Terrin Owstro And The Megacroc King
Every sixth grade class, in the back row, has its own pecking order. Out of all of those unique pecking orders, though, there is one simple, golden rule: Bullies pick on nerds. And I’m a nerd, not a bully. My teacher, Mr. Frazer, says I’m a different kind of nerd, but I don’t believe him. There is never a different kind of nerd. However, nerds like different things. For me, it’s paleontology. Dinosaurs, fossils, the Ice Age, etc. Every school science project has been about paleontology , one way or another. One day, the biggest bully in my homeroom, Taurus Laze, dragged me outside after school. “Well, well,” he said. “If it isn’t little Owstro. Looks like Owstro’s getting an owwie, eh, boys?” His other friends, Nich (pronounced Ny-k) and Over laughed evilly. Suddenly, Taurus’s spiked hair grouped into a set of three horns. His bulky body turned gray, and he hunched over. He grew a bony frill at the back of his neck. His hands and feet flattened into something that looked like it belonged on an elephant. The last thing I saw was the new Taurus Laze running at me, doing at least 20 mph. Then everything went black.
When I woke up, I nearly blacked out again. I was in a giant, wooden room that looked like the inside of a barn, but without the hay and the stench. Sunlight gleamed through stain glass windows depicting dinosaurs fighting with people. “Weird,” I muttered to myself. “This place is like creationist heaven.” Then I saw the fossil skeletons in every corner, on every wall. There was even a big pterosaur skeleton hanging from the ceiling. Not creationist heaven, my kind of heaven. Then a giant snake as long as a school bus slithered beside a bed I was laying in. He reared up, and legs and arms split from his body. His face lowered, and looked more human-like. His tail disappeared, and his neck shortened. His skin went form scaly to pinkish-tan. In fact, he looked a lot like-“Mr. Frazer?” I said, half shocked, half amazed. “Yes,” he said. “But please call me Titanus. It’s closest to my species name, Titanoboa.”
He took me outside and told me that I had been attacked by a rogue Torosaurus. I should have known! Taurus Laze was just a cover for him to get close to me! Around me, I saw various cabins. Titanus explained that each cabin was dedicated to the type of dinosaur or other prehistoric creature a kid was closest to. I saw one cabin with two giant, snake like heads rising above the cabin doors. Between the two necks was a single word: Sauropod. There were others with spikes, teeth, and even one with wings! He also explained that this whole place was called Camp Paleo, and it was a safe haven for Paleo Hunters, or kids like me who love dinosaurs. But what he mentioned after our tour of the cabins startled me the most. Anything prehistoric then was still alive now.
I was shocked, and tried to explain that this wasn’t possible. Then, Titanus showed me an area about a quarter of a football field long. It was surrounded by a simple wood fence. Inside were some large goats. Each had deep blue fur. “Bluebucks.” I said in a loud whisper. It was true. And for me, it was a dream come true. Then Titanus put me in the Pterosaur cabin, which was full of small pterosaur skeletons and bird cages. My name, he said, was closest in relation to Pterodaustro, a kind of pterosaur, which was a sure sign pterosaurs were closest to me. He also gave me what looked like a cast of a pterosaur skull. “Just say Pterosaurae, and you will have instant defense against enemies.” he said. I had no idea what that meant, so I tried it, against Titanus’s warnings. Just after I finished saying the magic word, a swarm of glowing, flying creatures sprouted from the mouth of the skull. A swarm of Aurognathus.
After a talking-to and a quick round-up, me and Titanus finished the tour. I saw a giant fenced off pit, which was full of volcanos, geysers and even small dinosaurs. “Our survival course” said Titanus. Then I saw a big lake, which a few kids who looked about my age were trying to fend of some jumping Cryptoclidus. In other word, I was in my own kind of heaven. Then, it was time for dinner. We all gathered in a picnic area that was surrounded by conifer trees. Inside were some assorted picnic tables, but they were all made of glittering emerald. It was gorgeous.
After a meal of various greens and meats, we all settled into our cabins, and went to bed. In the night, I heard some rustling in the trees, a few quick splashes, and a shrill squawking. Somehow, I knew I had heard my name species, the Pterodaustro, go fishing. The next morning, after breakfast, I decided to go exploring in the woods behind the cabins. After a few minutes of pushing aside Jurassic ferns and Cretacous conifers, I came across a small clearing. Naturally, there was no grass. After all, there was no grass until the Paleocene, which was after the dinosaurs had died out. Then, I saw my first actual dinosaur, not a recently extinct mammal or pterosaur.
It was about as big as a bloodhound, but looked nothing like one. For one thing, it resembled a smaller version of Taurus Laze, but without the horns. Plus, it didn’t look like it could sniff out Nich’s gym socks, which is practically impossible. I knew it from a book that a ceratopsian camper named Monty Cerops had shared with me during dinner. It was a Protoceratops.
It didn’t appear to see me, but a much larger one that had just entered the clearing certainly did. It charged fast. I whipped out my pterosaur skull and said “Pterosaurae!” The Anurognathus swarm blasted out of the mouth, and the bull Protoceratops made a deep, throaty sound that might have been a “Nooooooo!” if it wasn’t coming from a dinosaur. At any rate, both Protoceratops ran off into the forest. “Heh.” I muttered under my breath.
I made my way back to camp. I was in the library for the rest of the day, studying up on the animals that lived in the woods. I had to be prepared the next time I went hiking in the woods. That evening, at dinner, Titanus made an announcement. “The residents of Great River City have been banding up against Camp Paleo. The Council Of Cabins has decided that one of the campers here shall go to Great River City to make peace. They have also made their decison upon which camper shall go. That camper will be, the one who expertly warded off a mated pair of Protoceratops in the woods this morning, Terrin Owstro.”
I had no choice but to accept the mission. After all, I was so awestruck, what else could I do? I decided to run through the survival obstacle course a few times. After getting cornered by a pack of Coelophysis and getting singed by a nearby geyser, I called it a day. Then, at dinner, Titanus wished me well, and sent me off. I was given a few packages of food and water and $50.00, but that was all I got. Of course, I also had the pterosaur skull to defend myself. I ventured into the woods, where an Ornithocheirus transport was going to fly me to Great River City. This was it.
As it turned out, the only place Ornithocheirus could land in the Great River area was about five miles west of Great River City. So, I had to spend $5.00 of my money to rent a machete for a week. I had to hike through dense jungle, and I almost made it. But then, I encountered a rug salesman at the edge of the jungle. He tried real hard to sell me a rug, and I resisted. Then, he threatened to eat me. I thought he was joking, but then he turned into an 8-foot long Herrasaurus!
I whipped out my pterosaur skull and said “Pterosaurae!” faster than Taurus Laze when he showed his true form. I somehow commanded the Anurognathus swarm to surround the Herrasaurus, but that didn’t even stop the dinosaur for a single moment. He just slashed his tail through the swarm, and the pterosaurs dissolved into golden light, which then sped back into the pterosaur skull. Without my only defense system useless, I was toast.
Then, with no warning, a growling voice came out of nowhere. “Call it off, Harry. This boy means no harm.” I barely stifled a laugh. I mean, a bloodthirsty monster named Harry? Please! So cliche! Then again, my name sounds like Pterodaustro. Silly name or not, Harry the Herrasaurus backed off. Behind him stood a crocodile as long as a school bus aka Deinosuchus, the largest crocodile ever to live. This one had a golden crown on it’s head. From what I had read in the camp library, this one was the Megacroc King. As in the ruler of Great River City. The head honcho of crocodilians. “So,” he said. “You are representing Camp Paleo. Well, I guess I should explain everything. We were forced to go against Camp Paleo because otherwise, Taurus Laze would destroy Great River City.”
Whoa, whoa, whoa! Taurus Laze! He went from school bully to evil dictator?! Well, this had to be stopped! He took me on a tour of Great River City. It was basically an African marketplace that was full of strange but amazing prehistoric creatures. A trio of Plesictis were making banana splits (though with primates, it’s a tad bit distracting) and a Therizinosaurus was making wood carvings. But there were mostly Deinosuchus walking around. But the normal ones were a few feet shorter and didn’t have a crown. Then, I noticed a familiar four-legged figure atop a throne in the town square. It was Taurus Laze! Though, he did look a bit different. For one thing, his three horns the size of my father’s arms were tipped with something crimson. I had an idea of what it was, and I hoped I was wrong. One thing was for sure, though. I was taking this guy down for sure! “Hey, Taurus!” I yelled as loud as I could. “Looks like you’ve upgraded your ego! Whaddya say we fight it out, huh?”
It appeared Taurus Laze accepted the duel invitation, because he came charging faster than I had seen him before. And this time, he was flanked on his left and right by a Deinonychus and an Oviraptor. Nich and Over, of course. I quickly unleashed the Anurognathus swarm full throttle on them. The only problem was, these weren’t a mated pair of Protoceratops in the woods. These were giants that could run me over or through. So a few seconds later, the swarm dissolved into golden light and fled to the pterosaur skull. Nich was about to claw into me, when my instincts told me to concentrate on the three dinosaurs being attacked by Pteranodon. I followed it. Just in case, I shielded my face with my arm. Then, I heard a mixture of grunting, screeching and light roaring. I looked up to see just what I had pictured-a fight scene between a Torosaurus, a Deinonychus and an Oviraptor and about a dozen Pteranodon. It was no contest. I urged on the Pteranodon, and they seemed to kick it up a notch. Then, I put my full force into it.
The Anurognathus burst out of the pterosaur skull, and flew quickly to the battle. I put my hand to the left, and all the attacking pterosaurs moved to the left. I pictured about 50 pterosaurs joining the fight, and soon enough dozens of Ornithocheirus, Pterodaustro and Rhamphorynchus were surrounding the trio of terror. I stabbed the air with a swift movement of my arm, and the pterosaurs began stabbing. Taurus, Nich and Over started to shake under the pressure, and a few seconds later they exploded. No, really, they exploded into bones and scales. “Well,” I said. “That’s the end of that.”
After some long peace negotiations and apologies, I gave back the machete and flew back to Camp Paleo. I was welcomed with open arms. I began to study the migration patterns of Torosaurus in the woods, so there wouldn’t be any more problems with that certain species. That evening, at dinner, I was crowned with a golden ring of conifers. All in all, when you know a guy who can turn into a really long anaconda and have a defense system made of flying reptiles, nothing can ruin your day.