The Next Steps: Time of Change

Now we come to the part of the program where we get back to the novel–

But after a word about my practice last night.

If you read yesterday’s post–and you should–you’ll know I had a bad night because of a personal failure on my 27/5.  Well, last night practice starts and–we’re told to skate as many laps as we can in five minutes, and if possible improve on our last times.  Knowing that, I struck out and set what I thought was a good pace.  I didn’t do as many crossovers as I’d have liked–maybe a quarter of my corners saw them–but I kept pushing.  And when the whistle blew at the end of five minutes–

I’d done about 20 1/3 laps.

The goal I’d set out for last week was to hit at least twenty laps in five minutes, or do a lap every fifteen seconds.  I did a lap in just less than fifteen seconds, and if I’d managed better crossovers I’d have cut that time considerably, because I was losing a lot of speed coasting through the turns.  And my next goal is 24 laps in five minutes, which works out to a lap every twelve and a half seconds.  Doing that puts me in position to shave off another second and a half per lap, which takes me to eleven second a lap, which is what’s needed to do 27 laps in 5 minutes.

See?  I got it all worked out.

It’s still not easy, however.  We skated a lot of laps and my back was locking up so bad at the end I could barely move my legs.  I collapsed on the inside of the track right before the whistle blew to end all our cardio and I lay on my stomach for about two minutes crying from the pain.

I’m going back tomorrow for more.

Okay, skating’s out of the way.  Novel Time is here–

Annie and Kerry are in the ICU and Coraline is there.  And she wants Kerry to get into some nicer clothing–at least something that will fit her better than the clothes she wore to bed as a boy–and all we need for that to happen is for Kerry to tell us where her other outfit is located…

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

She placed her hands on her thighs and leaned forward slightly. “Still in my luggage. The roll-on bag to the right side of the wardrobe as you face it.”

Coraline turned to Gretchen. “Go to her room, get her things, and bring them back here.” She glanced towards the children sitting on Bed #2. “Is your robe in there as well?”

Kerry nodded. “Yeah.”

Coraline patted Gretchen on the shoulder. “Go. I’ve got things until you get back.” Nurse Gretchen jaunted away and Coraline finally had the ability to take in her newest patient. She sat on the bed across from Annie and Kerry as started at the transitioned girl for a few seconds before speaking. “Well, look at you.”

Kerry almost rolled her eyes. “Yeah, look at me.” She touched Annie’s hand. “That’s the first thing Annie said as well.”

“I can see why. How are you feeling?”

She shrugged. “As well as anyone can after waking up and discovering they now have a vagina.”

“I can imagine.” Coraline chuckled. “At least you’re retaining your sense of dark humor.”

Kerry sighed. “About all I can do right now.”

 

Good to see Kerry’s keeping her strange sense of humor.  I mean, what do you do when you wait up in another body?  You make the best of the situation.  Which is what Kerry is doing.  And Coraline and Annie are helping.

Coraline has something to share as well–

 

“Well, keep it up: you may need that sense of humor today.” Coraline caught her breath and shifted her gaze between Annie and Kerry. “I didn’t get here right away because as soon as Gretchen told me what happened I looked at the data from your monitors.”

“And what did you find?” Annie reached over and took Kerry’s hand.

“There was a massive spike of estrogens at 2:28 followed thirty seconds later by your renal and endocrine systems going into overdrive.”

“Why?” Kerry furrowed her brow trying to figure out the answer on her own.

“My guess is your body was flushing out the testosterone in your system. Getting it out through your urine would be the fastest way.” Coraline focused on Kerry again. “It looks like you got up about a minute after that.”

“Yeah, I did.” Kerry squared her shoulders as she took in a slow breath. “I had to go to the bathroom really bad.”

“Did you use the bathroom before going to bed?”

“No.”

Coraline raised her hand as if to confirm her earlier speculation. “Then it makes sense. Your body creates a lot of urine while at the same time your bladder shrinks, so anything that was already in there would trigger your need to relieve yourself.”

Kerry nodded. “Which it did.”

“And you used the girl’s bathroom?”

There was a slight reddening of Kerry’s cheeks. “Yeah. Didn’t have a choice.”

“Hey, Red—” Coraline gave the slightly startled girl a warm, comforting smile. “The enchantments on the bathrooms and the dorm room are working just as they’re supposed to work. Now that you’re a girl, the only bathroom you could enter is the girl’s, so don’t feel ashamed. Okay?”

Before Kerry could respond Nurse Gretchen stepped into view carrying Kerry’s female night clothes, including her robe and Ugg boots. She set them on the end of Bed #2. “Here they are, Doctor. I included socks and a pair of panties as well.”

“Thank you, Gretchen.” Coraline stood and approached her night nurse. “Go back down to the office. I’ve a few things to do here before I get these two off to bed.” Gretchen nodded and walked off without as word.

 

Now you know:  when the last scene started Kerry had transitioned only a minute or so before: that’s why the alarms didn’t go out in Brain Trust Central.  It also explains why Kerry had such an urgency to use the bathroom: lots of urine and a suddenly smaller bladder make for one having to get up and pee.

With her night clothes there I guess this means Annie and Kerry are getting ready for bed…

The Next Steps: Collect the Girls

It seems like Sunday is a good time to start new chapters or scenes within a particular chapter, and given that I finished up to the first scene of Chapter Seventeen a few days ago, now is a good time to move on to the next part of the chapter–

Which I’ve worked on for a couple of days.  Yesterday I did a little over six hundred words, and this morning I’ve managed closer to six hundred and fifty words.  That means my little chapter is just five words short of forty-two hundred words and will likely grow another two thousand words before this is over.

Really, it’s coming along nicely.

 

Now that the news is out, it’s time for that support group Coraline spoke of to swing into action.  And they aren’t shy about kicking it into gear as quickly as possible–

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

After Annie’s computer call ended things happened quickly. Ninety seconds after making the call to the hospital there was a knock on her door and she discovered Nurse Gretchen standing outside, entering the room without an invitation as soon as Annie opened the door. Her instructions were clear: she was to bring Annie and Kerry to the hospital right away and Coraline would be along shortly. With little argument from the children she took Annie’s and Kerry’s hand and jaunted them directly to the second floor ICU waiting area and placed them in Bay #1, the same location where their monitors were checked when they returned to school at the end of August.

Nurse Gretchen told them to wait and vanished. While they waited for Coraline to appear Annie took this time to take in the second floor ward and observe Kerry.
The hospital was normally quiet this time of night—Annie knew this from the times during her A and B Levels—but this was the first time she’d entered the ICU in the middle of the night and it seemed as if it wasn’t only quieter than usual here, but that sounds appeared muted. The one time Kerry sighed after they were left alone it seemed to Annie to come out almost like a whisper.

Speaking of Kerry, Annie finally had the opportunity to see her in better light, for while the ICU was under night light conditions like the rest of the hospital, Nurse Gretchen had turned on a few light in the in bay before leaving, and they offered far more illumination than the dim light of her room. The stark pale complexion of Kerry’s face seemed to stand out more now that it was surrounded by rings of curly ginger hair. The same could be said for her eyes and freckles, the later of which seemed far more numerous than what Kerry had as a boy.

Her profile fascinated Annie, however. She was used to seeing Kerry’s chin and jawline, as well as his somewhat bulbous nose, but now her female version has a chin and jawline similar to Annie’s and her now nose seemed to form a small, narrow point that didn’t make up much space on her face. It was a tremendous change for Annie to see, but there was something incredibly lovely about her new appearance…

The sound of footsteps filled the ICU area: a second later Coraline appeared in the corridor with Nurse Gretchen behind her. She eyed Kerry for just a second before addressing her. “Kerry, where are you other night clothes?”

 

Just a Coraline promised the moment she and the others knew of Kerry’s transition the support group would swing into action and make certain the new girl on the block is gonna feel protected.  And it starts with Coraline moving her and her soul mate somewhere safe and making sure Kerry is comfortable.  And one way to do that is getting her some proper clothing to wear to bed.

But that’s not all that’s happening…

Change Has Come: Soul Mates Face-to-Face

I know what you’re saying:  Cassie, this point is coming really late!  And yes, it is.  That’s because I had a lot to do this morning and during the day, and the moment I got home I took a long nap from which I just awoke.

Now I’m editing film and preparing tomorrow’s post, which means I’m gonna give you what’s left of the first scene of Chapter Seventeen–

As you can see it’s right here.

I finished this up yesterday before my late practice and though I didn’t imagine it was going to be that long, it ended up being nearly three thousand words of coming out–literally.  After this–well, at the end, you’ll see where it’s going.

For now, Annie is finally getting a good look at her significant other in a way she’s never seen them before…

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

“Oh, my goodness.” Annie pulled back the comforter and got to her feet slowly. “Look at you.”

“Yeah—” Kerry tugged on the bottom of her night shirt. “Look at me.”

Annie stepped closer to the now-slightly embarrassed girl. “How long have you be like this?”

Kerry shook her head. “I don’t know. I got up maybe ten minutes ago to use the bathroom and found out I couldn’t get into the boy’s room: that’s when I realized I’d transitioned.”

“Okay. Did you go into the girl’s bathroom?”

“Yeah, I had to.” She looked downward slightly. “I didn’t have a choice.”

Annie could almost imagine the newly female Kerry being somewhat embarrassed going into a place that had been permanently off-limits to her before now. There was something she needed to know, however. “Did you clean after?”

Kerry nodded. “Yes, I did. Took toilet paper and dabbed myself clean like you said.”

 

Leave it to Annie to ask if Kerry cleaned herself after peeing.  This girl knows her priorities.

With bathroom habits established, Annie has a moment to look on in wonder:

 

“Good.” Now that her eyes were fully adjusted to the light Annie examined her soul mate closer. As far as she could remember from Kerry’s last dream, she seemed to be identical to the female version that stalked him though most of the last school year. Annie had seen Kerry in this same outfit many times in the past—this last Friday before the Samhain celebrations being the last—but due to this new body’s dimensions, she seemed enveloped in the over-sized shirt and pajama bottoms.

There was something else Annie picked up on right away. “You’re about three centimeters shorter than me.”

Kerry’s looked upwards slightly. “Yeah, just like we thought I’d become. I lost about six centimeters in height.”

“Your body looks well proportioned, though.” She touched Kerry’s hair, running her fingers along a long strand of ginger hair. “It feels so nice. I’m going to have to show you how to wash this properly.”

“Umm…” Kerry hadn’t even begun to consider the implications of having to keep this new body clean. “Assuming I stay this way for any period of time.”

“Yes, that’s true.” Annie decided to change the subject. “If you’ve transitioned right before you woke up, we have maybe another fifteen minutes before the alarm from the monitors goes off.”

“I know.” Kerry looked towards the door then back to Annie. “I can’t get back into my room to get anything, though.”

“I don’t think we need to worry about that: I’m certain Coraline will have someone go in and get whatever you need.” Annie turned her head a little to the left. “We should call the hospital so they can contact Coraline.”

Once again Kerry looked down before sighing. “I know.”

“My love—” Annie took her hands and held them in hers. She immediately felt two things she’d never noticed with Kerry before her transition: he hands felt slightly cold and they were incredibly soft. They’re also smaller, but that’s to be expected. “The worst is over. Another day and you’re back to being who you are.”

“You mean a strange witch with a new Gift?” She looked up and for the first time since entering Annie’s room a warm smile appeared on her face. “Like that?”

“You’re more than that and you know I’m telling the truth.” Annie grinned back. “You look so charming when you smile.”

“Well, get used to it now ‘cause you may not see it again.” Kerry nodded towards the computer terminal. “You better call the hospital: they might freak if I make the call.”

“I understand.” Annie moved to her computer desk and brought up the desk top, which had been in sleep mode. Every student who didn’t have access to their own computer had terminal access to the main school system, so they were always connected to the Salem Intranet as well as the Normal Internet. The instant the desktop was active she used voice mode to activate an application. “Video call: hospital.”

A few seconds later the call connected to the hospital, specifically Coraline’s office, where Nurse Gretchen sat during the evening house. Her face showed a bit of surprise. “Annie.”

“Good morning, Nurse Gretchen.”

“What’s wrong?” Gretchen examined her display carefully. “Are you all right?”

“I am, but…” Annie looked to her right. “I have a visitor.”

Nurse Gretchen saw a pretty girl with ginger hair slide into the display from Annie’s right and give a quick wave. “Hi, Nurse Gretchen.” The girl disappeared and Annie turned back to her display. “You need to wake up Coraline now. Tell her, ‘It’s happened’.”

 

Now that Annie and Kerry are together, it’s time to bring Coraline into the picture, and given that the next scene is titled ICU, we know we’re off to the hospital.

That’ll be here sooner than you think—

Change Has Come: Wake-up Call

The statement was made early on:  Kerry needs to let Annie know what’s going on.  So, in the last part, we saw Kerry leave the bathroom and head for Annie’s room.    Not only did she go there, but she went inside.

Therefore, for the first time, Kerry and you get to see Annie’s home away from home:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Kerry allowed her eyes to adjust and even used a bit a magic to help her see in the dark so she could find her way around Annie’s room better. Just as with her room, Annie’s study and computer desk was immediately to the right of the door and her bed was a couple of meters beyond that. The first painting Annie made for Ostara, The Baby Snakes, hung over the bed’s headboard while the two she painted last year, Na Povŭrkhnostta v Tsarstvoto na Sŭnishtata and Night Flight to Fenway, were located in an open area beyond Annie’s bed where a reading chair and table sat upon a large circular rug.

Almost across from her reading area was Annie’s wardrobe, set upon the left-hand wall as it was in Kerry’s room, but to its left was something Kerry didn’t have; a dressing table complete with mirror. Kerry didn’t find this at all out of place: in fact, knowing Annie it made complete sense. There was as moment, however, when Kerry wondered if Annie was going to try and teach her about makeup and she pushed it aside almost immediately…

Annie was under her comforter and laying on her right side, her mouth slightly open in her sleep. Kerry hated to wake her up, but she had told her to do so should she find herself transitioned before Coraline arrived. Kerry stood over Annie and gave her shoulder a slight shake as she whispered her name. “Annie, wake up.” Annie groaned once but didn’t awake. Kerry gave her another shake, but instead of waking up she mumbled in her sleep. “Ne e vreme da stavame, Mama. Ostavi me da spya.” (It’s not time to get up, Mama. Let me sleep.)  She adjusted her body and remained out.

 

Since Annie rooms by herself, she has a lot of room that would normally be used up by maybe two other beds and wardrobes.  And just like with her bedroom back in Pamporovo, she has a sitting area where she can relax and even study.  And she indicated in the other books, she has her paintings around the room, all except the large sketching she did which was given to Kerry and hangs over her bed.

Oh, and also like back in Pamporovo, Annie has a dressing table where she can get herself ready.  As in putting on makeup and fixing her hair ready.  Like it or not, she’s still our little Bulgarian princess.

She’s also harder than hell to wake up:

 

Kerry sighed and gave her a little harder shake. “Annie, wake up.”

Annie frowned in her sleep. “Um, makhaĭ se. Tova e spokoĭno.” (Um, go away. It’s peaceful.)  She grunted once and seemed to pull the comforter closer to her face.

This time Kerry rolled her eyes. “I have the hardest girlfriend in the world to wake up.” This time she shook Annie as hard as she could without rattling her. “Come on, Annie: wake up.”

Annie came awake almost immediately. She blinked a couple of times, then bolted upright in bed when she realized she wasn’t alone. As her right hand came out from under the covers a small glowing blue ball quickly grew—

No, Annie.” Kerry placed a small light point a half a meter over her head. “It’s me; it’s me. It’s Kerry.”

Annie squinted into the darkness before killing the energy ball in her right hand. “Lights low.”

The room’s lights came on so there was just enough light to see rather clearly. Kerry squinted as she killed the light source above her head. She stared at Annie rather sheepishly for a few seconds before attempting a weak smile. “Hi.”

 

Kerry finally gets Annie to wake up, but you have to love that Annie’s go-to move when she finds someone in her room is to get ready to blast them with an electrical attack.  Since she’d not done that in the hospital, you have to assume she’s protecting herself in her room.  And she’s pretty fast with that magic, too.

Now that Kerry has her attention…

Change Has Come: First Impressions

It may be Tuesday to you, but it’s Soreday for me.  As in I’m sore from last night.  And guess what?  I go back for more tonight!  However, I may just finished this scene before leaving for practice, because I manged over six hundred words yesterday before going and I should be able to do the same tonight.

The beginning of this excerpt should be familiar because some, or most, of you have seen it already.  This is Kerry’s first encounter with herself, where she exits the toilet and sees herself in the flesh for the first time.  Naturally I go beyond the end of that trailer–well beyond that point…

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Her eyes focused on the mirrors across from the toilets as she watched herself exit the stall and walk slowly towards the sinks. She took it all in: the alabaster skin which seemed even whiter than her boy skin; the numerous freckles; the long, curly ginger hair that stopped maybe a couple of hand-width below her shoulders; and her striking green eyes appearing like jade markers on a snowy field.

Kerry stopped about a meter from the sinks and leaned just a bit forward, taking in her image in the mirrors. A smile formed upon her face as she could only think of one thing to say. “Wow.” She exhaled and tossed her head. “I mean, I look just like her.” She brushed hair away from her face, an action she thought was going to become a habit rather quickly. “Of course I look like her because I am her. I always was. Humph.” She took a step closer to the mirror. “I am she and she is me, coo coo kachoo.” Her smiled died a little as she looked off to the side. “My voice sounds so strange now. That’s gonna take some getting used to hearing.”

There was one part of the new her that kept drawing Kerry’s attention away from her appearance. Even though after wiping herself she was fully cognizant that she was indeed had the physical characteristics of a girl, she found the fact that she now had breasts somewhat astonishing. As if to prove they did exist, Kerry placed a hand under each and gave both a slight lift. She sighed as she dropped her hands. “Oh, yeah: they’re real.” She gazed down as she shook her head. “It’s all real.”

 

One might think Kerry feeling her breasts to confirm it’s all “real” is a little strange, but I know from personal experience that if you’ve never had breasts and, boom, there they are, one is tempted to, um, self-examine from time to time.

I was like that when I first started developing.  About three weeks after I started hormone treatment I was feeling my chest and felt something strange behind my nipples.  Turned out to be the first breast buds growing, and it wasn’t long after that I actually had the real deals.

These days I self examine because while I’m not at risk for breast cancer it’s still a possibility, so it’s best to make sure that doesn’t happen.  But in the beginning I was fascinated by the changes in my body, which means I’m certain Kerry would be the same way.

Now that she’s got a handle on her appearance, it’s time to share it with someone else–

 

She looked around the empty bathroom, listening. She didn’t expect to hear anything outside the space—like all the rooms at school they were enchanted to keep out outside sounds—but she wondered if the door was going to open followed by Coraline coming for her. That was quickly replaced by the image of on of the B Levels coming into the bathroom and discovering her—followed by a possible freak out when they realize they’ve never seen this particular ginger girl at the school, let alone inside the coven.

Though there was a danger of being discovered outside the bathroom, Kerry knew if her transition had occurred some time ago Coraline was gonna show up on their floor looking for her. And if had occurred only moments before she awoke to use the bathroom, it was likely another fifteen or twenty minutes were going to pass before the alarms went off.

Kerry knew she couldn’t get back into her room; being locked out of the boy’s bathroom meant she couldn’t go anywhere girls weren’t allowed. There was one place she could go, however…

She exited the bathroom and headed for Annie’s room.

Since returning to school Annie made a point of leaving her door unlocked at night. Some students locked their doors at night only out of habit, but given the fact that if anyone entered a room they weren’t supposed to be in it was an easy matter to find out the identity of that person, keeping rooms locked at Salem only happened if the room in question was considered a secured location.

Annie rarely locked her door at night and let Kerry know from the start of their C Levels that if she transitioned it was okay to come in and wake her if there was time. As the second floor of Cernunnos Tower remained silent, Kerry figured she had plenty of time.

She turned turned the knob and gently opened the door. For the first time in her life she was able to see into Annie’s room, another validation that she was now as much a girl as her soul mate. She slipped into the darkness inside and quietly closed the door behind her.

 

One of the comments I had was “Go Tell Annie!”  Did you think Kerry was going on this trip without her?  Well, that’s happening right now–

Or, really, tomorrow.

 

Change Has Come: Bathroom Break

Yesterday was a long day, one that didn’t end until about nine-thirty last night.  But I did have a great time heading down to York, PA, to watch our sister team, the York City Derby Dames, have at it.  After that we headed off to the after party and had a bit to eat and drink, and all was good for the ride home.

Also yesterday, Kerry’s other half finally popped up after more than a year and a half of teasing about it.  Poor boy has to go to the bathroom and there’s only one that can be used–and it’s at this point you’ll notice a shift in the gendered pronouns.  Yesterday, with Kerry standing outside the girl’s bathroom, was the last “he” that’s gonna be written for a while.  With Kerry in the facility protected by an enchantment that only allows csi and trans girls inside, it’s all “she” and “her” from this point, because of course she is.

And she still has to relieve herself–

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

The girl’s bathroom was a mirror image of the boys, with the sinks on the right side of the room and the toilet stalls on the left. Kerry passed the first two because they had closed doors and stopped before the third, which was open and showed there was no possibility of anyone inside. Taking another deep breath, she entered the stall and closed the door.

Though she’d never been inside a girl’s toilet before, Kerry had received instructions from Annie on what to do once inside: Stand in front of the toilet and face the door. Pull down you panties and/or pants and sit. She did exactly as Annie instructed and sat the moment she had her pajama bottoms and underwear around her knees. She wasn’t down for more than a few seconds before a loud squeal of urine hitting water seemed to echo throughout the bathroom. Kerry held her knees together, slightly mortified at the noise she was making and hoping no one walked in on her.

The spray cut off without much warning and Kerry found it unusual that she didn’t need to force out the last few ounces of fluids. She was about to get up when she remembered another reminder from Annie: Don’t forget to clean yourself after. Kerry pulled off a short length of toilet paper and wadded it up before preparing to reach between her legs and clean herself. Her hand didn’t move for a few seconds before she forced herself to reach down to her groin—

She looked up and swallowed as she dabbed away the last remains of urine from genitals with which she didn’t have a few hours earlier.

Kerry dropped the toilet paper into the bowl, remembering not to put it in the small metal box to her left. The toilet flushed as she stood and pulled her underwear and pajamas up and got everything secured. For a moment she stood before the door feeling as if she was unsure if she should venture out into a semi-public space, then threw it open and walked barefoot into the main bathroom space.

Her eyes focused on the mirrors across from the toilets as she watched herself exit the stall and walk slowly towards the sinks. She took it all in: the alabaster skin which seemed even whiter than her boy skin; the numerous freckles; the long, curly ginger hair that stopped maybe a couple of hand-width below her shoulders; and her striking green eyes appearing like jade markers on a snowy field.

 

Just an interesting point of fact here:  when I started using the women’s facilities in public, several trans women suggested we newbies learn about “bathroom etiquette” so when we went in we could “blend in” easier.  As it was explained while guys going to the bathroom could be something akin to roaming the wild west, we were told there were things a woman did when she went to the bathroom, and Annie has passed along some of those things.  And Annie–yes, she’s going to show up in this scene because why wouldn’t she?–will check to make sure Kerry did all those things.

The only thing I do different than Kerry when it comes to using the bathroom is that I, um, have to, um, “direct” my original plumbing downward so that I make a sound as I urinate.  And after a few years that’s become something of a habit.

Now, tomorrow…  remember that last teaser scene in the C Level trailer?

Both you and Kerry get to see the new her…

Change Has Come: A Rude Awakening

Where are we today?  Oh yeah:  new chapters.

Now, first off, I had a busy day washing cars and watched Mr. Robot, which I suggest people catch if you get the chance because it’s great.  I also managed some writing last night and this morning, and I’m getting this out now because after 11:30 my day is pretty much gonna be taken up with derby stuff.

So, one act ends and another begins.  We’ve gotten through Season of Change okay–and what’s up next?

Okay, so it’s a bit ominous…

 

Yeah, the next couple of hundred thousand words is gonna be a trip straight down the road into Hell more or less.  I will say it won’t be all bad–after all, we’ll see Annie’s and Kerry’s Yule Holiday in this act–but the rest of it’s gonna be a bit nasty. I mean, life can’t always be nice, right? That means it’s gonna get rather unnice for the kids for a while.

And what’s the first part of this new chapter?

Oh, is there a new student?

 

Yeah, we know all about that new student. Though we’ve actually met her before this moment, as far as the rest of the school is concerned, she’s a brand new witch.

Let’s get introduced:

 

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Kerry woke both feeling out of it and having an incredible need to go to the bathroom.

Doing everything by rote he threw back his covers, swung his legs off the bed, and popped up on to his feet. The moment he was certain he wasn’t about to fall he headed for the door and proceeded out into the dimly lit common area between the bathroom entrances and the spiral staircase. Normally he came right awake almost as soon as he opened his eyes, but this time he felt as if he was sleepwalking his way to the bathroom. He figured it had something to do with how tired he was before going to bed—

He stepped on the hem of the right leg of his sleep pants and nearly tripped. He wrapped his fingers around the waist band and felt how loose the felt around him. Kerry didn’t understand this as he was good about fastening the drawstring and making sure it was secure. He hitched up his pants and began fiddling with the drawstring as he continued towards the boy’s bathroom. Without looking up he raised his right hand to push the door open and walk inside.

Kerry crashed into the unmoving door and was instantly awake.

What the hell? He took three steps back and affixed an unbelieving stare upon the door. At no time in the little over two years of time at Salem had he seen any of the boy’s bathrooms locked, nor were any of the coven bathrooms, even late at night. He continued staring for several seconds, regarding what happened as a possible fluke.

He walked up to the door, placed his right hand upon it, and gave it a push.

The door didn’t budge.

It wasn’t just locked: it didn’t move at all. To Kerry it felt almost as if he were pushing against the wall. He gave the door another shove with his right hand and when that did nothing, he put both hands against the door and pushed as hard as he could.

Nothing happened: the door remained close.

Kerry leaned in and rested his forehead against his fingers and he wondered what to do next. Given that he needed to pee, and soon, he considered heading down to the first floor and using the A Level bathroom. He wouldn’t expect that one to be closed—but then, he never expected this bathroom to be closed, either. It didn’t matter: he had to go, and a bathroom was a bathroom.

He pushed himself back and was about to give the door one last shove—

His hands were directly in front of his eyes.

There was something different about them.

Kerry started at them for several seconds trying to figure out what was different. They were his, yet there was something…

Slimmer. The fingers were slimmer. And shorter.

He held his hands before his face, continuing to stare for a few moments more before Annie’s voice spoke in his head: Check your hands; check your hair.

The realization began dawning slowly as he lowered his hands to his waist. He took a couple of deep breaths before reaching up to the side of his head—

Instead of touching his cheek he felt long strands hair against his face.

Oh, shit. Kerry whipped his head around and instantly found his vision obscured by a mane of curly ginger hair. Brushing it out of his face he looked about to see if anyone had entered the common area while trying to get into the bathroom: the space was empty and quiet. He closed his eyes and calmed his breathing. It’s happened, it’s here. What should I do next? Wait for someone to come and get me?

The pressure in his bladder was a reminder that he had unfinished business. However, since he wasn’t getting into the boy’s bathroom, that left the only alternative…

Kerry stepped to the right and stood in front of the entrance to the girl’s bathroom. Knowing he had no other option, he placed his hand upon the door and applied a little pressure. With only normal resistance the door cracked open.

Kerry pushed it open the rest of the way and hurried inside.

 

Yeah, this is it: Kerry’s other half has finally made her appearance, and damn it all, the first thing that happens is she gets locked out of the boy’s bathroom because, well, she ain’t a boy.  However, you’ll notice I keep the male pronouns in place during this excerpt:  I did that I would imagine that if Kerry had some kind of ongoing narration going on in his head he’d likely still be thinking “boy” at this point.  Once the action moves to the inside of the bathroom that’ll change:  you’ll see.

For now, however, we’re at the start of his voyage of discovery–

Which looks as if it’s gonna take most of the morning.

 

We’ll continue with all that tomorrow…

Mid-Level Samhain: The Walk Between the Bonfires

A lot has happened in the last day, most of it not involving me knocking someone off their skates and/or me falling down.  As I told renxkyoko yesterday, I was going to finish the last scene of Chapter Sixteen and finish Act One as well.  And guess what?

I did!

It took a little over seven hundred words to get there, but it was gotten.  I was actually up at 5:30 this morning putting a bit of polish on the scene, but for all intents I put it in the novel bank last night.  And since I’m in a good mood and don’t feel like stretching this out, here’s the last scene of Act One.

Enjoy.

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

After spending most of the evening dancing and speaking with friends, it was near twenty-three forty-five before Annie and Kerry were able to leave the Samhain dance and head to Selena’s Meadow to participate in the last event of the evening. Rather than walk there, they returned to the coven tower so Kerry could retrieve his broom and flew to a landing area just east of the Flight School hangar entrance.

The Samhain Bonfires were located in the southern section of Selena’s Meadow, about one hundred and fifty meters from where Annie and Kerry touched down. The bonfires were much like the ones lit at Beltaine: about ten meters high and fifteen across, situated with a twenty meters gap between them. The bonfires represented the ability to destroy the collected waste of the prior years by burning it to cleanse it from one’s life. Students spent the morning cleaning up around their towers so that the refuge could be burnt once the fires were ignited, but there was another reason for their existence…

Annie and Kerry approached the fires together, hand-in-hand, as they had the last two times they’d performed this ceremony. There were only five students already at the fires, but by the time they arrived they’d completed their actives and were on their way back to The Pentagram.

The Guardians of the Flame this year were Professor Semplen—who had come to the dance as Nikola Tesla—and Professor Palmescoff, who was dressed in the traveling outfit worn by Nellie Bly when she journeyed around the world. Once they were closer Kerry greeted them. “Good evening, Professor Palmescoff, Professor Semplen.”

“Good evening, children.” Professor Semplen adjusted his glasses. “Are you enjoying the evening?”

Kerry nodded. “Quite. It’s been excellent so far.”

Professor Palmescoff smiled at both students. “And why are you here now?”

Annie lowered her head as she intoned in a serious voice. “We are here to allow the flames to wash over us so we may be rid of the negativity that we’ve collected during the previous year.”

Maddie nodded and motioned towards the bonfires. “Continue onward. And may you find yourself cleansed.”

“Thank you.” Annie bowed, took Kerry’s hand, and walked forward towards the bonfires.

A path was marked out so that students wouldn’t wander too close to either bonfire, but Annie found it difficult to believe that anyone would make the mistake of not traveling down the middle. The heat here was intense but bearable and even at a normal walking pace they’d finish their passage in under thirty seconds.

Annie glanced at Kerry’s face as they neared the mid-way point. While his head was up his eyes were closed and he appeared to breath slowly, as if he were absorbing the heat of the fires into his very being. It was his face that Annie focused on the most, however: he looked completely at ease for the first time today, as if he’d reached an epiphany concerning the day’s events and finally put them behind him.

She waited until they finished their passage and were about thirty meters from the fires on their way into the meadow before she spoke. “You looked calm.”

He raised his left eyebrow. “You mean when we were back between the fires?”

“Yes.”

“I was.” Kerry looked back over his left shoulder. “I always love walking through there. It’s kinda of comforting.”

Annie was aware that since their first time through Kerry always looked forward to their walk between the bonfires. “That is quite true, my love. Did you cleanse yourself of all that happened today?”

Kerry pulled out his broom. “Let’s get back to the garden and I’ll tell you there.”

Annie went into a hover about a meter off the ground. “Excellent idea.” The moment Kerry had his broom out he jumped on and quickly rose from the meadow with Annie beside him, holding her top hat in place as she flew. A minute later they were touching down on walkway about half pay between Founder’s Gate and the Great Hall’s main entrance.

Annie adjusted her hat as she touched down. “And once more we end a Samhain celebration in the Pentagram Gardens.”

“I wouldn’t have it any other way.” Kerry slipped his broom back into Hammerspace before covering his mouth with the back of his hand as he yawned. “Umm, sorry.”
Annie giggled at the impromptu yawn. “It’s quite all right. I think you’re earned the right to be a little tired right now given your day.”

“Speaking of which—” He took her hand and led her along the path into the darkened garden. “Yes, I did feel as if I was being cleansed of all the BS I’ve dealt with today. Walking between those fires with you felt—” He drew in a long breath and released it slowly. “Invigorating.”

“I’m glad.” She kissed his lips for a long time, holding his face between her hands the entire time. “Given all that happened to you today, you deserve a bit of peace.”

“Well, it wasn’t just crap I had thrown at me today: I had a bit of happiness as well.” He pulled her close and gave her a tight hug. “We’re gonna spend Yule together.”

She rested her head against him. “I’m so glad that’s happening as well.” Annie looked up. “I can’t predict what’s going to happen—”

“Doesn’t matter.” Kerry shook his head. “We’ll be together the entire school year for the first time. That’s all that matters.” He started to lean in to give her another kiss when he yawned again. “Whoa. I didn’t expect that.”

“Oh, no need to apologize.” Annie hugged Kerry’s arm, feeling content as they strolled through the dimly-lit garden. “Are you going to tell your parents where you’re spending Yule?”

He shook his head. “Why should I? They didn’t exactly do me any favors today by telling me about their trip.” He looked away as he sighed.

By now Annie was cognizant of all of Kerry’s tells when it came to his moods and this one was easy to discern. “Did you tell your parents about what you were doing today?”

“Yeah. I told them about the race and that it would mean a lot to me if they showed up to watch.” Kerry struggled for a moment as he brought his emotions under control. “She told me about their holiday today just to mess with me; this was mom’s way of letting me know she’s still pissed about me coming out as a witch.” He looked down. “What a bitch.”

Even though Annie had already called Kerry’s mother a bitch on a couple of occasions, she was surprised to hear him use the expression, for until now she’d never heard him say anything derogatory about either of his parents. “Forget what she did: I wouldn’t let it concern you.” She stopped and stood before him. “I can’t say our Yule will be perfect, but I predict it will be far better than their holiday.” She rose up on tip-toes to kiss the tip of his nose. “Moyata srodna dusha.”

Kerry smiled and leaned closer for a kiss. “My precious wife.” Their lips were almost touching when he was siezed by another powerful yawn. He pulled away as he covered his mouth. “Oh, man.”

Annie giggled. “It’s all right. You’ve had an extremely full day and probably need your sleep.”

“Yeah.” He nodded slowly. “It’s starting to feel that way.”

She took his hand. “Then let’s go home, shall we, my love?”

Kerry nodded sheepishly. “Lead on, my dear.”

They returned to the coven tower in silence, neither speaking during the walk through the ground floor commons or up the stairs to the first and second floor. It was only once they were outside Annie’s door that Kerry finally spoke. “Thank you for everything.” He gave her a kiss that seemed to stretch on for many minutes, but only lasted fifteen second in reality. “You made it all better.”

“And thank you for finally accepting my invitation.” Annie raised her eyebrows as she smiled. “Even if it was given by my mother.”

“Yeah, well, I won’t make that mistake again.” He kissed Annie once more. “Good night, Annie. I love you.”

She rested her head against his chest. “Leka nosht, Kerry. Obicham te.”

He ruffled her hair. “I’ll see you in the morning.” There was a finally kiss of her head before he took two steps back. “You were the cutest Death tonight.”

She rocked back and forth on her boot heels, a huge smile upon her face. “I know.” She opened the door to her room. “See you in the morning, my love.” Annie stepped inside and vanished through the dark shielding enchantment before the door closed.

Kerry hurried to his room so he could get ready for bed. All the excitement and emotions of the day were catching up to him and he felt as if he wasn’t going to remain awake for long. He removed his broom from Hammerspace and set it on a stand in the corner before changing into his pajama pants and night tee shirt. He didn’t worry about changing his hair: the enchantment used to color it was about due to expire and his hair would be back to normal in an hour or so. He considered using the bathroom but put the thought aside as he was hit with another massive yawn and figured he’d didn’t have to worry about using it until morning.

His routine finished he slid under the covers and commanded the lights to shut off. He spent a moment to look out the window at the darkness beyond, then relaxed and closing his eyes—

Before he was aware of it happening, he found himself falling into a deep, peaceful sleep.

 

End Of Act One

 

Interesting things going on.  Kerry finally calls his mother a bitch and admits, more or less, that he’s not happy that she decided to fuck with him on a day he told her was important to him.  This means that Lousie’s actions at the start of the day are even shittier because she knew she stood a good chance of crushing her son’s spirit.

Yeah, she’s a bitch.

Also, he doesn’t intend on telling his parents where he’s spending Yule.  And why should he?  Kerry likely knows if he sent of an email that says, “Hey, Mom, I’m staying with Annie and her parents for Yule, I’ll have fun while you’re Down Under trying to avoid being killed by the wildlife, LOL.”  This would probably earn the Headmistress a letter or maybe even a–gaspvisit!  With Annie and Kerry being called to the office to deal with this bullshit.

Well, maybe Kerry would deal with it.  Annie would probably start bleeding Louise out.

Act One, Season of Change is finished.  And as excepted, it did clear two hundred thousand words:

All you need to see if right here.

 

Now that I have this act behind me, it’s on to Act Two, Season of Hell.  And the hell starts early–

With something I’ve been waiting to write since 2012.

Mid-Level Samhain: The Last Act

Today I come to you feeling about as sore as hell.  Some of you may be thinking, “Did you work out too hard last night, Cassie?” and the answer would be yes.  We not only did stretching and cardio, but we did “sock derby”, which is pretending to play with all our gear on save for our skates and do the moves in our socks.  I jammed one time and made it through the pack twice–and then died on my feet ’cause, believe it or not, I’d run over three hundred and fifty feet at that point–the fastest way around the track is about 188 feet and I wasn’t running that–and fought my way through a pack of blockers.

Oh, and after that we got on skates and did it again.  I went down many times and had some difficulty actually blocking blockers from blocking.  I got called on penalties–I went at the jamming by skating the wrong way down the track, a no-no–knocked down my own jammer, and took a couple of hard falls as well.  In one video I look a little lost, but given this was my first time actually playing a two minute jam, the fact I’m ready for more is a sign of winning.

But I’m sore.  All over.

Someone who isn’t sore is Annie.  Kerry isn’t sore, either.  In fact, they’re ready to dance.  Let’s finish this off–

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

“Speaking of sitting—” Annie tugged on Kerry’s arm. “Shall we go to our sofa?”

Kerry chuckled. “Lead on, Sweetie.”

As they walked across the Dining Hall Annie was surprised by some of the stares they received from their level mates. She’d noticed a certain distance building up between them over the last couple of weeks, but ever since Kerry’s judgment trial the avoidance was far more pronounced. Annie suspected a big reason for this was that, given both their judgment trials and their Guardian test, people finally recognized them as not only being far different, but also dangerous.

She wasn’t concerned and, from what she saw, neither was Kerry. As Helena had told her back in their A Levels, it’s good having a bad ass reputation as no one will mess with you, and Annie found she preferred things this way. She’d never had much affinity for most of the people in her level and if they were eager to keep a certain distance between them, she was the last to object to their decision.

And here she was presenting herself as the embodiment of Death. She couldn’t wait to see what Helena would say about her costume choice.

 

There is, that bad ass rep that Helena said they should cultivate.  Both kids have been through Judgement Trials, publicly fought Rage zombies like their lives depended on it, and have all kinds of rumors swirling around them about “activities” they’re doing outside the school–yeah, it’s only natural at this point that a lot of the students are gonna be totally wary of them.  And given that they do little with the people in their own level, Annie sort of digs this feeling that she doesn’t fit in for all the right reasons.

Now that reps are out of the way the kids are ready to relax.  Well, almost…

 

They were almost to their sofa when Erywin’s voice ran out. “All right, everyone: the dedications are starting early tonight—”

Kerry stopped and turned to Annie. “I think we should hold off sitting.”

Annie nearly laughed as she was not only sure that Kerry had dedicated a song to her, but that it was likely she had a dedication as well. “Lead on, my love.”

They just reached the edge of the cleared dance floor when Erywin—who wore a sliver jumpsuit and had blue hair—smiled as she read her tablet. “So, first dedication of the evening goes out to a rather well-known C Level in Cernunnos Coven. It reads: ‘To my dearest: no matter what trials and tribulations I go through, the one constant in my life is that I need you. Love, Kerry’.” She motioned at Annie and Kerry. “It’s your dance floor: have at it.”

Kerry led Annie on to the floor, surrounded by students who’d become used to seeing this event. He’d only managed to place is arm around Annie’s waist when the music began. He gave her a quick spin that matched the tempo before they began their dance in earnest.

Nearly thirty seconds passed before Annie asked the inevitable question. “And what is this song?”

Baby I Need Your Loving, by The Four Tops.” Kerry put his arm around Annie once again and gave them both a twirl. “Given how things have went since we finished our B Levels, it’s a perfect affirmation.”

She clutched him tight for just a moment. “You needed worry that you’ll never have my love.”

“Am I worthy of it?”

She looked into his eyes. “Do you have to ask?”

“No, but it’s always good to hear.”

She kissed his lips. “You are always worth of my love.”

“And you are worthy of my love and even more.” He arched his eyebrows. “Only we gotta wait for that other stuff.”

Annie laughed. “It can be hard being us.”

“Not as long as we have each other.”

The continued in silence until the song ended but they didn’t leave the dance floor, for they both suspected what was coming next. Deanna—who wore a cream colored Ionic chiton—read this dedication. “This dedication also comes from the C Level floor in Cernunnos Coven. It reads: ‘Whatever you and I face, we face together. We will laugh and cry as one, but it will always be done in love. With the sadness behind us, let’s enjoy this moment. Love, Annie’.” Deanna floated her tablet to one said as she started the next song.

Kerry didn’t need to ask about his soul mate’s song choice: Daft Punk’s Get Lucky was one of the most recognizable songs of the last summer. He took a moment to watch Annie dance around him with wild abandon before joining her, because if there was one thing he loved, it was watching her enjoy herself.

They dance in silence for a little more than a minute before Kerry moved close enough to speak in a low voice. “You know ‘getting lucky’ is a euphonium for having sex?”

Annie nodded. “I do know.”

“People here are gonna think you picked this song because we’re off to do it after the dance.”

Annie turned a playful gaze upon him for a few seconds before a mischievous grin appeared on her face. “Why, my love, you make that sound like a bad thing.”

 

One of the things that’s become a stable during the Samhain Dance is Kerry dedicating a song to Annie.  Third time in a row and this time he picked a up-tempo, short tune:  Baby I Need Your Loving, by The Four Tops, a great piece of Motown that always brings a smile and head nod to me.  Actually, this song started playing during my last fight to Hong Kong in 2005 and I experienced one of those moments when you’re relaxed and content and everything seems to be perfect.  Yeah, it was a good moment.

And for the second year in a row Annie has a song dedication for Kerry.  Since her tastes are far more modern, her pick was the Song of the Summer of 2013–it was released 19 April of that year–Get Lucky by Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams on vocals.  And it’s just the sort of song to get our little gothy Death to move around and dance with all her heart.  And to admit to Kerry that she knows the title is a double entendre about having sex and, why love, is that bad?  Annie has really reached the point where she gives zero fucks about what others in the school think of her or her relationship, though when she’s with close friends she lets them know the truth.

What’s left?

How about a little fire, Scarecrow?

Mid-Level Samhain: Let’s Play

Well, the weekend is over and it’s time to get back into the swing of things.  A couple of days of practice and tomorrow night I may roll over to a little LGBT get together.  Haven’t made up my mind yet.

But I will get to writing that last scene which, I hope, only takes about fifteen hundred or so words.  Because I am so eager to start Act Two so I can put my kids through hell, I tell ya, hell.  Maybe not right away, but I’ll get there.

In the meantime Kerry’s back with refreshments and a desire to hear about the girl’s discussion:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

“We had a great one.” A second later Nadine began laughing.

Kerry began smiling. “What’s so funny?”

“When you walked up levitating that glass I instantly flashed back to your first night in Advanced Spells.”

“Oh, that.” Annie rolled her eyes. “I remember my first levitation lesson so well.”

“You guys were so shaky that night—”

“Particularly me. I had such little confidence when I couldn’t make that spell right away.”

Nadine motioned to both Kerry and her. “And now look at you: all the advanced classes and maybe a few other things.” She didn’t elaborate what she meant by “other things”, but she saw by the look Annie and Kerry exchanged that they knew what she meant. “He was the same way when we started working on his first Ostara performance: completely unsure he was gonna be able to get up there and perform.”

Kerry looked down as he nodded. “I was a freakin’ mess, that’s for sure. And you helped me through that.”

“All I did was work on bringing out the talent you already had.” Nadine glanced at Annie. “Did he tell you what we’re gonna do?”

 

Yeah, remember how these two struggled a bit to levitate plushies?  Now…  Kerry should try his levitation magic at home–  “Hey, Mom?  Want something to drink?”  Love it, she would not.  Also, once more we have someone “hinting” they know more about what Annie and Kerry are up to than they are letting on, or perhaps they just believe all those rumors of them going out and doing dark Guardian shit.  No one really knows anything, but that doesn’t keep them from guessing.

Now wait:  Nadine and Kerry are doing something together?  Yep.

 

She looked at Kerry. “He hasn’t told me anything about you two working together.”

“We only started working on it yesterday.” He made a slight nod in Nadine’s direction. “Why don’t you tell her as it’s your idea.”

Annie focused a questioning look upon her soul mate. “What are you doing?”

He cleared his throat. “Nadine asked if I would help out on her last number. I told her yes.”

She turned to Nadine. “What’s the song?”

“I’m doing Silent Lucidity by Queensrÿche.” Nadine finished her punch before going on. “It has a big orchestral backing and I wasn’t certain I could pull it off just by myself on the Jupiter. So I ask Kerry if he’d back me up on the Korgs and he agreed.”

He nodded. “I’ll be in the background, but what I’ll help add will make the song sound far more powerful.” Kerry took a sip of his punch. “Plus, since I’m on after her, it’ll help get my keyboards set up for my set.”

Annie adjusted her top hat. “What do you mean?”

Nadine answered this. “I’ll have the Jupiter-80 in front of me and the Korg Kronos and Krome to my right, while he wants the two workstations in front of him and the Jupiter to his left. So, when we set up to do my last number, we’ll open up the keyboards—” She held her hand at right angles to each other and slowly opened her hands so her palms were facing her. “He’ll be behind me and on my right, and I’ll be up front.”

“Oh.” Annie wrapped her hands around Kerry’s left arm. “You’ll have another girl on your left.”

“I suggested I set up behind her, though.” He gave his sweetie a smile.

Nadine laughed. “He told me he didn’t want to incur your wrath.” She let her punch cup hover at her right. “When I’m done we’re move the keyboards against so the Jupiter is on Kerry’s left and the Korgs are in front of him. Apparently he loves having two workstations between him and the audience.”

“I enjoy having my main keyboards in front of me.” He snorted at his practice mate. “I’m not hiding from the audience.”

“I know: I’m just giving you shit.” Nadine giggled then looked off across the mass of students on the dance floor. “I gotta go find my coven peeps; they’re probably wondering what I’m doing.”

“Talking shop, you.” Kerry nodded at her. “See you later.”

Annie returned her friend’s smile “You know where to find us.”

“Sure do. Later.” Nadine turned and headed into the crowd.

 

Yes, I got into that boring talk about keyboard equipment and how these kids are gonna play.  What this means is that when Nadine–who does her set right before Kerry’s–is playing, she had one keyboard in front of her and two to her right, while Kerry prefers to have two in front of him and one to his left.  The last time this was brought up I did the layout in Blender and I should do the same thing here so you can “see” it.  Everything is easier when you see it.

We now know the second of the three songs Nadine is playing:  Silent Lucidity by Queensrÿche.  And since they’re going to rearrange the keyboards for Kerry’s set right after that, it’s going to be the last song she plays.  There’s a bit of fun in that passage with all three kids admitting to the “No Girls to Kerry’s Left!” more-or-less rule and how they’re keeping that from happening.  Nadine didn’t even bat an eye when it was brought up, which means she understands.

Now that Annie and Kerry are finally alone, what’s left?

Oh, a few things…

Mid-Level Samhain: It Goes On

After a few days of videos it’s time to get back into the novel–and I have in a good way.  With almost twelve hundred words written in the last two days, the middle scene of Chapter Sixteen is finished and the novel is exactly four hundred and sixty words away from the magical two hundred thousand word mark.

Two scenes down, one to go.

With the end of Act One in sight it’s time to do a little longer than normal novel dump here, and I’m gonna give you want you want.    And first up is:  what’s the rest of the Party of Six wearing?

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Annie took hold of Kerry’s arm. “I’m sure you were going to tell me who they are.”

He smiled at her. “You know who they are: we watched the show on Netflix a couple of Sundays ago.”

That cue stirred Annie’s memory just enough that she remembered. “Oh, that.” She chuckled. “But I’m not sure I remember the names other than for Penny’s character.”

Kerry pointed at Penny, Jario, Alex, and Kahoku in turn. “Lana, Archer, Cheryl, and Krieger.”

Kahoku got a strange look on his face. “I’m not Krieger.”

“Really?” Kerry went along with the act. “Not even a little?”

Kahoku’s eyes shifted from left to right for about five seconds before he responded. “Maybe.”

“Come on, lets get some snacks and sit.” Penny grabbed on to Jario’s arm and held fast before turning to her friends. “We’ll be over later to chat, ‘kay?”

Annie nodded. “We’ll see you then.” There wasn’t any need to ask where they would chat: everyone knew there was only one place in the Dining Hall where Kerry and she sat.

This also gave her an opening for something she’d wanted to do for some time. She turned to Kerry. “My love, would you be kind enough to get me some punch?” She glanced at their friend. “I’m sure Nadine would like some as well.”

Nadine nodded. “Yeah, some punch would be great.”

He never hesitated. “I’ll be right back.” Kerry turned and wandered off in the direction of the snacks table.

 

First up:  Penny, Jario, Alex, and Kahoku went as characters from Archer, which gave those four a large enough ensemble to keep them covered.  We also learned something else in that discussion:  Annie and Kerry sometimes take a Sunday and do a Netflix and chill, probably down in their private lab while they were working on their costumes.  I wonder if they were in their pajamas and under a comforter drinking hot chocolate while Kerry streamed the program on his computer?  Did the kids at Hogwarts ever do this?  No, they didn’t.  My witches rule!

Now, for the first time, Annie has Nadine alone.  What’s Annie got in mind?  Nadine seems to know–

 

“Well—” Nadine chuckled. “There are times when you are not the least be subtle, Annie.”

“I know.” Annie watched Kerry for a moment before turning back to her friend. “I’m certain Kerry knows as well, but he won’t say anything.”

Nadine nodded once. “So what did you want to talk about?”

Annie drew in a breath before asking an unrelated question. “It’s personal. If you don’t want to talk—”

“Naw.” Nadine shrugged. “We know each other well enough I don’t think you’re gonna ask me anything embarrassing.”

“Good. I was wondering… This is the third dance we’ve attended together and I’m going to say you’re here alone as you were the last two times.”

“You’re correct.”

“Why is it you never come with an escort?”

“You mean a date, don’t you?”

Annie shrugged. “If you wish. Why do you come alone?”

Nadine looked off to her right for a moment scanning the crowd. “I’m not alone. I’m here with friends. Besides, there are a lot of people here who came without dates.”

Annie knew Nadine’s statement was true: there were a lot of people who came unescorted, but a lot of those same people ended up finding people with whom to dance, which was something Annie had never seen Nadine do. “True, but—I always found it interesting that you never came with anyone. I’ve always imagined there are a lot of boys who would love to ask you to the dance.” She flashed a slight smile. “Probably a few girls as well.”

Nadine scratched at her right jawline for a few seconds, an action Annie knew she did when she was slightly uncomfortable. The only other times she’d ever seen her do that was in Advanced Spells when Nadine was about to craft a complex spell and she was doubtful she could make it happen. “I have been asked out, by both boys and girls. I get asked out every year.” She tilted her head slightly to the right as she looked at Annie. “I never wanted to come with a date ‘cause I always felt there was some, you know, expectation about what should happen.”

This drew a raised eyebrow from Annie, for she found it difficult to imagine Nadine believe that a date would expect something from her in exchange for time spent together. “It’s not really like that—”

“Oh, not for you guys. You know what you’re going tonight, so there’s no need for wondering.”

It took Annie a moment to realize what Nadine was suggesting. “Do you believe Kerry and I are going to have sex after the dance?”

Nadine shrugged. “Aren’t you?”

 

Nadine has been hit on a lot by both boys and girls, which isn’t surprising given she’s a rather public figure at Salem as well, as being a stunning ginger.  At the same time she doesn’t seem interested in dating because of expectations–and to her, that means she figures people who date her want sex.  And, it turns out, she’s also among the group who think Annie and Kerry are “doing it” whenever the opportunity arises–like, you know, after this dance.  This doesn’t shock Annie, but she does seem a bit surprised that her friend thinks that way:

 

“No.”

“Oh.” Her expression turned a bit sheepish. “Sorry for insinuating you were.”

“It’s quite all right.” Annie smiled to show there wasn’t any hurt feelings between them. “Not everything has to end in sex, you know.”

“I know.” Nadine looked off into the crowd once again, as if doing so allowed the conversation to seem less intimate. “I sometimes wonder if I’m asexual. Whenever I’m asked out I always start thinking that at some point the person will want to hook up and I have no interest in—anything.” She turned back to Annie. “Does that make any sense?”

Annie nodded. “It does. Not everyone is interested in sex as a pleasurable act—which is quite all right. And I can see why that colors your view of being asked out.”

For the first time since their conversation started Nadine’s face brightened. “Thanks. I’ve never really spoke with anyone about that.”

“Not even a counselor?”

“I thought about speaking with Erywin once, but I don’t know if she’d understand.”

Annie couldn’t help but chuckle. “Oh, I believe she’d understand.”

“Understand what?” Kerry returned with a drink in each hand and one hovering in front of him. He handed the one in his left hand to Annie. “Here you are, Sweetie.” He then gave the one in his right hand to Nadine. “And for you—” Lastly he snatched the hovering glass with his left hand and brought it to his lips for a quick sip. “Did you two have a good conversation?”

 

Gotta love Annie for being non-judgmental when it comes to her friend.  We’ve never really seen much of Nadine beyond class and racing, so this is a little peek behind the veneer she throws up for everyone else.  And given we’ve seen individuals who are straight, gay, lesbian, and even one who considered herself bi–that would be Wednesday–we discover there’s at least one student who may identify as asexual.  Salem:  It Takes All Kinds to Make a School For Witches.

So the conversation was good.

But there’s more to come…

Mid-Level Samhain: It’s Out

This post is coming way late because, holy Jeez, I’ve not only been busy as hell, but I just woke up from a nap where I didn’t know where I was, or the date and time.  That’s called being out of it, folks.  And I was there.

First off, let me talk about last night’s practice.  First, we freshies were out of the pond, so to speak.  As someone I know said, we worked with the OGs, the vet, and it got intense at times.  They are uping us in intensity because–well, they are.  And we were taking it.

Most importantly, I got to do tripod blocking with “the big girls”, as Ashley called them, and three times I was the jammer going up against the block.  Yeah, I finally got to wear the star:

Let me tell you it was hard, and I got knocked on my ass more than a few times.  I literally had someone come over and hip or shoulder check me hard enough that I was knocked off the track and down, but I got right back up and did it again.  Except when I had a cramp in my right calf which put me down for about five minutes.  Luckily that was right at the end of practice…

Yesterday we learned about Annie’s and Kerry’s costumes:  she’s Death and he’s the Lord of Dreams.  Where did you get that, geek boy?

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Nadine added the tip-in. “From The Sandman comics.”

Jario shook his head. “I’ve never heard of it.”

Kerry rolled his eyes. “How have you not heard of one of the greatest pieces of fantasy every?”

“Hey, I’m not into every bit of geek culture like you, okay?”

Alex felt the need to defuse the situation. “You both do look great.”

Annie curtsied, holding open the velvet coat she wore. “Thank you so much.” She was quite aware of her appearance because she’d spent a couple of weeks working on the costume. She’d turned her hair black with some help with Kerry and lighted her complexion slightly so the black lipstick and heavy mascara she wore would stand out incredibly against her outfit, which consisted of a black tank top and black jeans paired with black side buckle boots and a long midnight blue velvet coat. All was finalized by a black top hat, a tiny spiral mark under her right eye, and a large ankh on a chair around her neck. She made certain to have photos taken so she could show Mama, whom Annie was certain would have trouble believing her daughter’s costume.

Kerry’s was no less startling. As with Annie he’d turned his hair black and grew it out slightly so it would appear spiky and unkempt. He didn’t need to lighten his complexion much, but took pains to hide is many freckles least they mar his near-alabaster skin. His outfit was simple: dark gray tee shirt, black jeans and sneakers, and a long black cloak.

But there were small touches added that completed look. Using a modified Chimera spell he’d had help from Annie perfecting, the inside of his cloak seemed to have flames appear every time the cloak shifted, which it did whenever he walked. And a slightly modified version of Light Bending allowed him to focus light from around the room to make it appear his eyes seemed to twinkle like tiny stars.

 

The Sandman comic series was Neil Gaiman’s take on a series created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby in the mid 1970s of a character known as The Sandman.  Gaiman’s take was to turn Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams, into one of the Endless, creatures that have always been here and that interact with humans in various ways.  Instead of being a superhero, he was literally the person who controlled what went on in those dreams and sometimes in those nightmares.  The series ran from 1988 to 1996, and the trade paperbacks are still in print and in high demand.  It is today still considered one of the cornerstones of dark fantasy.

So how does Kerry look?  Well–

 

He’s at least wearing a tee shirt.

 

Very spooky, very dreamy, very…  goth.  Gaiman has stated that Morpheus’ look is based upon that of singer Peter Murphy, likely best known as the singer for the group Bauhaus.  You can’t see the twinkling eyes, but they are there.

And then there’s Annie, our own little Death.  She’s the oldest of the Endless and is really Dream’s older sister.  Like the Death of legend, she spends one day each century living as a human, and at the end of that day she dies.  She does this so she can remain connected those creatures for whom she waits.

No matter what the occasion, she’s usually seen as a cute goth girl–which is almost Annie…

This is not how we normally think of Annie.

 

It was necessary to make changes to her appearance as already noted, and her costume is more dressy than the normal black tank top and jeans Death is usually known for.  And Death always gets the good lines.  That one Annie tried quoting?  It’s this:

 

Yeah, I can totally see Annie as Death.  And some people at the school should do the same, even when she doesn’t look like a goth girl.

Now the rest of the Party of Six knows.  But they’re missing someone:

 

He bowed for his friends. “So kind of you to offer such a compliment.” He nodded in his friend’s directions. “You guys got the look down pat. But where’s Kahoku?”

“Right here.” Alex’s boyfriend popped up beside his girlfriend. His costume consisted of khaki pants, a white button-down shirt, and a lab coat. He gave Alex a quick kiss. “Miss me?”

Her eyes opened wide. “Only if you brought me a drink. If not, then no.”

Kerry laughed. “I thought you’d be heavy into the glue by now.”

Alex pulled a small pot of rubber cement from her Hammerspace. “Got it right here, but that’s for later.” She glanced at Kahoku as he tilted her head slightly towards him. “Much later.”

 

So Alex is sniffing glue?  What the hell is going on?

Well, I’m sure some of you actually know…