The Size and the Dreams

As I’ve said before, a few hundred words here, a few hundred there, and . . .

Before you know it, you're got some real wordage goin' on.

Before you know it, you’re got some real wordage goin’ on.

That’s how this scene is playing out.  One bad night of less than three hundred words, and I think I’m going no where fast–and then I realize I’m encroaching on four thousand words for the scene, and suddenly it’s the biggest scene I’ve written since Emma and Kerry were back in Flushing, which I last edited back on 16 August.  This is a biggie, and it’s only going to get bigger, because I know I have at least another thousand words in me.  And in this novel I have written only two scenes of over four thousand words:  Remembering Memory in Chapter Five, which was where Annie and Kerry visited Deanna first day of the new school year and had visions–it is 4,004 words–and Friend’s List in Chapter Two, where Kerry has that discussion with his family, and is the biggest scene at 4,246 words.

So Annie’s gonna talk Deanna’s ear off, it seems.  What a yappity girl, right?

 

 

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

“It’s one of the meditation rooms.” Deanna shifted slightly on her pillowed. “Originally when everyone was in one building, the numerology people were on the ground floor, and the divination people were on the first. All the rooms were quiet and secluded, set up with subdued lighting to get everyone in the right frame of mind to allow their visions to flow forth.

“When the school began construction of this building, Wanda insisted that their meditation room remain in place on the first floor so they could be used for ‘advanced students’.” Deanna gave a relaxed, comfortable sigh. “Even then she knew we’d have advanced students—”

“She was a seer, so she would—” Annie smiled as she turned her head towards Deanna. “No?”

“Yes, she was. Each of these rooms was meant to represent a particular environment, so you have one that’s a bit tropical, another somewhere in the mountains, the third in the plains—”

“And this one in the desert.”

“Correct. And since we want the proper meditative state . . .” Deanna waved her hands; the points of light dimmed as the walls and ceiling faded away, replaced by the illusion of being outdoors and looking up into the night sky. “We can now have a proper conversation.”

It was more than an illusion, however: Annie became completely immersed within her surroundings, and for a moment forgot they weren’t in the middle of an Iraqi desert but were in a building on the western short of the Atlantic Ocean. “Who uses this room?”

“Advanced students, as Wanda intended. I have a few I bring here to instruct—” She glanced towards Annie. “—and some people I bring here for discussions. Like now.” Deanna folded her hands across her stomach. “What’s on your mind, my dear?”

Even though Deanna was correct about her showing up to talk, Annie suddenly found herself at a loss for words. She’d spent some time during lunch coming up with a conversation in her head, points she wanted to discuss and questions she wanted to ask, but now her mind was blank. There was only one thing to do: start right from the beginning. “I dreamwalked last night.”

 

It was pretty much a given that Annie wanted to talk about her dreamwalking experience, but it’s a little more than that–

 

Deanna didn’t question Annie’s stated but rather acknowledged her action. “You did. That’s fantastic. What was it like for you?”

“Strange, as I didn’t know what to expect.” She tapped her fingers against her abdomen. “I saw my dreamspace from the outside.”

“As you should.” The seer chuckled. “Did you dreamwalk anyone in particular?”

Annie gave a short laugh. “Did you need to ask?”

“No. It makes sense, however, as you know Kerry better than anyone else.”

“And he’s right across the tower.” Annie closed her eyes as she slowly drew in a breath. “I saw his dreamspace.”

“Which you would—”

“I also saw our dreamspace.”

Annie emphases gave Deanna a slight pause. “A shared dreamspace?”

“Yes.”

“How did it appear in relationship to Kerry’s and yours?”

“It was like our individual dreams spaces, only larger.” She shifted her eyes from one overhead star to another. “It was between and above ours, and they were connected to it with small corridors.”

“Like it’s an extension of your spaces.”

“I believe so, yes.” Annie turned her head slightly towards the seer. “Did you ever find anything on why we can share dreams? On why we’re connected that way?”

Deanna’s pause was much longer than Annie expected, and she was about to ask the question once more when the instructor finally spoke. “I’ve done some investigations with Trevor’s help, but I’ve been unable to find anything.” She hummed something for about five seconds that was just audible. “What you’ve described sounds like dreamwalking, but it’s not, it can’t be. Even with Kerry being a witch without knowing it, neither of you would have the ability to instigate a dreamwalk accidentally.”

“Not at all?” Over the summer Annie had developed the hypothesis that since Kerry was able to not only create a mental block around his memories of her, and affect her recollection of that happening, that perhaps the two of them together had dreamwalked each other without knowing.

“No, not at all. There’s too much that goes into a dreamwalk that it would just happen. Besides, when Kerry and you began sharing dreams, you were nearly half a world apart. How would either of you know of the other being on two separate continents?”

 

Asking Annie if there was anyone in particular she dreamwalked is a little like asking Helena if she’s ever killed anyone.  Of course Annie dreamwalked Kerry!  Duh.  But Deanna’s hesitation when it comes to answering Annie’s question about what allowed them to share dreams?  And the accidental dreamwalk is ruled out, which does leave Annie grasping for an explanation . . .

 

“True.” Annie wondered about that as well, and it always remained the flaw that tore her idea apart. “But then, what is that allows us to share dreams?”

Deanna’s chuckle came out as a snort. “The simplest answer is, ‘Because you’re different’.”

Annie didn’t find the answer satisfying or amusing. “That’s not an answer, Deanna.”

“No, it’s not.” Again the seer paused long enough to make Annie wonder if she would speak again. “Can I show you something?”

Annie was somewhat surprised by the request. “What do you want to show?”

“Something I’ve never shown to anyone.”

“How can I say no?”

Deanna raised her voice slightly. “Sabrina, please come.”

 

First off, Annie’s right:  Deanna didn’t give her much of an answer.  In fact Kerry would probably say she blew Annie off.  But this leads into Deanna wanting to show her something . . .

And who’s Sabrina?  Maybe a teenage witch?  Like the one sitting next to Deanna?

You know, it’s funny you should ask . . .

Nazemih, Goodbye

You know how I tell you life gets in the way sometimes?  Yes, that happened last night.  Damn life:  it should just leave me alone and let me get on with my business, right?  It really wasn’t that bad, however, as I was helping out a person–a transwoman who I am friends with on Facebook–to get through an issue at her work.  So it really wasn’t that bad an issue, but that was like twenty minutes in the middle of the night, and when the flow gets interrupted, it hits you.

I was also out running around a bit as well, and that cuts into your time, too.  Still, six hundred and fifty words I’ll take.  And it’s a nice little set up after the death rattle from yesterday.  Well, sort of . . .

 

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

They walked up the stairs in silence while Annie absorbed the last of their conversation. At the beginning of her A Levels she had never expected to find herself in the middle of an attack that resulted in the deaths of nine students and one instructor—after all, why would one expect to find themselves close to death only two months after arriving at their new school?

There was a part of that equation that she tried never to consider: that the number was almost eleven students and two instructors, and given everything that happened in the aftermath of Kerry’s fight and flight from the Abomination, it was possible he could have died. She never considered that because she didn’t want to remember that event.

The strangest part was that when they were together in Kansas City Annie didn’t fear either of them dying, not even when they were under attack. We spent six months learning how to live at the school while putting the Day of the Dead behind us. We found each other and we trained for the field operation. We knew the risks and were prepared. It was a far different situation.

The first floor wasn’t completely dark, but this corridor—which ran east and west along the north wall of the building—was far gloomier than the ground floor hallway, without any windows and only a few light points to allow people to see where their were going. There were four doors along the south wall of the corridor: two on the east side of the stairs, two on the west. Deanna walked straight ahead from the stairs and waved open the closest door on the west side and held it open for Annie.

On the other side was a room much larger than the classrooms on the floor below. It was all pillows on the floors and bare walls, and Annie instantly noticed there wasn’t a single window, not even along the south wall, and as with the hallway outside about a half-dozen light points provided illumination. The other thing she noticed was the dryness in the air, something that wasn’t common around the school, or back home in Pamporovo. “It’s like—”

“The desert?” Deanna shut the door and joined Annie. “I guess I’m drawn to this kind of environment.”

“Were you born in the desert?” Annie, like most everyone else in the school, knew Deanna was born in Iraq in the 1980s, but opinions varied as to where she lived.

“Well . . .” She chuckled. “I was born and grew up in Nazemih, which is a sub-district of Karrada, which is one of the main districts of Baghdad. And since Baghdad is in the desert—” A bright grin appeared as she slowly tossed her head from side-to-side. “You could say I was born in the desert.”

Annie began laughing. “I’m sorry: I don’t know as much about you as I thought.”

“That’s because I don’t talk about that part of my life. When my parents moved to France in 1989 I was four, so my recollections of growing up there are limited. I can remember walking with my mother along the banks of the Tigris a few times, but not much beyond that.” She lightly tapped Annie on the left shoulder. “But we’re not here to talk about me—” She motioned towards the pillows at their feet. “I think you’re here because we want to talk about you.”

“Yes.” Annie nodded. “That was the reason I came to see you.” She dropped down into a lotus position, sitting upon the pillows behind her.

“No, no.” Deanna sat to Annie’s left. “The idea is to lay back—” She positioned several pillow under her torso and head and stretched out. “—and relax.”

Annie followed Deanna’s example, and twenty seconds later she, too, rested upon pillows while staring up at the ceiling. “This is so comfortable. What is this room?”

 

Well, I didn’t say what that room is, because it was ten-thirty PM when I wrote, “What is this room?”, but I did manage to offer a little bit of information about Deanna and where she’s from.

Currently she lives in France, and yes, I know where.  I know a lot about my people, do I not?  But as stated she was born in Iraq, in Nazemih, a sub-district of Karrada, which was and is a middle-class area of Baghdad, the sort of place her parents would have lived.

If you look closely, you may see her.

If you look closely, you may see her.

Since the Tigris River is right there, you can imagine Deanna didn’t live far away.  And as you can imagine, it’s hot there.  And dry.  In fact, go a few kilometers to the east and–

Sand.  Lots of sand.

Sand. Lots of sand.

So when Deanna says she sort of grew up in the desert, she did.  Just like Wednesday did, if you think about it, because she’s from Arizona.  And Isis lives in Palm Springs, which is kinda desert.  so that’s three people who like it hot and dry.

But what is this room?  You know the answer to that–

Tune in tomorrow.

Desert Rising

It’s a lazy Saturday, with the weather gray and rainy.  Perfect sort of day for staying in and writing . . . which was my plan anyway, but at least the weather is cooperating.

I surprised myself last night.  I didn’t get into working on Suggestive Amusements until about nine-thirty, and when I did begin writing I was tired as hell.  But I began Chapter Fifteen, and it was as if a second wind of creativity hit me.  There were thing on Google Maps I needed to look up, and I needed to work through a couple of ideas that were swirling about my mind, but it didn’t slow me up that much.

By the time I finally hauled myself off to bed, with my eyes threatening to close at any moment, the novel was eight hundred words closer to the finale.  I didn’t feel like I had to push myself to get the words written–if anything, I wanted to keep going.  I knew I wouldn’t get a thousand in, but I knew I’d get close.

There’s a thing about using Google Maps to look around where I’m writing scenes, and that I look at the places where my characters are going, and I can see what they look like, I can feel the environment around them.  I’m writing about the desert, a region with which I’ve had limited experience, because I don’t call visiting Las Vegas in 1992 and driving out to Hoover Dam the best way of gaining experience with being in the middle of hot, dry nowhere.

Still, even though the whole time I was in Vegas it was close to one hundred and twenty with about twenty percent humidity every day, I loved it.  It was the first time my sinuses cleared since about forever, and there was something pure and clean about being in the heat.  Not the humidity:  the hell with that.  It’s one of the reasons I stay inside during the Chicago summers, because there’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re walking in steam room every time you go out to check on the mail.

Two of my main characters in Suggestive Amusements are from the desert:  Keith from Las Vegas and Elektra from Alamogordo  New Mexico, and given that Erin’s first conscious moments took place in the middle of ancient Iraq, I guess we can put her in the desert dweller column as well.  All of this means hitting the maps, doing my research–and looking up stuff on things happening in Mesopotamia eight thousand years ago is fun!–and imagining what those places look like is a creative exercise everyone should try at least once.

But I’ll soon leave the desert behind and move back to an alternate Chicago, and deal with the rainy humidity in that story, and probably not go on desert walkabout for a while.  Maybe the mountains after this, or another country.  Then again, I hear the waters on Mars are great this time of year.

All I gotta do is terraform the planet and it’s all good, right?