Late afternoon had come to the clearing and the distant trumpeting of brachiosaurs joined the chorus of the sounds of the jungle. Josiah and his group had pitched up their tents and made a fire using the lighter that Ken carried. Momma and her kids stayed close to the fire for warmth while also keeping their distance. Ken sat and leaned against Momma’s belly, feeling the warmth of her scales. The calm, steady rumbling of her stomach soon put him to sleep. Since Ken had decided to sleep with Momma, Shelly took down his tent. The dino kids curled up with their mother, and closed their eyes. Momma curled her tail around them. She heard the sauropods trumpeting softly in the distance. She looked down at Josiah and Shelly who were crawling into their tents for the night. Momma closed her eyes, and slept.
Josiah was awakened by something sitting on his stomach, followed by a giggling squeak. He opened his eyes and saw one of the baby t-rexes with the blue eyes bouncing up and down and wagging its tail like a dog. Josiah yawned and sat up. He stretched sleepily and petted the hatchling on the head. The rex sniffed at him, and then rubbed its head against Josiah’s neck. Josiah chuckled. The orange-red scales felt warm and dry, with the pebbled feel of a football. The little rex didn’t have the broad snout of its mother, but a short snout with two small boney ridges. Down its neck were three short spikes. Josiah guessed that when this baby rex grows into a full-grown tyrannosaur, its body would mature.
Then Josiah crawled out of the tent and stretched out the drowsiness from his body and yawned. The baby rex did the same thing. Josiah chuckled and took out his pick. He combed and brushed his hair and the little rex mimicked the movement. Nearby, Ken had woken up and was rubbing the sleep from his eyes. Momma Dino was nowhere in the clearing. Josiah looked at Ken and asked, “Where did big momma go?”
“Hunting,” he said. “She woke up and told her kids to stay here with us. I think she wants us to baby-sit them until she comes back,” he yawned again. “I tell ya,’ Josiah, being friends with a tyrannosaur family really pays off.”
Josiah nodded at that. Having the queen of the tyrant lizards protect them didn’t seem like such a bad idea. She was a super predator and a protective mother to her young. She also seemed to trust them, especially Ken. After all, he did save her kids from a snake. That brave deed had earned her trust to the three of them.
As Ken went to use the bushes, Josiah looked around for Shelly.
She wasn’t in her tent and Josiah started looking around the clearing to see if she was nearby. As he searched, he heard giggling and chitterling coming from a clearing near his left. Josiah walked around the corner of the brush and found Shelly up a small tree, holding out handfuls of fruit to five baby brachiosaurs. The five babies were the size of newborn giraffe calves and had the same dimwitted-look as their adults. Their scales were yellowish with a blue stripe running down their backs, neck and tails.
Shelly was laying on a low-hanging branch on her belly and was hand feeding the babies one at a time. As soon as she saw Josiah, she smiled in relief.
“Good to see your up, Josiah,” she said. “Wanna’ help feed these guys?” she handed another piece of fruit to them and shifted on the branch. “They’re very messy eaters.”
Josiah had to hand it Shelly. She had a way with animals. He went over and moved his way amongst the baby brachiosaurs, careful not step on their tails and toes. Shelly past him the pear-like fruit that was as big as water bottles. They were green in color and had a sweetness to their smell almost like green apple bubble gum and a pear mixed together. Josiah tried one. It had a crunchy texture and he found it had none of the wetness of a normal pear that he had eaten in the future. It tasted like a normal pear but with a sweetness similar to a pineapple.
One of the baby brachiosaurs leaned over and took the half-eaten fruit from Josiah’s hand and ate it.
“Hey, watch the fingers, little guy.” Josiah said. The baby finished chewing and licked its lips. It opened its mouth, waiting for more food. Josiah could see the slim flat teeth, and the rose-tinted tongue.
“Okay, just a second,” Josiah said, grabbing another fruit from the tree. “You guys are gluttons for punishment, you know that?”
He handed the fruit to the baby and it ate it greedily with noisy chewing. The five baby brachiosaurs didn’t seem to show any fear of the humans as they ate the ripe fruit with enjoyment. It had reminded Josiah that dinosaurs down in this world under the ice had not seen humans before. So, there was no logical rationale for them to fear man.
“Maybe we can ride one of them,” Shelly said. “I’d bet it be fun.”
Shelly made a face, but Josiah ignored it. The dawn was coming and Josiah wanted to get back to camp. Shelly climbed down the tree and the baby brachiosaurs started crowding the tree to eat. Shelly made her way past the babies and to Josiah’s side.
They made there way back to camp and saw Ken playing peek-a-boo with the baby tyrannosaurs. The three hatchlings giggled and squealed in delight as Ken played with them.
The sun from up above came out as Josiah and Shelly made breakfast for themselves. The three baby rexes watched inquisitively as the humans prepared their morning meal.
They ate silently and watched a flock of pterodactyls fly by the cliff. They had 45 foot wingspans and blue bodies with red marking on their backs, neck, head, beak, and small crest. They had cream underbellies and short stubby tails. Josiah glimpsed one of their beaks and saw that they had pointed teeth. They ate fish and dead carrion, he remembered.
Shelly looked up at the sky and shaded her eyes. “Can those things hurt us?”
“I don’t think so. They only eat fish and dead animals.”
“Hmm,” said Ken. “They look pretty big.” And then he added, “Are you sure, Josiah, that they can’t hurt us?”
“Don’t worry. I’m pretty sure.”
One of the pterodactyls twirled downward, a blinking shadowy shadow that flew over their heads with WHOOSH.
“Ow!” Ken shouted, grabbing his shoulder. “It scratched me!”
“It what?” Josiah and Shelly said in unison.
“It scratched me! That thing scratched me!” when he took his hand away, they saw that his shirt had been torn at the shoulder. Blood had began to blossom.
Up in the sky, five more dactyls dove, heading right towered them.
Josiah did the only thing he could think to do. He dove into his tent and brought out his stun pistol. He pointed it skyward and fired a number of bolts at the dive bombing dactyls. Two bolts struck two advancing dactyls nearest to them. The animals shrieked and cawed as the blue bolts hit them square in the wing and upper body. Shelly and Ken took out their pistols and joined in the firing. The baby tyrannosaurs hid behind a rock and gazed at the dactyls with wide frightened eyes. As the three humans fought off the flock, one of the dactyls, that had flown over their heads, turned around and dove at them from behind. It reached out with its hind claws and grabbed Ken by the shoulders. The animal’s huge wings flapped broadly on both sides of him.
Ken started screaming, waving his arms wildly while trying to shoot at the dactyl. Shelly dove at the dactyl, grabbing it around the neck and started squeezing. The animal made a choking sound and dropped Ken on the ground. Shelly drew back her fist and punched the dactyl hard in the head. It screeched in pain and flew off, hobbling.
“Come on and fight, you dirty dactyls!” She shouted at them, waving her fist. “I can lick the lot of ya!”
In response, the dactyls cawed and screeched at them defiantly.
All at once, the whole flock attacked together. Josiah and Shelly held their ground for the final air raid.
But just before the flock could attack, bomb-like berries shot out of nowhere in the sky above them and blew up in their faces. They squawked in confusion and were disoriented by the sudden attack by the unnoticed foe. Using this as a diversion, Josiah and Shelly lifted their pistols and fired again at the flock. Overpowered by the attack on both sides, the pterodactyls took to the skies with frightened and angry screams.
They were soon all alone again in clearing.
“That was too close,” Josiah said.
“Any closer,” Shelly said. “And we could have ended up a pterodactyl smorgasbord!”
“But who fired those berry bombs?” said Ken, looking skyward for the one who help them.
And then they saw a pteranodon fly toward them. It had a rider on its back. When it got closer, Josiah and Shelly saw who it was immediately.
It was buck!
The pteranodon landed in front of them and the one-eyed weasel jumped off.
“Well, nice to see you guys again,” he said gladly. “Your lucky I found you in time before you became dinner for ‘em nasty birdies.”
He raised his paw. Josiah leaned down and clasped it.
“Glad to see you, Buck,” Said Josiah. “Thanks for coming to our rescue.”
Shelly rushed forward, scooped up Buck in her arms and hugged him closely.
“Oh, thank you, Buck!” Shelly said. “We were almost goners if it hadn’t been for you.”
Buck looked like he was being squeezed to death.
“Easy, lass,” He gasped. “Bucky can’t breath!”
Shelly loosened her hold. Buck gasped for breath and smiled at her.
“What happened to you two?” Buck inquired.
Josiah and Shelly filled Buck in on what happened yesterday when the gaunlongs attacked them. After words, Buck nodded and said, “Well, I say you humans had a lot of excitement when I was gone.”
Shelly then remembered her brother and the injury he had received.
“Ken, are you alright?” she examined his shoulder and saw that the three cuts were still bleeding, a little. But he didn’t seem bothered by them.
“I’m fine, sis,” He said. “Its smarts a bit, but I’ll be fine.”
“Well, I had to make sure.”
The three baby rexes came out from behind the rock. They gave Ken a concerned look when they saw the cuts.
“I’m alright, guys,” he reassured them. “Nothing a little first-aide can fix.”
Buck walked up to Ken and gave his wound a quick-over.
“I know where to find some barriers and leaves for that, little mate.” He said brightly. “I’ll be right back.”
He leaped aboard his pteranodon and with a whooping yell, the weasel took to the skies. The kids watched him go until he and pterosaur disappeared over the jungle.