The Question Asked

Almost nine in the morning as I write this, but it’s been a somewhat productive morning–“somewhat” in the sense if I’d stay off social media I’d truly get a lot more done, that’s for certain.  But I’ve been busy nonetheless on the story, writing almost eight hundred word last night and close to six hundred this morning.  I also spent part of last night going over something that happens to Annie and Kerry between their C and D Levels, and, if I ever get around to that story, will take up nearly the first third of what will be another huge novel.  In terms of massive, life-changing shit happening to the kids, the C and D Levels are the years.  Those two years will really flip their world–

But we’re still in their A Levels, and no world flipping is underway–yet.

Annie and Kerry were visiting the Day of the Dead Hidey Hole, and talking about the choices Kerry made that day.  But you know Annie:  she’s always got something cooking in the back of her head, particularly when it comes to her Soul Mate.  What does she have in mind?  Well . . . it has to do with magic.

 

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

Annie wasn’t concerned with their past, present, and future sleeping arrangements; there was something else that had kept her concerned for most of the day. “I want to ask you something.”

Kerry patted her hand. “Go ahead.”

“Do you want to be a good sorceress?”

His grip around Annie’s hand relaxed. “What do you mean?”

She gazed at then entwined hands. “I mean, do you want to be a good sorceress? You know the spells, you know how to use dark energy . . .” She lifted her gaze and met his. “Why didn’t you kill that Deconstructor when you had the chance?”

Anna, Annie--pretty much the same kid, right?  That means in a few years this question takes on a whole new meaning . . .

Anna, Annie–pretty much the same kid, right? That means in a few years this question takes on a whole new meaning . . .

You have to admit, her asking is a bit of a buzzkill, because this is Serious Annie coming out, and we know that Serious Annie is . . . serious.  Asking a question like this usually means she’s leading up to something else . . .

 

Kerry pulled his hands back and set them in his lap. “I was doing too many things. I was trying to put energy into the shields while at the same time I was getting ready to attack him—”

“Separation of spell energy.” Annie nodded slowly. “Yes, that’s difficult. But I’ve seen you do it before—when we were testing in our lab.”

He cleared his throat. “I know. It’s just . . .” He shrugged without meeting Annie’s stare. “I didn’t handle the situation well.”

Annie didn’t respond for a few seconds, letting the silence build within the tiny, private clearing. “If you’d crafted all the dark energy you could into that Air Hammer—and I know you used it, because I felt it—if you’d done that before you threw it at him, you would have killed him. Or, at the least, damaged him enough that Erywin or I could have done that.” She lightly touched his arm. “You wouldn’t have needed to do anything to the shields then.”

 

Who needs a post-mortem when your girlfriend–or is that “Wife to Be” at this point?–is asking you things like “Why didn’t you kill him?”  Imagine the conversations at the dinner table in a few years:  “Darling, you really should have used more dark energy in that spell; you only managed to rip off one arm . . .”

But Annie is getting at something, and she’s trying to work into it easy.

 

“I know.”

“I know you do, love. I know you’ve probably went over that battle in your head several times, and each time you know you could have crafted an Air Hammer with enough dark energy to have killed that Deconstructor.” Her hand slid down his arm to his left hand; she slid her fingers under his palm and caressed his skin with her nails. “Do you want to be a good sorceress?” He stared at his hand over hers but said nothing. “If you do, I’ll show you everything I know and learn, including the Morte spells. You’ve come along with Electrify: if you’d used that you could have, at the least, stunned him as he did you.” She slipped her fingers up and around his hand, caressing the back. “You are aware he was trying to kill you?”

“Yes.”

“If you’d hit him first, that wouldn’t have happened.”

“I just . . .” He shrugged. “I wasn’t sure I could get it off that well.”

“I thought that might be the case, which is why you went with the Air Hammer: you know that and have it mastered.” She paused once more, for she was acutely aware that Kerry knew what was coming from her. “I don’t need to remind you what Morte spells do.”

“No.”

 

No, how could you not know what Morte spells do, considering the title means “death”?  And Kerry got to see one cast up close and personal, so he’s completely aware that his girlfriend will put down a bad guy in less time than it takes to figure out what you want off the menu at your local fast food joint.  It’s also interesting that Annie is saying that she’ll show Kerry everything she knows  and learns, which means she’s figuring that Helena isn’t going to teach him.  What does this mean?  Sorry, but Spoilers!  I can’t tell you more than what you’re already making up for yourself.

But this goes down a completely different rabbit hole, and it’s not going to be a comfortable trip . . .

 

“And you if want to learn all that I know there—as I learn it—you know what is required of you.”

Kerry lowered his head slightly and sighed long and slow. “Yes, I do.”

Annie tightened her grip around Kerry’s hand. “You have to be able to make quick decisions, nearly all involving life and death.” She leaned closer, her voice growing softer as if she didn’t want others to hear here. “I know you can do that, because you have. You’ve made them in order to save your life—” She drew centimeters closer and almost whispered the next few words. “You’ve done the same when it involved taking a life, too.”

Kerry continued staring at his hand being held by Annie. He finally responded in a whisper much like hers. “How did you find out?”

 

Whaaaa?  As far as we know there’s only been on time when Kerry killed someone, and that was an accident–

Wasn’t it?

Come back tomorrow, and you’ll find out.

Bawh, hahahaha!

Bawh, hahahaha!

The Molding Grove

First off, to set the record straight, I only managed about eight hundred and fifty words last night.  Of late–the last couple of weeks–I’ve been returning home tired as all hell, and I usually end up taking a quick nap around seven or so, which means I’m not getting into the writing until about nine.  I’m also feeling a bit of a brain freeze of late, what with my head feeling a bit like a brick that late at night.

However . . . I did reach a milestone of sorts just cranking out those words.  It was just as I expected.

Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?

Four Hundred Thousand, One Hundred Seventy-One.  The Four Hundred K Mark has been exceeded, and it’s downhill from here.  How much more downhill I don’t know, but the next milestone is one hundred thousand words for Act Three, which is going to happen, and now looks as if I’ll probably reach one twenty-five by the end of Chapter Forty-Three.  And I am getting there.  I don’t believe I’ll finish this novel by the end of January, but February is looking more and more possible.  Maybe by Valentine’s Day.  Because that would be a time that Annie and Kerry would enjoy.

Speaking of those two . . .

Annie wanted to go somewhere for Kerry’s birthday.  They went after Sorcery class and dinner, and they’ll be back in time for birthday cake . . .

"Kerry gets cake; would I lie?"

“Kerry gets cake; would I lie?”

No, you’re very honest for a psychopathic AI.

Where did they go?  Why, right here–

 

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

The sun was setting, but there was far more light than there was the last time Kerry approached this spot on the school ground. That time he’d lipped through a darkening forest until he was shown this location: this time he slowly floated down out the sky, following the pop-up in the corner of his broom’s HUD showing the exact location, choosing to come here right after dinner because Annie asked about visiting the site.

He set down next to the secluded area and dismounted the moment this feet were firmly upon the ground. Out of the corner of his eye he watched Annie doing the same, having set down direction behind him. She removed her helmet and stuff it and her goggles into one pocket of her flight jacket. “This is it?”

“According to the data Vicky gave us, yes.” They’d flown in from the Flight School and circled around from the west, so the small clearing was now to Kerry’s right instead of his left as it had been when Emma had found it while searching in the dark and chilly weather. “It’s right there.”

Annie pushed foliage aside and looked through to the area beyond. “Looks cozy.” She grabbed her broom and stood ready to push slid into the tiny clearing. “Are you coming?”

 

Figured out where they are now?  This might help–

 

“Yep.” He snatched his broom and followed her through the small openings in the foliage and joined Annie on the other side. He took in his surroundings. “I’ve never really seen it like this before. Then again, I never stood up in here.”

It’s far different, isn’t it?” Annie was already sitting, here legs pulled up close to her body and her broom setting on the ground to her left.

“It is.” Kerry carefully sat next to Annie. He was acutely aware that he was sitting in the same spot where Emma sat, and that Annie was where he’d sat and eventually sleep asleep for a while. “At least I can see this time.” He leaned forward slightly as he turned towards Annie. “Why did you want to see this?”

“Because I never have.” She looked upward slowly. “Because as Coraline pointed out, the Day of the Dead changed us, matured us, and that process likely began right here.” She turned back to Kerry wearing a faint smile upon her face. “Your actions from here brought you to where you are now. If you hadn’t come here, you never would have went to Kansas City.”

 

Yep.  Back to Emma and Kerry’s hiding spot.  And after all those months, Annie had no idea where it was, or what it looked like.  I’m sure it’s a bit different now, what with the change in the trees between November and May. but it’s pretty much as it was when The Two Wingmates dropped out of the sky and went to ground.  And now . . . Annie’s brought Kerry back to the scene of the crime, more or less, where he admits that if he hadn’t pumped up their drained brooms they wouldn’t have left this spot, they simply would have waiting out the attack until they were rescued.

 

This time Kerry laughed slowly. “Yeah . . . Neither of us were making good decisions that day. I should have listened to the voice in my head.”

Annie’s smile was much brighter now. “What voice was that?”

“The one that kept reminding me that I shouldn’t let Emma talk me into anything.”

“That’s true.” Annie remembered getting the promise out of Kerry before he left the Dining Hall, and how he was on the verge of tears that night in the hospital when he admitted he’d broken that promise. She hadn’t been upset when he’d told her, and she’d never this slight mistake bother her. “But look at what would have happened had you not left: Professor Palmesscoff would have died, as well as Professor Kishna. You wouldn’t have been there to save them.”

“And I would have ended up in the hospital with only my knee messed up.” He reached for her hand. “Coraline wouldn’t have let you stay the night with me—”

“Which means I wouldn’t have known you were reconnecting with your dreams—”

“And I wouldn’t have told you I loved you.”

“No.” Annie squeezed his hand. “At least you wouldn’t have told me that night as we slept together—the first real time.” She looked down at their hands entwined. “I’m glad it wasn’t the last.”

 

Well, now:  Annie really enjoys that special time asleep with Kerry, it seems.  Annie’s mature for her age, and she loves the comfort of having her loved one–or has that moved on to “Husband to Be”?–next to her as she dreams.  But she’s not the only one . . .

 

Kerry was as well. Given their ages they shouldn’t have been allowed to sleep together, but neither the staff or instructors had said anything to them since the second Midnight Madness when Helena and Erywin discovered them under the comforter sound asleep. And after being allowed to share a room in Kansas City, he wondered if anyone really cared that much.

He so enjoyed sleeping next to Annie; every time they did he felt their love, and the connection their love brought, grow. He loved snuggling next to her and waking up with either him kissing her awake or her doing that to him. He loved inhaling the scent of her hair as he drifted off. He love hearing her say in Bulgarian good night and that she loved him, and he loved whispering the same thing back.

If he hadn’t been hurt so bad after leaving here, it was likely none of that would have ever happened.

 

And now we see that these two are bonding in a way that usually happens with older kids, or even people in their early twenties.  Kerry’s really taken with the smell of Annie’s hair, too:  he seems to bring that up a lot when he talks about her . . .

But why did Annie bring him out here?  Does she have a reason?

This is Annie.

Of course she has a reason.

Starting the Day of the Dead

This is not an ad for a George Romero picture, I swear.  No, it’s something mentioned in the last complete scene I wrote yesterday morning.  And now I’m thinking about it . . .

It’s a busy day today.  I had coffee this morning, but the internet is still out as Panera, so I hurried back here to get on-line.  That’s probably a good thing, because I’m also seeing my HRT doctor in about five hours, and a little over two of that involves a drive into Jersey, so once more I’ll be on the road today–a lot.  It’s my last meeting with her for at least a month, so I won’t have to do this again for a while.

But the reason it’s a good thing I’m not into the coffee is that I’ll probably get an examination today, and the first time I showed up in her office and she took my blood pressure, I was like 150 over 110, and she was ready to check me into a hospital.  I had to explain that I thought the two espressos I had before driving out had a lot to do with the reading . . .

Back to the Day of the Dead thing.  Yesterday I showed you a little of what was happening inside the Security Center, but I didn’t show you how it ended.  Isis told the headmistress that it was unlikely anyone would hit Salem to try and hack networks because . . . well, they’re too big.  One would need to throw a lot of resources at the school to be able to bust it open, so it’s easier to hit the smaller schools.

That leads to this:

 

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

“Mark the log to show that the Headmistress has given permission to allow us to initiate Security Level Two protocols when it is required.” Isis looked about the room, then turned to Mathilde. “You need to get ready; you’re gonna have a field a lot of questions from students come breakfast.”

That last was very true; given that Isis now had the outer defense screens at full capacity, students were going the see the results of that operation. “Yes, I need to get back to Rhiannon and get ready.” She started to turn towards the door. “This certainly isn’t a good way to spend Samhain.”

“Deconstructors never gave give a shit about our holidays.” Isis cycled the door for the headmistress. “Could be worse: this is the middle of the Day of the Dead celebration in some cultures.”

Mathilde stopped and affixed her Director of Security. “I certain hope today doesn’t come to that.”

Isis cycled open the door. “I couldn’t agree more.”

 

It’s 1 November, and that’s really the traditional Samhain, running from sundown on 31 October to sundown on 1 November.  But as Isis points out, it’s also Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, the period of remembrance for friends and family who’ve died.  1 November is actually known as Día de los Inocentes, the Day of the Innocents:  the time to remember the passing of children and infants.

Keep in mind when I decided a couple of weeks ago to move this event up a week earlier, I had only a vague recollection of the Day of the Dead.  But now that it’s here–hey, I’m liking what I’ve brought forward, no pun intended.  But all the following scenes could have additional meaning now.

Now to get Kerry off his bed so he can look out the window . . .

My characters getting into the celebration a different way--"Annie and Kerry and . . . baby?"  Put that out of your mind, kids.

My characters getting into the celebration a different way–“Annie and Kerry and . . . baby?” Put that out of your mind, kids.