A View From Afar: The Watching

As you’re reading this it is highly likely that I am either somewhere on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., or I’m in the city and on my way to the Washington Monument.  Yes, I’m back in the capital getting ready to do my part for the March For Science, and if you have any sort of connection to my Facebook page, you’ll notice that my profile picture is changed to that of Science, Princess Bubblegum’s favorite rat.

Because I’m all about Science.

What you’re reading is the last few hundred words of Part Three of Act One.  And this is the last excerpt you’ll get for a couple of days.  Sunday I’ll be sending you another video, and the odds are pretty good that Monday you get a video as well.  Because I’m all about the videos right now.  Also, and allow me to catch up on some writing and perhaps put fifteen hundred or two thousand words between me and these excerpts.  It’s hard to say.  All I know is, I’m going to keep writing.  Because I have to.

But here, at the end of this last part, we have Deanna doing a little sneaking around.  And why is she doing that?  Because her something she wants to see.  And she wants to see because it’s a special day…

 

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

 

Deanna positioned herself behind the tree and look to the north, where the largest open space on the shore of Lake Lovecraft was situated. The sun was setting but Magic Hour was nearing and everything was taking on a shadowless demeanor. It wasn’t for this reason that she was able to see the two figures standing almost sixty meters away. Since she didn’t want to move closer, she used a bid transformation magic to give herself telescopic vision, which made it seem as if she was standing maybe twenty meters away.

Even without the telescopic vision she immediately knew who was standing in this open space: it was Annie and Kerry. And there was a simple reason for them being here, for today was Annie’s fourteenth birthday, and as Deanna knew they had done last two years, Kerry brought her here so he could give her a birthday present.

As Kerry faced Annie Deanna thought back to their moments this afternoon in class. She didn’t notice Annie wearing anything new, but she was able to tell from scanning Kerry’s aura that he was anxious, which she took to mean he hadn’t given the present. Though she didn’t have much to go over she managed to drag out class out as much as possible, if for no other reason than to make the setting of the gift giving to be far more perfect. She knew she was being a bit mean, but she was also certain that when the moment came for Annie, it would mean far, far more.

She watched Kerry remove his backpack and reach inside one of the pockets to retrieve something. From here the package didn’t look large, but then she was aware that Kerry had never really given Annie anything large except the leather jacket he presented after her last solo flight the previous school year. Given that the package fit easily in one of Kerry’s hands Deanna assumed it was a small present—

And small presents were often the most intimate.

Annie slowly unwrapped the gift revealing a box, then open that to unveil gift inside. Whatever it was, there was enough of a surprise that Deanna detected her momentary recoil. Kerry partially blocked what happened next, but it appeared he helped remove whatever was inside the box and and presented her the actual gift. Though difficult to see, to Deanna it seemed almost as if Annie raised her left hand for a few seconds, then looked down for a moment before wrapping her arms around Kerry’s shoulders and giving him an appreciative and emotional kiss.

Deanna dropped her telescopic vision and stepped away from the tree before turning to her left and making her way back to the path. Though she couldn’t say, she was certain she knew what Kerry had given her, and not because of any guesses made based upon her observation—

She stopped and closed her eyes she took a slow, calming breath. You’re not supposed to think of these things: you’re supposed to make assumptions based upon what you’ve already seen. You’re not even supposed to be here

“And yet, here I am.” Deanna didn’t worry that she was heard, as the only people close to her were sixty meters away and likely busy kissing. She made her way to the path and turned to the south, then spent a few seconds crafting a Far Sight spell and jaunted to the edge of the path just outside the entrance to the Instructor’s Residence.

She went inside and headed directly up the stairs toward her room so that she could prepare first for dinner and then for the Midnight Madness. Once inside her room she leaned against the closed door and spent nearly ten seconds staring at a spot at the joint the ceiling in the wall.

It’s times like this I hate my Sight. Deanna headed to her bed and flopped down on her belly. I know so much about so many and I hate that I can’t warn them of what lay ahead

She rolled onto her side and lay there with her thoughts, much as she had done and she was a student. I hope you enjoy your gift, Annie, and all the happiness it brings you today. And I hope Kerry is also happy that you are so extraordinarily pleased with what he has given you.

For it maybe the last bit of happiness you both share for a while

 

I debated for a long time whether or not to show Annie’s birthday gifting up close and personal as I had before. In the end, I thought I would view it from a different perspective, one outside them.  And Deanna is a good one for that, because it could be several reasons why she’s there.  I mean, it’s not like any of the instructors don’t know that on Friday, 27 September, 2013, Annie turns 14.  And when that happens, Kerry takes her out to the north shore of Lake Lovecraft and gives her a gift.

As strange as it may seem there is a reason I didn’t want the interaction to focus on Kerry giving Annie a gift and having Annie’s reaction to that gift. Rather, I wanted someone to see it from afar.  That’s not to say you won’t get a chance to discover her reaction, it just means you’re not going to see it now.

Yeah, I’m being sneaky that way.

And speaking of sneaky, just wait until you get your next excerpt–

The Last of the Five-Os

If you’re looking for novelizing here today, you’re going to be sadly disappointed.  Well, maybe not; perhaps you’re bored with the novel by now and couldn’t give a ripping flip if I post it or now.  (Usually I’d say “Flying fuck”, but I’m trying to cut back on the swearing.  Right.)

Actually there are a couple of good reasons why I don’t have anything for you this morning.  One, the Case of the Broken “Y” Key pretty much kept that in check.  I started to put down a few thoughts last night and it seemed like every third or fourth time I hit that key or the “T” it would flip or spin around, and I’d need to more the key back into place.  This was not making me happy.

The new computer should be here either today or tomorrow.  I just checked my FedEx tracking and it says it’s in Middletown this very AM–that’s just across the river from me–and that’s just across the river, but now the delivery date has been moved from today to tomorrow, which means I’m not certain if I’m gonna be setting up this sucker tonight or tomorrow.  Yeah, let’s make it tomorrow, for that Orphan Black night, and I like a little challenge for getting the new laptop up and going before I need to write twelve hundred words worth of note for a Friday recap.

Doesn’t matter, though.  I have everything backed up and ready to transfer as soon as I have the new system getting wifi and I have a browser and my writing programs ready to go.  I set up my daughter’s laptop in about forty minutes when she first got it, and I’m certain I can have my new system pretty much functional in about an hour.

But most of all, if you haven’t heard, yesterday was my birthday.  I had hundreds of well-wishes–really, it was in the hundreds–and I managed to get through the day rather well.  After work I returned home to drop off a few things before heading out to dinner, which took place at Home 231 about two-thirds of a mile from my apartment. I had ribeye steak with a couple of great sides, and having eaten there before, I knew the food would turn out great, and it did.  Everything was all fantastic.

The interesting thing is for nearly the whole of happy hour (starting at five and going until seven), it was all women at the bar.  One guy sat with us for about ten minutes, but I think the estrogen was too much for him and he was like gone, daddy, gone as soon as he powered down his drink.

"I'm glad he's gone; I was afraid I was gonna get his cooties!"

“I’m glad he’s gone; I was afraid I was gonna get his cooties!”

I even had someone buy me a glass of wine, of which that was my third, and that’s another reason I didn’t write anything.  I didn’t meander back to the apartment until about eight, and by the time I was out of my work clothes I was just too burned out to want to do anything.  So I didn’t, because if you’re going to create, you don’t want to set out to create a mess.

I did, however, find time to snap a photo on the way home just to prove I exist.

I did, however, find time to snap a photo on the way home just to prove I exist.

Yesterday I turned fifty-nine, and that means I have another year before I hit the Big Six-O.  When I was a child sixty was pretty much the point where you lay down and got ready to die, or so it seemed.  I remarked to a friend once that everyone I knew back then who was sixty seemed and looked old, and that was probably because of the era in which they lived.  Today, people sixty are, like me, still working, still hanging out, still doing new things–some are even making sure they live as the person they were always meant to be.

Today is also post 1900, which means I’m one hundred away from two thousand posts in this blog.  Maybe this deserves a “Duh, du DUUUUUNNNNNN!” or something like that.  What it does means is that, right now that means I’ll hit post 2000 on Friday, 12 August, 2016, though I expect with rebloging a few posts here and there, it’s far more likely I’ll hit this point right around the start of August.  I remember saying nine hundred posts back that I didn’t know what I was going to do with this blog when I hit the Big 2-000, and I still don’t.  Part of me wants to go on, part of me wants to shut it down, part of me doesn’t have the faintest notion.  I will hit that point, however, that much I know.

And after that I can start to wonder what more I can do in the future.

I’ve got the summer to figure it out, that much is certain . . .

A Certain Day in May: Prelude From the Aftermath

Yeah . . . early in the morning and here I am hoping to get through another day without falling asleep at work.  Yesterday was horrible:  by two in the afternoon I was fighting to remain with my eyes open, and when I finally made it home, I fell asleep for about thirty minutes or so because I needed a nap bad.

I feel today may be just as bad, as I was up about four-thirty or so, but the weather is going to be cooler today, so I’ll dress for that and keep the carbs at a minimum at lunch so I don’t go into some kind of drowsy overload by one.

All this is probably why I didn’t feel as if I was writing much last night, and then, to my surprise, I discover I’ve about seven hundred and fifty words completed.  I really was hoping to get the scene finished, but you know how that goes.  It means that you have to wait one more day to discover Kerry’s present, but–there’s also a surprise that comes with that post.

So, Happy Birthday for Doctor Gallagher and Kerry, and Coraline knows she better get a nod of approval from the little witch in the back of the room before planting a kiss on Kerry’s cheek.  I wonder if Annie could call out Coraline if she felt the later was getting a little too affectionate with her soul mate?  That would be an interesting fight, given that we’ve sort of seen Coraline fight.

But what about this flight that’s coming up?  Here you are on that:

 

All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

After the passing around of cake that the kitchen gladly made, there was a quick review of the flight before they headed down to the Hangar and prepped for the afternoon flight, the Four Point Timed Excursion. Brooms up at fourteen, four points to make with only five minutes to determine course to each location while in air with no landing, GPS not allowed, and the class was to return to Salem by sixteen-thirty.

That meant a flight of close to twelve hundred kilometers needed to be flown in two and a half hours, and there wasn’t going to be much in the way of room for error should it arise. Vicky and her minions—or, as she’d begun referring to them of late, her flying monkeys—were the only one who knew the actually layout of the course, but Vicky would be the one to call out corrections to the class if they were needed.

As Vicky said during the briefing, at this point in the class, any of the four teams selected for each leg that couldn’t hit their target by now would be in a precarious position for advancement to Advanced Flight Two in their C Levels.

Because it was his special day, Vicky left the choice to him as to whether or not Emma and he would have first of last leg. He picked first and learned their destination: Franconia Notch, New Hampshire. Kerry already knew the area from the last snipe hunt he’d been one, but the catch now was to get everyone there in thirty minutes. Almost two hundred kilometers in that limited time meant they’d need to maintain about four hundred kilometers an hour the whole way.

Fortunately Kerry knew how to handle that. As soon as they were airborne he instructed Emma to aim for a point a few kilometers north of Plymouth, New Hampshire, at which point they’d turn and follow I-93 fifty kilometers north to the Notch. If his calculations were correct—and as he told the flight he didn’t expect them to be wrong—they’d not need to slow at all until they were near their destination.

He was correct. They reached their turn less than a hundred meters off the line Kerry originally piloted, and there was a bit of excitement as the flight turned into the mountain valley and continued northward without braking. Seven and a half minutes later they were hovering over their destination and Team Myfanwy rotated to the back of the pack to let someone else take the ball.

The rest of the trip went smoothly. Their other three stops were The Alexandra Bridge in Ottawa, Ontario, the bobsled run at Lake Placid, New York, and the capital building at Albany, New York. After a mad dash across Massachusetts they were touching down in Selena’s Meadow eight minutes before they were due.

 

In case you were wondering–and you were–this is the area covered:

With minor variations, this is how it looks.

With minor variations, this is how it looks.

Franconia Notch is famous as the location of the formation known as the Old Man of the Mountain, which used to look like this:

Looking pretty good for a few million years old.

Looking pretty good for a few million years old.

The picture above was taken on 26 April, 2003, and it one of the last good pictures of the formation, because a few days later the formation collapsed and became no more.  As of 2007 it looked like this:

Quite a change, I know.

Quite a change, I know.

And for a little extra history, the collapse happened on 3 May, 2003, which means as the date in the story is 3 May, 2013, a decade has past since that time, so Emma and Kerry are gonna lead their flight right past this point on the anniversary.  Coincidence?  Knowing Vicky, probably not.

But they managed to get through the flight with little or no drama, and suddenly we’re back in Salem–

 

It was only once he was back in his uniform and out of the locker that he found out he wasn’t dining in the hall that evening—

They were half way down Essex and were just passing the location where the Bewitched After Dark walking tours met when Annie spoke. “You were wonderful today. And just the right amount of embarrassed when everyone sang Happy Birthday to Coraline and you.”

“I wasn’t acting—” Kerry couldn’t remember the last time anyone actually sang him a birthday song. “Coraline handles it better than me.”

“Let’s hope no one sings it again tonight.” Annie glanced towards Kerry with a smile on her face. “Though her boyfriend will be there, so who knows if he’ll ask for to have it sung.”

“I don’t want it sung for me again.” He nodded towards the store up on their right. “Otherwise I’m gonna take you in to Flying Monkey and get you something to commentate your ascension to that status today.”

“Shush, you.” She slapped him playfully on the arm. They’d passed the store several times in the past but never entered: during one of their window shopping excursions Kerry pointed out he was going to get her a “Good Girls Go to Heaven, Bad Girls Go to Salem” tee shirt, complete with a witch ridding a broom across a pentagram, to which she replied while she’d never hurt him, minor curses might not be out of the question—

“I’m not interesting in getting a tee shirt I’ll never wear.” She steered him towards one of the alleys leading to the Salem Green, located just behind their restaurant. “Over this way.”

 

I should point out that the locations refereed to above do exist, as does the shirt described.  Don’t be surprised if the later shows up again . . .

Now, does this mean Kerry gets his present tomorrow?  Yes, yes it does.

Oh, and I’m reminded by a Facebook post I made five years ago, on this day in history Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan was killed in a fight with natives of the Philippines. And what I mean by “killed in a fight” is that he was beaten to death with bastons by people who knew Eskrima, aka Arnis, aka Kali–though at the end of this “battle” I believe he also had a spear shoved through his face, which had to suck.

This happens to be the martial arts form seen in a lot of movie–Matt Damon uses this in his Jason Bourne movies, it was used by Vin Diesel and Jason Statham in Furious 7, and both Melissa McCarthy and Saoirse Ronan were trained to use this in their respective movies Spy and Hanna.  It’s also the art form that Annie and Kerry are learning and seem to be taking to it rather well, and the advantage they’ll have over all those other people I’ve listed above is (1) they can use magic with this discipline, and (2) unlike movie characters, they’ll actually be able to beat people to death with bastons likely made of magical energy.

Why am I mentioning this?  Oh, no reason . . .

A Certain Day in May: Surprises and Chocolate

Coming to you earlier than I did yesterday, but I would have come much earlier if my plans for brunch were messed up today.  Life, it happens, and you just roll with it.  Anyway, after the post is, um, posted, then I’ll head out and gas up my car and buy a new set of earphones, the sort that set nice and squishy in your ear.  And after getting into a few online “disagreements” with assholes yesterday–one person on Facebook finally kicked me out of her friend’s list because I made a comment about one of her friend’s intelligence, but only after this friend posted a homophobic slur at me.  Yes, but I’m the mean one.

Life goes on, yeah?

As Pupok told me yesterday, no one said it would be easy.

As Pupok told me yesterday, no one said it would be easy.

And speaking of life, it’s time for another birthday in my story.  It’s a chilly first Friday in May, 2013, and a certain Ginger Hair Boy has reached a milestone even though he lives in a country where the Metric System is used.  So how does this start out?  Alone, in his room at school.  But it’s six-thirty in the morning, and he can’t stay in there forever:

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry tugged on his hoodie and slipped the hood back from his head before hand-combing his hair back into place. He checked the time on his computer—6:28—and gave his email another quick peek to see if his parents had sent him a greeting—they hadn’t. He didn’t worry about that last as he was about to receive the only greeting that mattered.

He set his computer to shutdown and stuffed it in his backpack before it had finished, then slung the pack over his shoulders. Once he was certain everything was in place he slowly opened the door to the second floor hallway—

Annie stood there in jeans, a red sweater, and her brown boots. He face beamed the second Kerry appeared in the doorway. “Happy Birthday, my love.” She reached out and grasped his hands so she could pulled him into the hallway. “How are you?”

He waved his dorm room door closed. “I’m good.”

“Why wouldn’t you be?” Annie led him down to corridor towards the open area before the stairs to the first floor. “Did you get a greeting from your parents?”

Kerry’s snort was loud. “No.” He rotated his shoulders before reached the staircase. “I figure I’ll get one tonight.”

“Perhaps.” Annie slipped in front of Kerry and stopped on the first step. “Follow me, please.”

 

Remember, the folks are at work, so, you know, they’re busy doing the BBC filming thing.  In fact, they probably are busy, given that the last days of filming for The Day of the Doctor, the Doctor Who fiftieth anniversary special, were under way at this time, and the actual last day of filming occurred in Cardiff the day after Kerry’s birthday, on 4 May, 2013.  So people are probably already busy getting sound and visual effects in place, and that means Kerry’s parents are right in the middle of that deal.  Kerry likely doesn’t know any of this, so maybe there’ll be a special treat for him in his email tonight?  Maybe you’ll find out in the next scene–

Since they are heading downstairs, it’s likely they’re going to one place:

 

“Oh? We going somewhere?” Though feigning ignorance, he had a good idea where Annie was heading.

“Yes, we are.” She headed down the stairs to the first floor before continuing to the ground floor. Annie hurried across the commons floor to the door leading to the stairs going down. She stopped at the lower level and headed straight for their private lab. She unlocked the door and waved it open. “Enter.”

Kerry didn’t know what to expect when he entered the room. It was here, upon their return from Yule holiday almost a year and a half ago, that Annie presented Kerry his broom for his last birthday. However, the large table in the middle of the room was empty, and a quick glance of the room showed nothing visible. Which didn’t mean there wasn’t anything hidden . . .

Annie burst that bubble, however. “Your present’s not here, my love.” She closed the door and directed them to the sofa. “You’ll get it later.” The moment they were seated she curled up against his left side. “For now, however, I want to have you to myself.”

“You always have me to yourself.” Kerry rested his head against Annie’s and turned to kiss her. Before he was half-turned she let loose with a yelp. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing, it’s just—” She light touched her right breast. “You elbowed me, and I’m a bit sensitive.”

He nodded. “’Cause your period’s coming?”

“Yes.” She chuckled. “I’m probably the only girl at school whose boyfriend tracks her cycle.”

 

We learned last year that Kerry do know when Annie’s having her period, and as mentioned he’s probably tracking the days.  Now we know he is tracking them, and we see that one’s coming up.  Does Kerry do anything with this information?  Sure he does–

 

“You started this by telling.” Kerry was more careful this time when he turned before kissing her. “Besides, I want to know so when shark week is here so I don’t do something that will get you upset, and I can ask the kitchen to get you chocolate.”

Annie laughed. “I never say no to chocolate.” She snuggled against him. “And I never knew so many girls called this time ‘shark week’ until I came here. Penny and Alex say that.”

Kerry remembered the day last January when Annie told him about the girls in Basic Flight locker room discussing their periods, and she’d heard the term used and wanted to know if he knew of it, because he seemed to know everything. “You know us people from Normal backgrounds; we get all this slang from social media.”

“Well, let’s talk about something much nicer—” Annie twisted her head and smiled. “I’m flying with you today.”

 

And know we know Annie is aware of “Shark Week,” and I don’t mean she knows about The Discovery Channel.  As a few of you are, I’m certain, aware, Shark Week is the new slang for having one’s period, this due to people noticing that a woman’s reproductive system looks like a shark’s brain, ergo, Shark Week.  Most of my female friends call it that, or they’ll say they’re “really sharky”, which is to say they are dealing with the moon blood full on.  And when that happens to Annie Kerry makes certain she’s not aggravated and she gets chocolate, which she apparently enjoys, because he wants her to feel as well as possible.

Let’s hope Annie remembers this should it ever happen to Kerry.  Because, you know, it just may . . .

One other thing happened during the writing of this section:  that last sentence finally pushed the novel over three hundred thousand words.  And which word is number three hundred thousand?  “Annie”.  Yep, her name snuck in there and tipped the scales.

Its almost as if it were meant to be.

It’s almost as if it were meant to be.

What’s left is to find out about this flying thing, and–oh, yeah:  Kerry’s got to get a present here soon.  When?

You’ll know when I write it, that’s when.

Nightmare Discussions at 30,000

Not an original or witty title today, but those are the breaks, you know?  Wit only goes so far on some days, and this isn’t one of them, so I gotta force myself to steal from The Twilight Zone to bring the post.  At least we don’t have to worry about gremlins on the wing of this place, ’cause the witches on this flight would burn its ass down in no time–

“You really think so? Let them take their best shot!”

Keep it up, loser, and I’ll work you into the story.

My kids are not quite home yet.  After all, there’s the whole Adjust on the Bus thing, and they have some time to fly when they come out of that.  And come out of it they do.  Though Annie’s wakey-wake time is just a bit different . . .

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie slowly raised her seat and looked about the cabin. It was empty: no one else had joined them as they’d begun adjusting, and the one attendant who was charged with taking care of this portion of the aircraft was not present. The cabin was dark with just enough illumination for one to find their way about without tripping over things, and nearly silent. This last she remembered from their return flight to Amsterdam, when a sound muffling spell was erected not long after takeoff to minimize the sound of air rushing past the airframe at eight hundred kilometers an hour. Some people found it unnerving; Annie found it comforting, for it reminded her of mornings at her lake house as the sun came up behind the mountains, keeping the valley where she lived in shadow and peaceful silence.

There was a soft moan to her right, and Annie was reminded that she wasn’t alone in the forward cabin . . .

She looked over the partial clamshell that separated their chairs when they were fully reclined. Kerry was still out, but it appeared he was shaking off the effects of the adjustment. She found it a little strange that he was still out, for the other two times they’d adjusted on a flight, she’d fallen asleep together and awoke together without additional time passing between either of them opening their eyes.

Soulmate isn’t awake?  Not when you’ve done it together all the other times?  No way this could be a problem, right?  Right?  Is this thing on?

Not this time, however. Kerry moaned once more, and Annie watched him squirm slightly under his blanket. She reached over, preparing to shake him—

Kerry spoke in a soft mumble. “I don’t know why you wanna . . .” His head turned slowly to the left as his brow furrowed. “Why you kept wanntin’ to see me? I don’t wanna come closer.”

Annie was both surprised and shocked. She wasn’t an expert on Kerry’s sleeping habits, but she had fallen asleep with him many numerous times during the Midnight Madness well as shared a bed with him, and had never heard him talk in his sleep. It wasn’t an indication he didn’t—it just meant that she’d never heard him—

Kerry slowly shook his head and spoke in his dreamy mumble. “You keep sayin’ that, but you’re wrong, I don’t know you—” He sighed softly. “You’re crazy, really. I don’t know that I want you to know me.” He shook his head again. “Well, you should forget.”

Annie’s hand was still in place, hovering in the air over his body. She lay it lightly upon his left shoulder and gave him a slight nudge. “Kerry?”

Kerry’s body went rigid for just a moment before he spoke in a loud, clear voice. “I don’t want your life. I wouldn’t know what to do with it.” He shook his head three times, then jerked hard. “You leave her out of this. She’s not your CONCERN.”

That was enough for Annie. She shook her boyfriend hard. “Kerry—Kerry.”

 

Annie is unnerved that she’s hearing Kerry talk in his sleep–as she notes, in all the time she’s, as she says, “shared a bed with him,” she’s never heard him talking in his sleep–that only happens in their dreams together.  And whomever Kerry is speaking with–and he is having a conversation, one can tell–someone’s name came up, and he didn’t want to hear that particular name . . .

Does he bolt upright in his seat and scream like they do in the movies?  Well . . .

He went limp; three seconds later his eyes began to open. “Hey . . . Annie.” He stretched. “You’re awake.”

“Yes.” She gave him a soft smile she knew he’d see in this dim light. “And so are you finally.”

He lay limply, staring up at the cabin ceiling. “Where are we? What time is it?”

She checked the flight display on her personal monitor. “We’re over Newfoundland: it says Boston time is zero-twenty-one.”

“Sounds about right.” He started raising his chair. “Penny said we’d wake up about ninety minutes out from Logan. And last year we woke up about the same spot.” Once his chair was in the upright position he leaned over and kissed Annie. “How you feeling?”

Annie kept her expression as neutral as possible. “I feel fine—”

 

Everyone feels fine around here, ever notice that?  Come to think of it, when was the last time anyone had a cold around this joint?  Broken bones, concussions, and torn ligaments aplenty, but the flu?  That should tell you something about the health of the Witches of the School of Salem.

After the attendant sees to their immediate needs Annie asks about what was going on with Kerry, if he knew he was talking in his sleep.  And he has an answer–and more.

The attendant returned with towels and bottles of San Pellegrino, leaving as quickly as her duty was finished. Kerry spoke as he wiped his face and arms. “I was having a dream.”

“You were?” Annie almost chuckled, but thought better. “I remember when you used to not remember those.”

“That was Last Year Kerry—” He grinned. “Now I’m This Year Kerry.”

Now she did chuckled. “I’m so glad of that. What were you dreaming about?”

Kerry draped his towel over the aisle arm rest of his chair and opened his mineral water. “I was talking to a girl.”

“Oh?” Annie meticulously folded her spent towel. “Anyone I know?”

“It’s not even anyone I know.” He took a sip of his drink after pouring it into the provided glass. “She’s just—I don’t know. It’s all strange.”

 

There was a time when Kerry would have kept his mouth shut about this sort of thing, or at the least not mention things for a few days or weeks.  Maybe he doesn’t want to spend the next two hours sitting next to Frosty the Dark Witch, though, and decides it’s better to open up about this matter.  It’s also possible that he knows he has nothing to hid, and doesn’t try . . .

“What happened?” Annie normally wasn’t interested in any dream of Kerry’s save those she shared, but after seeing his unconscious distress she was more than a little curious.

“Not much, really. She’s walking towards me and trying to get me to walk towards her—”

“Where are you?”

“It something like a big, empty, gray room. She keeps telling me I need to get to know her, but when I ask her name, she says I already know her name.” He shrugged. “She also tells me she already knows a lot about me.”

“Maybe—” Annie glanced at him out of the corner of her eye as a coy smile formed. “—you have a secret admirer.”

He snorted. “All ready had one of those: I don’t want another.” He glanced at Annie. “Just someone else to curse, yeah?”

“You better curse them.” There was no need to mention the name of Kerry’s “secret admirer”; during their time in the Grunewald forest they discussed his curse on Emma, and what actions they might take if she discovered and tried to void the effects. Neither anticipated she’d be a problem, though Kerry promised he’d take steps to dissuade her from trying to “steal him away” if she should try again.

 

It’s a sign that their relationship is growing in different ways, because they spent part of their time while picnicking in Berlin to discuss Emma, and what to do should she start going all Fatal Attraction on Ginger Soulmate.  Kerry will handle the problem first, ’cause if it comes down to Annie stepping in to deal with Single Ginger Female, it won’t be pretty.

I’m already half way through Chapter Four–

And inching up on thirty thousand words, which is pretty good for three weeks work.

And inching up on thirty thousand words, which is pretty good for three weeks work.

Now that the writing portion of this post is over, it’s time for an update.  To what, you say?  Well . . . something I mentioned last year at this time.

For the record it’s my birthday, and I’ll cry if I want to–and all ready did this morning, if anyone is keeping track.  A year ago I wrote this, talking not only about my novel in progress–you remember, it’s my own version of War and Peace–but I also wrote about getting ready to go on hormones as I started my transition from the old person I was to the new person I am.  I mentioned that I was starting on a long adventure, one that would end–well, who knows where, mostly because that adventure is still ongoing.

I also posted a picture, saying that for the person in that picture, it was going to be their last birthday–

Contrary to what some people might say, I didn't really attack Kerry on a dark afternoon in November . . .

Contrary to what some people might say, I didn’t really attack Kerry on a dark afternoon in November . . .

And I was right, because today it’s this person’s birthday.

I'm also not the girl of Kerry's dreams, 'cause Annie would kill me if I was.

I’m also not the girl of Kerry’s dreams, ’cause Annie would kill me if I was.

A whole lot of things have happened in the last year.  New glasses, new brows, new wig.  I wear makeup better and I know how to dress.  I’ve had one session of laser and two sessions of electrolysis on my face, and the beard is starting to vanish.  I’ve been on hormone replacement therapy for just under ten months now, and all my labs look fantastic.  My face has changed as fat has moved around, my weight has dropped, my hips and butt are starting to develop, and I have “the girls” as my doctor calls my breasts.  I have crazy, insane mood swings depending upon where I am in my hormonal cycle–yes, because I take shots every two weeks, I do have a cycle–and I’m learning how to get through those as I deal with this thing known as “womanhood”.

Most of all, I’m what is known as “full-time” in therapy vernacular.  Since coming out at work on 2 February I am all lady, all the time, and the only person there is any more is completely and totally me.  I don’t go back to pretending I was someone else:  when you see me any and everywhere, I am the woman in the second picture.  There is no “first picture person” anymore:  as I stated last year, they had their birthday, and now they are gone.  Not forgotten, I should mention, but they are no longer around.

What remains at this point is getting my name and gender markers changed, and I’m at work on that.  By this time next year all my important papers and legal documents should reflect my real name and gender, and there shouldn’t be anything to show an old me used to exist save for a few signatures here and there under my old name.  After that’s complete, about the only thing left to me are the various surgeries I could get if I can afford them.  There’s only one I’m interested in getting, and I may raid my 401(k) at some point in the future to make that a reality.

But the adventure is a year down and who knows how many more to come.  Unlike Annie and Kerry, I don’t have a handy timeline I can pull up and use to figure out where I’ll actually be on, say, 1 June, 2019–and unlike a certain Muslim Seer woman who’s tight with my kids, I can’t see into the future, so I gotta kinda wing it day-by-day.  And that’s okay, because every day is different.  Good, bad, fantastic, miserable:  they’re all different.  In their own way they’re wonderful, even during those when I feel like giving up and moving on beyond The Veil.

That’s because, the ones where I have hope that life is giving me a good day are worth remembering and holding close to my heart.

It’s been an interesting journey–

I wonder how next year will shape up?

The Staking of the Claims

I almost said Staking of the Clams, which would be funny, as that might indicate there are vampire clams in an around the school.  Not that their couldn’t be; around this place we know there are squid-like creatures living in the walls, getting ready to lash out at bad guys and maybe a misbehaving student or two.  Vampire clams?  Maybe Kerry will order them for his birthday dinner.

Also, in other news, with this scene over, the novel is just over six hundred and seventy words from hitting the four hundred thousand word mark, and that should happen sometime tonight while writing the next scene.  That is a long time writing, and I can’t say if I’ll ever get up there again–okay, maybe when I write the D Level story, ’cause that’s a big one, too.  And the E Level.  Maybe.  At least I think I can keep most of the B Level book to around one hundred and fifty thousand words.  Until I really start going from meta to detail plotting, that is . . .

So Kerry gets a present–and I’m told Coraline’s being cheap, too, because a used hospital gown and a kiss?  You can bet Coraline’s getting more than that for her birthday–unless she’s got like a dozen cats back in her room in the Instructor’s Residence, then maybe not.  I would imagine that she gets a lot of offers for date, but being a romantic at heart, she’s probably picky about who she lets close to her.

The truth is, as we saw with Kerry’s gift to Annie, things are more from the heart around here.  You’re a witch, you do magic, you’ve done some amazing things–I need to give you something to remind you that when you walked in the front door you were this gigantic mope when you started, and you fought monsters and lived to fight another day–literally in Kerry’s case.  Every time you see this you’ll remember that day, which may or may not be a good thing, ’cause you could be suffering from PTSD in a few years.  Here’s hoping you’re not.  And also you get a kiss from the hottest doctor at the school . . .

That’s said, being the touchy-feely doctor she is, sometimes she’s not thinking about who’s around when she hands out the affection . . .

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

“Thanks.” He watched Coraline’s face as her eyes shifted towards Annie and locked with hers for just a moment. Kerry turned his head towards Annie just enough to catch the look on her face, which was something of a cross between surprise and annoyance. He wasn’t quite certain why she was starting at Nurse Coraline that way, but he was wise enough to know it had something to do with the kiss she planted on his cheek.

Coraline’s chuckle was almost inaudible at she continued looking at Annie. “I guess I should have asked permission first.”

Annie stood with arms crossed. “Yes.”

“I’ll remember that in the future.”

A smile began spreading across the girl’s face. “Thank you.”

With that over Coraline turned her attention back to Kerry. “You can leave those things here; I’ll see to it they get sent to your rooms. Wouldn’t do to have you carry them around for most of the day.”

“Thanks.” Kerry waited for Annie to returned her smock before he lay his folded hospital gown back in the box and turned back to face the somewhat blushing school doctor.

“Okay, you two—” Coraline nodded towards the door. “You better get off to breakfast. Oh, and Kerry?”

“Yes?”

“Stop by the security office before you head off to class. Isis wants to see you as well.”

While he had figured that Coraline wanted them up to the hospital to give him a birthday greeting, he couldn’t figure out what the Chief of Security wanted with him. “Will do.”

 

First, why see Isis?  You’ll find out.  Second:  Annie’s handing out the stink eye?  Uh, oh.  That doesn’t sound good.  And you find out why just a minute or two later . . .

 

Kerry turned and was out the door to the first floor walkway with Annie alongside. He waited until they were at the stop of the stairs leading to the Rotunda below before he asked his question. “Why did Coraline look at you so strangely? Was it because she kissed me?”

“Yes.”

“Can I ask why?”

Annie stopped half way down the staircase and turned to the puzzled boy. Her smile grew wider as she analyzed his confusion. “Still a bit clueless?”

“Just a little.”

“When we meet her the first time, after our E & As, she put her arm around your shoulders and hugged you because she wanted to force a reaction from me—”

He remembered that night well. “She wanted to see if you really loved me.”

“Yes, and she found out I did.” The smile wavered just a little. “All these months later, she has no doubt that I love you, and you love me—and she still kissed you.” She ran the tip of her middle finger over Kerry’s right cheek. “Right here.”

 

Yes, a long time ago, Coraline hugged Kerry just to watch Annie’s eyes open wider and nostrils to flare, because she wanted to know if the girl really was in love with Kerry.  She got her answer, and has proceeded onward with that knowledge.

Months later, Annie’s even more in love, and–

 

Annie left her fingers against his skin, barely touching. “Just as I’m doing now, I’ve touched this cheek; I’ve caressed it; I’ve kissed it many times, mostly when we’re laying together in bed, comfortable in each other’s embrace. This cheek is as much mine as it is yours, my love.” She removed her fingers, taking many seconds to pull them away as she dropped her hand to her side. “When she kissed you there, she invaded my space—without my permission.” Annie shook her head. “I can’t have that, my love. Ever.”

Kerry knew that their love was deep and intense: he felt it from his end, and he was certain Annie felt it as much or more. It was only now, however, that he understood the full extent of her feelings. “I’m sorry.”

“I don’t blame you.” Annie’s stare burned into Kerry’s eyes. “But you’re mine, my darling, and to have someone else being too familiar with you . . .” She lowered her eyes and smiled as she gently straightened his jacket. “That is a problem.”

 

Annie’s marked her guy, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a grown-up ginger doctor–and Coraline is–in her thirties:  get too affectionate with him in front of her, and there may be . . . trouble.

"My name is Annie Kirilova.  You kissed my future husband on the cheek; prepare to die!"

“My name is Annie Kirilova. You kissed my future husband on the cheek; prepare to die!”

And though we know Coraline can take care of herself, because we’ve seen her fight Professor Chai, Annie might still have the advantage because death spells.  It hard to say if she’d bleed out someone who kissed Kerry–unless said person is another ginger girl, this time from Colorado, and that fight might get a little ugly.

Let’s just hope Kerry doesn’t play the fool and let girls kiss him on the cheek, and then turn around and say, “Not my fault:  she wanted to kiss me.”  Yeah, he’s been warned, too, and I’m certain there are ways Annie can show her displeasure with him without resorting to violence.

That’s my hope, at least.

He’s a smart kid; he’ll figure it out . . .

The Private Moments

Well, I managed.  I turned off all distractions, put on some music, and got to writing.  And when I was finished, I had another scene done and my NaNo goals were met.

Happiness all around, yes indeed.

Last night’s scene was a reunion.  Kerry is up and about, dressed and refreshed, and half expecting Annie to be waiting outside his door.  But she isn’t, because while she may like to sneak into the hospital and watch him sleep, she’s not totally stalkerlicious.  This time, however, the setting is turned around, and Kerry sees this on the Mezzanine Commons–

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie was sleeping on the sofa, fully dressed in a sweater, jeans, and her soft boots.

Kerry entered the mezzanine, walking with care even though he knew he’d not make any sounds on the carpeted stone floor. He approached without making a sound and knelt before the sofa. He looked up Annie’s sleeping face, watched the flexing of her slightly open mouth and her slow, deep breathing. He’d never saw Annie when she was sound asleep, and her face didn’t show her normal fixed, controlled demeanor, but rather he saw Annie as no one else had ever seen her: relaxed, peaceful, unconcerned, and dreamy.

Kerry realized where he’d seen her like this before . . . She’s like this when we’re alone, when she can let her guard down and not worry if anyone is going to catch her smiling or laughing too much, or if they might see her pout or get angry. He reached towards her, so wanting to touch here, so much wanting to let his fingers glide over her cheek—

He lay a fingertip against her right cheek, barely making contact with her warm skin. When she didn’t move he drew it towards him and towards the corner of her mouth. He reached the edge of her lip and glided along the edge, outlining her lower lip until he reached the opposite corner of her mouth. Kerry thought of running his along her upper lip, but thought it was possible that someone would eventually come along and catch him in the middle of this act. Don’t want that— He pulled he hand away from her face. Wouldn’t be long before I’d start hearing stupid things like “Team Kerry” whispered in the Dining Hall . . .

He leaned in and kissed her on the cheek, then sat back and waited for her reaction.

At first noting happen, then Annie began to stir slowly, like an invisible hand were shaking her awake while she mumbled in a low, soft voice. “Molya ne spiraĭte, lyubov moya. Tseluni me otnovo . . .” She sighed once before slowly opening her eyes. She discovered Kerry’s face only a half a meter from hers, and she reached out with right arm and hooked her hand around his neck. “Kerry . . .” Her face brightened as her face broke into a wide smile. “You’re here.”

“I am.” He touched the tip of her nose. “Moyata polovinka.” He let himself be pulled into her lips, and he slid his left hand behind her back as he kissed her warmly. They kissed for almost a minute, though neither bothered judging the passage of time. This kiss had been building for many days, and it would end when their passion was subdued.

Kerry finally broke the kiss, though he only pulled back enough so he could keep Annie’s face fully framed in his vision. “I love you, Sweetie.”

“Oh, Kerry . . .” Annie wrapped her arms around him and hugged him hard. “I’ve been waiting over two weeks for that kiss and for you to say that.” She kissed him again. “I love you, my darling.”

 

I have to admit, I loved writing that scene.  It’s really the first time you see Kerry sort of being romantic in a non-verbal way.  I can also tell you that Annie was dreaming of Kerry–I know because I put them mumbly words in her mouth.

We find out that Annie got up about four and came down and slept on the sofa.  Right after that she starts talking about her holiday:

 

“I was missing you terribly as well.” He kissed her hair. “How was your holiday?”

“It was—good.” She glanced up and smiled. “We traveled around a lot.”

“Where?”

“Just Europe, though we visited a lot of places. About the only time we were home was from Christmas Eve to the Second Day of Christmas, and New Year’s Day.” She rested her head against his shoulder. “I wished you were with me, particularly when we went to Copenhagen and Stockholm.”

“I wish I could have seen that with you.” He hugged her tight. “Did you see the Little Mermaid?”

“Yes, and she was freezing.” Annie laughed, tickling Kerry until he joined in. “One day I’ll take you to see her.”

“I want to do that.”

“We will.” Annie sat up. “Before you tell me about your holiday, I have something to show you.” She jumped up and held out her right hand. “Come on.”

 

Yeah, the little mermaid was probably cold, given, you know, she doesn’t really wear anything on, and she’s sitting on a rock out of the water.  At least we can be assured that Kerry wouldn’t try cutting her head or arm off.

Annie drags him to their lab, and there’s something waiting for him:

 

“You can open your eyes.” Kerry opened them and saw a large black cloth covering the work table. It was the only thing that hadn’t been there when they left the lab on the Thursday night before leaving on holiday.

He turned to Annie, who was now looking rather pleased. “Well?”

She nodded towards the table. “You need to look under the cloth.”

Kerry did as instructed, lifting up the cloth and examining what was beneath. “There’s . . .” He ran his hand over the table surface. “Wood.”

“Are you sure?” Annie replaced the cloth and smoothed it out until it was once more flat.

He lifted a corner and looked again. “Yeah. Just the table.”

“Well . . .” Annie smoothed out the cloth, making certain every wrinkle was gone. “Maybe you’re not looking the right way—” She snapped the cloth up from the table as if she were shaking out dust, then yanked it away.

A PAV sat on the table where the cloth has lain seconds before.

 

I guess you can say Annie was doing a magic trick–and in a way it was, because it leaves Kerry shocked and surprised:

 

Kerry stared for several seconds, trying to fathom what Annie had done, and what he was now seeing. He understood the magic: several times he’d seen Professor Salomon reach behind her back and pull her broom out what seemed like nothing. She called it a Displacement Spell—that she was really grabbing her broom from a predefined location back in the Flight School—but Nadine told him that all the racers said they kept their brooms in “Hammerspace,” which Kerry understood because he’d seen enough anime to know one could pull enormous objects from out of nowhere as long as one reached behind their back . . .

He now-trained eye recognized the PAV right away: it was an Espinoza 4500 like the one he’d been flying since the beginning of school—only it wasn’t like that one. The carbon filament was the dark, shiny black of a device that had never seen a second of exposure to the elements. There wasn’t a visible scuff anywhere—save for some markings in white near where he would sit—and when Kerry placed his hand over the frame and activated the saddle, there wasn’t a sign of wear on the leather: no one had ever sat upon this device.

“It’s a good broom, Kerry.” Annie was next to him, her voice soft and comforting. “It’ll never let you down.”

He turned towards her, his eyes misting. “Annie—”

“I’d rather someone who I know will enjoy flying have it instead of someone who’d never know how to appreciate this gift.” She took Kerry’s hands and kissed them. “Happy birthday, Kerry.”

“Annie.” He looked to the broom sitting on the table, then back to Annie. “That must have cost a—”

She lay her fingers upon his lips. “Shush, you.” She shook her head, her glance radiating her love. “You should know by now I don’t care for the cost of a present—it’s the thought and feelings behind it that impress me.” Her fingers glided over her locket. “You knew what would touch me—I know what touches you.”

 

Here, for the first time, we hear about Hammerspace–yes, not the real name, but you know kids–and Annie repeats the same thing to Kerry that he said, years before, to the boy to whom he gave his bicycle, something Kerry mentioned during their very first Midnight Madness together.  Goes to show you Annie was listening; she’s always listening.  And now you know what she needed help from Mama for–though in another couple of scenes you’ll find out there was a little more to it than just having her order this off the Internet.

Since the emotions are really flowing, Kerry starts expressing them, because he can’t not . . .

 

Kerry fought to keep his emotions under control. “It’s a little early, but . . .” He wrapped his arms around Annie and hugged her tight. “Thank you so much.” He kissed her as tears dripped from his eyes. “Obicham te, moyata polovinka.”

Annie looked down and giggled. “You’re working on your Bulgarian.”

“It gave me something to do when I got lonely for you.”

“I think what you wanted to say was, ‘Obicham te, moya srodna dusha’.” She cleared her throat. “You know what moyato prolovinka really means, don’t you?”

Kerry wiped his eyes. “I looked it up.”

“And?”

He looked down and avoided Annie’s gaze for the first time. “It means ‘my mate’.”

Annie touched his chin, raising his head. “This doesn’t bother you?”

He chuckled. “Should it?” He kissed her check. “Obicham te, moyata polovinka.”

“Obicham te, moya spŭtnik, you mean.” She patted his check. “I’ll have to start giving you lessons.” She turned towards the broom on the table. “Look on the frame under the saddle.”

What Kerry tries to say first is “I love you, my soul mate,” but Annie sets him straight–and then, in a roundabout way, lets him know that she wasn’t quite truthful about the exactly translation of “Moyata polovinka” as she explained it back in the garden after the Samhain Dance.  “My soul mate” and “my mate” are just a little different in meaning, if you catch my drift.  And when Kerry tries to say, “I love you, my mate,” she corrects him again and lets him know it’s time to give him lessons.  Now won’t that be fun?

It should also be noted that Kerry doesn’t seem to mind the “my mate” reference.  Annie’s also known, probably for a while, that Kerry would have looked up the translation on his own.  The fact that he’s not upset means he either (1) doesn’t care, (2) realizes there’d a future for them, or (3) he’s still completely clueless.

And one last thing Annie did for him–remember she asked him to look under the saddle?

 

Kerry folded the saddle back into the frame and picked up the broom to give the area a closer look. The white stuff was lettering, and it spelled out:

Kerrigan Rodney Malibey  “Starbuck”

“That area is enchanted.” Annie’s face was next to his, looking at the same spot on the frame. “The only ones who can see your full name are you and I—though that can be changed if you want. That way, no one can use your full name against you.”

“What does everyone else see?”

“They’ll see ‘Kerry Malibey’ and your call sign. Nothing else.”

He picked up the PAV and held it in both hands, feeling the weight and imagining how it was going to feel sitting upon the saddle. He set it gently upon the table, then slowly wrap his arms around Annie and held her close. He couldn’t hold back any longer, and the tears flowed freely for almost a minutes. All the while Annie held him close and smiled, for she knew, for once, his tears weren’t from sadness—she’d brought him tears of joy, perhaps the first he’d experienced in a while.

When he released her she dabbed at her eyes with her sleeve cuffs. “Better?”

“Yeah.”

“Happy?”

“Oh, yes.” He managed a weak laugh. “We’ll have to see Professor Salomon later and find out where I can store this.”

 

I have to admit, Annie is a sweet girl.  It’s not everyone who’d have their boyfriend’s name and call sign painted on his broom like he was a pilot at Top Gun school.  Just wait until next Monday–you find out at the beginning of the scene that there isn’t any real classes the first week back–when the kids in Basic Flight see Kerry roll in with his birthday present . . .

Yep, it'll be just like this.

Yep, it’ll be just like this.

The next scene has Kerry talking about something he learned over his holiday with his folks, and it’s going to be . . . interesting.  That’s all I’ll say.

It’ll also be interesting writing the scene.  Because, when I look at my word counts, I see Act Two is just short of one hundred and fifty thousand–

Just a little push and I'm there.

Just a little push and I’m there.

Which means the manuscript, as a whole, is just shy of twice that much–

What will a year get you?  This.

What will a year get you? This.

So tonight I pass into some rare territory where only writers who kill characters off for the hell of it venture.  Which means, if Act Three is anything like the first two, the whole mess should top out at around four hundred and fifty thousand words.

When I said this is my Infinite Jest–I wasn’t jesting.

 

NaNo Word Count, 11/2:  2,200

NaNo Total Word Count:  6,787