Inside the Big Room

I made it through the evening and came out the other end feeling like someone had beat me about the shoulders and set my lap on fire.  This comes from sitting still with a laptop on you, um, lap, and typing away like the The Madwoman of Chaillot.  Seriously, half my mind was listening to what was being said on TV while the other half was trying to get it all down in note form.  It was a bit insane, and it was a good thing I didn’t need a bathroom break.

"I haven't put a single word in my story in ten minutes--my god, the walls are closing in!  Help!"

“You people on TV, stop talking so fast!  Get in a RV for a while or something!”

But that insanity is over, and I managed to pay my quarterly state taxes last night, so all is pretty good.  There are still things that require doing, but that comes up tonight and I’ll worry about it then, ‘kay?

Oh, and there’s this novel I’m working on–

It was another five hundred word night, only because I was really stumbling about trying to find the right words while, at the same time, I was checking things on a time line, because that’s how I do things.  The time line stuff was only to get one line in this next excerpt right, but you know, if I hadn’t had that time line laid out already, I probably would have screwed something up.

I’m failing to mention that I needed to do research last night as well, which also cut into my writing time, because reasons.  And you know I love research.

Why are Annie and Kerry here?  Because–

 

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

Annie entered first with Kerry right behind. She didn’t know this room, but it reminded her of the ready room in the Flight School: it appeared that sixty or seventy people could occupy this area for a meeting or conference. Isis and Headmistress Laventure stood at the far end of the room; she looked back and saw Vicky follow Kerry, meaning whatever was going to happen here involved her as well. My two instructors and the headmistress: it’s likely we’re going to get a significant punishment.

Isis moved away from the headmistress and motioned Annie forward. “Come right here—” She pointed to a spot directly in front of her. “That’s good. You can stand next to her, Kerry.”

“Thanks.” He stood to Annie’s right a few meters back.

The Chief of Security quietly examined the girl before her. “Three solo flight, close to five hundred and fifty kilometers covered, and this last one had you out over the cold, unforgiving ocean with only one other person to keep you company.” She glanced at Kerry and winked. “I believe, as do Vicky and Mathilde, that you not only performed as expected, but you exceeded those expectation.

“There are many things we do around here to recognize students, but it’s rare that we honor someone who’s accomplished a great feat: mastering a gift and proving you’re capable of using it under varying and difficult conditions.

“You’re not the first I’ve trained since I became the school’s Chief of Security in 2006: there was one other girl who stood where you’re standing in 2008. She was a D Level then—the gift was slow to manifest within her—so she graduated before you began. But the fact she had the Flight Gift was the only thing you both had in common: she needed four flights to finish her qualifications, and during her last flight, which was identical to yours, she, um—” Isis looked down for a moment. “She needed some encouragement to finish.”

“We know you both weren’t comfortable with the conditions and the location today.” Vicky stepped up next to Isis so she could face both kids. “That’s one of the reasons why we try and keep the comms open all the time, so in case we think you’re in need of help, we can put it into place. But you kept on the flight, and as I’ve told Isis before, and I told Mathilde over lunch, you didn’t ask for help—you kept going.”

Isis nodded. “As the headmistress would say, you were being tenacious. And you wear.”

Mathilde moved closer to the group, clearing her throat. “Yes, well, enough about me. This is about Annie, is it not?”

“It is, indeed.” Isis reached behind her and removed a small box.

Annie instantly focused on the item in Isis’ hands. “What’s that?”

“This?” She removed the top and turned the box so Annie could view the contents. “These are you wings.”

 

And before you ask, “Does Kerry have his wings?” the answer is–

I’ll tell you tomorrow.  Because I’m mean.

The Inevitable Answers: On the Tip Of Your Tongue

All together a little over seventeen hundred words were written, and I’m now just about eighty-five hundred words short of two hundred seventy-five thousand words.  Inching ever so closer to three hundred, which is right about where I expect this sucker to end.

But that’s the future, this is the present, and at the moment we’re back in the library and talking about mirrors.  As they relate to dreams.  And what do you know . . .

 

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

Erywin handled the question. “It’s an event in your dream—in this particular dream—designed to show you, once and for all, what’s actually happening.”

This did nothing to clear up his original question. “And what is happening?”

“From what we understand, you’ve been involved in adjuration—”

“What?”

“It means to make an earnest, solemn appeal.”

Deanna joined the conversation. “Based upon what you’re already told us, isn’t that exactly what this dream girl has done? Since the very first dream?”

Kerry only needed a few seconds to remember the events in his dreams and understand what Erywin and Deanna were saying. “Yeah, that’s what she’s doing. But, what’s a mirror got to do with this dream?”

 

Now you know a new word:  adjuration, which is “To make an earnest, solemn appeal.”  Near the end of the next chapter you’ll learn why this is given this name, but for now not much is being said.

This mirror thing, though?  Yeah, they’re down on this:

 

“You told Coraline this morning that the girl reached the top of the stairs, paused, then turned right.” Deanna leaned slightly forward. “Yes?”

He sniffed once and wiped his nose. “Yes.”

Deanna gave herself just a moment pause before asking the next question. “Did she do that again when the dream happened this time?”

Kerry stared down at a point near the instructor’s feet. “Yeah.”

It’s a good thing Kerry’s looking in our direction so he can’t see that stare— Deanna expected Annie to give him a strange look, and she half expected her to speak after this next question. “How?”

His brow tightened. “What do you mean?”

“My love—” Annie lay a hand on Kerry’s left arm. “You weren’t on the landing. How did you see her?”

A puzzled look came over Kerry’s face. “I guess I . . .” He shrugged before turning to Annie. “It’s a dream; things like that happen.”

“Kerry—” Deanna’s tone was soft and reassuring. “Everything you’re told us about these dreams seem to have a literal action: at no time have you mentioning things happening where you weren’t present.” She took a quick breath, wondering how he’d answer the next question. “What’s on the landing wall facing the stairs?”

For a few seconds it appeared he might not answer before chuckling. “Oh, yeah: there’s a mirror.” He turned to Annie. “Mom put it there because it’s supposed to be good for the feng shui—”

Annie looked at him gravely. “Kerry.”

He turned back to the instructors; when he spoke a hint of nervousness crept into his voice. “It’s supposed to keep all the bad energy coming through the front door from getting upstairs and . . .” He stopped once he realized no one in the room was interested in hearing about a physiognomy practice his mother picked up while they were living in California.

“There is a way you could have seen the girl turning to the right, Kerry.” Deanna wrapped her hands around her knee. “If you were unaware of your point of view, and you didn’t realize you were looking in a mirror, then it would seem as if the person were turning in the opposite direction.” She held up her hand when it appeared Annie was about to speak. “You suspect this, don’t you?”

 

First, Annie gives Kerry the stink eye because she saw what happened with the girl, and knows he wasn’t there watching her.  Second, it took me about five minutes to figure out the word “physiognomy”, because research, you know?  And third–there’s a mirror on the landing?

There sure is.  How do I know.  Because I told you a mirror was on there.  Let’s look at a passage from the discussion Kerry had with his mother about his wet dream, with the line in question in bold:

 

Louise sat silently for several seconds before she hissed out her reply. “You’re excused.”

Kerry bolted from his chair and trotted towards the stairs, running up to the first floor. He paused for a second at the top of the landing, checking his red face in the large mirror his mother mounted there to “help the feng shui of the home” before turning left and nearly running into his bedroom, and shutting and locking the door behind him.

 

There you are:  proof in the novel from only about two hundred and fifty thousand words back!  Though it’s in a slightly edited form because editing, right?  But this is why I plot, because just like in the first novel, I do something that’s going to come back about a quarter of a million words later and become relevant.  The mirror has been there all the time; the trick was remembering the sucker.  Kerry didn’t:  now he does.  And so it seems, something else is coming to mind . . .

 

After nearly five seconds, when it became apparent Kerry wasn’t about to answer Deanna’s question, Erywin stepped in and asked the question everyone expected. “You know who she is, don’t you?”

He looked to his friend with some pain in his eyes. “You seem to know what’s going on, Erywin: why don’t you just tell me.”

She brushed away some hair and sighed. “Believe it or not, I can’t—we can’t. Sometimes there are rules that need obeying, and our research indicates that this is something that is all on you.” Erywin shook her head. “I’m not even certain what would happen if we did tell you what we know.

“Kerry, we’re not trying to put you on the spot. But it seems what’s happening now occurs in phases, and in order to move out of this phase and into the end phase—” She held her hands up as she pressed herself back into your chair. “You have to say it: you have to say her name.”

He looked away from everyone, lowering his head so that all he could see was a spot on the floor. It was only after ten seconds of shoulder-slumping silence that he felt a hand on his an a voice whispering to him. “Moyata polovinka.”

He turned to Annie and gave her a sad smile. “My edin i samo lyubov.”

Annie leaned in close. “You know this girl?” He nodded slowly. “Then just say her name.” She turned her hand around and slipped her palm against his. “It’ll be all right, I promise.”

Kerry held Annie’s hand tightly. He sighed a couple of times and sniffed back the last of his runny nose before exhaling slowly. “She’s—” He gulped hard once as he half-closed his eyes.  “She’s, um . . .” This time he closed his eyes tight as he sucked breath through clenched teeth. “She’s . . . Damnit.” Tears began flowing from his eyes once again. “I can’t say it.” Kerry started panting as he looked down the line of women seated across from him. “It’s like it’s right there on the tip of my tongue and I want to say the name but something won’t let me.” His breath came in ragged sobs as he hunched over and stared down at his knees. “I don’t know why this is happening.”

A comforting hand gently patted his shoulder from behind as a soothing voice spoke to his concerns. “I think I can answer that question—”

 

Wait:  who is answering what question?

"Who is tap-tapping on my shoulder?"

“Who is tap-tapping on my shoulder?”

Whomever it is, they see that Kerry’s having a lot of trouble spitting out this name.  Here we also see there are rules in magic–no, must resist using A League of Their Own meme here–and those rules don’t allow any of the women, who appear to be in the known, to tell Kerry what’s happening in his head.

But before that happens, will the mystery guest sign in please?

Gather Here the Brain Trust: The Remembered Studies

And as promised, the scene and chapter are finished, after going through what was probably the biggest day of writing I’ve had in the while.  I did a little over eleven hundred in the morning, and a little over eleven hundred at night, which means I wrote two thousand, two hundred, and thirty-three words total on the novel, then took about a thousand words of notes for the TV recap I’m writing up tonight for The Walking Dead . . . and that’s over three thousand if you’re keep track, and I haven’t done three thousand words in a day since NaNoWriMo 2013, ladies and gentlemen.

The chapter is put it way, it’s over, it’s history.  And in the process of doing all this, I’ve set up the scene for another long day for my kids.  It was left off with Kerry’s dream friend, Carrot Girl, seeming like she wants to come out and play since she’s standing right there in the holographic display where he should be standing.  As the kids say today, “What is this sorcery?”, though Helena would give you a good argument that there isn’t any sorcery involved, but that’s another story . . .

Anyhow, being this is transformation related, Erywin turns to the one person in the room who is the expert on transformation for an answer.  And she has one–

 

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

The instructor stared at the display as dumbfounded as the other two women in the room. “I have no idea why that happened.”

Erywin’s face became a mask of disbelief. “What do you mean?  You don’t know?”

“I mean I don’t know.” Jessica held up her hands, motioning towards the display. “I’ve never seen that happen before.”

Coraline was feeling just as surprised as Erywin appeared. When it came to matters of transformation magic there were few in the world better than Jessica, so to say she didn’t understand something that appeared to be transformation related, it was worrisome. “Maybe there’s something particular to him as Mimic that’s doing this? Something buried down in his mind?”

“Mimicking doesn’t work that way.” Jessica turned to Coraline with an exasperated sigh. “When you mimic another person you go from one physical form to another there’s no need for a transitional form. I’ve worked with mimics before: this doesn’t ever happen.”

Deanna clicked her tongue. “Perhaps Kerry doesn’t realize he’s doing this. He is new to this gift, after all.”

“No.” Jessica shook her head. “It doesn’t work that way.”

 

I may have mentioned this before, maybe not, but the saying of, “Those who can do; those who can’t teach,” does not apply to the instructors at my school.  The instructors at Salem are among the best in their field, and in Jessica’s instance there are maybe five other witches who perform at her same level.  When she tells you, “It doesn’t work that way,” she’s not saying that because she’s blowing you off:  she’s saying that because it’s true.  She knows, and don’t try to tell her otherwise.

Erywin is also the best in her field as well, but she’s also smart, and while there’s an argument going on about what’s happening on-screen, she’s got an argument going on in her head . . .

 

While the other women argued Erywin continued examining the changing boy in the display. Deanna’s right, that does look like the girl he’s describing in his dreams. There was something tickling her memory, however, playing right at the edge of her thoughts. She closed her eyes, trying to concentrate. He transformed into this form while going from csimale to cisfemale

Jessica’s voice returned:  There’s no need for a transitional form.

Erywin took a deep breath. Then why would he do this?

Deanna’s works suddenly struck home: Perhaps Kerry doesn’t realize he’s doing this.

This wasn’t making sense to Erywin.  Then if he doesn’t realize he’s doing this, what is the cause?

Once more words came flooding back from her  short term memory. A Mimic interfaces their aura with that of another person.

There’s no need for a transitional form.

Perhaps Kerry doesn’t realize he’s doing this.

Her breath quickened. Maybe this happened because he had no control over the process. Maybe it was invol

She slowly opened her eyes, locking on the holographic image before her.

Involuntary transition.

Erywin pressed her fists against her forehead. “Son of a bitch.” She spun around and faced the surprised women. “That makes sense.”

Coraline found enough mirth in the situation to chuckle. “Is there something you’d like to share with the class?”

She ignored Coraline’s comment and turned to the one person in the room who could likely answer her question. “Deanna, what can Trevor access from the Paris archives?”

Deanna didn’t find it unusual that Erywin was asking this question: everyone in the room was aware that Trevor and her were more than friends, and that she knew a bit about his role as School Librarian and Archivist. Given that, it didn’t seem unlikely that they’d never discussed the huge underground archive The Foundation maintained near the main headquarters in Paris. “He’s mentioned that he can access all but about five percent of the archive.”

“And the other five percent?”

“Well . . . He’s mentioned that four percent of that he can access with a request from either Mathilde or Isis, and the last one percent—” She shook her head. “It requires more security access than we have here.”

Coraline’s curiosity was getting the better of her. “What the hell is in the Paris archives that you suddenly need so badly?”

Erywin slowly faced the doctor and spoke in a cool, measured tone. “I want to see Lucyna Gorczynski’s diaries.”

 

And that is a name I know you haven’t heard before, because it’s been sitting on my time line for a while and I’m not in a habit of showing you my time lines.  But there is a mention for Lucyna Gorczynski there, and now she’s coming out to play.  The interesting thing is the other three women in the room appear to know that name, and their reaction isn’t what you’d expect–

 

Silence fell over the group, appearing shocked at Erywin’s mention of that particular name. Jessica glanced at the monitor then back to Erywin. “You aren’t suggesting—”

“What do you think I’m suggesting?” Erywin pointed at the frozen display behind her. “If you don’t know what that is, then it’s time to start grasping for answers, and based on a few things I’ve heard here, looking there makes fucking sense.” She sighed long and loud. “I remember reading that she turned over the last of her diaries ten years ago, so the entire collection is there. It’s just a question of whether or not we can access them.”

Coraline glanced between Jessica and Erywin. “Why do you think there’s any relevance here?” She motioned to the display. “How is what’s happening there—”

Deanna blurted out a single word in a surprised voice. “Dreams.”

Erywin nodded. “Yeah. It’s been twenty-five years since I read anything on Gorczynski, but there was something there—”

“About dreams.” Deanna quickly nodded. “I remember something when I was doing my dream studies during my D Levels.” She looked from side to side. “There was something about her in a section on dreams as they related to non-visions—”

“Yeah, I remember there were dreams. And something about transitions—” She closed her eyes as she hung her head. “It’s all fuzzy; that’s why I didn’t think of this before.”

Coraline was just as fuzzy on the matter as everyone else, but she knew the name and saw where Erywin was going. “We’ll probably need to get Mathilde involved.”

Erywin grunted. “I don’t doubt that.”

“What are you going to tell The Foundation when you put in the request?”

“That I’m doing research for due diligence on an LGBTAIQ matter.” She turned her gaze upon Coraline. “I don’t have to tell them any more than that.”

“Not until it’s necessary.” Jessica moved closer to the two women. “So we go to Trevor and Mathilde—”

“No, we don’t.” Erywin pointed at her feet. “We bring them here. Here we’re secure and we can speak without being overheard. And if the four of us head to the library and grab Trevor before heading off to the Headmistress, people will see us and begin spreading rumors. No: we don’t allow that to happen.”

Deanna joined the group. “I agree: we’re in a much better place to speak here, and we can show them the video.” She nodded towards the computers. “Trevor can even contact Paris from here: it’s as secure as making the request from either of their offices.”

“We’re going to need Mathilde with us on this anyway.” Jessica glanced over her shoulder at the display. “If this turns out to be true, Paris is going to freak.”

“There’s something we’re forgetting—” Deanna glanced side to side. “If we’re looking for something in Gorczynski’s diaries relating to her dreams, it’ll be difficult to compare them to Kerry’s.”

 

By “Paris”, Jessica is referring to The Foundation headquarters there, in cased you didn’t pick up on what I was saying throughout that last passage.  So whatever is happening could possibly make The Foundation freak out, and that’s something that doesn’t normally happen, ’cause when they freak out as a whole, it’s usually something that’s not good.

There is something else going on here, however, and Deanna’s brought it up for the others to figure out:

 

Coraline slowly lowered her gaze towards the floor. “Yeah, he’s been reluctant to go into any details—”

“Or unwilling—” She caught the shape look Coraline. “We have to consider the possibility that he’s deliberately obfuscating.”

Erywin set her hands upon her hips. “How do we fix that?”

Deanna leaned her head to one side. “There is a way.”

Jessica picked up on Deanna’s comment first. “Are you certain you want to do that? That we need to do that?”

Coraline avoided looking at the others as she pursed her lips and remembered a promise she’d made to a couple of sleeping children. “I told Annie we’d figure this out and we’d do it fast, ‘cause right now I’m suppressing Kerry’s REM functions, and I can’t do that forever, not without harming him.” She looked at Deanna for a few moments turning to the others. “We may not have a choice except to go with Deanna’s idea . . .”

 

There you have it:  my brain trust has gathered and found something.  Chapter Twenty-seven was all set-up.

And a pretty nice set-up at that.

And a pretty nice set-up at that.

Now comes the next step:  research and a solution.  Well, actually, you’ll miss all the research, and the solution actually comes in Chapter Twenty-nine.

Right now, we’re about to watch people get their hands dirty.

Gather Here the Brain Trust: A Bit of History

It’s time to get into the home stretch of Chapter Twenty-seven, and this is where it begins:  back at the hospital and up somewhere I’ve never traveled before.  Actually, this chapter has already gone places I’ve never been before–the astral realm–and there won’t be a scene anywhere within this chapter that doesn’t technically go outside of one of the buildings at the school.  I say technically because when Deanna crossed from Åsgårdsreia Tower to the Great Hall she had to use the outdoor walkway to get there, but she wasn’t outside:  she remained on the plain where it doesn’t rain in Spain.

Now, I’ve written things where the kids remain indoors for the chapter, but those scenes usually involve class.  This doesn’t.  This is something–well, you’d likely say medical.  And it is.  Which is why so much of this chapter takes place inside the hospital.  And now we not only see a little of the hospital we’ve never before seen, but you’re gonna get some history as well:

 

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

There were five levels to the Salem hospital. Originally the ground floor area consisted of the ward, a small operating theater, and the doctor’s office, while the supply room and the morgue occupied the lower level. Once the first floor was added to the east and west side sections beyond what later became the Dining Hall, that became the new Isolation Ward. Upon the completion of the second floor the Isolation Ward and operating theater were moved there while the first floor became the new main ward. It wasn’t until 1786 when the third flow was constructed that the hospital took on its current layout, with the second floor becoming the intensive care ward and operating theater and the first floor left as the main ward and office, the ground floor was used exclusively as storage, and the morgue remaining on the lower level.

The third floor was used for many thing over the last two centuries: isolation from infectious diseases, a holding area for the insane, and even a quiet ward for those close to death. In the last fifty years the third floor remained empty, and it wasn’t until Coraline became the school’s full-time doctor that she began using the floor as a secure area to conduct examinations and hold meetings. She had computers and holgraphic displays installed, and having most of the space enchanted in the same way as the Dining Hall so she could configure furniture as required.

All of these were employed before Coraline’s guests showed. The computers were on and the main holographic monitor was active, with both tired into Sabrina, the school’s artificial intelligence. A long table with everyone’s lunch order sat out of the way, and a large circular table with four chairs was set up closer to the holographic display so the group could pull up information while eating.

The floor was ready: all that remained were the members of the brain trust to arrive.

Erywin and Jessica arrived on time, as Coraline expected. She glanced about the open space as Jessica and she crossed the eight meters from the lift to the holo display. “Where’s Deanna?”

 

Finally I get up to the third floor of the hospital, a place I’ve known about for some time.

Though you wouldn't know it from this layout.

Though you wouldn’t know it from this layout.

In my original design of the Great Hall I worked up the hospital:

Like here, where you see the location of Annie's and Kerry's second home.

Like here, where in the center of this picture you see Annie’s and Kerry’s second home away from home.

But while I knew the third floor was there, I couldn’t show it because the computer I used to render these plans was freaking out a little due to the processing requirements.  But I know about this floor because–oh, that’s right, I can’t tell you.  Spoilers.

I’ve also known about the history of this building because . . .

I have a time line?

I have a time line?

Here, in condensed form, is a few hundred years of Salem construction history.  Most of the high points are shown, and I’m certain as time goes on, when I think of something that needs adding–and looking at this I already know it’s needed–then I’ll put it in.

This also means that the events happening in this part of the book are also in my time line, so they are known.  And they are coming.  And there’s going to be little that can stop them.

Preparing the Due

Before we get into talk of things and stuff and all that goes with that, let’s discuss the personal things.  First off, the cold actually seems to be going.  I pretty much slept throughout the whole night, waking up perhaps once but not for long.  This morning my nose is clearing, and while I still have a bit of a cough, it’s a dry one, and I half expect it to vanish soon.  That’s one good thing, then.

Finished up Childhood’s End last night, which is the primary reason I haven’t written a whole lot over the last three days.  I want to say that while I didn’t hate it, it wasn’t the story I remembered, either, and some of the changes kinda ran against me in a strange and almost bad way.  As some might say, “It’s not the dramatization we deserved, it’s the dramatization we got,” and the fact we got it after sixty years is going to have to going to have to do.

There were a couple of moments, though, that left me crying hard, though probably not for reasons that had anything to do with the movie.  I always hate when that happens.

All the personal stuff is out of the way, so on to the important things . . .

The time has come for more meetings.  I think this is the first chapter, probably in both books, where every scene to this point has involved a meeting, and nearly all of the focus has been on the adults.  Now the three counselors are together, and it’s time for them to talk about what the reader already knows–

 

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

Erywin was quite aware of the reason for this meeting, because any time she received an email from Mathilde telling her another instructor or counselor wanted to meet, there was only one reason for the meeting. Given that the people she was meeting was Coraline and Deanna—the school’s other counselors—she was certain of the reason.

She didn’t bother with a tap on the door and a command to enter: she opened the door and strode in like she belonged there—which, since she was invited, she did. “Hello, ladies.” She activated the enchantment that would turn the door frame red—and indication that the room was in use and that the people inside were not to be disturbed—before waving the door shut. Erywin headed towards the first open chair and sat. “Hope I haven’t kept you.”

“Not at all.” Deanna set her water glass upon the table between Coraline and her and faced Erywin who sat across from them. “We arrived about ten minutes ago just to make certain no one else tried appropriating our space.”

“Good.” Erywin popped her tablet out of hammerspace and set it to floating to her left. “Given that the headmistress asked that I show for this meeting, am I to assume we have a LGBTAIQ issue that requires due diligence?”

Coraline nodded. “That’s correct.”

Erywin tapped her tablet screen. “I’m recording; let’s begin. What’s the situation?”

Coraline ran down the particulars of the case, telling Erywin much the same things as Deanna and she had told the headmistress almost twelve hours earlier. They related what they’d discerned from the actions in the dreams, what they saw in the aura, and the suppositions they took from their viewing.

Through it all Erywin sat and listened. She was like this when she was hearing about a student suffering from depressed, who appeared to be uncomfortable around others, who suddenly became moody and withdrawn . . . because she was being asked to see if there was something about the student that they had yet to admit to others, perhaps even to themselves, and with which they might need a comforting hand to hold and a sympathetic shoulder upon which to lean.

She finally sighed and sat back in her chair. “It sounds interesting. Is the student in question a boy or a girl?”

 

This is a lot different Erywin than we’ve seen before:  she’s serious and attentive, almost business-like in how she approaches the matter.  She knows her stuff, and she also knows how someone at these ages might feel if they suddenly begin having feelings that have either been there and they’d denied, or they find them blossoming, much as what happened with Erywin at the end of her A Levels.  While there’s a zero-tolerance policy against bullying at the school, that doesn’t mean coming out is any easier for a student.

Now that she has the basics, she start getting into the detail–and this is where it gets interesting . . .

 

Deanna took a moment to sip her drink. “Boy.”

“Then based upon what you’ve told me, is it safe to say that you believe the student may have Gender Identity Disorder?”

“That’s our belief at the moment.” This time Deanna held the glass and rested it against the chair arm. “But we don’t know—”

“We’re not fully trained in these matters—” Coraline ran fingers through her hair and smoothed out her jeans, trying to rid herself of nervous energy. “Not like you. That’s why you’re here.”

“I hope I can help.” Erywin tilted her tablet so she could see the display. “All right, then: who’s the student?”

Coraline and Deanna exchanged glances and said nothing for almost five seconds. Finally Coraline cleared her throat. “Well, um—”

Erywin didn’t understand their hesitancy at naming the student. “Is there a problem?”

Deanna shook her head. “No.”

“Okay, then, who’s the student?”

Coraline looked towards the door. “You know him.”

“Oh, fabulous.” Erywin scratched at the side of her face. “That narrows it down to about forty students.” She raked her nails over the leather chair arm. “Does this student have a name?”

Coraline nodded. “Yes.”

“May I have it?”

Coraline glanced to her left at the seer and shrugged; Deanna returned a soft grin and turned toward Erywin, ready with the answer. “Kerry Malibey.”

Now it was Erywin’s turn to stare and say nothing. She sat with her legs crossed for almost ten seconds before continuing the conversation. “Kerry Malibey?”

Deanna held her hands against her stomach. “Yes.”

“Well . . .” Both of Erywin’s eyebrows slowly rose until they were half way to her hairline. “I hate to sound unprofessional, but—” Her face twisted into an unbelieving frown. “Are you fucking serious?”

 

Yeah, that is a big unprofessional, Erywin, but given the amount of time she’s spent around Kerry, it’s quite likely she would find the name surprising.  She’s also counseled Annie and Kerry together for “couple’s matters”, but then, so have Coraline and Deanna–just ask Kerry’s mom.  Though the later case had to do with their shared vision and Erywin actually spoke with them when Annie began suffering guilt over her notion that she was railroading Kerry towards the altar.

So tonight, if I don’t have too many adult beverages or something, will write the rest of this scene.  It shouldn’t be contentious . . .

Though I'm preparing to find a few of my readings looking at me like this . . .

Though I’m prepared to find a few of my readers looking at me this way . . .

Speculations of the Dreaming Kind: Sleeping Suppositions  

Because today is something of a big day for me, I promised I would get the last scene out of the way and finish up what’s going on in Chapter Twenty.  And guess what?

Totally did that.

Totally did that.

Oh, and also:  I came within four hundred and seventy-five words of one hundred and eighty thousand words.  Woot!  Another month and I’ll crack two hundred thousand . . . didn’t I say this novel would finish up around two hundred and twenty-five thousand words?  Yeah . . . about that–

Forget about that for now:  at the moment Coraline’s sitting with Deanna in her school apartment, and the question “What does it mean?” has been asked.  Where does that take us?  Here:

 

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

Deanna wished she had tea at this moment, as the simple act of holding the steaming cup brought her comfort. “If we were talking about another boy in another relationship, I’d venture that the girl is a subconscious desire to warn the boy that his relationship is wanting or doomed.” She rubbed her fingertips together. “But we are talking about Annie and Kerry—”

“Yeah.” Coraline glanced at her slippers and chuckled. “There’s no way those two are in danger of breaking up.”

“I agree.”

 

Seers and doctors alike agree:  these two lurv each other.  No breaking up stuff for them!  Onward:

 

“So we’re back to the question of ‘What does it mean?’ again.”

Deanna knew that wasn’t exactly true. “There are two other possibilities. One is that someone is dreamwalking him; the other is that he’s having a vision.” She switched arms and now rested her chin against her left hand. “Both have their merits and problems.”

“A vision can’t kick you out of a dream.” Coraline leaned forward, her hands on her thighs. “That’s something a dreamwalker would do.”

“There is a lot of truth there—and it would be difficult to dreamwalk a real vision. But a dream vision?” Deanna shook her head. “There are schools of thought on the matter that a skilled dreamwalker could enter a dream vision—”

“Do you believe that?”

“I do. I’ve never tried it, but then, one would never know if they were inside a dream vision or a normal dream unless they knew what they were seeing.” Deanna slowly ran her right index nail up and down the middle of her upper lip. “What did you think of the school uniform the girl was wearing?”

“A Cernunnos B Level?” Coraline remembered the look they’d exchanged when Kerry mentioned that detail. “That can’t be coincidental, either.”

Deanna shook her head. “Annie didn’t think so, either.”

“She did her damnedest not to react when she heard that one.” Coraline chuckled darkly. “It’s a good thing there isn’t a student like that here now—”

“Yet.”

 

The detail of the school uniform that Carrot Girl–a favorite name from one of the readers that I have adopted, because we’re all about our veggies here–was not mentioned in the scene where Kerry discussed his dreams; one of the ideas with this scene is that far more was discussed after I ended the prior scene.  Now we know:  she was a Cernunnos B Level.  Which is why the following comes up:

 

Coraline saw the meaning behind the word. “You think it’s a vision?”

“It could very well be. Perhaps next year, or the year after—”

“Or the year after that.”

“—We’ll see a girl like the one Kerry’s described walk through Founder’s Gate and get placed by The Phoenix in Cernunnos—”

“Where she’ll run into something when she’s a B Level that will require Kerry saving her life?”

 

Coraline’s only asking that because Kerry’s already proven that he’ll jump in and do stupid things to save the lives of ginger hair girls.  Well, not stupid:  I’m sure nearly everyone at school who knows of him saving Emma from the Abomination thinks his actions were brave.  Unless their name is Annie.  Then they likely think he was stupid.  Though they’ll never say that in public.  Well, maybe once.  Or twice.  We’ll see.

This gets Deanna to pointing out that the idea of Kerry saving someone he’s never seen before isn’t all that strange for this joint . . .

 

Deanna shrugged. “Stranger things have happened here, haven’t they?” She sat the tip of her nose against the top of her left index finger and looked away from the woman across from her. “Did you ever imagine when school started in 2011 that one of the first things you’d do is tell a boy from Cardiff that a Bulgarian girl was in love with him?”

“No, I didn’t.” Coraline replayed that particular memory that moment, remembering how concerned Annie appeared when she asked Coraline to examine the boy who helped her to the hospital; how Kerry stared when Coraline began using the scanner; the way he seemed talking about wandering Amsterdam with Kerry before coming to school; and the look upon his face when she told him that Annie was madly in love with him. “I do remember, however, that when I was telling you guys what happened the next day you didn’t seem all that surprised.”

“Well, you did tell us at the end of Orientation Day and I’d already met them, so . . .” She left the question hanging. “Maybe I already suspected something about their relationship?”

“Sure.” Coraline flashed a slight smile as she got to her feet. “Anyway, what’s next?”

“Just as we advised—” Deanna rose and escorted Coraline to the door. “Kerry keeps track of his dreams, and when this girl appears again—which I’m certain she’ll do—he’s to write down what happened, then come and see us.” She hesitated before waving the door open. “Perhaps more information will make it easier for us to determine what’s happening.”

“You really don’t know what’s happening—” Coraline turned to face the seer. “Do you?”

Deanna shook her head slowly. “Not a clue.”

Coraline pursed her lips. “It must suck not knowing.”

“Actually, no, it doesn’t. Sometimes it’s nice not knowing.”

“Really?”

“Sure.” Deanna waved her hand and the door opened slowly and quietly. “I do like to be surprised from time-to-time, you know.”

 

Deanna likes surprises.  That’s one bit of good news.  And this thing with Kerry is . . . surprising her.  Um, yay?  Is she really surprised, or is she just telling Deanna that?  Hum . . . well, I know, but I’m not saying.

Chapter Twenty-One is next, and it looks like it’s full of Express Farewells, puppets, and death.  You know what?  That sounds like a hell of a lot of fun.

I better get to writing that tonight.

Willkommen in Wien: Das Treffen

Here we are once more, with my quick and dirty just under seven hundred word, excerpt.  Not a lot is happening, but on the other hand, everything is happening, and it’s going to happen quickly.  Because, it seems, someone is getting set up here–

 

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

Bernice turned her back for a few seconds and smiled. She couldn’t prove anything, but the current situation so felt like Annie had tried to do something that didn’t sit well with her mother, and Pavlina decided that since her daughter was bringing her boyfriend with her to Vienna, she may as well bring Annie’s father along to meet the lad. If what I’ve read about Annie is true, I know where she gets her drive and stubbornness.

An announcement sounded through the room. “Vian atenton, mi petas. Teleportation de la Salem Instituto de Granda Lernado kaj Edukado ekkomprenas. Studentoj alvenante en dek kvin sekundoj.” People in the room turned towards the glassed in area anticipation of the arrival of children returning for the holidays.

 

In case your Esperanto is rusty, what was announced was this:  “Your attention, please. Teleportation from the Salem Institute of Greater Learning and Education is commencing. Students arriving in fifteen seconds.”  I really like there are a number of Esperanto translators around, and while this isn’t perfect, it’s good enough for my needs.  And my needs are simple.

But if there are students coming in from Salem, you know what that means . . .

 

A massive set of pops echoed through the platform room as just over a dozen kids jaunted in from America. Bernice looked for one child in particular, and she spotted him immediately. Kerry was up front near the edge, his bag on his right and Annie on his left. They stepped off the platform and proceeded through the opening glass doors into the waiting area. Bernice watched how they remained side-by-side from one room to the next—and that they held hands the whole time—

She wasn’t the only one to notice.

Annie broke from Kerry the moment she saw her parents. He wandered over to Bernice. “Hi, Ms. Rutherford.”

“Hello, Kerry.” This close to him it wasn’t difficult to see how different he seemed from this time last year. Then he was a tired, mopey boy who missed a young girl from Bulgaria terribly. Now he seemed better adjusted, less sad, a great deal more upbeat. “How are you?”

“I’m fine.” He smiled and patted the handle of his bag. “It was a good night and we had a good morning—”

Kerry.”

 

The last time Kerry heard his name called out like that he had to meet someone.  And, well:  it’s no different this time–

 

He and Bernice turned in the direction of Annie’s voice. Bernice suspected what was coming next, but as for the boy to her left—

He faced Annie, but his eyes were on the two adults with her—particular the man on her left. “Yes?”

“I’d like to introduce my parents.” She motioned to her right. “You remember my mother?”

“Yes, I do.” He held out his hand. “Hello again, Mrs. Kirilova.”

“How are you, Kerry?” She shook his hand. “It’s a pleasure to see you again.”

“Good to see you, too.”

Annie motioned the man next to her forward. “And this . . . is my father.”

Once more he held out his hand. “How do you do? Victor Kirilov.”

Kerry took his hand. “Kerry Malibey.” They shook. “How do you do, sir?”

“I’m well, thank you.” Victor stared at Kerry; the boy stared back. Neither spoke while Victor seemed to regard the lad carefully. “So . . . The Ginger Hair Boy.” The right side of his mouth curled upward. “We meet at last.”

Kerry voice caught in his throat, the only sign he may have felt a bit unnerved. “Yes, sir, it appears we are.”

 

So, here we are:  both kids in Vienna, Kerry’s case worker there, and he’s facing both of Annie’s parents, but mostly it’s her dad who’s taking up his time right now.  How’s that feel, Kerry?

"I've fought monsters--this is just Annie's dad . . . I'd rather the monsters."

“I’ve fought monsters–this is just Annie’s dad . . . I’d rather the monsters.”

Hang in there, kid.  I’m sure I can give you more time tomorrow.

But for now, I gotta run, ’cause . . . stuff.  And things . . .