Unlike when I started the last scene of Chapter Two, I had fun writing this. I didn’t too much last night because, well, Forbidden Planet was on–again–and I was shifting attention between that and what I had before me on the computer, but this morning I was once more in the grove, and in two hours I managed almost thirteen hundred words. Actually between eating, the bathroom, and other distractions, I only wrote about ninety minutes, so it was a good time to get a story down.
Last night I picked up from where Kerry said his hellos to Emma–who, it turns out, was–hey, see for yourselves . . .
(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)
“I was talking to someone.” She nodded. “I was just getting ready to log off when you called.” She leaned towards her own display. “What time is it there?”
“About three-fifteen.” He chuckled. “It’s early.”
“Why are you up now?”
Kerry caught a look on Emma’s face that made him believe that she was perhaps hoping he got up in the middle of the night to call her. “I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep.” He had little intention of telling her that an unusual dream had pulled him out of his slumber. “I wanted to talk with someone—”
“And here I am.” Emma gave here best smile as a response. “Everything else okay?”
“Yeah, it’s . . .” He made a face as he thought about the conversation with his parents about nine hours earlier. “It’s okay.”
Emma didn’t appear to believe that everything was okay. “How’s your vacation going?”
He shrugged. “About as well as I expected.” He chuckled. “How about you? Everything good on your end?”
“Oh, yeah.” She looked away from the computer for a moment, then yelled at an unseen visitor. “I’m talking to a friend.” Emma turned back to the computer, rolling her eyes. “My little sister’s bugging me.”
Wait, what’s this? Emma has a . . . sister! Tell us more!
“I didn’t know you had a sister.” While Kerry figured there were a great deal he didn’t know about Emma, her family was something she never talked about. Then again, which of us did talk about our families last year?
“Yeah, I got a little sister.” She turned her head and yelled once again. “Go away, brat.” She returned to the conversation, slowly shaking her head. “She’s been a pain in my butt all summer.”
I actually had fun writing those parts, because I can just imagine two sisters of that age, and the sort of stuff they do and say to each other (like Emma confronting her and saying, “I’m gonna kill you!” and maybe being able to do that one day.)
Of course, this brings up something that Kerry’s never had to worry about:
“She keeps asking me if I think she’ll end up coming to Salem when she gets older.” Emma set her shoulders before lowering her voice. “Good thing I don’t have to tell here the truth about how you really get accepted to school.”
He nodded. “At least not until the end of the next school year.” Kerry knew as well as Emma that once their B Levels were completed, they would return home with their case workers, reveal to their parents what they actually learned at school, and disclose their true natures.
“Yeah, well . . .” Emma half-smiled. “I don’t think I’ll have a problem.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Because so far my parents have been pretty good about school.” She smiled again. “So far they’ve believed all the stories—”
“So far you ain’t dropped the W Word on them.” Kerry almost chuckled. “It might be different then.”
Emma shrugged. “We’ll see.”
Kerry felt he was about to get a question thrown in his direction, and latched back on to something Emma brought up. “How old is your sister?”
The young witch smirked. “Three years younger: she just turned nine in July.”
“That means she’ll be starting her A Levels—”
“When you’re a D Level.”
“Oh, gosh.” Emma looked away and sighed. “I don’t know if I could stand her being at school—”
“Yeah, well, if you think she’s annoying now, wait until she finds out her big sister’s a witch.” He switched the conversation, but kept it centered on Emma. “Who were you chatting with?”
This is something that’s not been discussed so far, and that’s the question of siblings, particularly in Normal households where one child is Aware. You’ll discover that many of the instructors have siblings, and that some of them eventually passed through Founder’s Gate before or after their brother or sister in the story, and in some cases a few of the instructors have either had children attend school, or have children who will.
It’s not always a sure thing, however, and stories will come out as the novels progress. We may even get to see the family members of instructors and students show up in later stories . . .
Kerry discovers that Emma was speaking to Nadine about getting on the racing team, and that makes Kerry wonder if their ears were burning or something. He doesn’t want to talk racing, so he goes in another direction and asks if she spoke with anyone else . . .
“Um, yeah: Professor Douglas and Director Mossman stopped back about a month ago. They said they had business in Denver and that they thought they’d stop in and see how I was doing.”
“That’s nice.” Kerry didn’t want to mention that when witches could jaunt long distances, “stopping in” wasn’t really that big of a deal. They probably used Denver as a cover for her parents. “You guys do anything?”
“We went to lunch and talked about things, you know.” Emma lowered her voice once more “Can I ask you something?”
“Is there like, you know, something going on with them?”
Kerry suppressed a smile. “Like?”
“I don’t know.” Emma sat up and made a face like she was thinking about how to present her next statement. “They seemed awfully . . . close.”
As far as he knew he and Annie—and a few other students—were the only ones who knew that Wednesday and Isis were a couple, and since he’d promised not to say anything until they were officially out, he remained non-committal. “I think that’s possible. I know they went to school together and they’re friends, but I’ve seen that same thing.”
Emma nodded slowly. “I just never figured Professor Douglas was like, you know—” She whispered out the word. “A lez.”
Um, Emma? I’m not sure your Mistress of Spells would want to know that you find her sexual orientation perhaps strange. She’s probably not really homophobic, but I’m sure there are parts of the new world in which she inhabits that seem more different than others, and that’s one.
Kerry, though–well, he’s gonna have fun . . .
Kerry kept his face controlled, as Emma’s statement hit him the wrong way and he didn’t want their conversation to turn strange. Instead he laughed it off. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that . . .”
“No, I didn’t mean it that way.” A slight panic began creeping into Emma’s voice. “It’s just that I never saw her as being gay.”
“Maybe because she looks like everyone else?” Now Kerry did laugh. “I mean, look at Erywin and Helena. You’d never know with them, either, until you saw them together.” Like I have.
Emma looked down and shook her head. “I don’t know how you can call them by their first names.”
“Professors Sladen and Lovecraft. Especially Lovecraft.” She shuddered. “She scares the hell out of me.”
“Helena’s not that bad, once you get to know her.” He shrugged. “And they’ve told me to address them by their given names when we’re not around other students at school, so it’s no big deal.” Not to mention I can address them by their given name since I’ve fought with Erywin and Annie against a bunch of Deconstructors that tried to kill us—
Kerry’s not being mean; he’s just stating facts and being real. And now we know: Emma’s scared of Lovecraft. And probably Lovecraft’s Favorite Student, too. Speaking of which . . .
A sour look remained upon Emma’s face. “Yeah, I suppose.”
“They stopped by last month, too.”
Emma perked up. “Oh?”
“Erywin stopped in, picket me, and we went a talked a bit before hooking up with Helena in London.” He smiled. “I didn’t eat with them though—” His smile grew brighter. “Helena brought someone else to meet me for lunch.”
Emma wasn’t stupid, and she picked up on Kerry’s insinuation immediately. “That’s nice. How is . . .” A long time seemed to pass before Emma said her name. “Annie?”
That’s it, Kerry: jab that knife between her ribs and twist. The way he set up the conversation you know he wanted Emma to say her name–
Hey, don’t you have some meth to sell?
And Emma had a hard time saying The A Name. One could argue that Kerry is just being clueless, or one could argue that he was being mean. I know which one, but I’m not saying. But after a short chat about Annie–which makes Emma uncomfortable–Kerry switches gears once more:
“Everything but that.” Knowing that Emma didn’t want to talk about his soul mate, he veered in another direction. “Can I ask you a question?”
“Do you think it’s weird that my closest friends at school are girls?”
Emma’s face pinched into a frown. “Why would I think that’s weird?”
“My parents did.” He slouched down into his chair. “We sorta had an—I guess you could say an argument of sorts about it.” After which I said some stupid stuff to shut up my mother . . .
“I don’t think so.” Emma shook her head. “You seem to related to us.”
“Wait—” He sat up again. “What do you mean, I relate to you?”
“You just do.” Emma looked back and forth, as if searching for information. “You seem to be more comfortable around girls. That’s probably why you have friends who are girls.”
Kerry had never considered that, nor had it come to his attention. With Nadine he’d bonded over music and magic. With Emma it had been flying and racing, and . . . Not gonna go to that last one, because it’s one-sided. And with Annie—no reason to examine why he was friends with Annie: friendship came with being in love. “I guess you’re right.”
“I know I am.” Emma had her own chuckle. “I mean, you’ve always been that way with me—”
“And with Annie.”
Time stretched out waiting for Emma’s reply. “And with Annie.”
Yeah, force that admission out of Emma again, dude! That last line is enough to get Emma off to . . . wash her hair, yeah, that’s it, and Kerry is left alone once again. Bringing about the end of the chapter . . .
Kerry closed Skype and returned to the darkness of his bedroom. Try as much as he wanted, he couldn’t speak with Emma about his feelings from last night, or tell her anything about the dream that woke him. This is why I wish Annie had a computer. He pushed the tablet to one side and opened a drawer. She’s probably up now, and I could have talked with her—probably while she eats breakfast. He removed several sheets of paper and a pen and set them on the table before him. For now I’ll have to settle for this . . .
He quickly organized his thoughts, set the pen against paper, and started the letter as he had each one this summer:
“My Darling Annie . . .”
So that’s Chapter Two out of the way, and Chapter Three awaiting my attention–and as you can see in the image below, I’ve rolled out of the novelette and into novella territory–
With a lot of smirking from Steven King, because I know how much he loves novellas–
And with three more scenes in Chapter Three Part One will be done and I can finally get my kids back to school–or as they call it, “Home”. I will point out that in one of the next three scenes the kids will have a short discussion on some of the things they went through during their A Levels–romantic things, that is–and an important question will be asked and answered about that time. But as far as looking back on their trials and tribulations from their A Levels, that will pretty much be the only time they come up. That’s because the kids are looking forward to their future–
And so am I.