Chuck Wendig at Terrible Minds has released a new book, Dinocalypse Now, so his challenge this week for us was to write about dinosaurs.
I decided to let some of my regular characters run with it, as well as a new recruit. They are old hands at this, and can all be pretty flexible in their roles, building on the base. They have Red as a damsel in distress, the witch (Agnes?) as an evil woman, Bruce the woodcutter as a hero, Romulus the wolf as a bad guy. But their team occasionally needs someone to play a monster, a dragon, or - today - a dinosaur. Luckily there was someone that had finished several years in a series - to mixed reviews - and was looking around for a new challenge.
So - the story .....
Dinosaurs 'R Us
She could hear - could feel - the heavy footsteps pounding the ground behind her. She'd soon stopped screaming, as she'd need all her strength if she was to escape.
She keyed her radio, "Jer, big trouble, wind shifted and I found a T. Rex. Or rather it found me."
The Athabaska U research team had picked a time gate managed by the Blackfoot tribe, in the Alberta Badlands. They'd had targeted the late Cretaceous, for a first view of the evolution of flowers and butterflies, not for the dinosaurs. Such as the Tyrannosaurus Rex now crashing through the trees behind her. She and Jer had carefully scouted the area before he'd dropped her off, and it had been all clear - until the wind shifted and the giant lizard had picked up her scent.
"Don't move Katy, wait it out," he said.
"Too late." she said. "I panicked and ran. The trees are slowing him a bit but he's gaining."
She dodged around the tall conifers, pushed through the ferns, stomped on the small flowers she'd just been admiring. Hopefully she wasn't altering too many time lines.
"My screen shows you to the east, heading right toward me," said Jer. "Keep on that bearing, and run like the wind. I'll meet you with the sled."
"Fading here," she said. "Maybe 5 minutes and he's got me. And he can catch the sled too."
She burst through some ferns and spooked a pack of small velociraptors. They scattered in front of her, thin tails waving a feathery goodbye. She'd already raced through a small herd of Triceratops - they'd ignored her and kept on grazing, but her pursuer had been forced into a delaying detour.
"Hang in there," said Jer. "You're heading straight for a bog - looks like some new flooding so your new friend may not know it's here. Hopefully he'll follow us into it."
Her lungs burned, her legs ached, sweat was blurring her vision. One misstep, one tumble and she was done for. The crashing was right behind her, she could almost feel the hot breath on her neck but didn't dare try to look back.
Katy burst out of the trees - there was the sled with Jer on it, already starting to move away.
"Jump, Jump!" he cried.
She leapt onto the back and grabbed at the cargo webbing. There was a snap at her heels - she screamed and pulled her feet in. She finally dared to turn - six tons of angry dinosaur, 20 feet tall, snapping angrily as they pulled away, its feet already sinking into the wet ground. With a scream of rage it slowed and stopped, hip deep in the ooze. She scrambled ahead to her partner and threw herself into his arms.
"My knight in shining armour," she said. "That was too close."
He held her for a few moments, as the setting sun lit them through a gap in the trees, then stepped back and smiled.
"And ... scene!" he said. "Good one Red, you did a great job."
"Well, you wrote a great script, Bruce," she said.
The woodcutter dipped his head, "It was OK I guess. The witch's editing tightened it up."
"If this goes over well maybe the Grimm's will want to do more," said Red.
"I've already written a longer version," said Bruce. "Suitably violent of course, with a bit of romance."
"I wouldn't say no to a bit of sex also," said Red. "Don't be afraid to push things a bit. These stories help bring us to life, and we in turn add life - some punch - back into them. Just like we did with the fairy tales."
A voice called from the swamp. "Helloooo? Bit of help here please?"
"Oops", said Bruce, "I almost forgot about him. Don't want to lose our newest member."
"He is good," said Red. "Years of experience already, and he did a great job adapting his skills to your story."
"He's a keeper, "said Bruce. "But first we have to get him out. I'll slide the gravsled over and hook some cables around him."
As they got closer Red waved. "Hi - great job - you were awesome, I could feel your hot breath and hear your teeth snapping right behind me. Oh - looks like the makeup is wearing off, you're looking a bit purple now."
"Well, that's me," said Barney. "Pretty distinctive, isn't it."