Introduction: École W. S. Hawrylack, Saskatchewan
Continuation & illustration: École Notre Dame de la Garde, Québec
December 31st, 1999 was a crisp winter day. The snow was falling softly, the trees were bare, but there was a heavy feeling in the air. Farmrose was a small prairie community with only 400 citizens. The community was a happy and peaceful place. That is until the sudden disappearance of 12 year old Lucas Pennington.
Lucas was working extra hours delivering flyers to save money for his dream bike. Everyone liked Lucas because he was always cheerful and had a positive attitude. He was walking home after his long route when suddenly, it appeared.
It was his mother’s car, a black Mini Cooper with tinted windows.
The car stopped. Lucas crossed the road and opened the passenger door. He was surprised to see it wasn’t his mother driving, but his uncle, Robert Pennington, who had arrived Christmas eve and stayed for the holidays.
His Uncle Robert was a weird man who the family hadn’t seen in five years. He was out of work, and the night before he’d gone out to a bar and come home drunk. Lucas was in bed when he heard his father and his uncle arguing about money. His Uncle was still in his room when Lucas left to deliver the flyers.
“Hi, Uncle Robert. What’s up?”
“Hello Lucas. Hop in and I’ll give you a lift home.”
His uncle’s hair was a mess and there were dark circles under his eyes.
“That’s okay. I can walk home.”
“C’mon. It’s cold out there and there’s something special waiting for you at home.”
Lucas hesitated. A picture of the dream bike popped into his head. Lucas got into the car.
He thought he smelled liquor on his uncle breath and at the same time he noticed a suitcase in the back seat. He heard a “click” as his uncle locked the doors and stepped on the gas.
Lucas’s mother looked out the dining room window. Outside it was dark and there was still no sign of Lucas. There was also no sign of Robert or her car. When Lucas hadn’t come home, they called their friends and neighbours and eventually the police. Now it seemed like the whole town was searching.
The wind was blowing and the snow was coming down faster. She could see the lights from the flashlights and she could hear the barking of the dogs. When the clocks struck midnight, Lucas still hadn’t been found and there were no celebrations.
The search continued for three long days and nights. Lucas’s parents sat by the phone. No one slept.
Finally, there was a news bulletin on TV:
“A twelve year old boy matching the description of Lucas Pennington has been found unconscious in a snow bank in Alberta; details on the news at six o’clock.
Lucas woke up in the hospital and the first faces he saw were his parents. They looked exhausted.
“Mom, Dad! Where am I? Am I hurt?”
His mother reached for his hand.
“You’re in the hospital. You’re okay except for that bump on your head and some frostbite on your toes. You’re a lucky boy.”
“Where is Uncle Robert? He went into a ditch and I ran. I don’t know what happened after that.””
“Don’t panic, son,” said his father. “The police have arrested him. You don’t have to worry.”
Four days later, Lucas went home. As he walked out of the hospital he felt weak and paranoid. He stayed close to his parents as they walked to the car.
“There’s something special waiting for you at home,” said his father.
On the ride home Lucas looked out the window and imagined he saw his Uncle everywhere.
After his father parked the car in the driveway, Lucas followed his parents up the walkway. He opened the front door, and there it was; his dream bike. There was a huge red bow wrapped around the handle bars and there was a card. It was signed from the citizens of Farmrose.
Robert Pennington was sentenced to five years in prison and two years of community service.
At twenty one years old, Lucas Pennington became a police officer. He now visits schools and teaches children to be careful in dangerous situations. He is cheerful and still has a positive attitude.
After the events of December 31st, 1999, the town of Farmrose became a popular town, and to this day, tourists still come to visit the place of the Pennington kidnapping.