A Walk in the Park: Taking a Stroll

I was hoping to have another full scene written today, hoping to have another twelve or fifteen hundred words in the bank to show, but . . . there are good days, and there are bad days, and yesterday was one of the really horrible days.  It actually started when I was putting together yesterday’s blog post, and didn’t actually end until–well, about the time I went to bed, after I went out to get something to eat and had a couple of good meltdowns, and finally just kicked back in my chair to finish King of Kings, or as critics called it when it came out in 1961, “I Was a Teenage Jesus.”

This means I only managed about eight hundred words, which is below what I’ve normally written at this time.  On the other hand, my work day ends around two or three today, and I’m starting on a four-day weekend, so there’s a good likely hood I may finish this chapter and the next before Monday rolls in next week.  We’ll see.

Where are they now?  We left them in the mall, but we know that’s not where they want to do their thing.  For that, we have to head across the street . . .

 

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

Washington Square Park was pretty much deserted, even at this point close to noon on a Saturday. With the Crown Center to the south, the Amtrak station to the west, and the much large Penn Valley Park to the southwest, there was little need for most people to gather here—

The park was accessible from the Crown Center by an enclosed overhead walkway, which meant Annie and Kerry were able to reach the park about five minutes after leaving her spot on the first floor, and they were able to find a secluded spot a few minutes after that, for the location was full of trees, making it easier to speak without being overheard—which is what they desired.

Annie and Kerry hadn’t seen Erywin follow them to the park, but they knew she’d been close behind them as they crossed Pershing Road, and that she was somewhere nearby monitoring them indirectly. They didn’t tell Tanith they were being watched: as they’d worked out last night, and in the days leading up to this moment, it was thought best that she not see the adults, only the witches her age.

They found a large tree in the middle of the park and decided this spot would be as good a spot to talk as any. Kerry looked around as her removed his backpack and retrieved the tablet. Annie unzipped her jacket and removed her phone; she punched up an app and set it back into her jacket. She turned to Kerry, who was scanning the area. “See anyone?”

“No.” He sipped the tablet back into the pack and set the later against the tree. “We’re running silent?”

“Yes. Now we need to go one better—”

“Right.” Both put their arms to the side and crafted the spell that would allow them to demonstrate their powers without being seen. The saw the slight ripple effect around them move out and join until it vanished about three meters on either side of them. “I think we’re done.”

“We are.”

 

Competent witches, these kids are.  They got this deal locked down and they know how to set up.  By the way, if you want to check out the action:

Here they are, from the air, with the Center at the bottom.

Here they are, from the air, with the Center at the bottom.

And they're somewhere inside there . . .

And they’re somewhere inside there . . .

Just to the right of that tree--no, the other tree.

Just to the right of that tree–no, the other tree.

And there’s a reason you can’t see these kids . . .

 

Tanith was still a little confused by what she’d seen in the mall, and now things were apparently happening around her of which she was unaware. “What did-did you do? What happened?”

Annie checked the bud in here left ear, which she needed to keep in place should Erywin want to contact them. “I set up a field around us that will prevent sound from traveling far, or allow us to be recorded from more than a couple of meters away.”

Kerry unzipped his own jacket. “And we put up a light bending spell so that no one can see us.”

Tanith did a double take. “What do you mean, no one can see us?”

“We’re invisible.” Annie stood next to Tanith and lightly touched her arm. “It’s okay: we do this a lot.”

“Yeah.” Kerry stood just behind Annie. “We did that all day yesterday at your school.”

You were at my school?”

“All day.”

Annie gave the girl a comforting smile. “I followed you into the bathroom just before your first class after lunch.”

The girl tried to remember the events of yesterday. “I don’t remember that.”

“You wouldn’t; I wasn’t quite invisible, but I wasn’t making myself noticed.” She grinned. “We followed you on the bus as well, and into the mall.”

“That’s where we got the recording of your aura—and we saw you with Ruth.” Kerry neglected to mention the brightness of that aura: they’d decided to keep that information to themselves for now. “Where do you know her from?”

 

Pick up the kid, do a little magic in front of her, throw up a little invisibility shielding, and then tell her you were stalking her at school.  Yep, that’s the way you do it.  And make sure you sound normal as hell when you’re saying this stuff.  It also makes you wonder how Annie approached her in the bathroom.  Can she turn on her light bending spell just enough that you might think you’d see her, but you’re not sure if you saw someone or not?  Like walking past a ghost?

And the last part of this?

 

“Looked it up.” Annie decided not to talk of that matter further: they had other business. “We need to talk about you, Tanith—”

“First tell me who you are.” She looked them and crossed her arms. “I still don’t know your names.”

Annie stepped back so she was alongside Kerry. “I’m Nadya, and this is Gavin.” As much as they disliked their code names, Helena instructed them to keep up the charade when they were in public. “We attend a special school here in the United States—one that you won’t find on the Internet—”

“Or on Google Maps, either.” Kerry chuckled. “Trust me; I found that out before getting there.”

Tanith didn’t know what to ask, so she went with the most obvious question. “What do you study?”

Annie got right to the point. “We study magic; we’re witches.”

Kerry threw in one last point. “Just like you dad.”

 

And that’s how they left it off:  gave their fake names, then laid the “W” Word on her, and Kerry ended it with there, “Oh, and your dad’s like us” line.  The important stuff is coming, and now I want to finish this scene this afternoon, and then get into the next one, because the scene after that–I’ll have all day Christmas to write it, and like I said, I could finish this chapter before the end of the weekend.

Gotta do something to keep the depression away.

Never Say Never Say Never Again

As you may have guessed, I’m riffing on a James Bond movie title.  And why am I doing this?  Because once again I’ve been saying there’s something I’m not going to do, but in the end I turn around and–well, it seems like I’m doing said not doing thing.

Allow me to explain.

NaNo is coming up.  If you write, and you spend any amount of time on the Internet, you know this, because about now is where everyone who writer–well, everyone who isn’t pretty much making a living off their writing, that is–begins talking about what they’re going to do during NaNoWriMo 2014.  It’s what all the cool kids do, doncha know?

You can tell she's a writer simply by the strategically placed bowl of fruit . . .

You can tell she’s a writer preping for NaNo simply by the strategically placed bowl of fruit . . .

Now, I’ve participated in three NaNoWriMos and two Camp NaNos, and I’ve had fun.  More or less.  See, NaNo is a huge lark for some people:  you get down and write, and when it’s over you file away the story and move on to something else.  For some people it’s a struggle, like pushing a huge stone up a hill, only you don’t know what kind of stone, and you’re not sure of the name of the hill, so you’re having to stop and ask questions of others along the way.

And for some, you get to the end of the month with this huge document in front of you, and you think, “You know, maybe I should edit and publish this sucker . . .”

I’ve done this last one once, and I plan on doing it again . . . once I get this monster of a Last NaNoWriMo story out of the way.

Yes, I see you.  Stop that gloating, right now!

Yes, I see you. Stop that gloating right now!

As I’ve said before, I’ve not given NaNo any thought because I’ve always writing anyway.  Of late it seems like I’m taking a night off here and there, but I’m keeping it going.  Slow but steady as they say.

Then, the other night, a friend asks if there’s anyone going to do NaNo this year, because her son wants to do it, and she’s thinking about doing it, and oh, man, it’s like dangling a big carrot in front of me, because when someone says, “Hey, anyone wanna WRITE?” I kinda want to join in the fun.  Also, she was the one who kinda sorta got me to do Camp this year, and even though I lowballed by total (I only did twenty thousand words), it still gave me a goal to shoot towards.

And since I find it hard to say “No” to this person . . .

Yeah, I’m probably going to do NaNo.  But what am I writing?  The same novel I started for last year’s NaNo.

Now hold up there, ’cause don’t start in with the “But you can’t do that!” because it’s already been done:  Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus was written over the course to two NaNos, so if she can do it, so can I.  The way I see it, I can set a goal of sixty or sixty-five thousand words–as I did last time–and do what I can to take a good bite out of Act Three of the novel.  I’m hoping to be almost finished with Act Two by the end of November, so using NaNo to write out close to seventy thousand words–if that is even possible–would go a long ways towards finishing the project.

And since I’ve already planed and plotted everything, it’s just down to the writing, isn’t it?

Oh, wicked NaNo and the friends I have who like to dangle literary carrots before my eyes.  I keep trying to walk away–

You keep pulling me back.

Aid Time, Angry Annie Aftermath

I’ve been rocking out on David Bowie this morning, writing to Station to Station, and now blogging to Scary Monsters and Super Creeps.  Both brilliant works, and standing up to what passes for music today.  Maybe it’s because I grew up in this time that I love the work so much, but the truth is I wasn’t a huge Bowie fan as a teen, and it’s only been in the last few years that I’ve been able to revisit his catalog and revel in his brilliance.

Why am I bringing up Bowie?  No reason.  Just into the music this morning as I grow closer to the end of Chapter Twenty-Two.  The penultimate scene is finished, and all that remains is the last scene, Intervention, then I can move on to the end of this long and dangerous day for my kids.  As for now, Annie’s part in this chapter is over, but Chapter Twenty-Three is almost all her observations of ongoing events inside the Great Hall as night falls.

Until then, she has to resolve these issues she is having–like whether or not to rip Emma’s lungs out and squeeze them . . .

 

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

Annie never let her emotions rule her; she never allowed them to driver her impulses. She’d told Kerry that she never cried, and it was also true that she was never angry in the ways that people understood anger. She wouldn’t scream or shout, but rather turn cold and keep her fury contained.

But now . . .

She’d never been in the position of having someone she loved put in a position of danger that could lead to injury or death. Kerry was out there, on the school grounds, perhaps with an Abomination after him—or maybe it had caught him and he was lying in the forest dead and . . .

Either way, alive or dead, whatever was happening to Kerry was due to this girl . . .

Annie pull Emma’s jacket tight around her throat. Her eyes never left those of the frightened and now-drugged girl, and Annie resisted the urge to shake and scream at her for being such a silly, stupid, ignorant girl, but she kept the words she wanted to yell at the top of her voice within her thoughts. How could you do this to Kerry? How could you not listen to him? How could you leave a safe place and lead him to his death

A hand tightened around the back of Annie’s neck and she was ripped away from Emma. She was pulled away from the triage area and towards the West Transept; a few seconds later Coraline spun her around and shook her roughly. “The hell is wrong with you?”

Annie quickly gathered her wits about her and realized what was happening. “I—”

“I said you could use that shit against the Deconstructors if they got in here.” She pointed back at the triage area a few meters away. “I didn’t mean you could use it on our patients.”

Annie’s vision followed Coraline’s outstretched arm. Emma was still in her examination chair; Nurse Gretchen hovered over the girl, swabbing away the rivets of blood emanating from Emma’s nose and tear ducts . . .

“Get her up to the ward: Bed Fourteen.” As soon as she received an acknowledgment from Gretchen, Coraline returned her attention to Annie. “You better have a damn good reason for what just happened, or I’m gonna lock you up in my office for the rest of this situation, Annie.” She folded her hands in front of her, trying not to come off as too domineering. “Well?”

 

The question came up yesterday, “Is Annie the only one who knows death spells?” and the answer to that is, out of all the A Levels, yes, she’s the only one who knows death spells–in particular, she knows one, Exsanguination, which is a D Level spell if one must know.  Both of Annie’s parents were pretty good with Sorcery, and while they didn’t go that route, they have books about the house, and little Annie found those books and read through them.  Ergo, that’s how she learn a death spell.

And what is Exsanguination?  Here is the definition:  “The action or process of draining or losing blood.”  In laymen’s terms it means you bleed a lot, and if you bleed enough, you’ll bleed to death.  Those rivets of blood coming from Emma’s nose and eyes?  Yep.  Annie was laying a little death spell on her, and if she’d actually put her mind to it, Emma would have had blood spurting from her nose faster than a teenage Japanese boy in a hentai animation.

That’s what she was being tasked to use on the “bad guys” if they got into the Great Hall.  Annie was gonna bleed them out–and not slowly.  Someone who knows what they’re doing, like Professor Lovecraft, could make a person bleed from every pore and opening in their body, which means you could put a person down in a mater of seconds.  Yes, it’s a messy way to go–but in my world it’s them or you, right?

There are other students who know how to do this sort of thing.  Do they used them against other students?  No.  Why?  For one, most students at the level where death spells are taught are also taught how to block them.  But also because if someone starts slinging that sort of magic, they’d vanish.  It’s that simple.  Kill a student while you’re a student and that’s it, you no longer exist.  Remember how Isis thought The Foundation might have to do something with Kerry and Emma’s parents if something happened to them?  They’d have basically made them vanish from existence, and anyone who’d come in contact with them would forget them–forever.  Same thing happens to wacky students going around trying to kill people:  they vanish.  Usually into Cloudland.  But that’s another story . . .

There was another question as well:  is that the only death spell?  Nope.  There’s no Avada Karvada in this world:  there are many ways to kick someone off this physical plain in a permanent fashion.  I know this because I have a list:

Spell List:  a work in progress you never leave home without.

Spell List: a work in progress you never leave home without.

Anything listed as “Sorcery (Morte)” is a spell designed to kill.  Yes, it can be used for other things:  Lovecraft used Electrify on Kerry the first day of Sorcery class because she wanted to see if she could get Annie to react, and her skill with the spell is such that she can shock you a little, or she could flat-out fry a person where they sat and they’d be dead before they knew they were dying.

Really, though:  any kind of magic could be used to off someone if you’re inventive enough.  During The Scouring–the other time The Deconstructors came and tried to destroy the school–Wednesday, while a student, killed a Deconstructor by creating a little tornado around his body and flaying him to death with dust and stone particles.  As she’s been known to say, Visualization, Energy, and Willpower:  if you can imagine it, you can make it happen.  If you can see how to do it, and you can channel that magical mojo into your Craft, all you need is the will to make it happen.

Annie’s had it drilled into her that using a death spell just to use it against someone is bad.  She had a slip-up, and . . . yeah, she explained to Coraline that she lose control for a moment because of what happened with Emma and Kerry, and it was her bad, don’t worry, it won’t happen again.  And Coraline, knowing how magic can go sideways when you’re upset, understands . . .

 

“Okay.” Coraline put a finger across Annie’s lips. “Don’t say that. Don’t think the worst.” She began slowly running her hands over Annie’s shoulders, trying to comfort her. “I’ll make this one up as a loss of control—” She leaned closer and eyed Annie hard. “But it’s not going to happen again—is it?”

“No.” Annie shook her head. “It won’t. I’m sorry, Nurse Coraline.”

“Yeah, well . . .” She looked back at the now-empty examination chair. “Emma’s the one you should apologize to, not me.” Coraline tapped Annie’s shoulders. “Let’s get back to work; I have a feeling more are coming.”

They’d taken no more than three steps when Coraline touched Annie’s arm and stopped her. “Hey. Kerry’s a smart boy.” She gave the worried girl a smile that she hoped would put her at ease, though she knew it likely wouldn’t. “If there’s anyone who can get away from an Abomination, it’s him.”

 

See?  All is forgiven–more or less.

As for that last statement, Coraline–

I may have something to say about that . . .

Though intervention usually means help is on the way . . .

Though intervention usually means help is on the way . . .