Storytime: Death of a Saurischian.

December 10th, 2014

There are certain things that are certain.
Life, mostly. Death, usually. And whenever you get those two running hand in hand, you face a third – which, unlike them, poses itself as a question.
What the hell do you do with the body?
Pinning it under dirt is a good one, if you’ve got the muscle for it, and that muscle is allocated in an anatomically proper manner.
“Brother. Look at your arms. Look at them.”
“I can’t.”
“…they’re too small.”
“No, we’re not burying him.”
Setting it on fire needs some decent grasp of tools.
“That won’t work either!”
“Why not? We saw that big forest fire, remember? Remember that? We ran and ran and ran and the Littlest One fell behind and we never saw it again and we ate our meals crisp and crunchy for-”
“Your brain is barely the size of a banana, and you want to crate, nurture, and build a flame strong enough to eat fifty feet of flesh?”
“It was just an idea!”
“A stupid one!”
You could always throw it up on a stone and let the birds and wind take it away, if you’re willing to stay upwind for a few weeks.
“Birds? BIRDS?!”
“Well, pterosaurs at leas-“
“It would take MONTHS! YEARS!”
“You’re yelling at me again!”
“You’re being stupid at me again!”
In the case of the mortal remains of Grash – Giganotosaurus, father, loving, murderous tyrant – none of these options were practical.
“Well I don’t see YOU coming up with any plans!”
“Because you’re taking up all my air yammering about your STUPID ONES!”
“You’re mean! Father always said you were mean!”
“Mother always said you were stupid!”
“Well, she’s dead so who cares!”
“So’s father!”
“He died second!”
“It was a big bite! Nothing wrong with a big bite!”
“Maybe you’d realize how wrong you were if you had a BIGGER BRAIN for your BIG BITES.”
“So you’ve got a banana and a half! Big deal! You’re mean!”
Clearly, some tact and imaginative thought was needed here. Luckily, I knew just the woman for the job.
“Sounds like you’ve got problems, kids,” I said, in as laid-back a manner as I could. Which was easy. Because I was lying back.
Well, pinned back at least.
The older and angrier one – Gmmr – peeled his neck back to glare at me past his toes. “We’re busy,” he told me, and put a little more pressure on that foot to drive his point home into my chest.
“And you’re busy too,” chimed in brother Gaw. “You’ve got problems too, right? I mean, we’re going to eat you as soon as we just-“
“As soon as NOTHING, at the rate you’re coming up with ideas,” hissed Gmmr. “We don’t eat ‘till father’s buried, and if you don’t shut up this second we’ll both starve to death. Now. Shut. Up.”

I watched the clouds move. A nice day. For other people, theoretically.

“Know what to do yet?”
“I WAS THINKING!” shrieked Gmmr.
“Sorry! You think quietly!”
“We don’t all think WITH OUR LIPS MOVING!”
“We don’t have lips!”
“And you MOVE THEM!”
“Kids!” I said, as sternly as I could manage with a half-lungful of breath. “Don’t fight! I’ve got an idea.”
“Nobody asked you anything, nobody cares, and it’s bad anyways,” said Gmmr with practiced efficiency and bitterness. “I’m thinking again.”
“Nah, cheer up!” I said. “I’ve just done that for you!”
“Gosh,” said Gaw in awe. “Even with all that noise from –“
“Shut up shut shut up shut UP. And you!”
“I’ll listen,” offered Gaw.
“No, you should shut-“
“I can get your father’s funeral over and done with before dinner,” I said, as quickly as I could manage.
Long, slow eye contact. Some general reptilian signalling going on here, a system of social queues difficult to grasp without scales, a homogenous dental array, or a cloaca.
“That’s how it works already,” pointed out Gaw.
“Yes, that’s what we were just SAY-ing,” said Gmmr, testily. “It’s a matter of protocol.”
“No no no no, I mean today. Today’s dinner. I can have you two kids happy and chewing my legs off before the sun sets tonight.”
More elaborate body language based around slow blinks.
“That good?” asked Gaw.
“Acceptable…” mused Gmmr. “Alright. But no chewing. Molars disgust me. We bite and shred, like civilized creatures should.”
“Alright,” I said. “I’ll keep my heterodont opinions to myself,”
Gmmr shifted his weight and I inhaled my first full breath for two hours. Tasted good. Well, tasted like rotting death and carcharodontosaurid toe-jam, but goodness was relative, right?
The foot moved again, and I was rudely booted forwards. My nose whacked into cold meat.
“Well, there he is. Clever funeral idea, please.” Left unsaid: now.
I rubbed my feet with my other feet and I thought to myself: me too.
But I made do.
“Alright. So. What we need is…”

I kept my eyes on the clouds, not the brothers. It made me stammer less. Just watch the white flow on the blue and let the words follow each other out of your mouth until you can pretend they made sense.
“…and then you’re home free for the evening.” And then you can eat me.
They looked at each other again.
“That’s gross,” said Gaw.
“That’s…intriguing,” said Gmmr.
“What? No, no it is-“
“It’s very natural.”
“It’s sick! You know we don’t-“
“Oh, and what happened to the second Littlest One, hmm?”
Gaw flinched. “Uhhh…… he fell behind?”
“Yes!” said Gmmr with mirthless madly interested humor. “Yes! That’s right! He fell behind!”
“Yeah,” said Gaw. “Yeah. It is.”
“Into your mouth.”
“Yea – NO!”
Gmmr clacked his jaws and turned back to me. “It’s inappropriate and it’s disgusting and it’s just what we need right now. Father has to go somewhere, and we’re hungry. This’ll do nicely.”
“Sounds good!”
“And we can have you for dessert.”
“Sounds good.”
“Or maybe mid-course.”
“That’s…well, actually, you might want to hear the second part.”
Gmmr paused, mouth half-open over Grash’s flank. His orange eye flickered over me.

The trees were heavy with bodies. Spindly limbs and big blank eyes bulging over long, narrow beaks.
“This is too much like sharing. I don’t like it.”
The ground was a-stir with life. Little lithe muscles dancing in circles past each other, living on nervous energy and a burning tank of meat.
“But they hated him and now we’re gonna let them-“
“That’s the point!”
The riverside was seemingly quiet. But if you looked at the water, too many little lights gleamed back at you to be just reflections of the stars. Some reflections winked at you.
“What’s the point if we don’t even get to eat him?”
Gmmr sighed. I admired that sigh. I couldn’t get that effect. Then again, I couldn’t push more air through my lungs that I massed, so it wasn’t really my fault. “Tell him, dessert.”
“Right, right. Right. Listen, kid, it’s a matter of respect. Your dad’s dead, right?”
“So you’re in charge now, right?”
“So you’re showing that by letting everyone have a bite of him because you’re so badass you can afford to go hungry, seeing as you’ll just run ‘em all down later and eat them whenever you feel like it.”
Gaw digested this. I tracked the idea’s progression through his brain by monitoring the saliva on his jaws.
“Gosh,” he said.
Maybe half a banana.
“Can’t I just eat them now? I really want to eat them n-“
“Shut up. Alright, dessert, ready to start this?”
I nodded.
“Go on, say your piece.”
I dragged myself to some semblance of uprightness – oh, the left hind leg did NOT like that one bit – and looked at a crowd of things that wanted to eat me.
“Honorable carnivores!” I said, with all the sincerity you can manage after a day of being literally underfoot. “Noble flesh-eaters! On this day, you are released from your tyranny!”
I paused for a second. No applause. Damnit, hard to read a crowd that mostly communicates through biting.
“…and delivered unto a new one!” I continued, trying not to lose rhythm. “Grash, hatched of, uh…”
“Grunch,” whispered Gaw, slightly louder than I could shout.
“…thank you GRUNCH, has passed from this world, and in his place now stand his lovely, intelligent-“
“Banana and a half-“
“You? HAH!”
“-and deeply vicious and fearsome hatchlings, Gmmr and Gaw. They pledge that they will continue their father’s practices and be unmerciful in the extreme, however-“
“She said your name first, why did she say your name-“
“I’m the one that matters. Shut up.”
“-they are not, uh, un…benevolent. Ish. Rulers? And they will…” I blinked a little too much, and felt sweat moving up from under the skin. Can’t stop the train of thought now. Can’t stop it now. Can’t stop it “Definitely show that by letting you all take a bite from their father’s aged, slightly-decomposed, battle-scarred, war-torn, terrifying, awe-inspiring carcass in hopes that it will inspire you to be slightly less timid and ineffectual prey when they hunt you down and devour you later.”
Still no applause. Oh damn I hope this works.
“At their word, you feast on flesh and don’t stop until you hit bone!” And then I bowed, or fell over, or both. It looked okay I guess. I wasn’t trying to figure that out, I was watching the brothers and thinking pleaseworkpleaseworkpleasework.
Pause. They both were looking at me.
Then they looked at each other, and my pulse quickened.
Then out at the crowd.
Then Gaw cleared his throat of six cubic feet of mucus and said “Well then I guess you can-“
“Eat,” said Gmmr. “Now.”
“Hey you can’t-“
“Shut up. Eat. NOW!”
No applause. No movement.
A single little scavenger took a half-step forwards.
I’d never actually seen a woosh in motion before, but there it was. More like a whoom, really. And above the rumble of hurrying feet and gnashing jaws tearing into leathery hide, there was a thunderous whine.
“Why’d you do that?!”
“Do what?”
“You always-“
“Tell people what to do? Someone has to.”
“But you-“
“And it certainly isn’t you.”
“Because you’re an IDIOT.”
“Can’t you-“
“Who won’t SHUT UP.”
“Even though I’ve told you so nine thousand ti”
A foot moved without consideration, and I went for a quick flight that ended abruptly halfway up a tree. The world flicked on and off for a second, but when I came back in again I was smiling because I’d heard a sweet sound. Seven tons of dinosaur impacting seven other tons of dinosaur, against the backing of a roar ripped straight from the bile duct.

I didn’t get the best view of what happened next, and I was a bit distracted. But I heard a lot of insults, a lot of violence, and a good deal of biting and shredding.
No chewing though.
And well, the last thing I saw before I lit out for the night – just a glance over my shoulder, because on three good legs you don’t linger – was the two of them tipping over right into Grash’s half-excavated ribcage, right onto a crocodile’s skull, where it did what crocodiles do naturally and bit them.
After that, well, blood’s flowing, you’re there for meat, and what does it matter if your next mouthful’s warmer than you expected? All meat, right?

So I left the funeral as they set out the main course, before the tears started. I never liked those things anyways.

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.