The Final Days and Nights: The After Cs

An interesting thing has started popping up the last couple of days.  I haven’t been napping during the day when I return from work, but since I’m going to bed at the normal time, I’m sleeping well through the night.  Strangely enough, I’m not feeling that tired while writing, either, and that was evident last night when when I stayed at the computer from about seven forty-five until eleven-ten, when The Americans was wrapping up and going to black, finishing the first scene of Chapter Thirty-four.

And finished it is.

Right here, right now, all that and more.

Right here, right now, all that and more.

I cranked through almost eleven hundred words in that time, and that’s the most I’ve written in a while at night, without being fueled by coffee.  Needless to say, I’m kinda proud of myself.  Maybe I’m shaking off whatever funk I’ve been under of late, or maybe it’s the fact that I’m within sight of the end of this novel and I want it to end on a good, high note.  Though you know it’s gonna be sad, you still want it to be good.

So, this thing the C Levels have worked up for Annie and Kerry–what is it?  That’s a good question.  And I have an answer.  But first, more history, you might say–

 

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

“And what exactly was that?” After hearing the unflattering portrayal of the current D Level boys, Annie felt a wave of satisfaction that she hadn’t tried out for the coven race team.

Alex chose to speak. “When we realized that we were going to be the C Levels this year, it left us a bit worried—mostly because we knew you two were going to be the B Levels. That had us just as little—worried.”

Kerry scrunched up his brow as he looked at Alex. “Why would you be worried?”

She turned to him. “You really don’t know what others have said about you.” Alex turned to Annie. “Either of you.”

Annie shook her head. “We never heard anything when we were A Levels: we were in The Fishbowl, and our reputation wasn’t something we discussed with anyone in Advanced Spells.” She wasn’t telling the complete truth—they were aware that among their own level there was some talk about them surrounding their entry into Advanced Spells as well as their first group test in Basic Self Defense and Weapons. And they not only knew about being the Lovey Dovey Couple, but did little to stop that gossip—

 

Way back in the A Level book, about the time Annie hugged Kerry while they were both covered in zombie entrails, she thought about Helena’s words concerning having a reputation, and begun reasoning that the looks of shock on the faces of some of her fellow A Levels was a good thing.  They knew about their whole Lovey Dovey Couple rep because there were times when it made them cringe, but beyond that they never much heard of what the school, or their own coven for that matter, thought of them.

The main reason for them not hearing anything is, naturally, they don’t care.  Talk all the shit you want behind our backs, we’re not listening.  And since Annie kicked that one dude’s ass during a judgement, it’s likely they won’t talk shit to their faces, either.

So what did their coven and school think?

 

It was Jario’s turn to enlighten them. “In this coven, you guys were—” He almost seemed as if he didn’t want to say the word. “Scary. We knew you were in Advanced Spells, which was something no A Level had done. The word was that you were crafting spells that were a level or two higher, and that you were doing things right away in flight that most everyone else needed time to learn. Also, we heard you were both pretty good racers—”

“That last had Darius worried.” Penny chuckled. “We even heard him say he thought one of you was going to join the team and kick him out.”

While Kerry laughed Annie felt the need to retort one of Jario’s last statement. “I never actually raced, though. Yes, we had speed trials last year, but I didn’t compete against anyone.” She stared across the table. “That was that one time with Kerry and Emma—”

“Nadine worked your time trials, though, and she was one of the minions when Kerry had his accident.” Penny knew there wasn’t any need to elaborate on that particular A Level incident. “She told me you could easily average two-fifty on the Green Line, and that you hit over three hundred klicks an hour on West End.” She lowered her voice slightly as if divulging a secret. “She also said when you were looking for Kerry that, um, time he was racing, the flight data on your broom said you topped three-fifty as you cut across the grounds—”

“That’s fast.” Alex held up her beverage glass. “That’s racing speed.”

Jario jumped in before Annie—who was trying not to look impressed by what she was hearing—could say anything. “Also, Kerry flew patrol during Day of the Dead, and you worked triage: neither of those were shabby.”

Penny nodded once. “Like we said, people knew about you two, and here we were, thinking about how we were gonna have you sharing the floor with us. It was fairly intimidating, but at the same time—we thought we could do something with this.

“We hated how we were treated when we came up from the first floor, and that treatment caused one of us to leave. Given the rumors that you guys had pretty had top proficiencies in every class—” Once more Annie and Kerry exchanged incredulous glances, surprised by what they were hearing. “—there was little chance you were going to leave, but you could end up hate being with the upper levels.”

“And we didn’t want you hating us.” Jario leaned his forearms against the table. “We didn’t know if you were going to become friend, but we sure didn’t want you to be enemies.”

 

Annie and Kerry were Scary.  Hey, that kinda rhymes!  And this is the first time we’ve learned about Speed Demon Annie on a broom:  now we know how she can zoom along at three hundred kilometers an hour and not blink an eye.  And they were out there, as A Levels, getting their hands dirty.  But it’s the classes and other sorts of bad assery that got them noticed.  You have to love that Darius was afraid he was gonna get bounced from the team to make room for these two, and that’s probably something he should keep in mind for next racing season as well:

 

“Well—” Annie brushed a strand of hair from her face. “I’m happy how things turned out.”

“So am I.” Kerry looked at Kahoku and smiled. “It’s good we got to know you.”

“Yes, over Starbucks.” Annie actually giggled. “That first time Alex invited us in, that was really when we knew we’d be friends.”

Penny reached over and patted Annie’s hand. “I think I hoped for it that first time Alex and me met you guys in Berlin, but that day in Starbucks: that was—” She looked down for a moment as she looked down. “Magical.” They all laughed at the in-joke, and as soon as they grew quiet Penny got to the core of what she’d wanted to say. “You guys are gonna be the C Levels next year, and all the A Levels are coming up—”

“Yeah, I heard that.” Both Annie and he were told by Professor Semplen earlier that day that they’d lost only one student this school year, and theirs was the only coven that had all their A Levels moving up to the next level. “We’re gonna have a full floor.”

“You’re gonna have five kids from five different countries from four different continents, and all of them from Normal backgrounds.” Alex shook her head. “They’re gonna feel what it’s like to be outside the fishbowl for the first time, and—”

Penny smirked. “And they’re gonna have you guys to show them what it’s like to hang with the big kids. There are good things, though: we heard that Torres is coming alone with transformation magic, and Juanico and Piuugattuk are supposed to be pretty good sorceresses—”

“No supposing: they are.” Annie knew this from her times as one of Helena’s A Level minions. “They have considerable talent.”

“Same with Torres.” Kerry sat back and stuffed his hands into his jacket pockets. “She’s a little more advanced than the others in the class.”

Alex turned to Kerry. “Yazdi and Couture are supposed to be good fliers, too. Professor Semplen is already talking about getting them to try out for the B Team.” She nodded towards him. “Maybe you can help out there.”

“Anyway . . .” Penny moved forward in her chair so she could glance at both her friends. “Make them feel welcome; help them become part of the coven; be their friends. And when you come to the end of the next level—” A bright smile slowly spread across her face. “Make sure you make this message the most important you teach them.”

 

Everyone likes to make the “magical” joke.  I wonder if Isis has a unicorn the kids can get pictures with, instead of one of those squid-things hiding in the outer walls so they can feel extra magical.  And post the pictures on Facebook, where everyone will argue about it being a photoshop job.  Because.

There you have it:  five A Levels coming up next school year, and two kids to show them how to fit in and make them feel welcome.  And if anyone could do that, they can, because, in a way, Annie and Kerry are the best examples of their coven.  It’s going to be an interesting C Level.

It’s also time to start saying goodbye to the school.  And in the next scene, that’s exactly what happens . . .

Welcome to the Underworld

After noon came and went yesterday I had to head and do a few things, and came down with a serve case of motion sickness.  This has happened to me a few times in the past couple of weeks, and it’s been a real pain in the butt.  Yesterday was particularly bad, but I think part of it started of with me having a bad case of the caffeine shakes when I left the shop.  Since I’ve stopped drinking coffee at work, I believe two cups is quickly becoming my limit for coffee ingestion.  Can’t have that these days.

I ended up taking a long nap in a cool room, and felt better, but I really didn’t have much in the way of writing chops in me at that point, not to mention that last night was recap night, and I needed to save my fingers for the sixteen hundred words I was gonna type in an hour–for reals.  But there are other creative endeavors one can get up to as well, one of which–as I mentioned in the comments in yesterday’s post–is that I’m going to work on my “movie trailer” for this novel, much like I worked on one for A For Advanced, and . . . I’m doing one for the C Level novel.  Yes, I’m gonna tease the hell out of that book, and let me just say, there is gonna be some stuff in it.

 

But the biggest thing I did last night was finish the lower levels of Cernunnos Coven, and I now know what they look like.  So let me show that off–

A common bit of information, first.  Both of these levels are 3.2 meters high, or 10.5 feet.  It’s high for a reason:  that the height of the walls beyond the coven towers, and it keeps the students from feeling claustrophobia when they’re below ground.  Claustrophobic witches are panicky witches, and you don’t want that.

So, lower level first:

Here it is in all its underground glory.

Here it is in all its underground glory.

Just so you have your orientation, the path going off to the left is lower level wall passage to Åsgårdsreia Coven, and the one at the top leads to Ceridwen Coven.  That means the big fireplace on the level above is directly along the right-hand wall.  As you can see, the lower levels is full of storage areas, and several of the rooms here are used for things like informal gatherings and meetings:  it’s down in the lower levels of Mórrígan Coven that Erywin holds her LGBTAIQ support meetings.

The most important section of this level, however, is in the central-left section of the tower, near the east exit:

It looks much better this way.

It looks much better this way.

In the slightly-top-of-center of the photo are the stairs going up to the ground floor and down to the sublevels.  Below that is the kitchen where students can go and make their own food if they so like.  Pantry, refrigerator/freeze, oven, stove, sink, dishwasher:  it’s all there.  Of course the stuff is all magical, and there’s an area where your plates of finished delicacies are jaunted to whatever floor you so choose, much like it’s done in the Dinning Hall.  It’s either that or having students walk up several flights of stairs with food and drink, and that’s never a good thing.

And there on the left, with the black table and gray sofa, is a certain private lab that a couple of kids I know have.  No one’s there right now, however:  they must be off snogging in another part of the school.

Last but not least is the sublevel:

Diggin' deeper into the dirt.

Diggin’ deeper into the dirt.

This area is pretty bare, and doesn’t have nearly as many rooms at the level above.  That’s because the center of the level is taken up by the coven “storm cellar”, the fortified section of the coven where students go when there’s a Level Three Security Protocol instituted, much as Isis did when the outer defense screens of the school were breached during the Day of the Dead attacks.  When that goes into place everyone heads down the stairs and right across the hall to the double doors leading to the room, and the joint is sealed and locked.  And in the instance there’s a Level Four Security Protocol set into place, they have a way of getting out of this room and proceeding to a large room below the Great Hall where they are just one step ahead of evacuating the school for safer parts unknown.  Which hasn’t ever happened, but it’s there just in case.

There you have it:  all the stuff below ground that you now know and see.  As some wit once said, from here, the only place to go is up . . .

The Commotion in the Coven

Yesterday, President’s Day 2015, was a lot of wasted opportunities, mostly due to weather and a lot of stuff being closed.  I was supposed to see my doctor yesterday but half way to her office I was called and told to reschedule.  This did get me off the roads by three in the afternoon, but it left me tired and sort of worn out for that same amount of time as well.

Now I did managed to get out my last video recap for The Walking Dead that I work on with my Friend From Down Under, and I started writing this scene, but . . . there was also napping and procrastinating.  I really couldn’t get my mind a going, and it was far better vegging out watching Better Call Saul than trying to stroke the creative juices into something resembling a story.

"This is so much better a time than sitting on my butt writing."

“This is so much better a time than sitting on my butt writing.”

But write I eventually did, and as with all my chapter and scene starts it became slow going.  In fact, if my brain hadn’t started shutting down about nine PM–or twenty-one hours if you attend my school and/or use universal time–I may have actually finished it.  It’s not going to be a long scene:  it may become the shortest scene I’ve ever written because there’s isn’t a lot that needed to happen here.  If I may, then, here’s what starts another long day in the lives of my two kids.

 

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

Annie awoke to Kerry’s screaming.

She heard the first one with her eyes closed; with the second scream her eyes snapped open and stared at her darkened ceiling. A second after his third scream she threw back the cover and dashed for her dorm door.

She darted out into the light-blue lit hallway between the B Level girl’s rooms and the girl’s bathroom wearing only her cream color heavy cotton pajama. There wasn’t any time to put on her slippers and robe: something was wrong with Kerry, and she had to know what was wrong. Annie had never ran through the coven, not even during the day, and never barefoot, but she didn’t feel the cool stone floor under her feet. She reached the far end of the tower and almost bounced off the wall as she took the left-hand turn and ran past the girl’s bathroom exit. Annie did the same thing as she nearly hit the outer wall of the corridor a few meters from the boy’s bathroom exit.

Annie fought the urge to launch into a straight flight from the corner to Kerry’s door as there was nothing to gain and damage to gain if she misjudged an angle and hit a wall at high speed. And now wasn’t the time to get injured because Kerry’s screams were ringing in her ears and she had to get to him, to stop him, to comfort him—

Kerry.” She slid to a stop before his door. “Kerry.” She pounded both fists against his door. “Kerry, wake up. Wake up, please.” She considered blasting the door open with an air hammer, but she knew that would likely hurt him and her more than it would help.  “My love, wake up—”

“Annie?” Penny stood at the end of the corridor next to the bathroom entrances. Behind her stood Alex and Jairo, both appearing perplexed. “What’s wrong?”

Annie ignored Penny and looked to the only other boy on the floor. “Jairo, could you go in and get Kerry? Could you—?”

The door to Kerry’s room opened and he half-stepped into the hall. “Annie?”

She needed a moment to take in his appearance, for she’d never seen him looking this disheveled. His arms hung limp at his side and his shoulders were slightly hunched over. His mouth hung open matching his slack, unmoving face. What shocked Annie the most were his eyes: there weren’t so much unfocused as they were uncomprehending. He doesn’t even realized I’m here. “Kerry?” She took him by the arm and eased him into the corridor. “What’s wrong?”

 

Freak out in Cernunnos Coven tower is always the best time to start the day, which we’ll learn happened a little after midnight on 26 March, putting this the Tuesday after Ostara.

I know because time lines, yo.

I know because time lines, yo.

When I say this all takes place in the course of one day, I mean it.  This first event happens at 00:20 on the 26th, and the very last event will happen right before midnight on the same day.  This hasn’t happened since The Big Time, aka The Day of the Dead attacks, went down, and it’s actually a lot of things to fit into one day–although you’ll discover that most of what happens really takes place in a few moments during that day.

This is the first time I’ve allowed anyone to peek into this part of the story, and as I’ve said, I’ve kinda dreaded writing this, but write it I will.  Because as I stated four years ago on this blog, there are going to be times when you’re afraid to write something because you don’t know how it’s going to be received, or how it’s going to affect your story, or even how it’s going to make you feel, but screw it, the writer–that would be me–has to jump right in and get that story down, even if it’s scaring and/or embarrassing the shit out of them the whole time.

It’s going to be an interesting next few weeks, let me tell you.

Significant Significances

Far better mood I have this morning, thank you.  Yesterday was all about getting stressed out at work, then getting away, getting something to eat, coming home and trying not to lost my emotions.  Okay, didn’t quite make that last one, but everything else happened, and with gusto, as the old beer ads used to say.

It’s life.  Move on.

Things are downright cozy back at the coven tower, though it’s not quite as alone here as it was in the last scene . . .

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

For most of the night they sat before the fire, talking, listening to whatever played on Kerry’s computer, and watching students return to the coven. About twenty-one the last of the coven’s students arrived—D Level Darius Roy and A Level Nancy Piugattuk from Canada, and A Levels Huwey Juanico from the island of Guadeloupe and Menan Torres from Paraguay. Darius waved to his fellow racers as he headed for the stairs—the first time Annie could remember him doing anything that looked outwardly friendly—while the three A Levels sat off to one side of the ground floor for about fifteen minutes chatting. Before heading to their floor they came over to introduce themselves, hoping they weren’t “breaking the fishbowl” by speaking to upper levelmates. Everyone welcomed their warmly, and Kerry told them that this time late year Annie and he were living on their floor, and that while he couldn’t speak for all the students in the coven, those on the second floor were “pretty cool”.

Annie couldn’t keep the smile off here face, even after the A Levels went to their rooms. As much contact as they’d had with upper levelmates during the last year, they’d yet to have contact with the A Levels in their own coven, and she liked how Kerry made them feel welcome. A year ago at this time her moyata polovinka was a quiet bundle of nerves and unhappiness: now he was comfortable with both school, friend, and most of all, his soul mate. She also, in that moment, realized they would be the ones welcoming the new B Levels to the second floor . . .

Since this is the first time we’ve really seen the new students at Cernunnos, and like a lot of other towers the students are from all over the place.  Kerry and Annie, as pointed out, had little access to the upper levels of their own towers:  all of the older students they met came from the other four.  Here now, however, The Party of Five–well, Six for the moment–are taking time to say hi and make the new kid feel welcome.  This is something that’ll get touched on much later in the novel, but for now, it looks as if all the young witches have come home to roost.

Some, however, need to visit other parts of the school first–

As the time neared twenty-two Alex and Kahoku left; he was tired and want to get to sleep, and she wanted to bid him a good night. In the aftermath of their departure the remaining couples grew quiet as they listened to music. Penny and Jairo moved to the floor in front of the fireplace and cuddled, while Kerry lay back against the sofa arm while Annie lay back against him. There wasn’t a need for conversation: both couples wanted to reacquaint themselves with each other. Annie paid no attention to what her floor mates were doing: it was a habit she’d immediately picked up once they began attending the Midnight Madness. It was an unspoken rule that as long as you didn’t stare at others, they wouldn’t stare back.

And Annie was well aware Kerry and she did enough to warrant stares from others.

Alex returned a half-hour after leaving. Penny turned around to greet her, with Jairo taking his time moving around. “You give Kaho some good night snuggles?”

“I gave him more than snuggles.” Alex slid over the arm of the love seat where her levelmates had sat most of the evening. “I so missed him.”

“I know that feeling.” Annie pulled Kerry’s arms around her before adjusting the covers over her legs.

“I checked the status board in the Atrium on the way back—” Alex swung one leg over the love seat arm. “Only about half the instructors and staff are here.” She intertwined her fingers and cracked her knuckled. “Only three of the coven leaders, too.”

Kerry rested his chin against Annie’s shoulder. “Which ones?”

“Arrakis, Salden, and Palmescoff.” Alex snorted. “I met Palmescoff on the way over to Blodeuwedd; she was on her way to the Instructor’s Residence.”

“What was she doing?” Jairo snorted before asking the followup. “Checking on her students?”

“Probably. Don’t know. I didn’t go inside.” The blond Ukrainian girl wiggled her eyebrows. “We didn’t go right to his tower, if you know what I mean.”

Penny chuckled. “No need to elaborate.” She stood and helped Jairo to his feet. “And speaking of good nights, we’re heading up to the second for a few of our own.”

“Sounds like a good idea.” Alex was on her feet before she turned to the couple on the sofa. “You guys coming?”

“We’re going to stay up a bit longer.” Annie turned slightly so she rested on her side against Kerry. “We still have catching up to do.”

Yes, Annie and Kerry have “catching up to do”.  I guess that’s what kids there are gonna call it, right?  But we do get to see that the Lovey Dovey couple aren’t the only ones who do the snogging thing.  And Alex didn’t take her boyfriend right home?  Whatever could she mean?

So lets sorta bring the lights down a little on this party . . .

Penny was about to say something when Alex tapped her arm. “Come on; let the lyubyty ptakhiv have their privacy.”

“Yeah.” Penny gave them a wave. “See you guys in the morning.”

Jairo nodded. “See you later.”

Kerry gave them a short wave. “Mañana, guys.”

Annie did the same. “Have a good night.”

Alex was the last to leave. “Don’t stay up too late.” She chuckled as she bounded up the stairs after her friends.

It wasn’t until their friends were out of sight that Annie stretched out and relaxed. “Alone at last.”

“And I think completely this time.” He slid down slightly so he could rest his head. “We got the whole commons to ourselves.”

“Which mean we should make good use of the space—” Annie rolled around and gave Kerry a short kiss. “I missed you so much, my love.”

First comes the missing, then come the kissing, and then comes the . . . magic?

First comes the missing, then come the kissing, and then comes the . . . magic?

The scene isn’t quite over, and it’ll lead directly into two scenes that comes pretty much back-to-back to each other.  But I have to end this on off first, and that may happen tonight, as there is a bunch of stuff I should do tonight, but that I may put off until tomorrow–

We’ll see–won’t we, Scarlett?

Flying With the Pack

Never let it be said that I didn’t know how to deal with a lack of sleep.  That’s easy:  you take a nap when you get home from a long, boring day at work.  The downside of that action:  I didn’t head off to bed until after midnight, and there wasn’t a lot of writing for various reasons, number one of which was still feeling tired as hell.  Yes, the next time so asshole decides to burn a meal at two-thirty in the morning, I think I’ll head down to his place and help him finish cooking, Carol Peletier-style.

Needless to say, I’m kinda running on empty this morning with a whole lot of nothing ahead of me today.  I’m considering taking off for a long drive just to get the hell out of the apartment so I’m not sitting around napping between bouts of struggling to remain awake.  Hey, I could be in the mountains in a couple of hours if I get on the road by nine . . .

Assuming I can finish this post writing like this.

Assuming I can finish this post writing like this.

Now, time wouldn’t matter if I had a Class 1 PAV, because I could zip off to Colorado in about five hours if I were of a mind.  But I don’t have one, otherwise this witch would be flyin’ the hell out of here.  All I have is a car, unfortunately, so I have to make do with that.  Kerry, on the other hand, not only has a PAV, but he has access to a number of them.  Today’s scene, however, has him going back to basics, so to speak, as he gets to race on the good ‘ol reliable brooms like the one he keeps in his room or in Hammerspace.  And in today’s scene he’s racing–

 

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

The Black Saturday races were know as the Fifteen on the Green: fifteen laps on the Green Line using Class 1 PAVs. The Class 1s were what everyone learned to fly during their A Levels, and while they were the broom of choice of the B Teams, once a student reached the A Team those were usually cast aside in favor of the Class 2s and 3s. While American Thanksgiving wasn’t celebrated at the school, Black Weekend—as the period was often called these days—was a time to celebrate magical traditions, and racing on the modern equivalent of the original witch’s broom was as traditional as it got.

The Green Line was used because it was the first of the three courses constructed, and the one upon which every racer started. There was almost nothing technical about the course: it was wide, flat, and fast, with almost nothing in the way of elevation change. An average lap on a Class 1 of about three and a half minutes was possible on the eleven and a half kilometer course, and a good racer could cut that time to three minutes on a Class 2.

And there in lay the problem: by the time a racer made the A Team they were skilled with the speed and maneuverability of the Class 2, so racing all out on a Class 1 became second nature, something one could do with relative ease. The combination of the simplicity of the track and broom, combined with the skill of the pilots, meant the Fifteen on the Green races looked remarkably like the last race from Talladega that Kerry watched three years before.

He would discover just how hard this particular race actually was.

 

As you can guess, it’s not going to be a lot fun out on the course for Kerry, and while there’s a lot more to this scene, I’m not giving it to you.  This is just a teaser; a taste of what’s to coming.  You’ll see it all before the weekend is out, but not right now.

It’s time for me to fly.

I hear the mountains calling.

Moments in the Silence

Well . . . I didn’t actually finish that scene last night like I mentioned I was going to.  I did manage to add twelve hundred words to the scene, but finish it?  Nope.  And Nope.  And a lot more nope as well.

But I did get the dynamic of departure set up between Annie and Kerry a little more, particularly with the addition of another person . . .

 

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

He kissed her back. “Yep.” Kerry hugged her against his body. “I really don’t want to go.”

“Neither do I.” She kissed Kerry again, this time on the lips.

“Ah, there you are.” The couple broke their kiss as Professor Semplen approached from down the boy’s side corridor. “Saying goodbye?”

“To the tower, Professor.” Annie quickly looked around. “While there were times I didn’t like being here alone, I did enjoy having not to share the floor with anyone but Kerry.”

“While you won’t be alone on the second floor, you’ll still have the B Section to yourself.” Holoč didn’t appear to care if Annie and Kerry were holding each other—or if he did, he didn’t let it show. “It’ll be quiet. And you’ll be farthest away from the stairs, so no one but you will be down in your area.”

Kerry chuckled. “Almost the same as being alone.”

“It is.”

“Speaking of being alone . . .” Annie finally stepped away from Kerry so she could face Professor Semplen. “We seem to be one of the last here.”

“You are. I think there are two up on the third floor, but they are the last. Everyone else is either in the Great Hall, on their way to Boston, or already home.”

“Just like Annie suspected.” Kerry knew the professor’s home town, which led him to his next question. “What time are you leaving, Professor?”

“Soon.” He motioned for the children to follow him. “Please: come with me.”

 

Holoč has been one of those unseen people for the most part, and the reason he hasn’t been seem more is because there hasn’t been a need.  As a coven leader his job is to run interference for students having a difficult time of things, or those who are in trouble with the administration and other instructors.  Since Annie and Kerry have been pretty well . . . adjusted to the new environment, the only time Holoč got involved with their deals was during the creation of their lab.

But he has been paying attention.

 

Annie and Kerry followed the professor off the first floor and down to the main floor commons. Like the rest of the structure it was silent and quiet: most of the light were off, and the flues of all three three fireplaces were sealed and the fires extinguished until students began returning at the end of August. Kerry had never realized how foreboding the tower felt once her realized there was almost no one else present except for the two people standing with him. “It’s sort of spooky here when it’s this quiet.”

“You should be here before the school opens.” Holoč looked about, smiling. “Then it’s spooky.” He looked at both children and his tone turned serious. “I wanted tell you both that it’s been an immense pleasure having you both in the coven. It’s not just the prestige you’ve brought to Cernunnos—and you have even if you may not have been aware of that fact—but it’s been a pleasure to see how you’ve both blossomed as witches and people. I can’t wait to see what you’re going to do next year.”

“I’ve loved being here, Professor.” Annie meant that. She had always wondered if she would end up in the same coven as her parents; it was almost unheard of for Legacies not to end up in the same coven, but it had happened. It was only after she was finished with the Phoenix that she wondered if Kerry and she would end up together. She also felt that, given they were the only A Levels in the coven, and they didn’t have to compete or interact with other students on their floor, they were allowed to excel without having to deal with inner level coven drama.

“I enjoyed being here, too.” Kerry appeared proud while making his statement. “I’ve never felt this way about school before—”

“I don’t find that usually.” Holoč faced Kerry. “I came from a Normal background as well: I felt the same way after my first year here.”

“I can’t wait to come back next year.”

 

Of course you can’t, Kerry:  and we know why . . .

 

Holoč figured that school wasn’t the only reason for Kerry wanting to return, but he said nothing. “I can’t wait to welcome you back to this coven, and to my class.” Holoč patted Kerry on the shoulder. “I understand you’re going to try out for the race team.”

“I’m thinking about it—”

Annie chuckled. “He’s trying out; don’t believe anything else he says.”

“As I thought.” Holoč’s smile was huge. “And we’ll wait until next year to see how that goes.” He checked the time bone his mobile. “It’s almost eight, and I told my wife I’d been home by fifteen-thirty local, so I need to grab a bite to eat and be on my way.” He held his hand out towards Annie. “Take care, Annie. Tya e udovolstvie i chudno da vi se nalaga tuk.”

She shook his hand. “Thank you, Professor. Ochakvam s netŭrpenie sledvashtata godina.”

Holoč nodded then turned to Kerry. “I’ll say the same thing to you: it has been a pleasure and a wonder having you here.”

Kerry shook the professor’s hand. “Thank you, Professor. I can’t wait until we’re back.”

 

There will be scenes in the later stories–yes, those will likely happen–where you get to see the school nearly deserted.  It is, indeed, a pretty spooky place when it comes right down to it, and being there with almost no people doesn’t help maters.

But being the (probably) only two people in the tower, my kids decide it’s time to empty it out completely.  And begin that long walk home–or at least the one they’re going to take to get breakfast.

 

Annie took in the silence of the commons for about fifteen seconds before turning to Kerry. “It’s time to leave.”

Kerry nodded. “I agree.” He took Annie’s hand. “Let’s do this.”

Annie nodded once. “Let’s.”

They left the tower behind and walked out into the breezy morning. The temperatures had climbed up over fifteen Celsius, and the Pentagram walls kept out most of the gusting winds. The sun darted in and out of the scattered clouds that were expected to remain in place all day. They made their way in silence down the covered walkway towards the Great Hall, holding hands, looking ahead when they weren’t casting hasty glances at each other. As they neared the end of the walkway Annie gently pushed Kerry towards the bench their considered theirs. “Let’s sit for a moment.”

“Okay.” Kerry waited for Annie to sit, then joined her as he always did, sitting to her right. He wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled Annie closer to him, letting her snuggle against him. He watched her cross her legs and relax. “I’m surprised to see you in a skirt.”

“I wanted to be comfortable today.” She rubbed her cheek against Kerry’s shoulder. “I haven’t worn a skirt since getting here, and today is a good day for this one.” She’d brought two skirts with her when she’d first arrived: a yellow and orange maxi and the one she was wearing now, a light brown one that reached just to the top of her knees. “I may wear my longer one on the flight tomorrow.”

“With your sandals?”

Annie nudged her head against Kerry. “Yes. With my sandals. Because they’re comfortable if I don’t have to do a lot of walking. I told you that.”

“I know.” He leaned against her just a bit so they could mutually support each other, and sat next to each other without saying a word.

 

And that’s where I left it off with these two:  sitting on their bench in the breezy morning, with other things about to happen–mostly them talking to each other and Annie admitting something she’s not wanted to admit, and then . . . well, someone wants to tell Kerry goodbye and ask him a question.

I’m back writing, and things are so far going okay here at work.  Tonight I’ll get back into the story, because I would love to finish the scene–

After all, I'm so close to one hundred and five thousand words, and one ten is not far behind . . .

After all, I’m so close to one hundred and five thousand words, and one ten is not far behind . . .

We’ll see, won’t we?

Coven Cravings

After a few days of bringing you the lowdown on layouts and software, I was tired.  My eyes were also hurting, going through some itching and burning that may be due to The Burg, or could be due to a ghost living in my apartment.  Either way, I was ready to decompress.

I’ve mentioned before I don’t watch television that much, though there are a few things that keep me interesting.  I watch Project Runway, which ends tonight, which may be a good thing as there was far too much drama this season.  I’m half way through Torchwood:  Miracle Day and Orphan Black, both of which I’m loving, though I’m not keen on the Americanization of Torchwood, but I blame the network for that.  As for Orphan Black–I wanna have my own Clone Club, and slap the Soccer Mom just because.

Last night I was waiting for a show to come on, so it was through Paranormal Activity and PA2.  I’d never seen either, though I knew how the first ended.  (I know the alternate ending as well; it’s online.)  No big scares for me, and the second movie tells you everything you need to know about why the first happens.  Thanks a lot, sis!

But then it was on to American Horror Story:  Coven, and what the hell did I see?  First off, gattor hunters baggin’ a big, then Stevie Nicks wandering through the swamp in her hippie dress and high heeled boots.  Poke Salad Annie, the dead gattor came to life and ate the swampbillies, chomp chomp.

It guest goes straight to hell on the crazy train from there–but that’s a good thing . . .

I love strange and crazy.  I was glued to the TV when Twin Peaks was on, I dug The Prisoner when I was a kid, and I know there are others out there, but my mind is a blank right now.  Last night, however, I get sarcastic witches with drinking problems; immortal racists; Angela Bassett, for whom I would crawl across broken glass just to say hello; a Frankenstein boyfriend; Stevie Nicks again, healing up the boyfriend with moss and alligator shit before foreshadowing her intentions like it was the Bat Signal; crazy witch sex with snakes; and a minotaur.  All because I wanted to see the girl with the killer fairy vagina, which is pretty cool method of keeping unwanted bros away.

I know the episodes are already filmed, but with the filming having taken place in New Orleans, the producers missed a golden opportunity.  I want you to imagine this . . .  Nic Cage’s character from Bad Lieutenant 2, showing up at the witch coven with his lucky crack pipe.  it would have been gold, I’m telling you:  gold!  It would have taken the show into heights of insanity that would be discussed a thousand years from now by the necromancers who’ll return to the Earth.

Like it or not, I have another show to watch.  Will it be enough to hold me over until Day of the Doctor?

Maybe I should start working on my spells.