Eastward Into the Sunset

No, I don’t have a novel excerpt.  I don’t have an excerpt of any kind today.  It’s nearly 2 o’clock in the afternoon and I’m sitting in the first toll plaza in Western Ohio as you head eastward.  It’s called Tiffin River, though I don’t know if there is a river nearby. I do know I snapped the fingernail completely off as I was sitting down, but I think it was already broken.

Happy arriving–

 

Though a moment later the bitch face is strong.

I’ve been up since about five-thirty and pretty much been on the go since getting up.  But my business in Indiana is finished and I don’t have to return until June.  So what I have ahead of me is at least another nine hours of driving, which should put me back in Harrisburg sometime around midnight.  This isn’t the first time I’ve run this route, and it certainly won’t be the last.

The next five or six days is going to see me writing like mad. I have three TV recaps I need to do and I likely won’t get them done until this time next week.  Thanks, AMC, for screwing up the schedule of the show I’m recapping and dumping a whole month’s worth of programming in two weeks.  You don’t make a girl’s job easy.  And I’ve spent too much time in the current chapter I need to really get going on it, as I’m getting really close to one hundred and fifty thousand words.  It just seems like it’s taking me forever to get there.

This is what happens when life gets in the way.

So, I can’t dillydally long here at Tiffin River, because once I get back to The Burg it’s off to bed because at 5 AM tomorrow I need to get up and start getting ready for work.  Then I’ll drive off and get my nail repaired, and then I’ll go home and unpack.  It just never seems to end, doesn’t it?

If there’s one thing that could be said about the morning drive to this part of Ohio that is good, it’s that I figured out how the series ends.  I pretty much have the exact ending worked out in my head and even walk through some of the dialogue. Needless to say, there were quite a few tears shed as I figured it out.  But, it’s a good ending. I just need to write it.  One of these days.

Yeah, my kids are probably getting lonely.  I haven’t been paying much attention to them of late and they need to get their stories told.  I even worked out another scene over breakfast this morning that involves Annie and Kerry–and Emma.  Needless to say, Emma is feeling a bit uncomfortable, and there’s good reason for that.  When will you see that?  Sometime in this novel: that’s a guarantee.  Now spend all your time trying to figure out what it is that’s happening…

No matter what you may think it is, it isn’t.

Got Those Going Westward Highway Blues

Saturday is usually the day I’ve got video for you, usually being the operative word.this time, however, I’m at Glacier Hills Travel Plaza, which is the first place along my westward trip back to Indiana that I’ve been able to get a good Wi-Fi signal.  I knew I would get a good one here as I’ve use this location many times before for blogging, so that’s exactly what I’m doing now, at ten-twenty in the morning.

As you can see I’m hard at work.

And even though I had eaten a while ago back in the darkness of Breezewood, Pennsylvania, there’s a Panera here, and wherever there’s a Panera, I have to get my favorite breakfast food–

Just call me Souffle Girl.

I never had the chance to do video last night.  I had to write a TV recap, I had to eat, I had to pack.  By the time I have a free moment to do video, it was nearly 10 PM, and I probably would’ve been up to close to midnight getting everything set up.  So, instead, I’m giving you a little vignette of my travels on the road and hoping that you are enjoying the view I’m presenting.

The travel here has been cloudy for the most part, and are times when it appears that I’m entering the set of Stephen King’s The Mist.  In fact, there was even a short stretch, right before I hit the Allegheny Mountain, where I was getting a bit of snow.  I don’t think I’ll hit snow now because it’s far too warm, but it looks as if I’m going to be in a lot of the gray clouds the whole way home.  Which is fine by me, for I know how to navigate in cloudy weather.

Maybe I’ll do a video tomorrow for my old library back in Valparaiso, Indiana, and you’ll have the opportunity to see all the books I left behind.  One of these days I’ll have them back with me: for now, however, they have to stay in Indiana.  Besides, it’s not like I have time to read anymore these days: I’m just way too busy.

I’m actually considering doing a post this week on science fiction movies and TV shows, one that I’ve wanted to do for a while.  It would be a Baker’s Dozen style list, the original of which I first developed her back around 2002 and have updated from time to time.  I keep saying I’m going to do this, but something always seems to get in the way of me doing it. Maybe this would be a good one to prepare for Tuesday morning, when I hope to be back on the road heading eastward to Pennsylvania.  That way you’ll have something to read while I’m spending another 11 to 12 hours driving back to Harrisburg.

I’m taking my time driving westward so I’m not all burned out by the time I get home. I’d like to be able to do some writing tonight, but I can do that if I’m falling asleep at 9 o’clock.  So I’m stopping like every eighty or ninety miles to relax, grab something to eat, and maybe even get some coffee so I don’t get too spacey behind the wheel.  I’ve been in that position before and it’s not enjoyable; the second time I tried driving back to Indiana I nearly fell asleep at the wheel and wrecked.  Believe me, that lesson has stayed with me a long time.

In a few minutes I’ll be shutting down the computer and getting back on the road.  I’m charging up my phone and I’ll be listening to my YouTube playlist, Music From San Junipero, across the state of Ohio.  It will take me about three and a half hours to traverse the state and that playlist runs three hours and forty-two minutes, so I’ll be looking for new playlist about ten miles inside the Eastern Indiana border.  Fortunately I bought a lot of data last night, so I’m not anticipating running out anytime soon.  I’ve been listening to music for the last couple of hours going through Pennsylvania and it’s made driving a far more enjoyable experience.  I’ve also thought about Annie and Kerry making the same trip, although they would probably fly if they had the opportunity.  Or jaunt.  Anything but drive.  ‘Cause like it or not, driving is reserved for us mere Normals.

Ah, if only we could do magic…

West Gate, East Gate

One of the nice things about writing a novel like the ones I’m doing is having the ability to go in and do a lot of research on things that you never knew existed.  I mean, I knew there was a city named Kiev and that when I was growing up the most famous things about it was that it was part of the Soviet Union and a famous chicken dish came from there–which leads to a lot of bad chicken jokes, but that’s another story.

When I decided to have Annie and Alex meed up in Kiev I knew nothing about the city save for it’s now in the Ukraine and one other thing I’ve known about since being in high school.  And it was this last part that set up were I wanted the girls to meet.  Fortunately for me a lot of things in the city worked out to my favor:

 

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

 

Annie exited the metro station and headed directly across the street into the park. For such a lovely day she was surprised there weren’t more people out, but then it was a Tuesday with lots of people working, and though it was sunny the temperatures were around 18 C with winds staying steady around 25 kph. And the few people who were out were dressed like her: jeans—or in her case, leggings—and a light jacket over a top. Unlike most of the people here Annie decided to wear her sandals because it was summer and she loved the feel of sunlight upon her feet.

She found Alex waiting on the other side of the park, sitting on a raised curb facing Yaroslaviv Val Street. She was dressed pretty much as expected: flight jacket over a blue tee shirt and faded jeans tucked into her black lace-up flight boots. Annie began waving as soon as the girl caught sight of her. “Hello.”

Hello, Annie.” Alexandria Chorney rushed up and gave her friend and covenmate a big hug. “Did you have any trouble getting here?”

“Not at all. It was just as you said: Sofia International to Kiev International, then take the local jaunt to the Central Station, get on the Red Line subway, transfer to the Green Line, take that to Zoloti Vorota Station.” Annie held her arms out to the side. “And here I am.”

 

We know–or we’re at least guessing, you’ll find out tomorrow–that Annie’s mom jaunted her to the international airport outside Sofia, and from there Annie went on her own to Kiev.  Then, as she says, she took the local jaunt into the main train station and from there took the subway to their location.  Lucky for Annie there are only three subway lines in the city, so there wasn’t much of a chance Annie would get lost underground.  Not to mention that the Red Line to Green Line transfer station isn’t that far from where Annie entered the subway.

And you can be sure she looked over a bunch of maps before getting to this point.

And you can be sure she looked over a bunch of maps before getting to this point.

And once Annie’s off the subway and no longer hanging with the Morlocks, she’s right here in this part meeting her friend:

Right there, next to the raised curb, in the center of the photo.  Without Col. Mustard, I should point out.

Right there, next to the raised curb, in the center of the photo. Without Col. Mustard, I should point out.

Humm…  There’s a blurry sport in the middle of this photo right where the girls should be.  Maybe they are

Now that they are together the real bonding can take place:

 

“Yes, you are. By the way: welcome to Kiev.” She looked about as she shrugged. “You did say this was your first time here.”

“It is.” Annie looked up into the blue sky. “We picked a great day for a visit. Did you have trouble getting here?”

Alex shook her head. “No, the weather was perfect. Clear skies all the way.” She glanced down at Annie’s legs. “I love those leggings.”

“Thank you.” She looked down at the leggings which were electric blue shot through with lines of pink and coordinated with her pink top and blue jacket. “I picked them up in Sofia a few weeks ago. I’m going to bring them to school.”

“Those will be nice there. I’m gonna try and find a pair when we go shopping.” Alex cocked her head to one side. “Your Ukrainian has gotten really good.”

“Thank you: I’ve been practicing.” Annie leaned in towards her friend, placing her hand on her arm. “Your Bulgarian is excellent as well.”

“I’ve been practicing as well.” Alex scratched her head. “So how do you want to talk? If you don’t mind I’d like to speak in Bulgarian. I can practice and if I mess up you can tell me.”

Annie nodded. “We can do that: I don’t have a problem.”

“Great.” Alex seemed relieved that their communication issues were out of the way. “The place we’re going to eat is just up the street. I hope you didn’t have a big breakfast.”

“Not at all. I’ve only nibbled since I woke.”

“Good.”

Annie examined the large structure to her left that was the focal point of this particular park. “So that is the famous Golden Gate.” She kept her smile hidden as she didn’t want to explain to Alex that just two weeks earlier she more or less stood before another Golden Gate…

 

The incredible news here is that Annie is wearing blue and pink leggings, something we’ve never seen her wear.  And she’s totally matching with her pink top and blue jacket.  Top it off with her sandals and she looks like a normal teen girl–and given that Annie is probably carrying that purse, probably a well-to-do teen.  Which, incidentally, she is.

But wait–another Golden Gate?  As she thinks it’s funny that only a couple of weeks before she was sort of at one with Kerry, and now she’s at another with Alex.  Only this Golden Gate–

Really is a gate.

Really is a gate.

And you’ll learn more about it tomorrow–along with how I knew about it as a teenager.

Ipswich For Witches

What are we up to today, kids?  And I mean you kids, not my kids, which is something completely different as they exist only in my imagination and you don’t.  Then again, if you’ve ever watched The Twilight Zone, maybe you do exist in my imagination–dreams, actually–and when I wake up you’ll all vanish.  Stranger things can happen.

The other thing to celebrate is going over a thousand words on this new scene and finally coming to within nine hundred words of twenty-five thousand total.  By the end of the week I’ll be over twenty-five thousand–I’m shooting for 1 September for that–and I should be close to thirty-five thousand words by the time Month Two of his new novel starts.  Which means by the time Month Three begins I should be into Part Two, Chapter Four, and that’ll put the kids somewhere in Paris.

But for now they're right here--wherever here is at the moment.

But for now they’re right here–wherever here is at the moment.

Today we get into Kerry’s luncheon date with Penny, but really, it’s far more than just lunch:

 

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

 

The sun was bright, the sky clear, and the weather warm as Kerry walked alongside Penny Rigman though the quite woods. They’d covered nearly twelve hundred meters by now and they were about a hundred meters away from the first objective on their hike—

Despite a hectic beginning to the day Kerry was enjoying himself…

He met Penny in Ipswich at close to nine that morning after making a mad, nearly five hundred kilometer an hour dash across England from Cardiff. He’d expected to leave at least thirty minutes earlier, but for some reason his parent had taken their time leaving for work. Kerry half-expected that maybe they suspected he was going to leave the house after they left, but at this point he didn’t care if they asked him about it or not: after his mother catching him returning from London he’d begun to care little if they were upset with this comings and goings.

After landing in the courtyard of the St. Mary-le-Tower Church he walked a short distance to the Costa coffee shop at the corner of Carr and Upper Brooks Streets. Penny stood the moment he entered the shop and greeted him with open arms and a large hug before they ordered breakfast. They both had something to eat—Penny a porridge and Kerry a bacon roll—and had both had a cappuccino with their food. This was the second time Kerry drank coffee: he’d had his first with Annie during their second London lunch and he was found the experience a little strange.

Kerry was also developing a taste for the hot, caffeinated beverage because Perry and Alex told him that he’d have coffee rations with him on the Polar Express—both for the warmth of the hot liquid and the caffeine rush needed for flying—and they’d both said that it was better to get used to the drink and understand your tolerance now, than drink it for the first time in the wilds of wintertime Canada and get sick from too much on his first day. As Alex had said, he didn’t want to find himself on his hands and knees on the frozen ground throwing up due to a caffeine overdose, after which he’d spent the rest of the day feeling miserable while flying.

He certainly didn’t want that, either, so he worked on developing his tolerance. It was the smart thing to do.

 

Kerry got out of the house early so he could go hang with his covenmate, who, by the way, didn’t fly nearly as far as he did.  It would also seem that his folks are of a mind that their boy seemed like he was ready to go somewhere, so they decided to be dicks and just hang out a little long at the home front.  Why?  Maybe they wanted to see if any witches showed up on their front doorstep.  And then do what?  Ask to see their witch IDs–which, you know, they do have.

Now when I say it was a short walk through Ispwich–and I should point out, this is the English city that shares a name with the town close to the Salem school back in America–I know it’s a short walk because–

I measured it out.

I measured it out.

I also decided they’d meet and chill out for breakfast at Costa, which is the second largest coffee house chain in the world with locations in thirty countries, though the U.S. isn’t one of them.  They’ve actually been in business since 1971 and are quiet the fixture around the UK.

And they have beans on their logo--no topless mermaids for these guys.

And they have beans on their logo–no topless mermaids for these guys.

That is actually the Google Streetview of the location where Penny and Kerry meet, so if any of you are ever in Ipswich, you can stop in and have the same thing they’re having–

Which brings up an interesting point:  Penny and Kerry are drinking coffee, and you can thank The Polar Express for this.  See, the people in charge figure that given the cold and the hostile conditions, plus the fact that the kids are gonna have to consume food high in calories, a little caffeine might do wonders in keeping them awake.  That means some of the items in their arctic kit are a small kettle for heating water–they also get a water ration as well, though they should be able to melt snow, too–and a few packets full of ground coffee.  They’ll also have some of the school’s famous hot chocolate, but the coffee is going to help get them kick started in the morning–or, if they aren’t careful, make them shaky as hell and prone to getting sick to their stomach if the aren’t careful.

Kerry has a couple of friends who’ve already done the Express and know a few tricks.  And that’s why Penny and Kerry are enjoying a cappuccino over breakfast, so he can get used to the taste and the jolt that come from drinking a caffeinated beverage that ain’t Mountain Dew or Red Bull, or worst of all 5-Hour Energy, which is completely insane shit to consume.

If I’m gonna get the kids buzzed, I’m gonna keep it natural.

Leaving it All Behind Once Again: Departing is Such Sweet Sorrow

It’s been a long, busy morning.  And a lot of writing, believe me–over three hundred and fifty last night, and almost thirteen hundred this today.  I’ve been up since 5:30, made a few calls, did my laundry, and lunch is a-cooking.

Busy little bee, am I.

The writing yesterday and today has put an end to the first scene.  The next scene will likely be a short one, then the scene after that has everyone getting off the plane in Berlin and saying whatever goodbyes they have to say before going their separate ways.  Lots of thing still to come.

Lots of changes coming, mostly of a time kind.

Mostly of a time kind, it seems.

First, however, there’s a goodbye that needs to be said right here and now.  And the person saying the goodbye is . . ?

 

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

Annie turned towards their visitor and gave her a slight yet warm smile. “Hello, Anna.”

“Hello, Annie.” The German girl from Åsgårdsreia turned her head to her left. “Hello, Kerry.”

Kerry relaxed as he faced Anna, keeping Annie’s hand in his left. “How you doing?”

“I’m . . .” She shrugged with an embarrassed look on her face. “I’m as good as could be expected right now. I didn’t get a chance to meet with you at school, but I wanted to say goodbye and wish you both a great summer holiday.”

Annie was truly touched. Though they’d had little contact with their levelmate the year before, she’d begun noticing a change in her behavior not long after her judgment battle with Lisa’s champion, and saw how much more open and friendly she’d become after being promoted to her coven’s racing A Team. “Thank you, Anna. We hope you have a great holiday next year, too.”

“Thank you.” Once more the look of embarrassment came over her. “I also want to thank you both for showing what Lisa was really like. It—” She cast her gaze towards the floor.

“It’s hard to admit she had me fooled so badly last year.”

Kerry was the one to speak after a quick exchange of looks. “I know all about doing things that make you feel dumb; I’ve done that more than a few times.”

Anna seemed to consider how she should answer that comment, finally making a decision five seconds later. “She actually had me thinking that she cared for me.” She looked right at Kerry as she spoke. “You proved that otherwise during Sorcery class last year.”

Now it was Kerry’s turn to look embarrassed as he recalled that particular Sorcery class lab and his successful use of the Draught of Submission on Lisa—which resulted in her subsequent outing as a possible lesbian. He’d felt a great deal of guilt for a week afterwords, but was reminded several times that it remained Lisa’s choice not to say anything and that she could have stopped the incident at anytime. “I’m sorry if I caused problems for you—”

“It didn’t.” Anna looked across the terminal for a moment. “We were sharing a room at the time, and that night she was pissed; she wouldn’t let what happened in class go. I asked why she didn’t just say my name that . . .” She glanced upwards. “I found out later it wasn’t me that she thought of in those moments.

“Then this year she starts hanging with Franky more, which I didn’t mind, but then when we made the B Team, she was pissed at me that I tried out without telling her. It was as if she didn’t want me on the same course with her, that I was going to somehow—”

“Show her up?” Kerry chuckled. “Might be because you’re a better racer.”

“Danke. Then after Annie beat up her champion she went nuts.” Anna glanced at Annie. “She wanted me to challenge you.”

“What?” Annie’s eyes went wide in disbelief. “Why?”

“She told me some BS about being able to hurt you in the ring—” Anna shook her head. “I told her if she were so eager to go after you, she should call you out and do it herself. It wasn’t long after that I asked for a new room and we were separated.” Her sigh was quite loud. “She really hates you both.”

 

Anna, who has remained mostly in the background for most of two novels, is stating to come out into the open.  We find out that Anna was used by Lisa, and that she even wanted Anna to challenge Annie to a match, which would have involved Anna getting her butt kicked hard.  And we hear that Lisa hats the Lovey Dovey Couple?  Color me surprised.

And with this in mind, we hear something surprising, as well as some personal information about Anna:

 

“I’m not surprised.” Annie stepped forward and placed a hand on the German girl’s arm. “I’m sorry you went through that, Anna. I’m also glad you’re doing better, too.”

Anna’s smile contained a touch of sadness. “I am.” She looked at Kerry. “Now to get through what’s next.”

“We will.” He patted her shoulder. “We don’t know what’s going to happen until it happens, so best not to give it a lot of thought.”

“Well, that’s why I can’t wait to get on the plane and sleep most of the way home.” Anna turned and saw activity at the gate. “Shouldn’t be too long now.”

After Anna’s confession Annie felt there was only thing she could say at this moment. “If you ever want to hang with us, consider this an invitation. You can—” She smiled. “—whomever you want to bring.”

“Really?” Anna’s face brightened. “I’d like that.”

Kerry began chuckling. “Though it might get a little confusing with the Annie/Anna stuff.”

Anna laughed at the comment. “Well, you can always call me Sabb.”

“Sabb?”

“That’s my nickname. It’s short for Sabine; that’s my middle name.”

Kerry immediately perked up. “Like Sabine Schmitz?”

Anna’s face broke into a surprised smile. “You know her?”

“Yeah, the Ring Queen. Everyone knows her.”

“I didn’t think many people outside Germany knew her.”

Kerry nodded. “If you follow racing, you do.”

“Yes, you do. My father and I rode with her around the Nordschleife three years ago, right before she stopped driving.”

“Wow.” Kerry was about to ask about the right when he noticed the playful look he was getting from the person on the right. “Maybe next year we can talk about that.”

“I understand.” Anna glanced between Annie and Kerry, grinning cheerfully. “I hope to see you when we arrive in Berlin, but if I don’t, I’ll see you next year. And if you ever happen to be in Berlin, or any German city, let me know: I’d love to meet up.”

“We’ll do that, Anna.” Annie folded her hand against her stomach. “Have a good flight.”

“You, too.” After giving a wave to Kerry Anna turned and headed for her luggage.

 

Anna Sabine Laskar:  we have her whole name, and she’s the first student who’s full name we know other than Annie’s and Kerry’s.  And the back and forth between Anna and Kerry is legitimate:  Sabine Schmitz is a real person, as anyone who follows racing and/or the BBC program Top Gear knows.  One of her nicknames is “The Ring Queen,” and during her time driving a BMW M5 “Ring Taxi” around the gigantic Nordschleife road course–essentially she was hired by people to drive them around the course as fast as possible–she believes she drove twenty thousand laps, which is a lot of driving.  She’s won the 24 Hours Nürburgring twice in a BMW M3, and once on Top Gear drove a van around the 20.8 kilometer course and almost brought a ten minute lap doing so.

Yeah, you can bet Kerry’s found someone new to talk racing with next year.

The nice thing about Annie’s invitation is that she kept open the gender of whatever “friend” Anna might want to bring.  She doesn’t care with whom she shows up, and honestly, at this point, Annie’s going to have to deal with the idea that one of these days in the future she’s gonna show up at one of these get together with a girlfriend of her own.

All of this sparks some curiosity, but before they get too far–

 

It wasn’t until the girl was out of hearing range that Annie spoke. “That was unexpected.”

“I’ll say.” Kerry eyed the woman standing behind the ticket counter at the gate. “At least we know Lisa’s actively looking to get back at us.”

“It’s not as if we didn’t believe that—”

The woman Kerry was watching picked up a mic and spoke. “You attention, please. We are ready to board passengers for the Air International special charter to Berlin, German. Will all passengers holding a pass for this flight come to Gate E7B. We will begin boarding in a few minutes. Thank you.”

Kerry grabbed on to his luggage handle “That’s our cue.”

“Indeed.” Annie began walking toward the gate with her luggage in one hand and Kerry’s in the other. As there were fewer than two dozen students and instructors taking the flight back to Europe boarding proceeded quickly. After the woman at the gate—who Annie recognized as one of the air hostesses from their flight at the start of the school year—quickly scanned their boarding passes Kerry and she proceeded down the gangway to the aircraft entrance.

Trevor Parkman, dressed comfortably in jeans, polo shirt, and sneakers waited for them just inside the airframe with a tablet in hand. “Ah, we meet again.”

Kerry nodded as he let Annie pass through the doorway first. “Seems like we saw each other just yesterday.”

“So it does.” Trevor asked their names and took their palm prints. “By now you’re experts with these flights—” He held the tablet close to his chest. “Have a good flight home.”

“Thank you, Mr. Parkman.” Kerry nodded towards the front of the aircraft. “First class?”

Annie raise a questioning brow. “Do we travel any other way?” They made their way into the spacious front cabin of the aircraft, allowed the hostess to stow their luggage, and gave their drink orders before selecting two seats in the middle of the cabin.

Kerry snapped his belt into place and left rest loosely in his lap. “I don’t imagine we’ll be here long.”

Annie accepted her tomato juice and took a good sip before speaking. “Be like when we were in Berlin.”

He checked the time on his phone. “It’s six forty-one: Helena say last night we were supposed to be wheels up at six forty-five—”

A woman’s voice came over the speakers. “Attention, this is your pilot. The doors are closed and we are about to push back from the gate. We have been given priority takeoff clearance on Runway 22 R and should be airborne in a matter of minutes. Flight crew, secure for takeoff.”

 

Now it’s time to go, and here’s the route the plane is going to take as my kids get ready to leave:

I have pictures of everything!

I have pictures of everything!

According to weather history, the wind is coming out of the southwest this day, so the planes taking off can leave the terminals and leave on the right runways, while the inbound planes land on the runway on the left.  This is the way you run an airport, although Boston may run their own differently.  I prefer my way, because it’s my world, yeah?

All that’s left now is for my kids and sit back and enjoy what’s coming next:

 

Annie set her right hand on the armrest between Kerry and her. “You were right; they have nothing to hide now—”

“So why wait?” He set his left hand over Annie’s. “A little over eight hours and we’re back in Europe—” He half-looked at Annie. “Back home.”

“No, my love.” She turned her hand palm-up and entwined her fingers around Kerry’s as the plane made its way to the end of the takeoff runway. “We’re going back to our families; it’s our home we’re leaving behind.”

They sat in silence as they made the final turned to get into position for takeoff, and as had happened three times before the engine sound subsided for only a moment before they were set to full thrust and the A330 was propelled forward. Maybe twenty seconds later the nose came up,and the vibrations caused by the runway vanished as the landing gear thumped into place. The plane made a climbing turn to the left and only leveled out when the sun was no longer visible in either window.

Kerry pointed towards the windows on the left side of the airframe. “Look: you can just make out Cape Ann.” He gave a small wave. “Goodbye, Salem. See you in a few months.”

Annie gave Kerry’s hand a squeeze as she imagined the now-empty school greeting the new day upon the barely visible island. “Farewell for now.” She turned to Kerry with a smile upon her face. “We’ll be home soon.”

 

There we go:  the plane is in the air and heading back to Berlin.  And can we see what the kids see?

Of course they can, 'cause I figured it out.

Of course they can, ’cause I figured it out.

It would be some ways off in the distance, but Cape Ann could be see on a clear day–and this is a clear day.  And the next scene is going to take place somewhere on this picture:

Likely a lot more on the left side of the line than the center or right.

Likely a lot more on the left side of the line than the center or right.

I may even state that tonight.

Taking the Long Ways Home

Eight in the morning, and it’s time for the blog post–but only after two hours and just over a thousand words of novel writing.  Yes, I’ve been a busy girl, mostly because I’m off to get my nails done in a couple of hours and I need time to get ready.

But first, I’ve had this on repeat for most of the morning:  Moby’s God Moving Over the Face of the Waters.  Pay no attention to what the video cover page says: this version is the one found on I Like to Score, and is the one used as the outro music running over the credits for the movie Heat.  There are have been a few moments when this has started the tears a-flowing, because I’m imagining scenes where this can be used in my coming stories, and likely will.  Funny how my mind works, isn’t it?

The scene is over, and this is the last you’ll see of the school in this book.  After this everything takes place beyond the grounds, and half of the next chapter has my kids finally back in Europe for the summer.  But this goodbye is different than the one in the last novel.  Because this time they’re not standing around surrounded by silence–this time they’re surrounded by friends:

 

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

 

Kerry chuckled as he kept his arm around Annie’s shoulders and pulled her closer. “What are you guys going to do next?”

Penny quickly checked her phone. “We’re all jaunting out at the bottom of the hour to Logan and then on to Heathrow and to the local station at Paddington. We’ll spend about an hour and a half there, then Alex and Kahoku are going their own separate ways.”

“It’s already past twenty hours in Savannakhet.” Kahoku spoke of his home town on the banks of the Mekong River in Laos. “I told my parents I’d be home no later than twenty-two thirty, so that gives Alex and me time to say goodbye.”

“You get home just in time to eat and adjust.” Alex gave him a peck on the cheek. “Lose a day going home, but at least you get it in a few months coming back.”

“What about you, Alex?” Annie figured the Ukrainian girl’s home was much like her own in terms of time changes.

“I’ll get into Kiev about eighteen-thirty, then fly home to Dubno. That should take me about an hour.” She sighed. “Just in time to eat, talk a little, and then adjust.”
Annie turned to Penny and Jario. “What about you?”

“I’ll be home, and Jario is almost on the same time as Salem, so we’ll hang out until about eighteen local before we head for home.” She gripped his hand. “That’ll give us almost four hours together. Then he jaunts back to Caracas, and I’ll fly home from London.”

“Venezuela’s a half-hour behind Salem because we’re right on the middle of one of the time lines, so it’ll be pretty much a normal day for me when I’m home: no adjusting needed.” Jario looked down as he smiled. “My case worker will be waiting for me at the airport to jaunt me home.”

“Mine does the same for me.” Kerry shrugged. “I don’t mind considering I gotta go like a thousand kilometers this time.”

Penny learned against Jario. “If you’d learned to fly, dear . . .”

“I did: I didn’t care for it.” He kissed Penny. “You girls are the fliers: I’m good with riding.”

“Just remember that.”

 

Now you see just how everyone is spread around the world, and even with being able to fly and teleport, getting from one place in the world to another is still gonna mess you up due to time changes.  This is how they play out:

B For Bewitching Time Zones Home

Party of Four going all over the world.

As you can see where their homes are concerned it’s still morning for Jario, late afternoon for Penny and Alex–and Annie and Kerry for that matter, too–and going into the evening for Kahoku.  And think about the A and B Levels that are still flying home:  this is why The Foundation starts shipping kids back to East Asia and Oceania just before midnight on the last Thursday at school.

And this is how the jaunts look.  First Penny and the other to London.

Just a leap over The Pond.

Just a leap over The Pond.

Then Alex heads home:

Homeward towards the Great Gates.

Homeward towards the Great Gates.

Followed by Kahoku, who has to go to the other side of the world:

Where it's a quick meal and off to sleep for that boy.

Where it’s a quick meal and off to sleep for that boy.

And lastly there’s Jario, who’s doubling back on everyone.

Can we say he's going Back to the Future?  Probably.

Can we say he’s going Back to the Future? Probably.

Even though they’re going home, does that mean everyone’s stuck on their little homeland islands.  Maybe not:

 

Annie shifted her gaze among the members of her group. “Are you still going to try and meet this summer?”

“Going to try.” Alex nodded toward the girl to her right. “Penny and I have plans, and Kahoku’s pretty sure he can get into Kiev at least once.”

“I’m probably going to jaunt down to South America to see my honey.” Penny smiled at the blushing boy at her side. “I shouldn’t have any problems flying from the airport to his home town.”

Kahoku appeared sad for a moment. “It’d be nice if we could all meet up this summer.”

Penny grunted. “Yeah. Even though it’s getting easier to use to the jaunt stations now, it’s kinda hard at times to work out everything when we’re spread all through the world.”

“We should do something one summer.” Kerry’s face lit up as his mind worked out possibilities. “I mean, after we finish our C Levels Annie and I will be able to access the jaunt systems without needing permission from our parents, so that would make it easier for us to get around. Maybe not next summer, but the summer after that—”

“I agree.” Annie believe she knew where Kerry was going with his impromptu plan. “And not just a one day get together: maybe something for the a few weeks.”
Alex tilted her head slowly to one side. “Like what? Backpacking?”

Kerry laughed. “Or backbrooming.”

“Like the Polar Express.” Penny laughed. “I could see that.”

Annie nodded. “We should start working on that next year.”

Penny nodded back. “We will.”

 

First we see that once the kids are past their C Levels they’re permitted to use the Jaunt System without parental controls, and you know what that means?  Sounds like a certain couple will be hooking up for lunch and more in another year.  Kerry has a local station that will take him to London, or he could just jet off and be there in under an hour.  Annie as well:  she’s 150 km from Sofia and could fly to the airport in under thirty minutes.  And just imagine what it’ll be like when they start jaunting on their own–won’t be able to keep them apart.

As for Annie and Kerry’s idea of “backbrooming” with the other four–yep, that’ll happen one day.  Probably.  Maybe.  Could be.  Just not any time soon.  But you know I already have something in mind.

With all this out of the way, there remains only one last goodbye–

 

“And with that you should get going so you don’t miss your jaunt.” Annie gave Penny a hug. “Take care.”

“You, too, Annie.” Everyone began hugging and shaking hands, wishing each other a good summer holiday. Annie and Kerry waved their goodbyes to their friends as the four walked off the floor and vanished down the stairs, leaving them alone on the second floor.

Annie gave a near silent mummer. “Well, we’re one of the last in the coven—again.”

“Only this time—” Kerry turned and examined the empty, silent floor. “I don’t feel as sad as I did last year.”

“That’s because we knew we wouldn’t be returning to the first floor. Next year we’re back here, but when it comes time to say our goodbyes to our C Levels—” She rested against Kerry’s shoulder. “I imagine we’ll feel the sadness once more.”

“Probably.” He turned to her. “We have a lot to do next year.”

She nodded. “All new classes and a group of B Levels to help transition out of the fishbowl.”

“Uhh.” Kerry rolled his eyes. “Don’t say ‘transition’.”

“Don’t worry, my love.” Annie chuckled as she kissed her nervous soul mate. “I’ll be here to help you through that as well. After all—” She pulled down the neck of her blouse just enough to allow Kerry a peek at her glowing medical monitor. “We’re connected; I’m not going anywhere.”

He kissed her lips. “I’d never let you leave.”

“I’d never want to leave.” They stared at each other in silence for nearly fifteen seconds before Annie stated the obvious. “Come on: we have more goodbyes to say. I want to catch Professor Semplen before he returns home.”

“Yeah, we should get going.” He slipped his backpack over both shoulders and set it in place. “Let’s do this.”

Annie secured her purse strap around her body. “Lets.”

They walked hand-in-hand to the stair landing, turning just before exiting the floor, and spent a few silent moments regarding the place that was their home for the last nine months. Kerry raised his right hand and gave a small wave. “Take care, and see you next year.”

Annie offered a smile as she looked in the direction of her former room. “Goodbye and farewell. And thank you for the memories.”

Together their turned and slowly descended the stairs, leaving their latest home behind, but not forgotten.

 

No tears this time, no feelings of melancholy, because next year they’ll be back on the same floor, only a little closer to the stairs.  It’ll be interesting to see them “helping” the new kids when they move up into the B Area–not that the can’t handle being leaders, but it’s almost as if they’re getting one more duty stacked on top of all the crap they’ll already have waiting for them.  When you show everyone you’re a cut above the rest, you are expected to prove that point.

And with that we say goodbye to Salem and hello to a little place right on the water–

The Final Days and Nights: Summertime, and the Visits Are Easy

So, writing.  Yes, I did it.  Not as much as the two days before, but some of that was due in part to writing a two thousand word recap a few hours before, and that tends to drain me.  The good news is I only have one more Monday night recap to do and then I can sort of take the summer off.

Though, you know, I’m not sure what that means.  Take a summer off and do nothing?  I don’t know if I can handle that.

So what happens in the next five hundred words?  Plans, that’s what.

 

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

Jairo shook his head. “That would never happen. You guys have been too much fun; we’ve enjoyed hanging with you.”

Kerry ran his finger around the rim of his mug. “We’ve enjoyed hanging with you guys as well.”

Penny pointed a finger at him. “I hope you won’t forget we got a lunch meet up this summer.”

He nodded. “How could I forget?” Penny had approached them both at the Midnight Madness the night of his birthday, with Alex, Jairo, and Kahoku in tow. Not only did they all want to wish Kerry a happy birthday, but Penny wanted to set up a lunch date between Kerry and her, as they were both in the UK and could fly to just about any location in the country. Penny also made it clear that she wanted Annie to know about the invite, and that she knew if Kerry were to ask her about getting together for lunch over the summer, he’d do so with Annie and Jairo present. “Just text me whenever you feel like meeting.”

“Which reminds me—” Alex turned to Annie. “Would you object to getting together over the summer? I’d love a lunch date with someone from school.” She looked around the table. “It was hard to do so last year, and may be difficult for Kaho this year. I thought it might not be a problem for you, though.”

Annie actually felt honored that a friend other than Kerry would asking about meeting over the summer. “I’d love to, Alex. I think it’d be fun.” Annie gave the matter a moment of thought. “Could you fly to Kiev? We could met there.”

Kahoku nervously coughed. “Or are you—?”

“Say that word and die.” Alex rolled her eyes as she glanced at her boyfriend. “Durnyy, bozhevilʹnyy khlopchyk.” She turned back to Annie, a slight grin playing upon her face. “Sure, I can do that. Dubno’s only three hundred kilometers away; I can make that in an hour.”

 

So there you have it:  at least once during the summer Kerry and Alex are going to get together for a lunch date–one where Annie was present when the asking was done, ’cause one girlfriend is respecting the personal space of another–but Annie’s gonna leave the mountains behind for a day and meet up with Alex.  The kids are getting out next summer, and not just to meet with each other–yes, that’s gonna get mentioned later in one of these last two chapters.  Even though they can’t be together all the time, they’re gonna meet for lunch.

Annie picks Kiev because not only is it in the Ukraine where Alex lives, but it’s likely easier for Annie to jaunt over a thousand kilometers than it is for Alex to do the same.  Alex can hop on her broom and jet across the country to get to her destination–

Three hundred thirty-four kilometers, no waiting.

Three hundred thirty-four kilometers, no waiting.

Whereas Annie needs her mom to jaunt her to the Sofia airport so she can take the jaunt station to the main train station in Kiev.

"Don't worry, Mama:  I'll call when I'm though visiting another country."

“Don’t worry, Mama: I’ll call when I’m though visiting another country.”

And since Pamporovo and Kiev are in the same time zone, there’s no trying to figure out when Annie should get there.  In fact, if she knows Alex is gonna meet her around eleven, she can leave home about fifteen minutes before to ensure she’ll arrive in time–depending on where it is they’re gonna meet.  And I know where they’re gonna meet–I’m just not saying right now.  Same with Penny and Kerry:  locked down their meeting area a few months ago, but you’ll just have to wait on the where.

This portion of the conversation leads into something else that has been asked about already–

 

“Good.” Annie sat back with a smile on her face and her hands folded before her. “You can send a message to my school account: I can access that from my mother’s laptop when I’m home.”

“When you getting your own phone?” Penny scratched behind her right ear. “That way we can just text you.”

Kerry looked across the table and while he kept quiet. They’d discussed this matter more than a few times since returning after Yule, and Annie promised that once she was home and settled in, she’d do everything possible to convinced her parents to let her buy a smart phone. He believed her, too: he was more than aware that when Annie wanted something . . .

Annie’s response was simple and direct. “I’m working on that. You may say it’s my summer project.”

Kerry noticed their four friends exchanging glances between themselves. “Something up?”

Being the closest to him, Alex answered Kerry. “We were wondering if you might like another project for the summer—”

Penny glanced at Annie to her left. “Both of you.”

 

Yes, Annie’s gonna work on getting a phone, and yes, that issue will come up in the next novel.  I know some of you are thinking, “She should have one by now, she’s thirteen!” but you ain’t Annie’s mother:  I guess I am, and I know why they haven’t gotten her a phone yet.  Just chill and wait.  You’ll see.

Now, what is the summer project that is going to be asked of Annie and Kerry?  Well, that’s tonight’s business.

And that means you have to wait until tomorrow to see.