Fearing an Unknown Known

Believe it or not I’m fairly busy this morning.  Yeah, I know, it sounds like I’m doing nothing but running around today and the reality is, I am.  I’m gonna go do taxes and about ninety minutes then after that I have to drop off some papers to change accounts due to my name change, and as soon as I’m done with this post I have to call my insurance agent and get things changed on my name as well.  Yes, I know, I could’ve done this last year. I didn’t. Sue me.

So what you’re going to get is a quick and dirty excerpt from the scene we’ve been in for a while, but haven’t heard from for a few days due to me being on the road.  Doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing, but it does mean I haven’t been posting much. At least not much of the novel.  But now you get to see that.

So we pick up right after Jordana has been made a little smaller by the Mistress of Transformation.  And she has something else she wants to show now…

 

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

 

“I just—” Jordana shut her mouth quickly, for she knew the wrong word could see her being punished in ways she wouldn’t find pleasant. “I was thinking that you would only make me a few centimeters shorter than Kerry, that’s all.”

“That’s exactly what you are: a few centimeters shorter than Kerry.” The wicked grin that had appeared earlier crossed Jessica’s face once more. “Eight centimeters shorter, if we were correct in our first assessment. Isn’t that right, Kerry?”

He gave a quick nod. “Yeah, we kinda figured out that she was a couple centimeters taller than me.”

“Which means that now we’ve seen how the spell works at the advanced levels, I want to show the class something else.” Jessica waived her right hand and conjured a poncho-like cloak. She held it towards Kerry. “Would you put this on, please?”

As Kerry took the cloak he began feeling a nervousness that he suspected Jordana was feeling moments earlier. He slipped it on over his head and let it fall to his sides, with the him coming to a point just below his knees. He made a few adjustments and then stood staring at Jessica. “Is this okay?”

She nodded. “That’s perfect.” She turned to the other three students. “I want to show you an unseen aspect of the Compress spell.” She half turned Kerry and pointed at him. “I want you to Mimic Jordana.”

Kerry exchange looks with his fellow classmate, but before he could say anything she turned to Jessica. “Professor, you know I don’t—”

“I don’t give a shit what you don’t like.” Jessica took a step forward as she crossed her arms and glared at the girl. “We spoke about this last year and we will not discuss it again. So unless you want to end up half a meter tall for the next twenty-four hours, you won’t complain when Kerry Mimics you, nor will you afterwords.” She leaned forward slightly, her dark eyes emotionless. “Are we clear?”

Jordana glanced downward as she swallowed once. “Yes, Professor.”

Jessica nodded slightly, content that she had gotten her point across. She glanced at Kerry. “Go ahead: do it.”

 

Jessica is apparently still pissed at Jordana for not wanting to be mimic the year before, and she’s not playing that game this year.  So this is sort of her revenge and like it or not, Jordana is going to get a twin sister.

Although, it seems as if the erstwhile twin may be having second thoughts of his own–

 

There was a moment where Kerry felt an incredible amount of fear gripped him internally, because he knew what he was about to do wasn’t simply a matter of using his Mimic Gift and becoming a duplicate of Jordana. Near the end of the last school year Annie and he were shown the video of the time he had Mimicked Sudarat and Kaisa, so he was aware that in the process of Mimicking a girl there was a moment where he was his female self—Girl Kerry, as Annie called her.

He wasn’t worried that the others would see this: it happened so quickly that no one saw it happened this last March. But he was immediately gripped with an irrational fear that when it came time to drop the Mimic and return to himself—

What if he stayed Girl Kerry?

He closed his eyes enforce the notion from his mind. He had been reassured, time and again, that he could only transition into his female self after the first involuntary transition occurred, so any fear he had now about his Mimicking going wrong was unfounded.

He opened his eyes and stared straight ahead as he imagine himself to be Jordana. He threw his willpower into the transformation—

Less than a second later he was eye to eye with the real Jordana.

 

Kerry’s got that clock ticking, ticking, ticking, and he’s aware that the moment he mimics Jordana there will be a moment when he’s going to turn into that cute little redhead that he’s only seen in his dreams–oh, and in a video as well.  It’s legitimate for Kerry to fear that the moment he changes back he may not change back to himself–well, at least not the self he was when he walked in the room that night.  Even though he’s been told many times that what he’s worrying about is impossible, that doesn’t prevent the Ginger Hair Boy from thinking that they impossible could happen.  After all, for a while in his life he grew up believing magic wasn’t possible and he certainly proved that shit wrong.

So, we finally get to see The Two Jordana’s together and both appear to be about the same size.  Maybe if I’m not to rush for time tomorrow you get to find out why…

Got Those Going Westward Highway Blues

Saturday is usually the day I’ve got video for you, usually being the operative word.this time, however, I’m at Glacier Hills Travel Plaza, which is the first place along my westward trip back to Indiana that I’ve been able to get a good Wi-Fi signal.  I knew I would get a good one here as I’ve use this location many times before for blogging, so that’s exactly what I’m doing now, at ten-twenty in the morning.

As you can see I’m hard at work.

And even though I had eaten a while ago back in the darkness of Breezewood, Pennsylvania, there’s a Panera here, and wherever there’s a Panera, I have to get my favorite breakfast food–

Just call me Souffle Girl.

I never had the chance to do video last night.  I had to write a TV recap, I had to eat, I had to pack.  By the time I have a free moment to do video, it was nearly 10 PM, and I probably would’ve been up to close to midnight getting everything set up.  So, instead, I’m giving you a little vignette of my travels on the road and hoping that you are enjoying the view I’m presenting.

The travel here has been cloudy for the most part, and are times when it appears that I’m entering the set of Stephen King’s The Mist.  In fact, there was even a short stretch, right before I hit the Allegheny Mountain, where I was getting a bit of snow.  I don’t think I’ll hit snow now because it’s far too warm, but it looks as if I’m going to be in a lot of the gray clouds the whole way home.  Which is fine by me, for I know how to navigate in cloudy weather.

Maybe I’ll do a video tomorrow for my old library back in Valparaiso, Indiana, and you’ll have the opportunity to see all the books I left behind.  One of these days I’ll have them back with me: for now, however, they have to stay in Indiana.  Besides, it’s not like I have time to read anymore these days: I’m just way too busy.

I’m actually considering doing a post this week on science fiction movies and TV shows, one that I’ve wanted to do for a while.  It would be a Baker’s Dozen style list, the original of which I first developed her back around 2002 and have updated from time to time.  I keep saying I’m going to do this, but something always seems to get in the way of me doing it. Maybe this would be a good one to prepare for Tuesday morning, when I hope to be back on the road heading eastward to Pennsylvania.  That way you’ll have something to read while I’m spending another 11 to 12 hours driving back to Harrisburg.

I’m taking my time driving westward so I’m not all burned out by the time I get home. I’d like to be able to do some writing tonight, but I can do that if I’m falling asleep at 9 o’clock.  So I’m stopping like every eighty or ninety miles to relax, grab something to eat, and maybe even get some coffee so I don’t get too spacey behind the wheel.  I’ve been in that position before and it’s not enjoyable; the second time I tried driving back to Indiana I nearly fell asleep at the wheel and wrecked.  Believe me, that lesson has stayed with me a long time.

In a few minutes I’ll be shutting down the computer and getting back on the road.  I’m charging up my phone and I’ll be listening to my YouTube playlist, Music From San Junipero, across the state of Ohio.  It will take me about three and a half hours to traverse the state and that playlist runs three hours and forty-two minutes, so I’ll be looking for new playlist about ten miles inside the Eastern Indiana border.  Fortunately I bought a lot of data last night, so I’m not anticipating running out anytime soon.  I’ve been listening to music for the last couple of hours going through Pennsylvania and it’s made driving a far more enjoyable experience.  I’ve also thought about Annie and Kerry making the same trip, although they would probably fly if they had the opportunity.  Or jaunt.  Anything but drive.  ‘Cause like it or not, driving is reserved for us mere Normals.

Ah, if only we could do magic…

“Humans”, Season 2, Episode 5, “Ends and Odds”

With three episodes to go, we finally get in to one of the biggest mysteries ever–

The Snarking Dead TV Recaps

[Image via AMC] I apologize that the recap is coming a little late but life is a bitch and it doesn’t want to cut me any slack. That and I’ll be busy as hell the next three or four days, so expect the next one to come day or two late as well.

The fifth episode of Humans seem a bit scattered even though there was plenty going on, but by the end it all tied up nicely. Never the mind: we’re ready to get started.

Factory Reset:

As expected, Mia (Gemma Chan) was sold out—literally. When she’s powered up she finds herself chained up in the back of a van with Ed (Sam Palladio) standing there explaining that he has to keep his mom in the home, so he’s in need of some fast, hard cash, and he’s going to get it by selling Mia to an anonymous buyer. She manages to…

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Getting Back By Example

So, I’m locked in a cycle of insanity right now.  Last night I had two meetings and didn’t return until 9:30.  Then I went to bed at eleven and woke up at three, so I’m a whole lot tired at the moment.

Tonight I need to write my TV recap–which I’ve put off for two days–and pack and prepare to spend eleven hours on the road back to Indiana.  Sunday is prep-time for taxes, Monday is Tax Time and getting stuff done at American Express, then Tuesday it’s test the car, get my tags, and drive back to PA and return to Harrisburg around midnight.

This is where being a jaunting little witch with a girlfriend would be nice.

Speaking of that lad–who, if he were around in real life, has already run through the Great Hall one last time yelling “Erin go Braless!” to celebrate his Irish ancestry–he’s made Jessica happy by relating Normal science facts.  As we’re about to learn, however, she’s going to reject your reality and substitute her own…

 

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

 

Jessica laughed along with the rest of the class. “As we’ve discovered, all things that we do are supposed to be impossible according to Normal science. We are not supposed to be able to transform ourselves, to change our appearance and our size. And yet—” In about three seconds she morphed into a duplicate of Kaisa Božic, her Åsgårdsreia student, matching her size, light brown hair, hazel eyes, and light complexion. “We know that’s not true.”

In a few seconds Jessica was back to her normal self. “Tonight, were going to be in working with the advanced form of Compress. Now, this does not mean that once you master this version of the spell you’re going to have free license to go around shrinking people simply because they’ve offended you, as you will find yourself in serious trouble for using magic on another student and you’ll likely find yourself doing a weekend detention with me.” She saw the worried looks exchanged between her students as they all knew how she handled weekend detentions.

“Before we get into the lesson allow me to give you a practical demonstration.” She had known who she was going to select even before walking into class that evening. “Jordana, would you please join me?”

Jordana Sauceda approached the front of the somewhat afraid of what was going to happen next. Ever since refused to allow Kerry to mimic her in last year’s class, her relationship with Jessica had become a bit rocky and she’d given serious consideration about returning to class for her last year. Part of her wanted to follow instructions so she could get back on Jessica’s good side, and part of her wanted to run because she expected the worst—

Jessica picked Jordana because at 165 centimeters she was her tallest student, edging out Kerry by a couple of centimeters. She read the concern in the girls aura but immediately pushed that concern aside: Jessica was here to teach and not to massage the bruised egos of her students. She pointed to her left. “Please stand here—thank you.” She was about to start the demonstration when Jessica realized there was something she needed. “Kerry—” She motioned for him to approach. “Come stand to Jordana’s left.”

 

In case you need some Memory Refresher–and there is a spell for that–Jordana was the girl who didn’t want Kerry Mimicing her during the Gender Switch spell class where Kerry’s Inner Girl was seen popping out before she was ready.  At the time Jessica said she was going to have a “talk” with Jordana, though she didn’t go into detail about what she was going to say.  Whatever it was, Jordana hasn’t forgotten–and, apparently, neither has Jessica.  And now she wants Kerry of All the Normal Answer to join in on the fun–

 

The two students cast glances at each other as Jessica addressed everyone in the room. “I selected Jordana because she is the tallest student here, and I selected Kerry because, as the second tallest student, he adds a frame of reference for you to use.” She moved behind the two students and placed her hands over their heads. “As you can see, Jordana is a couple of centimeters taller—something that won’t last much longer.”

The El Salvadoran girl rolled her eyes before casting a glance at Kerry and speaking in a near whisper. “Oh, shit.”

He cast a glance back. “Don’t worry; it’ll only be for a little while.”

Jordana rolled her eyes again. “You’re too funny, Malibey.”

“Enough, you two.” Jessica returned to her place at Jordana’s right and faced the class that she spoke. “Now, this crafting will involve not only reducing the living organic material, but reducing the inorganic coverings as well. After all—” She gave Jordana a wicked grin. “We wouldn’t want her garments to fall off, now, would we?”

Jordana try to keep her voice level and normal, but her expression gave away what she felt inside. “You’re not going to do too much, are you, Professor?”

“No.” Jessica gave her head a slight shake. “Not much at all.” She stared at her student for a few seconds before raising her right hand lightly touching the nail of her index finger to her forehead as she half closed her eyes.

For a few seconds Kerry didn’t see anything happening to his fellow classmate. It was only when Jordana drew in a sharp breath that he realized that her eyes were now level with the tip of his nose. A couple of seconds later he caught a glimpse of the top of her head and realized that she was now at least six centimeters shorter.

A faint whimper escaped Jordana’s lips when the effects of the spell ceased a few seconds later and she realized she was at least ten centimeters shorter than Kerry. She glanced up at the now taller boy with a look in her eyes cycling between fear and anger. “¿Qué? ¡Hijo de puta!” She turned to Jessica. “I didn’t think you would make me this short.”

“Oh?” The instructor shrugged. “Were you expecting to be shorter?”

 

Never tell Jessica that she didn’t something that has surprised you ’cause she’ liable to ask someone to hold her beer and show everyone what she can really do.

And that’s why she’s not done with her example–

Not at all.

Normal Rules Versus Our Magic

What were you up to last night, Cassie?  Why, I was out getting my browser my nails done, because I’m heading back to Indiana this weekend and if got to look my best.  And looking my best means I’ve got a do a good job with my nails because I want to be pretty.

And here I am, being pretty.

That color is OPI Gel polish Do You See What I See?  Do you?  Because I do, and this is a color I hope to carry into warmer weather which will lead to spring and summer.  In the meantime, it’s going to get me to Indiana and back, which is something that all least have going for me.

Even with that last night–which kept me out until 8 PM–I was able to get in some writing. I should say, I was able to get in some writing after doing a lot of scientific calculations for the scene I’m currently working on.  Yes, I had to do some figuring ’cause it’s needed.  And just a word of warning, but there is science in this excerpt as well.  I know I’ve been told at various times that they get lost when I start talking science our racing, but truth is sometimes it’s needed for the further advancement of the story and this is one of those times.

But first, let’s get reacquainted with Jessica and her detention habits:

 

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

 

Sudarat Chiangmai, the D Level from Ceridwen coven, snickered before speaking. “Are they going to have to do a weekend detention?”

The smile Jessica flashed was devastating. “Oh, no. It’s only going to be for the evening. But I made certain that the detention will stick with them well enough that I don’t believe they’ll attempt another transgression like the one that happened earlier this evening.”

Kerry knew there was no point in pursuing the matter further. Everyone was well aware that Jessica’s idea of detention was turning students in the various kinds of inanimate objects and forcing them to stay that way anywhere from overnight to an entire weekend, depending upon the severity of the student’s misdemeanor. It was rare that anyone deserved a weekend punishment: it was even more rare that a student would do anything that would require Jessica to issue more than one detention for that particular person.

Once was usually enough to get the point across.

 

It’s a good thing Jessica isn’t teaching at a Normal school, ’cause the administration there would likely get tired of their students getting turned into chairs, tables, and statues all the time.  Also, how many times do students go into one of Jessica’s offices–she has one in the Transformation Center and one in her coven–and wonder if the chair they’re sitting in is someone they know.  Witches who turn you into chairs, witches who shock you, witches who make you clean out the morgue if you’re bad.  So much for all that writing “I’m a bad witch” crap.

But we aren’t here to talk about turning kids into chairs.  No, Jessica has something else in mind–

 

Jessica pulled her tablet out of Hammerspace and laid it on the classroom desk. “Tonight we are going to touch on a spell that we last visited two years ago. All of you were in this class with the exception of Kerry, so you’ve all had some exposure to what were going to play with tonight.

“Everyone here knows the minor version of the Compress spell in one variation or another. Kerry learned it last year—or I should say, he was already learning it when he came into this class for he wanted to master it for Advanced Flight One. As for all of us here, your skill with Compress varies not only in the amount of compression you can effect, but also in the size of the object you’re compressing, and that means nearly all of you could take something the size of a Class 4 PAV and reduce it to nearly eighty percent of its size.

“The advanced form of Compress is different from the basic form in that you learn how to compress organic material.” She held up her hands. “Allow me to rectify that statement: you learn to compress living organic material. It is necessary to have an advanced understanding of the Compress spell, because if you don’t understand what you’re doing and you try to compress a living creature, the chances are excellent that you kill the object of your spell.

“The greatest issue we have with the Compress spell is exercising the willpower to make it work. Gathering energy is never a problem in most people are creative enough to visualize an object shrinking from full-size to a quarter of its normal size. The problem comes in the very last stages of the spell because disbelief sets in. This is especially true for witches who come from a Normal background, for Normal science says that shrinking a person to even half their size is an impossibility.” A mischievous grin appeared upon Jessica’s face. “We know better, don’t we?” Jessica pointed at the one student in her class whom she knew would have the answer to her question. “Kerry, why does Normal science say we can’t shrink things?”

 

So here it is:  Jessica is gonna teach the kids how to shrink things–actually, shrink living things.  As in people.  Which means she’s gonna teach her kids how to make people smaller.

“Wow!  I wouldn’t mind losing a few kilos!”

And maybe a meter of height as well, but that’s another story.

It only makes sense that if Kerry is out shrinking his camping equipment so he can get it inside his backpack, then it only stands to reason that some witch figured out how to do the same to people.  And that means Jessica probably has a few things on her desk that someone should pay attention to, ’cause they may also be classmates who ran afoul of the Mistress of Transformation.  And now she’s calling on the Geek Kid With the Answers on why Normal science says this is all bullshit:

 

Kerry didn’t know the exact answer, but he know most of what Jessica wanted. “The square-cube law comes into effect; it states that you can’t increase or decrease the size of an object without significantly increasing or decreasing the volume of the object even more so.”

“Which means want when it comes to shrinking a person?”

“The lungs can’t take in enough oxygen so they’re unable to supply oxygen to the blood, and even if they could the heart won’t be powerful enough to pump blood throughout the body. Shrinking the cells could possibly lead to cancers popping up, but the cell walls would also be so thin that they’d start breaking down and kill you that way.” Kerry stared off to a corner of the classroom as he remembered one last fact. “And lastly, you’d pack the atoms in the body so densely that anyone shrunk would weigh far more than they would in an un-shrunk condition. The only way you can get around that would be to shrink the atoms and science says that that’s impossible.”

Jessica nodded politely throughout Kerry’s explanation. Once he was finished she had one last question for him. “You’ve used the Compress spell, haven’t you?”

He chuckled. “Yeah, several times.”

“Ever have any problems with the spell?”

“A few times when I was first learning it, but nothing once I figured out.”

Jessica tapped her chin thrice before speaking. “So, in this instance, would you say The Art supersedes Normal science in this instance?”

A huge smile appeared on Kerry’s face. “Duh.”

 

Could you see one of the C Levels in the regular class answering Jessica with “Duh“?  She’d probably go Medusa on them right then and there, which would suck for the student in question.  But since Kerry’s an advanced student he can get away with it.  At least this time.

Since we’re talking about this new kind of magic, any chance we’ll see it working?

Hum…

The Hot and the Maybe New

As I expected I’m on a three-hour delay this morning, which means I’ve frittered away about two hours of morning before getting around to writing this post.  I seem to be doing that a lot of late, probably because I need the downtime.

Oh, and I was out in the snowstorm yesterday. Why?  To go have beer, that’s why.  How did I get there?  I walked.

Walked down one road to get there–

 

And down another to get home.

 

Because I’m nuts sometimes.

Yes, I spent hours walking around in a snowstorm on deserted streets for two glasses of beer, a hard cider, and a great sandwich at the Yellow Bird Café.  Because maybe I just didn’t want to sit in the apartment all day long.

This doesn’t mean I didn’t write any yesterday: I did.  In fact, I did manage to get in my thousand words and nearly made it eleven hundred.  But I had reached the point where he didn’t need to go on any longer and I left it at that.  I managed to do it all while struggling to keep my eyes open.

Seriously, I should get a cookie or something for my efforts.

The good news is I’m almost 5800 words upon the excerpts at this point. The bad news is I’m starting excerpts on the scene before the one in which I’m working, which means I need to write faster and harder to get them done.  That means I need to get at least five hundred words out of the way tonight just to keep up.  Such is the life of a writer showing their wares.

After spending some time in the Witch House it’s time to go over to the other side of the Salem campus and see what’s going on in the Transformation Center.  Which means were about to look in on the other half of Team Lovey Dovey.

 

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

 

As was usual inside the Transformation Center, the temperature inside the classroom was just a touch on the warm side—at least it was to Kerry’s liking. It was always like this for any transformation class, because after two years he knew Jessica always liked to keep her classrooms slightly warm. She did this, he was aware, because she wanted to keep everyone just a bit uncomfortable. She’d said several times in the past she did this because of students could concentrate in less-than-perfect conditions, they’d be able to craft transformation magic anywhere in the real world.

After two years, however, Kerry realized there was another reason for this forced discomfort: a student who was good in transformation magic would find it possible to change their metabolism just enough that they could ignore the slightly stifling classroom. This was especially true for any students in the Advanced Transformation class, which was the reason why, when looking around the room, none of the other four students with him seemed to give any outward appearance that they appeared bothered.

Kerry knew he wasn’t bothered, for he had figured out how to ignore the heat near the and of his A Levels and taught Annie how to craft the same spells before leaving Salem for the first time. While he still couldn’t ignore the effects of extreme cold or extreme heat—much like the temps found during winter and summer—he could easily ignore a two or three degree change in temperature.

 

This was something that popped up in the A Level novel and while it was on touched in the B Level novel, it was there.  It’s always there. Jessica likes to keep everyone uncomfortable: we know this.  She likes to “test” people, much in the same way Helena was testing Annie at the same time Kerry’s thinking about how he’s gotten around being hot and uncomfortable in Transformation class.  This Salem school sure does a hell of a lot of testing for a place that doesn’t hand out grades.

And just as we saw in Advanced Formulistic Magic, we get a rundown of the students in class.  And just like in that class there appears to be something on Kerry’s mind–

 

Annie wasn’t in class tonight—she told him that Helena wanted to see her in the Witch House and he’d have to show her what he learned Friday afternoon—which meant there were only the four other students from last year’s class. Kaisa Božic, the E Level from Åsgårdsreia, told everyone in the first class that Jessica was interested in bringing into more students but might not do so until October. Jordana Sauceda, the El Salvadoran girl from Ceridwen, told everyone then that she hoped to see a couple of new students coming to class before she graduated, which happened at the end of this school year.

Kerry wanted to see new students and hoped they were B or C Levels, for like in nearly all the rest of his advanced classes, he was the youngest student. The only class where this was not true was in Advanced Spells, where they started out the year with two new B Levels. Upon seeing them enter the room, Kerry remembered looking to his left at Annie and sharing a smile, for in this one class they were no longer the “new kids”.

The quiet of the classroom was broken as the door flew open and Jessica strode confidently into the room, wearing a light, bright blue blouse, blue jeans, and red flats. “Good evening, everyone.” She flipped her right hand upward and the classroom door closed with a slam. “I apologize that I’m a few minutes late, but there were two last-minute detentions I needed to assign and I didn’t want to leave those for any longer than necessary.” She scanned the room, looking from student to student. “I hope you all understand.”

 

Now, just to leave you with a little something after your reading, one of the above three paragraphs was rewritten extensively just before I’d made this post.  Can you guess which one?  Can you?  Then say it!  Say It Again!  LOUDER!

Yeah, this is what happens when I get a three-hour delay before going in the work…