Stories don’t come cheap..

The following short story was written to fulfil a challenge to write a fictional story about the killing of the last velociraptor in North America.  DS2, I hope you like your story…

So this is what mankind had become..  Millions of years of evolution, cultures and kings raising and falling. Each contributing something to the great story known as mankind.  I tipped my chair back as I looked around the old bar room. Dusty furnishings and people just as dusty sat around the tables and at the bar drinking the homemade liquor. All the real stuff had been consumed years ago.  Off to my right was a pitted mirror, still reflecting back the scene in the bar as it had for the last one hundred or so years.  As I picked up my glass for my final swig, the back of my right hand caught my eye. Hell, it always caught my eye. Maybe that’s why I usually drank and used my left hand. On the table sat my leather gloves. Why had I taken them off tonight?

The back on my right hand is covered in a brand. Not a tattoo, a brand cast there years ago by men around a campfire. There were five us in all. The brand was our way of joining or creating our group, our posse. That was a long time ago. I am the sole survivor from that fateful night. I don’t like to tell the story even though the story has provided me with a life time of free drinks, beds to sleep in and more than one offer of companionship.  I am writing these stories down knowing that my time on this planet is limited.

The campfire was believe or not, built-in the ruins of the old White House in what was then known as Washington, DC.  The president had long been evacuated to some mountain and the city was left to the survivors and dead. What happened to the city? That’s not the focus of the story tonight. Suffice it to say, people with power played chicken with each other and the end result was the near end of the world. 

One of the stranger outcomes of this conflict was the revelation that the government had been secretly working with dinosaur DNA. This may sound like a movie plot. It actually was a movie plot quite a long time ago. Did the scientists see the movie and get the idea or did the scientists leak the story to some writer who then made a fortune? I haven’t a clue.  The scientists had taken the DNA and in a few instances, created real dinosaurs. The dinosaurs were kept in pens, actually more like an indoor zoo that nobody knew of. When the power went out, the dinosaurs naturally escaped into the wilds of Fairfax, VA.

Dinosaurs for the most part are dumb. Big bodies and small brains. The exception to this was the Velociraptor. This dinosaur was smart and could learn. They were ferocious eaters and breeders.  Within three years of their escape, they had terrorized an area from Washington, DC to Savannah, Ga.  The army had fought them with everything they had left, but still the velociraptor’s killed at will. The President invited five men to visit the ruins of the White House that night. There was me, two dinosaur experts and two expert hunters. I was there as the “project manager”. I expect the other members of the group saw me as expendable since I did not have the skills that they possessed.

The army had, through the use of the last of their drones, killed all the velociraptors except for one.  The common thinking was that this particular creature was exceptionally smart having figured out the sound that the drones made and hiding when they approached. Our mission, was to kill the last velociraptor in North America.  The President offered any weapons or electronic tools that we might want. All through the night, under the cover of darkness, the five of us and the President kicked around idea after idea. The President wanted to keep the visit and the mission secret. A few of our team thought that asking the public for help might make the job easier.  In the end, it was decided that mission would include just the five of us.  The branding happened that night. We found a presidential seal in the ruin, heated it up and pressed the back of our right hands to the heated metal, forever marking our flesh. 

Our quarry was last spotted two nights before in the Fairfax, Va area.  Suprising at the time, was the notion that this particular animal had never strayed far from the laboratory where it was created. Most of the dinosaurs had moved south when the first winter set in. The army had established a 30 mile parameter around the area and the velociraptor had not tried once to escape the quarantine. We were flown by helicopter to the center of the hot zone and left with our requested equipment. What equipment? Does it really matter? Most of it was lost in the first day and amounted to the usual government overkill.  We needed to move quickly, quietly and being burdened by all the supplied equipment cost us one of the scientists and one of the hunters on the very first day.

Day one: We arrived by helicopter and unpacked our equipment. We set up a perimeter fence that was both physical and electronic. The idea was that the physical fence would provide protection, the electronic fence would provide an early warning and give us an idea about what we were facing. There still were other, nonlethal dinosaurs walking around.  Our mission was to kill the last velociraptor in North America, nothing more if we could help it.  After dinner we choose who would work each watch. The plan was to sleep for four hours and be awake for four hours. If we alternated the start times we could always have two people on guard at any given time. 

Between 3 am and 4 am the  velociraptor entered our compound unseen and killed one of the scientists and one of the hunters as they stood guard. The rest of us were asleep and for some reason were not killed.  Our mission had a “no extraction” clause. This ment we went in and only came out when the velociraptor was dead. 

Day two: In the cold light of day we three survivors sat and discussed our next plan. Obviously the velociraptor knew we were there. There would be no element of surprise.  We spent the day fortifying our compound and doing some general reconnaissance. That night we did not have any visitors.

Day three: We set out in the morning on foot following fresh tracks that we found outside of our fence that morning. It would appear that the velociraptor was there the night before but choose not to engage us. The tracks led us straight towards the laboratory where the dinosaurs were created. We did not understand this at the time since the facility had been throughly searched and gutted.  The tracks appeared to just stop at the side of a wall. No doors or windows existed to allow entry or exit. Just a set of tracks leading to the wall. We looked around and not seeing anything ,we leaned against the wall for rest and the wall moved.

The entrance to building that the moving wall created was not in the plans that we had been given. We quietly walked down the path into the building, guns at the ready, spread out for maximum survivability.  Suddenly, the wall behind us closed and we were left in complete darkness. I felt a whoosh go past my face then the scientist screamed once and was silent. I slipped to the ground as quietly as I could. It would appear that the velociraptor was here in the passageway with us.

I took my machete out of my bag and held in my right hand. In my left hand I held a pistol. I waited. My eyes started adjusting to the darkness.  It was quiet, deathly quiet. Then, whoosh again this time going from left to right and the hunter screamed and his gun went off firing a few rounds harmlessly into the ground. I crouched down and took the machete in both bands  and turned to the right.  As I braced myself against the wall the whoosh came back toward me from the right and impaled itself on the machete. I was covered in a warm sticky substance. I hoped this was not my blood.

I pushed the velociraptor off me and got up and turned on my flashlight. What a scene. The velociraptor lie dead at my feet. To my right and to my left lie the two men that I had entered the passage with, dead.  I walked further into the passageway and found what appeared to be a nest. Inside this nest were ten eggs. I smashed those eggs with my machete.

Day four: I spent the afternoon of day three and the morning of day four exploring the ruins of the laboratory building. It appeared from the building diagrams that there was another entire floor under the published floor plans. I did not find anymore nests, nor did I find any other dinosaurs or people. I called for extraction and the helicopter came and took me out. I heard later that the army searched the mystery bottom floor as well then demolished the entire building.

Here I am fifty years later. I’m still alive, the world is struggling to stay alive.

The dinosaurs, they are extinct once again.

The End

Copyright @2013

 

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