Bags Are Packed and Ready to Fly

First off, the shoulders are better, though some of that might have been due to whatever the hell I was drinking last night.  I had two, they were good, and they had tequila in them, so that was an even better treat.  The problems come from a bad chair at home and the repetitive motion of adjusting my bra straps, and right there I’ve narrowed down the issues to the root cause.  So get a new chair and stop adjusting the straps.  It’ll help.

This means I did get started on the new Part/Chapter/Scene last night, but a combination of coming down off tequila and trying not to aggravate my shoulders meant not a lot of writing.

This is how we begin the new parts.  See?

This is how we begin the new parts. See?

Also, whenever I start something new it’s a bit rocky.  I know what I want to say, but getting it said it just hard, I tell you, hard!  And, in the following that I wrote, not a single line of dialog.  Watch:

 

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

Normally Thursday afternoons would have seen Annie and Kerry attending B Level Formulistic Magic between thirteen and sixteen-thirty, but since they were in Advanced Formulistic Magic on Monday afternoons—when nearly everyone else was either in Study Period or helping out in other classes—this was an open period for them.

Tuesday afternoons were also a free period for them both, but Kerry had Advanced Transformation Crafting after dinner and Annie usually chose that time to study in the Black Vault when she wasn’t sitting in on class, so they were back in class after dinner.

Because they didn’t have any classes after dinner, it meant Thursday afternoons—as well as Sunday afternoons and evenings—represented part of the most free time Annie could share with Kerry since the start of racing season. From the moment they left Mid-Level Sorcery Theory and Applications for lunch until they left Friday morning breakfast for Annie’s Flight Gift Training at nine, they could spend just over twelve hours together—

More if they somehow managed to find a place to sleep together—which they’d yet to do.

There wouldn’t be any free time after dinner tonight, however; Annie wouldn’t even eat dinner with Kerry. Later this afternoon she would dine with Coraline and Deanna while Kerry headed northward with the rest of the Advanced Flight One for their overnight camping trip at Baxter State Park in Central Maine, their first of several tests this school year that would prepare them for the Polar Express that took place during the student’s C Levels.

They wouldn’t be camping in any Normal sites: they’d be somewhere deeper within the park, at least ten kilometers from the nearest regular site, somewhere along the shoreline of Matagamon Lake. They’d unpack and set up their tents in the dark, eat rations similar to what they’d carry during the Polar Express, and likely stay up until close to twenty-three before heading off to their cots and sleeping bags for the nights.

According to Kerry the plan for Friday was to rise about five-thirty, have a quick breakfast, clean up and see to their toilet, then be airborne by seven-thirty or eight for a full day of flying. He was unsure about where they were headed, however: all Nadine—who was joining the overnight trip as an assistant—would tell them after Advanced Spells last night was to expect to fly “a lot.”

Annie had heard something different from both Penny and Alex that morning while they were in the girl’s bathroom getting ready. They said that when they did the overnight flight last year, they’d flown northwest into Canada, turned westward for about five hundred kilometers, then turned southeast and made their way back to the school. Alex said they flew about two thousand kilometers that day, returning home several hours after sunset.

Annie suspected tomorrow would see much the same for Kerry, if not more.

 

 

There you have it:  Kerry is flying off to do some camping, which means Annie’s off the leash and ready to dine with Coraline and Deanna.  You can bet no other students are doing that–but then, no other students in Advanced Flight One are leaving a soul mate behind.  And this is the first time she’ll be at school overnight without Kerry somewhere on the grounds, and the same for him not having Annie close by.

Where is Kerry gonna camp?  I’ll let you in on a little secret:

Right here.

Right here.

Specifically, right near that sandy, open area.  The tents will be in the woods, but the fires will be in that open area–just in case.  And just as stated, that’s on the shore of Matagamon Lake, with Mount Katahdin way in the background.  And if I know they are camping their, you know I have a map.

And it’s gonna get shown.

Stillness in the Heart

I had a hard time writing last night.  One of the issues before me was how to get the scene started, because words weren’t working.  There was also a certain amount of distraction around, but none of it had to do with my usual face burning, because I’m not doing that until Wednesday.  It was just my mind being all over the place.

But there was a section of my brain that felt a little bit of suffering, and it didn’t have anything to do with getting an electric probe shoved into my skin, it was about emotions.  Feelings.  Wantings, you might say.  I’m in the down section of my hormonal cycle, and I was slipping into sad mode while I thought about, and wrote, the scenes before, because it began pulling up old feelings I’ve had for quite a while.  And it was hitting me hard, because . . . well, let’s start the excerpt and perhaps you’ll see.

 

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

Seconds after opening his eyes, Kerry sensed the silence and the darkness. The darkness was easy to notice: even in the aftermath of the Midnight Madness there was always ambient light available so any students who stayed until the end—or had fallen asleep, as Annie and he had done on many occasions—could find their way out of the Dining Hall without fear of running into or tripping over furniture.

Then there was the silence. Even at the end of a Madness there was some kind of soft noise: students or instructors speaking; the shuffling of feet; the crackling of dying embers in the huge fireplace. None of that existed at this moment. The room was beyond deadly quiet: it was as if Kerry awakened in the quietest room in the world.

If not already aware that this was the Dining Hall, Kerry might have believed he was lying in his bed back in his room—

Except for one thing . . .

 

It not hard to figure out what that one thing is Kerry has here in the aftermath of the Midnight Madness, and not back in his room.

 

He propped himself up on his left elbow and watched the still-sleeping Annie. During all their moments when they’d slept together, she was usually the first to wake, or she’d wake at the same time. The only time he’d ever seen Annie sleeping was the morning after returning from Yule holiday, when he’d found her on the sofa in the Mezzanine Commons, she she didn’t look much different then than she appeared now—face soft and slack, lips parted slightly, eyelids smooth and forehead unfurrowed, her hair piled to the sides around her ears.

Kerry imagined this was how she’d looked every night, so completely different from the person he’d seen in his dreams for almost a decade. It seemed impossible that this was his Chestnut Girl, the one he’d played with as a toddler, the one he’d read to when he became a tweener, the girl he’d loved for so long before telling her—and the girl who he’d forgotten, and whom he’d fallen in love with once again before remembering he’d never loved anyone else.

After watching her for almost a minute, Kerry touched his finger to her lips, applying the slightest of pressure. At first Annie did nothing, then her head shifted to the left before slowly returning to the prior position. He did the same thing, but this time Annie’s head rolled back slightly. She gasped before speaking in a soft, sing-song voice. “Ummmm, az sŭm na toplo. Drŭzhte me tuk, Obicham da sŭm na toplo.”

He’d chuckled, for he’d never heard Annie talk in her sleep. It made sense she’d speak in Bulgarian, with it being her native language; his only regret was not knowing what she’d said—save for obicham. He’d come to recognize that word so well that when writing over the summer to Annie, he’d ended his letters with the phrase “Obicham te”—”I love you.”

He kissed her on the cheek, touching her as gently as he had her lips. Annie sighed as a tiny smile began to form. He kissed her again, and she squirmed the slightest bit, her hands moving slowly under the comforter. Kerry gave her a light kiss on the lips—

 

This kids and their watching someone sleep moments.  We’ve already seen Team Annie at work as she’s done her Edward bit a couple of times and watched Kerry for a few minutes in the hospital before saying screw this and moving right up into the bed next to him, and now it’s Team Kerry not only watching, but doing a little touching.  And smiling.  And kissing–let’s not forget the kissing.

And this is where I was having problems writing, because feeling Kerry do those things–I so wanted to do them myself.  When I wake up in the middle of the night, it’s just to stare up at the ceiling and wondering about things and people:  I never get the chance to look over and see someone sleeping and dreaming away the night.  I needed to get up and walk away for a bit, to just recompose myself after bring out that scene.  It’s only a few hundred words, but it touches me, and even hurts a little–

So many times Kerry sat awake in the dark, when there was no one, even in his dreams, to comfort him.

So many times Kerry sat alone in the dark, where there was no one, not even from his dreams, to comfort him–

And for so long now, I’ve felt the same.

Ah, enough of this.  Let’s finish up with my kids, because this is their story.

 

Annie gave the softest of moans as her hand blindly reached upwards and touch his head and shoulder. He held the kiss for about fifteen seconds, and when he pulled away he was peering down into her now slightly opened eyes.

“Ummmahhhh.” Annie arched her back as she stretched. “You woke me with a kiss.”

He ran a finger over her left cheek. “I thought you’d like that.” He kissed her again, and while he didn’t hold it as long as the last, it was far more passionate. “There’s something you need to know . . .”

Annie was fully awake now. “What is it?”

“We’re the only ones in the hall. It’s empty.”

She was sitting up a moment later and looking around. It took but a moment to confirm his statement. “Hummm.”

“Do you know who was in charge of winding down things tonight?”

“I think it was Helena and Erywin.” Annie lay back and looked up at her boyfriend. “It looks as if she thought we needed to speak to each other.”

Kerry knew what she mean, for this wasn’t the first time they were allowed to sleep on after the Madness was over. Back at the end of March Professor Lovecraft let them sleep over so the Dining Hall could clear out and Annie could ask him an important question . . . “So it would seem.”

 

And that last time in the Dining Hall was the lead-up to the final “Do you want to be a Good Sorceress?” question, and that turned out all right.  At least for now.

The remainder of this scene has been changed a lot from how I first saw it, and I should get to that tonight.

I’ll remember to stay out of the dark.

Amsterdam Farewell: A Final Goodbye

Well, that is that.  I’ve been writing for the last hour and a half, working my way through the end of this scene, and It hasn’t been a happy moment for me.  Mostly because, just like Kerry at the end, I gave in to the inevitable and went with the fact there wouldn’t be any happy moments in this last thousand or so words.  It’s the last time in just over four hundred thousand words that my kids are together, and it’s not a good time.  There were no tears from me, but it’s a sad time when you have to pull apart this couple on Valentine’s Day.

There was the question, “Who called out Kerry’s name?” and that’s where this picks up.  Because of course it does . . .

 

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

Kerry.”

There was his name again, being called by a voice he knew so well. He turned to see Annie standing close by with someone else. “Kerry, there’s someone I’d like you to meet: this is my mother.” She stepped slightly to one side with her attention on the older woman. “Mama, this is Kerry Malibey.”

Pavlina Kirilova held out her hand. “I’m pleased to meet you, Kerry.”

He shook and tried to look happy. “Pleased to meet you, Mrs. Kirilova.” He half-turned to the women on his right. “This is Ms. Rutherford, my case worker.”

“Bernice Rutherford, Mrs. Kililova” She shook Annie’s mother’s hand. “Pleased to meet you.”

“Pleased to meet you. You’re to take care of Kerry?”

Ms. Rutherford nodded. “Um, hum. That’s the plan.”

“I hope you do a good job.” Pavlina cast a glance at her daughter standing on her right. “Otherwise you may hear from someone I know well.” Annie’s eyes half-closed as she cast a perturbed glance at her mother.

 

Annie’s mom, Pavlina, really loves to get those digs in on her daughter.  It’s as if she knows exactly how much in love Annie is, and she’s doing her best to say, in a passive-aggressive fashion, that not taking care of Kerry means having to deal with the Wrath of Annie.  Not that Annie would do anything to Ms. Rutherford if something were to happen to Kerry, but . . .

And just to show the Lovey Dovey Couple just how much she does know–

 

Pavlina ignored her daughter’s stare and instead spent a few seconds taking in the person before her. “I finally get to meet the Ginger Hair Boy in person.”

Kerry chuckled. “Yeah, Annie told me you know about that.”

“What else did she tell you?”

He examined Annie’s mother as he tried to come up with the correct answer. Annie’s got her mom’s face and hair, but her cheeks are a little different—as are her eyes. She got those from her dad. “Just—a lot of different things. I know how long you’ve known about me.”

She smirked. “Not quiet as long as you’ve known Annie.”

Annie was on the verge of rolling her eyes. “Mama.”

 

Yes, throw that out that you know of their dream time together, and how Young Annie would talk about her Ginger Hair Boy.  Because it’s not like they need any more reminders that they’re about to split up for the summer . . .

 

“It’s all right, dear—” Her face softened as she smiled. “I’m just having a bit of fun with your young man.” She turned to her daughter. “We have to be going; your father is waiting for us.” Pavlina turned back to Kerry. “You must understand, given the time, we’re expected for dinner.”

Kerry knew that given it was almost twenty hours, a lot of people were expecting to have dinner as soon as they arrived home—himself included. “I understand.”

“I hope that one day you can come visit Annie in Pamporovo.” Pavlina’s eyes cast downward for just a moment, as if she didn’t want to say what was coming next. “Not this year, but maybe one summer.”

“I would like that.” Kerry looked Annie, and watched as she her face hardened into a mask of impassiveness. “I’d like that a lot.”

Annie didn’t take her eyes off Kerry. “I would like that as well, Mama.”

“Maybe next year, then.” She adjusted her purse on her shoulder. “Take care, Kerry. Have a good holiday.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Kirilova.”

“Come along, Annie.” Pavlina turned away and took two steps—

 

And being the dutiful daughter that she is–

 

Annie wasn’t following, however, She took two steps in Kerry’s direction, instead. “I have to go.”

“I know.” Kerry fought to keep from breaking down in front of Annie’s mother, as he’d promised.

Annie held out her right hand. “Have a good holiday, my . . .” She caught herself before she said the next word.

Kerry reached out with his left hand and took Annie’s. He was oblivious to all those standing around him: he didn’t care that Ms. Rutherford and Mrs. Kirilova were watching him with the girl he loved. He only wanted to touch her for one last time . . . “Have a good holiday, Annie. See you in—” His voice hitched as he forced himself to continue. “See you in August.”

“Yes.” Annie’s voice dropped slightly as her face grew less impassive and began to show what she was feeling. “See you in August. Don’t forget to write.”

“I won’t.”

“Come along, Anelie.” Pavlina motioned for her daughter to follow. “We must go.”

Annie gave Kerry’s hand one final squeeze. “Goodbye, Kerry.”

He squeezed back. “Goodbye, Annie.” He released her hand and watched in silence as she turned and took her place at her mother’s right side. They entered the concourse, turned to the left, and walked away.

 

And there she goes, not to be seen until the very last scene of the novel.

Naturally Kerry is taking this well–which is why Ms. Rutherford hustles his away from the waiting area to the special areas The Foundation keeps for their people.

 

They stood in another of the “airlocks” that Kerry has seen as San Francisco International Airport. He figured there was a bank of escalators on the other side of the doors he was facing and having trouble seeing because his vision was blurring due to the film of tears forming over his eyes. He waited for Ms. Rutherford to open the door so they could leave, so he could take the escalators down under the airport and find the station and do . . . whatever they were going to do . . . Go home. Return to the place he’d been nine months before. By himself. Alone . . .

He felt an arm lay across his shoulders and pull him into soft, dark cloth and hold him close as he screamed out his frustration. He wrapped his arms around his support, crying in anguish over what he’d just lost. He finally glanced away from where he’d buried himself and looked up into the face of Ms. Rutherford. “Why does it hurt so much? Why?”

“It hurts because you’ve lost something, Kerry.” She directed them to the row of seats along one wall and sat. “You see, when you’re in love—deeply in love—it’s more than just emotional or physical: it’s always spiritual, and when you reach that level of commitment, you give a part of yourself, your essence, to that person.

“When you’re together you don’t notice this, because you’re still in close proximity to this part of your being. But when you are about to become separated by a significant distance, you feel it leaving you. The pain inside is that part of your essence that Annie has taken with her.” Ms. Rutherford lay her hand across Kerry’s wet cheek. “There’s one thing you need to know, however.”

Kerry sniffed back the discharge from his nose. “What’s that?”

“Annie felt the same thing. Did you see her face as she was preparing to leave? I know she’s good at hiding her feelings, but even I could tell she was hurting there before she left with her mother.” She patted Kerry’s shoulder. “She’s left behind a piece of her essence inside you, and while she may not show her pain in the same fashion as you, she feels it, Kerry. Right now she feels every moment of being away from you.”

 

If there is one thing Kerry has going right, it’s that there are better mother figures for him than his mother.  His mother wouldn’t have held him or spoken to him that way, because–well, trust me,  She wouldn’t.  It’s not that she’s a stone cold bitch, it’s simply that she, like her husband, don’t get their son.  As he pointed out, they don’t understand why he’s so emotional, why he’s such a geek, why he’s not like all the other boys his age.  And if they were to hear about his love affair with The Dark Witch of Pamporovo, it’s likely there’d be a massive amount of eye rolling and statements like, “You’re too young to understand!” thrown in his direction instead of a little tenderness and hugging to help him though the loneliness.

Nothing left to say here, save this:

 

Ms. Rutherford dug into her large purse and pulled out a handkerchief. “Here, dry your eyes and clean up your face. I can’t take you back to your parents looking as if I’ve abused you.”

He chuckled as he wiped himself clean. “How much do you know about Annie and me?”

“Everything. As your case worker I’ve read your counseling reports—” She smiled as a concerned look appeared on Kerry’s face. “Don’t worry: all your secrets are safe with me. Nothing will be discussed unless you want to discuss them.”

“Thanks.” He returned the handkerchief back. “I don’t want them seeing this, either.” He shrugged, getting his backpack comfortable. “Almost done now, aren’t we?”

“Another twenty minutes or so, yes.” Ms. Rutherford straightened a few things in her bag. “Do you want to eat before we leave?”

Kerry shook his head. “No.” He slowly stood and tilted his head slightly to the left. “No point in putting this off—

“Let’s go home.”

 

Yes, Kerry:  it’s time to go.

Don't worry, kids.  It's only a matter of time before I get you back together--so you can be separated at the end of the school year.

Don’t worry, kids. It’s only a matter of time before I get you back together–so you can be separated at the end of the school year.

Dining Hall of the Lovelorn

Here I am again, kiddies, and believe me the last night and morning have been sort of NaNoish, only in the sense that I’ve been writing a lot, but I haven’t exactly been stringing all those words together at the same time.  I wrote nearly eight hundred words last night, and just a shade over a thousand this morning, and while that puts me in the, “I made my word count!” category, it means I gotta step up my game in the next couple of days if I’m gonna “win” my third consecutive NaNo.  I know what I need to do to get it done, it’s just getting it done that’s been a pain in the butt of late.

And today has been sort of an all over the place kind of writing.  The last time I spoke of my current scene I had Erywin Sladen sitting down with a somewhat feeling out of it Kerry whom, it would seem, was suffering  from Annie Seperationits.  That’s to be expected:  it’s only been a few weeks since he came to grips with his feels for her, and now she’s off on the other side of the world from him, and he’s missing her oh, so much.

In comes Erywin to the rescue, because . . . well, it’s not like Coraline is the only romantic in the house . . .

 

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

A huge smile was spread across here face as she sat. “Thank you.” She slowly crossed her legs; Kerry thought this was the first time he’d ever seen her in jeans. “How are you feeling?”

He shrugged. “I’m okay.”

“Mmm, hum.” Her eyes bored hole through Kerry’s head. “She left at nine, am I right?”

“Yeah.” Kerry looked down at his untouched plate of food.

“Do you know what she’s doing now?”

Kerry answered without even thinking. “It’s almost nineteen in Pamporovo; she’s either waking up, or she’s been up for a bit. If it’s the later, she’s probably getting ready to go out to dinner with her parent.” He looked up from the plate and sat back. “It’s what she told me she was going to do.”

“Is that what you’re going to do when you get to San Fransisco?”

“Probably not. By the time we get out of the airport and back to my grandparent’s house, it’ll probably be close to twenty-one.” Kerry shrugged. “Maybe we’ll pick up something on the way and eat at home, or stop at a restaurant.”

Erywin studied Kerry for a few moments, watching his face, watching how he sat and touched his silverware and ignored his lunch. She leaned forward onto the table top. “May I offer a bit of advice?”

“Sure.” Kerry was only half paying attention to the professor up to the point where she asked her last questions. Before then his mind was on Annie, thinking of her home, sleeping, wondering what her room looked like—

Kerry.”

His looked up. “Sorry, Professor.”

“Erywin.”

“Erywin. What did you want to say?”

 

“You’re being a noob, kid.”  No, really.  She wouldn’t say that.  Helena, maybe, but Erywin, no.  She has other advice:

 

“You’re missing Annie, missing her dearly. Your mind is a aflutter with thoughts of her, and you can’t seem to concentrate on any one of them for long. Correct?”

He wasn’t going to lie. “Yeah.”

“You have to look at your separation from the standpoint of . . . time.” Erywin chuckled as she laid one hand upon the other on the table. “You know a little about that concept, yeah?”

Her question elicited a chuckle. “Yeah, I know a bit about that.”

“Then here is what you do. First, imagine the time you cherished during her departure. Remember the important things: hand holding, a hug, a touch, a conversation, a kiss. Keep that close to you, Kerry: hold it within you and don’t let it go.

“Then, when you start to miss her, think about those same moments, but frame it in the time since they happened. Start thinking, ‘It was only yesterday that happened’. Then, ‘It was only two days ago—’ then four days ago—then five and six . . . and before you know it, you’ve reached the mid-point of your holiday, and you’ll begin counting the days towards your return.”

She sat back, her eyes remaining on Kerry’s brightening face. “Then you begin imagining what it’ll be like when Annie and you are together again, and your hold that idea in your mind and think, ‘I’ll see her in a week’, then ‘I’ll see her in five days’; then it becomes three days, then two . . .

“After that it’s ‘I’ll see Annie tomorrow; maybe at night when I arrive, or maybe the next morning, but we’ll be together again’. Then you go to bed, wake up . . .” Erywin held up one hand and spread her fingers as if she were catching rain. “And it happens. You’re together again. This sadness that plagues you is over.”

 

It may not be the best advice in the world, but it’s something she employed when she was a young student who was away from her “pretty girl” during the holidays.  She also knows something else . . .

 

“Good. And, Kerry—” Erywin touched her heart and lightly patted her fingers against her chest. “This pain you’re feeling? It’s a good pain. It’s the the pain you feel when you know you’ll be reunited with someone you love, and who loves you as much.“

He slowly took in a breath and released it quickly. “It doesn’t feel that way.”

“Trust me: it is.” Erywin leaned across the table. “It’s when there isn’t anyone waiting for you that it becomes a horrible pain that you wish would go away forever.”

That’s a horrible thought. “You ever have that happen?”

“No.” She sat up and looked about to see if anyone were watching them. “I’ve been lucky; I’ve only had to deal with being separated from Helena, and no matter how long that lasted, she always came back to me.” She curled the fingers of both hands and slid her nails back and forth against each other for a few seconds. “I hope to never feel that second pain—and I hope you never do, either.”

 

When it comes right down to it, if there’s anyone at Salem who understands pain, it’s Erywin.  Her experiences as a young, open lesbian in love in the early 1980’s wasn’t the easiest, particularly when you know that she’s always worn her heart on her sleeve and has never been one to hide her emotions–hey, she sounds like someone else in this story, particularly when you consider her girlfriend/companion/partner who is really good at being a sorceress and keeping her feelings hidden from others . . .

You might say if there’s anyone at the school who sorta understands Kerry, it’s Erywin.  And it’s a relationship that will only build in time.  You heard it here first.

She’s so comfortable speaking with him about these things that she makes an offer that she doesn’t normally make to anyone else . . .

 

Erywin fell into contemplation for a few seconds, then spoke a bit more quiet than before. “Every solstice I offer up an invocation to our coven goddess—I don’t think I need to name name’s.” She took a couple of slow, measured breaths. “With your permission, I’ll ask her to watch over Annie and you so nothing bad happens to your relationship.”

Kerry didn’t say anything for a few seconds. He wasn’t traditionally religious—his mother was Catholic, his father was Protestant, and while he’d gone to church when he was younger, no one in his family had set foot in one since just before he turned seven—but he got that the school still followed the older beliefs that were started by the witches who’d founded Salem back in the Seventieth Century. It was the reason for the coven names, and why they referred to the various holidays by their traditional names.

He also got that there were a few people here who did more than pay lip service to “the old ways”, as he’d heard some people say. He knew Erywin was one, as were a few of the other instructors. None of them had ever offered to do anything like this before, and he was unsure if he should thank her and say no, or if he should qualify his statement first . . .

He lay his elbows on the table and slowly rubbed his palms together. “You know I don’t believe in any of that.”

“I know.” Erywin didn’t appear upset at all by his statement. “Which is why I asked if I could do so with your permission, because I know you and I don’t share the same beliefs.” She gave him a soft smile. “If there’s one thing I don’t do, it’s proselytize and arm twist.”

 

Little is said about the “old beliefs” at the school.  I know the school follows a few traditions that, to outsiders, would seem strange.  And none of it is forced upon the students–if you want to call Samhain “Halloween” or not participate in any of the little traditions that happen that weekend, you don’t have to join.  If anything, the traditions that were started in the 1600’s have changed over the centuries, and the witches who founded Salem would likely not recognize most of what happens at Beltane when the Blodeuwedd Coven starts the party going.

Erywin is being friendly in offering to say something to her deity on behalf of Annie and Kerry, but she also knows he may be offended by the offer, and tells him, “Hey, you don’t want me to do this, it’s cool.”  No one’s asking Annie, though, but then she knew about this stuff long before she entered school, and for all we know she’s down with the idea.  Maybe one day we’ll see.  Given how she’s taken to the idea that he’s become comfortable using the original holiday names, one must wonder.

And that’s when this happens:

 

“Well, that’s different.” Erywin smile brightened. “You participated in our Samhain traditions, and you didn’t experience any adverse affects, did you?”

She’s got me there. “Nah, none at all—and Annie loved walking between the bonfires.” He brushed a few strands of hair back from his face. “I guess it wouldn’t hurt to have a Celtic war goddess watching over our relationship.”

“I agree.” Erywin reached over and touched Kerry’s hand. “And, for the records, I can’t say I’m entirely certain The Mórrígan exists—but our Phoenix is real, and so is Baba Yaga and a—”

“Wait—” Kerry wasn’t quite sure if he’d heard the instructor’s last statement correctly. “Baba Yaga is real?”

“Yes. She’s like our Phoenix: an old and powerful spirit living in Russia. She’s not pleasant to be around, either—ask Adric about her . . .” She tapped Kerry’s hand twice before pulling back. “My point is I don’t know if The Mórrígan is real: maybe yes, maybe no. But I find comfort in her protection, and who knows? Maybe she is out there watching—in which case I want to be on her good side.”

Based upon what he’d seen so far at the school—and vaguely remembering his E and A with the Phoenix when he arrived—he thought it entirely possible there could be something out there in the world calling itself The Mórrígan, and that it might actually like the fact that people believed in her protection . . . “It’s amazing the things I’m learning here. Six months ago I wouldn’t have believed there really were these powerful spirits—

“Six months ago you wouldn’t have believed you were a witch and sorceress, either.” She cocked her head to one side. “Look how that turned out.”

This time he laughed out loud. “Yeah. Can’t be skeptical about that any more, can I?”

 

Not only do we discover that Erywin is skeptical that a deity she’s offers invocations to may be real, but we discover that a creature of Russian folklore is real.  Does she have a hut with chicken legs, or does she just wander around the countryside and kill people because that’s how she rolls?  Now we’re beginning to see there are creatures out there that people have believed for centuries were just myths and stories, but surprise!  Not really.  Like Erywin tells Kerry, six months ago you wouldn’t have believed you were a witch–what do you say now, kid?

You say it’s a good idea you keep your options open.

Where I am right now is half-way through Chapter Twenty-Six.  It’s coming along nicely–

And look what's coming next!

And look what’s coming next!

Yeah.  Next scene is gonna be fun . . .

Girlfriend in My Pillow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Crying Again and Again Game

Let’s start right off by saying that hormones are interesting things.  They define you in certain ways, they regulate some aspects of your body, and when they come and then go, they can pretty much drive you insane for a little while.  Particularly when they come and throw you into a Texas cage death match called “puberty”.  Oh, it’s so much fun.  Your body changes, your mind starts getting rewired, interesting “things” happen to you–

Fun, right?  We’ve all been through it . . .

Some of us liked it so much the first time we’re going through it a second time.  Why?  Because it’s fun, I just told you that!

"I'm so glad I signed up for this trip.  It's so--they stubbed their toe?  Ahhhhhh!"

“I’m so glad I signed up to go through puberty again. It’s so–my friend stubbed her toe? Whaaaa!”

That’s was me from about, oh, say, 11 AM yesterday until pretty much I went to bed–and even a little after that.  First off, I got upset because of a friend–not because she was mean to me or anything like.  No, because she was in a contest that I knew she’d poured her heart and soul into, and she didn’t so much as win, place, or show.  And I felt bad for her.  Real bad.  So bad that I started crying in the office.  It’s a good thing I have my own little office, because that way I could hide behind the door for a little bit and keep people from seeing me.  I was off and on with that gig a few times during the afternoon.

Then I was home and I was fine.  I had to run out and pick up a few things, then I stopped to eat and I figured, “Hey, a pizza buffet would be great right about now!”  Big mistake.  The pizza and pasta were good, but I had such a carb overload by the time I arrived home that I was in a semi-state of grogginess the rest of the night.  It was so bad all I could do was stare at the screen and think about writing–but write I could not.  Not a single word.

But that’s okay, because when I’m not writing I’m going over scenes in my head, reworking, refining.  So I did that.  With several different scenes.

Oh, joy.

One of the scenes has Annie about the open a magical can of whoop-ass on another student and getting stopped before any damage happens.  Why is she pissed?  Because the student put Kerry in the hospital, and if there’s one thing Annie doesn’t like it’s Kerry in the hospital, and–

Crying Jag Number One.

Okay, over that.  So then I start working on something else:  a thing the kids say to each other years down the line–you might even call it a vow.  A vow that Annie starts, that pretty much defines everything she feels for Kerry and–

Crying Jag Number Two.

Okay, something safe, then.  Kerry’s adventures in his own budding puberty, which leads to something happening to him, which then leads to visions and the telling of dreams and the two of them getting together and talking about them, and then all the emotions of those dreams coming out . . .

That was Crying Jag Number Three, and pretty much the end of the night.

So, I learned an important lesson yesterday:  pizza buffet for lunch, but not when you have writing at night.  Otherwise you won’t be working on the scene in front of you, you’ll be thinking of scenes to come, and that may not be a good thing . . .

"What do you mean the kids can't have any pudding?  Whaaaaa!"

“What do you mean the kids can’t have any pudding? Whaaaaa!”

Alone in Nox

My day is starting off pretty much the wrong way.  Sure, I managed close to a thousand words last night, finishing off a scene where Kerry is having to beg two of his favorite older females to help him with a problem, but that was last night.  Today is today, and it started about four AM.  Which is not cool.

The thing that woke me up was a rather depressing dream.  What happened isn’t very clear:  it seemed like I was boxing up people and preparing to send them somewhere.  Everything was gray and near permanent twilight, and I could tell that I wasn’t happy.  No, not in the least.

Not long after I woke up I started, for no reason at all, thinking about the deaths of my characters.  And then of a scene where one of them gets hurt bad, really torn up, and starts sobbing uncontrollably over the loss of someone close to them.  And then . . .

Well, then I sort of lay in a half-awake, half-asleep state until the alarm went off, and the computer came up, and I started writing this.  The way my mornings almost always start.

"Am I having fun with this blogging thing yet?"

“Am I having fun with this blogging thing yet?  Just askin’, you know?”

Something I realized while lying in bed:  I don’t remember my dreams that much any more.  And when I do, there’s little that’s memorable about them.  Two years ago I used to write a lot about my dreams, because I had some interesting things going on in my head.  I also had some horribly, hellacious stress going on in my life as well, but that’s another story.

But maybe that’s it:  maybe all the stress I felt then caused me to fall back into my dreams to find peace.  And I used to find it; there were all sorts of things I used to encounter there.  I also encountered a soul-sucking blackness once that frightened the hell out of me once I was awake, but you gotta take the bad with the good, right?

These days, however, it seems like none of that happens.  Even with all the stress and pain I feel with my current, long-ass, never-seeming-to-end novel, it never seems as if I find any solace in sleep.  When I do remember anything, it’s all different shades of gray and feelings that nothing right is happening, or ever will happen.  It’s pretty much as if there isn’t much happiness in the waking hours, and that translates over to the Land of Dreams, where goddamn Morpheus is busy playing Battleship with his sister Death, and hasn’t the time to do anything to help out a poor girl.

I used to dream of old Cassidy, the girl I invented before–well, before she became me.  I had dreams of The Monster House before I wrote down notes about how it would make a great story, and that recurring dream never recurred.  The one I miss the most is my Muse.  I never dream of her any more, and she used to be there a lot.  So many times.

Now, nothing.  She’s gone.  Somewhere out there, but not visiting me.  And that leaves me sadder every day.

This might only be something temporary.  Maybe there’s something in The Burg that sucks up all the good energy that leaves you great dream, and all that remains is as gray and semi-lifeless as this place can be at times.

All I know is, I want my dreams back.

It’s not enough to dream about them; it’s everything to live thought them once the lights go out and your eyes close.

Why deny someone a little happiness in their subconscious?