Thursday, February 26, 2009

Guest Post

I received a note from The Second Mrs. Pennington this afternoon (02/25) which said, in part…

He (Robert) handed me a scrawled 4-page story he wanted typed this morning for his writing class. I've attached it. He picked the cover design. … he said you could post it on your blog if you wanted to.

Gravitational Pull
Robert Pennington

Chapter 1
“Waaa Boom!” a whistling “grape” cannon shot exploded behind me in the frozen wasteland. Shrapnel pelted out of the crater created by the shot of the cannon. Then the silence came, deafening. Dark wet snow flakes started to fall as the blizzard came. I wondered what I was doing in this god forsaken white piece of frozen desert, as I continued to run farther into the howling storm. I looked behind and saw something that chilled the marrow in my bones. “The train,” I muttered. The train carries uranium in cars glowing with radiation. In the front, the driver, half-dead from the radiation, was chained to the controls. The cars seemed greenish-black , and the rust was eating up the iron wheel attached to the back of each car, which held death for anyone foolhardy enough to open the car.

The train raced closer and closer. Suddenly, Crack! A screeching sound came from the middle, as a car disconnected, tipped over, and the uranium spilled, cascading over the snow staining it with the green mineral. “OOHH, watch it!” I thought, slowly trying to open my eyes, but I couldn’t because they were sealed shut by something heavy, wet like snow. I struggled to move my arms but the force of the snow was holding me down. I willed the snow up and “Wham!” the snow vaporized right above me. A dot appeared and then the snow landed, with a force to topple an elephant, pounded the ground and pulverized a very tall and enormous, barren, frozen tree. When this happened, I scrutinized myself, I wasn’t nearly strong enough to lift that pile of snow, which nearly weighed a ton.

“Wh-aa-tt ha-pp-en-ed-dd?” I chattered, as the cold closed in like a pack of hungry wolves. I looked far into the distance. I was looking so hard I didn’t see the uniformed soldier sneak up on me. The next thing I knew, I was facing the sky. Then something covered my face and everything went black. “Look T29840’s awakening!” a filmy voice sneered. I forced open a heavy eyelid and saw the old mug of the Russian sergeant, warden of the imprisoned souls in a Russian “focus” camp. “Hmmm,” I thought. If I could focus my will again, maybe, just maybe it can happen again. I grimly pleaded to myself. 
“Crack! Crunch! KAABBBBOOOOMMM!” then silence. I cracked open one eye and then the other snapped open in surprise. The warden of souls was gone, and a gaping hole had replaced him. “Umm,” I thought, stunned, while his partner leaped for the hole, screaming that a psycho-manic person had killed Sir Pent, by not even lifting a finger. While I, on the other hand, shifting my focus again to the chain holding my hands and “Kablam!” it disappeared. Then, oh so suddenly, the whole wall collapsed, nearly squishing me.

Heavy footsteps echoed in the corridor as Russian troops charged the door, flinging it aside. While this was happening, I was glancing around, my sight falling on the hole. Galloping for it, bursts of pain racked my brain as shots bounced off the wall and pelted me with rubble. Seeing no way out I sprinted into the black abyss of a grotto of radiant energy of unfathomable proportions. Turning around, I saw miles of, or what seemed like miles, troop cars mowing down trees, animals, and snow alike. While I tried to summon the force of gravity to my side again, an ominous grinding sound reverberated in my mind; I looked up and saw stalactites raining down onto me. One thought roared in my mind as red fog replace the blackness. Is this what it is like to die?

Not bad, eh? Even considering the fact my opinion just might be biased. Maybe.


  1. Pretty damn good Buck, you should be proud.

    Fav. Line- “I looked behind and saw something that chilled the marrow in my bones.”

  2. WOW! - wonderful description, metaphor, emotion, action and great vocabulary. His writing makes me feel right there and part of the story. And he told a good and exciting story start to finish.

  3. Thanks, Ann and tim. Robert is certainly further along in his writing ability than I was at his age... and I didn't have video games and such to distract me.

  4. You should be very proud. Robert has a great imagination and even better writing ability.

    When I taught 9th graders in TX, one of the "essential elements" or things a ninth grader should be able to do, was to "write a paragraph." They changed it up a bit with different types of paragraphs, but still only "a paragraph." I thought a third grader should be able to do that. Sometimes you get only what you expect. If your expectations are low...

  5. Incredible! He is very, very talented. I expect a bright future for Robert.

  6. You've got yourself a burgeoning writer there, Buck!

    " the cold closed in like a pack of hungry wolves."

    That's the line that grabbed me.

  7. Thank you all for your compliments. More to come, later in the year.

  8. I hope it's okay to criticize both positively and negatively.

    I love the use of "scare quotes" around "Russian 'focus' camps."

    Dramatic writing it is, to be sure, and scary. Good grammar. A burgeoning sci-fi thriller. I hope it is rounded with broad (general) scientific/engineering knowlege in the next few years of edumacation.

    For instance, I bet Robert Heinlein knew giant bugs couldn't respirate, yet he wrote Starship Troopers. Same thing here with "glowing" uranium. Elemental uranium doesn't glow, and is not green.

    I hope that's polite enough. Little dude could end up writing influential fiction-- no need to fuel (so to speak) irrational fears of things nuclear?

    Gosh I'm sorry if this is picky. My very point is in the cover illustration-- it is supposedly scary, and impressed Ms. TSMP for that reason. It shouldn't (be scary).

    Yours politely,

  9. Whoah! And here's the author as we type, reading these comments. Please don't fear uranium, Mr. Pennington.


Just be polite... that's all I ask.