The Questions of Favors

It’s that time to take a few minutes in the morning while I’m having my coffee and pound away on the keys for a bit.  Though the day I managed, yes I did, and into the evening I worked on the writing.  It’s strange that the first paragraph below, the one that begins “Annie entered the library–” took me almost thirty minutes to write, with the exception of the last sentence, which I wrote about two minutes after writing this line.  I write like that at times, and you wouldn’t believe how I sometimes change things as I’m putting these excerpts together.  Usually while I’m listening to music, which I’m doing right now.  And the current song is And You and I.  No, really:  it is.

Oh, man, the stress I feel.  I’m just like my kids.  For some reason I have it in bunches these days.  I really need more of a stress-free life, I do.  Maybe I’m feeling it because it’s what Kerry’s going through right now, and it’s all rubbing off on me.  Whatever.  Let’s get to things, shall we?  And I believe that starts with the headmistress–

 

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

Annie entered the library first with Kerry right behind her. Deanna noticed immediately that they both appeared relaxed and rested: since they’d slept until almost fourteen-twenty and were excepted from classes for the rest of the day, there wasn’t any reason they shouldn’t. She noticed the strain in their eyes, however, and even disappearing to their hiding spot that was rumored to be off one of the tunnels in the southwestern section of the school hadn’t alleviated the feeling. Annie’s worried, that much is obvious, but Kerry—he skirting the edge between uncertain and frightened. I hope what we have planed doesn’t worsen his mood.  She expected that being told as they returned for dinner that they were expected at the Instructor’s Residence at twenty hours likely accounted for some of the apparent stress—

“I believe you know everyone here.” The headmistress indicated the other four women sitting in a row to the left of an empty chair before motioning to the love seat opposite them. “—and I believe you know where to sit. After all, you’ve been here before, have you not?” Mathilde sat in the unoccupied chair as Annie and Kerry took their place facing her and the others. “Before we begin I wish to make a few comments—

“First, I am here in an observational role only. I have nothing to add to the conversation or findings: rather, I am here to ensure that you are served properly, and that no irregularities occur during this discovery session—”

Kerry turned his gaze from whatever point he had it locked upon to the headmistress. “You figured out something?”

“That’s my next point.” She motioned to her left and mentioned each of the women in their sitting order. “Coraline and Deanna have worked with you on this issue since the beginning of the year. Erywin was brought in about a month ago to offer another prospective on the matter—” Mathilde didn’t pause to go into detail on the exact reason for the instructor’s participation. “—and Jessica was invited by Erywin and the others because of her exceptional problem solving skills.” The headmistress hurried on again least it become necessary for her to explain what exact problem solving skills the Mistress of Transformation offered to this group.

“Now that I’ve had my say, I’ll sit here and watch while the experts take it from here.” Mathilde leaned forward and looked down the line. “Deanna?”

 

Mathilde is pretty much setting the scene and letting Annie and Kerry know nothing bad is going to happen.  We also know the time of the meeting:  twenty hours, or eight PM for those not on universal time.  Here we see that Deanna has heard “rumors” of the kids having a little hiding place off in the tunnels, and once they were awake they–what?  When out there to blow off steam?  Probably sit silently and try not to think about what happened just over twelve hours before.  It’s even more interesting that if these “rumors” are reaching the instructor’s ears, why is it they aren’t seeing if they’re true?  Hum . . .

Now Deanna’s in charge of the room, and she starts with a little mood setting–

 

The seer inhaled slowly before standing. “Thank you, Headmistress.” She tapped her palms against her thighs. “How are feeling Kerry?”

He mustered a slight smile. “Better.”

“Did you sleep well?”

“Yeah.”

“Good.” She looked to the girl on his left. “And how are you, Annie?”

She seemed surprised that she was asked about her current mood. “I’m better as well, Deanna.”

“Did you enjoy a relaxing afternoon?”

A slight blush crept into the cheeks of both children before the half-turned to each other and smiled. Annie nodded twice. “Yes, we did. Given what’s happened in the last few days, it was nice to have time to ourselves.”

“That sort of time is always good.” Deanna arched her eyebrows for just a moment. “But now we need to discuss some of those events: specifically, the one that occurred early this morning.”

Kerry returned to the question he asked a minute before. “Did you guys find something?”

“We may have.” Deanna offered a slight, comforting smile. “The four of us spent the afternoon going over some new material that may hold the answer to your problem.”

Jessica crossed her legs. “We canceled our normal function to work on this, Kerry, and the fact that I’m here and not in Advanced Transformations should tell you that we believe we’ve found something.”

“However—” Deanna stood and took a step towards the young couple facing her on the love seat. “Before we can proceed, I have to ask you both for what is probably the most important favor you were ever asked before now.”

Annie and Kerry once more exchanged glances. Kerry found the nerve to speak first. “What is it?”

 

Deanna’s asking the most important favor ever asked of these two before?  Ever?  That’s a bold statement.  And what is that favor?

 

Deanna rested her head to one side as her smile broadened. “May I sit between you?”

The serious expression both children carried into the room vanished as they looked at each other while holding each others hand tightly. Annie spoke without taking her eyes from her soul mate. “Are you doing this to help Kerry?”

The seer held her hands folded across the front of her body. “I am.”

They held eye contact for a second more before each gave a slow nod and let released their grip on the other. Annie slid to her left and Kerry slid to his right. He motioned for the seer to join them. “Come on, Deanna.”

“Thank you.” She sat down a took a moment to relax. “Thank you—both of you.”

Annie looked up and smiled. “You’re welcome.”

“Now Kerry—” Deanna turned just enough to her right so she could seen to boy to her right without difficulty. “I need to ask you another question, and it’s imperative that you answer me truthfully.”

He turned a little towards the instructor. “I will, I promise. What it is?”

“Do you trust me?”

 

The most important favor you could ever ask these two is to allow you to sit between them, and this is the first time another person of the female persuasion has purposely sat on Kerry’s left since the Chestnut Girl and he got together.  This must be some serious stuff–

"I'm only allowing this because you keep having these freaky dream."  "Otherwise you'd take her to the Manor?"  "Yes."

“I’m only allowing this because you keep having these freaky dream.” “Otherwise you’d take her to the Manor?” “Of course I would, my love.”

And why is Deanna sitting there?  Well . . . I suppose you’ll find out tonight.

I’ll get you there, don’t worry.

Gather Here the Brain Trust: Setting the Scene With the Unbelievable

Yes, this is getting out a little late today, but that’s due to starting on the scene at six AM, writing until nine, getting ready to go out and get my hormones, then stopping to get groceries, and finally getting back here to eat.  It’s time consuming, let me tell ya.

"Do I want to get makeup or make up a blog post?  Oh, I made a funny!"

“Do I want to get makeup or make up a blog post? Oh, I made a funny!”

At least I managed over a thousand words this morning, and after I’m through with this point I’m gonna sit down and take a nap, and then get back into the scene because I’d really love to finish this chapter tomorrow before I sit down and watch the zombies and do a recap for their shenanigans.

All that said, things start out a little slow here, ’cause it seems we’re missing someone–

 

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

“Said she’d be along shortly. She said there was a bit of business she needed to handle and that we could start without her.” Coraline pointed to the lunches. “Do you want to eat first?”
Jessica removed her suit jacket and hung it over a chair. “I’d rather work first and discuss matters while eating, if you don’t mind.”

Coraline suspected this being the case considering the women present. Erywin was well-known for being able to work while eating, and Jessica’s powers of transformation allowed her to consume and digest any meal in a matter of minutes if she so desired. “Okay, then—” She turned towards the lift entrance to see if Deanna had arrived. “Where do you want to start?”

Erywin scratched her chin. “What happened with Kerry?”

“This is what he said—” Coraline explained the little she discovered about his dream before telling her guests what she’d done for both children.

Jessica nodded. “How much longer are they going to be out?”

“I don’t expect them to wake up before fourteen hours. I have an active motion sensor in their bay, and the moment one of them starts moving around or appearing aware, Bianca or Thebe will get the catheters out and order them lunch—”

“Which I expect they’ll need.” Deanna quickly walked into the room. “Sorry I’m late, but you know how coven business gets.” Erywin and Jessica, both coven leaders, nodded in agreement. “Did I miss anything?”

“I told them about what Kerry said last night—”

“Let me guess: he saw that girl in his dream and it scared him.”

“Pretty much. Do you—?”

Deanna shook her head. “I caught the conversation after came up on the lift; I was standing back there waiting to hear it all.” She stepped back and took in everyone. “We need to move on to this information Erywin has.”

“I agree.” Coraline stepped back as she motioned to the other two instructors. “You have the floor.”

 

Deanna likes to hang back and listen, and we know everyone is caught up on the sleeping beauties two floors down.  But there’s information to be had here, and Jessica’s about to lay it on everyone.  So, Mistress of Transformation:  what gives?

 

The two women exchanged a glance before Jessica spoke. “Last Tuesday night my Advanced Transformation class performed their gender change spells, which, if you’re not aware, allows a student to change from their current gender—” Erywin loudly cleared her throat. “Sorry: allows them to change their physical cis forms from one of the binary to the other.” She eyed the woman on her left hard. “Better?”

Erywin smiled. “Better. Continue.”

“Erywin came to me a month ago telling me what she was look for, and asked if I’d give her access to the videos of the class. Naturally I complied, but gives this was Ostara week—” She looked at each of her companions. “You know how busy it gets before the weekend.”

“Why do you wait until right before Ostara to do this then?” Coraline raised an eyebrow. “Wouldn’t it be better to wait until after the weekend events are finished?”

Jessica chuckled as she crossed her arms. “Ostara is all about change—and I consider these spells among the ultimate in change.”

“That’s all well and good—” Erywin set her fists on her hips. “But let’s move on.” She turned to Jessica. “Tell them what you told me Friday.”

“A little back ground first.” Jessicas glanced down for a second as she appeared to think for a couple of seconds. “Because Kerry’s a Mimic it’s necessary to teach him all the components of transformation magic before turning him loose. Just because one can mimic it doesn’t mean one can put all the parts together property.”

Deanna raised her right index finger. “I’m a little unsure as to what a Mimic does.”

“A Mimic interfaces their aura with that of another person, and since an aura is a reflection of a person’s physical aspect, they are copying that information to their aura and using it to alter their physical form. That’s why they need to know the specifics of doing a full transformation before they can craft the magic.

“With Kerry it’s been necessary for me to teach him how to craft a full-body transformation before allowing him to mimic someone. He was performing small mimics before entering class, and I readied him for the full mimics over the last couple of class. Two weeks ago he did his first full mimic on the other boy in class, Fekitoa Naitaku. Fekitoa was a good one with whom to start: he’s from Fiji and he’s somewhat bigger than Kerry, so getting the transformation right would require considerable skill.”

Coraline asked the question everyone wanted to hear. “Did he do it?”

“Yes, and with flying colors. He actually did the transformation so fast that a couple of students gasped. However, I first had him perform a full-body cismale transformation, which he also performed marvelously.”

Erywin leaned towards the transformation instructor. “Tell them what you told me.”

Jessica drew a deep breath. “I wanted to do the same this last week and have Kerry attempt a full-body cisfemale transformation before mimicking the girls in the class. And . . .” She released a slight sigh. “He failed.”

 

I know what you’re thinking:  Kerry failed?  And you’re not the only ones–

 

Coraline and Deanna glanced between them before Deanna spoke. “What do you mean ‘he failed’?”

“I mean he was unable to perform the transformation.” Jessica held up her hand to forestall any questions. “By that I mean he couldn’t craft the spell. He wasn’t able to do it at all.”

Coraline’s eyes grew wide. “Not even partially?”

“Not even partially—which is strange because he has performed small csifemale changes before, mostly hands, feet, that sort of thing. When it came to doing a full-body change?” Jessica shook her head. “He told me he couldn’t visualize a girl’s form.”

“Wait.” Deanna held up both hands as if trying to stop something from getting by her. “He couldn’t visualize a girl’s form?”

“That’s what he said.”

“That seems impossible.”

“I agree.” Jessica looked about the room as if she were uncomfortable speaking about this event. “It’s never happened before with him in my class.”

Deanna appeared slightly surprised. “I don’t believe it’s happened to him in any classes. I’ve heard of him having some difficulty at the start of learning a new spell, but—”

“This wasn’t the same thing; he’s shown he can do the transformations on a smaller level.”

Coraline turned to Erywin. “What does that mean to you as far as conducting your due diligence is concerned?”

 

This is suddenly getting into some strange territory, for saying Kerry was unable to do something that, up to that point, everyone was certain he’d pull off without a problem–it’s troubling.  And you’d think by this point in his life, particularly given his current sleeping situation, he’d have no trouble making it happen.  But that’s not the case, and suddenly things are going sideway.

Where am I going with this?

Off for a nap, if I must be honest.

Hospital Visitation: Bedside Manners

It’s a cloudy morning here in the Burg, but it’s warming up and should get warm enough to wear a jacket before needing to return to the winter coat temps tomorrow.  And I had an interesting walk into work, because rather than head up 2nd Street to my coffee shop, I went a block over to the west and headed up Front Street, which runs along the banks of the Susquehanna River.  It’s a far different experience than heading up what is known in the city as Restaurant Row, which is really about two blocks long.  Chicago we ain’t.

But like Chicago we do have a lot of bridges–

Some that are even unsafe to drive on and have partially collapsed into the river.

Some that are even unsafe to drive on and have partially collapsed into the river.

And we have old buildings–

And quiet drives on one-way streets.

And quiet drives on one-way streets.

We have nice panoramas:

From bridges to buildings to a place where nothing gets done.

From bridges to buildings to a place where nothing gets done.

And, of course, the writer needs to put herself into a few pictures.

The writer outside her normal environment--

The writer outside her normal environment–

 

And within her environment with a new nail color.

And within her environment with coffee and a new nail color.

Now that all that personal stuff about walking and taking pictures is out of the way, it’s on to writing . . .

The scene is finished.  A few hundred words went down last night, and another eight hundred and seventy fell today, which means there’s just over eleven hundred more that you haven’t seen.  Coraline’s in Total Doctor Mode, and she’s handing out medical orders like she runs the place–which, come to think of it, she does.  The last time she had to get all doctoring and stuff with Kerry, this time he’s just laying there listening, and not trying to convince Coraline he’s okay.  He knows he’s not okay, as do the two female types with him in the bay.

So what’s the plan for the rest of the evening?

 

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

Coraline pushed herself back slightly from Kerry’s bed: it was time to bring this meeting to an end. “Until further notice you’re spending your evenings in this bed. You are on a conditional release, which means during the day, when you’re up, you’re free to leave the ward to go classes, the Dining Hall, and the Midnight Madness. When it’s End of Day and Lights Out, you come back here. You, too, Annie; I’ve already spoken to Holoč. I’ll see to it your uniforms and whatever else you require to get through the day is brought over today.

“But first we need to get you through tonight, and I’m going to take a bit of a drastic measure simply because it’s needed.” She leaned forward. “I’m going to give you something that will knock you out for about twelve hours straight, because you’re suffering from exhaustion and you need the sleep. I know you are likely concerned that the dream you had tonight is going to come back, so . . .” Coraline removed a small ampule from the pocket of her robe. “This will suppress the acetylcholine in your brain, thereby shutting down your REM functions. You won’t dream while you’re asleep.” She clutched her right wrist in her left hand. “You know I can’t keep you from dreaming for long, though: it’s not good for you.”

He looked towards his lap again. “I know.”

Coraline stood and pushed her chair back against the wall. “I’ll be right back.” She motioned for Annie to move from her side of the bed before heading to the storage area where she picked up things she required for her patient and setting them in a carry-all. She returned and found Annie standing on Kerry’s right, holding his hand and looking down at his now-flat bed.

She set the carry-all on the night stand and prepared an IV. “I’ll set the acetylcholine inhibitor in this IV, then I’ve give you the sleep patch.” Coraline set the ampule into a sleeve in the tubbing and set the IV transmission patch against the back of Kerry’s left hand. She removed the patch from her carry-all. “You’re going to start feeling drowsy right away; don’t fight the feeling, just let it come. You’re going to have a relaxing, fulfilling sleep, Kerry: I promise.”

“I believe you.” He gave her a somewhat sad smile. “And thank you.”

“It’s my pleasure.” Coraline prepared the patch. “You ready?” She pressed it against his carotid artery and applied a light pressure as she crafted the spell to start the medication flowing.
He looked up at Annie, trying to hold his smile. “I guess I’ll—” Within seconds Kerry’s eyes fluttered. “Um—” His face grew slack as his eyes close. “I love . . .” His voice trailed away as his body went limp. In seconds he was breathing through his slightly parted mouth while a deep sleep overtook him.

 

Acetylcholine is a real thing:  it’s what helps you dream, and while that’s going on your body is producing almost as much as it does while you’re awake.  Shut that down and you shut down your dream functions, and the good doctor is doing just that.  I’ve known she was going to do this for a while, but I didn’t get this information until a few days ago because it wasn’t needed.  Now you know.

Now, this thing with Kerry going right out . . . naw, it’s not something Coraline expected–

 

Coraline let out a long sigh. “Damn.”

“What?” Annie looked up, the semi-pained look still present in her eyes.

“It usually takes about a minute for the medication I gave him to put you to sleep. He was out in seconds—” Coraline checked the status monitors over the bed. “He’s okay, but he must have been tired as hell.” She tisked loudly. “I should have caught this on Saturday.”

Annie continued holding Kerry’s hand. “What did you mean when you said not dreaming for long wasn’t good?”

Coraline waved the carry-all off the night stand and levitated it to the end of the bed. “Going without dreaming for too long has the same effect as going without sleep: in time the beta-amyloid builds up because the body isn’t filtering it out properly—which REM sleep helps do—and before you know it your exhausted, you’re having probably with your memory and concentration—” She gazed down into the carry-all. “You can even start hallucinating. So if he continues to keep himself from sleeping because he fears a dream—”

Annie looked down on her sleeping soul mate. “Would you get him help?”

“I’d have to, but I’d likely have to send him to a facility for that.” Coraline saw Annie’s shoulders slump as the girl grasped her comment. I’ve never seen her suffer so much. Even last year, when she was so desperate to have Kerry remember their time before school, she was never like this. “Annie?”

She didn’t look up. “Yes?”

“It’s okay if you cry.”

Annie straightened before turning to face Coraline. Though her face remained pained, her voice was serious and steady. “My tears are only for him and no one else.”

For Annie to be noticeably shaken a lot of shit has to have went down.  Sure, it’s early in the morning and she was blasted out of a sound sleep by her soul mate screaming, but she’s not reacting well to Kerry’s situation.  And she’s shook up in a way that Coraline’s never seen–but she’d not shook up enough to not let Coraline know there is no way in hell she’s gonna shed a tear in front of her.  The implication is noted:  I may cry for Kerry, but you are not he.  She showed him a tear when they were together in London over the summer, but she’d burn the school down before anyone  else sees one.

So, Kerry’s been more or less kicked out of the tower for the time being–and Annie as well–and he’s down for a twelve hour rest.  What’s next?

 

Coraline nodded once. “Got it.” She sorted through things in the carry-all as Annie wandered over. “I need to get a catheter in him.”

“You brought two.” Annie looked up. “And another IV.”

“Yes, I did—” Coraline rested against the foot board of Kerry’s bed. “For you.”

“Why?”

“Because you need sleep as well, girl. You’re a moment away from losing it now, and I know if I leave you on your own tonight, you’ll stay up and watch over him and worry—which means come morning you won’t be worth a damn.” She shook her head. “He needs a good twelve hours of sleep, and I don’t see any reason why you should have the same.”

Annie turned to Bed #1 then back to Coraline. “Do you—?”

“Oh, please.” She chuckled for the first time since arriving at the hospital this evening. “I’ve been told I’m a facilitator to your affections, so I don’t see a reason to stop now.” She pointed towards the bed. “Climb in and get comfortable. I’ll get your IV and do the catheters after you’re out.”

There was a momentary pause, then Annie gave Coraline a warm hug. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” She held the girl by the shoulders. “Best get settled before I change my mind.”

Annie slid into bed next to Kerry, getting comfortable in the crook of his right arm, and nodded when she was ready. Coraline applied the sleep patch and watch the tired girl drift off to sleep before getting her IV affixed. Before she pulled back the covers to get their catheters in place Coraline slumped as she considered what had already happened this evening as well as why they needed to do today. I hope to hell we can figure this out soon, ‘cause it may not go well for Kerry if we don’t. She patted both sleeping children on their heads. We can’t fail these two; we simply can’t.

 

The couple that soul mates together get to do the long nap time together, and Coraline could give a shit if anyone says anything to her.  She’s also aware that they are in this together:  if Kerry is suffering, then Annie’s suffering, ad they’re helping not just one kid, but both.  Or at least that’s how Coraline see this.  Other’s may have a different view of the situation–

In face, in the next scene, someone will have an extraordinarily different view of the Lovely Dovey couple . . .

Hospital Visitations: Patient Questions

It’s been a good, productive morning here in The Burg, even though I wasn’t sure it was going to go that way.  I woke up not knowing if I was going to stay in or go out–you know, “Should I Stay Or Should I Go?”  One of the eternal questions that are always asked and eventually answered.

And answer I did, for I finally decided that I wasn’t going to spent time sitting in my apartment, not when I could be outside on a bright, sunny morning.  So I hopped in the car and drove up to the other branch of the coffee shop that I visit on Sunday mornings, only this one is located in old Uptown neighborhood of Harrisburg.

Looks like something you might see in a movie, right?

Looks like something you might see in a movie, right?

Since this place is only a mile and a half from my apartment, maybe I’ll try walking here once the weather gets better.  I can totally do that, I know I can.

Once more we’re back in the Salem School Hospital, Bay #1, and Coraline’s about to speak with her Very Important Patient.  Kerry’s doing a little better than he was when he first arrived, but he’s not one hundred percent, as one might say if they were discussing their racing condition.  Only Kerry’s not racing anyone right now–or is he?

 

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

The lights were set at half-full, giving the space enough illumination without being too bright. The head of Kerry’s bed was at full elevation, allowing him to set straight up: Coraline took this as a sign he wasn’t ready to head off to sleep. He didn’t have his glasses on as they were still in his room in the tower, left there when Nurse Gretchen brought him to the hospital, leaving Coraline to make a mental note to have Gretchen pick them up in the morning so Kerry would be able to see once out of bed.

Annie sat to Kerry’s left, holding his hand but looking in Coraline’s direction as she entered. She didn’t know if they were talking before she entered the bay, but she figured that they were both sitting quietly, waiting for her to check up on Kerry as Gretchen told them she would. Annie might comfort Kerry, but she wouldn’t question him only to have me question him again. Coraline headed up the center of the bay between the beds so she could check Kerry’s displayed vitals. She doesn’t want to waste time—and it’s likely she already knows the answers to most of her questions . . .

Seeing there wasn’t anything physically wrong with her patient, Coraline pulled out the chair next to the right side of Kerry’s bed and sat where she could see both Annie and him without a problem. “Hey, Red.” She gave him her best smile. “You relaxed?”

His smile was weak. “I feel calm.”

“That’s better than when you came in.” Coraline slid a little closer to Kerry’s bed. “I want you to get back to sleep as soon as possible, but before that happens I need to ask you a few questions first. I won’t keep you long; I just need to know what happened to I can tell Deanna when I see her later today.”

His smile grew a bit brighter. “You’re going to meet with Deanna?”

“And Erywin, too. We’re getting together a lunch to talk about you.”

He turned to Annie. “See? The brain trust is gonna figure this out.”

Annie returned his smile, but Coraline saw the stress in her eyes. “It’s a good think, my love.”

Coraline nodded. “Yes, it is.” She kept her tone relaxed. “You had a dream, right?”

 

Since Coraline already knows Kerry had a dream, she’s asking a rhetorical question.  Probably because she wants to see what he’s going to say so she can tell “The Brain Trust” makes of his answers.  At least he doesn’t start tap dancing–

 

“Yeah.”

“It was one of those, wasn’t it?”

He turned to Annie before turning back to Coraline. “Yeah. She was there. She was in my house.”

While she wasn’t an expert on dreams, this new development led her to believe events were coming to some sort of conclusion.  “What happened?”

He looked down the length of his bed before speaking in a low, dejected tone. “She got in the house. I was on the landing and I heard her come in the front door then come up the stairs. She looked kinda—” He pursed his lips for a few seconds. “She was sad.”

“How do you know?”

“I just do. She got to the landing and sorta stared ahead for a few seconds—” He faintly chuckled. “Funny thing, though—”

Coraline was encouraged that Kerry could chuckle about anything at this point. “What is?”

“She turned to the right when she stepped off the landing. In my want to go into my room you have to turn left off the landing, but she turned right. You do that and you’ll walk into the wall.”

“Did she come into your room?” Though Coraline made a note of this point, she moved the conversation along as she worried Kerry might become fixated on a particular scene.

He began his answer with a sigh. “She did. After she stepped off the landing everything jumbled around—” His eyes closed for a moment. “Way it is in a dream, right? After that I’m sitting in my room in front of my computer and I hear my door open, and there she is walking inside . . .”

Coraline prodded him along as his pause stretched out. “And?”

“We talked.”

“About?

He shrugged. “I can’t remember. I just know we talked.”

Annie squeezed his hand. “Tell her what you told me?”

Kerry almost seemed to nod, though Coraline thought he might be fighting to stay awake. “I think I might know who she is now. I keep getting—” He touched his temple with his right hand. “It’s like I know her name, it just won’t come to me.”

“And I’m not going to try and make you remember.” Coraline patted his right arm. “I’ll pass this along when we meet and see if it means anything.”

He pushed the pillow up behind his head and settled back. “Whatever.”

 

This is the first time Kerry’s expressed the feeling that maybe he knows the name of Carrot Girl–the cute name one of my readers gave to this mysterious dream vixen.  Up until ow he’s said he doesn’t know her, but now–hey, maybe he does.  Or maybe he doesn’t, because the name is there somewhere in his memory and it won’t come out.  Either way you look at it, like Coraline imagines, things seem like they’re coming to a head.  And Kerry seems tired of it all, because when has he ever said to someone, “Whatever.”  Like never, that’s when.

This leads to an interesting discovery, and the need for Coraline to do her doctor thing:

 

Coraline ignored his dismissal, writing it off as a symptom of the evening’s activities. “Just a few more things and then it’s time to put you to bed, okay?” She didn’t wait for his reply. “Your vitals show advanced exhaustion, so I need to ask this question: have you been avoiding sleep?”

He didn’t try to dance around the question. “Yes. I’ve been staying up late to keep from sleeping.”

“Because you were afraid to dream.”

“Yes.”

“How long has this gone on?”

“Since right before Katahdin.” His face grew slack as he continued. “Like the Wednesday before.”

“Why did you do that?”

He met Coraline’s gaze. “Because I felt something coming. That how it felt.” He broke away and stared down at his lap as his demeanor turned dismal. “Like something bad was going to happen.”

“It’s okay, Kerry.” She patted his arm again, trying to comfort. “We’re gonna help you, don’t worry. It’s gonna happen.” Coraline quickly moved on. “Now, for the rest. First, I’m placing you on magic restrictions: no crafting of any kind until further notice. Given your current condition, I can’t risk you trying to craft a spell and having it get away from you. This doesn’t mean you can’t go to class—”

He nodded once. “Just no magic.”

“Right. And don’t let me hear you tried something, ‘cause . . .” She shook her head gravely. “I’d have to do something to ensure you couldn’t do magic, and I don’t want to do that. Okay?

“Second: you’re also grounded until further notice as well. I don’t want you need a broom, and I sure as hell don’t want you on one. And if you’re grounded—”

“No racing.” He pulled his shoulders inward as he hung his head.

“Yeah. Can’t have you racing for the same reasons I can’t have you doing magic. Holoč’s aware, and he said he’ll take care of things with the team.” She gave his right hand a pat. “I’m sorry, but I can’t have you on a course when you’re like this.”

“It’s okay.” He bravely smiled as he lifted his gaze towards the school doctor. “I understand.”

 

The last surprise to come out of this is that Kerry’s felt something bad is about to happen, and that’s kept him up so he does’t have to dream, that’s serious shit.  And, as you’ll find out when I post the rest of this scene, it doesn’t do him any good.  Coraline’s put the hammer down on him, and maybe another seven, eight hundred words will finish this out.

I’m surprised I pretty much breezed through almost eight hundred and eighty-five words.  I have to admit, it hurts writing this ’cause I’m hurting my kids.  I’m not doing Kerry any good, and I’m damn sure not helping Annie out any, either.  As it was pointed out to me the other day, Annie’s went through a lot with Kerry, and it’s a testament to how much she loves him that she’s put up with so much.  Why?  Because as I said before, Annie has her eyes on the prize, and the prize is Kerry, and it’s Kerry because she loves her little ginger oh, so much.  And she knows that were their roles reversed, he’d be right there for her, too.  Though he’s only had to defend her once from certain death–when he was literally the Last Boy Standing in The Link of Kansas City–Annie knows Kerry would lay his life on the line for her.  It won’t happen here, but believe me:  he would do so.  Because I know so.

Is this the Resting Bitch Face of someone who would lie?

Is this the Resting Bitch Face of someone who would lie?

Nails get done this afternoon, then it’s back to the casa tonight to finish this scene.  And finish it I so want–

‘Cause the scene that follows is going to show something no one–including me–as so far seen . . .

Bewitching Be Ahead

Just when you think you have a cold licked, it decides that it isn’t quite through with you yet.  The sniffly nose and scratchy throat were gone last night but came back while I slept, and I’ll be fighting this off while I go to electrolysis this morning.  Joy.

However . . . something got done.  Would you believe the first scene of the first chapters of the first part of Act Three?

You should:  I don't lie about those things.

You should: I don’t lie about those things.

Yes, the aftermath of Kerry’s “She’s Coming For Me Duh Dun DUUUUUUNNNNNNNNN!” moment is here, started last night and finished before Into the Badlands began.  And just like all of what I wrote the last time, here is the scene in its entirety.  With comments from me, of course, but just as I wrote it last night.  And speaking of the night, we pick up not long after Kerry had his latest of bad dreams . . .

 

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

Denna did not believe a little after two-thirty was the best time to ask questions of someone, but given the situation, and the person of whom they needed to ask, she felt it was best to do this now rather than wait until morning and, perhaps, miss something important.

She hurried to the Great Hall as soon as Coraline called, needing only enough time to change out of her night clothes before jaunting to the first floor landing outside the hospital entrance. She greeted Nurse Gretchen as she entered the ward and headed around the corner to Bay #1, which she entered as she was expected.

Kerry was partially propped up in bed: Coraline explained that he wasn’t fully healed and she didn’t want to make him any more uncomfortable than he was right now. Annie was seated on Kerry’s left, holding his hand while watching Coraline and her. Deanna did a quick scan of Annie’s aura and witnessed the flow of muddy indigo running through the light pink. She didn’t need to give Annie’s feelings any further thought: her worry and concern were a given.

With Coraline and her sitting on the other bed Kerry told what he remembered of this current dream. Deanna watched him as he spoke. She heard the fatigue in his voice and noticed the twinges of pain that shot across his face as he related his tale. She appreciated that he was tired and still shaken by what he’d experienced, but at the same time she found his dream fascinating—and not a bit disturbing.

When he finished Deanna allowed him a few seconds to regather his strength and accept some tenderness from Annie by way of a few squeezes of his hand and soft, lingering looks. It was only when he turned back to them that she asked questions. “You say this girl stood in your backyard and simply looked up at you?”

Kerry sighed. “Yeah.”

“Nothing else?”

 

That’s some pretty scary stuff there, Kerry.  Are you sure she did nothing else?

 

He looked down towards his lap for a moment. “She waved.”

Coraline twisted the right corner of her mouth upward. “She waved?”

“Uh, huh. Like—” He tried to move his left hand but Annie held it tight and shook her head. He chuckled. “I guess I shouldn’t give examples.”

“We get the idea, Kerry.”

Deanna exhaled slowly. “Did you wave back?”

Kerry thought for a moment. “I don’t—” He blinked slowly, as if fighting to stay awake. “I’m not sure. I don’t think I did.”

Annie spoke for the first time since the two women began questioning Kerry. “Is that important?”

 

You know Kerry was going for that little Queen’s Wave, with the hand going back and forth so nicely.  Sure, he couldn’t, because broken wrist and all, but he tried.

And now that we got the wave thing out of the way, what does it mean?  Cue our Resident Seer and Dream Expert Deanna–

 

“Waving is a powerful dream symbolism.” Deanna leaned forward slowly. “For someone to wave at you means they could be looking for support—and given that we know she’s told Kerry that he hold her life in his hands, it would seem to be a continuation of that concept.”

Annie glanced at Kerry for the slightest moment. “And waving back?”

The seer stared off into unfocused nothingness. “One is trying to acknowledge the other person, perhaps recognize them. There’s also . . .” Deanna slowly turned his attention back to Kerry and stared at him with great intensity for a few seconds before she turned to Coraline and spoke in Esperanto. “Mi bezonas vian helpon.”

Coraline replied in the same language. “Kio?”

Deanna kept her tone normal. “Mi tuj demandas al li demandon, kaj mi volas ke vi rigardu sia aŭro kiam li respondas.”

The school’s doctor nodded once. “Certe. Petu for.”

 

When the adults break out the Esperanto, you know they’re talking about you.  By now Annie and Kerry are smart enough to get this, but they say nothing.  After all, what can they say?  “Hey, you adults, stop talking about us?”  Doesn’t work that way.

I won’t tell you what was asked by Deanna, but I will say that Coraline’s last statement is, “Sure, ask away.”  So Deanna does:

 

“Okay.” Deanna asked her question. “Kerry, are you certain you don’t know the identity of this girl? That you’ve never met her before?”

This time Kerry shook his head slowly and waited a few seconds before answering. “I don’t know her, really. I’ve only seen her in my dreams, and I have no idea . . .” He closed his eyes and sighed with great weariness. “I don’t know her.”

“Okay, Kerry.” Deanna smiled brightly. “I had to ask, that’s all.” She stood and addressed Coraline. “I don’t believe we’re helping these two by keeping them up any longer.”

Coraline made her way to her feet as well. “You’re right.” She turned to her patient and his most careful attendant. “You feeling okay?”

Kerry settled back against his pillow. “My insides feel like they’re twisting up now and then.”

“That’s those little magical nanoids still doing their thing.” She checked his vitals on the monitors above his bed. “I’m going to have Nurse Gretchen come in and re-medicate you so you can get back to sleep.”

A worried look came over his face. “Am I gonna—?”

“You won’t dream again.” Deanna put as much comfort in her tone as possible to put him at ease. “At least I would think you won’t have that one again. Based upon your other experiences, I think once a night is enough.”

He drew in several noticeable breaths before meeting the seer’s gaze. “What’s wrong with me, Deanna?”

“I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with you, Kerry. These dreams mean something: all we have to do is find that meaning.” She rested her hand on the railing at the foot of his bed. “That’s why I’m here—to help. And I will help.”

 

Finally Kerry’s starting to thing, or believe, or assume, that there’s something wrong with him.  Remember how Jessica mentioned–in her head, of course–that from here on out the B Levels have to deal with a lot of pressure, both from school and having to come out to their parents?  Now Kerry’s starting to deal with this shit, and it’s starting to mess with his head.

But Deanna assured him that there’s nothing wrong, so he shouldn’t worry.  Right?  Ummm . . .

 

Coraline moved around Deanna and stood next to the privacy curtain. “Gretchen will be here in a few: I’ll see you both in the morning.” She opened the curtain and waited for Deanna to step into the ward corridor before heading for her office. She instructed Gretchen to re-medicate Kerry well enough to get him through the rest of the night and into mid-morning, and watched her as she went to the supply closet. Only then she did close the door and turn to Deanna. “Were you looking?”

“Of course.” She looked out the office windows towards Bay #1. “The question is, did you see?”

“I did.” Coraline seemed to wither as she sighed. “So what the hell does that mean?”

Deanna shook her head and replied in a low tone. “Damned if I know.”

“What’s our next move, then?”

Deanna hated to take this next step, but she felt there wasn’t any choice. “We need to speak to Mathilde. I believe we’re going to need help—” She glanced at Coraline out of the corner of her eye. “—or at least get a different perspective on this matter.”

 

What did they see?  Well, as I like to say, I know, but you don’t–not yet.  That comes tonight, when I write the next scene.  Assuming I’m not dying from a cold.

Speculations of the Dreaming Kind: Sleeping Suppositions  

Because today is something of a big day for me, I promised I would get the last scene out of the way and finish up what’s going on in Chapter Twenty.  And guess what?

Totally did that.

Totally did that.

Oh, and also:  I came within four hundred and seventy-five words of one hundred and eighty thousand words.  Woot!  Another month and I’ll crack two hundred thousand . . . didn’t I say this novel would finish up around two hundred and twenty-five thousand words?  Yeah . . . about that–

Forget about that for now:  at the moment Coraline’s sitting with Deanna in her school apartment, and the question “What does it mean?” has been asked.  Where does that take us?  Here:

 

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

Deanna wished she had tea at this moment, as the simple act of holding the steaming cup brought her comfort. “If we were talking about another boy in another relationship, I’d venture that the girl is a subconscious desire to warn the boy that his relationship is wanting or doomed.” She rubbed her fingertips together. “But we are talking about Annie and Kerry—”

“Yeah.” Coraline glanced at her slippers and chuckled. “There’s no way those two are in danger of breaking up.”

“I agree.”

 

Seers and doctors alike agree:  these two lurv each other.  No breaking up stuff for them!  Onward:

 

“So we’re back to the question of ‘What does it mean?’ again.”

Deanna knew that wasn’t exactly true. “There are two other possibilities. One is that someone is dreamwalking him; the other is that he’s having a vision.” She switched arms and now rested her chin against her left hand. “Both have their merits and problems.”

“A vision can’t kick you out of a dream.” Coraline leaned forward, her hands on her thighs. “That’s something a dreamwalker would do.”

“There is a lot of truth there—and it would be difficult to dreamwalk a real vision. But a dream vision?” Deanna shook her head. “There are schools of thought on the matter that a skilled dreamwalker could enter a dream vision—”

“Do you believe that?”

“I do. I’ve never tried it, but then, one would never know if they were inside a dream vision or a normal dream unless they knew what they were seeing.” Deanna slowly ran her right index nail up and down the middle of her upper lip. “What did you think of the school uniform the girl was wearing?”

“A Cernunnos B Level?” Coraline remembered the look they’d exchanged when Kerry mentioned that detail. “That can’t be coincidental, either.”

Deanna shook her head. “Annie didn’t think so, either.”

“She did her damnedest not to react when she heard that one.” Coraline chuckled darkly. “It’s a good thing there isn’t a student like that here now—”

“Yet.”

 

The detail of the school uniform that Carrot Girl–a favorite name from one of the readers that I have adopted, because we’re all about our veggies here–was not mentioned in the scene where Kerry discussed his dreams; one of the ideas with this scene is that far more was discussed after I ended the prior scene.  Now we know:  she was a Cernunnos B Level.  Which is why the following comes up:

 

Coraline saw the meaning behind the word. “You think it’s a vision?”

“It could very well be. Perhaps next year, or the year after—”

“Or the year after that.”

“—We’ll see a girl like the one Kerry’s described walk through Founder’s Gate and get placed by The Phoenix in Cernunnos—”

“Where she’ll run into something when she’s a B Level that will require Kerry saving her life?”

 

Coraline’s only asking that because Kerry’s already proven that he’ll jump in and do stupid things to save the lives of ginger hair girls.  Well, not stupid:  I’m sure nearly everyone at school who knows of him saving Emma from the Abomination thinks his actions were brave.  Unless their name is Annie.  Then they likely think he was stupid.  Though they’ll never say that in public.  Well, maybe once.  Or twice.  We’ll see.

This gets Deanna to pointing out that the idea of Kerry saving someone he’s never seen before isn’t all that strange for this joint . . .

 

Deanna shrugged. “Stranger things have happened here, haven’t they?” She sat the tip of her nose against the top of her left index finger and looked away from the woman across from her. “Did you ever imagine when school started in 2011 that one of the first things you’d do is tell a boy from Cardiff that a Bulgarian girl was in love with him?”

“No, I didn’t.” Coraline replayed that particular memory that moment, remembering how concerned Annie appeared when she asked Coraline to examine the boy who helped her to the hospital; how Kerry stared when Coraline began using the scanner; the way he seemed talking about wandering Amsterdam with Kerry before coming to school; and the look upon his face when she told him that Annie was madly in love with him. “I do remember, however, that when I was telling you guys what happened the next day you didn’t seem all that surprised.”

“Well, you did tell us at the end of Orientation Day and I’d already met them, so . . .” She left the question hanging. “Maybe I already suspected something about their relationship?”

“Sure.” Coraline flashed a slight smile as she got to her feet. “Anyway, what’s next?”

“Just as we advised—” Deanna rose and escorted Coraline to the door. “Kerry keeps track of his dreams, and when this girl appears again—which I’m certain she’ll do—he’s to write down what happened, then come and see us.” She hesitated before waving the door open. “Perhaps more information will make it easier for us to determine what’s happening.”

“You really don’t know what’s happening—” Coraline turned to face the seer. “Do you?”

Deanna shook her head slowly. “Not a clue.”

Coraline pursed her lips. “It must suck not knowing.”

“Actually, no, it doesn’t. Sometimes it’s nice not knowing.”

“Really?”

“Sure.” Deanna waved her hand and the door opened slowly and quietly. “I do like to be surprised from time-to-time, you know.”

 

Deanna likes surprises.  That’s one bit of good news.  And this thing with Kerry is . . . surprising her.  Um, yay?  Is she really surprised, or is she just telling Deanna that?  Hum . . . well, I know, but I’m not saying.

Chapter Twenty-One is next, and it looks like it’s full of Express Farewells, puppets, and death.  You know what?  That sounds like a hell of a lot of fun.

I better get to writing that tonight.

Speculations of the Dreaming Kind: Living Setup

Well, now, I finally make it back to the blog after a just over eleven hour drive yesterday and an early evening.  I mean, I left all you pretties alone with my words yesterday, and I couldn’t interact as I normally do.

On the other hand, I was taking selfies in service stops in Ohio.  It all works out.

On the other hand, I was taking selfies in service stops in Ohio. It all works out.

Now you know what sort of ring-a-ding-thing Annie is interested in getting when the time come to tie the knot, so to speak.  That girl–when it comes time to say, “Until death do us part,” she means it.  Of course her parents–who she’s said are very romantic–have their astral rings, but one gets the feeling that Annie’s ring for Kerry is going to be extremely elaborate and done with a lot of love and care.  Also, she’s had years to work on and refine the design, which is gonna put a lot of pressure on Kerry to come up with something of equal brilliance.

I’ve said before that Annie knows what she wants, and what she wants (1) she gets, and (2) this particular want has ginger hair.  She isn’t letting Kerry get away, and she’ll make sure everyone knows he’s hers . . .

Etched Into Your Skin

Okay, maybe this last is a little too much.  After all, Kerry will do the same to Annie–

But enough of rings and weddings that won’t take place for years if they do take place (do I know something you don’t?  Ha!), we have other fish a-frying right now . . .

And to find out what sort of fish we’re talking about, it’s time to visit a couple of adults a little later in this same day . . .

 

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

Deanna completed the last of her unpacking when there was a knock on her door. While the first weekend of the new year, when staff and instructors returned to Salem, wasn’t a normal time for people to get together and meet in the Instructor’s Residence, Deanna had expected this knock from early this afternoon. She decided not to make her guest wait: she straightened her abaya and turned towards the knock. “Yes?”

The door opened and Coraline half-peeked into the room. “May I come in?”

“You may.”

Coraline—still wearing most of her outfit from the morning save she’d swapped out her new boots for a pair of warm slippers—eased into the room and gently shut the door behind her. “Do I need to change my shoes?”

Deanna normally had her guests take off their shoes and put on slippers she made available, but given Coraline’s current foot ware she didn’t see the need to change. “What you have on is good. What’s on your mind?”

Coraline wrapped her arms around herself. “I’ve been thinking about our meeting today—”

“I gathered that.” Deanna pointed to the chairs in the small living area. “Let’s sit.”

 

I’ve not shown much of the inside of the Instructor’s Residence, but if you think of it as a large, comfortable efficiency hotel, then you get the idea–though a group of large studio apartments without separate kitchens are likely closer to the truth.

 

Nearly every room in the Instructor’s Residence was the same: a large room with a bedroom area and a living area, with doors leading to a large closet and a separate bathroom. Deanna’s living area was simple: two chairs, a small table, and two low bookcases, with little in the way of decorations on the walls. She waited to Coraline to take her seat before sitting. “I could ask the kitchen to send up some tea—”

The school’s doctor shook her head. “That’s okay; we just ate an hour ago.”

“Very well.” Deanna settled back in her chair. “What’s bothering you?”

Coraline fidgeted for a few seconds. “The meeting we had with Annie and Kerry this morning . . .”

“Yes, what of it?”

“Did you notice the one connecting thread in those dreams?”

Deanna set her right elbow against the arm of her chair and rested her jaw against her propped-up hand.

“Besides the girl in the dreams?”

“Yes.”

“You’re talking about Annie—” Deanna tapped her right index finger against her cheek. “Aren’t you?”

Coraline nodded slowly. “Yeah.” She crossed her legs as she lightly kneaded the spot directly above her heart. “Annie was present at four of the dreams, either in person or while dreamwalking—and given that Kerry was arguing with his parents about her the night he had the first dream, she could probably be considered a trigging factor.” She shrugged as if trying to push the thought away.

Deanna let out a breath she’d held since asking her friend that last question. “You’re right: Annie’s been at each dream, and her influence could have played a part the first one.” She rested her jaw against her hand once again. “Five times is too often for it to be a coincidence.”

The women sat looking at each other for a few seconds before Coraline asked the other question on her mind. “So what does it mean?”

 

Good question:  what does it all mean?  Does Deanna have some ideas about why Annie also appears connect to Kerry’s dreams?  Or is it all just a fantasy and there’s nothing here to see.

I can only say one thing:

As soon as I'm done taking morning selfies, I gotta get writing.

As soon as I’m done taking morning selfies, I gotta get writing.