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Vincent and I walked through the forest, approaching the river. It was hot, but the heat wasn’t too extreme. I could hear the buzzing of blood-sucking insects in my ears every now and a again, as well as the chirping of birds, the rattling of a cicada, and dinosaurs roaring in the distance. It had been two day since we all met and decided to locate the Coelophysis nest and destroy it. It was Hailey and Walter who went out first the day before, now it was our turn.

You could guess that we hadn’t had much luck finding it. One might think that finding the stomping grounds of a huge group of carnivorous dinosaurs, but this particular search has proven to be quite a challenge for us. However, Vinny had a theory: with so many dinosaurs living together in one place, food was an absolute must have. All the more reason to have a reliable and convenient water source. Where there is water, there is prey.

That’s why we were heading towards the Ocmulgee River, right then and there. If Vinny’s theory is correct, if we followed the river, it would lead us straight into their territory. And the sooner we find their territory, the sooner we get rid of them, the better off we’ll be.

“I think we are almost at the river now,” Vinny said, stepping over a fallen tree trunk. “If we keep heading in this direction, we should be there soon.”

I looked at him and nodded. “I remember,” I replied. “I’ve been around here before. This is where the Allosaurus attacked me a while back.”

“I would consider it dumb luck you survived. Allosaurus are aggressive and relentless hunters, tackling dangerous animals most other predators would pay good attention to avoid. If it had not been for Hailey’s shuriken bomb, you’d be dead.”

“And I am grateful for that.”

A shrill cry rang out, making me flinch and look back swiftly. The sound came out of nowhere and it put me on alert. I had the holster of my Glock tightly in my hand, ready to pull it out when it is needed. I heard fluttering, like the sound of tiny wings beating rapidly.

Then, from the trees, a trio of creatures zoomed. They looked a lot like bats with their small size and wings, except their feathery down was blue and emerald green with pale cream bellies. I could tell just by looking at them that I could hold one in my hand with room to spare. Their heads kind of reminded me of the heads of piranhas; they were small and had short, blunt, beaked snouts full of tiny teeth. Their bright orange eyes were absolutely huge.

Pterosaurs, I thought.

As the tiny flying reptiles zipped past us, I heard Vinny laugh. I turned and gazed at him. “Relax, Toby. It was only a bunch of Anurognathus. Totally harmless unless you’re an insect.”

Anurognathus,” I said, letting my gun go. I had a feeling I heard the name before, but I couldn’t place it. So, I reached into my pocket, took my phone out, opened the Dinopedia, and found the entry.

Anurognathus

(ANN-YOUR-OG-NAH-THUS)

Meaning “Without tail and jaw”

Insectivore

Late Jurassic

One of the smallest pterosaurs--winged reptiles closely related to dinosaurs--Anurognathus is the size of a swallow. These tiny reptiles feed on small insects, sometimes catching them while riding on the backs of large dinosaurs, riding them of any pests.

 

“A kind of tiny pterosaur from the Jurassic,” I said out loud, stuffing my phone in my pocket. “I remember now. My uncle showed me a fossil of one when he came back from Germany.”

“I still can’t believe your uncle was one of the most brilliant paleontologists to ever exist,” Vinny said with a smile.

I smiled back. It was true. My uncle, Jeremiah Horner, was among the most famous paleontologists to live. You could say that fossil hunting ran in his blood, especially seeing that we were descendants of world renowned paleontologist Jack Horner, who was one of the most respected paleontologists of his age. Jack was even the main dinosaur consultant for the makers of the Jurassic Park films. And I guess his passion for fossil hunting was passed down to his descendants, my uncle being one of them. Jeremiah climbed his way up his career until the point where he managed to surpass his ancestor. He became famous, he was awarded for being the brightest mind in paleontological studies, and of course the story goes.

Whenever I could, my uncle would take me with him on his expeditions, allowing me to watch how fossils were dug out. Sometimes, I would help out by brushing the bones with a paintbrush, cover the remains in plaster, and he would even test me by trying to make me identify what kind of creature had just been found. It’s because of my uncle’s teachings that I know so much about different kinds of dinosaurs.

Just a year before he passed away, Jeremiah created the Dinopedia app, which I installed in my phone. The app pretty much had every kind of entry for every kind of dinosaur, pterosaur, and other kinds of prehistoric animals from the Mesozoic era. And the app had been very useful to me, particularly whenever I was between a rock and a tough place. And now it was helping us. I gave the link to the Dinopedia to Hailey, Vinny, and Walt not too long before we set out to find the Coelophysis nest. By doing so, they could use it to try to identify what kind of dinosaur they see.

“I think we might be heading in the right direction,” Vinny said, shrugging his backpack. “We should be getting close to the Coelophysis’ hunting grounds. If we follow the direction the Anurognathus flew to, we should be heading the right way.”

“What makes you say that?” I said, raising my brow.

Anurognathus are exclusively bug eaters,” Vinny said, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose with a finger. “And they travel with large herbivores to eat any insects that land on them. So, where there’s Anurognathus, there are herbivores. And where there’s herbivores--”

“Then there are sure to be predators,” I said, finally understanding.

Vinny smiled and nodded. “Damn right. Now let’s get going.”

The two of us made our way forward, heading in the direction the tiny pterosaurs flew off to. While we walked, I could hear the unmistakable sound of the gurgling river, I could smell the scent of the running water. With each step I could sense we were closing the gap. My legs cramped a bit, but it didn’t bother me all that much. All that I had on my mind was the task we had at hand.

Within moments, we came out of the trees and onto the rocky shore. Below our feet were huge gray boulders with bits of moss here and there. The river flowed and a calm, gentle way. The other side of the river was no different than the side we were standing on; a rocky shoreline and a thick growth of trees. A bird chirped and zipped through the air like a dart.

I took a deep breath and sighed slowly. “It feels really peaceful out here. I’m not going to lie about that.”

Vinny nodded. “You got that right. And it might be more peaceful if we weren’t so worried about the Coelophysis hiding out here some place. But I think we should take some time to rest.” He took his pack off of him and dropped it onto the ground. “My legs are killing me.”

I nodded in agreement, setting my bag down on the ground and sitting down. “I agree.”

Vinny took a seat on the ground in front of me. He then unzipped his bag, took out a water bottle, and drank from it. He sighed after swallowing and placed the bottle back into his bag. “Okay. So, we’ve found the water source. Now we just need to figure out where the prey is.”

“Any likely ideas?” I asked.

“Well, for now at least, it’s anybody’s guess,” Vinny replied. “But I’m sure we’ll figure it out.”

I wiped the sweat off my forehead with the back of my hand and sighed softly. “I just hope we can find the nest in time.”

Suddenly, I heard the cracking and snapping of vegetation.; a clear indication that something big was coming. A lot of big things. Vinny and I swiftly got up to our feet, facing the direction we came from. I could make out strange shapes through the plants that looked to be sloped backs with spikes or something like that. A few Anurognathus zipped by through like tiny birds, squeaking and chirping.

The first of the large animals emerged from the foliage. It was nearly thirty feet long and had heavily built body covered in brown scales with golden tan underparts. Its small head was long and narrow, almost like a horse, and its snout ended in a beak. Its green eyes looked a bit lazy, kind of stupid. Its back was red with blue flecks traced with yellow and sloped up like a hill. Along its back were two rows of seventeen, diamond-shaped plates, which were deep red outlined in black and flaring black eye patterns. The dinosaur’s long tail was held up off the ground and ended with four, baseball bat-sized spikes.

The creature bellowed, and then a second animal appeared, then a third. Another bunch of dinosaurs followed, but they weren’t the same kind as the first ones. I counted at least four of them altogether.

These animals were not as large and they didn’t have dorsal plates or spiny tails. They were a muted shade of blue with pale gold striping across their backs and pale green throats. Their small heads were long and their mouths ended with small beaks. Their dark brown eyes were rather large. They walked around on all four legs, but some of them moved on only their hind legs, which were longer and had three toes on each foot, but no reduced fourth digit like those found on carnivorous dinosaurs. Their front feet ended with four short toes and a fifth innermost digit was capped with a sharp spike. Their long necks connected to their bulky bodies.

“The armored ones are Stegosaurus,” Vinny said. “The other ones are Camptosaurus. Late Jurassic herbivores.”

As the dinosaurs come closer to the water, I reached into my pocket for my phone and selected the entry for the Stegosaurus on the Dinopedia. A tiny, 3D holographic projection of the dinosaur materialized from the screen.

Stegosaurus

STEG-OH-SORE-US

“Roofed lizard”

Herbivore

Late Jurassic

One of the most famous dinosaurs, Stegosaurus was the largest of the plated dinosaurs. The plates on its back were possibly used for thermal regulation and visual display to ward of predators and attract mates. The defensive spines on its tail is called a “thagomizer”.

 

Then I searched the entry for the Camptosaurus. Just like the Stegosaurus, a miniature projection of the animal popped up.

Camptosaurus

CAMP-TOH-SORE-US

“Bent lizard”

Herbivore

Late Jurassic

A large ornithopod, Camptosaurus was an easy target for large predators like Allosaurus or Ceratosaurus. Fossilized remains of this dinosaur show that they often accompanied herds of Stegosaurus.

 

“It says here that Camptosaurus sometimes travel with Stegosaurus,” I said, stuffing my phone back into my pocket. The dinosaurs almost completely ignored us, except for the brief glance the lead Stegosaurus shared with us and the juvenile Camptosaurus that looked at us curiously before moving on. The dinosaurs reached the water’s edge. Some of them lowered their heads down and drank from the river.

“Mhm,” Vinny said. “And I know the reason why without having to use the Dinopedia.”

I raised my brow. “Then what is it?”

“First, let us look at the two dinosaurs. We will start with the Stegosaurus.” He points at one of the Stegosaurus that had stopped drinking and turned around. It lumbered back towards the plants and came to a stop. It then began to eat the leaves off of a bush, its spiked tail swishing back and forth slowly. “It has dermal dorsal plates used for thermal regulation and visual display to ward off predators and to attract mates. It also has the thagomizer on the end of its tail that can impale an attacker with just one swing. However, the Stegosaurus is not a particularly bright animal and it has very weak eyesight, so it can only see short distances.

“Then we have the Camptosaurus.” Vinny points to one of the Camptosaurus a few yards away. “A dinosaur with no natural defenses except for its short thumb spike which it can use to stab smaller predators and in interspecies combat during the mating season. Because of that, they are easy pickings for predators like Allosaurus. However, the Camptosaurus is smarter than the Stegosaurus and has much better eyesight.”

“Ohhhh, I get it!” I said, snapping my fingers as the realization struck me. “The Stegosaurus and the Camptosaurus have a symbiotic relationship. The Camptosaurus serve as sentries, looking out for any signs of danger. And in return, the Stegosaurus protect them from carnivores.”

Vinny smiles and nods. “That is correct. Both species rely on each other and both species get the benefits. The Camptosaurus watch out for danger in exchange for safety from the Stegosaurus. It increases the likelihood of both animals surviving. That is why they stick together.”

I then notice one of the Camptosaurus straying from the main group; a juvenile female. I watched it as it sauntered passed us. It didn’t seem to care that we were standing there, watching her. It seemed as if she was fixed entirely on something else. She passed us and kept moving forward, her tail swishing as she walked.

“I wonder where she’s going,” I muttered.

The young dinosaur continued her way along the shoreline, still moving in a straight line. I let my eyes travel to where she was heading.

That’s when I saw something; a shapeless form lying on the rocky riverside some distance away.

I turned my head to look at Vinny. “She’s heading for something lying on the ground,” I said. “But I can’t really tell what it is. It’s too far away for me to see.”

“That’s okay,” Vinny said. “I modified my glasses so they can zoom in and zoom out to see certain objects from long distances or at really close range. Walt’s mask does the same thing and the scopes once they are done.”

“That’s incredible,” I said, my lips curving into a wide grin. “How do you and Walt do all this kind of stuff?”

Vinny smiled and held up his head with pride. “It is amazing what one can do when you learn how to be innovative.”

He then lifted his hand to the side of his face. I watched as he used his thumb and pointer finger twist a very tiny knob at the edge of one of the lenses. All the while, Vinny kept his eyes focused straight ahead. I half expected to hear mechanical whirring sounds or see the lenses of the glasses to magnify, but neither of which happens.

I listened to the sounds of the Stegosaurus and Camptosaurus behind us as we stood there. The Stegosaurus had a voice that sounded like a kind of booming howl or deep wailing from the back of the throat, while the Camptosaurus produced a weak bellowing that sounded almost like honking.

After a bit, Vinny stops turning the knob. And behind the lenses, Vinny’s eyes popped wide. His body became rigid. When he spoke, his voice displayed disbelief and shock. “Holy hell…”

I looked at him with concern. “What’s the matter, Vinny?”

Vinny jabs his finger, pointing to the mysterious form on the shore. “That’s a person! Tobias, it’s a person!”

I felt something ripple through my body and I jerked my head, looking ahead back at the object in front of us. “What?”

“There’s someone lying down by the river,” Vinny said. “I think they are unconcious. Let’s go!”

Vinny and I rushed over to the body. The juvenile Camptosaurus was already there, lowering her head and sniffing at it. She opened her beaked mouth and licked the person’s face with a pink tongue.

“Hey!” Vinny shouted as we got closer. “Get away! Shoo!”

The young dinosaur quickly lifted her head back up and looked back at us. She tilted her head curiously. She didn’t really seem afraid of us.

“Go on, now!” I said. “Get going!”

The Camptosaurus grunted and shook her head as if to shake off flies. She stood up on her hind legs, turned away from the person, and rushed back in the direction of the herd. We reached the body and got on our knees, looking at the being.

It was a girl, laying on her belly. Her skin was a bit pale and appeared smooth. Her sapphire blue hair was drenched and reached down to her waist. The clothes she wore were soaked with water. She wore a bright blue turtleneck with a light purple collar, a pair of blue and white sneakers, and khaki shorts.

“God in heaven,” I said softly. “Another survivor.”

“But is she alive?” Vinny asked.

I looked closely at the girl. I didn’t see any kind movement, not even the signs of breathing. Gently, I moved some of her hair and placed two of my fingers against the side of her neck. I felt a weak beat where my fingers touched.

“She has a pulse,” I said. “She’s alive, but she’s not breathing. I think she nearly drowned.”

“We have to help her,” Vinny said. “She needs CPR. Quickly, turn her onto her back.”

I nodded and placed my hands on the girl’s shoulders. Gently I flipped her over onto her back. When I saw her face, I felt my heart freeze for a brief moment.

She’s beautiful, I thought.

And she truly was. Skin like alabaster, hair like deep blue silk, and--

Holy hooters!

I felt my face burn like an oven. It was probably glowing red. The girl’s breasts were huge. And her soaked turtleneck didn’t do much good trying to hide that. Neither did the two white flowers printed on near the center of each one.

To take my mind off of it, I turned back to Vinny. “Now what?”

Vinny pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose. “Three chest compressions, then mouth to mouth.”

I nodded and waited. Surely Vinny knew how to do that. And yet, he just sat there and did nothing but look at me as if he…

Then I quickly realized why he wasn’t doing anything.

“Wait a damn minute!” I shouted. “You want me to do it?!”

“Yes,” Vinny said. “Look, she’s alive now. I can’t say she’ll still be alive if you don’t do it.”

“But why can’t y--”

“Quit being a baby and man up!” Vinny said, folding his arms. “If you don’t do it, she’s going to die.”

I glared at him. “Alright! I’ll do it!”

I then turned my gaze back to the unconscious girl and sighed. Okay. Three chest compressions… and then mouth to mouth…

My eyes fell back to her boobs. Once again my face boiled.

God! I can’t do it if I look at those things!

But still, I had to do it. Looking up from her, I placed my hands on her chest, doing my best not to touch her breasts. I could feel her faint heartbeat against my palm. Then I pressed down hard once. Twice. Thrice.

She didn’t move.

I looked down at her, and took a deep breath. I then plugged her nose and placed my lips to her’s, blowing air into her mouth and into her lungs. I pulled my head back.

Still nothing.

I placed my hands back onto her chest and pressed down again. As I did so, I felt my pulse quicken and my heartbeat racing. This girl was another survivor, one we had never met before. And she was knocking on death’s door. If I didn’t save her, she would die; another life cut short by a tragic turn of events.

I couldn’t let that happen. Not while I was still alive.

Come on, I thought desperately. Come on! Breathe! Don’t die! Please, don’t you die here.

I pinched her nose shut again, put my mouth on her’s, and sent air into her.

Suddenly, I felt a sharp movement and I pulled back. Just like that, the girl sat up and coughed up water. I sighed in relief.

“Oh, thank God,” I said, hooking an arm behind her back to help support her as she gasped for air. “Good girl… Attagirl.”

The girl sank into my arms, but she had at least a tiny bit of consciousness. Her breathing grew soft and her pulse became steady. Her eyelids fluttered a bit and I saw them open ever so slightly. I couldn’t see much of them, but I could tell that they were a shade of blue much lighter than her hair.

“Mmnnn…”

And then her eyes closed again. I felt a bit of pity for the girl.

“Poor thing,” Vinny said. I looked at him as he spoke. “She must have been carried down her from upriver, perhaps trying to get away from something. She must’ve been desperate. The river gets pretty rough up there.”

I nodded. “That sounds very likely.” I turned my head back down to look at the girl. “We have to get her back to the cabin. Hailey can check her for any signs of injury. We’ll have to look for the Coelophysis nest tomorrow.”

From the corner of my eye, I could see Vinny stand up. “Okay. Let’s take her back with us. She has been through quite a lot of hell as far as we know. And of course, you’ll have to carry her back.”


Submitted: April 28, 2019

© Copyright 2022 Tyrannos Senpai. All rights reserved.

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Sylvermyst

well, I'm glad that Natasha will be alright and I think that Tobias' has a love interest. I wonder why Vinny didn't perform CPR himself. Great chapter.

Sat, May 4th, 2019 3:38am

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I did that just to have a gag. Glad you enjoyed it.

Sun, May 5th, 2019 1:14am

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