The post title says it all: it’s a quick update of what’s going on but… you’re getting more than that this morning. Oh, yeah: a lot more–
The post title says it all: it’s a quick update of what’s going on but… you’re getting more than that this morning. Oh, yeah: a lot more–
Crazy things happening, yo. One of the things I started doing the last couple of days is putting some song lists together of tunes I listen to on YouTube. Part of this is so I can have something to listen to as I’m walking to and from work–yes, I’m like all the other girls now with my earbuds walking to my own soundtrack–but then I thought, “Hey, you know: I have a lot of music in my novels: A lot of it,” and since I am a bit scatterbrained at times I figured it might not be a bad idea to put them all together so I can jam out on them from time to time.
Therefore, if you are interested, I have compiled all the songs that I can think of that put in an appearance in the story so far, and–SPOILERS!–this includes songs that haven’t yet appeared. They are also in chronological order, with Zoo Station–the song Vicky and Kerry flew to during his broom checkout–being first. And as you’ll see there are just over two dozen songs, with may more to come in time.
And in case anyone is wondering I also have a song list for everything that Kerry plays during Ostara, but that list is private as it has every song he plays so neener neener, you can’t have all my secrets.
With music out of the way let’s get on to the quick history lesson.
Kerry created a dream version of a place he knew outside of San Francisco: Battery Spencer.
Naturally Annie–who living in the mountains thousands of kilometers away–asks the question most people would ask:
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
Annie looked around just a bit puzzled. “What’s that?”
“This.” Kerry stomped his bare foot on the dirty concrete. “This. This used to be part of the defense of San Francisco.” He sat on the edge of the low structure, his feet almost touching the ground. He looked at Annie as she joined him. “Back over a hundred years ago they had all these guns in place around the Golden Gate—” He pointed towards the water in front of them. “—that’s the straight there—they were here to keep out enemy ships that might try to sail in and attach the city and ports. There used to be couple of big guns here, a few more down the coast—” Kerry waved his arm to his right. “—and a bunch of them over on the south side.”
“I had no idea.” Since Annie had spent her entire life living in the mountains she couldn’t imagine living in an area where these defenses existed. “Where are they now?
The guns, I mean.”
“Scrapped. All this stuff was obsolete by the 1920s because everyone was building huge war ships and aircraft carries. They pulled the guns out of here in 1942, melted them down, and used them for other things. There’s only one gun left over on the other side by the Presidio. It’s just used for demonstrations.”
“Interesting.” She loved how animated Kerry had grown talking about something that she’s never heard him mention in all the time they’d been together. He’s proud he was able to create all this; it’s likely this place was important to him. “What’s the Presidio?”
Kerry began rocking back and for as if he were anxious to do something. “It used to be a military base that was supposed to defend the city. It was shut down a while back and the buildings sold for development. The Disney people bought one of the buildings—” He stared at the bridge with a wistful look upon his face. “That’s where my parents used to work.”
“At this Presidio?”
“Yeah. That’s where ILM has their offices.” His chuckled was almost unheard. “That’s where the Yoda statue is.” Kerry finally looked at Annie. “I had my picture taken in front of it when I was six.” He grew quiet as he turned back towards the bridge.
First, the defenses. Like Kerry said, back in the extremely late 1800–mostly in 1895–a whole lot of gun emplacements were set up overlooking the Golden Gate, the entrance to San Francisco harbor. There were, for the most part, 10 inch guns set up on platforms that allowed them to drop down for loading, then pop up for shooting. There were at least two guns at Battery Spencer, and at least a half dozen more spread down the Marion Highlands, including two that were buried inside a hill.
On the southern approach there were even more, with a few going as far down the south coast as to be almost outside of the city limit. The idea was that any enemy ships that tried getting into the harbor was gonna get blasted to hell and gone before the got too close.
By the way, Battery Chamberlain, seen in the picture above, is that “one guy left” that Kerry mentions, and there are demonstrations these days showing people how it worked.
Not only did the Golden Gate have guns, but there were hardened forts as well. There was Fort Point which was, um, on the point right there where the straight narrows, and is more well known as that building the Golden Gate Bridge goes over–
And further inside the harbor was Fort Alcatraz, which is known these days as that prison that no one could escape. These places were chock full o’ guns as well and ready to blast any bad guys who made it past the outer defenses.
Overseeing this all was the Presidio, the military installation tasked with overseeing to the protection of the city. It was put in place originally by the Spanish in 1776 and was inactivated as a military base in 1994, which made it one of the oldest active military bases in this country. It’s all parkland these days and is open to any and all.
As Kerry also pointed out, the Presidio is where his parents used to work as Industrial Light and Magic–their former employee–has their offices on the old base. On the picture above ILM occupies a few buildings in the group of four at the very right center. And in the courtyard of one of those buildings–the one at the bottom of the group–is the Yoda Fountain, where Kerry was photographed standing in front of the grumpy old puppet.
Yeah, Kerry has a lot of memories of this area and Annie prods him a little to talk–
Annie rested her hand over his. “When were you here last?”
He didn’t need any time to consider the answer. “Like the middle of June after my seventh birthday. My parents were working and my grandmother didn’t want to do a lot of walking, so it was just my grandfather and me. He brought me up here, then we went to the Nike base down the ways, and before we went home we actually walked out on the bridge.”
“You did?” Annie grew a little excited. While she’d crossed many river bridges in Europe she’s never stood on a structure as huge as the Golden Gate Bridge. “How far out did you walk?”
“Out to about a hundred or so meters beyond the north tower.” Kerry held his arm next to Annie’s face and sighted down it towards the spot he remembered. “Right about there.”
“That had to be exciting.” Remembering what Kerry was like then—the intelligent boy who only saw a certain Chestnut Girl in his dreams once in a while but knew her presence meant he had someone with whom he could talk for what seemed like most of a day—she imagined he felt a combination of exhilaration and fear as he walked out on the bridge. “What was it like?”
“Windy.” He laughed. “And chilly, but you dress for that around here. I remember how far down the water seemed: like eighty meters or so.” He glanced at Annie. “Not so far these days, huh?”
She gave him a slow shrug. “It is if you fall.”
“And what is this Nike base you mentioned?”
Yeah, what is that Kike base you mentioned. Well, I’ll mention that tomorrow–along with a dirty little secret Kerry figured out about Annie. Will it change his perception of Annie? Ummm, probably not, but he’ll have fun pointing it out.
The state of the state of my condition is probably on the plate first thing this morning. Last night was phone bank time and I was there for about ninety minutes. I wasn’t feeling that well, however: I was in a real funk of sorts likely due to the fact I’m at the bottom of my hormone cycle and I need my shot bad.
However, I did meet someone interesting:
Yes, I have women from fictional TV series sitting next to me. And given that this woman’s hair was the same shade of white with blue streaks as won by Tuppence Middleton in Sense8, I’ll have to say I was either hallucinating or she’s a real person. Or maybe she was like a huge fan. I’ll never know.
The excerpt I’m presenting to day marks the point in the novel where I finally passed twenty-thousand words. Last night I actually passed twenty-one thousand and tonight I’ll shoot for twenty-two because my research is over and I should be able to simply write. If I can get my fingers to work right, ’cause last night they were all over the place. Much better this morning, but when I’m tired, man, forgetaboutit. Those digits have a mind of their own.
Now, about that excerpt… Kerry wanted to show Annie something. Shall we see what that is? Yes, we shall.
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
Annie took his hand and slipped off the bed with him. “Are we going somewhere?”
He nodded. “I hope so. Just give me a few seconds—”
The bedroom faded out as everything around Annie turned to gray. She was suddenly off her feet and flying as Kerry, still holding her hand, moved them out of her personal dreamspace and headed for their shared space, traveling up the dream corridor at a rapid pace.
The second they popped into the floating gray and pink mist that was their shared dreamspace the clouds of astral dream mater began moving and solidifying. Concrete formed under Annie’s bare feet while she threw up her left hand to shield her eyes from the a bright spot glowing somewhere above and slightly to her left. The mist turned to brown dirt and light outcroppings of green, but what was happening in the distance that drew her attention…
Beyond where they stood a broad expanse of water formed and stretched off to her left and right, vanishing into fog that may or may be deliberate. Land appeared directly across from them, though Annie estimated it was maybe two kilometers away, and more land extended off to the right as thick cluster of buildings appeared.
What was impossible to ignore was the structure that solidified to Annie’s left: a huge orange suspension bridge that spanned the water and joined the shoreline opposite them. She didn’t have to ask Kerry the name of the bridge as it was one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world, and it told Annie most of what she needed to know about where they were.
With the scenery locking into place Kerry threw his hands out to the side and looked up smiling. “I did it.” He spun to face Annie, not seeming to mind or care that he was still barefoot and in his pajamas. “I didn’t know if I’d get it to come out this well.”
She smiled back before giggling. “You have been working on your lucid dreaming.”
“Every chance I get.” He did a slow three-sixty turn. “Wow.”
Annie wrapped her arms around his torso. “You brought me to San Francisco.”
“Actually—” He pointed at the land across the straight. “That’s San Francisco on the south side of the Golden Gate. This is the Marion Headlands: we’re on the north side.”
“Is this near where you used to live?”
“Close: it’s about twenty-five kilometers away by car.”
“I see.” She pulled away and examined where they stood, noticing for the first time it was some kind of structure. “And what is this?”
Kerry took a step back and threw wide his arms. “Welcome to Battery Spencer.”
Try as he might, when it comes to things Kerry remembers fondly he keeps returning to his time near the bay. And this time he’s dreaming up something called Battery Spencer. And what’s that?
I’m not going into detail on this right now because that comes in the next excerpt, but needless to say this is where I was doing some of my research for the last few days. You’re gonna get a little history lesson for the San Fran area–
Oh, and if you wanna see what Annie’s seeing near the of the excerpt, it’s a little like this:
If you’re going to San Francisco be sure to bring your girlfriend in your dreams…
Since getting my new phone I’ve been using it every day at work to listen to music. Streaming music over my laptop was something I did regularly at my last two jobs and it was something I missed one I started working in PA because YouTube and a lot of other streaming sights are blocked. However their guest wifi isn’t, and once I’m in da house I have the phone going. I also have a USB charger so my phone doesn’t drain out and die.
But the last few days I’ve turned on my data stream and listened to music while first walking back from work, and yesterday walking to work. Once I hit the edge of Capitol Park I thought, “I need a song that will show me how long it takes to walk from here,” and wouldn’t you know, there are seventeen minutes songs from my past that will tell me exactly how long it takes to walk.
That’s why Dogs by Pink Floyd was my morning walk soundtrack on the way to work yesterday. And needless to say it’s a lot of fun imagining things while I blocked out the world and existed in my own little cocoon of sound.
Actually, I’ve also taken to keeping my phone on and the earbuds in when I’m walking about the office these days. Since no one speaks to me anyway, why not?
Speaking of speaking–
There was something else that I thought about during the creation of this scene. And it came about because of something Annie did. Something she always does if you try to wake her…
(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)
“I’m nowhere near as good as you—” He brushed her hair away from the left side of her face. “But by the time we returned to school we should be able to do this a couple of times a week.”
“That will be fantastic.” Annie gave Kerry a long, loving kiss. “Soon we’ll never be apart.”
“Well—” He chuckled. “At some point you’ll get tired of seeing me all the time.”
“Maybe a hundred years from now.” She closed her eyes as Kerry kissed her for what seemed like a long time before breaking. “Maybe.”
“We’ll see.” He looked to his left and right. “So this is your bed.”
Now that we totally know the kids are going to be spending all the time together:
Oi, you two.
And yes, Kerry: this is her bed. How’s it look?
“It is.” She sat back against him. “The one I’ve told you about so many times.”
“Do you have a canopy bed out at the lake house?”
“In my bedroom? Yes.” She looked up. “There’s something so feminine about having one.”
“I can see that.” Kerry continued stroking Annie’s hair as he spent a moment taking in her scent that he now knew so well. “It was interesting to hear you mumbling in your sleep even though it was in a dream.”
“Oh?” She looked up and to her left. “It’s funny how we do so many things from real life in our dreams.”
“It is. What was even better is I could understand you this time. It’s like you knew I was coming.”
“Are you sure?” She slid her fingers along Kerry’s hand. “I know I mumble when someone is trying to walk me up—I’ve had that habit ever since I was a little girl. But I wouldn’t mumble in English: it’s not my native language.” She stopped what she was doing and sat up. “Wait—” She turned towards Kerry. “What language am I speaking?”
“English.” He looked slightly perplexed. “You’ve always spoke English.”
“But I wasn’t that good with English until I was almost nine.” Annie looked away for about five seconds before snorting. “I never realized it until now.”
“That every time we’ve been in a dream you speak Bulgarian.” Her second snort quickly became a laugh. “I never thought about it because it seemed—”
“Normal.” Kerry chuckled along with his soul mate. “Just like me hearing you speak English: I just assumed you did.”
“Interesting. The brain must translate what is said in the dream so that anyone there hears it in their own language.” She slide closer and took his right hand. “How else would they be able to speak to each other?”
“So we have translator microbes in our brain.” He laughed. “Cool.”
Annie looked at him strangely. “What do you mean?”
“It’s another geek reference.” Kerry gave her a quick kiss and slid towards the edge of the bed. “Come on: I want to show you something.”
It goes without saying that they always understood each other when they were in dreams, and now we have proof: Annie admits she wasn’t proficient with English until about the time Kerry arrived in Cardiff. That means when Kerry read to her the first time while she understood every word during their dreams, in real life it would have been more like this:
Annie: (Points at book) “Kakvo chetesh?”
Kerry: “Um, what did you say?”
Annie: (Shaking head) “Az ne znam Engliĭski. Znaesh li Bŭlgarski ezik?”
So much for that first-time romantic moment.
Tomorrow begins the history lesson. Well, a little of it. But it has to do with what Kerry wants to show Annie.
Believe me, it’s coming.
Did I write yesterday? Yes. Did I write in the novel? Urmmmm… Ya got me. But remember that whole “Ahead of the curve” thing? Yes, got that rocking out so nicely.
Now, the question about Kerry dreamwalking has come up and it’s pretty much a give that he likely is doing just that. But we need conformation, so…
He couldn’t hold back his excited chuckle any longer. “Yep.”
Annie was almost ready to bolt from her dream bed. “How?”
Kerry pushed himself against the headboard and planted himself next to Annie on the bed. “A couple of weeks before we left school I emailed Deanna and asked her for a good book I could use to learn dreamwalking. She gave me the name of the book and told me Mr. Parkman could order it for me; I told her I’d rather get it myself and asked if Bount Books carried it and Mr. Parkman told me they did. So I let them know I’d get it when I got home.”
“Did you order it?”
“Nope: went myself and got it.”
Annie sat back on her heels as she spun around to face him. “You flew, didn’t you?”
“Sure.” He seemed both pleased and embarrassed. “I mean, I brought my broom home, so why not? I left the Monday after I got home: there was no one home, so why not? It was only a couple of hundred kilometers, so I was able to get there after about forty-five minutes.”
Annie found herself both surprised and pleased that he’d taken this step to do things as were needed. “Where did you land?”
“Ashland Place, near Paddington Street Gardens. Remember: we passed all that on the way back to the hotel after—” He looked towards his bare feet as his voice grew softer. “After we meet in the book store.”
“I remember that well.” What Annie remembered was Alicia complaining nearly all the way back to the Park Plaza and Collin asking three or four times if they were in the right part of the city. But what she remembered the most was the feeling of loss and despair that the shy, ginger boy walking alongside didn’t remember her, while at the same time noticing that he only paid attention to and spoke with her and tended to ignore the others who were no longer with hem. And all the way back he stayed to my right, even insisting we walk so he was between the traffic and me. Even with his memory blocked he must have known something. “So you bought the book that day?”
“I did, then went home and started reading. And practicing. And here it is—” He shrugged. “—either the night of 7 July or the morning of the 8th. Only took me about six weeks to finally do this.”
Annie clapped. “That’s fast.”
“Keep in mind that after your first time you spent the next couple of months telling me all about how you did it.” He tapped the side of his forehead. “I was listening.”
“That’s because you’re a good student.”
“That’s because I have a good teacher.”
She threw her arms around her soul mate and hugged him tight. “This means we can be together so much more now. With both of us able to dreamwalk, it increases the odds we’ll see each other at night.”
So now Kerry can dreams walk and these two can spend all the time together when they are apart. And when they’re together. And when they’re sleeping right next to each other. This could be good–or bad…
No, Annie isn’t that possessive. Yet.
This was one part of the story that I needed to do a little research on as it dealt with something I wrote about three years ago–and that is the book store where Annie and Kerry first met in physical space. There were a few things I needed to know. Like first, the area around the book store. I needed to see just how long it would really take Kerry to get there:
Like he said it’s a couple of hundred kilometers, so he could be in London in about forty minutes if he went along at about three hundred kph. It’s also a no-brainer for flying: nearly straight due east.
Now the store itself. In the novels it’s called Bounts Books, but in reality I based it off of an existing establishment in London, Daunt Books:
It’s famous as a place with a lot of books on travel, but it’s the interior that really drew me to the place. The story on Marylebone High Street–where the kids order their books for their A Levels–was an original Edwardian bookstore before it became Daunt, and that means it has a gallery with a long skylight bringing in natural light that brightens the ground and first floor.
If you want to see what the area below the ground floor looks like here is a Google 360 view of the downstairs. It’s beautiful, but it’s that staircase that drew me in ’cause in their first meeting Annie is sitting in a large chair hidden by the shadows of a staircase. And right there you have that staircase– With a little adjustment in the building that could easily be the spot.
Though I did state that they met on the ground floor and there was natural light and all that, but hey: it’s my story and I’ll move stairs around as I like.
As for the mention of the aftermath of that first meeting, I did a little checking to see where the bookstore was in relation to where they were staying at the time, which was, of course, the Park Plaza Sherlock Holmes on Baker Street. And just as Kerry pointed out the next day everything they did with their running around was something of a test, because the book store was real close to the hotel and Berniece Rutherford could have easily taken an hour to walk the kids over, get their books, and walk them back. But no: better to have them do it themselves. After all, it’d give at least a couple of witches the chance to get used to walking together.
Right there you see the first route Annie and Kerry took together in real life. How’s that saying go? “A trip of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” In this case, a walk through life together starts with a six-minute stroll through London.
And they’re still strolling.
Much to my surprise I managed nearly another thousand words once I arrived home yesterday. Even though I had a rather boozy lunch and took a quick nap and watched Breaking Bad–again–I managed to flesh out the scene I started Saturday. Actually felt pretty proud that I finally seemed to be getting into a stride again and I hope this continues.
This scene has a rather unusual way of starting, but that’s because it’s unusual in of itself. Also, believe it or not, there is going to be a lot of history covered in this scene. Seriously, Cassie, I did not come here for a history lesson. But you get one whether you like it or not.
However, it starts out in an innocuous way…
What pulled Annie from her sleep was someone tickling her nose.
Annie swatted at the hand that was lightly brushing a fingertip over her nose and rolled to her left so she was facing the center of her bed. She felt herself drifting back to sleep when the lightest of touches fell first on her nose and then on her cheek.
“Mama stop, please? I want to sleep.” She didn’t understand was why her mother was doing this right now. And it had to be her: Papa would never enter her room while she was sleeping unless there was an emergency.
And tickling one’s nose did not constitute an emergency.
Annie sighed once before relaxing but a second later came the lightest of touches against the side of her nostril. That was enough to rouse her out of her slumber. “Urmurg. Why are you doing this?” She opened her eyes about half way as she brushed hair back from her face. “I want to sleep and you’re—”
Kerry sat on her bed looking down at her with a smile on his face. “Morning, Sweetie.”
Annie lay flat on her back and looked up, paralyzed by shock. “Kerry. What are you doing here?”
His smile grew broader. “Paying you a visit.”
“How is that possible?” She finally sat up, bunching the comforter in her lap. “What time did you get here? How did Mama let you—?” Something at the back of her memory triggered a realization: there was too much indirect light in the room that seemed to come from nowhere. And that meant— She reached for Kerry and took his hand. “You feel right but this room—” She closed her eyes as she shook her head. “We’re dreaming.”
Once more with the dreams, kids! These two are really into the subconscious meetings this time around:
Or something like that.
It should be somewhat telling that the first time Annie finds Kerry in her bedroom she wants to know when he arrived at her house and how her mother allowed him up. We won’t say she’s dreamed of that moment, but it sounds like it’s not somethings she’s imagined once in a while. For what reason? Hummmm… well, we can imagine, though we should keep our minds out of the gutter when doing so.
But remember I said there was a surprise? Well, here it comes:
“Yeah.” He rubbed Annie’s hand in his. “We are.”
“We haven’t had a shared dream since, well—” She looked down a bit embarrassed. “Since we met her.”
Now it was Kerry’s turn to look a little embarrassed. “It’s been a few months.”
She stretched her shoulders. “What I don’t understand is why we’re here. We’ve never started a shared dream in my bedroom.”
Kerry glanced up as if he were considering Annie’s statement as a question. “That’s because you’re assuming this is a naturally occurring shared dream.”
The moment she saw the smile on Kerry’s face Annie realized the truth. “Kerry… are you dreamwalking?”
Yep, Kerry’s dreamwalking and while this is a first time you know this means there will be more. Which means once they get better at this they’ll be able to talk to each other every night–
They can even do it while they’re in bed…
Two great things today–okay, maybe three. We’ll see.
First thing: I started the next scene and got to almost four hundred words in before calling it a night because I was tired. Writing fourteen hundred words in a day isn’t something I’ve done in a while outside of a TV recap, so maybe I can do a thousand today before stopping to get my notes together for Fear the Walking Dead, which starts up tonight and requires me to actually switch over to network TV for the first time in like two months. So it’s back into weekly recaping for the next two months, all the way to 9 October, after which I can take a break until Christmas.
There was a third thing? Hum, I must have missed it–oh, wait! It’s this post. That’s because given what’s coming in this scene I decided not to try and cut things up and threw in all of the rest of Scene One, which means the excerpt is nearly fourteen hundred words long. I mean, I could have strung this sucker along for another two days, but I figured that’s bad form. Besides, I can stay ahead of the curve. I know I can.
When we last saw Kerry he was comparing himself to The Dark Lord of a book series that also exists in his world, because his world is also a part of ours. When you get down to it, though, there’s another reason he’s freaking out as well and it’s totally legit–
Berniece laid a hand on his shoulder trying to calm him. “Kerry—”
He closed his eyes as he took a quick breath before slapping his right hand against his chest. “This goddamn thing is a time bomb. If I transition before we go back to school, if everyone comes to the house to get me and my parents see what happened, they’re gonna—” Once more he choked before for speaking. “—They’re gonna freakin’ flip. And I don’t—”
“Kerry.” Berniece nodded towards a nearby bench. “Let’s sit. Come on.” She gently pushed him towards the seat. He went without hesitation and she let him sit before moving next to him. “I understand: I really do. You want to be accepted; you want your parents to acknowledge that you are not only their son, but that you’re special as well. Yeah?”
“Yeah.” Kerry leaned forward, his arms resting upon his knees. “I got mommy issues, don’t I?’
Berniece wasn’t about to say yes or tell him that wanting recognition from a particular member of his family was a trait he shared with his girlfriend. “I think you just want to hear them say one time that they’re proud of you.” She wrapped an arm around his shoulders. “This is a hard time for kids from Normal families. There’s a reason we call this ‘coming out’: for us it holds as much doubt and fear for you as it might if you were telling you parents you were gay or trans or bi or anything else that would shake up their view of who they thought you were. And right now you’re going through all of that hoping they see you are nothing more than their son.”
Yes Kerry, you have Mommy Issues, just as Annie has Daddy Issues, something of which Berniece is aware. There’s a big difference between recognizing that said issues exist and doing something about it, ’cause even bright, intelligent, thoughtful kids still wanna hear the parents say, “I’m proud of you.” Instead Annie almost flies to her death trying to prove she can master an advanced broom on her own and Kerry has to hear how his mother sometimes wishes she had a daughter instead while he dies inside right now knowing that she not only does, but that she’ll probably flip right the fuck out when she sees Kerry like that.
Berniece states what I’ve been stating all along: coming out for witches can be as traumatic as Normal kids going to their parents as teens and telling them they’re gay or bi or trans or gender queer. As parents we often tend to believe that are kids are gonna grow up, find a nice boy or girl, get married, and have kids. The great lie tends to be, “Oh, I just want them to be healthy, I don’t care if they are a boy or a girl,” and then completely lose one’s shit when their kids tell them they’ve fallen in love with someone of the same gender, or that they are really the gender other than what they were assigned when they were born.
Those are all things one can’t help because they were born that way–and it’s the same with being a witch. You’re born that way and it’s only a matter of time before spell crafting becomes the norm and you start doing things that will scare the shit out of your parents. But why do some react so badly? In the Rendlesham Forest scene Penny has a few thoughts on why she thinks some parents begin wigging out when their kids lay The W Word on them, and it’s as good an explanation as any…
And that brings us to the why of this being such a long excerpt, because we’re about to hear a tale of woe that is meant to help Kerry learn something important:
She also learned forward and rested against her thighs, her torso almost level with Kerry’s. Though she hadn’t planed on speaking about herself as part of this visit, she thought it wouldn’t hurt. “When I came home from my B Levels my parents were shocked, as were my older sister and younger brother. It took everyone most of the month of June to get used to the fact that magic was real and there was a true witch in the house. Everyone, that is, except my mother.
“In my family my mother was the one who more or less kept the faith, so when I came out as a witch it hit her harder than it did my father and siblings. At first she refused to believe me, but after I crafted a few spells in front of her she couldn’t deny what I’d said was true—and that was the start of all our troubles.
“At first she told me not to do any magic—not just at home, but ever. She said that magic would destroy my soul, which I knew it wouldn’t but there was no point in arguing. She then stopped talking to me and began ignoring me as if I wasn’t even living in the house—”
Kerry nodded. “I know that feeling.”
“Yes, you do. With me, my mother would actually have conversations with my father about me while I was present and act as if I wasn’t even in the room. It was full-blown shunning and I felt every second of that.
“The last day of June my mother finally spoke to me, only to say that she was forbidding me to return to school. She was going to pack me off to a private school and that was going to be that, no more of this witch stuff. I told her no: I told her that there was no way in hell—my exact words—that I wasn’t returning to Salem and there wasn’t anything she could do to stop me. So she runs off to her pastor to tell him about me, and…”
“And she couldn’t.”
“Exactly. She returned home angry and upset and wanted to know why she couldn’t talk about me to anyone not in the family. I told her about the contract enchantment and she grew furious, demanded I remove it immediately. Again I said no and told her it was there for her protection as much as mine. She just shut up and didn’t say anything the rest of that day.
“That night she came into my room with a chopper.” Beniece’s chuckle was dry and humorless. “She’d decided to make sure I wasn’t returning to Salem.”
Kerry stared back as his case worker in amazement. “She came at you with a meat cleaver?”
Berniece nodded. “Yep.”
Of the people in positions of authority who are close to Kerry there are two who had horrible coming out experiences and while you haven’t heard the story of one of those people, you’re now hearing the story of the second person. Berniece Rutherford’s existence went against everything her religious mother believed, and when the later discovered she’d been affected by magic, she went off the deep end and decided to murder her daughter. Okay, maybe she wasn’t going to hack up her daughter: maybe there was an important cooking tip she wanted to give her and midnight in her bedroom was the best time for that.
Still, this is why a couple of kids in Annie’s and Kerry’s level weren’t even allowed to return home: there was simply too much fear that coming out as a witch to their parents would result in a violent reaction–like, you know, the parents killing said kids. Berniece told Annie in their meeting that the Malibeys weren’t regarded as violent, so this is something The Foundation gauges when determining what to do as far as the kids coming out to their folks. And in Berniece’s case The Foundation probably figured that there might be issues with the mother, but they obviously dropped the ball in thinking she wouldn’t go all Margaret White on her daughter and try to snuff her ass. (And there’s something else to point out here, but I’ll do it at the end.)
So, what was the aftermath of this situation? This:
“Were you awake when it happened?”
“No, I was asleep. But the door to my room has a sticky hinge that made a cracking sound when it was opened. That woke me up.”
He shook his head. “Jeez. What did you do?”
She shrugged. “What else could I do? I threw up a quick shield to keep her away, grabbed the panic button I kept under my pillow when I slept, and got out.” A slight smile appeared for a few moments. “By the way, the panic buttons are supposed to be used when you’re standing or sitting on the ground: they’re based around you center of gravity from whatever flat surface you’re on. If you use it while you’re in a chair or on your bed, be prepared for a short fall.”
“Good to know.” He turned back to gazing towards the river gorge. “What happened after that?”
“It went just like we advertise. I ended up in a safe house and five minutes later my case worker showed up. She took me back to her office, we spoke for about ten minutes to log what happened, and about thirty minutes after that I was placed with a family in Denmark. I didn’t return home the rest of the summer: I didn’t hear from my family until November of that year. I was told then that I could return for Yule, but I didn’t learn the truth until I arrived home: my father forced my mother to move out as he couldn’t accept her being willing to kill me because I went against her faith.”
Berniece stared at her feet as she sighed. “Both my father and mother have since remarried and my stepmother knows what I am and accepts me completely. For a while my younger brother blamed me for my parents splitting up but he doesn’t any more. My older sister is really the only one who speaks with my mother these days and she tells me my mother refuses to even speak my name. I haven’t spoken with my mother since that night and I doubt if I’ll ever see her again, much less speak to her.
“That’s one of the reasons I became a case worker: because I’ve experienced this insanity and I want to do what I can to help others who might experience the same.” Berniece patted Kerry’s hand. “I understand why you want to prove to your parents there’s nothing different about you other than you can do magic. You’re showing tenacity and if there’s one thing we loved to promote at Salem, it’s tenacity. But there’s something I need you to understand as well—look at me.”
They both turned to face each other as Bernice finished her thought. “Your parents, or at least your mother, are likely hoping this is just a ‘phase’ you’re going through. There’s probably some hope that you’ll return to being that boy I picked up late in the afternoon of 26 August, 2011, and you’ll stop with all this crazy witch shite.
“But you know that’s never going to happen and I’m certain they know it as well. And that means that things may not work out. One day issues may become completely irreconcilable and one day you may be forced to leave home.
“And should that happened, you may have to face the fact that you may never see your parents again…”
There you have it: “You may never see your parents again.” No thirteen year old kids wants to hear that, but there’s a huge amount of truth in that statement. It Ain’t Easy Being Magical and total rejection by your family is one of the things a young witch could experience. It may sound like I’m being super hard in portraying these kids as being on the outside and having to deal with shit no teenager needs, but when you see the stories of abuse heaped upon gay, lesbian, and trans teens, and how that has sometimes led to suicide, I don’t believe I’m being hard at all. The precedence is there and it is acknowledged.
I mentioned that there is something else The Foundation watches and that has to do with the student. Sure, Berniece knows Kerry’s parents aren’t violent, but do you think she’s have allowed Kerry to remain at home if she thought there was the slightest chance he might slip a sprocket and off either one of his parents should they piss him off? At last reckoning he’s one of two yellow flagged students in his level–we know who the other is as well–and given what some people at Salem know, it’s not a great stretch to imagine that Annie and Kerry are considered red flagged by Isis.
Given what is known about Kerry if The Foundation thought he might lose his shit and kill his family they wouldn’t allow him to remain at home. And what about after this confab with Berniece? She knows he’s stressed and he’s concerned that his parents will freak out even more if “That Other Girl” shows up, but since he’s trying to reach some kind of reconciliation with his folks she likely feels he probably won’t snap.