Used the title from a television show yesterday, so why not start out the year doing the same? Sure, there are some who would argue this is taken from the graphic novel The Walking Dead, and not the show that sort of exists in the same universe with something like the same characters and plot, but there is a symmetry here. Felina was the final episode of a great show, and Days Gone By was the pilot of a show that is trying to be great. See what I did there?
Anyway, 2013 is behind me. Lots of things have gone by, as I mentioned yesterday. I’ve had worse years, but there is room for better times, for sure. I leave this final message for the last three hundred sixty-five days that have become our history:
I didn’t go out last night. I stayed in, drank a couple of beers, left The Walking Dead marathon on in the background–’cause nothing says, “Enjoy the upcoming new year!” like watching people caught in an Idiot Plot stumble through death and destruction at every turn–and wrote. I also spent some time chatting online with people, but the time from nine PM until just after midnight was spent crafting my latest scene. You might say that’s not a great way to spend the holiday, but it is what it is. You take the bad with the good, and keep moving forward.
Oh, and I also blocked some idiot on Facebook right before midnight. Remember, keep the ignorant, racist nitwits out of your life. Particularly if they tell you they’re allowed their opinions because they have freedom of speech, but you’re not allow to criticize them for the exact same reason. Yeah, blow those assholes out of your life right quick.
So the students in my magical chemistry class mixed up their first formula, and now it’s ready to test. It’s an antidote, which means it’s suppose to cure something–and this raises some questions. Why don’t I let you look at what happened–it’s easier that way. (Remember it’s a first draft, so if you find errors, ignore them. For now.)
(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)
The professor slowly paced back and forth before the front row. “No, there are other ways to test this antidote. I’ll test the purity of each product, for one: if the purity doesn’t meet or exceed seventy percent, then it won’t work no matter how well you worked your will upon the formula.” She pointed at a girl in the third row. “Young lady, what’s your name?”
The light brownish girl—it was difficult to tell if her skin tone was either her complexion or a tan—snapped upright and answered in a thick Australian accent. “Yara Gye, Professor.”
“Yara, would you please come up here?” She continued to motion the girl to join her until she left her chair and stood next to Sladen. The professor continued addressing the class. “There are certain thing that I can see about your product as well. For example—” She pointed at a beaker in the second row. “That antidote is the wrong color: I know it won’t work because the purity is rubbish and whatever magic was attempted was rubbish as well.”
Sladen turned to Yara and spoke in a soft voice. “Love, there’s bag behind my desk; inside you’ll find a shawl. Would you get it for me, please?” Yara did as asked, and returned a few moments later with a crocheted shawl in her hands. Sladen nodded. “Would you mind putting it on—just wrap it around you . . . that’s good . . .”
Yara stood next to the professor, the shawl wrapped tightly around her shoulders. She shook once. “Uhum.”
Professor Sladen turned to her. “Everything all right, dear?”
“I just . . .” Yara pulled her arms around her chest and hugged herself. “Feel a bit chilly.”
“I suppose anything under thirty Celsius is a bit chilly for you, yeah?” Sladen turned back to the class. “There is something to consider, though—something that you haven’t yet thought out.”
Kerry was starting to form an idea around what Professor Sladen was saying, but he had to put the question to her. “What’s that?”
“That not all antidotes are for poisons.”
The murmur that passed through the class this time was louder and touched with just a twinge of surprise. A fair number of students looked in the direction of Yara, who now had a look of panic on her face. She looked straight ahead as she spoke to Sladen. “Professor, something’s wrong.”
“Oh, no: everything’s fine.” She stepped back from the girl and waved her left hand: the shawl was pulled away from Yara’s body by a magical force and settled up under the white boards. “I should have told you that the shawl is cursed.”
It was obvious that Yara wanted to turn towards Professor Sladen, but as much as she fought to turn her head, she couldn’t. “Professor. What’s wrong with me?”
Sladen didn’t address Yana directly, but rather the class as a whole. “You see, antidotes aren’t just for poisons, they also cure people who’ve been cursed by magical objects. Especially—” She turned around and started at the shawl at the front of the room for a moment, then turned back to the class. “Those items that have been cursed by a powerful sorceress.
“Young Yara here has been cursed—” She stepped behind the girl, who was staring straight ahead and immobile. “She’s been affected by a petrification curse, brought about by a cursed shawl. In another twenty seconds or so, Miss Gye will pass beyond the realm of flesh and become stone—oh, it’s coming a bit sooner than I expected . . .”
As the class watched Yara’s skin turned a light gray and became ashen, and her eyes became a solid whitish color like they were made of marble. A minute before she was a breathing girl: now she looked as if someone had chiseled her body out of granite. Once more Sladen waved her hand and Yara fell backwards. Her inanimate form crashed to the floor, bounced once, and lay still.
Sladen looked down upon Yana’s form and nodded once. “What you have been working on is an petrification antidote. At the moment young Yana is petrified, and after I try her antidote on her, each of you will get to try yours—” She looked about the room. “And that will continue until she’s un-prettified.”
Annie’s voice seemed loud in the quiet classroom. “And then?” She already suspected what would happen once someone’s antidote worked.
“And then—” She gave Annie a wink as she walked over to Yana’s lab station. “We’ll need another test subject, won’t we?”
I wonder if Yara will get extra credit if she spends the weekend on display in the atrium of the Great Hall. I should try that.
The upshot of all this is I managed a little over a thousand words right after midnight, and that brought the novel total to ninety-one thousand one hundred words. The end of this particular part of the story is a lot closer than it was before, and I’m feeling pretty confident I’ll wrap this part up by the end of January. After that I’ll take a little editing break, the get back into the second episode of the first book.
The old days are behind us. Nothing but unwritten chapters ahead.