It took a while for Momma dino to come back to the clearing. When she arrived, she took a look at Kens wounded shoulder and gave her kids questioning look. One of them with the lighter brown eyes talked to her in dinosaur speech and she replied back.
Momma turned to Ken, leaned down and started licking his exposed injury with careful licks. Ken winced a bit as the mother rex tended to his wound. Her tongue moved slowly up and down the cuts, rubbing wetly against Ken’s skin.
“Eeww,” Ken said. “Momma, cut it out. I told you I’m fine. It’ll take a lot more then some flying dactyl to kill me.”
Ignoring Ken, Momma moved her tongue past his shoulder and playfully wrapped it around his head. Ken squeezed his mouth shut as Momma’s slimy rough muscle covered his face.
Ken started shouting but it was muffled by the tongue.
Josiah and Shelly started laughing their heads off. But Ken didn’t find it funny. He tried heaving it off but it did no good. Momma had it around his face firmly.
Finally, she let go. She withdrew her tongue back in her mouth leaving Ken covered from head to shoulder in dino drool.
As Shelly and Josiah continued to snigger under their breaths, Ken stood in the clearing, wiping the drool from his face and hair.
“This is the second time, Momma, you covered me in slobber.” He said irritably. “But I think it did some good. My cuts are feeling much better.”
Ken changed out of his shirt and into a new one. After he was done changing, Momma turned to the bushes and picked up an animal carcass she had stashed away. She dropped it in front of her kids and Josiah’s group and nodded to them to dig in. The dino kids dug in almost quickly but Josiah gave the carcass a once-over and then turned away in disgust while making a face.
“What?” Ken stared at him. “Your not gonna’ eat with the kids? The meats not that bad and its more food then Momma and her kids eat in a week.”
Josiah gave Ken a questioning look with a raised eyebrow. “What do you mean ‘not that bad’? Ken, you didn’t eat that stuff, did you?”
Ken awkwardly looked down and scratched his leg. “Well….yeah.”
Josiah looked at Ken, appalled at the thought of him eating raw meat like a wild boy.
Shelly was less then approved. Her brother eating uncooked food was something he’d never do in real life.
“It wasn’t that bad,” he informed them, hoping not to make the two of them squeamish. “Once you get past the bone and fat, it’s really quite good.”
“I’m not eating this,” he stated, turning away from the carcass.
Ken didn’t sympathize with him, at all. This was all Momma had to offer to her kids and his group as a sign of friendship. The three of them didn’t know their way around down here and Momma could protect them. It was vital to stay on her good side. “You’re insulting her and you’re embarrassing me,” he insisted pointedly. “Eat it!”
But Josiah just walked away. He stopped, glancing back. “I’m taking a walk. I’m not eating raw meat just because you did, Ken.”
“Fine!” Ken shouted, watching him go.
Josiah walked for about five minutes to calm his tension until he stopped near a river.
He sat down on a rock and refilled his canteen. The water was pure and sweet and had no problem like the water in the future. Josiah guessed it had something to do with the magma and river water mixing together to make it pure water that was drinkable for the animals down here. The lava heated the water and killed bacteria while also giving it a purifying shine and clarity. When the jug was full, Josiah sat on the tree trunk near the bank’s edge, and looked at the ice ceiling high above his head. As he stared, heard a crashing sound in front of him on the other side of the river. Then silence. He waited, and heard it again. It sounded distinctly like something big, moving slowly through the jungle. Something big. Something near. A big dinosaur. Josiah stayed where he was on the log. If he ran, the dinosaur or whatever it was would chase him. He heard another crashing sound through the undergrowth. It was coming closer.
He waited quietly, hearing the rustling again, and finally he saw the source of the sounds. Across the river, a baryonyx emerged out of the jungle and peered at him. It had brown scales with a cream underbelly and bluish eyes. along its back were a row of small spikes. it didn’t seem as big as Buck had described to him and Shelly the other night but looked to be about half that size. It was 33 feet long and 8 feet tall and Josiah guessed it weighed about 1.7 tones.
The animal didn’t seem to show any aggression toward Josiah and only seemed curious about him. The crocodilian-like head tilted from side to side to look at him. He had seen a baryonyx skeleton in a museum once, a large skeleton, but that was a display. This one was real, and much bigger then the one in the museum.
The sun caught the scales on its body. Shining brown and cream the baryonyx studied Josiah for another second, just studied him, then lowered its snout into the stream to grab a fish, moving its jaws back and fourth, and snagging a big one with it’s thumb claw. It had another one in its jaws and as Josiah watched, it leaned back and swallowed the fish whole. The one in it’s talons was hooked firmly by the thumb claw. It sat down on it’s haunches and started feeding on the fish, stripping and delicately using its rosette teeth to tear at the meat.
Josiah smiled at it. This animal was just like a bear fishing for food.
After it finished with the fish, it scooped up another one and flung it over to where Josiah was sitting. It flopped around near his boots for a while and lay still. Josiah didn’t know if this was intentional or if the baryonyx was just sharing it’s catch with him. In the wild, in the future, bears would share salmon with each other when there was enough to go around. Even young cubs got a fare split of the food.
Josiah didn’t know what to do. Take the fish or not take the fish. He knew that Japanese people ate raw fish all the time. And if he did not take the fish he would be offending the baryonyx and its generous offer.
That convinced him and he picked up the fish in his gloved hand and was ready to take fake bite when a second baryonyx appeared out of the bushes then a third and a fourth. The one that came out of the bushes beside its partner saw the fish Josiah was about to bite into. It darted across the river and grabbed the fish right out of Josiah’s hands. It happened so quickly that he had no time to respond. It could have eaten him and he would have done nothing to protect himself. When he looked closer he saw that this baryonyx had two sets of scars on its right eye.
What happened next was something Josiah would never forget.
As soon as the scar-eyed baryonyx went back to the shore, the baryonyx, who had given Josiah the fish, attacked it. The scar-eyed baryonyx was not going down without a fight. The two dinosaurs faced each other, clawing, snapping, and whipping each other with their tails.
Scar-eye finally backed down after the lead baryonyx swiped him hard, and he went down. The dinosaur loomed over scar-eyes and placed it’s front claws on his neck. Scar-eye let out whining groan of submission and crawled away down the bank and into the jungle. The leader snorted with approval while the other two baryonyx bowed their heads in that order. Satisfied, the leader dunked his head into the river again and came up with another fish. But instead of tossing it to Josiah, he walked over and placed the fish in his hands. It wiggled and flopped but Josiah got a firm grip on it. he looked up at lead baryonyx and managed a small grin. “Thank you,” he said. “I guess I should be going now,”
He got up off the log and was about to turn and leave when he felt two strong, giant claws grasp him around the middle of his front.
“Whoa!” he cried nervously. “What are you doing?”
Then he heard it. A ferocious shrieking roar that echoed around the clearing. Josiah knew what that was. Rudy.
The leader turned to his other partners and growled at them to move out. They did as they were told and dashed down the riverbank. Another roar came, this time followed by thundering footfalls, rapidly drawing nearer. With one last look behind him, the leader held Josiah close to his muscled chest and ran down the riverbank after his comrades. Minutes later, a giant shadow spilled over the river. Rudy bent down and sniffed the area hungrily.
While Josiah was being taken by the baryonyx, Buck had returned to the rocky clearing with the berries he collected. As he tended to Ken’s wounds, a terrifying roar echoed all around them. Buck recognized it at once. “Rudy!” he cried.
Momma dino instinctively gathered her kids and moved in the other direction. She stopped at the edge of the jungle, waiting for the others.
And then, from somewhere in the distance, they heard a yell.
Shelly recognized the cry immediately. “That’s Josiah!” she exclaimed.
“He most be at baryonyx river,” said Buck. “Their not as aggressive as Rudy, but your friend might have been captured by them.”
“Are they going to hurt him?” asked Shelly.
Buck shook his head. “They eat fish and dead dinosaurs, but live prey is hard to come by,”
“What do we do?” Ken asked.
Buck took charge and began to talk very fast. He stood in front of the two humans. “There is only one thing to do, humans.” He turned to Shelly. “Shelly, your with me. Ken, you go with Mommy dinosaur and stay with her until we get back. Don’t argue with me. Your safer with her.”
“What?” Ken shook his head. “But Josiah’s off the trail! What about one of your rules that Shelly told me about? You know, rule number two?”
“Rule number six says you can ignore rule number two if there’s a friend involved, or possibly a cute dog….” Buck’s voice trailed off. “You know, I just make up my rules as I go along.”
“Yeah, but…” Ken stammered. “Josiah could be in danger.”
Shelly stepped up. “It’s all right, little brother,” she said. “Me and Buck will be right back.”
“Now you’re talking,” said Buck with a nod. “Come on,” he told Shelly. “Let’s go.”
They raced off down the trail to the river. Ken stood there, not knowing what to do. Momma went over to him and scooped him up with her tail. He didn’t struggle. He didn’t even protest. He just watched as Shelly and Buck disappeared down the trail.
Josiah, meanwhile, was taken down river to a flat river bend were a cave was situated in a ridge wall. Littered around the cave entrance were remnants of kills and old fish bones. On a ridge were two more baryonyx who were keeping watch for danger.
The one that was carrying him lifted its head to the two and made a trilling growling sound. The two baryonyx answered in reply with short nods and the same trilling snarl. With that done, they entered the cave with Josiah and the leader baryonyx following after.
The cave was big and semi empty, as far as Josiah could tell. There were other baryonyx inside the cave besides the one carrying him. There were females with hatchlings and young males with bite marks and darker scales. All of their eyes were on him. He felt nervous and he started to shake in the scaly arms of the baryonyx holding him.
Josiah could smell the remains of kills and the muck of baryonyx waste. It didn’t sting his nose, but it hung in the air like a stuffy subway station cubicle. The only light that was in the cave came from fissures on the cave ceiling or the cave entrance. He swore under his breath. He had to get away somehow, but the cave was full of baryonyx who blocked the mouth of the cave. If he tried to run, they would chase him. He would have to make an escape plan later. He decided to name the baryonyx who was carrying him Barry. He didn’t know why, but the leader of the pack looked like a Barry to him.
Barry found a little spot on a rocky shelf and placed Josiah on it, carefully. He stood back and watched him intently. A couple of smaller baryonyx came closer. A female stood by Barry’s side and made a questioning trilling sound. She had her eyes on Josiah. She had blue markings that were the color of the waves of an ocean and gray like a rocky shore. Josiah decided to call her Flood. Barry growled something to her and she approached Josiah cautiously but inquisitively. Her snout was inches from his face and he could smell the fish on her breath. But what worried him the most were the teeth. Two jets of hot damp air wafted on his head. Josiah sat there, unmovable, eyes focused on her.
Flood sniffed at Josiah’s clothing from the head to foot. Reaching out with a thumb claw, she delicately snagged Josiah’s corporation shirt and sniffed at it admiringly. She licked at it with a long red tongue, then let go and stood back with Barry. She whispered a growl in his ear and he growled back shaking his head as if saying ‘no’. Flood growled again and pointed a claw at Josiah. He knew that Flood and Barry were discussing about him and what they were going to do with him.
Barry seemed to want Josiah alive for some reason while Flood disapproved of allowing her mate to let him stay here.
From out of a corner of the cave came another baryonyx. Josiah studied the bright crimson markings along the strong, powerful body. It wasn’t as big as Barry and Flood but still was an impressive sight. It stopped behind the two bickering baryonyx and hissed loudly at them. They stopped abruptly and turned to the elder with bowed heads of embarrassment. Flood gently placed the bottom of her snout under the chin of the elder and made a soft trilling sound followed by a whimper. The elder tenderly rubbed Flood’s cheek. He made a soft purring growl and told her to go to the back of the cave with the others.
He gave Josiah a quizzical stare then turned and walked away into the darkness of the cavern.
Barry watched the elder go then turned back to Josiah. He motioned for him to stay where he was until he came back. Josiah nodded grimly and watched Barry leave him alone. Staying where he was, Josiah laid down on the mossy green surface of the shelf and slept an uneasy sleep.
Meanwhile, Buck and Shelly arrived at the river. Buck searched around the rocky stream for clues while Shelly looked out for danger. Bucks eye darted around, finally landing on a log. “Something smells fishy around here,” he announced, picking up a dead fish.
He sniffed it and then recoiled in revulsion. “Shelly, we have ourselves some clues!” he pointed to two sets of clues. “Half-eaten piece of fish. Baryonyx footprints!” He whirled around to face Shelly. “Here’s what I think happened: baryonyx attacks Josiah. Josiah fights off baryonyx with piece of fish, leaving baryonyx a guppy.”
Shelly stared at him. “Are you off your nutter? Josiah can’t use a fish as a weapon! And where’s the so-called dead dinosaur?”
“Your right, Shell, good point,” Buck admitted. “Theory two: Josiah’s eating fish. Baryonyx eats Josiah. Baryonyx crushes fish, leaving guppy a sushi.”
“Buck, when did you lose your ‘saneness’?” Shelly asked, frowning and trying not to giggle.
“Four months ago,” Buck replied. “I woke up one morning married to a pineapple. An ugly pineapple,” he added with a romantic sigh. “But I loved her.”
Shelly gagged. Ahead were trees and grumbled rocks with deep claw marks. “Um, Buck, what about these?” she asked showing Buck.
The weasel blinked and his expression turned dark and foreboding. “Well, Josiah might be alive, but not for long. Rudy’s on his way down stream. Your friend’s going to have some company real soon.”