The Lost World Chapter 10

Dodgson flung open the car door, and jumped out into space. He lunged through the foliage, fell, hit a tree trunk, and tumbled down a steep jungle hill. Somewhere along the way he felt a sharp pain in his forehead, and saw stars for the brief moment before blackness enveloped him, and he lost consciousness.


They sat in the Explorer, on top of the ridge overlooking the jungle-covered east valley. The windows were down. They listened to the bellowing of the tyrannosaurs, as the huge animals crashed through the underbrush.

"They both left the nest," Thorne said.

"Yeah. Those guys must have taken something." Malcolm sighed.

They were silent a while, listening.

They heard a soft buzzing, and then Eddie pulled up alongside them, in the motorcycle. "I thought you might need help. Are you going to go down?"

Malcolm shook his head. "No, absolutely not. It's too dangerous - we don't know where they are."

Sarah Harding said, "Why did Dodgson just stand there like that? That's not the way to act around predators. You get caught around lions, you make a lot of noise, wave your hands, throw things at them. Try to scare them off. You don't just stand there."

"He probably read the wrong research paper," Malcolm said, shaking his head. "There's been a theory going around that tyrannosaurs can only see movement. A guy named Roxton made casts of rex braincases, and concluded that tyrannosaurs had the brain of a frog."

The radio clicked. Levine said, "Roxton is an idiot. He doesn't know enough anatomy to have sex with his wife. His paper was a joke."

"What paper?" Thorne said.

The radio clicked again. "Roxton," Levine said, "believed that tyrannosaurs had a visual system like an amphibian: like a frog. A frog sees motion but doesn't see stillness. But it is quite impossible that a predator such as a tyrannosaur would have a visual system that worked that way. Quite impossible. Because the most common defense of prey animals is to freeze. A deer or something like that, it senses danger, and it freezes. A predator has to be able to see them anyway. And of course a tyrannosaur could."

Over the radio, Levine snorted with disgust. "It's just like the other idiotic theory put forth by Grant a few years back that a tyrannosaur could be confused by a driving rainstorm, because it was not adapted to wet climates. That's equally absurd. The Cretaceous wasn't particularly dry. And in any case, tyrannosaurs are North American animals they've only been found in the U.S. or Canada. Tyrannosaurs lived on the shores of the great inland sea, east of the Rocky Mountains. There are lots of thunderstorms on mountain slopes. I'm quite sure tyrannosaurs saw plenty of rain, and they evolved to deal with it."

"So is there any reason why a tyrannosaur might not attack somebody?" Malcolm said.

"Yes, Of Course. The most obvious one," Levine said.

"Which is?"

"If it wasn't hungry. If it had just eaten another animal. Anything larger than a goat would take care of its hunger for hours to come. No, no. The tyrannosaur sees fine, moving or still."

They listened to the roaring, coming up from the valley below. They saw thrashing in the underbrush, about half a mile away, to the north. More bellowing. The two rexes seemed to be answering each other.

Sarah Harding said, "What are we carrying?"

Thorne said, "Three Lindstradts. Fully loaded."

"Okay," she said. "Let's go."

The radio crackled. "I'm not there," Levine said, over the radio. "But I'd certainly advise waiting."

"The hell with waiting," Malcolm said. "Sarah's right. Let's go down there and see how bad it is."

"Your funeral," Levine said.

Arby came back to the monitor, wiping his chin. He still looked a little green. "What are they doing now?"

"Dr. Malcolm and the others are going to the nest."

"Are you kidding?" he said, alarmed.

"Don't worry," Kelly said. "Sarah can handle it."

"You hope," Arby said.


Just beyond the clearing, they parked the Explorer. Eddie pulled up in the motorcycle, and leaned it against the trunk of a tree and waited while the others climbed out of the Explorer.

Sarah Harding smelled the familiar sour odor of rotting flesh and excrement that always marked a carnivore nesting site. In the afternoon heat, it was faintly nauseating. Flies buzzed in the still air. Harding took one of the rifles, slung it over her shoulder. She looked at the three men. They were all standing very still, tense, not moving. Malcolm's face was pale, particularly around the lips. It reminded her of the time that Coffmann, her old professor, had visited her in Africa. Coffmann was one of those hard-drinking Hemingway types, with lots of affairs at home, and lots of tales of his adventures with the orangs in Sumatra, the ring-tailed lemurs in Madagascar. So she took him with her to a kill site in the savannah. And he promptly passed out. He weighed more than two hundred pounds, and she had to drag him out by the collar while the lions circled and snarled at her. It had been a good lesson for her.

Now she leaned close to the three men and whispered, "If you've got any qualms about this, don't go. Just wait here. I don't want to worry about you. I can do this myself" She started off.

"Are you sure - "

"Yes. Now keep quiet." She moved directly toward the clearing. Malcolm and the others hurried to catch up with her. She pushed aside the palm fronds, and stepped out into the open. The tyrannosaurs were gone, and the mud cone was deserted. Over to the right, she saw a shoe, with a bit of torn flesh sticking out above the ragged sock. That was all there was left of Baselton.

From within the nest, she heard a plaintive, high-pitched squeal. Harding climbed up the mud bank, with Malcolm struggling to follow. She saw two infant tyrannosaurs there, mewling. Nearby were three large eggs. They saw heavy footprints all around, in the mud.

"They took one of the eggs," Malcolm said. "Damn."

"You didn't want anything to disrupt your little ecosystem?"

Malcolm smiled crookedly. "Yeah. I was hoping."

"Too bad," she said, and moved quickly around the edge of the pit.

She bent over, looking at the baby tyrannosaurs. One of the babies was cowering, its downy neck pulled into its body. But the second one behaved very differently. It did not move as they approached, but remained lying sprawled on its side, breathing shallowly, eyes glazed.

"This one's been hurt," she said.

Levine was standing in the high hide. He pressed the headset to his ear, and spoke into the microphone near his cheek. "I need a description," he said.

Thorne said, "There's two of them, roughly two feet long, weighing maybe forty pounds. About the size of small cassowary birds. Large eyes. Short snouts. Pale-brown color. And there's a ring of down around the necks."

"Can they stand?"

"Uh...if they can, not very well. They're kind of flopping around. Squeaking a lot."

"Then they're infants," Levine said, nodding. "Probably only a few days old. Never been out of the nest. I'd be very careful."

"Why is that?"

"With offspring that young," Levine said, "the parents won't leave them for long."

Harding moved closer to the injured infant. Still mewling, the baby tried to crawl toward her, dragging its body awkwardly. One leg was bent at an odd angle. "I think the left leg's hurt."

Eddie came closer, standing alongside her to see. "Is it broken?"

"Yeah, probably, but - "

"Hey!" Eddie said. The baby lunge d forward, and clamped its jaws around the ankle of his boot. He pulled his foot away, dragging the baby, which held its grip tightly. "Hey! Let go!"

Eddie lifted his leg up, shook it back and forth, but the baby refused to let go. He pulled for a moment longer, then stopped. Now the baby just lay there on the ground, breathing shallowly, jaws still locked around Eddie's boot. "Jeez," Eddie said.

"Aggressive little guy, isn't he," Sarah said. "Right from birth..."

Eddie looked down at the tiny, razor-sharp jaws. They hadn't penetrated the leather. The baby held on firmly. With the butt of his rifle, he poked the infant's head a couple of times. It had no effect at all. The baby lay on the ground, breathing shallowly. Its big eyes blinked slowly as they stared up at Eddie, but it did not release its grip.

They heard the distant roars of the parents, somewhere to the north. "Let's get out of here," Malcolm said. "We've seen what we came here to see. We've got to find where Dodgson went."

Thorne said, "I think I saw a track up the trail. They might have gone off there."

"We better have a look."

They all started back to the car.

"Wait a minute," Eddie said, looking down at his foot. "What am I going to do about the baby?"

"Shoot it," Malcolm said, over his shoulder.

"You mean kill it?"

Sarah said, "It's got a broken leg, Eddie, it's going to die anyway."

"Yeah, but - "

Thorne called, "We're going back up the trail, Eddie, and if we don't find Dodgson, we'll take the ridge road going toward the laboratory. Then down to the trailer again."

"Okay, Doc. I'm right behind you." Eddie lifted his rifle, turned it in his hands.

"Do it now," Sarah said, climbing into the Explorer. "Because you don't want to be here when Momma and Poppa get back."

Gambler's Ruin

Driving up the trail, Malcolm stared at the dashboard monitor, as the image flicked from one camera view to another. He was looking for Dodgson and the rest of his party.

Over the radio, Levine said, "How bad was it?"

"They took one egg," Malcolm said. "And we had to shoot one of the babies."

"So, a loss of two. Out of a total hatching brood of what, six?"

"That's right."

"Frankly, I'd say it's a minor matter," Levine said. "As long as you stop those people from doing anything more."

"We're looking for them now," Malcolm said morosely.

Harding said, "It was bound to happen, Ian. You know you can't expect to observe the animals without changing anything. It's a scientific impossibility."

"Of course it is," Malcolm said. "That's the greatest single scientific discovery of the twentieth century. You can't study anything without changing it."

Since Galileo, scientists had adopted the view that they were objective observers of the natural world. That was implicit in every aspect of their behavior, even the way they wrote scientific papers, saying things like "It was observed..." As if nobody had observed it. For three hundred years, that impersonal quality was the hallmark of science. Science was objective, and the observer had no influence on the results he or she described.

This objectivity made science different from the humanities, or from religion-fields where the observer's point of view was integral, where the observer was inextricably mixed up in the results observed.

But in the twentieth century, that difference had vanished. Scientific objectivity was gone, even at the most fundamental levels. Physicists now knew you couldn't even measure a single subatomic particle without affecting it totally. If you stuck your Instruments in to measure a particle's position, you changed its velocity. If you measured its velocity, you changed its position. That basic truth became the Heisenberg uncertainty principle: that whatever you studied you also changed. In the end, it became clear that all scientists were participants in a participatory universe which did not allow anyone to be a mere observer.

"I know objectivity is impossible," Malcolm said impatiently. "I'm not concerned about that."

"Then what are you concerned about?"

"I'm concerned about the Gambler's Ruin," Malcolm said, staring at the monitor.

Gambler's Ruin was a notorious and much-debated statistical phenomenon that had major consequences both for evolution, and for everyday life. "Let's say you're a gambler," he said. "And you're playing a coin-toss game. Every time the coin comes up heads, you win a dollar. Every time it comes up tails, you lose a dollar."


"What happens over time?"

Harding shrugged. "The chances of getting either heads or tails is even. So maybe you win, maybe you lose. But in the end, you'll Come out at zero."

"Unfortunately, you don't," Malcolm said. "If you gamble long enough, you'll always lose - the gambler is always ruined. That's why casinos stay in business. But the question is, what happens over time? What happens in the period before the gambler is finally ruined?"

"Okay," she said. "What happens?"

"If you chart the gambler's fortunes over time, what you find is the gambler wins for a period, or loses for a period. In other words, everything in the world goes in streaks. It's a real phenomenon, and you see it everywhere: in weather, in river flooding, in baseball, in heart rhythms, in stock markets. Once things go bad, they tend to stay bad. Like the old folk saying that bad things come in threes. Complexity theory tells us the folk wisdom is right. Bad things cluster. Things go to hell together. That's the real world."

"So what are you saying? That things are going to hell now?"

"They could be, thanks to Dodgson," Malcolm said, frowning at the monitor. "What happened to those bastards, anyway?"


There was a buzzing, like the sound of a distant bee. Howard King was dimly aware of it, as he came slowly back to consciousness. He opened his eyes, and saw the windshield of a car, and the branches of trees beyond.

The buzzing was louder.

King didn't know where he was. He couldn't remember how he got here, what had happened. He felt pain in his shoulders, and at his hips. His forehead throbbed. He tried to remember but the pain distracted him, prevented him from thinking clearly. The last thing he remembered was the tyrannosaur in front of him on the road. That was the last thing. Then Dodgson had looked back and -

King turned his head, and cried out as sudden, sharp pain ran up his neck to his skull. The pain made him gasp, took his breath away. He closed his eyes, wincing. Then he slowly opened them again.

Dodgson was not in the car. The driver's door hung wide open, a dappled shadow across the door panel. The keys were still in the ignition.

Dodgson was gone.

There was a streak of blood across the top of the steering wheel. The black box was on the floor by the gearshift. The open driver's door creaked a little, moved a little.

In the distance, King heard the buzzing again, like a giant bee. It was a mechanical sound, he now realized. Something mechanical.

It made him think of the boat. How long would the boat wait at the river? What time was it, anyway? He looked at his watch. The crystal was smashed, the hands fixed at 1:54.

He heard the buzzing again. It was coming closer.

With an effort, King pushed himself away from the seat, toward the dashboard. Streaks of electric pain shot up his spine, but quickly subsided. He took a deep breath.

I'm all right, he thought. At least, I'm still here.

King looked at the open driver's door, in the sunlight. The sun was still high. It must still be sometime in the afternoon. When was the boat leaving? Four o'clock? Five o'clock? He couldn't remember any more. But he was certain that those Spanish fishermen wouldn't hang around once it started to get dark. They'd leave the island.

And Howard King wanted to be on the boat when they did. It was the only thing he wanted in the world. Wincing, he raised himself up, and painfully slid over to the driver's seat. He settled himself in, took a deep breath, and then leaned over, and looked out the open door.

The car was hanging over empty space, supported by trees. He saw a steep jungle hillside, falling away beneath him. It was dark beneath the canopy of trees. He felt dizzy, just looking down. The ground must be twenty or thirty feet below him. He saw scattered green ferns, and a few dark boulders. He twisted his body to look more.

And then he saw him.

Dodgson lay on his back, head downward, on the slope of the hill. His body was crumpled, arms and legs thrown out in awkward positions. He was not moving. King couldn't see him very well, in the dense foliage on the hillside, but Dodgson looked dead.

The buzzing was suddenly very loud, building rapidly, and King looked forward and saw, through the foliage that blocked the windshield, a car driving by, not ten yards away. A car!

And then the car was gone. From the sound of it, he thought, it was an electric car. So it must be Malcolm.

Howard King was somehow encouraged by the thought that other people were on this island. He felt new strength, despite the pain in his body. He reached forward, and turned the key in the ignition. The engine rumbled.

He put the car in gear, and gently stepped on the accelerator.

The rear wheels spun. He engaged the front-wheel drive. At once, the Jeep rumbled forward, lurching through the branches. A moment later, he was out on the road.

He remembered this road now. To the right, it led down to the tyrannosaurus nest. Malcolm's car had gone to the left.
King turned left, and headed up the road. He was trying to remember how to get back to the river, back to the boat. He vaguely recalled that there was a Y-fork in the road at the top of the hill. He would take that fork, he decided, drive down the hill, and get the hell off this island.

That was his only goal.

To get off this island, before it was too late.

Bad News

The Explorer came to the top of the hill, and Thorne drove onto the ridge road. The road curved back and forth, cut into the rock face of the cliff. In many places, the dropoff was precipitous, but they had views over the entire island. Eventually they came to a place where they could look over the valley. They could see the high hide off to the left, and closer by, the clearing with the two trailers. Off to the right was the laboratory complex, and the worker complex beyond.

"I don't see Dodgson anywhere," Malcolm said unhappily. "Where could he have gone?"

Thorne pushed the radio button. "Arby?"

"Yes, Doc."

"Do you see them?"

"No, but..." He hesitated.


"Don't you want to come back here now? It's pretty amazing."

"What is?" Thorne said.

"Eddie," Arby said. "He just got back. And he brought the baby with


Malcolm leaned forward. "He did what?"


"At the edge of chaos, unexpected outcomes occur. The risk to survival is severe."



In the trailer, they were clustered around the table where the baby Tyrannosaurus rex now lay unconscious on a stainless-steel pan, his large eyes closed, his snout pushed into the clear plastic oval of an oxygen mask. The mask almost fitted the baby's blunt snout. The oxygen hissed softly.

"I couldn't just leave him," Eddie said. "And I figured we can fix his leg..."

"But Eddie," Malcolm said, shaking his head.

"So I shot him full of morphine from the first-aid kit, and brought him back. You see? The oxygen mask almost fits him."

"Eddie," Malcolm said, "this was the wrong thing to do."

"Why? He's okay. We just fix him and take him back."

"But you're interfering with the system," Malcolm said.

The radio clicked. "This is extremely unwise," Levine said, over the radio. "Extremely."

"Thank you, Richard," Thorne said.

"I am entirely opposed to bringing any animal back to the trailer."

"Too late to worry about that now," Sarah Harding said. She had moved forward alongside the baby, and began strapping cardiac leads to the animal's chest; they heard the thump of the heartbeat. It was very fast, over a hundred and fifty beats a minute. "How much morphine did you give him?"

"Gee," Eddie said. "I know. The whole syringe."

"What is that? Ten cc's?"

"I think. Maybe twenty."

Malcolm looked at Harding. "How long before it wears off?"

"I have no idea," she said. "I've sedated lions and jackals in the field, when I tagged them. With those animals, there's a rough correlation between dose and body weight. But with young animals, it's unpredictable. Maybe a few minutes, maybe a few hours. And I don't know a thing about baby tyrannosaurs. Basically, it's a function of metabolism, and this one seems to be rapid, bird-like. The heart's pumping very fast. All I can say is, let's get him out of here as quickly as possible."

Harding picked up the small ultrasound transducer and held it to the baby's leg. She looked over her shoulder at the monitor. Kelly and Arby were blocking the view. "Please, give us a little room here," she said, and they moved away. "We don't have much time. Please."

As they moved away, Sarah saw the green-and-white outlines of the leg and its bones. Surprisingly like a large bird, she thought. A vulture or a stork. She moved the transducer. "Okay...there's the metatarsals...and there's the tibia and fibula, the two bones of the lower leg...."

Arby said, "Why are the bones different shades like that?" The legs had some dense white sections within paler-green outlines.

"Because it's an infant," Harding said. "His legs are still mostly cartilage, with very little calcified bone. I'd guess this baby probably can't walk yet - at least, not very well. There. Look at the patella....You can see the blood supply to the joint capsule...."

"How come you know all this anatomy?" Kelly said.

"I have to. I spend a lot of time looking through the seat of predators, she said. "Examining pieces of bones that are left behind, and figuring out which animals have been eaten. To do that, you have to know comparative anatomy very well." She moved the transducer along the baby's leg. "And my father was a vet."

Malcolm looked up sharply. "Your father was a vet?"

"Yes. At the San Diego Zoo. He was a bird specialist. But I don't see...Can you magnify this?"

Arby flicked a switch. The image doubled in size.

"Ah. Okay. All right. There it is. You see it?"


"It's mid-fibula. See it? A thin black line. That's a fracture, just above the epiphysis."

"That little black line there?" Arby said.

"That little black line means death for this infant," Sarah said. "The fibula won't heal straight, so the ankle joint can't pivot when he stands on his hind feet. The baby won't be able to run, and probably can't even walk. It'll be crippled, and a predator will pick it off before it gets more than a few weeks old."

Eddie said, "But we can set it."

"Okay," Sarah said. "What were you going to use for a cast?"

"Diesterase," Eddie said. "I brought a kilo of it, in hundred-cc tubes. I packed lots, for glue. The stuff's polymer resin, it solidifies hard as steel."

--- Read books free online at ---

"Great," Harding said. "That'll kill him, too."

"It will?"

"He's growing, Eddie. In a few weeks he'll be much larger. We need something that's rigid, but biodegradeable," she said. "Something that will wear off, or break off, in three to five weeks, when his leg's healed. What have you got?"

Eddie frowned. "I don't know."

"Well, we haven't got much time," Harding said.

Eddie said, "Doc? This is like one of your famous test questions. How to make a dinosaur cast with only Q-tips and superglue."

"I know," Thorne said. The irony of the situation was not lost on him. He had given problems such as these to his engineering students for three decades. Now he was faced with one himself.

Eddie said, "Maybe we could degrade the resin - mix it with something like table sugar."

Thorne shook his head. "Hydroxy groups in the sucrose will make the resin friable. It'll harden okay, but it'll shatter like glass as soon as the animal moves."

"What if we mix it with cloth that's been soaked in sugar?"

"You mean, to get bacteria to decay the cloth?"


"And then the cast breaks?"


Thorne shrugged. "That might work," he said. "But without testing, we can't know how long the cast will last. Might be a few days, it might be a few months."

"That's too long," Sarah said. "This animal is growing rapidly. If growth is constricted, it'll end up being crippled by the cast."

"What we need," Eddie said, "is an organic resin that will form a decaying binder. Like a gum of some kind."

"Chewing gum?" Arby said. "Because I have plenty of - "

"No, I was thinking of a different kind of gum. Chemically speaking, the diesterase resin - "

"We'll never solve it chemically," Thorne said. "We don't have the supplies."

"What else can we do? There's no choice but - "

"What if you make something that's different in different directions?" Arby said. "Strong one way and weak in another?"

"You can't," Eddie said. "It's a homogeneous resin. It's all the same stuff, goopy glue that turns rock-hard when it dries, and - "

"No, Wait a minute," Thorne said, turning to the boy. "What do you mean, Arby?"

"Well," Arby said, "Sarah said the leg is growing. That means it's, going to grow longer, which doesn't matter for a cast, and wider, which does, because it'll start to squeeze the leg. But if you made it weak in the diameter - "

"He's right," Thorne said. "We can solve it structurally."

"How?" Eddie said.

"Just build in a split-line. Maybe using aluminum foil. We have some for cooking."

"That'd be much too weak," Eddie said.

"Not if we coat it with a layer of resin." Thorne turned to Sarah. "What we can do is make a cast that is very strong for vertical stresses, but weak for lateral stresses. It's a simple engineering problem. The baby can walk around on its cuff, and everything is fine, as long as the stresses are, vertical. But when its leg grows, it will pop the split-line open, and the cuff will fall away."

"Yes," Arby said, nodding.

"Is that hard to do?" she said.

"No. It should be pretty easy. You just build a cuff of aluminum foil, and coat it with resin."

Eddie said, "And what'll hold the cuff together while you coat it.

"How about chewing gum?" Arby said.

"You got it," Thorne said, smiling.

At that moment, the baby rex stirred, its legs twitching. It raised its head, the oxygen mask dropping away, and gave a low, weak squeak.

"Quickly," Sarah said, grabbing the head. "More morphine."

Malcolm had a syringe ready. He jabbed it into the animal's neck.

"Just five cc's now," Sarah said.

"What's wrong with more? Keep him out longer?"

"He's in shock from the injury, Ian. You can kill him with too much morphine. You'll put him into respiratory arrest. His adrenal glands are probably stressed, too."

"If he even has adrenals, " Malcolm said. "Does a Tyrannosaurus rex have hormones at all? The truth is, we don't know anything about these animals."

The radio clicked, and Levine said, "Speak for yourself, Ian. In point of fact, I suspect we will find that dinosaurs have hormones. There are compelling reasons to imagine they do. As long as you have gone to the misguided trouble of taking the baby, you might draw some tubes of blood. Meanwhile, Doc, could you pick up the phone?"

Malcolm sighed. "That guy," he said, "is starting to get on my nerves."

Thorne moved down the trailer to the communications module near the front. Levine's request was odd; there was a perfectly good system of microphones throughout the trailer. But Levine knew that; he had designed the system himself.

Thorne picked up the phone. "Yes?

"Doc," Levine said, "I'll get right to the point. Bringing the baby to the trailer was a mistake. It's asking for trouble."

"What sort of trouble?"

"We don't know, is the point. And I don't want to alarm anybody. But why don't you bring the kids out to the high hide for a while? And why don't you and Eddie come, too?"

"You're telling me to get the hell out of here. You really think it's necessary?"

"In a word," Levine said, "yes. I do."

As the morphine was injected into the baby, he gave a sighing wheeze and collapsed back onto the steel pan. Sarah adjusted the oxygen mask around his face. She glanced back at the monitor, checking the heart rate, but once again Arby and Kelly were blocking her view. "Kids, please."

Thorne stepped forward, clapped his bands. "Okay, kids! Field trip! Let's get moving."

Arby said, "Now? But we want to watch the baby- "

"No, no," Thorne said. "Dr. Malcolm and Dr. Harding need room to work. This is the time for a field trip to the high hide. We can watch the dinosaurs for the rest of the afternoon."

"But Doc - "

"Don't argue. We're just in the way here, and we're going," Thorne said. "Eddie, you come, too. Leave these two lovebirds to do their work."

In a few moments, they left. The trailer door slammed shut behind them. Sarah Harding heard the soft whirr of the Explorer as it drove away. Bent over the baby, adjusting the oxygen mask, she said, "Lovebirds?"

Malcolm shrugged. "Levine..."

"Was this Levine's idea? Clearing everybody out?"


"Does he know something we don't?"

Malcolm laughed. "I'm sure he thinks he does."

"Well, let's start the cast," she said. "I want to get it done quickly, and take this baby home again."

The High Hide

The sun had disappeared behind low-banging clouds by the time they reached the high hide. The entire valley was bathed in a soft reddish glow as Eddie parked the Explorer beneath the aluminum scaffolding, and they all climbed up to the little shelter above. Levine was there, binoculars to his eyes. He did not seem glad to see them. "Stop moving around so much," he said irritably.

From the shelter, they had a magnificent view over the valley. Somewhere in the north, thunder rumbled. The air was cooling, and felt electric.

"Is there going to be a storm?" Kelly asked.

"Looks like it," Thorne said.

Arby glanced doubtfully at the metal roof of the shelter. "How long are we staying out here?"

"For a while," Thorne said. "This is our only ay here. The helicopters are taking us away tomorrow morning. I thought you kids deserved a chance to see the dinosaurs in the field one more time."

Arby squinted at him. "What's the real reason?"

"I know," Kelly said, in a worldly tone.

"Yeah? What?"

"Dr. Malcolm wants to be alone with Sarah, stupid."


"They're old friends," Kelly said.

"So? We were just going to watch."

"No," Kelly said. "I mean, they're old friends."

"I know what you're talking about," Arby said. "I'm not stupid, you know."

"Knock it off," Levine said, staring through the binoculars. "You're missing the interesting stuff."

"What's that?"

"Those triceratops, down at the river. Something's bothering them."

The triceratops herd had been drinking peacefully from the river, but now they were beginning to make noise. For such huge animals, their vocalizations were incongruously high-pitched: they sounded more like yelping dogs.

Arby turned to look. "There's something in the trees," he said, "across the river." There was some hint of dark movement, beneath the trees.

The triceratops herd shifted, and began backing toward each other until they formed a sort of rosette, with their curved horns facing outward, against the unseen menace. The solitary baby was in the center, yelping in fear. One of the animals, presumably its mother, turned and nuzzled it. Afterward, the baby was silent.

"I see them," Kelly said, staring at the trees. "They're raptors. Over there."

The triceratops herd faced the raptors, the adults barking as they swung their sharp horns up and down. They created a kind of barrier of moving spikes. There was an unmistakable sense of coordination, of group defense against predators.

Levine was smiling happily. "There's never been any evidence for this," he said, suddenly cheerful. "In fact, most paleontologists don't believe it happens."

"Don't believe what happens?" Arby said.

"This kind of group defensive behavior. Especially with trikes - they look a bit like rhinos, so they've been assumed to be solitary, like rhinos. But now we will see....Ah.Yes."

From beneath the trees, a single velociraptor hopped out into view. It moved quickly on its hind legs, balancing with a stiff tall.

The triceratops herd barked noisily at the appearance of the raptor. The other raptors remained hidden beneath the trees, The solitary velociraptor in full view moved in a slow semicircle around the herd, entering the water on the far side. It crossed, swimming easily, and came out on the other bank, It was now about fifty yards upstream from the barking triceratops- herd, which wheeled to present a united front. All their attention was focused on the single velociraptor.

Slowly, other raptors began to slink out of their hiding place. They moved low, bodies hidden in the tall grass.

"Jeez," Arby said. "They're hunting."

"In a pack," Levine said, nodding. He picked up a bit of candy bar wrapper from the floor of the shelter, and dropped it, watching it flutter off in the wind. "The main pack is downwind, so the trikes can't smell them." He raised the binoculars to his eyes again. "I think," he said, "that we're about to see a kill."

They watched as the raptors closed in around the herd. And then suddenly, lightning cracked on the island rim, brilliantly lighting the valley floor. One of the stalking raptors stood up in surprise. Its head was briefly visible above the grass.

Immediately, the triceratops herd wheeled again, regrouping to face the new menace. All the raptors stopped, as if to reconsider their plan.

"What happened?" Arby said. "Why are they stopping?"

"They're in trouble."


"Look at them. The main pack is still across the river. They're too far away to mount an attack."

"You mean they're giving up? Already?"

"Looks like it," Levine said.

One by one, the raptors in the grass raised their heads, making their positions known, As each new predator appeared, the triceratops barked loudly. The raptors seemed to know the situation was hopeless. They slunk away, moving back toward the trees. Seeing them retreat, the triceratops barked even louder.

And then the single raptor by the water's edge charged. It moved incredibly fast - astonishingly fast - streaking like a cheetah across the fifty yards that separated it from the herd. The adult triceratops had no time to re-form. The baby was exposed. It squealed in fright as it saw the approaching animal.

The velociraptor leapt into the air, raising both its hind legs. Lightning cracked again, and in the brilliant light they saw the twin curved claws high in the air. At the last moment, the nearest adult turned, swiveling its big horned head with the wide bony crest, and it knocked the raptor a glancing blow, sending the animal sprawling on the muddy bank. Immediately the adult triceratops charged forward, its head high. When it reached the raptor it stopped abruptly and swung its big head down, lowering its horns toward the fallen animal. But the raptor was quick; hissing, it leapt to its feet, and the triceratotops horns slashed harmlessly into the mud. The raptor spun sideways, and kicked the adult on the snout, drawing blood with its big curved claw. The adult bellowed, but by then two other adults were charging forward, while the others remained behind with the baby. The raptor scrambled away, back into the grass.

"Wow," Arby said. "That was something!"

The Herd

King gave a long sigh of relief as he came to the Y-fork in the road, and drove the red Jeep left, coming onto a wide dirt road. He recognized it at once: this was the ridge road that led back to the boat. As he looked off to his left, he could see down across the east valley. The boat was still there! All right! He gave a shout and accelerated sharply, relief flooding through him. On the deck, he could see the Spanish fishermen, staring up at the sky. Despite the threatening storm, they didn't seem to be preparing to leave. Probably they were waiting for Dodgson.

Well, he thought, that was fine. King would be there in a few minutes. After working his wav through dense jungle, he could finally see exactly where he was. The ridge road was high, following the crest of one of the volcanic spines. There was almost no foliage up here, and as the road twisted and turned, he had views across the entire island. To the east, he could look down into the ravine, and the boat at the shore. To the west, he could look straight across at the laboratory, and Malcolm's twin trailers parked near the far edge of the clearing.

They never did find out what the hell Malcolm was doing here, he thought. Not that it mattered now. King was getting off the island. That was the only thing that mattered. He could almost feel the deck beneath his feet. Maybe one of the fishermen would even have a beer. A nice cold beer, while they chugged down the river, and pulled out of this damned island. He'd toast Dodgson, is what he'd do.

Maybe, he thought, I'll have two beers.

King came around a curve, and saw a herd of animals standing thickly in the road. They were some kind of green dinosaurs, about four feet tall, with big domed heads and a bunch of little horns. They reminded him of green water buffalo. But there were a lot of them. He braked sharply; the car swerved to a stop.

The green dinosaurs looked at his car, but they did not move. The herd just stood there in a lazy, contented way. King waited, drumming his fingers on the steering wheel. When nothing happened, he honked the horn, and flashed his headlights.

The animals just stared.

They were funny-looking creatures, with that smooth bulging curve on the forehead and all those little horns around it. They just stared at him, with a stupid cow-like look. He slipped the car into gear and edged it forward slowly, expecting that he could push his way through the animals. They didn't move aside. Finally his front bumper nudged the nearest animal, which grunted, took a couple of steps back, lowered its head, and butted the front of the car, hard, with a metallic clang!

Christ, he thought. It could puncture the radiator, if he wasn't careful. He stopped the car again and waited, the motor idling. The animals settled down again.

Several of them lay down on the road. He couldn't drive over them. He looked ahead toward the river and saw the boat, not more than a quarter of a mile away. He hadn't realized it was so near. As he watched, he realized that the fishermen were very busy on the deck. They were swinging the crane back, lashing it down. They were getting ready to leave!

The hell with waiting, he thought. He opened the door, and climbed out, leaving the car in the center of the road. Immediately, the animals jumped to their feet, and the nearest one charged him. He had the door open; the animal smashed into it, slamming it shut, leaving a deep dent in the metal. King scrambled toward the edge of the hill, only to find he was at the top of a steep vertical descent of more than a hundred feet. He'd never make it down, at least not here. Farther along, the slope was not so steep. But now more animals were charging him. He had no choice. He ran around the back of the car, just as another animal smashed into the rear taillight, shattering the plastic.

A third animal charged the back of the car directly. King scrambled up onto the spare tire, as the animal slammed into the bumper. The jolt knocked him off, and he fell to the ground, rolling, while the buffaloes snorted all around him. He got to his feet and ran to the opposite side of the Toad, where there was a slight rise; he scrambled up it, moving into foliage. The animals did not pursue him. Not that it did him any good-now he was on the wrong side of the road!

Somehow he had to get back to the other side.

He climbed to the top of the rise and started down, swearing to himself. He decided to work his way forward a hundred yards or so, until he was beyond the butting animals, and then cross the road. If he could do that, then he could get to the boat.

Almost immediately, he was surrounded by dense jungle. He tripped, tumbled down a muddy slope, and when he got to his feet was no longer sure which way to go. He was at the bottom of a ravine, and the palm trees were ten feet tall, and very thick. He couldn't see more than a few feet in any direction. In a moment of panic, he realized he didn't know which way to go. He pushed forward through the wet leaves, hoping to get his bearings back.

The kids were still peering over the railing, looking at the departing raptors. Thorne pulled Levine to one side, and said quietly, "Why did you want us to come here?"

"Just a precaution," Levine said. "Bringing the infant to the trailer is asking for trouble."

"What sort of trouble?"

Levine shrugged. "We don't know, is the point. But in general, parents don't like it when their babies are taken away. And that baby has some very big parents."

From the other side of the shelter Arby said, "Look! Look!"

"What is it?" Levine said.

"It's a man."

Gasping for breath, King emerged from the jungle and walked out onto the plain. At last he could see where he was! He paused, soaked and muddy, to get his bearings.

He was disappointed to find that he was nowhere near the boat. In fact, he still seemed to be on the wrong side of the road. He was facing a broad grassy plain, with a river coursing through it. The plain was mostly deserted, although there were several dinosaurs farther down the banks. They were the horned ones: triceratops. And they looked a little agitated. The big adults were raising their heads up and down, making barking sounds.

Obviously, he would have to follow the river, until it brought him to the boat. But he'd have to be careful getting past these triceratops. He reached in his pocket and pulled out a candy bar. He ripped the wrapping while he watched the triceratops, wishing they would go away. How long would it take him to reach the boat? That was the only question on his mind. He decided to move, triceratops or not. He began walking through the tall grass.

Then he heard a reptilian hiss. It was coming from the grass, somewhere to his left. And he noticed a smell, a peculiar rotten smell. He paused, waiting. The candy bar didn't taste so good, any more.

Then, behind him, he heard splashing. It was coming from the river.

King turned to look.

"It's one of those men from the jeep," Arby said, standing in the high hide. "But why is he waiting?"

From their vantage point, they could see the dark shapes of the raptors, moving through the grass on the other side of the river. Now two of the raptors came forward, splashing in the water. Moving toward the man.

"Oh no," Arby said.

King saw two dark, striped lizards moving across the river. They walked on their hind legs, with a sort of hopping motion. Their bodies were reflected in the flowing water of the river. They snapped their long jaws, and hissed menacingly at King.

He glanced upstream, and saw another lizard crossing, and another beyond that. Those other animals were already deep in the water, and had begun to swim.

Howard King backed away from the river, moving deeper into the tall grass. Then he turned, and ran. He was chest-deep in grass and running hard, gasping for breath, when suddenly another lizard head rose up in front of him, hissing and snarling. He dodged, changed direction, but suddenly the nearest lizard leapt in the air. It jumped so high its body cleared the grass-, he could see the entire animal flying through the air, its two hind legs raised to pounce. He glimpsed curved, dagger-like claws.

King turned again and the lizard shrieked as it landed on the ground behind him, and tumbled away in the grass. King ran on. He was energized by pure fear. Behind him he heard the lizard snarling. He ran hard: ahead was another twenty yards of grassy clearing, and then the jungle began again. He saw trees - big trees. He could climb one and get away.

Off to the left, he saw another lizard moving diagonally across the clearing toward him. King could only see the head above the grass. The lizard seemed to be moving incredibly fast. He thought: I'm not going to make it.

But he would try.

Panting, lungs searing, he sprinted for the trees. Only ten more yards now. His arms pumped, his legs churned. His breath came in ragged gasps.

And then something heavy struck him from behind, forcing him to the ground, and he felt searing pain down his back and he knew -it was the claws, they dug into the flesh of his back as he was knocked down. He hit the dirt hard, and tried to roll, but the animal on his back held on, he could not move. He was pinned down on his stomach, hearing the animal snarl behind him. The pain in his back was excruciating, dizzying.

And then he felt the animal's hot breath on the back of his neck, and he heard the snorting breath, and his terror was extreme. Then suddenly a kind of lassitude, a deep and welcome sleepiness, took him. Everything became slow. As if in a dream, he could see all the blades of grass in the ground in front of his face. He saw them with a kind of languid intensity, and he almost did not mind the sharp pain on his neck, and he almost did not care that his neck was within the animal's hot jaws. It seemed to be happening to someone else. He was many miles away. He had a moment of surprise when he felt the bones of his neck crunching loudly -

And then blackness.


"Don't look," Thorne said, turning Arby away from the railing in the high hide. He drew the boy toward his chest, but Arby impatiently pushed away again, to watch what was happening. Thorne reached for Kelly, but she stepped away from him, and stared out at the plain.

"Don't look," Thorne kept saying. "Don't look."

The kids watched, in silence.

Levine focused his binoculars on the kill. There were now five raptors snarling around the man's body, tearing viciously at the carcass. As he watched, one of the raptors jerked its head up, tearing away a piece of blood-soaked shirt, the ragged edge of the collar. Another was shaking the man's severed head in its jaws, before finally dropping it on the ground. Thunder rumbled, and lightning flashed in the distant sky. It was growing dark, and Levine was having difficulty seeing exactly what was happening. But it was clear that whatever hierarchical organization they had adopted for hunting was abandoned for a kill.

Here it was every animal for itself; the frenzied raptors hopped and ducked their heads as they tore the body to pieces; and there was plenty of nipping and fighting among themselves. One animal came up, with something brown hanging from its jaws. The animal got an odd expression on its face as it chewed. Then it turned away from the rest of the pack, and held the brown object carefully in its forearms. In the growing darkness, it took Levine a moment to recognize what it was doing: it was eating a candy bar. And it seemed to be enjoying it.

The raptor turned back, and buried its long nose in the bloody carcass again. From across the plain, other raptors were racing to join the feast, half-running, half-bounding in great forward leaps. Snarling and furious, they threw themselves into the fray.

Levine lowered his glasses, and looked at the two kids. They were staring silently and calmly at the kill.


Dodgson was awakened by a noisy chattering, like the sound of a hundred tiny birds. It seemed to be coming from all around him. Slowly, he realized that he was lying on his back, on damp sloping ground. He tried to move, but his body felt painful and heavy. Some sort of weight pressed down on his legs, his stomach, his arms. The weight on his chest made it difficult to breathe.

And he was sleepy, incredibly sleepy. He wanted nothing more in all the world than to go back to sleep. Dodgson started to drift off to unconsciousness, but something was pulling at his hand. Tugging at his fingers, one by one. As if pulling him back to consciousness. Slowly, slowly, pulling him back.

Dodgson opened his eyes.

There was a little green dinosaur standing beside his hand. It leaned over, and bit his finger in its tiny jaws, tugging at the flesh. His fingers were bleeding; ragged chunks of flesh had already been bitten away.

He pulled his hand away in surprise, and suddenly the chattering grew louder. He turned and saw that he was surrounded by these little dinosaurs; they were standing on his chest and legs as well. They were the size of chickens and they pecked at him like chickens, quick darting bites on his stomach, his thighs, his crotch -

Revolted, Dodgson jumped to his feet, scattering the lizards, which hopped away, chirping in annoyance. The little animals moved a few feet away, then stopped. They turned back, and stared at him, showing no sign of fear. On the contrary, they seemed to be waiting.

That was when he realized what they were. They were procompsognathids. Compys.


Christ, he thought. They thought I was dead.

He staggered back, almost losing his balance. He felt pain and a wave of dizziness. The little animals chittered, watched his every move.

"Go on," he said, waving his hand. "Get out of here."

They did not leave. They stood there, cocking their heads to one side quizzically, and waited.

He bent his head, stared down at himself. His shirt, his trousers were torn in a hundred places. Blood dribbled from a hundred tiny wounds down his clothes. He felt a wave of dizziness and put his hands on his knees. He took a deep breath, and watched his blood drip onto the leaf-strewn ground.

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies