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Dancer, singer, actress
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~joined 8/10/20~

Message to Readers

It's been a busy past few months, so I haven't had much writing time lately and I'm a little rusty. Any critiques or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!

It Fell in the Forest and No One was Around

November 12, 2020

Adjusting the frayed strap of her backpack more securely onto her left shoulder, Hollis pushed open the door to the little grocery mart by her school, triggering the jangle of bells overhead.     “Good afternoon, Miss Brooks,” called the stout man behind the counter as she entered.     “Good afternoon, Mr. Dolland,” Hollis responded with a respectful nod. “How’ve you been?”     “Well, I’d hate to ramble, but since you asked…”      Perfect, thought Hollis as the talkative attendant proceeded to recount, in great detail, the events of his week thus far. Making sure to provide an “uh huh”, an “oh really”, or an attentive nod every few minutes, Hollis made her way around the checkout counter, though still within hearing distance of Mr. Dolland. Walking purposefully, she stopped, as usual, at aisle four, about two thirds of the way down the row where baskets of fruit decorated the shelves. Her eyes immediately dropped to the second row from the bottom. Red Delicious apples. Shiny, dark red outer coat; smooth, white inner flesh. Satisfyingly crisp, abundant with sweet juice. A dollar and twenty nine cents per pound. If you intend to pay for them, that is.      And today, paying wasn't on Hollis’s agenda.     Intentionally within eyesight of Mr. Dolland, Hollis dropped a pencil which she had been holding in the sleeve of her hoodie.     “Shoot,” she muttered, crouching down and swinging her backpack to the ground in front of her. As she started pulling the zipper, a man rounded the corner, casually scanning the shelves. Hoping he’d pass soon, Hollis halted the flow of the zipper about a quarter of its way up. Pulling down her hood and slipping a lock of shoulder length ombre hair behind her several-times-pierced ear, she yanked at it again. She feigned annoyance with a loud groan followed by a string of frustrated curses, tugging at the zipper locked in place by a non-existent force. From the corner of her eye, Hollis saw the man give a slight roll of his eyes as he picked up his pace and walked briskly past her, likely wishing to avoid any interaction with this irritated teen.     Perfect. Once his back was to her, she followed him with her eyes until he turned the corner and could no longer be seen. Still crouched on the ground, Hollis swiveled back to face the shelf, unzipping her bag the rest of the way.     One foot, six inches. The height of her backpack; the height of the second shelf up.     As she retrieved her pencil from the floor and moved to place it in her backpack, she casually nudged the three Red Delicious apples resting at the edge of their shallow basket in as well.     “...can’t believe it! Honestly. Hollis!” Hollis almost jumped at the sound of her name. Almost. But that would've looked suspicious, so instead, fighting off the tension in her shoulders, she simply turned her head back toward Mr. Dolland with a wide-eyed, questioning look. She appeared totally normal, totally respectful as always. The only thing that could give her away was the rapid pounding of her heart.     Had Mr. Dolland seen what she’d done? He couldn’t have. Her back was between him and her bag, and she’d done this dozens of times before. But maybe that was the problem. Maybe she’d gotten overconfident and lazy in her work and angled herself the wrong way. The sight of her bag sitting beside her wide open full of apples gnawed at her, begging her to turn and zip it up at that moment, but she couldn’t. She chewed nervously on the inside of her cheek, shoving her shaking hands into the front pocket of her sweatshirt.     “Did I tell you about the last time Aunt Matilda visited? Like I said, to this day I still can’t believe how bold that woman is.” Hollis let out a relieved breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding. Of course Mr. Dolland had still just been babbling on about the random “excitements” of his life. He probably hadn’t even been looking in her direction.     Howbeit, this false alarm had still shaken Hollis more than she felt okay with. When she got home, she decided, she'd need to come up with a new grocery plan. She had the layout of the small indoor market implanted in her mind, the locations of each food she needed perfectly memorized. She knew who worked each day of the week, their alternating shifts, and their lunch break schedules.     But maybe it would be best if she switched locations for a while. This wasn’t the only store at which she did business, but it was most certainly the easiest, with its family-like nature and lack of barcodes and security cameras. Here, she could bag what she needed, buy a single apple or a pack of gum to bury any small suspicions, and be on her way. At bigger chain grocery stores, however, it was a whole different story.      With a soft sigh, Hollis zipped up her backpack, threw it over her shoulder, and stood up.  “No, Mr. Dolland, I don’t think you’ve told me that story yet. I’d love to hear it, though. Your aunt sounds very exciting.” A lie to the fullest extent. Hollis had probably heard this story twice a week for the past month, and it was far from exciting. Nevertheless, it would keep the employee talking for a while, giving Hollis at least another ten minutes before he started paying her any attention again. Might as well get all she needed from here right now before things started getting tricky again.          “Dad, I’m home!” called Hollis as the door to their little apartment slammed behind her. No response. She turned the abundance of locks on the door into place and slipped off her sneakers, shuffling into the kitchen.     “Dad?” she yelled once again as she slid her bag off her shoulder and onto the island counter. Still no answer.      Scowling, Hollis deducted that he must already be at work.
Sorry this is super messy! Just a little rushed intro to fit the length. The rest of the book sort of turns toward the basic dystopian sci-fi trope of the government experimenting on kids and they get sort of supernatural yet scientifically explained powers (if you can tell, one of Hollis' gifts is memory. At this point though, she doesn't know it's not natural). But basically, the experimentation didn't go perfectly, so while the intended "powers" showed, the patients also underwent some heavy brain damage etc. and most didn't survive long. And those who did, if their families disobeyed superiors or tried to run away to help their kids elsewhere, bad things would happen to them. Hollis' dad, however, managed to escape with his daughter and stayed safely hidden for five years. But unbeknownst to them, they were recently located...


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  • November 12, 2020 - 7:18am (Now Viewing)

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1 Comment
  • BlueWolf

    Hey! It’s me. I know it has been a while. How are you?

    29 days ago