The Last Laps: Bothered on Blue

Welcome back to the Blog That Continues Spitting Out Work!  Just joking:  I’m in that sort of mood today.  The weather is getting warm and the days are enjoyable, so my mood is beginning to improve.  I seriously need to put a few more sun dresses in my wardrobe, or even something that I can wear that are light and flirty, but still be able to wear them to work.

This will do for now, especially on Wednesdays, 'cause as we know . . .

This will do for now, especially on Wednesdays, ’cause as we know . . .

Like I said yesterday the chances were good I was going to finish the scene I started Tuesday last night, and not only did I finish it, but I managed almost a thousand words doing so, and put the cap on the scene in time to sit down and watch The Americans.  It wasn’t very long, and with one last scene in Chapter Thirty-One, it’s possible this one will come in at just under six thousand words, making it a one of the shortest in the novel.  (The shortest is fifty-one hundred word, and I’m certain I’ll go over that count.)

Since Renxkyoko Iglesias said she couldn’t wait to see what Evildoer Lisa was going to do, don’t let me keep you from that.  But first, a little racing:

 

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

As they flew through Woodland Path Alex turned on the speed and put a dozen meters between her and Kerry by the time their exited the woods and headed into Selena’s Meadow. Kerry pushed himself trying to catch up, but with all on his mind on unimportant things, his willpower to force himself faster falter slightly. The only thing he could do was take a few chances—

He entered Meadow Climb at close to two hundred kilometers and hour and whipped the broom through the turn as he sped into the sky after Alex. The g forces were incredible, causing his vision to gray for a moment, an nearly blew two elevation gates in the process, but by the time he’d leveled out on the entry to Pentagram Pass Kerry was perhaps seven meters behind Alex, and he closed that to five by the time they reached Trench.

Kerry’s mind was no longer on the possibility of being wrecked. While he casts glances into his rear view every few seconds, his concentration was on the back of Alex’s broom, and the need to negotiate Quarry Turn perfectly and at high speed so he could try to stay close enough to Alex to make a run on her during their final lap on the Green Line. He was up and out of the woods and passing Observatory Tower as he set up to take Observatory Bend at as great a speed as he could, ‘cause he knew Alex as going to do the same.

He leaned forward and braced his elbows against the broom’s column as he entered the turn, seeing Alex do the same. The centrifugal force was brutal but Kerry kept his eyes on the girl in front of him and held tight. After a few seconds of agony they were both out of the turn, and while he hadn’t gained any distance on Alex, as they entered Skyway Kerry knew he hadn’t lost space either.

Since Helter Skelter was one of his favorite turns Kerry made it through and even managed to pick up a meter on Alex as they entered Residences. With a few seconds of relatively easy flying ahead, He checked his rear view—

Lisa was about four meters back, with four other fliers about three meters behind her.

Kerry felt a slight knot twist up in his stomach. He knew what she was going to try: she would attempt to close on him from Back Path to South Side Dive, then once they were in The Sweep, she’d try to wreck him. Just like she did that time with Anna and him. Since the race was almost over and she had no chance at a Top 10, getting parked wouldn’t hurt her, and with them both out of the race their coven standings wouldn’t take too much of a hit, though he’d finish out of the points and drop out of the Top 5—

He wasn’t going to let that happen. He pushed the broom harder as he jetted through Aerodrome.

It was only when he nearly missed an elevation gate at Back Path that Kerry realized he was still on about what Lisa might do and understood he was getting rattled. I’m over-thinking this, as usual, and doing this during a race is not the place . . . He cleared his mind, negotiated Van der Kroff Heights, and pushed onward.

Kerry held the left side of the course, setting up to enter South Side Slide. He shot a glance at the rear view and saw Lisa set. He ready himself for her to move on him hard—

 

When you get to the point where you over-think the fact that you overthink everything, then you’re spending too much time overthinking stuff.  And, after almost two years of school, there are probably people within the school walls who know Kerry tends to overthink things.  In short, Lisa is playing a mind game on The Ginger Hair Boy, and it rattled him just enough to get him spooky.  Kerry’s not a machine:  he has flaws, and this is one of them.  And as he suddenly realizes, overthinking on the race course is a bad idea.

Well, then:  what happens.  Kerry knows something bad is coming.  And he’s right–only it’s not what he expects . . .

 

Right then another flier dropped down in front of Lisa, slammed on their air brakes, and cut so hard to the right and down that Kerry thought they were going to lose control. Since he was setting up the turn from the left side of course, he adjusted his turn and followed the other flier down and to the left. Before entering The Sweep he checked behind him once more: the move at the start of South Side Slide ruined Lisa’s entry into the turn, and she’d not only lost several meters but was mired in with the group of racers behind him.

He pushed his broom through The Slide, the other racer hold their turn on his right through the outside of the turn. Once they were out of the turn and moving along Diamond Lane, Kerry flipped up his visor to see who was next to him—

The other flier’s visor flipped up, and Kerry immediately recognized the bright red bangs that belonged to Emma. A smile came to her eyes. “Someone last year told me that racing on brooms is three dimensional—” She glanced forward. “Funny how people tend not to look up.”

“Isn’t it?” He noticed that Alex was now about seven meters ahead and slowly putting distance on them. “You wanna race?” He nodded ahead as they neared The Diamond. “See if we can catch Alex?”

Emma’s eyes smiled back. “Hell, yeah.” She slapped her visor down and pushed her broom forward.

Kerry flipped his visor down and entered the Green Line at close to three hundred and seventy kilometers an hour, crossing the Start/Finish line maybe a third of a broom length. He didn’t need to worry about Lisa any longer, and he certainly didn’t need to worry about Emma. He eased his broom through Rockport Lane and focused on Alex. Three fliers competing for fourth— Kerry leaned slightly to the left. This is how the season should end.

 

Only fair that after Kerry helped out his wingmate with a smack down that got her back in line that she’d come and do something that might have let him finish the race in one piece.  Before you ask, let me answer:  yeah, Emma did something that she was technically warned on before the race.  However, no contact was made, she wasn’t screwing around with Lisa, and since we know people in Race Control were watching what was about to unfold, after the move they probably looked at each other, shrugged, and went back to checking out the last lap of the race.

And, no:  they couldn’t order Lisa not to do anything because this isn’t Minority Report and Salem doesn’t have a Pre-Crime Department, and as one of the best seers in the world–who, incidentally, is sitting in Race Control as this goes down–would say you can’t act on those visions ’cause you’re liable to make things worse if you do, all anyone can do is watch thing unfold and wait for the outcome.  Or maybe Deanna was back in Race Control telling everyone “Wait for it” and leaving things like that.  We’ll never know–well, you’ll never know.  I know.  Bawh, hahahahaha!

Anyway, one last scene to write for this chapter:

You can see it right there.

You can see it right there.

And there you’ll discover how the final standings of the final race of the season shake out.  I should be able to get to that before I need to take notes for tonight’s Orphan Black episode–

Springtime For Kerry: Racing Resolutions

Well, well, it’s just a little after ten and here I am getting my post going after writing just over six hundred words.  Or I should say, adding six hundred words, because I know I’ll get to writing more this afternoon–like getting the next scene going, which I don’t think will be a long scene, maybe a thousand words or so.  Yeah, you’ve heard that one before, I’m sure.  But this time I mean it!  Unless, of course, I don’t.

It’s an interesting morning, as I drove down to The Burg’s Old Uptown area, where there’s another branch of the coffee shop where I’ve been hanging out on Sundays.  The one I walk to is closed on Saturdays, and since I’m going to be busy tomorrow morning, I decided to head out here, get in my writing, then make a quick stop at the office to print out something before retiring to the apartment for the afternoon.  At the moment I’ve got my caffeine on and I’m typing away like a little madwoman, so all is good in the world.

I'm also wearing my new peach top.  Or orange.  Either way, it looks good on me.

I’m also wearing my new peach top. Or orange. Either way, it looks good on me.

Yesterday I showed everyone what happened in the week after Kerry’s Big Wreck, but I didn’t show it all:  I reached a point where I thought stopping was good.  One reason for that was I wanted to finished the thought I started, and, if possible, I wanted to finish the scene, which I did.  I ended the preceding post with a certain Colorado Ginger maintaining a low profile, maybe out of shame, maybe out of not wanting to get her butt kicked, maybe out of not wanting fireball tossed at her–though that last is probably a stretch, ’cause Annie now knows better than to attack someone in a way that may get her tossed out of school.  Particularly when we have seen that Annie can throw a fireball big enough to light up a big damn bonfire, so setting a girl slightly taller than her in the middle of a massive conflagration that could reduce her to cinders in a matter of minutes wouldn’t be much of a stretch.

What was Emma up that Tuesday night?  Let’s look, shall we?

 

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

Friday morning all members of the coven race teams were called to the Flight School and assembled in the ready room. Though Kerry wasn’t yet cleared to fly he was told to attend, as was Annie, who sat in the back of the room next to Professor Semplen. Once everyone was in place, Emma got up in front of everyone and began apologizing . . .

She apologized for her actions during the Katahdin race; she apologized for her actions over the course of the season. She apologized for those she’d hurt, and faced Kerry while saying that not only was she sorry that she’d put him in the hospital twice during the season, but that he was right: she had slid into him because she saw him as a threat and she didn’t want him to be the first B Level to stand on a podium for the first time in forty-two years.

She told everyone she’d spoken with both Erywin and Vicky, and that neither of them had placed pressure on her to make the apologies, or to take her follow actions: she sat herself down for the next race, agreed to a thirty second penalty that would get applied to the race the following week, and that while her standings up to and including Katahdin would stand, and the points she generated for the Mórrígan team wouldn’t be affected, she would take a fifty point reduction in her totals in the Individual standings, which would push her back to eighth place and only six points ahead of ninth.

After Vicky had Emma sit with her team she let everyone else know that Emma had also requested that she be placed on probation for the remainder of this season and the entirety of the next, to which she and the rest of the team captains agreed. The probation terms indicated that if she deliberately endangered anyone on a course during this time she’d find herself removed from the team for good. Erywin spoke to the teams as soon as Vicky was finished and stated that while Emma’s actions were the best possible for her and for the coven, and she applauded her to being proactive in doing what she could to repair her current reputation.

 

There you go:  she want to Vicky and Erywin and let them know she was being a shit of a racer, and that she wanted to do something to redeem herself.  What she did isn’t unusual:  in Normal racing circles it’s not out of the question for the new kid who’s been something of an asshole on the track to get up in front of the other teams and tell them they know they’ve been a butthead, and they want to take steps to fix things before something bad happens to them–

Like, you know, stuffing someone in a wall at eighty miles an hour--which is what's happening here.

Like, you know, getting stuffed in a wall at eighty miles an hour–which is what’s happening here.

Now one could say, “Well, Emma didn’t really do this on her own; Vicky and Erywin are covering for her–”  Now, Vicky might cover for someone–she kinda did it for Annie, though she still gave her detention for doing things she wasn’t supposed to do–but have you been following Erywin?  That witch covers for no one.  If she hadn’t pulled Emma aside right away to sit her ass down, it’s because she was waiting to see if the Bad Girl From Bolder was gonna step up on her own.  Which she did.

But that doesn’t mean it’s all over, does it?  Nope, not quite–

 

During Emma’s mea culpa Kerry felt as many eyes upon him as upon his wingmate. Everyone in the room were not only aware of his relation with Emma, but their history as well, and the longer things played out, the more he felt he’d need to say something—

While Erywin made her way to the back of the room Kerry stood and faced Emma along with everyone in the room. He said that he’d told her earlier in the week that she needed to fix things with him and everyone she raced against, and he glad to see her doing that. He said that he forgave her and hoped she’d become the racer he knew she was, because he’d hate to not be able to race against her in the future. He ended by saying he felt the matter was closed and there was nothing further to say.

That same afternoon he reiterated the same feelings. Advanced Flight 1 spent the afternoon going over the process for modifying PAVs to achieve greater performance, which meant spending the entire class in the Flight School hangar. About an hour into class Emma tried to bring up the morning in the ready room: Kerry’s response was to smile and tell her everything that could be said was said, and there wasn’t any need to go over the same things again.

The Ostara races were the first since Katahdin where Kerry would be on the course at the same time as Emma—in fact, the first heat of the series was Cernunnos and Mórrígan. He was aware that everyone from both teams were watching them, particularly since someone had started a rumor that he was going to wreck Emma in the first race . . .

 

Once again Kerry takes the high road and tells everyone the matter is closed, let’s move on.  I know there’s a feeling that Kerry should just tell Emma off and snub the hell out of her, but he’s not like that.  He’s had to apologize for so many things in his life time that he knows what it’s like to want to be forgiven, so he’s forgiving type, at least publicly.  Privately he’s already told Emma that if tries any shit with him he’ll wreck her, and they both know he can do this because he’s the better flier.

The thing is if these two just happened to “get together” on the course during the first heat of the day and Emma just happened to end up busted and battered and probably in a coma when it’s all over, you can almost bet that Race Control would shrug and mumble, “It’s one of those racin’ deals,” and maybe lay a five second penalty on Kerry, and that would be that.  Unless he did something stupid like spear her with his broom, but he’d never do that so no need to go there.

Given there’s a rumor going around, however–probably started by a real bad racing girl–Nadine’s gonna check even though she knows he rumor is total BS . . .

 

Nadine nodded and smiled. “I know there won’t be trouble. It’s just—”

“You gotta make sure, I know.”

“Yeah.” She tapped Kerry on the shoulder. “We better get downstairs. Gonna be a big day today.”

“You know it.” He bounded down the stairs alongside his friend. “The penultimate hurrah.”

Annie waited at the bottom of the stair. Nadine greeted her before heading off to join her own team, leaving the couple to hook up with the Cernunnos racers. Annie leaned against Kerry’s shoulder the moment he took her hand. “Is everything good?”

“Yeah.” He walked slow, seemingly not in any hurry to get to the infield. “Even though Nadine knows everything’s cool, she’d gotta be team captain, too.”

“She wanted to make certain there wasn’t any outstanding issues.”

“You got it.”

Annie slowly swung their arms as they walked. “Are you all right?”

Kerry shot her a quick look. “What do you mean?”

“You look tired.”

“Nadine said the same thing.” He kissed her hand. “Just nerves, Sweetie. That and not getting to bed until almost three.”

“You mean not getting to sleep until then.” She leaned closer as she lowered her voice. “I believe we were in bed well before that.”

“On the sofa, at least.” He chuckled. “I’m good, don’t worry.”

“I don’t worry.” She looked straight ahead with satisfied expression etched across her face. “I know you’ll do your best out there.”

“Of course I will.” He stopped them and gave Annie a long, soulful kiss. “Doing my best is what I do best.”

Annie brushed her fingers lightly over his cheek. “And I, of all people, know that the best.”

 

“I believe we were in bed well before that.”  Annie, you scamp!  Keeping your soul mate up late the night before a big race, you should know better.  Wonder if her mama did the same thing with her papa as well?  Could be.  Maybe it’s time to say, “Like Mother, Like Daughter,” which might get a fireball tossed my way, because even though Annie is a fictional creature, it’s still something she’d do.  She takes no shit from anyone.

Here we are then:

The scenes just keep falling.

The scenes just keep falling.

Helter Skelter is up next, and funny thing:  if there was ever a good place for a wreck, it’s there.  Makes one wonder . . .

Dark Witch Warnings

Based upon how the last post ended, and given the title of this post, we’re about to get into some crazy here with Annie–but, before that happens, there’s and important matter than needs addressing first.

It was a year ago today that I finally decided to start living as me, and today was when I finally came out at work and didn’t have to hide from anyone.  So today marks one year of what we like to call Real Life Experience–which, by the way, is the same thing I call the student’s from Salem’s year on the road after graduating from school.  Funny how that works.

In case you’re wondering, since yesterday marked a year of Mondays since coming out, and took a photo at work to show how I looked yesterday, and put it alongside a photo I took on 2 February, 2015:

And here you go.

And here you go.

A lot of people said I look more relaxed in the “after” picture on the right, and I have to agree.  And while I’ve put on a little more weight–I know this to be true, I don’t have to see it in the photo–it’s also apparent my boobs are bigger.  Yeah, boobs!

Anyway, enough about me.  Let’s get to the Rumble in the, um, Bay.

Annie wants to talk.  Emma probably doesn’t, but since Annie locked her ass inside the hospital bay it’s a good bet she’s gonna hear what Annie has to say.  And that starts now . . .

 

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

“I come from a racing family: my father and mother learned to fly here, my father raced here, and in the Normal world racing is his profession. I am not a racer, but I know how things can get between competitors on the course during a race. I know people can lose track of conditions and what they are doing and find themselves in trouble.”

Annie took a second to draw in a breath before speaking in a slow, low tone not unlike the one Kerry used earlier. “After Lisa wrecked Kerry last year Vicky and I spoke, and she told me that if Kerry went out for racing I had a choice: I could be the ‘Crazy Girlfriend’ who went after everyone who wrecked him, or I could accept what happened and let it go. I chose to be the second person, because it wouldn’t help Kerry if everyone he raced against had to worry about me. I didn’t want that, and I accept that what happens to him during a racing is one of the possible outcomes of the sport.

However . . .” She moved a few centimeters closer, coldly staring upward into Emma’s eyes. In the last few months the American girl started growing and she easily stood six centimeters taller than the still diminutive Bulgarian girl. This not only didn’t bother Annie, but any advantage it may have given Emma was completely forgotten. “In the last year and a half Kerry’s found himself in three accidents with you, and each time he had to be hospitalized—all brought about by an idiotic move on your part. I’ll admit that I was upset with you both the first time, because Kerry could have avoided the by not racing you. The second time, though, that was your fault, and you even admitted that it what happened was your fault.

“Now this. I watched the race; I saw what happened. So did the rest of the school. And while I said nothing, there were more than a few people who felt you hit Kerry on purpose. Why would you? The only think that comes to mind is you felt Kerry represented a threat to you finishing the race ahead of him, and you . . .” She slowly cocked her head to the left. “What? Needed to eliminate him? Is that it?

 

We finally hear that not only did everyone in the school see her move on the course, but a few people also thought she was gunning for Kerry.  And that’s a bad thing for Emma, because now she’s gonna get labeled as “The Bad Girl of Salem Racing”, which is what she was warned about.  There are some people in professional racing who love being the drama llama of the course, but that doesn’t last long, because it’s only a matter of time before other racers are spinning your ass out or stuffing you into a wall, and a few concussions later you start getting your act together.

Kerry’s already had a couple of bad concussions and they’re not fun.  Maybe he needs to give one to Emma to even up in that area.  Though it looks as if Annie’s gonna beat him to that–

 

“I don’t care what happened out there on the course, nor do I care to hear your reason. I do know that it stops now. If you both should wreck because you’re racing hard and one of you makes a mistake, that’s understandable, but if Kerry should wreck once more because of an idiotic move on your behalf—” Annie floated off the floor so that she was eye-to-eye with the now visibly frightened girl and leaned in until their noses were almost touching. “—I will find a way to call you out. I will get you out to the Manor and on to the mat, and I don’t care how many champions you have stepping up to defend your honor: I will take them out, and I will continue doing so, until I get to you.”

Her eyes narrowed to mere slits. “And then I will hurt you. I will hit you hard: I’ll hit your hips, your chest, your legs—and your knees. I will cripple you so that it takes you a few days to get back on your feet, and once you’re healed the memory of what happened to you will remain so intense that you’re going to remember the experience for years.” She paused long enough to inhale and exhale slowly. “Do you understand?”

Her hands shook as Emma tried to bring herself to speak. “Ye—yeah.”

Annie’s tone turned icy. “Yeah?”

For a quick second Emma acted as if she were struck across the face. “Yes, Annie—” She was on the verge of hyperventilating as she forced out the last two words. “I understand.”

Annie floated back about a meter from the terrified girl before landing. She removed her privacy spell and swept open the bay curtain with a twitch of her fingers. “Leave.” As soon as Emma was out of the bay and off the ward Annie resealed the curtain and took a moment to return her composure to normal. She turned towards her bed-bound soul mate and discovered him chuckling.  “What do you find so amusing?”

 

And then I will hurt you.”  Up until this point Annie has not threatened another student with bodily harm.  Yeah, she’s lost it on two occasions and just started doing things–liking starting to bleed them out while strangling them or firing up a different death spell–but she’s never come out and said, “I’m gonna hurt you.”  She’s crossed that Rubicon and put someone on notice, and at the same time she’s let them know she doesn’t give a shit how may people get thrown at her in the process, she’ll get her girl and make her regret her life choices.  Or maybe something else?

Yeah, something else.

In the meantime Kerry is doing what?  He’s chuckling.  What do you find so amusing, dude?

 

Kerry motioned to her. “Please come here.” As soon as she’d joined him and was comfortably sitting on the edge of the bed he wrapped his arms around her torso and held her close across his chest.  “My Dark Witch: I finally got to see her angry.”

It was Annie’s turn to chuckle. “That wasn’t angry: that was notably perturbed. You’ve yet to see me angry.”

He nodded. “Uh, huh.  And if you had been angry?”

She rested her head against his shoulder as she gazed deeply into his eyes. “There would have been blood.”

“Well—” He quickly smiled. “Good thing you weren’t angry.”

“This time—” Annie stretched up and gave him a relaxing kiss. “I’m proud of you.”

“Because to told her off?”

“Yes. And because you weren’t afraid to tell her that she needed to change—or else.”

“It was necessary.” He looked away and signed.

 

Here we learn two things.  One, Kerry found Annie’s threats amusing because he got to see her angry.  And two:  Annie wasn’t angry, she was perturbed.  So when she’s coldly telling another student she’s gonna cripple them, she’s not mad, she’s just . . . perturbed.  Angry means there will be blood–

"And none of it will be mine."

“And none of it will be mine.”

That means when she’s really pissed at Emma, the blood death spell will likely put in an appearance.  And Kerry’s like, “Good thing you weren’t mad.”  Which is pretty much what Erywin has probably said to Helena from time-to-time when the latter has felt the urge to light up some stupid git who wronged her.  You’re finally getting to see what a couple of sorceresses are like together.  “Sweetie, I know you’re upset, but it’s not a good idea to strangle a person with a shadow ribbon–at least not in public.”  “Yes, you’re right, my love.”  It’s means you’ve always gotta check yourself before you wreck the shit out of others.  And since we know Annie can flat out kill someone in about fifteen seconds–if not faster now–it means from this point on she’s gonna really keep those emotions under lock and key.

The really scary thing here is that of the two, Kerry is the emotional one.  Good thing he’s got Annie to show him how to hold that all in.  Oh, wait . . .

This scene is just about over.  Just a little more to do tonight and I can put these kids to bed.

But I’ve finally pushed them over a line.  And there’s no going back.

Dark Witch Truths

Yesterday was the whole, “Kerry’s in the hospital again and everyone’s coming by to see how he’s doing and up pops Emma,” scene, and it ended up with a lot of–let’s just say a variety of emotions are sort of swirling about right now.  The least of which are coming from Emma, who probably thinks she should have rethought this moment in her life:

"Is now--or like any time in the next six months--a bad time?"

“Is now–or like any time in the next six months–a bad time?”

Last night I wrote sixteen hundred words for this part of the scene, and that’s something I’ve not done in a hell of a long time.  And get what?  You get to see it all.  Because this is a moment a lot of people have waited for . . .

 

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

A bit of redness crept into Emma’s cheeks as she looked towards the floor. “Thanks.”

“You ran a hard race—” Kerry’s tone turned towards the sarcastic. “—and you had only two speed penalties for rough racing. At least you were able to come in third.” He folded his hand over his lap as he tone turned cold. “Oh wait: you didn’t come in third. I did.”

Emma swallowed hard but didn’t look up. “Kerry—”

He cut her off before finding out what she wanted to say. “I had time penalties: I admit it. I even told Vicky I knew I was using magic during the race, and that she had to do what she needed to do.” He snorted. “I knew it was gonna screw me at the end, but I didn’t try to dance around then. I blew a gate and I used magic illegally. I own that, okay?” When it became evident his wingmate wasn’t going to say anything, Kerry continued onward. “What the hell is wrong with you, Emma?”

She appeared almost frightened when she looked up. “I didn’t mean it—”

Don’t tell me that.”

Annie watched Kerry closely, noticing how he handled himself. He didn’t shout at Emma; there wasn’t any need, for his anger was evident in the low grow of his words. Annie had seen him like this once before: when he questioned Lisa while she was under the control of his Draught of Submission. He’s fully aware of what he’s doing: he’s completely in control. She kept her face frozen, but inside Annie’s smile was bright and wide. He’s acting as a sorceress would; he’s being my Dark Witch.

 

Before we get into the whole “He’s my Dark Witch” thing, allow me to explain their penalty system:

Certain things done on the course require a set time penalty that are added to the racer’s finally finish time once they cross the start/finish line for the last time.  Blowing an elevation gate is a five second penalty; using magic on yourself while on the course–save for certain things like flipping up your visor or retracting your genitals–is a ten second penalty, and crafting a spell at someone an firing it off can get you anything from a minute to getting pulled off the track.

However, there are certain things that involve a speed penalty, which is simply a matter of Race Control telling you to throttle back your broom for a set amount of time and cruse at that speed until they tell you to go again.  Rough racing is one of those things that can get you a speed penalty, and that’s totally a judgement call on the part of Race Control, because bumps and grinds do happen on the course, and it’s up to Vicky to decide if someone needs a little less speed.

Kerry blew a gate and used magic on the course:  that’s fifteen seconds of time added to his final finishing time.  Emma was called for rough racing, and as you see she was called on it a second time during the race.  Some might say she was gaming the system a little bit, because if you get called on it a third time one can find themselves getting a time penalty thrown at them as well.

This is why the Unofficial Time for the Katahdan finish looks like this:

Which, you know, I just happened to have.

With all the pretty penalties.

And once the time penalties are added in, the Official Times for the race look like this:

Once again proving Time is a Tyrant.

Once again proving Time is a Tyrant.

Kerry had fifteen seconds of penalties, and when you add that to finishing seventy-eight seconds behind Nadine, it gives him a final interval time of ninety-three second, which puts him behind Emma by three seconds and ahead of Alex by five.  If Alex had been a little faster, or Kerry a little slower, or racked up another five seconds of penalties, he’d might dropped to fifth.  And just so you know, if he’d tied Alex he’d have still gotten forth, because he’s ahead of Alex in the standings due to wins, podium finishes, and top-5s.  Consistency has it’s place.

So now you know how this works out–and you’re about to know one more thing.  And this is the answer to a question that a lot of people apparently ask . . .

 

Kerry cleared his throat and shifted as much as he could with his knee immobilized. “Do you know why I fly with you?”

Emma finally looked up, and Annie and Kerry noticed her eyes growing misty with tears. “No.”

“I fly with you because you are the best. You know what to do when we’re out, you know what what could happen to us. When we’re flying together, I know how to anticipate your actions, and you can do the same with me. I fly with you because I’m one of the best, and I only want to fly with someone who I know is just as good. I’ve had people ask me, ‘Why do you fly with that crazy bitch?’ And that’s what I tell them: my wingmate is one of the best fliers, and I trust her to do the right things. And I do—but only when we’re flying.

“But when we’re racing?” Kerry gave a disgusted snort. “No I don’t. When you race, it’s like Crazy Emma comes out—the evil twin who doesn’t give a shit about anything but winning.” Kerry hadn’t sworn much in front of Emma, and she recoiled when he did it this time. “You don’t care about anything when you’re on the track—” He became more animated, using his arms to gesture while his tone remained constant. “All you want to do is win, and you’ll do anything to get to the finish line first. And if that means racing a little hard, that’s what you do. Only in your case—” His tone turned sarcastic once again. “You haven’t figured out the different between racing hard and racing dangerous. You think racing hard means putting someone off the course so they miss a gate, or into a safety enchantment so they slow up—or wreck—”

Emma began shaking her head as she pleased with her eyes. “I don’t—”

You do. It’s one thing to bump someone now and then when you’re racing, and it’s another to just run into them and get them out of your way. You didn’t bump into me today: you ran me over.” He sighed. “Do you know anything about racing in the Normal world? Have you ever watched Formula 1 or NASCAR?”

She shook her head. “No.”

“Then you don’t know what happens when a new person comes up and they decide they gotta win at all costs.” A smirk began to form on Kerry’s face. “They lose all their friends on the track. They have people gang up on them. They turn into the ‘bad guy’.” He pierced Emma with cold stare. “Is that what you wanna be? The Bad Girl of Salem Racing? I don’t think you want that, and even if you did you couldn’t pull it off, ‘cause you’d suck at it.” He once again set his hands in his lap as he settled back. “Nadine wants to see you before you guys go to the Midnight Madness, doesn’t she?”

 

Like it or not, Kerry sees there are two Emmas.  The first Emma is a great flier and has it together when she’s in the air, and she works well with her navigator.  This is something we’ve seen back on PEI during the first overnight flight, when these two worked out a route home in about the same amount of time it takes me to figure out what I’m going to wear in the morning.  They click; they are on the same wavelength.

And then there’s a second Emma who’s some crazy bitch with a “Win It All!” attitude who will push anyone out of her way–including her wingmate, whose life she’s gonna have to place her hands one of these days when they’re in the wilds of Canada.  Second Emma doesn’t think, and that’s what Kerry doesn’t like about her.  Racing isn’t just about winning, ’cause who wants to win all the time if they are burning bridges as they go along?

This is what Kerry knows, just as he knows her team captain wants to speak with her . . .

 

She nodded slowly as a certain awareness crept into her eyes. “Yes. How did—?”

“—I know? Because Riv and she were by earlier to see how I was doing. A lot of people came by to see how I was doing.” Kerry sat forward and finally raised his voice as he spoke. “I’ve got more friends on other teams than you have on your team. And you’re losing the few you have.” He sighed as he slightly collapsed inward. “If you don’t change you’re gonna get out on the track next season you’re gonna find yourself out there racing alone. No one’s gonna help you, no one’s gonna cut you slack. You’re gonna be out there all alone.” Though he spoke softer, Kerry’s tone didn’t waver. “Is that what you want?”

A few tears began streaming down Emma’s cheeks. “No.”

“I don’t know what Nadine’s gonna say to you, but I can bet she’s gonna ream you out. She’s gonna tell you to get it together, or you can get off the team—”

Emma wiped her face. “Are you sure?”

Kerry looked like he was about to jump out of bed. “Annie and I have class with her and Riv, and Nadine and I are working on our Ostara presentations together. Yeah, I’m sure. And you know what she’s gonna say as well, ‘cause you’re not stupid.” The cold stare and matching tone returned. “You need to fix this, and now. Otherwise you’ll probably never stand on a podium again.”

 

Again, Second Emma isn’t smart.  She doesn’t realize that Kerry’s not only friends with one captain from another race time, but two: Rivânia is the Åsgårdsreia team captain as well.  No, Emma isn’t smart, and Kerry’s about to give her the final cut.

 

The tears were flowing now and Emma found it difficult speaking through the sobs. “You right; I know you are.” She stared at the floor once more. “I’ll fix it, I promise.”

“You better . . .” Kerry took a deep breath as he leaned forward. “I’m gonna say one last thing, and after this we won’t talk about it ever again; I won’t bring it up, and if you try I’ll blow you off. Look at me—” Emma slowly raised her head. “Anna came with Nadine and Riv, and she said that from where she was positioned she thought you slid into me on purpose. I didn’t want to believe that, but you know me: give me time and I’ll over-analyze everything.

“Even if you came into Pond fast, you could have slowed enough that you could have diamonded that turn. I know you could because I could. In fact I would have done the same but Anna was there and I wasn’t in the right spot to pull it off. You didn’t have that problem, though.

“So from now on, until you fix the way you fly and prove you aren’t gonna be a danger to anyone, any time I see you coming my way I’m gonna assume you’re gonna do something stupid that’ll probably wreck me.” Emma’s tears began flowing more freely. “And I’m going to do what is necessary to keep that from happening—and if that means having to stick you in a safety enchantment, I will.” His tone turned dark. “And you know I can, ‘cause when it comes to both flying and racing, we both know as good as you are, I’m better.”

Kerry ignored his wingmate’s distress as he pushed home his last point. “I’ll keep flying with you. I’ll do snipe hunts, I’ll do overnight flights, I’ll even do the Polar Express. But I don’t have to do them as your friend. People work together all the time who may not really like each other that much, and that’s the way it might be with us.” He drew in a slow, deep breath. “It’s called being a professional. I would rather fly with you as a friend I can trust, but if I can’t, I can be a professional and do this to get through class.” He shrugged. “It depends on what you want to do, Emma. It’s all on you.”

It took several seconds for Emma to control her crying. She forced herself to stop and composed herself. “Okay, I . . .” She gulped several times as she sniffed back the remnants of her tears. “I’ll fix this, I will. I promise.”

Kerry lay back. “We’ll see.”

Emma nodded. “Yeah, I . . .” She glanced off to her left. “I, uh, better go find Nadine—”

 

There you go:  Kerry’s letting her know that he knows she didn’t just “slide into him.”  He’s called her on his bullshit, and has told her that if she keeps it up, he’s gonna start giving her a few racing lessons, and you can believe he knows how to hurt her on the track without it coming back to bite him too hard.  He won’t like it, but you know, sometimes you gotta be the Dark Witch and show those other witches who the hell they’re messing with.

This is also one of those rare times where Kerry comes right out and says, “I’m better and you know it.”  He doesn’t like to brag or show off, and for him to tell his wingmate that he’s better and she knows it–that’s his polite way of letting her know if she tries to play him in the future, he’s gonna, you know, fuck her up.  But he says it politely.  Yeah.

Well, that’s all over.  Kerry’s had his say and Emma can be on her way–

 

Wait.”

Emma’s head snapped around as the privacy curtain extended across the bay and slammed shut with a lout snap. Annie was out of her chair and half-way around the bed when she crafted a privacy field and set it against the inside of the curtain. “Kerry may not care if anyone else in the hospital hears what he has to say—” She cleared the bed and walked towards Emma, who slowly backed into the space between the curtain and Bed #1 and stopped backing up when she hit the wall. Annie moved right up to her and only stopped when they were toe-to-toe. “—but what I have to say remains between us three.

 

You know, when Annie starts off a conversation by locking your ass in the hospital bay with her, things are probably not going to get much better from that point on . . .

You're gonna make Annie angry; you don't want to do that--

“Emma . . . let’s talk.”

Congratulatory Blues

So, nails are done and pretty, I showed the women at the salon what Annie really looks like, the rest of the clothes I ordered arrived yesterday, and, oh, I got some really big earrings as a present yesterday . . .

Nails, Earrings, Clothes, and Coffee.  What more could one want?

Nails, Earrings, Clothes, and Coffee. What more could one want?

I managed some writing last night, and this morning I’ve been hard at work, with the upshot being that I’ve written almost eleven hundred words since starting the new scene last night.  I started this chapter in the ready room at the Flight School with Kerry surrounded by the members of his racing team by his side and Annie outside waiting to give him a kiss and encouragement, and I end this chapter with Kerry in a different room with the same people by his side once again.  Only Kerry isn’t sitting–nor is he gonna be walking before the day is out.

Pretty soon they'll just put a plaque with Kerry's  name on this sucker--

Pretty soon they’ll just put a plaque with Kerry’s name on this sucker–

It’s a nice scene, because everyone seems like they’re in good spirits:

 

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

“It was a great day for us all.” Manco looked happier than he’d appeared since the season started. “Thanks to you guys.”

Penny cast her gaze downward as she raised her eyebrows. “You did your part as well.”

“She’s right.” Annie held Kerry’s hand as she shifted her gaze from one member of the Cernunnos race team to another. “You all did your part. You all pointed—”

“Which is what we set out to do.” Kerry looked as happy as he could given he was sitting up in a hospital bed with his left knee once more locked in a cast. “Four race; four point.”

Alex slowly raised her fist over her head and gave it a quick pump. “Cernunnos, my naykrashch.”

Penny tapped her dormmate on the shoulder. “What she said.”

Annie squeezed her soul mate’s left hand, careful not to disturb the IV patch she’d tapped there nearly eight hours earlier. She’d helped Nurse Bianca and she undressed and cleaned him—though this time they didn’t remove his underwear—she assisted when they set his knee, and she administered the first IV of pain medication that quickly knocked him out and kept him unconscious for close to four hours. She saw to getting him something to eat when he was once more awake, and she stayed by his side and sat quietly while people from other race teams came by to congratulate him on the race, and to see how he was faring.

All but one person . . .

 

Gee, I wonder who that might be?  Think you’ll have to wait long to find out?  Should be a fun encounter–

 

Right around nineteen hours the other three members of the Cernunnos team who’d raced today stopped by to check on Kerry. Annie sat alone on the left side of his bed while Penny and Alex sat on Bed #1 and Manco remained standing at the foot of the bed. She immediately inquired why Darius hadn’t come with the rest of the group, and was given two answers. The first, from Manco, was that Darius was still upset that he wasn’t able to race at Katahdin as he’d done the year before, and that it wasn’t anything person against Kerry. The second answer came from Penny, and it was the one that Annie felt was closer to the truth: that Darius was being a “butthurt little bitch” and he couldn’t put his ego away long enough to see a team member and wish them well. Annie also noticed that Manco was not willing to refute her comment—

 

Given that the other members of the team have sort of reached the conclusion that they don’t need Darius’ shit, he had best get his act together or go find something else to do with his time on Saturday afternoons at the school.  While it may not help out the team for the rest of the season, having everyone unified can certainly help next school year.

 

She was happy that Kerry was in such good spirits. Nadine and Rivânia had been the ones to give him the final standings, and for a moment Annie thought that he might turn introspective and sullen, but instead he shrugged and congratulated Nadine for winning the race and Rivânia on retaining her winning time record—both all agreed in better weather conditions it was unlikely she’d hold that record much longer.

A few people from other teams stopped by, and Vicky, Erywin, Holoč, and Deanna also came by as a group to see how he was feeling and to congratulate him on a good race before the Cernunnos team showed. Annie felt concerned that her loved one’s good mood wouldn’t remain that way long, for though one racer in particular had yet to show, it was only a matter of time before they paid a visit—

That wasn’t on Penny’s mind at the moment, however. “So, are you guys coming to the Midnight Madness?”

Kerry shook his head. “Coraline said that if I absolutely wanted to put in an appearance she’d set me up with a wheelchair and help me down to the Dining Hall, but . . .” He bowed his head slightly.  “Naw. It’s just too much of a hassle to get down there, and it’s not like I’d be able to get out of the chair and sit on the sofa.” He glanced over towards Annie. “Which is what I’d really want to do.”

Penny nodded. “I can understand that.”

“How good’s your knee gonna be tomorrow?” Alex nodded towards the slight raised appendage hidden under the blankets. “You were in a lot of pain when you left the paddock.”

“That’s because I few nearly three hundred kilometers with it all tore up.” He released a slow sigh. “I’d have deadened the nerves while I was out there, but I didn’t want to get another penalty for using magic.”

Annie thought she should be the one to tell the others the truth about Kerry’s injury, least he downplay the severity. “He does have to take it easy, however. Coraline told him there was a lot more damage to the ligaments this time, and he was going to need to take it extra easy for the next few days.” She turned her best proud yet sympathetic look upon her soul mate as she lightly patted his fingers. “He’s lucky he has someone to ensure he doesn’t ignore doctor’s orders.”

Penny and Alex exchanged knowing looks before Penny chuckled. “Can’t break the rules when you have your own private nurse, can you, Kerry?”

He shook his head. “Nope. I’m always being—”

“Excuse me?”

 

What’s the expression?  “Well, this is a bit awkward!”  Yeah, it could get that way real fast . . .

 

Five sets of eyes focused on Emma standing in the ward corridor just outside the confines of Bay #1. Annie felt the mood change instantly, and saw Penny and Alex stiffen. She’d arrived in the Katahdin paddock in time to see Penny more or less threaten the Mórrígan flier, and she certainly didn’t want that to happen now—

Kerry managed to defuse the situation by asking a question in a quiet, subdued tone. “Can you guys give us the bay for a moment?”

The other members of the Cernunnos team glanced between themselves before Alex stood. “We should get ready for the Madness—” She tapped Penny on the leg. “Right?”

“Yeah.” Penny slid off the bed, keeping her eyes on Kerry. “You listen to Annie once you’re out of here.”

“Always do.” He rubbed Annie’s hand. “You don’t have to worry about that.”

Manco tapped the foot board of the bed. “We’ll see you later. Get better, okay?”

“I will.” Kerry waited for the three team member to silently file past Emma before he addressed her. “Come on in.”

Emma shuffled into the bay and leaded against the foot board, staying to Kerry’s right. “How are you feeling?”

“Better now—all that heeling magic and cool mixtures, you know.” He gave Emma one single slow nod. “Congratulations. You got yourself a podium.”

 

Good thing Kerry defused that situation, probably because he didn’t want Penny and Alex to get into trouble for getting into a fight with Emma in the hospital–not to mention Coraline would probably start throwing stunning spells at the whole lot of them to cool that shit out.

But there’s that last thing that Kerry said, and it’s going to be an important point that comes up in the rest of the scene.  Though to understand it all, we first have to look at the unofficial race standings:

Which, you know, I just happened to have.

Which, you know, I just happened to have.

Needless to say Kerry finished third–unofficially.  We say, “unofficially”, because penalties need to be assessed on racers before the official results are issued.  And according to the “unofficial” standing, Emma finished forth.  But Kerry just said she got a podium, which means she had a top three finish.

What does this mean?

It means shit is about to get real . . .

A Day At the Races: Snow Cruise

The word is out that I don’t have work again today, but that won’t keep me inside, for I’ll likely head into the office for a few hours.  Got to, my pretties, for no play, no pay, as they say.  But I’ll be able to write tomorrow–I mean, there was a lot yesterday . . .

Though I didn’t expect to keep at it as much as I did, by the time I called it quits last night I’d put twelve hundred and fifty-two words into the story bank, and that’s quite a bit.  It was slow because trying to take these images in your head and make them into strings of words that make is a hard job, and right around eight PM–or, as my kids would say, twenty hours–I twisted my face into a thoughtful grimace and said, “Hey, I forgot to eat dinner.”  So I made some egg rolls and got right back into things.

The reason it took so long is due to having to stop and recharge.  It’s always a pain in the ass writing description of things that are happening while making it sound interesting.  And this is one of those times when when writing it is a real drag.  I can see what’s happening in my head, but since you can be there, you only get my words.  They’re not that bad, but it would be far more interesting if we could just plug our minds into some Matrix and download our imaginations for you to see.  Though if I could do that I’m sure some of you would flip ahead to see what’s going to happen in a few more chapters–

Meanwhile . . . Ready, Steady, Go–yeah?  Kerry was about to kick off wildly into the great open space, and he had a goal of catching Rivânia so he could regain position.  It’s about time he did just that–

 

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

Go was a kilometer and a half of flying over the valley between two peaks separated by Wassataquoik Lake. While only a small portion of the course few directly over the lake, but nearly the entire way was over empty air. Only, as Kerry noticed while covering a few hundred meters after a three gee burst of acceleration, the air wasn’t empty; the snow was back, and far heavier than it had been back in Section 2. While he saw Rivânia four hundred meters ahead and closing, she was becoming fuzzy and indistinct in the deteriorating weather. This is only seven hundred and fifty meters— Kerry locked his focus on the Rivânia’s processor. The snow is gonna suck climbing Hamlin.

He was only one hundred and fifty meters from Rivânia, and maybe four hundred meters from Needle, and his speed was holding steady at four hundred and eighty. There wasn’t time to think: Kerry was going into Needle in three, two, one . . .

It was called Needle because the course narrowed between low, forested peaks, and Kerry reached the spot at the same time as Rivânia. She’d begun slowing only a few seconds before entry, where as Kerry didn’t slam on the air brakes until he alongside the Uruguayan girl. It was a risky move, and even if he pulled it off, he was gonna hurt by the time he reached Gully. He cleared Rivânia by about three meters before throwing his PAV into a murderous right hand diving turn down the mountain towards Clench—so named because of the racers who said they “clenched up” as they fought to keep from flying off the course or crashing into the ground. There was little in the way of a margin of error at this point, and the majority of five second penalties for missing an elevation gate happened in this stretch.

The snow didn’t let up as Kerry headed down the mountain, and he nearly touched two gates before getting his speed down into a manageable range where he could safely negotiate the left hander down to Gully. He was starting to see why Nadine and Rivânia said that while they loved Katahdan, they were happy they only had to fly it once a year. He was almost out of Section 3, about a third of the way through the first lap, and he found the course far more taxing mentally than even the Red Line. He flared out Gully then relaxed for a moment before preparing for Sixty Up, which was exactly as named: a sixty degree turn to the left and up, leading out of the South Branch Trout Brook and back into the mountains.

 

Let’s take a look at where all of this pretty much happens:

Doesn't look that bad when it's nice and clear like this.

Doesn’t look that bad when it’s nice and clear like this.

This is Section 3 of the course, pretty much from Slip on the right to Clutch on the left.  Go is that long line stretching across the middle of the picture, but because Google Earth is a bit of a butthead when showing distance, the line hugs the earth.  In reality the course goes straight across that wide area, from one to the other, and yes:  it’s three hundred meters, or a thousand feet, to the lake below.  This is not really that much–the K1 turn on the Red Line goes up six-tenths of a mile into the air over the school–but it does become a bit of a vertigo-inducing moment as you’re racing through the woods before–BAM!–you’re out in the open with nothing but lots of air under your feet.

And then when you’re through zipping over the void you’re hanging on to keep from crashing as you fly right back into the woods and into another difficult downward spiral before heading back up the hill, so to speak.  Which means we’re heading into Section 4 of the track–

Into this.

Let’s trip into this insanity.

Here we go:

 

Kerry made his way through Section 4 without difficulty. Bump and Drop Off were tricky, but the snow was lighter and once past Drop Off the course stayed fairly level, with the ups and downs being more spread out over the twelve-and-a-half kilometers leading up to the Fade Away turn and the entry to Section 5. It was almost possible to relax as he made the easy turn at High Sweep and head off at at fast clip towards Approach. He could almost feel the chill as he headed into the valley and the entry into Annis. The snow started once more and grew thick fast as the wind swirled between the thousand meter high ridge to his left and the twelve hundred meter North Brother to his right. He lowered his head as he leaned forward—

There was movement behind him; a flier came out of the snow approaching slowly. For a moment he figured it was Rivânia until he noticed the blue piping on the shoulders and helmet. Kerry knee throbbed as his suspicions changed moved away from Rivânia. He checked the IFF enchantment used to tell a person who was in front and behind them—

He was right: it was Emma.

 

 

 

Kerry put her as much out of his mind as possible so he could prepare for the turn at Fade Away and the six kilometer long, eight hundred meter high climb to the Hamlin High Dive. Section 5 was considered the worst part of Katahdin: technically challenging and as intimidating as hell. During yesterday’s walk through Kerry took his time flying this section in decent weather: now it was likely he would spent most of this section racing in a white-out. And if that was the case, the last thing he wanted was someone trying to do anything they could to pass and perhaps even run into him—again.

It was three kilometers to Harvey, and he didn’t want to deal with Emma before getting there, or even after he made it through. He expected her to do something before Harvey, however, because he suspected she wasn’t going to force an action in bad weather conditions that could cause her to wreck. Not to mention that Race Control was probably watching her closely now, and if she pulled another stupid move in a section of the course where everyone was expected to watch out for each other, there was a good probability Vicky would either hit her with a time penalty that could reach upwards of a minute or more, or order her off the course.

If he gave her the chance to pass in the next three klicks, she’d take that chance. And if he didn’t give her an opening, she might take it anyway—

Kerry knee throbbed again as he hurried through Fade Away, making his gee meter spike in the process, before heading up Cliffside Valley at four hundred kilometers an hour. Emma was right behind him, maybe ten meters, but she was closing. Kerry didn’t want to go all out: the area here was narrow, and the snow was now heavier than back in Annis. He kept his attention on the deteriorating course ahead, but every few seconds he shot a glance at his rear view. Emma continued closing, and he figured if she was going to make a move, it would happen in the next few seconds up ahead—

 

Hey, it’s Emma!  Hi, Emma!  Here to wreck Kerry again?

Okay, well . . . so I couldn't find a witch on a broom who looked as if she was gonna wreck someone.  Sue me.

Okay, so . . . I couldn’t find a witch on a broom who looked as if she was gonna wreck someone, so here’s a confused one. Sue me.

Now, the above paragraph was the last thing I wrote last night.  There was more I wanted to write, but it was getting late and I was tired, but little did I know I’d be awoken at five-twenty due to someone out on the street below screaming–one of the pleasures of living in the city, let me tell you.  There was something else I wanted to write, however, to put a coda on this post, and the moment my computer decided to play nice with me I fired up Scrivener and started in on that sucker.

How said sucker looked just before I started adding words.

How said sucker looked just before I started adding words.

I should also point out that the above view is how it looks when I’m doing the writing for this scene:  I got my score card, and I know my players.  Just gotta talk about it, right?

Anyway, here’s what happens . . .

 

They headed into Basin Squeeze and two things happened almost simultaneously. First, the snow began swirling around much like it had coming through Annis, only worse. Kerry figured the wind was being funneled down from Harvey Ridge and being spun around in the little basin as the foot of the embankment. And second, Emma decided now was the time to make her move. He could only think of one reason why she was doing this now, and Annie’s words came back to him in that instance: Stop making it sound like she’s somehow your equal—she isn’t.

Time to make those words ring true.

With wingmate only a meter behind Kerry pushed his broom hard to left, cutting her off. He executed a barrel roll while never losing speed, bringing his helmet to within centimeters of hers so he’d get her full attention. Then he landed upright about a half a PAV length ahead on her right, flipped up his visor with a simply levitation spell he knew wouldn’t get him in trouble, and turned a withering glance back before flipping the finger in her direction. “Stay the hell away from me, Emma.”

Within a matter of a few seconds Kerry flipped his visor down, turned his attention straight ahead, and with great pain, slammed on his air brakes, threw the broom into a vicious right hand turn, and began the difficult climb up Harvey Ridge without losing any time or position.

 

So:  cut to the left, barrel roll over your wingmate all the while matching her speed, then flip her off right before slamming into one of the most difficult turns on the course.  All the while it’s snowing like hell.  And being broadcast back at Salem.  I’m certain there’s one witch who just pumped her fists in the air and mumbled something in Bulgarian about showing that bitch who’s the better racer–

Believe it or not I’m getting close to the end of this scene.  Maybe that will happen today.

After I go into work for a little bit and do . . . word stuff.  I think.

A Day At the Races: Pretty Racers All In a Bunch

The snow is bearing down on us as I write this, and in about twelve hours we’re gonna get hit with Snowmageddon 3:  This Time It’s Personal.  Bring it:  I’m ready.  I went out after work to get my staples, and I’ll make it through no matter what.  Plus I’m crazy and I’ll walk down to something if it’s open–if being the operative word.

Needless to say today will be Panic in The Burg, and I’m certain at least one person at work will yap on about this shit for more than a few hours.  It’s even possible we’ll be sent home early because The Burg shuts down once there’s a couple of inches on the ground–or, as we say back over by Chicago der, “It’s Friday.”

Anyway . . . after getting home I started writing, and for the first time in a while I actually felt like writing.  Even though I had to do a bit of calculating in the next section of about eight hundred words–at one point I had four tabs open, each with an online calculator ready to go–I was still a happy girl as I tapped away at the keys.

"Maybe I'm having a good time because I know there's mayhem right around the corner?"

“Maybe I’m having a good time because I know there’s mayhem right around the corner?”

Yeah, that could be entirely possible.

There’s racing, and know I know who the hell is doing want.  And here they are–

Have at it, kids!

 

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

The course straighten and vanished into the gray, misty forest. Kerry pushed forward hard as the acceleration tried to force him backwards and off the broom’s saddle. Jaramillo stayed on Kerry’s left while Iglesias stayed about half a broom length to the left and back from her, and all three quickly reached a hundred and eighty kilometers an hour as they closed on Manco and Soroushi. Kerry pushed his speed, hitting two hundred then two-ten, but the girls from Blodeuwedd and Ceridwen stayed with him, as did the gaggle of racers coming up through his draft.

He needed to clear the people in the front in the next twenty seconds, otherwise the people behind him were going to jam on him and the girls to his left, while he jammed into the two fliers in front—the sort of situation that might see someone getting pushed into the safety enchantments and maybe crashing, or blowing an elevation gate and taking a five second penalty. Maybe all of those.

Kerry jerked a few centimeters to his left, just enough to make Jaramillo think he was going to tap her, then cut to his right as he lay his body over the control column and pushed on nearly five gees of acceleration. Two seconds and two hundred meters was all he needed to boost his top end to just over five hundred thirty kilometers an hour. He sailed past Soroushi—who had finally pushed her speed to what seemed like a bit over two hundred—and moved back to the center of the track.

Unfortunately, all the others behind him had the same idea. Fortunately, a few of them did pile up behind Manco and Soroushi, which meant they’d have to catch up at some point later on the course.

 

That “two seconds and two hundred meters” was the first of those things I needed to calculate, and it necessitated having to open three calculators.  First to find out how much speed I’d pick up if I pushed on five gees of acceleration–which, in case you’re wondering, is 49 meters per second squared.  Once I knew how fast I’d go, I looked up another calculator to make sure my meters per second to kilometers an hour I was calculating on my computer was correct.  (It was.)  Then I brought up a third calculator to see how much distance I would cover.  Two hundred meters, by the way, is six hundred and fifty-six feet, and in case you’re wondering how far that is–

It's this far, folks.

It’s this far, folks.

Kerry flew from the far side of the West Wing of the White House to the other side of the East Wing in two seconds.  That’s some pretty good flyin’ there, kid.

But now he’s go something else to do–

 

Kerry didn’t care. He was entering the South Branch turn at four hundred thirty kilometers kph, and though he thought he should kill some speed so he didn’t bounce off the safety enhancements, he decided to gamble, because he knew if he didn’t, people behind him would. He pulled his broom to the left and entered the turn.

The gee force wasn’t bad—he figure he was pulling two and a half gees at the most—but it went on for a bit longer than the seven or eight seconds needed to get through Observatory Bend. He held the turn as he made the slight climb towards Twelve Cut, then cut his speed considerably as he reached the right turn and head off and up.

 

What I didn’t point out is that the fourth calculator I used here told me that Kerry held that speed through the turn for about twelve to thirteen seconds.  And my calculations may have been off just a little, but that’s why this is a first draft, so I can go back and fix things later.  Sometimes I’m a bit too eager to make sure my kids do it right.  Or at least I get it right.

Anyway, this leaves Kerry almost in the lead.  Only one thing up ahead . . .

 

The climb to Barrell Around was a good hundred meters, and the only one between him and that crest was Anna, who was only about eighty meters ahead. Her flying surprised him, because Nadine told Annie and him after last Wednesday’s Advanced Spells class that most pole sitters fade on the South Branch climb, and it was extremely rare for them to stay in the lead all the way to Pond Switchback. Kerry figured she might hold on to the lead through Barrell Around, but he was going to take her through the flat of Twin Peaks before they did the quick ninety meter drop to Pond Switchback and made the difficult left-hand turn and nearly two hundred and seventy meter climb to North Climb.

Anna flew into Barrell Around and vanished into the right hand turn. Kerry went after her, picking up speed through the blind corner leading into Twin Peaks, the narrow passage between two five hundred fifty meter hills. He hit the acceleration and caught up to the lead girl just as she was dropping out of the passage down the cut dropping almost a hundred meters to the hairpin switchback overlooking the Lower South Branch Pond—which they could almost see through the barren trees.

Kerry noticed Anna’s helmet twitch: she was checking her mirrors and knew he was behind her. She pointed down and to her left, indicating that she was letting a faster, more experienced flier pass. He pulled to the center of the turn as Anna slid a bit to her right—

He was a quarter of the way through the turn when Emma slid hard into Kerry, nearly knocking him off his broom, then straightened herself and pulled away from the Switchback and up the side of North Ridge towards North Pass, almost a kilometer away and three hundred and fifty meters higher.

 

Emma!  How you doing, you little race-bumping ginger bitch?  So here’s Kerry racing Anna, who is being nice and safe and using hand gestures–which are legit and used in a few different series–and who comes along and runs into Kerry–again?  Can you say it?  Say it again!  LOUDER!

I wonder what might happen now?  Well, I know what’s going to happen.  But you’ll have to come back tomorrow to read about it, because I won’t write it until tonight.

Assuming I’m not buried in snow on the walk home.