Author: Robert Eggleton
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction
Publication Date: March 2012
Lacy Dawn is a little girl who lives in a magical forest where all the trees love her and she has a space alien friend who adores her and wants to make her queen of the universe. What’s more, all the boys admire her for her beauty and brains. Mommy is very beautiful and Daddy is very smart, and Daddy’s boss loves them all.
Lacy Dawn, the eleven year old protagonist, perches precariously between the psychosis of childhood and the multiple neuroses of adolescence, buffeted by powerful gusts of budding sexuality and infused with a yearning to escape the grim and brutal life of a rural Appalachian existence. In this world, Daddy is a drunk with severe PTSD, and Mommy is an insecure wraith. The boss is a dodgy lecher, not above leering at the flat chest of an eleven-year-old girl.
Yes, all in one book.
It is a children’s story for adults with a happily ever after ending.
Designated to be consolidated, the school received little maintenance except to reduce liability. The playground had a chain link fence with vines growing through the diagonals, squeaky swings so loud that everyone on recess had to holler, and two teeter-totters with splinters that targeted fresh butt. Only one improvement had been added during the last three years of consolidation controversy. Pieces of shredded car tires were put under the monkey bars to cushion falls.
During recess, the teachers smoked cigarettes behind the corner of the brick school building. It was a designated smoking spot so that students wouldn’t be exposed to bad influence. Consequently, the playground was without adult supervision.
“Why do you want to feel angry so often?” Lacy Dawn (the eleven year old protagonist) asked Faith (Lacy Dawn’s best friend and classmate).
“It messes up your digestion and gives you the farts.”
“I like to fart – silent and deadly,” Faith said.
“I’ve noticed.” Lacy Dawn moved toward the gang hanging out under the monkey bars. They were older kids who lived on the hard road and who had parents who had been employed before the coal mine shut down. They still thought they had money.
“My dad got a call about a job in Cleveland. What do you think, Lacy Dawn? Your mommy was born there. Is it cool? Will I meet Eminem?” the tallest kid asked.
“Does your daddy still hit your mommy when he gets drunk?” Lacy Dawn asked.
“Sometimes, but what’s that got to do with Cleveland?”
The tall kid grabbed the monkey bars and went to its end. His tip-toes touched the shredded tires. It was easier because the ground was several inches higher than before the shreds had been laid. Nobody acknowledged the achievement and all awaited his response. “When we get to Cleveland, I’ll stand up to him. I promise,”
“You’d better or she’ll know,” Faith pointed at Lacy Dawn.
“I know.” The tall kid sat on the rung that had broken off his front tooth two grades before.
“Why’d you tell him that?” Lacy Dawn whispered in Faith’s ear. “I ain’t got that kind of magic yet and you know it. I can only see inside people when they’re right in front of me. Cleveland’s a long way off and, besides, Eminem’s from Detroit.”
“My mom and dad don’t ever hit me. Sometimes, I wish they would. I do stuff so they will, but it don’t ever work,” the next tallest kid in line for therapy disclosed.
“Parents use different styles of redirection. Yours use guilt.” Lacy Dawn said.
“Yeah, I cut myself once. See. It helped a little, but I would really appreciate a switch every now and then.”
“Don’t fetish,” Lacy Dawn said. “Relax. You’re a good kid and your parents want switched, too. It’s not your daddy’s fault that the mine shut down. He feels guilty about not being a good provider and gets rid of it by giving it to you.” Lacy Dawn kissed the scar on the kid’s arm above the bottom of his shirt sleeve.
The crowd went “Ooohhhh…” when the scar seemed to fade.
“You’re a good doctor, Lacy Dawn,” echoed the crowd.
“Next!” a kid who lay on top of the monkey bars above the gang yelled.
“Give me your shit, Ronny,” Lacy Dawn instructed. “But, don’t you ever say anything bad about Faith ever again. I’ll vex you into eternity. You’ve been giving her a hard time since the first grade. It ain’t fair.”
“Sorry,” Ronny said. “I’m just so sad all the time. I take it out on anybody that will react and she’s an easy target – fat and ugly.”
“Next year, she’ll be hot. She’ll give you a hard-on that won’t go down for days. You’ll regret every mean thing you ever said to her.”
Faith moved into position to punch his exposed belly.
“I already regret everything,” Ronny said, “everything.”
“Your parents thought if they taught you how to predict consequences of your behavior you would exercise self-control. You learned it too good and now you go over and over every little detail. Before you do something mean, just take a few slow, deep breaths and you won’t hit anybody anymore. Then, you will have less regret. When you stop being mean, I’ll help you fix your depression. But, if you ever say one mean thing about Faith again, I’ll let her kick your ass like it’s never been before,” Lacy Dawn said.
“My mommy don’t do nothing but watch soaps,” a girl in the second said.
“Mine too,” three smaller children gathered for wisdom.
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 and its release followed publication of three short Lacy Dawn Adventures in magazines: Wingspan Quarterly, Beyond Centauri, and Atomjack Science Fiction. Author proceeds have been donated to a child abuse prevention program operated by Children’s Home Society of West Virginia. 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.