Disquietude Park

As I was told this morning, I seemed to have left everything on a cliffhanger–and I’ve been trying to get off that cliff ever since.  By that I mean I’ve written almost two thousand words since last night and early this morning, and I’ve still got a ways to go.  But I’m getting there.

As you know everyone’s in the park across the street from the Crown Center–which, I found out this morning, is also the location of the world-wide headquarters for Hallmark Cards, so watch out, people, otherwise Annie and Kerry might just go and try to alter the history of greeting cards.  Or maybe that’s run by The Foundation, too.  One can never tell.

I should point out that the events in the park are happening at the same time Helena’s tossing Kaden’s house, so while Annie and Kerry are doing a magic show for Tanith, Helena’s figuring out how to time jaunt around so she can entered the house, look around–and find something in the closet that makes her call an end to the operation.

With that in mind . . .

 

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

“Home.” Tanith stared at the ground as her voice took on a dreamy quality. “I like the sound of that. But talking to my dad . . .” She shook her head. “Oh, man, he’s gonna flip on this.”

Annie had figured that Tanith’s father would be the most difficult part of this trip, but he wasn’t her concern. “That’s where the adults come in. They’ll work with him as we worked with you.”

She looked up and frowned. “He’s never talked about any of this, so I don’t know how he’d want to talk about it with anyone now.”

Kerry shrugged. “We won’t have anything to do with that. They’ll probably send us off elsewhere while the adults talk.”

That interested the girl. “Where would we go?”

“It’s hard to say.” There had been discussion about this, but Annie didn’t want to discuss the locations mention. Depending on the time of day, it was thought they might go to Paris or London, maybe to New York or Chicago . . . Annie believed the most likely destination would be San Francisco, where the Guardians could keep an eye on them while they are out and about the city. “I’m certain it wouldn’t be Kansas—”

Erywin’s voice rang clear through the buds Annie and Kerry wore and straight into their minds. Children, supper’s ready.

Annie glanced and Kerry, who was glancing back. Tanith noticed this and didn’t like what she saw. “What’s wrong?”

“Something—” Annie watched Kerry out of the corner of her eyes. You call Erywin?

He nodded. Doing it now. Kerry looked around—the same as Annie—watching to see if anyone was looking in their direction. Mom, you there?

 

“Hey, Mom:  what’s up?”  If you haven’t figured it out, “Supper’s ready” isn’t just the title of a twenty-two minute song, it’s also the code phrase to indicate things have gone sideways and it’s time to shut this party down.  So Kerry gives her directions to where they are located in the park, and Erywin comes to visit . . .

 

She did as she was told and found the children fading into view. “Hello, there.”

“Hi.” Kerry gave Erywin a hug, followed by Annie doing the same. “Glad to see you, Mom.”

Annie had already given her greeting; she wanted to know things. “Why did you give the abort code?”

“Because the plug’s been pulled; we’ve moving out.” She finally acknowledged Tanith. “Hello there, young lady. Hope these days have been taking good care of you.”

“They have.” Tanith smiled at Erywin. “Are you a witch, too?”

“I’m the witchiest witch, my dear.” She lifted her teleport device from one of her jacket pockets. “Are we ready?”

Are you making a call?” Tanith pointed at the device in Erywin’s hand.

“No, Tanith. This is going to teleport us all out of here; we have another location where we’re supposed to go in the instance we need to abort this operation.”

Annie took Tanith’s hand. “We’ve done this plenty of times; it won’t bother you.”

“No, not at all.” Erywin finished punching in the coordinates of their arrive point. “Let’s link hands.” She held out her left hand, which Kerry took. He held out his left for Annie, who slid in her right while holding onto the Tanith’s with her left. “Ready?” All three children nodded. “Good then . . .” She tapped the activation icon on the display.

Nothing happened.

“What the hell?” Erywin rechecked the coordinates and confirmed they were right.

Kerry was trying to see what was on the teleport display. “What is it?”

“Enchantment didn’t engage.” She did a quick aural check. “It isn’t drained . . .” She crafted a quick spell and watched the results pop up on the display. “The hell is this now?”

None of the kids were comfortable with Erywin’s exclamations, but Tanith was the only one who wasn’t aware of the severity behind them. Annie kept her voice low, even though there wasn’t any need. “What’s wrong?”

“We can’t jaunt: there are blocking spells all over the place.” Her eyes slowly scanned the park as she slipped the teleport device back into her jacket. “Son of a bitch: they’re here.”

Annie turned so she was facing away from Erywin. “And they know we’re here, too.”

Tanith was completely confused by now. “They?”

“Deconstructors.” Kerry picked up on the clues being offered and looked off in a direction not being covered by Annie or Erywin. “The bad guys.”

 

Gotta give my kids credit:  the moment things go dark they get ready.  Of course, if they’re invisible, the bad guys are likely invisible, too, but they’re facing out and ready.  In all fairness, though, they did the same thing during the Day of the Dead, with both in separate areas of the school keeping their wits about them.  Okay, so Kerry did get a little panicky after being chased by a monster for ten minutes, but so would you.

Given the situation, they’re pretty quick at coming up with options:  this is what happens when you get trained by The Dark Mistress of All:

 

Annie looked over her shoulder at Kerry. “We should move.”

“I agree.” He tapped Erywin on the arm. “Can we walk out of the park.”

She carefully examined here surroundings. “We can, but I’m worried that once we’re out in the open the people here looking for us will likely sweep in on us and that’s it.”

Tanith didn’t understand the sudden concern. “I don’t get it: why are these people after you?”

“They’re not after us—” Erywin tapped Tanith on the cheek. “They want you. At least we believe you’re why they’re here.” She rubbed her lower left side. “They’d probably stun us all and make off with you.”

“What about you? What will they—?”

Annie didn’t bother with niceties as she cut off Tanith’s question. “They’ll kill us.” She ignored the girl’s gasp as she pointed in the direction of their hotel. “If we get across the street, can we jaunt then?”

“Should be able; it’s getting across the streets here that’s going to be a pain in the arse.” She pointed to the north. “We can’t climb over and drop down to the street below there, so that leaves crossing at Pershing and Grand, or . . .” She nodded towards the southwest corner. “Taking the overhead walkway to the train station, or back to the Crown Center.”

Annie had come to the park using the overhead walkway known as The Link. “Couldn’t the Deconstructors come after us there, too?”

“They could, but if we head for the Crown Center there aren’t any places for them to hide. That’s what I worry about being out on the sidewalk: they could hide and take shots at use from behind trees—”

“Could be the same if we head for the Amtrak station.” He pointed at the section of The Link running parallel to the park.

“Yes. Best bet is to get across to the Center, find a quite spot, and jaunt out. If they want to get us before we get there, they’ll have to come in there and get us” She surveyed the children. “Now that we have plan, we have to get out of here.” She tapped Annie and Kerry on the shoulders; they both half turned towards her. “We’re dropping code names right now; we don’t need anymore confusion that we might already have.”

They both nodded, with Kerry speaking in agreement. “Sounds good to me.”

Annie turned to Tanith. “I’m Annie; he’s Kerry; she’s Erywin. That’s so you’ll know.”

The girl nodded, not sure if she was catching the full gist of what was happening. “I don’t suppose I’ll get a chance to use them, but thanks anyhow.”

 

Leave it to Annie to put the cherry on this crappy sundae:  if The Deconstructors get to us, they’ll kill us.  Of course, what no one is saying is by dropping code names at this point, they’re taking a hell of a risk that Tanith isn’t going to rat them out.  But if Annie was ready to bleed out a girl just because she almost got her boyfriend killed, so I don’t think she’d have much of a problem protecting her cover . . .

There’s a bit of a kink in this plan–but wait!  There’s also a big surprise!

 

Erywin stared off in the direction of The Link entrances on the other side of the park. “We’re gonna have to make our way there with this invisibility up; we have to assume they know you both came in with Tanith, and if they see you three leaving, they’ll likely attack.”

“Can we teleport inside the park?” Annie pointed at a sculpture close to The Link entrances. “It won’t be as far as a wall.”

“Only one thing—” Kerry switched his gaze from person to person. “If we try and enter that invisible, it’s gonna be pretty obvious. And we can’t just drop right in front of the entrance.” He shook his head. “That’s a dead giveaway.”

Erywin was already thinking that they couldn’t make it into The Link without becoming visible for a few seconds. And there aren’t many places where we can do that without being noticed. “Dammit, I didn’t think about that.”

Annie had already made up her mind about what was needed. “Erywin, do you trust us?”

“Of course I trust you.” She eyed Annie closely. “What do you have in mind?”

Annie touched Kerry’s hand. “Give it a try; we have nothing to lose.”

“Yeah.” He stepped in front of Erywin. “Can you bend down here a little, Mom?” He smiled as he used her cover name again.

Erywin was now more curious than worried, and she did as was asked. “What are you trying?”

He changed his hair back to its natural color and placed his hands on either side of Erywin’s head. “Something I’ve been working on . . .” He closed his eyes and concentrated as Annie and Tanith looked on. Nothing happened for almost five seconds, then Erywin’s hair changed to lustrous auburn as it lengthened and curled. After another five seconds her transformation was complete. Kerry dropped his hands and stepped back next to Annie.

Erywin ran her hands through her newly changed locks. “How the—?” She shook her head. “Kerry, you shouldn’t be able to do that.”

“I’ve been working on it for a couple of weeks.” He nodded towards Annie. “It was her idea I give it a try, since I could do simple transformations on myself.”

“He practiced it last night on me.” Annie giggled. “You should see me as a ginger: I can imagine what our kids would look like.”

Erywin also chuckled as Tanith rolled her eyes. “We can talk about that later—”

Kerry got back on message. “Now that we really look like we’re related, you and I can walk to The Link, and Tanith and Annie can follow invisible. Once they’re inside they can turn visible again.”

Erywin nodded slowly. “That might just work.” She pointed at her head. “What about this?”

“It’s good for about twenty, thirty minutes. After that it reverts.”

“Sounds good.” She pulled out her teleport device. “Let’s not waste time—” She punched in the park location they’d decided upon, linked hands when they were ready, and performed the short hop across Washington Square Park.

 

Even in the face of danger, Annie’s talking about kids with Kerry.  Can you imagine that conversation from the night before?  “I’ve never been a ginger before.”  “It looks good on you.”  “It’ll look better on our kids . . .”  Oi.  Notice, though, that he isn’t rolling his eyes.  These kids need to get a room.  Oh, wait . . .

So right now they’re here in the park–

Dialoge

Sculpture to the right, walkway bridge to the left, entrance somewhere straight ahead.  Go for it, Team Salem.

Everyone’s in place and about as ready as they’ll get.  Only a few orders left to give:

 

The moment they were in place everyone looked about to see if they were being observed. When they didn’t noticed anything Erywin prepared them for the minute or so they’d need to walk to their destination. “Kerry, I want you to stay to my right: I’m left handed, and if I have to shoot, I don’t want to risk having you on that side.”

He nodded. “Got it.”

She turned to Annie. “We’ll keep the door open long enough for you both to scurry inside; you can fade back into view as we’re going up the stairs.”

“Okay.”

Kerry slipped off his backpack and handed it to Annie. “If they saw us coming in, they probably noticed this.”

“I’ll give it back when we’re in The Link.” After Annie she noticed the now nervous Tanith. Annie reached down and took her hand. “Don’t worry; this is going to work.”

“You’re damn right it will.” Erywin tapped Kerry. “We need to pull back and fade in—”

“Right.” He blew Annie a kiss. “See you in a bit.”

She blew him a kiss right back. “I’ll be right behind you.”

Erywin and Kerry stepped back until his light bending fiend broke from Annie’s. They both turned around and faded into view as they emerged from around the sculpture and walked at a normal pace towards The Link entrance.

 

The kids got two options:  get so uptight they look like they’re about to lose it, or keep it loose and cover up their nervousness with moments of affection.  They chose the later, though you have to wonder if they had a conversation the night before–when Annie wasn’t going on about how their kids might look–about what could happen to them today.

But they’re almost sorta home–

All I gotta do is get them to safety.

A Walk in the Park: The Magic Show

Happy whatever you are or aren’t celebrating today, for there are so many things that are and aren’t happening that it’s impossible to cover them all.  As I pointed out yesterday, Christmas Eve was once celebrated as Mōdraniht, which was a night when all the women got together and had a nice little fertility celebration for the coming year.  And today was considered part of the Wild Hunt, when Odin and the boys would go out and kill all the draugr that had collected during the year.  Draugr were undead, so yeah, it was a Walking Dead Holiday, and you needed to stay inside least you got mistaken for a Walker–which means Carl would totally have gotten smoked since Lori couldn’t keep him in the house . . .

But it’s April in my story, and in the last two days I’ve written just over two thousand words to finish up this current scene.  Thing didn’t progress as I’d planed, but I expect the next scene to start and finish today, and then . . . well, we’ll see what comes next, right?

As it is my kids are getting things set up for Tanith, and they’re not beating around the bush–but as I was informed yesterday, too, that’s sort of how kids are.  Why beat around the bush when you’re twelve and a witch?  Hop on the broom and zoom . . .

 

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

“Your father went to the same school we attend.” Annie moved a step closer to the girl. “He graduated a while ago and got a job with the people who run our school.” She looked down for a moment. “That’s where he met your mother—where they worked.”

Tanith closed her eyes. “You know about my mother?”

“We know where they met, what your father did, what your mother did—”

“What has he never told me any of this?” She stared at a point between Annie and Kerry near the base of the tree they stood alongside. “Why didn’t he tell me about magic?”

“Probably because of what happened to your mom.” Kerry tilted his head to one said and spoke in a low voice. “After your mom died your dad freaked a little and thought the people who run our school were getting into his life a little too much, so he left Albuquerque and came here.” He sighed. “He probably thought they were gonna start getting into your life, too, which was another reason why he left.”

“Why would he want to get out of Albuquerque, though?” Tanith shook her head. “I loved it there. This place—” She shook her head. “It sucks: I hate it.”

 

Hey, magical girls hate moving, too!  She liked it there in the Fictional Meth Capitol of the United States, and is not cool with Daddy uprooting her to one of the Rib Capitols of the World.  And why was that?

 

“The people who run our school have a large presence in Albuquerque. That was one of the reason your father wanted to move: to get away from them. And like . . .” Annie almost forget to use Kerry’s code name and caught herself at the last moment. “Gavin said, he was probably worried they would start watching you. Maybe he knew what was happening to you.” She watched Tanith closely. “Have strange things been happening around you?”

Tanith nodded slowly. “Yeah.”

“Such as?”

“It’s like . . .” She brought her hands together into a fist and rested them against her chin. “Sometimes I’ll be looking for something and I can’t find it, and it’ll just show up. Usually a top or bra or something like that.”

Kerry chuckled. “I had that happened a couple of times; I’d look for a book and it’d be sitting on my desk.” He looked at Annie. “I didn’t talk about it until after I’d started school and begun using magic.”

“It didn’t matter by that time.” She turned away from Kerry and back to Tanith. “That’s fairly common: it’s called Involuntary Translocation. You’re basically calling something to you, but you have no real skill in crafting the spell, so it just pops in somewhere close. I had the same thing happen to me when I started becoming Aware, but I was like five at the time.”

Five?”

“My mother and father are witches, as are my grandparents.” Annie tried not to sound like she was bragging, but she couldn’t help being proud of her lineage. “We’ve had witches in our family lines going back seven generations.”

“Oh.” Tanith glanced at Kerry. “You, too?”

“No. I come from what you call a Normal background—that’s with a capital ‘N’.” He scratched himself as he smiled. “There was a witch in my family about five generations back, but I’m the first one since then.” He motioned towards Tanith. “You’re more like . . . Nadya: you’re a Legacy.”

 

For the first time we hear that Kerry noticed some strange things happening to him as well, but he’d started doing magic before he ever had a chance to talk about it–or did he?  After all, he spoke to Annie in his dreams, and after she told him she was a witch, you’d think he’d say something like, “You know, there’s some strange stuff happening to me . . .”  But did he?  Hum . . . maybe I know if he did, maybe I don’t.  I’m not saying–least not yet.

But all this talk of Normals and Legacies and levelmates, it brings out things that one shouldn’t be showing . . .

 

Annie shot Kerry a quick glance. “That’s someone who comes from witches—”

Kerry laid his hand against Annie’s arm. “Of which she’s the only one in our level. The rest of the witches are like me.”

“No, they’re not.” Annie reached around and took his hand. “None of them are like you . . .”

They stared at each other for a few seconds and only broke eye contact when Tanith cleared her throat. “Um, are you two like together, or something?”

“Or something.” Kerry dropped his hand from Annie’s arm.

“Um, huh.” Tanith turned to the smiling girl standing next to the smiling boy. “You said I’m becoming like you?”

 

Damn, kids, keep it in the hotel room, will ya?  You’re gonna scare the proto-witch with the long, lingering looks if you keep that up.  I blame the hormones . . .

But what’s the point of coming out here to the park and going all invisible and stuff if you’re not going to do something.  Well, the something is about to go down.

 

“You guys did that floating . . . thing in the mall.” The look in Tanith’s eyes said it all. “Can you show me more?”

“That was the idea.” Annie glanced over to Kerry. “Ready to do what we were talking about?”

“Sure thing.” He went and stood next to Tanith and spoke to her in a low voice. “Watch this.”

Annie stood with here hands at her side and stared straight ahead, right through Tanith and Kerry. Her eyes shifted to Kerry for a moment as the crease of a smile radiated from her face. Centimeter by centimeter Annie rose off the ground, as if she were being lifted into the air by unseen cables. In twenty seconds she was three meters above the ground, floating without a hint of wavering or shaking.

Tanith’s eyes grew wide. “Wow. That’s incredible.”

“That’s Levitation.” Kerry crossed his arms an smiled up at Annie. “She’s really good at doing it to herself. I’m still learning to do it that way, but I can levitate other things—”

“You ready?” Annie folded her hands in front of herself as if she was still sanding on solid ground.

“Sure thing.” He leaned over and whispered to Tanith. “Don’t get too freaked out.”

“At?” Tanith began waving her arms about. “Whaaaa—”

He took her left hand and held on. “Relax: she knows what she’s doing.” He looked down and saw Tanith and he were already a good fifteen centimeters off the ground and rising slowly. They’d planed for Annie to do this to them both due to her skill. In about thirty seconds they were both almost eye level to her. “And here we are.”

“Who’s doing this?” Tanith looked around, her worry replaced with wonder.

“I am.” Annie still appeared as relax as if she were discussing the weather. “I levitated myself and then lifted you both.”

“Don’t you need like a wand, or something?” Tanith looked down and moved her feet back and forth.

“Naw, that’s just for fictional witches.” All three children dropped slowly towards the ground as Kerry explained magic to Tanith. “It’s all about visualizing the effect, then powering the spell, then crafting it all with your willpower. It’s the middle part that makes your aura glow—”

“Because you’re constantly drawing upon that mystical energy—” Annie set them down as gently as if they were stepping off a curb. “Even when you’re not casting.”

 

Now you know why the aura is always glowing with these witches:  mystical energy is in their bodies at all time.  We also see just how good Annie’s gotten since that first Wednesday in October, when she was on the verge of despair because she couldn’t levitate a small plush; now she’s levitating herself and her boyfriend and another girl.  And no wands!  That’s really gonna cut down on selling ideas if this story ever becomes a movie . . .

This means that there’s a question to ask Kerry–

 

“Cool.” Tanith poked Kerry. “And what can you do?”

“He’s good with transformation magic.” Annie’s eyes twinkled. “Aren’t you, dear?”

Tanith’s brow furrowed. “Dear?”

Kerry ignored her. “Let me show you what she means . . .” He lightly touched her hand, barely brushing his fingers across her skin. Seconds later Kerry’s hair changed, darkening and becoming as curly as Tanith’s. A moment after that his complexion darkened, becoming a perfect match to hers in under five seconds.

He bent his head to one side and held up his hands in mock jubilation. “Ta da.”

For the first time since they’d gotten together Tanith laughed. “Oh, cool. You could be my brother.”

“Maybe.” His hair changed back to the color Kerry was using and his complexion changed back to his original. “I’ve found I can do this pretty easily; it’s like all I have to do is be around a person, and I can do a small personal transformation.”

“You changed your hair and complexion—” Tanith scoffed. “That’s small?”

“We’ll be able to do full transformations into just about anything in a few years.” Annie patted Kerry on the arm. “Ready for the next?”

 

There’s been hinting that Kerry is extremely good with transformation magic, and the things they both did here in the scene will be mentioned later in the story, because these things Annie and Kerry did here, the things they’re good at–they’re really good at them.

And as Annie indicated, they’re not finished . . .

 

“What’s next?” The smile on Tanith’s face grew wider. “There’s more.”

Annie nodded. “A little sorcery this time—”

“Sorcery? Like black magic?”

“What you might call black magic, yes. It’s mostly magic that can be used against another person either offensively or defensively.” She held up her right hand, keeping it close to her side. In about five seconds a small ball began to form just above the palm of her hand. A few seconds later the bright blue ball was about fifteen centimeters across.

Tanith moved a little closer to examine Annie’s magic. “What’s that?”

“Cold fire. On the surface it’s room temperature—” She ran her fingers over the top, just inside the interface before she reached out and levitated a stick towards her. “But inside . . .” Annie grabbed the stick and thrust it into the center, where about five centimeters of the end burst into flame. “It’s as hot as any natural fire.”

Kerry nodded. “Or a lot hotter.”

Annie blew out the fire on the stick before dropping it to the ground. She flicked her hands to the side, vanquishing the cold fire. “If you know what you’re doing, you can incinerate a body in less than a minute.”

Tanith said nothing, just taking in the information. She looked at Kerry. “Can you do that?”

“I’m working on it, but . . .” He grinned as he raised his left hand. “I’m working on something else.” A bright pin-point of light appeared over Kerry’s upturned palm. It expanded to almost the same size as Annie’s cold fire, with a dull violet color instead of bright blue. “A different kind of ball.”

“Is that—” Tanith leaned closer to it to hear the faint crackle and feel the charge running near her skin. “That’s electricity?”

“Ball lightening.” He flexed his hand and the ball vanished. “Same thing, though, more or less. I’ve been working on that for a few months.”

“He’s become good with the spell, too.” Annie took Kerry’s arm; at this point she didn’t care of Tanith saw them acting this way or not. “Though he’s convinced he can do better.”

Kerry shrugged. “That’s just me.”

“I know.”

Tanith ignored the touchy-feely stuff going on between these two: whatever story they were trying to pull off, “Nadya” and “Gavin” were far more than friends, and it showed before this moment. “Would I be able to learn that if I, you know, went to your school?”

 

And there’s that “touchy-feely” stuff going on again.  Annie doesn’t care:  she can only stay away from her “brother” for so long before she’s gonna hold hands or something.  Since Ms. New Witch noticed this already, no need to hide any more, right?

With the magic show over, it’s time to state why they’re really here . . .

 

Annie shook her head. “We’re more than that. We wanted to tell you that you’re becoming like us—”

Kerry placed his hands in the pockets of his jacket. “Show you that magic exists—”

“And let you know you, too, can learn.” Annie linked her arm through Kerry’s. “We were sent here to bring you in.”

Now Tanith was back to being confused. “Bring me in?”

“Yes. The idea now is to take you somewhere and have you meet with the rest of our group, then visit your father, speak with him, and . . .” Annie glanced at Kerry, who was looking back at Annie. “Convince him that it’s best you embrace your new life.” She smiled softly. “It’s time to bring you home, Tanith.”

 

“It’s time to bring you home . . .”  Salem as home is a point that’s going to pop up time and again in the story of Annie and Kerr, because The Foundation–and Salem in particular–is becoming their home.  The dream space was their first home, and now the school is becoming their next home.  What homes will they have after that?  Stay tuned.

I also did something here I’ve not really done before:  I wrote a small snippet that was so nice that I moved it ahead to another scene.

It's just a few words, but it's a break from habit.

It’s just a few words, but it’s a break from habit.

But the last seen is done.  Now on to the next–

And something else I have to do.

A Walk in the Park: Taking a Stroll

I was hoping to have another full scene written today, hoping to have another twelve or fifteen hundred words in the bank to show, but . . . there are good days, and there are bad days, and yesterday was one of the really horrible days.  It actually started when I was putting together yesterday’s blog post, and didn’t actually end until–well, about the time I went to bed, after I went out to get something to eat and had a couple of good meltdowns, and finally just kicked back in my chair to finish King of Kings, or as critics called it when it came out in 1961, “I Was a Teenage Jesus.”

This means I only managed about eight hundred words, which is below what I’ve normally written at this time.  On the other hand, my work day ends around two or three today, and I’m starting on a four-day weekend, so there’s a good likely hood I may finish this chapter and the next before Monday rolls in next week.  We’ll see.

Where are they now?  We left them in the mall, but we know that’s not where they want to do their thing.  For that, we have to head across the street . . .

 

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

Washington Square Park was pretty much deserted, even at this point close to noon on a Saturday. With the Crown Center to the south, the Amtrak station to the west, and the much large Penn Valley Park to the southwest, there was little need for most people to gather here—

The park was accessible from the Crown Center by an enclosed overhead walkway, which meant Annie and Kerry were able to reach the park about five minutes after leaving her spot on the first floor, and they were able to find a secluded spot a few minutes after that, for the location was full of trees, making it easier to speak without being overheard—which is what they desired.

Annie and Kerry hadn’t seen Erywin follow them to the park, but they knew she’d been close behind them as they crossed Pershing Road, and that she was somewhere nearby monitoring them indirectly. They didn’t tell Tanith they were being watched: as they’d worked out last night, and in the days leading up to this moment, it was thought best that she not see the adults, only the witches her age.

They found a large tree in the middle of the park and decided this spot would be as good a spot to talk as any. Kerry looked around as her removed his backpack and retrieved the tablet. Annie unzipped her jacket and removed her phone; she punched up an app and set it back into her jacket. She turned to Kerry, who was scanning the area. “See anyone?”

“No.” He sipped the tablet back into the pack and set the later against the tree. “We’re running silent?”

“Yes. Now we need to go one better—”

“Right.” Both put their arms to the side and crafted the spell that would allow them to demonstrate their powers without being seen. The saw the slight ripple effect around them move out and join until it vanished about three meters on either side of them. “I think we’re done.”

“We are.”

 

Competent witches, these kids are.  They got this deal locked down and they know how to set up.  By the way, if you want to check out the action:

Here they are, from the air, with the Center at the bottom.

Here they are, from the air, with the Center at the bottom.

And they're somewhere inside there . . .

And they’re somewhere inside there . . .

Just to the right of that tree--no, the other tree.

Just to the right of that tree–no, the other tree.

And there’s a reason you can’t see these kids . . .

 

Tanith was still a little confused by what she’d seen in the mall, and now things were apparently happening around her of which she was unaware. “What did-did you do? What happened?”

Annie checked the bud in here left ear, which she needed to keep in place should Erywin want to contact them. “I set up a field around us that will prevent sound from traveling far, or allow us to be recorded from more than a couple of meters away.”

Kerry unzipped his own jacket. “And we put up a light bending spell so that no one can see us.”

Tanith did a double take. “What do you mean, no one can see us?”

“We’re invisible.” Annie stood next to Tanith and lightly touched her arm. “It’s okay: we do this a lot.”

“Yeah.” Kerry stood just behind Annie. “We did that all day yesterday at your school.”

You were at my school?”

“All day.”

Annie gave the girl a comforting smile. “I followed you into the bathroom just before your first class after lunch.”

The girl tried to remember the events of yesterday. “I don’t remember that.”

“You wouldn’t; I wasn’t quite invisible, but I wasn’t making myself noticed.” She grinned. “We followed you on the bus as well, and into the mall.”

“That’s where we got the recording of your aura—and we saw you with Ruth.” Kerry neglected to mention the brightness of that aura: they’d decided to keep that information to themselves for now. “Where do you know her from?”

 

Pick up the kid, do a little magic in front of her, throw up a little invisibility shielding, and then tell her you were stalking her at school.  Yep, that’s the way you do it.  And make sure you sound normal as hell when you’re saying this stuff.  It also makes you wonder how Annie approached her in the bathroom.  Can she turn on her light bending spell just enough that you might think you’d see her, but you’re not sure if you saw someone or not?  Like walking past a ghost?

And the last part of this?

 

“Looked it up.” Annie decided not to talk of that matter further: they had other business. “We need to talk about you, Tanith—”

“First tell me who you are.” She looked them and crossed her arms. “I still don’t know your names.”

Annie stepped back so she was alongside Kerry. “I’m Nadya, and this is Gavin.” As much as they disliked their code names, Helena instructed them to keep up the charade when they were in public. “We attend a special school here in the United States—one that you won’t find on the Internet—”

“Or on Google Maps, either.” Kerry chuckled. “Trust me; I found that out before getting there.”

Tanith didn’t know what to ask, so she went with the most obvious question. “What do you study?”

Annie got right to the point. “We study magic; we’re witches.”

Kerry threw in one last point. “Just like you dad.”

 

And that’s how they left it off:  gave their fake names, then laid the “W” Word on her, and Kerry ended it with there, “Oh, and your dad’s like us” line.  The important stuff is coming, and now I want to finish this scene this afternoon, and then get into the next one, because the scene after that–I’ll have all day Christmas to write it, and like I said, I could finish this chapter before the end of the weekend.

Gotta do something to keep the depression away.

The Future in the Mall

And now we start the dance . . .

This is an important chapter, only in that it’s the heart of the operation I’ve been building up to for the last thirty-five thousand or so words.

See the numbers under "Total Word Count"?  Scrivener and I keep track.

See the numbers under “Total Word Count”? Scrivener and I keep track.

Which means about half of everything I’ve written so far for Act Three (which is now just over sixty-five thousand words) has led to this moment–or should I say, series of moments.  Can’t say how much is gonna get written in the next three scenes, but this chapter will probably take the act over seventy thousand words, and I’m more than certain I’ll end this act somewhere between ninety and one hundred thousand words.  Not quite the length of the other two acts, but you’re still getting a novel out of just this part.

What is happening?  Kids Hanging at the Mall, that’s what.  Only a couple of the kids are there not to window shop, but to keep an eye out for someone important . . .

 

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

Kerry stood to the left side of the main mall entrance watching his tablet display carefully. If he read everything correctly, Tanith was off the bus and walking towards the main entrance—she couldn’t be more than fifteen meters away, and closing. He pressed the bud tightly into his right ear and send out his thought to Annie and Erywin. She’s right outside the entrance; should be here in a few seconds.

He heard Annie’s voice in his head. I see her— Kerry looked up and saw Tanith about to step inside. I’m ready.

Same here. He waited for Tanith to walk by before sliding tablet into his backpack and slinging it over his shoulder. He stayed about four meters behind her, keeping his eyes straight and locked on the back of the girl’s head. He knew Annie was waiting not far from where they ate yesterday, and she’d wait until Tanith was sitting before she’d approach. For now, it was Kerry’s job to watch and keep his distance . . .

Not that there was a chance he’d lose her. Nothing was open yet: most of the stores would open at eleven, but a few of the food places would open in about five minutes. Kerry had confirmed those times last night with everyone before Annie sent off the message to Tanish asking her to meet “Ruth” for an early lunch and some shopping. It was agreed that it was a good idea to get her there early so she’d have to wait, making it easier for Annie to approach and start a conversation, and that was the plan they were following this morning.

 

It’s on, as they say.  Tanith is there and the game’s afoot.  Erywin’s also in the mall, but she’d a floor above and using magic to look through the floor at the action below, and waiting for them to come up to the second floor so they can take the walkway across the street to the park where they’ll give Tanith a little demonstration of their powers.  For all intents and purposes the kids are on their own.  All they have to do, as Kerry thinks at one point, is to get to talk to them.

And that’s where Annie swings into action . . .

"X" marks the spot of the action.

“X” marks the spot of the action.

 

He caught Annie looking in his direction; he nodded, then looked towards Tanith. She nodded then stood. Slowly she walked up behind Tanith as Kerry left his spot and moved towards the two girls. He took a seat a couple of tables away as Annie reached their target . . .

“Excuse me.” Annie stepped around to face Tanith while holding up her phone. “Could you tell me the time: I’m not certain my mobile is working right.”

The young girl looked up at Annie with a puzzled look on her face. “What do you mean?”

“I mean, I’m not certain my time is right.” She nodded towards Tanith’s purse. “Could you check yours and tell me the time?”

Kerry saw Tanith nearly roll here eyes. “Your phone’s picking up the signal from the tower; there’s no way you can set it.”

That was Kerry’s cue to step in. “That’s not really true—” He stood alongside Annie but spoke to Tanith. “Maybe the SIM card is locked on the last time zone it was in.” He’d come up with this bit of technobabble because he figured Tanith wouldn’t know enough to realize if he was BSing her or not. He turned to Annie. “Where did you come from?”

“Boston.”

“Well, that could be it . . .” He turned back to Tanith as he sat in the chair across the aisle from here table. “Could you check your phone?” He set his backpack on the floor next to him.

The girl did roll her eyes this time, but reached into her purse to check here display. “It’s ten-thirty.” She held the display out for Annie to examine. “See?”

“Yes, I do.” Annie checked her own display, then pretended to touch the screen. “Thank you.” She turned to Kerry. “And thank you, too.”

Kerry nodded. “No problem.”

Annie didn’t leave, though. She stood staring at Tanith as if she were seeing her for the first time. “You have a lovely aura.”

Tanith looked like she’d been told there was something hanging out of her nose. “What?”

 

And that’s how you start a conversation:  “My phone is jacked, do you have the time?”  Then someone comes over, talks crap, you get the time, and then–“You have a lovely aura.”  And, of course, the person you’re telling this to is going to be very receptive . . .

 

“You have a lovely aura. It’s becoming brilliant . . .” She lowered her voice as if she were telling a secret. “But you feel that, don’t you?”

Tanith sat back and crossed her arms. “You crazy or somethin’?” She shook her head and looked around Annie. “I’m waitin’ on someone, so if you—”

Kerry cut in on the conversation. “We’ve seen it. We saw it yesterday.” He reached inside his backpack and removed his tablet. “We got it right here.”

Tanith scrunched her brow as she turned to Kerry. “You were doing what?”

He ignored her and addressed Annie instead. “You want to show her?”

Annie didn’t take her eyes off Tanith. “Is it clear?”

Kerry looked about one last time, making sure they weren’t being observed. “Yeah, it is.” He levitated the tablet about five centimeters above his right hand. “Like right now.”

Annie nodded and held her left hand close to her body. The tablet quickly floated from Kerry’s hand to hers; the moment she had it she punched up a picture and turned the display so Tanith could see the image there. “This was you, yesterday. That’s your aura. It’s changing: it’s become like ours.” Annie motioned towards the chair on the other side of the table. “May I sit?” She didn’t wait for a yes or no: she pulled the chair out, sat, and set the tablet upon the table. “Thank you.”

 

That’s Annie for you:  she wants to sit, she sits.  And a little “Float the tablet from one person to another” stuff always works wonders, too–you just have to be certain that no one is watching.  Which is why Kerry was looking around first before kicking that off.  He’s even ready to step in and help explain their actions–

 

Tanith started at this strange girl who had just sat across from her. “Who are you?” She looked down at the tablet. “How did you do that?”

Kerry leaned towards the confused girl and remembered back to his first night at Salem. “It’s a kinda magic.” He smiled and winked at her as Coraline had done with him.

“Yes.” It was time to make their pitch, and Annie knew if they couldn’t pull this off in the next five minutes or less, they’d lose Tanith. “It’s just a small example of what we can do.”

“We?” She turned to Kerry. “You did that, too?”

“Just a little.” He nodded towards Annie. “She did the heavy lifting.”

Tanith chewed on her lower lip for a few seconds before speaking to Annie. “What do you want?”

Annie folded her hands over the tablet. “To show you something.”

“Whaddaya want to show me?”

There was a quick glance towards Kerry, then Annie was completely focused on the emerging witch across from her. “Your future . . .”

 

Do you think Annie tried out cryptic lines on Kerry while they were sitting in bed last night listening to pop music?  That would be an interesting scene to write–assuming, of course, they weren’t talking about things like, “Um, you think we’re gonna have to kill anyone tomorrow, Sweetie?”  “Probably–”  (Gives him a kiss)  “See you in the morning!”  (Snuggle snuggle)  Naw, I think even Annie would be a little bothered by the idea she might have to take out a bad guy in the morning–

Just a little, though.

The next scene, though–it’s going to be interesting.

Team Salem on the Job

First off, happy Winter Solstice to you all.  This is the shortest day of the year, and as I told some friends, it’s all uphill from here until June.  So while I would suggest going out and dancing naked around a tree, if you are of a mind, go out and do something to enjoy the day.  Me . . . I’ll probably stay home and write.

And speaking of writing, I finished up a scene I started last night.  I wanted to get that done before writing this post, and when I was done I checked my word count to see what I’d done this early, chilly morning, and discovered . . .

I don't read anything into this, but I do find it funny I've done this three or four other times.

I never read anything into this, but I do find it funny I’ve done this three or four other times.

So there:  finishing scenes and doing research–did I mention the research?

Yeah, that was last night, and one of the reasons I was a little choppy in my writing last night, because–well, you’ll see in a moment.

The actually moves over to the Crown Center mall now, but in order to get there, Annie has to do something she’s never done before . . .

 

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

Annie was glad to be out of the cold, but in doing so she’d stepped into a world that was far different from what she’d experienced before.

For one, she’d ridden a bus for the first time . . .

Their instructions had been to wait for school to get out, then follow Tanith to the Crown Center mall. Her normal routine was take the public buses to the Center, spend a few hours eating and working on homework if necessary, then taking the bus home. Since Tanith would ride the bus, they would have to ride the bus just so they could keep an eye on her.

Annie had never ridden in a bus in her life. She’d taken the subway in a few cities in here lifetime—she’d loved riding those in Paris and Hong Kong—but busses were something completely foreign to her. She had a pass and had been given instruction about how it was used. Still, it was a new Normal thing, and when it came to trying something new that everyone around was comfortable using . . .

There were no problems, however: Kerry went first, which allowed her to watch him closely. He entered and used his pass as if he’d done this forever, and Annie did exactly as Kerry. They took seats tow rows behind Tanith—Kerry let her sit by the window, which she enjoyed—and they were off to the Center.

They were fortunate that the bus route they were on, the 123, went directly from the school to the Crown Center. They didn’t say much during the trip, just kept their eyes on Tanith and tried to appear as if they fit in with the other riders.

 

Annie’s never ridden a bus.  She’s been on subways, and has probably taken cabs and hired cars–read that as limos–now and then, but this is her first time doing the public transportation thing.  It’s not a big deal for Kerry–he’s probably ridden a bus or two–but whole new thing for our Girl From Pamporovo.

And the bus thing is what held me up last night.  See, everyone thinks I’ve got all my research down pat, but not always.  I’d intended for them to take the bus from Tanith’s school to the mall because that’s what she does, but what bus?  So I had to run out to the website that handles the Kansas City bus schedules, and hunt down the one they’d take from the school and that Tanith would take home.  And what I discovered is Route #123:

Get on this bus, kids.

Get on this bus, kids.

But in finding this route, I discovered that it doesn’t run on the weekends, which sort of threw a curve at my story, because something coming up real soon involves Tanith taking the bus to the mall on the weekends, and if the one that runs by her house doesn’t do the Saturday thing, well, then, I had to find a route–or routes–that did.

I know what some of you are saying:  “Just make it up, Cassie!”  And I could, save I’m dealing with the real world here, and sure as the sun comes up tomorrow–unless it goes supernova tonight, which it can’t, so I’m certain it’ll be up tomorrow–someone would read my made up stuff and go, “That’s not right; in Kansas City–”  Yeah, yeah, I know:  that route doesn’t exist.  I’ll probably get a few like that anyway, but who cares?  I’m in the ball park, and that counts more to me.

So they’re at the mall and things are getting set up . . .

 

Tanith made their operation easy by headed for the Z-teca Restaurant, which offered quick Mexican food, mostly burritos, but tacos and salads were also available. The nicest feature for the place was the majority of the seating was outside the store in the mall concourse. Neither of them wanted too eat much as they were going to dinner after Tanish was back home, so Kerry ordered a couple of tacos for himself, and a salad for Annie, while Annie found a seat where they could watch the concourse and their target.

The phone Annie carried was enchanted so that she could eavesdrop on a person from any distance as long as they were in light of sight. Helena had told them they didn’t expect Tanith to have much to say, but she might receive a call. Annie could also pick up any text message the girl received or sent, as the enchantment could protect on to Annie’s phone whatever Tanith saw on hers.

Kerry’s tablet would allow him to work on Tanith’s aura; he needed nearly twenty seconds with the individual in the tablet camera foci to get an interactive view of their aura. They couldn’t do it while they were invisible, and there were only a few times at school where they could have had a clear view of here as it was. This would be their first chance to get her in the clear, while they were visible, today.

 

Equipment is at the ready, the kids are all set to go.  What happens next?

 

He returned to their table about a minute after Tanith sat at her table and began picking at her quesadilla. “Here ya go, Sis.” He set the salad in front of Annie, giving a wink only she could see.

“Blagodarya vi, moya lyubov.” She figured no one in the mall would know she was saying “Thank you, my love” since she didn’t expect anyone else to understand Bulgarian. She slipped in an earbud as Kerry took his seat across from her so they could mentally speak in private. Did she check her phone when she was ordering?

He almost shook his head out of habit. No. She ordered her food and headed out here. I was right behind her the whole time. He nodded towards the girl sitting a few tables away. She’s checking it now.

Great. Annie held up her phone as if she were trying to get a signal and turned towards Tanith. She was half-turned towards her when Annie launched the enchantment and received a shiver in her right arm as way of letting her know it had taken. Done. Now we can catch her conversations.

Let’s just hope she says something interesting. He reached into his backpack—which he’d brought with him from Salem—and removed the tablet that had been on standby since they’d boarded the bus. No time like now to give her an aura check.

I agree.

 

So the spying begins.  All pretty simple at this point, but do they find anything?

 

Kerry lifted the tablet and pointed it at Annie. “Here, let me get your good side.” He positioned himself so that Tanith was behind Annie and he had a clear line of sight on her. He activated the enchantment and then pretended to so something else on the display. “Just a minute; the app is being difficult.”

“Okay.” Annie knew there wasn’t anything wrong with the app, and that Kerry was simply stalling so he could give the enchantment time to work.

A few seconds later he set the tablet on the table and removed the kickstand from his backpack. I should have done this . . . He attached it to the back of the tablet and kept it turned towards Tanith. He waved Annie over. “Here you go; take a look.”

Annie scooted around the table so she was on Kerry’s left. She scanned the display. “Looks good.” She offered another opinion to him silently. You’re going to scan her constantly?

I don’t see why not; this way we can get the best reading yet. He pointed at the display. Is that reading right, you think?

I think it’s reading perfectly. Tanith’s area, seen in real time, was a yellow wavering back and forth before Normal dullness and Awareness bright. She’s on the cusp; she’s becoming Aware.

 

There you have it:  All in All, Just Another Witch in the Mall–sorry, I had to do that.  Now that they’re watching her, time to get the other player in on the show . . .

 

Yeah, that’s what it looks like. Kerry tapped his right earbud twice to bring in the other two witches on watch. Yo, Mom.

Erwin’s thought came across loud and clear. Is that a proper way to address your loving mother, young man?

Sorry, I thought you were my real mom for a second. He flashed a smile at Annie then continued. We have a positive aura here.

You’re certain?

Annie chimed in. I’m looking at the display, too . . . Moma Phoebe. She grinned knowing how much Erywin hated her code name. Tanith is definitely on the cusp.

 

You gotta love the banter between everyone, and wonder if Erywin’s gonna get called “Phoebe” now and then back at the school.  Probably not, ’cause that would blow whatever cover they have going back at Salem and make other students wonder why they’re referring to the Magical Formula instructor by the name of a spacey blond from the show Friends.

Now they know this is happening, and everyone wants to talk . . .

 

Helena joined the conversation. How are you observing her?

I’ve got the tablet on a kickstand. Kerry touched the tablet and turned it slightly as another girl about Tanith’s age sat at her table. I’m doing a constant scan.

Annie removed her phone from her jacket. I’m monitoring her conversations, too. We should start getting something because someone just sat with her.

Who?

Girl about her age. She just sat and . . . Annie caught Kerry’s sharp intake of breath and turned to him. What is it?

He nodded at the display. Look.

Annie did and swallowed hard when she saw what he’d seen. Mom?

Helena’s tone of concern carried through her thoughts. What?

We have something here we weren’t expecting . . .

 

What?  Not expecting what?  Lizard people?  A transdimensional portal?  A thirty percent off sale at Forever 21?

You guys can make your own guesses . . . and I’m certain you will.

For Whom the Foundation Watches

Before we get too far into this thing, this is my NaNo this morning:

And not a turkey in sight.

And not a turkey in sight.

According to my measured count, I have one thousand, three hundred, and thirteen words to go until I hit the magical NaNo Fifty.  I’m told I’ll finish tomorrow, but it looks more like I’ll get that out of the way sometime today.  And this means if I get in some writing tomorrow and Saturday, I’ll finish up with around fifty-three to fifty-five hundred words total.

Another NaNo in the books.  And who said I couldn’t do this?  Well, me, for one.

When I left off yesterday I was about cut loose with the secrets about this Guardian field operation.  What is being observed?  And why are a couple of tweens involved?

Your wish is my command . . .

 

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

The sorceress waved her hand once more and the floating display showed a man who could have been aged anywhere from twenty to forty. “Kaden Granstrom. Born February, 1976; attended Salem from fall of ‘87 until early summer 1993. He wasn’t the greatest witch in the world—even though we say we take the best, not everyone is like you two—but he was good with super science, and he had a Gift: he could do logistical planing in his head in a matter of seconds. You could give him an inventory list of goods that needed moving or delivering, and in about ten seconds he’d know the best way to get everything from A to Zed and all points in-between.

“The Foundation moved him into Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque in 1995. While the Sandia Corporation is legitimately owned and run by Lockheed Martin, it’s a major front for The Foundation and a lot of super science projects are conducted in some of the more secure areas of the complex. Kaden was a natural to work there, giving special consideration to our products and ensuring they made it to the right places on time.

“In April 1997 Kaden married Phaedre Balli—” The image of a young black woman replaced his. “She also worked in the lab, but she was a Normal and had no idea about what Kaden was and who he really worked for. She never knew his real work—because of his position he could claim extreme security prevented him from talking about it—nor did she discover that he was a witch.

“Then this little bundle of joy came along . . .” The display popped up showing Phaedre holding a baby while Kaden stood to her side. “Tanith, their daughter. Now that the happy couple had a possible witch-to-be The Foundation started watching them a little closer, only because that’s what The Foundation does when children are born to any of the Aware.”

 

Sneaking and peeping on a married couple and their probably not so baby girl these days?  Wait, that’s not all–

 

Before Kerry could express surprise at this news, Annie touched his hand to get his attention. “They’ve done that with everyone in my family, even me. Just after my sixth birthday my mother told me I was a witch and showed me how magic worked, and it was only three months later that I had my first visit from Foundation people.”

Kerry looked down for just a second. “You’re okay with that?”

She shrugged. “It’s not about being okay; it them knowing that you’re developing properly. And I was only visited every couple of years.” Annie patted his hand. “Don’t worry; you’ll see how it works when we have children.”

Annie moved the conversation forward, not giving the somewhat-surprised Kerry a chance to respond. “You were saying, Helena?”

 

Zing, Annie!  Just what you want to hear your twelve year old girlfriend to say:  “Just wait under after I drop a baby out of my girly parts, you’ll see how this works.”  And now Kerry’s gonna have to deal with the “Was she kidding or serious?” mind messing that comes with a statement like that.  He can handle it, I’m sure.  Probably.

As they say, there’s more:

 

The sorceress couldn’t help but smile at the way Annie told Kerry what he needed to know, and then set him up. “The Foundation kept an eye on Tanith, but didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary about her. By the time she was six there wasn’t any indication that she might slowly becoming Aware, which didn’t mean anything: late Awareness happens in children. However, not long after her seventh birthday everything turned upside down.”

Annie lightly tapped her leg. “What happened?”

“Phaedre was returning to Albuquerque from Socorro when her car left I-25 at high speed and rolled over several times. The local medical examiner determined she was killed instantly, and our own people confirmed that. The Foundation also performed an investigation on the accident to make certain there wasn’t any foul play, and confirmed that the right front tire blew out, causing her to loose control of the vehicle.” Helena shook her head. “Nothing out of the ordinary, just a simple yet fatal, accident.”

She waved the display off and sighed. “Kaden didn’t accept those findings, however. By the time of his wife’s death people around him noticed he was becoming a bit disillusioned by the whole Foundation setup, and Phaedre’s death only made him want to get away from them even more—”

“Why?” Kerry couldn’t understand the reaction if all The Foundation did was check up on his daughter once in a while. “Why’d he want to get away?”

“Some people are what we call Sideliners.” Helena came around to the front once and and leaned against the desk. “They aren’t going to go over to the Deconstructor side, but at the same time they want nothing to do with The Foundation. They decide they want to lead the Normal life, and forsake everything.

“That’s what Kaden did. He left his position at Sandia and took a position with a trucking firm in Kansas City—the perfect sort of job for someone with his talent. Tanith began attending school, and is currently enrolled at the Lincoln College Preparatory Middle School. Kaden keeps to himself and hasn’t entered back into the dating pool: Tanith has a few friends and seems normally adjusted—save for one thing.” She pointed at both kids. “And this is where you come in.

 

So not everything is rosy with this fractured family, and not every witch straight outta Salem is happy with their lot in The Foundation life, so they don’t quite go Rouge, they just sit on the sidelines and watch things from as far away as possible–if they watch at all.  And from the looks of things, Kaden isn’t watching–but The Foundation is . . .

 

“Like it or not, even if you leave The Foundation, you’re never actually rid of The Foundation—not unless you leave your old life behind and go underground—”

Erywin crossed her legs trying to get comfortable. “Because today’s Sideliner could become tomorrow’s Deconstructor.”

“Exactly. The Foundation would like to prevent something like that from happening. Also, they wanted to make certain that Tanith wasn’t a late bloomer, that when she hit puberty her Awareness didn’t hit as well. It didn’t then, but . . .” Helena raised her right eyebrow. “There’s indications is it now.”

Annie gripped the arms of her chair and learned forward. “She’s becoming Aware? Now?”

“That’s what The Foundation believes. The thought they picked something up on her a few months back—they manage to get an aura scan on her every three, four months—and while they haven’t picked up anything that would indicate she’s done any actual magic, they think she’s at the cusp and ready to pass over.”

 

So young Tanith is turning out to maybe be a late bloomer.  Is this a problem?  Does The Foundation look bovvered by this?  Turns out, yeah, they are.

 

Being the only one in the room who had been exposed to magic for only a few months, Kerry was a bit confused why there was concern. “Why is this a problem? How old is she?”

“She just turned twelve a week and a half ago.”

“Well, I didn’t start doing magic until I was eleven. It shouldn’t be that big of a deal—”

“Annie . . .” Helena’s soft voice cut Kerry off faster than a quick yell. “I know you know something about this—” The right eyebrow rose once more. “You want to get him up to speed?”

Annie’s gazed shifted to Erywin quickly before she slowly turned towards her soul mate. She’s read the same report as Deanna—Helena probably has as well by now . . . “You knowingly did magic here for the first time, love—” I hope he doesn’t get upset. “But The Foundation was tracking you from about the time you turned six. They knew you were Aware, and that you may have actually performed magic without realizing.”

Kerry stared back at Annie for several seconds. “Really?”

“Yes. San Francisco is the North American headquarters of the Guardians, and they look for this sort of activity constantly. You . . .” She lay her head to the side and gave him a sweet grin. “You set something off, they came looking, and they found you.” She touched his hand once more. “That’s why you’re here.”

“You probably did do magic during that time without realizing you were.” Helena stuffed her hands in the pockets of her jacket and crossed her feet at the ankles. “Spontaneous magic happens when you become Aware at an early age, but your mind is too underdeveloped and mature to understand what’s happened. You might see a change in your hair or a light tanning of your skin; things could move around in your room during the night; you might even imagine that you hear voices once in a while.” She held up her hand. “You don’t think anything of this; to a child of six or seven, even one as intelligent as you, things have happened but you’re not cognizant of what occurred.

“Now, imagine you are you current age, right now, and you still have no knowledge of our world—and this shit starts happening to you. What is your reaction?”

His reply was a short, soft scoff. “I’d probably freak and think that maybe I was schizophrenic or something.”

 

No kidding you’d probably freak, given that Kerry has been known to lose it emotionally over some slight things from time to time.  So if a girl who’s lived a Normal live for now twelve years suddenly finds herself tossing fireballs, what sort of crazy does that produce?  And what is the ultimate Guardian plan to deal with this?

 

“The concern with Tanith is that she’s going to go beyond the tipping point and have a full-blown incident where she’s overcome with full Awareness and the spontaneous spells just come. If it happens at home that’s not a problem: Daddy would more than likely step in and take control of the situation. If it were to happen in public, however . . .” She looked down and shook her head. “She liked to take the bus to the Crown Center Mall after school and on Saturdays, and if she tipped over there, the results could be disastrous. She could hurt others—she could even hurt or kill herself.

“The idea of this mission is to have you observe her on Friday, first at school and then at the mall. Watch her actions, determine if she’s really close to being Award, and even watch and see if she’s Crafting. Then on Saturday the plan is to approach her, get her alone, tell her who you are and maybe show her what you can do.”

Annie’s eyes shone with excitement, though she still had questions. “Shouldn’t the father be involved?”

“Normally it would be his responsibility to bring in Foundation people and take care of this with their help. That hasn’t happened, though, because he doesn’t want them involved—and we wonder if he even knows what’s happening with his daughter. The concern from The Foundation is that he’d ignore their advice and disbelieve their reports that Tanith was becoming Aware, and that she’d do so anyway.

“With that in mind The Foundation—through the Guardians—sees Tanith responding more positively to a twelve year old witch—” She pointed at Annie, then to Kerry. “—and her eleven year old witch boyfriend, who explain what’s happening to her by showing what’s happened to them.” Helena slid her hands back into her jacket. “I agree with their belief. I think once you’ve had the chance to speak with her, maybe even show her what you can do, show her that it’s what she’ll be able to do, Tanith will respond.”

 

So there you go:  our two little witches are suppose to find their target, observe the creature in her normal habitat at the wall, and then approach her and say, “Hey, look here:  I can do magic, and so can you . . .”  It seems like a simple plan–unless, before they can get to her, Tanith starts freaking out in the food court at the mall and blows up the Taco Bell, or loses it completely while trying on leggings at Forever 21 and gives one of the sales girls purple skin and a unicorn horn–which would make her a hit at the next My Little Pony con, but otherwise leave her screaming like crazy.

Which is why Helena said this mission could be moved up, ’cause there’s a witch in need, and she may need help pronto.

Now we know the whys and wherefores.  All that remains is to get these two trained up and on-site.

Easy Peasy, right?

Right.

 

NaNo Word Count, 11/26:  2,057

NaNo Total Word Count:  48,687