go, “What the hell have I gotten myself into?”  But those be the breaks.  Beside, if you’re gonna skate with the big girls, you may as well take a lot of hits from them as well.

That’s all I have. Enjoy the rest of the day and if you can, get your drinking in before the aliens arrive, because–

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The Return Dinner: Relaxing With a Mermaid

Man, this weekend has been a busy one.  If you followed my Saturday video you’ll know I recorded it early in the morning because I was going out to brunch with one of my teammates, Summer, and by the time the day was over we’d have crepes, we’d walked through the Masonic Gardens, had cooling drinks, and watched a couple of episodes of Sailor Moon Crystal.  For sure a busy day.

And nary a hip check to anyone from either of us.

 

Then yesterday… well, yesterday I was once more up at six and heading down to Lancaster to be there by eight because I was attending a derby clinic given by world champion jammer Satan’s Little Helper.

 

Yes, you read that right: I was hangin’ with Satan from 8:30 to 12:30. She’s a jammer with Angel City Derby Girls, the L.A. derby league, though after having won a gold at the World Cup in February, she’s sort of taking some time off and going around coaching.  While I didn’t skate, I observed from the sidelines and learned a hell of a lot while a couple of my teammates got their hands dirty.  Oh, and got a selfie with Satan herself.

 

By the time I was home from that, taking time out for lunch, and picking up a few groceries for the week, it was about four in the afternoon and I wasn’t in the mood to do anything but veg.  Which was why I didn’t get a post out yesterday.

But today!  Hah!  It’s all a different game now.  And we finish up the excerpt I began on Friday–which is finishing up Annie’s and Kerry’s time in Copenhagen.  And reviles their final destination–

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

The area ahead of them was well lit, far better than it was on the path they’d just walked. Kerry saw the reason: just off-shore sat the statue of The Little Mermaid, perched upon a rock under the spotlights. There were quite a few people around the statue taking photos and a few of them were standing just under the bolder upon which the sculpture sat.

Kerry’s smile was wide and bright. “It’s Ariel. I knew the statue was in Copenhagen, but I wasn’t sure where.”

“Now you know.” Annie stopped them almost in front of the stairs leading down from the path to the stones below. “I’ve been here many times. This is the first time I’ve come with someone other than my parents.”

 

Yes, they are at the location of the statue of The Little Mermaid, which is one of the most well known statues in the world, and one of the most defiled as well, as it’s possible to go right out to the rock she’s sitting up and… do things to her.  Like paint her, put jerseys on her, and saw off her head.  Yep, all those things have happened: the head was actually sawed off twice and the original head–the one removed the first time–was never recovered.

Why would you decapitate something so cute?

 

In case you ever wondered–or not–this statue has been officially copies and can be found all over the world.  So in case you can’t make it to the original sitting on her rock on the side of the sea, you can find her at all these locations:

 

Copenhagen: The Langelinie, Carlsberg Breweries, and Tivoli Gardens. (Yes, there are three versions of the statue around the city.)
Moldavia, Romania: Piata Libertatii (Liberty Square).
Madrid: Parque Europa
California: Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale and Denmarket Square in Solvang.
Connecticut: atop Victor Borge’s grave in Greenwich.
Utah: The International Peace Gardens, Salt Lake City.
Iowa: Mermaid Square, Kimballton.
Michigan: on the banks of the Flat River in Greenville.  (Note: this is not an exact replica and some don’t consider it official.)
St. Thomas, Virgin Islands: in the town of Charlotte Amalie.
Brasilia: the Department of the Navy headquarters.
China: The Window of the Word theme park, Shenzhen.
Japan: corner of the Scandia Restaurant, Yokohama
Seoul: Yeouido Hangang Park.

 

That’s a lot of places to see this girl.

While I never saw The Little Mermaid when I worked in the Shenzhen SEZ, I did see this one: the statue of Nuwa, one of the main Chinese goddess.  She created mankind and fixed a rift in Heaven, so she’s a big deal.  She’s also one of the largest mermaid statues in the world, if not the largest: about forty foot tall and twenty-two feet wide.

They like their mermaids big in Asia.

 

This statue wasn’t far from the hotel where I’d stay in Shekou and I could see it out of my window.

Now that you’ve gotten all the Little Mermaid information you never asked for, what does Kerry think of this statue?

 

“I’m honored.” He glanced at Annie. “Are we gonna go down and get pictures?”

“Let’s wait for some of the people to clear out.” She noticed how excited Kerry seemed. “You’re enjoying this.”

“Oh, yeah. I like mermaids.”

You like mermaids?” She eyed him suspiciously. “I didn’t know that.”

“Oh, there’s a lot about me you don’t know.” He smirked. “Not really, but liking mermaids was one of those things that didn’t pop up until—”

“Now?”

“Yeah.”

 

Kerry not only loves the statue of Ariel, but he loves mermaids.  Wow, it’s almost like he got that from someone…

Of course, something comes to mind and Annie brings it up:

 

“That’s understandable.” Annie slowly raised one eyebrow. “You know, with transformation magic—”

“I already know.” Kerry turned to Annie, chuckling. “Realized that a couple of years ago.”

Annie watched Kerry out of the corner of her eyes. “And now that you can—”

He interrupted, speaking out of the corner of his mouth. “Ixnay ethay irlgay uffstay.”

Even though she didn’t know pig latin, Annie understood enough. “Still a touchy subject, I see.”

“I went in your room and finished your packing. That’s enough for now.” Kerry turned to face her. “I’m a ways away from becoming the Ginger Girl of the Sea.”

“Fair enough.” Annie pulled him close for a kiss. “By the way, your other night clothes are in your bag, aren’t they?”

He nodded. “Didn’t have time to head back to my room to drop them off.” He shrugged. “No big deal.”

Annie looked over his shoulder. “Crowd is thinning out, my love. Would you like to get a picture with Ariel?”

He turned to look at the statue. “You know, I can’t be this.”

“What?”

Kerry turned back to Annie. “I’ve been with your family for about eight hours and already I’m jaunting to different parts of Europe for dinner like it’s no big deal.”

“It isn’t.” She pulled him close. “You once told me I had a far different life than yours, that I went to places you only dreamed of visiting. Understand this, my love: one day we will visit all those places you dreamed of visiting and we’ll do it together. That will be our life.” She kissed him deeply before turning him towards the stairs. “Let’s hurry get a picture: we don’t want Ariel to get cold waiting for us, do we?”

 

What Kerry says in Pig Latin is “Nix the girl stuff.”  What he really means is “Don’t remember me I can become Ariel’s twin sister,” because, yeah, bruh, you can totally do that.  Maybe not this year, but give it time and you know you’ll have it down.

Now that the evening in Copenhagen is over, it’s time to move on to the next day–and is Kerry in for a bit of an awakening…

The Return Dinner: A Walk Along the Langelinie

While I’ve yet to write today, it will happen later this evening.  That’s exactly what I did last night and I ended up writing just over two thousand words. Not bad, huh?  And it’s an important scene because it’s not only the First Day of Winter, 2013, but Kerry learns about Annie’s morning tea and how she likes it handled.  Also, you learn something interesting about Victor in that scene, too, but it’s probably not what you think.

But this scene–this is the same day that Kerry arrives in Pamporovo, but after Annie and he adjust, which is to say it’s dinner time.  Or really, after-dinner.

 

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Kerry strolled down the Langelinie hand-in-hand with Annie, enjoying the cool night air next to the waters of the harbor. They’d spent about ten minutes at the Gefionspringvandet getting photos before walking a couple of hundred meters to the Langelinie Pavilion. There paused there long enough to get a quick snuggle and kiss before continuing onward.

When Annie’s parents said they were going out for dinner, Kerry expected they’d probably jaunt into Sofia, but instead they jaunted to Copenhagen, where they dined at a semi-casual restaurant on Esplanaden. Kerry was even more surprised when he was told her could order anything he liked, so he started with fried scallops and chose the duck confit as his entree.

It was an enjoyable evening, going on for about two and a half hours before Pavlina and Victor decided it was time to leave. But they didn’t go home: standing on the corner of Esplanaden and Bredgade, Pavlina took Victor’s hand and told Annie they were going for a walk and that she should take Kerry down to the Langelinie, telling her that they’d catch up with them at the statue. Victor said they should enjoy their walk before heading off across the street with Pavlina, his arm around his wife’s shoulders as they vanished into the evening crowd.

As they walked down the promenade Kerry was silent, taking in the cool night air. There wasn’t any snow on the ground and the temperature hovered around 5 C. If it weren’t for the light drizzle, he would have found it a perfect evening.

Annie wrapped her arm around his. “What are you thinking about, my love?”

“Dinner, what else?” He smiled as he looked straight ahead. “When I visited my grandparents two years for Yule I got leftover pizza; last year I got take away. This year it’s scallops and duck.” He looked at Annie as he chuckled. “Quite a departure.”

“It is.” She leaned against him, snuggling into his body. “Plus you ate in Copenhagen for the first time.”

“That I didn’t expect at all. Why come here?”

 

It’s been pointed out in other excerpts that Kerry is developing quite a taste for the sort of food Annie has enjoyed growing up, and this is just a continuation of that.  It may not be a restaurant in the Eiffel Tower, but jaunting off to Copenhagen, Denmark, to grab a bite isn’t something he does on a regular basis.  As he pointed out, his last two “Welcome Home” Yule dinners were leftover pizza and takeaway curry.  Now, dining out with the Family Kirilovi, he’s getting fried scallops and duck confit.  Gotta admit, it’s a big step up.

We get to see Pavlina and Victor head off on their own little night walk, first holding hands and then Victor wrapping his arm around his wife as they stroll across a street.  It wasn’t so much they wanted the kids to be alone as it was they wanted to be alone, and Annie probably knows this.  So Kerry and she walk down to the Langelinie, which is a major park in the city.  And they enter the Langelinie by passing the Gefionspringvandet, which is Danish for the Gefion Fountain, dedicated to the Norse goddess of plowing, foreknowledge, and virginity. The statue itself depicts a story from the Ynglinga saga, where King Gylfi promised her all the land she could plow in a day and a night. So she turned her four sons she’d had with a giant into oxen and chewed up so much land that it split away from Sweden and became Zealand.  Because of course.

Since she’s a virgin she’s gotta do a different kind of plowing…

 

Now that the history lesson is out of the way, the question remains: why come here?  Well–

 

Annie slowed her pace slightly as she took Kerry’s hand. “Mama and Papa own a house here, so they know the city rather well.”

This was news to Kerry. He’d never heard Annie mention that her parents owned property elsewhere. “I wasn’t aware.”

“I don’t talk about it, but tonight there’s no reason to keep it secret.” She tightened her grip on Kerry’s hand. “The bought the house here five years ago: at the time Papa used it as a place to stay when he was racing in this part of Europe. Three years ago they bought another house in Feldafing, Germany, about thirty kilometers from downtown Munich. Last year they bought a farm outside San Sebastián, Spain. I’ve yet to see that one, but I figure I’ll get to spend some time there in the coming summer.”

“Wow.” He found the news extremely interesting. “Why the buying jag all of a sudden?”

“Mama says they’re getting ready for retirement. Papa is probably going to stop racing full-time not long after I graduate and he may become a part-owner of his race team. If he does that, they’ll likely spend most of their time either here or in Germany.

“But Mama told me the properties in Germany and Spain were bought through The Foundation using fake identities. I think those places are meant for when my parents are in their eighties and nineties and people are wondering why they still look like they’re in their fifties.” She glanced over at Kerry. “They can’t stay in Pamporovo once that happens.”

Kerry understood the matter perfectly. Once he’d learned that witches age far more slowly than Normals, he came to the understanding that it wasn’t possible to remain in one place for more than twenty or thirty years, least neighbors begin wondering why you didn’t appear the age. He knew Annie’s parents were edging into their late 30s, but it wasn’t hard to confuse either of them for people ten years younger. He was also aware they’d go through this as well and the lack of visible aging was one of the reasons they were unable to pin down just how far in the future some of their visions occurred.

He sighed. “I guess we’ll have to do the same one day.”

“Of course.”

“So once your parents move out of Pamporovo, what happens to the property?”

“I get it. I’ll always have the lake house, but I was told I’d get the main house as well.” She pointed to something ahead. “Look. We’re here.”

 

As we now know, witches don’t age like us Normal folk and when Pavlina and Victor are in their eighties people will probably think they are in the late forties, early fifties, and if they’re still in Pampovoro that sure as shit won’t do ’cause too many people will know them.  But fall out of the public eye for a while, move to another part of the country, and before you know it The Foundation has set you up with a new identity and you have another sixty, seventy years to kick it.  Annie suspects that’s why her parent have other properties in Europe under different names, ’cause when the time comes Pavlina and Victor are gonna take it on the run and disappear, but not, if you know what I mean.

And we hear here, for the first time, that Annie gets the property at some point in her life.  Not just the Lake House, which is always hers, but the main house and her mother’s greenhouse/lab as well.  Sure, she wants to live in France–and Kerry will bring this up later–but she’s also gonna keep her roots in the mountains of Bulgaria.

Until then, they have a watery guest to entertain soon…

The Final Yule Destination

So far I haven’t gotten around to writing today, but never fear, I’ll do that today.  For most of the day I’ve been taking it easy and I plan on getting in my thousand or so words around the time my dinner is ready.

In the mean time, I may as well get the rest of Kerry’s trip to Bulgaria out to you.

It’s not only coming, but I’m going to give you a quick video as well.  So hang on–

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

—Where he was standing in a large, clear area in front of a somewhat unassuming house. There was snow everywhere and the wind was blowing. It also seemed far colder than school had been yesterday.

Pavlina released Kerry’s hand. “Let’s get inside before we freeze.” She headed for the house at a brisk pace, levitating Kerry’s bag behind her. Victor did the same with Annie’s luggage and motioned with his hand to open the door just as Pavlina stepped on to the porch. Everyone was inside less than five seconds later.

Kerry stood to one side as Annie’s family made their way to the center of the room. This gave him the chance to examine his surrounding. While he’d heard Annie’s descriptions of her home many times, his first impression of the room in which he stood—he figured it for the living room—was that it appeared quite simple for the home of a Formula 1 driver and his pharmaceutical research spouse. Then again, there was nothing visible that told him he was also standing inside the home of three witches—

 

In a couple of scenes we’ll get a better view of the area where the Kirilovi’s live, but needless to say, they don’t live anywhere in town: they’re right up in the mountains.  Which means there’s snow and not a little isolation.  Which means nothing when you can jaunt from Vienna to your home in the blink of an eye.

And now that we’re home and inside, let’s look around:

 

Pavlina turned towards Kerry and addressed him. “Alright, Kerry. Let me give you a quick tour of the mail floor. Right now we’re in the living room, but we only use this when we’re entertaining.” She pointed towards a door at his left. “That the front closet. We usually put visitor’s gear there, but you’re not one of those people. We also have our cleaning supplies there. To your right—” She pointed at the door immediately across from the closet. “That leads to the lower level and Victor’s and my private residence, as well as the tunnel to my lab and the lake house. While you may use to tunnel to travel to the lake house and back, I ask that you don’t enter our residence or my lab.”

He nodded. “Sure. I won’t go to either of those places unless invited.”

“Thank you. “Now—” Pavlina turned and pointed to an open door in the far right corner. “That’s Victor’s office. He won’t conduct much business while you’re here, but if the door is closed he’s busy and you shouldn’t bother him.”

“If the door’s open you can go in and look at my brooms; I have them in cases.” Victor offered a wide smile. “I would ask, however, that you not attempt to open the cases, nor go through my desk.”

“I wouldn’t think of it.” Kerry nodded. “Though I would like to see your equipment when we have time. Also, I brought my broom: I thought I’d get in a little flying over the holiday.

Victor’s smile grew brighter. “Excellent. I’m certain there’ll be time to fly. I’ll get you a stand for your broom if you like.”

“That would be great; I didn’t bring my stand from school.”

Pavlina decided to move the tour along. “If you’ll come here, Kerry.” She motioned to a closed door set in the far wall of the living room. “We’ll go there in a minute. The ground floor bathroom is to your left: it’s only a half-bath—” She stopped in the open space between two room. She motioned towards the large table in the middle of a brightly illuminated room. “This is the dining room. If we’re not eating out, we eat here. I’m sure Annie told you our dining rules?”

He shook his head once. “No electronic gear at the table, all phones off.”

“She’s training you up nicely. Here—” she motioned to her right. “—is the kitchen. There are plenty of snacks in the refrigerator and pantry, but I ask that you not spoil your appetite before we dine. That door there leads to the mudroom, which leads to the back porch and the back meadow. When we leave the house it’s usually through there, so you’ll find coats, boots, all outdoor gear there. Now, I know you brought your winter coat—” She pointed him and at the dark blue coat he wore. “—but as I’m sure you discovered, while it might work in a Salem winter, it won’t do up here in the mountains. So we pulled out some of Victor’s old things so you’ll have a proper coat, hat, mittens, and boots.”

Kerry hesitated before speaking. “Thanks, but I also brought my cold wear flying gear—”

“Which is white so it acts as camouflage when airborne.” Victor chuckled. “If you were outside by yourself and something happened to you, we couldn’t see you.”

After careful consideration Kerry agreed. “You’re right.”

Pavlina smiled back at him. “We’ll size you up tomorrow morning. Also, those stairs—” She pointed at a spiral staircase going up. “They lead to Annie’s floor—which is where she should go so she can adjust and we can go to dinner later.”

 

I thought this description might be a little too much, so I included a video.  Which may or may not answer everything for you.

 

Annie’s on her way to her room to get adjusted.  Which means that leaves Kerry alone with the parents.  Since he needs to get settled…

 

“I’ve gotten the hint, Mama.” She pulled her bag towards the stairs. “I see you in a few hours.”

Pavlina stepped in front of her. “Is your adjustment mixture in your bag?”

“No, it’s in my purse.”

“Then go on up and get adjusted. I’ll bring your bag us after getting Kerry settled.”

“Okay, Mama.” She gave Pavlina a hug then turned and hugged Victor. “It’s good to be home.” She glanced towards Kerry before addressing everyone. “See you in a few hours.”

As Annie headed up the stairs Pavlina touched Kerry on the shoulder. “Let me show you your room.”

They returned to the closed door off the living room. Pavlina waved it open and moved aside to allow Kerry entry after her retrieved his luggage. She stood just inside the doorway as she spoke. “This is the guest room. This is where Victor and I first slept when be bought the house, then it was Annie’s room after she was born. We moved her up to the first floor when she was almost seven and it’s been the guest room ever since.

“This door—” She reached for the door immediately to her left “—is the walk-in closet. You can put your things here. That—” She pointed to another door just to the right of the closet “—is the bathroom. It’s a full bath, so you will have all the privacy you need.” Pavlina motioned to the large roll-top desk to her right. “We brought in a desk and chair so you have a place for you computer—you brought that, didn’t you?”

Kerry finally removed his backpack and set it next to his luggage. “Yes, right here.”

“You won’t have any trouble logging into the wifi as we’re the only router for kilometers. I’ll give you the password later.”

“Thanks.”

“You have an end table over there and a wardrobe as well. Feel free to use both.”

“I will.” He looked down, suddenly humbled. “I want to thank you again for letting me stay with you.”

“There’s no need, Kerry. It’s our pleasure.” Pavlina moved so she was standing directly in front of the boy. “Remember, by you being here, you’re ensuring that Annie has a wonderful holiday as well. And that means Victor and I will also have a wonderful holiday, so you see how it all comes back to this moment?”

Kerry smiled as he nodded. “I do.”

“Good. Do you have your adjustment?”

He pointed at his backpack. “In there.”

“Then I’ll let you get adjusted.”

Kerry stopped Pavlina before she left. “Do I need to dress up tonight?”

She shook her head. “No, it’s going to be casual. What you have on will do.” She stepped into the doorway. “Have a good rest.” She stepped into the living room and the door closed behind her.

Kerry picked up his backpack and removed his pajamas from where he’s stashed them before leaving the hospital. He changed, used the bathroom, then drank his adjustment mixture before quickly crawling under the covers.

He fell asleep thinking about how nice the pillow felt…

 

As you can read, this is quite the departure from when he’s come home for Yule before.  At least we can be assured that he’s not going to get slapped across the face like his mother did to him last Christmas Eve.  I dare say this visit is going to go a lot better.

Now that he’s “home”, I guess everyone should get something to eat–

The Stop Along the Way

There hasn’t been any writing today–at least not yet.  I found myself struggling most of the morning with things that happened then–yes, I love getting text messages at seven in the morning to do things that don’t concern me–and things that happened last night.  And about last night…

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I love to convince myself that I can’t do something.  It’s not just moments of doubt: it’s getting into my head and pulling out all the reasons why I can’t do something.  And I did that last night after practice.  I didn’t have a good 27/5–in fact it was horrible–and though the rest of the night wasn’t that bad, I focused on that and just kept hammering back into my head.  By the time I went to bed last night I was convinced I should quit because I’m never going to do the one thing that will make my dreams come true.

I was even harping on it a little this morning.  For so long I’ve heard I’m not special, that I’m nothing but a disappointment, that there are so many times when that’s all I see.

Except–

There’s something we need to do for certification that I call a 1 In 13.  It’s one lap of the track in thirteen seconds or less from a standing start.  It’s just hit it the moment the whistle blows and go full-tilt boogie for one lap.  It’s like Olympic short track ice skating when everyone gets nuts, only it was me and another girl out there and not a half-dozen other people looking to take your ass out.

When I did it maybe 7 or 8 months back, I think my best time was 12.6 seconds.  Last night I did it three times and each time I was down around 11.5 seconds, with my fastest being 11.3 seconds.  There was nothing stylish about it: I just powered down both straights and coasted through the turns as close to the inside line as possible.  And the time I skated was the time needed to skate 27 laps in 5:05.

I need to channel that energy into my flying laps, ’cause it’s my guess if I’d gone three or four more laps I’d have likely hit a couple of sub-11 seconds laps.  And that would get me to where I need to be.

I have to stop listening to the voices of the past ’cause they haven’t done shit for me.  Ever.

Speaking of someone who’s past voices have pretty much told him he’s not special, either, is on this way to where he’ll spend Yule Holiday.  It’s all new for him.

And he’s not listening to the voices of the past.

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

The jaunt station at Vienna International Airport flashed into view as Kerry steadied himself against his luggage. He normally didn’t get dizzy or disoriented when jaunting, but he’d turned his head to the left to check on Annie just as they departed Salem and the sudden transition threw him. In a matter of seconds he had his orientation and followed Annie off the platform and into the waiting crowd.

There were no problems leaving Salem—other than Kerry needing to go and finish packing Annie’s luggage which was done with no issues, as Coraline had promised. He spent the night in Bay #1 with Annie, sleeping next to her in Bed #1, which was a first for them both. Then a quick release, breakfast, and waiting until it was time to leave for Vienna—

Which brought them here.

While Annie made her way towards her parents, Kerry headed towards Berniece Rutherford, who had contacted him earlier in the week to let him know she’d see him off. “See him off” wasn’t the correct terminology, however: as she explained, it was necessary for her, as his case worker, to make certain the people taking him in for the holidays were actually there. It didn’t matter that she knew who Annie’s parents were and that she’d spoken with them before: there was protocol to follow and she wouldn’t break the rules.

Kerry was actually happy to see her. If there was one constant away from school that he could count upon, it was Ms. Rutherford looking after him. As she’d told him many times over the last year, if he needed help, she’d be there for him.

Just like now.

She appeared happy to see him as he approached. “Hello, Kerry.”

He stopped about a meter and a half away. “How you doin’, Ms. Rutherford?”

“I’m well.” She held her tablet in her crossed hands in front of her tummy. “Looked forward to the holiday?”

“Actually yeah, I am.”

“Well, let’s get you processed so you can be on your way.” She turned and walked with Kerry the few meters to where Annie and her parents stood. Bernice addressed each. “Annie; Ms. Kirilova; Mr. Kirilov.”

Annie’s mother almost seemed ready to roll her eyes. “Berniece, please— Pavlina and Victor.”

“Sorry, old habits. Speaking of which—” She patted Kerry on the shoulders. “I need to establish proof that Kerry left with you. So if you will—” Ms. Rutherford held out her tablet. “I need both your signatures and thumbprints.”

Victor stepped forward. “Of course.” He signed and affixed his print. “Wouldn’t want The Foundation of accusing us of losing Kerry.”

“We certainly wouldn’t want that.” Pavlina did the same as her husband. “I hope that satisfied everyone.”

“It does, indeed.” She turned to Kerry and gave him her warmest smile. “I want you to have a good time. Please enjoy your holiday—and if you need me—”

“You’re just a call away.” He smiled back. “No problem. Have a good holiday, Ms. Rutherford.”

She turned towards Annie and her family. “And I’ll extend my wishes that you all have an incredible Yule. Annie; Pavlina, Victor.” She took a step back. “See you all in a couple of weeks.” She turned and departed the station.

 

There you have it: Kerry’s made it out of the school and into the Vienna Airport, and Annie’s family have taken responsibility for his well-being.  And you know they will.  After all, if something happened to him, a certain Chestnut Hair Girl would probably lose her shit in a major way.

Now, the next section has a large part spoken in Bulgarian, but I’m gonna provide translations.  Because that’s how I roll.

 

Pavlina looked to her husband. “We need to leave as well: these kids need to adjust so they’ll be on our time when we go to dinner.”

“We’re going out to dinner?” Annie fell in line next to her mother as the Kirilovi Family turned towards the exit.

“Yes. We thought it’d be nice to save the home cooked meals for tomorrow.” Pavline looked at Kerry. “Come along. We wouldn’t want you to get lost.”

“I’m right behind you.” He fell in next to Annie as soon as they were outside the jaunt station and walking towards the open area were people could jaunt in and out of The Foundation-controlled areas. He watched Annie closely and noticed her limping slightly after about a minute of walking. Coraline had warned her that while she was healed, she might not be back to one hundred percent mobility for a couple of days.

He wasn’t the only one who noticed the limp: Pavlina glanced at her daughter a few times before speaking to her in Bulgarian. “Zashto kŭlvash, Annie? (Why are you limping, Annie?)”

Annie replied in a matter of fact-like tone. “V posledniya mesets se prisŭedinikh kŭm rund derbi liga. Schupikh desniya si krak i kitkata snoshti po vreme na trenirovkata. (I joined a roller derby league last month. I broke my right leg and wrist last night during practice.)”

Kerry didn’t know what exactly Annie said—it didn’t bother him that her mother and she were speaking in their native language as it’s probably how they talked when he wasn’t around—but he was certain that she’d said she broke her leg during derby practice the night before, since “rund derbi liga” sounded enough like “roller derby league” to indicate the subject.

While Annie didn’t act like it was a big deal, her father and mother thought otherwise. Victor gave her a strange look while Pavlina seemed perplexed. “Roler derbi liga? Kakvo e tova? (Roller derby league? What’s that?)”

He was walking next to Annie when she gave her reply, looking straight ahead with a smile on her face. “Tova sa momicheta na rolkovi kŭnki, koito obikalyat edna pista i se blŭskat edin drug. (It’s girls on roller skates who go around a track hitting and blocking each other.)” She turned towards her mother. “Tova e mnogo zabavno. Kharesva mi. (It’s a lot of fun. I like it.)”

Pavlina seemed surprised. “We’ll discuss this tomorrow.” She motioned towards one of two large portals set in the right wall. “Here we are.”

 

That Annie: already she’s acting like getting hurt was part of what she signed up for–and if you remember, she was told “when” not “if” she got hurt.  Now, she might not be so flippant if she had to wait twelve weeks to get back on skates like my teammate did, so having access to magical healing powers can help you keep that attitude. It might be a different story had she shown up in a wheelchair being pushed by Kerry.

Now that Annie and her mother have that business out of the way, it’s time to move on:

 

There were two public jaunt area in the area under the airport to allow witches the ability to jaunt in and out of the facility without having to go through security and leave via the same routes as Normals. One area was set aside for incoming jaunts and another for outbound. They turned through an archway located under the sign “Departures/Foriroj” and entered a huge, well-lit circular area painted in horizontal lines of sky blue and lemon yellow, with “Departures/Foriroj” emblazoned upon the wall in black letters three meters high opposite the archway.

Pavlina and Victor stepped to a point near the wall about six meters from the wall. Victor held out his right hand. “Annie, let me take your luggage.” She passed it to him: he instantly switched it to his left hand and held out his right again. “Take my hand, Nini.”

She nodded as Pavlina spoke to Kerry. “You stand next to Annie and give me your luggage, then take both our hands.”

Kerry was familiar enough with what was about to happen that he didn’t ask questions. In a matter of seconds he passed off his luggage and took both Annie’s and her mother’s hand. “I’m ready.”

Victor looked down the line to his right. “Everyone else?”

Pavlina nodded. “Take us home, love.”

Kerry felt the scenery around him shift again—

 

And tomorrow you’ll see where Kerry ends up.

I promise.