Death End Kids

I discovered that yesterday was my seventh anniversary with Word Press, that this blog has been registered with them for that long.  Sure, I’ve only been writing on it for almost five, but still–back when blogging was a big deal, here I was.  Always nice to know.

The evening was a nightmare, however.  It was hard to crank out the close to six hundred words I did eventually write, because I was coughing up a storm.  The cold is still lingering, though it seems to have lessened this morning, but last night I couldn’t go five minutes without coughing.  It was like there was fluid in my chest, only it wouldn’t come out.  Got so bad at one point I started gagging, and that’s never fun.

However . . . I did seem to get a good night’s sleep, so that helps.  But writing was miserable.

This was almost totally me, except I wasn't laying in bed, and she's not hacking up a lung.

This was almost totally me, except I wasn’t laying in bed, and she’s not hacking up a lung.

And I was emotional as hell, too.  I cried a lot during the afternoon at work, and once home I was watching Pacific Rim (yes, I know, I’ve seen it enough, right?) and every time Mako Mori came n I started crying.  Every.  Damn.  Time.  Even when she does her total Anime Girl “For My Family!” attack, which is probably my favorite scene, I was crying.  I couldn’t win last night, I’m telling you.

Cold to the left of me, feelings to the right, here I am, getting my ass kicked by both.

Cold to the left of me, feelings to the right, here I am, getting my ass kicked by both.

But!  I did get the conversation between Kerry and Helena going, and it’s starting to turn interesting . . .

 

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

“I can understand that.” She shut off her monitor and pushed it aside. “It’s a common feeling for those who’ve entered the Guardian fold: we deal in dead and it’s natural that we want to know how we are affect by death.” She cocked her head to the left. “Am I correct?”

“Kinda . . .” Kerry continued looking down and away from the sorcery instructor. “I just didn’t know if I should ask. I was, you know—” He shrugged.

Given that Helena was well versed in the various fears reported by the one closest to him, she found him easy to read. “You were worried I might think less of you.”

He nodded. “Yes.”

“I don’t, and there’s a reason: as well as being intelligent, you’re also curious as hell about everything. People like that—people like us—” Helena pointed back and forth across her desk. “—we want answers to everything. And we keep looking until we get them.”

“I was worried that you might think—” Kerry finally raised his head and began looking directly at Helena. “—that I was scared or something.”

She moved to calm him. “I know you’re not scared, Kerry. You faced death three times before you were twelve, and you came back for more.” Helena chuckled while shaking her head. “I’m not the only one who thinks that. You know I get all my information second hand . . .”

Kerry smirked as he squirmed in his chair. “I sort of figured that.” His left brow shot upward. “She tells you stuff like I’m not afraid of death?”

“Not exactly in those terms, but . . .” It was Helena’s turn to smirk. “You know if she thought you weren’t cut out to do Guardian work, she’d have told you before telling me.”

 

If there’s one thing we know about Annie, it’s that she’s honest.  And if she ever thought Kerry wasn’t cutting it, she’d let him know.  She probably wouldn’t be all nice about it, too.  It would probably be like, “You need to stop this,” and they’d move on from there.  Because of their agreement to teach others–because Guarding training ideas, yo–Kerry has to be the same way with Annie, and you can bet she’s probably told him a few times, “You need to be tougher with me.”  Yes, Annie would tell him that if a fear of death was getting in the way of him being a good Dark Witch, he should get the hell out of the business.  And he would, because if he screws up, the person that might end up dying due to his screw up could be Annie, and he’d never forgive himself for that.

 

He didn’t require Helena to elaborate: when it came to her training him in the ways of sorcery, when he didn’t meet her standards Annie was quick to tell him what he was doing wrong, just as he did with her regarding transformation magic. And just as he did when he reported Annie’s progress to Jessica, Annie was required to report his progress to Helena, and he knew ahead of time if she was going to pass along something that was critical of his performance. As she was always quick to point out, a failure to do something correctly while in the field could mean never getting another chance to do it right.

For the first time since walking into the room Kerry felt at ease. “I’m glad you don’t think I’m here because I’m scared of, you know . . .” He spent a moment staring off to his left before looking at Helena to say the last word of his statement. “Dying.”

“Speaking of that—” Helena wanted to get the conversation away from Kerry’s insecurities and back on the path they’d begun originally. “You wanted to know about my dying, yeah?”

“Well, you don’t have to.” He was back to being embarrassed by his reason for coming. “It can’t be something that you feel comfortable discussing.”

“I don’t talk about this with everyone—but I don’t mind talking about this with certain people.” She set a smile on her face so that he couldn’t guess at her current thoughts. I’m not about to tell him that I had this same conversation with Annie months ago

 

Now, then, two things.  One, Helena has talked about dying before, and that someone was Annie.  Not a bit surprised there:  she probably asked.  Why?  Because Annie is also curious.  And two, Annie never told Kerry about this conversation.  Not surprising there, either:  you can imagine there are plenty of conversations Annie has with Helena that ever get back to Kerry.  He knows those two have Girl’s Talk, and he doesn’t ask about the conversations.  Now he’s having one of his own.

I guess we’re going to find out how Helena died . . .

Beneath the Hardened Child

This is All About Annie.  Really, we are in that place where she’s being asked about stuff–you know, things–that that stuff happens to pertain to a certain Ginger Hair Boy from Wales.  It’s a given that her mother knows a bit about the boy, but Daddy?  If there was a Nopesville, Bulgaria, Annie’s father would be mayor.  But isn’t that how it is?

This means that, now, in the space after coming home and going to dinner, Papa gets a little me time with his lovely little witch.  Annie knows what he wants–he’s just taking his time getting there.

 

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

“We’re also thrilled with all the advanced classes you’ve been invited into. Although . . .” Victor rubbed his right index finger just under his lower lip. “Why didn’t you take Advanced Transformation and Advanced Flight One?”

Annie had expected these questions as well, and had her answers ready. “I’m auditing Advanced Transformation: Professor Kishna is letting me study the advanced spells with someone else—” She left the question of with whom she was studying and moved to the next answer. “—and as far as Advanced Flight One: everyone knows if I need additional flight training, I know where to turn.” She turned raised eyebrows and slight grin towards here father. “Is that not so?”

Victor couldn’t keep from chuckling. “That is true.” He sipped his tea for the first time. “I’m certain I could do as well as any of your instructors.”

They sat quietly looking at each other across the small table. Annie kept expecting her father to continue speaking, but he said nothing as his eyes darted from point to point around the siting room. After thirty seconds she decided to make things easy for him. “Papa?”

He sat up attentively. “Yes, Nini?”

She grinned partially due to what she was about to say, and partially due to her father calling her by the nickname they’d used for years. “You can ask the question you really want to ask—” She raised her tea mug to her lips. “I don’t mind.”

 

First off, Annie’s tired of beating about the bush:  if you wanna ask about my boyfriend–of which said terms has yet to come up–go ahead.  And second–Nini!  Annie has a nickname!  One that Kerry doesn’t know about.  And in case anyone’s wondering:  Kerry’s nickname is “Hey, You.”

Now that you have permission, ask away, Papa–

 

Victor set his tea upon the table and wrapped both hands around the mug. “How is Kerry?”

Finally. “He’s good, Papa.”

“And how is your time with him?”

“I enjoy being with him.”

He cleared his throat as quietly as possible. “Yes, but . . .” He raised his gaze and met Annie’s soft stare. “How is he to you?”

Annie set her mug aside and lightly placed her folded hands on the table before her. “He’s always nice to me: he never gets angry or mean, and he’s never raised his voice except when he’s frustrated with himself. He’s kind and always keeps me in this thoughts. He greets me every day with ‘Good morning’ and says ‘Good night’ before we go to our rooms to sleep.” She allowed her gaze slip slightly to the right. “He’s always there with a sweet word or affectation—” She looked back at her father. “He makes me feel wonderful, Papa.”

Wonderful Annie is a good witch filled with sunshine. Make her unhappy, and . . .

Wonderful Annie is a good witch filled with sunshine and unicorns. Make her unhappy, and . . .

 

Annie is a complex girl.  You could say, “Oh, but she’s a teenager:  of course she’s complex,” but there’s more to it than that.  Some might say that any girl who starts planning her wedding at around the age of seven with a boy who may be nothing more than a dream figment is probably a little obsessive/crazy, but there’s far more to her than just a stalker mentality.  She is in love, and she’s getting to the point where she doesn’t care who knows.  That little look off to the side–that’s her love remembrance.  And to tell one’s father that a boy they just met for about five minutes makes you feel wonderful . . . that’s heavy.  So much so that her father is a bit taken aback:

 

Victor regarded his daughter for fifteen seconds, his face a combination of calm interest. “You weren’t like this when you came home after your A Levels—”

“That’s because I missed him, Papa.” She glanced off to her right once more. “I was sad to leave him at the airport that day.”

He nodded slowly. “You were holding hands when you arrived in Vienna.”

Annie kept her head turned slightly to the right while her eyes turned back towards her father. “We were, yes. We hold hands nearly everywhere we go.” Her right eyebrow rose as she gave her father a quizzical look. “Didn’t Mama and you hold hands when you were at school?”

“Yes, we did.” Victor returned his daughter’s look. “But we never did that in front of our parents.”

She shrugged. “I’m different: you know that.”

 

She may as well said, “I’m not like the other girls,” and she’d have been right.  Oh, you saw us holding hands?  Ha!  I’m Annie:  I do what I want!  And to show she means business, this short little passage happens–

 

“I most certainly do know that.” He twisted slight in his seat so he could cross his legs. “I only want to know that you’re happy, and that this boy isn’t—”

“His name is Kerry, Papa.” Annie’s face froze into impassiveness as one thought entered her mind: I won’t allow him be spoken of in the same way Kerry’s mother tried to speak of me. I won’t. “Please don’t call him ‘the boy’. He’s more than that.”

There were a couple of slow, measured breaths from across the table before Victor spoke. “I apologize, Nini. I didn’t mean any disrespect.”

 

She knows about being “The Girl Who Writes” and she’s aware Kerry lost his shit on me mom for saying that, so you know Annie isn’t going to give either parental member a lot of slack when it comes to using a term like “the boy”.  And to say “He’s more than that”–yeah, she’s leaving little doubt where Kerry stands with her.

All this said, I figure to finish this scene tonight, and with this scene goes the chapter.  Not a big chapter, but one that seems to be taking a long time.

Don’t worry:  everything’s going to start going to hell here soon.

The Essential Essence

When I say, “Oh, this should only go for another few hundred words” and “This will finish up just over five thousand words”–I’m a liar.  Really.  Because while I finally finished the scene that I’ve worked on for, oh, seven days, things went on far longer than I expected–

Like a thousand or so words futher.

Like a thousand or so words further than expected.

Yeah, just over sixty-two hundred words, making this the largest scene in the story.  Like I said, Annie and Deanna get together and they start talking–oi!  These ladies can gab.  And they were about to watch some video together, which brings me to thinking:  I would totally love to write a scene where Deanna and Annie are sitting on some pillows, comfy in the jammies, watching Mean Girls and quoting the movie in Arabic and Bulgarian.  “Wal ha a ma.”  “Prestani da se opitvash da donese sluchi:  toĭ ne shte stane.”  A laugh riot, I’m telling you.

We were going to watch something, yes?  Okay, then:  let’s go to the video:

 

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

It picked up with Deanna—who was off screen—mid-way through her initial greeting. “I’m loath to call myself ‘mistress’ of the discipline as some have; the title infers more than makes me comfortable. Come, let’s sit together.”

Annie watched herself step through the mass of pillows that lay on the floor that day. “Thank you. You’re quite kind.”

The off-screen Deanna’s voice remained calm. “Not at all, Annie.”

The shock that on-screen Annie felt was not only apparent, but watching-Annie felt it hit her once more as her past self spoke. “How did you—?” She listened to Deanna’s explanation where she stated the obvious. “You know how I know your name—and how I know Kerry’s, too.” As she’s never seen him react the first time, Annie couldn’t prevent a smile appearing as Kerry’s head snapped around at the mention of his name. “How?”

There was a hint of amazement in Deanna’s voice. “I love how off-balance he was then.”

Annie nodded. “He was.” She heard Deanna say she’d seen them coming, and the ever-so-logical ginger boy on the screen checked his surroundings. “Do you have monitors in here?”

“It’s a good thing I’m used to questions like that—” Deanna spoke over her voice telling Kerry she’d had a vision.

Annie did chuckle at Kerry’s response after she told him that the seer had a vision. “You mean like precognition?” The chuckled turned into a smile as she hear on-screen Deanna confirm Annie’s answer and ask them to sit. “I told him to have an open mind before we showed up. She listened to him attempting to rationalize Deanna’s claim of knowing how they were arriving. “I’m happy he learned fast.”

“Much better than some of your fellow levelmates.” Deanna regarded her memories of that day. “I had a few students that Friday night who needed some hand holding regarding what they saw that day.”

“There was a point, though . . .“ She heard Kerry say he didn’t believe in precognition.

“You were worried he would be the same way?” Deanna signed. “I wasn’t paying attention to him, for in time he would come around.” She looked over to Annie. “I was watching you.”

“Why?” Annie found the seer’s statement surprising. “You knew I was a Legacy—”

“Yes, I read your report, remember?” Deanna’s chuckle verged on laughter. “I was watching how nervous you were. You did a great job keeping it bottled up inside while keeping it hidden.”

Annie was glad Deanna couldn’t see her face, because she knew the woman next to her would had no problem mistaking her look of surprise. “You’re very perceptive.”

“Well, I wasn’t exactly playing fair.”

Now Annie’s curiosity was peaking. “What do you mean?”

 

I wrote all of the above last night while consulting the first novel, so that the words heard–all of the sentences in italics–and actions seen were accurate.  And just like Annie you’re probably saying, “Okay, what’s the big deal?”  Well, I left off one sentence, which starts this next section, followed by what I started writing this morning–

 

“You’ll see—” Deanna turned back to the display on the ceiling. “Sabrina, restart this video to the point I originally indicated, and replay with the aura recording applied.”

The screen went black. “Ready, Deanna.”

“Play the video.”

The scene played out as before, but the biggest change to Annie was how they appeared on-screen, with the bright glow of normally invisible energy surrounding each of their bodies. “You filmed our auras?”

“Apparently.”

Annie silently damned herself for asking a stupid question. “Do you do this for everyone?”

“Sabrina, hold the video.” Deanna waited three seconds after the command before answering. “No. Just you that day.”

“Why?”

“Something I felt in the vision that told me you were coming. There was a sensation that this meeting was important—more implied than stated—and that seeing your auras was necessary.”

Annie didn’t know what to feel at hearing this revelation. Seeing someone’s aura was considered the same as looking into their mind and emotions, as a skilled reader could know volumes about a witch with just a momentary glance. It was then that something Deanna said only a minute before registered— “You said you were weren’t playing fair. Did you use Aura Sight on us?”

Deanna’s answer came immediately. “Yes. I was watching you the whole time that way.”

“Because you felt it was necessary.’

“I felt it was important.” She commanded Sabrina to start the playback, then pointed at the floating screen. “Watch.”

 

You know, when seers get feelings about their visions, it’s a scary thing.  Nearly all visions are literal things:  you see one, and you try to make sense of what you saw.  When you see something and begin getting hunches about something you should do, that’s when you begin wondering what the hell is going on.

And as Annie points out, you see someone’s aura, you seen into them.  Not only can you tell they’re a witch–which is why they were using enchantments to hide those little tells in their auras that might give them away to Deconstructors–but you can tell what they’re thinking and feeling.  It’s one of the things a witch will do to see if someone is lying, because unless the person they’ve speaking to is really damn good at manipulating their aura, the person asking questions can look at the other person’s aura and instantly tell if they’re bullshitting their ass off.  Which instructors can see auras?  All of them.  They only have to use Aura Sight to view them.

Now, point of etiquette.  It’s generally considered bad manners for witches to constantly use Aura Sight to look at another person’s aura while they’re talking to them.  It’s like hooking someone up to a lie detector while you’re having a polite conversation, and witches who constantly do so hoping to call another person out on something are considered assholes of the first order and usually end up getting shunned by the rest of the witch community.  Plus, one witch can use magic to look at the aura of another witch to see if they are using magic–because crafting spells do things to your aura–and if they suspect they’re being watched, well, they’ll just hide their aura and make you go fish.  Because aura hiding is totally something you can do as well–

Oh, and yes:  Guardians know all these little aura tricks.  Which is why trying to find out if Helena is BSing you is an exercise in futility.

Here’s where we get to learn a little about auras:

 

This time Annie paid attention to the glow around Kerry’s and her bodies. Their auras were brilliant and filed with speckles of violet light—both the marks of Aware witches. Kerry’s alternated between an orange-yellow to brownish-orange, while Annie’s flowed from bright pink to orange-yellow to orange-red. “Why does mine have that bright yellow border?”

“That was my tip-off that you had a touch of fear: bright yellow indicates a fear of something—losing control, losing respect—”

Annie looked away from the display for a moment. “Losing someone you love.”

“Exactly.”

“What does the rest mean?”

“The orange-yellow indicates intelligence and confidence, while the bright pink shows affection and love.” Deanna paused to allow Annie to consider what she’d said. “You were looking for answers to what happened over the summer, weren’t you?”

“In a way. I hoped you might . . . see something.” She pointed at Kerry. “What about his?”

“The orange-yellow you know, but in Kerry’s case he was being far more scientific in his assessment of what he was seeing, which is why that color is more vivid for him. As for the brownish-orange . . .” Deanna swallowed loud enough for Annie to hear. “Given the way he was acting, those are his repressed emotions shinning through.”

“Literally.” Annie was astonished by how easily Deanna was able to read their moods and feelings by watching their auras, giving her more reason to learn Aura Sight as soon as possible. “Why have you never shown this to anyone? It doesn’t seem all that startling.”

 

I did a bit of research trying to find an aura interpretation that I liked, and what I eventually found works for me.  I’ll probably even start writing those down as a hand guide to use.  The colors do represent what the kids were feeling at the time:  Kerry was trying to come up for reasons about what he was hearing and seeing–remember, this was the day after their E & A, and his was about as fresh in his mind as it comes–and Annie was looking for something, just as Deanna surmised.

But this isn’t the reason she wanted Annie to see this video–this is:

 

“It’s not.” She pointed at the screen, where Kerry was about to sit next to Annie. “Watch.”

Annie did as instructed. She saw Kerry set down his backpack, move to on-screen Annie’s right, and sit— “I am. What—”

“Sabrina, hold image.” Deanna propped herself up and turned towards Annie. “That’s why I’ve never shown this to anyone.”

The moment on-screen Kerry sat next to on-screen Annie their auras merged and became as one, a combined glow of orange-yellow surrounded by an aural border of emerald green and royal blue. “I don’t understand—”

“The aura of a person is the reading of them essence: your mystical fingerprint, so to speak. It remains yours and is always kept separate from those around you. Even if you’re holding someone in your arms, or laying with them, there is a discernible border that separates yours from theirs.” Deanna rolled over and lay back. “Your auras merged. When I saw it happen that day it took every gram of willpower I possessed not to gasp. It was the most incredible thing I ever witnessed.”

Annie started at the screen. “This doesn’t happen—ever?”

She nodded. “This never happens, even to people who are deeply in love. It’s like your essence merged and became one—” Deanna drummed her fingers against her pillows. “What you’re seeing is impossible. And that’s why I’ve never shown this to anyone . . .” She said nothing more, preferring to leave all further actions implied.

 

Your auras merged.  And when you do something that surprises the School Seer, then you are truly remarkable because you’ve shown someone whose ability is to see things that haven’t happened something they’ve never seen.  Which means that if Deanna was having visions of Annie and Kerry before ever meeting them–and there are indications she was–this was something she never once saw.

I’m not presenting the rest of the scene because . . . well, because thing are said, and I’m not giving anything else away.  At least not until this book is published.  Needless to say Annie learned a big secret about her relationship with her soul mate, and it’s pushed open the door of understanding a little bit.  Not a lot, but enough that people can peek in and begin wondering.

I’ve done enough for today.  I believe my work here is done . . .

The Feelings In the Valley of Ashes

This morning I said I was going to finish the scene I’d started a few days ago, and when I posted what I’d written in the morning, I said I’d finish it before moving on.  Well, guess what?  I did.  And I said I’d post those results today.  And a lady keeps her promise, so . . .

Here you go:  what happens after Emma tells Kerry she likes him.

 

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

She said nothing, only nodded. “I still like you.”

He nodded back. “I know.”

Emma wanted to move closer and touch him, take his hand if nothing else, but she remembered her attempt to woo him last year, and coming on to Kerry then had disastrous results, and she didn’t want a repeat of that event. “Is that all you’re gonna say? ‘I know’?”

Kerry stuffed his hands into his jacket’s pockets. “No, it’s not.”

“Then what?” She finally took a step closer to him. “I know you’re with Annie now, but—what about next year? You really think you’re going to be with her next school year?” She took a deep breath. “It’s not like you’re married to her: we could date once in a while.”

He shook his head. “I’m not going to cheat on Annie—”

“That’s not cheating. I’m just saying . . .” She took another step towards Kerry. “I just think we could go into Salem once in a while. Or even—” She looked around. “We don’t have to be back to the school until this afternoon—”

Kerry shrugged. “We’ll be back this afternoon.”

“That’s not what I mean. We could alway stop somewhere—”

“We are somewhere, Emma.”

Dammit, Kerry.” She clenched her fists as she looked skyward. “You’re so frustrating at times.”

He stood staring at her for about ten seconds, his hand remaining in his pockets and his face impassive. “Didn’t you ever wonder why I don’t say anything about—” He croaked out the words in a low, unemotional tone. “Us?”

Emma considered moving another step closer to Kerry, but the way he just spoke had her quickly reconsidering that move. “No—why?”

“Because I don’t want to hurt you.” He seemed to steel himself against what he was about to say. “I don’t want to hurt your feelings.”

Her breathing slow slightly as she fought to urge to tell him he was being stupid. “Kerry—”

“Annie’s my soul mate, I—”

“Yeah, you say that all the time—”

Listen To Me.”

The last time Emma heard Kerry use that command a tone was when he used the Draught of Submission on Lisa. A shiver ran through her as she swallowed hard. “Okay.”

“Annie is my soul mate: I don’t just love her, I’m committed to her. I’m bonded to her at a level you can’t ever understand.” He slowly dropped his hands to his side. “I don’t want to date anyone else. You wanna stop and get something to eat, or have a soda or something like that, fine: I’ll stop with you. But it’s not a date, Emma. It’s never gonna be a date.” He shook his head as he set his shoulders. “We’re never gonna date, okay?” He turned and began walking towards the Unisphere, his tone becoming lighter and less serious. “Come on, let’s get our pictures.”

Emma stood frozen in place for a few seconds as Kerry walked away. Her emotions were completely in flux at the moment, because she wasn’t certain how she should feel. First he’s passive, then commanding, and then . . . She clenched her jaw. He just dismissed me. “Hey.” Emma hurried after him. “Wait, Kerry.” He didn’t look around as she grew closer. “Okay, I get that you love Annie, ‘cause she’s probably the first girl you ever fell in love with. But you’re acting crazy. You don’t even want to think about dating, about other girls?” Her voice started to rise, and she didn’t care if anyone else heard her. “What is wrong with you? You’re twelve years old, and you talk like you’re married. Is that really it? Annie is the one? You talk like she’s the girl you’re gonna spend the rest of your life with—”

Kerry stopped and spun around. “Yes.”

Emma almost stumbled as she stopped. She blinked as if she didn’t understand what she’d just heard. “What?”

“I said yes.” He slowly folded his hands in front of him. “If I have my way, Annie’s the girl I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.” He didn’t take move his gaze away from Emma, who stared back almost opened-mouthed. “I didn’t say anything because I didn’t want to upset you, and I figured that since we were flying together all the time you’d sort of dropped this—” Kerry’s exhale came out like a tire slowly losing air. “I like you Emma, but I don’t love you—there’s only one person I’m going to love, and that’s Annie. So you can love me all you like, but . . .” He barely shook his head. “I’m never gonna love you.”

Emma closed her eyes and held her breath for a moment. Kerry had to make a choice at some point and that time had come. He’d decided, and there wasn’t any doubt where his heart lay. She turned her gaze down and away for a few seconds, afraid she might cry—and she didn’t want him to see that. “I . . . I get it now.”

“I’m sorry, Emma. I really didn’t want to hurt you.” He looked away for a moment as well. “If you want to fly with someone else, I’ll understand.”

She slowly turned towards him. “You told me last year, and I didn’t listen. That’s my fault.” Emma snorted. “No; I don’t want another navigator. If we’re gonna do the Polar Express next year, I want the best one in our class.”

“And I wanna be with the best pilot.” He stepped up to her and held out his hand. “Friends still?”

Emma had two choices: she could remain friends with Kerry, or she could walk away and cut him out of her life. The second choice would be the easiest and least painful; the first would be hard and perhaps even miserable. Then again, I’m going to see him in almost every class, so either way, it doesn’t matter—

She shook his hand. “Friends. Always.”

“Okay, then.” Kerry looked as if he didn’t know what he was gonna do next before giving Emma a light hug. “I’m sorry I hurt you.”

She nodded slowly and held the hug so he couldn’t see her eyes misting. “I know.” She blinked hard and sniffed when she pulled away. “Annie’s lucky.”

“She’s not the lucky one—” He smiled. “I am.” He looked over his shoulder towards the looming Unisphere. “We should get our selfies.”

She nodded. “It’ll be nice. When we’re done, can we . . ?”

“Yeah?”

“Can we fly over Manhattan?” A slight smile finally came to Emma. “I’ve never been here and I’d like to see it from the air. Maybe even land in Central Park and grab something to eat?”

Kerry had expect Emma to say something on this trip, and he wasn’t disappointed. He’d expected her to take his news the wrong way, and so far he was surprised that she hadn’t freaked out or broke down. I hope it stays this way: I hope I haven’t ruined our friendship by dashing her hopes. “Yeah . . . I could stand lunch.”

 

And there you have it:  what finally happened between Emma and Kerry.  Emma seems okay–

Seems.

Seems.

–and from here on out we’ll just have to see what happens.  Won’t we?

Yes, we will.

By the Light of the Cold Blue Fire

The chapter in the book is in the books now:  done, finished, over.  This one was actually a bit shorter than others–only eighty-five hundred words–but a lot got done, and now the Princess Buttercup is now the one girl few people in the school who’ll have people getting in her face.  And if they do–well, there’s always the Manor.

Where we pick up is around nineteen on the clock–about seven PM–and it’s pitch dark outside and cooling, with a new moon about the rise.  The kids are in Astria Portal, and their sitting in the mezzanine in their fall school jackets, because it’s getting colder, and there’s a ball of blue cold fire hovering near by–hence the title of this post.  And their snuggling like mad–what a surprise.

 

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

Normally they stopped to snuggle and kiss in the dim light of cold fire before heading to class, but tonight was special for them, for in the aftermath of Annie’s Judgment Trial victory, for Kerry had been particularly attentive. Annie figured that some of the extra affection was brought on her combat with another person; she remembered that after their recovery from their fight in Kansas City he’d been as equally attentive.

It’s not because I’m a girl and he’s a boy— Annie snuggled back into the fold of Kerry’s heavy school jacket, which they were now wearing as winter approached. It’s a natural reaction for him. It’s not because he feels I’m hurt or traumatized:  it’s because he wants me to know he loves me. “There is something I want to know—”

He tightened his hold around her shoulders. “What’s that?”

“Did you yell something during my trial? When I cast my Lightning spell?”

Kerry began chuckling. “Yeah, that was me.”

“What did you say?”

He cleared his throat. “I yelled, ‘Yatta, Lum-chan’.”

She arced an eyebrow as she twisted around to take in Kerry’s blushing face. “And what exactly does that mean?”

“Um, well . . . Yatta is Japanese; it means ‘I did it’, but it’s usually said in moments of happiness or excitement. And Lum-chan—”

“Yes?”

“She’s a character from a manga and anime. She’s a oni—that’s a demon—who can fly and has green hair—”

Annie broke into an enormous smile. “You have something for girls with green hair, it seems.”

“Um . . .” Kerry cleared his throat once more, visibly embarrassed. “She also has little horns—”

“Because she’s a demon.”

“Yeah. And she wears a, um . . . tiger-stripped bikini and matching boots.”

It was impossible to hold back the laughter. “Something you want me to wear next Samhain?”

“I wasn’t planing on that . . .” He glanced down as he recovered his composure. “There’s something else: she likes to call her boyfriend ‘Darling’.” Kerry ran his fingers through Annie’s hair as he attempted a girl’s falsetto tone. “Dar-ling.”

Annie shivered as she giggled. “Hum, that I like. Maybe I’ll have you call me that—” She half-closed her eyes as she ran the fingers of her right hand lightly down his cheek. “Darling.”

 

Of course Kerry knows Lum, because he’s Kerry, and a geek, and there’s something he must like about girls with green hair, as Annie pointed out.  She’s kind of old school for us who started getting into manga and anime back in the 1990s, when you had to hunt all over the place for imported manga and hope you could find someone on the Internet–using your copy of Netscape 2.0, mind you–who’d done a translation of the panels, because the odds weren’t in your favor that you knew Japanese.  Same with anime:  back in the day you had to buy VHS tapes from fan subbers who did know Japanese and would create subtitles for video they’d manage to get out of the Land of the Rising Sun.

But, yes:  Lum-chan, as my once Japanese girlfriend used to call her.  I mean, Annie does kinda fit the part now–

And she would probably look this pissed off, with lightning crackling around her, if she dressed like this for next year's Samhain--

And she would probably look this pissed off as well, with electricity crackling around her, if she dressed like this for next year’s Samhain.

–but that’s gonna be in another novel, so there’s no point worrying about costumes now.  What we have to wonder about is Annie’s thoughts on her judgment . . .

 

Kerry pressed his hand against hers. “I like that.”

“I do, too, my love.” She stretched out her legs and sighed. “Did it bother you that I didn’t include you in my judgment?”

“No. Your trial wasn’t about me: it was about you.” He shook his head slowly. “I had nothing to do with what happened. Beside, I don’t think Professor Chai would have allowed that.”

“I believe you’re right.” During the Formulistic Magic Class Erywin reminded Annie that Ramona was the final arbiter of judgments, and if she felt a student was asking for too much, she’d request they modify their demands—something Ramona pointed out before the trial began. “If I’d tried to include you, she likely wouldn’t have allow the judgment.”

“Yeah, well—” He kissed her forehead. “It’s over. Lisa is vanquished—”

“For now. I’m certain the spiteful little witch will find a way to make a nuisance of herself.” She tapped Kerry’s cheek. “She may turn attention upon you.”

Humph. Let her. I can call her out just as well.”

 

Kerry’s not bovvered he’ll have Lisa bothering him–does he look bovvered?  No.  And they’re both right:  Ramona wouldn’t have allowed her to include him, because she was giving Annie shit, and Kerry was trying to walk away.

Which is something else Annie has in mind–

 

Something had been nagging Annie for most of the day, since after she’s told Professor Semplen about calling out Lisa. “You didn’t want me to confront her, did you?”

He didn’t attempt to hide his feelings on the matter. “No, I didn’t. I didn’t think she was worth it.”

A cautious tone crept into Annie’s voice. “There’s something I want to say, but—”

He shrugged. “Go ahead. You can always be honest with me.”

“Well . . . You’re accustomed to having people make derogatory comments about you—” She felt her mouth dry up. “Because of what you went through in your life—with you parents.”

Kerry remained quiet for a few seconds as memories flooded back. “Not just them; there were a lot of people in school who used to make fun of me, and they’d say a lot of things that—” He leaned against Annie. “They used to talk crap.”

“And you didn’t stand up for yourself.”

He closed his eyes. “No.” His sigh carried a great deal of the dejection his memories carried. “I wasn’t strong, physically, emotionally, or mentally. I was afraid to say things because I thought I might get beat up, or something.”

“What about with your parents?”

“What would I do about them?” He snorted. “Get upset and yell? That’s about all I can do—and look how that worked out.”

She knew he was referring to the conversation he had with his parent the day he received his school travel package, and how he’d become angry and reveled that both of them were given a talk by Nurse Coraline concerning their burgeoning sexuality. Annie was aware that his parents had shook him up enough that he’d lost control over his feelings and said something he shouldn’t have told them—the end result of that confrontation was telling Ms. Rutherford that they were unhappy the meeting had occurred without either of them being notified. “That’s because your parents do not respect you, my love. When they realize how special you are—”

“They’ll continue to think I’m a strange kid.” He held one of his fingers up to Annie’s lips. “I don’t want to talk about my parents, not tonight: not after what you did today—” Kerry twisted around and kissed her passionately, enveloping Annie within his arms. When his broke the kiss he graced Annie with a slight, sweet smile. “Darling.”

 

At times Kerry can seem kinda wimpy.  He’s been mentally, emotionally, and verbally abused, and he’s just bore the anguish and keep everything bottles up, until he decides to let it out.  We saw a lot of that in the last novel with him crying.  This is why when he flips out–as he did when he thought Annie was leaving him–it’s usually not a good thing.  He knows he’s emotional, he knows it can lead to outbursts, and those outbursts usually get him into trouble.

He’s becoming far more confident these days, though, because he’s a racer and a witch and, oh yeah, his girlfriend has shown him how to kill people.  Has your significant other done that for you lately?  No?  I thought so.

So out of one chapter and into the next–

Looks just like this, I promise.

Looks just like this, I promise.

And the next chapter is Kerry-centric and starts out by taking him somewhere he’s seen but never visited until I write about it–

What are the odds he says, "Step away from your busted ass vehicle, and put your hands on your head"?  I'd say pretty good.

What are the odds he says at least once, “Step away from your busted ass vehicle and put your hands on your head”? I’d say quite good.

The Only Ones

Well, now, it was writing time, but I wouldn’t say it was one of my finest moments.  It’s so difficult to get back into the swing of things when you’re tired and you know you have a few thousand words ahead of you to get done before you get into your personal stuff.  Yeah, busy weekends mean it’s busy catch up time on the novel front.

This means I was able to get just a few words over five hundred into the bank before I decided they weren’t coming any more and it was time for bed.  That’s not a lot, but I think–think, mind you–that things will go better tonight.  Besides, I have a goal to shoot towards–

Probably the only "close to six figures" I'll ever see.

Probably the only “close to six figures” I’ll ever see.

Yes, I’m one thousand, seven hundred, and fifty-five words away from hitting one hundred thousand words for the third time, and I’d like to hit this by Friday night, because that will stay with my current rate of cranking out about five thousand words a week.  As if it, it looks as if I’ll reach that milestone in the next scene, because this one is just about over.

So . . . Annie talking about sex–you know, that sex.  When I was last here I left off with a question by Deanna that, to me, feels like a good place to start up once again–

 

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

Deanna chose her next words carefully, because she didn’t want to make Annie overwrought. “Do you think it’s possible that either you or Kerry will have—sex with someone else before your marriage?”

Annie’s calm expression never changed. “No.”

Deanna leaned towards her. “I can understand you knowing your feelings, but Kerry—”

“No.”

“You don’t think he would?”

This time Annie’s calm began to shift into one of slight disbelief. “I said no, Deanna.” Before the seer could query the matter further, Annie shifted around so she was looking over the back of the sofa. “Do you see Kerry out there?”

Deanna spotted him right away, dancing in his own clumsy, flapping about with the rhythm way with Nadine. “Yes.”

“You noticed how Nadine asked me if she could dance with Kerry?”

“How could I not?”

“She did that because she respects our relationship, because she respects us both—” Annie turned back to her normal seated position so she was once again facing Deanna. “She did that because she respects me, because she didn’t want to impose herself by violating our personal boundaries.

“But did you notice what Kerry did? He waited to see what I would say. If I’d have said no, he’d have been as good with that answer as he was when I said yes. He did that because he not only loves me, but he respects me.” She slipped her hands together and rested them against her thighs as she now leaned towards the seer. “There is only one girl Kerry will lose his virginity to, and I am that girl. There are no others.”

 

I know what you’re saying:  “She’s only thirteen, how the hell does she know that?”  Because, I know, hormones and all that, Kerry has them, and they’ve been known to lead even the strongest willed boy astray.

But Annie is a different kind of thirteen year old girl.  There is something I know that you don’t–which is my normal mantra, “I know something you don’t”–and this very adult understanding of her soul mate might seem strange in other girls her age–who are often losing their shit over the fact that some guy they like was seen hanging out with another girl–it’s not strange for Annie.

And in case you’re wondering, “When will we learn why Annie is so different from other thirteen year old girls?” I can tell you:  sometime in the beginning of the D Level novel.  Say . . . four hundred thousand words from now?  Hang in their, kids.

This last statement has Deanna asking another question . . .

 

She appreciated Annie’s conviction in feeling that Kerry will be her first, and he hers, but Deanna knew there were other pressures at school that could skew that dream. “You don’t believe there’s anyone here that could tempt him?”

Annie glanced over her right shoulder towards where Emma stood speaking with a group of girls. “There are no other distractions—” She turned back to Deanna and deftly crossed her legs. “—worth mentioning.”

 

Ding, Ding, Ding.  What’s that, Emma?  Oh, that’s the elevator, ’cause you’re not on the same level as Annie.  In short, she just laid a bit of, “Bitch can suck it,” smack on her, and that’s that.  She gives zero shits about The Ginger From Bolder and doesn’t consider her a concern.  And in case anyone has any questions–and I know they’ll come–watch Chapter Twelve.  It’s coming.  Yes, it is.

Where does this leave us?

 

Deanne decided not to press the issue further because she knew the discussion would return to the same point each time, and now that Annie’s beliefs were out in the open, there was little point in continuing to examine them. “If that is true, then we’re back at the beginning: you’re afraid you’ll both falter and give into weakness.”

Annie cast her sight downward for a moment. “Yes. That second vision seemed to indicate the possibility exists.”

“But you’re forgetting something—” Deanna held up her finger for emphases. “The second vision could be wrong. You weren’t far enough along in that vision to witness the outcome, so it is entirely possible that you weren’t going to engage in . . .” She cleared her throat. “That act.” Deanna expected the girl to respond, but saw something in her body language that indicated that whatever she was going to saw, it wouldn’t come without prodding. “You felt something, didn’t you?”

Almost five seconds passed before Annie nodded slowly. “This last summer was far more difficult than I expected.”

Deanna said nothing; not asking questions at this moment was the key to getting her to open up. “Please tell me.”

 

Yeah, tell us, Annie; tell us how difficult this last summer was.  Because it sounds like The Chestnut Girl isn’t completely immune to her own feelings, which is why she’s having this conversation.

Looks like I have a summer to recollect ahead of me . . .

It Must Have Been a Bad Week to Write a Book

Don’t get worried by today’s post title that it’s a portend of bad things to come.  Get that out of your mind.  Sure, I didn’t write much last night, but a lot of that had to do with my screwy emotional state and the beverages I had at dinner.  (Don’t worry:  I walked two block to the restaurant to eat, so no fear of being out on the road afterwards.  One of the nice things about living in the city.)

Now, the day didn’t start bad, though the week has been a real pain in the ass, if I may say so myself.  However, yesterday was sort of nice in that it was warmer than it has been, and I was in my long skirt, flowing top, and platform sandals, giving me that total “hippie girl” look.

I would have worn a shawl, but Stevie Nicks stole them all.

I would have worn a shawl, but Stevie Nicks stole them all.

However, the day started going to hell slowly, and by late afternoon I felt like I needed a ride across the River Styx.  It . . . wasn’t good, and when you hear a pair of size 11 platform sandals clopping about the office going somewhere in a hurry, you know happy times aren’t about to show up smiling.

Anyway, after I made it home I decided it was time to get my feeling out in a video, then veg out in front of the television and watch Jurassic Park III, which I like just because of the Spinosaurus and Raptors, followed by the first thirty minutes of Van Helsing, which is one of the biggest loads of cinematic bullshit to ever hit a screen.  Abandoned windmills exploding like they’re made out of C-4?  And where did Doctor Jekyll get those huge cigars made?  And why was Kate Beckinsale’s character’s brother the only one with a pistol with silver bullets?  The other dozen morons who showed up for the werewolf party (Werewolf?  There wolf–) couldn’t bother to make them?  And wearing a tight corset is like the bestest article of clothing to wear when you’re fighting, and running like hell from, werewolves.  I should have stuck around for the wooden carriage that explodes upon impact and turns into a claymore, because of course–

Making the video was good, though, even cathartic.  Sometimes one needs to sit down and get their thoughts out in a form other than writing, and video allows me that release.  And I’ve had the urge to get out the camera and do a video for a while.  So when the urge hits, and you’ve had a couple of libations to help smooth the journey, get to filming, people.

Hope you enjoy.

There you have it:  taking care of my emotions and getting it done.  And getting ready to write and probably clear ten thousand words total today.

And to leave a little cherry on this video sundae, I’ll leave you with what I start listening to this morning.  This is how I get my titles at times, if you must know . . .