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Escape Velocity

"Misty Morning" by Sulyn Godsey

Escape Velocity

by David Alexander

Energy is all around us. Every action we make, everything we do, takes energy.

Cameron would read about physics when he was shut in his room. He would close the door and climb headfirst under his duvet with the book and the dinosaur lamp he got two Christmases ago. That way the noises from downstairs didn’t distract him.

There are different kinds of energy in the universe; kinetic…

Kinetic energy was movement. Cameron remembered Mr Egan saying that. His mum and dad’s car has kinetic energy when it’s moving. So does something thrown through the air, like a tennis ball. Or an ashtray.

You nearly hit me then.

I was trying to.


There were different kinds of heat. There was fire that you started with gas or wood, and then there was the heat you got from things, like a cup of tea, or the warmth from a person. His mum was warm. If you hug them close enough you can feel it inside them, like one of those hot water bottles you put in the microwave. Sometimes the heat can build up, it can bubble away like lava inside them, then burst out everywhere. Cameron hated when that happened.

Gravitational Potential (GPE)...

That’s what made the planets circle the Sun. Mr Egan said that everything, no matter how small, has a gravitational pull. Planets, buildings, chairs. People. That must be why you’re drawn to some people. They have stronger gravity than others. Mum always said she couldn’t explain it, she just couldn’t stop the attraction between her and dad. Cameron imagined them young, happy, mum spinning round dad, caught in his gravitational field.

Energy can be changed from one kind to another.

The noises stopped. Cameron heard his mum click her lighter a few times, then loudly blew out a puff of smoke. He thought he heard crying, but it could just be talking. Another puff of smoke, drawn out into a sigh.

Energy efficiency can be calculated to find out how much energy is wasted.

There were photographs from back then. Mum had curly hair and dad was thin. They were smiling, sometimes holding hands. They would all laugh and joke about how silly they both looked. Dad would make a joke about mum’s clothes, say that she looked like a parrot, and say she spoke as much as one too. Mum would ask where that boy she fell in love with had gone.

All energy around today was present during the big bang.

His mum shouted again, but this time it was quick, only one or two words. Cameron covered his ears and concentrated on the page in front of him.

The law of inertia dictates that an object does not move unless acted upon.

That’s what kept the planets circling the sun; inertia. Gravity held them in place and they stayed there, in the sky, circling each other forever.

The front door shut. Cameron crawled from under the duvet to look out of the window. He watched as his mother stormed down the path and into her car. He heard the engine start.

The first law of thermodynamics states that all energy in the universe is constant. It cannot be destroyed and no new energy can be created.

Once gravity had you, you couldn’t escape. The Earth and the Moon, The Sun and the planets. They couldn’t escape each other’s gravity; they would spin around each other forever. They had no choice. They had to.

The second law of thermodynamics states that entropy increases when energy cannot leave an isolated system.

Then the car pulled away.


David is a Creative Writing student. He runs a writing group to share his love of short fiction and edits Newman University’s creative writing magazine ‘Newmag’. David has stories published in (B)OINK, Glove and Ellipsis Zine.

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