Hey there. I know I promised, two weeks ago, to that I'd update you on the novel last Friday. Well, my vacation to my sister Lynn in Colorado got in the way of that. We ran ourselves ragged and then collapsed into bed every day for three solid days. I had to take a rare day off just to recover sort of a vacation from my vacation.
It was nice. Wouldn't mind moving up there, if I didn't already have a job here.
Anyway, 23 pages done since the last time I posted, 255 pages done so far.
Roger, former troll and director of the Jerry Tarkanian Federal Educational Facility, takes our hero to see Tinaja while spouting some of the worst bureaucratese and educationese it has been my misfortune to write. It's late around 10 p.m. but she's still in class. Apparently, new students get a more "intense" experience at the school before settling in.
Our hero gets a good look at that more intense experience when he walks into Tinaja's classroom. There's 40 fay children, all dressed in school uniforms and sitting perfectly still at their desks no horsing around, no passing notes, nothing. The kids have some sort of black collar around their necks, and two CTS soldiers stand at parade rest at the back of the room. What really creeps our hero out, though, is that the kids are starting to lose their fay scents.
They're starting to turn human.
Roger calls up Tinaja and, after mking her curtsey to him, tells her that our hero's come to ask her some questions. Our hero, feeling like he's stepping off into an abyss, corrects Roger and says that he's come to bring Tinaja back to her mother.
One of the boys gets up from behind his desk and starts pleading to be brought back to his parents, as well. Roger keys something into an electronic gadget on his belt, and the boy falls to the ground, clutching at the collar at his neck.
That's about when our hero decides that he's had enough and decks Roger. The two CTS goons start making their way to him. Our hero does the only thing he can think of. He slides Roger's electronic control over to Tinaja, who puts a hoof through it.
The results are dramatic. The kids' collars fly off. The soldiers, panicked, waste valuable time trying to control the kids with their own controls. The kids transform into their native forms and, the last our hero sees of them, have surrounded the soldiers.
Destroying Roger's box apparently sprang every single collar in the school. Our hero, Tinaja and the boy run out before they can lock the place down. Then the two kids start stripping off their school clothes, right down to their birthday suits, leading to what I think is a fun confrontation with some outraged and possibly armed Christian protesters.
They book out of there before the entire Bureau of Fay Affairs can be alerted to the pandemonium in the school and return to the campgrounds on Kyle Canyon Road. Thornapple said that he'd be there to guide our hero back, but he's not there.
Tinaja seems determined to brave the rez at night and alone. Quite frankly, she looks like she can do it. She is Misty's daughter, after all. Our hero tries to act concerned and maybe beg a trip back to Cripple Creek with her.
She turns on him to give him a piece of her mind. But she stops and starts sniffing him like a bloodhound. Right before he can get completely weirded out by this, she declares that he "smells like my mom," a statement that completely baffles our hero. It is, however, good enough to get a ride back to Cripple Creek.
Once back, our hero is surrounded by a mob of fay parents. They become increasingly desperate and violent when they learn that he brought back only two children, and neither is theirs. Thornapple finally makes an appearance and hauls our hero out of there.
He winds up in a long adobe lodge, where the seductress fay who run Cripple Creek apparently hold council. Most are deer women and sirens, with an Indian naag kanya to round things out. They're sitting around a low table strewn with photos and topo maps, and there's only one space empty. You can probably guess who that belongs to.
The leader is a deer woman, dressed in white deerskin and with a single eagle feather in her hair, who goes by the name of Kalsetsiyi. She's as young as the other deer women, but her eyes are almost indescribably ancient. Our hero instantly knows that she's going to be a problem.
Kalsetsiyi (but you can call her Kali) proceeds to grill our hero about his escape from the School for Model Citizens and the kids left behind, and our hero makes the truth dance the merriest jig of his life. He's careful not to mention the skinwalkers and to downplay the fact that the CTS goons are probably going to have some post-fight fun with their children after suppressing the riot in the school. After deliberating with her sisters, Kalsetsiyi says:
"Understand the position that we are in, halfbreed."
It's never good when people say that.
More next Friday.