Brendan, 10th Grade
Close Encounters With An Abalone Shell
abalone shell is unfinished. It’s not the highly polished,
gleaming surface most associate with Abalone. This particular
shell is a hybrid of churning metallic surface, and a sickeningly
organic outer shell, that is not unlike a pale, melted pile of human
flesh. Disturbing, yes…but also daring. It seemed
to be a maze of canyons; mazes and switchbacks, all rolled into a
landscape of some alien planet. The twisting surfaces of the
outer shell beg to be used as some sort of backdrop in a science
fiction race. Against time, foes, or perhaps just death (should
the hero stumble). The scene it brings to mind is a roiling,
charred atmosphere, stuck in a perpetual twilight, lit by an orange
sun, and many moons, and a sky that is awash in blues, purples, and
azure greens, all back lit by a setting sun. The kind of place
and events that would suck the breath right outta your chest; assuming
you’re that type of person.
of some hero, racing at hundreds of miles per hour in a small but agile craft,
pursued by insectoid ships of an “evil” design, not unlike the
works of H. R. Geiger is brought to mind.
through the vast and mazelike canyons, you are gripped not by fear,
but by the many, many G’s you are currently pulling. The
shadows seem to creep along with you, as you blaze faster and faster. Those
damn insect ships seem to not so much be gaining, as doing something
even more despicable. They don’t. Holding off
at a certain distance, mocking you, as if to let you know they are
just toying with you, and that at any given moment it will end.
hard to get here, and you are not about to let these things have your hide
for a wall piece. You flip down your sun visor nonchalantly, and reach
over to your left. That big red button that says “Mega Thrust” is
just begging to be pushed. Not one to turn down a great button when you
see it, you give the thing a good smack, and then grip the throttle firmly
in your left hand. You push it up, until the engine is about to redline,
hearing the engine roaring in protest of this insane amount of speed.
of a cat, agility of a thought, you whine through the canyons, shooting up
over mesas, only to come falling back down, ducking, jiving, juking, using
all the tricks and skills that got you here in the first place. At a
time like this, the weak get shredded into a fine mist, usually at the walls’ doing.
sandstone flies by, you only have a mere second to plot what you do next. Outrunning
and outsmarting these things at the same time is no easy task. Speaking
of they…those things are now right up on your posterior, and it sounds
like they too are pushing their ships to levels that were never quite intended
to push upon.
at this time, you see them peel off in a sharp V. This can lead to no
good. These things only give up when they are dead; which unto itself
is miraculous. Then you see why. It was once said that it’s
not the big guys you have to fear. It’s the little quick guys that
boss around the big guys you have to worry about.
thing is half the size, and twice as ugly, and it wants YOU for a
hood ornament. War it is then. You look into the rear
monitor, and see the thing in the pilot’s seat. Immediately
wishing you hadn’t, you revert your eyes to the treacherous
terrain in front of you. Lucky you, you know what to do in
a situation like this. Like the boss always said, “If
you’re being chased into a wall…run into it!” At
the time, it seemed pretty stupid, but in retrospect, you see why
the saying had some merit. Looking straight ahead, at a towering
mesa, that was easily three miles high.
at it, dead on. At this point, you are really praying that this works. Not
that the bug thing will care, but you always kind wanted to try this. Banking
up at the absolute last possible microsecond, you avoid that wall. Of
course, not by much. The belly gets scratched as you fly up. Looking
down, you think you’ll see some groaning, gnarled hunk of flame and metal. Instead,
you see that butt-ugly face looking right back at you. And now the guy
thinks he’s a pimp!
this is still plan A. You slam the ship into reverse. The ship
about ejects the engine after that little stunt. The Bug is visually
surprised as you pass it going the other direction, waving as you go.
looks up. The edge of the mesa has a very large overhang on it. The
kind that would stop a ship going 350 miles an hour. And, it does. Rather
violently. The twisted hulk of torched metal falls like a 2-cent pair
of socks; straight to the canyon floor. Leaving the hunk of grotesque
metal and biomass to writhe in its own failure. No brewski for him if
he ever gets pieced back together.