I swear I’m not trying to rush into this story, but I spent most of the afternoon and evening working on this part–well, most of the afternoon was spent trying to futz around with the new Google Maps to make out a “fake route” for Kerry, because once I see a shiny toy like that, I have to make it mine. While it would seem there are bugs to get ironed out in the new Google Maps to make the itinerary you’ll see below, it likely is coming.
I wrote almost fifteen hundred words over the course of several hours, because I wanted to get into this part of the story. We didn’t get to see much of Kerry’s home life in the last novel, but this time we’re starting off with a little slice, and they’ll be more to come when we get into Yule holiday. But right now in the story it’s two weeks before Kerry lights out of Cardiff, and the family has sat down for dinner . . .
(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday were the days that Kerry’s mother Louise went into work at the BBC, usually commuting with his father, Davyn. Not only was Kerry left alone on those days, but the evening dinner usually consisted of take way, mostly Indian and Chinese, though fish and chips and kababs also made their appearance, and once in a while buggers and pizza would grace the dinner table.
Tonight dinner didn’t arrive until just after nineteen hours, due to traffic and a delay at the restaurant. Kerry’s parents picked up fish and chips, and while this has always been one of his favorites, since having the fish and chips at the school, the Cardiff fare simply wasn’t as good. He never let on, however, because he didn’t want to have a discussion about why the Salem food was so much better.
After all, when it’s made by artificial people using magical means, it was hard for Normals to match the results.
The seating was always the same: Davyn sat at one end of the table with his back to the family room, while Louise sat across from him with her back to the main lounge. Kerry sat between them, facing the wall separating the dining room from the kitchen, with his father to his left and his mother to his right. Even when they lived in California they ate in the same configuration when they all ate together. It was only during this summer home, after spending nine months at school with Annie that Kerry understood what Coraline told him that night he went to the hospital after his vision: all the girls save Annie sit on his right.
Even his mother.
That last part . . . there will be an answer, of sorts, as to why Annie is always to Kerry’s left, and he to her right. Just give me another couple of hundred thousand words to get there, will ya?
His parents spent almost ten minutes going over their events of the day before Louise finally got around to checking up on her son. “How was your day, Kerry? Did you do anything interesting?”
Kerry actually had something interesting happen, something he’d expected for a few weeks. “My travel package came today.”
“What’s that?” His father barely looked up from his chips.
“My travel package for school arrived.” Kerry rubbed his hands against his thighs. “You know: tickets and itinerary. All the stuff I need to get to the staging point for returning students.”
“Oh.” Davyn finally turned towards Kerry, wiping his hands clean. “It’s time for you to return already?”
“Yeah, Dad.” Kerry tried not to sound sullen when he answered. “I told you about this last Thursday.”
“Hum.” His father shook his head. “It must have slipped my mind.”
“Where are you, um, staging this year, dear?” Louise barely remembered Kerry mentioning this last week, but didn’t want her son to think they were completely uninterested.
“Berlin? In Germany?”
“One and the same.” He fought hard to keep from rolling his eyes. Mom’s smarter than that: she’s trying to make conversation so Dad doesn’t look like he doesn’t care . . .
Vaguely remembering that last year Kerry stayed in London for a few days before heading to Amsterdam, she decided to see if he was doing the same this year. “How are your plans for this year? Staying in London again?”
Kerry shook his head. “Nope. Ms. Rutherford is coming here early on the twenty-seventh, and we’re taking a car to Cardiff Central, then the train into Paddington, a car from there to Liverpool Station, the train from there out to Stansted Airport, and from there I fly to Berlin.” He nibbled at a piece of fish. “Gonna make for a long day.”
That is the route as I worked it out. It looks like this:
Car from home to Cardiff Cental
Train from Cardiff Central to Paddington
Car from Paddington to Liverpool
Train from Liverpool to Stansted Airport
Flight from Stansted Airport to Berlin Tegel Airport
Car from Berlin Tegel Airport to Crowne Plaza Berlin–City Ctr Nurnberger
There you have it. You can probably figure out how he’s really going to travel, but for the sake of continuing to fool the parents, that’s what his itinerary says and what the tickets show.
Oh, and you can almost see the air quotes around “staging” when Louise says the word.
His father nodded. “Certainly sounds that way. Wouldn’t it be easier for you to leave for school from London?”
“Probably, but that’s not how The Foundation does thing. Berlin is the staging area for all the returning students from Europe, Western Asia, and most of Africa. Last year they staged out of Madrid, and, I think, next year we stage out of Paris.” He didn’t want to say he’d heard that from Annie during their last dream together.
Louise snorted as she played with her food. “Still doesn’t sound efficient.”
“Apparently it works, though. Gives The Foundation time to gather everyone up, and lets the students have some time in a different city every year.”
“Do you know which cities they visit?” When Kerry had returned home after school in early June, Davyn seemed primarily concerned with how The Foundation was able to ship students back and forth to various parts of the world. Kerry figured he was getting a feel for the sort of costs that were run up transporting kids every year.
Kerry nodded. “Amsterdam, Paris, Madrid, Rome, and Berlin. Last year the returning students were in Madrid, Berlin this year, next year Paris. Then I think . . .” He searched for something Annie had mentioned off-hand during their last dream. “We go to Rome and then back to Amsterdam. I remember hearing something about you always end up your last staging year in the city where you started.” Assuming you don’t start jaunting off to Salem by that time.
I’ve run through, in my mind, of course, all the cities that the Foundation is currently using for staging, and I even worked out the line. A couple of things here, though: once again, we are working with five points–like in a pentagram–and three of these cities are the locations for the main headquarters for The Foundation. The Protectors headquarters (they are like The Foundation police) is located in Berlin, the Guardians headquarters (we know these guys) is located in Amsterdam, and the main Foundation headquarters is located in Paris. How ironic that Annie and Kerry started out in the main city of the people they did a field operation for a half-year later. One might imagine something dark and nefarious about that, but no: it just happened to be in the schedule for the A Levels.
Now that travel is out of the way, the parental units try to do the small talk thing with the young don’t-know-he’s-a-witch-yet person:
Silence returned to the dinner table for almost a minute as everyone caught up on the food before them. Louise once more broke the silence. “You seem happy about going back.”
Kerry wasn’t going to try and hide his joy. “I am.”
“You were never like this when you were returning to school here—”
“That’s because it was the Cardiff schools, Mom.” Kerry tried to keep his tone as snide-free as possible, but given his hatred for time in the Cardiff school system, he wasn’t completely successful.
Davyn thought he’d try to lighten the mood by changing the subject. “I guess you’re looking forward to seeing your friends again.”
“Yeah.” Thinking about the people he knew who’d return to school with him lightened his mood considerably. “It’ll be great seeing them again.”
His father placed his folded arms on the table and leaned against them. “Who are some of your friends?”
“Well, there’s Nadine, and there’s Emma—” He blushed slightly as he grinned. “And Annie.”
His mother addressed her husband. “You know, the girl who writes all the time?”
Remember The Girl Who Writes, because it’s gonna make for some problems in a bit . . .
“Yes, that one.” Davyn turned back to his son. “Anyone else?”
Kerry didn’t have to think about that one. “A few of the instructors, also.”
“They have names?”
“Sure. There’s Erywin and Helena—you met them, Mom—and there’s Deanna and Wednesday, and Vicky.” He considered the others he knew. “There’s also Professor Kishna and Professor Semplen, but I don’t knew them well enough to call them by their given names.”
Louise eyed her son hard. “I was going to ask about that.”
“Yeah, some of the instructors want you to address them by their given names when you’re in private—” He realized he was missing someone. “Oh, and there’s Coraline—she’s the school doctor—and Trevor, our librarian and archivist.”
“I see.” Louise set her right knuckles against the bottom of her chin. “Those first three, though: those are classmates?”
“Yes, they are. Annie and Emma are in my level, and Nadine is an older—”
“Don’t you have any classmate friends who are boys?”
And leave it to Louise Malibey, mother of Kerry, to find a button to push. “What? Don’t you hang out with any boys?” Yeah, push that button–push it!
So here we are–
–Eleven and a half thousand words into the new story, and only a little over a week is gone. Not a bad pace, if I should say so myself. It’s likely I won’t get much done tonight, however, as I’m off to get my face zapped again after work. But I do wanna jump back into this scene, and into the next. They are important.
Oh, and do you recall Annie telling Kerry in their last dream that there wasn’t any love in his house?
Yeah, remember that . . .