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…