Engaging Nightmares

I think I mentioned something about this scene–well, maybe not this scene in particular, but what was coming.  I’ve hinted that some strangeness was about to go down, and guess what?  Here that is!

It’s a strange scene.  For one, it’s short:  about eight hundred and thirty words total, I don’t believe I’ve written much that’s shorter.  And because the last two scenes weren’t very long, Chapter Nineteen has the chance to become the shortest chapter in the book–so far, I should point out, but I can’t see many more chapters clocking in at around five thousand or so word.  I only say this because I know the next scene won’t be all that long, and once that’s written chapter and part are complete, and I can move on to writing about all the fun stuff about to come.

Because the scene is so short, you’re getting it all in one shot.  That means sit back and enjoy . . .

 

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

When Annie finally popped into her dreamspace she took a few seconds to calm herself and release her imaginary breath. She looked about her unformatted space and crafted a chair to sit in while she determined what she should do next.

As she’d drifted off to sleep she’d wondered if her crafting had been sufficient to dreamwalk: that she was here was proof enough that the spell worked, but she considered the possibility that it might not be enough to allow her to enter Kerry’s space. Though she wasn’t certain of the exact time, she knew some time passed between her falling asleep and the dreamwalk spell beginning.

However, Annie had a plan.

When she’d dreamwalked Kerry the week before she was able to pull him out of his space and into their shared space by using the corridor that seemed to link their individual spheres to the larger one. She planned to use her corridor to reach their shared dreamspace, then move down the other corridor to Kerry’s. It was also her hope that by sleeping next to Kerry the minimal physical distance would result in their being a minimal astral dream distance.

There was only one way to find out.

 

Annie is becoming the quite the little dreamwalker:

Though I'm of the opinion that Annie isn't seeing many Canadian Geese in Kerry's head.

Though I’m of the opinion that Annie isn’t seeing many birds flying about inside Kerry’s head.

But she just can’t let the little Ginger Hair Boy sleep.  Like a new witch with a shiny toy, Annie’s gotta go off and get inside his dreams so she can hang with him a while longer.  I mean, it’s not like she’s actually keeping him up or something.

So, then:  out of her head and . . .

 

Annie floated out of the imaginary chair, which vanished as soon as she was a half-meter above the seat cushion. While there weren’t visible landmarks in her space to let her know the location of the corridor, she remembered the feeling she’d experienced when she’d located it while in Kerry’s space: a sensation not unlike falling a short distance. She began moving in different directions in her dreamspace, looking for that same feeling. She wasn’t concerned about the time she’d spend looking for the exit: an hour here wasn’t much more than a minute in the physical realm, so while she might grow tired of looking, she wouldn’t run out of time.

She didn’t need to worry, however: after a few minutes of her current dream time she encountered the falling feeling and went into the sensation. Seconds later she was rushing along the narrow gold corridor, popping into the shared dreamspace moments later. Annie understood the topography of their dream world and zipped across the much later space until she felt herself falling once more, entering the corridor taking here to Kerry’s space.

The emergence into Kerry’s space was far different than the last time she’d dreamwalked him. Then the space was in the process of formatting itself and was filled with colorful mist; this time everything was a dull, uniform gray, including the fog which seemed to limit visibility to just a few meters.

Annie attempted to get her bearings, slowly walking away from the falling feeling at her back. When she’d appeared last time Kerry came into view almost immediately, but now there was nothing. It was entirely possible that all the gray fog were interfering with her ability to find him, and she wondered if perhaps Kerry wasn’t fully immersed deeply enough into REM sleep to be here.

Anything is possible. Annie set her hand upon her hips and set her weight on her right leg as she thought. I’m not an expert in dreamwalking, so everything that’s happening is an ongoing learning experience. She turned slowly intending to search in another direction. Maybe while I’m here I can try formatting

There was someone else here with her–and it wasn’t Kerry.

 

And . . . this isn’t what I’d call good.

 

She was almost face-to-face with a girl, one about three centimeters shorter than her with long, curly ginger hair and bright green eyes. Like Annie she, too, was dressed in pajamas, making Annie wonder if this girl was more than just a figment of Kerry’s dreams—Could she be a dreamwalker as well?

Annie managed a weak smile. “Hi, I’m—”

“You need to leave.” There was an edge in the girl’s voice that didn’t sound like anger. “You need to go now, Annie.”

“How do you know my name?” Annie tensed slightly; while everything in the dream realm was new to her, encountering someone or something that knew her name didn’t leave her at ease. “What are you doing here?”

The girl took one step towards Annie. “You can’t stay: you need to leave this dream—” She seized Annie by her upper arms. “—and leave immediately.”

There was no time to react: in an instant Annie was off her feet and spinning around as the girl drove her backward through the gray fog. Annie was too shocked to take action: for the first time she felt at a loss as to what to do, for while she could dreamwalk, she didn’t understand dream fighting . . .

The girl stopped and pushed Annie away from her hard. “Stay out of this dream.” She yelled as Annie hurtled away from her. “Stay out of his space.”

Annie flew back into the dream foam of Kerry’s space and slammed through hard. She was through in a moment and snapped violently into the astral dream realm—

 

Was  there a moment there where Annie thought, “This wasn’t what I expected,” as she was physically thrown out of Kerry’s head?  And here we see for the first time that there are things one can do to protect themselves from other dreamwalkers, but since Annie wasn’t expecting to run into others, why bother learning?  Because you never know who you’re going to run into while out on a dreamwalk?

And it would seem that Annie has met up with someone who’s been popping into Kerry’s head once in a while.  But, you know, this is one of the reasons your girlfriend flies into your dream, so she can make sure there aren’t any strange girls already there.  And not only did she find a strange girl, but said girl just kicked Annie’s ass–

You can bet she’s not gonna let this one go any time soon.

The Calm Before the Seeing

First off, let’s move this out of the way:  after mentioning yesterday that I made a video for the first time, I had, shall we say, a few requests to see me speak.  Oh sure, I’ve presented pictures of myself, but never have I gone and made a fool of myself before one of those talky camera things.  So, today, I’ll upload the video to my YouTube account and present it here for you amusement.  You Have Been Warned.

And I had a session with my therapist, the first since starting my hormone treatment.  She was happy to see me, happy to see I appear happy, happy to hear how I’m moving forward in my life.  She also pointed out a few things she noticed about me, and this is where I do a Law & Order trope and invoke doctor/patient privilege so that I don’t have to go into just what it was she noticed.  While I’m open to a lot of things in my life, that isn’t one of them.

Which brings us to writing.  It must have been a good night, because I ended up just short of twelve hundred words for the evening, setting up a new scene at the Samhain Dance.  I also mentioned yesterday that I’d written six hundred and sixty-six words to finish the last scene, so imagine my surprised when I checked my word count this morning . . .

I believe I've moved into the Condo of the Beast.

I believe I’ve moved into the Condo of the Beast.

I love seeing number like that:  Ms. Rutherford would probably tell me that the Numerologists of the Foundation would find that an auspicious sign.  Given what I know is coming next in the scene, and the following scene, and the following chapter, they’re probably correct.

Onward to the party!

 

 

(All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

“Hope we’re not disturbing.”

Annie looked up along with Kerry and found Professors Sladen and Arrakis standing on the other side of the coffee table. Sladen’s costume was a simple affair: A rather plain halter top and matching brown wrap around skirt that feel to her knees, brown boots, and a braided gold and brown headband used to tie back her hair. She also carried a large fighting stick, maybe a jō, outfitted with leather bands to allow the user better control.

Professor Arrakis was far more elaborate and beautiful. She wore a bright green outfit that looked like a silk dress with a high collar and long sleeves, but Annie also saw what looked like the end of leggings just above her ankles. She also wore a helmet adorned with a feathered headband, and each wrist was covered with large gold wrist bands.

Annie shook her head. “No, Professor Sladen. We’re just sitting here enjoying the dance.” She was glad she didn’t need to raise her voice; there were enchantments in place to keep sound at a lower volume outside the dance floor, so people could enjoy the music and still carry on a conversation. “Please sit with us.”

“Thank you.” Erywin chose the chair to Annie’s left.

Deanna pointed to the empty spot on the soft to Annie’s left. “Would you mind if I sit next to you?”

She shook her head. “No, go right ahead, Professor.”

“Thank you.”

Kerry waited for both women to get comfortable before addressing Professor Sladen. “I recognize your costume—”

The right side of Erywin’s mouth curled up into a smile. “You do?”

“Yeah—where’s your Xena?” He looked around, grinning wildly.

Erywin laughed. “Either in the loo or preventing Armageddon from breaking out. She should be along shortly.”

“But your costume . . .” He looked around Annie at Professor Arrakis. “I have no idea.”

Deanna flashed Kerry a sweet smile. “You mean I’ve stumped you? I thought you knew everything.”

He shook his head. “Not everything. Not since coming here.”

“You have an honest boy there, Annie.” She smoothed down her skirt. “Razia Sultain, first female Muslim ruler in South Asia. She was the fifth Sultan of Delhi for four years, until 1240.”

 

See?  I not only give you a costume party, but a little history lesson.  And you discover that Kerry doesn’t know everything.

It’s not all fun an games at the dance, though.  As you can see when, as Kerry calls her, Erywin’s “Warrior Princess”, shows up to the party.

 

Professor Lovecraft walked up, greeted everyone with a hello, then sat in the open chair to Kerry’s right without asking. She leaned back and loudly exhaled her last breath before looking across the coffee table at both instructors. “I’m about to round up all your shieldmaidens and Celtic warriors and dump their asses somewhere north of the Observatory so they can beat the hell out of each other until no one is left standing.”

“Are they getting a big anxious for their annual skirmish?” Each Samhain the girls from the Åsgårdsreia fight team challenged the girls of the Mórrígan fight team to an “Ancestral Battle” fought with mock swords and shields. This had gone on for almost two hundred and sixty years, but in the last five years the lead up to the battle had begun to turn a lot more acrimonious, and it wasn’t unusual for the students to use the “Safe Space” status of the dance—meaning no one could be “called out” to settle their grievance with a real challenge fight inside Gwydion Manor—to start throwing a few non-magical punches back and forth.

“Coraline’s already fixed one broken nose—” She pointed at Erywin. “—that one of your girls threw, Honey.”

Erywin didn’t seem that concerned. She turned to Deanna. “I’m sure it wasn’t that bad.”

Deanna nodded as she he’d heard her fellow coven leader, but didn’t quite believe her. “Perhaps you could discuss protocol once again with them before they are unable to participate in the evening’s encounter?”

Helena nodded then stood. “That might not be a bad idea. I’ll help.” She turned to Annie and Kerry as Erywin rose from her seat. “You look lovely Annie. You’re . . .” She smiled slyly. “Good too, Kerry.”

Kerry almost laughed. “Thanks . . . Xena.”

Helena snorted. “I’m from New Zealand: who the hell else am I gonna come as?”

He pointed at her legs. “Your skirt’s a little long, though.”

Erywin stopped next to Helena as the later gave the skirt, which ended just above her knees, a tug. “Forgive me: I’m modest.” She turned and both teachers made their way through the crowd.

 

Helena?  Modest?  As with everything here, there’s probably a reason for that . . .

Also, you see the semi-informal school event that I actually blogged about way back on January 13 of this year, something I said I was going to write.  That post also included an excerpt from the first time Annie and Kerry attended Sorcery Class with Professor Lovecraft.  And here she is again, seven and a half months later, breaking up fights between the two groups of energetic fighting witches.  Just like Annie, I keep my promises.

Besides, these girls have been waiting months to kick each other’s butts.

"I'll break more than your nose, bitch."

“I’m gonna break a lot more than your nose.”

"You just screwed with the wrong Sheildmaiden."

“You just screwed with the wrong sheildmaiden.”