Josiah was having his own problems at the moment inside the cave with the baryonyx.
The cave entrance had an unwelcome visitor. Josiah saw a long narrow albino snout and large red eyes darting left and right from one baryonyx to the next. He stared in disbelief as the dinosaur’s massive, battle-scarred head blotted out the suns light from cave entrance.
The albino baryonyx bared its teeth, showing a missing one in front. Josiah squinted and he thought he saw a hole were the tooth was missing. ‘This must be Rudy,’ Josiah realized. He was much bigger and aggressive-looking then Josiah had ever imagined. ‘This guy must be the Moby Dick of the dinosaur world.’
The other baryonyx in the cave snarled and snapped their jaws at the dinosaur. Barry marched foreword and growled angrily at Rudy’s face. Rudy growled back and nodded his head towards Josiah, his tongue slithering around the gap in his teeth. Barry turned to Josiah and then back at Rudy and growled a hiss at him. Rudy growled deep in his throat and withdrew his head from the cave opening. With retreating footfalls, the albino baryonyx was gone.
The cave calmed down and Josiah lowered his pistol back into his holster. He was shaking a bit, but not a lot. He’d never seen a dinosaur like that one before in the fossil accounts. He knew that common alligators were sometimes albino and so were small kangaroos from Australia. But this baryonyx was grayish-white with black talons and small spines. It had bags under its eyes like it had not gotten any sleep at all in its life. Plus there were the red eyes. Josiah shivered. There was something about that baryonyx’s eyes that just sent a shudder down his back and made the hair on his head stand on end. There was a hunger in those eyes, and something about Rudy unsettled him.
All the baryonyx in the cave were upset by the appearance of Rudy. All except Flood, who was the only one who didn’t snarl or snap at him. On the contrary, she seemed happy to see him, which looked eerie on her crocodilian face. Did she like Rudy? Josiah had his doubts about that. Baryonyx hardly ever mated with rouges. Flood was no different. It was love at first sight for her. Of course, no one knew how baryonyx behaved or how they courted each other.
While the other dinosaurs calmed down and went out to hunt for food, Josiah stayed behind and played with the baby baryonyx. The adults were tolerant of his presence now and didn’t mind if their young were near him. The playful youngsters tugged and pulled at Josiah’s shirt and scrambled on his shoulders and legs.
Barry came over and snorted at them to leave. They scampered away to their mothers with annoyed squeaks.
Barry nudged Josiah to his feet and led him over to the cave entrance. And standing in the door of the cave, waiting for him, were Buck and Shelly.
“Buck? Shelly? What are you guys doing here?” Josiah said, looking from one to the other.
“We were looking for you, mate,” said Buck. “After you disappeared by the river, me and Shelly went looking for you.”
“What about Ken? Is he alright?”
“He’s fine,” Buck said. “He’s with Mommy Dinosaur.”
“Thank god for that. Who better to look out for him then the tyrant queen herself?”
All of them chuckled. After saying goodbye to Barry and Flood and giving Barry a shiny plastic armlet as thanks, Josiah, Shelly, and Buck traveled back to lava falls. Buck said he knew a shortcut to get back to lava falls faster and they took it.
“We have to cross this?” Shelly said doubtfully.
Buck had led them to a log bridge. It was fifteen feet long, with coils of vines around its trunk. Below it was a chasm several hundred feet down. The craggy walls were covered with twisting vines and ivy. Lava falls was just on the other side.
“Fastest way to lava falls, lass,” Buck said, gesturing for them to follow him.
Josiah hesitated. “Look at this thing! It’s ancient.”
Buck shook his head. “It’s safe. I’ve crossed this here bridge countless times and I have not once fallen.”
Shelly and Josiah shook their heads.
Buck sighed and started across the log bridge.
“If it will make you two feel better, I’ll go across first and then you can follow,”
They watched him walk across, stepping over and around rotted holes in the wood. When he was across, Buck waved for them to come over. Josiah went first and then Shelly followed him. The log was wide and sufficient for their feet to walk across. Josiah tried not to look down as he made his way across. Shelly clung to Josiah’s arm to steady herself.
“Hey, Buck!” He shouted. “I think we’re getting the hang of this.”
Buck was scanning the trees and bushes for danger. He turned around to make a wisecrack, but his reaction was not what he expected. He pointed his finger and yelled.
Josiah and Shelly twisted around and looked back. Rudy was standing at the edge of the jungle, his red eyes on the two of them!
At lava falls, Momma and Ken were waiting for the others.
‘Where are they?’ Ken thought. ‘They’ve should’ve come back by now,’
Suddenly, a ferocious roar came from the jungle. At the sound of the roar, Momma and her kids straightened up. Then there was a high-pitched scream. ‘Shelly!’
“It came from over there!” Ken cried. Momma scooped up her children in her jaws and took off through the jungle in the direction Ken had pointed to. Ken followed, as fast as his short legs would allow.
Josiah and Shelly stood on the bridge in frozen terror. Rudy lifted a claw and took a swipe at them. They both ducked. The claw had missed them, but it came so close that they actually heard the claws whiz above them.
Josiah spun around, determined to get off the log before Rudy started attacking again. Behind him, Shelly also turned to run, but her foot slipped and she started to fall through the hole in the log!
“Shelly!” Josiah shouted.
Shelly fell through the log, but managed to grab hold of a vine. The next thing he knew, she was hanging there with the deep, misty chasm beneath her.
Josiah raced quickly toward her, stepping carefully to make sure he didn’t fall, too. When he reached the hole nearest to her, he kneeled down to help.
POW! POW! Josiah saw several purple berries whiz over his head and strike Rudy in the face. Rudy reared back and bellowed, swatting at the greenish cloud.
Buck took out his knife, glaring at the dinosaur. Rudy glared back, his tongue slithering around the gap in his teeth.
“What’s the matter, snowflake?” he taunted. “To busy picking on these kids to fight me fair and square?”
Rudy growled and slammed his tail on the log. The log gave a violent jerk as it shook from the attack. Josiah almost lost his hold on the log as it creaked and groaned loudly.
Shelly shouted a curse word at Rudy. Josiah reached down toward her.
“Grab my hand!” he yelled. As he struggled to reach her, splinters of wood fell out of the log and into the chasm.
Shelly grabbed his hand. Josiah held on tight and tried to pull her up.
“Don’t let go!” Shelly screamed below him. “Please, don’t let go!”
“I swear to god, I won’t!” Josiah shouted back. But Rudy now had the end of the log in his talons. With a sinister grin, Rudy heaved the log over the side.
With a sickening fall, the log fell down into the chasm, and Josiah lost his grip on Shelly’s hand. The next thing he knew, he, the log, and Shelly were falling.
By the time Momma, the kids, and Ken reached the spot were the log was, Rudy was gone. Only Buck remained, sitting on a rock, staring down into the chasm. Ken stopped beside him, wondering what the weasel was staring at.
“Where are my sister and Josiah, Buck?” Ken asked, breathing hard. “What happened to them?”
With a sluggish movement filled with sorrow, the weasel pointed at the gap between the chasm.
“They fell?” Ken guessed.
Buck nodded. Ken felt a panicked shock rage through him. They’d fallen into the chasm! There was no sign of his sister or Josiah. Could they have possibly survived the fall? It didn’t seem possible, but the alternative was too awful to even believe.
“Come on, Buck!” Ken yelled, starting out along the top of the ravine and following it downhill. “We have to find them. They maybe still alive.”
Momma bent down and lifted ken and Buck onto her back. She nudged her children to follow her. Keeping her eyes peeled, Momma walked downhill along the chasm’s boundary.
While she walked, Ken kept a lookout to see if there was any sign of his sister and Josiah.
‘Please, god. Don’t let anything terrible happen to them.’ He prayed. He sniffled loudly and wiped the tears from his eyes.
Momma turned her head and gave Ken a sympathetic moan.
Ken smiled and hugged her around her broad, powerfully built neck.
Josiah didn’t know where he was. His body hurt and his mind was trying to make him drift back to sleep. There was a terrible pounding pain in his head. All that pain made him want to go to sleep.
He felt cold. Josiah opened his eyes. he was lying on his back, he’s body aching in several places. He was disoriented for a moment. What happened? Where was he? Seeing the log entangled in the vines just a few feet above him brought back the memory of falling helplessly down, down, into the chasm.
How he wound up lying in the bottom of the chasm floor with his body still in one piece, he’d never know. He turned sideways and retched, vomiting all over the ground. He tasted vinegary bile in his mouth and wiped his lips with the back of his hand.
Slowly, he got to his feet. In the semi darkness of the chasm floor he saw dinosaur bones, apparently from unfortunate dinosaurs who had fallen into this place same as him.
Josiah leaned against the rocky wall and looked around in the chasm. He had to get to the others and find Shelly, but he didn’t want to get lost down here. He knew that he was somewhere in the chasms depths, probably not far from a break in the walls where he could climb out.
But then he remembered Shelly. He had to find her, and quickly.
“Shelly!” Josiah shouted as loud as he could, not caring if any animals heard him. He listened, but there was nothing but the silence of the chasm.
Josiah vaguely remembered that she had been hanging onto a vine that was attached to the log when Rudy attacked. Was she farther down the incline of the chasm? Or had she climbed back up the vine-covered walls to the surface? Rudy’s attack were confused in his mind. Just thinking about it made him uneasy.
The chasm seemed to close in around him. Feeling uneasy, Josiah listened for anything that could verify that Shelly was alive.
Then he heard it. A faint singing that came from somewhere farther down the incline to his left.
Shelly was tangled in thick vines five feet off the ground. She had a few cuts on her bare legs and arms, but otherwise she was alright. Her backpack was on the ground and the side of it was torn a bit from the fall. Her hair was dirty from the loose dirt that rained down around her head.
Opening her eyes, Shelly looked at her surroundings. It was a little dark and the air was slightly cold with an odor that made her nose crinkle. She moved her arms but found that they were tangled in thick vines. She tried her legs. They moved.
If only she could free herself from her tight spot.
She began to yell for help.
“Josiah! Where are you?! Josiah!”
There was nothing. Her voice merely echoed off the rocky walls.
“Damn!” she shouted up at the vines, as if to make them feel guilty for her being trapped.
She had to get lose and find Josiah.
It took fifteen minutes but Shelly finally got herself free from the tangle of vines and was now brushing herself off.
She looked herself over and found a number of cuts and scratches on her arms and legs.
The good part was that she was able to walk.
She started under your own steam down the ravine, trying to find the others and Josiah. It was very quite, and the stillness made her uneasy.
“What a creepy place this is,” she muttered under her breath. “I wonder when Dracula shows up,” hearing her own voice and joking around a bit made her feel a little less alone. Maybe a little less scared, too.
She decided to sing a song to pass the time.
Is your ship sinking
Did you know that’s arsenic your drinking
Are you buried in ice caps
Did the that bridge your on collapse
Did that place your in explode
Oh, that’s way we’re singing this song
Oh, what the heck, throw in a strain wreck
Oh, what the heck, throw in a strain wreck
Shelly stopped. Then she heard it. an answering shout. It was coming from behind her, up the chasm.
Squinting, Shelly saw with relief that Josiah was running towards her. His puffy hair was disheveled and he had a few scratches on his face, but otherwise he looked okay.
“Thank god I found you!” he said, breathlessly. “I’ve been looking for you for hours.”