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Rarity from Hollow
by Robert Eggleton
Lacy Dawn’s father relives the Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in the hollow is hard. She has one advantage — an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It’s up to her to save the Universe. Lacy Dawn doesn’t mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.
Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. A Children’s Story. For Adults.
“The most enjoyable science fiction novel I have read in years.”
—Temple Emmet Williams, Author, former editor for Reader’s Digest
“Quirky, profane, disturbing… In the space between a few lines we go from hardscrabble realism to pure sci-fi/fantasy. It’s quite a trip.”
— Evelyn Somers, The Missouri Review
. “…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse…tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…profound…a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.” — Awesome Indies (Gold Medal)
“…sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved…a brilliant writer.” –Readers’ Favorite (Gold Medal)
“Rarity from the Hollow is an original and interesting story of a backwoods girl who saves the Universe in her fashion. Not for the prudish.” —Piers Anthony, New York Times bestselling author
“…Good satire is hard to find and science fiction satire is even harder to find.” — The Baryon Review
Excerpt from Chapter 10, “One Moment, Please”
Scene Prologue: In this scene, Lacy Dawn stands up to her abusive father for the first time. Dwayne is a disabled Gulf War Vet who suffers from PTSD, night terrors and anger outbursts. Her mother, Jenny, is downtrodden and weak-willed. Lacy Dawn, the eleven year old protagonist, has just returned home from the android’s spaceship where she was being trained to fulfill her destiny as the savior of the universe. At this point, her powers were evident but not fully matured. She had been negotiating extraterrestrial assistance to cure her parents of their mental disorders, but rushed home after sensing an emergency there…:
…Three minutes later, Lacy Dawn stood on the back porch. She was keen to hear a whisper. The yells could be heard half-way Roundabend. She peeked through the kitchen window. Her mother was on the floor with her back propped against the gasoline can that hid her GED study guide. Jenny’s nose bled.
“WHAT THE HELL ………GIVES YOU THE RIGHT ………………TO THINK ……….…………….that you can THROW AWAY …something that is MINE?” her father screamed.
Jenny adjusted her position. So did Lacy Dawn to get a better view through the window.
“Where’s my SWITCH?” Dwayne left the kitchen.
Lacy Dawn felt for her knife.
I hope Mommy runs for it.
Jenny moved the gasoline can to cover a corner of her study guide that stuck up. Dwayne had put the can in the kitchen two winters ago after he cut firewood. At the time, snow on the path to the shed had been deep. Jenny didn’t complain about the can in the kitchen because it turned into her best place to hide her GED book. It was convenient and the mice stayed away because of the smell. When her GED book was hid behind the refrigerator, it lost a corner to the nibbles. She repositioned her bra so that everything was contained.
If it’s okay with him, I’ll take it right here with my arms over my face. God, I wish I’d worn long pants today. If he finds that book he might kill me. Maybe that’d be better. I can’t handle anymore anyway. Welfare would take Lacy Dawn and put her in a group home. She’d have friends and stuff to do and decent clothes. That’s more than she’s got now. Who am I kidding? I’ll never get my GED or learn to drive. I’d be better off dead. She’d be better off. I ain’t no kind of decent mom anyway.
Jenny pulled out her GED study guide. Lacy Dawn burst into the kitchen and, at the same time, Dwayne appeared in the opposite doorway from the living room. Lacy Dawn and Dwayne stood face to face.
“She didn’t throw away those magazines, Dwayne. I burnt them all!” Lacy Dawn looked him in the eyes.
I’ve never called him Dwayne before.
“Well, here’s my switch, little girl, and you can kiss your white ass goodbye because it’s gonna be red in a minute.”
“I told Grandma that you had pictures of naked little girls my age kissing old men like you.”
“Well, your grandma’s dead and gone now and it don’t make no difference.”
Dwayne grinned at Jenny and resumed eye contact with Lacy Dawn. Jenny did not move. The GED study guide was in the open. Lacy Dawn straightened her posture.
“Not that grandma — the other one — your mom. I tore out a page and showed her. She said the Devil must’ve made you have those pictures with naked girls way too young for you to look at. She told me to burn them to help save your soul before it was too late and you ended up in Hell.”
Dwayne raised the switch to waist level. Lacy Dawn took a step forward.
“I was sick of them being in the trunk under my bed anyway. I did what Grandma told me to and now they’re gone.”
“That was my Playboy collection from high school. I bought them when I used to work at the Amoco station before I joined the Army.”
Dwayne lowered the switch and leaned against the door frame. Jenny sat up straighter and slid her GED study guide back behind the gas can. Lacy Dawn maintained eye contact.
He’s starting to lose it. Where’s my new butcher knife?
Dwayne looked to the side and muttered something that she did not understand. He raised the switch and then lowered it.
“But, Mom knew I had them when I was in high school and never said nothing. Hell, those girls were older than me back then. I bet they’re all wrinkled now — with tits pointing straight to the ground, false teeth, and fat asses.”
Dwayne muttered again. Lacy Dawn maintained eye contact.
I must have hit a nerve. He always mutters when he’s thinking too hard.
“Anyway, you’re both still getting switched even if Mom told you to do it. But, I won’t make it too bad. She wouldn’t like it.”
He paused. The point of the switch lowered to the floor.
Damn. I can’t think of a new name.
“Tammy, bammy, bo mammy…” Dwayne sang. (Dwayne named all of the switched that he used on Lacy Dawn and Jenny to discipline them.)
“If you even touch me or Mommy with that thing, I’ll tell everybody about Tom’s garden. (Tom is a neighbor who grows marijuana.) I’ll tell Grandma, the mailman, my teacher after school starts, and the food stamp woman when she comes next week for our home visit. I’ll tell Tom that I’m gonna tell the men working on the road at the top of the hill. I’ll tell all your friends when they come by after the harvest. And, I’ll call that judge who put you in jail for a day for drunk driving if Grandpa will let me use the phone. I swear I’ll tell everybody.”
“Oh shit,” Dwayne said.
I knew this day would come — ever since she brought me those DARE to Keep Kids off Drugs stickers to cover up the rust holes on my truck….
“Lacy Dawn, drugs are bad. I don’t take drugs and hope you never will either.”
“Cut the crap, Dwayne. This ain’t about drugs. The only thing this is about is if you even think about switching me or Mommy, that garden has had it — period.”
“But smoking pot is not the same as taking drugs,” he let go of the switch. Thirty seconds later, Lacy Dawn picked it up and hung it in its proper place on her parents’ bedroom wall.
“I love you, Daddy,” she said on the way back to the kitchen.
Dwayne went out the back door and walked to his pick-up. The truck door slammed. It started, gravel crushed, and the muffler rumbled. He floored it up the hollow road.
Things will be forever different.
Lacy Dawn sat down on a kitchen chair, did her deep breathing exercise, smelled an underarm and said, “Yuck.”
Things will be forever the same unless DotCom can help me change them. (DotCom is the name of the android, a recurring pun in the story.)
Jenny got off the floor, sat on the other chair, scooted it closer beside her daughter, put an arm around her, and kissed the side of Lacy Dawn’s head.
The muffler rumbled to nonexistence.
“Asshole,” they screamed out the open kitchen window at the exact same time without cue.
“He used to be a good man,” Jenny giggled and hugged…. (This phrase is an intergenerational familial saying that Lacy Dawn turned into a chant and used to magically elevate above the ground, and to travel back and forth between her home and the spaceship without getting her tennis shoes muddy.)
Excerpts of Two Book Reviews – Gold Medal Awards
“…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, only instead of the earth being destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass, Lacy Dawn must…The author has managed to do what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse, and written about them with tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…Eggleton sucks you into the Hollow, dunks you in the creek, rolls you in the mud, and splays you in the sun to dry off. Tucked between the folds of humor are some profound observations on human nature and modern society that you have to read to appreciate…it’s a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.”
“…Full of cranky characters and crazy situations, Rarity From the Hollow sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved… Robert Eggleton is a brilliant writer whose work is better read on several levels. I appreciated this story on all of them.”
About the author:
Robert Eggleton has served as a children’s advocate in an impoverished state for over forty years. He is best known for his investigative reports about children’s programs, most of which were published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where he worked from 1982 through 1997, and which also included publication of models of serving disadvantaged and homeless children in the community instead of in large institutions, research into foster care drift involving children bouncing from one home to the next — never finding a permanent loving family, and statistical reports on the occurrence and correlates of child abuse and delinquency.
Today, he is a recently retired children’s psychotherapist from the mental health center in Charleston, West Virginia, where he specialized in helping victims cope with and overcome physical and sexual abuse, and other mental health concerns. Rarity from the Hollow is his debut novel. Its release followed publication of three short Lacy Dawn Adventures in magazines: Wingspan Quarterly, Beyond Centauri, and Atomjack Science Fiction. The second edition of Rarity from the Hollow was release on November 3, 2016. Author proceeds have been donated to a child abuse prevention program operated by Children’s Home Society of West Virginia. http://www.childhswv.org/ Robert continues to write fiction with new adventures based on a protagonist that is a composite character of children that he met when delivering group therapy services. The overall theme of his stories remains victimization to empowerment.