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 9
Ferdinand opened his eyes to a bright white light. He wondered if he had been transported to a prehistoric afterlife. Still in a daze, he looked around at his surroundings. He slowly began to realize that he was in a hospital room in his own time. The light was the result of the horrible florescent lights shining overhead and reflecting from the bright white walls and bed sheets.
Suddenly, his memories came flooding back. Hadn't just been incinerated in a prehistoric extinction event? How did he get here? Where exactly was “here” anyway? This hospital room seemed so alien to him.
The door opened, and Ferdinand's mother walked in, followed by a man that Ferdinand could only guess was the doctor, based on the way he was dressed.
“You're awake!” Ferdinand's mother exclaimed as she rushed to the side of his bed. “Are you okay? I'm so relieved you finally woke up!” His mother hugged him, almost breaking him in half in the process.
“You took quite a fall, young man,” the doctor said in a gruff, yet calming voice. “You're lucky your friends here found you when they did.” It was only then that Ferdinand noticed two other teenagers whom he recognized as his classmates standing behind the doctor and his mother.
The thin girl with a long blonde ponytail – Cassie, if Ferdinand remembered correctly – spoke up. “Harold and I were walking home through the woods and you were laying there unconscious.” She paused. “Why were you out there all alone?”
Ferdinand's entire body ached. As he slowly began to understand what was happening, he realized that there were bandages covering his head and left knee. “I don't know,” he said quietly. “I always walk home alone.”
The portly boy wearing a striped shirt and blue baseball cap approached Ferdinand's hospital bed. “You can always walk home with my cousin and me,” he offered. “Cassie and I don't live too far away from you.”
“But why?” Ferdinand was confused. “You guys all hate me.” Ferdinand looked down at the floor. A sudden wave of shame came over him. After several moments, Ferdinand looked up at Harold and Cassie. “Why did you help me anyway? Why wouldn't you just leave me to die?”
“We don't hate you,” Cassie said, looking confused and a bit hurt. “You just always seem like you'd rather be alone, so we don't bother you.”
Ferdinand felt a twinge of shame and guilt. Perhaps it was his own fault that he was always so lonely. He had built this prison for himself. “Okay,” Ferdinand said meekly. “How long was I unconscious?”
It was the doctor's turn to speak. “You were out all weekend,” the doctor informed Ferdinand. “It's Monday now.” Ferdinand looked at the clock on the wall. It was a quarter after 4. He did get to take a “sick day” after all. Too bad he didn't get to enjoy his weekend.
Or did he? Ferdinand remembered Snarl and all of his prehistoric adventures in vivid detail. It seemed all too real. Suddenly, the horrific extinction event flashed through his head again. The pain felt so real. But it must have been a dream. Snarl and all of the other dinosaurs he encountered must have all been figments of his unconscious imagination. The thought that his Triceratops friend Snarl never existed saddened him.
“We brought your homework,” Cassie chimed in as Harold handed him a folder full of papers. Ferdinand took the folder from him.
“Thank, you,” said Ferdinand.
“Yeah, no problem,” replied Harold. “You have an extra day to get it all done since you were in the hospital, but we thought you might like to get a head start on it if you woke up today. Everyone at school is really worried about you.”
“Thank you,” Ferdinand said again. He couldn't think of any other response. People at his school were worried about him? “Where's my backpack?”
Ferdinand's mother went to the closet near the entrance of the hospital room. While waiting for her to return, Ferdinand turned to his two new friends. “If you two want to walk to school with me when I get out of here, I would be okay with that.” “Of course we would,” Cassie replied. “We're friends, right?” Ferdinand couldn't hide his smile. Friends? That's the first time another human being called him their friend.
“We were thinking about going to the natural history museum next weekend,” Harold said out of nowhere. “Would you like to go with us? We know you like dinosaurs.”
Ferdinand’s eyes lit up. “Of course I would!” he exclaimed. He had never had a friend with whom to share his interests before.
Ferdinand’s mother returned to the side of his bed and handed him his backpack so that he could put away his homework. “Try to get that finished before you go back to school,” she said. “I know you're still recovering, but I don't want you to get behind. Besides, it sounds like you have a busy weekend planned. You’ll want to get caught up by then.” Ferdinand nodded as he unzipped his backpack, which was still covered in dirt from the woods.
As he put away his homework, he felt the folder hit a hard object in the bottom of his bag. He looked inside and noticed a dark gray object nestled alongside an empty soda can and snack wrappers. Ferdinand reached into the bag and pulled out an ancient-looking rock shaped like a crescent moon.
In Case 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