Josiah woke up with a sore neck and an aching back. For just a couple of incredibly sweet seconds, he didn’t remember where he was. He thought he was home, safe with his friends.
Then he remembered everything and the apprehension knotted up in his stomach all over again. He was separated from his friends; he was alone in a cave full of fish-eating baryonyx, and he didn’t know how he was going to escape.
‘The others will come for me’ he kept telling himself that over and over, as if thinking it were enough to make it true.
Looking around, he saw that most of the baryonyx within the cave were asleep. A few hatchlings were playing and scampering about amongst the sleeping adults. At that moment, a young baryonyx came up to Josiah and stared at him curiously. He looked up and tenderly reached up to rub its scales. The infant jerked its heads back, its dark yellow eyes staring at him with hesitation.
Josiah looked more closely at the animal. It looked like an up-right baby crocodile, the size of a toddler. It was grayish with reddish blotches. It had a crocodilian-like head and long snout, but it stood on strong hind legs, balanced by a thick balancing tail.
The little baryonyx sniffed at Josiah, and then rubbed its head against Josiah’s hand. He smiled.
Josiah petted the animal, feeling the dry rough scales, and to keep it quiet.
He remembered something about music calming the minds of animals that were aggressive. Josiah decided to try it. He picked a song that first popped into his head and he started to sing it.
I see a spark of life shining
AlegríaI hear a young minstrel say
Alegríafor what would always be the joy of suffering, so extreme
But there is a love in me raging
A joyous, magical feeling
Several of the adults jerked their heads up. The singing must have been magnified by the cave walls. The adults snorted, bobbing their heads. Then one of adults got up from its haunches and began to walk towards him.
“Oh-no,” Josiah whispered under his breath. “Maybe I sung to loudly.”
Closer and closer, it came. The baryonyx stopped before Josiah. The crocodilian dinosaur leaned forward, until it was inches away from Josiah’s face. The teenager trembled. He tried to back away, but the baryonyx hissed loudly at him to not move. All the blood seemed to drain from Josiah’s face, and all his strength. He wanted to run for the cave entrance, but he barley had strength to breath. This was for real! He was really done for this time.
Closing his eyes, he felt the dinosaur’s shadow fall across him. He heard the breathing of the dinosaur as it leaned over to inspect him.
Its hot breath blew across his face, and Josiah trembled as its cold, wet tongue brushed him from corner to corner of his chin and neck. It grunted once, as if to say he wasn’t worth bothering with, then it turned and lumbered away. Opening his eyes, Josiah saw its tail disappear into the darkness of the cave.
When he heard the steady breathing of the other baryonyx in the cave, Josiah relaxed and sighed with relief.
The little baryonyx leaned back, stared at Josiah, and wiggled its forearms in the air. Josiah saw the long thumb claw on each of the hands. Then the baryonyx burrowed its head against his neck. It warbled softly and rubbed affectionately next to his body and curled itself up in Josiah’s lap. He felt the steady heartbeat of the dinosaurs close to his chest as it slept. Josiah yawned, and closed his eyes again.
Elsewhere, Shelly and Buck were hot on the trail down river. They knew Rudy was also up ahead and moving fast. Shelly saw the huge footprints of the dinosaur in the stream bed and was almost stunned by the sheer size the beast might be.
Buck didn’t seem deterred by the prints. He had his mind on only one thing: Rudy.
Buck had tried on many levels to try and control that albino baryonyx. He remembered how he was riding on top of the massive dinosaur laughing, as he ran through the jungle. However, he and Rudy continued their feud with each other from then on. Rudy, Buck knew, had no mate of his own in the dinosaurs world. He was feared by all the creatures in the underground world minus himself.
The other Baryonyx in the area steered clear of Rudy whenever they got the chance. They feared and despised him and that only fueled Rudy’s rage towards any dinosaur that crossed his path. Buck knew that Rudy was persistent. He knew all, saw all, ate all.
Prey never got away from him and Buck was no exception. Rudy still had the scar on his mouth from where Buck had broken out of jaws.
Buck also knew that the scar was still causing small pains in Rudy’s mouth and so was the hole the tooth was once in. But Buck could care less for what Rudy felt. The Baryonyx was just an adversary to him and nothing more. But Buck did show Rudy respect in a fight and never used his blade against him.
Shelly, on the other hand, didn’t know what to think about Buck’s bad blood was with Rudy. They both lost something; an eye, and a tooth. They were both even. But Rudy and Buck still continued their clashes with each other like Captain Ahab and Moby Dick, the white whale. Shelly knew the ending of the fight between the two. Ahab was killed and Moby Dick survived the fight. This was going to be the same for Buck and Rudy. Only one of them would stand.
“Hey,” Buck said, “Listen!”
They heard roaring, mixed with snarling from a group of other dinosaurs. The roaring was coming from beyond a bend, farther down the river bank. They listened, and heard the roaring again.
“Was that Rudy, Buck?” Shelly said.
“Aye,” Buck said. “And it sounds like he found where Josiah is.”
The roaring was repeated. Then more snarling.
“It sounds like a bunch of crocs fighting,” Shelly said. “A lot of crocs fighting,”
Buck raised a finger to his lips for her to be quiet. Slowly, they moved toward a bush and glanced around it.
What Shelly saw made her hair stand on end. She caught a glimpse of a long crocodilian snout, powerful clawed forearms, and an albino body. Shelly first thought that this was a suchomimus, (a crocodile mimic) but it didn’t have the sail-like structure along its back. And this beast was huge. Lager then Momma dino and more ferocious in attitude.
How were she and Buck going to save Josiah now?