Lacy Dawn’s father relives the never-ending Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend gets 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. 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.
Targeted Age Group:: 16+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I'm a retired children's psychotherapist at the community mental health center in Charleston, WV. Part of my job was to facilitate group therapy sessions for youth, including those who had been victimized by abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and abandonment. One day, an eleven year old girl sat across the table and, instead of disclosing the horrors of her abuse by the meanest daddy on Earth, she spoke of her hopes and dreams of a brighter future — finding a loving family that would protect her. My protagonist was born that day: Lacy Dawn, a tribute from victimization to empowerment.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
All of my characters are composites of real-life people that I've met during over forty years in children's advocacy: victims, perpetrators, judges, politicians, parents….
Chapter One: Cozy in Cardboard
Inside her first clubhouse, Lacy Dawn glanced over fifth grade spelling words for tomorrow’s quiz at school. She already knew all the words in the textbook and most others in any human language.
Nothing’s more important than an education.
The clubhouse was a cardboard box in the front yard that her grandmother's new refrigerator had occupied until an hour before. Her father brought it home for her to play in.
The nicest thing he's ever done.
Faith lay beside her with a hand over the words and split fingers to cheat as they were called off. She lived in the next house up the hollow. Every other Wednesday for the last two months, the supervised child psychologist came to their school, pulled her out of class, and evaluated suspected learning disabilities. Lacy Dawn underlined a word with a fingernail.
All she needs is a little motivation.
Before they had crawled in, Lacy Dawn tapped the upper corner of the box with a flashlight and proclaimed, "The place of all things possible — especially you passing the fifth grade so we'll be together in the sixth."
Please concentrate, Faith. Try this one.
"A, R, M, … A … D, I, L, D, O," Faith demonstrated her intellect.
"That's weak. This is a bonus word so you’ll get extra points. Come on."
Lacy Dawn nodded and looked for a new word.
I’ll trick her by going out of order – a word she can't turn into another punch line.
“Don’t talk about it and the image will go away. Let’s get back to studying,” Lacy Dawn said.
My mommy don't like sex. It's just her job and she told me so.
Faith turned her open spelling book over, which saved its page, and rolled onto her side. Lacy Dawn did the same and snuggled her back against the paper wall. Face to face — a foot of smoothness between — they took a break. The outside was outside.
At their parents’ insistence, each wore play clothing — unisex hand-me-downs that didn’t fit as well as school clothing. They’d been careful not to get muddy before crawling into the box. They’d not played in the creek and both were cleaner than the usual evening. The clubhouse floor remained an open invitation to anybody who had the opportunity to consider relief from daily stressors.
"How'd you get so smart, Lacy Dawn? Your parents are dumb asses just like mine."
"You ain't no dumb ass and you're going to pass the fifth grade."
"Big deal — I'm still fat and ugly," Faith said.
"I'm doing the best I can. I figure by the time I turn eleven I can fix that too. For now, just concentrate on passing and don't become special education. I need you. You're my best friend."
"Ain't no other girls our age close in the hollow. That's the only reason you like me. Watch out. There's a pincher bug crawling in."
Lacy Dawn sat almost upright because there was not quite enough headroom in the refrigerator box. She scooted the bug out the opening. The clubhouse door faced downhill — the best choice since nothing natural was flat in the hollow. If it had sloped uphill, too much blood in the brain would have been detrimental to studying spelling or any other higher calling like changing Faith's future. Faith watched the bug attempt re-entry, picked it up, and threw it a yard away into the grass. It didn't get hurt. Lacy Dawn smiled her approval. The new clubhouse was a sacred place where nothing was supposed to hurt.
"Daddy said I can use the tarp whenever he finishes the overhaul on the car in the driveway. That way, our clubhouse will last a long time," Lacy Dawn said.
"Chewy, chewy tootsie roll. Everything in this hollow rots, especially the people. You know that."
"We ain't rotten,” Lacy Dawn gestured with open palms. “There are a lot of good things here — like all the beautiful flowers. Just focus on your spelling and I'll fix everything else. This time I want a 100% and a good letter to your mommy."
"She won't read it," Faith said.
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