Love’s Long Laments

I make no secret that I tend to write about relationships.  I can’t tell you how many times I received a response from a blog fan concerning The Foundation Chronicles:  A For Advanced, that stated, “I thought this would be about magic, but it’s really about love,” and I just smiled because that’s so true.  Anyone can write about casting magic:  it’s happened a lot since a certain boy wizard appeared on the literary scene.  But what about relationships?  What about love?  And what about putting them in usual locations and circumstances that could affect the outcome of that relationship?

I do that.  A lot.

I thought about this last night when I was editing Kolor Ijo.  My main characters, Indri and Buaua, come from different cultures and religions, they come from different backgrounds, and when it comes to the paranormal, they come from far different experiences.  Long ago I laid out a series of stories around these two, because if there’s something that’s not lacking in Indonesia–where the stories take place–it’s the supernatural, and the supernatural there would pretty much kick the asses of the Winchester Brothers without so much as working up a sweat.

Sure, she looks harmless, but you'll think differently when she's ripping your heart from your body.

Sure, she looks harmless, but you’ll think differently when she’s ripping your heart from your body.

But though all their trials and tribulations, Indri and Buaua will never be anything but great friends and colleagues.  And it’s not their religion that keeps them apart:  it’s that they recognize they each have their own lives, and there isn’t any interest in getting the waters muddy with a lot of face hugging of the good kind.  I like that, because it means I can concentrate on the investigation of the horror and not get bogged down with a lot of stupid, “By doing this, I’m putting him/her in danger!” tropes that should die out faster than certain ghosts and goblins.

But when it comes to some of my other characters, however . . .

There’s Couples Dance, where the married couple in the story learn about the twisted romance of the people who owned their house, and there’s Suggestive Amusements, where a writer and his muse become something of a couple when he realizes mythical beings need love, too, even though they know they shouldn’t become involved in the romantic affairs of mortals.  In the end things go wrong for both couples, but that’s the breaks, right?

And then there’s Echoes.

Behold the Old!

Behold the Old!

Echoes was written at the very end of 2011 and through the month of January, 2012, and last edited December, 2012, right after I finished writing Kolor Ijo.  As my stories go it’s one of my shortest:  just under twenty-one thousand words.  It’s also one of my more personal stories, because it was written at a time when I was starting a new job I hated, I found myself moving to a new location, and I was dealing with separation anxiety of the worst kind.  In short, I was more of a mess that ever before.

It deals with characters from my novel Transporting, and it’s a strange world.  For one, it’s twelve hundred years in our future.  For another, it takes place in a parallel universe that’s like ours, but it’s not.  This was where I started working on the idea of The Multiverse, which is something you’ll hear a lot of in The Foundation Chronicles, because my witches know there are a billion different universes out there, and while be can’t visit them, that doesn’t mean things can’t slip through to here.

Albert Dahl is also something of a transgender character, because though various handwavium and not a little technobabble, he becomes Audrey Dahl, who is just as nutty and crazy as him, but also the beloved of her lesbian partner in crime and duty to the Crown, Cytheria Warington, a planetary duchess from this future with access to a time machine who originally kidnaps Albert from 1986 because she thought there was something different about him.

Already you can see this is an unusual relationship.

Echoes is about Albert and a love that could have been.  He dreams now and then of a woman he knew when he worked in Chicago, Marissa, which whom he had a brief affair that left an enormous, lasting impact upon him.  The relationship was so intense that, in the course of the story, the reader realizes that while he loves Cytheria, he still loves this Marissa, who, however you cut it, has been dead a long time.

Which leads to the main gist of this story:  did Albert and Marissa ever get together in the universe in which the current future Albert now lives?  See, not only did he come from the past, but from the past of another of these multiple universes, and that means that an identical Marissa and Albert could have lived at the same time in his current universe, and they could have been . . . happy.

Really?  You believe that?  You don’t know me well, do you?

In a nutshell, after an order from the Crown–in this world everything is ruled by various aristocracies, and they all pledge fealty to the Queen–the reader learns the truth:  he did exist in this work, and he did not only get together with Marissa, but they married, had kids, and were happy–

For a short time, for it did all go to hell at some point.  Such was Albert’s luck, that another version of him couldn’t even find true happiness.

I just reread the last chapter of that story, and it still affects me.  I cried when I wrote it; I cried when I edited it, and I’ve cried a little reading over it now.  Like I said it’s a personal story, and reading it brings back those times in all their horrid glory.  In the last chapter of Echoes, Albert and Marissa meet in a dream, though Marissa knows it’s a dream and that she’s deal, and she puts forth the question that perhaps she’s really the remnant of what Albert’s Marissa had been, that somehow jumps from on universe to another, found the Marissa living in the universe where her Albert–her love, as she calls him–and took up residence there and found a way to pass from one of their generations to another until she found her Albert living in the future.  It’s a hell of a twist, you have to admit.

But that story reminds me of another couple . . .

Albert Dahl is sort of an older, far more screwed up version of a certain Ginger Hair Boy (you gotta trust me on that one, but yeah, he is), and Marissa is a less stuffy and controlled version of a well-known Chestnut Girl.  Marissa even calls Albert “love”, which is a whole lot like “my love” when you think about it.  And the last line from Dream Marissa is, “Sweat dreams, my beautiful Albert.  Sweet dreams . . . of us.”  Hummm.  Now who have I heard say that before?  Oh, yeah:  this girl.

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie saw Kerry’s eyes flutter, and in that moment she wasn’t an almost seven year old girl sitting in the crook of the arm of a six year old boy with whom she was sharing a dream—she was back in Bay #1, cuddled up next to her soul mate. “Kerry?”

“I’m tired, Annie.” He turned his head enough that he could see her lying snuggled next to him. “I feel so tired.”

“Then you need to sleep.” She laid her hand part-way across his chest and circled it over his heart. “I won’t go anyway. You’ll be safe.”

“Okay.” He rubbed his check against the top of her head. “Good night, Annie—”

She was about to tell him the same when Kerry finished his thought:

“I love you.”

Annie gasped in a near-silent voice. “Good night, Kerry. I love you.”

“No.” He chuckled as he fought to keep his eyes open. “You’d say it in Bulgarian.”

She chuckled as well. He would know that. “Yes, I would . . .” She leaned up and kissed his cheek. “Leka nosht, Kerry. I az te obicham.”

“Um, hum.” His eyes closed and his breathing slowed as she sunk back into sleep.

Annie made herself comfortable against Kerry’s torso. She only now realized that his right arm was draped over her torso, making sure she was secure against him. “That’s it, my love.” She stopped rubbing his chest and left her hand there. “Sleep and dream. And remember it so you can tell me in the morning.”

Sleep began to take her as she wished her soul mate into dreamland. “Dream of your tree in California.” Her eyelids fluttered. “Dream of reading to your Chestnut Girl.”

Her eyes closed as she sunk into the same sleep that was claiming Kerry. There was only one thought left that needed saying before she joined him in unconscious bliss . . .

“Dream of us.”

 

Yes, I went there with that, and I make no apologies for that last line, because I was going to use it no matter what.  Does that mean Annie and Kerry are Marissa and Albert.  No–but maybe a little yes as well.

A writer does remember all the things that made them what they are–to somewhat paraphrase Harlan Ellison, they are all of the lies that are your life.  A little of Kerry came from Albert, though Albert is far more messed up where love is concerned, and while Kerry is now confident in his love for Annie, Albert never finds that contentment because the one true love of his life whom he can never forget was taken away.  And since you know I time lined out the lives of those characters, a reader would eventually discover that Cytheria also lost the one great love of her life, and as much as she may love Audrey, she is forever reminded of what she could have had, but couldn’t because, as the movie Roman Holiday reminded me last night, the aristocracy has its duties they must uphold.  And because of that, Cytheria spends her life silently suffering.

Cytheria and Albert/Audrey are broken people, they really are.  They do love each other in their own way, but it’s never going to be the love they could have had, so they instead settle for the love they have.  That will never be Annie and Kerry.  While life may never be completely fair to my witchy couple–and if you think it will, again, you don’t know the stories I spin–they will love each other, and that love will grow more intense over the years.  Annie and Kerry heal each other–in another story, one might say they complete each other, and in a way that is true, because they are far better together than apart.  And in the opening chapters of the next novel, you’ll even see Annie do something that she never did in the first novel.  Why?  Because of Kerry.

And, no:  it’s not kill Emma.

Not yet.

They’re not a perfect couple, but they do represent something I long for, and it’s one of the reasons I sometimes found myself having a difficult time telling the tale of my kids, because what they have is something I’ve always wanted.  One of the reasons I developed Albert is because he did represent my outlook on love at the time:  you can’t always get what you want, and that means you settle for what you can get–and in doing that, you’ll never truly be happy.  You may believe you are, but in time you see it for the lie it represents.

Annie and Kerry are my current outlook on life and love:  sometimes you do find your soul mate, your moyata polovinka, and when you do you work your ass off to try and make it happen.  It may not happen, because life sucks like that, but don’t give up hope, because as I said yesterday, hope is sometimes all we have.

And why would you want to give up on that?

Weaving Through the Emotions of the Day

As I stated in yesterday’s post, it was the one month anniversary of my coming out at work, and therefore the anniversary of my going into true full-time living.  And like life itself, yesterday was pretty much an up and down day.

It started out fine, albeit snowy and cold.  A storm rolled through Sunday and there was a lot of stuff on the ground, which made walking into work a bit of a chore.  I don’t mind that; I’ve done it more than a few times in the past.  No, the morning and lunch time were fine.  It was in the afternoon that things fell apart . . .

I was working on a program that I’m going to help demo today, and it wasn’t so much there was an issue with the program as there was an issue with the data–which, to use a technical term, sucks.  I run into this issue all the time–and it doesn’t help that I’ve mentioned it as well, how it seems like nothing really works when I try to test, and sometimes I spend hours attempting to verify if it’s the program that’s acting wonky, or it’s something in the data.

Yesterday it was something in the data.  And it was driving me beyond frustrated.

"Why do you do this to me?  Why do you hate me so?"

“Why do you do this to me? Why do you hate me so?”

Here’s something else to consider:  last Friday afternoon was Shot Day, which I do every other week.  I do my injection and get the estrogen into my body.  It’s usually a few days later before I start feeling moody and emotional, so if I do a shot late Friday, it normally starts hitting me about . . . Monday afternoon.  And that’s when I really started to feel like I was loosing it hard . . .

By the time I left work I was a semi-angry, emotional mess.  Then I have a mile-long walk ahead of me, which allows time to think about things and stuff, and the stuff and things that were on my mind weren’t good.  Nope, not at all.  Which means by the time I’d reached the front of the capitol building I was pretty much on the verge of tears, and I fought off the urge to let it all out for about three blocks–

And that urge ended as soon as I was inside my apartment.

I got dinner going, and as the computer was coming up I broke down.  It was a pretty epic meltdown, one that I haven’t actually had in a while.  It’s the kind that involve a lot of tears and even a little screaming, and it went on for about ten minutes straight.  It was straight-up nasty, and I wasn’t feeling all that well once I had the computer up and I was still a mess–

And then I found a message waiting for me.

I don’t want to say that there’s someone I know out there in Internet Land who has a connection to me, but when their first post is, “How are you feeling?” and a little while later in the conversation you’re told that they felt you calling and that they needed to check in on you–yeah, something’s there, and that something helped me feel better.  Upside to this all is I was far better an hour later, and by the time I went off to bed, while I might not have been feeling one hundred percent, I was better than I when I’d first walked through the apartment door.

I even managed a bit of editing last night–maybe three thousand words.

All in all, not a bad day for a massive roller coaster ride.

The Boy With the Long Emptiness

One of the maxims of writing is, “Write what you know”.  Which is a hard thing to do for this novel, because what do I know about witches and super science and secret organizations that run the world without us knowing anything.  Okay, for that last I have notes from last week’s meeting . . .

But this novel isn’t all about witches and magic and fighting off some dark, unseen presence–though give me a few more scenes and you might be surprised.  It’s also about feelings.  It’s about my two main characters learning about stuff, you know . . . things.  That’s what happened earlier in the current scene I’m writing:  Annie came back in to see the laid-up Kerry, apologized, and told him a secret.  It’s all good, right?

Kerry’s got a few secrets of his own.  He tells Annie he understands strange relationships with you parents, because he has the same.  But he doesn’t stop there:  oh, no.  That would be too easy.  Because Kerry’s been hanging around Annie for almost two months now, and he’s discovered that, after all the years of being around his parents and experiencing an unaffectionate relationship with them, he really does have feelings.

Which leads to this:

 

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

Annie nodded slowly, witnessing the emotions flowing across Kerry’s face. Something was bothering him, something that he wanted to say aloud, and she wasn’t about to leave him alone with feelings that seemed to bother him. “Kerry?”

He took two deep breaths before he quickly raised his head so he was looking directly at Annie. “A couple of years ago my mother told me she wished I wasn’t with them. I knew she didn’t mean that I wasn’t with them in Cardiff: she meant she wished . . .” He took a long, tortured breath as his gaze shifted away from Annie. “I wasn’t here.”

 

Write what you know–and I know that one.  Because my own mother dropped that bomb on me when I was ten.  Sure, I was probably driving her crazy with my depression and all the other baggage I was carrying, and this moment came after my parents pulled me out of therapy after two months–therapy that was suppose to help me learn how to “make friends,” because one of my mantras then was, “No one likes me.”  At that time in my life I never left the house except to go to school and places with my parents.  There was one point where I didn’t leave my room unless it was necessary for about two years.

I’m sure none of this had anything to do with the various sentences my mother threw at me from the time I was about six that always ended in, “Like a girl.”  Yeah, thanks.  Lots of help there.

Fortunately Kerry has Annie.  And while he might not understand everything there is to know about girls, he will understand this:

 

If she could have Annie would have taken Kerry and pulled him close and held him, but she couldn’t do that, not with him being unable to move. She moved as close to him as possible. “Do you remember when we had lunch in Russel Square?”

He didn’t look at her, but Kerry nodded. “Yeah. That was—”

“Do you remember telling me that you felt that no one cared for you, that you weren’t loved?”

Kerry gaze slowly returned to Annie’s hazel eyes. “Yes. I remember.”

She laid their hands upon her chest and held him tightly. “You’re wrong. You’re worthy of love, Kerry: you deserve love. You deserve to have someone tell you at least once every day that they love you. You deserve to hear those words and know them to be true.” Annie lightly, lovingly kissed his hand. “I love you, Kerry. I always will. And every day, as long as you live, you’ll hear me say those words to you.” She placed his hand against her right cheek and closed her eyes. “Every day.”

Kerry felt her warm cheek against his fingers, her skin against his. He started to smile, then the gravity of her words fell over him, and it was all he could do to stare opened mouth, his breathing coming in short, jagged bursts. As Annie opened her eyes and looked back into his, he finally found his voice. “Every day . . . That’s a long time.”

“Yes, it is.” Annie lowered his hand so it once more rested on the bed, though she refused to let it go. “Unless you keep letting Emma crash into you.”

He began laughing; Annie joined in a moment later. The seriousness of the moment was now in the past, replaced by their levity. Kerry coughed once. “Yeah, that could shorten my life considerably.”

“By more than a few years.” This time the lights across the ward were out for three seconds before coming back on. “And I think—”

“That’s your cue.” Kerry slid his hand from Annie’s. “You better get going before Nurse Gretchen throws you out.”

 

Of course he remembers, Annie:  it right there in that scene.

Of course he remembers, Annie: it right there in that scene.

The rest of the scene comes tonight, when Kerry starts to understand something important.  Something not just about Annie, but about himself.  Something that’ll bring another kind of hurt–

Don’t worry, kid.  You don’t have to stay empty forever.

Girlfriend in My Pillow

First, the writing thing.  Though there was a bit of a struggle with the writing–motivations just weren’t what they should have been–I managed to squeak out a little over nine hundred and forty words in my newly added scene.  This did some interesting things to the word count–while the count for Act Two is now hovering just before forty-nine thousand, five hundred words, the count for the full manuscript hit a new milestone . . .

Yeah, two hundred thousand.  That could almost be the title for a Stargate episode.

Yeah, two hundred thousand. That could almost be the title for a Stargate episode.

I’ve only passed into the territory once before, and there’s a very good likelihood that this novel is going to surpass that other novel by some distance.  Just gotta keep going, moving forward, and remember that the next scene is gonna involve some math.  Just for me, though:  you won’t see it.  Science, bitches:  it makes writing better.  Or so I’m told.

Let’s put that behind me, though, because there’s something on my mind, something bothering.  Probably because I know the true meaning of what happened . . .

I’ve written a few times about how I’ve felt my dreams were either sadly lacking or simply non-existent.  Some of that has to do with my sleep habits, which are, frankly, pretty sucky.  It seems like if I don’t go to bed late and sleep for six hours straight, I wake up kind of out of it the next day.  Or for several days afterwards.

However . . . the last week or so the dreams have come back strong and with a vengeance.  Exceedingly vibrant as well.  Like last night, it seemed like I was spending a lot of time going to a job that I didn’t walk, and that it was cold and snowy in July, and when I arrived as said word someone tried to take the keys to my car, and I ended up breaking their arm to keep that from occurring.

It was Friday morning, however, that really hit me hard . . .

I’ve been in situations where I can’t tell if I’m truly asleep or not.  It’s like a waking dream; I know something’s going, I know I’m seeing something, but am I just thinking these things, or am I stuck in a dream so vivid that it feels like I’m awake?

Whatever I was feeling Friday morning, it doesn’t really matter.  What I felt was having a woman I’ve known for years, rolling over in bed next to me, saying good morning, honey, you’re up early, then leaning in close to me to plant a good morning kiss.  I leaned in close to receive said kiss and give her one of my own . . .

And that’s when I realized I was alone in bed.  Not only that, but my left hand was slowly rubbing the pillow I keep there to hug when I go to sleep.  I broke into sobbing, and it took me a good thirty minutes before I was able to drift off to sleep once more.

Unlike this young lady, I'm rarely smiling when I'm doing this.

Unlike this young lady, I’m rarely smiling when I do this.

With the return of the dreams have come the return of the emotions.  April was a bad time for feelings, and there were a lot of crying jags.  Tomorrow starts the first of my hormone treatments, or as some might say, “Welcome to Puberty 2.0!” and I have a feeling the next month or two are going to be crazy times at the casa.

Add to this a lot of heart string tugging on my part . . .

I can get through it.  Just takes a little perseverance, right?

Love and Torture

There are a lot of writers who talk about how hard it is to hurt their characters, or see them suffer, or even kill them.  They talk about the pain they feel when they bring bad things into their lives, or hurt them as part of the story, or kill those around them to bring them pain, or just flat out kill them.

And then there’s George R. R. Martin, who thinks you’re all adorable while he slaughters characters left and right, and jokes about how his last A Song of Ice and Fire novel will be a thousand pages of scenes of wind-blown snow whipping over the graves of every character who ever lived in Westeros.

Yeah, you gotta love that style.

I have made no secret that there are scenes I’ve written that make me cry.  Mostly because I’m feeling the same emotions I’m putting into my writing, and the sadness or hurt or pain that was there when the words were created remain to haunt me on later reads.  You probably wouldn’t feel the same thing, but there is one story I’ve written, that when I get to the final page, I’m always crying.  The ending of that story is personal to me, and I remember what was there when it was written.

But that’s usually in the area of love, and not in the, “Oh, did I break your legs again?” sort of stuff.  Physical pain isn’t a problem.  I’ve made no secret that the kids in my story are going to suffer all kinds of physical pain throughout their time at school.  I already electrocuted Kerry in sorcery class, which was actually sort of fun if you like that sort of thing.  Annie won’t get hurt so much this first year of school, but give it a couple of years, and . . . There Will Be Blood.

With that out of the way, lets get on to what happens in The Witch House . . .

"You're doing to do something nasty to me, aren't you, Helena?" "Why do you think that, love?" "Because you're an evil sorceress." "Ha.  That's just in novels . . ."

“You’re doing to do something nasty to me, aren’t you, Helena?”
“Why do you say that, love?”
“Because you’re an evil sorceress.”
“That only happens in novels . . .”

I don’t hide the fact that Helena and Erywin are probably two of my favorite characters.  They have interesting lives, they’ve both went through personal hells, and they would burn the school to the ground if it it was necessary to protect each other.  They love each other unconditionally:  they know their strengths and they know their faults, and they simply don’t give a shit what others think of them because their love for each other is all that matters.

So you bring your companion of thirty years into class to do a demonstration.  Trust me, everything’s gonna be all right . . .

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

Helena headed to a work counter set at the front of the room. She picked up a small vial containing a dark red liquid. “This is the draught in its final form. It looks a bit like a raspberry drink, but once ingested it’ll do far more than any drink you’ll find in the Dining Hall. And all one needs to sip is about a third of this vial . . .

“Since telling you what this draught does without having a true frame of reference, we’re going to give you a practice demonstration—the first of the class.” She waved over Erywin. “Professor Sladen is not only here to help with the lab, but has consented to be my test subject. You ready, Erywin?”

The Formulistic Magic instructor took the vial from Helena. “Of course, my dear. Ready as always.” She opened the vial, sipped about a third of liquid, then closed it and returned it to Helena. She shook her hands out. “Much better. Did you flavor it this time?”

Helena shook her head. She waited about twenty seconds, which she figured was more than enough time for the draught to take effect. “How do you feel?”

“Oh, fine.” Erywin stood calmly with hands folded before her as if waiting for something to happen.

Helena was about to bring that something . . . “You’re name’s Erywin Sladen?”

Erywin answered instantly. “Yes.”

“Tell me where you live.”

She didn’t hesitate. “Woodingdean, England.”

Helena nodded slowly. “How old were you when you came out here at Salem?”

“I was twelve. It wasn’t long after I started my B Levels.”

“Tell me, were there any problems coming out?”

Erywin shook just a little. “There were—”

“Let’s not talk about that. We started dating during your B Levels, yeah?”

The calmness that she started with returned. “Yes. You were an A Level.”

“Well, I always had something about older women. Was there anything special you used to do for me?”

For the first time Erywin smiled. “I used to sing to you.”

“You loved to sing, as I remembered.”

“Oh, yes . . .” She sighed, remembering those moments. “I did.”

And what song does she sing?  Ha.  Like I’m going to tell you.  Needless to say, Erywin sings for the whole class, and she loves it because there was a time when she loved singing–particularly to her “pretty girl”.

Everything’s going along nicely.  It’s sort of like one of those hypnosis acts where someone is made to cluck like a chicken.  What could go wrong?

This is Sorcery Class–remember?

Erywin almost seemed disappointed that she was ordered to stop. “As you wish, my dear.” She exhaled deeply. “I haven’t done anything like that in a while.”

“You still have a lovely voice.”

“Thank you, love.”

“I do miss your singing.”

“Well . . .” Erywin smiled coyly. “You know I love to sing for you.”

“You also loved rubbing my back, didn’t you?” She waved to the class. “You can tell them.”

There was more giggling from the students, mixed in with a few moans, but Erywin didn’t mind or notice. “I liked doing that because it made you happy—”

“Tell me you don’t love me.”

Erywin recoiled like she’d been pushed backwards. “Whuu—”

“Tell me you don’t love me.” Helena’s voice was calm and even. “You’ve told all these other things, you can do that.”

“Nuu—no.” Erywin’s hands and arms began shaking.

“You can do this.” Helena closed on her slowly. “Tell me you don’t love me.”

The shaking moved from Erywin’s arms to her torso, all seized in a slight tremor. “I cannn’ttt—” She whipped her head around and moaned between clenched teeth. “Please don’t make me—”

“Make you do what?” Helena seemed unconcerned about her companion’s discomfort as she began to slowly walk around her. “Say you don’t love me? That’s an easy thing to do.” He face became locked into a mask of indifference. “Say it and the pain goes away.”

But the pain wasn’t going away. Erywin was starting to cough and gag as she shook her head violently, her body convulsing. “No, please. I can’t say that.”

Helena moved up to her left ear and half-whispered in a soft voice that carried to every section of the silent classroom. “Yes, you can say it. You will say it. You’re responsible for your pain, love, and you can make it stop.” She stepped before the struggling woman and snapped at her. “Say it.”

“No, I . . .” Erywin choked out a scream. “Please, don’t—”

Helena was having none of it. Her face grew darker. “Say you don’t love me.”

Erywin dropped to her knees, jerking about in extreme pain. “I can’t.”

Say you don’t love me.”

She threw her arms around Helena’s legs, holding tight as she cried and jerked about, speaking in a tortured cry. “I can’t. I can’t ever say that.”

Helena’s face finally took on a look of compassion. “You don’t have to answer that question. You don’t have to answer any more questions.” She reached into an inner pocket of her leather jacket and removed a small gel ampule. “Take this, love; take it.” She slipped it into Erywin’s mouth. “You’ll feel better, I promise.”

And . . . the Dark Bitch of All comes out and brings the pain to the woman she loves.  Why?  She’ll tell Annie a few paragraphs down the line, but let’s just get this out in the open:  Sorceresses Aren’t Always Nice.  And Helena is among those sorceresses who scare the hell out of everyone, because she’s left behind a body count of Enemies of The Foundation–and there are more than a few of those–that is frankly stunning, and, oh, yeah, she’s torturing her companion in front of thirty-two students so they can see what the stuff they’re gonna make in class does.

Which brings the next question:  how will the students test their mixtures?

How do you think?

"You're not going to hurt me any more?" "I promise." "So now we watch the students torture each other?" "Wouldn't have it any other way, love." "You so know how to make a woman feel special, my dear.

“You’re not going to hurt me any more?”
“I promise.”
“So now we watch the students torture each other?”
“Wouldn’t have it any other way, love.”
“You do know how to make a woman feel special, my dear.

The Bridge, the Dreams, and Everything

The first day of June was a good one:  sunny, not too hot, not too chilly, just right for getting out and walking around.  Which, surprise, I did.  I left the confines of the hovel and ventured out into the sun for the first time in a while, because I’m not a complete hermit or vampire, and every so often you need to prove to yourself that you’re not going to burst into flames the moment you walk around in daylight.

And just to prove that I was out, here:  pictures.

Nothing say The Burg like a bridge.

Nothing say The Burg like a bridge.

And an island.

And an island.

And there’s even more proof I was outside . . .

Photobombing Ol' Shaky, yo.

Photobombing Ol’ Shaky, yo.

So there:  two point two miles of walking–or three and a half kilometers as my kids back at my Salem school would say, ’cause screw those Imperial measurements.  You’re part of the Real World now, so Go Metric or Go Home.

There was a strange dream I just had, too.  I was time traveling with someone–a person I’d never seen before–and I had to travel back to 1984 to pick up a couple of people in an alternate reality, and then when we found them and were ready to come back, we discovered that our foci for channeling time winds or some crap like that was missing.  So we managed to get a message back to wherever our modern time was, and discovered the whole thing was a prank set up by Ricky Gervais–which, if you’re going to get pranked into time travel, you might expect that from him.

Needless to say we had a repair kit, and I was getting ready to repair our trusty machine when I woke up.  Probably for the best, though, because where the hell was the dream going to go after that?

It is something, however, that I can remember the dream, or even that it was so vivid.  I remember writing recently that I was upset that I didn’t seem to have vivid dreams these days, and then, bang!  The last couple of nights they appeared to be returning.  We’ll see what happens, if this is a phase, or if spilling about it kicked out some block I had.

I was also working hard on some time line stuff, because I’m like that.  Always thinking ahead, I am.  Even so far as to come up with a scene for one of my kids that was . . . the only way to put it is heartbreaking.  A lot of pain, and lot of crying, a lot of wondering why, if you’re born into being one of The Aware, does one have to suffer because you’re perceived as different?  Because, in this fictional world I’ve created, all the Normal kids have to hide who their are from their parents for a while, and then–Coming Out Time!  And as you might figure, it’s viewed by the folks like any other coming out:  some times there’s happiness, some times you’re kicked out on your ass.  You’ll find out from the instructors who were raised Normal that they all went through various rotations of that particular wheel–some had happy parents, some had confused ones, and some had to leave home before they were beaten–or worse.

And you’re find that some students got the worse . . .

And lastly:  writing!  It happened.  Eight hundred and forty-six words of happened.  No excerpts today, though:  I’m giving away too much.  Maybe tomorrow.  Maybe the day after.

We’ll see, won’t we?

Let Us Relive Our Lives in What We Tell You

Breakfast is out of the way, more or less; all that remains is the coffee, and I’m about to refill that as soon as the song I have on finishes.  Yes, it’s six fifty-five AM and the morning has already been an hour in the making.  That means it’s time for a post.  That means it’s time to start writing.

It’s a strange live I’ve chosen for myself.  Write a blog post at six-thirty in the morning, then write code all day, then come home and edit twenty pages for a while, then time line out something because I need to know when an event could take place because of something happening to one of the characters–yeah, Research Bitches!  Finally, about eight forty I was able to relax and watch How to Train Your Dragon, which is one of my favorite movies, and far superior, in my opinion, to Toy Story 3.  Because Viking kid with a dragon.

You love them, you protect them, you take your girlfriend flying on them--Kerry needs one of these.  Oh, and lets not forget the blowing up of your enemies . . .

You love them, you protect them, you take your girlfriend flying on them–Kerry needs one of these. Oh, and lets not forget when you use them to blow up your enemies . . .

And then I’m back at it today.  Same as it ever was.

Last night, while I was plotting out my time lies and thinking about some of the crap my kids will get into once the future rolls around, I wondered about some of the things that have drawn me to writing, as well as some of the things I’ve written.  Like it or not, there’s always a little bit of me in my stories.  Maybe it’s just a personal feeling, or perhaps it’s an idea I want to espouse.  There is at least one story I’ve written that deals with feelings I have towards other person, and another where I’m more or less returning to some emotions I hadn’t felt in a long time–which is probably one of the reasons why I find myself getting into crying jags now and then.

A lot of writers get caught up in their characters, and I find myself doing the same once in a while.  I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’ll often start crying at the end of one of my stories not only because I’ve reached the end and there’s a huge emotional release upon typing out, “The End”, but in a few of my stories something extremely emotional has occurred between my characters, and it’s hard to hold back the feelings.  You’re digging deep into something within your own essence to throw into your characters, and when that moment happens, it’s like it happened to you.

I thought out a scene for my kids last night that hit me in ways that make a lot of sense, and at the same time left me feeling like my heart was going to wither.  It was a cold scene, but as I thought it out logically, it was the only thing possible for the plot as thought out.  It even involved making one of the hardest characters I’ve ever made reach a point where she starts crying–that’s some hard cord sad right there.

I talk about these characters as if they are real people sometimes, and while I know they aren’t, they are, in a way, an extension of my own ideas and feelings, so when you give them happy times, you feel the happy times, and when you crap all over their lives and throw them into the Pit of Emotional Hell, then you’re going to experience the fall.  And trust me:  I will crap all over their lives, because life is hard for Normal people, so just imagine the sort of shit that gets thrown at you when you’re a witch.

What doesn’t kill them makes your characters stronger–but what does it do to me?  It lets me tell the tales of their lives–

And by doing so, I bring a little of my life out for all to see.