Speeding Through on Darkened Thoughts

As some may have noticed I was back on the air last last night, this after a long trip back through the wilds of the Midwest and into the Near East, the later of which was done in straight-up darkness.  Not that I’m not used to driving from the Ohio border to The Burg in darkness, but . . .

At least it wasn’t raining like hell as it did one time when I returned and the road was so black I couldn’t really tell where the pavement ended and the shoulder started.  Though there were a ton of notices up about deer being in the highway–as well as a few of said remains to let me know the notices weren’t joking.

So this means the only writing I did yesterday was the morning post–though I did take a great picture before leaving home.

It was Wednesday, so I wore pink, because on Wednesdays . . .

It was Wednesday, so I wore pink, because on Wednesdays . . .

An interesting point about driving long distances now:  I can’t work out scenes in my head the way I used to do them.  There was a time when I’d get behind the wheel, roll on the power, and about ten minutes into the trip I’d start working out plots and points and stuff like that.  But now:  it seems like about an hour into the trip I’m looking for ways to keep my mind off the fact I’m gonna be on the road for half a day, and I start wandering in my own head.

However, I did work out–for the most part–a new scene that comes after the one I’m in how, and how that scene affects something in scene after.  I mean, I didn’t work it all out:  I’ll do more when I’m walking home from work, but for right now I have the basics laid down and I know how it’s going to proceed, although this means I need to make up some more shit because I have something in the next scene that you may have seen before.

That said, I’ll get to finishing my “Say Goodbye to the Polar Expressers of 2013”, maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow.  I had like four hours of sleep last night and I’ve had to deal with a lot of crazy already this morning, so I feel I’m going to be on the verge of a major crash out by seven tonight.  But I will do my best, I really will.  Because I have people waiting.

This last four or five days have really been a bit of a step away from writing, and I’ve felt like I needed the break.  Not that I don’t want to get back into the novel and finish it, but the stress of the last few months was taking a toll.  Now, I can do my best to concentrate on writing, because everything is done and there weren’t any hiccups along way.  All is totally copacetic as they say.

So, back to the grind of torturing my kids for a few more months–

I think I’m good with that part.

Skyline Racing

Hey!  I’ll be you thought I wasn’t posting today.  Well . . . I’ve been busy.  Doing what, you say?  A whole lot.

First off, there’s yesterday, and where I went after I posted.  I went here:

Pretty, isn't it?

Pretty, isn’t it?

That was taken from one of the overlooks on Skyline Drive, the main–and just about only–road through Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.  After posting I drove home, changed, and headed down I-81 to the park, which is a little over two hours from Harrisburg.  The trip there goes through one of only two places in the United States where you can travel through four states in under forty miles, and, if you’re speeding like mad, you can do it in under thirty minutes on I-81.

I figured it out, just in case you wanted to see.

I figured it out, just in case you wanted to see.

The only other place you can do this?  Here, at Four Corners, where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah come together.

All you need to do here is drive around the parking lot.

All you need to do here is drive around the parking lot.

It was a time to relax and decompress, and actually drive around with the windows open, because the sun was shining and the air was considerably cooler a quarter of a mile, or four hundred meters, higher than the surrounding territory.

It was a good time:

It was bright and shinny.

Extremely bright and shiny–and you can see the windows down on my car behind me.

And I had a great meal to top off most of the day.

Nothing like an old lodge 3600 feet above sea level to set the mood.

Nothing like an old lodge 3600 feet above sea level to set the mood.

I managed one panorama scene.

Which aren't easy to take, let me tell you.

Which aren’t easy to take, let me tell you.

And managed to get a full-body picture of myself at the same location.

Most of the time you never get to see my girly curves.

Most of the time you never get to see my girly curves.

But that was yesterday–why so late today?

Well, because writing.  Because just over seventeen hundred words today.  Because . . . I passed one hundred and twenty thousand words.

Not lying at all.

Not lying at all.

This is about the fastest I’ve burned through ten thousand words in a long time–twelve days–and I didn’t want to stop until I finished this scene.  Because . . . I looked at my layout on the left side and thought, hey, I could split that into another chapter.  Because looking at what’s come, and what’s coming, it does make sense to put it off on its own.

And this last scene is a strange one, because I think it’s the first one I’ve written in about a half a million worlds that has no dialog.  In fact, I think I know–without looking–which scene I wrote that was nothing but descriptions, and that scene would have been written right around 24 July, 2013, because I wrote it during Camp NaNo 2013.  Like I said, about a half a million world later–that’s a lot of writing with someone talking somewhere.

The scene is racing, all kinds of racing.  First, though, let’s look at the teams:

 

Mórrígan A Team
Malaya Lacsina — F Philippines
Nadine Woodley — D United States Captain
Argus Pelham — D Tasmania
Nattat Adriano — C Angola
Emmalynne Neilson — B United States

Cernunnos A Team
Manco Mamani D Peru Captain
Darius Roy D Canada
Penelope Rigman C England
Alexandria Chorney C Ukraine
Kerry Malibey B Wales

 

And because there’s a lot of things happening in the scene, let me set it before showing you the last part.

Everyone’s racing in a ten-person pack.  The race runs between fifty and sixty minutes, and it’s mentally exhausting.  Also, there’s this:

 

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

It was on the forth lap, as they were coming out of Sunrise and heading into the Esses, that Kerry—who was running just on the outside of the main pack—made a move towards the front. He was good in the Esses and used that to his advantage, and he knew if he was lucky he could find himself up near the front as they soared over Polar Jump and dove into Polar Turn. He was up to fifth and moving into forth when Emma flew two-thirds of the way across the course to throw a wicked block on him. He cut slightly to his left and she nearly flew back into him before he went up and back to seventh.

Kerry was given all the hint he needed: if he wanted to get up to the front, he was going to have to push his way past Emma, and one of them was liable to get physically hurt in the process.

 

It’s clear:  Emma will jack his soul mate loving ass if he tries to pass her.  And that leads to the last lap, and if you follow most racing, it’s where a lot of drivers get their stupid on full-time.  These kids aren’t any different . . .

 

It was a mad dash from there to Reservoir, and what Kerry suspected was going to happen on this last straight began. Everyone prepared themselves for the last dash to the end, and he did the same. All that was left was to launch through the last two elevation gates and . . .

Manco, Emma, and Argus were first off, with Alex and Nattat right behind them. Darius kicked at Malaya, which was enough for Penny to get around them on the right, Nadine above, and Kerry skirting the lower left. He caught Malaya’s draft and closed on her as their speeds approached three hundred twenty-five kph, and at the last moment he cut to the right, going up between her and Darius. The Cernunnos boy looked ready to kick Kerry as well, but he was by him before he could fully react. Two seconds later Nadine was by him and hanging on Kerry’s processor, riding his draft while using her air bubble to push his forward.

The problem was there wasn’t a forward. The pack completely the south end of the bend and was now moving northeast, and there was nothing but a mass of fliers blocking his path. In a few seconds everyone was going to hit their air brakes going through the Diamond Chicane, and he knew a crash of some kind was coming. The lead was bunching up, not spreading out, and it looked like—

They hit the left hand turn of the chicane, and things went sideways fast. Fliers bounced off each other; Argus nearly turned sideways against traffic and Penny nearly dumped her broom to keep from running him down. Alex slid into Manco and pushed him aside as she tried to straighten out. Emma spun her broom around as she took the right hand section of Diamond and smacked Nattat with her processor, making the girl’s helmeted head jerk as the safety enchantments flared around them.

Everyone was piling up in front of Kerry, and he was about to be run down from behind. There was only one place to go—

He leaned over the length of his broom and dropped to the bottom of the course. Everyone always flew high enough that there was usually a meter or two of open space under the racers, but with everything in flux that space had grown smaller. It was difficult getting through: it was even more difficult doing it at speed, while braking and turning, and the odds of making it through unscathed were slim.

He didn’t beat the odds. As he pulled his broom through the left-hand turn of the chicane, he heard the crackle of the safety enchantment at the same time he felt his knee let go: he’d gotten too low and scrapped the ground at better than a hundred and twenty-five kilometers an hour. Vicky’s warning instantly filed his thoughts: The safety enchantments don’t prevent you from getting hurt—they prevent you from getting extremely hurt or even killed. He bit his lip to keep from yelling and fought to bring his broom around through the right hand portion of Diamond, then pushed it hard forward.

Kerry launched himself towards the finish, willing every gram of acceleration he could muster.

He pulled to the left of the course and dropped his HUD so his line-of-sight was clear. He didn’t know how fast he was going, he didn’t know who was to his side or behind him—his concentration was on the course ahead of him. Emma and Alex were bumping into each other, fighting the whole way to the finish line, and that not only kept their speed down, but kept their interest off him. He headed straight at the finish line, hoping against all hope that nothing—

Emma glanced in her mirror before throwing her broom into a ferocious left side-slip bringing her all the way across the course.

Kerry pulled hard on the control frame. The broom began to slide around: the processor slammed into Emma’s shoulder and spun her off her broom and into the ground, while Kerry found himself flying forward without a broom under him.

He didn’t even have time to wonder if this throw would hurt as much as the last one before before he hit and blacked out . . .

 

Kerry worried someone was going to crash and burn–did he think it’d be him?  The damnedest things happen when you piss off your wingmate.

What happens next?  Well . . . I know what Kerry’s first three words will be if that helps.

Back and Back and Back to The Burg

Forgive me for ripping off the title of a Farscape episode–notable as the first “Black Tee Shirt” episode–but since they kinda of ripped off their episode title from Back to the Future, I don’t feel bad for doing a little creative editing.

But as you may have guessed from the title, I’m back in Pennsylvania, and back to The Burg–not to be confused with The Burgh, over by der on the West Side of the State–and here I’ll remain until 7 November, when I return to Indiana because I got a date in court on the 9th.  So basically three and a half months to prepare myself for one of the most important moments of my life.

Meanwhile, since I was on the road from nine-thirty AM EDT until eight-thirty PM EDT, there wasn’t a lot of writing going on.  A lot of thinking, yeah, but not a lot of writing.  In fact, a lot of my thinking involved the race layout, the finishes, and how the points were getting laid out.  Which means about nine-thirty or so I was figuring all that out.  And since I don’t think I’ll spoil too much–because the next scene will describe some of this–here’s how the Samhain races played out.

It only took about fifty miles to get all this right in my head.

It only took about fifty miles to get all this right in my head.

So Mórrígan has a great day, Ceridwen is a surprise second (Åsgårdsreia is usually the second best coven team), and Cernunnos–who usually languish near the bottom with Blodeuwedd is a welcomed third.  You can probably guess that those italicized finishes are Kerry’s, but what about that one in bold?  You’ll find out . . .

I find I don’t do as much “story thinking” when I drive these days, because I’ve pretty much thought it all out months ago.  At least until such a time that I have to come up with something else in the story, and then it’s “run those plot lines over and over in your head again” time, most of which I do while walking to and from work these days.  Since I have to drive to New Jersey to see my doctor tomorrow, I’ll probably go over an upcoming scene in my head if I get the chance.  The upcoming scenes aren’t going to change on me that much, and even when I believe I have them all thought out, I’m usually surprised to find I can’t capture everything in my head perfectly.  No surprise there:  getting it down right is never an easy thing.

Now the goal is to finish this chapter, get into the next–which is gonna be Annie heavy–and go for one hundred thousand words.  I’m already near ninety-two thousand, so lets give it another week, shall we?

I just realized something:  I’ll be traveling in November, and that’s during NaNoWriMo.  Do I try it again this year?  Hummm . . . well, I did it in 2013 and 2014, and both times I jaunted to and from The Burg to Indiana, so why should this time be any different?  After all, when I’m not busy getting all the stuff done related to my name change, I can always be writing.

And stop somewhere for a smoothie now and then.

And stop somewhere for a smoothie now and then.

Ready on the Green: At the Post

It may be late, but it’s coming.  Wanna know why?  Well, you’re gonna!

See, I didn’t write yesterday.  Why?  I was on the road for almost six hours because I met with friends up in Rockford, IL, and in the best of times that’s a two-and-a-half hour drive for me.

Even Google Maps tell me so.

Even Google Maps tell me so.

Going up wasn’t that bad; traffic was pretty normal for the western burbs of Chicago.  Coming back, however, I had to deal with the end results of three accidents, and the last one forced me to make a quick detour off the interstate and down a highway which I know I’d traveled maybe thirty years before.  Needless to say, that and having to pick up dinner at the end of the day added more time than I’d anticipated for the trip home.

At least I was dressed comfortably.

At least I was dressed comfortably.

Even once home I had to make noted for my recap of Episode 3 of Humans, so by the time I was done with all that, I was tired and didn’t feel like writing.

So what did I do?  Wrote this morning.  Seven hundred and fourteen words worth of wrote.  Since you’ve been waiting, I’ll give it all.

 

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

Kerry stood next to his hovering Class 2 as the large service lift rose from The Diamond’s lower lever hanger, lifting him and the team to the infield section of the ground floor of the track. He wore his helmet, though the front was raised so his face was visible, otherwise he was ready to race.

He looked up into the stands where nearly the entire school body sat among the cavernous structure. He understood how The Foundation built for the future, but it was strange to see a little more than one hundred people sitting in a space designed to hold fifty times that number. He also felt a little sadness because the space represented the potential the school had hoped to achieve by now, but could not.

The lift locked into place and the command was given to the flier to mount their PAVs. Kerry liked the Class 2s; they superficially resembled the Class 1s, but only because they had a long frame and a seat in front of the processor. There the similarities ended and the Class 2’s uniqueness took over. The processor was about twenty percent larger and more streamlined. The saddle had a small back to prevent the pilot from sliding off during periods of high acceleration. At the front were canards about fifteen centimeters below the frame, there to allow more maneuverability at high speed. And rather than control the PAV by applying pressure directly to the frame, there was a set of handlebars with grips that were used to control the PAV.

For the same reason a Class 1 was called a “broom”, the Class 2 was nicknamed “the Speeder Bike” due to its resemblance of the device from the Star Wars universe. As Kerry mounted his PAV, he chuckled as he pondered the irony that they, too, were about to go forth and race in the woods. At least no one will be shooting at me

 

So now when you think of Kerry and the others racing, you’ll have this image in mind–

Stormtroopers and explosive crashes into trees not included.

Stormtroopers and explosive crashes into trees not included.

–‘Cause that’s pretty close to a Class 2, save for the modified single-line Class 1 frame.  Seriously, I’ll have to get into Blender and start designing these suckers.

 

They were given the command to head out to the course, and Kerry followed the team, led by Manco, from the infield towards the oval track. There wouldn’t be a parade lap: they’d head directly to the course out Exit Three. As they reached the track surface he looked up and saw Annie waving to him; she’d picked a seat midway down the backstretch where she could view the holograms showing the race from the various Spy Eyes that would follow and record each heat. Jario sat to her left: he was waving to Penny, who was waving back.

Kerry knew they’d both watch the races in comfort: the seats were not like what one normally found at sporting events, but were large and comfortable, and had small tables to the side upon which one could place they snacks and drinks. The first time Kerry sat in one, he felt he was about to see a movie or play instead of a race over one of the school’s courses.

Penny slid in close to Kerry’s left as they passed through the tunnel exit. “You remember the crossover rules?”

“Yep. Green under to Blue; Blue over to Green.” He sat up and rolled his shoulders as they emerged into the light. “I won’t forget.”

“I know; I just wanted to make sure you remembered.”

“And remember to watch the transition from Blue to Green—” Alex pulled into position on his right. “Every thought the pop-over is supposed to act like a chicane to Green Line, it doesn’t make you slow much; you’ll carry a great speed from Diamond Lane to Rockport.”

“You’ll carry a hell of a lot more speed into Graves—” Penny checked her helmet, as if reassuring herself that it was in place. “The first time I raced Blue to Green I almost crashed there because I wasn’t paying attention.”

“From The Sweep to Graves it’s as long as West End through Sunset Boulevard, and just as fast.” Alex looked over and smiled. “Don’t worry: we are sure you’ll do well.”

“Thanks, guys.” He closed his eyes for just a moment as they approached the start-finish line. “I won’t let anyone down.”

“Run your race and everything will be fine.” Penny slapped down her face front and flipped up the visor. “See you at the end.”

 

The area Alex is describing is the following:

Just follow the squiggly yellow line.

Just follow the squiggly yellow line.

When they say “Pop-over,” Alex means the course rises up over the Green/Blue crossover so fliers never run into each other–which would probably see one of the racers die if that ever happened.  It’s meant to slow up the racers on their way to the Green Line, but once you know how to navigate that chicane properly, one figures out how to take it without losing much speed, which leads to one heading into the Graves turn a lot faster than the B Team racers gets when running juts the Green Line.

It’s almost time to get this party started.  The racers are just about ready–

Are you?

Once More Westward Bound

For once you’re getting me without much to say and not a lot to offer.  It’s almost five forty-five here in The Burg, and the sun is coming up, it looks like a nice day, I’ve got music going in my earbuds, and I’ve just finished a small tub of yogurt for breakfast.

What’s the reason for this?  I’m back on the road in a few hours.

Yes, once again I’m making my westerly trek to Indiana, and this time, rather than come to you from a service plaza in eastern Ohio, I’m still at home in my pajama bottom and cami top, almost all the way packed and ready to go.  I just need to get dressed, do my face, grab my bags, and head for the car.  Then get on the road and spend eleven hours heading back to the Midwest.

And finish this post, too.

I look exactly like this, even though this picture is nine hours old.  Wibbly wobbly, timey wimey.

I look exactly like this right now, writing this post, even though this picture is nine hours old. Wibbly wobbly, timey wimey.

Now, this doesn’t mean I didn’t write:  I did manage another six hundred and seventy words last night, but it was tough writing due to my head being somewhere else.  What I hope to do is get on the road in the next ninety minutes, arrive back in Indiana somewhere between seven and eight PM, relax, have a little something to eat, then finish the last few hundred words of the scene before going to bed.  This is the first scene I’ve done in a while where I’m just squirting out the words, a few hundred at a time, and it’s slow going getting to seventeen hundred and fifty words, which is where the scene sits right now.  But I am getting here.

One of the things I need to do tomorrow is renumber the rest of the chapters and start adding in scenes I know are needed.  I looked over the novel last night before I got to writing, making a few notes here and there for the future chapters, and I begin seeing where things need adding.  And the Samhain Chapter is one of those.  I guess this means I finally know what I’m doing with this story, ’cause–believe it or not–I don’t always have everything thought out.  Like I said, I plot it out in a meta data sort of way, but that is by no means a guaranty that I have everything figured out.  Like in the last novel with Kansas City:  I was figuring out things days, or hours, before I wrote.  It’s how I am.

The end is almost here, and at the rate I’m going, I believe I’ll be down to the car right about seven AM, which is six back in the ‘Ol Homestead.  I hope for good driving all the way home, but I have a feeling about three hours after I’m into my trip I’m look a little like this–

Otherwise known as "I'm driving through Pittsburgh."

Otherwise known as “I’m driving through Pittsburgh.”

I’ll have excerpts for you tomorrow.  I promise.

Would I lie?

Mimsy Were The School Returns

Today is going to be a full day, with a lot of travel and meetings and even a little shopping.  I was supposed to do things yesterday–and I did, only not a lot of the things I wanted to do.  Life does that to you sometimes, and yesterday was one of those times.

Today I’m home, having put my shower and breakfast behind me, and I’m working on this post as I drink my coffee. In about ninety minutes I’ll start getting ready, which really means I’ll finish my daily routine, dress, and prepare my makeup.  After that it’s at least ninety minutes behind the wheel to go meet a friend.  A lot of time spent getting to and fro, but it’s all worth it, I assure you.  And getting out and about is a great thing.

Believe it or not, I actually wrote last night, and after putting thirteen hundred words behind me in the morning one would think I was finished for the day.  Well . . . I gotta make up for Fridays, so I started on Chapter Five and got my kids back in the Pond.  I’ve also made notes about what they’re going to do in some of the upcoming scene, and the theme of “We’re Different” pops up all over the place.  It’s already started with them and the other members of the Party of Five, with their relaxed moods and public displays of affection.  Yes, the kissiest of couples is back, and they’ll never let those prying eyes bother them.  After all, the whole school has seen them kiss on streaming video at thirty-three hundred meters, and that scene can be recalled for anyone to watch.  Oh, and there’s also in the Hall of Remembrance, too, for that, so just wait until the parents come calling to the school on Ostara.  Particularly Annie’s father:  “Anelie, what is this?”  “Nothing, Papa:  just Kerry and I kissing during the Mile High Flight.”  Yeah, Papa, just your daughter kissing, no biggie.  Ask any student:  they’ve all seen it before.

Yesterday, however, while driving a around, I started my old routine of working out scenes in my head and by “talking out” the dialog, and the one I was keying on the most was the last scene of Act One, which comes just before the Samhain Dance.  That last scene will more or less set the tone for the rest of the story, which isn’t a bad thing once you realize I’ll probably be sixty thousand or more words into the novel by that time.  (Probably more–probably.)  I was also working out a scene for Annie that comes in Act Two, and if you’ve ever asked yourself, “I wonder what a pissed-off Annie looks like?” you’ll find out.  It’s another of those scene that makes me wish I could draw, ’cause I would do this up right now if it were possible.

There will also be added scenes.  A couple came to mind last night, and as I pointed out with the first novel, though I have most everything plotted out, that doesn’t mean I won’t add and cut where necessary.  More than likely I’ll add:  just as the late night scene on the second floor was needed, I’ll need other scenes to build their characters.  ‘Cause I’m all about the characterization.

Time to get ready.  Time to think about what comes next in the story.  Time to ready myself to get to forty thousand words here soon.

It's all happening here, at the School.  Won't you come along?

It’s all happening here, at the School. Won’t you come along?

The Last Days in the Big B

Right now I know there are a few of you going, “Damn, Cassie, you’re taking your time gettin’ this post out.”  That’s because you haven’t seen what I’ve done up to this point.  You didn’t see me at six-thirty writing in the current scene, doing my research as I went along, and three hours later writing a little over twenty-two hundred words and finishing the opening scene to Part Two, Chapter Four.

Yeah, you didn’t see that.

Nor did you see this:  how my desktop looks when I'm working on a scene.  With notes and music.

Nor did you see this: how my desktop looks when I’m working on a scene. With notes and music.

Sure, I also managed a touch over five hundred words last night, too, but also more important, I figured out just how many people I’ve got for next year–

At my school you do need a scorecard.

At my school you do need a scorecard.

In figuring out the attendance for this school year I took the number from the year before, figure out who didn’t make the cut and who graduated, and checked my above totals with the totals at the bottom.  Believe it or not, this consumed about an hour of my time, because I kept forgetting that people had graduated and my numbers weren’t matching.  Really driving me nuts.

But this covered a couple of days of stuff–and, you know, things–and not only that, but we get the see the kids being, well, kinda kids.  Not only that, but if you look at my notes above, you’ll see they’re no longer alone . . .

 

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

Tuesday morning found them sitting in the hotel restaurant, having breakfast and discussing their itinerary for the day. They were going over the route they would take to their first destination when Annie felt the presence of others standing close behind. They turned and were asked by two girls if they were really going to the Olympic Stadium—

That was how they met Penelope Rigman and Alexandria Chorney, who preferred to be known as Penny and Alex.

They were covenmates, C Levels students who they both knew by reputation due to their presence on the coven’s Racing B Team. Annie and Kerry had only encountered them in limited fashion when they’d helped out on occasions as Vicky’s minions during Beginning Flight class. The rest of the time they were in their own classes and resided on the second floor, where the B and C Levels were housed.

Penny lived outside Canterbury, England. While her parents were born in the UK, both sides of her family were from Barbados, and on the train ride out to the stadium she joked that her father’s family knew Rihanna’s family. She was slightly distressed because over the summer she’d experienced a growth spurt, and she’d went from one hundred fifty-seven to one hundred sixty-seven centimeters, and she was worried this was going to affect her performance on the track. Annie, who stood one hundred fifty-five centimeters—the same as Kerry—wondered if she would ever be that tall; given that both her parents were close to one hundred and eighty centimeters, it was highly possible.

Alex hailed from Dubno, Ukraine, and her family lineage covered most of the old Soviet Empire, with grandparents from Russia, Estonia, and Kazakhstan, and her father from Azerbaijan. She said the greatest mystery in her family was not how the members of her family came together, but how she was the only one with blond hair. She had an growing interest in sorcery, and in a moment when they were alone while touring the Olympic grounds, she asked Annie if she could find a moment now and then to give her some tutoring, as it had been common knowledge among the B Levels of the coven about her skills. This was the first time Annie was aware that anyone in the coven had taken notice of her skills with sorcery, and that it had been a subject of conversation with some of the upper covenmates. Until that point she figured all anyone in the coven knew was that Kerry and she were the Lovey-Dovey Couple and the Mile High Kissers.

"Ukranian girl with blond hairs?  Does she have pet scorpion?"

“Ukrainian girl with blond hairs? Does she have pet scorpion?”

Sorry, you have her confused with another blond Ukrainian.

Penny and Alex are going to be recurring characters through the next few novels, and seeing as how they’ll be sharing a floor with Annie and Kerry–the B and C Levels are on the same floor, as pointed out above–they’ll pop in here and there, mostly over there if you must know.  Also, notice:  more girls for Kerry to make friends.  I’m sure his mother will be pleased.

In my notes you’ll see the Imperial measurements for the kids as well, and you’ll notice that Annie and Kerry are, well, short.  Don’t worry, that’s gonna change over the course of this novel and the next, but they’re still twelve, though in just a month Annie becomes a teenager and all hell will likely break loose because hormones, I guess.  Will it become an issue?  Hard to say, but if they have any more shared dreams like their last one at the Mystery Hotel, Coraline might just have to sit their butts down and have another chat with them.

So what did this Gang of Four do?  Well . . .

 

They visited the Olympic Stadium and grounds; they took a cab to nearby Spandau and visited the citadel before having lunch. The took the train back towards the city and spent time at Schloss Charlottenburg, before heading over the the eastern section of the city and visiting the DDR Museum. They returned to the hotel after their visit to the two hundred and three meter high observation gallery at the Berliner Fernsehturm, mostly due to Annie telling their traveling companions Kerry and she were going to dinner that night, and they needed a nap and a chance to clean up before then.

It wasn’t until she was in the hotel car with Kerry that she told him they were returning to the Fernsehturm and the revolving restaurant the floor above the observation deck they’d visited that afternoon. It was there, for most of the evening, they dined and chatted alone for the first time since breakfast. Annie admitted that as much as she’d enjoyed hanging out with the two girls, it was quiet moments like this the cherished, and she couldn’t wait until the time they could be together all the time. Kerry agreed, and as the western section of the city came into view, they clicked their glasses of soda together in a toast to their future.

 

All these people sitting in what I presume is a somewhat nice place to eat, and here you have a couple of kids strolling past the queue and being escorted to a window table–’cause you can bet Annie used either Foundation or family connections to get a good reservation–and spending the evening eating and enjoying their company . . . really, it’s a romantic scene.

Yeah, I'd say really romantic.

Yeah, I’d say real romantic.

But now what about going home?  I got that covered, too:

 

Wednesday would prove to be a crazy day, for they would stay in Berlin until that evening, then leave the hotel near twenty-three hours for what Penny, Alex, and several other returning students, called the Midnight Mile High Madness. While they picnicked in the Grunewald forest they discussed the trip home: since they were leaving the city near midnight and returning to the school not long after two in the morning, nearly all the students dressed in their night clothes for the ride to the airport and the flight home. As Penny explained, since they were going to have everyone get on Salem time during the flight—or to use her phrase: “We adjust on the bus”—and everyone was going to be super tired by their time they reached their towers, what was the point of changing? “Best to get comfy in your PJs and make a party of the trip while we can.”

Annie and Kerry both saw the wisdom in that point of view, and saw no reason not to join in the festivities. After all, they’d looked forward to this event all summer, so they reasoned—why not make it memorable?

 

Adjust on the Bus:  truer words one can’t live by.  And as I point out . . .

 

The festivities began a little after twenty-two hours as the returning European, African, and Western Asian students gathered in the lobby with the luggage in tow. All were in their pajamas save for Shadha Kanaan—who was from Oman—who wore an abaya instead. Annie and Kerry mingled with students that had already made this trip with them. Mesha and Gavino, and Jacira were there representing Europe, as were Shauntia and Daudi, representing Africa. The trio of Western Asian girls–Shadha, Elisha, and Dariga—hung out together while making sure to chat with everyone else. Joining them were eight new C Level, and two D Levels who’d decided to fly back with everyone else because they didn’t want to spend the night and tomorrow morning in Berlin before jaunting back to the school.

The last student to come down before the instructor chaperons was Anna Laskar: as she lived in Magdeburg, Germany, the didn’t arrive at the hotel until late Tuesday afternoon, and appeared to remain in her room when she wasn’t with her Åsgårdsreia covenmates. Though she spoke with the other students, she left one with the impression that she guarded every word that left her mouth.

 

You can just imagine the stares from other people with twenty-one kids from various places around the world gathering in one spot, and being all chatty and stuff and looking like they’re enjoy all the late night activities–with no one else any the wiser that more than a few of these kids could probably blow up the lobby of the hotel with the wave of their hand.  And none of the other students know about what went on during that little side trip my kids took to Middle America back in April, which would probably have even the D Levels keeping their distance if they were aware.

But that doesn’t keep anyone from enjoying the trip out . . .

 

At twenty-two thirty Professors Semplen and Grünbach appeared—not wearing pajamas—and began marshaling the twenty-one students and their gear onto the bus that would take them to the airport. Unlike when they departed from Amsterdam, the mood aboard the bus was festive, with plenty of talking and laughing. Kerry had Annie program a short selection of songs to play on his tablet, and as they bus pulled away from the Crowne Plaza the instructors anticipated what was coming: they threw up a privacy screen between them and the students as the first notes of Aracde Fire’s Keep the Car Running filled the compartment. Everyone did their best singing, and even Kerry, who didn’t know the song, joined in on the chorus while hugging Annie tight.

Unlike the year before the bus drove onto the airport tarmac and pulled up close to a 767 parked near Tegel’s Terminal C. By this time everyone was eager to board and get underway, and it was difficult for everyone to keep their exuberance in check. Boarding went smoothly, and Annie and Kerry pretended to carry their luggage up the gangway stairs, using simple levitation spells to make it look as if they were lifting the bags from stair to stair.

 

And in case you were wondering what they were listening to as they pulled away from the hotel . . .

I don’t disappoint.

The important moment to take from this short scene is not the party atmosphere of the kids taking the bus to the airport, it’s that Kerry let Annie use his computer.  He didn’t let that sucker out of his sight in the first novel, but here he is, handing it over and letting Annie set up a music stream for everyone to jam out on as they head for their new ride.  May as well break out the engagement rings now, kids.

They get to the plane–a 767, like the one they took back to Europe after they finished their A Levels–and they sit up front like last time as well.  As they’re getting settled Annie makes an observation:

 

“I hope we’ll get this to ourselves, like the last time.” She sat and got comfortable as Kerry did the same to her right. “Did you notice the moon tonight?”

“Yeah—it’s almost full.”

“Just like when we came home.” She placed her hand in Kerry’s as the memory of gazing upon the nearly-full moon through the bay window of their room at the Sea Sprite Inn was one that wouldn’t leave either child. “I think it has an auspicious meaning.”

“I’m sure Deanna would say as much.” Kerry wondered what the school Seer would say about this coincidence, but decided now was not the time to get into that discussion.

 

Really, it’s just the luck of orbital mechanics, but the fact they returned from school on a near full moon, and now their going back on one–well, Deanna might think there’s a meaning behind that, or maybe she’d say, “Hey, moon goes ’round, kids.  That’s all it is.”  Maybe.  Maybe not.  We’ll see, I guess.

I got them around the city, I got them out so they could enjoy time together, and now they’re back on the plane.  Let’s just play the whole final section out . . .

 

They didn’t need to wait long. About ten minutes after they found their seats they heard the outside door close and lock. Less than a minute passed before the flight captain’s voice floated through the cabin. “This is your captain. The gangway has been pushed back and the main cabin door has been shut. We’ll get a push back here momentarily and should be rolling out shortly after that. Tegel Flight Control has given us priority takeoff clearance, so we should be airborne shortly. Please fasten your seat belts, sit back, and enjoy the flight.”

Kerry gave the cabin a quick examination, as if to ensure that they were the only ones here. “They aren’t wasting any time getting underway.”

“They have nothing to hide now.” Annie set her empty glass aside for the attendant to gather. “Everyone knows what awaits at the end of the flight.” She shrugged and smiled. “Why pretend?”

“True that.” The engines started up and the plane began moving slowly forward as the attendant gathered their glasses and locked the closet door where they’d stored their luggage. Kerry set his hand upon the armrest between Annie and his chairs and held her hand in his, the same as they’d done on their last flight today, and as they had when they’d departed Amsterdam on their first flight to Salem. He remembered how nervous he’d been about the flight, because flying upped his anxiety levels and made it difficult for him to relax. During takeoff from Schiphol Airport he’d reached out and held Annie’s hand more out of nervousness than affection, because of an unnatural fear of crashing. If only I’d known then what I know now. He smiled at his sweetie as he gave her hand a tender squeeze. No way would we have crashed on that flight, nor will it happen this time, either

The captain spoke to the main cabins again. “This is the captain. We are next in line for takeoff. Will all attendants please take their positions and prepare for departure. Thank you.”

Annie and Kerry sat in silence as the engines maintained the same low drone while the plane turned left, straightened, and slowed to a stop. A few seconds later the pitch of the engines dropped away to almost nothing—

Kerry knew this moment perfectly. “Here we go.” Annie held his hand tightly as the engines were throttled wide open and they began hurtling down the runway. The plane shook and vibrated as it picked up speed:  twenty seconds later the nose rose and the 767 lifted into the air.

Turning to his left as soon as the landing gear retracted and locked into place, Kerry looked out the windows to the bright lights of Berlin beyond. “Auf Wiedersehen, Berlin.” He waved with his free hand. “It was fun.”

Annie waved with her left hand, saying her goodbyes with far less formal German. “Tschau, Berlin.” She turned to Kerry. “And it was fun. The most fun I’ve had there.”

He leaned over and kissed Annie’s cheek. “I hope we can do it again.”

“We will: I promise.”

Kerry didn’t take his eyes off his soul mate. “This is it, Sweetie: we’re going home.”

Annie felt something beyond words radiate from deep within her heart, for after the discussion in their last dream she knew the true meaning of his statement. “Yes, my love—” She settled against Kerry’s shoulder. “We’re going home.”

 

That's it, Kids.  Next stop:  home.

That’s it, Kids. Next stop: home.

Next scene they should be at school–

Really . . . don’t you know me by now?

Dweud Ffarwel i Gaerdydd

No, the title of this post is not my attempt at making it look like I’m clearing my literary throat.  That’s Welsh, aka Cymraeg, and it just sounds that way.  (Really, it sounds a lot like “Kemm-iag”, which should make it easier.)  The title is Say Goodbye to Cardiff, and that’s what Kerry is doing right now:  heading through the city on his way to Berlin.

There’s some unfinished business to catch up on while they make their way through the city

You turn here, Kid, so start talkin'.

You turn here, Kid, so start talkin’.

 

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

It was only after the salon made the turn onto Newport Road and began heading into city did Kerry speak. “Are you really going to give that letter to someone?”

“I fully intend to hand this letter over to the right people.” The right side of Ms. Rutherford’s face turned upward into a slight grin. “They’ll even see to it that it’s read and documented. And, as promised, in four to six weeks your parents will receive a letter from Salem—it will even have Headmistress Laventure’s signature affixed.” She pulled out her mobile phone and spent about thirty seconds sending a message before returning it to her purse. “Nothing will change in school policy, though, so no need to worry. I would, however, suggest that whatever you said to your parents—”

“Don’t say it to them again.” Kerry nodded. “I know. It was a dumb move on my part.”

“How so?”

“Mom sort of beat up on me in her own special way—” He felt there wasn’t any need to go into details of the conversation from two weeks earlier. “I blurted out something hoping it would get her to stop, and it only made things worse.”

 

There’s a bit of an in-joke at the start of that last line, one I didn’t realize until after I’d written it and I could look back and say, “Hey, I made a funny.”  Your Own Special Way is a Genesis song found on the album Wind and Wuthering, and it was written by . . . Mike Rutherford, Ms. Berenice Rutherford’s namesake.    Yeah, in joke . . . moving along now–

 

“Am I correctly in thinking it had something to do with the—” She twisted her right hand in the from the right to left and back. “—aftermath of the vision you had in March?”

Kerry shot a sideways glance at his traveling companion. “You know about that?”

“I know about almost everything that happened to you last school year. I have to: I’m your case worker.” Ms. Rutherford pushed herself into the corner of the seat and crossed her legs. “Don’t worry, Kerry: I’m good at keeping secrets.”

“Like?”

“You really want to know?”

He shrugged. “Only if you can tell me.”

“I don’t know all the details of your life. I know the details of your actions during the Day of the Dead attack; I know about your progress throughout your classes; I know about the awards and citations you’ve received—” Her mobile beeped and she took a moment to check the message before continuing. “I know that in April Annie and you left the school late on a Thursday afternoon and you both returned the following Saturday afternoon with injuries that made it necessary for you both to spend the night in the hospital.

“The information I have is that you were on a Guardian training operation, but I’m smart enough to fill in the blanks to realize Annie and you were out on something a little more detailed than training.” She glanced over the driver’s shoulder at the road ahead. “Like I said, I know almost everything—” She chuckled as she turned back. “Just enough to be there with a helping hand when you need one.”

“Good to know.” Kerry had wondered how much of his Aware life was know to Ms. Rutherford, and her quick explanation told him everything. Not that I was worried about her knowing all the details of Kansas City, but at least I know what I can discuss with her—when that time comes. “And you’re right: it was because of the . . .” He grinned despite his best effort to keep a straight face. “Aftermath.”

Ms. Rutherford nodded once as they turned onto Glossop Road. “Do me a favor?”

Kerry knew the answer to the forthcoming question. “Don’t do that again?”

“Exactly.”

As we turn onto Glossop Road, remember Kerry:  the wet dreams you have at Salem stay at Salem.

As we turn onto Glossop Road, remember Kerry: the wet dreams you have at Salem stay at Salem.

 

We finally get conformation as to how much Ms. Rutherford knows.  It’s a lot–not as much as Helena and Erywin know, but probably on par with what the Headmistress and Isis and even Deanna and Coraline know.  Otherwise how is she gonna be his best bud when he needs her the most.  It also helps not having to explain “aftermaths” that you shouldn’t have to explain anyway.  Then again, the whole of the B Level has the “I Gotta Come Out As a Witch” line hanging over him all year, so, you know, explanations are gonna be needed at some point . . .

That’s not for another one hundred and fifty thousand words, at least, so let’s talk about the real travel plan:

 

“Don’t worry. I won’t.” He tapped a rhythm on his thighs for a few seconds as the salon turned right on to Moira Terrace. “What’s the real travel plan?”

“We arrive at the train station and then jaunt straight to Berlin Tegel. You’ll get checked into The Foundation system there, and then we’ll take a car from the airport to the hotel.” Ms. Rutherford watched the walls of Cardiff Prison go by as the car merged with Adam Street. “That should only take about twenty minutes, maybe twenty-five.”

 

Hey, Cardiff Prison:  looking good this morning!

Hey, Cardiff Prison: looking good this morning!

 

“Are you staying with us in Berlin?”

“No. Once I get you to the hotel you’re on your own and I’m on my way back to London.”

Kerry checked the road ahead. “Got it. Anything else I should know? There weren’t any details in my travel package.”

“It’s all simple: ask for the manager when you arrive at the check-in counter, tell them you’re with the SIGEL and show your ID. They’ll get you checked in without a problem.”

 

No problamo:  just walk in and flash your ID.  It’s what all the cool twelve year old kids from SIGEL are doing this year.  Oh, and one last thing–

 

“Okay.” There was another thing that wasn’t in his travel package. “Do you know what room Annie’s staying in?”

Ms. Rutherford smiled. “That information will be waiting for you in your room.”

He frowned. “You can’t tell me?”

“Kerry . . .” The car hung a left on Stryd Bute, now only a few hundred meters from the station. “Don’t you want a surprise now and then?”

You're turning in here:  the least you could do is give Kerry some nice information to lighten up a gloomy place.

You’re turning in here: the least you could do is give Kerry some nice information to lighten up a gloomy place.

Cardiff is behind Kerry and me for a while, at least until I write about Yule.

Onward to Berlin!

Tunes and Trailways

It’s a lovely morning, with the sun shining and the temps in an area where I can enjoy wearing a long skirt and a flowing top–though the Weather Channel tells me it’s only forty-two outside, but it feels a lot warmer.  I’ll stick with my feels, particularly since I’ll be inside all afternoon getting a full-on mani/pedi.

Lotsa, lotsa, lotsa writing yesterday.  There was the scene I posted yesterday, a large part of which was written in the morning from six-thirty to eight-thirty.  Then I got into Chapter Three, and started in on the first scene for that, stopping long enough to watch Orphan Black.  By the time I’d decided I’d had enough, I’d written nine-hundred and forty-five words, which given the hundred I’d written in the morning meant I’d put in a solid day of writing.

Throughout the afternoon, however, I spent time getting the kid’s song list together, which, I have to say, is fun.  It’s a bit telling in their musical tastes that of all the songs on Kerry’s list, only two of the so-far sixteen songs listed were produced after he was born, while on Annie’s list all of the songs were produced after she was born, with the oldest song on her lift coming when she was two years old.  Kerry’s is a conglomeration of old prog and soft rock/pop, while Annie goes for Pop Princess/Indie Queen feel.  And, as always, listening to her stuff introduces me to a lot of different music, and it’s only a matter of time before I see if she’d like a few artists I’ve never normally given a listen.

Needless to say, this has also got my mind going on the events that are going to happen during the B Level Samhain Dance.  I’ve already received some suggestions about costumes–fun ones, I should mention–but there is one song in particular that I can see being asks for, and if I go in that direction–and trust me, I likely will–Annie is gonna break loose and bust some Dark Witch moves.  Just running the images for the scene through my head last night, put a huge smile on my face.

That’s me:  always thinking of different ways to make life fun for my kids when I’m not putting them through hell.

The first of three scenes has started, and I’m probably closer to the end of it than I am the beginning.  It’s 27 August, 2012, and that’s Travel Day for all the kids at Salem.  We know how Annie travels:  we saw it in the first scene of the last novel.  And Kerry sort of travels the same way now that he knows about witches and magic and jaunting.  However, his folks aren’t hip to that yet, so there’s a bit of the ol’ smoke and mirrors going on . . .

 

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

When the doorbell rang, Kerry didn’t need to check the time: his travel package said Ms. Rutherford would arrive at seven-twenty to take him to the train station, and his case worker was extremely punctual. He checked the clock in the lounge as he headed for the front door: it was seven-twenty.

Ms. Rutherford stood in the frame of the open outer door. She was young black woman dressed in gray business skirt and jacket, a cream colored blouse, and matching gray wedges. Slung over her right shoulder was the large tan purse she carried everywhere—one big enough to hold a tablet, mobile, and just about anything else The Foundation might give her depending upon whatever she might need that she couldn’t handle with her magic. “Good morning, Kerry.”

“Good morning, Ms. Rutherford.” He stepped back and to the side. “Please, come in.”

“Thank you, Kerry.” She entered the house and walked into the lounge with Kerry following. She stopped in the middle of the lounge to greet his parents. “Good morning, Mr. Malibey; Mrs. Malibey.”

Davyn and Louise stood in the arch separating the dinning room from the front lounge. Both were dressed for work, with Louise being a little more casual as she wasn’t in a management position like her husband. Davyn nodded. “Good morning, Ms. Rutherford.”

Louise smiled and nodded as well. “Good morning, Ms. Rutherford. You look wide awake for someone up this early.”

“I could say the same for you, Mrs. Malibey. I haven’t been up that long: I came into Cardiff last night and spent the night downtown.” She turned to Kerry for a moment, then back to his parents. “I knew we’d have a long day ahead of us, and I didn’t want to get held up coming in from London.”

“Kerry’s been up early as well.” Louise turned towards her son for a moment. “He was up before five getting ready.”

He looked up at Ms. Rutherford standing to his right. “I gotta get back on Salem time, don’t I?”

“Indeed you do.” She addressed his parent. “They start the day early at school. Most of the students are up around five preparing for the day ahead.”

 

Yeah, get ready for that day, Kerry.  Even though you won’t set foot in your new room, for four days, you’re back on the time you know you’re gonna have to work for nine months.  I should say, back on the schedule–you won’t be back on Boston time for a few more days.

There is small talk among Ms. Rutherford and Davyn and Louise, and that brings us to Kerry’s actual departure–

 

He stood in the entry to the lounge, his roll-on bag at his side and wearing his backpack. “Yeah, all set here.” Kerry gazed across the room to where his parents were standing together. “Well, I’m, uh, off, I guess.” He stood waiting to see if they would do anything.

His father dropped his sight for a second as he cleared his throat. “Have a good trip, Son.”

His mother’s headed half-nodded, half-jerked, as if she were having difficulty knowing what to do. “Have fun at school, Kerry. And lets us know when you get there.”

“I will, Mom.” He kept his face unmoving and expressionless. “I’ll send you an email when I get into my dorm.”

“Good. Then I guess we’ll see you when you come home for Christmas.”

He cleared his throat. “Yeah, I’ll see you then.” He waved slowly. “Take care, guys. Bye.” Kerry turned and headed for the front door. Once out on the walk he was vaguely aware that Ms. Rutherford was right beside him; out of the corner of his vision he saw her make a hand motion at the black salon with the tinted window parked at the end of the walkway, and the lid to the trunk popped opened. As they reached the car he saw Ms Rutherford get in on the driver’s side: Kerry placed his luggage inside the trunk and headed for the rear passenger side as the lid closed automatically. Seconds later he was inside, sitting comfortably with his backpack between his legs. As soon as the rear lid locked the driver put the car in gear and drove away.

Kerry didn’t bother looking back.

 

When I say Kerry suffers from a fear of abandonment, that all comes out of the lack of affection coming from both parents.  Maybe they’re afraid to give hugs to their only child in front of a stranger, but still:  that ending is cold, way the hell Queen Elsa of Frozen cold.  Annie is going to tell Kerry something later in this school year, and though it will take him some time to comprehend, when the time come he’ll take it to heart and never let it go.

We are here with this mess:

Eighteen thousand is looking pretty good at the moment.

Eighteen thousand is looking pretty good at the moment.

After two weeks I’m close to twenty thousand words, which I might pass tonight.  By this time next week I will for sure out of Part One and into Part Two, and the kids will finally be “home”.

And then I’ll see what fresh hell I can unleash upon them.

Along the Scenic Dreamways

Trying morning today because stupid computer is being a pain in the butt, but I may have tamed the beast.  Maybe.  I’ll find out in a bit, I guess, but it’s likely it’ll keep frustrating me for another hour or so.

This was so unlike yesterday, which was nice and sunny and warranted getting out of the apartment and doing a little shopping.  The shopping part sucked a lot when it came to finding shoes, as none of these damn stores carry anything in an woman’s 11 wide, so I’m pretty much wasting my time going in there to look.  Note to DSW:  you lost out on about a hundred dollars of sales yesterday because you continue to think everyone has a narrow foot.  Get with the times, loser.

But the trip out to Lancaster was fantastic, and it was the first time in a long time I was flying down the road with the windows down–

And I actually had hair for the wind to blow through.

And I actually had hair for the wind to blow through.

'It's a town full of losers, I'm pulling out of here to win."  Now all I gotta do is find my Mary.

‘It’s a town full of losers, I’m pulling out of here to win.” Now all I gotta do is find my Mary.

I should point out that those pictures above were taken with a mobile phone while I was traveling  at 70 mph/110 kph, while traveling in a straight line with no one near me.  Don’t try that at home, kids, unless you’re professional.  Like me.

I also managed to catch the first episode of Season 3 of Orphan Black, which was amazing as always, and made me feel sad for some of the seestras.  Why do they torture my poor clone girls?  Oh, wait:  I do that to my characters, too.

Speaking of which . . . I wrote.  I ended up producing fifteen hundred and fifty words, and finished the dream scene I’d started the other day.  Remember how I said I’d likely end up with ten thousand words written after the first week?

Yes, I believe I said I'd do that.

Yes, I believe I said I’d do that.

I believe I left my kids in a hotel room in dreamland, and . . . well, let’s see what happened next.

 

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

“Obviously.” Annie swung her legs to the floor, stood, and made her way to the red curtains on Kerry’s side of the room. She spread the curtains, exposing the balcony beyond the closed French doors. “Look out here.” She opened the doors and stepped out on to the open space beyond the bedroom.

The balcony was large enough for two people to sit close using one of the small chairs set in the far corners. The space between allowed that same couple to stand close together—something that Annie and Kerry were used to doing. The both leaned upon the railing and examined their surroundings.

They were on the second floor of their hotel; there was another floor above them. Their balcony overlooked a large, enclosed courtyard mostly covered in shadow at the moment. The courtyard was empty, as were all the remaining balconies for the other rooms. All of the balcony doors were closed and the curtains drawn.

They were the only ones here; the only ones present within their private universe.

 

Most of the time they are alone, but like a lot of dreams, they also get instances where they are in a crowd with other people.  Not this time, however.  And there’s something else–

 

Annie looked up to the cloudless, slate gray sky. “This feels like we’re in Europe.”

“I think so, too.” Kerry laid his hand over Annie’s. “It’s the way this place looks. It doesn’t seem like it’s in England, though—” He looked to the girl at his left. “Probably mainland.”

“I agree.” She twisted her right hand around and grasped Kerry’s. “It’s lovely, wherever we are.”

“It does feel like a real place—” He smiled. “Doesn’t it?”

“It does. It also feels—”

“Like it’s not a real dream?”

“Yes.”

Kerry searched his memory for any mention of instances where more than one person shared a dream vision. The books he’d read all thought his A Levels were thorough, but given that after his own experiences with dream visions, he’d gone over those chapters again before returning the books to the library . . .

He looked around as he sighed. “This is not happened before.” He looked over his shoulder into the room. “But you’re right: it feels more like something that’s going to happen to us instead of the last couple of dreams.”

Annie turned around, leaning against the railing as she peered into the room. “We should leave the room and see if there’s anything there.”

 

We know they’ve had the same vision, but they weren’t in it together at the same time–which may have been a bit strange if they had, and . . . we won’t go there.  Oh, and as an aside:  one day I will explain what Kerry’s first vision means, and why they had the same vision months apart.  Because I always figure those things out.

Eventually they leave the room, but what they find isn’t what they expect . . .

 

“Thank you.” She headed straight for the door with Kerry close behind. She designed an image in her mind of walking through the door and out onto the south deck of her lake house, a place Kerry had yet to see in their dreams. She opened the door, but rather than finding a hallway—or the deck she visualized—there was a sunny, tree-lined yard beyond. She stepped through the door and into the yard, walking about four meters before she stopped to examined their surroundings. “This was not what I wanted—or what I expected.”

Kerry began walking around in circles, looking at everything. “What did you want?”

“The deck of my lake house.”

“I don’t see a lake—” He pointed from where they’d just entered this area. “—and given what you’ve told me, I don’t think this is your house.”

Annie turned and gave a slight gasp when she saw the house. “No, it’s not, but . . . I know this place.” She turned to Kerry. “It’s my grandparent’s house in France.”

Kerry well remembered Annie describing her time this house, located outside the town of Pocancy, in the Champagne region. She’d told him about her time there during a lull in their Guardian field operation, as well as telling him of another dream of hers . . . “This is pretty nice. I like the yard.”

“I love having trees around a house.” She did a slow pirouette, taking in the grounds. “I haven’t thought about this in some time.”

 

Some of us remember the discussion about the house in France, which sort of morphed into a discussion about Annie wanting to live there one day–and not by herself.  As they walk through their dreamscape out to the dreamroad, the conversation turns back to that discussion, and the implications of what it means, and Kerry has to state the obvious . . .

 

Kerry noticed the use of the plural right away. “So this is where our house will be after we marry?”

Annie glanced out of the corner of her eye. “No: this is where we’ll make our home.” They stopped a couple of meters short of the road, with the gray, sunless sky beaming down on them. “Do you remember what else I said to you when we were on our field operation?”

There were a number of things Kerry recalled discussing while they were in Kansas City, but given their location, and Annie’s references, it wasn’t difficult to understand what she wanted him to remember. “What we talked about in our dream.”

“Yes. What we discussed outside your house in California.” She turned to him, never letting go of his hand. “You’ve lived in two houses, but you’ve never had a home.” She glanced at the ground for a moment. “That’s not completely true: you’ve had one near home—”

He was curious about this last statement. “Where?”

 

Yeah, where Annie?

 

“At the school—at Salem.” She slipped closer. “Do you know why? Because there you find love.” Annie held Kerry’s hand tight. “There is Vicky and Wednesday; there is Deanna and Coraline; there is Erywin and Helena.” She pressed herself against Kerry. “And I am there, above them all: your soul mate, the one who loves you most.

“I told you in our dream that a home is made of love, which is why you’ve never had a home. You have lived in California and you live in Cardiff, and while you have had some love in your live, you’ve never found in where you live. Your parents say they love you, but they don’t show it, they don’t offer the affection you require.

“I know this because I’ve been with you almost as long as they, and I know your wants, your dreams, your desires.” She kissed him, holding it for what seemed like forever. “We will marry—” Annie pressed her fingers against Kerry’s lips. “I know we are not supposed to speak of this, but here we are allowed to dream, are we not?

“We will marry, and we have a home. Maybe here, maybe in America, maybe in Bulgaria. I don’t care, as long as we are together. We will make that our home, because we will find love there. And we will say that to each other, every day, as I said I would do to you—and as I know you do for me.” She told both of his hands in hers and pressed them between their bodies. “Even when I can’t hear the words, I know you say them.”

He nodded slowly. “Every morning, and every evening. From now—”

“—Until the day you die?”

Kerry took a slight breath, ready to say the truth he’d held inside for many months now. “Until the day one of us dies.” He pressed his head against her shoulder. “That’s my promise.”

Annie held him against her. “I’ll hold you to that, love.”

 

Annie is not scared that talking about The Big M might be jinxing them in some way.  She doesn’t care;  she’s twelve, she’s a witch, she’s a hell of a sorceress who’s already racked up a body count, and she wants to give Kerry the love and affection tell him his parent are incapable of giving.  It’s likely she understands this last because she’s heard Kerry speak of it enough that it’s become as much a part of here as it is him.

And Kerry is right there, promising to tell his Sweetie that he loves her every day . . . until one of them die.  Yeah, a few people are going to read that line and say, “That could be tomorrow!” and start clutching pearls.  He’s also twelve, just a quarter year into that age, hanging out in a dream with a girl he’s known most of his life, and while he admitted last year that it’s possible they could die at any time, he’s now pushing that thought aside.  After all, Kerry’s been in the “I’ve cheated death” position three time in the last year, so he’s also developing that feeling kids his age get where they think nothing is going to happen to them.

Besides, His Dark Witch is gonna teach him to get those Morte spells up to speed while he teaches her to be a shapeshifter.  These kids got life by the ass right now–

Then again, if anyone believes that, they’re likely in the market to buy a bridge.

Talking on the Town

There is this thing called “Real Life” that gets in the way of what writers do for either a living or for free.  That was pretty much me yesterday, as I spent most of my time out on the road until about seven PM, at which point I was completely out of it in terms of having creative juice left to stir.

First off, I walked into work in a pair of shoes I shouldn’t have.  This means I was in pain by the time I got there, because of really large blisters on my heels.  Which I popped at work, which came back as I walked home.  Which means by the time I treated them at the apartment before heading off for my appointment means I was in a lot of pain and having trouble walking.  Like I am this morning.  They’re sort and tender and . . . yeah, you get the idea.

But I have good news on the medical front.  My prolactin count has peaked–that’s one of the new hormones I’ve got stored inside my body–so no need for an MRI, my blood pressure was down about twenty points, and “the girls”, as the doctor calls them, are still growing and firming up nicely.  It’s good news all around.

The drive out to see my doctor is long; the drive back, longer.  Which means by the time I reached The Burg I was pretty burned out as far as getting anything done was concerned, and I didn’t get into the novel until after eight PM.  Closer to eight-thirty, actually.  I didn’t feel much like writing, but I wanted to keep going as I’ve been going because, well, writing.  You want to get back into that grove, that rhythm, that pops up when you’re starting a project.  You get to writing, not making excusing.

I managed a little over five hundred and eighty words, and here they are:  my kids back together again.

 

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

After lunch the urge existed to find things to do, but as Annie said, “We have plenty of time in the future to sightsee—I’d rather be with you.” That was what happened: they left the Pret a Manger and headed to Russell Square park and wandered about there for a while before returning to the tube station and taking the Underground to Lancaster Gate, across Bayswater Road from Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens.

They headed over to the Kensington Gardens side of the park and walked hand-in-hand. They walked south past the Italian Gardens and along the west side of the Long Water. They stopped at the Peter Pan statue and lingered there for close to twenty minute nearly alone. The cool, rainy weather kept people indoors, and there were few pedestrians to cast wondering glances at the young couple walking close together, their hands intertwined.

They deviated for the lake’s shore and headed inland, standing for a while inside the Queen’s Temple when a light rain began to fall. Kerry finally chose this moment to ask Annie about how she ended up coming to London for Lunch.

“She visited Sunday.” Annie leaned against the wall catty-corner from where Kerry stood. “My mother and her spoke for about two hours while I was out at the Lake House; Helena made a point of insisting they speak alone.” She set her hands behind her back and shook her head. “I should have realized she was planning something.”

“I watched your dad race Sunday.” Kerry had streamed the British Grand Prix from Silverstone that day.

“Yes, he came in fifth. I watched it later after he returned home.”

Kerry couldn’t imagine Annie sitting with her father watching a race, but he had no reason to believe she’d lie. “You think your mom and Helena were talking about lunch the other day?”

“I’m not sure. Mama said they talked about what I’ve done in sorcery and some of the thing Helena planed for our B Level, but that was probably just a small part of what they discussed.”

Kerry thought that was likely true as well. He couldn’t see why Helena would discuss sorcery with Annie’s mother and not have her present as well; it was completely unlike her. “I take it she showed up today?”

“Yes, right after lunch. She spoke with my mother for a few minutes, then came up to my room and said she was taking me to lunch, and told me I didn’t need to change my clothes, because where we were going the weather was similar, and that she’d return later.” She repositioned her hands before her. “So I only nibbled until she returned.”

He nodded. “Was your dad there?”

“Yes, he was.” Annie grinned. “He knows Helena by reputation, and was cordial to her. I think having three sorceresses in the house made him nervous.”

He almost laughed thinking about her father—whom he’d never met—trying to remain casual while Helena and Annie’s mother chatted before Annie joined them. He has to know just how great a sorceress she is by now. “Hope he wasn’t too scared.”

She looked down at the ground for a moment. “He survived the experience.” Annie reached out and took Kerry’s hand. “It’s turned to mist; I want to walk.” He followed, a large grin stretched across his face, as he loved walking in cool mist as well.

And he liked it even better walking along with Annie.

 

I should mention that I also spent about half an hour looking though Google Maps and checking out Underground routes just to get those first three paragraphs right.  I could have spent less time, I admit, but I was tired, and it was a nice diversion to keep the mind semi-sharp.  And I like maps.

And I snapped this right before I went to bed.  Resting Bitch Face is all you can muster after a long day.

And I snapped this right before I went to bed. Resting Bitch Face is all you can muster after a long day and you’re not wearing makeup.

What will today be like?  I’ll find out soon enough.

So will my kids.

The Quey to the Square

As a beginning writing weekend, it’s been pretty successful.  I finished the scene I started in yesterday’s blog post, and wrote, and finished, the one that followed.  I ended up writing a little over sixteen hundred words, and the novel is about five thousand words into the first chapter.  One more scene and Chapter One is done and I move onto Chapter Two.

So I pick up where I left off, where Erywin asks . . .

 

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

The chuckle returned. “A good witch never reveals her sources.” She cleared her throat as she took a step back. “Speaking of your better half, how is Annie?”

A moment passed as Kerry’s thoughts turned to his soul mate. “She’s good.”

“I take it that item you have to post is for her?”

“Yeah.”

“How often are you exchanging letters?” Erywin was aware from discussions before the end of the last school year that Annie didn’t have immediate access to a computer or phone.

“I’m writing two, three letters a week.”

“Writing, or—?”

“Writing.” He made a motion with his left hand, as if he were holding a pen and jotting something down. “Just like she asked.”

“That must be quite the task for someone who was used to doing everything on a computer.”

“At first it was, now . . .” He shrugged. “Not so bad.”

“Good to hear.” There was one question that Erywin had wanted to ask the moment she met Kerry, but could do so in front of his month. “Have you seen each other in your dreamspace since the holiday started?”

He nodded. “A little over a week after we got home we had dream time together. Annie said something about how she was trying to dreamwalk me—she’d read about it and wanted to try making it happen—”

“That sounds like something one of you would try.”

“She wasn’t certain if it was a dream walk, or if we were dreaming together like we did in Kansas City.” Kerry smiled. “It was—nice. Being with her is always nice.”

She didn’t need to ask how nice: Erywin saw the experience written all over Kerry’s mooning face. “Is that the only time it’s happened?”

 

Yeah, being in a dream with Annie is . . . nice.  And Erywin asks if this is the only time if they meet in dreams, and Kerry confirms this.  Is he doing something that’s keeping them apart, since they used to do this automatically all the time, and now–nada.  Maybe their favorite Seer can help there.

But Kerry goes on a little further in his discussion of summer with Erywin, and that’s when he comes to this:

 

“I suppose.” There were times when Kerry didn’t know if he would make it, however. He wasn’t about to tell Erywin of the moments when he grew sad and depressed over Annie’s non-presence. “It’s just—”

“Yes?”

“She was always there at the school. I saw her first thing in the morning, and she was the last thing I saw at night.” He let his gaze drop towards the ground once again. “The morning after I arrived home I came out of my room and half-expected here to be standing outside my door waiting to go to breakfast. It took a couple of more days before I realized I wasn’t going to see her again for three months.” He sighed. “The first Monday I cried for about ten minutes because I was eating lunch alone, and there was no one to talk to.” When he looked up and turned his face towards Erywin, his eyes were misting over with tears. “I miss her more than anything, Erywin. Even all the stuff I told you I miss? It’s nothing compared to her.”

“I’ve been there, Kerry.” She gave his shoulder another squeeze. “I was there for most of my school summers when I was dating Helena, and there were a few moments after we left school where I wondered when I would see her again.” She slipped her arm around her young friend and gave him a hug.

Kerry turned and hugged her back. “Does it ever get better?”

“No.” Erywin released him. “But you get better at dealing with the sadness. And who knows? By this time next year you both might be dreamwalkers.” The mobile in her purse beeped. “I think that’s my pretty girl.” She checked the display. “Yes. She’s finished up and ready for us.”

 

Make no mistakes:  Kerry missing Annie terribly.  Before Salem he took being alone in stride, and figured that he’d see Annie at some point in his dreams.  Now he doesn’t even have the dreams, and he’s feeling the loneliness.  He wants Annie by him, but he can’t have that.  Ergo, this summer really sucks.

And then it comes time to leave–Helena sends a message saying she’d finished–and Kerry asks if they’re going to eat at nearby Mermaid Quey, which is pronounced “key”, which is how you say today’s titles, “The Key to the Square.”  I’m sure some of your knew that, but now there is full disclosure.

Anyway, they jaunt off–

 

The moment they completed their teleportation Kerry suspected they weren’t in Cardiff. The weather felt the same, and the park where they appeared could have been any number of parks in and around his home city. Still, something felt off . . .

He looked down and immediately realized the difference. “It’s rained here.”

Erywin released his hand. “You are clever, you know that?”

“So I’ve been told.” He slowly dropped the light bending spell, allowing them to reappear as they stepped out of a small collection of trees. Erywin got her bearings. “This way.” She turned to her left and began walking; Kerry was alongside in seconds.

They emerged from the park and stepped out into a busy intersection. A prominent sign on the opposite side of the intersection told him their location. “We’re in London.” He pointed at the sign. “We’re close to an Underground station.” He turned around and saw the name of the park they’d just left. “Russell Square?”

They began crossing the street. “You know this place?”

“This is where Annie and I came for lunch when we had our free day before going to Amsterdam last year.” He smiled as he looked around. “We didn’t get down to this section, though, but—” He pointed to her right down Bernard Street as they crossed. “I believe the station is down that way.”

“Which is a coincidence—” Erywin turned right the moment she set foot upon the sidewalk. “That’s where we’re headed.”

They didn’t speak as they walked eastward down the street. As they approached the end of the block Kerry spotted another familiar figure: Salem’s Mistress of All Things Dark, Helena Lovecraft, the school’s Head Sorceress. Kerry was a little taken back, because of what Helena wore: a light blue tee shirt, jeans, and sneakers. If it wasn’t for the addition of her ever-present long leather jacket, Kerry might not have recognized the instructor.

He waved as they grew closer. “Hi, Helena.”

“Hello, Kerry; welcome back, Darling.” She took a moment to give her partner a kiss before stepping over to Kerry’s right side as they continued walking slowly. “Erywin been keeping you company?”

“Yeah, we been having a nice chat.” He looked down and across the street. “There’s the tube station.”

Erywin turned her head so she could see Helena. “Kerry informed me that he’s been to Russell Square before.”

Helena turned to Kerry. “Is that so?”

“Yeah. When Annie and I were doing our walking tour of London last year, we stopped here for lunch.”

“Oh? Where?”

“At a Pret a Manger.” Kerry stopped and took in the street, remembering that moment almost a year earlier when Annie and he were allowed to leave the hotel where they were staying, and she showed him around the city. “It was right across from the tube station, so if it’s there—” He turned to his left towards Helena. “—then the restaurant is right behind—”

Helena took a single step to her left, giving Kerry an unobstructed view of the Pret a Manger behind her—

Annie sat alone inside the restaurant at a table next to the window. As her eyes met Kerry’s, a smile etched across her face as she raised her right hand and waved.

Kerry froze, unable to react. He finally turned back towards the two women who were now standing side-by-side. Helena took Erywin’s hand. “As clueless as ever.”

Kerry finally found his voice. “You guys—”

“I told you mother I was taking you to lunch—” Erywin leaned into Helena. “I didn’t say you were dining with us.”

Kerry threw his arms around both women and hugged them. “Thank you.”

They hugged them back. “I got your number from Ms. Rutherford—” Helena stepped back as soon as they finished the hug. “I’ll message you when we’re ready to met up again. Until then, you’re both on your own.”

“Okay.”

Helena nodded towards the restaurant—and the waiting girl—behind him. “You better get going; she’s been waiting almost five minutes.”

Kerry didn’t offer his goodbyes: he nodded, then turned and hurried into the Pret a Manger. The moment he was inside, Annie was out of her chair and standing with open arms next to the table. He rushed into her embrace and lost himself in her long, gentle, loving kiss.

 

As the scene was just over seven hundred words, I presented it all, because, well, it’s a nice scene.  And I’ve had the image of Annie sitting alone, waiting for Kerry, for some time now.

Though I doubt she's begun working on her wine drinking yet.

Though I doubt she’s begun working on her wine drinking just yet.

When I wrote the line about Annie sitting and waiving at Kerry, I began getting weepy, because it’s a lovely image.  I’ve missed something like that in my life for a long time, and, well, I wanted my kids to have this time together.  They deserve their happiness.

As we all do.