“WE HAVE TO WHAT?!” Josiah screamed at Buck. The weasel had just informed the two humans that to get to lava falls faster they had to fly there by pterosaur. Buck said that if they wanted to save Ken they had to trust him.
Josiah and Shelly didn’t like the idea of flying on a giant winged reptile that could drop them from a height of a thousand feet. The weasel had told the two that the pterodactyl nests were located over the misty falls and to get there, they had to cross the chasm of death, to the plates of woe.
“That’s a lot of nonsense, Buck,” said Josiah. “We don’t have to ride any flying….”
“Bup-bup-bup-bup! Rule number one! Always listen to buck!” retorted Buck.
Josiah snorted and rolled his eyes. He had heard Buck’s so-called rules before when he’d let the weasel join them. Rule number one: always listen to Buck. Rule number two: stay in the middle of the trail. And rule number three: he who has gas, travels at the back of the pack. Of course, Josiah didn’t like taking orders from Buck. But since Buck was the adult of the group, he had no other choice in the matter. It was ether follow Bucks rules, or get lost in the jungle full of angry dinosaurs.
It took a couple of hours to get to the chasm of death and then to the plates of woe. The chasm of death had hazy green gas that made Josiah’s voice sound high and squeaky like one of the chipmunks. Shelly, being the smart one, didn’t breath in the gas. It took a second or two for Josiah to clear his head and stop laughing uncontrollably. Buck had informed the two that the gas had made other dinosaurs laugh soo uncontrollably that they died laughing. He pointed down in the chasms to verify his point about the gas.
Several skeletons of dinosaurs littered the ground and they all looked like they were laughing. Or had been laughing.
Next were the plates of woe. The plates were dusty, saucer-like rocks that were held up on unsteady tree branches. Nether Shelly or Josiah liked the look of the place. In the distance they saw a steady river of lava and cliffs with high outcroppings. Buck had said that he had been here to the plates a while back when Manny and his herd had been looking for Sid the sloth. Josiah looked around the craggy gully with a bit of uneasiness. The only sound coming from this place was the wind.
‘Something about this pace isn’t right,’ he thought. ‘There’s only the wind. What if there is something else here with us? Watching us right now?’
Just then, the plates below their feet began to crack and crumble wildly.
“Jump!” yelled Buck.
At the last moment, Josiah and Shelly leaped onto a safe, protected ledge with buck. The plates they were just walking on had fallen with a loud CRASH!Panting in relief, Josiah turned to Buck angrily. “Why’d I listen to you, weasel? ‘Everything will be alright once we get across the plates of woe.’ The only way we are gonna’ save Ken is that we go our own way without your help!”
Buck shook his head. “But I’m leading you on the right track, lad. It’s the safest route to lava falls.”
“Safe?!” Josiah waved his hand across the plates of woe back and forth. “Look at this place. Its cursed, weasel. It’s falling apart! Open your eye and it…” he looked down suddenly as his boot landed in something soft and stinking. Buck took one look at it and started to dart his eye around alertly. “Guanlongs,” he half whispered.
“What?” Shelly asked. She had never heard of that kind of dinosaur before.
“They’re pack animals, lass,” Buck continued. “Very fierce and very dangerous. The only things sharper then their minds are their claws,”
Josiah looked around worriedly while clutching his stun pistol and whipping his boot. Guanlongs sounded like bad news to him and he didn’t want to take any chances. The group continued on their way through the ravine while Buck kept a lookout for danger on Josiah’s shoulder. Josiah still didn’t think it was a good idea to have the weasel tag along with them. Could they count on him to help them find Ken? True, he was an unneeded detraction and a bit insane but he knew his way around this world better then any Nick Dundee in a movie.
Meanwhile at lava falls, Ken was having a bath in the shade of pool with a water fall with the Dino kids. The water was cool and refreshing and Ken cleaned himself. Momma watched this odd routine with a raised eyebrow from the shore. She had allowed Ken to stay with her family, but only until they found his other friends. She didn’t like the idea of going soft on anyone but her hatchlings and the sloth named Sid.
Her children missed him and so did she. The little mammal had shown her kindness and in return, she had allowed him stay with her family. She had even let him sleep with her and the kids because of what he said about his friend probably not missing him. Those words had brought back memories about her past and how she had not been missed by anyone when she had been lost and alone. Fearsome as she was, Momma Dino often got lonesome for companionship. Sid wasn’t much of a mate, but he was the closest thing to a father her children had.
And now this young two-leg had entered their lives. What would have happen if his friends thought she had eaten him? It would be Revenge. It would lead to that if she had eaten the little one. The male two-leg with the strange weapon in his hands would kill her and her children for harming his pack-mate. She knew that feeling all to well. It had happened before with the sloth when he stole her eggs. She remembered how she wanted to devour him for taking her precious eggs from her temporary nest in the ice cave.
She remembered how her hatchlings came to Sid’s defense and growled up at her.
The older male would not think twice about harming her children out of vengeance for his friends’ life. But she was not going to allow that male to harm her children. Momma had dedicated her life to protect her young and that was what she was going to do.
But the weapon was still in the back of her head. Where had these creatures created such things? These two-legs had come from another world and she wanted to know why. But first, she wanted get to know this young male two-leg first.
Getting up off her haunches, Momma wadded into the pool with her kids and Ken.
Playfully, she started to splash them with water with her tail. Ken had a momentary lapse of shame at being half-naked around another individual. Then he remembered that Momma, a dinosaur who had never seen a human before, did not care in the slightest. He relaxed and swam near her. Her wet burnt-orange scales shone in the setting sun of the waterfall and Ken couldn’t help but admire her beauty. She was beautiful and strong and not to mention fierce with those fangs. He swam over to her and clambered on her back and started to rub her scales.
Upon feeling his hands rub her back, Momma turned abruptly around to glare at him with one of her golden eyes. She let out a low growl from her throat as if saying. ‘Get off my back, little one,’
Ken stopped and slid off her back carefully so as not to bother her. He but his hands in front of himself and backed away slowly out of the pool. “Sorry, Momma,” He apologised. “I didn’t know you didn’t like back rubs.” Momma snorted in his face and nudged him out of the pool with the tip of her snout. Ken started to resist as the tyrannosaur continued to push him. But then he stopped. The biggest snake he’d ever seen hung from a branch just a few feet over the heads of the three baby tyrannosaurs. The snake’s mouth was open, its fangs bared. Ken didn’t know if a snake could bite through the hide of a young dinosaur. What he did know was that if it could, and if the snake was poisonous, the baby dinos probably wouldn’t survive.
Ken instinctively dipped his hand into the water. Fishing around, he came up with a nice-sized rock. He circled around Momma and pointed behind her at the snake. The tyrannosaur followed his finger and when she saw the snake she froze. There was a worried look on her face and Ken knew he had to do something to help.
He pulled his hand out of the water and threw the rock right at the snake. It struck the serpent in the back, making it hiss loudly and startling the babies into looking back over their shoulders. When they saw the angry snake, they scrambled out of the pool to their mother with frightened sequels. Then Momma roared at the snake, making it retreat from the pool's low branches.
As soon as it was gone, Momma leaned down and nuzzled Ken gently with her snout. A deep purring vibrated in her throat as she smiled at him, her way of saying thank you. The baby dinos rushed over and hugged him tightly. Ken felt himself fill with happiness. He had done a good deed and in return he felt his heart fill with happiness. He’d only been trying to help. Another saying his father said to him: No good deed goes without its rewards. Ken had thought it was just a stupid saying that his father made up. But it seemed especially true now. His good intensions, or bad, could have serious consequences if he was not careful of how to use them.
After she was done nuzzling him, Momma gently pick him up and placed him on the back of her neck. She then motioned for her young move out with a soft grunt. It was growing dark and Momma didn’t want to sleep in the open were her babies were vulnerable to predators. She crossed the river and entered the shelter of the jungle.
Night had fallen in the jungles outcropping near the plates of woe. Josiah and Shelly decided to sleep in their sleeping that night instead of their tents. It was too risky to sleep in tents and Buck wanted them to be ready for anything encase of an attack. Before they went to sleep, Buck told them the story of how he lost his eye and got Rudy’s tooth. The two of them hung on to Buck’s every word while trying to stay awake.
“What happened next, Buck?” Shelly asked eagerly. She was starting to like the story more and more.
“I thought I’d gotten away from Rudy when the next thing I knew, he snatched me up in his jaws!” Buck said dramatically while making sward fighting gestures with his knife. “Never had I felt more alive than when I was so close to death,” Buck went on. “Just before Rudy could suck me down his gullet, I grabbed hold of that pink fleshy thing that dangles at the back of the throat,”
“Nasty!” Josiah burst out. “You grabbed the uvula! That’s what it was.”
“Right, lad. I hung on to that sucker,” Buck went on, “and I swung back and fourth, back and fourth, back and fourth, back and fourth until finally I let go and shot right out of his mouth. I may have lost an eye that day,” he added, “but I got this.” He whipped out his knife and twirled it in the palm of his paw.
The kids were totally impressed. This one-eyed weasel survived an encounter with a super predator that could have easily swallowed him whole. And yet, he showed fearlessness that any normal mammal wouldn’t show to a predator of that size.
“you are ultra-cool-weasel!” Shelly said.
Overwhelmed, Buck did some scattering hip-hop sound effects and ended it by clapping Shelly’s palm. Josiah gave her a look.
“What?” Shelly said with a shrug. “It’s true. He is.”
Buck smiled at and placed the knife in his sheath. “Aye, lass, I am,” he agreed. “Now let me tell you another story of how I used a sharpened clam shell to turn a t-rex into a t-Rachel.”
“Ugh!” exclaimed Shelly.
“Whoa! Whoa,” Josiah cut in. “That’s enough stories for tonight, Buck. Let’s get some sleep.”
“Right-o. You guys get some shut-eye,” Buck told them. “I’ll keep watch.”
Minutes later, the small campsite was quiet. Josiah and Shelly were sound asleep. While they slept, Buck remained wide-awake, listening for danger and keeping an eye over both of them.
Meanwhile, Momma had arrived at the same cave she had slept in before. She bent down and the three babies clambered on her snout. She then placed them inside the cave and she climbed in after them. There was just one other person she forgot. Ken. The poor boy had slipped off Momma’s neck and went to use the bushes, but had forgotten to climb back on when he was done. He tried to climb up after them, but his bare feet kept slipping, sending him tumbling downward. He hated climbing. But there was nothing he could do about it. He tried again but took a careless step and slipped on a loose stone. With a small yell, he landed on his back with a thud. Ken let out a cry of pain and felt tears well-up in his eyes. Upon hearing the cry of pain, Momma poked her head out of the cave and looked down at Ken. At first, she was annoyed by the sounds the boy was making. Her children were trying to sleep and he was making this racket outside like a scavenger. Then she saw him crying. She tilted her head to one side to look down at him. She thought about letting him sleep with her and her young. He did save them from that snake. She wouldn’t have been able to save them in time if it had attack. And if that had happened, she would never forgive herself. She looked out at the jungle and made a small growl in her throat.
She looked back down at Ken. Seeing him like this made her once again think about her past. Giving in with a sigh, she leaned down and gently lifted him by his shirt collar. At first, Ken thought she was going to toss him into the bushes to quit him. But then she put him down in the cave right among her young. When he was settled, she curled her tail around them to give them warmth from the cold night.
Ken didn’t know what to say to her. What could he say? Thinking of the most touching words to say, he sighed and said. “Thank you, Momma. You do have a big heart under all those scales, you know that?” he wiped his tears away with the back of his hand and curled up with the kids.
Momma glanced down at Ken and snorted, annoyed, but she smiled a little at the words he had said to her. Momma placed her head down beside her family and slept.