Fiction Friday: Dinosaur Ambulance, Part 1
This short story has been written in response to the “dinosaur ambulance” prompt.
The news travels fast. We have the Jianchangosaurus to thank for that.
Oh, you probably don’t know what that is. Yes, well, it’s my dinosaur, you see, the one I and other medical emergency personnel use to get about and deliver news and help people. It’s a smallish dinosaur, just hardy enough to support a passenger, and fast enough to deliver her quickly. Its hips stood aside a woman’s when the two were on the ground, and its feathers were marked with crisp fall colors, shades of reds, oranges, yellows, browns. But it stood long, more than 6 feet from head to tail, guided along with a gentle nudge of plants and other foliage, dangling quite close to its nose.
So when Angie, one of the local news messengers, showed up on her Jianchangosaurus—I believe she calls him Sam, but I always forget—I knew there was a problem from the look on her face.
“Jim, there’s been a problem up by Old Salem. A Rex sniffed a tad too close, and it was a mean ol momma,” she said. It didn’t matter that the news she delivered was horrendous, bodies mangled, torn to bits were the details streaming out of her mouth. Her eyes always entranced me, particularly at the worst moments. I shook my head, came back into the conversation. “There’s been a few deaths, and many more injured. I’m rounding up anyone who can come and help.”
Her eyes looked up to mine. I could see the beginning of tears swelling in them.
“Please, Jim, we need your help.”
“Of course,” I said. The shine in her eyes was all the thanks I needed. But I had hoped for more.
The Jianchangosaurus sped across the countryside, flying through the jungle, with its large, bulbous tree trunks and falling fruit. When we emerged from the dense collection of vegetation, the scene was splayed about. Scores of people with weapons, sticks, spears, whatever they could find, were gathered in a large circle, which left room between each person. Our dinos slowed down and walked through a couple of the guards, and in the middle of the circle, death awaited.
At least two, no, three, were dead—it was tough to tell with all of these people torn apart, arms and legs left laying about, with one pair of legs simply left alone near the edge of the circle. A group was huddled over the injured in a wide open, barren field, awash in a sea of red.
Blood. Lots of it.
Angie hopped onto the ground and rushed to the scene. I ran after her, careful not to let her get too far away.
She bent down over a couple of severely injured, a woman and a young girl, maybe 11 or 12. Their screams of pain filled the air, complemented by a strong scent of metallic blood. My nose curled up into itself.
They had scratch and claw marks all over their bodies, rivers of blood turning into lakes on the barren ground.
Two things were clear, I thought. We had to get these two out of here and treat them in an infirmary. There was one close by, just up the road and on the beaten path.
And I could see now that these marks, scratches, they were not from a Rex attack. Had Angie known? Had she lied to me? What was all this about? Subterfuge was at work here, but by whom?
We set about bandaging them as best we could. And we had gotten the two onto a pair of stretchers, battened down and tightened and stretched across the backs of two Jianchangosaurus. One of the men who had been bent over the pair sent the two dinosaurs on their way, and followed closely behind on one of his own.
The rest of us stood in the midst of carnage, blood and body parts still here, there, underneath your foot, right where you place your next step.
I exhaled, and I watched Angie do the same and wipe the sweat from her brow. She wanted to smile, I could sense, but she didn’t. Just like her, I thought.
And then everything changed. The air carried a tenseness that everyone felt, and people looked up from what they were doing to see what was going on.
I knew what it was just as Angie said it. “Rex.” We exchanged glances.
And that’s when chaos rained down.
READ PART 2 ON FRIDAY, JUNE 20.
Author’s note: Yes, I know T. Rex and Jianchangosaurus lived far away from each other and at different times. This is fiction. So I don’t care.