Short Story – Dinosaur Bones
For this week’s story, I decided I wanted to include a dinosaur. Not just any dinosaur, though, but one that was alive. And not just a dinosaur that was alive but one that was alive right now. Sort of like in Jurassic Park but not like that because Jurassic Park has been done already.
In the end, things didn’t happen exactly as I’d originally planned. But the idea of a dinosaur that was alive is still the driving centerpiece of the story.
As always, thanks for reading if you do. Thanks for sharing if you do. And thanks just for being you!
Lance studied the skeleton closely. Most dinosaur displays at museums were recreations of the actual fossil and that wouldn’t do. He needed the real thing. He needed a real fossilized dinosaur.
His teacher, Miss Hanson, excitedly told the rest of his class about the Tyrannosaurus Rex but he wasn’t listening. It wasn’t because he wasn’t interested. It was because he already knew everything she was going to say. He knew more about the T-Rex than anyone. Probably more than paleontologists even.
He’s spent the majority of his short life studying the T-Rex. And he wanted one.
But to get one, he needed a real fossilized T-Rex. Or at least most of one.
Eventually, he found the small print on the interpretive sign that told him the skeleton was, in fact, just a re-creation of the actual fossil that was on display in California.
California? That was seven or eight states away! It would take forever to get there!
“Lance,” Miss Hansen called, “we’re going to the paleontology lab. I know you want to see that!”
Of course! The lab! They were sure to have real dinosaur fossils there!
His parents had avoided allowing him to go to museums without properly skilled supervision. He’d been clever, however, and waited to get his permission slip signed until they were both distracted. He told them he was going to a concert.
Miss Hanson, of course, had no idea of Lance’s capabilities. How could she? His parents had been careful to cast the proper spells around his school in order to prevent him from using his magical skills without the proper guidance and advice. To Miss Hanson and his classmates, Lance was a normal little boy.
He understood that not everyone could use magic and that those who couldn’t tended to – what did his parents say – freak out – when they saw a spell being cast. So he knew there were certain places and times for magic.
Re-animating a T-Rex skeleton was, without question, neither the right place or time. Unfortunately for Miss Hanson and the rest of his class, he didn’t really care.
When the reached the lab, one of the scientists was working on pulling apart a field jacket. She saw the children approaching and smiled. She grabbed a microphone and put it on her lab coat.
“Hello there! My name is Doctor Labelle! It’s great to see all of you today!”
Her voice came through a speaker placed just above the glass. Lance pressed his hands against the window and leaned in closer to figure out what kind of dinosaur Doctor Labelle was unpacking.
“Excuse me,” she said, “you there with your hands on the glass. What’s your name?”
“I’m Lance and I know everything about dinosaurs!”
“Oh, that’s great Lance! I’ll bet I could learn a few things from you. Could you do me a favor Lance?”
“Could you take your hands off the glass? It smudges very easily and that makes it difficult for others to see.”
“Oh! I’m sorry!”
“That’s all right, Lance. What’s your favorite dinosaur?”
“The Tyrannosaurus Rex!”
Doctor Labelle laughed. “Yes. That’s a lot of people’s favorite! How about the rest of you? What’s your favorite dinosaur?”
The rest of the class shouted out their answers at once “Utahraptorasaurusodon Rex!”
“Come now all of you,” Miss Hanson chided, “one at a time!”
“Ankylosaurus!” Cried Peter, who clearly knew nothing about dinosaurs.
Next, Harry shouted “Stegosaurus!” They were cool. But he was still wrong.
Bernice shouted “Panda!”
Doctor Labelle laughed again. “I don’t think a panda is a dinosaur.”
“I know,” Bernice said confidently, “but I like pandas.”
Lenore quietly said “I like velociraptors.” Lenore, at least, had the right idea.
“Real velociraptors,” Doctor Labelle asked, “or the kind in ‘Jurassic Park?'”
Ooo! Lance was impressed! She knew the difference.
“I don’t know,” Lenore answered, “the kind in the movie, I guess?”
“Oh,” Doctor Labelle said, “the kind in the movie are really scary, aren’t they?”
“Yes they are!”
“But they aren’t really what velociraptors were like. They were a lot smaller and we think they hunted in larger packs.”
“And they had feathers!” Lance offered helpfully.
“That’s right! We think they had feathers!”
The conversation dragged on with kids asking all sorts of boring, obvious questions. How could they not even know what a field jacked was? Everyone knew what a field jacket was!
Even though Lance had his arm up forever, Doctor Labelle kept calling on other kids and they kept asking dumb questions like “what’s a fossil” and “what did dinosaurs eat” and “do you like your job?”
Finally, Doctor Labelle took pity on him and called on Lance. “You’ve had your hand up for a long time, Lance, what do you want to know?”
“Whatkindofdinosaurisinthatfieldjacket?” He asked so quickly, she barely understood the question.
“What kind of dinosaur fossil is in the field jacket?” She repeated.
He nodded his head vigorously.
“Why this is your favorite, Lance! A Tyrannosaurus Rex! This skull is only part of a nearly completed fossilized skeleton we have on our shelves back here! It looks like a skull but it is completely made of stone! Do you kids have a guess about how much this weighs?”
The kids started shouting out their guesses but Lance didn’t care. He knew everything that he needed to know.
A little while later, Doctor Labelle apologized to the children. “I’m afraid I have a lunch date and I have to go! It’s been such a pleasure talking with all of you!”
“Say goodbye and thank you,” Miss Hanson instructed them.
“Goodbye! Thank you!” they all cried.
“OK! We have a potty stop and then we’ll have lunch and then we’re going to watch an IMAX movie about BUGS!”
Half the children cried “EW,” and the other half cried “cool!”
Lance sent an illusion of himself to the bathroom while he stayed behind. He’d catch up at the cafeteria and nobody would even notice he’d been gone. The lab was empty and now was his chance.
He pulled a rock out of his pocket that didn’t look at all special. But it was special. It was a rock with a fossil in it. What kind of fossil didn’t matter. What mattered was you needed a rock with a fossil in it if you wanted to reanimate an animal that was a fossil.
He began chanting words under his breath and a light began to glow from within the field jacket. He called out to the other parts of the dinosaur and he could see other bones in the lab start to glow and move. It was working!
“Lance. What are you doing?”
Doctor Labelle was standing outside the lab and looking right at him, which should have been impossible since he was supposed to be invisible. She looked cross but also just a little bit amused.
The bones abruptly stopped glowing and one of them crashed to the floor, breaking in several pieces.
He knew he was going to be grounded for the rest of his life.
“Oh dear,” she sighed. She waved her hand and the pieces of the bone knit themselves back together and sat neatly back down on the shelf.
“Now then,” she turned back to Lance, “what did you think you were doing?”
The tears started to well up. He’d been so close.
“I just wanted a pet T-Rex!”
“Of course you did,” she smiled. “I remember wanting a pet T-Rex when I was your age. But we can’t just cast a spell in the middle of a museum, can we? People will notice a full sized T-Rex skeleton walking around.”
“Well what did you do?”
“I studied hard and became a paleontologist! Now I can reanimate any kind of dinosaur skeleton I want! I just have to return them in the morning.”
“But I don’t want to wait that long!”
“No. I didn’t either. Here – take this.”
She handed him a card that didn’t seem to have any writing on it.
“Give this to your parents and tell them to bring you here on Saturday night at about 11:00…”
“That’s past my bedtime.”
“I think they’ll let you stay up for this. Just come here on Saturday night and I’ll let you reanimate your own T-Rex. But you have to promise me something, Lance.”
“You have to promise me you won’t take it home.”
“Good. Now uncross your fingers and promise for real.”
Shoot! She was good!