Applogies and Admonishments

After all of the excitement of yesterday–which involved three hours on the road, two hours of dining, two and a half hours of getting the nails done, and not arriving back to The Burg until about seven-thirty last night, I managed to finish the scene I debuted yesterday morning.  However, after writing eight hundred and sixty-five words this morning, you’re not going to see how that scene finished–after all, I gotta keep some secrets, right?

On the other hand you get to check out my nail porn, which is an OPI gel called "Deutsch You Want Me Baby.".

Though you do get to check out my nail porn, which is an OPI gel called “Deutsch You Want Me Baby.”.  Well, don’t you?

Don’t worry, the excerpt this morning is gonna be a good one.

See, it’s the last scene of Chapter Fourteen, the title of which has already been shown to you in another post.  I may finish up the chapter tonight before getting into my Fear the Walking Dead recap goes down, or I may wait until tomorrow.  Either way, I start up on the next part and the Salem Overnight chapter real soon–Tuesday at the latest, baring something like hospitalization or death.  Keeping my fingers crossed until then.

That brings us to what I’ve done so far this morning.  And . . . well, see for yourself.

 

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

This close after the completion of dinner the first floor hospital ward was more quiet than usual. Kerry leaned on his cane while standing \next to the hospital privacy curtain. “You ready?”

Annie glanced towards the curtain. “As ready as you.”

“Okay, then—” He unhooked the latch and moved it aside. “After you, Darling.”

“Thank you, my love.” She entered the hospital bay and stood at the foot of the bed while Kerry secured the curtain. Annie waited for him to join her before speaking to the bed’s occupant. “Hello, Emma. How are you feeling?”

Emma sat up in bed, the covers pulled up to her waist, revealing only her lilac-colored pajama top. The casts were off her arms, but her head remained bandaged. “I’m better. At least the room isn’t spinning around when I sit up.”

Kerry nodded. “Yeah, I’ve been there. It’ll probably go away by tomorrow.”

“I hope so.” She offered a weak smile. “I see you’re up and around, though.”

“Yeah, Coraline released me at fifteen, but I’m not exactly ready to go dancing.” He held up his cane for a few seconds. “I’m gonna need this for a couple of days at least, and Annie’s got a jaunt pad for us to use when we head out to Astrophysics tomorrow night—I was told not to walk that far yet.”

“Yeah.” Emma’s smile vanished as she thought about the pain Kerry was likely experiencing. “I’ll probably get the same when I’m released tomorrow.”

All three students stood look at each other for a few seconds. Kerry decides to pick up the conversation. “Erywin said you wanted to see us?”

 

As some readers have suspected, this is gonna be about Emma swallowing a big heaping of crow that may or may not have flown over from Westeros.  It goes without saying that a whole lot of people blame her for the ending of her particular heat, the hospitalization of two students, and her coven getting jacked in the final standings, and she has one of two choices:  say “Screw you all” and give zero shits about her actions, or shoulder the blame.  And . . .

 

“Yes.” Emma looked down at her folded hands setting in her lap. “I want to apologize for what happened yesterday.”

Kerry shrugged. “It’s okay—”

“No, it’s not, Kerry. I . . .” He sighed and looked up, shifting her gazes between the couple. “I was upset by what happened Friday, and I let it get to me. I was racing mad at you, and I wasn’t thinking.” She sniffed hard though there weren’t tears in her eyes. “Nurse Coraline told me that if you hadn’t jerked your broom away like you did, you’d have probably speared me and ripped off my arm.”

He rested both hands on his cane. “Yeah. Then they’ve have sent you to New York—”

“Where I would have been most of the week getting it reattached with healing spells. I know: I was told a couple of times.” She sniffed hard again. “Did Professor Sladen tell you how fast we were going?”

“She said I was going about two seventy-five, and you were going about two hundred.” He signed and shifted his weight around. “So our impact speed was about seventy-five kilometers an hour.”

Emma closed her eyes. “Yeah. Pretty fast.”

“Fast enough.”

 

Things could have been a lot worse:  we could have had detached limbs instead of mere broken ones, and that could have actually led to someone dying before they were rushed off to a hospital in another city–not that dead is always permanent here.  Chances are, however, that the necromancers aren’t getting called out because someone was racing with their head up their ass.  Odds are excellent that if Emma had died at the end of the race, the Guardians would have put their “memory experts” to work, and Emma’s bratty little sister would have found herself in the room she always wanted.

In case you were wondering, Emma was going about one hundred and twenty-five miles an hours–mostly because she was too busy dicking around with Alex–and Kerry was going about one seventy.  Crash and burn indeed.

And this brings us to probably the hardest thing that’s ever happen to my Boulder Ginger:

 

Annie noticed the slight distress on Kerry’s face. “Do you need to sit?”

“I think so.” As he was turning around Annie levitated one of the chairs from the corner of the bay to him. “Thanks.”

Emma said nothing, watching how effortlessly Annie used simply magic. “You do that so well.”

“It’s pretty common for us these days.” She leaned against the back of Kerry’s chair. “You’ll get there soon.”

“I hope so.” She sighed a couple of times, seeming unsure of what she should say next. “Annie . . . I’m so sorry I’ve acted this way. I’ve disrespected you and pretended to act like you aren’t there.” Emma snorted. “Looking at you both now—really looking at you—I see just how you act as a couple. It’s . . .” Her head bobbed a few times. “Pretty freakin’ incredible.”

“Thank you, Emma.” Annie was surprised to hear Emma admit to something Annie had felt for a while. “I accept your apology.”

A look of relief flowed across Emma’s face. “Thank you. I want you to know nothing like what happened Friday will ever happen again.”

“That’s nice to know.” Annie patted Kerry’s shoulder. “I never feared that Kerry would stray from me, which is why I never said anything.” She tilted her head slightly to the right. “However . . .” Her tone turned flat and cold. “Should this happen again, you and I will have a talk—alone.” Annie’s eyes narrowed. “It won’t be pleasant.”

Emma gulped after feeling Annie’s coldness for the first time. “I can imagine—” She inhaled sharply. “Point taken.”

Annie softened her expression. “As long as you understand.”

“I do.”

“Good.”

 

“You and I will have a talk—alone.  It won’t be pleasant.”  From time-to-time the question has come up, “Why doesn’t Annie say something?”  Because Annie’s not the sort to toss around warnings.  But a few things have happened.  One, she kicked some ass in a Judgement Trial.  Two, Emma hit on Kerry–again.  Three, Emma Raced While Pissed at Kerry and put them both in the hospital.  As the Bulgarian Buttercup stated, she never worried about Kerry straying–something she told Deanna–but she’s finally reached the point where she’s letting Emma know she’s had enough of her shit.  No screaming, no voice raising, no finger pointing–just that cold stare and that flat voice telling her, “It won’t be pleasant.”  Since Emma has already seen how unpleasant Annie can make a situation when she’s pushed, Emma’s really not eager to bring the Wrath of Annie down upon her ass.

There you are:  enough for today.  there’s more, but I need to have something to post tomorrow, so I’ll save it for then.

Otherwise you guys will get spoiled . . .

The Morning Questions

Hola, everyone.  The morning has been a strange one, let me tell you.  I have some traveling and pampering to do today, so I was not only up at five-thirty to have coffee and think about what lay ahead, but I also started in on getting this post ready, because I need to be on the road in about–well, about ninety minutes right now, and before I can get ready and dress and put on my makeup, I have to bring over what was written last night and get it set up–

But then I start looking at the new scene I started the night before and I want to do things.

I ended the evening going about six hundred and fifty words into the scene, and I was good with that because I wasn’t really feeling the writing mood.  You may know how that goes:  it’s all blahs and stuff, and you sort of push yourself along to get the words out.  I figured I’d do a little polish this morning before bringing over the excerpts.

But as soon as my polishing was completed I’m sitting here looking at this scene and I’m thinking, “I can’t just leave it where I found it, can I?”  Nope, sure couldn’t.  So I started writing.  Not a lot–just two hundred and five words–but it added a bit more to the narrative.  Not to mention it lets me get a head start on tonight’s writing, because I fully expect to end this scene tonight after, well, after all the stuff I have planed for today.

Oh, and in putting in the extra two hundred words, I pushed the final count over one hundred and twenty-four thousand words, which means I could go over one hundred and twenty-five thousand tonight, and maybe be at one thirty by the time Labor Day weekend starts.  Which, if that happens, means I’m well into the next chapter and perhaps the next part.  Rockin’ good news.

But that’s in the future.  What’s happening in Bay #1 in Salem right now?  This:

 

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

When Annie pulled back the privacy curtain and floated the levitated breakfast tray into Bay #1 Kerry was waiting, awake. She returned the smile he beamed her way. “I see you’re finally up.”

“Up is a relative term.” He glanced about his body, which was for the most part still frozen in place. “The casts are gone but I can’t move.”

“It’s the immobilization enchantment. I asked Nurse Gretchen about it, and she Coraline would take care of it when she came in after breakfast.” Annie elevated the head of the bed so Kerry was mostly sitting up and positioned the tray over his stomach. “In the meantime I’ll take care of you.”

“Well, thank you, Darling.” He examined the tray. “Princesses and tomatoes, fruit, yogurt, tomato juice.” Kerry closed his eyes for a second as he breathed in the aromas wafting off the tray. “Quite the breakfast. Won’t be long before you having me eating Bulgarian food all the time.”

“Why not? I do.” She unfolded a napkin and lay over Kerry’s chest. “Hasn’t hurt me once.”

“You have an advantage I don’t.”

“Do you remember the dream we had when I turned eleven, where you told me you couldn’t wait to try the same food I ate?” She picked up a princesse slice and held it so Kerry could take a bite. “Your wish came true.”

He swallowed before answering. “Yes, it did. That and a few others.” He enjoyed a couple of pineapple chunks before speaking again. “What time did you get up?”

“Normal time: about five-thirty.” She offered him a slice of tomato before giving him a sip of juice. “I spoke with Nurse Gretchen and went down to the kitchen to see about breakfast.”

“Did you see Coraline?”

“No. She was in about three: Emma woke up about that time and was apparently undergoing some sort of distress, so she came in to calm her down and help her get back to sleep.”

“I can imagine.”

It’s likely you do know what she experienced. Annie dabbed the napkin at the corner of Kerry’s mouth. She’s never found herself hurt like this, and you have, so you know the pain and disorientation of returning to consciousness in the middle of the night. At least you had someone in the bay to calm you—she had no one . . .

 

Now, I know what some of you are thinking:  “Why is Annie feeling sorry for that little bitch?”  It is true that given the right circumstances, Annie would rip out Emma’s lungs and stomp on them–that is a given because the Real Annie told me so herself.  But My Story Annie also ins’t a vindictive person, and she hasn’t exactly run down to the end of the ward where Emma has spend most of the day unconscious to screw with her IVs and rearrange her casts and yank out her catheter–no, she’s spent her time with Kerry and not really said anything mean or nasty.  Why would she?  After all, it’s not like Emma crashed him and walked away in slow motion, a smirk playing over her face while Kerry’s broom explodes in the background like they’re both in the next Die Hard movie.

No, she damn near killed herself in the process because she was stupid.  And while there are a lot of things Annie might beat her ass over, Emma getting hoisted by her own petard isn’t one of them, even if she did put Kerry in the hospital at the same time.  All you Elsas can take her advice and let it go, ’cause Annie knows when to go dark witch on someone, and this isn’t the time.

That out of the way, Annie’s thinking about something else entirely . . .

 

She didn’t want to dwell on Emma waking up in the middle of the night—there was another night event she wanted to discuss and learn more. “You were dreaming last night.”

“Yeah, I was.”

She was surprised to see him nod. “You remember?”

“I remember I was dreaming . . .” For a moment his face took on a dreamy, far-away expression. “That’s about all, though.”

If he remembers dreaming, maybe he knows more and I can learn something— “Do you remember any of the dream?”

“I was speaking with someone—”

“I could tell: it sounded like you were speaking with another person.”

“Wait—” He appeared surprised. “You could hear me?”

“It was like we were back on the flight from Berlin and coming out of adjustment.” She offered him another bite of princesse so he couldn’t remark right away. “Though this time you didn’t mention my name.”

What?” Kerry tried to sit up, but the immobilization enchantment held him in place. “I talked about you the last time?”

“You didn’t mention my name, but it was obvious you were talking to someone about me.” She moved the tray to one side and slid up onto the bed, careful not to bump into Kerry’s arm. She offered him a sip of tomato juice. “Were you speaking with that girl again? The one you mentioned the last time?”

He took three sips and waited about five seconds after swallowing before nodding slowly. “Yes, I was.”

 

Oh, that girl again?  The term “that girl” gets tossed around a lot here, and it’s a phrase I like to use when someone–usually Annie–is talking about someone who isn’t worthy of being mentioned by name.  At least Annie remembered what was said in Kerry’s dream–

Done with a little help from split-screen writing, mind you.

Done with a little help from split-screen writing, mind you.

But there’s another reason why this dream maven is called “that girl”, and it’s really quite simple:

 

The right corner of Annie’s mouth curled upward. “Who is she?”

“She’s . . .” He closed his eyes and opened them in a slow motion blink. “I don’t know.”

“Really?” Annie keep her face impassive while holding the fork with a speared strawberry only centimeters from his lips. “She’s a complete stranger? You haven’t met her before? She hasn’t told you her name?”

He took the strawberry and chewed it slowly, taking his time to answer. “No.”

“I see.” Annie smiled to show she wasn’t up. “Another dream mystery.”

“I don’t mean it to be that way.” He lay back, resting his head against the pillow. “It’s like I can see myself speaking with her, but everything is so . . .” He nodded his head from side-to-side. “Fuzzy.”

Should I tell him what I heard? Annie was unsure if mentioning what she’d heard would trigger his memory, but she quickly put that thought aside. This isn’t like the mental block he had with our dreams; déjà vu isn’t involved here. “It sounded as if she were bothering you.”

Kerry did his best to shrug. “She probably was.”

Annie’s expression changed quickly. “Why do you say that?”

“Because she’s just . . . annoying.” He ate another pineapple chunk offered and followed it with a sip of tomato juice. “It’s like she wants to bother me just to bother me. And I don’t know why.”

 

There’s a moment here where Annie is really pressing for information, and Kerry isn’t forthcoming.  It does seem as if Annie’s more concerned with a dream girl than the real one a few ward bays over, but that’s the way Annie becomes at times.  She’s curious about why he’s talking in his sleep, and she wants to know more–

And . . . maybe she’ll find out.  After I’m through with pampering.

Conversations in the Bay Redux

Writing happened again, but so did research, which is just a valuable a component to writing as, well, writing.  Now, I research a lot of different things, but as any of you know who follow this blog–and this ongoing novel–one of the things I love to look up is weather.  Because while this is a magical world in which my kids live, it’s also part of the real world, and sometime I’m a bit of a butt about keeping some events real.

So for the first chapter of Part Five I spent a good chunk of the evening–well, maybe forty minutes–looking up weather conditions for certain parts of Eastern Seaboard while keeping The Beach Boys’ Kokomo on repeat because that’s how I roll.  And what did I discover?

Someone's gonna be cold when they're camping out.

Someone’s gonna be cold when they’re camping out.

That’s the camp site that’ll be used in my Salem Overnight chapter.  And not only will it be cold, but it’s gonna be dark:  sunset at 3:51 PM but the chapter takes place at 8:00 PM.  Yozza.  Actually, most of the flight will take place at night, which is why there are experienced fliers leading the pack.  Hey, no one said you get to set up your tent in bright daylight, and do you know how fast it gets dark in Northern Canada?

But what about the writing, Cassidy?  Well, I did that as well.  I finished the scene and then did my research.  Really simple, yeah?  And here is the simple:  what happened in Bay #1 after my little cliffhanger yesterday.

 

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

Annie watched carefully from her bed, the covers pulled nearly to her neck. Kerry said nothing for almost a minute, and she thought that perhaps he had only spoken in his sleep. As she started to close her eyes he spoke again in the same, sleepy voice. “No, I don’t want to . . . Just go away; stop following me.” He slowly sighed as the air leaked from his lung, then shook his head quickly. “I don’t know you. Why do you keep asking?”

She pulled back the covers and sat up slowly. He’s not talking in his sleep—he’s dreaming. She swung her legs over the edge and eased her feet into her slipper. It’s the same thing that happened on the flight from Berlin . . .

Annie was standing next to his bed in three short steps. Like last year there was just enough light that she could make out his facial features, and she saw his cheeks and the corner of his mouth twitching while his eyes moved beneath his eyelids. What is he seeing? She touched his hand, wondering if he’d feel her hand against his. Who is he seeing?

Kerry’s breath hitched again: once, twice, then on the time he moaned—not softly, but in a normal voice. “No, I don’t want . . . I don’t want to see that. No—” He turned his head to the right, slightly wincing. “I know what that means—I know, I know . . .” His breath turned to a slight wheeze as he returned to mumbling. “Go away, please. Just go away—” Annie flinched as he screamed. “Go away.”

She couldn’t take any more. Annie squeezed his hand as she leaned close enough that she expected he could hear her whisper. “Kerry. Kerry, darling.” She lightly shook his shoulder. “Wake up. Wake up.”

Kerry’s eyes were open instantly. His vision shifted left and right before he settled on Annie. “Sweetie—” His voice was soft and still possessed a dreamy quality. “What time is class?”

She nearly snorted. I’m not certain he is fully awake— “You were dreaming, my love.”

“I was dreaming.”

“Yes, you were. You were speaking to someone.” She touched his cheek. “Are you all right?”

Kerry seemed to see through Annie. “Should I get up? I have practice in the morning.”

Annie couldn’t help but chuckle softly. “You’re grounded for the week, love.” She touched him on the tip of his nose. “Flying is what got you here.”

He stared vacantly for a few seconds then yawned slowly. “We can go flying this weekend.” His eyes fluttered as his speech grew more slurred. “I was dreaming . . .” Kerry’s eyes closed and a matter of seconds later his slow, measured breath indicated he’d fallen back into deep sleep.

Annie watched him sleep for almost a minutes before she was convinced he wasn’t waking up any time soon. She didn’t know what to make of what she’d just seen: the last time Kerry was disturbed by a dream in this bay, he’d awakened in a state of extreme distress and she’d soothed him back to normalcy.

But that was a far different situation. She gazed down upon his soft, relaxed features. Then he’d faced death for the first time, and the pain and medication began breaking down a barrier of his own makings that affected his subconscious memories and emotions

She kissed the fingers of her right hand and touched them to Kerry’s lips. “Spete dobre, moeto momche dzhindzhifil kosa.” She quickly leaned down and kissed them. “Obicham te mila moya.”

Annie returned to her own bed and was soon under the covers, snug and warm. As her consciousness began to ebb, she focused on her soul mate beside her. I wonder if he’s going to remember his dream this time . . .

Doesn’t get much more simple than that.  Kerry dreams, Annie wakes him up, he is out of it, and they both go back to sleep.  Not a very long scene, but it’s about the same length as the prior scene.  So I have a feeling that this chapter won’t end up being too wordy.

However, I did a little more research, and discovered that last night Act Two passed the novel tipping point:  just over forty thousand words were reached.  Need proof?

Not really, but I'm going to show you anyway.

Not really, but I’m going to show you anyway.

I’m just half way through the penultimate scene, and there’s maybe–hum?  Another ten thousand words to write?  Needless to say, Act Two is gonna be big.  And as I did further checking, Act One clocked in at eighty-one thousand, four hundred words, so this part is half as long as the first act.  And there are, let me see . . . yeah, three parts to go.  Big Act.

Don’t worry:  I think I can top it.

Salem Bay One Dreamin’

Well, now, it seems I’ve moved on from the last scene and into the next.  This chapter is moving by now, with almost eight hundred words down in the story bank, and only two scenes left before I move on to the final scene of Chapter Thirteen.

I should mention that I didn’t just write last night–I looked up something.  Something I can see using the Google Earth function.  Wanna see?   Sure you do–

What is all this stuff I'm looking at, Cassie?

What is all this stuff I’m looking at, Cassie?

About the middle of the picture, where the peak on the right and the one in the center meet with the slope on the left–that’s where Annie lives.  We can’t see her home and the lake and her lake house, because we are but mere Normal people, but it’s all there, trust me.  I see it, and now when Annie says she’s a mountain girl, you know what she means.

Right now she isn’t in the mountains.  No, she’s hanging out about thirty meters above sea level, and, conversely, she’s waking up in the middle of the night.  Yes, she spent the night in the hospital; yes, she’s in Bay #1; yes, she’s sleeping in the bed next to Kerry’s, because he’s far too busted up for her to share his bed.  And it gets her to thinking . . .

 

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

A smile grew as Annie thought back to earlier in the evening. Holoč and Vicky returned not long after Kerry woke to see how he felt and to congratulate him on his win. Erywin and Helena arrived just before the Madness began to do the same, and Wednesday, Isis, and Jessica popped in while the Madness was underway to offer well wishes.

Penny and Jairo arrived with Alex and Kahoku, and they sat with them for about an hour, with the girls sitting on the empty bed and the boys taking over the chairs. While they were having their Mini Madness Nadine and Malaya from the Mórrígan team arrived to check on Emma, and on their way back to the Dining Hall stopped and offered their congratulations to Penny, Alex, and Kerry for sweeping the podium. Neither girl bore the Cernunnos team any ill will: as Nadine said it was a well-fought match, and were it not for an unavoidable incident at the end, the result wouldn’t have been that much different.

This activity went on until about twenty-three hours, when Coraline stopped by to give Emma a final examination, then checked in on Kerry before getting him comfortable for the evening and adjusting his pain management before wishing them both a good night and leaving them in the darkened first floor ward.

 

It was a good time, even if Kerry was all busted up.  A huge difference from the year before when it was just Annie and no one else to mourn over his broken body.  Which leaves us late at night, with Annie laying under her covers and watching her Ginger Hair Boy.

Annie's not looking out scared; but try finding a picture of a girl lying in bed that isn't a bit . . . porny.

Annie’s not looking out from them scared, but try finding a picture on the Internet of a girl laying in bed that isn’t a bit . . . porny.

It’s all so peaceful, which means . . . something’s going to happen, right?

Right.

 

Kerry’s breath hitched as his head moved slightly as if he were looking for something.

Is he dreaming again? She nearly shook her head as she considered the irony. The incident the year before that had her rushing to Kerry’s aid was a nightmare brought on by his earlier escape from an Abomination. That moment, however, was the precursor to Kerry not only remembering Annie as “The Chestnut Girl” from their shared dreams, but it let them to relive part of one of their more memorable and tender dreams, and it allowed Kerry to finally open up and express his feeling for Annie.

He fell in love with me a second time— She shifted slightly as she watched him. I was upset later that he hadn’t remembered me from our dreams, but Deanna was right: how often does a girl have the same person fall in love with her twice?

She was about to roll over on to her back and go back to sleep when Kerry mumbled in a low, slurred voice. “Why do you keep bothering me? Why don’t you go away?”

 

Hey, don’t bother Kerry, you . . . dream, you.  And that last part there, that’s where I ended, because it was getting on towards ten-thirty and I didn’t want to keep writing into the night.  Plus, it’s recommended that you always ended a scene on a cliffhanger, because it lets the writer jump back into what’s happening that much quicker.

Which means I’ll get back into this pretty quick tonight, right?

Laying in the Bed in the Bay: A Questionable Tally

Without a doubt a lot of writing got done.  I finished my first recap for Fear the Walking Dead, and that was about fifteen hundred words total, and then I got into the next scene of the novel, the start of the new new Chapter Fourteen, and I plopped down about five hundred and forty words there.  This was after a long day of getting electrolysis from eight until ten AM, and then going into work from eleven to four.  Puffy face and all, I finished up like I said because, as Tina Fey and Amy Poehler once pointed out, bitches get shit done.

The last scene ended with Kerry blacking out.  Which means this scene is gonna start with . . .

 

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

Kerry returned slowly to conciseness and began to assess his situation. He was on his back, which meant a bed, which meant he was in the hospital. His head hurt and felt bandaged, and while his vision was blurry, he deduced it was from not wearing his glasses instead of having brain damage. His arms were slightly elevated and in casts. His chest was tight and sore. Below the waist he felt numb, like everything was asleep: he couldn’t move his left toes, but he could barely make out his right moving. He did notice his left knee was elevated under the cover, which meant his knee was being repaired.

He was messed up—Day of the Dead level messed up. He took a slight breath and felt the fire spread around his ribs. Kerry closed his eyes and moaned.

Annie looked from where she sat half dozing the moment she heard Kerry. She turned slightly to her left, toward the ward corridor. “He’s awake.” She laid her hand across Kerry’s left and gave it a slight squeeze. “Don’t move, my love. Remain still.”

He managed a tiny smile and shifted his eyes in her direction rather than turning his head. “Did I win?”

A hearty laugh erupted from Nurse Coraline, who’d just walked into the bay. “Spoken like a true racer.”

 

Now, a bit of racing lore.  Way back in 1992 there was an all-star stock car race with a top prize of two hundred thousand dollars, which was big money back then.  You had all the best drivers from NASCAR out on the track tearing things up, and on the last lap Kyle Petty spun out and wrecked the leader of the race, Dale Earnhardt, to move into first.  However, the line he’d taken meant he wasn’t going as fast as possible, and this allowed Davey Allison to take a better, faster line and beat Kyle to the finish line–where he was promptly spun out to crash, driver-side, into the outside wall at about 140 mph/225 kph.  He was knocked unconscious, and once he was cut out of the car–because the driver’s side was messed up so bad they couldn’t pull him out–he was put in a helicopter and airlifted to the nearest hospital.

On the way there he woke up and his first words were, “Did I win?”  Because of course you wanna know if you won right after you cheat death.  At least that time . . .

Now you kinda know where I got part of the inspiration for the race and accident, though his accident was more of a super speedway type flip down the front stretch.  This is where Kerry’s first words come from, words that get a reaction from Annie–

 

Annie rolled her eyes, but the smile on her face indicated she wasn’t angry. She scooted her chair closer to the head of Kerry’s bed. “Yes, you won. You were the first across the finish line—”

“Though not the first across on their broom.” Coraline waved the privacy curtain closed and stood on the right side of Kerry’s bed, across from Annie. “Alex was awarded that privilege.”

He started to nod and winced. “Ouch.”

“That thing you just did?” Coraline wagged a finger in his direction. “Don’t do it again.”

“Yes, Doctor.” He sighed slowly. “What’s the damage?”

“A lot more than the last time you were hurt like this.” She’d glance at the areas of his body as she ticked off his injuries. “You’ve a serious concussion, far worse than the one you had the last time you crashed like this. The good news is your skull is intact: the bad news is the damage is harsh enough that I’m not clearing you for flight until Wednesday afternoon at the earliest.

“If you hadn’t guessed already, both arms are broken, as is your right wrist. You also broke your collarbone and your right shoulder, and they are likely gonna hurt for a few days after you’re released. You broke seven ribs, and this time there was some internal damage, too: bruising to your liver and spleen.

“Your left leg is broken, and you tore up your left knee again—”

Kerry almost nodded. “I felt it go when I did that move in the Diamond Chicane.”

“You hit the ground?”

“Yeah, just for a second.”

Coraline nodded. “Given your speed, I’m not surprised. Anyway, leg and knee are being repaired. The right leg is good, but your hip is broken. Have you noticed everything from the waist down feels numb?”

This time Kerry nodded and immediately regretted the action. “Yeah.”

“I figured it was better for pain management that way. There was a level I didn’t want to take you over the limit on medication and pain enchantments, so I just numbed you up ‘cause that hip is a bitch to heal.”

 

Yes, those hips are a bitch to heal, Kerry–maybe you should take it easy in the future?  That’s also one of the first times Kerry’s called Coraline “Doctor”, which is really what she is even if she still likes to be addressed as Nurse.  But Kerry’s in bad shape.  At least magic will heal him up.  And Annie’s there, too, not looking quite as distressed this time.  Maybe she brought Kerry a present–

A teddy bear would be great, don't you think?

A teddy bear would be great, don’t you think?  Something he could keep on his bed.

Tonight I get into more details, because this is just the cream on top of the latte.  The real question is, how did everything else turn out?

Easing Into the Additions

Since last time we met there wasn’t a lot of writing going down–unless you count all the note taking I was making for my recap of the pilot of Fear the Walking Dead, which comes out later tonight my time.  No, after writing seventeen hundred words for the novel, and another fifteen hundred words (for notes, mind you) for my recap, I was all storied out.

What I did was look at the novel and think about structure change, because I’m nuts like that.  I see something and I usually want to leave it alone, but just as I did with A For Advanced, I tinkered with it a bit after I had a much better idea of where the novel was going.  So you do reach a point where you can look at layout and structure and think, “Now, this would look much better as a stand-alone . . . something.”

That’s what I did with Chapter Thirteen.  I gave it a look, realized that the first three scenes fit together, and then looked at the last few scenes and realized they really were a completely different beast altogether.  So I did this:

I tinkered, 'cause that's what I do.

I tinkered, ’cause that’s what I do.

The last three scenes of Chapter Thirteen became Chapter Fourteen, meaning Thirteen ended with Kerry flying through the air with the greatest of ease–but unlike Annie, who doesn’t need a broom to fly, his landing wasn’t so great.  That’s where I make a break and put in the new Chapter Fourteen, because it’ll open up with someone we know waking up in Bed #2, Bay #1–I don’t believe I’m giving away too much of a spoiler.  That was where I put the last three scenes of the old chapter–

But now there are four scenes, so what gives, Cassie?  Check the time line in the image and look at the title, and remember what Mea Culpa means, and you may figure out what’s going on.  Let’s just say that scene is needed, and it’ll help draw to a close something that’s going on.  Sort of.  Because nothing ever ends here at Salem.

But this wasn’t the only changing I made.  I went in here, too:

Here being a chapter I talk about but haven't worked upon.

Here being a chapter I talk about but haven’t worked upon.

The now Chapter Sixteen is the still the first chapter of Part Give, and it’s also the Salem Overnight chapter which, up until last night, possessed one scene and nothing more.  No more, I say.  I added three more scenes and finalized a map that goes with this chapters–map, you say?  Yep.  I love maps.  There’s a lot of mapping going on in this chapter, and that’s one of the reasons I have a scene called Planing on PEI, because I always know where my students are.  What’s PEI?  Look it up, you’ll find it rather easily.

With all this work finished I went back and renumbered all the chapters and the chapter title pages, and called it a night.  Because my writing for the day was through.  I’ve said it before:  not all writing is writing.  Sometimes it’s research, sometimes it’s creating characters, and sometimes it’s plotting out your novel by getting your chapters in line with what you’re thinking.

And right now I have a far clearer view of where I’m going.

Skyline Racing

Hey!  I’ll be you thought I wasn’t posting today.  Well . . . I’ve been busy.  Doing what, you say?  A whole lot.

First off, there’s yesterday, and where I went after I posted.  I went here:

Pretty, isn't it?

Pretty, isn’t it?

That was taken from one of the overlooks on Skyline Drive, the main–and just about only–road through Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.  After posting I drove home, changed, and headed down I-81 to the park, which is a little over two hours from Harrisburg.  The trip there goes through one of only two places in the United States where you can travel through four states in under forty miles, and, if you’re speeding like mad, you can do it in under thirty minutes on I-81.

I figured it out, just in case you wanted to see.

I figured it out, just in case you wanted to see.

The only other place you can do this?  Here, at Four Corners, where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah come together.

All you need to do here is drive around the parking lot.

All you need to do here is drive around the parking lot.

It was a time to relax and decompress, and actually drive around with the windows open, because the sun was shining and the air was considerably cooler a quarter of a mile, or four hundred meters, higher than the surrounding territory.

It was a good time:

It was bright and shinny.

Extremely bright and shiny–and you can see the windows down on my car behind me.

And I had a great meal to top off most of the day.

Nothing like an old lodge 3600 feet above sea level to set the mood.

Nothing like an old lodge 3600 feet above sea level to set the mood.

I managed one panorama scene.

Which aren't easy to take, let me tell you.

Which aren’t easy to take, let me tell you.

And managed to get a full-body picture of myself at the same location.

Most of the time you never get to see my girly curves.

Most of the time you never get to see my girly curves.

But that was yesterday–why so late today?

Well, because writing.  Because just over seventeen hundred words today.  Because . . . I passed one hundred and twenty thousand words.

Not lying at all.

Not lying at all.

This is about the fastest I’ve burned through ten thousand words in a long time–twelve days–and I didn’t want to stop until I finished this scene.  Because . . . I looked at my layout on the left side and thought, hey, I could split that into another chapter.  Because looking at what’s come, and what’s coming, it does make sense to put it off on its own.

And this last scene is a strange one, because I think it’s the first one I’ve written in about a half a million worlds that has no dialog.  In fact, I think I know–without looking–which scene I wrote that was nothing but descriptions, and that scene would have been written right around 24 July, 2013, because I wrote it during Camp NaNo 2013.  Like I said, about a half a million world later–that’s a lot of writing with someone talking somewhere.

The scene is racing, all kinds of racing.  First, though, let’s look at the teams:

 

Mórrígan A Team
Malaya Lacsina — F Philippines
Nadine Woodley — D United States Captain
Argus Pelham — D Tasmania
Nattat Adriano — C Angola
Emmalynne Neilson — B United States

Cernunnos A Team
Manco Mamani D Peru Captain
Darius Roy D Canada
Penelope Rigman C England
Alexandria Chorney C Ukraine
Kerry Malibey B Wales

 

And because there’s a lot of things happening in the scene, let me set it before showing you the last part.

Everyone’s racing in a ten-person pack.  The race runs between fifty and sixty minutes, and it’s mentally exhausting.  Also, there’s this:

 

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

It was on the forth lap, as they were coming out of Sunrise and heading into the Esses, that Kerry—who was running just on the outside of the main pack—made a move towards the front. He was good in the Esses and used that to his advantage, and he knew if he was lucky he could find himself up near the front as they soared over Polar Jump and dove into Polar Turn. He was up to fifth and moving into forth when Emma flew two-thirds of the way across the course to throw a wicked block on him. He cut slightly to his left and she nearly flew back into him before he went up and back to seventh.

Kerry was given all the hint he needed: if he wanted to get up to the front, he was going to have to push his way past Emma, and one of them was liable to get physically hurt in the process.

 

It’s clear:  Emma will jack his soul mate loving ass if he tries to pass her.  And that leads to the last lap, and if you follow most racing, it’s where a lot of drivers get their stupid on full-time.  These kids aren’t any different . . .

 

It was a mad dash from there to Reservoir, and what Kerry suspected was going to happen on this last straight began. Everyone prepared themselves for the last dash to the end, and he did the same. All that was left was to launch through the last two elevation gates and . . .

Manco, Emma, and Argus were first off, with Alex and Nattat right behind them. Darius kicked at Malaya, which was enough for Penny to get around them on the right, Nadine above, and Kerry skirting the lower left. He caught Malaya’s draft and closed on her as their speeds approached three hundred twenty-five kph, and at the last moment he cut to the right, going up between her and Darius. The Cernunnos boy looked ready to kick Kerry as well, but he was by him before he could fully react. Two seconds later Nadine was by him and hanging on Kerry’s processor, riding his draft while using her air bubble to push his forward.

The problem was there wasn’t a forward. The pack completely the south end of the bend and was now moving northeast, and there was nothing but a mass of fliers blocking his path. In a few seconds everyone was going to hit their air brakes going through the Diamond Chicane, and he knew a crash of some kind was coming. The lead was bunching up, not spreading out, and it looked like—

They hit the left hand turn of the chicane, and things went sideways fast. Fliers bounced off each other; Argus nearly turned sideways against traffic and Penny nearly dumped her broom to keep from running him down. Alex slid into Manco and pushed him aside as she tried to straighten out. Emma spun her broom around as she took the right hand section of Diamond and smacked Nattat with her processor, making the girl’s helmeted head jerk as the safety enchantments flared around them.

Everyone was piling up in front of Kerry, and he was about to be run down from behind. There was only one place to go—

He leaned over the length of his broom and dropped to the bottom of the course. Everyone always flew high enough that there was usually a meter or two of open space under the racers, but with everything in flux that space had grown smaller. It was difficult getting through: it was even more difficult doing it at speed, while braking and turning, and the odds of making it through unscathed were slim.

He didn’t beat the odds. As he pulled his broom through the left-hand turn of the chicane, he heard the crackle of the safety enchantment at the same time he felt his knee let go: he’d gotten too low and scrapped the ground at better than a hundred and twenty-five kilometers an hour. Vicky’s warning instantly filed his thoughts: The safety enchantments don’t prevent you from getting hurt—they prevent you from getting extremely hurt or even killed. He bit his lip to keep from yelling and fought to bring his broom around through the right hand portion of Diamond, then pushed it hard forward.

Kerry launched himself towards the finish, willing every gram of acceleration he could muster.

He pulled to the left of the course and dropped his HUD so his line-of-sight was clear. He didn’t know how fast he was going, he didn’t know who was to his side or behind him—his concentration was on the course ahead of him. Emma and Alex were bumping into each other, fighting the whole way to the finish line, and that not only kept their speed down, but kept their interest off him. He headed straight at the finish line, hoping against all hope that nothing—

Emma glanced in her mirror before throwing her broom into a ferocious left side-slip bringing her all the way across the course.

Kerry pulled hard on the control frame. The broom began to slide around: the processor slammed into Emma’s shoulder and spun her off her broom and into the ground, while Kerry found himself flying forward without a broom under him.

He didn’t even have time to wonder if this throw would hurt as much as the last one before before he hit and blacked out . . .

 

Kerry worried someone was going to crash and burn–did he think it’d be him?  The damnedest things happen when you piss off your wingmate.

What happens next?  Well . . . I know what Kerry’s first three words will be if that helps.