Ferdinand and the Dinosaurs: A YA Sci-Fi Short Story - Chapter 1

Updated on December 19, 2018
JenniferWilber profile image

Jennifer Wilber works as an ESL instructor, substitute teacher, and freelance writer. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing and English.

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Ferdinand and the Dinosaurs: Chapter 1

Ferdinand's life was already hard enough with a name like that. His obsession with dinosaurs didn't help him any with the social scene at his high school either. When the other kids weren't making fun of his name, they were tormenting him over his interest in dinosaurs, as an interest in anything out of the ordinary, which included a narrow list of sports and illegal activities, made it impossible to be liked or accepted here.

"Hey! Fernandoooo" one of the jocks called out to Ferdinand from across the hallway as his jock buddies stood behind him grunting and high-fiving. "How was your brontosaurus burger at lunch today?" The other jocks cracked up laughing and exchanged stock praises such as "nice one, bro!" and "you told him!" Ferdinand just kept on walking. He was late to his geology class anyway.

Even though his classmates teased him relentlessly, Ferdinand still made no effort to fit in, and instead acted as though it didn't bother him. When he had first moved here, he had thought that the other kids were just being friendly when they tried to talk to him, but he soon realized that no one liked him. It was the same story at every school he had attended. Still, he knew that he was above the other kids, as he would not compromise who he was just to be one of them. Ferdinand looked back just in time to see one of the jocks hitting his head against a locker as the others cheered him on. No, he never wanted to be one of them. Someday he would be a successful paleontologist, and these kids would still be working at Walmart just to pay off child support to some cheerleader slut they knocked up in high school. The thought of his classmates' sad futures made Ferdinand smile inside, though he wouldn't show it.

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Sometimes Ferdinand did feel lonely, as not one of his classmates wanted to be his friend, or even talk to him. That wasn't entirely true, as they would acknowledge him to tease him about his name or his intense interest in dinosaurs. It was a small school, and once word got out that someone was a little strange, no one would risk their own social status to befriend them, or even treat them as a human being. Even the other unpopular kids wouldn't risk losing any chance they had of ever moving up the social ladder. And so, Ferdinand spent his school days alone, lost in books and daydreams of a better life.

Ferdinand often daydreamed about being transported away from this school to a different time in Earth's history. A time when dinosaurs still roamed the planet. A time when there would not be another human being for another 65 million years. What a wondrous time that must have been. Too bad time travel was probably impossible.

The same jocks that had accosted Ferdinand in the hallway were in his geology class. They walked in high-fiving just after the bell rang. About ten minutes into the lecture, Ferdinand heard them making comments about him from the back row, but he tried to ignore it. They were learning about volcanoes today, which was one of Ferdinand's favorite subjects. They reminded him of prehistoric times and he was almost as fascinated with volcanic rocks as he was with dinosaurs. He was used to the jocks' teasing by now, and at least it was Friday and this was his last class of the day. Perhaps he would schedule a sick day for Monday and take a three day weekend, as he didn't have any tests that day.

If only another asteroid would collide with Earth to fix the disaster caused by the one that hit 65 million years ago. If only the dinosaurs wouldn't have gone extinct, perhaps mammals wouldn't have had a chance to evolve, especially humans. If only there were no humans, the planet wouldn't be in the condition it is in now. Oh how Ferdinand longed for a day when there would be no humans, even if it meant that he himself would not exist. That is a sacrifice that he would be willing to make.

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When the bell rang, Ferdinand was the first one up from his seat and out the door. He stopped at his locker and got his book bag as quickly as possible. In his rush, he almost forgot to take his trilobite fossil that he kept in his locker during the week. He was never allowed to have a pet, as his mother didn't think that he was responsible enough to take care of another living organism, but a fossil was good enough for him. Since it had already been dead for millions of years, there was no way that he could possibly kill it. Ferdinand slipped the trilobite into his jeans pocket, slammed the locker door, and ran for the exit. He couldn't get away from this building fast enough. As long as he could get out without the jocks noticing, he didn't have to worry about them following him and taunting him on his walk home.

Ferdinand was able to escape from the building without anyone taking notice, but he thought that he had better take one of his secret routes through the woods anyway. After a long day of dealing with the idiocy that is the general high school population, Ferdinand enjoyed the peacefulness of nature. It allowed him to let his imagination run away and to pretend that he was in a prehistoric world. That is, until he ran across modern day animals such as squirrels and chipmunks. But still, even a secluded spot in the present day was better than being around other people his age, or even other people in general.

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As Ferdinand ran into the woods, he tripped on an exposed root from an oak tree. He fell to the ground, hitting his head on a rock and scraping his left knee. It stung a little, but it was nothing serious. He got back to his feet quickly and continued deeper into the woods. Ferdinand was nearing a break in the foliage when he noticed something odd in the clearing up ahead. As he approached, he could not believe what he was seeing. It looked like a spinning vortex of light. But what could it be? He had passed through this clearing many times before, but had never seen anything like this. It looked like some kind of portal, like the sort of thing he would see in a science fiction movie. He was torn between further investigation and simply ignoring it and continuing his journey to the safety of his home.

He walked around to see what was on the other side of the object, but there was nothing there. From the opposite direction, it appeared that there was nothing in that space at all. That was strange, Ferdinand thought. He went back to where he had been standing before to see if it was still there, or if it had disappeared suddenly. It was still there, clear as day, when he looked at it from the original angle. But what could it be? Perhaps it was a portal to another dimension, or maybe a rip in the space-time continuum?

Ferdinand thought that maybe he should just leave, but his curiosity got the best of him. It wasn't as though he had anything to lose anyway, and his mother wouldn't be home for at least another three hours anyway. Surely, wherever this thing would take him, he'd be back before he was even missed. Without so much as a second thought, Ferdinand stepped into the swirling object, eagerly awaiting whatever would be waiting for him on the other side.

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    © 2018 Jennifer Wilber

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