Teddy the Lonely T-Rex
Being last born can be a problem for any child, but the results can be catastrophic in the animal kingdom. Just ask the third eaglet hatching in a nest when mom only needs two hatchlings. Teddy was in even worse shape, being the fourth and final baby T-Rex to crack through his eggshell. A brother and two sisters born three days earlier already dwarfed him in size. Fortunately for Teddy, their tiny teeth could not yet penetrate his skin, however; the constant head-butting was taking an effect. Poor little Teddy's only option was to run away and hide in a hollow log. That log was his favorite place during the first week of life. Being last at the dinner table also assured him a curtailed growth pattern, leaving him even more vulnerable to the brutal attacks from three vicious siblings. Eventually, his travels took him into a nearby grove of large ferns. They not only provided a limited amount of security, he met two new friends, Patty, an Apatosaurus and Bronty, a Brontosaurus. All three played happily most of the day until Great Mother Instinct told Teddy it was close to feeding time at the nest. Scraps would suffice if combined with an occasional small mammal and insects. Keeping in mind, ancient insects were much larger than those we are familiar with today. This was a very sad time in Teddy's young life until fate granted him a reprieve. After playing one day with his friends, Teddy heard an unusual sound while returning to the nesting area. Only his incredible sense of smell warned him of an odor unlike any he had previously experienced. Raptors! From his special log, he witnessed a savage attack on his sisters. After they left, his brother gingerly approached the wreckage of their nest. Not Teddy, who was still terrified beyond belief as he waited for mom to return. Sure enough, she did. Mother T-Rex sniffed all around before roaring her displeasure for all the jungle to hear. A young Triceratops leg she brought filled both youngsters to their limit, and Teddy finally recognized the pleasure of a full stomach for the first time in his life. Another side effect, mom nuzzled him, apparently satisfied about the number of children still alive. This idyllic world lasted almost two weeks before the Raptors returned. Teddy's friends caused his absence at a crucial moment so they handily devoured his larger brother. Admittedly, a six week old baby T-Rex is not a pushover, and several Raptors sustained wounds that might later prove fatal in a cruel and horrific world. In that dismal time, the cycle of life is simple, things go from bad to worse and then the cycle repeats itself. Teddy's favorite log was useless now for he had outgrown it, but other lairs proved safe until mom's expected return. A six week old T-Rex tires easily and it was early morning before he woke. Hmmm? No hint of mom or any food. Teddy hung around all day before night returned with no sign of the adult his life depended upon. Suddenly, he awoke to his mother's roar splitting the jungle canopy. He turned his head slightly before realizing her voice was somehow different. Then, she appeared. Limping! Teddy couldn't know, but his mother had been fatally struck by the horns of a giant male Triceratops. She collapsed on the nest from a shocking loss of blood. Bad enough by itself, but the blood trail was now leading scavengers toward Teddy. Unable to say anything to his mother bothered him until Great Mother Instinct led him away to rejoin the only friends in his sad, little world. Patty and Bronty greeted him in their usual friendly way, rubbing their long necks against him and pushing gently. That's when Great Mother Instinct taught her final and most important lesson. Better to be lonely than hungry. Besides, his friends were delicious.
AN: If you enjoy my short fictional stories, please check my book based on a true story. It is called Can You Break A Hundred? The Making of a Counterfeiter. Available on Amazon for $3.99. Enjoy.