East to West Memories

Believe it or not I didn’t hit my thousand word limit last night.  I had a two hour nap then wrote just over six hundred words before calling it a night.  However, this morning I sat down and ripped off eight hundred and eighty-four words in about seventy-five minutes, bringing the two day total to nearly fifteen hundred words and bringing a end to scene two of Chapter Two.

See, I didn't lie.  I never lie except when I do.

See, I didn’t lie. I never lie except when I do.

It was a lot of fun bringing the scene to a close and there was something I wrote this morning that forced me to stop and sniff back a few tears, because that’s how I get sometimes when I’m writing and a come upon a line in a scene that invokes a strong emotion.  I’m just like my kids in that sense:  at least I don’t swoon and nearly faint.

Because I’ve written so much during this period I’m gonna present about half of the remainder of this scene, which is going to nicely tie up what was presented yesterday.  And I should be able to write a little of the next scene today, as I don’t intend going out and doing anything today.  I was working through some of that scene this morning–I didn’t sleep well last night and was up at five today–and I think I’m gonna have a good time putting it together.

Picking up from yesterday…  Now that we know about the political affiliation of Annie’s family, Kerry’s got all that stuff out of his system–yeah?  Well, maybe that takes him somewhere else…

 

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

 

“I’ll remember that.” Maybe fifteen seconds of silence went by before Kerry started giggling. “Sorry.”

Annie almost rolled her eyes again because she knew something silly was coming. “What is it?”

“Oh…” Kerry half-looked towards Annie with a sheepish look. “I was just trying to imagined what you’d look like if you were living thirty years ago. You know, winter comes and you’re walking around in your black skirt and black boots—” He turned a little more towards her. “A heavy jacket over your sweater and, you know, your hands stuffed in a fur muffler and one of those big fur hats on your head and…” His voice trailed off. “I’m digging myself in a hole, ain’t I?”

“I think it’s rather entertaining watching your attempts at bad humor.” She kissed him on the cheek to show she wasn’t angry. “By the way I do have that outfit and you’ve seen me wearing most of it.” Her right eyebrow arched as she considered something. “Though I’m certain the boots I have likely cost far more than the entire outfit would have run in the early 80s.”

“You have the hat and muffler?” Now her was trying to see Annie in the full outfit and imagining how beautiful she’d appear.

“I do, but there isn’t any point in bringing them to school: they’re too dressy.” Annie held her head up and did her best to sound snooty. “I’ve even worn that nearly same outfit in Russia.”

“You’ve been to Russia?”

“Three times: once to Moscow and twice to St. Petersburg: once during our Yule, and once in late June for the White Nights Festival.” She snuggled closer to Kerry. “Some time we’ll go to St. Petersburg in the winter and you can seem me all dressed up in my full outfit.”

Kerry stroked her hair. “Just like a Russian girl.”

“No: Russian girls are snobby.” A grin appeared as Annie turned up her nose. “Nothing like me.”

 

Now we now:  Annie thinks Russian girls are snobs.  Bold talk for a Bulgarian girl who some people thought of as an “Ice Princess” for a while, with one actually having the temerity to tell this to Kerry.  We’ve also discovered she’s been to Russia, though given she’s a bit of a globe trotter this shouldn’t be a surprise.  Her trips to St. Petersburg seem to impress her the most, however, and as well they should because St. Petersburg is consider a beautiful city by a lot of people.

The White Nights Festival runs from June to August and has events that last well into the evening–which, since the city is so far north, doesn’t get all that dark during he summer months.  There are parades and concerts of all kind, with a number of them taking place in the main courtyard of the Winter Palace, probably the most well known location in the city.

Imagine Annie spending a long summer's evening here--

Imagine Annie spending a long summer’s evening here–

And during the winter St. Petersburg is the place to be with lots and lots of snow and sub-zero temperatures:  just the sort of place you’d expect Annie to be walking around in her full-on stylin’ winter outfit with her fur hat and muffler.

Now, crazy me, I spent a considerable amount of time trying to find an image of a Russian girl with that sort of outfit, and while I didn’t find one–believe it or not so many of my image requests kept returning pictures of women in Russia wearing stuff I would think are the wrong sorts of garments one would wear in a Russian winter–I did find one picture of a Russian woman with a fur hat, and this led me to getting down into some history with one of my favorite groups…

Allow me to introduce nineteen year old Natalya Kravtsova of the 588th Night Bomber Regiment, otherwise known as The Night Witches.

See?  Fur hat to keep her warm.

See? Fur hat to keep her warm.

The Night Witches was an all-woman flight group that flew thousands of missions against the Germans form 1942 to 1945.  Starting out as the 588th Night Bomber Regiment, they were later reorganized into the 46th “Taman” Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment, working alongside the 125th Guards Bomber Aviation Regiment of the Soviet Air Force.

Now, because this was an all-woman group, and the Soviets were hard-pressed to find good equipment to pass around, these ladies generally flew outdated Polikarpov Po-2 biplanes with open cockpits and little instrumentation–oh, and two bombs per plane, because that’s all they could carry.  Since the aircraft were so slow and so vulnerable to attack they flew night missions only and were tasked with harassing German positions–

A job they did extremely well.

Just to give you an idea of what they had to work with:  their planes had a top speed of about 95 mph/152 kph, but normally cruised at about 70 mph/110 kph–in other words, about as fast as you drive down a modern interstate.  Because of weight limitations due to their bombs the pilot and navigator found their way to their targets using maps and a compass:  no fancy instrumentation here.  Oh, and the women couldn’t wear parachutes ’cause they weighed too much.  We need that extra weight to carry those bombs, guys.

The Polikarpov was a noisy plane: Wehrmacht troops called it Nähmaschine, which means “sewing machine”, because that’s what it sounded like as it flew up on your position.  But the Night Witches knew how to get around this:  as they approached their target they cut the engine and glide in on the usually sleeping Germans.  Then they’d drop their bombs and once they glided a short distance, refire the engine and fly the hell out of there and back to base, usually at tree top levels to avoid being shot down by Luftwaffe pilots on night patrol.  I should point out that that last was hard to do as the top speed of the Polikarpov was well below the stall speed of all German fighters, which mean the Germans pretty much had to put their planes into a controlled crash to hit these pesky Russians.

The Germans were the ones who gave the unit the name “Night Witches” because they said the sound of the planes coming in for a bombing run sounded like a witch’s broom swooping by in the darkness.  Some of the pilots said the Germans would often scream at them as they flew by, though surprisingly the last word screamed at then often wasn’t witch but something that sounded quite similar.  The Germans hated these women, and at one point Luftwaffe pilots were promised the Iron Cross–one of their most sought-after medals–for every Night Witch downed.

All together the units flew about thirty thousand missions:  Natalya Kravtsova flew nine hundred and eighty during her tenure as a Night Witch.  They were about as bad ass as anyone can get, and they are proof that while Annie thinks Russian girls may be a little stuck up, you should never mess with one, witch or Normal.  (It was noted that on occasions when the engine of their aircraft shut off in mid-flight, it was necessary for the copilot/navigator to climb out on the wing while the plane was going down and hand-crank the prop to get the engine started.  Yeah, bad ass.)

And here's one witch getting ready to fly during the winter.  Annie probably has this outfit as well.

And here’s one witch getting ready to fly during the winter. Annie probably has this outfit as well.

Now you know where Vicky gets her call sign and why her patch has it written in Russian.  And why she’s proud as hell to have that call sign…

Now that we’ve gone past that history, Kerry has something else he wants to bring up, history-wise:

 

Kerry had to admit there were no other girls like Annie, Russian or English or American—or anywhere in the world. There was something tugging at the back of his mind, however, that had nothing to do with Annie… “That brings up something else: how did your parents and grandparents get out of Bulgaria to go do school in America? Did The Foundation use magic to get them out without anyone noticing?”

“No, they didn’t have to.” Annie crossed her legs and rubbed the bottom of her foot as if she were looking for dream dirt. “From what my family has said The Foundation had a good working relationship with the Soviet Union; they were a foreign trade organization with favorable status with people in Moscow. Since their headquarters were in Paris they could claim that they weren’t unduly influenced by America.” She narrowed her eyes as she stared at Kerry. “Our bourgeoisie enemy.”

He laughed. “Is that you or them speaking?”

“My grandmother once said that jokingly. Anyway, the managed to prove—probably with a little help from The Art—that children from the Soviet Bloc were not only going to receive an ideology-free education, but that they’d freely bring that knowledge back to help their comrades.” She started grinning. “Yes, I said that.

“The Foundation also helped the Russians with…” Annie grasped at words. “I was told they often assisted them with engineering and scientific matters, though nothing that required them to become involved in their military efforts. The way my fraternal grandfather put it, The Foundation made certain the Soviets didn’t fall too far behind the West, but also made certain they didn’t get too far ahead.”

Kerry nodded slowly. “They helped keep the playing field even.”

“Quite so, yes. They were also here to make certain the Deconstructors didn’t gain a foothold in the country.” She rested her chin against her fist for a moment. “We haven’t leaned about it in history yet, but I think the Deconstructors were somewhat behind the Cuban Missile Crises.”

 

Now we find out Deconstructors may have played a part in trying to blow up the world in 1963, which sounds crazy, but then it doesn’t seem like they give a shit about a lot of things.  These guys just love embracing the crazy, don’t they?

 

“I can see that happening.” Now that the relationship between the Russians and The Foundation were clearer, he had another thought. “Did The Foundation get anything from the Russians? Were they paid?”

“No, they received something better: land. Since the Russians couldn’t pay them—rubles weren’t convertible to other forms of money—they bartered for land in Siberia where they could open lab and training facilities. That’s how Department 62 in Serov and The Cosmodrome came into existence.

“With those and other places available The Foundation could play with forms of magic and technology that wasn’t possible in areas where they might not be able to hide a—mistake. Also, being out in Siberia allowed The Foundation to keep track of…” Annie looked off across the straight as her voice dropped to about half her normal speaking volume. “Other things.” She turned back to Kerry and smiled. “Enough of that: why did you want me to see this? Do you miss being here?”

 

And at this last we find out that The Foundation has worked on stuff in Russia that may or may not have led to a mistake, and you gotta wonder what the hell they were doing where a mistake is big enough that not having anyone within a hundred kilometers of their test site is a good thing.  Also…  they’re keeping an eye on other things in Russia?  Stuff… and things.  What’s going on in Russia?  Well, I know, and maybe one day you’ll know, too.

We are left with this last thought:  “Do you miss being here?”  And you know what?

You’ll find out tomorrow.

Love and Rockets and Politics

Here I am back earlier than I’d imagined.  Shopping done and a lot of money spent, probably more than I should have spent.  I was considering going out for lunch but I think I’ll keep it indoors for today and relax and catch a nap.  But I will get all my writing in today.  And some tomorrow.  But I will get it in.  After that nap ’cause I can feel yawning coming on.

Yesterday Kerry was going on about the defenses that used to be around San Francisco, and while he touched on the big guns there he left off one thing that Annie remembers to bring up:

 

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

 

“And what is this Nike base you mentioned?”

“Oh, that.” He once more pointed off to his right. “They had missiles there from the 1950s until the mid 1970s.” Kerry moved so he now faced Annie. “They were supposed to shoot down missiles that were coming in to bomb the city.”

Annie searched her memory for she was certain she knew the event that Kerry was describing. “That was during the Cold War, wasn’t it?”

“Yeah. Back when Russia was our—the U.S.’s—enemy. As was any country that was aligned with them.” A broad smile appeared as he leaned closer to his dream girl. “Which means your family was the enemy—Comrade Kirilova.”

“Oh, please.” She broke into laughter as she spent a few seconds rolling her eyes. “No one has ever called me comrade, nor have I ever heard someone being called comrade. You must have gotten that from a movie.”

“Not really.” Kerry couldn’t keep the smile off his face. “I’m just imagining what it’s like having a girlfriend whose parents were communists.”

Part of Annie knew he was being silly, part of her admired the fact that Kerry knew the history of her country. Bulgaria was four months away from celebrating twenty-four years since leaving the Warsaw Pack and she imagined that the only people who actually gave any thought of the condition of those countries were people like Alex and her and a few others at school who were from those countries. “My parents were never communists: they were too young. They were several months into their B Levels when Bulgaria gained independence from Russia and the Warsaw Pack.” She gave him a smirk that considered of a great deal of side eye. “So you needn’t worry about having communists in-laws.”

“Fair enough.” He stared straight ahead for a few seconds before speaking in a low voice. “What about your grandparents?”

 

Before we get into Annie’s history, let’s look at this other history:

San Francisco is the last place in the U.S. to have a relatively intact Nike Launch Facility, SF 88.  The control center is on top of a hill called Wolf Ridge, but you have to hike up there as it appears the road that used to lead to the center has washed out.  The launch facility looks pretty much as it did when it was decommissioned in the 1970s–

Pretty nice, huh?

Pretty nice, huh?

–save for the fact that it no longer has any nuclear missiles.  That’s right:  SF 88 was one of the sites in the Strategic Defense Network of Nike launch centers where the Nike Hercules missiles, which was armed with either a 2 kiloton or 20 kiloton warhead, were located.

This must be the nucwewer missel.

This must be the nucwewer missel.  Someone tell Chekhov.

While there may be a missile or two still there, they are not active, nor do they have warheads.  And Kerry was wrong:  they weren’t designed to knock down missiles–at least not at first–but were instead shot at incoming bomber with the intention of blowing them out of the sky with nuclear fire.  None of that ever happened, which is good ’cause if it had happened I probably wouldn’t be writing this now.

And, as we see in the picture below, the base is close to the gun batteries Kerry described that were actually set inside a hill, Battery Wallace #1 and #2:

Needless to say there has been a lot of money spent on defending of San Francisco.

Needless to say there has been a lot of money spent on defending of San Francisco.

For the record one home I owned in Indiana was close to Nike launch site C-47, which was actually the first site to deploy the nuclear-armed Nike Hercules missiles, and I drove past the site many times.  Going back even further, when I was a kid, I can remember my parents driving past launch site C-46 in Munster, IN, and seeing the missiles out there ever so often, ready to go just in case war broke out.  Which if it had–

 

With this history out of the way, let’s move on to this new discussion of Kerry’s soul mate and–dirty little commie?

For those who don’t remember, from 1945 until 1989 Bulgaria was a communist country, being a member of the Soviet Union-controlled Warsaw Pack known as the People’s Republic of Bulgaria.  This means they sat behind the other side of the Iron Curtain, and were considered by many in the west to be nothing more than a puppet of the USSR, aka The Evil Empire as Ronnie Raygun once told us.

Now, from Annie’s point of view, the last of this happened ten years before she was born, but given that her parents were both born in 1977, they spent twelve years of their lives under communist rule.  (And a note of trivia:  Annie’s mother Pavlina was born on 28 August, which means she turned eleven while waiting to report to school, which happened on 1 September, 1988, exactly twenty-three years before her lovely daughter did the same.  Talk about just hitting the cut-off for admission.)

But as Annie points out, neither of her parents were ever old enough to join the Communist Party, though who knows if they had to do Communist Youth stuff as they were growing up.  Probably not, as the party in Bulgaria was falling apart in the 1980s, and maybe there was some witchy stuff that kept her folks from having to do anything party-wise.

But what about her grandparents?  This is probably the first time in her life Annie’s been grilled about her family’s political affiliations:

"Communists?  No one in my family is, or ever has been, a communist.  Wait, what story is this?"

“Communists? No one in my family is, or ever has been, a communist. Wait, what story is this?”

However, when it comes to Annie’s family–

 

She didn’t lie because she was certain Kerry had likely figured everything out. “Both my paternal and maternal grandparents were in the Communist Party, and I think their parents as well. My father’s parents worked in national energy production and were required to travel to Russia a couple of times a year for meetings and training, and my mother’s parents were involved with a state organization that imported goods from Western Europe. Because of what they did, it was almost mandatory that they be party members.”

Kerry eventually nodded in agreement. “I can see that. They’d need to be connected politically to get ahead.”

“Exactly.” Annie learned towards Kerry, a whimsical smile upon her face. “My grandparents were in the Communist Party, but they weren’t communists.”

He nodded a couple of times fast. “I didn’t mean to imply they were: I was just joking.”

“I know.” She wrapped her arms around his. “I can’t wait until you finally meet my grandparents; they’ll probably love it that you know these things and will happy to answer your questions.”

 

There you have it:  while all the grandparents were in the party, they weren’t communists.  The same probably goes for Alex’s parents and grandparents–being from the Ukraine her family were actually considered living Soviet Russia for a while–and for another girl in their level, Dariga Dulatuli, who is from Kazakhstan and had parents and grandparents who were considered living in Russia for a good part of their lives.

There is probably a part of Kerry’s mind that has slipped back and imagined what it might have been like for them if Annie and he had been born twenty years earlier and they were trying to meet each other over the Iron Curtain–

What am I saying?  You know he has done just that…

Saturday Morning Silliness

The post title says it all:  it’s a quick update of what’s going on but…  you’re getting more than that this morning.  Oh, yeah:  a lot more–

Though Memories and Song

Crazy things happening, yo.  One of the things I started doing the last couple of days is putting some song lists together of tunes I listen to on YouTube.  Part of this is so I can have something to listen to as I’m walking to and from work–yes, I’m like all the other girls now with my earbuds walking to my own soundtrack–but then I thought, “Hey, you know:  I have a lot of music in my novels:  A lot of it,” and since I am a bit scatterbrained at times I figured it might not be a bad idea to put them all together so I can jam out on them from time to time.

Therefore, if you are interested, I have compiled all the songs that I can think of that put in an appearance in the story so far, and–SPOILERS!–this includes songs that haven’t yet appeared.  They are also in chronological order, with Zoo Station–the song Vicky and Kerry flew to during his broom checkout–being first.  And as you’ll see there are just over two dozen songs, with may more to come in time.

And in case anyone is wondering I also have a song list for everything that Kerry plays during Ostara, but that list is private as it has every song he plays so neener neener, you can’t have all my secrets.

With music out of the way let’s get on to the quick history lesson.

Kerry created a dream version of a place he knew outside of San Francisco:  Battery Spencer.

Why, it's this.

Remember this?  Maybe a little?

Naturally Annie–who living in the mountains thousands of kilometers away–asks the question most people would ask:

 

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

 

Annie looked around just a bit puzzled. “What’s that?”

“This.” Kerry stomped his bare foot on the dirty concrete. “This. This used to be part of the defense of San Francisco.” He sat on the edge of the low structure, his feet almost touching the ground. He looked at Annie as she joined him. “Back over a hundred years ago they had all these guns in place around the Golden Gate—” He pointed towards the water in front of them. “—that’s the straight there—they were here to keep out enemy ships that might try to sail in and attach the city and ports. There used to be couple of big guns here, a few more down the coast—” Kerry waved his arm to his right. “—and a bunch of them over on the south side.”

“I had no idea.” Since Annie had spent her entire life living in the mountains she couldn’t imagine living in an area where these defenses existed. “Where are they now?

The guns, I mean.”

“Scrapped. All this stuff was obsolete by the 1920s because everyone was building huge war ships and aircraft carries. They pulled the guns out of here in 1942, melted them down, and used them for other things. There’s only one gun left over on the other side by the Presidio. It’s just used for demonstrations.”

“Interesting.” She loved how animated Kerry had grown talking about something that she’s never heard him mention in all the time they’d been together. He’s proud he was able to create all this; it’s likely this place was important to him. “What’s the Presidio?”

Kerry began rocking back and for as if he were anxious to do something. “It used to be a military base that was supposed to defend the city. It was shut down a while back and the buildings sold for development. The Disney people bought one of the buildings—” He stared at the bridge with a wistful look upon his face. “That’s where my parents used to work.”

“At this Presidio?”

“Yeah. That’s where ILM has their offices.” His chuckled was almost unheard. “That’s where the Yoda statue is.” Kerry finally looked at Annie. “I had my picture taken in front of it when I was six.” He grew quiet as he turned back towards the bridge.

 

First, the defenses.  Like Kerry said, back in the extremely late 1800–mostly in 1895–a whole lot of gun emplacements were set up overlooking the Golden Gate, the entrance to San Francisco harbor.  There were, for the most part, 10 inch guns set up on platforms that allowed them to drop down for loading, then pop up for shooting.  There were at least two guns at Battery Spencer, and at least a half dozen more spread down the Marion Highlands, including two that were buried inside a hill.

On the southern approach there were even more, with a few going as far down the south coast as to be almost outside of the city limit.  The idea was that any enemy ships that tried getting into the harbor was gonna get blasted to hell and gone before the got too close.

This whole area was a death trap, trust me.

This whole area was a death trap, trust me.

By the way, Battery Chamberlain, seen in the picture above, is that “one guy left” that Kerry mentions, and there are demonstrations these days showing people how it worked.

Not only did the Golden Gate have guns, but there were hardened forts as well.  There was Fort Point which was, um, on the point right there where the straight narrows, and is more well known as that building the Golden Gate Bridge goes over–

As seen here in a still from "Vetigo".

As seen here in a still from the movie Vertigo.

And further inside the harbor was Fort Alcatraz, which is known these days as that prison that no one could escape.  These places were chock full o’ guns as well and ready to blast any bad guys who made it past the outer defenses.

Overseeing this all was the Presidio, the military installation tasked with overseeing to the protection of the city.  It was put in place originally by the Spanish in 1776 and was inactivated as a military base in 1994, which made it one of the oldest active military bases in this country.  It’s all parkland these days and is open to any and all.

Just imagine if the greedheads were allowed to build condos here.

Just imagine if the greedheads were allowed to build condos here.

As Kerry also pointed out, the Presidio is where his parents used to work as Industrial Light and Magic–their former employee–has their offices on the old base.  On the picture above ILM occupies a few buildings in the group of four at the very right center.  And in the courtyard of one of those buildings–the one at the bottom of the group–is the Yoda Fountain, where Kerry was photographed standing in front of the grumpy old puppet.

"Jedi Knight I was; water flowing from base I now have."

“Jedi Knight I was; water flowing from base have I now.”

Yeah, Kerry has a lot of memories of this area and Annie prods him a little to talk–

 

Annie rested her hand over his. “When were you here last?”

He didn’t need any time to consider the answer. “Like the middle of June after my seventh birthday. My parents were working and my grandmother didn’t want to do a lot of walking, so it was just my grandfather and me. He brought me up here, then we went to the Nike base down the ways, and before we went home we actually walked out on the bridge.”

“You did?” Annie grew a little excited. While she’d crossed many river bridges in Europe she’s never stood on a structure as huge as the Golden Gate Bridge. “How far out did you walk?”

“Out to about a hundred or so meters beyond the north tower.” Kerry held his arm next to Annie’s face and sighted down it towards the spot he remembered. “Right about there.”

“That had to be exciting.” Remembering what Kerry was like then—the intelligent boy who only saw a certain Chestnut Girl in his dreams once in a while but knew her presence meant he had someone with whom he could talk for what seemed like most of a day—she imagined he felt a combination of exhilaration and fear as he walked out on the bridge. “What was it like?”

“Windy.” He laughed. “And chilly, but you dress for that around here. I remember how far down the water seemed: like eighty meters or so.” He glanced at Annie. “Not so far these days, huh?”

She gave him a slow shrug. “It is if you fall.”

“True.”

“And what is this Nike base you mentioned?”

 

Yeah, what is that Kike base you mentioned.  Well, I’ll mention that tomorrow–along with a dirty little secret Kerry figured out about Annie.  Will it change his perception of Annie?  Ummm, probably not, but he’ll have fun pointing it out.

Dreamin’ by the Gate

The state of the state of my condition is probably on the plate first thing this morning.  Last night was phone bank time and I was there for about ninety minutes.  I wasn’t feeling that well, however:  I was in a real funk of sorts likely due to the fact I’m at the bottom of my hormone cycle and I need my shot bad.

However, I did meet someone interesting:

Yes, I have women from fictional TV series sitting next to me.  And given that this woman’s hair was the same shade of white with blue streaks as won by Tuppence Middleton in Sense8, I’ll have to say I was either hallucinating or she’s a real person.  Or maybe she was like a huge fan.  I’ll never know.

The excerpt I’m presenting to day marks the point in the novel where I finally passed twenty-thousand words.  Last night I actually passed twenty-one thousand and tonight I’ll shoot for twenty-two because my research is over and I should be able to simply write.  If I can get my fingers to work right, ’cause last night they were all over the place.  Much better this morning, but when I’m tired, man, forgetaboutit.  Those digits have a mind of their own.

Now, about that excerpt…  Kerry wanted to show Annie something.  Shall we see what that is?  Yes, we shall.

 

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

 

Annie took his hand and slipped off the bed with him. “Are we going somewhere?”

He nodded. “I hope so. Just give me a few seconds—”

The bedroom faded out as everything around Annie turned to gray. She was suddenly off her feet and flying as Kerry, still holding her hand, moved them out of her personal dreamspace and headed for their shared space, traveling up the dream corridor at a rapid pace.

The second they popped into the floating gray and pink mist that was their shared dreamspace the clouds of astral dream mater began moving and solidifying. Concrete formed under Annie’s bare feet while she threw up her left hand to shield her eyes from the a bright spot glowing somewhere above and slightly to her left. The mist turned to brown dirt and light outcroppings of green, but what was happening in the distance that drew her attention…

Beyond where they stood a broad expanse of water formed and stretched off to her left and right, vanishing into fog that may or may be deliberate. Land appeared directly across from them, though Annie estimated it was maybe two kilometers away, and more land extended off to the right as thick cluster of buildings appeared.

What was impossible to ignore was the structure that solidified to Annie’s left: a huge orange suspension bridge that spanned the water and joined the shoreline opposite them. She didn’t have to ask Kerry the name of the bridge as it was one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world, and it told Annie most of what she needed to know about where they were.

With the scenery locking into place Kerry threw his hands out to the side and looked up smiling. “I did it.” He spun to face Annie, not seeming to mind or care that he was still barefoot and in his pajamas. “I didn’t know if I’d get it to come out this well.”

She smiled back before giggling. “You have been working on your lucid dreaming.”

“Every chance I get.” He did a slow three-sixty turn. “Wow.”

Annie wrapped her arms around his torso. “You brought me to San Francisco.”

“Actually—” He pointed at the land across the straight. “That’s San Francisco on the south side of the Golden Gate. This is the Marion Headlands: we’re on the north side.”

“Is this near where you used to live?”

“Close: it’s about twenty-five kilometers away by car.”

“I see.” She pulled away and examined where they stood, noticing for the first time it was some kind of structure. “And what is this?”

Kerry took a step back and threw wide his arms. “Welcome to Battery Spencer.”

 

Try as he might, when it comes to things Kerry remembers fondly he keeps returning to his time near the bay.  And this time he’s dreaming up something called Battery Spencer.  And what’s that?

Why, it's this.

Why, it’s this.

I’m not going into detail on this right now because that comes in the next excerpt, but needless to say this is where I was doing some of my research for the last few days.  You’re gonna get a little history lesson for the San Fran area–

Oh, and if you wanna see what Annie’s seeing near the of the excerpt, it’s a little like this:

Yeah, Kerry has been working on his lucid dreaming.

Yeah, Kerry has been working on his lucid dreaming.

If you’re going to San Francisco be sure to bring your girlfriend in your dreams…

The Language of Dreaming

Since getting my new phone I’ve been using it every day at work to listen to music.  Streaming music over my laptop was something I did regularly at my last two jobs and it was something I missed one I started working in PA because YouTube and a lot of other streaming sights are blocked.  However their guest wifi isn’t, and once I’m in da house I have the phone going.  I also have a USB charger so my phone doesn’t drain out and die.

But the last few days I’ve turned on my data stream and listened to music while first walking back from work, and yesterday walking to work.   Once I hit the edge of Capitol Park I thought, “I need a song that will show me how long it takes to walk from here,” and wouldn’t you know, there are seventeen minutes songs from my past that will tell me exactly how long it takes to walk.

That’s why Dogs by Pink Floyd was my morning walk soundtrack on the way to work yesterday.  And needless to say it’s a lot of fun imagining things while I blocked out the world and existed in my own little cocoon of sound.

Actually, I’ve also taken to keeping my phone on and the earbuds in when I’m walking about the office these days.  Since no one speaks to me anyway, why not?

Speaking of speaking–

 

There was something else that I thought about during the creation of this scene.  And it came about because of something Annie did.  Something she always does if you try to wake her…

 

 

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

 

“I’m nowhere near as good as you—” He brushed her hair away from the left side of her face. “But by the time we returned to school we should be able to do this a couple of times a week.”

“That will be fantastic.” Annie gave Kerry a long, loving kiss. “Soon we’ll never be apart.”

 

“Well—” He chuckled. “At some point you’ll get tired of seeing me all the time.”

“Maybe a hundred years from now.” She closed her eyes as Kerry kissed her for what seemed like a long time before breaking. “Maybe.”

“We’ll see.” He looked to his left and right. “So this is your bed.”

Now that we totally know the kids are going to be spending all the time together:

Yes, how so?  Stop with the sucky face stuff, kids, and get to the point.

“You are so getting tired of me being in your dreams…”  “Maybe in a hundred years–”  “Let’s find out.”

Oi, you two.

And yes, Kerry:  this is her bed.  How’s it look?

 

“It is.” She sat back against him. “The one I’ve told you about so many times.”

“Do you have a canopy bed out at the lake house?”

“In my bedroom? Yes.” She looked up. “There’s something so feminine about having one.”

“I can see that.” Kerry continued stroking Annie’s hair as he spent a moment taking in her scent that he now knew so well. “It was interesting to hear you mumbling in your sleep even though it was in a dream.”

“Oh?” She looked up and to her left. “It’s funny how we do so many things from real life in our dreams.”

“It is. What was even better is I could understand you this time. It’s like you knew I was coming.”

“Are you sure?” She slid her fingers along Kerry’s hand. “I know I mumble when someone is trying to walk me up—I’ve had that habit ever since I was a little girl. But I wouldn’t mumble in English: it’s not my native language.” She stopped what she was doing and sat up. “Wait—” She turned towards Kerry. “What language am I speaking?”

“English.” He looked slightly perplexed. “You’ve always spoke English.”

“But I wasn’t that good with English until I was almost nine.” Annie looked away for about five seconds before snorting. “I never realized it until now.”

“Realized what?”

“That every time we’ve been in a dream you speak Bulgarian.” Her second snort quickly became a laugh. “I never thought about it because it seemed—”

“Normal.” Kerry chuckled along with his soul mate. “Just like me hearing you speak English: I just assumed you did.”

“Interesting. The brain must translate what is said in the dream so that anyone there hears it in their own language.” She slide closer and took his right hand. “How else would they be able to speak to each other?”

“So we have translator microbes in our brain.” He laughed. “Cool.”

Annie looked at him strangely. “What do you mean?”

“It’s another geek reference.” Kerry gave her a quick kiss and slid towards the edge of the bed. “Come on: I want to show you something.”

 

 

It goes without saying that they always understood each other when they were in dreams, and now we have proof:  Annie admits she wasn’t proficient with English until about the time Kerry arrived in Cardiff.  That means when Kerry read to her the first time while she understood every word during their dreams, in real life it would have been more like this:

Annie:  “Hello.
Kerry:  “Hi.”
Annie:  (Points at book)  “Kakvo chetesh?”
Kerry:  “Um, what did you say?”
Annie:  (Shaking head)  “Az ne znam Engliĭski. Znaesh li Bŭlgarski ezik?”
Kerry:  “What?”

 

So much for that first-time romantic moment.

Tomorrow begins the history lesson.  Well, a little of it.  But it has to do with what Kerry wants to show Annie.

Believe me, it’s coming.

Dreams Of Walking Past

Did I write yesterday?  Yes.  Did I write in the novel?  Urmmmm…  Ya got me.  But remember that whole “Ahead of the curve” thing?  Yes, got that rocking out so nicely.

Now, the question about Kerry dreamwalking has come up and it’s pretty much a give that he likely is doing just that.  But we need conformation, so…

 

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

 

He couldn’t hold back his excited chuckle any longer. “Yep.”

Annie was almost ready to bolt from her dream bed. “How?”

Kerry pushed himself against the headboard and planted himself next to Annie on the bed. “A couple of weeks before we left school I emailed Deanna and asked her for a good book I could use to learn dreamwalking. She gave me the name of the book and told me Mr. Parkman could order it for me; I told her I’d rather get it myself and asked if Bount Books carried it and Mr. Parkman told me they did. So I let them know I’d get it when I got home.”

“Did you order it?”

“Nope: went myself and got it.”

Annie sat back on her heels as she spun around to face him. “You flew, didn’t you?”

“Sure.” He seemed both pleased and embarrassed. “I mean, I brought my broom home, so why not? I left the Monday after I got home: there was no one home, so why not? It was only a couple of hundred kilometers, so I was able to get there after about forty-five minutes.”

Annie found herself both surprised and pleased that he’d taken this step to do things as were needed. “Where did you land?”

“Ashland Place, near Paddington Street Gardens. Remember: we passed all that on the way back to the hotel after—” He looked towards his bare feet as his voice grew softer. “After we meet in the book store.”

“I remember that well.” What Annie remembered was Alicia complaining nearly all the way back to the Park Plaza and Collin asking three or four times if they were in the right part of the city. But what she remembered the most was the feeling of loss and despair that the shy, ginger boy walking alongside didn’t remember her, while at the same time noticing that he only paid attention to and spoke with her and tended to ignore the others who were no longer with hem. And all the way back he stayed to my right, even insisting we walk so he was between the traffic and me. Even with his memory blocked he must have known something. “So you bought the book that day?”

“I did, then went home and started reading. And practicing. And here it is—” He shrugged. “—either the night of 7 July or the morning of the 8th. Only took me about six weeks to finally do this.”

Annie clapped. “That’s fast.”

“Keep in mind that after your first time you spent the next couple of months telling me all about how you did it.” He tapped the side of his forehead. “I was listening.”

“That’s because you’re a good student.”

“That’s because I have a good teacher.”

She threw her arms around her soul mate and hugged him tight. “This means we can be together so much more now. With both of us able to dreamwalk, it increases the odds we’ll see each other at night.”

 

So now Kerry can dreams walk and these two can spend all the time together when they are apart.  And when they’re together.  And when they’re sleeping right next to each other.  This could be good–or bad…

Where In My Dream

No, Annie isn’t that possessive.  Yet.

This was one part of the story that I needed to do a little research on as it dealt with something I wrote about three years ago–and that is the book store where Annie and Kerry first met in physical space.  There were a few things I needed to know.  Like first, the area around the book store.  I needed to see just how long it would really take Kerry to get there:

Answer:  not long.

Answer: not long.

Like he said it’s a couple of hundred kilometers, so he could be in London in about forty minutes if he went along at about three hundred kph.  It’s also a no-brainer for flying:  nearly straight due east.

Now the store itself.  In the novels it’s called Bounts Books, but in reality I based it off of an existing establishment in London, Daunt Books:

As you can see right here from the street.

As you can see right here from the street.

It’s famous as a place with a lot of books on travel, but it’s the interior that really drew me to the place.  The story on Marylebone High Street–where the kids order their books for their A Levels–was an original Edwardian bookstore before it became Daunt, and that means it has a gallery with a long skylight bringing in natural light that brightens the ground and first floor.

Tell me this doesn't look like a place where witches shop.

Tell me this doesn’t look like a place where witches shop.

If you want to see what the area below the ground floor looks like here is a Google 360 view of the downstairs.  It’s beautiful, but it’s that staircase that drew me in ’cause in their first meeting Annie is sitting in a large chair hidden by the shadows of a staircase.  And right there you have that staircase–  With a little adjustment in the building that could easily be the spot.

Could this be the setting for a meeting of two witches in love?

Could this be the setting for a meeting of two witches in love?

Though I did state that they met on the ground floor and there was natural light and all that, but hey:  it’s my story and I’ll move stairs around as I like.

As for the mention of the aftermath of that first meeting, I did a little checking to see where the bookstore was in relation to where they were staying at the time, which was, of course, the Park Plaza Sherlock Holmes on Baker Street.  And just as Kerry pointed out the next day everything they did with their running around was something of a test, because the book store was real close to the hotel and Berniece Rutherford could have easily taken an hour to walk the kids over, get their books, and walk them back. But no:  better to have them do it themselves.  After all, it’d give at least a couple of witches the chance to get used to walking together.

Maybe it's only six minutes, but that's a start.

Maybe it’s only six minutes, but that’s a start.

Right there you see the first route Annie and Kerry took together in real life.  How’s that saying go?  “A trip of a thousand miles starts with a single step.”  In this case, a walk through life together starts with a six-minute stroll through London.

And they’re still strolling.