FREEBIE: Stainless Steel by Robert Eggleton

Stainless Steel by Robert Eggleton

I have a very special gift for everyone reading this blog – a free short story! It has been penned by Robert Eggleton and you can find out more about the author after the story. You can also check out the “5 Minutes With…” interview with him on Wednesday, August 12 😉

The story starts in a children’s mental health facility and progresses to the premeditated attempted murder of an abusive father with the assistance of an android. I hope you enjoy it!

STAINLESS STEEL by ROBERT EGGLETON (Length: Approx. 5,300 words)

Shelly and Faith had become the best of friends. They were roommates at a children’s mental health institution on Earth, the planet with the highest sentient incarceration rate in the universe. Twenty-six girls shared the same dormitory at the facility, but Shelly was the only one that Faith had trusted with her secret.  Faith hadn’t even told her therapist.

Outside of her own family, one other person on the planet also knew the secret. It was Lacy Dawn. She was Faith’s best friend back home. Before she had confided, Faith forced Shelly and Lacy Dawn to make cross-your-heart promises not to tell anybody else, especially not an adult.

All three girls were eight years old. This admission was the fourth time that Faith had gotten herself locked up for her own good, compared to two for Shelly. Lacy Dawn had never been put in a facility. She had the magic to protect herself, plus some left over to help other kids, and Lacy Dawn even made perfect grades in school.

“I’m getting stronger! Soon I’ll fix everything in the whole world!” Lacy Dawn had screamed as the deputy shackled Faith to take her to the institution almost six weeks ago. Since then, for comfort, Faith had replayed that scene every night at 7:00 p.m. – the mandatory bedtime for kids housed in the facility.

After Faith had been hauled off by the deputy, Lacy Dawn chanted a magic verse: “He used to be a good man…,” and elevated above the ground to glide home. She had to find the only other best friend she’d ever made – a naked guy that lived in a spaceship up the path behind her house in the Hollow. The guy didn’t have any private parts. Otherwise, she would have never trusted him.

Even though she was locked up, or perhaps because of it, Faith believed in Lacy Dawn’s magic, and knew that it would be there to help when she need it most – after she got out of lock-up. Each day, she counted the next until release, and, at night, she schemed various plots to revenge against the people who had put her there – the school principal and psychologist, her scared mother, a big sister, a tattletale named Brittney, and most of all, her daddy.

Younger girls at the facility would have screaming fits several times a day. They would be put in padded isolation rooms, given shots, and left until their energies had drained. That’s what Shelly and Faith used to do – scream, scream, and scream some more. Older girls would spit out the medicines that stopped their hallucinations so that they would have something interesting to talk about during the otherwise boring and ongoing group therapy sessions.

Shelly and Faith were in the middle group of girls – too old to continue the screaming fits that didn’t rid the pain anyway, and too young to have achieved effective dissociation from their traumas. They were the cutters, along with six other girls in their dormitory who were about the same age. However, Shelly and Faith were the only two who had never intentionally scarred their faces. It was what had bonded their friendship – an understanding that one day they might deserve to be pretty – a shared belief that Lacy Dawn’s magic was real and that, thereby, relief from victimization was at least a theoretical possibility.

Their hope blossomed on such a pretty day of unknown designation or date by inmates. Shelly and Faith played within the fenced outdoor recreation yard. It was a scheduled time and the one hour period required by state statute. It was also a smoke break for the facility staff. The girls looked for sharp objects to use for self-mutilation. Pieces of plastic spoons were the best.

“Don’t number that scar. It was a cat scratch,” Faith said.

“Thanks for being honest,” Shelly acknowledged and skipped one of the best scars on Faith’s right forearm. She went to the next. With the ballpoint pen that she’d stolen from her therapist, Shelly numbered it, and continued down Faith’s arm to number the other scars.

“Twenty-seven, twenty-eight…alright, you win this time. But, I bet I beat you next time,” Shelly conceded.

“I cut a lot more on my left arm. I like it best,” Faith said, held it up, and rotated left and right so that the scars glittered in the afternoon sun.

The girls looked around to make sure. No security guards were watching. No adults were in view. Cigarette smoke formed a cloud that floated from around the corner of the building. They were unsupervised, and out-of-range of the sound monitoring system.

“I can’t wait to be old enough to get my belly button pierced,” Shelly changed the game, lifted her Metallica tee shirt, and pinched her navel until it turned red.

“I can’t wait to get big enough to kill my daddy,” Faith said and jabbed a knifeless fist into Shelly’s abdomen. They giggled and didn’t stop until the school bell signaled the end of recess at the children’s mental health center.

Security herded the kids toward the side-entrance of the facility. They would remain inside the light-green walls, and breathe the familiar smell of urine mixed with Lysol, until the next good-weather-day required outdoor recreation. In protest, one roommate, Robin, banged her head on the cinder-block wall beside the door that read FIRE EXIT.

“I bet she’d stop that if you took off her helmet,” Faith said to Mrs. Jackson, a 250 pound positive role model who worked the 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. shifts.

Mrs. Jackson was a Behavioral Rehabilitation Specialist. She had a high school diploma and was strong enough to physically restrain acting-out youth, regardless of how big they’d grown between their repetitive readmissions. Most of the girls in the program liked her, and some liked her so much that they would act out on purpose just to be held.

“I know that’s right, Honey,” Mrs. Jackson agreed and knocked three times on Robin’s helmet with a knuckle.

Mrs. Jackson couldn’t remember any of the girls’ names, so she called them all, “Honey.”

“Are you the one getting discharged tomorrow? Your Medicaid money ran out and so you’ve got to go home. The government has to pay for you to be here and, well, I don’t understand it all, but that’s what the Director said in the staff meeting this morning. All he ever talks about is money, money and money. I guess he knows what he’s doing. I sure need more money. Are you Faith?”

Tears swelled in Shelly’s eyes, but she turned her head before anybody noticed. Faith punched the wall, but not so hard that it would have busted her hand.

Been there, done that.

“Yeah, I’m Faith. I didn’t know nothing about being discharged this soon. I’m not ready. I’ll help Mr. Stan clean the dookie off the walls in the bathrooms if he’ll let me stay longer. Tell the director, please….”

“I’ll tell the boss, but you know he don’t care about no poop on no walls unless there’s an inspection coming up. Why do you girls smear it everyplace?”

“I wish Lacy Dawn was here to help me,” Faith whispered to Shelly. “No I don’t,” she said after reconsideration. “I would never want her in a place like this.”

Mrs. Jackson scooted the girls up a landing toward the group therapy room. Robin slid her shoulder against the wall along the way and continued to bang her head. Inside the room, Shelly grabbed Faith’s hand and refused to let go. Their assigned seats were not adjacent. Given the choice between an incident and its formal report, or allowing the girls to hold hands, the therapist rearranged seats. The other girls in the session didn’t object. They grabbed hands and an invincible circle around the table was thereby established.

“Who won?” the therapist asked about the self-mutilation contest. He had noticed the numbered scars on Faith’s right arm.

Without letting go of hands, Shelly sat down last. Her tears formed a pool on the shiny table top. The girl beside Shelly, not the usual one, but the one that ended up there after the seating rearrangement, began to cry. The girl beside her did the same. And, the one beside that girl started. The sequence got to the therapist, who formed the biggest puddle of tears on the table top. Twelve girls, a gray-haired do-gooder, and Mrs. Jackson wept before the group therapy session had been called to order. Robin cried as she continued to bang her head on the table top – recurring resonating thuds.

“Why are we crying?” Mrs. Jackson asked ten minutes later to call some order to the group.

“Faith is going home tomorrow!” Shelly screamed so loudly that it alerted additional staff to help out during an emergency – two janitors who had been trained in the physical restraint of kids.

“Oh, my God!” the therapist reassessed the situation and the janitors left. The group cried for five more minutes.

Mrs. Jackson left the room and returned with a roll of paper towels to wipe the table. Because it was disruptive, she then gave Robin the option to stop banging her head or to be put in the isolation room. Robin stopped. All of the girls looked to the therapist for direction. He blew his nose on the towel that he’d used to wipe up his tears.

“I’ve only spit out and saved up fifteen pills since I’ve been here this time. I need more,” Faith said to begin the girls’ obligatory disclosures.

“There’s a bunch in the flower pot next to the nurses’ station,” Sandy, a girl who on-purpose looked like a boy recommended.

The doctor had triple checked Sandy’s gender at admission so that she/he would be in the correct dorm.

The rejected psychotropic pills that the kids had been spit into the dirt of the flower pot had killed the plant, such a common occurrence at nurses’ stations all over Earth that there was little point in replacing the plant.  The next would shortly meet the same fate.

Most of the pills at this facility were rejected by older girls who liked their dissociative relief better than the medication. Some of the pills in the pot were from kids that enjoyed the way ADHD felt. And, other pills were from girls with Bipolar Disorder and within the manic mood swing. It was easy for everybody to tell when these girls felt so high that they never wanted to come down. They wouldn’t stop bragging about how they were so cool.

“That ain’t enough to kill my daddy,” Faith told the group. “He’s tough as nails.”

“I’ve got a case of sample medication that I’ll give to take home,” the therapist leaned toward and whispered to Faith. He then tried to close the topic by passing out a written exercise: “Color My Feelings.” The children’s worksheets turned red – all red, streaked beyond the black borders of the picture outlines, and onto the table top.

The therapist’s right eye began to twitch. For the first time since he’d taken the job a year before, three minutes passed during which he said nothing, absolutely nothing, verbally or nonverbally.

“There’s something wrong with Mr. Stan,” Sandy shared her observation with the girl sitting beside her, and before she noticed that Faith had motioned everybody to hush up. This girl imitated Faith by placing an index finger over her lips too. Two more minutes passed in total silence, a first occurrence for anybody present in that group therapy session.

“I’ll slip a bunch more pills into your suitcase after this session,” the therapist whispered again to Faith. “Good luck.”

Faith nodded agreement.  The girls who had overheard this promise smiled and let go of each other’s hands, until the word got around the table and the invincible circle evaporated. All the girls began to rub the red crayon marks off of the table top with their paper towels, then they dusted the rest of the table, put their paper towels in the trash can, straightened up the books on a shelf, picked up a few pieces of litter on the floor, and pushed their seats neatly into place.

The next morning, the administrator insisted that Faith put on a long-sleeve shirt to cover the fresh scars on her forearms. She was packed, including the take-home drugs secretly put into her plastic-trash-bag suitcase by her therapist. It contained the most drugs that she’d ever owned.

He’s the best therapist in the whole world.

Faith waited in the reception area used for admissions and discharges at the children’s mental health institution. It had been three hours since her Medicaid eligibility period had expired. The administrator of the facility had shown up every fifteen minutes to see if she had been picked up yet because he could no longer bill for services. The staff member who kept watch on her during the discharge process occasionally opened his eyes as he snoozed.

Two hours later, the security glass in front of the facility’s telephone operator slid open. “Your father called, Faith. He said that the truck broke down. He’ll be here as soon as he finds a new fuel pump.” The glass slid shut.

“Can I go talk to Shelly while I wait?” Faith asked her half-awake guard.

“No, you’re discharged,” he yawned, sipped a coffee that had gone cold, and shut his eyes again.

An hour later, a pickup truck driven by Faith’s twelve year old sister parked in front of the mental health institution. Her father staggered in. Faith stood. He smacked her on the butt, and went to the counter to sign a form that the receptionist held out on a clipboard. Faith was officially discharged from the state mental health system with a guarded prognosis.

“Shotgun!” she yelled before they’d taken the first step out of the facility.

It didn’t work. Faith climbed into the middle. The truck had bucket seats, but there was a storage compartment with a plywood lid between them. Her father flopped in and patted Faith’s knee several times before he fell asleep. Faith’s older sister smiled approval, and put her father’s dirty hand in his lap where it stayed until, an hour later, the truck turned onto the hollow road.

The county had asphalted to the bottom of Faith’s hollow, the last school bus stop. When her daddy’s truck hit the gravel and potholes beyond the paved road, the bounce was too much for sleep. Faith’s father awakened. There was one chug of warm beer left in the last forty, so he downed it. He almost barfed out the window, but he didn’t roll it down quick enough. The glug spurted all over the truck cab.  It smelled like a brewery.

“Daddy, that’s gross!” Faith’s older sister said.  She hit a big pothole on purpose. With her bare hand she wiped the inside of the windshield to clear the wet smear.

The gravel road turned to dirt, then mud. When the truck got stuck, its occupants walked the quarter-mile home. It was late spring. There was bright green everyplace, except for the brown that stuck to their shoes and that made them so heavy. Faith’s mother paced on the front porch, faster as she saw her family approach. She’d been there for hours.

“I know what I told you. I said that I’d help you kill him this time, but…,” Faith’s mother whispered to her, and pulled off one of Faith’s tennis shoes so that mud wouldn’t be tracked into the house.

“Just like last time.” Faith accused. “Why do you put up with daddy?”

Faith lugged her suitcases, two plastic garbage bags, to the small bedroom that she shared with her sisters and came back downstairs to redundantly confront her mother.

I knew you wouldn’t help this time, just like all the other times before when we’d planned to kill him. I don’t even know why I bothered to tell you about what he did. You don’t care, not really.

The next morning, Faith went to visit Lacy Dawn, who lived down the hollow a ways. They talked in the outhouse so that nobody could see them.

“Be cool,” Lacy Dawn said to calm Faith. “The solution is not in your own mental health.  No child should be expected to just accept it. But I’m impressed that your therapist gave you a bunch more pills to kill him this time.  It shows that there are good people in this world.”

Everything around Lacy Dawn was greener than green. Through an increasingly bright aura as she aged, she exuded survival. Although he switched her real good at least once a day, Dwayne, her father, had never actually physically abused her, not in his eyes.  It was just regular discipline like he had been raised up: spare the rod and spoil the child.

If Lacy Dawn had felt maltreated, her magic would have made daddy instantly deader than dead – not even a soul left in the Afterlife to file an appeal. And, her indigence if abused might have exploded Earth and taken a bunch of innocent people with it. She wasn’t close to her peak in the maturity of power, but one wrong touch would have had explosive consequences.

In that outhouse on that important day, Faith’s first day of freedom in months, Lacy Dawn acknowledged her own lack of maturity:  “I’m still growing up, too.”

“Yeah, but you’ve got a good mommy,” Faith retorted.

Lacy Dawn’s mother would have helped nail the coffin shut given perceived victimization of her child – not a bit like Faith’s mother, who used other’s pain as the best means to reduce her own. Spare the rod, spoil the child.

“Your magic is getting stronger,” Faith said. “You’ve never even been in a mental hygiene proceeding.  I can’t hear it, but I can tell that nature talks back to you. Maybe it’s God, I don’t know, but you go places without walking or getting mud on your shoes. You made that bruise on my face go away before the teacher called welfare or the cops that time. And you’re getting pretty. I wish that I could do that.”

“I’ve got a boyfriend!” Lacy Dawn announced.

“Did you let him kiss you on the cheek?”

“No, not yet, but I’m getting stronger. I’ll make it happen if I decide to.

“Why does he like you then?”

“He says that he needs me to help fix things. I don’t know. Boys always need something, but the main thing is that you’re home, and that we figure out a way to kill your daddy. My boyfriend says that he’s the meanest and toughest human that he’s ever heard about.”

“Yes, the main thing is that you grow strong enough to help me kill daddy,” Faith agreed. “I need a plan.”

“Get two beer bottles, the kind that he can’t afford but buys when he’s drunk. Steal a little beer, here and there, and pour it into the empty bottles until they’re almost full. Keep the bottles in the cellar with the lids on so that they stay cool.”

“That’s what I tried last time,” Faith complained.

“I ain’t finished yet,” Lacy Dawn said. “Put in a bunch of pills and close the lids on the bottles real tight.”

“Is this instant replay?” Faith persisted with complaint.

“I told you that I ain’t finished,” Lacy Dawn continued.

“Okay, but today is Tuesday and daddy’s friends come over on Saturday nights,” Faith said. “You know what that means – a bunch of drunks.”

“We’ll be ready by then,” Lacy Dawn said. “Go home. I’ve got stuff to figure out.”

Faith obeyed – conditioned by governmental systems that had trained her to avoid disobedience.

Lacy Dawn schemed. Nobody else in the hollow knew about the android that lived in a cave up her path. He was programmed not to harm humans, so getting him to help out in a murder conspiracy might have been tricky, but was very accomplished with a flash of her smile.  She had spent countless hours for over three years in his spaceship and plugged into educational tutorials.

What’s one more info set even if it will be about chainsaw injuries?

Lacy Dawn’s training was delivered through a port that had been placed in her upper spine behind her long, stringy, brown hair.  The android was on Earth to train and recruit her to save the universe. She hadn’t been told what that meant yet, but she knew that the android owed her something, maybe everything. Her magic was powerful enough to sense his desperation.  She visited the ship after doing dinner dishes.

“Ain’t nothin’ free in this world, Lacy Dawn,” the nameless, naked android with no private parts negotiated when Lacy Dawn asked him to help hatch a murder plot by teaching her about chainsaws accidents.

The android had Laws that governed his actions in relationship to organic beings. He also had an assignment to recruit Lacy Dawn into voluntary servitude. Since the android’s real name sounded so weird to her, she had named him Buddy, after a distant cousin. This meeting represented a balancing of right and wrong by Buddy and Lacy Dawn, even though there was little disagreement among all informed parties that Faith’s father was the meanest human being that had ever existent in the history of mankind.

“Wait just a minute,” Lacy Dawn demanded in reaction to the android’s hesitancy. “Last time, you told me that I had to come up with my own plan to help Faith. Now, you’re telling me to try the exact same plan as last time: save up stale beer and put in a bunch pills.”

She gave him a dirty look.

“Faith said that the last time we tried this same plan, her daddy told her that it was some really good beer that she had brought him. It sure didn’t kill him. I told Faith that we’ll get him good this time because I’ve got a Consultant, you,” Lacy Dawn yelled. “This meeting ain’t finished. I’ll be back in an hour. I’ve got to go meet Faith. You’ve got some thinking to do!”

“I’m working on Buddy. I figure by the time I’m eleven I’ll have him wrapped around my little finger,” Lacy Dawn, afraid to yell, said directly into the outhouse’s stink hole on her way home.

“Some savior you are – too slow,” Faith said to Lacy Dawn when she showed up a few minutes later to check on whether Lacy Dawn had come up with a good plan.

“If you stab him like you want to, it’s bound to be a bad scene with all that blood to clean up and stuff.” Lacy Dawn said and looked around to make sure that nobody else had heard her.

Lacy Dawn’s mother, Jenny, was standing in the back doorway watching the girls argue. She had also experienced a childhood of horror. Such did not make her a champion of survivors, but she was an ignorer of best laid plans. Jenny did not intervene.

After washing breakfast dishes the next day to avoid a switching by her daddy, Lacy Dawn went up the path to visit Buddy again. His ship was always the cleanest place that she’d ever been, but she’d gotten used to it even though it was not natural to be that organized.

“C’mon, dude. I know that this ain’t got nothing to do with saving the universe, but I’ve got to do something to help Faith before Saturday,” Lacy Dawn argued. “Her father invited those guys over again. You know, the ones who never take a bath and always want to mess with her. If you ain’t gonna help me now, I ain’t gonna help you later.”

“What’s a bath?” the android teased and plugged her into an algebra tutorial.

Lacy Dawn yanked the cable out of her spine and chanted to glide her home.

“Yes,” Buddy tweeted Lacy Dawn a few minutes later by telepathy. Her magic was not strong enough yet to receive longer messages.

Faith and Lacy Dawn met for another planning session in the outhouse three hours before the weekend party. Since nobody had phones or internet in the Hollow, the visit was unannounced but timed perfectly.

“Here,” Lacy Dawn said and handed Faith a diagram of a chainsaw. It had an arrow that pointed to the bar’s lock-down screw. “Go home and study. I’ve got more convincing to do. I’ve got to make Buddy help us to kill a human.  He ain’t one.”

“Your boyfriend ain’t human?”

“Not really, just go home and come back in an hour.”

Faith left and Lacy Dawn walked, not glided, to the spaceship. “What’s a good way to kill a man?” she asked a walnut tree beside the path.

“With a saw,” the tree answered and Lacy Dawn nodded agreement. “I’ve heard that somewhere before,” she said.

“It’s me,” Lacy Dawn said at the cave’s entrance and entered the door that opened to the ship. Buddy sat in front of his monitors. Without looking up, he started a calculus lesson. She plugged herself into the cable. “I want to learn everything there is about chainsaw injuries that humans experience and real quick.”

He switched lesson plans.

Buddy had been sent to Earth to recruit and train Lacy Dawn.  She carried a genetic implant that had been placed and tracked by the universal management structure for many generations. It enhanced her propensity for the development of savior attributes. This version of Lacy Dawn, the project’s official title, was regarded by management as highly promising. The android was assigned to begin the final assessment and training. Other matters, such as the survival of Earth, were regarded by management as inconsequential.

The economic foundation of the universe was in imminent danger. Lacy Dawn was the only probable contributor to the solution after thousands of years of failed strategies. Under the circumstances, and despite the prime directive implanted in all androids, management had afforded broad latitude for him to carry out the mission. The android was free to educate her on any topic. Within ten minutes, Lacy Dawn had absorbed all the information available about chainsaws and the prospective accidents caused by their use that had been published by anybody and everybody on her tiny planet, and the several other planets whose languages she had also learned.

Following a two minute discussion, the android handed Lacy Dawn a small laser.

“I’ll see you a little later. Are you sure this tool works?” Lacy Dawn asked and unplugged herself from the computer cable in her spine.

“Yes. An application will disable the lock-down bolt on the chainsaw bar by reducing its diameter 95 percent. A slight pressure will cause the chain to disengage. Other than that, I cannot predict the consequences,” Buddy said.

“It’s a done deal,” Lacy Dawn said to the walnut tree on her way home. She exposed the miniature laser. “I don’t need to even find a screwdriver.”

“Humans often get tense when they are screwed,” the tree agreed. “Your boyfriend is smart.”

“He ain’t my boyfriend yet, not really,” Lacy Dawn almost cussed.

An hour later, the girls met for the final time in the outhouse. They then went to Faith’s house where Lacy Dawn’s back was slapped by Faith’s drunken father. Faith found the chainsaw leaned against the kitchen stove and took it to the back yard. After using the laser on the lock-down bolt, Lacy Dawn gave Faith a hug and started to leave.  A couple of guys that had arrived at the party with twelve packs whistled at her.

“Daddy, since your friends are coming over, how about a barbecue – at least a hot dog roast?” Faith asked. “But we ain’t got no firewood.”

“Cool idea,” Faith’s father said.

A few minutes later, he staggered up the hill with the chainsaw. On the way down, he squirted blood from the arm that used to be connected and dripped spray from above his eyebrows. He collapsed on the back porch. Family members and friends gathered to discuss the situation.

“Mommy, you said that you would help me kill him,” Faith whispered as the tourniquet was tied.

“I fell in love with him when we were in junior high. He was a football star. No matter what he does to you, I have to save my reputation,” Faith’s mother said. “Besides, if he hadn’t hurt you, somebody else would have, and it wouldn’t have even been in the family like it’s supposed to be – grow up. He wasn’t so bad until after that damn war, you’re too young to remember, but one of the explosions in the road, an IUD like they give out for free at the Health Department or something like that, I don’t know, but it looks like he’s waking up….”

“Where’s the rest of my arm?” Faith’s father asked after he regained consciousness.

They, all the daughters – he didn’t father no boys – picked him up and pushed him into the bed of the pickup. The oldest girl was sixteen going on twenty-five. She pop-started the truck and checked the gas gauge.

“That brown dog carried your arm up into the woods. Do you want us to look for it or take you to a telephone to call an ambulance, you turkey?” Faith asked him and climbed into the bed.

Faith’s assertiveness skills were learned through mental health treatment, but weak in application. She squeezed the arm to curb her father’s blood flow. She was wearing her best jeans that became soaked. Blood dripped from the truck’s bed to the ground as they climbed the dirt road out of the hollow. The blood drew dogs away from their farm assignments. The dogs followed the truck up the road, licking blood from rock tops every few yards. Twenty minutes later, to the disappointment of all family members except his wife who had no reasonable option if her husband had died, except for being alone, Faith’s father was still alive. The mother gave up one quarter to put in the payphone and complained when it required a second.

“A husband is only worth so much,” Faith’s mother said.

Faith gave up the other quarter to make the call.

“Are you sure that you want us to hurry?” the 911 dispatcher asked. He had attended parties in the hollow before getting more recently baptized at church.

The family waited and the ambulance arrived. The dogs followed them home. Two weeks later, the family visited the hospital.

“I can have a lot of fun with this,” Faith’s father said, and held up stainless-steel pinchers, not yet attached to his body.

Faith winced. The other family members grinned.

“We’re sending him to the VA Hospital,” one of the doctors that had joined them in the room said. “When finished, his prosthetic arm will be covered with flesh-like plastic. Surgeons attached his severed nerves to healthy ones. Brain impulses will be picked up by a transmitter, which will send signals through the arm and to the hand. When his brain tells his arm what to do, the arm will be responsive, and he will have pseudo feeling through the bionics,” another doctor continued to report medical progress to the family members. “But, there’s a lot more work to do, and since he’s a Vet, it will all be covered by insurance.”

“But, can they fix his brain? That’s been the problem all along! Daddy has brain damage!”

Her mother handed Faith a half-full can of warm soda so that she could take her next pill.



Author Robert EggletonRobert 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 he met when delivering group therapy services. The overall theme of his stories remains victimization to empowerment.




About mrszoomby

When I'm not writing or crocheting, I'm training for the zombie apocalypse.
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7 Responses to FREEBIE: Stainless Steel by Robert Eggleton

  1. roberteggleton says:

    Thanks lovessiamese!

  2. Thanks again for letting me share my story with your readers. As you know, the girls were eight years old in this story and began Rarity from the Hollow, an adult literary science fiction novel, at age eleven. A lot has happened since the post and I decided to update you and your readers.

    The novel is currently in the process of being republished by Dog Horn Publishing, a traditional small press in Leeds. The 2016 Amazon link is:…

    Following are some of the highlights about the novel since we last communicated:

    As you know, the novel was found by the editor of Atomjack Science Fiction Magazine called it absolutely fantastic and said that the story was laugh-out-loud funny in some scenes. Long-time science fiction book critic, Barry Hunter, closed his review, “…good satire is hard to find and science fiction satire is even harder to find.” http://thebaryonreview.blogspo……

    A former Editor of Reader’s Digest found that, “Rarity from the Hollow is the most enjoyable science fiction that I’ve read in several years.”…
    Rarity from the Hollow was referred to as a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and awarded a Gold Medal by Awesome Indies: “…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 fans of sci-fi will thoroughly enjoy.”……

    With respect to the story’s treatment of tough social issues, this reviewer said: “If I could, I would give it all the stars in the universe…I was hesitant to accept. I usually do not read or review books that discuss child abuse or domestic violence; however, I was intrigued by the excerpt and decided to give it a shot. I am glad that I took a risk; otherwise, I would have missed
    out on a fantastic story with a bright, resourceful, and strong protagonist that grabbed my heart and did not let go.”…

    A prominent book reviewer from Bulgaria named Rarity from the Hollow as one of the best five books that he had read in 2015.… On January 20, 2016, Rarity from the Hollow was awarded a second Gold Medal by another popular book review site:….

    An Affiliate of Fantasy Fan Federation, an international
    organization that has been around since the 1940s, posted on Amazon: “The author has created a new narrative format, something Ive never seen before, with a standard third-person narration, interspersed, lightly, with first-person asides. This makes me think of Eugene ONeills play Strange Interlude where internal and external dialogue are blended. Rarity from the Hollow begins with some rough stuff, hard to read, involving child neglect and child abuse. But it soon turns the corner to satire, parody, and farce, partaking a little of the whimsical and nonsensical humor of Roger Zelazny or even Ron Goulart….”

    “…There is much here worthy of high praise. The relationship between Lacy Dawn and DotCom is brilliant. The sense of each learning from the other and them growing up and together is a delight to read. The descriptions of DotCom’s technology and the process of elevating the humans around him again is nicely done. Eggleton reminds me very much of Robert Heinlein at his peak….”……

    Rarity from the Hollow has now appeared on over eighty blogs or magazines worldwide, in nineteen different countries including all over the U.S. and the U.K., Finland, Mexico, Bulgaria, Belgium, South Africa, Croatia, Uruguay, India, Taiwan, Australia, Nigeria, Egypt, Malaysia, Canada, Vietnam, Portugal, and Sweden. The project has grown into a world-wide movement to sensitize people about child maltreatment through a satiric and comical science fiction adventure.

    Thanks again for your beautiful post!

  3. Pingback: Author Interview: Robert Eggleton | Coffee with Architects of Worlds Afar

  4. Pingback: GUEST POST – Rarity from the Hollow – Shannon Muir's Infinite House of Books

  5. roberteggleton says:

    The new edition of Rarity from the Hollow was released on November 3, 2016: The eBook version was released on December 5, 2016:

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