Out On Their First Flight: Family Involvement

There was a whole lotta writing going on yesterday.  A whole lot.  Put on the recapping hat last night and did my first recap of the year for Humans Season 2, and that took up about two thousand words in ninety minutes, then it was into the novel for a short rest, where another eight hundred words were set into the mix.

Why so little for an original work?  When you’re recapping you just watch and make notes, then turn the notes into detailed descriptions.  I had to imagine everyone in a building that I designed, then I and to pull up that design so I could make sure I had dimensions right.  Then I had to image things about the superlab and that led to looking up clean room requirements and codes so I could get one line right.  And I’m still getting notes on chemical processing equipment down, because finding information on how to put a superlab together for something other than making meth is a bitch.  It’s like they figure you know how to put a lab together already.

And on top of all this I’m in the middle of Erywin describing something and my mind goes, “Hey, remember you just listened to the song #9 Dream?  I got a great scene that will go with that!”  And just like that I gotta take about ten minutes to visualize it and figure out what’s going on.  Because my mind is like a bag of cats trying to get comfortable and this is its way to letting me know I can’t rest for too long or I’m gonna get another scene thrown my way.

But the hell with all that:  Emma’s got a broom and she’s not doing any cleaning.  And she wants the whole family to watch something…

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

“We have a bunch of trees out in our backyard, so I get us in a group of them and I tell everyone to get in tight around me. I didn’t tell them what I was doing, I just throw up a light bending spell so the neighbors can’t see what’s going on. Now that I know no one can see us, I put the broom in hover and bring up the HUD again and start explaining everything to my parents. But instead of just letting the broom hover like I did in my bedroom when I was speaking with Ronnie, I get on the broom while I’m talking. That way I knew I’d have my parents attention and they could see something that were used to seeing all the time.

“Now that I showed them what the broom could do I told them to watch and let them know that once I was like twelve feet in the air I was going to vanish because of another spell. I got my feet back, pulled just enough on the column to get it to move, and rose slowly into the air. Just like I knew would happen I got four and a half meters off the ground and they start looking around because they can’t see me. So I hover for about five seconds and then slowly push back toward the ground and settle right down the middle of them.

“I explained to them how there’s a levitation and movement spell built into the broom and the processor on the back feeds energy into it to keep it going. I start telling them things about how fast and high it can go and tell them about the different race courses at school and the Mount Katahdin race course, and I tell them about how I did in the races over the school year.

“Then I decided to try something a little strange. I’m sitting side saddle on the broom and look at Ronnie and asked her if she wanted to go up with me.”

Kerry had avoided speaking up to this point but felt the urge to interrupt. “You asked your sister if she wanted a ride on the back of your broom? That’s pretty ballsy.”

 

This is the smart thing to do:  find something that isn’t too scary but is nonetheless magical–and what’s more magical than a witch’s broom?  Of course it’s cool when those brooms have radar and altitude/speed sensors and a lot of the conveniences found on a commercial jet, but it’s still a damn broom.  And then she asks her sister–the little brat, mind you–if she wants to go up.

And she says..?

 

Emma grinned as she shrugged. “I figured if there was anything that was going to get across the whole ‘I’m different from you because I’m a witch’ thing, it was going to be using some form of magic with someone in the family. And I saw how Ronnie looked at me when I pulled out the broom, so I figured this would be a good way to kind of bond with her over our differences.

“After she said yes I extend the seat for two people then told her to get on behind me. I let her know that her feet would automatically curl up behind her when she got on so she wouldn’t have to worry about holding them in place, and when she was on o put her arms around me and just hug me. Once she was in place I asked her if she was ready, and once she gave me the go-ahead I pulled on the column and off we went, straight up.”

“How high up did you take her?”

“Seventy-five meters. I figured that would be high enough to give her a good look around and at the same time give her a feeling of what it was like to be on the broom.”

“Good idea.” Kerry rubbed his chin as he considered his wingmate’s sound logic. “Did you fly any?”

She shook her head. “Not that time; all I did was a slow spin so she could get a good look at everything. I could tell she was a little nervous going up, but once we were on location and she was seeing everything she was calm, really cool about the whole thing. She even asked me how high I’ve been up on my broom and I told her, I’ve been up about two miles on this thing.” Emma chuckled for a few seconds. “I think that was first time I’ve ever heard Ronnie gasp.”

“But she liked it?”

“She dug the hell out of it. After we landed she was all excited about how we went up in the air together and it was just so cool being on the back of this thing… I mean, she really loved it.”

Kerry tapped his hands against his knees. “She takes after her sister.”

Emma considered statement for a few seconds before nodding. “Probably.”

 

I should remind everyone that the Neilson Sisters were doing their Rocky Mountain High thing in their pajamas and Veronica likely marveled a bit at how nonchalant Emma seemed.  And if anything it not only made the parents a little less worried about their Ginger Witch, but likely caused the sisters to bond somewhat:

"I'm sorry I was mean to you."  "I'm sorry I called you a brat."  "No, you're not."  "Okay, got me there."

“I’m sorry I was mean to you.” “I’m sorry I called you a brat.” “No, you’re not.” “Okay, got me there.”

But Emma said something in one of the paragraphs about and it’s going to lead to a little more bit more of an explanation…

Out On Their First Flight: Making First Impressions

A lot of interesting things happened yesterday, though not all of them were good.  First, I had tacos for Valentine’s Day.  Tacos are love, so I had a little love.  I also had two margaritas, which are a whole lot of love.  And a whole lot of booze.

When you don't have a Galentine, tacos are a girl's best friend.

When you don’t have a Galentine, tacos are a girl’s best friend.

So I got home and right off the bat I had to deal with a catfish.  I’m on a couple of dating apps and so far everyone is contacted me has tried to catfish me.  Which leads me to believe that dating apps are as much bullshit as Facebook.  I’ve also done a lot of reporting: I even reported someone early this morning who claimed that they were on a secret mission with the US military in West Africa and not actually 69 miles from where I live.  I told him that just by telling me that they were in violation of the Military Code of Justice and then I reported them.

You don’t get one over on me that easily.

Then I watched Humans, which was good, so that I can get prepared to write my recap for tonight.  After all this nonsense I finally got to the point where I could work on the novel.  The let me state this: as I pointed out Chapter Ten is all about Annie and Kerry in special classes.  It’s a whole week of special classes.  And right off the bat I’m going into the special class of Advanced Formulistic Magic.  Fortunately for me, I have a list of everyone who are in those classes.

Unfortunately, I forgot to update the list when I started the C Level novel.

So here I am, going through the attendance for AFM making certain that everyone who I say is there is supposed to be there.  I knew one person had graduated, so she’s gone, but I had to make certain that no one else had dropped out.  I only did it for AFM, but tonight I’m going to need to go through that list and make sure it’s all updated for the C Levels.

Oi.  The things I do to myself.

Still, I started the new chapter:

See? New chapter all shinny!

See? New chapter all shinny!

But before we can get to the new chapter, I’m still finishing up stuff in the old chapter.  Because I’m way ahead of you–though if I only continue to have five hundred word nights, you’ll catch up to me eventually.  I mean, it’s just math.  No tacos involved.

Speaking of tacos Emma didn’t have them for dinner after coming out as a witch.  She had something else, as well as an interesting night and following morning…

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

This time Kerry did laugh. “Are you kidding? Your mom asked if you were hungry and that she made meatloaf?”

Emma looked down and shook her head. “I know, right? I’m expecting everyone to freak out at this point and everyone’s acting like, hey, time to eat. By the way, that was the quietest my family ever was during dinner: there was almost nothing said at the table. After I ate I excused myself, got my bag and went to my room, and after sitting up a while to see if anyone wanted to talk I went to bed.

“Next morning I get up and go to the bathroom. We live in a tri-level so all the bedrooms are up above the garage and the living area is all pretty open, so on the way to and from the bathroom I can hear my parents talking. There’s an island in our kitchen and my parents will usually sit at it in the morning the weekends and drink coffee and talk.

“After I’m done I go back to my room and close the door. I’m in there about two minutes and there’s a knock on my door. I figure it’s my mom because when I’m in my room and she wants to talk to me, she knocks on my door. I opened it but it’s not my mom: it’s Ronnie. Now I’m kind of freaked out because my sister never knocks, just the sort that just throws open the door and starts yelling at me. She looks at me for about five seconds and then asks if she can come in. I didn’t know what she wanted, so I told her she could.

“She comes in and without thinking I waved the door close, you know, because we do it all the time here. She looks at the door and back at me and she asked if I used magic close the door. I sit down at my desk and I tell her, yeah, that’s how we open and close doors at school. She asked me if I’m really a witch and I told her, yes, I’m a witch. I may not be able to do as much magic as some people, but I’m as good as most of the students at school.

“Ronnie sits on the end of my bed and I can tell she’s got a lot of questions. So I decided to make it easy for her and I start telling her about all the things we do at school. I tell her about normal spells class, I tell her that we took astronomy, I tell her about Formulistic Magic class, I tell her about transformation class, and about sorcery. And the last thing I tell her is that I have a broom and I’m on the race team and that I finished tenth overall in this last season.

“I figured that would interest her and it did. She was like, you really have a broom? And I smile and say, yeah: would you like to see it? I stand up and I pulled it out of Hammerspace, because I hadn’t removed it from the night before. When I pulled out she didn’t freak: she gets his big smile on her face and she’s like, whoa, that’s cool. So I put in the hover and bring up the HUD and I start explaining everything through her—

“And that’s when I get an idea. I snatched the broom out of hover and tell Ronnie to follow me, and I put on my slippers and head down toward the kitchen. Just like I thought my parents are sitting at the island having coffee, so I walk past them with the broom in my hand and I’m like, let’s go out back, I want to show you something.

 

See, having an inquisitive sister, even one who is usually a pain in the ass, is a good thing, because the chances are good she doesn’t hate you that much and wants to know if this magic thing is true or BS.  Just imagine if Kerry had a sister–no, don’t.  She’d probably be a spoiled little brat whom Mommy has thrown all her hopes and aspirations into while he just sits on the outside looking in while simmering.  And could you imagine Kerry having a mean sister and she meets Annie for the first time?  Kerry would quickly become an only child.

In the end here Emma appears to want the whole family to join in the fun, and that’s what’s coming tomorrow.  Today, though, you can listen to Fox on the Run, because I was on a Guardians of the Galaxy kick last night and the second movie can’t get here soon enough…

I’m that kind of girl…

Out On Their First Flight: Magic in the Mountains

Last night in Harrisburg… Yeah, it sounds like something important.  Maybe it is.  Actually, a lot got done yesterday.  First off, I finish the scene which means I finished Chapter Nine.  Which means I’m officially done with all the single digit chapters and I can move on to double digits.

Let's take a minute to say goodbye together.

Let’s take a minute to say goodbye together.

What’s coming up in Chapter Ten are four slices of what happens in the advanced classes.  Or I should put it this way: you get to see what happens in three of the advanced classes and what happens in one specialty class.  It should be interesting and it’s going to lead up to an event that may end up becoming the talk of the school after a while.

In fact, there’s a whole lot of stuff is coming out–I mean, the step of having a novel, correct?  But that’s beside the point.  The next two chapters are going to get real interesting and they are leading up to a big event.  And it won’t be long before we get there.

In the meantime we have to deal with what’s happening now, which means were dealing with the past.  Which means were about to see what really happened when Emma came out.

And it’s right here–

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

“Well, I was sitting there listening to Miora speak, but I’m hardly even listening. All I can think is the moment I come out my parents are going to freak, and I’m trying to put together was going to happen after that. Then, all of a sudden, Miora says ‘Emma, you have something to tell your parents, don’t you?’

“I knew what she wanted me to say, but I couldn’t get the words to come out. I just sat there like an idiot with this dumb stare on my face and all I can see is my family staring back at me. Just as Miora is about to say something, I sat up real straight and just said it: ‘I’m a witch.’ And I then sat back like it was no big deal.”

Kerry knew Emma well enough to imagine she was probably in a state of semi-shock the entire time this was happening at her home. Though she wasn’t quite the weak willed witch she had been during their A Levels, there were times when she was easily rattled, though those moments always happened away from the track. He suffered a great deal of nervousness during his own coming out, but he couldn’t imagine himself just sitting there and staring at his parents. “What did they do when you told them?”

She shook her head as she looked off to one side. “They just sat there: they didn’t do anything. My parents were looking at me like they didn’t quite hear what I said and my sister is sitting there rolling her eyes. That’s when Miora leans over and tells me that maybe I should show them some magic. So…”

“So you did.”

 

So Emma started laying out the magic.  It sounds like this is something that every coming out B Level does, and you have to wonder if there are tales of witches who were so nervous they botched their spells and did shit like set the dog on fire by accident or blow out a wall in the family abode.  So, what did she do?

 

“I did. It wasn’t anything spectacular: I did the Illuminate spell and levitated a couple of things. The one that got everyone, though, was when I made a small fireball—”

Kerry began laughing. “You crafted a Fireball spell in your living room?”

Emma’s blush was bright. “I know, right? I mean, they were duly impressed with the other spells, but when they saw me holding a fireball between my hands—” She smiled as she nodded twice. “There was no way they could say I was somehow faking things.”

“I know what you mean.” Kerry didn’t mention that his parents had the exact reaction that Emma didn’t believe her parents would have. “So what happened after that? What did you?”

“That’s the thing: my parents did nothing. After all that they just sat there on the sofa staring at me like they didn’t know what to say or do. Miora asked them if they had any questions and my father’s just like, no, I think were good. Even Ronnie—”

“Who’s that?”

“My sister Veronica: we call her Ronnie for short. She’s always the first person to mouth off and even she just sat there looking shocked and not saying a word. I really didn’t know what to think; it was kind of unnerving.

“Since my parents didn’t want to say anything, Moria decided to leave and she asked me to walk her to the door. When we got there she reminded me that I should contact her if there’s any issues, and if worse comes to worse I had the panic button. I didn’t think I had anything to worry about I told her so, but she wanted me to know just in case.

“After she leaves I go back in the living room and I just stand there looking at everyone waiting for my parents to say something. After like fifteen seconds my mom looks at me and says, ‘I made meatloaf; are you hungry?’.”

 

At least she had a good teacher when it came to the Fire spell:  Kerry told her during their first overnight flight that he’d help her with it.  So yeah, Kerry.  Those teaching lessons with Annie came in handy.

But you have to love her mother’s reaction:  “Oh, you’re a witch?  Um… I made meatloaf.”  Kerry’s parents are giving him and his case worker shit because they can’t believe this was kept hidden from them and Emma’s family are suffering from just a bit of shock, which is what you’d expect most parents to do when their thirteen year old kid drops this mic on them.  Your kid creates fire out of nothing and shock is probably going to set in–

The question now becomes:  how does the Nelson Family handle this new news?

Out On Their First Flight: Arriving in the Mountains

Life is full of surprises.  I was surprised yesterday during lunch I met someone who was actually interested in wanting to speak with me, and so for about forty-five minutes I ate and talked while she listened and asked a few questions.  I was surprised attending another political meeting when I learned of some of the things they wanted to support and some things they said they could live without.

I was also surprised when I was getting ready to watch The Walking Dead and I discovered my cable box was dead and not reanimated like the zombies I was about to see.  This means if I want to watch the show, I have streamed off my computer tonight after I arrived home from work.  And, I’ll have to do the same thing tomorrow when I go to recap the first episode of Season 2 of Humans.  Should be fun; at least I don’t watch as much TV as I used to, or at least watch it through cable itself.  And if I find I can do things this way, I may just end up dumping the cable box, and cable, later this summer.

Now, speaking of surprises…

One of the things I’ve been leading up to it this point is discussion of what happened to Emma when she returned home for the summer.  So without further ado, let’s shift our sights westward and see how things went in the mountains of Colorado:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Emma had been eager to talk about what happened to her over the summer since arriving at school, but she found it was almost impossible to do so during the other classes, and the special classes Kerry took on Tuesday and Wednesday nights prevented her from seeing him and discussing it then. “It went pretty well.”

“Just pretty well?” Kerry was a bit surprised that Emma was being so reserved.

“It was better than pretty well.” She eyed her wingmate carefully. “I’ve heard anything about your summer holiday, though.”

Kerry glanced upward as he spoke. “That’s because I haven’t talked about.”

“How did things go?”

“It sucked.” His disgust was all over his face. “My parents were not happy to learn they had a witch and a sorceress living under their roof. Oh, and my parents know that I have a girlfriend and they are not happy about that, either.” He motioned with his hands as if he was drawing Emma towards him. “I want to know how your summer went. Come on: tell me.”

 

Kerry is not interested in talking about his shitty summer.  He knows it was shitty and he wants to leave it that way.  He wants to hear from someone who didn’t have a shitty summer and that means you’ll have to listen to the person directly in front of him.  But first we have to ask an important question: how did she get home?

 

She waited a moment as she decided on how to begin her story. “Well, just like everybody else I was nervous. I didn’t think it was that bad until we jaunted into Denver International that I started to get shaky. I mean, from there, I’m only ten minutes away from home—”

“Where do you jaunt into in Boulder?” Kerry didn’t mean to interrupt, but it was a question that he’d always wanted to ask but never had. “Just curious, is all.”

A slight chuckle escaped from between Emma’s lips. “The city jaunt station is in the basement of the National Weather Service headquarters. The first time I came out of there about died.”

“Why?”

“As that place is exactly one mile from my house—” She grinned again. “I mean, one point six kilometers.”

Kerry grinned along with her. “You’re forgiven. Go on.”

“Okay. We get the car just waiting for us and we had for my house. It’s only like a four minute drive, so I don’t have that much time to actually prepare for what’s going to happen. I guess I figured I’d be ready for before jaunting home, but that didn’t happen.

“When we pulled into the house I’m a nervous wreck, you know? Just nervous as all hell. Were walking up to the front door and my mom’s got the door open before were even halfway there, which doesn’t really put me at ease because I know they’re thinking I’m in some sort of trouble. My caseworker, Miora, she immediately chills my mom out, so while I’m putting my luggage down and getting it out of the way, she’s telling my mom and my dad let’s go sit down and will explain everything.

“So were all in the living room. My mom and dad are sitting on the sofa and my sister Veronica, she’s sitting in easy chair, and my mom has set up two chairs in front of the TV, one for Miora and one for me. We sit down and Miora starts her talk, telling my parents that I’m not in any sort of trouble and this has nothing to do with anything disciplinary at school, it’s just that there something really important that I’m supposed to tell them.”

The memory of going through nearly the identical experience brought a small smile to Kerry’s face. “I kind of did the same thing. I can imagine how you felt.”

Emma let out a long sigh. “I imagine everybody went through some variation of anything.”

“I’m sure they did. What happened next?”

 

Boulder was kind of a challenge but it came to finding usable, fixed jaunt point.  Like so many places in the United States it doesn’t have a train station, and the only airport is a shitty little one runway job out of which Cessnas mostly fly.  I was about ready to put the fixed jaunt station somewhere on the grounds of the University of Colorado when I remembered that the federal government does have a certain presence in the city: namely a large National Weather Service installation.  And since The Foundation loves hiding in plain sight, why not put the jaunt station there?

At least when you arrive and ask, "How's the weather?" you won't wait long for an answer

At least when you arrive and ask, “How’s the weather?” you won’t wait long for an answer

We also learn something else: Emma lives a mile away from here.  And I do mean that: when I was measuring this out the drive from the National Weather Service to her home was almost exactly one mile.  So it made getting her home even easier.

And it’s fairly obvious that the set up to her coming out appears very similar to the set up for Kerry’s coming out.  Only Kerry didn’t have a little sister waiting for him to possibly throw shade in her direction once the Witch Word was unleashed.  Is that really what happened?

You’ll find out tomorrow.

Out On Their First Flight: Going Over the New Team

Friday was something of a milestone for me as this novel finally pushed over one hundred and twenty-five thousand words.  Some of your may think, “Wow!  That’s so good that you’re going so fast,” but I look at it and go, “Man, that took some time.”

See, I keep track of everything and how long it takes me to reach certain milestones is one.  I do that because that’s how I am:  it’s probably a form of OCD or something.  So when I checked the time it took me to go from one hundred thousand to one twenty-five, I was not surprised to discover it was forty-two days.  That works out to five hundred and ninety-five words a day, which considering there’s probably a week full of days where I didn’t write, it seems pretty good.

When you look at it from this point of view, it does seem nice.

When you look at it from this point of view, it does seem nice.

If I consider I did write during thirty-two days during this period, then my average goes up to seven hundred and eighty-one words, which is a whole lot better.  But you can’t have everything, can you?  The only thing to do is try better…

But enough of my emo whining about how little I’m writing when most everyone else things I’m writing a shitload.  It’s time for my kids, yeah?

Kerry has something to tell Emma and while most people won’t give a shit about this discussion, it still happens.  And it brings to light the fact that as things change, they stay the same:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Kerry had put off saying anything to Emma about his quick meeting with Vicky once the Ready Room cleared out. He had told his wingmate that once they were at their first stop he’d tell her what happened—and now that they were at that stop it was time… “Vicky asked me if I wanted to join Air Assault. She told me that being a good flier and a sorceress was the sort of thing they were looking for, and now that they had a few openings they wanted me to be one of the new people. So I said yes.”

Emma seemed surprised by Kerry’s announcement. “Wow. I always figured they’d ask you to join Air Assault; I’m just surprised they waited this long.”

He shrugged. “Getting asked to join Air Assault last year was the farthest thing from my thoughts. I’m just glad she thinks I’m worthy of the team.”

“What you think Annie’s going to say when you tell her?”

“Oh…” Kerry’s face broke into a broad smile. “Vicky told me Ramona and Helena were going to ask Annie to join Rapid Response today. I told her I thought she’d say yes.” He scratched his right cheek. “Looks like we’re both going to have new jobs when it comes to defending the school.”

For a moment Emma looked a bit crestfallen. “Does this mean I’m going to need a new wingmate when I do observation patrol?”

Kerry waived the sides of his flight jacket to cool himself down. “You’re still gonna fly observation patrol if we’re attacked again?”

She nodded. “I’ll have to. I’ll look like some kind of coward I don’t go up the next time we’re needed.”

“Then you got nothing to worry about.” He grinned. “If something were to happen I’d be on observation patrol first, just like everybody else was back during Day of the Dead.”

“So just like last time.”

“Yep. It’s just that if things go sideways you’ll go to ground and I’ll head for my rendezvous point. At least I won’t have to worry about hiding out in the woods.” He chuckled grimly. “And you won’t be outside where you might be attacked by an Abomination.”

Emma rolled her eyes. “I’m fine with that. I never want to see those damn things again.”

Considering that Emma was almost eaten by the Abomination that attacked her, Kerry understood why she was a bit reluctant to encounter another. Her statement gave him the opportunity to change the subject of the conversation. “So, uh, if you don’t mind talking about it, how was your summer holiday?”

 

Now we have the plan:  if another attack comes Emma and Kerry will do their observation patrol of the outer walls just like during their A Levels.  And if things go to shit Emma goes to ground and Kerry heads off to meet up with others in Air Assault so they can start kicking ass.  And if all goes well Salem will come out victorious and Kerry won’t have to worry about hiding because his broom doesn’t have power, while Emma will be inside nice and safe and away from Star Spawn of Cthulhu that want to dine on her tasty hide.

"Emma, don't go!  I'm gonna make espresso!"

“Emma, don’t go! I’m gonna make espresso!”

Which you’ll drive after you eat her legs, I know…

Emma is right, however:  she set herself up by volunteering for observation patrol and should she be needed again she has no choice but to put her ass on the line once more, least people say she’s a coward.  We do know being attacked by a monster messed her up, as she indicated that she had bad dream and flashbacks for a while, but she seems better now.  Then again, maybe she won’t do so well when the Abominations come knocking:  maybe she’ll lose her shit and run away as fast as she can–

Which is fine with Kerry.  When they get to that point he has a new job and it doesn’t involve making sure Emma doesn’t want to leave a hidey-hole:  he’s got a whole school to help protect now.  And since he doesn’t want to discuss how he might have to leave Emma’s ass should she freak out, he deftly changes the conversation–

And we’ll get to see how someone else’s summer holiday went.

Out On Their First Flight: Checking Off the Points

The last couple of nights have seen slow progress: I’ve been lucky to write about five hundred words a night.  Part of it has just been my mood, which is very little on the dark side of late.  I’m also finding this novel a bit more challenging than the last two, simply because I’m having to deal more with complex feelings.  My kids are growing up fast and are at that point where they’re still kind the kids, but they’re so ready to start being adults, too.

And with witches is even more difficult because immature so much faster.  Yeah, all that magical energy flowing to your body does strange things to you on top of the hormonal changes you’re already feeling.  As I’ve stated before, the staff at Salem know that the school is a bit of a pressure cooker in that there are a hundred and fifty tweeners and teens all away from home for probably the first times in their lives, all going through puberty, and all learning magic.  Things do get a bit nutty and when Coraline has mentioned that she’s had to sit with students and work with them through bad romantic and sexual encounters, she’s not kidding.  Actually, why do you think the school has three counselors?  Because they got a deal down that Witches R Us?

Now that we’ve dealt with Annie’s Friday morning, it’s time to deal with Kerry’s Friday morning.  Of course, he’s not on school grounds.  In fact, he’s not even in the same state–

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Kerry opened his jacket and gazed through the thin foliage on the southern flank of Mount Defiance at Lake Champlain a couple of hundred meters below, then glanced to his left and spotted Fort Ticonderoga a couple of kilometers away. Making certain his flight gloves were secure he removed his phone from an inside pocket and examined the photos he’d taken from the air only five minutes earlier before snapping another one so he can remember what the fort looked like from this vantage point.

“Hey, Kerry.” He turned and saw Emma rummaging around in her backpack. “You want a turkey or roast beef sandwich?”

“Roast beef, please.” Kerry headed back toward their small encampment with their backpacks resting against one tree and their brooms against another. Emma levitated the sandwich toward him and he snatched it out of the air the moment it was within arm’s reach. “Thanks.”

Emma nodded and leaned back against the tree as she unwrapped her own sandwich. “You’re welcome.” She took a bite of her sandwich as she stretched out her long legs. “Ugh, that feels so good. Felt for a while like my knees were hyperextending.”

Kerry sat on a rock outcropping a couple of meters from his wingmate. “I thought the broom was supposed to automatically adjust for your height?”

“It’s supposed to, but Vicky told me that may need to be some adjustments made.” She grunted. “It’s just a little bothersome; it’s not gonna kill me. Just need to stretch my legs for a few minutes when we reach each of our checkpoints.”

He nodded. “No problem. Just let me know how you feel when we get to them, okay?” He crafted up a small ball of cold fire and forced the sandwich wrapping inside, where was vaporized instantly. “Don’t forget to give me your trash before we leave.”

She flicked her trash and Kerry’s direction and watched it fly across the open space before he grabbed it and pushed it inside the cold fireball. “Keeping the Earth litter free through magic.”

Kerry shut down the cold fire spell. “And what better way to keep everything clean than by incineration.”

 

You finally get an idea of how the school gets rid of their trash; it’s very likely they have large bins full of cold fire and they just chuck stuff into them.  If the fire is hot enough there’s almost no residue left over, and in Emma’s and Kerry’s instance, it’s likely all their leaving behind is some real fine ash that would be hard to detect with the human eye.  And at the school, it’s probably a simple matter of transforming the ash into something that’s either easily transportable or easy to use in other applications–like say, transforming the ash into a form of fertilizer that can be used in the garden.

 

Emma looked off to her right and the Lake Champlain Valley. “We’ve got Fort Ticonderoga checked off the list. What’s the next two?”

“The next one is Pocono Speedway.” He closed his eyes as he drew in a deep breath of fresh air. “That’s about four hundred kilometers away in Pennsylvania. Then after that we come back into New York and get pictures of the Woodstock concert site.”

She sat back and stared off in the space. “You know where this speedway is at?”

“Sure I do. It’s outside Long Pond. I know the location from when I used to watch NASCAR.”

“Let me guess: the Woodstock concert site is near Woodstock.”

Kerry made a loud buzzing sound. “Oh, I’m sorry, Emma, but that is wrong. You care to try your luck at Double Jeopardy, where the prizes are bigger?”

Emma let her hands drop into her lap as she rolled her eyes. “Okay, smart ass. I’m sure you’re going to tell me exactly where the site is without looking.”

He got up to retrieve a metal water bottle and returned to his seat before answering. “It’s in Bethel, New York, about seventy kilometers from Woodstock.” He took a long swig off the bottle washing down his sandwich.

She didn’t doubt her navigator was wrong, but she was curious about the differences in location. “So why is it called the Woodstock Festival if it’s not in Woodstock?”

Kerry finished the rest of his sandwich and took another drink before giving the explanation. “They wanted to hold the festival in Woodstock but the promoters couldn’t get permission. They eventually held in on Max Yasgur’s farm outside Bethel.” He set down his water bottle and his feet. “The Woodstock concert location is kind of a trick question. It’s probably why Vicky gave it to us: she figured if she gave it to anyone else they go to Woodstock and get lost looking for the place.” He stretched his arms and shoulders. “Instead, we get to have our picture taken next to the Woodstock stage.”

The corner of Emma’s mouth turned upwards of a smile as she gave an approving nod. “And you’re probably the only kid in class who knows this.”

“Probably. It’s another one of those useless facts I happen to have hidden away in the back of my head.”

“I’m glad you do because it makes our job of finding these places a lot easier. Since we don’t have to spend a lot of time looking for our targets we can just race there, get our pictures, and get home before everyone else.” She levitated Kerry’s water bottle toward her so she could get a drink. “What did Vicky want to ask you without me present?”

 

Since I’m not going to answer Emma’s question today we may as well get to this snipe hunt Team Myfanwy doing for their first day of Advance Flight Two.

First off we have the points they are visiting and they are way the hell out away from the school:

Like states away out.

Like states away out.

Emma and Kerry are flying over a thousand kilometers through five states so they can get pictures at three different locations and be home by lunch.  For these two it’s not a problem:  Kerry knows his locations and Emma can stay a course like no one else.  And zipping between destinations at 400 kph isn’t a problem, either, ’cause they both know they won’t miss their targets.

Their first stop–where this scene takes place–is on Mount Defiance overlooking Fort Ticonderoga, located in northern New York state.

If you look hard you can almost see the kids.

If you look hard you can almost see the kids.

Fort Ticonderoga is famous for being taken during the Revolutionary War by Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boy.  The legend says that when the British demeaned to know on whose authority Allen demanded entry, he replied,  “In the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress!”, but historians know Allen was pretty much an atheist and an extremely profane man, so people who’ve studied this moment believe Allen probably said, “Open the goddamn gates, you bastards!”  Why didn’t we learn this in history?

Then it’s down to Pocono Speedway in Pennsylvania–which is a nice track but if you’ve seen one NASCAR track, you’ve seen most of them–and then off to the site of the Woodstock Concert, which is right where Kerry says it is, and is there for the same reasons stated.  These days the site is a music and arts center with a covered concert pavilion, but that isn’t the Woodstock stage to which Kerry was referring–the area where the festival was held is now something of a tourist attraction and a historical site, and a duplicate of the stage is there to remind people how the place looked minus all the rain, mud, and trash.  And the musicians tripping on acid, but that’s another story.

You can't see it, but there's a peace sign cut in the field, because of course.

You can’t see it, but there’s a peace sign cut in the field, because of course.

And knowing Kerry they’d someone get up on stage for their photo.  Because that’s how he rolls.

Now that we know the sights, what about the meeting?  Well…

Gather the Fliers: There is Only the Flight

Though I said  I’d get in some writing yesterday it didn’t happen.  I was far too busy before leaving for D.C. and I didn’t return home until 1 AM.  The only good thing is that I did not encounter a lot of traffic coming home, which is a first as I-495 to I-95 to I-695 is  usually a madhouse even late a night.  Instead, once I was off the Capital Beltway the trip home was pretty nice and I could drive long distances on cruse control without having to change lanes because drivers were unsure if they should go slow or fast.

So I’m out for coffee this morning and I’m down one cup and ready for my hot cocoa.  I’m also ready for this afternoon’s protest march–

All pinned up and ready to go.

All pinned up and set to go.

Today is also Big Excerpt Day, where I finish off the scene I’ve been in for a few days.  As I am now only 6,100 words ahead of you I need to get some writing in today least you overtake me this week.  But since it would be ridiculous to split up the rest of the scene, it’s all coming at you so we can move on to the next.

And  this is gonna be fun because it’s All Vicky, All the Time…

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

“Good morning, pilots.” Vicky Solomon stepped out of her office and walked slowly toward the middle front of the Ready Room. Like the students she was dressed in her flight gear, though given her years writing a broom her jacket, pants, and boots all possessed a well-worn appearance. “Look at you, all so ready and eager to start the year. Is everyone here?” She waited a beat and received no responses. “Okay, then. I guess that means I’m going.

“Just so we get it in the record books this is Advanced Flight Two. Everyone who is in last year’s class is here this year—although it would appear we have one or two people who are still changing.” As if on cue the door to the girl’s locker room opened and two students came hurrying out. “This is the last year we will have flight instruction. After this class the next time any of us will meet will be in Introduction to Jaunting, which you will all take in your E Levels. But that’s two years from now: today, we deal with what’s going to happen in the level to come.

Vicky stepped behind the podium. “The main emphasis of this class is to teach you more about maintenance of the PAVs, and not just your Class 1, but also the Class 2 and 3. We are also going to learn about long-distance flying and navigating, as well as some of The Foundation’s guidelines and rules concerning flying in the Normal world. This will come in handy for you in the future, as I’m certain some of you will want to begin taking the knowledge you’ve developed in these classes and use it to begin going out and enjoying the recreational benefits of being able to fly long distances without spending any money.” This last remark brought out laughter from several flight teams.

She gripped the sides of the podium as she leaned slightly forward. “But there’s one thing that’s going to happen in this class that will overshadow everything else and you know what it is without me even having to mention. The most important goal you have this year is to prepare yourself for the Polar Express. You’re going to spend at least two days and two nights in the Canadian wilderness in the second weekend in January, and it will not be a picnic.

 

Now we  know when kids start learning to jaunt:  during their E Levels.  Of course some students don’t wait that long because they are Pushy McPushface when it comes to learning new stuff, and Annie has already stated she intends to start on jaunting soon, no matter what.  Which means it won’t be long before Kerry starts learning to jaunt.  It’s gonna be interesting to see who learns it the fastest.

But Vicky hits on the one thing that’s on everyone’s mind:  the Polar Express.  It’s been spoken of through the last two novels and we’ve seen Penny and Alex head off into The Great White North to partake in the event.  Though we’re about to discover it’s more than a normal event…

 

“Everyone approaches the Polar Express the same way. When they first hear about it they think it’s going to be fun, just them and their wingmate spending a couple of days doing winter flying and camping. How hard can it be? Well, you got a little taste of how hard it could be in Advanced Flight One, when we went out on overnight flights and you had set up tents in winter conditions at night and then spend the next day flying a thousand kilometers with minimal navigation equipment. Some of you bitched; some of you didn’t do so well. And at least one team came damn close to not even making this class because of their performance on the overnight flights.” Vicky stared off slightly to her left so she wouldn’t have to see the glares Franky and Jiro were sending her way.

“This year the minimal navigation equipment will be slowly rescinded. You’re going to do one overnight flight in November with maps stored on tablets and accessed via a holographic interface, but your HUD compass will still work. There will be another overnight flight December using tablet maps and hand-held compasses because that is the gear you’re going to use on the Polar Express. In the weekend before the Polar Express the teams will be sent out on individual overnight excursions—call it a test run. You’ll be jaunted down somewhere within a thousand kilometers of the school and you’ll have to set up camp, prepare for and sleep through the night, then break camp, load up the sleeping bags and tents, and find your way home with the same navigational equipment are going to be using the following weekend.

“The test run will be your make or break: if you can’t complete it successfully, if you get lost and have to use your panic button—which each of you will have when you go out on both the test flight and the Polar Express—to get home, you will not be jaunting off into wintertime Canada the following weekend.” Vicky’s eyes swept around the room. “This last item is nonnegotiable: if you can’t make it back to the school on your own during the test flight, there’s no point in shipping you off to the middle of nowhere hoping you’ll make it back then. In all the time I’ve been at Salem I’ve never seen anyone go out to retrieve a body, nor have I had to do it myself. I’m not about to set a precedent this year.”

Vicky stepped out from behind the podium and slowly made her way around the room.  “Besides having just a map and compass and visual flight rules by which to navigate, you won’t know from where you’re starting, you will have limited supplies, and all of your brooms will be throttled so that they have a top speed of two hundred and fifty kilometers an hour. That way I can pretty much be sure you’ll spend at least two days flying home and you won’t be giving yourself a case of severe frostbite and hypothermia by trying to set speed records getting back to Salem.

“One of the unpleasant things you’re going to have to learn is how to hunt small game in the wild.” As she expected, this statement brought out a few grumbles. “You all know the deal here: the Polar Express is first and foremost a survival test and you will not have enough supplies to last you two days in the Canadian wild. You will need to supplement those supplies with food found in the wild.”

 

And by “food found in the wild” we don’t mean nuts and berries, ’cause there’s no way in hell that shit is growing on the frozen tundra.  It means a snow fox or bunny is gonna have to give up their life in order for our intrepid fliers to not get that hunger going in their bellies.  Either that or the teams will need to get home before they run out of food.  Or ration their shit.  Either works.

But really: who doesn't want to get their Hanna on?

But really: who doesn’t want to get their Hanna on?

No matter how great the flight has sounded in the past, there doesn’t appear to be anything “cool” about the Polar Express except for the weather.  It sounds like a stone bitch and the test leading up to the actual event don’t seem like a cakewalk, either.  And if you wash out on the “test” flight, no Polar Express for you, kids!  This is also the first time they’ve heard about their brooms being throttled back so someone figures out they can make it home in three hours if they just fly five hundred kilometers an hour the whole way.  Sure, they’ll have frostbite and likely be deep into Stage 2 hypothermia with their sights set on Stage 3, at which point they fall unconscious, slide off their brooms, and die.

That is something Vicky doesn’t want…

 

Vicky held up her her hands to hold back the now increased grumbling. “You knew this when you entered this class, so end this bullshit now. Either you accept the terms of the test—and this is a test upon which your proficiencies will be marked should you decide to go—or you can just say right now, or at any time within forty-eight hours before departure, that you’re not up to the trip. That way you don’t put yourself and me through a lot of unwanted torture.”

The room went quiet as Vicky stood in the middle and looked around. After a few moments of silence she did something that no one expected: she laughed. “Man, you guys should see your faces. Most of are sitting there looking confused as hell, but you have absolutely no idea what it is him talking about.” She walked back toward the front of the room and stepped behind the podium. “And the truth is, you don’t know what I’m talking about. You’ve heard the stories, but you don’t know.

“That’s all going to end starting with the next class. This class—” Vicky raised her right hand and shook it back and forth. “Eh, today were going to have a little bit of fun. You may as well get some in today, cause I think you’re gonna find from here on out, the fun is probably going to be limited—and it’s going to be spaced out…”

 

Now you know:  Emma and Kerry are out “having fun”.  You can imagine they’re not off at another person’s house playing GTA on an xBox, but probably flying in a big-ass hurry to some location many hundreds of kilometers away.  Because that’s how this class roles:  getting the kids out off the school grounds is great fun and also gives them an opportunity to see parts of New England they didn’t know existed.

But while The Ginger Hair Boy is off on his broom, the Chestnut Girl has some fun of her own coming  up…

Gather the Fliers: Opening Obervations

First off, a good Imbolc to all.  It’s Saint Brigid’s Day and that means it’s time for a bonfire and lots of celebrating.  You do know that all those little witches that have been writing about her getting ready for their celebration tonight, and it’s easy to remember that it was on this night in the first novel that Annie’s and Kerry’s life took a major change, for this was the day the Guardians came calling to ask about two special kids.

And just like this holiday, it’s been a party ever since.  Well, maybe it’s a party if you like to hold them in the middle of the punk rock festival.  Let’s not dwell on this matter–

After weeks of showing excerpts from the previous chapter, I finally get you all caught up and show you things that have been written in chapter I’m currently working in, Chapter Nine.  Although, I’m not really showing you what I’m working on, as am slightly ahead of the curve…

Just a bit, mind you.

Just a bit, mind you.

At the moment I’m seven thousand, eight hundred and eighty-four words ahead of the start of this chapter, so once you see this excerpt I’ll still be seven thousand words ahead of you before I write more tonight.  I imagine by the time I start showing excerpts in the second scene I could be ready to finish out the chapter.  Either way, it’s good to be slightly ahead of what I’m showing versus what I’m writing.  No pressure, as I said before.

As the chapter states this is Freaky Friday, and while it’s a bit of a different day there will not be anybody switching going on.  At least I don’t think so.  It is something we can do if we had homunculi, but then I gonna come into play today.  It’s more freaky because of things getting started–plus, since everything in this chapter takes place on Friday, it seemed like a good title.

But what is it all about.  In some ways it’s about new beginnings, in some ways it’s about reflections of the past.  But before we can get to any of that, it’s necessary to set up the opening scene:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Kerry exited the locker room and entered the nearly empty Ready Room. Three students were already here, all members the previous year’s Advanced Flight One. He was surprised to see that everyone who admitted last year’s advanced flight class had moved up to this year’s class, for he was certain there were at least a couple of people whose proficiencies weren’t good enough to move them forward.

He took his seat in the front of the room near the podium. He felt a small pang of sorrow when he realized that come the end of this school year, he would no longer sit here. For two full school years this was his seat for all flight briefings, and the only thing that changed was that Annie was no longer on his left and Emma would once again be on his right.

Come the end of May, 2014, he would no longer sit here except in those instances where it was necessary to bring all the race teams together for a meeting. Within that growing feeling of sorrow was the deeper understanding that when this class was over, half of his education at Salem was over as well.

As Nadine had told him once before, as soon as the first three years are over, it’s all a downhill slide to the end from there.

Since he wore his flight gear, it went without saying that it was likely they were going to fly today. The last time Kerry had been on the room was when Annie had come to see him week and a half before they left for Paris—and once more it was a week and half later and he was ready to take to the sky. Last weekend he had specifically told Annie that he wasn’t going to fly, because he wanted to spend time with her either on the school grounds or on trips into town. He had a sneaking suspicion that not only was he going to spend time flying around the New England countryside, but since he had a free afternoon, there was a possibility he may not even make it back for lunch…

 

It’s time for ruminating and Kerry has a lot of it going on.  Two years of flying are behind him, and once this year is over he’ll have no further need to come to the Flight School.  And as is indicated, once this class is over–indeed, once the school level is over–half of his education at Salem is done.  He’s thinking this way because, let’s face it, even with all the trials and tribulations he’s seen, the last two years at Salem have been good to him.  He found a girlfriend; he discovered he was a witch; he discovered he could do magic; he discovered that his girlfriend had been his girlfriend for a long time; he discovered his girlfriend would eventually have a girlfriend and that girlfriend would be him; and he became invested in the supersecret spy society known as the Guardians, who have the job of protecting The Foundation.

Oh, and he also learned how to fly and race.

So a lot of bitter sweetness going on in this moment, because Kerry likes the routine, he likes coming to this room, he likes sitting down and imagining that he’s some kind of World War II pilot getting ready to set off into the wild blue yonder.

And then his wingmate shows up…

 

Emma crossed in front of him and nearly threw herself into her customary seat to his right. Having had three classes with her this week, he had an opportunity to see how well she was handling her return to school since her summer growth spurt, and from what Kerry could see she wasn’t dealing well with the changes in her life. As she had expected she was nearly a head taller than all the other girls in their level, and there were now only a few boys who matched her, or surpassed her, in height. While nearly everyone seemed fairly nonchalant about what happened—everyone knew that similar things were going to happen to them either this year or next—Emma’s awkward self-awareness made her almost painful to watch.

Kerry watched how she did everything possible now not to make herself look tall. She wrapped her arms around her torso, slid down in her seat until her head was just slightly lower than Kerry’s, then stretched out her legs so her knees weren’t hyper-extended. From Kerry’s point of view, however, her actions did little except draw attention to the fact that she was trying not to draw attention to herself.

He leaned over so he was close enough to whisper without being overheard. “Can I make an astute observation?”

Emma glanced at him without turning her head. “You could just say you want to ask me something, Sherlock.”

Kerry didn’t let her snarkiness bothered him. “You look ridiculous. You do realize that the majority of your height is actually in your legs, so when somebody walks by here—” He waved at her extended legs. “You’re not hiding the fact you grew some over the summer.”

She let out a long, slow breath before sliding upward in her chair so that she was sitting normally. She slowly crossed her legs as she turned and looked at her wingmate. “Better?”

He crossed his legs as well. “A lot better, yeah.” Kerry began running his fingers up and down the teeth of his flight jacket. “You have a run at any of the courses yet?”

“Nadine and I took a run on the Green Line Wednesday morning while you guys were in sorcery. We did five laps before I did a couple more on the Blue Line.”

“How did feel?”

“Not too bad. The only thing is the bubble screen in the front has to be a bit larger to protect me, so I end up getting a bit more wind resistance.” Emma was referring to the enchantment which sat at the front of the PAV and preventive the pilots from taking the full brunt of an air blast that could exceed five hundred kilometers an hour. “Nadine said she’d show me a few tricks I could use so that I could streamline my body more so I wouldn’t have to fight all that resistance.”

Knowing that her new size and how it would affect her racing had been a prime concern of a mess when she returned to school, Kerry was happy to hear that it seem like the situation was mostly resolved. “See? It wasn’t really a problem. Now before you know it, you’ll be dusting us out on the courses.”

“Yeah, right. You’re just saying that—”

“Hey man, is that a kaiju?”

 

Kerry is probably the only person Emma knows who can point out to her that she looks stupid trying to hide her height and not get his head bit off.  Of course, Kerry would probably tell her to get bent if she did bite his head off, as they’d sort of established that he is no longer taking her shit.  But, you know, a weekend trip through frozen Canada can quickly because the Canuck Death Flight if the flight team is constantly bitching at each other, so it’s best to make nice now.  At least Kerry figured how to pivot the conversation to something they both know, as height is something Kerry will deal with while racing one of these days.

And just when you think things are going well between the wingmates someone comes along and shits on this party.

Wonder who?

Atlantic Crossing: What’s For Breakfast?

Yesterday I was more in a mood to lay about and watch TV, though after a fashion I wasn’t even into that, as whatever was on I’d seen a dozen times already.  But after resting up and having a late snack, I watched the rain off and on–we did get it–and then started on the next scene.  It wasn’t a lot, mostly because there was research involved, and that always takes up time when I’m putting down words that need to make sense.

It’s almost two hours later and according to my calculations–and measuring things out on a map–they have just passed over Newfoundland and are leaving North America behind and have nothing but water ahead of them for quite a ways.  Since there isn’t much to see–

I checked:  not much out there.

I checked: not much out there.

–that means it’s time to get the kids settled in for the long flight:

 

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

The hostesses were going through the aircraft drawing the window shades, and the light were were at about half of normal illumination. Breakfast trays had been retrieved ten minuets earlier, and Annie suspected it wouldn’t be long before their adjustment mixtures were handed out and they’d likely spend the next four to five hours sleeping as their bodies adjusted to the time zones of their homes.

After the immediate sadness they both felt after taking off from Boston their moods lifted considerably, particularly once breakfast was served. She asked for two printsessi, slices of tomatoes, and a large glass of carrot juice, which she’s continued drinking off and on over her B Levels. Not to her surprise Kerry ordered the nearly identical breakfast, drinking mango juice with his meal.

She’s remarked once about a month after returning from Yule holiday that Kerry’s appetite was more like that of a Bulgarian than a Welsh person, there were several things she’d yet to allow him to discover—but she planed on changing that next school level. She wanted him to try lyutenitsa, a traditional relish of tomatoes and spices, the way she ate it at home: spread on bread and sprinkled with sirene cheese, which he would likely recognize as feta cheese.

There was also musaka, made with potatoes and minced pork, and, in her opinion, one of her mother’s favorite dishes. Annie liked to follow that up with a bowl of tarator, the yogurt soup filled with cucumbers, garlic, dill, and walnuts, but this was also a dish she ate nearly every hot day at home—she could even make it herself, and often did when she was in the mood.

It was Annie’s plan to introduce musaka and tarator to Kerry during his first time visiting her in Bulgaria. While that might not happen this year, she hoped that once they could begin using The Foundation jaunt stations, it might not be long before a visit were possible—

 

And here we go again, with a side tour of Bulgarian Cuisine!  Lyutenitsa is made with peppers, carrots, eggplant, onion, garlic, black pepper, vegetable oil, sugar, and salt, and tomatoes, and that means it’s thick and spicy, and it is apparently a spread that a lot of kids love as a side.  Kerry likes spicy food, though it’s hard to say if he’ll enjoy a chutney like this.  Musaka, or as it is better known, moussaka, and throughout most of the former Ottoman Empire eggplant is used instead of potatoes for layering.  And tarator is made of yogurt, cucumber, garlic, walnut, dill, vegetable oil, and water, and sometimes Bulgarians like to throw in a little vinegar and walnuts, just as Annie indicates she’s had this dish.

It would appear that Annie believes in the old tradition that a way to a boy’s heart is through his stomach, though in Annie’s really cut out the stomach part and just hooked her lifeline into Kerry’s heart and was done with that.  Probably more likely that if she can get him interested in these dishes she’ll never have a problem finding something they can enjoy together.

They aren’t getting any of that now.

It’s about time for lights out.

Leaving it All Behind Once Again: Departing is Such Sweet Sorrow

It’s been a long, busy morning.  And a lot of writing, believe me–over three hundred and fifty last night, and almost thirteen hundred this today.  I’ve been up since 5:30, made a few calls, did my laundry, and lunch is a-cooking.

Busy little bee, am I.

The writing yesterday and today has put an end to the first scene.  The next scene will likely be a short one, then the scene after that has everyone getting off the plane in Berlin and saying whatever goodbyes they have to say before going their separate ways.  Lots of thing still to come.

Lots of changes coming, mostly of a time kind.

Mostly of a time kind, it seems.

First, however, there’s a goodbye that needs to be said right here and now.  And the person saying the goodbye is . . ?

 

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

Annie turned towards their visitor and gave her a slight yet warm smile. “Hello, Anna.”

“Hello, Annie.” The German girl from Åsgårdsreia turned her head to her left. “Hello, Kerry.”

Kerry relaxed as he faced Anna, keeping Annie’s hand in his left. “How you doing?”

“I’m . . .” She shrugged with an embarrassed look on her face. “I’m as good as could be expected right now. I didn’t get a chance to meet with you at school, but I wanted to say goodbye and wish you both a great summer holiday.”

Annie was truly touched. Though they’d had little contact with their levelmate the year before, she’d begun noticing a change in her behavior not long after her judgment battle with Lisa’s champion, and saw how much more open and friendly she’d become after being promoted to her coven’s racing A Team. “Thank you, Anna. We hope you have a great holiday next year, too.”

“Thank you.” Once more the look of embarrassment came over her. “I also want to thank you both for showing what Lisa was really like. It—” She cast her gaze towards the floor.

“It’s hard to admit she had me fooled so badly last year.”

Kerry was the one to speak after a quick exchange of looks. “I know all about doing things that make you feel dumb; I’ve done that more than a few times.”

Anna seemed to consider how she should answer that comment, finally making a decision five seconds later. “She actually had me thinking that she cared for me.” She looked right at Kerry as she spoke. “You proved that otherwise during Sorcery class last year.”

Now it was Kerry’s turn to look embarrassed as he recalled that particular Sorcery class lab and his successful use of the Draught of Submission on Lisa—which resulted in her subsequent outing as a possible lesbian. He’d felt a great deal of guilt for a week afterwords, but was reminded several times that it remained Lisa’s choice not to say anything and that she could have stopped the incident at anytime. “I’m sorry if I caused problems for you—”

“It didn’t.” Anna looked across the terminal for a moment. “We were sharing a room at the time, and that night she was pissed; she wouldn’t let what happened in class go. I asked why she didn’t just say my name that . . .” She glanced upwards. “I found out later it wasn’t me that she thought of in those moments.

“Then this year she starts hanging with Franky more, which I didn’t mind, but then when we made the B Team, she was pissed at me that I tried out without telling her. It was as if she didn’t want me on the same course with her, that I was going to somehow—”

“Show her up?” Kerry chuckled. “Might be because you’re a better racer.”

“Danke. Then after Annie beat up her champion she went nuts.” Anna glanced at Annie. “She wanted me to challenge you.”

“What?” Annie’s eyes went wide in disbelief. “Why?”

“She told me some BS about being able to hurt you in the ring—” Anna shook her head. “I told her if she were so eager to go after you, she should call you out and do it herself. It wasn’t long after that I asked for a new room and we were separated.” Her sigh was quite loud. “She really hates you both.”

 

Anna, who has remained mostly in the background for most of two novels, is stating to come out into the open.  We find out that Anna was used by Lisa, and that she even wanted Anna to challenge Annie to a match, which would have involved Anna getting her butt kicked hard.  And we hear that Lisa hats the Lovey Dovey Couple?  Color me surprised.

And with this in mind, we hear something surprising, as well as some personal information about Anna:

 

“I’m not surprised.” Annie stepped forward and placed a hand on the German girl’s arm. “I’m sorry you went through that, Anna. I’m also glad you’re doing better, too.”

Anna’s smile contained a touch of sadness. “I am.” She looked at Kerry. “Now to get through what’s next.”

“We will.” He patted her shoulder. “We don’t know what’s going to happen until it happens, so best not to give it a lot of thought.”

“Well, that’s why I can’t wait to get on the plane and sleep most of the way home.” Anna turned and saw activity at the gate. “Shouldn’t be too long now.”

After Anna’s confession Annie felt there was only thing she could say at this moment. “If you ever want to hang with us, consider this an invitation. You can—” She smiled. “—whomever you want to bring.”

“Really?” Anna’s face brightened. “I’d like that.”

Kerry began chuckling. “Though it might get a little confusing with the Annie/Anna stuff.”

Anna laughed at the comment. “Well, you can always call me Sabb.”

“Sabb?”

“That’s my nickname. It’s short for Sabine; that’s my middle name.”

Kerry immediately perked up. “Like Sabine Schmitz?”

Anna’s face broke into a surprised smile. “You know her?”

“Yeah, the Ring Queen. Everyone knows her.”

“I didn’t think many people outside Germany knew her.”

Kerry nodded. “If you follow racing, you do.”

“Yes, you do. My father and I rode with her around the Nordschleife three years ago, right before she stopped driving.”

“Wow.” Kerry was about to ask about the right when he noticed the playful look he was getting from the person on the right. “Maybe next year we can talk about that.”

“I understand.” Anna glanced between Annie and Kerry, grinning cheerfully. “I hope to see you when we arrive in Berlin, but if I don’t, I’ll see you next year. And if you ever happen to be in Berlin, or any German city, let me know: I’d love to meet up.”

“We’ll do that, Anna.” Annie folded her hand against her stomach. “Have a good flight.”

“You, too.” After giving a wave to Kerry Anna turned and headed for her luggage.

 

Anna Sabine Laskar:  we have her whole name, and she’s the first student who’s full name we know other than Annie’s and Kerry’s.  And the back and forth between Anna and Kerry is legitimate:  Sabine Schmitz is a real person, as anyone who follows racing and/or the BBC program Top Gear knows.  One of her nicknames is “The Ring Queen,” and during her time driving a BMW M5 “Ring Taxi” around the gigantic Nordschleife road course–essentially she was hired by people to drive them around the course as fast as possible–she believes she drove twenty thousand laps, which is a lot of driving.  She’s won the 24 Hours Nürburgring twice in a BMW M3, and once on Top Gear drove a van around the 20.8 kilometer course and almost brought a ten minute lap doing so.

Yeah, you can bet Kerry’s found someone new to talk racing with next year.

The nice thing about Annie’s invitation is that she kept open the gender of whatever “friend” Anna might want to bring.  She doesn’t care with whom she shows up, and honestly, at this point, Annie’s going to have to deal with the idea that one of these days in the future she’s gonna show up at one of these get together with a girlfriend of her own.

All of this sparks some curiosity, but before they get too far–

 

It wasn’t until the girl was out of hearing range that Annie spoke. “That was unexpected.”

“I’ll say.” Kerry eyed the woman standing behind the ticket counter at the gate. “At least we know Lisa’s actively looking to get back at us.”

“It’s not as if we didn’t believe that—”

The woman Kerry was watching picked up a mic and spoke. “You attention, please. We are ready to board passengers for the Air International special charter to Berlin, German. Will all passengers holding a pass for this flight come to Gate E7B. We will begin boarding in a few minutes. Thank you.”

Kerry grabbed on to his luggage handle “That’s our cue.”

“Indeed.” Annie began walking toward the gate with her luggage in one hand and Kerry’s in the other. As there were fewer than two dozen students and instructors taking the flight back to Europe boarding proceeded quickly. After the woman at the gate—who Annie recognized as one of the air hostesses from their flight at the start of the school year—quickly scanned their boarding passes Kerry and she proceeded down the gangway to the aircraft entrance.

Trevor Parkman, dressed comfortably in jeans, polo shirt, and sneakers waited for them just inside the airframe with a tablet in hand. “Ah, we meet again.”

Kerry nodded as he let Annie pass through the doorway first. “Seems like we saw each other just yesterday.”

“So it does.” Trevor asked their names and took their palm prints. “By now you’re experts with these flights—” He held the tablet close to his chest. “Have a good flight home.”

“Thank you, Mr. Parkman.” Kerry nodded towards the front of the aircraft. “First class?”

Annie raise a questioning brow. “Do we travel any other way?” They made their way into the spacious front cabin of the aircraft, allowed the hostess to stow their luggage, and gave their drink orders before selecting two seats in the middle of the cabin.

Kerry snapped his belt into place and left rest loosely in his lap. “I don’t imagine we’ll be here long.”

Annie accepted her tomato juice and took a good sip before speaking. “Be like when we were in Berlin.”

He checked the time on his phone. “It’s six forty-one: Helena say last night we were supposed to be wheels up at six forty-five—”

A woman’s voice came over the speakers. “Attention, this is your pilot. The doors are closed and we are about to push back from the gate. We have been given priority takeoff clearance on Runway 22 R and should be airborne in a matter of minutes. Flight crew, secure for takeoff.”

 

Now it’s time to go, and here’s the route the plane is going to take as my kids get ready to leave:

I have pictures of everything!

I have pictures of everything!

According to weather history, the wind is coming out of the southwest this day, so the planes taking off can leave the terminals and leave on the right runways, while the inbound planes land on the runway on the left.  This is the way you run an airport, although Boston may run their own differently.  I prefer my way, because it’s my world, yeah?

All that’s left now is for my kids and sit back and enjoy what’s coming next:

 

Annie set her right hand on the armrest between Kerry and her. “You were right; they have nothing to hide now—”

“So why wait?” He set his left hand over Annie’s. “A little over eight hours and we’re back in Europe—” He half-looked at Annie. “Back home.”

“No, my love.” She turned her hand palm-up and entwined her fingers around Kerry’s as the plane made its way to the end of the takeoff runway. “We’re going back to our families; it’s our home we’re leaving behind.”

They sat in silence as they made the final turned to get into position for takeoff, and as had happened three times before the engine sound subsided for only a moment before they were set to full thrust and the A330 was propelled forward. Maybe twenty seconds later the nose came up,and the vibrations caused by the runway vanished as the landing gear thumped into place. The plane made a climbing turn to the left and only leveled out when the sun was no longer visible in either window.

Kerry pointed towards the windows on the left side of the airframe. “Look: you can just make out Cape Ann.” He gave a small wave. “Goodbye, Salem. See you in a few months.”

Annie gave Kerry’s hand a squeeze as she imagined the now-empty school greeting the new day upon the barely visible island. “Farewell for now.” She turned to Kerry with a smile upon her face. “We’ll be home soon.”

 

There we go:  the plane is in the air and heading back to Berlin.  And can we see what the kids see?

Of course they can, 'cause I figured it out.

Of course they can, ’cause I figured it out.

It would be some ways off in the distance, but Cape Ann could be see on a clear day–and this is a clear day.  And the next scene is going to take place somewhere on this picture:

Likely a lot more on the left side of the line than the center or right.

Likely a lot more on the left side of the line than the center or right.

I may even state that tonight.

A Certain Day in May: Prelude From the Aftermath

Yeah . . . early in the morning and here I am hoping to get through another day without falling asleep at work.  Yesterday was horrible:  by two in the afternoon I was fighting to remain with my eyes open, and when I finally made it home, I fell asleep for about thirty minutes or so because I needed a nap bad.

I feel today may be just as bad, as I was up about four-thirty or so, but the weather is going to be cooler today, so I’ll dress for that and keep the carbs at a minimum at lunch so I don’t go into some kind of drowsy overload by one.

All this is probably why I didn’t feel as if I was writing much last night, and then, to my surprise, I discover I’ve about seven hundred and fifty words completed.  I really was hoping to get the scene finished, but you know how that goes.  It means that you have to wait one more day to discover Kerry’s present, but–there’s also a surprise that comes with that post.

So, Happy Birthday for Doctor Gallagher and Kerry, and Coraline knows she better get a nod of approval from the little witch in the back of the room before planting a kiss on Kerry’s cheek.  I wonder if Annie could call out Coraline if she felt the later was getting a little too affectionate with her soul mate?  That would be an interesting fight, given that we’ve sort of seen Coraline fight.

But what about this flight that’s coming up?  Here you are on that:

 

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

After the passing around of cake that the kitchen gladly made, there was a quick review of the flight before they headed down to the Hangar and prepped for the afternoon flight, the Four Point Timed Excursion. Brooms up at fourteen, four points to make with only five minutes to determine course to each location while in air with no landing, GPS not allowed, and the class was to return to Salem by sixteen-thirty.

That meant a flight of close to twelve hundred kilometers needed to be flown in two and a half hours, and there wasn’t going to be much in the way of room for error should it arise. Vicky and her minions—or, as she’d begun referring to them of late, her flying monkeys—were the only one who knew the actually layout of the course, but Vicky would be the one to call out corrections to the class if they were needed.

As Vicky said during the briefing, at this point in the class, any of the four teams selected for each leg that couldn’t hit their target by now would be in a precarious position for advancement to Advanced Flight Two in their C Levels.

Because it was his special day, Vicky left the choice to him as to whether or not Emma and he would have first of last leg. He picked first and learned their destination: Franconia Notch, New Hampshire. Kerry already knew the area from the last snipe hunt he’d been one, but the catch now was to get everyone there in thirty minutes. Almost two hundred kilometers in that limited time meant they’d need to maintain about four hundred kilometers an hour the whole way.

Fortunately Kerry knew how to handle that. As soon as they were airborne he instructed Emma to aim for a point a few kilometers north of Plymouth, New Hampshire, at which point they’d turn and follow I-93 fifty kilometers north to the Notch. If his calculations were correct—and as he told the flight he didn’t expect them to be wrong—they’d not need to slow at all until they were near their destination.

He was correct. They reached their turn less than a hundred meters off the line Kerry originally piloted, and there was a bit of excitement as the flight turned into the mountain valley and continued northward without braking. Seven and a half minutes later they were hovering over their destination and Team Myfanwy rotated to the back of the pack to let someone else take the ball.

The rest of the trip went smoothly. Their other three stops were The Alexandra Bridge in Ottawa, Ontario, the bobsled run at Lake Placid, New York, and the capital building at Albany, New York. After a mad dash across Massachusetts they were touching down in Selena’s Meadow eight minutes before they were due.

 

In case you were wondering–and you were–this is the area covered:

With minor variations, this is how it looks.

With minor variations, this is how it looks.

Franconia Notch is famous as the location of the formation known as the Old Man of the Mountain, which used to look like this:

Looking pretty good for a few million years old.

Looking pretty good for a few million years old.

The picture above was taken on 26 April, 2003, and it one of the last good pictures of the formation, because a few days later the formation collapsed and became no more.  As of 2007 it looked like this:

Quite a change, I know.

Quite a change, I know.

And for a little extra history, the collapse happened on 3 May, 2003, which means as the date in the story is 3 May, 2013, a decade has past since that time, so Emma and Kerry are gonna lead their flight right past this point on the anniversary.  Coincidence?  Knowing Vicky, probably not.

But they managed to get through the flight with little or no drama, and suddenly we’re back in Salem–

 

It was only once he was back in his uniform and out of the locker that he found out he wasn’t dining in the hall that evening—

They were half way down Essex and were just passing the location where the Bewitched After Dark walking tours met when Annie spoke. “You were wonderful today. And just the right amount of embarrassed when everyone sang Happy Birthday to Coraline and you.”

“I wasn’t acting—” Kerry couldn’t remember the last time anyone actually sang him a birthday song. “Coraline handles it better than me.”

“Let’s hope no one sings it again tonight.” Annie glanced towards Kerry with a smile on her face. “Though her boyfriend will be there, so who knows if he’ll ask for to have it sung.”

“I don’t want it sung for me again.” He nodded towards the store up on their right. “Otherwise I’m gonna take you in to Flying Monkey and get you something to commentate your ascension to that status today.”

“Shush, you.” She slapped him playfully on the arm. They’d passed the store several times in the past but never entered: during one of their window shopping excursions Kerry pointed out he was going to get her a “Good Girls Go to Heaven, Bad Girls Go to Salem” tee shirt, complete with a witch ridding a broom across a pentagram, to which she replied while she’d never hurt him, minor curses might not be out of the question—

“I’m not interesting in getting a tee shirt I’ll never wear.” She steered him towards one of the alleys leading to the Salem Green, located just behind their restaurant. “Over this way.”

 

I should point out that the locations refereed to above do exist, as does the shirt described.  Don’t be surprised if the later shows up again . . .

Now, does this mean Kerry gets his present tomorrow?  Yes, yes it does.

Oh, and I’m reminded by a Facebook post I made five years ago, on this day in history Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan was killed in a fight with natives of the Philippines. And what I mean by “killed in a fight” is that he was beaten to death with bastons by people who knew Eskrima, aka Arnis, aka Kali–though at the end of this “battle” I believe he also had a spear shoved through his face, which had to suck.

This happens to be the martial arts form seen in a lot of movie–Matt Damon uses this in his Jason Bourne movies, it was used by Vin Diesel and Jason Statham in Furious 7, and both Melissa McCarthy and Saoirse Ronan were trained to use this in their respective movies Spy and Hanna.  It’s also the art form that Annie and Kerry are learning and seem to be taking to it rather well, and the advantage they’ll have over all those other people I’ve listed above is (1) they can use magic with this discipline, and (2) unlike movie characters, they’ll actually be able to beat people to death with bastons likely made of magical energy.

Why am I mentioning this?  Oh, no reason . . .

The Last Laps: Running Red

I expected to do more last night, but you know how it is:  real life in the way and all.  However, this time it was different–

I had a visit from the Real Annie.

I should put a trademark up there ’cause it is sort of like that when she shows up, which she hasn’t in a long time due to–well, life on her end.  She managed to catch up on a few things with me, and I let her read some of the sections of B For Bewitching that she hasn’t seen.  I also gave her a complete copy of the first draft of A For Advanced, pretty much the only one in existence, and it ran, with everything–copyright notice, table of contents, and cast of characters sheet–1,181 pages.  That’s a big book.

However, the penultimate scene was started, and it heads into an area I’ve never covered before, and that’s the school Red Line race course.  Not most of it, just a small part, but it’s probably the easiest part to set up:  the last couple of areas at the south end of the school grounds.

Just follow the kind of highlighted yellow line.

Just follow the kind of highlighted yellow line.

The big spike to the right that seems to end lower down like some king of bow tie is the section known at the start of the scene as Down and Around.  That’s because you drop about three hundred meters almost straight down at the ground, then turn, twist, rise, twist more while dropping, rise again, and then finally come out of the turn more of less flying level.  The last section mentioned, Up and Over, is the part of the course that headed directly over The Diamond, where it goes–get ready–up and over the building.  Pretty simple, yeah?

The Red Line is like this all over:  it’s high, it’s low, and it twists all over the place.  It’s like being on a gigantic roller coaster, only you’re a kilometers up in the air at times before rushing straight at the ground at three hundred kilometers an hour.  Try finding that ride at your local amusement park this summer.

The difficulty of the course isn’t what’s on Kerry’s mind, however–

 

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

Kerry came out of Down and Around with what felt like half of all the teams combined dogging him. It was like they were told in the ready room meetings: the racing was going to be intense, and it’d stay that way for a full fifteen laps. Coming to the end of Lap 13, and his last circuit of the Red Line, he’d found that assertion to be completely factual.

Things shook out pretty much as people expected. Rivânia, Nadine, and Penny took off in a hurry, got ahead, and stayed there while the other dozen fliers remained about ten meters back. Starting with the first circuit of the Red Line the enormous pack broke in two: positions ten through fifteen formed the back pack, and Kerry found himself in the front pack of positions four through nine that, besides him, consisted of Alex, Rezi and Getasew from Åsgårdsreia, and Nattat from Mórrígan.

And one other: Lisa.

Somehow she’d found herself in the Top 10 heading into the Red Line and remained with the front pack through their return to the Blue Line. The larger packs closed up again once they returned to the Green Line for two laps, but upon reaching the Blue Line both packs began spreading out and becoming one, with position changes happening constantly throughout the race.
Kerry did as Annie said when they last spoke: he ran his own race. He didn’t worry about the others: he knew they were going to run their own races as well—

Still, Kerry couldn’t shake the feeling he was being stalked.

A couple of times throughout the race he’d catch sight of Lisa maybe seven, eight meters back, holding position and not making a move towards him. He wasn’t sure if it was because of the other fliers around him, or if she was waiting for a moment to strike, but Kerry was certain that despite the warnings given in the Ready Room, she was going to try and prevent him from finishing in the Top 5.

He was positive she wasn’t going to try and hold him up, either.

He rolled up and to his left, then dip towards the ground and into Up and Over, the last major turn on the Red Line before they rejoined the Blue Line. Though he’d overflown The Diamond many times—including the first time he checked out on an Espinoza—it was always a huge thrill to approach the enormous building from near ground level before shooting up to the roof, speeding along the length of the structure while zooming back to the Start/Finish line. There wasn’t any difference this time, either, only it would be the last time this season he’d do it officially.

He shot through the last two elevations gates as he made his quick decent to ground level, then leveled out, flew through Start/Finish, and arced to his left as he entered the Blue Line for one last lap.

 

Four hundred ninety-five words, and I don’t imagine it’s going to take much more than this to finish the scene.  The resolution is almost here–

As is the end of this chapter.