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The silence that followed was a mixture of shock and terror. I saw the expressions on everyone’s faces. Hailey was obviously scared; there was no hiding it as she shifted her legs nervously. Vincent frowned, his brows knitting behind his glasses and resting his head on his knuckles. Walter looked down, a finger under his chin, as if in thought.

This is real trouble, I thought. If there’s a Coelophysis nest nearby, they will run us down without us having a chance to fight back. We don’t know where they are or how many there is. If we don’t figure out something and soon, we’ll be killed.

Do we run? Or do we fight?

“So,” Hailey said, after a while, “what do we do?”

Walter lowered his hand from his chin. “Well, I think the best option we have is to leave the cabin before those things find us.”

“No!” Hailey immediately cried out. I saw the panicked and upset expression on her face. “No way! This cabin is our home. It’s the only safe place for miles. We can’t just abandon this place. I refuse to leave. This cabin is the only thing I have left of my parents. My family and I would come here every summer and winter to get away from the city.

“I refuse to leave here without a fight!” she concluded powerfully.

I looked at Hailey closely. I have never seen her so stubborn or so fierce about anything before. Normally, she is calm, gentle, and patient. This was not like her. And yet I admired this side of her. She looked like she was ready to defend this place, even if it cost her life in the end.

Maybe we all should feel the same way, I thought.

“I understand how you feel,” Walter said. “But we all have lost things that were precious to us.”

“I don’t care about that!” Hailey cried. “I won’t abandon my home!”

“Listen to me--”

“No! You listen to me--!”

“ENOUGH!” I shouted. At that moment, the two stopped their arguing. They all looked at me; it was clear I had their attention. I cleared my throat.

“I have to agree with Hailey,” I said. “This cabin is the safest place around. I don’t think it would be wise to leave here, unless we want to take our chances out in the open and risk being attacked by something that’s worse than the Coelophysis.” I gestured to Walt and Vinny. “You two should know that already, seeing that I had to save your asses from the Torvosaurus. Plus, a few weeks back, Hailey helped me survive an attack from a rogue Allosaurus.”

“Fair point,” Walt said. “Not to mention the fact that me and Walt spotted a Tyrannosaurus rex some ways to the North. And judging by the collection of scars all over it, I’d say it’s seen a lot of combat”

I felt everything in my body stop for a brief moment. My mind slowed, but my pulse quickened. I looked down at my legs.

battle scarredT. rex? I thought. I felt a deep and burning rage boil in my blood. Flash backs played in my head; the burning trees, Claire’s severed head, a huge Tyrannosaurus looming over me, blood splattered on its lipless mouth.

It’s Akuma. There can be no doubt about it. It has to be Akuma. That sack of cocks! What’s he doing here? Why is he here? Where is he now? That bastard! I’m going to fill him with lead!

“Uh, Tobias?” Hailey said, snapping me out of my thoughts. “Are you okay? You look pissed.”

I then became aware that my fists was tightly clenched, my nails biting my palms, a vein bulged; I relaxed my hands. I silently took a deep breath and then let it out. I couldn’t let my thoughts of getting an eye for an eye cloud my judgment. I also had to keep it from showing.

I hadn’t told anyone about what happened two years back. I’d rather that no one knew. I didn’t want anyone to try to get involved with any of this. I couldn’t let them risk their lives trying to help me with something that would get them all killed. I already lost Claire to that dinosaur; I couldn’t lose anyone else.

Figure out what to do with the current problem now, I thought, worry about taking down Akuma later.

I nodded, looking back at them. “Yeah. I’m fine.” I straightened my back. “Anyways, I think we should try to protect this cabin. It’s risky, for sure, but we can’t always keep running away in defeat before the fight even begins.”

Vinny and Walt looked at me as if I had just told them to walk into a lava field barefoot.

“You mean you’re gonna try to fight back?” Vinny said.

“Not try,” I said. “I will fight back. I think this cabin is my home as well, and like anyone with balls, I’m going to fight tooth and nail to defend it from anyone who tries to take it away from me.”

I looked at Hailey. She held her hands together, fingers laced, covering her nose, lips, and chin. Hey freckled cheeks had a faint blush. Her eyes were glossy, tears threatening to fall.

“Toby…” she said “Do you really mean it?”

I smiled warmly at her. “Every word of it.”

Hailey ran to me and threw her arms around my neck, sobbing into my chest. I felt her tears soak my shirt. “Thank you! Thank you so much!” she cried loudly.

I smiled again and pulled her into an embrace, resting my head on her head and closing my eyes.

“This is insane,” I heard Vinny say I looked at him, and his face broke into a smile. “Yet you have given a fair point. We’ve been running away for too long.”

“Yeah,” Walt said, clenching his fist. “I think it’s about time we bared our fangs and fought back.”

I couldn’t believe what I heard. Just a few seconds ago, they said that staying behind would be suicide. Now they want to fight? “So you’ll help us?” I asked.

Vinny and Walt nodded. “Absolutely.”

I felt yet another smile stretch across my face.

“Of course,” Walt said, “we have to locate the nest and count how many Coelophysis are there. Then we’ll have to figure out how we’re going to get rid of them.”

“I understand,” I said, nodding.

“While we’re looking for them,” Vinny said, “me and Walt can work on those visors. They’ll definitely come in handy for this situation.”

“Great,” I said. “We can start searching tomorrow.”

“Right,” they all said.

I felt warmth spread through me. Any vengeful feelings that remained in the air melted away. It was at that point did I feel like we could take on whatever prehistoric hells crossed our path, no matter how big, no matter how strong, no matter how terrifying. We now watched each other’s backs. We’d never leave each other behind. We became a team that day.

Still, there was one thought that came into my mind.

Once we deal with the Coelophysis pack, I’ll take care of Akuma.

 

Lightning flashed. Thunder boomed. The wind was audible. The night rain poured in drenching sheets. The trees provided only a very small protection. A small dinosaur appeared from beneath the trees; a juvenile Stenonychyosaurus. It walked toward the river, its head bobbing and tilting slightly as it moved, much like a bird. It shook its feathered body, shaking off some water.

Her large, round eyes blinked. Thanks to them, she could see in total darkness, which gives her an advantage over larger predators who might try to hunt her and when hunting prey in the dark. She could see creatures move in slow motion, giving her plenty of time to predict where they are going and what they might do.

Tonight, however, she was not out in the open to feed; she came for a drink. And she found the river at the perfect time. This body of water was known as the Ocmulgee River, a western tributary of the Altamaha River. The westernmost major tributary, the Ocmulgee stretched over two hundred fifty miles. Back when humans still lived, this place was a hotspot for anglers fishing for bass and catfish.

Now, however, it was perfect hunting grounds for dinosaurs who lived close to the water or specialized in catching fish.

She came to a stop on the rocky shoreline, lowered her long, narrow snout, and started to drink, her head moving up to swallow, then scooping up another mouthful of water. Another flash of lightning; another boom of thunder.

But as the thunder sounded, the Stenonychyosaurus thought she heard a tremoring sound. She lifted her head and craned her long neck to look back, her head jerking. She saw the trees and bushes swaying in the wind, the rain falling, the lightning flashing. She didn’t smell any signs of danger.

All seemed placid, aside from the storm.

Then, there it was again; a thumping sound. The young dinosaur felt the ground shake a bit beneath her feet. It wasn’t an earthquake.

Something big was coming. Something hiding in the shadows, out of her sight.

She tucked her arms close, her long, three-clawed fingers twitching nervously. She chittered softly to herself. Her enlarged toe claws tapped the giant rock she stood on.

And realized she was looking at the wrong way.

She jerked her head, looking straight ahead, across the river.

Then she saw it.

A huge animal as tall as a giraffe. It walked on two, heavily muscled, bird-like legs. Its slightly feathered body was bulging with muscle, yet its arms were tiny. They were held close to its body, like a boxer, and had only two fingers on each hand, each were capped with a short claw. The head was huge and almost rectangular in shape. Two yellow eyes looked down its long snout at the Stenonychyosaurus with malevolence. In the flash of lightning, she could see the numerous scars covering its body.

The Stenonychyosaurus backed away as the great dinosaur’s jaws opened, revealing huge, sharp teeth, in a loud roar.

“RAAOOOOOO-OWUUU!”

The Stenonychyosaurus screeched in terror, turned tail, and ran into the forest. The ground shook beneath her feet. She could hear loud splashing. It was obvious that the Tyrannosaurus was pursuing her. She ducked under bushes, jumped over fallen logs, and swerved past tall trees like a snake slithering. Her clawed toes scratched into the mud and leaf litter.

She could hear the Tyrannosaurus behind her. She knew it didn’t have to be as agile as her to chase her; it could just crush and snap anything in its way. She could hear its loud breathing, its rumbling growls, its heavy footfalls.

Still, she ran, heading deeper into the forest, fueled by fear and the will to survive, huffing and squealing. The wind howled in her ears and blew in her feathers. Rain splattered on her from the trees. Lightning flashed, showing off the forest in blinding light light for just brief moments.

She heard a young tree fall, branches cracking and buckling, and the Tyrannosaurus bellow fiercely behind her.

The Stenonychyosaurus looked back, and the last thing she saw as the hunter’s massive jaws wide open.

Then there was nothing.

 


Submitted: January 18, 2019

© Copyright 2023 Tyrannos Senpai. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Megan Fox

Poor Troodon. I think they need a flamethrower for the Coelophysis pack but while I understand their need to stand and fight, the reality is the cabin is made of wood and a Tyrannosaurus only needs to step on it to obliterate them all.
Megan

Tue, February 5th, 2019 2:41am

Author
Reply

That's a stereotype. T. rex can't step on a house and destroy it. Otherwise, thanks for reading.

Tue, February 5th, 2019 6:12am

Sylvermyst

Great chapter. So, Tobias may finally be able to get revenge against the T. Rex, that's good. Though I think he should have told his new friends. I feel sorry for the Troodon. It certainly did not have a chance. I'm glad the group are going to try their best to fight and have the cabin as their home.

Sat, February 16th, 2019 5:43pm

Author
Reply

I'm glad you think so. Keep on reading. It means a lot to hear all the good reviews.

Sun, February 17th, 2019 12:17pm

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