That night in the playground, Josiah and Shelly had pitched up their tents.
They had come to an agreement that tomorrow they would find the hole into the dinosaur world. That is if they could find, first.
Outside of their tents, the twinkling night was as silent as a star.
From inside his tent, Josiah sat up on his sleeping bag and traced the outline of the map to the hole in the ground. According to the map the hole was a half mile away from where they where now. “A little hike to this spot here and that world will soon be in our grasp.” Josiah said to himself as he held the flashlight up to the map’s surface. “This might be a problem.”
“What do you mean?” Shelly asked from her tent.
Josiah crossed his arms. “If we go out into an open area, we will be seen by the animals.”
“They won’t bother us if we don’t bother them,” Shelly said. “If we mind our own business and keep on the path, the animals will leave us alone.”
“I hope so,” said Josiah almost doubtfully. “Wild animals are unpredictable.”
Shelly didn’t answer. Josiah heard her snores in the tent next to him and knew she had fallen asleep. Josiah knew what they had to do tomorrow, but if something bad happened?
Josiah slept well that night in his small tent. When he woke, the sky was just starting to go from gray to orange. The forest was quit, the air light with a slight cold. Shelly was still asleep. Josiah felt stiff. He got dressed and crawled out of his tent then stretched. His breath came out in a misty white plume and he felt the chill of the early morning.
Knowing his body’s needs, he took out a role of toilet paper from the tent and headed into the woods.
Josiah found himself a nice old brush were the rising sun managed to peek through the trees.
As soon as he was done, Josiah felt a sudden prickle at the back of his neck as if something was watching him from behind. He knew because the hairs on his neck always prickled when something was watching him. It was like a sixth-sense to him.
He turned slowly around to face whatever it was behind him. He was astonished to find that it was nothing dangerous at all. Standing behind him was a mammoth calf. It sat up and blinked at him with its big bright green eyes. The fur was short and brown with a dark little mane around its neck. It also had short whitish stubby tusks and small ears.
Josiah had to laugh to himself. Rarely in his life had he seen anything so adorable. It was the size of giant carnival prize teddy bear and probably weighed more then that. But it had the gentle harmlessness and curiosity of a baby elephant.
“So you’re the one who snuck up behind me, huh?” Josiah said.
The calf made a small trumpeting noise through its short trunk. It sounded more like a tooting sound then an actual trumpet of an adult.
Josiah let out a small chuckle and reached down to gently stroke the calf’s trunk with his hand. Giggling it reached out with its trunk and wrapped it gently around Josiah’s hand.
The trunk was furry yet soft to the touch.
Josiah could not help but smile affectionately down at the little mammoth as he stroked it’s trunk.
But then he remembered something very important. If this was a calf, where was the mother? Josiah looked hurriedly around the clearing for the mother mammoth. If the mother thought he was harming it then there was no evading her attack. The good news was the mother was not insight. The bad news was how he was going to lose the calf. As much as Josiah liked the little mammoth, he could not bring it back with him to the campsite. Certainly not! Shelly would flip out and scold Josiah for bringing a wild animal back with him.
She liked animals too but bringing one back with her was something she’d never do. She had watched the Discovery channel many times before and had never taken that show for granted. Including the nature channel. Josiah knew he could not take any risks with this baby mammoth.
So he made his way around the calf until he was behind it and started walking away. “You’re better off in the wild, little one,” he said. “You can’t follow me. You have to stay here.”
The calf looked around helplessly. Josiah’s sense of responsibility started to grow. Deep down, he wanted the calf to come with him. He reached for a bush and broke off part of the branch, handing it to the calf.
The calf looked at the branch and then dropped it and started towards Josiah.
“Oh, no.” Josiah backed away. “You have to stay here.”
The calf kept following him.
“Go on!” Josiah yelled at it. “Go home!”
He ran behind a large tree and waited to see what the calf would do. The calf looked around, then sat down in the snow and started to whimper. ‘Oh, no, don’t cry,’ Josiah thought. ‘Please not that.’
The calf continued to whimper. Josiah felt a twinge deep in his heart. He knew he couldn’t leave that calf alone in the forest.
If something happened to it, he’d never live with the guilt for the rest of his life.
Josiah came out from behind the tree and started towered the calf. As soon as the baby mammoth saw him, it looked happier.
“If you weren’t so little and cute this wouldn’t be so hard for me,” Josiah grumbled under his breath. The calf went around behind him and wrapped it’s trunk around the back of his belt buckle. it hanged on to him like a baby elephant would do with it’s mother’s tail. Josiah rolled his eyes. “Don’t get cute, missy, when your momma shows up you better go to her,” He shook his head. “Bleeding hearts of the worlds unit! I’m talking to a mammoth!”
When Josiah returned to the campsite, Shelly was up and dressed.
When she saw the baby mammoth she gave him a perplexed look and Josiah had to explain what happened when went to use the bushes.
But Shelly just frowned. “Clover, whatever you’re doing, it’s a bad idea,” she said. “Its mother might be looking for it. And the last thing I wanna do is tango with an angry prehistoric pachyderm.”
Josiah shook his head strongly. “Shelly, I know. But what would you have done in my place?”
Shelly looked at the ground and gave it some thought. What would she have done if she had been in Josiah’s place? She would have done the smart thing and would have just walked away, that’s what. But she to felt the pang of quilt in her heart and knew she would have done the same thing.
She looked back up to Josiah and the calf and said in a serious tone, “I don’t like this idea, Josiah,” She then pointed at the calf that was now poking at the tents with curiosity. “But we can’t leave this baby mammoth here. Let’s pack up our tents and move out.”
As soon as the tents were packed, the small group made their way into the forest again. The little mammoth stayed clinging to the back of Josiah’s belt.
“I think she likes you,” Shelly said with a smile.
“How do you know it’s a ‘she’?” Josiah asked, while keeping his pace so that the calf didn’t fall behind.
Shelly was about to reply when a loud trumpeting rang out around the forest making all three stop in their tracks.
Out of the forests came two enormous mammoths that walked out into the middle of the road towards them. One was a male and the other was a female.
The male was a brown bull with a floppy tail, earth-shaking feet, poofy hair on top of its head, and 16ft (4m) tusks.
The female was lighter brown with a reddish-brown fluffy topknot on her head, a dark brown mane around her neck and shoulders, Smallish furry ears and emerald green eyes like the calf.
Hanging from her tusks were two Dark Brown striped possums.
Beside the two mammoths were two other mammals that didn’t seem like they fit in at all in a normal herd.
One was a sloth with ping-pong eyes, a round nose, buck teeth, sharp claws, and discolored light brown fur.
The other was a saber tooth-tiger with large hazel green eyes, ruffled Orange-Brown fur, 8 inch long fangs, a short bob tail, and a whitish under belly.
All six mammals stopped in front of the two humans. Josiah and Shelly stood close to each other and didn’t make any sudden moves so as to frighten them. The mammals probably had never seen humans before from the future. Josiah kept shelly behind him protectively while glaring at the odd herd. He only used these glares either to threaten or keep people at a distance when he wanted some space to himself. If the mammals did attack them he would use the stun weapon in his holster. These weapons fired a none-lethal but painful jolt of electricity at a target making it fall down in a heap. Affective and useful.
This pistol had been created in Japan just like the others at the corporation and Josiah was glade they made it. He only hoped he didn’t have to use it on them. He was never the one to cause trouble, but if trouble tried to hurt his friends then he would have no choice.
The baby mammoth peeked out from behind Josiah’s leg and guiltily walked up to her family. The mother mammoth reached down and scooped up her calf tenderly while scolding it with soft annoyed growls. Josiah and Shelly couldn’t understand it but they thought they heard the mother mammoth say, “Peaches, you naughty girl! don’t you ever do that to me and Manny again!”
Josiah craned his ear and listened harder. The father leaned over and scolded the baby mammoth, too.
“Young lady, you almost gave me and your mother a heart attack. You know better then to wander off in the mornings,” he then rounded on the sloth who was trying to sneak away in the other direction like he was guilty of something. “And you, Sid, where supposed keep Peaches out of trouble!”
The sloth tried to protest. “Oh, come on, Manny, She got out of my sight for just a few seconds. Besides, my body has needs you know.”
Josiah’s mouth fell open upon hearing the sloth speak. It wasn’t possible. These animals could talk!
Josiah and Shelly had traveled through time to many different time periods and so far they encountered many animals from dinosaurs to future reptiles. But talking mammals from the Pleistocene era was something they did not expect.
In their time of 2010, animals couldn’t talk. It was scientifically impossible. The only animals they knew that could talk were parrots, dogs, and macaws from the genus world record books.
Yet these animals could talk perfect English like normal humans.
After the father mammoth was done pummeling the sloth who was now rubbing his head, the mother came towards the two humans. She stopped a few feet from them and curiously examined the male and female with her emerald eyes.
Both kids felt uneasy as the female mammoth studied them from head to foot.
Ellie had never been this close to humans before in her life.
Manny had always told her that humans could not be trusted because they were hunters and had driven most of the mammoths to extinction.
She had also heard, from Sid and Diego, that Manny’s original family was killed by human hunter’s years ago before she met them. But these humans were young and didn’t seem dangerous at all. They hadn’t hurt her daughter and she seemed to like them. If Peaches thought these humans were friendly, she had nothing to worry about. So instead of walking away from them, she reached out her trunk to them. The older human stepped in front of the young female protectively, uncertain of the mammoth’s intentions.
“It’s okay,” she said. “I’m not going to hurt you.”
The two humans looked up at the mammoth and then at each other.
The mammoth’s voice was comforting and Josiah could tell she meant good and not malice. So, he reached out with his hand and gently stroked the mammoth’s trunk. Shelly summoned up her courage and stepped up to stroke the mammoth’s tusk.
Josiah then stepped back and introduced himself. “My name is Josiah. Josiah clover,” he nodded over to Shelly. “And this is my friend, Shelly Blake. I’m sorry if the sight of us with your baby worried you, miss….?”
“Ellie. My name is Ellie,” She pointed to the possums on her tusks.” And these are my brothers, Crash and Eddie.” She then pointed to the rest of her herd. “And this is Manny, that’s Sid, and that’s Diego,” she then pointed her trunk down to the little calf. “And this is our daughter, Peaches.”
The two possums hopped down from their sister’s tusks and landed on Josiah and Shelly’s shoulder.
“Dude, where did you guys come from?” Eddie asked while examining Josiah’s time watch and futuristic clothes with curiosity.
“That’s classified,” Shelly said. “But I will say this; we’re not like the normal humans you know.”
The bull mammoth known as Manny stepped forward. He had a not so trusting look on his face.
“And what’s that supposes to mean?” he asked suspiciously while eyeing their future clothes. These two didn’t look like the humans he, Diego, and Sid had encountered years ago. The humans they met wore ragged animal clothes and lived in huts made from the ivory bones of mammoths they’ve killed in their hunts. The very thought of it made him uneasy.
Shelly took a step back from Manny a bit unnerved by his sudden apprehensiveness.
“What it means is that we’re not like the Cro-Magnons you’ve met before,” She tried to explain. She might as well tell him. “Me and Josiah are from a different time period. Basically, we’re from the future of the year 2010.”
The herd didn’t say anything. At first, Manny didn’t want to accept the fact that these two came from a time far in the future.
Ellie was mystified too. She had always wondered what the humans of this world would be like in the future and now here was the proof standing right in front of them. Two humans from the future that could time travel at will.
Diego stepped up to Josiah. “So you can travel through time? With those thingies on your wrist?” he asked pointing to the time watch.
“That’s right,” replied Josiah. “These babies are called time watches. They were designed and created by the time watch corporation in 2010.”
Diego was impressed. “Wow! You guys are pretty advanced.”
Manny still didn’t seemed convinced that anyone could travel through time. It was impossible. Yet these two could pass through anywhere they wanted in time and all it took was their time watches to do it.
He had a serious feeling that Josiah and Shelly were not here just to explore. They were looking for something here in the ice age. But what could it be?