This happened last night:
I just beat Act One!
As did this:
Looks like I’m gonna have to reset the counter.
So that’s the thing: with Act Two’s end in sight, I passed both 150,000 words and 300,000 words total. What am I guessing this will finish out at? With three more scenes, maybe another five or six thousand words and she’s finished. And then, this being NaNo, I can hop into Act Three–the final act. And wrap up this story in another . . . let’s not talk of this, shall we?
As for NaNo . . . hit my word count, and edged in just over nine thousand words since I started writing on Saturday. That’s not unusual: I’m right around the ten thousand mark by the fifth day, and I’ll clear that tonight with ease. At the rate I’m going, I should finish Act Two by Friday–which means I have Saturday to get started on Act Three.
What happened in the recently concluded scene? Annie and Kerry are at the library, and Kerry’s doing most of the talking, Trevor Parkman–the librarian–is doing most of the listening. Annie’s already heard this story a couple of times, but she doesn’t mind hearing it again. For all we know–well, I don’t, but you do–Annie’s the one that got them there tonight.
And what is Kerry talking about? No, his grandfather doesn’t know about Salem and his grandson being a witch–but he knows there was something strange in the family a long time ago . . .
All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)
“Her name is Aisling Callaghan. She’s my great-great-great-great-grandmother.” Kerry checked his tablet from time to time; his notes were there, and unlike when he’d first given Annie an overview, he wanted Mr. Parkman to heard what he’d told Annie the second time. “My grandfather knew she was born in Ireland in their early 1800’s, but he couldn’t pin down the exact year: he figured it was anywhere between 1804 and 1810. He had almost nothing on her except the name of a church parish near Galway, and some information that she’d moved to Liverpool when she was a girl—again, no exact date.
“He and my grandma went to Ireland in the late eighties trying to hunt her down, but they didn’t find anything useful—”
“Given the family name, if he didn’t have much to go on, he’d have a difficult time tracking her down.” Mr. Parkman sat back and crossed his arm. “Callaghan is such a common name.”
“That’s what my grandfather said. But he had a parish name to go off; it was suppose to be in an old town that had been located between Tuam and Headford.”
“Yes, so many towns up and vanished during the Ninetieth Century.” Trevor gave the matter a few seconds of thought. “Did he mention the closest town to where this town was suppose to have existed?”
Kerry check his tablet. “He mentioned Caherlistrane.”
“Okay.” Trevor filed the information away in his encyclopedic memory. “Go on.”
“Like I said, he didn’t find anything, even though he spent a couple of weeks in the area. So he just filed it all away and came back home after spending three days around Liverpool trying to find something on her.”
“He find anything there?”
Trevor raised an eyebrow. “I find that a little strange. There aren’t many Catholic churches in that areas, and I’d imagine they’d have her name on a parish roll.”
Annie spoke for the first time since the conversation began. “Unless she didn’t attend church.”
Kerry looked at his girlfriend a little strangely, while Mr. Parkman chuckled. “Heaven forbid that thought. Even if they left the Emerald Isle and came to England, they found time to attend church.” He paused and his eyes took on a vacant gaze as he tried to remember something salient to the conversation. “They would have had a record of her at St. Peter’s, and then move those records to St. Patrick’s or St. Vincent at some point.”
All those places are real, and while Kerry’s grandfather didn’t find Great-Granny’s date of birth, you know I have it.
And there’s more, because when you have a good mystery hugging you around the neck, you don’t let go:
Kerry nodded. “Yeah. After my mom and dad were married in 1997, he and Grandma went back to Ireland that summer; he told me they’d planed to spend a month in around Galway checking every parish within a hundred miles of the city. He told me he’d mapped out the location of every church in the area, and even found the locations of parishes that had closed. He said he started checking all these places, and after two weeks he’d come up with nothing. Again, a lot of Callaghans—”
“Which is expected.”
“—But no Aislings. None at all. Or, at least none that fit the time for when she might have been born.”
Trevor held up a finger. “Excuse me, but what was he using as a point of reference for her date of birth?”
“She had two kids: Gwendolyn and Randal. He found birth records for Randal from . . .” He checked his tablet. “9 July, 1849, in Leeds. The hospital record listed the mother as Aisling, but only gave her age as ‘Early 40’s’. He figured from the birth record that she might have been born in the time frame he was checking.”
“I’m surprised they listed her age that way.” Trevor leaned onto his elbows and rubbed his palms together.
“Is that unusual for the UK?” Annie knew from her own family history that the records were fairly exact—but then, her family had information on their lineage going back seven generation.
“It depends if she knew her actual age.” Trevor shook his head. “Most of the time a person will still give an age and not bother with approximations. And a hospital wouldn’t normally list the mother’s age in such a fashion.” He looked at Kerry. “What sort of hospital was it?”
“My grandfather didn’t say, but . . .” He tossed his head to one said. “I got the impression that it was a pretty good one.”
“Which meant they wouldn’t have listed the age that way.” Trevor scratched at the back of his left hand. “Interesting.”
“No—” Annie cleared her throat. “The interesting part comes next.”
“Oh.” Trevor sat up and lay one hand over the other on the table top.
“Yeah.” Kerry chuckled. “You’ like this.”
We find a couple of more of Kerry’s ancestors, with Randal being his many-times-removed grandfather. And born in England as well, which probably burns up his father.
But what’s this interesting thing Annie’s speaks of? Kerry tells him:
“Okay, well . . . After a couple of weeks he tells me he’s got nothing to go on—none of the churches he’s visited have any information on the parish my ancestor was suppose to have attended, and a few even said the town he talked about never existed. The way he described things, he sounded pretty out of it ‘cause according everything he was finding, this Aisling didn’t exist.
“So my grandma and him are sitting in a cafe in Galway having lunch, and this woman comes up to them and introduces herself and says she’s with some historical preservation society that’s gathering data on all the old parishes around the country. She’s heard from several of the churches that he’s looking for information on an ancestor, and guess what?” Kerry threw up his hands an expressed surprise. “She just happens to have everything he’s looking for.”
Trevor was listening even more closely now. “That is interesting. What did she have? Parish records? Marriage records?”
“It’s better than that, Mr. Parkman.” Annie eyed the librarian closely.
Kerry grinned broadly. “There were parish records, information on her mother and father, travel documents to England, a few school records—” Kerry pushed his tablet to one side. “According to the documents my grandfather was given, when she was eleven she was sent off to attend a private school—in Scotland.”
“Where in Scotland?”
Annie spoke up. “Near Edinburgh.”
Now Trevor was grinning as well, though his tone indicated he was skeptical. “You believe she went to ECMI?”
Kerry nodded tow his girlfriend on his left. “That what Annie thinks.”
“Edinburgh was built in 1808—” Annie was growing excited as she spoke. “Kerry said the papers he say said she started school in 1818. It makes sense.”
Trevor held up his hands as if to hold back the girl’s enthusiasm. “However, there were other private schools in Edinburgh—”
“There’s something else—” Kerry paused for effect. “She graduated from the University of Oxford.”
He checked his tablet. “My grandfather showed me documents and pictures. She attended The Queen’s College and graduated in 1830.” He leaned forward, his voice serious but rising with excitement. “I checked, Mr. Parkman: Oxford didn’t accept women until 1878. There is no way she could have attended one of the colleges at Oxford in the 1820’s unless . . .”
Annie finished the statement. “Unless she had help from an organization like the Foundation.”
Trevor rubbed his hands together, working the fist of one in the palm of the other, while he thought. “The Foundation as we know was still forming, but The Lucifer Club was gathering considerable influence in England at that time, and they were doing much of the same things that The Foundation does today.” He pointed at Kerry. “You’re certain she graduated from Queen’s College?”
“Mr. Parkman . . .” Kerry took a deep breath. “My grandfather was not only given her diploma, but there was a graduation picture of her and four other people—three of them women.”
It was really nice of that woman–whomever she was–to simply hand over all that secret information without a second thought–right? Edinburgh was one of the schools attacked during the Day of the Dead, and another of the larger schools in The Foundation. So if Grandma Aisling went there . . . yeah, witch. Not to mention she and three other women graduating from Oxford almost fifty years before women were allowed in? Someone was playing around with records . . .
And the only way your great-over-grandmother—and whomever else was in the picture—could have done that would have been with help from The Lucifer Club, or one of the organizations affiliated with them.” He nodded slowly. “It sounds exactly like a Foundation shadowplay.”
Annie answered before Trevor could. “It’s where they change the identity of a person and give them a new life. I didn’t want to say anything when you were telling them this earlier, but since Mr. Parkman isn’t saying you’re wrong—”
“Then it’s likely the assumption is correct.” Trevor stood and stretched before leaning on the back of his chair. “If someone discovered she was a witch, it was prudent to move her out of Ireland as quickly as possible. It’s also likely that Aisling Callaghan isn’t her real name; the chances are the only people who would know her real identity is—”
“The Foundation.” Annie nodded. “And would you be able to access that information, Mr. Parkman?”
“If there is any truth to what Kerry is saying, then it’s likely she’s in the data base.” Trevor sat down behind one of the computer displays and began typing away on the keyboard. “Could you spell her name, please?”
So Trevor hops on the computer and starts checking the data base–and gets locked out. He enters his security code–because he does have a right to see sensitive information–and he’s told to make a call . . . to Paris . . .
“Paris is the main headquarters; there’s always someone there. Not to mention this is through the Archivist Division, and they run 24/7—” Trevor’s call was connected. “This is Trevor Parkman, Librarian and Archivist for the Salem Institute of Greater Learning and Education. I’m conducting a data base search and I’ve triggered a security lock. Yes, it’s—” He read the code off the screen and waited about tens seconds before speaking to the person on the other end. “I’m performing this search at the request of one of our students . . . Kerry Malibey—M.a.l.i.b.e.y.. Yes, he’s here now—” He listened for a second, then lowered the phone and turned to Kerry. “Is your given name Kerrigan?”
Kerry nodded slowly. “Um, yeah.”
Trevor was back on the phone. “He says yes.” He said and did nothing for the next thirty seconds save nod. When he did speak again, it was in a less authoritative tone. “I understand completely. I’ll let him know. Thank you.” He closed the call the returned his mobile to his jacket.
It was all Kerry could do to keep from shaking in his seat. “What happened?”
Trevor sighed and snapped the monitor off. “I was told you’ll get your answers tomorrow.”
Annie recalled a few times when her mother ran into situations like these, and what usually happened when her “answers” arrived the next day. “They’re being hand delivered, aren’t they?”
Kerry glanced from Annie to Mr. Parkman then back to Annie. “What? What do you mean?”
“What she means is we’re getting visitors from Paris.” Trevor leaned his elbows on the table and almost set his chin against the back of his intertwined hands. “Someone wants to speak with you.”
See what you get poking around, Kerry? You should have been happy with the orgy of secret data your grandfather was given, but no! You just had to go looking around. And now you’re getting a visit from Paris.
Which is today.
And I will write that up tonight.
NaNo Word Count, 11/2: 2,240
NaNo Total Word Count: 9,027