And a good day–and other days! Enjoy!
Part of last night’s festivities was watching The Neon Demon on Amazon. That is one strange ass movie, but I think I’m gonna have to give it another viewing because it’s also interesting. It’s certainly not a movie for everyone, but the damn thing is beautiful as hell.
It’s that sort of thing you need to step back and decompress from time to time. I needed decompressing bad last night and watching a movie about beautiful young women was the ticket, even if it didn’t make a lot of goddamn sense. Then again, this is why people watch Transformer movies: don’t need to think or worry about the plot, just watch giant robots beat the shit out of everything.
You’ll find no giant robots here today, though you may find a beautiful girl–and let’s face it, most of the witches at Salem are beautiful and/or handsome. And some have equally good-looking sisters–
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)
“So what happened after that?”
“We went inside and had breakfast, and this time my parents and sister were asking all sorts of things about school. They actually spent the better part of that first week asking me stuff about school, particularly Ronnie, who was at home with me all summer. She wanted to know about everything here: about spells, about what we did in class, and all about the people here with me.” Emma tapped her fingers against the metal water bottle before passing it back to Kerry. “I think that’s the first time we ever spent a week together where we didn’t fight.”
Though they’d broached the subject in the past, Kerry felt the need to bring it up again. “Did she ask you if you thought she’d end up coming school with you?”
Emma’s eyes to the slow role. “Oh geez, yeah, she asked if I thought it was possible that she get asked to come to school, ‘cause now that she knows I’m a witch she really wants to be a witch.”
Kerry got up return his drinking bottle to his backpack. “You can’t blame her. I mean, she knows you’re a witch, so why shouldn’t she be one, too?”
“I know, it’s just—” Emma pinched her upper lip as she looked at the ground. “I couldn’t tell her that the odds of us both being witches were real low: I really didn’t want to hurt her feelings.” She glanced up at Kerry. “You know about that, right?”
He ignored the jab as he returned to his rock to sit. Rather than try to dance around Emma’s question, he decided to ask something different. “I asked about flying you said ‘Not this time’. Does that mean you took Ronnie flying?”
In Emma mentioning that she didn’t want to hurt her sister’s feelings she just had to get a little dig in there at Kerry, who famously made the comment to Emma while they were in Queens, New York, that he hadn’t wanted to hurt her feeling when it came to them never being an item. Does this mean she’s still a little stung by what happened? Perhaps. I guess we’ll have to see if she tries taking him out on the race course this year.
Now, about that possible extra flying…
A slight grin appeared on Emma’s face. “Yeah, right near the end of June. Both my folks work at the University of Colorado, Boulder, so Ronnie and I are home all the time by ourselves. She got interested in watching me practice magic and one day asked if we might be able to go someplace. I knew what she meant; she didn’t have to explain herself.
“So one day after my parents go to work, I tell Ronnie to grab a jacket and her swim goggles and I pulled my gear out and got dressed. I had Ronnie bring her backpack, too, so we can throw our stuff in there, then we headed out to the backyard, hopped on the Espinoza, and took off.”
Kerry could only imagine how Emma felt flying with her sister behind her. Kerry had flown with Annie on the back of his broom a few times, but they always stayed within the school walls. He was pretty certain they went further than a few kilometers. “What did you guys go?”
“We flew up to Estes Park. We flew down to Boulder Canyon Drive and hooked up with the Peak to Peak Highway and took it to Colorado 7. After that we took it all away in to the town: it was about sixty kilometers one way.” Emma snickered as she looked down. “I’m sure if you’d been navigating we would’ve taken a more direct route.”
He wasn’t interested in navigating as much is the reason for Emma choosing that location. “You guys went to the Stanley Hotel, didn’t you?”
“We sure did.” Emma’s smile was bright and wide. “We hung out in town for a while and a little shopping before going up to the Stanley for lunch. My parents always talked about going there but it never seemed as if we made it, so soon as I can get around without them, we decided to do it ourselves. After lunch we hung out in the lobby for a while and walk around the grounds, then got back on the broom and headed home. We took U.S. 36 out of the mountains and headed south for Boulder.”
“Did you guys do any other flying over the summer?”
“Oh, sure. We flew down the Golden a couple of times and even flew into Denver once. Once we flew into Rocky Mountain National Park and had a little picnic, then flew all the way up to the Alpine Visitor Center. That was almost like during the Mile High Flight, only the ground was always a few hundred meters below us.” A wistful look appeared on Emma’s face as she stared off to her left. “It was actually a pretty good summer; the first one I can’t remember where I was fighting all the time with my sister.”
As miserable as his summer had been for the most part, Kerry was happy to hear that his wingmate’s summer had not only not been a disaster, but that she actually seemed to bond with someone with whom she’d had issues in the past. “Well, with all the flying you did, you should be up for a nice little high-speed run in the Pennsylvania.”
Emma got to her feet. “How far is it to the Speedway?”
“Just a little over three hundred and fifty kilometers.” Kerry stood and levitated his backpack towards him. Once he had it in the position he slipped his arms through the straps and adjusted them so it sat comfortably on his back. “We can do that in under an hour, I bet.”
Emma did the same levitation spell with her backpack and as she put it on, she looked out upon the bright sunlight glistening off Lake Champlain. “I don’t see why we couldn’t—” She turned toward her wingmate with a huge smile on her face. “It’s a beautiful day for flying.”
So just like Kerry Emma got out of the house, only she had her sister riding on the back of the broom, which meant she couldn’t zip along at a few hundred kilometers an hour–at best she was probably doing about a hundred. And like she says she likely would have taken a better route if she were a navigator, which she isn’t, and that’s why she didn’t realize she’d flown closer to eighty kilometers instead of sixty.
But where she really trumped Kerry in the geek department is that she got to hang out at the Stanley Hotel for lunch. If this means nothing to you, allow me to mention that this is the hotel where Stephen King stayed and developed a extinction-level anger towards his family that made him feel like taking an ax to the lot of them would be a damn good idea–so good, in fact, that he turned that anger into The Shinning and forever tied The Stanley to The Overlook Hotel in the minds of just about everyone who know this shit.
There are a lot of places that Kerry would love to visit and The Stanley is one of them. You know if he ever gets out Denver way he’s gonna hop on the broom and rocket off to Estes Park–and since he is a navigator he’ll plot a good course there. What he’ll do there is hard to say, but walking around muttering “Redrum” and “All work and no play make Kerry a dull boy” are probably high on the list. And give it a few more years and both Annie and Kerry could be a bit of a problem for the staff…
Um, yeah, about that…
So the Wingmate Get Together is over and it’s time to come back to the school. And talk. And do… other things.
There was a whole lotta writing going on yesterday. A whole lot. Put on the recapping hat last night and did my first recap of the year for Humans Season 2, and that took up about two thousand words in ninety minutes, then it was into the novel for a short rest, where another eight hundred words were set into the mix.
Why so little for an original work? When you’re recapping you just watch and make notes, then turn the notes into detailed descriptions. I had to imagine everyone in a building that I designed, then I and to pull up that design so I could make sure I had dimensions right. Then I had to image things about the superlab and that led to looking up clean room requirements and codes so I could get one line right. And I’m still getting notes on chemical processing equipment down, because finding information on how to put a superlab together for something other than making meth is a bitch. It’s like they figure you know how to put a lab together already.
And on top of all this I’m in the middle of Erywin describing something and my mind goes, “Hey, remember you just listened to the song #9 Dream? I got a great scene that will go with that!” And just like that I gotta take about ten minutes to visualize it and figure out what’s going on. Because my mind is like a bag of cats trying to get comfortable and this is its way to letting me know I can’t rest for too long or I’m gonna get another scene thrown my way.
But the hell with all that: Emma’s got a broom and she’s not doing any cleaning. And she wants the whole family to watch something…
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)
“We have a bunch of trees out in our backyard, so I get us in a group of them and I tell everyone to get in tight around me. I didn’t tell them what I was doing, I just throw up a light bending spell so the neighbors can’t see what’s going on. Now that I know no one can see us, I put the broom in hover and bring up the HUD again and start explaining everything to my parents. But instead of just letting the broom hover like I did in my bedroom when I was speaking with Ronnie, I get on the broom while I’m talking. That way I knew I’d have my parents attention and they could see something that were used to seeing all the time.
“Now that I showed them what the broom could do I told them to watch and let them know that once I was like twelve feet in the air I was going to vanish because of another spell. I got my feet back, pulled just enough on the column to get it to move, and rose slowly into the air. Just like I knew would happen I got four and a half meters off the ground and they start looking around because they can’t see me. So I hover for about five seconds and then slowly push back toward the ground and settle right down the middle of them.
“I explained to them how there’s a levitation and movement spell built into the broom and the processor on the back feeds energy into it to keep it going. I start telling them things about how fast and high it can go and tell them about the different race courses at school and the Mount Katahdin race course, and I tell them about how I did in the races over the school year.
“Then I decided to try something a little strange. I’m sitting side saddle on the broom and look at Ronnie and asked her if she wanted to go up with me.”
Kerry had avoided speaking up to this point but felt the urge to interrupt. “You asked your sister if she wanted a ride on the back of your broom? That’s pretty ballsy.”
This is the smart thing to do: find something that isn’t too scary but is nonetheless magical–and what’s more magical than a witch’s broom? Of course it’s cool when those brooms have radar and altitude/speed sensors and a lot of the conveniences found on a commercial jet, but it’s still a damn broom. And then she asks her sister–the little brat, mind you–if she wants to go up.
And she says..?
Emma grinned as she shrugged. “I figured if there was anything that was going to get across the whole ‘I’m different from you because I’m a witch’ thing, it was going to be using some form of magic with someone in the family. And I saw how Ronnie looked at me when I pulled out the broom, so I figured this would be a good way to kind of bond with her over our differences.
“After she said yes I extend the seat for two people then told her to get on behind me. I let her know that her feet would automatically curl up behind her when she got on so she wouldn’t have to worry about holding them in place, and when she was on o put her arms around me and just hug me. Once she was in place I asked her if she was ready, and once she gave me the go-ahead I pulled on the column and off we went, straight up.”
“How high up did you take her?”
“Seventy-five meters. I figured that would be high enough to give her a good look around and at the same time give her a feeling of what it was like to be on the broom.”
“Good idea.” Kerry rubbed his chin as he considered his wingmate’s sound logic. “Did you fly any?”
She shook her head. “Not that time; all I did was a slow spin so she could get a good look at everything. I could tell she was a little nervous going up, but once we were on location and she was seeing everything she was calm, really cool about the whole thing. She even asked me how high I’ve been up on my broom and I told her, I’ve been up about two miles on this thing.” Emma chuckled for a few seconds. “I think that was first time I’ve ever heard Ronnie gasp.”
“But she liked it?”
“She dug the hell out of it. After we landed she was all excited about how we went up in the air together and it was just so cool being on the back of this thing… I mean, she really loved it.”
Kerry tapped his hands against his knees. “She takes after her sister.”
Emma considered statement for a few seconds before nodding. “Probably.”
I should remind everyone that the Neilson Sisters were doing their Rocky Mountain High thing in their pajamas and Veronica likely marveled a bit at how nonchalant Emma seemed. And if anything it not only made the parents a little less worried about their Ginger Witch, but likely caused the sisters to bond somewhat:
But Emma said something in one of the paragraphs about and it’s going to lead to a little more bit more of an explanation…
A lot of interesting things happened yesterday, though not all of them were good. First, I had tacos for Valentine’s Day. Tacos are love, so I had a little love. I also had two margaritas, which are a whole lot of love. And a whole lot of booze.
So I got home and right off the bat I had to deal with a catfish. I’m on a couple of dating apps and so far everyone is contacted me has tried to catfish me. Which leads me to believe that dating apps are as much bullshit as Facebook. I’ve also done a lot of reporting: I even reported someone early this morning who claimed that they were on a secret mission with the US military in West Africa and not actually 69 miles from where I live. I told him that just by telling me that they were in violation of the Military Code of Justice and then I reported them.
You don’t get one over on me that easily.
Then I watched Humans, which was good, so that I can get prepared to write my recap for tonight. After all this nonsense I finally got to the point where I could work on the novel. The let me state this: as I pointed out Chapter Ten is all about Annie and Kerry in special classes. It’s a whole week of special classes. And right off the bat I’m going into the special class of Advanced Formulistic Magic. Fortunately for me, I have a list of everyone who are in those classes.
Unfortunately, I forgot to update the list when I started the C Level novel.
So here I am, going through the attendance for AFM making certain that everyone who I say is there is supposed to be there. I knew one person had graduated, so she’s gone, but I had to make certain that no one else had dropped out. I only did it for AFM, but tonight I’m going to need to go through that list and make sure it’s all updated for the C Levels.
Oi. The things I do to myself.
Still, I started the new chapter:
But before we can get to the new chapter, I’m still finishing up stuff in the old chapter. Because I’m way ahead of you–though if I only continue to have five hundred word nights, you’ll catch up to me eventually. I mean, it’s just math. No tacos involved.
Speaking of tacos Emma didn’t have them for dinner after coming out as a witch. She had something else, as well as an interesting night and following morning…
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)
This time Kerry did laugh. “Are you kidding? Your mom asked if you were hungry and that she made meatloaf?”
Emma looked down and shook her head. “I know, right? I’m expecting everyone to freak out at this point and everyone’s acting like, hey, time to eat. By the way, that was the quietest my family ever was during dinner: there was almost nothing said at the table. After I ate I excused myself, got my bag and went to my room, and after sitting up a while to see if anyone wanted to talk I went to bed.
“Next morning I get up and go to the bathroom. We live in a tri-level so all the bedrooms are up above the garage and the living area is all pretty open, so on the way to and from the bathroom I can hear my parents talking. There’s an island in our kitchen and my parents will usually sit at it in the morning the weekends and drink coffee and talk.
“After I’m done I go back to my room and close the door. I’m in there about two minutes and there’s a knock on my door. I figure it’s my mom because when I’m in my room and she wants to talk to me, she knocks on my door. I opened it but it’s not my mom: it’s Ronnie. Now I’m kind of freaked out because my sister never knocks, just the sort that just throws open the door and starts yelling at me. She looks at me for about five seconds and then asks if she can come in. I didn’t know what she wanted, so I told her she could.
“She comes in and without thinking I waved the door close, you know, because we do it all the time here. She looks at the door and back at me and she asked if I used magic close the door. I sit down at my desk and I tell her, yeah, that’s how we open and close doors at school. She asked me if I’m really a witch and I told her, yes, I’m a witch. I may not be able to do as much magic as some people, but I’m as good as most of the students at school.
“Ronnie sits on the end of my bed and I can tell she’s got a lot of questions. So I decided to make it easy for her and I start telling her about all the things we do at school. I tell her about normal spells class, I tell her that we took astronomy, I tell her about Formulistic Magic class, I tell her about transformation class, and about sorcery. And the last thing I tell her is that I have a broom and I’m on the race team and that I finished tenth overall in this last season.
“I figured that would interest her and it did. She was like, you really have a broom? And I smile and say, yeah: would you like to see it? I stand up and I pulled it out of Hammerspace, because I hadn’t removed it from the night before. When I pulled out she didn’t freak: she gets his big smile on her face and she’s like, whoa, that’s cool. So I put in the hover and bring up the HUD and I start explaining everything through her—
“And that’s when I get an idea. I snatched the broom out of hover and tell Ronnie to follow me, and I put on my slippers and head down toward the kitchen. Just like I thought my parents are sitting at the island having coffee, so I walk past them with the broom in my hand and I’m like, let’s go out back, I want to show you something.
See, having an inquisitive sister, even one who is usually a pain in the ass, is a good thing, because the chances are good she doesn’t hate you that much and wants to know if this magic thing is true or BS. Just imagine if Kerry had a sister–no, don’t. She’d probably be a spoiled little brat whom Mommy has thrown all her hopes and aspirations into while he just sits on the outside looking in while simmering. And could you imagine Kerry having a mean sister and she meets Annie for the first time? Kerry would quickly become an only child.
In the end here Emma appears to want the whole family to join in the fun, and that’s what’s coming tomorrow. Today, though, you can listen to Fox on the Run, because I was on a Guardians of the Galaxy kick last night and the second movie can’t get here soon enough…
I’m that kind of girl…
Last night in Harrisburg… Yeah, it sounds like something important. Maybe it is. Actually, a lot got done yesterday. First off, I finish the scene which means I finished Chapter Nine. Which means I’m officially done with all the single digit chapters and I can move on to double digits.
What’s coming up in Chapter Ten are four slices of what happens in the advanced classes. Or I should put it this way: you get to see what happens in three of the advanced classes and what happens in one specialty class. It should be interesting and it’s going to lead up to an event that may end up becoming the talk of the school after a while.
In fact, there’s a whole lot of stuff is coming out–I mean, the step of having a novel, correct? But that’s beside the point. The next two chapters are going to get real interesting and they are leading up to a big event. And it won’t be long before we get there.
In the meantime we have to deal with what’s happening now, which means were dealing with the past. Which means were about to see what really happened when Emma came out.
And it’s right here–
“Well, I was sitting there listening to Miora speak, but I’m hardly even listening. All I can think is the moment I come out my parents are going to freak, and I’m trying to put together was going to happen after that. Then, all of a sudden, Miora says ‘Emma, you have something to tell your parents, don’t you?’
“I knew what she wanted me to say, but I couldn’t get the words to come out. I just sat there like an idiot with this dumb stare on my face and all I can see is my family staring back at me. Just as Miora is about to say something, I sat up real straight and just said it: ‘I’m a witch.’ And I then sat back like it was no big deal.”
Kerry knew Emma well enough to imagine she was probably in a state of semi-shock the entire time this was happening at her home. Though she wasn’t quite the weak willed witch she had been during their A Levels, there were times when she was easily rattled, though those moments always happened away from the track. He suffered a great deal of nervousness during his own coming out, but he couldn’t imagine himself just sitting there and staring at his parents. “What did they do when you told them?”
She shook her head as she looked off to one side. “They just sat there: they didn’t do anything. My parents were looking at me like they didn’t quite hear what I said and my sister is sitting there rolling her eyes. That’s when Miora leans over and tells me that maybe I should show them some magic. So…”
“So you did.”
So Emma started laying out the magic. It sounds like this is something that every coming out B Level does, and you have to wonder if there are tales of witches who were so nervous they botched their spells and did shit like set the dog on fire by accident or blow out a wall in the family abode. So, what did she do?
“I did. It wasn’t anything spectacular: I did the Illuminate spell and levitated a couple of things. The one that got everyone, though, was when I made a small fireball—”
Kerry began laughing. “You crafted a Fireball spell in your living room?”
Emma’s blush was bright. “I know, right? I mean, they were duly impressed with the other spells, but when they saw me holding a fireball between my hands—” She smiled as she nodded twice. “There was no way they could say I was somehow faking things.”
“I know what you mean.” Kerry didn’t mention that his parents had the exact reaction that Emma didn’t believe her parents would have. “So what happened after that? What did you?”
“That’s the thing: my parents did nothing. After all that they just sat there on the sofa staring at me like they didn’t know what to say or do. Miora asked them if they had any questions and my father’s just like, no, I think were good. Even Ronnie—”
“My sister Veronica: we call her Ronnie for short. She’s always the first person to mouth off and even she just sat there looking shocked and not saying a word. I really didn’t know what to think; it was kind of unnerving.
“Since my parents didn’t want to say anything, Moria decided to leave and she asked me to walk her to the door. When we got there she reminded me that I should contact her if there’s any issues, and if worse comes to worse I had the panic button. I didn’t think I had anything to worry about I told her so, but she wanted me to know just in case.
“After she leaves I go back in the living room and I just stand there looking at everyone waiting for my parents to say something. After like fifteen seconds my mom looks at me and says, ‘I made meatloaf; are you hungry?’.”
At least she had a good teacher when it came to the Fire spell: Kerry told her during their first overnight flight that he’d help her with it. So yeah, Kerry. Those teaching lessons with Annie came in handy.
But you have to love her mother’s reaction: “Oh, you’re a witch? Um… I made meatloaf.” Kerry’s parents are giving him and his case worker shit because they can’t believe this was kept hidden from them and Emma’s family are suffering from just a bit of shock, which is what you’d expect most parents to do when their thirteen year old kid drops this mic on them. Your kid creates fire out of nothing and shock is probably going to set in–
The question now becomes: how does the Nelson Family handle this new news?
Life is full of surprises. I was surprised yesterday during lunch I met someone who was actually interested in wanting to speak with me, and so for about forty-five minutes I ate and talked while she listened and asked a few questions. I was surprised attending another political meeting when I learned of some of the things they wanted to support and some things they said they could live without.
I was also surprised when I was getting ready to watch The Walking Dead and I discovered my cable box was dead and not reanimated like the zombies I was about to see. This means if I want to watch the show, I have streamed off my computer tonight after I arrived home from work. And, I’ll have to do the same thing tomorrow when I go to recap the first episode of Season 2 of Humans. Should be fun; at least I don’t watch as much TV as I used to, or at least watch it through cable itself. And if I find I can do things this way, I may just end up dumping the cable box, and cable, later this summer.
Now, speaking of surprises…
One of the things I’ve been leading up to it this point is discussion of what happened to Emma when she returned home for the summer. So without further ado, let’s shift our sights westward and see how things went in the mountains of Colorado:
Emma had been eager to talk about what happened to her over the summer since arriving at school, but she found it was almost impossible to do so during the other classes, and the special classes Kerry took on Tuesday and Wednesday nights prevented her from seeing him and discussing it then. “It went pretty well.”
“Just pretty well?” Kerry was a bit surprised that Emma was being so reserved.
“It was better than pretty well.” She eyed her wingmate carefully. “I’ve heard anything about your summer holiday, though.”
Kerry glanced upward as he spoke. “That’s because I haven’t talked about.”
“How did things go?”
“It sucked.” His disgust was all over his face. “My parents were not happy to learn they had a witch and a sorceress living under their roof. Oh, and my parents know that I have a girlfriend and they are not happy about that, either.” He motioned with his hands as if he was drawing Emma towards him. “I want to know how your summer went. Come on: tell me.”
Kerry is not interested in talking about his shitty summer. He knows it was shitty and he wants to leave it that way. He wants to hear from someone who didn’t have a shitty summer and that means you’ll have to listen to the person directly in front of him. But first we have to ask an important question: how did she get home?
She waited a moment as she decided on how to begin her story. “Well, just like everybody else I was nervous. I didn’t think it was that bad until we jaunted into Denver International that I started to get shaky. I mean, from there, I’m only ten minutes away from home—”
“Where do you jaunt into in Boulder?” Kerry didn’t mean to interrupt, but it was a question that he’d always wanted to ask but never had. “Just curious, is all.”
A slight chuckle escaped from between Emma’s lips. “The city jaunt station is in the basement of the National Weather Service headquarters. The first time I came out of there about died.”
“As that place is exactly one mile from my house—” She grinned again. “I mean, one point six kilometers.”
Kerry grinned along with her. “You’re forgiven. Go on.”
“Okay. We get the car just waiting for us and we had for my house. It’s only like a four minute drive, so I don’t have that much time to actually prepare for what’s going to happen. I guess I figured I’d be ready for before jaunting home, but that didn’t happen.
“When we pulled into the house I’m a nervous wreck, you know? Just nervous as all hell. Were walking up to the front door and my mom’s got the door open before were even halfway there, which doesn’t really put me at ease because I know they’re thinking I’m in some sort of trouble. My caseworker, Miora, she immediately chills my mom out, so while I’m putting my luggage down and getting it out of the way, she’s telling my mom and my dad let’s go sit down and will explain everything.
“So were all in the living room. My mom and dad are sitting on the sofa and my sister Veronica, she’s sitting in easy chair, and my mom has set up two chairs in front of the TV, one for Miora and one for me. We sit down and Miora starts her talk, telling my parents that I’m not in any sort of trouble and this has nothing to do with anything disciplinary at school, it’s just that there something really important that I’m supposed to tell them.”
The memory of going through nearly the identical experience brought a small smile to Kerry’s face. “I kind of did the same thing. I can imagine how you felt.”
Emma let out a long sigh. “I imagine everybody went through some variation of anything.”
“I’m sure they did. What happened next?”
Boulder was kind of a challenge but it came to finding usable, fixed jaunt point. Like so many places in the United States it doesn’t have a train station, and the only airport is a shitty little one runway job out of which Cessnas mostly fly. I was about ready to put the fixed jaunt station somewhere on the grounds of the University of Colorado when I remembered that the federal government does have a certain presence in the city: namely a large National Weather Service installation. And since The Foundation loves hiding in plain sight, why not put the jaunt station there?
We also learn something else: Emma lives a mile away from here. And I do mean that: when I was measuring this out the drive from the National Weather Service to her home was almost exactly one mile. So it made getting her home even easier.
And it’s fairly obvious that the set up to her coming out appears very similar to the set up for Kerry’s coming out. Only Kerry didn’t have a little sister waiting for him to possibly throw shade in her direction once the Witch Word was unleashed. Is that really what happened?
You’ll find out tomorrow.
Friday was something of a milestone for me as this novel finally pushed over one hundred and twenty-five thousand words. Some of your may think, “Wow! That’s so good that you’re going so fast,” but I look at it and go, “Man, that took some time.”
See, I keep track of everything and how long it takes me to reach certain milestones is one. I do that because that’s how I am: it’s probably a form of OCD or something. So when I checked the time it took me to go from one hundred thousand to one twenty-five, I was not surprised to discover it was forty-two days. That works out to five hundred and ninety-five words a day, which considering there’s probably a week full of days where I didn’t write, it seems pretty good.
If I consider I did write during thirty-two days during this period, then my average goes up to seven hundred and eighty-one words, which is a whole lot better. But you can’t have everything, can you? The only thing to do is try better…
But enough of my emo whining about how little I’m writing when most everyone else things I’m writing a shitload. It’s time for my kids, yeah?
Kerry has something to tell Emma and while most people won’t give a shit about this discussion, it still happens. And it brings to light the fact that as things change, they stay the same:
Kerry had put off saying anything to Emma about his quick meeting with Vicky once the Ready Room cleared out. He had told his wingmate that once they were at their first stop he’d tell her what happened—and now that they were at that stop it was time… “Vicky asked me if I wanted to join Air Assault. She told me that being a good flier and a sorceress was the sort of thing they were looking for, and now that they had a few openings they wanted me to be one of the new people. So I said yes.”
Emma seemed surprised by Kerry’s announcement. “Wow. I always figured they’d ask you to join Air Assault; I’m just surprised they waited this long.”
He shrugged. “Getting asked to join Air Assault last year was the farthest thing from my thoughts. I’m just glad she thinks I’m worthy of the team.”
“What you think Annie’s going to say when you tell her?”
“Oh…” Kerry’s face broke into a broad smile. “Vicky told me Ramona and Helena were going to ask Annie to join Rapid Response today. I told her I thought she’d say yes.” He scratched his right cheek. “Looks like we’re both going to have new jobs when it comes to defending the school.”
For a moment Emma looked a bit crestfallen. “Does this mean I’m going to need a new wingmate when I do observation patrol?”
Kerry waived the sides of his flight jacket to cool himself down. “You’re still gonna fly observation patrol if we’re attacked again?”
She nodded. “I’ll have to. I’ll look like some kind of coward I don’t go up the next time we’re needed.”
“Then you got nothing to worry about.” He grinned. “If something were to happen I’d be on observation patrol first, just like everybody else was back during Day of the Dead.”
“So just like last time.”
“Yep. It’s just that if things go sideways you’ll go to ground and I’ll head for my rendezvous point. At least I won’t have to worry about hiding out in the woods.” He chuckled grimly. “And you won’t be outside where you might be attacked by an Abomination.”
Emma rolled her eyes. “I’m fine with that. I never want to see those damn things again.”
Considering that Emma was almost eaten by the Abomination that attacked her, Kerry understood why she was a bit reluctant to encounter another. Her statement gave him the opportunity to change the subject of the conversation. “So, uh, if you don’t mind talking about it, how was your summer holiday?”
Now we have the plan: if another attack comes Emma and Kerry will do their observation patrol of the outer walls just like during their A Levels. And if things go to shit Emma goes to ground and Kerry heads off to meet up with others in Air Assault so they can start kicking ass. And if all goes well Salem will come out victorious and Kerry won’t have to worry about hiding because his broom doesn’t have power, while Emma will be inside nice and safe and away from Star Spawn of Cthulhu that want to dine on her tasty hide.
Which you’ll drive after you eat her legs, I know…
Emma is right, however: she set herself up by volunteering for observation patrol and should she be needed again she has no choice but to put her ass on the line once more, least people say she’s a coward. We do know being attacked by a monster messed her up, as she indicated that she had bad dream and flashbacks for a while, but she seems better now. Then again, maybe she won’t do so well when the Abominations come knocking: maybe she’ll lose her shit and run away as fast as she can–
Which is fine with Kerry. When they get to that point he has a new job and it doesn’t involve making sure Emma doesn’t want to leave a hidey-hole: he’s got a whole school to help protect now. And since he doesn’t want to discuss how he might have to leave Emma’s ass should she freak out, he deftly changes the conversation–
And we’ll get to see how someone else’s summer holiday went.
The last couple of nights have seen slow progress: I’ve been lucky to write about five hundred words a night. Part of it has just been my mood, which is very little on the dark side of late. I’m also finding this novel a bit more challenging than the last two, simply because I’m having to deal more with complex feelings. My kids are growing up fast and are at that point where they’re still kind the kids, but they’re so ready to start being adults, too.
And with witches is even more difficult because immature so much faster. Yeah, all that magical energy flowing to your body does strange things to you on top of the hormonal changes you’re already feeling. As I’ve stated before, the staff at Salem know that the school is a bit of a pressure cooker in that there are a hundred and fifty tweeners and teens all away from home for probably the first times in their lives, all going through puberty, and all learning magic. Things do get a bit nutty and when Coraline has mentioned that she’s had to sit with students and work with them through bad romantic and sexual encounters, she’s not kidding. Actually, why do you think the school has three counselors? Because they got a deal down that Witches R Us?
Now that we’ve dealt with Annie’s Friday morning, it’s time to deal with Kerry’s Friday morning. Of course, he’s not on school grounds. In fact, he’s not even in the same state–
Kerry opened his jacket and gazed through the thin foliage on the southern flank of Mount Defiance at Lake Champlain a couple of hundred meters below, then glanced to his left and spotted Fort Ticonderoga a couple of kilometers away. Making certain his flight gloves were secure he removed his phone from an inside pocket and examined the photos he’d taken from the air only five minutes earlier before snapping another one so he can remember what the fort looked like from this vantage point.
“Hey, Kerry.” He turned and saw Emma rummaging around in her backpack. “You want a turkey or roast beef sandwich?”
“Roast beef, please.” Kerry headed back toward their small encampment with their backpacks resting against one tree and their brooms against another. Emma levitated the sandwich toward him and he snatched it out of the air the moment it was within arm’s reach. “Thanks.”
Emma nodded and leaned back against the tree as she unwrapped her own sandwich. “You’re welcome.” She took a bite of her sandwich as she stretched out her long legs. “Ugh, that feels so good. Felt for a while like my knees were hyperextending.”
Kerry sat on a rock outcropping a couple of meters from his wingmate. “I thought the broom was supposed to automatically adjust for your height?”
“It’s supposed to, but Vicky told me that may need to be some adjustments made.” She grunted. “It’s just a little bothersome; it’s not gonna kill me. Just need to stretch my legs for a few minutes when we reach each of our checkpoints.”
He nodded. “No problem. Just let me know how you feel when we get to them, okay?” He crafted up a small ball of cold fire and forced the sandwich wrapping inside, where was vaporized instantly. “Don’t forget to give me your trash before we leave.”
She flicked her trash and Kerry’s direction and watched it fly across the open space before he grabbed it and pushed it inside the cold fireball. “Keeping the Earth litter free through magic.”
Kerry shut down the cold fire spell. “And what better way to keep everything clean than by incineration.”
You finally get an idea of how the school gets rid of their trash; it’s very likely they have large bins full of cold fire and they just chuck stuff into them. If the fire is hot enough there’s almost no residue left over, and in Emma’s and Kerry’s instance, it’s likely all their leaving behind is some real fine ash that would be hard to detect with the human eye. And at the school, it’s probably a simple matter of transforming the ash into something that’s either easily transportable or easy to use in other applications–like say, transforming the ash into a form of fertilizer that can be used in the garden.
Emma looked off to her right and the Lake Champlain Valley. “We’ve got Fort Ticonderoga checked off the list. What’s the next two?”
“The next one is Pocono Speedway.” He closed his eyes as he drew in a deep breath of fresh air. “That’s about four hundred kilometers away in Pennsylvania. Then after that we come back into New York and get pictures of the Woodstock concert site.”
She sat back and stared off in the space. “You know where this speedway is at?”
“Sure I do. It’s outside Long Pond. I know the location from when I used to watch NASCAR.”
“Let me guess: the Woodstock concert site is near Woodstock.”
Kerry made a loud buzzing sound. “Oh, I’m sorry, Emma, but that is wrong. You care to try your luck at Double Jeopardy, where the prizes are bigger?”
Emma let her hands drop into her lap as she rolled her eyes. “Okay, smart ass. I’m sure you’re going to tell me exactly where the site is without looking.”
He got up to retrieve a metal water bottle and returned to his seat before answering. “It’s in Bethel, New York, about seventy kilometers from Woodstock.” He took a long swig off the bottle washing down his sandwich.
She didn’t doubt her navigator was wrong, but she was curious about the differences in location. “So why is it called the Woodstock Festival if it’s not in Woodstock?”
Kerry finished the rest of his sandwich and took another drink before giving the explanation. “They wanted to hold the festival in Woodstock but the promoters couldn’t get permission. They eventually held in on Max Yasgur’s farm outside Bethel.” He set down his water bottle and his feet. “The Woodstock concert location is kind of a trick question. It’s probably why Vicky gave it to us: she figured if she gave it to anyone else they go to Woodstock and get lost looking for the place.” He stretched his arms and shoulders. “Instead, we get to have our picture taken next to the Woodstock stage.”
The corner of Emma’s mouth turned upwards of a smile as she gave an approving nod. “And you’re probably the only kid in class who knows this.”
“Probably. It’s another one of those useless facts I happen to have hidden away in the back of my head.”
“I’m glad you do because it makes our job of finding these places a lot easier. Since we don’t have to spend a lot of time looking for our targets we can just race there, get our pictures, and get home before everyone else.” She levitated Kerry’s water bottle toward her so she could get a drink. “What did Vicky want to ask you without me present?”
Since I’m not going to answer Emma’s question today we may as well get to this snipe hunt Team Myfanwy doing for their first day of Advance Flight Two.
First off we have the points they are visiting and they are way the hell out away from the school:
Emma and Kerry are flying over a thousand kilometers through five states so they can get pictures at three different locations and be home by lunch. For these two it’s not a problem: Kerry knows his locations and Emma can stay a course like no one else. And zipping between destinations at 400 kph isn’t a problem, either, ’cause they both know they won’t miss their targets.
Their first stop–where this scene takes place–is on Mount Defiance overlooking Fort Ticonderoga, located in northern New York state.
Fort Ticonderoga is famous for being taken during the Revolutionary War by Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boy. The legend says that when the British demeaned to know on whose authority Allen demanded entry, he replied, “In the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress!”, but historians know Allen was pretty much an atheist and an extremely profane man, so people who’ve studied this moment believe Allen probably said, “Open the goddamn gates, you bastards!” Why didn’t we learn this in history?
Then it’s down to Pocono Speedway in Pennsylvania–which is a nice track but if you’ve seen one NASCAR track, you’ve seen most of them–and then off to the site of the Woodstock Concert, which is right where Kerry says it is, and is there for the same reasons stated. These days the site is a music and arts center with a covered concert pavilion, but that isn’t the Woodstock stage to which Kerry was referring–the area where the festival was held is now something of a tourist attraction and a historical site, and a duplicate of the stage is there to remind people how the place looked minus all the rain, mud, and trash. And the musicians tripping on acid, but that’s another story.
And knowing Kerry they’d someone get up on stage for their photo. Because that’s how he rolls.
Now that we know the sights, what about the meeting? Well…
Though I said I’d get in some writing yesterday it didn’t happen. I was far too busy before leaving for D.C. and I didn’t return home until 1 AM. The only good thing is that I did not encounter a lot of traffic coming home, which is a first as I-495 to I-95 to I-695 is usually a madhouse even late a night. Instead, once I was off the Capital Beltway the trip home was pretty nice and I could drive long distances on cruse control without having to change lanes because drivers were unsure if they should go slow or fast.
So I’m out for coffee this morning and I’m down one cup and ready for my hot cocoa. I’m also ready for this afternoon’s protest march–
Today is also Big Excerpt Day, where I finish off the scene I’ve been in for a few days. As I am now only 6,100 words ahead of you I need to get some writing in today least you overtake me this week. But since it would be ridiculous to split up the rest of the scene, it’s all coming at you so we can move on to the next.
And this is gonna be fun because it’s All Vicky, All the Time…
“Good morning, pilots.” Vicky Solomon stepped out of her office and walked slowly toward the middle front of the Ready Room. Like the students she was dressed in her flight gear, though given her years writing a broom her jacket, pants, and boots all possessed a well-worn appearance. “Look at you, all so ready and eager to start the year. Is everyone here?” She waited a beat and received no responses. “Okay, then. I guess that means I’m going.
“Just so we get it in the record books this is Advanced Flight Two. Everyone who is in last year’s class is here this year—although it would appear we have one or two people who are still changing.” As if on cue the door to the girl’s locker room opened and two students came hurrying out. “This is the last year we will have flight instruction. After this class the next time any of us will meet will be in Introduction to Jaunting, which you will all take in your E Levels. But that’s two years from now: today, we deal with what’s going to happen in the level to come.
Vicky stepped behind the podium. “The main emphasis of this class is to teach you more about maintenance of the PAVs, and not just your Class 1, but also the Class 2 and 3. We are also going to learn about long-distance flying and navigating, as well as some of The Foundation’s guidelines and rules concerning flying in the Normal world. This will come in handy for you in the future, as I’m certain some of you will want to begin taking the knowledge you’ve developed in these classes and use it to begin going out and enjoying the recreational benefits of being able to fly long distances without spending any money.” This last remark brought out laughter from several flight teams.
She gripped the sides of the podium as she leaned slightly forward. “But there’s one thing that’s going to happen in this class that will overshadow everything else and you know what it is without me even having to mention. The most important goal you have this year is to prepare yourself for the Polar Express. You’re going to spend at least two days and two nights in the Canadian wilderness in the second weekend in January, and it will not be a picnic.
Now we know when kids start learning to jaunt: during their E Levels. Of course some students don’t wait that long because they are Pushy McPushface when it comes to learning new stuff, and Annie has already stated she intends to start on jaunting soon, no matter what. Which means it won’t be long before Kerry starts learning to jaunt. It’s gonna be interesting to see who learns it the fastest.
But Vicky hits on the one thing that’s on everyone’s mind: the Polar Express. It’s been spoken of through the last two novels and we’ve seen Penny and Alex head off into The Great White North to partake in the event. Though we’re about to discover it’s more than a normal event…
“Everyone approaches the Polar Express the same way. When they first hear about it they think it’s going to be fun, just them and their wingmate spending a couple of days doing winter flying and camping. How hard can it be? Well, you got a little taste of how hard it could be in Advanced Flight One, when we went out on overnight flights and you had set up tents in winter conditions at night and then spend the next day flying a thousand kilometers with minimal navigation equipment. Some of you bitched; some of you didn’t do so well. And at least one team came damn close to not even making this class because of their performance on the overnight flights.” Vicky stared off slightly to her left so she wouldn’t have to see the glares Franky and Jiro were sending her way.
“This year the minimal navigation equipment will be slowly rescinded. You’re going to do one overnight flight in November with maps stored on tablets and accessed via a holographic interface, but your HUD compass will still work. There will be another overnight flight December using tablet maps and hand-held compasses because that is the gear you’re going to use on the Polar Express. In the weekend before the Polar Express the teams will be sent out on individual overnight excursions—call it a test run. You’ll be jaunted down somewhere within a thousand kilometers of the school and you’ll have to set up camp, prepare for and sleep through the night, then break camp, load up the sleeping bags and tents, and find your way home with the same navigational equipment are going to be using the following weekend.
“The test run will be your make or break: if you can’t complete it successfully, if you get lost and have to use your panic button—which each of you will have when you go out on both the test flight and the Polar Express—to get home, you will not be jaunting off into wintertime Canada the following weekend.” Vicky’s eyes swept around the room. “This last item is nonnegotiable: if you can’t make it back to the school on your own during the test flight, there’s no point in shipping you off to the middle of nowhere hoping you’ll make it back then. In all the time I’ve been at Salem I’ve never seen anyone go out to retrieve a body, nor have I had to do it myself. I’m not about to set a precedent this year.”
Vicky stepped out from behind the podium and slowly made her way around the room. “Besides having just a map and compass and visual flight rules by which to navigate, you won’t know from where you’re starting, you will have limited supplies, and all of your brooms will be throttled so that they have a top speed of two hundred and fifty kilometers an hour. That way I can pretty much be sure you’ll spend at least two days flying home and you won’t be giving yourself a case of severe frostbite and hypothermia by trying to set speed records getting back to Salem.
“One of the unpleasant things you’re going to have to learn is how to hunt small game in the wild.” As she expected, this statement brought out a few grumbles. “You all know the deal here: the Polar Express is first and foremost a survival test and you will not have enough supplies to last you two days in the Canadian wild. You will need to supplement those supplies with food found in the wild.”
And by “food found in the wild” we don’t mean nuts and berries, ’cause there’s no way in hell that shit is growing on the frozen tundra. It means a snow fox or bunny is gonna have to give up their life in order for our intrepid fliers to not get that hunger going in their bellies. Either that or the teams will need to get home before they run out of food. Or ration their shit. Either works.
No matter how great the flight has sounded in the past, there doesn’t appear to be anything “cool” about the Polar Express except for the weather. It sounds like a stone bitch and the test leading up to the actual event don’t seem like a cakewalk, either. And if you wash out on the “test” flight, no Polar Express for you, kids! This is also the first time they’ve heard about their brooms being throttled back so someone figures out they can make it home in three hours if they just fly five hundred kilometers an hour the whole way. Sure, they’ll have frostbite and likely be deep into Stage 2 hypothermia with their sights set on Stage 3, at which point they fall unconscious, slide off their brooms, and die.
That is something Vicky doesn’t want…
Vicky held up her her hands to hold back the now increased grumbling. “You knew this when you entered this class, so end this bullshit now. Either you accept the terms of the test—and this is a test upon which your proficiencies will be marked should you decide to go—or you can just say right now, or at any time within forty-eight hours before departure, that you’re not up to the trip. That way you don’t put yourself and me through a lot of unwanted torture.”
The room went quiet as Vicky stood in the middle and looked around. After a few moments of silence she did something that no one expected: she laughed. “Man, you guys should see your faces. Most of are sitting there looking confused as hell, but you have absolutely no idea what it is him talking about.” She walked back toward the front of the room and stepped behind the podium. “And the truth is, you don’t know what I’m talking about. You’ve heard the stories, but you don’t know.
“That’s all going to end starting with the next class. This class—” Vicky raised her right hand and shook it back and forth. “Eh, today were going to have a little bit of fun. You may as well get some in today, cause I think you’re gonna find from here on out, the fun is probably going to be limited—and it’s going to be spaced out…”
Now you know: Emma and Kerry are out “having fun”. You can imagine they’re not off at another person’s house playing GTA on an xBox, but probably flying in a big-ass hurry to some location many hundreds of kilometers away. Because that’s how this class roles: getting the kids out off the school grounds is great fun and also gives them an opportunity to see parts of New England they didn’t know existed.
But while The Ginger Hair Boy is off on his broom, the Chestnut Girl has some fun of her own coming up…
Here we are, the end of the week, and I’m ready to move into the weekend. Yesterday was ten of a busy day. Not only was a folded work, but when I got home I had to do a video for The Snarking Dead, edit it, and upload prior to putting the post together. Since I was kind of tired because all of the prior stuff I just mentioned was done as soon as I got home from work, I sat down and watched Maggie, a movie from a couple of years ago with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abigail Breslin. It was kind of a zombie movie, but at different zombie movie, and it’s strange seeing Arnold as an older man now, because he’s lost nearly all of his muscle definition and he looks normal. It’s an enjoyable and interesting flick, and if you have Amazon Prime you can watch it for free.
So is finally nine o’clock PM when I got around to writing. I thought I might only get off four or five hundred words, but in the doing a little over nine hundred and forty before calling it a night. Since the night before I had written right around one thousand eighty-one words, I got a thousand words per night average for the last couple of days. Not bad at all.
I kind of expect to finish up the scene I’m in right now either tonight or tomorrow, because I think I’ve reached the point where I haven’t got that much more to say in the scene. But I can move on to the final scene and get on with Chapter Ten. In that chapter I’m going to write about special things these kids do during class, which means it gotta get my thinking cap on and start devising them. Yeah, I know pretty much what they’re going to do, but it’s always a case of, “Now I can write this stuff out so the readers will understand it,” which can be a pain in the butt at times. At least I know that a couple of the scenes are in the movie trailer, so I’ll just pull those off and write around them. Because that’s what writers do.
Now, back to the Ready Room. Emma asked Kerry if he thought she do well in a judgment match. Right off the bat Kerry steps in with a correction…
“It’s judgment trial. And yes, I think you could. You can still do an Air Hammer, can’t you?”
During their last overnight flight of their B Levels, Kerry found time to help Emma perfect an Air Hammer spell, and by the time their school level ended she’d become good enough that Kerry told her she could probably use it as an offensive spell. “I can still do one, but not as well as you. Also, I’m not a sorceress: I can’t use dark energy.”
“Neither can Franky: he was a crap sorceress.” He gave a slight shrug. “If you ever get into a match with Franky, just keep hitting him with Air Hammers over and over and don’t let up.”
“What if they’re not that good?”
“It doesn’t matter as long as you keep throwing them. And the one thing you are good at, Emma, is crafting a spell fast. Move around the ring, throw spells, keep him off-balance.” Kerry grinned. “That’s how you beat a guy like him.”
The bravado that Emma had shown moments faded slightly. “I don’t want to have to fight him, but if I have to, I will.” She patted Kerry’s arm. “And thanks for not jumping in and saying you would fight for me.”
Kerry chuckled. “Like I said, you can take care of yourself. I ain’t some dude who’s gotta keep their masculinity on display; I know the girls here are as good, or better, than the boys when it comes to handling themselves in bad situations. You can all hold your own in a fight.”
Emma said nothing for about ten seconds, then spoke in a soft tone. “There’s probably few people here who could beat you in a fight.”
He shook his head. “I’ve never been a real fight. Sparred and done stuff against zombies in Self Defense class, but I’ve never been in a judgment trial like Annie was.” Kerry look straight ahead. “Once you’re on the Mat it’s a completely different story.”
“You’d do good. I think when it really comes to fighting Annie’s probably the only person who’s your equal.”
Kerry half turned his head so he could see his wingmate. “Why do you say that?”
For just a moment Emma looked straight ahead as if she was considering something. She didn’t look directly at Kerry as she spoke. “Fabienne’s in class with you on Sunday. She’s told me a few things.”
Kerry is definitely not the sort of guy who will step in and say, “Don’t worry I’ll take care of this for you, little girl.” He knows he get his butt dusted by someone if they tried that, more than likely by Annie. He’s been aware since the first day of school that the girls outnumber the boys considerably, and if you’re someone suffering from a fragile masculinity, you’re not going to do well.
He knows his wingmate well enough to know that if he started doing a lot of chest something all she was arguing with Franky, you’re likely pissed Emma off bad. He also would cause her to lose face. Fortunately, Kerry knows Emma can defend herself well enough because he showed her the one spell she could use to do that. And we finally learn something about her concerning magic: she can craft a spell quickly. Maybe she does know whole lot of spells, but if I can keep throwing Air Hammers at you every two or three seconds, I don’t need to know on spells.
And now we learn one last thing: apparently, there someone in Annie’s and Kerry’s Advanced Self Defense class who’s talking about them–
Kerry was aware that Fabienne Ratsiraka, a D Level from Toamasina, Madagascar, was also Emma’s covenmate, but he hadn’t been aware they conversed. “What has she said?”
“She says Annie and you spend almost all your time together working on your forms and that you two either spar with each other or you spar with Professor Chai. She said you’re both learning something called Kali and that you not only know how to fight hand-to-hand, but that you use weapons as well.” Emma look straight ahead for a moment again. “She said you’re both really good at using magic with martial arts, too.”
He didn’t find anything Emma said surprising. Yesterday Professor Lovecraft had told her students about how people spread rumors, and Kerry knew that both Annie and he were the source of a number of rumors. The one thing he hadn’t heard to this point, however, was the work they did in Advanced Self Defense. He found that a bit unusual as there were eight other students besides Annie and him, and he was almost certain that one of them would start talking about how the two B Levels were spending all their time learning a Filipino martial art—and that they were both getting rather good at it fast.
Kerry did his best to sound nonchalant. “Yeah, Annie and I do Kali and we both picked it up fast. One of the reasons why we do work together is because were the only ones in the class doing Kali and the only other person is any good at it is Professor Chai.” He gave his wingmate a slight smile. “And knowing how to use it with magic is half the fun, isn’t it?”
Emma shook her head. “Sometimes I don’t know about you, Kerry. It’s like, in a school full of witches you’re the most mysterious student in our level. I don’t think anyone here really knows what you’re up to most of the time.”
Kerry felt the need to put her coat on this conversation. “One person knows what I’m up to all the time.”
Emma’s face pinched up as if she just tasted something sour. “Sure. One person does.”
It has been mentioned in sort of an offhand way that Annie and Kerry are the only ones taking Kali, the martial arts out of the Philippines that is also known as Arnis and Eskrima, and is used quite a lot in movies and television because it looks impressive as hell, as well is being deadly. Here we find out that the only people Annie and Kerry are sparring with Professor Chai, because she’s the only other person in the class who knows the discipline well enough to keep up with them. Yeah, they’re like a couple of little Jason Bournes running around the School of Salem just waiting for someone to give him shit so they can put him down a couple of quick hand movements. Or maybe they’ll just create bastons made out of mystical energy and beat the crap out of someone. Either way, it sounds like you’re not someone you want to mess with.
The last line, though… Yeah, Emma still got that bit of sour taste in her mouth for Annie and how she seems to be a certain wingmate’s one and only. Time to grow up, Emma–oh wait: you have! Sorry, just had to get that one in. This is probably the point in Emma’s life were she’s gonna have to realize that she needs to get Kerry’s relationship with Annie behind her, because it isn’t going to go away. And since it seems as if this year the two of them may be spending a lot of time alone out in the wild, if she doesn’t put the relationship behind her, it’s just going to eat her up.
Also, there’s that whole thing from the year before where Annie threatened to break Emma’s kneecaps, and that threat hasn’t gone away. Step out of line, Boulder Ginger Girl, and you’re going to find a Bulgarian Buttercup in your face faster than you can say “soul mate”. In some circumstances Annie would likely help Emma if he was needed, but in one particular circumstance, she would grind her ass into the dirt until she was dust.
Annie doesn’t make threats: she makes promises.
And speaking of promises, we finally get to see Vicky coming into the class and doing the thing that she supposed to do, which is instruct all the little flyers on what to expect this year in Advanced Flight Two.
And what she expects is a lot…
It’s a chilly morning here in the highs are expected to be around 40 F/4 C later in the day. Here in the United States, it’s Groundhog Day, and as we speak there are people standing in a public square in the town in central Pennsylvania preparing to worship affect rodent with a claim can predict the weather. I can predict the weather, Jack: it’s going to be cold, it’s going to be gray, and it’s going to last rest of your life. Or so says Bill Murray.
But this is another important day. Because if you been following this blog for any amount of time you would know that two years ago today a rather important event happened in my life. Today is the day that, after more than half a year of hiding, I came out of work and began living my life 24/7 as the woman I am today. Or as I like to say, the groundhog came out of his burrow, saw his shadow, and said we had six more weeks of winter, where has I came out of my closet, saw my shadow, and decided to remain a woman.
Today is my Groundhog Day. I’m going to do my best to make it a good one.
Meanwhile, back in the Ready Room of the School of Salem, someone’s trying to do something they shouldn’t. And they just opened a can of shit they’ll probably wish they hadn’t…
Both Emma and Kerry look back over the shoulder and found Franky Smith and Koyanagi Jiro, coven mates as well as wingmates, standing in the center aisle as they poked fun at Emma. Kerry immediately got the reference: kaiju were the enormous monsters from the movie Pacific Rim, which it premiered over the summer. And given the look on Emma’s face, she understood the references well.
They were both about the let the remark go when Jiro spoke. “We better go get ourselves a couple of Class 3’s so we can nuke this sucker before she goes on a rampage and starts tearing up the school.”
Franky laughed. “Yeah, nuke her from orbit so we can be sure.”
Kerry looked straight ahead and sighed. “That’s Aliens, guys.”
Jiro looked confused. “What?”
He half turned his head so he was now looking more at the ceiling instead of the two troublemakers. “’Nuke ‘em from orbit’ is a quote from Aliens; kaiju are from Pacific Rim. So what you want to say instead is—” He turned to Emma with a serious look on his face. “’All right, Mako. Get ready, this is for real.’”
Both Franky and Jiro appeared displeased as Emma and Kerry laughed, and Franky decided to voice his displeasure. “Well, excuse me, Malibey, for not being at the same level of idiot geekness as you. Instead of worrying about movie lines, maybe you should wonder about whether or not your wingmate’s PAV is going to be able to lift her monstrous frame off the ground.”
Emma instantly stopped laughing and got to her feet. She turned to face the Canadian boy and didn’t hold back. “I’ve had enough of your bullshit, Franky, so why don’t you just kiss my ass?”
First off, never go for the geek reference when Kerry is around ’cause he knows all the references. It’s obvious he saw Pacific Rim over the summer–yes, he could have as it came out 12 July in the US and UK–and if you don’t think for one moment he didn’t have all the pertinent quotes memorized after a week, you don’t know Kerry. And for anyone to mis-quote something from Aliens? Get ready for the pain.
Emma must have saw the movie, too, ’cause she knows what Franky’s talking about. Sure, Kerry made her laugh by including her in a bit of geek take down, but since Franky is a mean little asshole he doesn’t know well enough to back away and lick his wounds, and his next quip gets Emma on her feet and swearing. We know she’s somewhat scared of Annie, but Franky ain’t Annie and she lets him have it. Maybe she feels save in the Ready Room, or maybe she’s decided to blow assholes off–
And that’s when it gets real–
Franky said nothing as he stared back with open score at the defiant girl, while Jiro appeared uneasy and seemed to want nothing to do with the rest of the conversation. Finally the Canadian boys spoke. “You’re acting pretty brave all of a sudden.”
“Brave has nothing to do with it.” Emma hooked her thumbs on the pockets of her flight jacket. “I’m just through taking your crap.”
He smirked. “You’re trying to get me to call you out, aren’t you? You trying to get me out to the Manor so you can get me in the ring?” Franky looked slightly to his left. “Is that it, Kerry? You gonna be her champion?”
Kerry sat looking straight ahead as he released a long, loud sigh. “Emma doesn’t need a champion; she can take care of herself.” He tilted his seat back a touch as he crossed his feet at his ankles. “She shouldn’t have any problem dusting you.”
Franky shook his head as if he hadn’t heard correctly. “What did you say?”
Kerry finally tilted his head up and looked back. “Emma doesn’t need my help to beat your ass. You’d know that if you weren’t so damn stupid.”
By this time the whole Ready Room was silent as the other pilots watched this confrontation unfold. Everyone waited to see what happened next: Franky’s jaw tightened as he looked away a couple of times. “You want me to call you out, don’t you? You two had this all planned.”
Kerry stared up at the ceiling and moaned while Emma rolled her eyes. She shook her head as she replied. “Yeah, Franky, you’re right: we had this all planned out. ‘Cause we knew you were going to walk in here and act like the jerkoff you normally are and make rude comments about my height. You got us all figured out, dude.”
“The question now is—” Kerry finally sat up and spun around in his chair so that he was looking straight at Franky. “What are you gonna do about this?”
Jiro came over and tugged on Franky sleeve. “Come on, man. Leave these two alone. It isn’t worth getting involved.”
Franky snorted and turned away. “Yeah. Let’s get our seats.”
Emma sat down the moment the two boys were seated. She spoke with Kerry in a hushed tone. “I do not want to put up with this BS the rest of the year.”
Kerry glanced to his right, a slight smile on his face. “Keep putting him in his place the way you just did and it won’t be necessary.”
She said her left elbow on her chair arm and rested her chin in the palm of her hand. “You really think I could take Franky in a judgment match?”
Sure, Kerry may have helped set up the shot, but Emma put it away and finally brought the shame to Franky. It’s not hard to do because the kid is a total dipshit, but Emma has never stood up to people like this and it’s all new for her. There weren’t any threats, but there were a lot of well-placed comments that did the trick. Because this happened in front of the class, it’s likely Franky won’t try dissing anyone in class anytime soon–least of all Emma.
Now, concerning a theoretical judgment match between Emma and Franky, I’m sure Kerry has some sage advice. He could even use a Pacific Rim reference to get his point across–
Yeah, that’ll work…
First off, a good Imbolc to all. It’s Saint Brigid’s Day and that means it’s time for a bonfire and lots of celebrating. You do know that all those little witches that have been writing about her getting ready for their celebration tonight, and it’s easy to remember that it was on this night in the first novel that Annie’s and Kerry’s life took a major change, for this was the day the Guardians came calling to ask about two special kids.
And just like this holiday, it’s been a party ever since. Well, maybe it’s a party if you like to hold them in the middle of the punk rock festival. Let’s not dwell on this matter–
After weeks of showing excerpts from the previous chapter, I finally get you all caught up and show you things that have been written in chapter I’m currently working in, Chapter Nine. Although, I’m not really showing you what I’m working on, as am slightly ahead of the curve…
At the moment I’m seven thousand, eight hundred and eighty-four words ahead of the start of this chapter, so once you see this excerpt I’ll still be seven thousand words ahead of you before I write more tonight. I imagine by the time I start showing excerpts in the second scene I could be ready to finish out the chapter. Either way, it’s good to be slightly ahead of what I’m showing versus what I’m writing. No pressure, as I said before.
As the chapter states this is Freaky Friday, and while it’s a bit of a different day there will not be anybody switching going on. At least I don’t think so. It is something we can do if we had homunculi, but then I gonna come into play today. It’s more freaky because of things getting started–plus, since everything in this chapter takes place on Friday, it seemed like a good title.
But what is it all about. In some ways it’s about new beginnings, in some ways it’s about reflections of the past. But before we can get to any of that, it’s necessary to set up the opening scene:
Kerry exited the locker room and entered the nearly empty Ready Room. Three students were already here, all members the previous year’s Advanced Flight One. He was surprised to see that everyone who admitted last year’s advanced flight class had moved up to this year’s class, for he was certain there were at least a couple of people whose proficiencies weren’t good enough to move them forward.
He took his seat in the front of the room near the podium. He felt a small pang of sorrow when he realized that come the end of this school year, he would no longer sit here. For two full school years this was his seat for all flight briefings, and the only thing that changed was that Annie was no longer on his left and Emma would once again be on his right.
Come the end of May, 2014, he would no longer sit here except in those instances where it was necessary to bring all the race teams together for a meeting. Within that growing feeling of sorrow was the deeper understanding that when this class was over, half of his education at Salem was over as well.
As Nadine had told him once before, as soon as the first three years are over, it’s all a downhill slide to the end from there.
Since he wore his flight gear, it went without saying that it was likely they were going to fly today. The last time Kerry had been on the room was when Annie had come to see him week and a half before they left for Paris—and once more it was a week and half later and he was ready to take to the sky. Last weekend he had specifically told Annie that he wasn’t going to fly, because he wanted to spend time with her either on the school grounds or on trips into town. He had a sneaking suspicion that not only was he going to spend time flying around the New England countryside, but since he had a free afternoon, there was a possibility he may not even make it back for lunch…
It’s time for ruminating and Kerry has a lot of it going on. Two years of flying are behind him, and once this year is over he’ll have no further need to come to the Flight School. And as is indicated, once this class is over–indeed, once the school level is over–half of his education at Salem is done. He’s thinking this way because, let’s face it, even with all the trials and tribulations he’s seen, the last two years at Salem have been good to him. He found a girlfriend; he discovered he was a witch; he discovered he could do magic; he discovered that his girlfriend had been his girlfriend for a long time; he discovered his girlfriend would eventually have a girlfriend and that girlfriend would be him; and he became invested in the supersecret spy society known as the Guardians, who have the job of protecting The Foundation.
Oh, and he also learned how to fly and race.
So a lot of bitter sweetness going on in this moment, because Kerry likes the routine, he likes coming to this room, he likes sitting down and imagining that he’s some kind of World War II pilot getting ready to set off into the wild blue yonder.
And then his wingmate shows up…
Emma crossed in front of him and nearly threw herself into her customary seat to his right. Having had three classes with her this week, he had an opportunity to see how well she was handling her return to school since her summer growth spurt, and from what Kerry could see she wasn’t dealing well with the changes in her life. As she had expected she was nearly a head taller than all the other girls in their level, and there were now only a few boys who matched her, or surpassed her, in height. While nearly everyone seemed fairly nonchalant about what happened—everyone knew that similar things were going to happen to them either this year or next—Emma’s awkward self-awareness made her almost painful to watch.
Kerry watched how she did everything possible now not to make herself look tall. She wrapped her arms around her torso, slid down in her seat until her head was just slightly lower than Kerry’s, then stretched out her legs so her knees weren’t hyper-extended. From Kerry’s point of view, however, her actions did little except draw attention to the fact that she was trying not to draw attention to herself.
He leaned over so he was close enough to whisper without being overheard. “Can I make an astute observation?”
Emma glanced at him without turning her head. “You could just say you want to ask me something, Sherlock.”
Kerry didn’t let her snarkiness bothered him. “You look ridiculous. You do realize that the majority of your height is actually in your legs, so when somebody walks by here—” He waved at her extended legs. “You’re not hiding the fact you grew some over the summer.”
She let out a long, slow breath before sliding upward in her chair so that she was sitting normally. She slowly crossed her legs as she turned and looked at her wingmate. “Better?”
He crossed his legs as well. “A lot better, yeah.” Kerry began running his fingers up and down the teeth of his flight jacket. “You have a run at any of the courses yet?”
“Nadine and I took a run on the Green Line Wednesday morning while you guys were in sorcery. We did five laps before I did a couple more on the Blue Line.”
“How did feel?”
“Not too bad. The only thing is the bubble screen in the front has to be a bit larger to protect me, so I end up getting a bit more wind resistance.” Emma was referring to the enchantment which sat at the front of the PAV and preventive the pilots from taking the full brunt of an air blast that could exceed five hundred kilometers an hour. “Nadine said she’d show me a few tricks I could use so that I could streamline my body more so I wouldn’t have to fight all that resistance.”
Knowing that her new size and how it would affect her racing had been a prime concern of a mess when she returned to school, Kerry was happy to hear that it seem like the situation was mostly resolved. “See? It wasn’t really a problem. Now before you know it, you’ll be dusting us out on the courses.”
“Yeah, right. You’re just saying that—”
“Hey man, is that a kaiju?”
Kerry is probably the only person Emma knows who can point out to her that she looks stupid trying to hide her height and not get his head bit off. Of course, Kerry would probably tell her to get bent if she did bite his head off, as they’d sort of established that he is no longer taking her shit. But, you know, a weekend trip through frozen Canada can quickly because the Canuck Death Flight if the flight team is constantly bitching at each other, so it’s best to make nice now. At least Kerry figured how to pivot the conversation to something they both know, as height is something Kerry will deal with while racing one of these days.
And just when you think things are going well between the wingmates someone comes along and shits on this party.