Nightmare Discussions at 30,000

Not an original or witty title today, but those are the breaks, you know?  Wit only goes so far on some days, and this isn’t one of them, so I gotta force myself to steal from The Twilight Zone to bring the post.  At least we don’t have to worry about gremlins on the wing of this place, ’cause the witches on this flight would burn its ass down in no time–

“You really think so? Let them take their best shot!”

Keep it up, loser, and I’ll work you into the story.

My kids are not quite home yet.  After all, there’s the whole Adjust on the Bus thing, and they have some time to fly when they come out of that.  And come out of it they do.  Though Annie’s wakey-wake time is just a bit different . . .

 

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

Annie slowly raised her seat and looked about the cabin. It was empty: no one else had joined them as they’d begun adjusting, and the one attendant who was charged with taking care of this portion of the aircraft was not present. The cabin was dark with just enough illumination for one to find their way about without tripping over things, and nearly silent. This last she remembered from their return flight to Amsterdam, when a sound muffling spell was erected not long after takeoff to minimize the sound of air rushing past the airframe at eight hundred kilometers an hour. Some people found it unnerving; Annie found it comforting, for it reminded her of mornings at her lake house as the sun came up behind the mountains, keeping the valley where she lived in shadow and peaceful silence.

There was a soft moan to her right, and Annie was reminded that she wasn’t alone in the forward cabin . . .

She looked over the partial clamshell that separated their chairs when they were fully reclined. Kerry was still out, but it appeared he was shaking off the effects of the adjustment. She found it a little strange that he was still out, for the other two times they’d adjusted on a flight, she’d fallen asleep together and awoke together without additional time passing between either of them opening their eyes.

Soulmate isn’t awake?  Not when you’ve done it together all the other times?  No way this could be a problem, right?  Right?  Is this thing on?

Not this time, however. Kerry moaned once more, and Annie watched him squirm slightly under his blanket. She reached over, preparing to shake him—

Kerry spoke in a soft mumble. “I don’t know why you wanna . . .” His head turned slowly to the left as his brow furrowed. “Why you kept wanntin’ to see me? I don’t wanna come closer.”

Annie was both surprised and shocked. She wasn’t an expert on Kerry’s sleeping habits, but she had fallen asleep with him many numerous times during the Midnight Madness well as shared a bed with him, and had never heard him talk in his sleep. It wasn’t an indication he didn’t—it just meant that she’d never heard him—

Kerry slowly shook his head and spoke in his dreamy mumble. “You keep sayin’ that, but you’re wrong, I don’t know you—” He sighed softly. “You’re crazy, really. I don’t know that I want you to know me.” He shook his head again. “Well, you should forget.”

Annie’s hand was still in place, hovering in the air over his body. She lay it lightly upon his left shoulder and gave him a slight nudge. “Kerry?”

Kerry’s body went rigid for just a moment before he spoke in a loud, clear voice. “I don’t want your life. I wouldn’t know what to do with it.” He shook his head three times, then jerked hard. “You leave her out of this. She’s not your CONCERN.”

That was enough for Annie. She shook her boyfriend hard. “Kerry—Kerry.”

 

Annie is unnerved that she’s hearing Kerry talk in his sleep–as she notes, in all the time she’s, as she says, “shared a bed with him,” she’s never heard him talking in his sleep–that only happens in their dreams together.  And whomever Kerry is speaking with–and he is having a conversation, one can tell–someone’s name came up, and he didn’t want to hear that particular name . . .

Does he bolt upright in his seat and scream like they do in the movies?  Well . . .

He went limp; three seconds later his eyes began to open. “Hey . . . Annie.” He stretched. “You’re awake.”

“Yes.” She gave him a soft smile she knew he’d see in this dim light. “And so are you finally.”

He lay limply, staring up at the cabin ceiling. “Where are we? What time is it?”

She checked the flight display on her personal monitor. “We’re over Newfoundland: it says Boston time is zero-twenty-one.”

“Sounds about right.” He started raising his chair. “Penny said we’d wake up about ninety minutes out from Logan. And last year we woke up about the same spot.” Once his chair was in the upright position he leaned over and kissed Annie. “How you feeling?”

Annie kept her expression as neutral as possible. “I feel fine—”

 

Everyone feels fine around here, ever notice that?  Come to think of it, when was the last time anyone had a cold around this joint?  Broken bones, concussions, and torn ligaments aplenty, but the flu?  That should tell you something about the health of the Witches of the School of Salem.

After the attendant sees to their immediate needs Annie asks about what was going on with Kerry, if he knew he was talking in his sleep.  And he has an answer–and more.

The attendant returned with towels and bottles of San Pellegrino, leaving as quickly as her duty was finished. Kerry spoke as he wiped his face and arms. “I was having a dream.”

“You were?” Annie almost chuckled, but thought better. “I remember when you used to not remember those.”

“That was Last Year Kerry—” He grinned. “Now I’m This Year Kerry.”

Now she did chuckled. “I’m so glad of that. What were you dreaming about?”

Kerry draped his towel over the aisle arm rest of his chair and opened his mineral water. “I was talking to a girl.”

“Oh?” Annie meticulously folded her spent towel. “Anyone I know?”

“It’s not even anyone I know.” He took a sip of his drink after pouring it into the provided glass. “She’s just—I don’t know. It’s all strange.”

 

There was a time when Kerry would have kept his mouth shut about this sort of thing, or at the least not mention things for a few days or weeks.  Maybe he doesn’t want to spend the next two hours sitting next to Frosty the Dark Witch, though, and decides it’s better to open up about this matter.  It’s also possible that he knows he has nothing to hid, and doesn’t try . . .

“What happened?” Annie normally wasn’t interested in any dream of Kerry’s save those she shared, but after seeing his unconscious distress she was more than a little curious.

“Not much, really. She’s walking towards me and trying to get me to walk towards her—”

“Where are you?”

“It something like a big, empty, gray room. She keeps telling me I need to get to know her, but when I ask her name, she says I already know her name.” He shrugged. “She also tells me she already knows a lot about me.”

“Maybe—” Annie glanced at him out of the corner of her eye as a coy smile formed. “—you have a secret admirer.”

He snorted. “All ready had one of those: I don’t want another.” He glanced at Annie. “Just someone else to curse, yeah?”

“You better curse them.” There was no need to mention the name of Kerry’s “secret admirer”; during their time in the Grunewald forest they discussed his curse on Emma, and what actions they might take if she discovered and tried to void the effects. Neither anticipated she’d be a problem, though Kerry promised he’d take steps to dissuade her from trying to “steal him away” if she should try again.

 

It’s a sign that their relationship is growing in different ways, because they spent part of their time while picnicking in Berlin to discuss Emma, and what to do should she start going all Fatal Attraction on Ginger Soulmate.  Kerry will handle the problem first, ’cause if it comes down to Annie stepping in to deal with Single Ginger Female, it won’t be pretty.

I’m already half way through Chapter Four–

And inching up on thirty thousand words, which is pretty good for three weeks work.

And inching up on thirty thousand words, which is pretty good for three weeks work.

Now that the writing portion of this post is over, it’s time for an update.  To what, you say?  Well . . . something I mentioned last year at this time.

For the record it’s my birthday, and I’ll cry if I want to–and all ready did this morning, if anyone is keeping track.  A year ago I wrote this, talking not only about my novel in progress–you remember, it’s my own version of War and Peace–but I also wrote about getting ready to go on hormones as I started my transition from the old person I was to the new person I am.  I mentioned that I was starting on a long adventure, one that would end–well, who knows where, mostly because that adventure is still ongoing.

I also posted a picture, saying that for the person in that picture, it was going to be their last birthday–

Contrary to what some people might say, I didn't really attack Kerry on a dark afternoon in November . . .

Contrary to what some people might say, I didn’t really attack Kerry on a dark afternoon in November . . .

And I was right, because today it’s this person’s birthday.

I'm also not the girl of Kerry's dreams, 'cause Annie would kill me if I was.

I’m also not the girl of Kerry’s dreams, ’cause Annie would kill me if I was.

A whole lot of things have happened in the last year.  New glasses, new brows, new wig.  I wear makeup better and I know how to dress.  I’ve had one session of laser and two sessions of electrolysis on my face, and the beard is starting to vanish.  I’ve been on hormone replacement therapy for just under ten months now, and all my labs look fantastic.  My face has changed as fat has moved around, my weight has dropped, my hips and butt are starting to develop, and I have “the girls” as my doctor calls my breasts.  I have crazy, insane mood swings depending upon where I am in my hormonal cycle–yes, because I take shots every two weeks, I do have a cycle–and I’m learning how to get through those as I deal with this thing known as “womanhood”.

Most of all, I’m what is known as “full-time” in therapy vernacular.  Since coming out at work on 2 February I am all lady, all the time, and the only person there is any more is completely and totally me.  I don’t go back to pretending I was someone else:  when you see me any and everywhere, I am the woman in the second picture.  There is no “first picture person” anymore:  as I stated last year, they had their birthday, and now they are gone.  Not forgotten, I should mention, but they are no longer around.

What remains at this point is getting my name and gender markers changed, and I’m at work on that.  By this time next year all my important papers and legal documents should reflect my real name and gender, and there shouldn’t be anything to show an old me used to exist save for a few signatures here and there under my old name.  After that’s complete, about the only thing left to me are the various surgeries I could get if I can afford them.  There’s only one I’m interested in getting, and I may raid my 401(k) at some point in the future to make that a reality.

But the adventure is a year down and who knows how many more to come.  Unlike Annie and Kerry, I don’t have a handy timeline I can pull up and use to figure out where I’ll actually be on, say, 1 June, 2019–and unlike a certain Muslim Seer woman who’s tight with my kids, I can’t see into the future, so I gotta kinda wing it day-by-day.  And that’s okay, because every day is different.  Good, bad, fantastic, miserable:  they’re all different.  In their own way they’re wonderful, even during those when I feel like giving up and moving on beyond The Veil.

That’s because, the ones where I have hope that life is giving me a good day are worth remembering and holding close to my heart.

It’s been an interesting journey–

I wonder how next year will shape up?

Driving Towards Independence

As one pinned message I saw yesterday states, “Nothing exemplifies the United States like celebrating it’s creation by drinking beer and using explosives.”  No truer words have been spoken, and if there is one thing that is true about the 4th of July, it’s that a large part of the population suddenly becomes like mentally deficient Mythbusters intent on blowing up anything and everything in sight.  One of the main reasons I got out of The Undisclosed Location, since it’s hotter and drying than hell there, and there are fireworks bans all over the place.  One drunk hillbilly + bag full ‘o M80s = burnt-down apartment complex.

Doesn’t matter.  I’ll be on the road again tonight, heading back, while all the bang-bang is ongoing.

So I’m here for the next 12 hours, then back on the highway for 2 1/2 hours, catch some sleep, work for two days, then back up here for the weekend.  Yeah, it’s a lot of driving, but there’s no way I want to be alone any longer than I need be.  I was hoping to work from The Real Home the rest of the week–no such luck.  I can’t push that line any more, it would seem.  Not a problem:  I’ll continue to do your dance for a little while longer.

Last night was the first time in a very long time I couldn’t write at all.  Not because I didn’t want to, but with everything that happened yesterday, by the time 9 PM rolled around for me, I was completely exhausted.  I sat at the computer, with Scrivener up and ready to go–and I couldn’t think.  The brain was stone, the fingers unable to comply.  I knew what I wanted to say, and probably could have finished off Part Nine in no time.

Just couldn’t do it.  I was so out of it, anything that would have come out onto the virtual page would have sucked harder than a Jersey Short marathon hosted by the Real Housewives of New Jersey.  That’s happened a few time in the past, but I’ve always managed to squeak out a few hundred words.

Not last night.

I keep pushing myself to get things out on this story.  Any of the pressure I’m feeling with this story, it’s all from me.  I know I’m the one generating it, and there’s a reason for it:  I want to create something good and worth-while.  I want to create something memorable.  And I want to do create something that’s also going to make me self-sufficient.

This stuff I do for the state–that’s sucker’s work.  I have no feel for it, no passion, no desire to continue.  But it takes up a huge amount of my time, and that means I have to push myself hard to get any writing in.  After I’m through with my blog post today, I’ll get into the story.  Right now it’s a little after 7 AM, so by 8:30, or there abouts, I hope to have Part Nine in the bag, with the start of Part Ten underway.

I gotta do this, because what I’m doing now isn’t sustainable.  Not for the long run.  Not for any sort of run.

Yeah, back on the road again tonight.

It better be the right road, because I deserve a better journey.

Back at the Homestead

Interesting corollary between the two things I did last night.  What are those things, you ask?  Writing, what else?

I had my edits for Her Demonic Majesty, and then the new work I’m doing on Diners at the Memory’s End.  And it’s always back to the home with these groups . . .

One of the main points of Majesty involve enemy forces–aka, all these people pissed off at the person my main character has become–trying to take over an edifice known as The Castle.  They eventually do take it, but only after smacking down a bunch of gargoyles (sorry, guys), and having to deal with a huge number of deadly wards inside.  And even then . . . they don’t get to keep it, because the good guys come back and take it back.

Even though they have it back, the last few chapters of Part Three have them in fear they’d about to be attacked again.  So with the last few chapters to go, they marshal their forces, put the boots to the bad guys–who, in this world, aren’t nearly as bad as my main character is known to be, but just gray as hell–and reestablish themselves as the keeps of the keys of The Castle.

In Memory’s End, several major scenes take place back at the house.  It was the same way in Transporting, from whence these character first appeared.  There is a very nice little home, albeit a very strange one, and there are a number of things that revolve around the two main characters interacting with each other in this environment.  Sure, while I got them out of the house for Part Two of the story–and down to the cafe in their pajamas–but since they live in an arcology, it can be said they never really ventured very far from hearth and home.

Of course, there is also the question of one of the character’s in Memory’s End having access to his own–lets call it a Transatmospheric System Ship, which is a fancy way of saying, “You wanna see my spaceship?”, something one of my main characters does say to another woman.  It’s his sanctum, a place he calls his own, and while he doesn’t spend as much time aboard this craft as it was used in Transporting, it plays and important part in the development of Memory’s End.

Like it or not, in both stories I have a bunch of home-bodies.  In both cases the homes aren’t what you and I might conceive as a home, but there it is, they have places where they can fall back to, kick back, slip into something comfy, and relax.  Sure, one home has gargoyles sitting on the roof, waiting to kill anyone who gets stupid and tries to break in, and the other hangs off the side of a cliff with nothing but empty space for about a mile below, but they are homes.  They are sanctuaries for my characters, and boy, do they love them.

With all the moving back and forth that I’ve been doing the last few months, I can understand the need for a place where one can go and say, “This is mine.”  Right now, I don’t feel as if I have that.  I feel transitory, like I’m constantly in the process of going from one place to another.  I have nowhere I can really say is mine any longer.

Then again, it’s not the destination, is it?  It’s always the journey.  It’s always about how you get where you’re going.

My characters don’t know where they’re going, but I do.  They’re not always going to enjoy the journey, but they’ll come out stronger in the end.

As for my own journey–

Hey, I’m just getting started.  And it’s going to be interesting.