Author Topic: Science Fiction 92K  (Read 228 times)

Offline Allie

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Science Fiction 92K
« on: July 21, 2022, 02:10:41 AM »
ONE

The boy pushed the younger girl out of line at the bus stop.

Frightened by the grade-school bully, the girl sat on the curb and cried.

Seven-year-old Allie said, “Leave her alone.”

“Make me, pipsqueak,” the boy said.

Two hours later, the county fire department retrieved the boy from the upper reaches of a sixty-foot bur oak. The firefighter later told his wife over dinner, “It was odd, for sure, Agnes. I can’t imagine how he got up that tree.”

A county sheriff arrived on the scene, spoke to the children, and told them to go home. Only Allie was left under the tree doing her math homework.

“The Johnson boy’s friends say you threw him into that tree.”

Allie set her pencil and book down in the grass. She looked up at the branches. “That’s impossible.”

The deputy closed his notebook. “That’s what I told them,” he said. “You can go home now.”

* * *
Allie climbed out of the window of her room in the double-wide at four minutes past midnight. She grabbed one of the red bricks skirting a neighbor’s garden and hefted it in her hand. “Four pounds at least,” she said, and threw it as far as she could.

She counted the trailers as it flew. She miscounted, and it took thirty minutes to find the brick eighteen trailers down the road. She replaced the brick, climbed on the old doghouse, and squeezed back through the window into her room.

Under the covers with a flashlight, she opened her diary and wrote, “Dear Diary, I learned two things today. 1. Don’t throw boys in trees. 2. Try out for the U.S. Olympic team when I am twelve.”
* * *

Sixteen-year-old Allie touched the brick on her desk—yes, she’d retrieved it the next morning years before—and pulled the blue doggie blanket off her mirror. The sun bounced back at her, reflecting off her platinum ponytail. Allie blinked and wide-set, milk-blue eyes curved upward. A tear slid down her cheek, her eyes flashed furious red—another tear—and her eyes settled on simply-angry brown. She covered the mirror and wiped the tears with her palms.

Fun to be adorable at ten. Roller skating around the trailer park, bumpy little rocks didn’t upend her, the sky was blue, and she laughed. And then Dolores saw her eyes shift, a baleful blink, and cried out.

Hand over mouth, speechless, Mom walked to her plush red recliner and turned on her soaps. She got up, made popcorn and offered Allie some. She never mentioned the eyes. Not then, not a peep, never. Allie was only a kid, and she developed a short-lived mean streak. She enjoyed her secrets and bullied her widowed, sad, too-much-Chablis mother for a year.

She lay on her bed, embarrassed at her behavior. How to apologize? She didn’t have the words then, still didn’t, but she kept searching and tried to be kind to Dolores. A work in progress: fall down, get up and try again. Allie covered her face with her arms and closed her eyes. Those eyes—some days she loved them, other days, not so much. Most of the time, adolescent confusion any girl could share.

Cute at eleven, pretty at twelve and thirteen, but the fun wore thin at fourteen. At fifteen, she saw storm clouds pushing and shoving over the park. Then the rain came; a downpour on her sixteenth birthday inundated her heart. The word stunning arrived nipping at the heels of beautiful. She was terrified of what was coming next.
 
It arrived: Stuttering, slobbering, boys, and men. They noticed. Not the person Allie was acquainted with, not a soul knew that girl. They turned and stared. She could almost hear their thoughts. Not old enough to make out the exact words, she got the young adult version.

“Ignore them,” Dolores said. “If they give you any trouble, tell me. I’ve got that.” She pointed at a twelve-gauge racked above the double-wide’s front door.

Allie felt safest in the trailer park close to home. They didn’t have much, her raucous community. The kids, wives, girlfriends, and daughters tried to be kind. They sensed her difference but didn’t understand it. The older boys and men toed a line set by their women. Everyone’s concern made her grateful, some days it brought her to tears.

Outside the gate, she wore sunglasses to hide teenage fury. That college dropout behind the counter, with the sly banter at Woolworth’s, she could snap his neck like a twig. If he didn’t shut up, she might.

* * *
Bored with self-pity, Allie climbed off the bed, draped the dog blanket over the mirror, sat down and put on black high-top Chuck Taylor sneakers. She suspected she’d need shoes. Mom nodded at the sound of Allie’s door opening, wiggled naked toes on the mauve shag carpet and waved an offering bag of Cheetos without looking.

Allie glanced at the seventeen-inch Zenith and shook her head. Dolores was incorrigible. Guiding Light, Midwest, USA. “Mom,” Allie said, pointing at the ceiling of the trailer.

“What, honey?” she said, running her hand through a dark tangle of hair.

“Today’s the day. Up there. You remember?”

“The moon business?”

“Yeah, let’s watch.”

“But my—”

Allie kept moving. Knew I’d need shoes. “That’s okay, I’ll go next door.”

Dolores pulled herself away from the adventures of mythical Springfield. “You sure?”

“Yeah, but I might run away from home. You never know.”

“Fine by me,” Dolores said. “I’ll send Steve McQueen to chase you down and bring you back on his motorcycle.”

“I’d like that.”

“I thought you might. Now get out of here and say hello to David for me.”

“Wait.”

Allie looked back. Her mother held out a young Yorkshire terrier. “Take Pearl with you. She’s your dog and she needs a walk.”

Pearl tucked under her arm, Allie pointed her finger at the clouds and shouted. The screen door slammed shut and rattled the frame. Pearl squirmed and her mother yelled from inside, ensconced in her recliner. Allie laughed and hopped off the top step. It was July 20, 1969, and 240 thousand miles above Clive, Iowa, the Eagle lunar lander hovered over the moon. A day for noise, a day to celebrate and remember, it was wonderful—soon, an American would walk on the moon. She wished she had fireworks.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2022, 03:17:40 AM by Allie »

Offline redseafish

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Re: Science Fiction 92K
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2022, 04:53:52 PM »
I like the apparent mystery of Allie's abilities, but this needs a lot more description to place the reader in the scene. It opens with dialogue, but apart from a bus stop, we don't really know where the characters are or what they look like or what they're feeling at any given time.

The third section has more description, but it's mystifying as to why she's kept the brick for all those years. At first I thought she must be at school because she was at a desk, but then later it transpires she's in her bedroom, so that needs to be made clearer earlier on. Dolores is suddenly introduced, but we don't immediately know it's Allie's mother and I don't really know what it means about Allie's eyes shifting. We don't get the immediate reaction from Allie either, just a retrospective look. I think it jumps about too fast. It would be better to linger longer, provide more emotion and description and draw the reader in.

Is this supposed to be YA?

I like the mysteries you've introduced, but they'd be more compelling with more time spent setting them up.

Offline Allie

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Re: Science Fiction 92K
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2022, 05:55:21 AM »
Thanks.