The Remains of the Day: Sitting By the Edge of the Wall

The last twenty-four hours have been strange and good ones.

First off, yesterday morning someone decided to leave a long, transphobic rant in the comments of yesterday’s blog post.  I gave it a quick read-through then sent it off to spam, since that would pretty much block that person from posting here under that email again, then blocked their their Google + account, which appeared to have been set up just to make their post.  About an hour after that happened I did some of my computer magic and discovered that (1) they were on my site for fifteen and a half minutes, (2) they posted from an iPhone, which is probably why they were on my site for so long, (3) the owner of the phone comes from a city in eastern West Virginia, and (4) their email had vanish.  Yes, you can run, but I will find you.

Then, walking home last night, I pulled a muscle in my left calf.  This is the same muscle that I tore teaching aerobics about twenty-five years ago, and it had started acting up on me yesterday morning as I got out of bed.  I’ve tried heat and ice on it, and today it’s in better shape though still sore.  So today I stick to flats throughout the day.

The good is that I opened boxed for a gift exchange I was in, and I scored a few nice things:

Behold the geeky stash!

Behold the geeky stash!

The mermaid socks I can’t wear because I have huge calves, so I’m giving them to the daughter of a friend who was also in the exchange as she watched a video of me opening my gifts and loved the sock.

Now I have a couple of cool wall hangings, a novel, a frelling bag–

Hodge Geektastic Exchange 0510201603

And more figurines for my limited desk space.

If you know your characters, from left to right it’s Sarah Manning and Helena from Orphan Black, Michonne from The Walking Dead, and behind Helena is Baby Groot who, I should point out, was hand made for me by my gifter.

Oh, and there was one other gift:  a pink oneies that was made special for me.

Pretty in Pink, yeah?

Pretty in Pink, yeah?

Yes, now I can stay warm–and I do mean warm, ’cause that’s fleece–during the winter when there is no one else to keep me warm.  And hope I don’t have to use the bathroom much cause getting into that is like putting on a space suit.

Now . . . what about writing?

Well, my calf isn’t the only thing hurting.  The last couple of days I’ve had considerable pain in the knuckles of my pinkie and ring fingers of my right hand, and it was hurting so much last night that I found it difficult to type.  I managed only a little better output than I had the evening before–about four hundred and sixty-six words this time–and it didn’t help that my left calf was killing me as well, which means I should have been sitting down with my feet propped up instead.  And I just remembered:  the battery on this computer lasts about four hour now, so I could have tried writing that way instead.  Okay, note to self:  try that tonight if you have to write.

What I did get out not only advancing things a little, but ends in a way that no one would ever expect . . .

 

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

Kerry asked about visiting, Annie said yes, as she thought going to the wall was a good idea. Getting there wasn’t a problem: Kerry pulled his broom from Hammerspace and was airborne in about ten seconds, and Annie was alongside, floating into the air with aid from her Flight Gift. After the quick flight to Sunset they landed atop the wall and found a place to rest.

They did something there a few meters from Sunset Tower that they’d never done before: the sat upon the raised outer segment of the wall and dangled their legs over the edge of the fifteen meter high ledge. Annie watched Kerry carefully position himself so he wouldn’t tumble, realizing that his fear of heights hadn’t completely left him yet. She found that phobia a bit usual, as he didn’t have problem flying a couple of kilometers above the ground, but he was still shaky sitting at the top of a fifteen meters wall.

They sat quietly for about ten minutes, holding hands and watching the western light diminish as the sun vanished below the horizon. It was only when it seemed the gloom beneath their feet had become a tangible thing did Kerry speak. “What are you thinking about?”

She half-turned her head to her right. “I’m wondering about what you’re thinking.”

He chuckled. “Me, huh?”

“Yes.”

Kerry stared off to the west towards the town of Annisquam and the harbor beyond. “I just wonder if we’re going to get hit with any more strange stuff before we leave school?”

Annie carefully regarded the question. “While the past few months have been rather revealing and not a little unusual, I believe everything out of the ordinary has likely come to an end.”

“Yeah. Probably.” He released Annie’s hand and set his elbows against his thighs before leaving slightly forward. “You want to see if this Three Bindings thing is going to affect us, don’t you?”

“Naturally.” She swung her right leg up and under her left so she could turn and face Kerry. “You know me well enough that you shouldn’t even have to ask that question, my love.” Annie returned to sitting with her legs over the wall edge. “And I know you well enough to know you want to know if it’ll affect us as well.” She cranked her head around so she could see him clearly. “You should know better, Mr. Malibey.”

He laughed aloud as he turned towards Annie. “I do know better than that, Mrs. Malibey, it’s just—”

Kerry caught himself himself a few words later but couldn’t turn away from Annie, who stared back with a look of amazement on her face. She found her voice a few seconds after silence fell between them. “Well . . . that’s something I hadn’t expect to hear.”

 

And those last paragraphs will have me digging into the last novel, because that’s where this is going in a way:  back to the past.

All I have to do now is get through the day.

"Oh, man:  what sort of shit awaits beyond my door?  Be gentle, please."

“Oh, man: what sort of shit awaits beyond my door? Be gentle, please.”

The Pain of the Present

This morning is one of those moments when I woke up, flipped on the computer, brought up the “Add Post” tab, and stared at the screen thinking, “What the hell am I gonna write about?”  See, the last couple of days I’ve been cooking off all my writing in the mornings, and this weekend has been particularly productive, what with writing about twenty-five hundred words to get a scene out of the way.  And that productivity has led to something else:

Pain.

More specifically, major muscle pain in my shoulders.  As in “My shoulders want to leave my body and head somewhere nice to relax” kind of pain.  It’s intense and in no way nice.  And when you’re wearing a bra and the straps are holding position right where the pain is–ugh.  That’s even worse.

Then add to that the position you hold your arms when you type, and you see where this is leading.

I have a different kind of Writer's Cramp.

I have a different kind of Writer’s Cramp, is what I’m saying.

It’s been like this for a couple of weeks now, and the only way I’ve found to combat this is to get the bra off, slather on some Icy Hot, slip into the pajamas, and relax for about thirty minutes before getting back into the swing of things.  Even so, there’s a lot of pain, especially in my left shoulder.  I’m trying different things to help this situation.

One, unless I have to go out after work, I get out of the bra right away.  Seriously, bras suck.  They do.  You don’t know how much bras suck until you have to wear one.  Take this from someone who didn’t need to wear a bra for, oh, maybe forty-five years before, BOOM!  Here’s your bra, Honey, welcome to the club.

Two, the Icy Hot and relaxing, maybe even a hot shower on the shoulders, too.  Anything to get the muscles to relax.  Which means probably a nap when I get home.

Three, taking my time with the writing.  This has aggravated the condition a lot.  Like it or not, I believe I need to buy a good chair, too.  I’ve been sitting on a shitty little chair for more than a year–actually more like two years–and it’s not good for me because it forces me to sit in ways that aren’t good.  And I need to be able to kick back and relax once in a while during a writing session, and with the chair I now have that’s impossible.  So chair buying is on the horizon, I’m positive.

The pain I’m feeling has a lot to do with not feeling like writing when I get home.  It’s tough to get the ideas flowing when your shoulders are on fire, and this weekend proved that point as I tried to find every excuse possible not to write last night.  Unfortunately I had note to take for the recap I need to write tonight, and so . . . pain last night, and probably more pain tonight.

I only hope it’s not enough to keep me from getting into the last scene of Chapter Fifteen, ’cause . . . reasons.

Laying in the Bed in the Bay: A Questionable Tally

Without a doubt a lot of writing got done.  I finished my first recap for Fear the Walking Dead, and that was about fifteen hundred words total, and then I got into the next scene of the novel, the start of the new new Chapter Fourteen, and I plopped down about five hundred and forty words there.  This was after a long day of getting electrolysis from eight until ten AM, and then going into work from eleven to four.  Puffy face and all, I finished up like I said because, as Tina Fey and Amy Poehler once pointed out, bitches get shit done.

The last scene ended with Kerry blacking out.  Which means this scene is gonna start with . . .

 

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

Kerry returned slowly to conciseness and began to assess his situation. He was on his back, which meant a bed, which meant he was in the hospital. His head hurt and felt bandaged, and while his vision was blurry, he deduced it was from not wearing his glasses instead of having brain damage. His arms were slightly elevated and in casts. His chest was tight and sore. Below the waist he felt numb, like everything was asleep: he couldn’t move his left toes, but he could barely make out his right moving. He did notice his left knee was elevated under the cover, which meant his knee was being repaired.

He was messed up—Day of the Dead level messed up. He took a slight breath and felt the fire spread around his ribs. Kerry closed his eyes and moaned.

Annie looked from where she sat half dozing the moment she heard Kerry. She turned slightly to her left, toward the ward corridor. “He’s awake.” She laid her hand across Kerry’s left and gave it a slight squeeze. “Don’t move, my love. Remain still.”

He managed a tiny smile and shifted his eyes in her direction rather than turning his head. “Did I win?”

A hearty laugh erupted from Nurse Coraline, who’d just walked into the bay. “Spoken like a true racer.”

 

Now, a bit of racing lore.  Way back in 1992 there was an all-star stock car race with a top prize of two hundred thousand dollars, which was big money back then.  You had all the best drivers from NASCAR out on the track tearing things up, and on the last lap Kyle Petty spun out and wrecked the leader of the race, Dale Earnhardt, to move into first.  However, the line he’d taken meant he wasn’t going as fast as possible, and this allowed Davey Allison to take a better, faster line and beat Kyle to the finish line–where he was promptly spun out to crash, driver-side, into the outside wall at about 140 mph/225 kph.  He was knocked unconscious, and once he was cut out of the car–because the driver’s side was messed up so bad they couldn’t pull him out–he was put in a helicopter and airlifted to the nearest hospital.

On the way there he woke up and his first words were, “Did I win?”  Because of course you wanna know if you won right after you cheat death.  At least that time . . .

Now you kinda know where I got part of the inspiration for the race and accident, though his accident was more of a super speedway type flip down the front stretch.  This is where Kerry’s first words come from, words that get a reaction from Annie–

 

Annie rolled her eyes, but the smile on her face indicated she wasn’t angry. She scooted her chair closer to the head of Kerry’s bed. “Yes, you won. You were the first across the finish line—”

“Though not the first across on their broom.” Coraline waved the privacy curtain closed and stood on the right side of Kerry’s bed, across from Annie. “Alex was awarded that privilege.”

He started to nod and winced. “Ouch.”

“That thing you just did?” Coraline wagged a finger in his direction. “Don’t do it again.”

“Yes, Doctor.” He sighed slowly. “What’s the damage?”

“A lot more than the last time you were hurt like this.” She’d glance at the areas of his body as she ticked off his injuries. “You’ve a serious concussion, far worse than the one you had the last time you crashed like this. The good news is your skull is intact: the bad news is the damage is harsh enough that I’m not clearing you for flight until Wednesday afternoon at the earliest.

“If you hadn’t guessed already, both arms are broken, as is your right wrist. You also broke your collarbone and your right shoulder, and they are likely gonna hurt for a few days after you’re released. You broke seven ribs, and this time there was some internal damage, too: bruising to your liver and spleen.

“Your left leg is broken, and you tore up your left knee again—”

Kerry almost nodded. “I felt it go when I did that move in the Diamond Chicane.”

“You hit the ground?”

“Yeah, just for a second.”

Coraline nodded. “Given your speed, I’m not surprised. Anyway, leg and knee are being repaired. The right leg is good, but your hip is broken. Have you noticed everything from the waist down feels numb?”

This time Kerry nodded and immediately regretted the action. “Yeah.”

“I figured it was better for pain management that way. There was a level I didn’t want to take you over the limit on medication and pain enchantments, so I just numbed you up ‘cause that hip is a bitch to heal.”

 

Yes, those hips are a bitch to heal, Kerry–maybe you should take it easy in the future?  That’s also one of the first times Kerry’s called Coraline “Doctor”, which is really what she is even if she still likes to be addressed as Nurse.  But Kerry’s in bad shape.  At least magic will heal him up.  And Annie’s there, too, not looking quite as distressed this time.  Maybe she brought Kerry a present–

A teddy bear would be great, don't you think?

A teddy bear would be great, don’t you think?  Something he could keep on his bed.

Tonight I get into more details, because this is just the cream on top of the latte.  The real question is, how did everything else turn out?

Remembrances of Posts Past

It’s one of those dark and stormy mornings here in The Burg, and in about ninety minutes I’m gonna have to get up and walk out there and maybe get rained on.  It’s hard to say, because at the moment it doesn’t look like it’s raining, but that could change by the time I’m dress and made up and heading out the door.

That’s the way life is:  one moment you’re blogging, the next you’re stuck in a thunderstorm and walking a mile in the rain.

I wrote last night.  I wrote a lot.  About a thousand words for my recap of a show I’m reviewing, and another thousand for the novel, and that’s a lot of words for one night.  It does seems as if I get up, write, go to work, program, come home, write, and crash about eleven at night.  Every night.  Well, almost:  I do take some weekends off.  Not a lot, but they are there.

One of the things I’ve done in the last few weeks it take some time and go back and read a few of my old posts.  Most of them aren’t really that interesting:  there was a period in 2012 where I didn’t say much of anything, and then suddenly:  boom!  I’ve got a lot on my mind and I’m gibbering all over the place.  I do know there were weeks in early 2012 when I was depressed as hell, and I struggled to write.  I struggled a lot.  Hell, I was struggling with everything–but that let to me getting therapy, and that was the first step I took to becoming who I am today.  Which may or may not be such a good thing, but that’s another post.

Last night I was checking out a few of the old posts and ran across one that I remember fondly, but hadn’t read all the way through in years.  I remembered the last third of it quite will, but I’d completely forgotten the majority of the post, and in their I found the story, pretty much laid out from the beginning, of how Annie and Kerry started.  It brought back a lot of memories, for it was a different local, a different time, and I was a far different person.  There were things I wanted to say, and I’d yet to begin writing the way I do today:  about the only time I’d speak in prose was here in this blog.  There were no stories other than the ones I was creating in my head–

And I was sharing them with only one person.

I don’t want to say “Those were the days,” because in a lot of ways they weren’t good days.  I was in a lot of pain, and even though the pain returns once in a while, it wasn’t like that pain.  Then again, I didn’t write today like I did back then, either.  To be honest it was more fun, because I was creating from scratch, and ideas were flowing, and it was helping me through hard times.  The ideas are still there, but today . . . I don’t seem to have the magic that I once had.  Maybe that’s because of . . . reasons.

Sometimes it feels like this.  Then again, I probably wouldn't mind this . . .

Sometimes it feels like this. Then again, I probably wouldn’t mind this . . .

My therapist always tells me not to look back because you can’t change the past.  I don’t want to change the past.

But I would love to bring parts of it to the present so I can hold it in the future.

Away and Display

First off, the matter of business is:  how went the torture of the face?  Answer:  not well.  Second time now I started crying, this time about fifteen minutes, maybe twenty minutes in. It wasn’t good, and after that I simply couldn’t relax, and I did a quick laser session, which burned off a few of the remaining dark hairs.  I discussed the situation with the women who does my treatment, and we sort of figured out that (a) I’ve been beating up the same section of my face for three weeks now, and it’s probably causing a lot of the pain, and (b) I’m not getting the numbing cream on right, and that means nothing but pain.  So we’re going to try something different next week, and see how that works.

Also, my Orphan Black tee shirt came yesterday, and Pupok has the story of my transition right there in gray on purple.

Also, my Orphan Black tee shirt came yesterday, and Pupok has the story of my transition right there in gray on purple.

The real burning question–see what I did there?–is, “Did you write?”  Like a good aircraft, I did seven hundred and thirty-seven words, and inched to within fifty thousand before the events of the day caught up to me and I finally went to bed tired as all hell.

In the battle for your novel, 502 words is the same as inches.

In the battle for your novel, 502 words is the same as inches.

Considering how I felt like night, I considered the output to be something of a victory, because I felt ill by the time I returned from the face zapping place.  I really needed to write, even if it wasn’t easy getting the words down.  I really need to get through this chapter and onto the next, even though I know on of the scenes in the next chapter will probably raise some hairs on the backs of some people’s necks.  And that’s good, because writing is suppose to be about pulling out the emotions.  Maybe I could stop putting mine out there all the time.

In our last post Jessica wanted to say something to her students.  Now, after the writer got zapped, she gets her chance.

 

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

Jessica stepped behind Kerry. “This is our newest student: Kerry Malibey, a B Level from Cernunnos.” She watched the exchanges between the other four students, noticing Annie catching her own share of glances. “I know you find that a bit surprising, as the soonest any of you were invited in was at the end of your B Levels or the start of your C Levels, but I have my reasons for inviting Kerry and his girlfriend Annie—” She watched a couple of sets of eyes light up at the mention of Annie an Kerry’s relationship, though one of them wasn’t Fekitoa’s. “—into this class. Allow me to explain . . .

 

Well, of course a kid from their coven isn’t going to be surprised to hear about these two:  by now we’ve figured out that Annie and Kerry are kinda minor celebrities in their own tower.  It’s also interesting to hear Jessica call Annie a girlfriend, because she’s seemed to avoid mentioning the relationship at all, save to give one or the other a bit of crap in class.  The more we get into the year, the more it seems like the staff just accepts that there’s more here than hand holding and a lot of snogging.

What does Jessica have to say?

 

“Kerry is one of the best at transformation crafting I’ve seen, as is Annie—please, join us.” Jessica motioned the girl—who had done as much as possible not to look as if she was an official member of the class—to stand with them. “This is the reason I forwarded the invitation. Now, Annie won’t be in class most of the time: she gave good reasons for not accepting the invitation, and after giving the headmistress and me her reasons, we both agreed with them.” Jessica smiled at the girl. “She’s sort of auditing the class this evening, and while she’ll like not come to many, she’s welcome to join us any time.

“Kerry will stay with us for this year, and, I hope, for more to come. Because he needs to catch up to the rest of us, I’ll spend extra time with him now and then.” She put on her best smile. “Don’t take this as a sign that I’m trying to make him fit in: I assure you, he’ll be right along side you in no time.”

Jessica took a step back from the group, who turned to face her. “Dig out your notes on Invisibility: we’re going to start in on that again, since a few of you were just getting the hang of it at at the end of last year. While you’re reviewing those, I’m going to have a word with Annie and Kerry over in the corner.”

 

Oh, now it’s Invisibility:  the real thing, not just light bending.  Yeah, just what you need to teach to these two–well, to Kerry, and then he’ll run off and teach Annie.  Speaking of which . . .

 

Once they were away from the rest of the group Jessica threw up a privacy spell so they wouldn’t be overheard. She sat against the edge of a table before addressing Annie. “I hope you didn’t think I was putting you on the spot—”

“Not at all, Jessica.” Annie had half-expected Jessica to try and convince her to join the class full-time, and was surprised when she didn’t. “Thank you for not pressuring me to reconsider.”
“Oh, I considered asking you to do just that, but after discussions with Erywin and Helena, I better understand your position.” She nodded in Kerry’s direction. “As you said, in order to be good sorceresses, you have to be able to teach what you know—”

“And this is something that Kerry can certainly learn to teach.” Annie grinned at him. “Isn’t that right, love?”

“As rain.” Kerry hadn’t minded being put on display in front of the other, older students, but something struck him as odd. “You didn’t mention anything about me being a Mimic.”

“I didn’t because I don’t want that to get out—” Jessica shrugged. “At least not yet. Once you’ve been in class a while, and you’ve learned to developed your Transformational Art, people will likely figure it out on their own.” She shifted position to make herself more comfortable. “When it comes to Gifts we’ve found that the knowledge of who has them usually finds its way to the rest of the students in due time—making announcements become unnecessary.”

Jessica moved to a nearby chair, and invited Annie and Kerry to join her. “I want to bring up one thing, Kerry—something that wasn’t actually covered last year because, well, there wasn’t a need. But now that you’re about to take the leap into some major transformation magic, it’s time to make you aware of lay ahead.” She slowly crossed her legs, letting the wonder of what she would say next grow. “It’s no secret that people are afraid of sorcery, and with good reason—” She eyed Annie for a few seconds. “But you both already have first hand knowledge of that reason, so there’s no need to tell you something you already know. But have you ever noticed how skittish people get around witches who are the mistresses and masters of transformation magic?”

 

Yes, Jessica, we have, but what do you mean?  Oh, you’re not telling us until tomorrow?  Well, that’s not very nice!

The one thing to get from this is the public shout outs Jessica gave to both kids.  Now is the time when they are being touted, and not only is it going to show with people in their own level, it’s gonna show up with others.  Jessica isn’t one to hand out complements, but this is an advanced class, and we’ve seen those are a whole different mixture around this place.  One of the reasons Kerry likes it at school is that it’s the only place where he’s recognized for his skills, and not treated like a “strange kid.”  And Jessica is giving him and Annie high praise–something she’s not known for doing.

Tomorrow we’ll find out for sure what Jessica’s going to say–and maybe even get into the next scene as well.

Dragon Attacks and Breakfast Meetings

It’s not a good morning up here in Casa Burg.  Last night was electrolysis, and it didn’t go well.  It went badly.  Actually it went sort of horribly as I sorta lost it after ninety minute and had a five minutes combination panic and crying attack.  I couldn’t go on at that point, and the nice woman who shoots electricity into my face did what she could to comfort me.  Even so, I spent about half the trip home crying, and I never really felt up the rest of the night.

So remember, people:  being hormonal + emotionally raw for a few weeks + having electricity shot into your face + hearing the wrong song played at the wrong time, which is what really set me off = Massive Crying Jag.  It was one of the hardest things I’ve went through.  And I’m going back again next Wednesday, because I love having the most sensitive part of my face feeling like it’s on fire.

Dramatic recreation of how I felt.  No actual dragons used in the real thing.

Dramatic recreation of how I felt. No actual dragons were used in the real thing.

And even through all that, I wrote.  One thousand and nine words wrote, and that’s an exact count.  I would have stopped short of that count, but I had to finish up something least I be reminded that I left a particular scene hanging.  I wouldn’t want to do that.

It’s the first day of school at Salem, Reacquaintance Day as the returning students call that, and we know who’s back for seconds.  A few days ago we saw Annie getting ready, wearing her flats and a skirt because it was going to be hot.  But where is Kerry?  And how does he look?  Well . . .

 

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

“Good morning, Sweetie.”

Kerry jumped up from the sofa in the Mezzanine Commons and met her at the stairs. Annie couldn’t keep her grin from showing the second she saw him, because, just like her, she was dressed in a way she’d never seen before. Yes, he had on his tennis shoes and a tee shirt—this one had some kind of stone angel screaming at an unseen person—but he was also wearing shorts. They weren’t very short—like her skirt, they reached to just above his knees—but it was seeing Kerry’s legs like this

Kerry in long shorts.  Just imagine that . . .

 

She bounced up to him. “How are you, my love?” She gave him a quick kiss. “I’m surprised you’re here before me.”

“Ah, I was up early.” He stepped onto the stairs and walked to the ground floor with Annie to his left. “I guess I was too excited to sleep in late.”

“Even after getting to bed late?” Annie glanced out from eyes hooded by her brow as she gave Kerry a slight grin.

“Even with not getting to bed until after one.” He took her hand as they reached the ground floor and they began walking across the commons towards one of the tower exits. “Then again, that’s like normal sleep time for the Midnight Madness, right?”

“Yes.” She opened the inner tower door, and did the same when they reached the entrance to the outside. “And we were also up late every night in Berlin—”

“Getting accustomed to the times here.” Kerry breathed in the warm morning air saturating the Pentagram Garden. The sun was warm, the sky clear, the wind brisk. “So unlike last year.”

“I know.” Annie remembered there first day walking to the Dining Hall, the weather cool and cloudy. But nothing like the night before when I was professing my life while he kept me warm. “Come on, let’s get to breakfast.” She tightened her grip upon her love’s hand. “You know what I want—”

 

Yes, what does Annie want besides more face sucking time with here Soul Mate?  I think she wants food . . .

 

Things were set up as before: the A Levels were set up in the front of the hall, at assigned tables, while the remainder of the students sat at tables behind them. The food was laid out along the west wall buffet-style: today was a day for obfuscation, so no one would find their breakfast appearing before them. However . . .

A woman in a blue jumpsuit approached them. “Annie; Kerry. So nice to see you again.”

“Good morning, Una. Nice to see you again, Una.” Annie turned and gave the head of the kitchen, Una Grandinm, a huge smile.

Kerry placed his hand in front of him and laced his fingers together. “How you doing, Una?”

“Doing well, Kerry.” She indicated the buffet table to their left. “You’ll find everything you need today laid out—”

“Is it still possible to get special orders?” Annie was almost bouncing up and down on her toes.

Una tapped her finger against the corner of her mouth. “What would you like?”

“Printsessi: two, please.”

“I should have known.” Una turned to Kerry. “Would you like to order something as well?”

He glanced at Annie. “I’d like two printsessi as well, please.”

“Ah—” A wide grin appeared across Una’s face. “Developing a taste for Bulgarian fare, are we?”

“Well, you never know—” Kerry slid his arm around Annie’s shoulders and gave her a hug. “I might be eating it a lot in the future.”

 

The dish Annie and Kerry are talking about are the second one on this list, with their favorite Midnight Madness dish, banitsas, right below that.  They go over to the table they were at the day before–a couple of rows behind where they sat the year before–and comment on their situation:

 

Annie saw about half the instructors were already seated at the tables flanking the podium. “I’m excited.”

Kerry stopped lightly drumming his fingers against the edge of the table. “I am, too.” He leaned in towards Annie. “Now I know why all the kids from last year were looking at us so strangely.”

“Because they knew we were completely unaware of what was coming.”

“Well—” He touched Annie’s right arm. “At least one did.”

She shook her head. “My parents told me nothing about the school. While I knew what it was like to live in a magical environment, I was just as unaware of what was coming here as you.”

“And now we’re the experts—”

“Hello, Kerry.”

 

Now who is interrupting the excitement these two are feeling?  Any guesses?  Any?

 

Emma stood at the other side of the table, rocking back and forth on her heels as her eyes darted from Kerry to Annie and back. “How, how you doing?”

“I’m okay.” He smiled as he sat up slowly, keeping his eyes focused on his American friend. “We didn’t see you yesterday.”

“Yeah—” Emma looked towards Annie, who’d remained silent. “How you doing, Annie?”

“I’m well, Emma.” Annie let her head tilt slightly to the right. “Where were you yesterday?”

“Spent most of the time in the coven tower.” Emma leaned against the back of a chair, but made no move yet to sit. “They didn’t let us, um, you know—” She lowered her voice. “Adjust on the plane.” She looked behind her, then continued speaking in a normal tone. “So we had to do that when we got here. Ended up sleeping until almost eighteen, and ended up sitting with Nadine and a few others.” She let her voice drop again, as if sharing a secret. “I didn’t see you there.”

“We ate earlier—” Kerry smiled at Annie. “Then we went for a walk to the Observatory before going back to the tower.”

“We wanted to get inside before the A Levels were place.” Annie’s grin almost matched the conspiratorial tone Emma was effecting. “We came back on his Espinoza.”

“Ah.” Emma understood that Annie didn’t want to say out loud that they flew back on Kerry’s broom.

Yeah, keep that info to yourselves if you can.  At least Annie is being a good, um, host–

 

“No: these.” She picked up a fork, then remembered their guest. “Would you like to join us, Emma? I’m sure the kitchen can make you a plate.”

“Um—” She stepped back from the table, shaking her head. “I’m gonna go sit with some of the girls from the cover.” Emma caught herself before walking away and addressed Kerry. “Are you going down to the Flight School in the afternoon? Nadine said Professor Salomon will let us try out the Class 2’s”

“I don’t know.” Kerry hadn’t figured out his afternoon yet, because he didn’t know what Annie and he would do after breakfast. “I might: it just depends.”

“Oh, okay.” Emma nodded a couple of times. “I’ll catch you guys later.” She hurried off across the room, sitting with a group of girls about four rows over.

 

Like Emma wants to sit there all uncomfortable and stuff while they eat strange food from somewhere in Eastern Europe, though Emma did her best to entice Kerry away with talk of new flying equipment.  Honey, his girlfriend can buy him one if it wants to try it out–come to think of it, so could he . . .

So, a couple of thousand words over a couple of days, and the novel stands at just under thirty-seven thousand words:

Considering everything I've been though this last weekend, not too bad.

Considering everything I’ve been though this last weekend, not too bad.

I should finish this tonight, and maybe get my kids on the Road to Memory.  What will they find there?

Well, someone who’ll probably read their tea leaves . . .

Willkommen in Berlin und Schmerz

I’m in Berlin–well, not me, exactly, but Kerry is there.  But getting there wasn’t easy, and as the title of this post indicates, there were issues along the way.

Last night was my second electrolysis session, and I did things a lot differently than last time.  I put a topical on my face; I brought my ibuprofen with me to take afterwards, and I let my whiskers grow out an extra day, which had me at work yesterday with a bad case of cactus face.  So I was ready, more or less.

What I wasn’t ready for was the pain.

We debated why it hurt so much more this time, but the pain was far worse at times than the last session.  I came to the conclusion that it was due to the last session being in the down hormone cycle leading up to my shot, and this one last night came a few days after my shot, when I’ve got all those nice hormones coursing through my body, and my skin is nice and sensitive.  More hairs came out, and there was less swelling, but jeez:  I was squirming a lot.

Trust me:  it hurt a lot more than it looks.

Trust me: it hurt a lot more than it looks.

I needed ice on my face after this one, and then . . . I felt like a cold was coming on.  So I heated up to medication and had a nice hot cup of Away With You Cold while I kept icing my face.  After about an hour or so it was much better, but you know where they is going:

Not a lot of writing was done last night.  Nope, not at all.

That doesn’t mean there wasn’t writing, but three hundred and twenty words is not my best effort.  Given how I felt it was a wonder I got that much done, but one must do what they can to get that girlish skin, right?  And I did my best, that’s for sure, while going back for more next week.

For now, however, Kerry is right where he should be . . .

On the way to the hotel . . . welcome to Berlin, kid.

On the way to the hotel . . . welcome to Berlin, kid.

And what is it like there?  Glad you asked.

 

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

Kerry entered the hotel room and hurried his luggage through the door before it latched shut. In about a half hour he’d traveled eleven hundred kilometers, with most of the time spent getting from one jaunt station to the other. And as Ms. Rutherford had said, getting checked in at Tegal Airport took about two minutes—he had to give his name and press his left palm against a screen to prove he’d arrived on schedule in Berlin—and then another twenty minutes to drive to the City Center Crowne Plaza Berlin on Nuernberger Strasse.

And also as Ms. Rutherford had promised, when he asked for Annie Kirilova’s room number, the manager informed him that a message concerning Miss Kirilova’s room would be found in his own room. Ms. Rutherford arched her brows, smiled, and told him to enjoy his stay in Berlin before turning on her heel and returning to the car waiting outside.

Kerry examined in his room. In a way it reminded him of the suite in Kansas city except there wasn’t a bed here. There was a large closet on the right as he walked in; before him was a entertainment center with a television atop, and across from that was a large soft. Closer to the window overlooking the park beyond was a table and chairs. There were a set of closed double doors in the left wall on the other side of the entertainment center—

There was also an envelope next to the television.

Kerry set his backpack down and reached for the envelope, opening it as quickly as his fingers would allow. The message left for him was simple:

I’m closer than you think.

Annie

“’I’m closer than you think’—” Kerry sighed. “What does that mean?”

The double doors opened slowly. “It means—” Annie leaned against the door on her right and turned towards her astonished soul mate. “—I’m closer than you think.”

 

Nice surprise, don’t you think?