Written By Kevin M. Folliard
“Son of a rex.” Duggar slowed their solar-powered jeep to a halt.
Ivan shook his head. “Had to say it.”
After eight grueling hours repairing monorail track, the two repairmen returned to the breaker station to reset the power, only to find the control cabinet blocked by an unwelcome guest. In the ribbed shadows of the lightrail lay a 12-meter-long, mud-brown Tyrannosaurus.
The station was built into the center support pillar beneath four lines of freight and commuter tracks. There the slumbering giant splayed, belly heaving, eyes shut beneath pebbled brow. Drool slipped through banana-sized teeth and glistened in midday sun. Treetops shivered on either side of the lightrail’s concrete barriers.
“Well, shoot,” Ivan whispered. “How do you suppose he got in?”
Duggar adjusted his shades. “Cyclone was bad enough to damage the shuttle line; it probably knocked down an access gate.”
Ivan whistled low. “It’ll be half a day before a team of wranglers get down here. If we wait, he could wake up and go back to his territory.”
Duggar shrugged. “The Triassica Council will have a fit if those trains don’t start moving again soon.”
The T-rex’s tiny arm twitched. His three toed foot curled. A cloud of gnats buzzed around his scrunching eyes. Soft breeze carried a musky stench.
Ivan winced. “What do you suppose a predator like that dreams about?”
“Finding love,” Duggar suggested. He reached back and rummaged through the emergency chest. “Listen, we have to reset this track ASAP.” He handed Ivan a chrome shock prod.
“Are you crazy? We don’t even have a pulse rifle.” Ivan pushed the weapon back against Duggar’s chest. “Shock prod will barely tickle that guy. I’m on T-rex time. Let’s wait for him to wake up.”
“People need supplies, including food and medical. Compound trains gotta move.” Duggar raised an eyebrow. “Not man enough?”
“Not stupid enough.” Ivan crossed his arms. “Think of Kylie. You want to make your beautiful bride a widow?”
Tyrannosaur snores rumbled.
“This is our job,” Duggar said. “Like every job outside compound walls in New Pangea, it’s a rough job. If there’s a dinosaur, you get creative and deal with it.” Duggar forced the shock prod into Ivan’s hands. “And don’t talk to me about my wife.”
“You’re a lucky man is all. Why take unnecessary risks?”
The predator’s arched back rested against the station. The cool shadows of the tracks cut gray stripes across his earthy hide.
“If you’re so terrified,” Duggar suggested, “you round the other side, and I’ll idle the jeep up to Rex’s face. I’ll lay on the horn, rouse him, then reverse and draw him away. That’ll give you plenty of time to reset the breakers. When Rex gets tired of chasing me, I’ll zip back for you.”
“You have a death wish.”
Duggar smiled. “I might.”
Ivan glared. “Kylie’s right, you know. You’re too stubborn for your own good.”
“I also outrank you.”
Ivan studied the twitching claws of vestigial forearms. “You think in their dreams they have long arms and huge hands?”
“They don’t need hands,” Duggar whispered. “That’s why they shrank. I’m telling you: he’s dreaming about a beautiful lady T-rex. One just like his momma.” He placed a hand on Ivan’s shoulder, lowered his shades. “Suck it up, man. I’m doing the hard part.”
Ivan took a breath. Nodded.
The solar engine hummed to life, and Duggar drove closer. Ten meters from the snoozing monstrosity, Duggar put his finger to his lips and handed the shock prod to Ivan. He mouthed, Better than nothing.
Ivan’s heart battered the inside of his chest.
Volcanic snores rumbled.
Duggar motioned for Ivan to exit the vehicle and traced a semi-circle in the air. Ivan slowly opened the door, trembling fingers clutching the prod. He kept a wide perimeter and rounded toward the scaly tail. Distant dactyl calls echoed.
Duggar gave a thumbs up then idled closer to the toothy snout and flaring nostrils. A pale pink tongue slithered behind serrated daggers.
“Hey, Ivan!” Duggar shouted. He raised his right arm, and aimed a gun.
The T-rex stirred, snorted. His huge leg kicked. Ivan ducked as the tail swayed over his head and slapped green grass.
“I know you’re sleeping with Kylie.” Duggar blared the horn. The rex’s giant yellow eye popped open.
Duggar fired an iridescent pink flare. It rocketed toward Ivan’s feet.
Smoke singed Ivan’s nostrils. He screamed as Duggar shifted in reverse.
The ground trembled as the Tyrannosaur flopped and twisted his snout in the direction of the sizzling flare. His body barricaded Ivan from the fleeing jeep. The rex growled and sprang onto three-toed feet. Moon yellow eyes targeted Ivan. Forked fingers hooked into sickles. Every muscle in his tank-like body tensed as man-sized jaws stretched open.
The tyrannosaur’s roar thundered.
If you liked this story a second story by this author in the same setting is available to supporting members.