A day late and a dollar short...
I'm thinking of switching blog updates to Saturdays during the COVID-19 self isolation because I'm noticing, with Friday being a school day, I'm teaching now rather than dropping the kids off at school and then having a bit of time before picking them up again. Saturday is still an open morning, though, so I'm giving it a test run this week. My current plan is to go back to posting on Friday mornings once the kids are back in school, but I guess I'll wait and see. If Saturdays work, I might just keep updates for weekends.
I didn't do much (translate: any) writing this week. My 8-year-old's math moved into fractions and...
Okay, backstory time! She was sick and away from school for basically February. Three distinct sets of symptoms, each with its own fever lasting 3-6 days, and each cumulatively worse due to the work her immune system was doing to get rid of the final dregs of the previous. Of the 16 days she could have possibly gone to school during all of February, she made it in for 7. And a couple of those 7 days were half-days because she was just too tired to stay for the whole day.
She went back, feeling better, starting the first week in March, but had missed nearly all of the last two weeks of multiplication and the first two weeks of division. She'd gotten in about a week and a half of catching up, then schools closed, and she basically did the final two weeks of division at home on fast-forward, with only worksheet, as teachers tried to figure out how to handle this new way of distance learning all of their entire classes.
Please remember, my oldest is 8, this is her first year of doing multiplication and division and she'd missed huge chunks of both. She's a smart kid and has a good teacher, so the plan at the beginning of March was for me to help with catch-up at home, and her teacher to keep teaching ahead at school. And then schools closed mid-March. This past week, the Grade 3 Home Learning introduced fractions, which I'm happy to say my 8-year-old understood the just-introduced basics of pretty quick, but she only has about the same foggy idea about multiplication and division.
This long story made short, my useful thinking hours and writing time was better spent drafting up some math worksheets. (With some worksheets for my 5-year-old, because Just Like Big Sister Syndrome can be strong in our house lol.)
The fun positive? Working on fractions means baking! We have so much chocolate cake in our house right now. :D
That's pretty well all that's happening at our house. Hope you're staying safe and well and at home, too. Happy weekend!
Nate kept a lookout as Ray and Jerry hid the cards in one of the cleaned-out resident rooms. To any device tracking the cards, the three visitors would look like they were sitting in here. It was perfect.
Fuggy checked the fridge hopefully to see if maybe someone had started using it again. Just his luck as of late, it was still empty.
The teen led the retired soldiers through the hallways he knew didn’t have working security cameras and were free of anyone reporting to Richard, explaining as he went that Lex had overheard the pretending English professor doling out all the wrong orders after the attack. Putting together a couple of easy assumptions of the attack happening close enough to the sudden change a few months ago from the English teacher they’d had since they were eight was ample information to realize the attempted abduction hadn’t been stopped at all. Lex had gotten to Kaff and Fuggy, getting them to hide with him, but the rest of the kids had been locked up.
Since sneaking away, the three had focused on surveillance to gather as much intel on the mercenaries as they could – which wasn’t a lot, but it was more than what Ray, Jerry, and Nate had to work with – and then they’d started on a way to get the rest of the kids out of lockup. After freeing the other twenty-three teens and moving into the back of the aviary this morning, it had been half a day of trying to figure out where to go next as the time ticked down on being discovered that all the kids were now missing. Then the three veterans had walked past and Fuggy had won the argument to come to get them.
The walk around the facility to get back to the aviary was long and winding, looping through areas that hadn’t been used in what looked like years. They only came across one work crew, a tired pair in coveralls who were complaining loudly about the long working hours while being held at gun point. While Ray, Nate and Fuggy stayed hidden around the corner, Jerry hurried up to the mercenary and demanded a status update on the system being repaired. The mercenary only frowned.
“Look, it’s taken me over an hour to get away from the other two without making them suspicious. Status update, and be quick about it so they don’t catch up and see us talking,” Jerry said. His bluff worked.
“This panel is almost done. We’ll be moving to hallway seven in about half an hour if either of these two can be trusted,” the mercenary answered, glaring a frown toward the workers bowed heads.
“Hmm,” Jerry said. He rubbed a hand over his cheek and shook his head. “That’s not soon enough.”
“Tell me about it,” the mercenary grumbled. He turned to kick at the nearest worker. Jerry grabbed the rifle barrel and used one foot to sweep the mercenary’s feet out from under him. The surprised mercenary fell backwards hard and lost his grip on his gun. His training saved him from hitting the back of his head on the concrete floor, but not from Jerry slamming the butt of the rifle into the side of his head. Twice. The second hit had a full swing behind it and the mercenary’s skull bones cracked. Jerry knelt down and checked for a pulse, nodding to himself and standing up when he didn’t find one.
“Is he dead?” Ray asked, leading Nate and Fuggy to where the workers were ducking, heads protectively covered by arms and hands.
“If not, make sure of it,” Jerry ordered as he got familiar with the rifle. Nate took a knee and quickly questioned the workers, staying low so they were speaking on the same level. They didn’t know anything new to the small group, and on finding out only the three veterans had come – without backup or a plan – they both slouched into staring at the floor.
Ray crouched and did a quick pat-down search of the body. He found two pistols, giving one each to Nate and Fuggy, and three knives plus a handheld radio which he kept for himself. Once the weapons and spare ammo were handed out, Ray pulled the protective vest off the mercenary and gave it to Fuggy to put it on.
“Can they be trusted,” Jerry asked Fuggy. Jerry was pointing at the workers when Fuggy looked up from fastening on the vest.
“Yeah, of course,” Fuggy said as he smoothed the velcros closed. “Carl and Mica have worked here forever.” The two workers blinked, their heads snapping up to stare at Fuggy with disbelieving surprise when he said their names. They leapt to their feet, Mica bouncing on her toes as she hugged the teen.
“Wreck the panel in ways that can’t be fixed,” Jerry ordered the workers. They turned from the quick reunion and, grinning, ripped apart the work they’d delayed doing for as long as they could before sabotaging even more. “Nate, watch our six. Ray, stay in the middle with Carl and Mica. Fuggy, you’re up here on point with me.”
Ray slit the throat of the dead mercenary, ensuring he would stay dead and not surprise anyone later, and then everyone got in line. Fuggy led the group the rest of the way to the back door of the aviary.
Fuggy tapped twice on the door. After a moment in tense silence, he tapped once more. The door unlocked and cracked open to show one golden eye looking out. The small amount of face around the eye reminded Jerry strongly of looking in a mirror forty years ago. Fuggy shoved the door open wider and Kaff’s ears laid flat back against his head as he glared at the strangers in the hallway.
“Neah’s in charge and she agreed with me,” Fuggy whispered before Kaff could say anything. Kaff stepped away from blocking the door when Fuggy gave him the pistol as a peace offering.
The kids had taken over the back of the aviary. From inside the door, Jerry couldn’t see the nets or hallway through the thick trees and tall, flowering plants. A few dim lights, small and battery powered, lit a short path along the wall and showed groups of teens tucked into the foliage.
Ray and Nate stayed with Kaff by the door as Carl, Mica and Jerry followed Fuggy along the path. Carl and Mica sat down with the largest group of kids, exchanging hugs and silent greetings around the group before emptying their pockets of the meal bars and water bottles they’d hidden that morning in their coveralls. (They’d planned to eat it themselves, but the kids were hungrier.) Jerry’s skin prickled under the unblinking stares of the teenagers as they crept toward the small group of kids in charge.
Fuggy leaned close to Jerry, setting a hand on his shoulder. “This is our CO, Neah,” Fuggy whispered, pointing at the nearest girl. His hand stayed on Jerry’s shoulder and pressed down, so Jerry followed Fuggy into a squat and balanced on the balls of his feet. Fuggy saluted so Jerry followed that, too.
Neah’s hands flicked through a set of complicated patterns, her gaze never breaking contact with Jerry’s until she rolled her eyes and glared at Fuggy.
“Sign language?” Fuggy whispered. Each teen in the group looked surprised when Jerry shook his head to the negative. Neah sighed and – using one gesture of the silent language that Jerry did recognize – made the sign for ‘shit’.
Luckily Carl had a notepad and pen. Nate, Jerry, and Ray worked silently on paper with Neah to come up with an escape plan, which was a task made easier due to the planning the kids had already done. Once the tricky details of Neah’s plan were smoothed out by the veterans’ experience and Jerry’s knowledge of the new access codes, everyone agreed there might be a chance of success.
It was a small chance, but still, it was a chance.
A weekly blog updating on Fridays with quick personal blurbs about me, as in what's going on during my life as an Author and mom, and that doles out my short stories and novellas in bite-sized parts for everyone to read for free!