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 8
"I'm sorry, buddy," Ferdinand told the dinosaur. "But I think I have to go home now. I'll really miss you. You were the only real friend I've ever had, but this is probably for the best." Ferdinand hugged the Triceratops. Snarl had a look of sadness in his eyes that killed Ferdinand to see. Without another word, Ferdinand began to climb up the mountain toward the portal. Snarl stood where he was, watching Ferdinand as he began his ascent.
Ferdinand looked down at the Triceratops as he climbed up the side of the mountain. Snarl was still standing frozen in the spot where he had left him. Ferdinand could almost see a tear forming in his saurian friend's eye. Perhaps Ferdinand was making the wrong decision. Maybe this was where he belonged, after all. He had never fit in during his own time. He had to travel 65 million years back in time to a place where he was literally the only one of his kind to really feel as though he really belonged.
He continued climbing. But did he really belong here either? Sure, he had Snarl now, but there were still the other dinosaurs who had tried to kill him. The Tyrannosaurus rex who had attacked Snarl and the pterosaur that had carried him away were no better than the jocks at his high school. But they were just animals, doing what they were naturally programmed to do.
But, weren't the jocks just doing what they were naturally programmed to do as well? Jocks had been tormenting nerds for years, just as T. rex had always attacked Triceratops. It was just the way things were. What was he thinking? No matter what was normal for a particular social group, they were still all the same species, and there was no excuse for them to treat him that way. At least here he wouldn't be tormented for being himself.
But there was still his mother to consider. But did she really even care about him? She was never home and had forced him to change schools more times than he cared to count. Perhaps if he could have stayed in one place for more than a year at a time, he could have found a place where he belonged. But Ferdinand knew he really couldn't blame his mother. He could have tried harder to fit in and make new friends. He knew his mother had been going through a lot since his father passed away.
Ferdinand finally reached the ledge on the side of the mountain. The portal was still there, spinning like the one that he had first found in the woods on his way home from school. He stood in front of the portal staring at it. Should he go through with it, he wondered to himself. What would he be going back to? A life of the hell that was high school? Nobody wanted him there. He turned around and saw Snarl still standing at the base of the mountain. The dinosaur was looking up at Ferdinand with sadness in his eyes. Ferdinand turned back to the portal. He couldn't leave Snarl behind.
But maybe it was irresponsible to stay here. What if he was disrupting the very fabric of time? Maybe he was drastically altering history by being here. But if that were the case, the damage may have already been done, and returning to his time wouldn't fix anything. Maybe this portal wouldn't take him home anyway. Maybe it would take him to a different time completely. Maybe he shouldn't risk it, as visiting another time could have even greater consequences.
Just then, the portal began to shrink, just like the one he had used before. Before Ferdinand could react, it had disappeared completely. Ferdinand didn't have to make the decision after all, at least not for right now. Fate had decided for him. He was relieved and saddened at the same time, though he didn't know why.
Ferdinand turned back toward the edge of the ledge and looked down at Snarl. The Triceratops looked back at him and tilted his head to the side. Ferdinand turned back and began to climb down the mountain. Perhaps this was for the best. If he would have gone through the portal, he was sure that he would have regretted it for the rest of his life. This was his home now, and he would live out the rest of his days here with the dinosaurs, where he really belonged. Even if his mother would be sad at first, his not being around would make life easier for her. No one else would even remember him in a couple of weeks anyway.
Once Ferdinand reached the bottom of the mountain he turned to Snarl and hugged him. “I guess I'm staying here,” Ferdinand said to the dinosaur. “Since I'm staying, I guess I should find a place to stay. I can't just wander forever.” Ferdinand looked at the Triceratops. He seemed to be somehow relieved that Ferdinand was staying.
“Let's go explore the other side of this mountain,” Ferdinand suggested. “Maybe there's a cave or something over there." Ferdinand climbed onto the dinosaur's back and they continued to walk around the mountain. The fog had almost completely dissipated.
After traveling around the mountain for about twenty minutes, Ferdinand and Snarl reached the edge of the forest. They were now traveling across an open plain on the other side of the mountain. It was a nice change in scenery, as they had been in woodlands and forests for quite a while now. Ferdinand was sure that the Quetzalcoatlus had forgotten about him by now, or at least wouldn't travel this far to find him again.
Suddenly, Ferdinand noticed something in the sky falling toward the Earth. It appeared to be a ball of fire flying through the sky. The object was heading southward. “What the hell is that?” Ferdinand cried out, though he didn't expect a response. Shit, he thought. This couldn't possibly be the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs, could it? He knew that it happened at the end of the Cretaceous period, but what where the chances that it would happen during his lifetime here? Of course, what where the chances that he would find a time portal to this time to begin with?
The object in the sky disappeared from view. What if he had made the wrong decision in not going through the portal when he had the chance? Wherever it would have taken him, at least he most likely wouldn't die. If this was what he thought it was, the chances of him surviving to see the next day were slim. Ferdinand heard a faint explosion in the distance. Snarl was startled and jumped forward. The Triceratops looked toward the direction of the explosion.
Suddenly, a beam of fire rose up from the horizon where the sound had come from. It reached high up into the atmosphere. Debris from the explosion disperse across the sky. The temperature suddenly rose, higher and higher every second.
“Unless we can find shelter quickly,” Ferdinand said fearfully, “this is it. We're all dead.” Beads of sweat formed on his forehead as the temperature rose rapidly. Ferdinand looked around frantically. There was nowhere to hide. The mountain was completely solid. Unlike the mountains in the prehistoric movies that Ferdinand had watched back in his own time, there were no caves visible anywhere on this side of the mountain. He felt completely helpless, standing out here in the open with no shelter and nothing but the knowledge that impending doom was upon him. Even though it was futile, Ferdinand directed Snarl to run toward the mountain. Snarl stood as close to it as he possibly could. Ferdinand stayed on Snarl's back and looked around at the world around him awaiting certain death.
The temperature continued to rise at an exponential rate as molten debris fell from the sky. Ferdinand looked up into the sky, which was quickly turning a dark red color. He saw the Quetzalcoatlus flying across the sky. It suddenly caught fire and was incinerated in an instant, leaving nothing but dust and ash to fall to the Earth. Ferdinand jumped off of Snarl's back. His skin felt as though it was on fire. He looked down at his hands as his skin began to incinerate in the heat. He looked at the Triceratops, who's tough skin was also turning to ash in the sudden wave of heat and radiation. Snarl cried out in pain.
Though Ferdinand had often thought about this exact moment in time since he could remember, he had never even imagined being part of it. The last thing that Ferdinand saw before being whisked away into a dark oblivion was the look of terror in his friend's eyes as the K-T extinction event took its toll. This really was the end of the world as he had come to know it. Ferdinand's final thoughts before his body was completely incinerated by the heat and radiation were that, even though it ended like this, it was all still worth it, as he could not have spent his life better any other way. This was simply his time.
Is this the end for Ferdinand? Find out in the final chapter:
- Ferdinand and the Dinosaurs: Chapter 9
Ferdinand finds himself transported back to his own time. Did everything he experienced in the prehistoric world actually happen?
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