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The Chosen Grandma, Chapter 3.1

by BlueAfrica


A/N: After finding out she's the Chosen One, Edna's first order of business is to check herself out of the nursing home. Head nurse Jeanine is not pleased.

Chapter Three

In which Edna gains a second companion, who is rather less useful than the first.

The receptionist swiveled away from her computer and opened a drawer in her filing cabinet. Then she swiveled back and spread several forms out in front of Edna.

“Sign here, here, here, and here,” she said, and she turned back to her computer.

Jeanine gaped like a fish and then leapt into action.

“Do not sign there, there, there, and there!” she cried. “Mrs. Fisher, please. Surely we can work something out. You haven’t really been so unhappy here, have you? I’m sure if you just participated in more of our activities—”

“My word, Jeanine, that’s enough about activities,” Edna said, signing the papers the receptionist and given her. “I don’t like your activities, for heaven’s sakes, I thought that was perfectly clear. Now if you’d started a knitting society or ran poker games instead of bingo—”

Jeanine rounded on Benjamin.

“Do something!” she demanded.

“Um,” Benjamin said, “well, actually, I’m going with her.”

Jeanine blinked at him, momentarily stunned, but it didn’t last long. “You are not. For how long? The higher-ups will never approve a vacation lasting more than—”

“I’m not going on vacation,” Benjamin said, not looking at her. “I’m quitting.”

“Quitting!” Jeanine clutched her heart rather more theatrically than Edna thought the situation called for. “You’re going to a new nursing home, aren’t you?”

“I hope not,” Benjamin said. “I’m nearly through working on my PhD in astrophysics and theoretical space magic.”

“What would I have to do to get you to stay?” Jeanine asked. She looked almost tearful, but Edna suspected it was an act. Jeanine wasn’t a crier and would definitely do anything to keep the number of residents up.

“Here you go,” Edna said to the receptionist, and turned to face Jeanine, leaning on her cane. “Now, look. Nothing you can say will make me stay, or Benjamin either, I suspect. We’re not leaving to be mean, and we’re certainly not leaving for another nursing home. I hope I can come up with something better than that! No, we’re leaving to find the Sword of Destiny. You see, there’s an evil sorcerer afoot, and—” She tried not to look too proud of herself—“I’m the Chosen One.”

Jeanine frowned at Benjamin as if to say, She’s clearly nuts. You can’t let her leave in this condition.

“It’s true,” he said, getting up to put an arm around Edna’s shoulder. “That’s what the wizard was here about.”

Jeanine sank onto their vacated bench and adjusted her glasses. “I see.”

She seemed at a loss for what to do, but finally a smile slid onto her face. Edna didn’t like the look of that smile at all.

“You know, I’ve heard epic journeys can be incredibly exhausting,” Jeanine said in reasonable tones. “And that’s when it’s teenagers. At your age…”

“I’m going,” Edna said.

“I wouldn’t dream of stopping you! But why sign yourself out, Mrs. Fisher? Wouldn’t it be nice to know you have somewhere to come home to and rest after a long journey and a grand battle and defeating your enemies?”

“I suppose…” Edna said.

“I’ll even let you take one of the home vans,” Jeanine said. “Nice and spacious, and you might be the first Chosen One in the history of the world not to walk all the way to whatever far-off land you’re going to. Assuming you can get to wherever you’re going by car?” she added, with a raised eyebrow.

Edna didn’t care to admit they were only going to Michigan. “Yes, I’m sure we could.”

“What do you get out of it?” Benjamin asked, folding his arms.

Jeanine smiled the way a shark or a businessman might smile. “Residency applications for the home would go through the roof if people knew the Chosen One was one of our residents, don’t you think?”

Benjamin and Edna exchanged a glance. Edna knew they were thinking the same thing, but Jeanine kept talking.

“If you’d just put your journey on hold for a few weeks, we could spring the news on the owners, and I’m sure they’d set up all sorts of media things—photoshoots, a press conference, a spot on Regis & Kelly! And you could talk about what an honor it is to be the Chosen One, and how much you like the nursing home—”

“But I don’t like the nursing home.”

“—and what a nice wholesome place it is for old people to live out their days. And we’d be positively flooded with applications! And of course there would be absolutely no problem getting a van for you.” Jeanine’s face was ablaze with her imaginings. “The owners would probably even throw a party to send you off.”

“You’re very generous, dear,” Edna said, trying hard not to sound like that was just precisely the opposite of what she meant, “but we can’t tell anyone else I’m the Chosen One.”

“Why not? It would be great publicity—”

“For the nursing home, I’m sure, but not for me. Didn’t you pay any attention in history class? There’s always trouble for the Chosen One once the villain knows who she is.”

“But—”

“Thank you, but no,” Edna said. “And if it gets out, I’ll know exactly who did it.”

Jeanine threw up her hands. “Oh, fine! Go, then, see if I care.”

With that, she stood up and strode off down the hall. She hadn’t gotten far when her footsteps slowed. She looked over her shoulder and said, “I guess you can still take a van. If you want.”

“Thank you,” Edna said in surprise. Jeanine nodded and continued down the hall, slamming a distant door.

“She’ll get over it,” Benjamin said. “You know she hates to lose a resident.”

“She ought to be used to it by now,” Edna replied, still recovering from the surprise of Jeanine’s last offer. “We’re old. She’s bound to use some of us.”

“Sure, but it’s different when someone decides to leave.” Benjamin leaned on the front desk, earning a glare from the receptionist. “Edna, did I just quit?”

Edna grinned at him. “You certainly did! Not going to change your mind, now, are you?”

“Oh, no. Oh, no. Oh. Oh.” He put his head in his hands. “Edna, I quit my job.”

“Yes, well, I’m pretty sure you didn’t like it very much.”

He didn’t respond. Edna prodded him with her cane.

“Go on, now. Go get the van before Jeanine changes her mind.”

Benjamin lifted his head off the table and trudged toward the door. Edna sat back on the bench. Her bones were beginning to ache. The sooner they got going, the better, but at this point the thought of it tired herself. Maybe it would be nice to have a place to come home to at the end of everything…

Don’t start thinking that way, she told herself. You’ve never been happy here. Don’t let a little exhaustion scare you back.

But then a different thought nearly scared her back.

“Oh!” she cried, and Benjamin whirled around in alarm.

“What? What is it?”

“What about Marguerite?” Edna asked.

Benjamin looked nonplussed. “What about her?”

“I can’t just leave her here! She’ll miss me. Who will take care of her?”

“Edna, she has a whole staff here to care for her. I’m more worried about you right now, okay? She’ll be fine.”

But Edna thought of the way her roommate would ask for her if she was out of the room too long, the way so many of the staff members lost patience with poor Marguerite’s memory or avoided spending too long with her because they got uncomfortable when she mistook them for dead friends or relatives. Marguerite was so lonely and frail and she’d never make it in here alone.

“We have to take her with us,” Edna said.

“We can’t. She can’t sign herself out.”

“Then I can’t go,” Edna said. Sorry, world, but friendship was more important.

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Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:53 pm
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vetas wrote a review...



Well well look who has been reading more about Grandma Edna.

Another well written chapter. Once again, Grammar is not an area I am good at so nothing about that. There is one thing I would like to mention. This is just my opinion and personal preference. To me it feels like a lot of talking. The conversation between the characters is very interesting. I just would like a bit more action involved. To me it looks like they are sitting there talking, now they are in the van sitting there talking. I like it when you included for example where Jeanie threw her hands up in the air then she strode off down the hall. Very nice. I can visualize that. I would like to visualize more of what is going on and what they are doing and things like that. Just personal preference :) but another well written segment!

Thank you! Have a great day!




BlueAfrica says...


Oh, there is definitely a lot of talking in chapters two and three! Part of the problem is the wizard is giving her the assignment, right? So Edna (and the readers) need to know what's going on...but right now it's all a big long speech on the wizard's part, basically (except for Edna and Benjamin's rude interruptions), so I'm obviously going to have to fix that in the next draft.

Thanks for reading! I'm so glad you're enjoying it.



vetas says...


Thank you for writing!



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Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:54 pm
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LadyLizz wrote a review...



Think I can do 12 more reviews today? Think you won't get tired of my comments 12 reviews down the road? Think season 1 of Supernatural well the best?
These are the questions that we will answer today at different points when I run out of things to say about the actual story.

So here's another thing that I like and dislike about your story: the pace. It's really fast moving at this point and we're just rolling and rolling through these different plot points, trying to get into where the real adventure begins. But then we get to the dialogue which makes up the majority of these parts so far, and it drops into dead. Which is an unfortunate wording considering the age of the characters introduced and the adventure about to ensue. Stories really should be a rollercoaster, in the variety of applications throughout it, from the emotions to the words themselves. (Especially when your essay is on roller coasters.)
It's kinda weird to read because one line will be like "rush, rush, rush" but then the next is like "oh let's stop here and ponder why i'm the chosen one". I have a weird way of looking at things but maybe this will provide some insight.

Rydia is right in saying a lot of parts of this seem unrealistic to me. Which reminds me of this person on discord who I was trying to give advice to about the plot in their fantasy. Their exact words were, "oh i'm sorry that my fantasy isn't realistic but that's the definition isn't it [insert a bunch of insults about me." Hopefully you will not respond like this person since you know the type of realism I'm referring to here. Like how pieces from different realities can stick together to be a fantasy.
She already covered that heavily but this was just a major thing that stuck out to me here.

And yep she turned it down once again. The line at the top is spoiling the endings and not in the way that a backwards crossword clue does. You know how you come across ones in the paper that are something like "kitchen counter?" The question mark there meaning that it will be way out there and something different than what we're expecting to happen. You're thinking about the material of the counter and then it turns out to be "timer". 'Oh that was so corny.'
I think that's the kind of feeling you were going for with those introduction lines but that's just not what comes across to the reader.




BlueAfrica says...


Yeah, I'm aware that pacing is a serious problem. Which honestly is not just for this story but really every first draft of anything I've ever written, let's just be real about that right now.

I did not mean to spoil things in my chapter headings, but it keeps happening and I know I have to work on that, too. I think I just don't really realize it's a spoiler since I already know what's going to happen? I'm not sure, but I have to rewrite them.



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Sat Sep 02, 2017 8:02 am
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Rydia wrote a review...



Specifics

1.

In which Edna nearly refuses the call a second time and gains a second companion who is rather less useful than the first.
This seems anti climatic to tell us that she's going to nearly refuse the call. I mean, we know how these stories work so we won't really believe that she actually will without you telling us but this takes all the fun out of it. The spoiler about the new companion is vague enough that it still leaves plenty to think about and it has a nice tongue in cheek feel to it but the part about her nearly refusing the call feels too specific.

2. It is not quite so quick/ easy to check yourself out of a retirement home. First the receptionist should validate what type of patient Edna is - if she has any serious medical issues. If they have things like dementia and were signed in by family then I believe family have to sign as well for them to be released. Then the receptionist should confirm if she meant a temporary leave or a total leave. Getting a short leave of stay doesn't need too much fore notice but even then they ask all kinds of questions like who you'll be staying with and what the duration will be. From what I've heard there's an annoying amount of questions to answer so it seems odd that the receptionist just grabs a form for her to sign.

3.
“My word, Jeanine, that’s enough about activities,” Edna said, signing the papers the receptionist and had given her. “I don’t like your activities, for heaven’s sakes, I thought that was perfectly clear. Now if you’d started a knitting society or ran poker games instead of bingo—”


4. If Benjamin is an orderly does he have to give notice? He's breaking contract if he quits without doing so. Not a big deal but just something Jeanine could bring up to try and get him to stay. It would certainly be my first counter.

5. I'm not sure I believe that Jeaning let them take the van anyway. I could maybe believe it if Benjamin asked along the lines of 'Can we take the van and come back after anyway?' - then she's still got something to gain at the end and isn't the person volunteering it. When people are annoyed they aren't normally at their most generous. Also, if Benjamin no longer works for the company then he's no longer covered to drive the van on their insurance and that's a big deal. So yeah... getting the van feels unrealistic.

6.
“She ought to be used to it by now,” Edna replied, still recovering from the surprise of Jeanine’s last offer. “We’re old. She’s bound to use lose some of us.”


7.
Benjamin lifted his head off the table and trudged toward the door. Edna sat back on the bench. Her bones were beginning to ache. The sooner they got going, the better, but at this point the thought of it tired herself. Maybe it would be nice to have a place to come home to at the end of everything…


Overall

Okay so I feel like Jeanine's character took a bit of a turn here. It's not wholly unrealistic but she went from someone who was very rule orientated and friendly in an annoying way to seeming very unofficial in this chapter. Surely her biggest concern should be for Edna's safety rather than how much money the home can make off of her. Why does she care so much about having lots of residents? I don't expect her pay would be affected much since she's just the head orderly so what is it that's driving her desire to keep people at the home and to recruit more?

Other than that, I think the plot is progressing well enough and I like Edna's character. I don't like Benjamin all that much yet, though in later parts I did like him so maybe there's a slow warming up to him once we've seen how determined he is and I think he has more funny quips later.

I'll be back again tomorrow for the next part!

~Heather




BlueAfrica says...


Oh my God I had so many typos in this chapter



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This chapter surprised me for a few reasons.

The first is that while I expected Jeanine to be against Edna leaving, I did not expect her to attempt to milk Edna's new status as the Chosen One for publicity and other things. Jeanine is a stickler for rules, that much had already been established before this chapter, so it was certainly surprising when a more selfish, plotting type developed in this chapter. I would think her love of rules would qualify her as someone with high morals, but it seems that's not the case? What really contributes to this conflict in character, in my eyes, is there seems to be a lack of motivation explaining why Jeanine is so set on having people at the nursing home, aside from money perhaps. She seems pretty proud of her activities, though, so money seems like not the principal motivation. Anyway, I think this is more food for thought than anything.

Second, I think Edna understands that while she dislikes the nursing home, mostly because she's actually in much better shape than many of the other residents, the place is actually not a bad place. For example, Marguerite fits in quite well, especially since she's, frankly, off her rocker. While I understand that Edna doesn't want to leave Marguerite behind for a variety of reasons, I think she is also wise enough to know that Marguerite would be better off in the nursing home than in a van on its way to who-knows-where Michigan. However, I realize that this issue will continue on in 3.1 so I can't really tear it down. Instead, you might include something in which Edna is reasoning with herself a little more - how does she think she might be more capable of caring for Marguerite, aside from providing friendship?

That's all for this chapter, though. I'm looking forward to seeing how things develop in the next.




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Chapter three! I'm done procrastinating for the day--time to get some reviews done.

I have to admit that this is the first time I've been truly annoyed at one of the characters, and that's at Jeanine. To be honest, she feels artificial even though I understand the reasoning of her reaction. I also have to admit that this chapter, or the first half of this chapter is making me doubt too. Her character is the first that I've felt anger at, though I honestly don't know what I expected from her in the first place.

I dislike her character because she's attempting, and for the time being, has been successful in making Edna doubt herself and her motivations or priorities, which seem twisted at the moment. I can't say that I'm angry at the novel itself for taking this turn, but the eagerness of Edna to get out of this place is diminished by this self-doubt.

I'm honestly not sure how we're to feel about Jeanine since there's been no connotation directly one way or the other, and I enjoy that aspect. We're left to interpret for ourselves and decide for ourselves. I'm frustrated, not at you, certainly not you, but instead your character for believing that having a couple more residents in their nursing home is more important than the world potentially being in great danger. I don't understand that logic. I'm confused by that logic.

And I guess Edna's not as much angry as she is doubting and confused. The hardest part is, I know that there's reasoning behind this. While Jeanine may have other motivations that are more focused on greed or motivations that are more sinister, it's true that Edna is old. Edna is old and frail and I understand that this is a lot she's leaving behind. This chapter, or first half of this chapter, took an interesting turn I didn't expect. Nice on that. I can only imagine that the reader will feel even more empowered when we get out on onto the journey.

If you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask! I hope I helped and have a great day, Blue.




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Hello again! :D

Awwwww FRIENDSHIP IS MORE IMPORTANT. You go Edna!!

Her insistence on taking her severely handicapped friend could be seen as a way of her getting out of going - like I'm going to make this impossible request in order for me to agree, you can't fulfill my impossible request? oh then I guess I'm not going. But, since Edna has already been very clear that she's going, I really buy that she genuinely cares about her friend and wants to protect her friend. I love that and I think it's super noble of her because it's going to make her journey more difficult, but FRIENDSHIP.

I also actually really liked Jeanine? I think we've all encountered a Jeanine in our lives - the insistent rule followers that want everything done exactly to book and their way and they can't see anything else and are waaaay into their jobs. I thought you portrayed her well, again, some nice comic relief without being over the top. I found her funny rather than annoying, which is another fine line. I also really liked that through all of that Edna was like "meh. don't care what you say this is what's happening".

Benjamin's moment didn't do as much for me. Surely when he agreed to go with Edna he thought about the potential implications for his job. Or did it all happen so fast he didn't have time to think that one through? It feels like he decides that second that he's quitting his job, but surely that idea had been floating around like he wasn't going to have a choice. He seems almost surprised with himself that he actually did it, and maybe he is, but what did he think was going to happen?

I'm curious to see how they're going to get Marguerite out since she can't sign herself out and I'm guessing they'll have a tighter hold on her due to her more advanced medical problems. Gosh I hope she actually gets to come. I'll be so sad if Edna tried to bring her friend along and then couldn't!

Moving on along, but let me know if you have any questions/if you want feedback about something I didn't mention! :D




BlueAfrica says...


Oh, man. You're gonna be so sad in the next bit.



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Really only one thing that stuck out to me, and that's the very last sentence. The way it immediately follows Edna's words feels like she is the one who says it, rather than the narrator, so the change in speaker is confusing.
I really really love what you did with Benjamin here. You keep adding subtle things that give your characters so much depth and personality and that gives your story personality too.




BlueAfrica says...


Thanks so much for all the reviews! Also, welcome to the site, since I just realized you're new.

If you're interested in reading on, I post updates weekly in this club or on my wall.



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Hey BlueAfrica! :D
I've been secretly following these bug not reviewing, and now that I'm here it seems too good to review! You're doing a great job. :)

Jeanine blinked at him, momentarily stunned, but it didn’t last long. “You are not. For how long? The higher-ups will never approve a vacation lasting more than—”

I feel like "higher-ups" doesn't really fit here, like its something that Edna would say more than Jeanine. However, I can't think of a more official term...? Maybe the managers? I'm not sure what Jeanine's status is and what would be higher than it.

“I hope not,” Benjamin said. “I’m nearly through working on my PhD in astrophysics and theoretical space magic.”

I don't think you mentioned this before, and I love how Benjamin is actually involved in all this legitimate degree research stuff.

So this happened in the last chapter:
With that, she grabbed her cane and stumped toward the front door without any real idea of where to go or what to do. Shouldn’t she pack some clothes before toddling off on an adventure? Stop at the market for some food? And that had been a good point, earlier, about Chosen Ones never taking cars—she certainly couldn’t walk all the way to Michigan.

But she wasn’t going to point any of that out to Benjamin just now.

And in this chapter:
“Go on, now. Go get the van before Jeanine changes her mind.”

Benjamin lifted his head off the table and trudged toward the door. Edna sat back on the bench. Her bones were beginning to ache. The sooner they got going, the better, but at this point the thought of it tired herself. Maybe it would be nice to have a place to come home to at the end of everything…

Don’t start thinking that way, she told herself. You’ve never been happy here. Don’t let a little exhaustion scare you back.

But then a different thought nearly scared her back.

“Oh!” she cried, and Benjamin whirled around in alarm.

Now that Edna isn't really fed up with Benjamin and trying to prove a point, wouldn't she go back to her previous thought about supplies? Obviously they've now obtained a van, but the other things are still important. Goodness, wouldn't Benjamin make sure they had anything and everything needed before going out to the van? Just something to consider for this bit.

I really liked how Edna dealt with Jeanine in this chapter, just like she calmed down Benjamin and Methodius in the last one. It shows us a lot about her character, and that she's a force to be reckoned with, but in a different way than usual. She has the great ability to defuse tensions! I'm also unduly excited for the adventure to Michigan. :) Fantastic job!!

-Falco




BlueAfrica says...


Thanks! I'm so glad you're enjoying it. :)



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Lightsong wrote a review...



Hey, I'm here again to annoy you review! :D

First Reading

This subchapter is another showcase for your talent of making interesting characters. Jeanine here is clearly the spotlight, what's with her perks and remarks being magnetic to readers' attention. You also nail Edna's reactions to that.

Second Reading

Yet again, at the starting of this chapter, you manage to insert humour without making the character being intentionally humorous.

“I don’t like your activities, for heaven’s sakes, I thought that was perfectly clear. Now if you’d started a knitting society or ran poker games instead of bingo—”


I missed this on the first reading. xD I think Edna would find Miss Marple a great companion - both of them love knitting. :D Also, poker games is a nice addition - I wonder if Edna's up to gambling with it? :o

“I’m nearly through working on my PhD in astrophysics and theoretical space magic.”


Benjamin's declaration of quitting speaks volume of his character, but this dialogue part here speaks about the role of magic in this world. It's something to study about, but wizards and witches are not a common view?

“What would I have to do to get you to stay?” Jeanine asked. She looked almost tearful, but Edna suspected it was an act. Jeanine wasn’t a crier and would definitely do anything to keep the number of residents up.


Jeanine's up with her craft lol. I think it'll flow better if she questions a little bit more about Benjamin's quitting before reaching this point.

Jeanine smiled the way a shark or a businessman might smile. “Residency applications for the home would go through the roof if people knew the Chosen One was one of our residents, don’t you think?”


This part here makes me think she's the staff of the nursing room. Maybe she isn't, but since there's nothing concrete saying she isn't so, I'm choosing the staff option.

“If you’d just put your journey on hold for a few weeks, we could spring the news on the owners, and I’m sure they’d set up all sorts of media things—photoshoots, a press conference, a spot on Regis & Kelly! And you could talk about what an honor it is to be the Chosen One, and how much you like the nursing home—”


This is just lol. Chosen One becomes similar to a celebrity and this is 21th century self-advertising. xD

The idea of having more residents is double-edged, though! At one hand, it's great for residents there, they have more companions, but on the other hand, it means more old people are in need of nursing home. :c

“For the nursing home, I’m sure, but not for me. Didn’t you pay any attention in history class? There’s always trouble for the Chosen One once the villain knows who she is.”


Apparently the Chosen One is important enough to be put into history subject. World seems to be more accepting of magic, unlike the typical one where it's against people with magic. Hmm...

“Thank you, but no,” Edna said. “And if it gets out, I’ll know exactly who did it.”


This here illustrates how Edna isn't overwhelmed by people like Jeanine, and I like it. This is an assurance for me to know that whatever she's going to face, she's going to face it with a firm principle.

She looked over her shoulder and said, “I guess you can still take a van. If you want.”


And this here showcases how Jeanine isn't as bad as she seems to be. I think it shows how she genuinely cares about Edna although from previous section the caring is selfishly, politically motivated. It gives more depth to her character.

“Oh, no. Oh, no. Oh. Oh.”


For some reason, this sounds funny.

“Then I can’t go,” Edna said. Sorry, world, but friendship was more important.


Oh damn, I feel for Edna at the end. I forget who's Marguerite (if she's ever mentioned) but the ending of this subchapter is effectively touching. Edna, despite her wanting of adventure and independence, cares so much about her friend that she rather likes to be with Marguerite than saving the world. Scratch what I've said about Jeanine being the spotlight. This here surpasses other details of character development.

On a side note, I wonder what are the qualifications of signing one out. Edna seems to sign out with any difficulty; she isn't imposed with any rules or conditions. Shouldn't the same treatment be applied to Marguerite? I mean, if Marguerite decides to sign out and be out there alone, then it'd be understandable if the staff's doubtful about her capability. But if she's with Edna and Benjamin, she'd be fine, wouldn't she? Unless her condition is too bad that she literally can't sign, then I don't see how she can't sign.

And that is all! Keep up the good job! :D




BlueAfrica says...


!!!! I'm so glad you liked this part, too, because I felt really awful about it while I was writing it.

Marguerite hasn't been around since chapter one, I'm pretty sure, but she's Edna's roommate and she has dementia. She didn't check herself in and isn't capable of caring for herself, so she can't check herself out. A relative who signed her in would have to do that, and I don't think her relatives would want her off on a mad journey to save the world.

In other news, magic is like a totally normal thing in this world. Hence the relatively small amount of surprise when a wizard showed up in the nursing home back in chapter 1. It's basically the Real World with Magic Thrown in for Good Measure. So not everyone is a witch or wizard, but they do exist openly, and then you can study magic casually if you want, and there are careers in various magical fields and so on and so forth. That's how I imagine it, anyway.




It's a dramatic situation almost every time you answer the phone—if you answer the phone.
— Matthew Weiner