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I'd like to ask for a raise of hands, but it's impossible because you're reading a blog and I can't see you hands, but I am assuming everyone has seen Jurassic Park. Did anyone like it? Yes? But the sequels, however, they failed to live up to the last ones standards, the reason being that everything that was new in the first was reused in the second and third, making everything that was "WOW" turn into something that was "ugh, again?". A chain of events occur to cause a group of people to find themselves on an island being chased by dinosaurs, and eaten one by one until only the main characters are left alive and find a way off the island. After watching it happen three times, it quickly becomes a boring plot, especially if there's no twist.
The rumour of a fourth movie of this same series, supposedly called Jurassic World has prompted me to suggest a new, possibly more innovative storyline for a fourth/fifth Jurassic Park movie.
Around about the same time as Jurassic Park and the two other dinosaur wilderness ranges were being constructed, a fourth, little-known installation was also set up. The purpose of this complex on Isla Estrella was to study the behavior of dinosaurs more closely and effectively than its other tourist-attracting counterparts. Basically it was more of a free-range research facility, another investment InGen failed to officially list. The employees here must take extraordinary lengths to remain undetected by the resident dinosaurs so as to not ‘contaminate' the results. So unbeknownst to the dinosaurs, they all live in captivity while it may not seem like it. Believing that the dinosaurs are unable to reproduce, the employees use the same techniques as seen in Jurassic Park to recreate the dinosaurs from their eggs.
Then one day, something wrong happens with one of the batches of velociraptor eggs: something causes them to hatch prematurely, and die within a matter of minutes. One of the employees, Janet Keen, manages to save one of the infants. But she exposed it to human contact. Any dinosaur that has seen a human must, regrettably, be destroyed for fear it may contaminate the results of studies into pack and solitary behavior of certain dinosaur species. However clean her record is, Janet doesn't like the idea that she would have to hand over and end the life she just saved. She sneaks the infant back home to her residential lodge and raises it over the years. Janet and the velociraptor, whom she later names Felix (sex is told by the presence of primitive feathers at the back of the neck), bond like a mother and son, disproving the stereotype the previous three have left us with: that all dinosaurs are cold-blooded killers and nothing more.
The fact that Felix is a boy and not a girl like the rest makes Janet wonder if it was intentional, or the fact the thing that went wrong caused the intended sex to be changed.
Through several near misses, Janet keeps Felix hidden from all other staff.
Eventually, the lodge becomes too small for a velociraptor to hide in, and Janet decides to take Felix out to the free-range section of the island, though knowing full well that it could jeopardize the entire research program. She and her reptilian friend part, though Felix is left absolutely baffled as to why his adoptive mother would just leave him like that. And what were all these new creatures around him that had the same skin texture, but were bigger or smaller? He doesn't like it there.
Meanwhile back at the main facility, the administration receives a call about the Isla Nublar Incident and to monitor for any hostile or overly curious behavior on the dinosaurs' part, and also to search for these mystery eggs that Dr. Alan Grant reported he saw.
Scared, lonely, and rejected by every wild pack of velociraptor, Felix finds a way back to the only place he knows where he is accepted - Janet's lodge. He's spotted and an alarm is sounded. Just hearing the word from Isla Nublar, the orders are to shoot and kill before the rogue dinosaur develops a taste for human. Felix temporarily evades capture and finds Janet, who's relieved to see him safe, but also worried that he shouldn't be in the compound side of the island. She tries to get him back over, but he refuses and is captured, and Janet arrested.
With the detection of eggs in the velociraptor population, the InGen security forces assume they were Felix's doing, and decide to start fresh by designing a waterborne virus that would kill velociraptors and only velociraptors and introduce it to the island's water supply. With no parents, the infants would die off quickly either by exposure or by predators.
Felix is infected as a test, in front of Janet in an opposite holding cell no less, and is left to die as the security detail climbs in the helicopters and head for Isla Estrella's only freshwater lake. But Felix miraculously recovers from the contagion, and escapes along with Janet. She directs him to a lab to synthesize an antidote from his blood, and head to the lake to disinfect the water supply. Along the way, Felix defends her from some of the velociraptor packs that hunted him when he was in the wild.
When they reach the lake, the helicopters have gone, but the effects of the contaminated water are clear; bodies of velociraptors hang at the edges of the spring twitching and writhing in pain as the virus kills them slowly. Not just raptors, an adolescent Tyrannosaurus, and several other herbivores are also infected - lying on their bellies moaning.
Isla Estrella's InGen administrators see they've made a big mistake and tell their staff to pack up and leave as the project has completely been mucked up and would cost too much to fix.
Janet applies the antidote to the lake and injects the affected dinosaurs, and in turn waits for each to recover. Knowing she saved them stops them from eating her and her accomplice, and all walk their separate ways. Felix and Janet make their way back to the InGen complex to find everything being packed away on boats in the docks, getting ready to sail back to mainland America. The security details on board deny letting her join them in their exodus so long as she had Felix with her. Janet knows what drove him to come back to her lodge, and refuses to leave him behind. The InGen administrator reminds her that rescue will not come for her if she stays - as all the phone lines have been severed and helicopters are being taken - but still she refuses, and watches as they sail away to the horizon.
Her and Felix's fate remains a mystery to this day.
So how's that for a movie idea? It'd probably need some cleaning up and a multimillion-dollar budget, but I think it has potential. Of course, that's a bias statement coming from the person who thought about it from scratch between 1:30 PM and 9:26 PM.
Once upon a time, on no particular morning, on no particular day, in no particular week, in no particular month, on no particular year, in no particular millennium, in no particular country, in no particular state, in no particular city, in no particular suburb and certainly in no particular mansion, a king awoke. He had everything he could possibly think of, and was loved by all his subjects. He was kind, he was humble, he was clean and he was practical. He was a genius and he was a learner, he was a philosopher and he was a mathematician, he was a realist and he was a surrealist, he was contradictory and he was non-contradictory. But most of all, he was a lover. He loved art and he loved nature, he loved science and he loved logic, he loved fact and he loved fiction, he loved the mind and he loved the soul.
On this no particular morning, the king spoke into a small microphone on his bedside table and kindly requested three warm pancakes with maple syrup. Within five minutes, his order was ready and presented to him on a platter that spanned his lap. He ate his breakfast with absolute bliss. Once the platter had been cleared away, he sat up and hopped into his wheelchair, which was always conveniently placed near his bed each evening. He guided himself towards the wardrobe and selected a very common and casual shirt and a very common and casual pair of trousers; two of the very limited number of items of clothing he had within his wardrobe. After attending to the minor issues that cropped up from political advisors and informants, he decided to take a stroll around the city.
As he rolled by the many shops and windows and pedestrians he passed, all the tenants and faces lit up with his presence, and said hello, and hi-fived with him from time to time. He passed through a lovely park filled with trees with lovely orange leaves, and birds singing to their heart's content, and small mammals scurrying around and up and along the trunks. Dogs wagged their tails at his passing, and barked with joy when he said hello back. The sky was grey with clouds, but the ground was lit as if the sun was fully out. He stopped by his son's house, which was rather less extravagant than his own, and knocked on the door and waited for a reply. The son opened the door and invited his father in, but he refused and invited the son to join his little walk, claiming it would lighten his heart even more.
The two stopped for coffee in a common coffee shop, and enjoyed a muffin each with a side order of a medium-sized mug of hot chocolate - a delicacy dating to when the son was around about the size of a fire hydrant. The father and the son stayed in there for a good few hours, discussing how good things had been both within and without the kingdom, and what would happen in the future, and saying thank you to those who served their table. Some of the other customers bowed as soon as they entered and exited the shop, much to the king's displeasure. When the two had had their fill, they paid the bill and left the area, back to their homes from whence they came.
Midday, the leader of a neighbouring country came to the palace simply to keep in touch with an old friend. The king and the leader ate and laughed and chuckled and discussed and laughed some more until it reached evening.
Come time to go to bed, the king redressed into his pyjamas and pulled himself out of his wheelchair. He sat on his bed for a good few hours, reading a book he had read during his childhood, and had since forgotten the storyline. When his eyes grew heavy, he put the book away and thought about the world, and his long departed wife, his son, and how happy everyone was. Then he spoke into the microphone on his bedside table, and requested euthanasia.
If you are confused about the end, it's supposed to question euthanasia. What this story was supposed to do was ask you, if someone so well loved and respected and admired was to request death, would you let him?
In this case, the king is the happiest he has ever been in a long time, and he doesn't want to see the world change any more for better or for worse. He wants to remember the world as the day was; happy and peaceful. And now that he is growing old, it's his time anyway.
"You lot the uni students?"
There was a slight embarrassed air among the group before him, as they thought they displeased the man before them, despite the friendly look on his face. He also had a beige cowboy hat placed on his head, shading his eyes from the sun.
"We'll don't all speak at once." He jested.
"Yes, we're the university group," Simon said aloud, "Mr...?"
"West, Mr West," the work experience group sniggered a little, "yeah well, I thought if I sounded the part, I should dress the part shouldn't I? Well, we're going to be doing a little excavation on a group of dinosaurs we uncovered a few days ago and you guys, and gals, are going to be helping out a little, and get some experience while you're at it."
The group of two girls and four boys - two of which were Simon and Ethan - followed the cowboy to an area of commotion and heavy equipment. There were at least twenty other palaeontologists working around three other excavation sites, lifting, dusting, fixing, debugging, chipping, and just talking. At each of the sites stood a metal frame with a scanner, which, as Mr West explained, was designed to locate and tell the exact size of a fossil.
"But recently we've been having some... technical difficulties," Mr West discussed, "the others are saying they've just got gremlins in the system, as soon as we manage to get it running for five minutes they just conk out. But it doesn't really matter because five minutes is all we really need."
He halted the group at the closest site and walked over to one of the scanner operators.
"Students," he announced, "I'd like you to meet one of our best palaeontologists, Miss Eliza Woods."
"Good morning." The class murmured.
"I thought I'd see a little more enthusiasm from you guys. Oh well, I hope the action will help with your attitude."
"Miss Woods is one of the best in her field of work," West elaborated, "she's helped with over two hundred excavations and found three new dinosaur species in Ghost Ranch alone."
"Okay, Jeffry, no need to brag to the guests."
Eliza, Ethan noticed, had blonde hair hidden by a green-tan hat. She also wore the same green coloured shirt as Mr West, but beige track pants. The shirt had her company's insignia and logo on her right sleeve. All her clothes were relatively dirty - but then that would have been expected for someone in her line of work. Ethan also noticed Mr West had the same insignia.
"So, shall we get down to business?"
The class nodded.
"Good, follow me," she gestured, and so the class did, "as you have probably already been taught, palaeontology means the study of extinct life, and we specialise in the study of dinosaurs. And while we don't have access to any written record or something similar, we can guess how they behaved and what they looked like through what they've left behind. For instance, with footprints we can determine if dinosaurs lived in herds or were solitary. Through their teeth, we can tell if they ate others or plants, or both. And very rarely, we can tell the gender of a dinosaur. Yes? Er..."
"Simon, what is it?"
"What is the most common species around here?"
"Coelophysis. Now the interesting thing about coelophysis is that most of the time we find them, they are all washed up into a pile; suggesting they were buried under debris from a flash flood, which was consistent with the geology and climate that long ago. This led to the belief that they were cannibals; where bones mixed in the stomach region of the one on top, and this was later proven to be wrong. Other times we find them just lying in the middle of nowhere, and those fossils are easier to separate from the rock. Coelophysis was also one of the first bipedal dinosaurs, which later carried on to most of the other predators in the later eras. And we can safely assume the population to be a 50-50 male-female ratio as the number of fossils say so, when looking for sexual dimorphism."
"But you lot won't work directly on the sites, you're going to help a few of the experienced trainees with identification and just supplying us all with whatever tools needed. And- yes?"
"Valerie Atkins, Mr West, what is ‘identification'?"
"Identification," Woods explained, "is basically identifying whether an object is rock or a fossil. While we can usually tell just by the shape or colour, there are sometimes fragments of which we can't be sure of until we take that test. Now, Justin!"
"Yes, Miss Woods?" replied one of the men helping with a site further away.
"Is that table all set up?"
"I never forget a thing!"
"Good man! You three," she separated one of the girls with Simon and Ethan, "to the table, Justin will show you the way. The others, help out at Harry's site, okay?"
"Who's Harry?" one asked.
"Oh, sorry," Mr West interrupted, "I'm Harry; Harry West."
"So are we all okay now?" Eliza re-asked.
The class merely shifted their feet around.
"Okay," She answered herself, and added playfully, "now ge' outta here."
So Ethan and Simon and the girl did as their instructor told them and followed the gesture to the same person who'd called out from before; an African-American dressed in the same attire as Eliza, who apparently answered to the name of Justin. He also looked to be around his twenties. Ethan knew straight away that Simon liked him, and he did too; they both generally liked those of African lineage and neither knew why. Justin's skin was considerably darker than those Ethan had seen elsewhere, so perhaps he came directly from the continent himself.
"The table is just over there," he instructed, indicating the small group to a long waist-high table at the other side of the site, "look, I will show you what to do."
Justin kindly led them around the marked area that was to be where they would excavate, and picked up one of the torch-shaped scanners on the table, and continually smacked it on his hand when it would not work.
"It doesn't seem like much has been done." Simon bluntly observed.
"Gremlins, my friend, gremlins everywhere, in those scanners," he pointed at the bulky machine another trainee was attempting to operate, "these handheld ones, everywhere. No one knows why, or how, they just, poof, appear, then poof, disappear. We even had some computer men come in and try to fix these things, but nothing; they could not find anything wrong. Ah, here we go."
The torch-shaped scanner lit up in red, blue and yellow at the larger end, then flashed off as soon as Justin let his thumb off the button at the other end.
"You see? The scan lasts as long as the button is held. What happens is that you scan one of the items in these trays on the table, you scan it with this, and if it's a rock, the light will turn red. If it is a fossil, the light will turn yellow. If it the scanner flashes blue, it's probably just a piece of bark or some other thing with living cells that's washed into here. In both cases with rocks and bark, throw them in the bag over on the right, for fossils, use one of the cases inside the box underneath the table, then put the case back. You see these scanners were originally designed for medical practises, and identify organic material. If there is none it flashes red, and if the material is only in traces or was there but is dead, it turns yellow. Eliza says they're a cheap alternative to the more sophisticated ones."
"So that's all we have to do?"
"Pretty much, yes."
"And just out of curiosity, where did you collect these samples?"
"Uh... not too far East there's a small incline downwards where rainwater collects into a small puddle every so often. So in this collection of samples there are probably more rocks and bits of organic matter. We collected these from around that area. Now get to it, I have to try and help with this monster of a gremlin."
And so Simon, Ethan, and the girl got to work. They sorted, and sorted, and sorted, and after thirty minutes of sorting they'd gone about halfway through the three trays on the table. Malfunctions with their devices had some part in adding to the time.
"Honestly, Ethan, if I could just get these things under a computer they would all be fixed in less than five minutes." Stated Simon.
"Yes, but this isn't exactly near any reliable power source, is it?" Ethan replied, "Besides, they're easy to fix, just squeeze the thin end really tight, then push the button again."
"Yeah, maybe it fixes it, but maybe it's just as faulty, they need me to take a look at them."
"Oh quit with the bragging will you?"
"What, you know it, I know it, and everyone in high school knew it. I'm the best coder slash engineer around."
"Yeah, so? Just keep it down and get back to work. And stop with the complaining, you want to take up palaeontology or not?"
Silence dwelled again. The sun's rays were becoming hotter and hotter as they day wore on, and being in the middle of a rocky desert didn't really help. The trainee team in front of the table proclaimed they had finally managed to get the scanner working. The frame-mounted device moved from forwards to backward, left to right with a white light on as it attempted to discover how big the site would need to be, if there were any fossils beneath the surface. And according to the machine, there were, and to excavate it would require a site three metres by two metres. The team marked the area out and started to dig, and the three university students watched with fascination, occasionally returning to their assigned duty when they had lost interest. At the current rate the three were working, it would have taken them twice as long to complete the other half of the fragments and samples. Justin narrated to them how palaeontologist would deal with the certain steps required to begin and proceed with excavation, including negotiation with mishaps that could be encountered. Down, down, down they dug ever so slightly until they finally struck fossil, then it was a battle of the brushes. Dust flew up and pebbles scattered, some of which landed all the three's faces. An eye socket, a nose cavity, a nostril, teeth, a small ear, the entire skull was all there, a dark brown in a sea of beige, and the deeper the excavators went the slower they took because if this was a full skeleton, one would not want to be careless around such fragile artefacts - although one should be careful around any fossil. In silence, as if caught in a trance, everyone looked upon the head bewildered; 220 million years amounted to this. Ethan began flooding his own mind with questions; why was it here; was it male or female; how could this happen; was it killed or died naturally; what did it look like; and most oddly, who was it? He knew no answer to any of the questions he asked himself, but they continued to pester him for as long as he watched.
"Beautiful, isn't it?" Jason asked the three as he stopped brushing, "You know, this is one of those moments you look upon these creatures and ask yourself ‘who was this dinosaur'." He now had Ethan's full attention, "You ask yourself ‘what did it do', ‘what was its nature'. And no one can say. The only one that could, is this one here, and I find it somewhat of a pity that we can't bring them back, even with the technology of today."
"But what if we could?" asked Simon.
"If we could, I would be so grateful to the man who does."
"No, I meant what would we do with them if they were resurrected."
Jason thought about this a little while, "As far as I am concerned, they should simply be allowed live. Who knows what the mass extinction of the late Triassic was caused by, for all we know maybe most dinosaurs' end was by unnatural means: Generations cut short by an unknown assailant."
"So how would be the most likely way of raising them from the dead?" asked the girl.
"That's the problem, we can't. Any genetic material has degraded beyond use; turned into rocks and minerals. Most of the DNA we do find is still in the process of becoming a fossil, so it is very unlikely that we will ever find such material."
"But would they allow it?"
"If by ‘they' you mean scientists?"
"Then all I can say is maybe."
"But why would that be?" questioned Ethan.
"Ethics, my friend, people will argue and argue over such a huge thing. There will be two sides: Those who ask ‘why?' And those who ask ‘why not?'"
"So who are you?"
"I ask ‘why not?' But I say too much, are you three done yet?"
"Then quick-time it, it's now nearly twelve o'clock, we don't want to miss lunch break."
"So what do we do when all is done up here?"
Ethan chucked another rock into the black bag to his right, "And that's it?"
"That's it, until lunch, then we go on a little hike over through the hills over in the east, we may even come across the site where those fragments were found." Simon's face lit up to this. Ethan felt the same too, finally something proper. "I think we're all done, now where's the camera..." Justin began to look around. "Camera... camera... oh damn, Mitchel, you know where the camera is?"
The other excavator looked up from dusting to Justin, "No... but the last place I knew it to be was... the... car..."
A look of panic swept both their faces. "Damn it Mitchel, I thought I told you specifically to bring the camera!"
"But I thought you had it."
"Well most evidently I do not."
"Well at least the AC is on, that should keep it cool."
"Yeah, yeah, you're right it... wait... I turned the AC off when we got out."
Mitchel smiled uncomfortably at Justin, then they both started running towards a group of SUVs to the west. Ethan just heard Justin's distant voice call out, "I am going to murder you, Mitchel, if that camera is...!"
The girl looked ahead as if in a trance, then bent under the table and grabbed a hi-res camera from the side of the box. "I knew I saw a camera around here."
Simon looked over, "Should we tell them?"
Taking the camera in his right hand, Ethan replied to Simon "Nah, just smile and wave."
At 12:32 P.M., when the sun was brightest and the temperature highest, a lunch of hotdogs was served, with a selection of delicious sauces. For those who brought their own lunch, they were allowed to have either, and for vegetarians there were a few vegetarian hotdogs. Soft drink and juice of various flavours were available in large dispenser drums. Collapsible tables and chairs formed two rows on the dusty ground underneath the main tent. As the excavation work had begun early in the morning, the ground was cool then and this was reflected by the noticeable difference in temperature from out in the open to undercover. Palaeontologists, trainees and students mingled in with one another as they sat down at the tables to have their lunches. Most stayed in friendship groups and started talking about their everyday lives, and work colleagues discussed work, and students discussed whether this really was the job for them. Simon had watched and listened from his end of the north table with vigilant eyes and ears. While he knew to keep his business to himself, he couldn't help but eavesdrop on other people's conversations. It was a precautionary trait he'd picked up from Primary School, when some bully had turned the majority of his friends on him and Simon had learnt to listen out for who was on whose side by listening. Listening was a particularly good trait Simon had, not that any girl ever liked him, but still he could sit in a park and identify every single bird species in the immediate location just by their call. And now, it was complete and utter silence, spare the whooshing sound of the wind, the crunching of seven pairs of shoes on sand and rock, and the voices of seven mouths. A sandy expanse was all this region of New Mexico was; filled with sprouting, barely living, dying and dead plants that provided some of the only changes in colour. Cliffs towered in the distance like rust-red ruins of some ancient empire that collapsed long ago from the efforts of time. Simon checked his phone on his arm (as most were now fixed to the wrist like watches) and looked at the time: 1:21P.M.. How long was it going to be until they got back to the sites? He wanted to start digging instead of being dragged through the desert in search of fossils that may or may not actually be there. But the views were really quite spectacular, and Simon argued in his head which was better; digging, or the views. Despite the heat, which made the rest of his group sweat profoundly, he didn't really mind the sun or the temperature, aside from the fact he could catch skin cancer from it. That was precisely why he was trailing behind the group; putting on sun cream, or more of a combination of enjoying the view, thinking to himself, and putting on sun cream. It was only when he was doing up his neck did he realise how far away he was from the group of five university students and two palaeontologists, and it was only when he started running towards them did the group realise his absence. When he had finally caught up, they continued moving east at the same walking pace as they had left the camp seven minutes ago. Aside from the cliffs, the landscape didn't really change a lot; only a few large and rolling hills here and there but no biome change, no water, no village or town or other urban settlement, just a large rocky desert for miles and miles on end with grey, dead trees dotting the area. Then they finally came to the destination the palaeontologists had been leading them.
"You see that small mud puddle in the centre of the expanse?" Eliza asked the group.
Of course they nodded, the mud was clearly visible as it was several tones darker than the surrounding beige sand.
"That is all that remains of a prehistoric lake, formed some 400 million years ago and after all this time, it's amounted to a small puddle in the centre of a desert. 400 million years."
"So what happened?" asked one of the students.
"Climate happened," explained the other palaeontologist, "climate change happened to be more exact. Deserts grew, rain came less, and this is the result. Occasionally the rainwater from the rare storm that passes by collects in that small muddy patch in the centre."
"We don't know where the water goes, and we aren't entitled to find out," finished Eliza, "Now, moving on. We've found some good and preserved fossils around here and after about two weeks we think we exhausted the place dry, but there are still some fragments about. You have your cases and your scanners, and if you switch them to a higher level like so," she demonstrated by twisting the handle three clicks to the right, "your scanner's range will pass through at least six metres of rock. So who knows, you might even find a full skeleton we managed to miss."
"So you lot all set?"
"Yes!" shouted a couple.
"Then let's go find something interesting."
The search began for Simon and with little success. Rock. Rock. Bark. Rock. Bark. Fossil. Bark. Rock. Rock. Rock. Rock. Over the space of ten minutes he'd managed to find only one fossil and an equivalent of mount Everest in terms of rock and bark pieces, most of which he'd probably counted twice or thrice. Knowingly, he slowly made his way to the centre where the mud pit was as there weren't many people around there so he would have had a better chance at finding something and not be in the wake of another scavenger. And it was slightly deeper there than any other area in the ancient lakebed, so maybe something landed down there. Instantly his thinking was rewarded; one fragment, two fragments, three four five. Two more cases to go and he would be out of things that could carry such fragile items with. Aside from his hands, of course, those he could carry just about anything with gentle delicacy - unless it was heavy - and he could catch anything he dropped in mid-air, but that was known to fail despite the speed of his hand. As he was thinking all this he was still searching for more fossil fragments and suddenly met just as little success as he did in the outer areas. Rock. Rock. Rock. Rock. Rock. Bark. Rock. Bark. Bark. Rock. Fossil. Rock. Rock. Rock. He couldn't believe his luck, or more rather he should have foreseen it as his family had been plagued with bad luck for years. He would be the only student without a complete set. There were only two others on the expanse now, including Ethan, the rest had gone off to Eliza and the other palaeontologist who were showing the four the different layers of the cliff face to the southeast, probably telling them of the different prehistoric periods, and notifying the students to keep away from the caves in the cliff's base. Rock. Rock. Bark. Rock. Nothing. Bark. Rock. Rock. Bark. Nothing still. Rock. Rock. Rock. Rock. Damn it maybe that was where his life was heading. Nothing! Rock. Sam was right, he wouldn't amount to anything, and he'd just be one of those nobodies. Oh how Simon hated that bully back. Nothing!
Simon had had tantrums when he was just a toddler; banging his head against the ground when he knew he had done something stupid. This habit continued into primary and high school, smacking himself in the head whenever he thought he said something idiotic or out of context or aside from the social norm. He would apologise for whatever he said afterwards. When he was stressed he would just punch and or dance it out and wear himself out until he couldn't care for the situation anymore. But sometimes the stress simply got to him fair and square. One example was when he fell behind on schoolwork because he couldn't be bothered doing it at home. He hated himself for that. Then one evening when he came back he decided to tell his mother that he wasn't sure why he couldn't do anything properly; that he thought he wasn't ever going to do anything right. He wanted to seem mature and not stumble and stutter as he usually did when he tried to convince people or stand up to them. After talking to her for no more than a minute, she took charge of the discussion and began talking about how he was playing more games than doing homework. And he tried to listen, but all of a sudden his vision became blurry and he realised his eyes were welling up with tears and he couldn't stop from crying. He curled up and cried, and cried, and cried and could not stop. Not even Simon realised how much he bad the situation was inside his head. His fingers were stiff with confusion; we wanted to curl into a ball and hold his face and wipe his tears and hold onto Mum at the same time. His Mum made a joke about him which was supposed to be met with laughter but instead was met with, "Mum, please, don't" and angry, heavy breathing. What came out were his own raw emotions and he could not control any of it. "It- *sob -was sup- *sob -posed to- *sob -be funny," Simon stated, "why would I think that about my Mum?!" He cried for a good fifteen minutes or more. And since then he'd tried to keep up with work. But, as he called it, he became emotionally ‘dead', where he smiled and laughed, but felt nothing - no good or bad spine tingling or anything that he could feel inside. He rarely became angry, only sad, and never frustrated, only disappointed. But sometimes things happened and he would throw a fit. For example, now, when he was one of the only ones not able to find a last fossil. He jumped up and down and stamped his feet on the ground and kicked any rocks he could out of the way until he became so hot he stopped to catch his breath. He noticed Ethan and the other student were watching him in both astonishment and curiosity. Simon stopped immediately and stared back until they stopped. He really disliked that; people just watching and not saying anything, that's how many people treated him in high school, and that memory alone gave him the energy to complete one final stomp on the ground.
There was a sudden crack Simon felt through his legs. He instantly assumed he'd broken an ankle, but he was still standing up with full posture. A second, more pronounced crunch, a feeling of absolute fear struck Simon's face as he realised that it was not him that was buckling under pressure, it was the lakebed. Simon turned his head downward and noticed small and long fissures slowly opening up, creeping around his feet like stealthy snakes cornering their prey. He looked over to Ethan who too had heard and probably felt the fractures and was now looking back to him with the same look of horror.
"Ethan!" Simon yelled to his friend, "What do I do?"
"Stay put, I'll go get help."
"If I say here it will give in."
"Then get off it-"
The small area of the dried lake Simon was standing on gave way to his weight and he plummeted downwards, hearing a shout from Ethan. Simon didn't give one in return, instead he fell in silence aside from the surprised ‘whoa' that escaped his mouth when his descent began. In his mind the thoughts of everything bad he ever did flashed, and he considered how he should have or how he could have dealt differently with the situation. He remembered the times when the world seemed amazing and he didn't think so much about the current problems in the world. And then Simon found himself alive. The fall took just over a second, and then Simon landed on a relatively smooth rock floor, though of course he landed his left side. He bounced a little off the floor as if the ground was a firm trampoline. Simon checked himself immediately, no cuts, a few bruises, but most importantly no broken or dislocated bones. Sitting up, Simon looked about this new environment to find it was little more than some sort of natural cave, but oddly with no exit as far as he could see from his position in the dust cloud the falling debris created. Behind him a puddle, fed by an unknown source of water, created an ambient dripping sound that disturbed him a little. Turning his head upwards, Simon could tell the obvious exit was the way he came, which was way out of reach by a good three metres give or take. As his eyes had grown used to the dim light of the small prison he was in, the little entrance in the ceiling was really quite bright; so much that Simon had to squint until Ethan's head popped over from the edge.
"Are you okay down there?" he asked more curiously than concerned.
"Oh fine, fine never better, but you seriously should keep away from there."
"Where's the nearest stable part?"
"A... wall, my side of the room."
"Okay, we're going to get you out of there, okay?"
"Yeah, and don't you bloody say ‘don't move'."
Smiling, Ethan, crawling on the ground, disappeared from the skylight. Simon was left in a little solitude. This was an area he could think in; an area of complete silence, aside of course from the constant dripping of the puddle in the other corner. Then he thought whether than puddle was drinkable. It was the first time he took a proper look at that section. Illuminated by the light was an aqua blue puddle with a small source of water from the ceiling, slowly dropping into the pool below it. And just to the left of it, no more than a centimetre away, was a mouth, and a neck, and a body, and a tail, and two clawed feet, and two clawed hands. A bony mouth, a spiny neck, a hollow body, a rocky tail, two stiff clawed feet and two fossilised clawed hands. It took a little while for his mind to register, but then Simon finally realised that in front of him, in front of him, was the most perfectly preserved skeleton of a coelophysis he had ever seen. All the ribs were separate from the rock, and no sections or pieces seemed fractured or missing. No, despite the bad luck he and his family had experienced, been riddled with, haunted and had been plagued by, he had found the most perfect specimen of coelophysis the world had ever seen. He approached in caution towards the slain beast, as if it were alive and each step could send the creature into its awoken state filled with rage, yet his fantasy did not become a reality. The fossil lay in a deathly silence with no reaction or movement from its part. There was no breathing as the flesh, muscle and organs had long since decayed, though there was still a very slight pungent smell lingering in the air. Even the puddle's dripping seemed to have stopped when Simon was creeping up on this dead prey, as if in some form of natural respect to this moment in history. The living meets the dead. Another thought came through Simon's mind. If this creature was down here, how did it if there were no exits? But that must mean there was one, unless it - though unlikely - came in the same way he did. Simon searched the room again and found that the opposite wall had an entry of some kind that had been blocked off by large boulders and were impossible to move, and he shouldn't either in the case that some of the roof of rock above him relied on its support.
Damn, he thought to himself, looking at his long departed inmate in an inquisitive way, why were you in here?
Then the thought became more serious inside his head, "Why were you in here?" he asked the skeleton. Since no reply was given, he decided to do some investigation work, especially as it would take God knows how long for a rope to be thrown down. He began by examining the remains. There were no bones in the cavity where the stomach would be, so it didn't come down for food, or the food escaped its clutches perhaps. Simon walked over to the blocked entrance and noted a distinct colour change when he looked at one of the boulders; instead of the beige-brown like the rest of the underground rocks around, on this one in particular was a dark red-brown patch. Simon pulled out his scanner and investigated the patch, the light turned yellow indicating the patch once was organic matter but had died out long ago. His attention then turned to numerous streaks of a lighter colour of stone all across the room's walls, each denting a little into the rock face. After a scan it too showed small signs of dead organic matter. A picture was slowly building in his head. And once he examined the coelophysis, he uncovered one of the many possible stories that could be speculated about what happened 220 million years ago. And if it was alive and it could understand him, it would have confirmed that he was right.