Back to Berlin: The Almost Final Farewells

It’s Penultimate Scene Time and the living is easy.  Or so I imagined before I blew out the only light bulb I had in the house and had to use a few of the light in the apartment to get around.  It wasn’t that bad, but it was a lot dimmer than I usually have in the joint.

 On the other hand, it sets the mood perfectly if you wanna be goofy and work on your heart hands display.

On the other hand, it sets the mood perfectly if you wanna be goofy and work on your heart hands display.

The flight is over, and my kids are on the ground, more or less, out of their seats and ready to take the last few steps to the terminal.  But while they are ready, they are hardly willing–

 

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

Outside the plane the sun was setting and twilight would soon come to the city of Berlin. None of that was of concern to Kerry: at the moment he was standing by his luggage not far from their seats in the nose of the A330-300 and waiting with Annie as they watch the other students file out of the aircraft and head down to the walkway to Gate A10 of Terminal A of Tegel Airport.

Neither Annie or he were in a hurry to leave the aircraft. Once they were out on to the walkway it was a thirty second stroll to the terminal, where Annie’s mother and Ms. Rutherford were waiting for them. Once they were with them they would likely have another couple of minutes together, and like that—poof. They’d go their separate ways and not see each other again for—well, not the entire summer as they had expected last year, but a few weeks would pass before they could spend half a day together having lunch, strolling through London, and missing each other completely.

This was one of those moments when Kerry wished he could go home with Annie and spend the summer living out of her lake house, though he knew that dream was impossible.

 

I know what you’re thinking:  why doesn’t Kerry go spend the summer with Annie?  Just tell Ms. Rutherford he doesn’t want to go home and head for the mountains of Bulgaria, right?  One, it doesn’t work like that:  unless The Foundation thinks his parents might just kill his ass the moment he outs himself, he still has to go home and tell his folks the true.  And Two:  if you were Annie’s mom, would you want The Ginger Hair Boy of your daughter’s dreams sleeping four hundred meters away from your child?  While she might trust them not to do, um, things, maybe she doesn’t want Annie out there playing sucker face with her boyfriend all the time.  “Mama, I’m going out to the lake out to, um . . . work on spells.  Yeah, that’s what I’m gonna do.”  Mama Kirilova isn’t stupid, you know.

Right now they are siting at Gate A10, which is right below, in the lower center of the picture, where the plane closest to the center line is parked.

From one international terminal to another.

From one international terminal to another.

And I got to use my neat astronomy program as well to see what the sky was like–

Even left the date and time in place to prove I've in the right space/time coordinates.

Even left the date and time in place to prove I’ve in the right space/time coordinates.

Strangely enough, the first paragraph had me setting the time about an hour later, cause I wrote in the first paragraph that it was almost dark outside and the light were doing a great job of holding back the darkness–and then I thought, “I should check the sky, just to be sure.”  And . . . I needed to rewrite that first paragraph, ’cause I would have looked stupid if I’d left that line in place.  And I don’t want to look stupid.

Now that all the geographical stuff and reasons for Kerry going home are out of the way, let’s see what my kids are about to do–other than be sad, that is:

 

The last few students deplaned as Kerry looked down at the floor. “About time to go.”

“Yes, it is.” Annie hooked her arm around his. “You know what to do, my love?”

He nodded. “Don’t cry in front of your mother, and write to you: not type, but write by hand.”

She stood before him and kissed his lips. “You are too good to me.”

He wrapped an arm around her shoulders. “You’re supposed to be treated good all the time, so I do.”

“Hey, you two.” They turned and saw Helena standing in the doorway to their section of the cabin. “You’re the last on the plane, and these people want to go home as well.” She motioned at them. “Come on, party’s over, let’s go.”

They headed out towards the entrance, Annie leading the way. Helena stepped out of the way so they could make their way into the plane’s entry area. Erywin stood on the other side of the open door. Annie sigh was full of sadness. “It is time to go, isn’t it?”

“’Fraid so, Deary.” Erywin walked over and gave Annie a gentle hug. “Don’t worry: we’ll get you back with your ginger boy soon enough.”

“And for that we thank you guys.” Kerry looked at Helena as he spoke. “You guys are doing so much . . .” He started to choke up as his emotions started getting the better of him.

Annie reached for his hand. “My love—”

Kerry quickly wiped his eyes and nodded. “I’m okay.” He took three deep breaths so he could regain his composure. “Really, I’m good: I won’t lose it.”

Helena wrapped an arm around Kerry and gave him a solid hug, then did the same to Annie. “Come on, let’s get the hell out of here.”

“Yes, let’s.” Erywin went over and gave Kerry a final hug. “You remember, if things go bad at home—”

“I won’t forget, Erywin.” He managed a slight smile. “I’m certain Ms. Rutherford won’t either.”

“She better not.” The Formulistic Magic instructor stepped to the side of her sorceress partner. “We’ll follow you out.”

Annie smiled at them. “Thank you.” She turned and held out her hand. “Shall we, my love?”

He took her hand. “Let’s do this.”

She nodded once. “Let’s.”

 

If there is anything you can say about The Mistress of All Things Dark and her Don’t Call Her the Potions Mistress partner, it’s that they do care for these two a great deal.  As has likely been noted, and even pointed out, Helena and Erywin are kind of the father/mother figures both kids are looking for, because for all her hard ass attitude Helena is quick to heap praise on Annie where it’s deserved, and for all her snarkiness and “don’t give a shit” attitude about most things, Erywin is the one who knows how to comfort Kerry and, yes, even show him affection.  If you don’t believe this “Come Live With Us, Kerry” move wasn’t Erywin’s doing to start, you’re not paying attention.

Sure, Helena agreed to it because she, too, likes Kerry, but she did it partially because Erywin probably wanted it, and partially because if she’d said “no”, she’d have had a pissed off little Bulgarian sorceress giving her stink eye.  And we can’t have that.  It’s the same with getting them together over the summer:  Helena knows how much it means to Annie, so . . .

So the goodbyes from the Favorite Instructors is over and the plane is finally empty.

All that remains are the last goodbyes . . .

Taking the Long Ways Home

Eight in the morning, and it’s time for the blog post–but only after two hours and just over a thousand words of novel writing.  Yes, I’ve been a busy girl, mostly because I’m off to get my nails done in a couple of hours and I need time to get ready.

But first, I’ve had this on repeat for most of the morning:  Moby’s God Moving Over the Face of the Waters.  Pay no attention to what the video cover page says: this version is the one found on I Like to Score, and is the one used as the outro music running over the credits for the movie Heat.  There are have been a few moments when this has started the tears a-flowing, because I’m imagining scenes where this can be used in my coming stories, and likely will.  Funny how my mind works, isn’t it?

The scene is over, and this is the last you’ll see of the school in this book.  After this everything takes place beyond the grounds, and half of the next chapter has my kids finally back in Europe for the summer.  But this goodbye is different than the one in the last novel.  Because this time they’re not standing around surrounded by silence–this time they’re surrounded by friends:

 

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

 

Kerry chuckled as he kept his arm around Annie’s shoulders and pulled her closer. “What are you guys going to do next?”

Penny quickly checked her phone. “We’re all jaunting out at the bottom of the hour to Logan and then on to Heathrow and to the local station at Paddington. We’ll spend about an hour and a half there, then Alex and Kahoku are going their own separate ways.”

“It’s already past twenty hours in Savannakhet.” Kahoku spoke of his home town on the banks of the Mekong River in Laos. “I told my parents I’d be home no later than twenty-two thirty, so that gives Alex and me time to say goodbye.”

“You get home just in time to eat and adjust.” Alex gave him a peck on the cheek. “Lose a day going home, but at least you get it in a few months coming back.”

“What about you, Alex?” Annie figured the Ukrainian girl’s home was much like her own in terms of time changes.

“I’ll get into Kiev about eighteen-thirty, then fly home to Dubno. That should take me about an hour.” She sighed. “Just in time to eat, talk a little, and then adjust.”
Annie turned to Penny and Jario. “What about you?”

“I’ll be home, and Jario is almost on the same time as Salem, so we’ll hang out until about eighteen local before we head for home.” She gripped his hand. “That’ll give us almost four hours together. Then he jaunts back to Caracas, and I’ll fly home from London.”

“Venezuela’s a half-hour behind Salem because we’re right on the middle of one of the time lines, so it’ll be pretty much a normal day for me when I’m home: no adjusting needed.” Jario looked down as he smiled. “My case worker will be waiting for me at the airport to jaunt me home.”

“Mine does the same for me.” Kerry shrugged. “I don’t mind considering I gotta go like a thousand kilometers this time.”

Penny learned against Jario. “If you’d learned to fly, dear . . .”

“I did: I didn’t care for it.” He kissed Penny. “You girls are the fliers: I’m good with riding.”

“Just remember that.”

 

Now you see just how everyone is spread around the world, and even with being able to fly and teleport, getting from one place in the world to another is still gonna mess you up due to time changes.  This is how they play out:

B For Bewitching Time Zones Home

Party of Four going all over the world.

As you can see where their homes are concerned it’s still morning for Jario, late afternoon for Penny and Alex–and Annie and Kerry for that matter, too–and going into the evening for Kahoku.  And think about the A and B Levels that are still flying home:  this is why The Foundation starts shipping kids back to East Asia and Oceania just before midnight on the last Thursday at school.

And this is how the jaunts look.  First Penny and the other to London.

Just a leap over The Pond.

Just a leap over The Pond.

Then Alex heads home:

Homeward towards the Great Gates.

Homeward towards the Great Gates.

Followed by Kahoku, who has to go to the other side of the world:

Where it's a quick meal and off to sleep for that boy.

Where it’s a quick meal and off to sleep for that boy.

And lastly there’s Jario, who’s doubling back on everyone.

Can we say he's going Back to the Future?  Probably.

Can we say he’s going Back to the Future? Probably.

Even though they’re going home, does that mean everyone’s stuck on their little homeland islands.  Maybe not:

 

Annie shifted her gaze among the members of her group. “Are you still going to try and meet this summer?”

“Going to try.” Alex nodded toward the girl to her right. “Penny and I have plans, and Kahoku’s pretty sure he can get into Kiev at least once.”

“I’m probably going to jaunt down to South America to see my honey.” Penny smiled at the blushing boy at her side. “I shouldn’t have any problems flying from the airport to his home town.”

Kahoku appeared sad for a moment. “It’d be nice if we could all meet up this summer.”

Penny grunted. “Yeah. Even though it’s getting easier to use to the jaunt stations now, it’s kinda hard at times to work out everything when we’re spread all through the world.”

“We should do something one summer.” Kerry’s face lit up as his mind worked out possibilities. “I mean, after we finish our C Levels Annie and I will be able to access the jaunt systems without needing permission from our parents, so that would make it easier for us to get around. Maybe not next summer, but the summer after that—”

“I agree.” Annie believe she knew where Kerry was going with his impromptu plan. “And not just a one day get together: maybe something for the a few weeks.”
Alex tilted her head slowly to one side. “Like what? Backpacking?”

Kerry laughed. “Or backbrooming.”

“Like the Polar Express.” Penny laughed. “I could see that.”

Annie nodded. “We should start working on that next year.”

Penny nodded back. “We will.”

 

First we see that once the kids are past their C Levels they’re permitted to use the Jaunt System without parental controls, and you know what that means?  Sounds like a certain couple will be hooking up for lunch and more in another year.  Kerry has a local station that will take him to London, or he could just jet off and be there in under an hour.  Annie as well:  she’s 150 km from Sofia and could fly to the airport in under thirty minutes.  And just imagine what it’ll be like when they start jaunting on their own–won’t be able to keep them apart.

As for Annie and Kerry’s idea of “backbrooming” with the other four–yep, that’ll happen one day.  Probably.  Maybe.  Could be.  Just not any time soon.  But you know I already have something in mind.

With all this out of the way, there remains only one last goodbye–

 

“And with that you should get going so you don’t miss your jaunt.” Annie gave Penny a hug. “Take care.”

“You, too, Annie.” Everyone began hugging and shaking hands, wishing each other a good summer holiday. Annie and Kerry waved their goodbyes to their friends as the four walked off the floor and vanished down the stairs, leaving them alone on the second floor.

Annie gave a near silent mummer. “Well, we’re one of the last in the coven—again.”

“Only this time—” Kerry turned and examined the empty, silent floor. “I don’t feel as sad as I did last year.”

“That’s because we knew we wouldn’t be returning to the first floor. Next year we’re back here, but when it comes time to say our goodbyes to our C Levels—” She rested against Kerry’s shoulder. “I imagine we’ll feel the sadness once more.”

“Probably.” He turned to her. “We have a lot to do next year.”

She nodded. “All new classes and a group of B Levels to help transition out of the fishbowl.”

“Uhh.” Kerry rolled his eyes. “Don’t say ‘transition’.”

“Don’t worry, my love.” Annie chuckled as she kissed her nervous soul mate. “I’ll be here to help you through that as well. After all—” She pulled down the neck of her blouse just enough to allow Kerry a peek at her glowing medical monitor. “We’re connected; I’m not going anywhere.”

He kissed her lips. “I’d never let you leave.”

“I’d never want to leave.” They stared at each other in silence for nearly fifteen seconds before Annie stated the obvious. “Come on: we have more goodbyes to say. I want to catch Professor Semplen before he returns home.”

“Yeah, we should get going.” He slipped his backpack over both shoulders and set it in place. “Let’s do this.”

Annie secured her purse strap around her body. “Lets.”

They walked hand-in-hand to the stair landing, turning just before exiting the floor, and spent a few silent moments regarding the place that was their home for the last nine months. Kerry raised his right hand and gave a small wave. “Take care, and see you next year.”

Annie offered a smile as she looked in the direction of her former room. “Goodbye and farewell. And thank you for the memories.”

Together their turned and slowly descended the stairs, leaving their latest home behind, but not forgotten.

 

No tears this time, no feelings of melancholy, because next year they’ll be back on the same floor, only a little closer to the stairs.  It’ll be interesting to see them “helping” the new kids when they move up into the B Area–not that the can’t handle being leaders, but it’s almost as if they’re getting one more duty stacked on top of all the crap they’ll already have waiting for them.  When you show everyone you’re a cut above the rest, you are expected to prove that point.

And with that we say goodbye to Salem and hello to a little place right on the water–

The Day Before the End: Goodbye Once More

It’s rare that I go through an emotional roller coaster like I did last night, but it still happens.  Probably because I’m due for my shot tonight, and when I get to that point it’s hard to keep from getting emotional.  Throw into that mix a collection of songs that are going to have meaning in the upcoming stories, and I was ripe for the waterworks.

This all falls along the backdrop of everyone going home for the summer.  The school is shutting down, the last classes were the day before, and some of the students returning to Asia and Oceania departed from Boston some nine to ten hours earlier.  The novel is currently skirting three hundred and twenty thousand words, and it was only about three hundred thousand ago that my kids were meeting in a hotel in Berlin, unaware that they were going to meet up with a couple of girls who were going help them establish ties that would remain throughout the school year.

So much has gone down–

Writing looks easy, but believe me, being in a public places allows you to drown out all other distractions. Um, yeah.

How did I ever manage to get this far?

Pretty much by sitting down and writing nearly every night, that’s how.  And in a few more weeks you can take a rest.  Until then–the goodbyes begin:

 

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

The moment his computer shut down Kerry lifted it from its stand and slipped it into his backpack next to the portable keyboard and mouse. He turned his attention to his room while zip his pack closed, giving the place he’d spent most of the last nine months a final view.

His uniforms and shoes were inside his wardrobe, along with the few toiletries that he’d need when he return at the end of August. His bed was neatly made with the pillows set atop the comforter. The two framed works of art—the works that Annie gave him after each of the last two Ostaras—still hung upon the wall, but were marked with a note indication they were to be moved with the other things that were headed for the room where he’d spend his C Levels next school year.

He felt tears welling in his eyes as he looked about the room. I learned so much about myself this year—and about Annie as well. In a way he couldn’t believe he’d never set foot in this room again, but as always he’d wander back through his memories and remember the parting words of The Phoenix as he left his E and A: It’s okay to remember the past, but you can’t keep dwelling upon those moments. You have to keep writing new chapters.

 

Right there, those last lines from The Phoenix . . . I knew I was going to use them the moment I started writing this scene, because the one think Kerry has learned by coming to Salem is that his life is a story, and that’s something that resonates with him because, whether he’s aware of it of not, the summer of year before he started his A Levels, during a time when he knew the dreams he had of a certain Chestnut Girl were more than just dreams, and that there was something incredibly special about her, he heard one particular line in one particular TV show:

 

“Well, you’ll remember me a little. I’ll be a story in your head. But that’s OK: we’re all stories, in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?”  Doctor Who, The Big Bang.

 

Maybe subconsciously, like Kerry, I thought about that above line when I wrote it, but I can assure you there wasn’t a conscious connection when Kerry’s E and A was written in November, 2013.  It’s really one that I believe defines him these days, because it seems like he, as well as Annie, are constantly opening new chapters to their lives every day.

The thing is, when I brought brought up A For Advanced so I could copy and paste The Phoenix’s words, I started reading that part, the end of Kerry’s E and A, and I started crying like crazy.  I can’t say why, but I totally lost it.  I eventually resumed writing, but I needed about twenty minutes for the feeling to pass.  It was hard, trust me.  And I’m still surprised that going back into something I wrote three years ago can affect me so–

A lot like this, only worse. But I'm better now . . .

How is it I get this way reading my own stuff?

It’s a good think Kerry isn’t alone on the second floor, or he might be in his room crying for a while . . .

 

 

He allowed himself about fifteen seconds for a good cry before retrieving one of the towels in the hamper so he could wipe his face. “You were good to me—” He smiled as he looked about the room. “Be good to the next guy, ‘kay?”

There was a knock at the door. He finished wiping his face and tossed the towel back in the hamper before half turning to answer. “Come in.”

The door opened and Jario filled the entrance. “You about done?” He nodded to his left. “’Cause there’s someone out here who’s eager to see you.”

Kerry chuckled. “Can’t imagine who.” He hooked his backpack over his right shoulder. “Let’s not keep the girls waiting.”

Annie, Penny, and Alex were standing in the open area near the stairs talking. There were dressed the most relaxed either Kerry or Jario had seen them since the start of school. Alex wore a blue v-neck tee shirt and black capri leggings with sandals; Penny wore a yellow tank top and gray shorts with blue plimsolls; and Annie wore a light green floral print blouse with a black skater skirt and her favorite pair of brown gladiator sandals. Given that in the last week the temperatures had finally become seasonal—it was twenty-nine Celsius outside at nine hours, and was expected to top thirty-three C by late afternoon—the girls were dress for relaxed comfort.

All three looked in the boys direction as they entered the open space. “About time you show up, Kerry.” Penny laid her hand upon Annie’s shoulder. “Someone was about to see if they could break into your room and get you.”

“And she would have, too.” Kerry wrapped an arm around Annie’s shoulder and gave her a kiss. “Sorry. I just had to say goodbye.”

“I completely understand.” Annie kissed him back. “I hope it was a good farewell.”

“It was.”

“So was mine.”

“Um, hum.” Kahoku entered the second floor from the stair landing. He was attired just as comfortably as everyone else, wearing a white tee shirt, brown slacks, and black flip flops. “Don’t you guys ever get tired of these PDAs?”

Kerry exchanged a glance with Annie before answering. “Never.”

“Didn’t think so.” He moved in behind Alex. “Just so you know, you’re making it so the girls want more affection in public—”

“And there’s a problem with that?” Alex spun around in his arm. “Better watch out, or you might find there being fewer good night kisses next year.”

Kahoku looked sufficiently chagrined. “Consider it watched.”

 

The Return of the Dreaded Public Display of Affection!  And, it seems, some of the kids haven’t gotten used to them yet.  This is also the first time we’re seeing the boys in this little group of friends feeling the heat to also go PDA with their BGE, and Alex seems to be down in the “I want MORE” column for those affections, and has put her boyfriend on notice.  Hum . . . must be an Eastern European Girl thing.

Looks like everyone’s about to go their separate ways–but not before a short discussion . . .

The Final Days and Nights: PTown Bound

Better late than never, but there’s always a reason why I’m coming to you so late, an that’s because I’m keeping my mind off eating.  I intend to head out after this is posted to do a little happy hour just down the street, then come back here for a nap before I do a little more writing tonight.  I’ve also been busy getting things ready for this post and, believe it or not, fixing a mistake I found in my story.  But more on that later.

We come to Chapter Thirty-four, and this is the penultimate chapter of the novel.  There remains one more after this, but the writing’s on the wall:  another couple of weeks and B For Bewitching is finished, and with it another year of my life spend working on a novel.  Two days ago someone asked me, “What’s next?” and you probably already know the answer.  But I need a rest first; I’m in a serious state of burn out, and I need to recharge and do some editing before I can even consider getting into another original story.

But all that stuff is for later.  Right now my mind is on this:

The scenes are coming, but not for long.

The scenes are coming, but not for long.

This chapter deals with the last week at school, and the next chapter, Thirty-five, deals with the last day Annie and Kerry spend together before going their separate ways for the summer.  And with the day set forth in this scene, the last Sunday at school, there’s less than a week before they say their B Level goodbyes.

But first, there’s something on their agenda for this day–

 

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

Though the day was overcast and cool—as was the case with most of this May—everyone was in great spirits. Kerry felt there was something about getting away from school and being out on your own for just a little while that instantly lightened moods and had people enjoying their surroundings.

Though he had to admit the start of this little adventure hadn’t come without issues . . .

Today was Graduation Day at Salem, and the majority of activities were geared around the students who had completed their studies and their families who were there to celebrate their children’s success. Because today’s focus was on the seventeen departing F Levels, that meant the remaining one hundred and twenty-three students moving on to their next school levels were pretty much free to do as they pleased.

And what pleased Annie and Kerry the most was the ability to leave the school grounds, with permission, on their own.

 

It was the thrid paragraph that gave me trouble and made me start looking around for twenty minutes because there was a mistake in my history.  I know:  gasp!  It happens.

What went down was this.  I know how many students there are at school:  for this year it’s one hundred and forty-nine.  Seventeen students are graduating, and with nine not doing well enough to move on to the next level, that meant I have one hundred and twenty-three students coming back next year for Annie ‘sand Kerry’s C Levels.

Only I noticed that when I added up all my F Levels from each coven I had sixteen, so I need to figure out where I was light and fix that.  After that I decided, what the hell, I’ll check all the numbers.  And what did I find?

I was missing a student.

It took me a moment to figure out the missing student was in Blodeuwedd, and it took me a few more minutes of number checking to figure out I was light one D Level n that coven.  With that know I put a maker there for a student, reran my numbers to make sure everything was good, confirming that they were.  Now that I had all my students accounted for, I could get on with my writing.

See the insanity I put myself through?  It would be so much easier to just make shit up, but noooooooo . . .

Now that we know what makes my kids happy, what are they gonna do about it?

 

During their A Levels Annie and he had taken the day and flew westward, where they spent most of the day relaxing at Pearl Hill State Park. This year, however, they had a different destination in mind, and they decided they wanted to enjoy their time in the company of friends, so earlier in the weekend they asked Penny, Alex, and Jario if they wanted to come along, and let Alex know her boyfriend Kahoku was invited as well. By the end of the day all four friend accepted the invite, and Kerry, Penny, and Alex filed their plans with Vicky the next day.

All six gathered in the Pentagram Garden right before nine-thirty, well after breakfast so they had plenty of time to return to their covens and grab a few things before leaving. The plan for reaching their destination was simple: Annie, Penny, Alex, and Kerry were going to fly while Jairo and Kahoku would ride on the backs of their girlfriend’s brooms. Alex and Kerry brought their backpacks which gave Penny and Annie a place to set their purses, and Kerry had his tablet computer mounted on the control shaft of his Espinoza so they would have music for their short trip.

Right at the bottom of the hour they lifted off from the garden. Rather than use a broom, Annie rose into the air under her own Gift, wearing her new flying jacket for the first time. They ascended to three hundred meters, put their light bending spells in place, and headed off towards their destination: Provincetown, Massachusetts, at the tip of Cape Cod.

Though Jairo and Kahoku knew where they were going, the four fliers thought it best not to tell their passengers all the details of their flight there. They headed south towards Bass Rocks, but instead of turning right and to the west, the flight turned slightly to the left and sailed out over the Atlantic, picking up speed until they were cruising along as a comfortable one hundred eighty kilometers an hour. Annie and Kerry took the lead while Alex and Penny pulled into position behind them, and both seemed to enjoy having their boyfriends clutching on to them for fear they were going to be lost at sea.

 

Unlike last time they are not going out on their graduation flight alone but with friends, and rather than go to a park they’re heading to a town. Provincetown, MA, is one of the nicest places I’ve ever visited, and one of these days I’m going to find a way to attend a writer’s retreat there.  That’s why this scene is labeled Party of Six, for the Cernunnos Five, plus Alex’s boyfriend, make for six.  I also find it a bit funny that other than Kerry the two boyfriends have to ride on the backs of their girlfriend’s brooms, because those boys should have stuck to flying if they wanted to ride along side their ladies.

Here’s their quick trip across the ocean, though we’re being very liberal with the term ocean here.  Still, if you don’t like being over open water, you’re probably not going to be happy out here.

It's ocean if you only look at it that way.

It’s ocean if you only look at it that way.

The total distance is only about seventy-seven km/forty-eight mi, which is why at the speed they were going they were able to make the trip in about thirty minutes.  It would have taken them a lot longer to hug the shore and make the trip that way, and at some point flying across open water was the only way to get there without being crazy about thing.

And once they arrive at their destination, the rest is simple.

 

Kerry would glance over at Annie every minute or so as she kept about a four meter separation between them. This was her first flight since her last solo flight, and her flight helmet and goggles couldn’t hide the pleasure she felt being airborne once more. Nearly every time he looked to see how she was doing she’d look back and smile, letting him know she felt wonderful. There wasn’t a need to talk during the flight: there was no mistaking her joy.

Twenty-five minutes after leaving land behind they rapidly closed on the tip of Cape Cod, passing directly over the center of the Provincetown Airport runway as they approached their landing area: a grove of trees near the Pilgrim Monument on a hill overlooking the main town. They set down and remained invisible until they were certain they were alone before unmasking. After that it was a simple matter to leave the park, head down High Pole Hill Road to Bradford Street before strolling down to the main part of the town, where they would wander around window shopping before stopping for lunch at the Coffee Pot Restaurant in Lopes Square.

 

I would seem that both Annie and Kerry don’t mind flying out over the water now, probably because they know they could be back over land in about five minutes if they really wanted to turn on the speed.  I checked and most of the flight is never more than thirty kilometers from the shore.  I don’t know if the two boys would enjoy zipping into shore at three hundred kilometers and hour, however.

This is the area where they landed:

Well, near here, anyway.

Well, near here, anyway.

The area where they landed, the Pilgrim Monument, is just out of sight in the upper left hand corner, and the street the kids walk down is right there disappearing toward that direction.  Their eventual lunchtime destination is right in the center of the picture:  the Coffee Pot, where one can get things other than coffee.  And the area around there looks nice, too.

A nice street view which obviously wasn't take on the day my kids were there.

A nice street view which obviously wasn’t take on the day my kids were there.

This is where the rest of the scene takes place.  Which I’ll get to tonight and tomorrow.

Assuming I don’t find any more mistakes.

The Last Days in the Big B

Right now I know there are a few of you going, “Damn, Cassie, you’re taking your time gettin’ this post out.”  That’s because you haven’t seen what I’ve done up to this point.  You didn’t see me at six-thirty writing in the current scene, doing my research as I went along, and three hours later writing a little over twenty-two hundred words and finishing the opening scene to Part Two, Chapter Four.

Yeah, you didn’t see that.

Nor did you see this:  how my desktop looks when I'm working on a scene.  With notes and music.

Nor did you see this: how my desktop looks when I’m working on a scene. With notes and music.

Sure, I also managed a touch over five hundred words last night, too, but also more important, I figured out just how many people I’ve got for next year–

At my school you do need a scorecard.

At my school you do need a scorecard.

In figuring out the attendance for this school year I took the number from the year before, figure out who didn’t make the cut and who graduated, and checked my above totals with the totals at the bottom.  Believe it or not, this consumed about an hour of my time, because I kept forgetting that people had graduated and my numbers weren’t matching.  Really driving me nuts.

But this covered a couple of days of stuff–and, you know, things–and not only that, but we get the see the kids being, well, kinda kids.  Not only that, but if you look at my notes above, you’ll see they’re no longer alone . . .

 

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

Tuesday morning found them sitting in the hotel restaurant, having breakfast and discussing their itinerary for the day. They were going over the route they would take to their first destination when Annie felt the presence of others standing close behind. They turned and were asked by two girls if they were really going to the Olympic Stadium—

That was how they met Penelope Rigman and Alexandria Chorney, who preferred to be known as Penny and Alex.

They were covenmates, C Levels students who they both knew by reputation due to their presence on the coven’s Racing B Team. Annie and Kerry had only encountered them in limited fashion when they’d helped out on occasions as Vicky’s minions during Beginning Flight class. The rest of the time they were in their own classes and resided on the second floor, where the B and C Levels were housed.

Penny lived outside Canterbury, England. While her parents were born in the UK, both sides of her family were from Barbados, and on the train ride out to the stadium she joked that her father’s family knew Rihanna’s family. She was slightly distressed because over the summer she’d experienced a growth spurt, and she’d went from one hundred fifty-seven to one hundred sixty-seven centimeters, and she was worried this was going to affect her performance on the track. Annie, who stood one hundred fifty-five centimeters—the same as Kerry—wondered if she would ever be that tall; given that both her parents were close to one hundred and eighty centimeters, it was highly possible.

Alex hailed from Dubno, Ukraine, and her family lineage covered most of the old Soviet Empire, with grandparents from Russia, Estonia, and Kazakhstan, and her father from Azerbaijan. She said the greatest mystery in her family was not how the members of her family came together, but how she was the only one with blond hair. She had an growing interest in sorcery, and in a moment when they were alone while touring the Olympic grounds, she asked Annie if she could find a moment now and then to give her some tutoring, as it had been common knowledge among the B Levels of the coven about her skills. This was the first time Annie was aware that anyone in the coven had taken notice of her skills with sorcery, and that it had been a subject of conversation with some of the upper covenmates. Until that point she figured all anyone in the coven knew was that Kerry and she were the Lovey-Dovey Couple and the Mile High Kissers.

"Ukranian girl with blond hairs?  Does she have pet scorpion?"

“Ukrainian girl with blond hairs? Does she have pet scorpion?”

Sorry, you have her confused with another blond Ukrainian.

Penny and Alex are going to be recurring characters through the next few novels, and seeing as how they’ll be sharing a floor with Annie and Kerry–the B and C Levels are on the same floor, as pointed out above–they’ll pop in here and there, mostly over there if you must know.  Also, notice:  more girls for Kerry to make friends.  I’m sure his mother will be pleased.

In my notes you’ll see the Imperial measurements for the kids as well, and you’ll notice that Annie and Kerry are, well, short.  Don’t worry, that’s gonna change over the course of this novel and the next, but they’re still twelve, though in just a month Annie becomes a teenager and all hell will likely break loose because hormones, I guess.  Will it become an issue?  Hard to say, but if they have any more shared dreams like their last one at the Mystery Hotel, Coraline might just have to sit their butts down and have another chat with them.

So what did this Gang of Four do?  Well . . .

 

They visited the Olympic Stadium and grounds; they took a cab to nearby Spandau and visited the citadel before having lunch. The took the train back towards the city and spent time at Schloss Charlottenburg, before heading over the the eastern section of the city and visiting the DDR Museum. They returned to the hotel after their visit to the two hundred and three meter high observation gallery at the Berliner Fernsehturm, mostly due to Annie telling their traveling companions Kerry and she were going to dinner that night, and they needed a nap and a chance to clean up before then.

It wasn’t until she was in the hotel car with Kerry that she told him they were returning to the Fernsehturm and the revolving restaurant the floor above the observation deck they’d visited that afternoon. It was there, for most of the evening, they dined and chatted alone for the first time since breakfast. Annie admitted that as much as she’d enjoyed hanging out with the two girls, it was quiet moments like this the cherished, and she couldn’t wait until the time they could be together all the time. Kerry agreed, and as the western section of the city came into view, they clicked their glasses of soda together in a toast to their future.

 

All these people sitting in what I presume is a somewhat nice place to eat, and here you have a couple of kids strolling past the queue and being escorted to a window table–’cause you can bet Annie used either Foundation or family connections to get a good reservation–and spending the evening eating and enjoying their company . . . really, it’s a romantic scene.

Yeah, I'd say really romantic.

Yeah, I’d say real romantic.

But now what about going home?  I got that covered, too:

 

Wednesday would prove to be a crazy day, for they would stay in Berlin until that evening, then leave the hotel near twenty-three hours for what Penny, Alex, and several other returning students, called the Midnight Mile High Madness. While they picnicked in the Grunewald forest they discussed the trip home: since they were leaving the city near midnight and returning to the school not long after two in the morning, nearly all the students dressed in their night clothes for the ride to the airport and the flight home. As Penny explained, since they were going to have everyone get on Salem time during the flight—or to use her phrase: “We adjust on the bus”—and everyone was going to be super tired by their time they reached their towers, what was the point of changing? “Best to get comfy in your PJs and make a party of the trip while we can.”

Annie and Kerry both saw the wisdom in that point of view, and saw no reason not to join in the festivities. After all, they’d looked forward to this event all summer, so they reasoned—why not make it memorable?

 

Adjust on the Bus:  truer words one can’t live by.  And as I point out . . .

 

The festivities began a little after twenty-two hours as the returning European, African, and Western Asian students gathered in the lobby with the luggage in tow. All were in their pajamas save for Shadha Kanaan—who was from Oman—who wore an abaya instead. Annie and Kerry mingled with students that had already made this trip with them. Mesha and Gavino, and Jacira were there representing Europe, as were Shauntia and Daudi, representing Africa. The trio of Western Asian girls–Shadha, Elisha, and Dariga—hung out together while making sure to chat with everyone else. Joining them were eight new C Level, and two D Levels who’d decided to fly back with everyone else because they didn’t want to spend the night and tomorrow morning in Berlin before jaunting back to the school.

The last student to come down before the instructor chaperons was Anna Laskar: as she lived in Magdeburg, Germany, the didn’t arrive at the hotel until late Tuesday afternoon, and appeared to remain in her room when she wasn’t with her Åsgårdsreia covenmates. Though she spoke with the other students, she left one with the impression that she guarded every word that left her mouth.

 

You can just imagine the stares from other people with twenty-one kids from various places around the world gathering in one spot, and being all chatty and stuff and looking like they’re enjoy all the late night activities–with no one else any the wiser that more than a few of these kids could probably blow up the lobby of the hotel with the wave of their hand.  And none of the other students know about what went on during that little side trip my kids took to Middle America back in April, which would probably have even the D Levels keeping their distance if they were aware.

But that doesn’t keep anyone from enjoying the trip out . . .

 

At twenty-two thirty Professors Semplen and Grünbach appeared—not wearing pajamas—and began marshaling the twenty-one students and their gear onto the bus that would take them to the airport. Unlike when they departed from Amsterdam, the mood aboard the bus was festive, with plenty of talking and laughing. Kerry had Annie program a short selection of songs to play on his tablet, and as they bus pulled away from the Crowne Plaza the instructors anticipated what was coming: they threw up a privacy screen between them and the students as the first notes of Aracde Fire’s Keep the Car Running filled the compartment. Everyone did their best singing, and even Kerry, who didn’t know the song, joined in on the chorus while hugging Annie tight.

Unlike the year before the bus drove onto the airport tarmac and pulled up close to a 767 parked near Tegel’s Terminal C. By this time everyone was eager to board and get underway, and it was difficult for everyone to keep their exuberance in check. Boarding went smoothly, and Annie and Kerry pretended to carry their luggage up the gangway stairs, using simple levitation spells to make it look as if they were lifting the bags from stair to stair.

 

And in case you were wondering what they were listening to as they pulled away from the hotel . . .

I don’t disappoint.

The important moment to take from this short scene is not the party atmosphere of the kids taking the bus to the airport, it’s that Kerry let Annie use his computer.  He didn’t let that sucker out of his sight in the first novel, but here he is, handing it over and letting Annie set up a music stream for everyone to jam out on as they head for their new ride.  May as well break out the engagement rings now, kids.

They get to the plane–a 767, like the one they took back to Europe after they finished their A Levels–and they sit up front like last time as well.  As they’re getting settled Annie makes an observation:

 

“I hope we’ll get this to ourselves, like the last time.” She sat and got comfortable as Kerry did the same to her right. “Did you notice the moon tonight?”

“Yeah—it’s almost full.”

“Just like when we came home.” She placed her hand in Kerry’s as the memory of gazing upon the nearly-full moon through the bay window of their room at the Sea Sprite Inn was one that wouldn’t leave either child. “I think it has an auspicious meaning.”

“I’m sure Deanna would say as much.” Kerry wondered what the school Seer would say about this coincidence, but decided now was not the time to get into that discussion.

 

Really, it’s just the luck of orbital mechanics, but the fact they returned from school on a near full moon, and now their going back on one–well, Deanna might think there’s a meaning behind that, or maybe she’d say, “Hey, moon goes ’round, kids.  That’s all it is.”  Maybe.  Maybe not.  We’ll see, I guess.

I got them around the city, I got them out so they could enjoy time together, and now they’re back on the plane.  Let’s just play the whole final section out . . .

 

They didn’t need to wait long. About ten minutes after they found their seats they heard the outside door close and lock. Less than a minute passed before the flight captain’s voice floated through the cabin. “This is your captain. The gangway has been pushed back and the main cabin door has been shut. We’ll get a push back here momentarily and should be rolling out shortly after that. Tegel Flight Control has given us priority takeoff clearance, so we should be airborne shortly. Please fasten your seat belts, sit back, and enjoy the flight.”

Kerry gave the cabin a quick examination, as if to ensure that they were the only ones here. “They aren’t wasting any time getting underway.”

“They have nothing to hide now.” Annie set her empty glass aside for the attendant to gather. “Everyone knows what awaits at the end of the flight.” She shrugged and smiled. “Why pretend?”

“True that.” The engines started up and the plane began moving slowly forward as the attendant gathered their glasses and locked the closet door where they’d stored their luggage. Kerry set his hand upon the armrest between Annie and his chairs and held her hand in his, the same as they’d done on their last flight today, and as they had when they’d departed Amsterdam on their first flight to Salem. He remembered how nervous he’d been about the flight, because flying upped his anxiety levels and made it difficult for him to relax. During takeoff from Schiphol Airport he’d reached out and held Annie’s hand more out of nervousness than affection, because of an unnatural fear of crashing. If only I’d known then what I know now. He smiled at his sweetie as he gave her hand a tender squeeze. No way would we have crashed on that flight, nor will it happen this time, either

The captain spoke to the main cabins again. “This is the captain. We are next in line for takeoff. Will all attendants please take their positions and prepare for departure. Thank you.”

Annie and Kerry sat in silence as the engines maintained the same low drone while the plane turned left, straightened, and slowed to a stop. A few seconds later the pitch of the engines dropped away to almost nothing—

Kerry knew this moment perfectly. “Here we go.” Annie held his hand tightly as the engines were throttled wide open and they began hurtling down the runway. The plane shook and vibrated as it picked up speed:  twenty seconds later the nose rose and the 767 lifted into the air.

Turning to his left as soon as the landing gear retracted and locked into place, Kerry looked out the windows to the bright lights of Berlin beyond. “Auf Wiedersehen, Berlin.” He waved with his free hand. “It was fun.”

Annie waved with her left hand, saying her goodbyes with far less formal German. “Tschau, Berlin.” She turned to Kerry. “And it was fun. The most fun I’ve had there.”

He leaned over and kissed Annie’s cheek. “I hope we can do it again.”

“We will: I promise.”

Kerry didn’t take his eyes off his soul mate. “This is it, Sweetie: we’re going home.”

Annie felt something beyond words radiate from deep within her heart, for after the discussion in their last dream she knew the true meaning of his statement. “Yes, my love—” She settled against Kerry’s shoulder. “We’re going home.”

 

That's it, Kids.  Next stop:  home.

That’s it, Kids. Next stop: home.

Next scene they should be at school–

Really . . . don’t you know me by now?

The Revise Side of Life

I know some of your are thinking you’re going to pop in here and discover a whole lot of stuff about these rune dreams I’ve been playing up the last couple of days, and that I’d have a whole lot of stuff word counted and ready to go for NaNo.

What I do have is a whole lot of almost nothing.

You see, it’s like this:  first, I had a hook up with some of my online friends.  They just happened to be in the area where my Panera is located (and should I be saying “my Panera”, but that makes me sounds like too much of a regular.  Well, the woman taking my order did have my ice tea glass ready to go . . .), and I couldn’t say no.  Right?  Right.

They even brought me a scarf.  Can't say no to that.

They even brought me a scarf. Can’t say no to that.

We were talking and talking and having a great time, and by the time they left for home I was there started to write–oh, and I had to post picture to the Internet.  I had to.  Don’t try to say no, Cassie, you didn’t have to, because you don’t know how the Internet works, do you?

So I make it home and someone I used to work with calls.  She needs someone to talk to because she’s suffering from depression and she’s looking for advice, looking for some comfort, looking for a hand to hold.  Given my life and my struggles, I’m not gonna say no, I gotta get to work on my novel.  I listened and we chatted and that was all there was there.  It’s an obligation one has to the human race that when you’ve received help from one person, you pay it back in kind for another.  That’s what I did, and I do hope I was able to help, and that the advice I gave put my friend’s mind at ease.

Now, I have been writing, but not a lot.  I mean, I hit five hundred words at Panera before I shut things down, but that’s not even NaNo Stylin’, if you know what I mean.  I’ve got maybe forty minutes to get my butt in gear and at least pop the word count over a thousand, perhaps get Annie’s rune dream written and get the kids talking about what it means.

Nope.  There’s a frantic PM waiting for me on Facebook . . .

Without going into any great detail again, a project for a group I’m part of went belly up due to someone’s sick computer.  Well . . . guess who was asked if they could step in and get the project going once more?  If you said, “Peter Capaldi”, because right now he’s got free time on his hands and would probably enjoy something like this, you’re wrong.  Oh, so wrong.

Tonight I have a lot ahead of me.  I need to start getting this new project together, which I can do while I’m waiting for dinner to cook.  Nothing fancy, just collect the data and getting into a Scrivener file.  Then, after I eat, jump on the novel and start getting the word count up.  I’ve less that fourteen thousand words to go to hit my fifty, I have ten days to get that done–and I’ll probably lose two of those days to travel to and from Indiana.  That means for the remaining days I need to get my two thousand words a day in, while also getting the new project edited–

Good thing I’ll not be doing much when I’m home.  Except seeing my therapist on Monday.  And visiting with a friend on Tuesday.  And Thanksgiving.

Yeah, I can do it.

And since you’re all so nice to me, here’s the opening scene for Annie and Kerry getting ready to rune.  Enjoy.

 

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

Kerry flew his Espinoza over the southeastern shore of Lake Lovecraft, quickly cleared the body of water, and brought his broom to a hover in the clearing forming the northern shoreline. Annie hopped off as soon as her toes made contact with the ground, with Kerry joining her a few seconds later.

As he was propping his PAV against a nearby tree, Annie considered how accurate Deanna’s instructions had turned out. Kerry had asked about what happened with her, and he grew quiet when she told him they’d speak on the way back to the Great Hall. He’s listed to Annie when she told him what she was told about discussion the rune dreams, and offered the suggestion that he fly them there rather than walk. Since Annie knew his Espinoza could carry two people, and that he was a good enough pilot to have her ride passenger, she agreed to his proposal. And given that it was unseasonably warm—even now, a little after seventeen hours, it was twenty-seven Celsius—there was no need for them to change out of their uniform into something warmer.

Annie still felt uneasy about discussing her dream, but the more she considered the news that Kerry had a vision—one that Deanna said would tie into her dream—the more she agreed with the seer that a dialog was needed. In six month Kerry and she had progressed greatly in their relationship, but something remained between them, and Annie knew it was her unanswered questions about what they’d had together for years before—well, whatever it was happened in June last summer.

She wanted Kerry back—all of him. She wanted him to remember everything. Though it was possible her dream and his visions might push him away, the possibility existed that it would bring him closer—

She’d know in a few minutes.

Kerry stood facing Annie, positioning himself so she would have been on his left were they side by side. Even Annie had come to do this without thinking, keeping Kerry to her right. She didn’t think it strange or unusual that they did this, though she was aware that it was another thing that others spoke of often . . .

“Well, here we are.” Kerry looked around as if he expected someone to pop out of the tree line. “All alone.”

“Yes, we are.” Annie knew they were alone, and only one person mattered to her. “I don’t see any reason to delay this—”

“I don’t either.” He reached into his pocket and withdrew his rune. “I guess I’m as ready as I can get.”

Annie pulled hers from the small purse where she’d kept it since their first weekend at school. “As am I.” She transferred it to her left hand and slowly held it out for Kerry. She watched him do the same, ready to drop it in her right hand. “Ready?”

“Yeah.” He opened his hand and let his rune fall into her hand as Annie’s did the same. There was a moment where nothing happened—then both children recoiled a step as the enchantment that had held their tongues in check for six months vanished.

Annie closed her eyes for three seconds and let a wave of vertigo pass, while Kerry shook his head several times. Annie feared there was more happening with Kerry than losing the enchantment. “Are you all right?”

“Yes. Just—” He held the back of his hand against his forehead. “That was pretty strange.”

“Yes, it was.” Annie waited until Kerry appeared to return to normal. “Do you—remember anything?”

He shook his head as he stared at his feet. “It’s like it just came to me. Like it’s always been there.”

“I feel that, too.” Annie swallowed hard. “I suppose we should . . . start.”

Kerry chuckled. “How do we do that?” He gazed off over the calm lake. “Who goes first?”

It was a point that Annie hadn’t brought up during their walk from the Witch House. “I was told to go first.”

Kerry noticed Annie wasn’t her normal assertive self. “You okay?”

Annie wanted to admit she wasn’t comfortable, but she knew that wouldn’t help the situation. “You’re going to keep an open mind?”

“I always have for you—” He tightened his grin. “Haven’t I?”

“You have.” She let out her breath slowly. “This is what I saw . . .”

 

NaNo Word Count, 11/19:  736

NaNo Total Word Count:  35,464

A Different Kind of Magic

There are times when you need to step away from your confines and move out into the public, because it’s necessary to remind yourself that, yes, there is one out there.  Which was the point of getting out yesterday–because it was there.

I did a drive down from The Burg to one of the easternmost points of the State of Maryland.  In fact, the person I was with and I headed over into Delaware for a little shopping, making that my first visit to that state.  But I was out on the road early, heading south at 6:30 AM, the live recording of The Wall in Berlin blasting from the car stereo.  It was such that just as I was heading north up I-95 out of Baltimore that Comfortably Numb came on, and the combination of the sun shinning, the light traffic, and the sensation of being all wrapped up in my little warm cocoon produced one of those moments that you don’t forget soon, or ever.

And remember the talk that I was getting a makeover?  Yeah, I had some work done on my eyes, and tried a new shade of lipstick.  I also combined that with the first wig I ever owned, and it brought about a radical change in my appearance?  How radical?

Don't mind me; I'm just showing off my pretty face.

Don’t mind the Lady Writer; I’m just showing off my pretty face.

Yeah, pink nails and eyes, and it’s really a good look for me.  The smile helps as well:  I was having such a good time yesterday that smiling came easy.  A few of my friends even pointed out that I appeared “radiant”, and for the first time I saw that in this and another picture.  As for the people who mentioned that I looked a bit like a suburban soccer mom:  I do, and I don’t mind one bit.  It’s better that I look like millions of other women and not someone trying to relive their twenties.  That would be the disco era for me–well, I do have some platform sandals . . .

During the two hour drive two and from Maryland and The Burg, I did think about my story.  I thought about a lot of things, and for anyone reading this that happened to be on the I-695/I-83 junction and saw some crazy blond in a CR-V singing as loud as she could, bobbing her head and doing a lot of arm motions like she was performing–that was me listening to Paradise by the Dashboard Light.  Yeah, I do that sometimes when I’m in the car.

The upshot of all this is after making it home, after checking updates and loading pictures and the like, after saying hi to people I hadn’t seen online all day–I tried to write and found myself just too damn pooped to do more than start the next scene and produce about two hundred words.  I was tired, sure, but the subject had to do with the death of people at my fictional school, and the mind simple didn’t want to wrap around that nastiness.

It had been a good day filled with life.

I’ll leave the talk of death for later.