The Solo Presentation

After a week of writing Chapter Thirty is almost a memory.  I finished it up yesterday with eight hundred and thirty-eight word finish and put scene and chapter to bed.  It was a good time, really, though it took me a while to get through this because I was really having issues trying to get it down into word.

But get it I did.

But get it I did.

So how did this finish up?  With something unexpected, that’s for sure:

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Isis waved her right hand back and forth as if she were trying to keep something from coming forward. “You can worry about that later. We have pictures now—although—” She looked about the room, smiling. “I think there’s something else we’re supposed to do first.”

“I believe you’re right.” Vicky walked behind the kids and made her way towards the other side of the table behind Isis. She tapped Kerry on the shoulder as she walked past. “You wanna give me a hand?”

“Sure.” He followed Vicky without asking question.

Annie, however, knew something was up without needing to ask questions. “What’s going on?”

Kerry glanced towards Annie as Vicky reached for something under the table. “Oh, nothing. Just, you know—” She pulled out a gift wrapped box and set it in Kerry’s outstretched arms. He turned towards his soul mate as he finished his comment. “A present.”

“What?” Annie gave Kerry as a disapproving look as he approached. “I take it you’re responsible for this?”

“I am.” He slowly handed her to box. “Happy Flight Graduation, my Darling.”

It wasn’t the present that made her do a double-take, but the fact that Kerry was so open calling her “Darling” in front of Headmistress Laventure. Vicky and Isis have heard this before, but it has to be a first time for the Headmistress . . .

She examined box. It was about a half-meter by half-meter, and not very thick. The wrapping paper was featureless but felt like it wasn’t cheaply manufactured. Annie set the box upon the table and began removing the wrapping paper carefully. Once the box was exposed she slid the top off and—

 

That Kerry and his gifts.  He knows he’s not supposed to lavish gifts on Annie, but have we noticed her refusing anything?  Not yet.  Do you think she’ll refuse this?  Well . . .

 

Oh.” A woman’s leather jacket, black and cut in a modern European style, lay folded inside. She slowly removed it and held it before her, turning it so she could examine the detail in varying light. “This is—” She spun around towards Kerry and was unable to keep the surprise out of her voice. “This is a Pierotucci.” Annie turned about half-way towards Isis. “This is like yours.”

“Yes, it is.” Isis nodded towards the jacket. “It has all the same enchantments as mine, so it’ll modify itself as you grow, as well as being able to automatically switched back and forth from Normal to Flight mode.”

Annie shook her head in disbelief. “I couldn’t ever imagine getting one of these now.”

Kerry chuckled. “You’d mentioned more than a few times how much you liked hers—” He waited until Annie was facing him once again. “—that I though you needed one of your own.”

 

Something tells me she’s gonna keep this one, too.

Pierotucci is a brand of Italian leather goods, and it was part of my research the other night trying to discover what Kerry would get Annie.  Not only is it genuine, but it’s been enchanted, so that indicates some connection somewhere to The Foundation.  It could be it was ordered from the story and then sent through a cutout for “modifications”, which would make sense.  Either way, Annie is now styling, and yes:  it is an expensive jacket.  Kerry still hasn’t spent as much on Annie as she did on him when she bought his broom, but he’s about €1,400 closer now.

The girl is also feeling the way one might expect–

 

She found herself torn between saying nothing and making a comment, and the later impulse won out. “But—do you know how much this cost?”

“I should: I paid for it.” He moved closer until he was cupping her hands. “It’s not the cost, it’s the thought. And I thought this would not only keep you protected, but it’ll look great when you’re flying.”

“I had a little something to do with buying it—” Isis turned on a friendly yet sly smile. “But this was all Kerry’s idea.”

Vicky nodded. “One he mentioned back in January.”

Annie shook her head in near-amazement. “You did?”

“Yeah.” Kerry nodded. “But I’d thought of it over Yule.”

“I, um—” She found herself speechless, unable to find the words necessary to express her emotions.

Vicky decided now would be a good time to move forward with their original plan. “We should take pictures now, and that will give Annie time to return to her coven and change for dinner.” She began motioning everyone into position. “Annie, Kerry, just stand in front of the table: Trevor should be here any moment to get everything recorded.”

Isis leaned in towards the couple. “We’ll want to do one of your in your uniform with your wings, and then we’ll get a couple of you in your new flight jacket. Okay?”

“Okay.” Annie nodded and then drifted into her own thoughts. The earlier morning breakfast, the preflight preparation, the solo, the mad dashes over the ocean to each of the three buoys, the exciting return with Kerry blasting music designed to not only bring up her spirits but to let the whole school know they’d returned—the day was anything but dull.

And now there was the awarding of her wings, and another gift from her special love. He’s given me so much, none of expected. Always thinking of me . . . Annie felt a sudden lightheadedness begin creeping into her mind, and suddenly grew afraid that she was going to swoon—

Kerry was there are her side with an arm around her waist. He positioned his body so it didn’t appear to the others that he might be keeping her from falling. “Don’t worry, Sweetie. Nothing’s going to happen.”

She stared into his eyes and smiled. “You have me, don’t you?”

He leaned close and whispered. “A good chase is always there to help his pilot.” He kissed her on the check. “Always.”

 

Get this girl excited and she’s all about the swoon.  That’s really her emotions starting to get the better of her, but only those good emotions, like love, happiness, affection:  when those hit she’s ready for the fainting couch.  Good thing Kerry’s there to catch her, just as a good chase should.

So Annie is fully cleared for take-off, and you’ll see that happening a few chapters from now.  First, however, there’s a little matter of putting some of Kerry’s flying to rest . . .

The Final Solo: Naming the Unmarked Roads

Well . . .

After leaving at nine-thirty to get my nails done, I returned about thirty minutes ago.  And looking at the big clock on the wall that means I have about ninety minutes to get ready for tonight’s dinner, which could see me flipping right the hell out at some point if people start talking shit.

But I look great, and don't any anything bad about my earrings.

But I look great, and don’t any anything bad about my earrings.

This means what I said I would do earlier–finish this scene before making this post–ain’t gonna happen.  I lied.  Annie will likely get mad at me at some point, but I can handle her.  I think.  Now that she’s learning Kali, aka Arnis, aka Eskrima, and she is learning how to use alongside magic, she’s gonna make Jason Bourne look like a child stumbling around in the dark.  Since Kerry is learning this as well, one has to say that you gotta pity the poor fool who decides to pick a fight with either of them, and just laugh like a loon at any one who think they can take them both on at the same time.

But where are we?  Oh, yeah:  the solo flight.

It’s the end of the solo flight as we know it, and it seems like the kids feel fine.  As you’ll see they reached not only Marker 2 but Marker 3 before setting sail for home.  Here’s how that looks:

Three buoys and a final leg home.  Pretty simple, huh?

Three buoys and a final leg home. Pretty simple, huh?

Marker 2 is about one hundred and ten kilometers, or about seventy miles, out to sea, with Marker 3 being one hundred and thirteen kilometers from the school, but about fifty-five kilometers from Cape Cod.  That’s going to come up later in the book, trust me, because it’s something important.  Would I lie?  Don’t answer.

Up until now the focus has been on Annie and Kerry, but now, with the flight nearly finished, we head for the school and see what Vicky and Isis are up to.  One might say “trouble,” but you’re looking at the wrong people for that . . .

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Vicky got into the habit of keeping half an eye on Flight Deck’s central holo display since Annie and Kerry departed the Marker 3 buoy almost fifteen minutes ago. After a short stay there Vicky gave them the approval to return to school at best possible speed. She’d imagined Annie wanting to return at as high a speed as she could stand, but they weren’t traveling much faster than they had at any point during the ocean legs of the flight, maintaining a steady three hundred and twenty-five kilometers an hour.

Isis returned to the Flight Deck after stepping out to use the bathroom. “How are they?”

“They’re fifteen klicks out—” Vicky checked the clock. “They should be here in three or four minutes at this rate.”

“Flight Deck, this is Salem Final Solo.” Annie’s voice showed just a touch of excitement. “Slowing to three hundred and preparing for final approach. Over.”

“Roger, Athena. We have you on final approach. We’ll meet you downstairs so we can take you to the hospital for a checkup. Over.”

Annie’s reply wasn’t immediately forthcoming, but given they were a few minutes out from the school Vicky wasn’t concerned. It was only after Isis’ sharp intake of breath that she snapped to attention. “What?”

“What the hell are they doing?” Isis pointed to the holo display.

Vicky immediately saw what was causing Isis’ concern. “What the hell?” She checked the numbers being fed back from Annie’s Band. “Why did they drop from two hundred meters to eight?”
Isis grunted. “Maybe you should ask?”

“Yeah, maybe.” Before she could query her fliers sound began filtering though the Flight Deck’s comm system. Vicky listened for a few seconds with a puzzled look upon her face. She was hearing music, but there was something else there as well— “Is that cheering?”

“Sounds like it.” Isis started at the display. “Gotta be Kerry.”

“Gotta be.” Vicky expanded the display as the music began to swell. “They’ve changed course. They’re heading for Good Harbor Beach and Brier Neck.”

“Looks like they’re gonna skirt northeast Gloucester.”

“Yeah.” Vicky called out to her students. “Salem Final Solo, this is Flight Deck. What are you doing? Over.” When a response wasn’t immediately forthcoming she called again, this time with more of an edge in her voice. “Athena, Starbuck, what the hell do you think you’re doing? Respond. Over.”

Kerry was half-chuckling as he returned the call. “Flight Deck, you’re breaking up. Last transmission tango bogus. See you on the flight line in a few. Over and out.”

“Wait—” Vicky tapped near hear right ear. “Salem Solo, Salem Solo, respond. Athena—” The music grew louder as a guitars and drum joined the synthesizer intro along with a loud blast of cheering. “Shit. Shit. I know what they’re doing.”

“Yeah, so do I.” Isis couldn’t stop smiling as she saw Annie and Kerry pop up to about forty meters just before they reached the southern coast of Cape Ann. “Here they come.”

The music blasted through the Flight Deck while Vicky alternated glances between the central holo display and the exit. “I should have expected this. Let’s get up to the roof—”

 

If you remember Annie’s last solo flight there were some shenanigans performed at the end.  Well, as this solo flight is a lot bigger than the last, said shenanigans gotta be properly proportioned as well.  And that’s where this scene is headed.

I’ll finish this up tomorrow over Sunday coffee.  You can believe that, ’cause Annie will come after me with magical batons if I don’t.

 

The Final Solo: Three Little Words

Believe it or not I finished the scene last night.  It required a nearly nine hundred word burst of writing power, but I pulled it off–and in doing so, I finished the first scene of this chapter to go over two thousand words.

There it is, all in black and white.

There it is, all in black and white.

Anyway . . . it may feel like a lot isn’t happening in these almost nine hundred words, but that’s because it’s all instructions followed by feelings.  This scene is not so much about flying as it is about knowing who you are and recognizing you have fears, and once you know they are there, you try to deal with that shit.  Remember this, ’cause while I won’t test you on this, it is gonna show up in the next novel big time.

But first we gotta get through the instructions.  And here they are:

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

“You feeling rested? Over.”

“I think we about as rested as we’re going to be, Flight Deck. What do you think, Starbuck?” She leaned in and kissed Kerry on the tip of his nose. “Do you feel rested?”

Kerry wiggled his eyebrows as a smile brightened his face. “I feel rested and well, Flight Deck. Over.”

They had no problem hearing Vicky’s chortle over the comms. “They’re you’re ready for the next objective. Over.”

Annie slowly floated back from Kerry. “We’re ready to go. Over.”

“Then here’s the info: your next objective as another orange marker buoy, this one hovering at an attitude of one hundred meters above sea level. Just like Marker 1, Marker 2 has an active tracking system you’ll detect once you’re three klicks out from the marker.

“The marker is off on a heading of one forty-nine—that’s one-four-nine—degrees, at a distance of sixty-two point five kilometers. Your time-on-target will be fifteen—that’s one-five—minutes after departure from Marker 1. Also, you are to maintain an altitude of two hundred meters above sea level for the duration of this leg. Any questions? Over.”

“No, Flight Deck.” Annie reflexively shook her head even though Kerry was the only one to see the action. “Everything is understood. Over.”

There was a slight pause before Vicky returned. “How much time do you need to compute speed? Over.”

“It’s figured, Flight Deck.” She looked at Kerry as she checked her goggles and parka hood. “Sixty-two point five times two is one hundred twenty-five, and twice that is two hundred fifty. Any speed above two hundred and fifty kilometers an hour will get me there in fifteen minutes or less. Over.”

Vicky cleared her throat. “Sound good on our end, Athena. Let us know when you’re ready to depart so we can monitor and start the clock. Over.”

“Roger. Over and out.” Annie slipped the balaclava over her face. “You ready for another high speed run?”

 

Sure this is a load question, because what’s Kerry gonna say?  “No, I’d rather take my time getting to Marker 2”?  Not gonna happen, ’cause a certain soul mate would kick his butt.  Annie’s not all about that, however, and this is where the feelings come in:

 

Kerry covered his face as well. “What speed are you setting?”

“We did three hundred on the last leg—” She appeared to think for a moment. “That’s seventy-five kilometers in fifteen minutes, so we should get to the next buoy in about twelve minutes.”

“Sounds about right to me.” Kerry started punching up things on his tablet.

Annie floated closer and motioned to Kerry to shut off his comm, and spoke as soon as she was certain they weren’t being overheard. “Feel nervous?”

“About going that fast two hundred meters up?” Kerry shook his head. “I got this, my sweat little banitsa. I’ll just stay focused on you, and—” He tapped his tablet with a flourish. “I’ve got a tune lined up that will take us all the way to the next marker.”

She arched her eyebrows. “Really?”

“It’s almost twelve minutes long. That will get us there.” He relaxed in the saddle and chuckled. “Really, if something happens to my broom while I’m zipping along at three hundred kph, drowning is gonna be the least of my problems.” He looked down at the ocean below them. “This is your flight: you do what you have to do, and I follow.”

She floated over his broom and pressed her forehead to his. “I love you so much.”

“And I love you, wife of mine.”

Annie remained in place with her eyes locked on to his. “That’s the first time you’ve called me your wife.”

“Well, you call me husband-to-be, so—” Though his smile wasn’t visible through the balaclava. “And the only one who heard me say that is you.”

 

Since the whole “You’re linked together for life” thing came to light, Kerry’s been pretty quiet about the matter.  Yes, he’s been known to say that he expected to marry Annie, and that he thought there was a good possibility she’d end up his wife.  But beyond the time Annie stopped during their walk from the Instructor’s Residence to the hospital and laid the “I’m a witch and your wife” speech upon his young mind, he’s not said a lot.  This is really the first time he’s come right out and called Annie “wife”.  Not “wife-to-be” or “maybe-wife”–nope, he goes all in with this deal.  Though he’s probably not going to lay that down in front of the student body during meals or class or the Midnight Madness, but in private moments, it’s the truth he knows.  It’s all in those three little words.

And Annie?  You have to ask?

Enough of the feels:  let’s get this party on the, um, road.

 

“That’s so true.” Annie pulled back about three meters, her mood lifted tremendously by Kerry’s pronouncement. She tapped her comm on. “Flight Deck, this is Salem Final Solo. Preparing to depart in fifteen seconds. Over.”

Vicky was waiting for Annie to speak. “Roger, Athena. We’ll start the timer the moment we see you move. Over.”

“Good, Flight Deck. See you soon. Over and out.” She activated her HUD and turned until she was facing her new course heading as Kerry pulled along side. “I’m ready.”

“As am I.” He pointed towards the open sea before them. “After you.”

“Thank you.” Annie waited a few seconds then launched herself out over the sea, dropping her altitude was two hundred meters while picking up speed. Unlike the last leg Kerry stayed four meters to her right and slightly behind, and about twenty seconds after leaving Marker 1 behind he started playing the song. The sound of guitar strings being slowly strummed surrounded them. “I don’t know if I’ve heard this before.”

“You haven’t: this is Cinema Show.” Kerry leaned out over his broom as he adjusted to the slipstream. “It starts slow, but picks up a lot about half way through.”

Annie didn’t care. Despite the cold and the rain, she felt warm and comfortable inside, all due to three words spoken by Kerry. She glanced over his way and gave a slight wave. He say it’s his job to follow me— She turned back to her HUD, keeping her attention on her course and altitude while listening to the music. I’ll hold him to that for the rest of his life.

 

You have one job, Kerry!  One job!  And you better do it right, ’cause thirteen year old witches are not to be trifled with.  So when does the Astral Etchings for the “rings of forever” begin?  Um . . . I know when, but I’m not saying.  Not yet.

Oh, and what is Kerry playing?  As he said, Cinema Show, the live version as performed by Genesis during their And Then There Were Three… Tour, which was the last time this song was played in its entirety.  Like he says, it’s a nearly twelve minutes long song, at around the eight minute mark the tempo goes from about 3/4 time to 8/8 time because Tony Banks sometimes played like a maniac, and for some reason whenever he played the keyboard solo of this song he sped it up like he needed to finish because he had to go to the bathroom, or something.

Two more scenes and then Annie’s home.  Well, really, in the last two scenes it is Annie being home–

You’ll see.

The Final Solo: Over Sea and Seen

Six days into April and I am one tired little girl–well, I’m not so little, but I’m tired.  Why?  Writing.  Only I can hear you now:  “But you’re not working on your novel, Cassie!”  And that’s true:  if I were counting what I’ve written for my recaps, I’d be in Camp NaNo land right now, ’cause for two shows it’s been close to thirty-five hundred words in two days, and that’s some humping.  Also, I find I write better in the morning with my story and that by nighttime I’m usually a bit befuddled, which isn’t helping get things out.

None of that is helping out my word production where it should count.

"No, no:  I'm getting to this story.  Only, right now, the inside of my eyelids look so nice . . ."

“Really, just one more show out of the way I’m gonna tackle this . . . beast . . . zzzzzzzz.”

And not only that, but if you’ve been keeping track, I’ve another important milestone coming up.  Besides coming close to three hundred thousand words.  But we’ll talk about that next week.

What I did get out is this:  my kids are where they are supposed to be, and they are literally in the middle of nowhere.  And unlike me, it’s time for a rest.

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie relaxed and twisted around to find Kerry only a few meters away. “Yes, we are, Flight Deck. My chase is getting photographic proof we’ve arrived right now. Over.”

“Good to hear, Athena. Why don’t you guys take a five minute break before we send you off to the next objection? Over.”

Annie was ready to go now, but given that the only thing she knew was another objective existed, she thought it best to take Vicky’s advice and spend a few minutes taking a rest. “Roger, Flight Deck. We’ll see you five minutes. Over and out.” She leaned slightly forward and rolled so she was facing Kerry. “How did I look in the picture?”

“Busy and a little cold.” Kerry inched his broom closer. “How are you feeling?”

She exposed her face so he could see her grin. “Are you asking, or are they?”

He exposed his face and returned the grim. “I’m asking. Though they did ask about half-way through this leg about you.”

“And what did you tell them?”

“I told them you looked good.” He slid his broom sideways next to her and took her hand. “Which you always do.”

“Thank you, my love.” Annie saw something in Kerry’s eyes that she hadn’t seen before leaving Isles of Shoals, and she wasn’t sure she what hide behind this look. “I felt a little tired when we arrive, but that’s gone now. How are you feeling?”

 

Any time you ask Kerry how he feels, it’s a loaded question.  You know what you’re going to get:  “I’m okay.”  Because that’s his go-to response to just about everything.  Now, while he does cop to letting Annie know back home wanted to know how she was holding up on her three hundred kilometer dash, he also knows that now is not the time to give pat answers:

 

He looked past Annie and stared at the buoy for a few seconds. His usually response was to say all was fine, but given their situation and location, Kerry was aware that wouldn’t be in best interest of either of them. “The run out here didn’t bother me. It’s just—” He glanced downward for a second. “There’s something about being this close to the water I don’t like.”

Annie kept her tone and mood light. “You’ve flown over this area before, yes?”

He laughed. “Yeah, I’ve been over this area before.” He gazed upward while pointing. “Only I was about seventeen hundred meters higher.”

“And going almost three hundred kilometers an hour faster than we were coming here. So why would flying out here bother you when you’ve all ready done something far more extreme?”

He shrugged.  “That was different.”

“How so?”

Kerry looked about, going over the answer in his mind as if to make certain it made sense. “It just feels like if something went wrong, we’d be in the water so fast—”

“My love?” Annie floated in front of him, her eyes staring into his.

He took a deep breath. “Yes, my Darling?”

“You race, don’t you?”

He nodded slowly. “Yes.”

“At speeds around or over as fast as we flew here?”

He bowed his his, chuckling. “Yes.”

Annie touched his cheek. “What’s the difference between going three hundred kilometers an hour eight meters above the ground and between trees, and going the same speed three hundred meters over the ocean?”

 

Yeah, what is the different, Kerry?  I would have liked to have gotten to his reasons, but at the time I put the last of those six-words-short-of-five-hundred down in Scrivener, it was eleven-thirty PM–or, as my kids would say, twenty-three thirty–and I was right at the point of nodding out at the computer.  Because I’m crazy and I’m really pushing myself to get things done.

Tonight should be better, with “should” being the operative word.  Next week, though–oh, boy.  I’ll be in Chicken With Head Cut Off Mode.  But I’ll get through.

"I've written a little bit here, so . . . just a quick nap and I'm ready to go again.  I think.  Zzzzzzz."

“As soon as I get this last–bit–out.  About the . . . zombies . . . zzzzzzz”

The Night Air: Time For Us to Fly

It is true:  another scene bites the dust.  The kids are finished at Fenway (hey, good title for a story), and are finally on their way back home.

I never lie about these things.

I never lie about these things.

Well, they’re not exactly on their way home at first.  I mean, whenever Kerry says something that start tingling those Annie Senses, you know she’s going to give it some thought before moving on.  And that’s exactly what happens here.  Annie’s gotta think about things between kissing–

 

All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

The seconds of silence became a minute, and that minute stretched into several. Kerry remained silent, content to kiss and hold his sweetie close. Annie did the same with her darling, though her imagination was racing. It was impossible for her not to wonder if Kerry’s last comments were due to the lyrics of the song, or if it was due to some yet unseen—

He went through this last year: he was able to put together that we’d known each other in our dreams, but only as those memories trickled out. There was much about this series of dreams they didn’t know, and this mystery girl was the most puzzling matter of all. Could it be he remembers more about these dreams that he lets on, but like last year they’re only fragments that he’s unable to form completely? She met his gazed and returned his smile. Does he fear something is going to happen? Or, perhaps— Annie kissed him lightly on the lips. Does he know something is going to happen?

There wasn’t any time left for her to consider answers because someone choose that moment to rudely interrupt their moment alone . . . “Salem Night Solo, this is Flight Deck. Come in please. Over.”

 

Damn you, Vicky, the kids are doing what they can to warm up, and here you’re trying to get them to do stuff like, you know, this mission.  But if there’s one thing these kids do more of besides kissing, it’s staying on mission–

 

Annie chuckled softly before replying. “Flight Deck, this is Salem Night Solo. We’re here. Over.”

Vicky chuckled. “Good to know, Night Solo, though it’s not like we expected you to go anywhere. Are you ready to continue? Over.”

Kerry said nothing, but his nod was the only answer he needed. Annie chuckled back. “We’re both eager to get back and get warm. Over.”

“You’re gonna get your chance right now. Here are your instructions: from where you are now rise to two hundred meters and proceed to the next four targets on your list. Get evidence you were there, and make your best possible time on your return.” Vicky paused so Annie could assimilate the information. “When you reach Marblehead call in and let us know if you’re coming straight across the sound, or if you’re going to follow the shoreline. Got that? Over.”

Annie repeated the instructions to show she was listening. “Right now I feel like I want to come straight across the sound to Manchester because it’s only going to be about ten minutes flying, and that puts us ten minutes closer to warm drinks and blankets. Over.”

“Well, when you reach those points, get your pictures and let us know you’re on your way across. We’ll pick you up and bring you in once you’re on our side of the water. Over.”

“That sounds good.” Annie nodded as she floated slowly away from Kerry. “When do you want us to start? Over.”

“At your discretion, but as you said, you’re eager to get back, and the sooner you start, the sooner you get here.” Vicky allowed a few seconds of silence to pass before finishing. “Radio in when you’re starting. We’ll be here waiting. Over and out.”

 

So here’s what we have:  the kids need to go on to their next stations, and there are three coming up.  Those are here:

Time to get from Downtown to Wonderland.

Time to get from Downtown to Wonderland.

Marblehead is well beyond the Wonderland station, so it doesn’t show here, but once they reach the station, it’s land under and to the left, and ocean to the right.  And all the while the lights will begin getting dimmer as they leave Boston behind.  And, really, the kids are ready to come in and get out of the cold . . .

 

Kerry flipped up his hood. “Time for us to fly.”

“Yes, it is.” She flipped up her hood and pulled her balaclava back over her face before adjusting her goggles into place. “Much as I like being out here together, I want to get out of this cold.”

“Can’t blame you there.” Kerry adjusted his goggles after getting his balaclava in place. “Ready here.”

“I am, too.” She floated about two meters in front of Kerry’s broom. “What is it you say? ‘Come with me, Pam’?”

Kerry adjusted an imaginary bow tie and spoke with a slight English accent. “’Come along, Pond’.” He laughed. “I gotta teach you everything.”

“We have time before school is over.” She waved for him to follow as she rose into the night sky. “Do you have something we can play as we leave this place?”

“Got something in mind.” He punched up something on his tablet as soon as they were at their designated altitude. “Whenever you’re ready, Sweetie.”

Annie tapped the side of her helmet. “Flight Deck, this is Salem Night Solo. We’re about to leave. Over.”

Vicky was back in an instant. “Roger, Night Solo. We got you in the tank. See you at Marblehead. Over.”

“We’ll call in then. Over and out.” She moved alongside Kerry. “And what do we have for traveling music, my love?”

Kerry pressed the screen and a flurry of guitars filled the air. “Don’t Look Back, by Boston—who were from Boston.” He leaned forward over the broom. “Seems appropriate, I think.”

“It does.” Annie pointed out off in the direction of Boston North Station. “Let’s move forward, shall we?”

Kerry nodded. “We shall.”

 

Kerry’s spoiling Annie with this traveling music thing, don’t you think?  Kerry decides to get meta picking Don’t Look Back by Boston, and it would have only gotten more meta if the song had been on Boston’s first album, which was titled Boston.  As it was this song comes from the second album, Don’t Look Back, so it’s meta in its own way.

One more scene and the kids are back on the reservation; two and they’re gonna be getting those warm drinks and warm blankets–

And as was pointed out, they’ll likely have some warming of their own as well.

The Night Air: Fenway Fraternization

Mornings with good coffee seem to do the trick for me, because today I’ve had good coffee, a good muffin, and good music, and in two hours time I’ve written almost twelve hundred words even with breaks for conversation and research.  And with the three hundred words I wrote last last night, there almost fourteen hundred and fifty words to post today.  That’s a whole lotta writing, let me tell you.

The flight moves on, and by now my kids are well down into the city of Boston–or Bastaan, if you prefer.  This scene leads off with a bit of recollecting as my Solo Flier and her Chase arrive at the next stop of their whirlwind tour of the Night Skies of New England . . .

 

All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

The universities were behind them. They flew past Tuffs University on their way from the Salem Street Interchange to Porter Square Shopping Center. They flew over the Harvard Law Library and the Cambridge Public Library. They stopped and admired the Barker Engineering Library at MIT despite the creeping cold. They follow the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge over Charles River and then make their way the few blocks to the I-90 Massachusetts Turnpike.

Her Annie floated next to Kerry as she stared into a large encircled space filled with darkness. According to her flight computer this was her next objective. “Flight Deck, this is Salem Night Solo.” She didn’t bother telling Vicky who she was: it was obvious who was speaking. “We’re outside Fenway Park. Over.”

“Roger, Salem Night Solo. We see you in position.” Vicky’s voice was as it’d been throughout the night: calm and cool. “Proceed to the interior of the park. You can descend once inside, but do not get any closer than ten meters to the field surface. Over.”

“Roger, Flight Deck. Heading inside now. Over.” She turned to the chase pilot on her right. “Are your ready?”

“Always.” Kerry motioned to the park ahead and below. “Lead on.”

 

At the start of the scene Annie and Kerry have covered the following ground since the last scene:

Leg Number Three: schools for rich kids and points south.

Leg Number Three: schools for rich kids and points south.

And when Annie radios in, they are pretty much, well . . . here.

Out over the ribbon of highway on the right looking at the big open space on the left.

Out over the ribbon of highway on the right looking at the big open space on the left.  Without any of the people in that space, naturally.

Now that they are here, time for pictures and what not, right?

 

Annie nodded, then began moving slowly and cautiously toward the park ahead. As they were at an altitude of two hundred meters, they were dropping towards the field almost as quickly as they were approaching the structure. Given that they were only a few hundred meters away, they were over the outer walls and moving into the park proper after only twenty seconds. After passing over a large wall and bleachers she stopped about twenty-five meters above a large grassy area. “Flight Deck, this is Salem Night Solo.” She looked about the structure, slowly spinning in place. “We’re inside. Over.”

“Roger, Night Solo.” Vicky’s tone soften and even grew a bit quiet as if she were speaking to them privately and in person. “Isis and I are gonna get coffee and relax a bit, so you may as well rest, too. Stay inside your current location, but as stated don’t get any closer to the ground than ten meters. We’re gonna turn the comms off, too, so hang tight and enjoy the me time.” The flight instructor chuckled. “Catch you in twenty. Over and out.”

The constant white noise that always seemed to be in her ears vanished, and Annie understood that Kerry and she were truly alone since leaving the school—or as alone as any two people can be while surrounded by a million people. “Well, then.” She glanced over to Kerry. “Fancy anywhere in particular?”

Kerry pointed straight ahead. “How about there by home plate?” He indicated the stands to their right. “The wind’s out of the northwest, and if we get down to ten, eleven meters, they should block most of it.” He turned to Annie. “At least we won’t have to deal with wind chill that way.”

“I like that. Get us into position.” She followed Kerry until they were nearly out of the field area entirely, almost over the seating but not quite. They both spun around so the stands were behind them and to each side, while they faced the expansive open space. Now that they were at rest Annie could better see the large, dark, quiet area. “What is this place? It’s obviously a stadium, but it’s far too small for football.”

 

“Isis and I are gonna get coffee and relax a bit–”  Sure you are.  The instructors at Salem are such horrible bullshitters, am I right?  It’s not like they can’t get as much coffee as they like when their waiting for the kids to get from one destination to another, and they certainly wouldn’t need to shut off the comms while drink:  that’s what the mute button’s for.  No, this is just ploy by the Vicky and Isis to allow the kids a few moments alone, floating around in the darkness while out on their own.  Plus, they’ve heard enough lovey dovey crap, so it’s not as if they need to hear more.

Before that happens, though, Annie’s about to get a mini-lesson in American sporting venues.  She’s seeing something that she’s likely never seen before in her whole life . . .

 

“Fenway Park is a baseball stadium.” Kerry slipped over until he was only a half a meter away from his floating Annie. “I don’t know much about baseball, but I know a bit about this place ‘cause it’s really famous.”

“Like?”

“I know it turned a hundred years old last year; there’s like one other baseball park in the country that’s that old. There’s a few others that were built in like the 1960s and 70s, and then all the other parks are like twenty years old or less.” He pointed to his left at the large green wall at the far end of the field. “That’s called the Green Monster. I think it’s twelve meters high.” He chuckled. “Which is why we can’t see over it.”

Annie curled her legs just a little under her. “It’s so quaint.”

“They always used to build these inside city neighborhoods, so if you wanted to see a game you just walked or took a cab or train. I think a few are still like that; I flew over one in New York when I went to the World’s Fair site, and it was sorta in a neighborhood.” He stretched his legs as he leaned back a little. “That’s about all my baseball knowledge.”

Annie pulled her balaclava down exposing her face. “Don’t forget to get a picture.”

 

And it turns out Kerry doesn’t know much about the place, either; it would appear he’s not much on baseball.  He is right, however:  the year before the park did turn 100, and he’s pretty much correct about the other ball parks around the country–that’s some of what I was researching.  He’s also correct about the Green Monster, which is thirty-seven feet two inches high, or 11.33 meters.  As they are hovering at ten meters, that does put them below the top of the tallest wall in any US baseball stadium.

So here they are, inside a totally dark and silent edifice–

Lights are off and the Green Monster to the right is quiet.

Lights are off and the Green Monster to the right is quiet.

And they are out of the wind and sorta cozy.

They're sort of floating over that big green circle on the left side of picture, just about even with that first overhang section.

They’re sort of floating over that big green circle to the left of center, just about even with that first overhang section with the dark seats.  Hi, kids!

Now that I got them all situated and the comms are quiet, they can finally start talking.

 

“Right.” Kerry snapped a photo with his tablet and set it back into position on his broom. “You cold?”

“Just a little.” Annie wrapped her hands around her torso. “But we’re out of the wind. It’s not that bad.”

Kerry exposed his face as well. “We could always set a fire and warm up. It won’t take much to set it floating.”

“I’m afraid we if did someone would see the glow and report a fire.” She shook her head. “I’m fine, my love. Besides, it’s not as if we didn’t know it was going to be cold. It was cold during our last solo flight.” She waved her hands at the structure around them. “And that time we didn’t have an old stadium in which to rest.”

“True that, my Darling.” He lightly tapped the top edge of his tablet. “What about music? There aren’t a lot of people walking by tonight, and even if they hear it, they’ll think it’s coming from somewhere else.”

Annie began beaming. “That would be great, my love.”

Within a few seconds music began playing, only unlike the upbeat tunes Kerry played while they were airborne, this one had a slower tempo and was much more melancholy. “What’s song is this?”

Drive, by The Cars. They were from Boston—” He rested his hands in his lap as he leaned forward. “Kinda seems appropriate now, given our location.”

“Um. I see your point.” Annie brushed Kerry’s arm. “Let’s not have the songs get too depressing, though.”

He laughed. “As you wish.” The moment the song ended he tapped up another, one that started with a solo piano into before launching into a far happier tempo. “Year of the Cat should be better.”

Annie nodded her approval after a few seconds. “Yes, I like this one much better.”

“Anything to keep my little soloist happy.” He stared straight ahead for several moment, seeming lost in thought. “I spoke with Helena last Friday while Isis and you got ready for this flight.”

 

First off, Kerry’s got the tunes rolling once more, and you can almost imagine them echoing about the confines of the park.  They are right:  the bright glow of a warming fire might get noticed and cause someone too call the fire department, which would be awkward to say the least.  First you get the depressing tune–and trust me, even though I love this song it is depressing.

And once it’s over he pulls up something a little more upbeat, because the last thing he wants to do is bring Annie down.

Once he gets that song going, Kerry fesses up that he spoke with Helena.  Because he did tell Annie, you know that this means she wants to know what was said–

 

“Really?” Annie didn’t appear surprised. “What did you discuss?”

“Oh, life and death. You know—” His chuckle came off with just a hint of darkness. “The usual for us Guardian types.” He sighed softly. “I asked her about the comment she made when we first tried puppeteering, about how dying was easy, and what she meant. She told me about the times she died, about the Astral Realm, about the Curtain and the Veil—” He turned slowly to his soul mate. “About the Void and the Multiverses and reincarnating. All that stuff.”

Annie floated around so she was now facing Kerry. “What do you think?”

“About all that stuff?”

“Yes, my love.”

Kerry shrugged. “It’s nice to know what’s really going to happen to us after we die. The way Helena talked it seems like people have done some exploring—”

“They have. It’s my understanding that witches have explored the Astral Realm and the Void for long before The Foundation became involved in magic.” Annie’s face softened. “My mother told me about this years ago; she felt it was something I needed to know.”

“That was good of her.” Kerry stared off into the darkness to his right. “Helena told you on Tuesday night, didn’t she?”

Annie slid closer. “You know she did.”

“Yeah.” He turned back with a smile upon his face. “It’s to be expected. I mean, I know in the future there are gonna be Guardian secrets we gotta keep from each other, but stuff like this—” He shook his head. “We need to know.”

“Yes, we do. And I knew it was only a matter of time before you told me.” She paused for only a moment before saying more. “You told her there were strange things going on in your life.”

He nodded slowly. “I did, Sweetie.”

“The dreams?”

“Yeah.”

“Have they come back?”

 

Kerry’s no dummy:  he knows that Helena told Annie the first time they were alone.  He knows there are some secrets they’ll have to keep, but there are others that it’s necessary to know.  If he’d gone to Helena and said something like, “I’m not sure I’m cut out for the Guardian stuff,” you damn well know the Dark Mistress of All would tell a certain soul mate all about that conversation.  And Kerry knows she’d tell.  Though the chances are good that Kerry would speak to Annie about something like that before going to Helena, but you never know.  Either way, Annie would hear, and she’d have a conversation with a certain Ginger Hair Boy about that.

But what’s this about the dreams?  Are they back?  Are they?  Ha ha!  I’m not telling, not yet.

Actually I can’t tell you until I write that part.  Which I’m going to do.  Probably tonight.  After doing my nails.

Just wait for it.  My kids won’t disappoint.

The Special Allowances

I have this strange, sinking suspicion that I’m going to need to run out and buy a new lamp tonight, because this morning my bulb blew out and now my three-way lamp is acting like a one-way, which is never a good thing.  Sure, why not finish out the new year having to stumble around trying to find stuff in the dark?  It’s not like this place is that big that I can’t find what I’m looking for in the pitch blackness of night.

But night is where we are at right now, and speaking of that, you saw a few hundred words of lead-in of something, and I think we all have some knowledge of the approaching event . . .

 

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

Annie had known about the upcoming flight for two weeks, and her discussions the Friday before with Isis was to go over the specifics for this flight. Normally Annie would have made another, longer solo flight in broad daylight before doing a night solo flight, but both Vicky and Isis felt that given how well she did on her first flight, and how well she did when she flew with Isis, that Annie should skip the second day flight and move directly to the night flight.

In the end Isis left the decision to move ahead to the night solo flight to Annie. She immediately chose to proceed directly to the night flight as she felt she there wasn’t much of a challenge in another day flight. Annie felt that if she were as good as Isis indicated, then it was time to ignore the current learning scale and move up one more level . . .

Vicky and Isis finally entered the Ready Room, closing and locking the main door behind them, as well as making certain the locker room doors were sealed as well. She’d already made Kerry aware that this meeting was considered immensely private, and she had warned him the weekend before that they were not to discuss the matter with other students at all. As Isis told Annie, if anyone asked about her next solo flight, all either of them were to say was upcoming.

The women made their way to the front of the room, and while Isis took her place next to the center podium, Vicky turned the lighting down by half and activated the holographic map. Only once everything to was to her liking did she take the podium and address the other girl in the room. “How you feeling, Annie?”

“I feel good, Vicky.” She ran her the fingers of her left hand lightly over the fur collar of her coat’s hood. “I’m eager to start.”

 

Whenever you ask Annie if she wants to try something that she’s not perhaps ready to do, you may as well throw a whole lotta meat into the bear pit and ask them not to eat.  Annie’s natural state f learning is to push things right to the wall, and since she’s done nothing but that since coming into Salem, it only makes sense that if you want to move her on to a more difficult event, she’s gonna run at that with extreme passion.

It seems, however, like there’s something big going on, and Vicky gets to that part right away:

 

“I’ll bet you are.” Vicky was smiling as she turned to Isis. “We’ll see if your enthusiasm remains high after you hear what awaits you outside the walls tonight.

“First off, allow me to address the need for secrecy on this flight. Tonight it’s going going to be you two—” She pointed at both students. “—and that makes you the first B Levels to go outside the school walls unescorted at night since 1973. Annie, we trust you will do what’s expected of you tonight, and with Kerry now approved for solo night flights, we saw no reason to have either Isis or myself tag along. You guys will do fine on your own.

“However, while the headmistress is aware you’ll be out on your own, she was a bit apprehensive that if others knew about tonight’s flight, they might—” Vicky hesitated, as if she were unsure of her next words.

Kerry found them for her. “She’s afraid the other students are gonna say you’re playing favorites with us again.”

Vicky nodded. “Pretty much. I know you’ve had some issues doing minion duty in other classes, and I wanted to avoid more of that.”

“I’m not worried about the jealousy of other students—” Annie didn’t bother blocking the contempt from her tone. “—but I can see why you wouldn’t want us to talk about this. Some would think we were bragging about the test.”

“Exactly.” Vicky smiled as she relaxed. “I knew you’d understand.” She looked to Isis for a second, then turned back to Annie. “Ready to begin?”

Annie made herself comfortable. “I am.” She knew Kerry wouldn’t answer: as with the last solo preflight briefing sat quietly, prepared to speak only if he was spoken to directly.

“Let’s get started then.” Vicky half-turned and moved the holographic map between Isis and her. As she turned away from the display well over a dozen and a half points appeared over the area between the school and the city of Boston. “There’s a lot to cover this evening, both figuratively and literally.

 

Right away the kids learn they’re being treated . . . differently again.  No B Levels outside the walls at night, unescorted, since 1973?  That’s like, um, forty years!  And these two are being let outside the walls because they can be trusted–I mean, it’s not like they don’t have hiding places on school property, so why worry about them being alone beyond the walls?

So flying out of the school and down to Boston–

Just like this, only no plane wing and probably no bird, either.

Just like this, only no plane wing.

The list of points was published yesterday, along with the map.  Now all Vicky and Isis have to do is tie the two together and tell the kids . . .