Jennifer Wilber works as an ESL instructor, substitute teacher, and freelance writer. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing and English.
Ferdinand and the Dinosaurs - Chapter 7
Ferdinand and Snarl continued their journey along the coast to the mountain on the other side of the lake. Ferdinand wasn't sure why he was so insistent on reaching the portal, as he wasn't sure that he even wanted to go back to his own time. He had already made up his mind that he wanted to stay in this prehistoric land, but still, he was compelled to go to the portal on the mountain. This portal was an advanced technology, far beyond anything he had ever seen in his own time, and he was almost as curious about it as he was about this prehistoric world to which he had been delivered.
As they approached the shoreline, Ferdinand noticed something in the distance lying on the shore. As they got closer, he saw that it was some type of dinosaur. No, it wasn't a dinosaur, it was a plesiosaur of some kind, Ferdinand realized, probably an Elasmosaur, which contrary to popular belief was not actually a dinosaur. It must have washed up onto the shore.
Ferdinand and Snarl slowly approached the Elasmosaur. At first, Ferdinand thought that it was dead, but upon closer inspection, the creature was still breathing, however faintly. "We should try to get it back into the water," Ferdinand said, though he didn't know how they could possibly get an animal of this size back into the water. He didn't know why it was in the lake in the first place, as this species normally would have lived in the oceans, he thought, but it would still be better off in the lake than on dry land. Perhaps it swam up a river from the ocean and got trapped in this lake.
Ferdinand began pushing on the Elasmosaur, which weighed over two tons, but to no avail. Snarl began to push as well, using the side of his body so as not to impale the plesiosaur like he had done to the Tyrannosaurus rex. Even with the Triceratops helping, the plesiosaur would not budge.
Ferdinand walked around to the other side of the plesiosaur and looked out across the lake. Not too far from the shore, he saw a second Elasmosaur raise its head slightly out of the water. It seemed to be staring at Ferdinand and its dying friend on the shore. There was a certain sense of sadness about the plesiosaur that was in the water. It was almost as if it knew that the other plesiosaur would not return to the lake.
"We have to get this Elasmosaur back into the water somehow," Ferdinand shouted. Snarl made his way to the other side of the plesiosaur and stared at Ferdinand, as though to say that it was a lost cause. Ferdinand looked at the beached plesiosaur. It closed its eyes for the last time. Ferdinand saw that it had finally stopped breathing. Ferdinand took a step back and watched as the gentle waves washed up against the plesiosaur's body.
The other plesiosaur swam up closer to the shore and lifted its head as high as it could from the lake, which was barely a foot above the water. Ferdinand took note of this, as this was contrary to popular media representations of this species in his time. With some struggle, the plesiosaur managed to get its body into the shallow water near the shore. Its body stuck out of the water a bit, and it was able to get its neck and head onto the shore. It looked directly at its dead friend and let out an eerie sound of pain and sadness. After several minutes, the grief-stricken plesiosaur slowly began to retreat backwards into the lake. Once its body was entirely submerged in the water, it slowly turned around and disappeared into the depths of the lake.
Ferdinand watched the place in the water where the plesiosaur had disappeared. Thinking of his father, he could only imagine how the surviving plesiosaur must be feeling. Though he had only been a child when it happened, the pain from losing his father all those years ago was still as intense as the night it happened. After his father passed, his mother could never stay in one place for too long, as everything reminded her of his father.
Before arriving in this prehistoric world, he had no idea that animals could have such intense feelings and emotions. He was barely aware that other humans had such things. Ferdinand looked back at the plesiosaur's body. He could almost feel the pain of the surviving Elasmosaur as he looked at the lifeless corpse in the sand.
"I think we should be moving on," Ferdinand said to his friend. His voice was filled with a mix of sadness mixed and regret, though he wasn't sure why. "We have a lot of ground to cover."
Ferdinand didn't climb onto Snarl's back this time, and instead opted to walk alongside the Triceratops. Ferdinand looked back at the dead plesiosaur one last time once they were about one hundred feet away and didn't look back again. Snarl never looked back once, keeping his eye on the shoreline in front of them.
The fog seemed to thicken as they continued their journey. They were now walking along a ledge near the lake that stood several feet above the waterline and was surrounded by trees. Ferdinand heard some sounds of creatures that he could not identify in the distance. He heard a splashing noise from the water and turned to look. The plesiosaur's head was raised slightly out of the water. It was staring at Ferdinand. Its eyes were full of questions. Ferdinand stopped walking and turned toward the Elasmosaur. He walked closer to the edge of the path and kneeled to get a better look at the aquatic reptile. After several moments, the plesiosaur disappeared back into the water. Ferdinand turned back toward Snarl, who had stopped walking as well to wait for him.
Ferdinand wasn't sure what he would do when they reached the mountain. On the one hand, his mother was probably worried sick about him. On the other, Snarl needed him here, and he didn't have a single friend waiting for him back home. He knew that he couldn't take the Triceratops with him through the portal, if he did indeed decide to go back, as there was no way he could hide a dinosaur in the year 2012. Once the media got word that there was a real-life Triceratops living in his backyard, scientists would insist on taking him away to study. He couldn't do that to his friend.
They continued walking for hours until they reached the base of the mountain. The fog seemed to have lifted slightly. Ferdinand studied the mountain. It was too steep for the Triceratops to climb up with him and he knew that he would have to do this alone. He looked up at the ledge where he had seen the swirling portal. He could see its faint glimmer reflecting from the rocky mountainside. It was still there, waiting for him.
Ferdinand looked at Snarl. For the first time he looked at the dinosaur's eyes. They were filled with a knowing sadness, as though he knew what Ferdinand was thinking. How could he think of leaving his friend behind? After all the adventures they had been through over the last few days. He had to stay here, with his dinosaur. It was every boy's dream to live amongst the dinosaurs, how could he give that up? Snarl needed him here.
As he continued to into the dinosaur's eyes, he began to think of his mother. For the first time since he arrived in the Cretaceous, he thought about how his running away would affect her. After his father had died, she moved Ferdinand and herself from city to city, trying to distance herself from the past. Her son was all she had left, and he didn't even want to live in the same geologic era as his mother. As much as he would prefer to stay here with the dinosaurs, and away from the bullies at school, he knew that his mother needed him home.
Stay tuned for chapter 8.
If you missed the beginning:
- Ferdinand and the Dinosaurs: Chapter 1
A lonely teenager named Ferdinand wishes that he could escape the torment of high school and just be able to pursue his favorite interest, but what would happen if he actually got his wish?
© 2018 Jennifer Wilber