And here it is!
And the question I asked in the video:
Hey, just like I said: I have something for you! You may have thought I wasn’t going to come through, but when I say I’m doing some, I try to get it to you.
Let me tell you what’s happening here. First, I just finished writing this vision and it’s almost 1900 words long. You know how long it’s been since I’ve written 1900 words in a day? A long time. And I feel the stress in my shoulders. I hope that goes away some day.
But what is this excerpt? It’s a vision Annie and Kerry will share at some point in the future. That means it’s coming in one of the future novels. Which one? I’m not telling. It should be one of the following three, but you know me: I could be lying. Because I’m like that.
So what are you going to see? Something I’ve worked out and had in my head for some time. This is really the first time I’ve ever put it down in words and to say it’s a bit of a spoiler is a bit of a spoiler itself. But you know what? It’s a nice scene.
And why not see what may lay in store for these kids.
I hope you enjoy this. I know I have.
Wait… what is this? An Excerpt? Why yes, it is.
Allow me to explain.
I’ve been listening to my play lists on YouTube, because when you’re home all the time there’s not much else one can do, though in the last couple of weeks I’ve made something like six or seven new lists–
But never mind that. Today I decided to listen to the Music For Witches play list, the one that has all the tune that are, or will show up, in my Foundation Chronicles series, and after fixing the videos that couldn’t be accessed I decided to give it a listen, and with every song I remembered the second of the story or trailer where the song occurs…
And I remembered it had been a while since I last wrote in C For Continuing. As it turns out, it was exactly thirty-one day ago. (You may want to read this again to remember where you left off.)
And that got me to wanting to write. To be precise, I needed to finish Chapter Twenty-eight.
So I did.
Nearly eleven hundred words in about an hour, and a chapter that is just short of seven thousand words detailing the events before, during, and after the second big vision Annie and Kerry have during the C Levels.
Which means you get to read it all right now.
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)
Helena wrapped the door three times; she always felt that was enough to get someone’s attention. If they weren’t around to answer, then she always believed she wouldn’t have expended too much energy trying to let someone who wasn’t there she was waiting outside. On the other hand, three knocks was enough to get anyone’s attention in the Instructor’s Residence and if they didn’t answer the door, chances were they didn’t want to speak with her.
Given that the Head Sorceress knew the person with whom she wished to speak was in her room, if the door didn’t open in the following few seconds she’d have to assume they were trying to duck her—
The door opened and Deanna smiled brightly. “What can I do for you, Helena?”
“Moment of your time?” Helena leaned against the door frame, trying press herself ever-so-slight into the seer’s personal space.
“Of course.” Deanna opened the door and stepped back.”
“Thank you.” Helena wore her slippers down from her room as she knew she’d need to remove her shoes once inside Deanna’s room. She set them aside and headed for one of the two reading chairs next to each other in a corner of the living space. “Mind if I sit?”
“No, not at all.” Deanna waited for her guest to get comfortable before adjusting her abaya as she sat in the chair to her Helena’s right. “I gather you have questions about the children’s vision?”
“You could say that.” Helena let silence take hold for a moment before going on. “How many other visions have they had like the one today?”
Deanna’s smile didn’t change at all while giving her response. “I’m not a liberty to divulge that information.”
Helena needed a second to take in what she’d just heard. “I’m sorry—what?”
“I’m not permitted to give you that information.”
“I see.” Helena tapped her right cheek slowly. “My I ask why?”
“Because, for the most part, visions and pronouncements are guarded.” Deanna slowly cross her right ankle over her left as she pushed herself back into her chair. “That prevents outside persons or parties attempting to interpret said visions and pronouncements in a way that prevents them from occurring—or worst yet, making them happen.” She chuckled. “You’re no the only one with secrets, Helena.”
“And yet you called me in to hear their vision.” Helena sighed as she, too, sat back. “Why did you do that?”
“I was concerned by what I heard today. And I felt that what happened to Annie and Kerry today needed—” Deanna shrugged. “I guess they needed someone who better understood what they’d seen to help them understand it as well.”
“Still, you let me hear audio of their vision.”
“For just the one time. It auto deleted right after it finished playing. Sabrina confirmed that—as I’m certain you know.”
So our AI did tell her I tried to listen again. Sneaky little bitch. Helena’s expression remained fixed to conceal her thoughts. “And what if I needed to hear it again?”
Deanna set her left against the chair’s arm and leaned towards her guest. “The audio’s been sent to the London Archive, per normal procedure. If you need to hear it again, contact the Prognosticators and give them a detailed explanation—”
There was a time, long ago, when the word Prognosticator was used, and it was Annie saying it to Ms. Rutherford while discussing day tripping around London in the lobby of the Park Place Sherlock Holmes. This was before a certain ginger hair boy knew anything about witches or the love a chestnut hair girl from Bulgaria had for him, before anyone walked through Founder’s Gate, before there was all that hand holding going on in both London and Amsterdam and being asked out on a date and the term soul mate was used for the first time–
So now you know: Prognosticators have all the visions. And they keep them in an archive in London. And they hold on to their secrets as tightly as the Guardians hang on to theirs.
And this is not going to make Helena a happy sorceress…
“—Of the vision and why I need to hear it again.” There were only two occasions where Helena needed to check out a particular vision from the Prognosticators’ London Archive, and both experiences were unpleasant. “So you won’t tell me what I need to know.”
Deanna cocked her head slightly to the right. “That depends.”
“On whether or not I feel you have a need to know.”
Though Helena had interacted with Deanna on a number of occasions before—both in public and private—never has she come across this taciturn and cold. She’s guarding something and doing her damnedest to keep it from me. “And what if I told you I needed to hear that vision again?”
“If it was absolutely necessary for you to hear it again I’d give the Prognosticators a compelling reason to give you access, but I’d need assurance there was an absolute necessity—” Deanna’s head barley shook. “And right now I don’t see the necessity.”
Helena was an expert when it came to stonewalling and she knew when it was time to stop pushing. “Well, then—” She rose to her feet. “I guess we’re done.”
Deanna stood a moment later. “Yes, we are.”
The sorceress turned and took two steps towards the door, then turned, appearing to remember something. “One thing, though—” Helena locked her cold, black eyes upon the young seer. “If they’d never had a vision prior to this one concerning Guardian activities, why would you ask for keywords that might pop up in future visions?” A quizzical look formed on Helena’s face. “Hum?”
For a moment Deanna’s expression didn’t change, then she burst out with a short, happy laugh. “Oh, please. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what’s been going on with these two kid for the last year and a half. And even if I weren’t a counselor, I’d guess they were involved in some Guardian chicanery—starting with their little off-site excursion back in April of ‘12.”
Once more we see that people around Salem figure Annie and Kerry were up to something when they vanished for a few days in April and it had to do with some shit Helena was running. Of course, Helena is gonna do what all the spooks do–deny everything:
Helena smiled as she put on her slippers. “Nothing happened then, Deanna.” She finished and stood. “Annie went home to visit her mother, Kerry went to New York for medical test.” She shrugged. “It’s that simple.”
“Simple… yes.” Deanna moved slowly across the room, closing the distance between her and her guest. “Which is why there are reports attached to their personal files concerning the period of time they were away from the school at that time…” She stopped an arm’s length away. “Reports filed with redacted information.” She stared up into the sorceress’ eyes and spoke in a low, warning voice. “I’m not an idiot, Helena: don’t ever try to bullshit me again.”
Helena said nothing for several seconds as she considered Deanna’s words and tone. Finally she nodded one. “I won’t.” She nodded over her shoulder at the door. “I’ll see myself out. Thank you for your time.”
A smile appeared as Deanna’s face lit up as if nothing had happened. “You’re quiet welcome.”
The seer was still smiled as Helena stepped into the hallway and quietly closed the door. She squared her shoulders and exhaled deeply, mumbling to herself as she headed towards her own room. “Damn good thing she never became a Guardian.”
And in the process of doing so she gets called out, something that doesn’t happen often with the Head Sorceress, and something we’ve never seen Deanna do to another person. You can bet Helena never does this again.
Now the question is–
What comes next?
I think I know.
Yesterday was a lovely day, but for some reason I didn’t eat a lot. I had breakfast before shooting my video but then I went out to Zeroday and had a lunch that consisted of humus, pretzel bits, and beer.
I also stopped off at the Midtown Scholar book store for a muffin and tea, because that’s always a good way to take the edge off.
Then I went home, napped, and went skating without food or water. While I made it, I was trying to see how fast I could skate and didn’t do as well as I expected. I have no picture, which is probably for the best. However, I did shoot some video–
This was my first fast run, where I covered the equivalent of 25.7 laps in 4:59. This first was done while playing The Doobie Brothers’ Without You, hence the title of the video:
And this was me just screwing around while listening to the Genesis song Duchess. This was the first time I tried skating backwards outside and it’s really not as easy there as it is when you’re on a nice, smooth rink floor. Also, I sing–if what you want to call the sounds coming out of my mouth “singing”. It’s all somewhat amusing.
So, about that story–
I’ve finally finished the scene, writing twenty-three hundred words in five days. Not bad, I say, not bad. One more scene to complete and Chapter Twenty-Eight is history and I don’t have to worry about writing it when I get to this point, as it’s already written.
What happens at the end of this scene? Let’s find out:
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)
“Media teams are those people who show up in the aftermath of—situations—and fix things so that Normals believe different events have occurred.” Helena lightly tapped the surface of her desk. “In some instances they’ll also work on the memories of people, both Normal and Aware, so that they are unaware of what really happened.”
Annie’s eyes grew slightly wider. “They can do that?”
“Of course they can. You’ve already been exposed to that aspect.”
The young sorceress thought for a moment. “Tanith and her father.”
Helena nodded. “Correct. Her knowledge of both of you and Erywin was removed and both she and Kaden had their memories adjusted so they would remember their new family history better. That way there are no slip ups.”
“Would they have been involved with the family of the girl that died?” A somewhat worried look began to form on Kerry’s face. “Ruth, wasn’t it?”
“Yes, it was.”
“Did they make her family forget her?”
“I don’t know: I wasn’t told. My guess is they brought in another child and did a ‘cut and paste’ as they like to call it.” Helena didn’t look at Kerry as she finished her though. “If Emma and you had died during the Day of the Dead, a media team would have likely showed up at both houses and ‘adjusted’ everyone’s memories of you.”
This was something Kerry always suspected would have happened in the instance they’d fallen to their deaths the first time, or if they were both killed by the Abomination later, but now Helena was confirming that the Guardians would have likely done just that. “So, they’d have gotten another boy to take my place?”
“Probably a cute ginger girl—” Helena smiled at Kerry. “You know, to make your mother happy.”
Kerry stared back, his face frozen in a dead-pan mask. “This is my ‘Not Amused’ face. Can you tell, or do I need to go into more detail?”
Helena immediately realized she’d once more overstepped her boundaries with the lad. “Sorry, Kerry.”
He did a quick tit of his head to the right. “It’s okay.”
This is the second time–or is it three?–that Helena is given Kerry a dig about his mother wanting a girl more than a boy, and just as he did the other time he wasn’t all that happy about the dig. It’s been said before that everything at Salem–or that happens to these kids–is a test, so it’s likely that Helena’s little digs are a way of testing Kerry for–what? Who knows. Then again, maybe Helena’s just being a bitch. It’s not like it’s out of the question.
Turns out Annie’s got something on her mind as well–
There was something about Helena’s description of media teams that worried Annie. “Do they ever change the memories of operatives?”
“You mean like those operatives who may have had a vision of a future operation?” Helena leaned back in her chair. “Is that what you mean?”
“It’s been… known to happen.”
“What?” Kerry quick sat up straight. “They can’t really do that, can they?”
“Excuse me?” Helena leaned forward once more. “Do you remember receiving encrypted emails while you were away for Yule holiday? The ones from San Francisco by way of Amsterdam? The ones that assigned an ID number to you? You know: the ones you used in a debriefing a couple of weeks ago?” She planted her right elbow on her desk and rested her cheek against the back of her hand. “Face it, kiddies: you’re part of the family now and that means if The Guardians want to twist your brain around a little so you don’t remember certain things, they can. And there’s damn little you can do.”
For a bit of reference, this scene is happening at the end of January, 2014: 28 January, 2014, to be precise. This means it happens after The Polar Express and after Annie’s Girl’s Weekend Out. And it’s the second real confirmation that Annie and Kerry truly are operatives for the Guardians, because they now have official identification numbers.
And why do I say second real confirmation? Because there is a scene before this when Annie and Kerry as required to give their Guardian identifications during a debriefing, which you only do if you’re a real operative. And since you know you want to know their IDs, they are:
The first letters indicate where the ID was filed. In Helena’s case it was Amsterdam, Netherlands, Europe, while for Annie and Kerry it was San Francisco, United States, North America. Then you have a random seven digit number followed by a two-letter code indicating their operational status. For Helena she’s a “Field Operative” while Annie and Kerry are “Provisional (Field) Operatives”, indicating they still require supervision.
See? Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy.
So the question of “Are they or aren’t they?” is now answered: they are operatives, real ones. This makes them part of the family–and that means the Guardians can futz with their memories if they like. Which leads to this:
Annie and Kerry exchanged worried glances before Kerry asked a question. “Has it happened to you?”
“If it had—” Helena raised her right eyebrow. “—do you think they’d let me remember?”
Kerry nodded slowly. “Yeah, dumb question.”
“So…” Annie considered not asking the question, but knew she must. “Are you going to tell San Francisco what happen?”
Helena started at the surface of her desk for a few seconds before replying. “No.”
“May I ask why?”
She shifted her gaze to the girl across the desk from her. “My job, as your in-school handler, is to report regularly on your training progress—or your lack thereof. There is nothing laid out in my instructions about you requiring me to tell the Powers That Be about any visions you’ve had concerning your Guardian activities.” Helena shrugged. “And as I understand the way these things work, there’s always the possibility that what you saw won’t happen—so why get San Fran’s panties in a bunch over a mater that may never come to fruition?”
Again the couple exchanged a quick glance before Annie spoke for them both. “Thank you.”
“All right, now: get out of here. Go on.” Helena motioned towards the door. “And do not speak of what happened today in Divination. The less said—”
“The better.” Kerry was up and waving the door to the office over. “We know. Thanks.”
The moment the children left and the door was close Helena began tapping her lower lip with her right index finger. “And now that I’m done with you, I need to see a seer about a vision…”
And there you have it. While Annie and Kerry aren’t getting reported by Helena, the fact that their in-school handler–the first time we’ve heard her say this–needs to see a seer about a vision means Helena is going to have a chat with Deanna.
Any guesses about what they’re going to discuss?
And a good day–and other days! Enjoy!
It’s an interesting day, filled with lots of doubt, crying, and indecision about my future. It’s also the day I picked up my first driver’s licence outside the State of Indiana and I’m shocked–Shocked, I tell ya!–that they actually put an “F” on it for “Sex”. Even with all the bad stuff happening to me today–and last night, let’s not forget last night–I had one bright spot that made the day shine.
And speaking of shinning… Today is an important day in my story history. For today is the eighteenth birthday of The Heartbreaking of Bolder, Colorado, Emma Neilson, making her the next to last member of her graduation class to reach the Age of Emancipation within The Foundation. And if you’re paying attention, that means there’s just one other birthday from that class to celebrate, and that’s Kerry’s, which happens in two weeks. That means Emma is probably out getting loaded somewhere–I’m sure she’s got ID that will let her get served–and Annie is counting the days to when Kerry and she can put their names on that wedding licence application.
And speaking of Emma–well, not yet, but just wait!
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017, 2018 by Cassidy Frazee)
Annie turned to Helena. “And why does it appear my code name is ‘White Queen’?”
Helena glanced off into space for a few seconds. “That may have something to do with me.”
“How is that possible?”
“Because my code name is Black Queen.” The sorceress scratched at her right cheek as she continued. “My mother called me that when I was a girl and it stuck with me when I came to school. Once I started going out on Guardian field ops it became my official code name and has stuck with me ever since.
“When I was out in San Francisco right after the first of the year—”
“What were you out there for?” This was the first Kerry had heard of Helena making trips to the North American headquarters of The Guardians.
“Had to do with the operation Annie was on while you were doing the Polar Express.”
Keep in mind I’m writing of future events, and this one happens after Annie’s Girl’s Weekend Out with The Guardians and Emma’s and Kerry’s Polar Express. In fact, this is happening two weeks after those events transpired, so it’s totally legit to speak of them in the past tense.
And what happened out there in the City By the Bay?
“Anyhow, when I was out in San Fran a few weeks back, getting intel on our—” She motioned between her and Annie. “—operation, some of the wags in the meeting called you White Queen because of our association.”
Annie gave this news a few seconds of consideration. “Maybe they feel I’m a bit of your opposite.”
“Or maybe they came up with that because a lot of Guardians are smart arses. Anyway, when your code names arrive don’t be surprised if that’s yours.”
The office was quiet for a few seconds before Kerry spoke in a soft voice. “What about mine?”
“Someone at that same meeting mentioned that.”
Helena chuckled. “About a third of the way through the meeting several pictures of your, um, other self, were displayed and a couple of them were of your and Annie together. A couple of people in the room called you the Red Queen and one even said that given your history of pop culture you’d probably appreciate Annie’s and your code name.”
Annie looked to her right once more. “What do they mean by that?”
Kerry didn’t have to think long on the matter once again. “It’s all comic book stuff, even your name, Helena. The Black Queen and the White Queen were members of The Hellfire Club in the X-Men comics. The Black Queen was a student of The Shadow King and was the leader of The Pale Riders during the Age of Apocalypse. The White Queen—” He chuckled. “She’s just a bitch. And she has a habit of not wearing a lot.” A smile slowly formed on his face. “The Black Queen and White Queen also have something in common.”
“Their first name: it’s Emma.” Kerry waited for Annie and Helena to exchange looks before telling them the rest. “Specifically, The Black Queen is Emma Steed—named after Emma Peal from The Avengers—and the White Queen is Emma Frost.”
While Annie simply stared at Kerry in silence, Helena seemed to speak for both women. “I’d make sure a certain ginger from Colorado doesn’t discover we’re sharing her name—” She arced her right eyebrow. “At least in a way.”
Annie humphed. “I know I won’t tell her.”
Kerry nodded. “I won’t, either.”
“Now that we know our code names—” Helena pointed at Kerry. “What about yours?”
“Oh, yeah. The original Red Queen of the Hellfire Club was Margali Szardos, who was a powerful sorceress, really big into demons, and the adoptive mother of Nightcrawler. In the Days of Future Past story, Psylocke was the Red Queen.” Kerry shrugged. “Given some of the stuff I know, I can see that name fitting.” He glanced at both women. “Even though I not completely thrilled to have that moniker laid upon me.”
“If I’m going to have the name Emma following me around, you can have a girl’s code name.” Annie smiled as she finished her sentence then turned to Helena. “One last thing: what’s a media team?”
The Guardians know Kerry far too well by now and seem to be thinking along the same lines. While I’m certain Helena’s mother called her daughter “The Black Queen” because of her eyes and attitude, she does also link up with her two protegees, the White Queen and the Red Queen, so there’s a lot of Guardian symmetry going on here. Also, every geeky word Kerry said is all true because you know it is.
I’m also pretty certain he’ll need kid Annie about having a code name for a character named Emma, because… well, don’t mess with little witches who may react badly to Gingers From America. Yeah, don’t go there, kid.
Besides, you don’t want Annie digging into your comic collection and finding an outfit for you to wear based upon one of your code name’s characters. You don’t. And you know it…
Hey, guess what, everyone? I wrote today! Yay!
Last night we had recruitment but not a lot of people showed, in part due, I think, to the weather turning shitting late in the afternoon. We have another coming in a couple of months, so there’s no worry. I was dressed for the event, as usual, and even posted some good song lyrics for the picture:
And today I visited the Midtown Scholar, our local independent bookstore. I had a tea and picked up a book and all was well.
This afternoon I got to writing another five hundred words and in that group I came up with the answer to Helena’s statement, where she basically said that she was quite certain Kerry knew the answer to what a gray operative was. And does he?
Without further prompting Kerry gave the matter a bit of thought and had what he believed to be the answer in less that five seconds. “Like gray lensmen—right?”
Helena nodded. “Exactly.”
“That means nothing to me.” Annie fixed her gaze upon Kerry. “What is that?”
“It from the, um, Lensman series.” There was a bit of soft throat clearing before he continued. “The Lensman series was written in the 1930s and 40s and is considered one of the best examples of space opera ever. The Lensmen themselves were a group of—I guess you could say they were intergalactic cops who used a device called a lens that gave them some incredible physic powers.” Kerry gave a slight shrug with his left shoulder. “There’s a lot of people who believe the Green Lanterns were taken from the Lensmen, though there are others who disagree.”
Annie didn’t seem satisfied with the answer. “Green Lanterns?”
“Yeah… it’s a DC comic series.”
“I see.” Her demeanor hardened just a bit. “None of that gives me the answer to my original question.”
Yeah, Kerry. Knock it off with the geek knowledge and get to the meat of your soul mate’s question:
Kerry immediately realized his mistake. “Right. Um, gray lensmen were members of the corps who worked undercover: you could tell they were different from the rest of the group because when they were back at base for rest or training, they wore gray clothing to note their status. Hence, gray lensmen.” He alternated his gaze from Helena to Annie and back to Helena as he finished his train of through. “You could think of the Lesnman Corps as the Protectors, while the gray lensmen were more like the Guardians.” He raise a brow as if trying to elicit a positive response from the sorceress. “Right?”
Helena nodded. “Quite.”
“So what came first? The literary version or our version?”
As she usually did whenever asked about possible Foundation connections to the Normal world, Helena ignored Kerry’s question and spoke to kids. “A gray operative is one who works independent of the normal team dynamic. Given some of the things I’ve already heard from San Francisco, they’re integrating you into the normal team operations now so they can see how you work independently in the future.”
“So, what we saw was real?” Annie tried to keep her excitement suppressed. “Or at least will be in the future?”
“Who knows? Maybe Deanna does; I don’t.” Helena offered a warm smile. “We know they’re interested in Kerry as an Infiltrator and given what you both say you saw, it seems they’ve expanded upon what we spoke about earlier in the year.”
Kerry nearly rolled his eyes thinking back to the start of the school year when The Guardians said they wanted Annie and he to go on separate field operations alone and that they wanted to integrate Kerry into a field team as his female self, something he more or less shot down—for now. “Yeah, but it looks like I’m working with The Guardians using both genders—”
“According to what you both said, that seems likely.”
“So why do I get that code name?”
Annie turned to Helena. “And why does it appear my code name is ‘White Queen’?”
There you have it. It once more appears that The Foundation has affected Normal pop culture with a science fiction reference—or maybe it’s the other way around? It seems like it’s something that a lot of people in The Foundation don’t like to answer, but it’s always likely that there have been geeks in the rank long before Kerry showed up and that they liked to give themselves pithy names they discover while out in the Normal world.
Now, does that mean the Operative in the movie Serenity was taken from The Guardians? Only Joss knows for sure…
It seems like we’re getting into another area now: why the code names? Why those code names? And you know who may have an answer?
The Head Sorceress.
Yes, I did get out some writing. Not a lot, however, ’cause my mind is like a sieve today and nothing is sticking to it well. Which is to say while I managed three hundred and fifty words in the new scene, getting more out of me was starting to become a chore.
Also, I did a lot of running around today ’cause I went to bed starting to slip into a funk and that funk was with me when I woke, so I decided to stop giving into my depression and do something rather than sit around and mope. Also, I realized that I was once more digging into shit for which there was no reason to dig because said shit hadn’t happened and likely won’t. Once more, my mind fucks with me more than anything else.
Anyway, I’m ready for the new ladies to show up–
–and I hope I can help them get interested in derby.
Meanwhile, someone is interested in a dream that two of her more interesting students had and it’s possible it’s causing her a little pain…
Helena took Annie and Kerry to The Witch House, where they listened to the audio of they rune dream in the privacy of the Head Sorceress’ main office. No one spoke during the fifteen minute recording, though there were moment when Helena would sigh aloud or muttered something just under her breath, as if she couldn’t believe what he’d heard.
After the recording finished she asked both children to tell her what they’d seen and done within the dream. When Annie asked if the conversation was being taped, Helena confirmed that she was shooting video for Deanna to watch as that had been their agreement in the instance that Helena required details on a specific vision.
It was only after all the specifics of the rune dream were given that Helena sat back in her chair. “Recording off.” She lowered her head as she rubbed her eyes. “Fucking Christ, did you two fall into it.”
Kerry asked the most obvious question. “Are we in trouble?”
Helena replied without giving him an answer. “You’re having a vision dream of things that may not happened to you for years, maybe decades, to come and you’re speaking of things of which you can’t possibly have any knowledge.” She sat up and uttered a dry chuckle. “Grey operatives; media teams; code names even. I mean, it’s not like I don’t expect you to achieve the level you mention in your vision, but for the moment—” She cleared her throat. “It’s just that no one expected you to hear about these thing by now.”
“So, what is a grey operative?” Annie wasn’t concerned about being in trouble as they had no control over what was in their vision, so she expect there wouldn’t be a punishment. “I mean, since we heard of it in our dream, it doesn’t make sense to keep the information from us now.”
There was a moment of silence in the office while Helena drummed her fingers on her desk. When she did answer, it was in a roundabout manor. “I’m sure he—” She pointed at Kerry. “—can figure it out.”
And if you know Kerry–and you probably do, only not as well as me–you know he’s gonna have an answer.
If you’re lucky he’ll tell you tomorrow.
Believe it or not, I not only have an excerpt for you, it’s also a completed scene.
Yes, I’m down to the coffee shop this morning, enjoying caffeinated beverages and getting ready for Bout Day–
And while here I decided to write. It wasn’t a big deal, as I knew what I was going to say in the next scene after the kids woke up from their rune dream. I also had a feeling that it wasn’t going to be a long scene–and I was right. Clocking in at just over six hundred words, this is probably the shortest scene I’ve written for any of the novels, but while it’s short it sets up everything for the next scene, which is likely to be far longer: perhaps as long as the rune dream scene itself.
So, what happens to Annie and Kerry once they’re awake? Let’s find out.
“—Be off.” Kerry’s eyes snapped open as the last words escaped his lips. He lay still for a moment as he forced himself to awaken fully, clearing the slight grogginess he always felt when he came out of a deep dream. As the room was still pitch dark he crafted a small illumination point and set it to hover about a meter above him.
Once it was in place he rolled to his right. Annie was just waking and her unfocused eyes told him she’d fallen as just as deeply into the dream as he. Kerry didn’t find this surprising: as with almost all their other visions he was certain Annie has shared this one with him and when she finally turned an looked at him, his felt his certainty was confirmed. “You okay?”
“I’m fine.” Annie lay on her side looking back at her soul mate. “And you?”
“Right as rain.” He slid as close to her as possible so he didn’t have to speak above a whisper. “Did you see everything I did, White Queen?”
She smiled the moment he used the code name mentioned in the rune dream. “I did—Red Queen.”
He signed. “Yeah, about that—”
“It’s something that happens in the future: don’t worry about it now.” Annie tilted her head back just a bit. “I wonder how everyone else is doing?”
Kerry spent a few seconds listening to the darkness. “I don’t hear anyone—they must all be asleep.”
“Let’s see.” Working with Kerry’s Illumination point, Annie moved it another meter into the air and brightened it enough that nearly half the room was now dimly visible.
What she was was completely unexpected: all the sleep positions were empty. “I don’t understand—”
“I don’t either.” Kerry moved up to his knees and threw another Illumination point into the air, making almost three-quarters of the room visible. It was more of the same: all the sleeping areas laid out at the beginning of class were empty. “It looks like everyone’s gone.”
“They are.” Deanna stepped out of a shadow near the back of the room and made her way towards her students. “Most of them were already out of their rune dreams and awake before you—” A small smile appeared, framing Deann’s bright white teeth. “Entered yours.”
Annie knelt next to Kerry. “Why are they gone, then?”
“Because you began speaking in your sleep as you both sometimes do. And—” Deanna stopped a couple of meters from the couple. “You were saying things.”
Kerry glanced at Annie before asking the question. “Things?”
“Yes.” There was another protracted pause while Deanna found her words. “While I wasn’t sure that what you were saying shouldn’t be heard by the others, I didn’t want to take any chances. I ordered all those awake from the room and made the rest leave as soon as came out of their dreams.”
There was silence in the classroom for nearly five seconds before Annie addressed the seer. “How would you know that the things we were saying shouldn’t be heard by the other students?”
“Because I gave her a list.” From near where Annie and Kerry knew the classroom door was located Helena calmly strolled into the dim light. “She asked last year for some key words to listen for that might be related to—well, some of the things you may do in the future.” The sorceress stopped a few meters from Deanna as everyone looked in her direction. “Apparently you said one or more of them.”
Deanna nodded. “They did.”
“I see. As that’s the case—” Helena motioned both children to stand. “We need to talk.”
Yeah, Helena wants to talk.
And you can just bet that’s gonna be a good talk…
And in the middle of the road you may find a video!
Today I was on TV and aren’t you lucky, ’cause it’s out already. If you follow this link–Harrisburg Area Roller Derby is Skating Into 2018!–it will take you to the video which is embedded inside a propitiatory article. You’ll see my coach, Madhouse Mexi, me, my gear–yeah, it’s on the table–and, I believe, some footage I shot of past bouts. Or not. I’m still checking on that part. Hope you enjoy.
Yesterday one scene ended and a couple of things became apparent. One, the kids are dealing in some cloak and dagger stuff in the future. Oh, and two: Annie misses sex and wants more. A lot more. Like a week of it ’cause that’s her. These kids: all grown up and stayin’ jiggy.
Naturally this brought up a comment from one of my followers about something that will likely follow Annie and Kerry for a while once they’re married. And that something is:
Where are their kids?
Now, first off, there’s no saying in the vision I just wrote up that my kids have kids yet. I mean, if they’re busy off doing Bond-like shit, the odds are really good that Annie’s kitchen is shut down and Kerry’s–well, during those times when he gets to be a she, I’m gonna guess that the last thing she wants is two years of sidelining to take care of a Malibey spawn.
But this doesn’t mean there won’t be kids. No, not at all.
I’ve said on more than a few occasions that they’ll have kids. And notice the plural: yes, as they’ve stated, they have no intention of raising an only child. Also, I’ve known for some time when they are having their womb goblins and when, and even when they’ll attend the School of Salem themselves. What? You didn’t think they were going to another school, did you? You really think Annie would allow that?
There’s even a distinct possibility that everyone will have a chance to see one of their kids before my kids graduate.
There is a scene–and you can probably imagine what sort of scene–when both Annie and Kerry manage to meet one of their kids face-to-face years before the child is born. I know what they look like and I know their name. I even know how old they are at the time and where my kids meet their kid.
It’s all really sweet and beautiful, if you know what I mean.
There will be children for my kids. They will have the opportunity to be parents. And, like it or not, if I ever write the stories, we’ll get to see how The Kirilovis and the Malibeys handle being grandparents to some little witches. We can already assure that Pavlina and Victor will love their grandkids, while Davyon and Louise… well, Davyon will probably like being a grandfather…
There is love and eventually comes marriage, and after that–well, Annie and Kerry won’t be pushing any baby carriages right away, but that will happen at some point.
But before we get there, let them have the chance to live.
Even when it’s gonna be a hell of a struggle.
Believe it or not I didn’t think you were going to get this post.
I knew I could and should finish the scene I’ve had in mind for so long, but I’ve been a bit lazy today and tired, if I’m to be honest. I was up at 4:30 this morning and didn’t have much of a nap this afternoon, probably due to washing clothes from 5:00 to 7:15, then going out a short time after to get some good, powerful coffee. After that I came home, watched some TV, went out for lunch, watched more TV–
And then sat down to write.
I only needed four hundred and twenty-two words to finish the scene and to my surprise I knocked that off in about twenty-five minutes, which is like my writing of old. It was fast and quick and Chapter Twenty-Eight now has almost three thousand words to its credit.
While I have three more scenes to write I won’t get to them today, and it’s likely I won’t get to them until tomorrow afternoon because I’m going to be on TV tomorrow about noon and I need to leave here about 11 or so to get to the station. No, really: it’s a true story, bro.
Here you go: the last of the rune dream. Oh, and I should warn you: Annie’s gonna say something you might find a bit… surprising.
But then Annie’s like that, isn’t she?
You transition back to your “regular” self, the one you showed for thirteen years before discovering your female side. You check your bow tie and give it a little tug as soon as you’re certain everything changed. “Right back where I started.”
“I can see that.” Annie wraps her arms around your shoulders and gives you a long, slow kiss. “I so hope we get a lot of time together after this. There’s something else we haven’t done in the last nine months—at least face-to-face.”
You don’t require much more information to know of what she speaks. “Well, after debriefing we’ll insist that we get some down time, or…”
She smiles as soon as you stop speaking. “Or, what?”
“Or, we don’t go back on the job. I mean, what’s the point of being gray if we can’t break some Guardian rules now and then?”
“I agree.” Annie chuckles. “After all, what’s the worst they can do? Revoke our field license?” She take two steps back before turning to her left. “All I want—” She slowly paces around the room. “I want to go somewhere quiet and peaceful, where all we need to do is sit around and listen to music and watch movies and have a much sex as possible.”
Now it’s your turn to laugh. “I could handle that.”
“I would hope so.” She gives you an evil-looking glance. “I mean, it’s not like I can’t keep you inside me for six hours straight.”
“Yeah—” You slide up behind your wife. “As I remember we were both wrecks the next day; we both were having trouble walking.”
“Pifft.” She waves off your concern with a laugh. “What’s the point of being witches who are experts in transformation crafting if we can’t use it once in a while to fuck all night?”
Just then Annie’s phone dings indicating another text message has arrived. She levitates the phone to her hand and checks the display. “Car will be here in fifteen minutes.”
“Which means it’ll be here in ten.” You check your jacket for your wallet, phone, and the invitations to the party while Annie retrieves her purse. “Take no chances tonight, right?”
“Absolutely.” Annie snaps her purse shut once her phone is in place. “Grab the targets and get out of there. Everything’s by the numbers.”
“Wouldn’t have it any other way.” You hold out your left arm for Annie to take. “We ready?”
She slides her right arm around your left. “As always.”
“Then let us—”
And there you have it. Now that the dream is over it means they’re walking up back in the world–
I wonder if there’s gonna be any follow-up to this?