The Night Air: Out of the Cold

It wasn’t so much a long night as it’s been a long morning.  Though not too bad:  I slept until five-twenty and began writing about six, and churned out about five hundred words over the course of an hour on this extremely foggy morning here in The Burg.  I’m about to get on the road in another two hours because I have things to do some ninety minutes to the south in Maryland, so I thought it might be best to get a little noveling in before I do all the stuff I have to do in order to make myself presentable to the outside world.

It’s a slow and probably quaint little slice of life at the Home by the Sea, and after all that flying about in the cold the kids are happy to be back in the bosom of comfort.  It was discussed by Vicky and Isis in the previous scene, and here we see it coming to fruition:

 

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

The evening wound down into the expected as soon Annie and Kerry were back at the school and on the ground. Within a minute of landing Vicky and Isis them off to the hospital, where Nurse Gretchen greeted them in the waiting room and escorted then to Bay #1, where they were order to remove their heavy coats and flying gear, strip down to their thermal underwear, and to each lay on a bed so Gretchen could run her preliminary health scans.

Coraline showed up about a minute into the scan and told Gretchen she’d finish the scans and asked her to get them slippers and robes. A minute later the scans were finished and Gretchen was back. After Kerry and she were in their robes and slippers, Coraline said she didn’t see anything on the scans that indicated any problems, and told them to head down to the lounge area of the ward and wait for the snacks coming from the kitchen. They were also given a blanket and told the huddle under it while they waited if they felt cold, and by the time they reached the small lounge they agreed they needed more warming.

They didn’t need to wait long. The kitchen sent up hot chocolate, which wasn’t a surprise, and tikvenik, which was. Annie knew these well: they were a traditional Christmas Eve desert, a type of banitsa made with pumpkin and walnuts, but this was Kerry’s first time enjoying them, and while he admitted he didn’t enjoy pumpkin that much, he loved nuts, and thought serving them with powered sugar and a touch of whipped cream made them taste fantastic.

 

This is the first time we’ve had both Annie and Kerry down to their thermal underwear, something that doesn’t bother Kerry that much as he’s already seen another girl in her thermals *cough*emma*cough*.  At his point neither of them are uncomfortable being with each other like this in front of others, probably a consequence of their having spent time together at locations outside the school.  Anyway, they’re comfortable at least.

Now, another Bulgarian treat makes an appearance.  Tikvenik is a banitsa made by wrapping a pumpkin and walnut mix in Philo dough and setting it to bake.  The banitsa the kids have had up to this point are usually sweeter, making this a new experience for Kerry.

Did you ever imagine you'd learn so much about Bulgarian food?

Did you ever imagine you’d learn so much about Bulgarian food?

And there’s a reason for this, too:  Coraline’s using something tasty to build up their metabolism–

 

They both understood the reason for this snack selection: a good concentration of carbohydrate and protein combined with a touch of sweetness. Tikvenik filed and gave her energy on many cold evenings in Bulgaria, and they were doing the same thing here. Annie sat close to Kerry, eating her pumpkin sweets and drinking her hot chocolate, and keeping her mind not on the activities of the last few hours, but of the person to her right.

It took them about twenty minutes to finish their snacks, and as soon as they finished Coraline marched them back to Bay #1 for a second med check. This check took about two minutes, and when it was over Coraline turned away from the machine with a self-satisfied smile and not only addressed them, but Vicky and Isis as well. “There was a negligible reduction in their body temperatures during the first scan, but they’ve recovered from that nicely. I don’t seen anything here that would constitute a medical issue—however . . .” She glanced over her shoulder at the two women standing behind her. “I’ve been asked by Vicky to hold you overnight for observation. Just in case.”

Kerry sat up straight. “Are we spending the night here, then?”

“Yes. I’ve already sent Gretchen to get your night clothes and supplies for the morning.”

“Maybe we should keep a pair of pajamas here all the time—” Annie did her best to keep from smiling. “That way Nurse Gretchen isn’t running off to the tower to retrieve our things.”

Vicky nodded. “Probably would make things easier.”

Isis cleared her throat, something which Coraline didn’t let slide. “Something to say, Director?”

Isis shook her head. “Had something stuck in my throat, Doctor. Nothing you need to examine.”

Coraline nodded and turned her attention back to her patients. “As soon as Gretchen is here you can change and get to sleep. It’s past lights out and we should all be off to bed.”

Vicky positioned herself at the end of Annie’s bed as Coraline stepped back. “Since we don’t have lessons tomorrow, we’ll debrief at nine. Come out to the Flight School after breakfast.”

“We’ll be there.” Annie leaned over her crossed legs and bid everyone a good night.

A few seconds after everyone departed Nurse Gretchen appeared with their night clothes. Annie wasn’t under any illusions about why they were here: there wasn’t anything wrong with them, and the way all three women looked when Coraline mentioned they were being held for “observation” told her they were all intent on allowing Kerry and her the night together, and felt they were being rewarded for a job well done.

 

Nice move there, Annie, suggesting Coraline keep some of their pajamas there because, well, why not?  Annie’s already figured out what Isis was accusing Vicky of doing:  being an enabler and treating the kids to some time quality night time together.  And it seems that’s happening, because even Coraline knows there’s nothing wrong with the kids.  She could send them back to their tower, but she’s not, and Isis has decided to keep her mouth shut about the matter, because as she said, until the headmistress says something, she’s chill about it, too.

I’ll be gone most of the day, but I may finish this tonight after arriving back home.  Only because there is something big about to happen in the novel, and that’s gonna really eat up some time to make it come to life . . .

Playing Out the Course

I know, I’m late again, but what the hell, right?  There are reasons because I’ve been writing like crazy this morning–like fifteen hundred and fifty words worth of writing.

The scene is finished, and it’s become–due to the writing this weekend–the second longest scene in the novel.  And in writing this much I’ve bought the novel to within about seventeen hundred words of one hundred and fifty thousand words.  Really, it’s been a great weekend after weeks of feeling like I didn’t want to write a thing.  So it’s been a relief to get that writing groove back.

And to make this chapter the longest in the part so far.

And, in the process, to make this chapter the longest in the novel with just a few hundred more words

This finishes up what ended with Vicky and Erywin seeing Emma and Kerry abut to get on their brooms and ride.  Where were they going?  That’s easy to answer . . .

 

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

Emma spoke for them. “We’re going up to check on the weather to the south.”

“You don’t mean to the south?”

“The only stuff to the east of us is Newfoundland and the Atlantic.” She tossed her head in Kerry’s direction. “That’s what my navigator says.”

“What can I say?” He held up his hands and shrugged. “I’m good with maps.”

“That you are.” Vicky pointed towards the group of students warming themselves around the fires. “Don’t feel like hanging with the others?”

Kerry shook his head. “Franky’s still mad.”

“He’s throwin’ shade our way—” Emma mounted her broom. “Beside, we already had our hot chocolate.”

“Yep.” Kerry slipped his leg over this broom. “We’re regenerated.” He wink at Erywin. “Good for another life.”

Erywin looked upward as she slowly shook her head. “Where are you going.”

Kerry pointed to the sky over his head. “Straight up.”

“About eight hundred to a thousand meters.” Emma flipped her hood up and tightened it around her face. “That should give us a good view.”

“Sounds good.” Vicky tapped her wrist. “Five minutes, no more.”

Emma nodded. “Got it.” She waited for Kerry to finish getting his gear in place, then they shot straight up into the together.

Vicky and Erywin followed their path upward. “Yeah, looks about a klick to me.” Vicky checked the contents of her much. “Should finish this before they get back.”

“Or get a refill.” Erywin took a long sip from hers. “Emma loves using the radar function to check the weather.”

“I was surprised she figured it out.”

“I’m not.” Erywin softened her tone slightly. “They working together okay?”

“You’ve seen them this trip. They’re doing well.” Vicky quickly glanced upward. “Setting her down for a weekend after that crash was a good idea.”

“She needed it: her ego was getting the best of her.” Erywin finished her hot chocolate and shook out her mug. “I’m going to ask a stupid question—”

“Be my guest.”

“Why haven’t you used them yet?”

Vicky finished the last of her drink and flipped the last few drops away onto the frozen ground. “You know what Vanessa Williams says, don’t you?”

Erywin gave the flight instructor a pained smirk. “I’m afraid I’m not up on her catalog.”

“You should be.” Vicky quickly glanced upward once more. “Follow my lead, okay?” She waited as Emma and Kerry dropped below the tree line and gently slowed to a hover before approaching. “So what’s the story, morning glories?”

 

There you go:  it’s all about the weather and playing with the broom’s radar systems to look for fronts and such.  And what did they find?

 

Emma threw back the hood of her parka and stripped off her heavy cap and flight helmet before answering. “Weather to the south and southwest looks clear: we saw nothing out of the ordinary on the radar.”

Kerry was putting his heavy cap on as he stood next to his broom. “We got out at least a hundred kilometers; we can always take another sighting when we get further south.”

Vicky keep her pleasure from showing on her face. “Assuming we’re heading that way.”

“Don’t see any other way.” Kerry shrugged. “Though we could be going west from here—”

“Why not east?”

“Like Emma said, nothing to the east of us but Newfoundland and ocean.”

Emma stuck her hands in her pockets. “Of course—”

Vicky stared back looking unconcerned. “Yes?”

“It would be nice if we knew where we were going from here.”

“We’ve already covered a thousand kilometers—” Kerry pulled his arms across his torso and squeezed himself to stretch. “I’d like to know how much more we have to go.”

 

First off, that “We got out at least a hundred kilometers” is a completely legitimate statement:  I found a “Distance to Horizon” calculator, and if you’re a thousand meters up, you can see about one hundred and twelve kilometers.  Research!

And now Emma wants to know where they’re going.  And you know if she wants to know, Kerry does, too.  They probably even spoke about it when they were checking the advanced weather–

 

Vicky couldn’t help be be impressed. “You’ve been keeping track of our courses?”

“Sure.” He turn on a lop-sided grin. “All good navigators would.”

“And you are a good navigator.” Vicky slowly turned towards Erywin. “You think it’d be cheating if I mentioned where the rest of our checkpoints are?”

Erywin saw what Vicky was doing, and fully understood what she’d meant when she said to follow her lead. “Well . . .” She turned an appraising eye upon the two students. “I mean, as long as they don’t say anything to the others—”

Emma pipped up. “We won’t.”

Kerry nodded several times. “Promise.”

“Well, then—” She turned back to her eager pupils. “I don’t see the harm.” Vicky pulled her tablet from Hammerspace and clicked off their remaining checkpoints. “From here it’s the ferry terminal at Wood Islands, then the airport outside Trenton; main highway intersection at Aspen; Point of the Beach at Liscomb Island; Port of Sheet Harbor; the Canadian Naval Maintenance Facility at Halifax; Cape D’or Lighthouse and Advocate Harbor; West Side Docks in Saint John; Yarmouth Harbor and then . . .” She slipped the tablet back into her magical storage space. “Home. Rockport and the school.”

 

Not much, huh?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But now . . . it’s been hinted how well Emma and Kerry work together.  Guess what?  Here’s how that works:

 

The two children exchanged glances, then Kerry turned to his broom and pulled up a holographic map of the area on his tablet while Emma moved to his right to help. Vicky and Erywin moved closer and Kerry began moving the map about, looking for reference points. He touched two spots on map. “We got Halifax and Saint John—”

Emma half turned her head towards Kerry. “Isn’t St. John in Newfoundland?”

“That’s St. John’s.” He quickly slid the map to the east to show his wingmate. “Different city. What we want is in New Brunswick—” He shifted the map to the west, centered on St. John, and zoomed in. “There’s the West End Docks, and here—” He pushed the map so they were now over Halifax. “There’s the naval station.”

 

Keep in mind these maps are marked–which is how he’s finding the Canadian Naval Station–and Kerry has an excellent grasp of geography:  it’s obvious in the way he knew there were two cities that were almost St. John.  And Emma doesn’t get upset when she’s corrected:  since Kerry is the navigator of the team, and it’s because she’s aware he knows his maps.  At times, though, she even helps out:

 

“Sounds good.” Emma looked at the map as Kerry expanded the display. “There’s Trenton, just north of Glasgow.”

“Got it.” He zoomed in on Trenton, Nova Scotia. “And there’s the airport. Which means—” He move the display a bit to the north. “There’s Wood Islands, and there’s the ferry terminal.” He tapped the map in both places, marking the checkpoint. “Now for an island.”

Emma pointed at the map. “There’s a bunch on the southeast coast of Nova Scotia.” He moved the display along the Atlantic Coast of the Canadian province and began scanning. He spotted a familiar name. “There’s the town of Liscomb—”

“And Liscomb Island is right next to it.” He zoomed the map. “And Point of the Beach—there.” He marked the map and zoomed out. “Aspen has to be between the two . . .” He tapped the edge of the display twice to zoom inward just a bit and found the small town of Aspen about thirty kilometers to the north of the island. “There’s that, and now . . .” He shifted the map to the west looking for a point between Halifax and St. John, and found it almost instantly. “Advocate Harbor and the lighthouse.” He moved the display eastward once more and fount the Port of Sheet Harbor after thirty seconds.

Emma gave a satisfied sigh. “Now for Yarmouth.”

“Already figured that out.” He pushed the map display to his right until they were looking at the western coast of Nova Scotia. “Right there.” He marked the point. “About as west as you can get before you run out of land. Which means . . .” He sketched a line to the southwest until he encountered a well-known point of land. “Rockport. And our home by the sea just to the west.” He quickly connected the marked points on the map, creating a line from their current location back to the school. “There’s it is: that’s the route.”

 

And it’s a big route:

 

Neither child spoke while Emma spent a few seconds examining the course. “How long?”

Kerry made several quick measurements between points. “One thousand sixty-six kilometers.”

Emma glanced at her instructors before turning to Kerry. “That’s as much as we’ve flown today.”

He nodded. “Yep. Lots of miles to fly before we sleep.”

“And there’s the stretch—” She pointed at the last leg going from Yarmouth to Rockport.

Kerry measured the distance. “About three hundred and eighty-five kilometers, all over the Gulf of Maine.”

“That’s gonna freak some people.”

“For real.”

“That’s gonna take a lot of time.” Emma gazed skyward. “We’ve already been flying seven hours—and it’s gonna get dark in a couple of hours.”

 

If you want to see what that looks like–

Don't bother asking:  you know I have it all ready to go.

Don’t bother asking: you know I have it all ready to go.

From PEI to Cape Ann, there it is.  And Emma’s aware of the changing conditions, and that it won’t be long before they’re flying in darkness once more.  That only seems to get the mental gears working harder, however . . .

 

“True, but—” Kerry measured the two legs before the final leg home. “From Advocate to home is six hundred and fifty kilometers. So it’s about four hundred kilometers from here to there. And once we reach Advocate Harbor—” He traced the course. “Zoom, bang, confirm; zoom, bang, confirm; zoom—Boom.” He nodded at Emma. “Home.”

She nodded back. “We can turn it on.”

“We can do the same here—” He pointed out the stretch between Liscomb Island and Halifax. “One quick stop, then power on.”

“Yeah, right.” She began concentrating on the course. “We could do the first four hundred in under seventy-five—”

“And the same for the last six-fifty.”

“It’s gonna be dark on that last six.

“Maybe not.” He pointed at the long final stretch over the ocean. “We’ll be heading west—”

“Chasing the sun—”

“If we do it right—”

She nodded “We could—”

He nodded back. “Totally.”

Vicky was content to listen to them work out the flight in the verbal shorthand she’d seen them used before. Now it was her turn to speak. “So what are you guys saying?”

 

And this is how they work together:  they get on the same wavelength and they get to where they don’t need to say everything, because they’re so sure they know the other is thinking the same thing that they just cut each other off because there’s no need for complete sentences.  That’s called teamwork, and they have it.

So what are they saying?

 

Vicky was content to listen to them work out the flight in the verbal shorthand she’d seen them used before. Now it was her turn to speak. “So what are you guys saying?”

Emma turned to Vicky. “Based on this course, we could run it in two and a half hours.” She took a short, deep breath. “What time is it?”

Kerry was looking at his display. “It’s almost fifteen twenty-five local, fourteen twenty-five back home.”

Emma nodded before giving her final analysis to Vicky. “If we’re brooms up at fifteen hours, Salem time, we—” She shifted her eyes towards Kerry, letting Vicky know she was indicating their team. “—could be home by seventeen-thirty.”

“That’s a bold statement.” Vicky turned to Kerry. “You agree with that?”

“I do.” He looked towards his wingmate. “Emma’s got her numbers right.”

“Though to do it, we’re gonna have to move fast.” Emma shrugged. “Based on what we’ve seen, that could freak some people out and they might not want to keep up.”

“You’ve seen how it works: your flight, your rules.” She slowly turned to Erywin. “Though some of those points we’ll have to hit in the dark—”

Erywin got the hint. “Which we might miss—

Kerry cut off the instructor. “We won’t.”

Vicky glanced at him out of the corner of her eye. “You could miss your—”

I won’t.”

Given the determination she heard in Kerry’s voice, Vicky decided not to push that point. She stepped up to examine his course in more detail. “How much time would you need to work this up?”

He looked over the map almost lovingly. “The course is there; all I’d need to do is figure out the headings—”

Emma moved next to him, while continuing to look at Vicky. “And once Kerry gives me the individual distances I can work out time-to-target.”

“Again, how much time you need?”

The wingmates exchange a momentary glance, then they both nodded. Emma answered. “Fifteen minutes.”

 

Annie is sure of her magic, and Kerry knows his navigation.  When either says they can do something, believe them.  Needless to say, they are ready to rock, and all they need is a blessing.

 

Vicky had already made up her mind minutes before, so a decision wasn’t difficult. “Do it—go.” She took Erywin’s arm and led her away from the team members and towards the rest of the party. “See what I mean?”

“I do now.” She matched step with Vicky. “So what did Vanessa Williams say?”

Vicky half-grinned. “Save the best for last.” She stepped into the area where the other students sat warming up. She gave them a few seconds to hush before making her announcement. “All right, listen up. Make the most of your rest because flight instruction begins at fourteen forty-five, and we will be brooms up at fifteen hours.” She clasped her hands and nodded back over her shoulder. “Team Myfanwy’s got the ball: they’re talking us home.”

 

And that is about as definitive as it gets:  “These kids are taking us home.”  Of course no one else knows how long the way home is . . .

This was the penultimate scene of the chapters, and now it’s back to the school, where the next scene becomes Annie-centric because I’m heading back to the school–

Just like Salem Overnight is doing.

Grasping Beyond the Gaspé

This has been one crazy morning.  So much has happened:  tax calculations, writing, coffee, writing, listening to music, writing, getting dressed and going to the post office, writing . .

If you haven’t figured it out, there’s been a lot of writing.  In fact, last night and this morning have proven to be the most productive session I’ve had in a long time.  How much?  Eleven hundred and twenty-three last night, and one thousand, nine hundred, and twenty-two this morning.  And believe it or not, I haven’t finished the scene:  it’s still going, though I’m much closer to the end than the beginning.  And I may finish that up tonight–it’s hard to say.  This is how it is when you hit a writing groove.  And keeping Eminem’s Go To Sleep on repeat helps keep the juice going as well.

A huge chunk of last night’s scene had to do with the camp breaking down and heading out into the cold gray overcast yonder.  And believe it or not, this scene has become one of the most heavily researched scenes I’ve done since sending my kids off to Kansas City.  I mean, I’ve looked at tents, sleeping bags, cots, backpacks, what to wear as arctic gear, mapping the route, checking the historical weather for the area at the time . . . and lastly, it came to me a couple of days a good that I had no idea what the wind chill, but that’s because I wasn’t sure how fast my kids were averaging on their flights.

Which is why my notes now look like this:

 

Camp Baxter to Fish River Lake to Allagash to north shore Beau Lake (US side): Team Zanzibar 139.5 km 27 F/-3 C, overcast, flight wind chill 3 F/-16 C, 07:00 start, 130 kph/65 minutes, 08:05 end

Rest 08:05 to 08:30

 

Yeah, that’s how I roll:  like a crazy bitch who has to know everything.  But as you’ll see nearly all of this came into play in the scene.  Let’s head back to what I’d like to wake up, get going, and then break camp–

 

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

Wake up came at five and the students found something waiting for them far different than their normal mornings in the towers. There weren’t any showers and the toilets were outside, in the cold, behind privacy curtains. They also had to dress in cold, cramped quarters, which led to a lot of issues and grumbling. Vicky expected this: a majority of the students had never camped out, and picking early winter for their first time out made the kids far more uncomfortable than normal.

Rivânia and Nadine began setting up the fires while it was still dark, and unlike when they were setting up camp, they accepted Kerry’s help in getting them going. In less than a minute they had eight fires warming the camp, for unlike normal camp fires these floats mere centimeters off the ground and didn’t require normal fuel to burn.

Vicky kept a close eye on the teams when it came to preparing breakfast. She’d pressed home the concept of division of labor when it came to camp set up, cooking, cleaning, and camp take down. She was pleased to see most of the groups did just as she’d taught, and she hoped that in their future expeditions would see this lesson continue.

She pushed them hard to eat, clean, and began tearing down and packing, for she wanted everyone ready to go brooms up at seven. There was a bottleneck getting the backpacks filled as Vicky and Erywin needed to help Rivânia and Nadine with their Compress spells. When she saw Kerry started to craft Compress on Emma and his gear she wondered if she should say something, but when she saw Nadine warn her off by shaking her head, she knew there wasn’t any need to worry.

They left Camp Baxter on-time and headed north with Team Zanzibar leading the flight. This was her plan for the day: various teams would get the opportunity to direct the whole flight to preselected locations. The only rules here was that each time had to figure out their course ahead of time and determine best speed to reach their objectives. It was also necessary for them to figure out how long it would take to reach objective, so when the lead team told Vicky they’d arrived, she could use her flight systems to determine if they were indeed where they were supposed to be, or if the lead flight had missed the mark.

 

You see Team Zanzibar’s flight schedule above, and you can follow it on the map I set out the other day.  I won’t bore you with everything, but here’s what they might see if they were on the ground–

Here’s the point close to Allagash, Maine, where they would turn north and head north to Beau Lake:

At least it's blue sky in this picture, and not cold, slate gray like they'll see.

At least it’s blue sky in this picture, and not cold, slate gray like they’ll see.

Then we hand off to the next team:

 

Beau Lake to Pohenegamook, Quebec, to north short Lac Pohenegamook to Aeroport de Rimouski: Team Picante 153.15 km * 32 F/0 C, wind 16 kph, light snow, flight wind chill 11 F/-11 C, 08:30 start, 125 kph/75 minutes, 09:45 end

Rest 09:45 to 10:10

 

They are the first team to lead the group into Canada, and therefore they’re crossing from one country to another–

And they're going right up that shore there.  Did you bring your passports, eh?

And they’re going right up that shore there. Did you bring your passports, eh?

Team Picante (and this word is Spanish for spicy, meant to reflect the foods one might find in the countries of the team members) runs into a little trouble, as well as something else–

 

They were only ten minutes along on their way to their next objective, the airport outside Rimouski, Quebec, when they ran into something Vicki expected to find before the morning was over: snow. The temperatures were actually three degrees warmer than what they’d flow through in Maine, but the snow and overcast skies lowered nearly everyone’s spirits. By the time they landed in a small plot of woods outside Rimouski, most of her students seemed miserably and grumpy.

 

Snow!  Wonderful Snow!  You knew it was going to happen eventually, and while the students have flow in snow before, they’ve only done it on marked paths inside the school walls.  And being out in a lot of it, in the air, and flying fast has freaked a few people out.  And now we’re going to throw another level of crazy on top of that:

 

She ordered a short rest and put Team Sulaco on the next leg. Mesha and Daudi were another pair of great fliers, and her instructions to them were to fly fast and stay focused. They didn’t disappoint: they went brooms up at ten-ten and crossed a sixty kilometer stretch of the St. Lawrence River in ten minutes. This was the first time the students had flown over any large body of water, and Vicky and Erywin were on a private channel mentioning the students who seemed uneasy flying over deep water through snow-filled air at three hundred kilometers and hour.

 

Sixty clicks is thirty-seven miles, and that’s a pretty good chunk of water to cross.  Up around that part of the river there aren’t any bridges, not only because of the width but the depth:  around that area it can be over a hundred meters deep, and that’s usually a lot deeper than set up piers for the bridges.

So first they streak north:

Get ready to say hello to The Great White North.

Get ready to say hello to The Great White North.

Then they hit the north shore, fly east for a while, and head back south:

Kinda like this only with more snow.

Kinda like this only with more snow.

Only this time they travel about one hundred kilometers over the river.

Which at this point sort of does look like the ocean.

Which at this point sort of does look like the ocean.

And after a rest we find out why she’s upset with some pissy little witches:

 

She picked Team Manga for the next leg, and this left her slightly concerned because Franky and Jiro, while good fliers, weren’t her best. However, they wouldn’t become better if they didn’t give them the opportunities to improve. This was that chance: if they performed this leg correctly they would leave Quebec behind and move on to their next Canadian province.

First they have to leave the Gaspé Peninsula behind.

The doubt that Franky and Jiro were not going to do as well as Vicky hoped came as they were departing as Jiro called out a different departure speed than he’d given during the preflight briefing. Vicky corrected him, and he returned a curt acknowledgment that she was correct. The temperature and weather conditions remained the same from the last two legs, and she heard Franky bitching to Jiro about how they should have taken a longer break due to the cold. Vicky rolled her eyes at Erywin, who was also listening in on the conversation, and she shook her head in disbelief.

The probably came as they approached the town of Murdochville, one of the only towns found in the interior of the Gaspé Peninsula. As they approached the sky resort on the east side of town the flight slowed enough for Vicky to get a position fix and to get visual proof that they did reach their checkpoint. She expected a nearly forty degree course change to the left towards their next objective, Fontenelle, but instead, Team Manga adjust their course nearly forty degrees to the right and southward and began to gather speed—

Three kilometers into their new course Emma and Kerry used the group channel to tell everyone that they were going the wrong way.

 

Just want you want to hear–those two telling you you’re doing it wrong.  “Hey, missed a turn!”  And Kerry’s probably made a few off-hand comments about how Annie psudo-kicked his girlfriend Lisa’s ass–though it’s hard to say if they’re really dating or, you know, just DTF like Lisa once said.

Things go from bad to ugly:

 

She was aware there wasn’t any love lost between the two teams. Vicky was aware of some animosity between Franky and Kerry, and Jiro and Emma had clashed on a couple of past occasions when she openly corrected Jiro’s flight calculations. Vicky was about to admonish Emma and Kerry privately for calling out the lead team when Franky chose that moment to remind them to shut up, that they knew what they were doing—

That’s when Vicky stepped in, and it became clearly obvious they didn’t know what they were doing. She brought the team to a halt in mid-air ask asked to see their course layout, and Franky—who was his team’s navigator—immediately because defensive and reiterated that they were on the correct heading. This back and forth went on for almost another thirty seconds before Vicky lost her temper and told Franky to show her their flight plan or she was going to jaunt him and Jiro back to the school and leave them locked in her office until she returned to the school with the rest of the flight.

The relented and she saw that instead of heading for Fontenelle they were heading due south to Bonaventure before turning southeast towards the next checkpoint. The total distance covered would have become slightly shorter, but she instantly saw the biggest difference in this different route, and the more she analyzed their flight plan, the more furious she became because it was apparently this wasn’t a simple navigation error, not when they’d mentioned Fontenelle and Gaspé during their flight briefing . . .

She ordered a new heading and told them to get moving. When Franky began complaining that he’d been unfairly singled out for a simple navigation error, Vicky shot a warning finger his way and told him to shut up or she was going to knock him on his ass the moment they landed. Though all the students knew Vicky wasn’t as inclined to physical violence as some instructors at Salem, they were also aware that she didn’t suffer fools, and few wanted to test her wrath.

 

Vicky does have a bit of a temper, but you really gotta push her buttons before it shows.  Franky somehow seems to know where those buttons are, and got her pissed.  So they leave Murdochville–

The scene of the crime, so to speak.

The scene of the crime, so to speak.

Take a rest outside Fontenelle, and then she hands the flight over to Team Azso, who flies them almost three hundred and forty kilometers to Prince Edward Island, which means traveling over one hundred and seventy-five kilometers of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which is the same as sailing over the ocean.

Coming into PEI from over the Ocean, yo.

Coming in to PEI from over the Ocean, yo.

And we go back to where we were, with Vicky and Erywin off their brooms and stretch, and Erywin handing Vicky a mug of hot chocolate before they chat some more on how Franky is on the shit list bad, how B Levels are kinda moody anyway because they have figured out that even though they’re special people, they’re still in school, and talk about their families a little–mostly Vicky’s family, who the reader learns her parents found out about Vicky being a witch before she left her A Levels.

And then this happens:

 

Erywin broke into laughter. “Touché.” Her expression turned serious as she looked off away from the rest of the children. “Here now, what’s all this?”

“What?” Vicky followed Erywin’s gaze and saw Emma and Kerry standing about ten meters away from the rest of the group and appearing ready to mount their brooms. “What they hell are they doing?”

“Maybe we should find out.” Erywin began walking towards them with Vicky soon matching her stride. She called out as soon as they were a few meters away. “Oi, you lot.”

Kerry spun around and grinned. “Oi, you. What’s up?”

Vicky nodded towards the hovering brooms. “I was about to ask you two the same.”

 

Where are they going?  Hum . . . flying, perhaps?  Maybe I’ll get around to writing that tonight–

 

Lunch Time in the Maritimes

You know how they say “It was an interesting night?”  Well, my night was interesting.  Really, far more interesting that I could have imagined.

See, I’m just settling in to do some writing when, all of a sudden, I start getting PMed about gifts that are supposed to be going to people.  I’ve helped organize a gift exchange on Facebook, and suddenly last night I’m getting asked about it–right about the time I’m about two hundred words into this scene.

So I have to start tracking down people and numbers, and before you know it, I’m like thirty minutes into getting nowhere.  It was very crazy and very frustrating, let me tell you, and nearly another forty-five minutes went by before I had everything straightened out.

That meant I didn’t have but maybe an hour to churn out what I wanted to write, and that also means I didn’t get as far into my process as I wanted.

However . . . I still managed seven hundred and ninety words.  I consider that an accomplishment.  I had wanted to get closer to twelve hundred, but I can try for that tonight

Now, where are we?  Well, somewhere in Canada.  And people aren’t too happy . . .

 

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

Vicky drifted in for a landing among the sparse trees, gently issuing orders to the members of the flight as they found clear spots to land. She felt her toes touch ground, but she leaned out over the control frame of her Higoshi Rally G and gathered her thoughts. She waited until she’d managed a few deep breaths and cleared her thoughts before speaking. “Thank you, Team Azso, for bringing us here. You’re relieved of command.”

She swung her leg over the frame but remained resting against the saddle. “Okay, everyone, we’re gonna rest for a bit. We’ll get a fire going, but stick with cold rations for now.” She heard the grumbling over the comms but gave them no mind. If they want to roll on the big express through the north, they better get used to some hard shit. “You’ll get plenty of lead time before we take off again. That is all.”

While her minions approached with their brooms in hand, Vicky pushed back here hood, pulled off her helmet, and shook out her hair. She sighed out her stress at she pointed at her lead girl. “Riv, you and Nadine get a couple of fires going before someone decides to try craft a fire spell and sets the goddamn woods on fire.”

“You got it, Vicky.” Rivânia tapped her Advanced Spells classmate on the arm and nodded in the direction of the rest of the students. They dropped their packs near Vicky and slipped their own brooms into Hammerspace as they walked off.

“You look as if you’re enjoying yourself.” Erywin walked over with her hands in her jacket pockets and her heavy ski cap securely upon her head instead of over her flight helmet, the way they were wore while flying.

 

Now, we haven’t seen much of Vicky throughout the novels.  She was one of the first instructors we met, and she did help Annie out by both saving her ass and getting her straightened out on how to handle herself the next time someone stuffed Kerry into a wall.  Most of the time she seems upbeat and cheerful:  here, she’s down and not handling the situation well.  Even Jewish Witches Sing the Blues?  It kinda seems that way–

 

“Oh, immensely. I’ll bet you’re happy to be here.”

“I wouldn’t miss this for the world, which is why I always come with you on these overnights.” She pulled her hands from her pockets, removed her mittens and gloves, and flexed her fingers. “Though I don’t recall the last couple of levels being this difficult.”

“No shit.” Vicky rolled her eyes. “I had to resist the urge on the way here to dump a couple of pissy little witches in the drink while the opportunity presented itself.” She cast a sideways glance towards the fires that were building in a nearby clearing. “Seriously, I can do Electrify; I’ll just give them an electric bolt in the back and—” She smirked at Erywin. “You think Mathilde would believe me if I told her they fell off in the middle of flight?”

 

Remember all those stories we heard about how instructors talk about other students?  This is part of that, though this isn’t along the lines of, “Oh, aren’t those two kids really cute the way they hold hands and stuff?”  No, this is more murder-face time and Vicky is not a happy witch.  And why is that?  Well . . .

 

“Somehow . . . no.” She chuckled as she turned towards the collection of students pulling cold rations from their backpacks. “I take it you have taught the little darlings basic navigation?.”

The flight instructor nodded. “You wouldn’t think so with a few of them, though.” She shook her head. “It’s not like when we did Advanced Flight. Back then you had to learn the maps and know how to physically determine your course with with your flight calculator—”

“Oh, I agree. I still have mine.” Erywin smiled thinking about the circular plastic calculator that she used for figuring out course, distance, and time when she was a student. “But nowadays these kids can pull out a phone and punch up a GPS app—or even use their HUD to find that information.

“Yeah, well . . .” Vicky snorted. “They better get their shit together fast, ‘cause if they think this flight is hard, wait until the next when I start turning stuff off in their flight systems.” She finally stood straight, shaking out her arms. “I’m just—I don’t know. I guess I suspected more today.”

Erywin patted Vicky’s shoulder, giving it a light rub. “The bitching and back talk didn’t help at all.”

“You got that right.” Vicky paced once around her broom before saying what was truly bothering her. “You know, I don’t mind when Franky started making the wrong way back at Murdochville, but when he wouldn’t own his mistake and started smarting off to me, I damn near pulled the flight from him and Jiro right then and there.”

Erywin nodded. “And you’ve have been right to do so. I actually thought you were going to fly up along side and smack him—or worse.” She slid her hands back into her pockets. “I’m glad you didn’t.”

“I am, too. It’s just been a long day and I’m really tried of all the pissing and moaning today.” She checked her watch. “And we got a hell of a lot more to go and not much daylight left.” She glanced back over towards the fires and re-ran the events of the day through her head—

 

So, Mr. Franky Smith of Way The Hell In The Middle of Nowhere Canada was talking back to an instructor after making a mistake?  Say it isn’t so!  He seems to be making a habit of that lately, and Erywin probably would have smacked him had he did that to her.

So what’s going on?  Well, you’re going to get spoilers today, because I’m going to show you a little of what’s going on behind the curtain before I write it.  Here is a little of the writing process before I got into the writing thing . . .

What I did was set up a flight where each team would be given objectives to find and reach, and, it was hoped, do so in a certain amount of time.  So I started setting up legs and figured out which team was gonna run the legs.  In doing so I came up with the grid below:

 

Camp Baxter: 25 F/-3 C, overcast

Point and Lead Team:

Camp Baxter to Fish River Lake to Allagash to north shore Beau Lake (US side): Team Zanzibar 139.5 km 27 F/-3 C, overcast

Beau Lake to Pohenegamook, Quebec, to north short Lac Pohenegamook to Aeroport de Rimouski: Team Picante 153.15 km * 32 F/0 C, wind 16 kph, light snow

Aeroport de Rimouski to civilian airport Hautervie to Pointe-des-Monts to Mont-Saint-Pierre: Team Sulaco 264.5 km 22 F/-5 C, wind 11 kph, light snow

Mont-Saint-Pierre to Murdochville to Fontenelle: Team Manga 111.8 km * 25 F/-4 C, light winds, light snow

Fontenelle to Gaspe to Pointe-Saint-Pierre to Tignish, PEI, to Charlottetown: Team Azso 338.15 km 36 F/2 C, wind 11 kph, cloudy

 

Five legs so far, five teams, and the distances covered.  Oh, and local weather conditions for this date in the past, because it always helps to know what sort of shit your pissy little witches are gonna run into.  You can see that as the teams got into Canada and moved north towards the St. Lawrence River valley it started snowing and getting colder.  That part right there took some looking up, but hey–that’s part of the writing deal, yeah?

So what does this look like?  Well . . . would you believe I have a map?

Sure you would.

Sure you would.

That’s everything covered up to this point, and what I’m going to write about next in this scene.  All the students have flown a little over one thousand kiloments, all in the cold, and all in a few hours, you’ll come to find out.  And if you want to know the legs covered, I’ll help you out:  the first leg went from the start at 0 and up to the point just to the left of the name Edmundston.  The second when from there to the point just below the name Mont-Joli.  The third went from there, on the southern banks of the St. Lawrence River north, then east, then back across the river to rest just above Sainte-Anne-des-Monts.  The forth leg–the one where Vicky wanted to zap Franky–went from there to the points just to the east of the 400 mi mark.  And the last leg–so far–went from there south to their current resting point 623 miles, 1003 kilometers, from the start, just outside the city of Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island.  That’s a lot of flying in the cold, and Vicky and Erywin have a bunch of grumbly kids to deal with because of all that.

You wanted to fly with the big spell crafters, witches, and now you’re getting your chance.  How does it feel?

You’ll notice that I’ve not mentioned a team named after a Welsh pteranodon, and there’s a reason for that.  A reasons that I hope to make apparent tomorrow . . .

Time to Make the Camp Site

There are real pros and cons to taking a long nap when you get home from work.  The pro is you feel a lot better once it’s over and you’re up.  The downside is that you’re not all that tired when it does become time to turn in and go to sleep.  This is the dilemma I found myself in yesterday after a nap that seemed to stretch on for about an hour and fifteen minutes.  I felt recharged enough to writ about twelve hundred words for my recap, and then another eight hundred for this novel, but when you find it time to go to nodding land, you don’t really want to go.

"If only I hadn't written those last three hundred words!"

“If only I hadn’t written those last three hundred words!”

I did get to sleep, but I expect a bit of a hangover for most of the morning.  At least I’ll be able to head out and do some shopping tonight with a semi-clear head.

This section seemed to come pretty good for me, save for a couple of things which I’ll explain in a bit.  What we have now is the overnight flight has turned the music off, climbed down from their brooms, and they set about the task of making camp:

 

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

As soon as everyone was on the ground the teams went to work. First order was to get up four fires, and that was handled by Nadine and Rivânia. Kerry asked if he could help—he was still the only B Level who could do the Fireball spell—but was told by Vicky to get busy setting up his team’s tent and let the minion handle stoking the fires.

Emma and Kerry, as well as the other teams, went to work unpacking. All their gear—tents, cots, sleeping bags, cooking gear, and clothing—was loaded inside their large, thirty-six liter backpacks using a Compress spell that most students wouldn’t learn until their C Levels, but that the Advanced Flight students were expected to master by the end of their B Levels. Compress was kind of miniaturization spell, one that could make objects smaller with the downside of allowing it to retain ninety percent of its mass.

They removed their mittens and folded back the hoods of their thick white winter jackets. This was the first time they wore the cold weather gear they’d need to be able to live and fly in arctic conditions in the field, and moving about was a slow and sometimes difficult task. Both members of Team Myfanwy considered removing the heavy jackets, but they knew they couldn’t as that was an option they wouldn’t have once they were in conditions far colder than than their current situation.

 

The Compress spell is pretty self explanatory, and it does have a bit of a disadvantage for the kids in that if they’ve got to pack fifteen kilos of gear to lug around on their backs, they’re still gonna feel most of that fifteen kilos.  But shit happens, right?  And the spell to get this stuff up to normal size is below.

The other thing has not been mentioned up to this point, and it’s that the kids are all wearing cold weather gear.  One of the things I’ve done a long time ago is kinda show what that gear looks like, because . . . well, it’ll come to you in time.  Basically they’re wearing a thick sweater garment in place of their normal flight jacket and then, over that, they’re wearing a modern polar jacket with a hood.  They’re wearing the same flight pants, but their boots have been beefed up, and they’re also wearing mittens over their gloves.  It makes things a little clumsy to work in, but they gotta know how to do this.

So the process for getting up the site?  This:

 

They used the Expand spell they’d learned during the last month—though Kerry had already used it well before the end of his A Levels—to return their gear to its original size. Besides each carrying extra changes of clothing, Emma carried the main tent, the tent poles, her cot, and her sleeping bag, while Kerry carried the vestibule, his cot and sleeping bag, the team rations, their cooking gear, and a few miscellaneous items. He floated light points over head so they could see properly, then they got to work. In the last few weeks they’d practiced putting up their tent in the dark, so they knew the routine.

They removed the tent, vestibule, and poles, and began setting up their sleeping area, pushing poles through tent eyes, then driving and securing them into the ground. Once the tent was in place Kerry worked on attaching the vestibule while Emma assembled the cots just outside the tent and moving them inside once her work was completed. Kerry attached the vestibule and fastened it to the ground while Emma set their cooking gear and rations aside before setting up the portable camp toilet behind a nearby tree. The last act was for Emma to roll out each sleeping back on their cots while Kerry set up a levitated ground cloth upon which to lay their brooms and backpacks.

After just twenty-five minutes their tent was ready for occupation.

With the fires going, everyone brought out their small folding chairs and set them up so each team could set about cooking their evening meal. No one had eaten since lunch, and while most fliers had brought snacks, the cold weather gear their wore on the flight up prevented them prevented them from eating while airborne. Kerry and Emma used their cooking equipment to heat up their meals, which were items packaged by the kitchen for this overnight expedition. While the meals weren’t nearly as tasty as the fair they would have enjoyed had they remained at Salem, they were designed to be high in calories and filling.

It was nearing twenty-one thirty by the time meals were over and cooking gear was cleaned and stowed. Before people began heading to their tents for the evening, Kerry brought out something he’d been given before leaving: a container full of banitsa that Annie had asked the kitchen to prepare that day. There was one for every person in the flight, and was surprised when everyone not only took one, but ate them as well. He’d expect there’d be at least one or two leftovers, but at this point in the evening, with everyone tired and cold, anything resembling a desert was welcome.

 

There you go:  a real team effort between Emma and Kerry, and one that they can sort of do for real when it’s needed.  And the “missing person” of Advanced flight sent along a bit of her homeland with banitsa for all!  Nice of Annie to do that, but there is probably one banitsa in there meant for a special person . . .

Now, here’s where I did something different.  As I was writing I decided that I didn’t like the first three paragraph–no, let me rephrase that.  I didn’t like where they were as written, so what I did, ’cause you can in a computer, is move to to this point in the story and rewrite them a bit.  Rather than have your go back a couple of days to the originals, I brought them here for you to see.

This was how they looked in their original form:

 

Kerry waved his hand in the direction of one of the camp fires and crafted a spell to pull oxygen away from the flames and smother them, which was far better than dumping water and using up fluids that could be needed later. It didn’t matter that there was a lake only a dozen meters away: Kerry not only knew it was easier to use magic to put out a fire, but he didn’t feel like filling up a container and bring it back to do the job he was now performing with the wave of his hand.

He looked up through the slight gap in the trees seeing if the stars were out. At the moment there was nothing but overcast, something they were told to expect after twenty-one. It was like this when they left the school: cloudy, dark, and growing colder.

He tidied up a few things and stored what little trash there was in a lock bag that he’d stuff in his backpack before heading off to bed. Kerry adjusted the collar of his flying jacket as the cold once more encroached upon the campsite as his mind drifted back to their flight north—

 

And how they now look re-positioned and rewritten:

 

Vicky called lights out at twenty-two and ordered everyone to their tents, letting them know they’d need to be up about five-thirty so they could begin preparing for the day. Kerry waved his hand in the direction of one of the camp fires and crafted a spell to pull oxygen away from the flames and smother them, which was far better than dumping water and using up fluids that could be needed later. It didn’t matter that there was a lake only a dozen meters away: He knew it was not only easier to use magic to put out a fire, but he didn’t feel like filling up a container and bring it back to do the job he was now performing with the wave of his hand.

He looked up through the slight gap in the trees seeing if the stars were out. At the moment there was nothing but overcast, something they were told to expect after twenty-one. It was like this when they left the school: cloudy, dark, and growing colder. He tidied up a few things and stored what little trash there was in a lock bag that he’d stuff in his backpack before heading off to bed. Kerry adjusted the collar of his jacket as the cold once more encroached upon the campsite and allowed his thoughts to first drifted back to their flight north, and then on to Annie. He wondered what she was doing and if she was alone. They’d promised not to get upset over being separated for one night, and would make the most of his return tomorrow. He whispered a good night and love to his soul mate before entered his tent’s vestibule. He zipped the outer door closed, tapped his hand three times against the tent door to announce his presence, unzipped the door and entered.

 

Much nicer, I think, and it makes far more sense now.  It’s also a good lead-in to the last part of the scene, and I’m guessing most of you can figure out what’s coming next–

You're not going to find it here, however.

You’re not going to find it here, however.

It was a good night to write, and mostly pain free.  Mostly.  I’ll try not to be in pain when I write tonight.

I promise you this.

Additions In the Afterthoughts

It’s a bright start to the Summer Solstice here in The Burg, though this morning the humidity was so high when I arrived at my morning breakfast location that the windows were wet with moisture.  It was a strange sight, let me tell you, and one I haven’t seen in some time.  It’s going to be warm and a bit cloudy today, and there may be more rain, though nothing like the downpours we had last night.

There has been a bit of writing–some of it last night after the season finale of Orphan Black, and some this morning.  Since there isn’t a lot to do today, I’ll likely get to writing more this afternoon and evening, at least enough to finish up this scene in which I’m currently involved.  It’s a big day for someone to go flying, and right before I started in on this post I left the scene with Isis getting ready to laying out the plan for Annie’s Friday Morning class, which involves leaving the confines of not only the Aerodrome, but the school itself.

They'll probably fly past Annisquam Lighthouse--no mermaids hanging out today, I'm afraid.

They’ll probably fly past Annisquam Lighthouse.  No mermaids hanging out today, except for those flying overhead.

I’ve hinted over the last few posts that I’ve felt there are additions to this novel that need to be made, and after I finished working on my scene I’ve sat and given the matter some thought.  I’d actually come up with the scenes in question about two weeks ago, so it hasn’t been as if I’ve needed to put a whole lot of thought into what was going to happen as much as it’s when.

The new chapter covers the first overnight camping trip that the Advanced Flight 1 class takes outside the school.  None of this pitching tents somewhere in the woods on the grounds–nope.  The kids are gonna mount up and head off into the gathering darkness of December, proceed to their campsite, and set up their tents.  Wingmates camp together, which means–yes, the flight team of Neilson and Malibey will share a tent.  Don’t worry:  they’ll have their own cots and sleeping bags, and I’m sure Vicky and her minion will be close by to keep an eye . . . anything.

The thing I needed to see was set up this chapter in Scrivener.  That’s not a difficult thing to do:  it’s simply a matter of adding a folder, typing up some metadata, and throwing together a few scenes.  But you know me; I gotta have a bit more information.  Like when does this take place.

It was pretty simple, actually.  Since I know the chapter before ends on the afternoon of 8 December–which is a Saturday–and that the kids are going to leave for Yule Holiday on 21 December–which is a Friday–that leaves only a time period over which the overnight trip can occur:  the night of Thursday, 13 December, with a return on Friday, 14 December.  I can also check that information from Scrivener because I have a link to the Time and Date website, which has all sorts of handy calendar information.

When you absolutly, positivily, need to know a date, just split the screen and bring up the right website.

When you absolutely, positively, need to know a date, just split the screen and bring up the right website.

This is why I get so goofy with dates and times in my scenes, because there are instances when it’s quite necessary to know if something you’re working into a story is going to fit into that story.  In this case, the scene fits, and all I need do now is check the weather for that day along the route they’ll fly–which I already know–so I’ll know what sort of conditions they’ll face along the way.  I also need to rename chapters today, ’cause, you know, everything is off right now.

Oh, and Kerry’s going to do something interesting during the flight.  You just gotta trust me on that one.

Out of the Evenings and Into the Dreams

I got out last night:  it was warm enough when it started that I put on a skirt and my sandals and grabbed my computer to dine and write.  Probably not as much as I could have, but it was still a good deal–over eight hundred words, all of them original, all of them–well, good is always a relative term, isn’t it?

The important thing is I finished the penultimate scene of the chapter and managed just under two hundred words into the final scene, the one that’s gonna open things up and probably raise more questions than answers.  But that’s always a problem with this kind of tale; there’s unanswered questions, and sometimes those questions lead to more questions.

Not to mention they keep adding to the word count.

Not to mention they keep adding to the word count.

Now, the last time we checked Annie was told she was going to spend the night in Bed #1, in Bay #1.  The next word out of her mouth is probably the same as that of most readers . . .

 

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

Annie sat staring dumbfounded at Coraline. When the head nurse mentioned her tower Annie was certain she would be forcibly put to bed. This was, however one looked at the statement, unexpected. “Why?”

“It’s actually pretty simple. One, I’ve got Bianca and Thebe spending the night down in the Dining Hall. Since we’re going to have fifty or sixty students sleeping down there tonight, I thought it might be a good idea to have them handy in case some of the students are still bothered by the events of the day.” Ten minutes earlier the Headmistress had stepped into the hospital and explained that a number of students wanted to know if they could spend the night in the Dining Hall; they cited the fact they’d been locked up in the towers all day, and most were feeling a little anxious from the experience.

“Then there’s Maddie.” Coraline looked up to the ceiling, beyond which was the Second Floor and the ICU. “Her vitals are stables but low. I asked Gretchen to keep an eye on her tonight, so she’ll be up there all night.

“I’m off to the Instructor’s Residence after this because I am not an AP and I’m pretty much dead on my feet and I feel like I’m gonna drop in another couple of hours. I can be here inside of a couple of minutes if there’s an emergency, but I need to crawl into bed and get some rest tonight.

“That means everything on the hospital side is accounted for—save . . .” She pointed at Kerry once more. “Our sleeping lad here.

 

There you have it:  not enough people to keep an eye on everyone.  Coraline’s got everything covered with explanations, too:

 

“The stuff we used to put him under should wear off in another couple of hours, but the pain meds should do a good job of keeping him under. However, that’s no guarantee that he won’t wake up in the middle of the night, and between the meds and the concussion, if he does come to he’s likely to be a little disoriented. If that’s the case, it might not be a bad idea—” She slowly turned to Annie. “—if he had a friendly face to help get him back to sleep.”

Though Annie was excited to hear this, she also worried that there was a catch. “Won’t someone say something?”

“Like what? That I let you spend the night here? Remember, you’re part of the triage team now: you did a great job—save for one moment that we won’t discuss . . .” Coraline stared off into space for a moment before returning to the conversation. “That makes you part of my medical team, and that gives you certain . . . privileges when it comes to being here. That means you can sleep in Bed #1, and you’ll both have the bay to yourselves. Should Kerry waked up you can help calm him and get him back to sleep—and if you run into a problem you can’t handle, you’ll know to contact Gretchen and she’ll have Bianca or Thebe come up and help you.” Coraline snapped her fingers. “Simple as that.”

Annie stood slowly and smoothed out her uniform skirt before going over and hugged Coraline. “Thank you. Thank you so much.”

Coraline put her arms around the pleased little sorceress and hugged her back. “You’re welcome.” She released Annie and patted her on the shoulder. “Grab your jacket and let’s get something to eat. I’m starving.”

 

I guess this means we can start calling her “Nurse Annie,” though that’s stretching it a bit.  But then I’m good at stretching–just don’t ask me to wear yoga pants when I do.

Finally I started the final scene of Chapter Twenty-three.  What’s going on during Dreams on the Ward?  Take a look:

Not here:  this is just proof I wrote this.  Look below . . .

Not here: this is just proof I wrote this. Look below . . .

 

Annie opened her eyes and lay still under the covers of her bed. She listened for unusual sounds, but heard nothing save the slow breathing from the bed next to hers. She cast a glance towards the ends of their beds looking for movement, but there wasn’t anyone inside the curtained-off ward bay except for Kerry and her.

Whatever had aroused her from her slumber hadn’t come from outside. That left only one possibility . . .

Annie carefully slid the covers back enough to uncover her upper torso and propped herself up on her left elbow. She checked the time on the clock on the night stand between their beds: 00:38. A little after midnight. The attack day is finally over. She spied Kerry’s glasses in front of the clock where she set them when she took them off to clean his face. Annie stared at them for close on to thirty seconds, resisting the urge to reach over, pick them up, and try them on as she done two months ago on their flight out of Amsterdam.

 

There you have it.  Annie’s awake, looking for whatever it is that woke her up, and thinking about trying on Kerry’s glasses.  What happens next?

Just you wait and see.