This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
One Last Time
(Arlo is now a grown up and he happens to meet the T-Rex ranchers again. Butch is now older and has a hard time getting around now, but regardless he still can pack a wallop when fighting the Raptors off. Anyway, what I'm getting too is that this short would center around Arlo thanking the T-Rex family for giving him the guts and courage he needed to get home. Arlo would also be saying is final good-bye to Butch as the old T-Rex wouldn't be living for much longer. I think I'm going to add this line. "Hey, Butch? When you get to other side would you mind saying hi to my Papa for me?")
Many years have passed since Arlo’s adventure finding his way back to his home, thanks to the push of courage that he needed and gained from both friends and enemies alike. Now, Arlo was full grown, experienced in farming, feeding the chickens, and keep an out for critters that tried to raid the storage for food. Often times the adult would chuckle at the memory of how he found Spot and the ‘merry’ chase that took soon after.
Through all the trials and narrow escapes that he and Spot went through, Arlo knew deep in his heart that he had much to thank the cave boy- No…Man. Arlo knew that he had much to thank the caveman for, and if it hadn’t been for Spot the dinosaur would have never met Butch, Nash or Ramsey or gained the courage he had now.
Early one morning, Arlo was making his usual rounds around the farm when he unmistakably heard a far off sound of fight going on. Without hesitating, the adult ran until he was on the other side of the very same river that took his father away and the Sky Sharks had tried to kill them.
Up ahead, Arlo could faintly make out several figures locked in a heated fight. Squinting even harder, Arlo made out Spot’s shape running and biting at the legs and tails of the Raptor Rustlers that dared to try to attack a large dusty brown figure that was down on the ground. However, it wasn’t just Spot doing the attacking Nash and Ramsey were there too! The fallen figure…that meant only one thing - Butch was down and the group need his help and fast.
As out of breath as he was Arlo pushed himself even harder up the hill. He had to get to Butch. He had too! The weathered T-Rex became a surrogate father to him even for that short time that both he and Spot spent with Butch and his two kids. A loud road erupted from his throat as he came on to the scene, stopping the six raptors right in their tracks.
Using the brief distraction, both Nash and Ramsey used their tails to sweep half of the thieves off their feet. Spot, who was much stronger and cleverer than he had been when was a boy, ripped a thick branch off a nearby tree and began using it as a club to stun and even bruise the remaining raptors further. The head rustler soon called his band to retreat. With one last toss in the air by Ramsey, the raptors were sent scattering across the rugged landscape.
Nash gave a loud whoop of celebration. “YEAH! TAKE THAT YOU RAPTORS! NO ONE AND I MEAN NO ONE MESSES WITH OUR PAW!” Ramsey merely shook her head at her excited brother while grinning proudly herself.
“Ruff, Ruff, Ruff!” Spot agreed squatting down on his legs and hanging his tongue out. The dinosaurs laughed at the human’s goofy antics. “Hey, Spot.” Arlo greeted. The caveman looked up and gave his dinosaur a quick bark before somber. The heavy realization of Butch still needing their help silenced all three dinosaurs.
Nash and Spot began trekking down the hill leaving only Arlo and Ramsey to talk. “H-How is he?” Arlo weakly asked the female T-Rex who looked like she was having a hard time herself.
Ramsey’s eyes glistened with unshed tears but she harshly blinked them away before she lost control of her voice. “I…I won’t lie to Arlo. I won’t.” The famer patiently waited until the rancher figured out what she was going to say and how she was going to address the hard news.
Ramsey jerked her head up, startling Arlo in the process. She gave a wet chuckle. “S’rry about that.” She gave a rough sniff. “Paw…he hadn’t been doing too good since the last snow. He got awful sick one night then the next morning he developed a horrible cough that raked his entire body. Sc’red me and Nash really bad. W-We managed to run into a herd that, thankfully, had a healer with them.”
Ramsey paused and took a deep shuddering breath. “It…took a while for them to heal him, and we lost from valuable covering ground because of that, but for me and Nash, as long as our Paw was going to be OK, we didn’t mind.”
Arlo opened his mouth to say something…anything…that would help lift the T-Rex’s burden, however he was interrupted by Nash who came jogging toward them. Both dinosaurs lifted their heads in alert.
“Nash…” Ramsey began who was barely holding it together. “I-Is Paw…?” “Paw’s fine. He just wanted me to fetch Arlo for him.” answered Nash with a weak grin. He motioned Arlo with his head down the hill where Spot was waiting. “Go on, Arlo. Paw would want to talk to ya.”
Nodding somberly and taking the hint that the two siblings needed some time alone together, Arlo started walking down the hill. Spot sat waiting for him halfway down. The man’s bushy eyebrows were furrowed making Spot appear so much older than Arlo remembered him to be. However, given the situation it made sense why Spot would act this way. Butch mattered just much to him as he did to Arlo, and somehow they knew they wouldn’t take his passing well.
Spot silently rose to his feet to follow his large friend the remaining way down. He shook his head hard as he refused to let his tears come freely. Spot smelled death on Butch. It began to grow stronger after the fight with the raptors and that scared him. It hadn’t been that long ago for him and his family that Spot lost his own father to natural means, even so the human wasn’t ready to say good-bye to the tough Longhorn rancher.
“Ruff. Ruff. Ruff.” He called out, just silently hoping that Butch was still awake. Butch stirred before slowly cracking an eye open. Both Spot and Arlo stopped and waited for him to speak.
Arlo swallowed his threatening emotions before giving the older dying dinosaur an answer. “Hello, Butch. I-It’s been a long time hadn’t it?” In the back of his mind, Arlo was scolding himself for sounding so stupid, so weak…but a gruff answer quickly diminished any more from coming.
“Yeah…it’s been a while.” Butch had managed to lift his head a little bit, preventing him just barely having to strain to look up at Arlo. ‘Dang…the kid got huge.’ He thought bewildered just how large such a puny thing he had met back then grew to be. “Kid…come sit down right beside me so that I won’t have to strain such much.” He ordered the farmer as gently as he could.
The long necked dinosaur obeyed, carefully checking himself before comfortably settling himself near Butch’s stomach.
“Listen…kid.” Butch heaved after a long moment of silence. “I don’t want you, my kids, or…” he searched for the right words to describe the small human sitting in front of him. “Spot to mourn for me.” Both young males opened their mouths to argue but with a stern frown they stopped. “Listen…Arlo, take the words of an old rancher and keep them well.” Sweat began to glisten off his skin from the strain of trying to talk and look up at the same time. Butch heaved a low grown of internal agony. He knew his time on this world was growing short. So, as best as he could, he tried to hurry and say what he needed to say.
“Arlo, throughout your entire life, and that includes you too, Spot. You’re gonna have to say good-byes to a lot of different people. Some good-byes, like the one with your own Paw, was cut way too short. While others…like Nash’s and Ramsey’s Maw was long enough for both of them to get to know her before…she died.”
The hardened rancher’s eyes reflected heavy sadness that had dwelled deep inside his very soul. After he and his kids had lost Maw to an infected leg, Butch had buried his grief and refused to show it. Ramsey had accused him several times of being heartless, and for a couple of those times, Butch himself believed it. Ranching was a hard life for both herd and herders alike. You lost the ones you loved too soon, while you slowly drift apart from those that are still alive.
“B-Butch? Butch!” Arlo cried out, nuzzling and nudging the old T-Rex on the cheek with is nose. Spot had already left the scene and was on his way to fetch the others after seeing Butch slip deeper. Frantic barking reached Nash and Ramsey’s ears. They didn’t have to say a word as they quickly followed the caveman down the hill to where their Paw lay.
“Paw!” Nash and Ramsey cried out quickly hunkering down in front of their mentor, their best friend, their dad. “Paw!” Ramsey choked out as she gingerly reached out and touched her father’s deathly cool cheek. Large and hot tears rolled down her nose and fell on Butch’s mouth.
Sitting on the other side of Butch’s head, Nash quietly stroked his father’s head just as he down to his mother on the day of her death. Unashamedly, the T-Rex let his tears fall heavy, hot, and silent on to the dry ground below.
“Paw…” Ramsey murmured her father’s name as she took hold of one of his claws. “Paw…I never thanked you enough for throwing me ‘n Nash into their hurdles, didn’t I? Y-You wanted us – BOTH of us to be strong and know what we’re doing while herding the Longhorns and…fighting off them rustlers.” She sniffed. “Daddy…I’m so terribly sorry for calling you heartless after Mama died. I kn-knew that you were just as hurting as me and Nash were, but I got angry because you weren’t showing anything! So, please, PLEASE forgive me! OK, Paw?”
“Dad…I…I don’t have any words or words for the matter to say, but…thank you for sharing your stories, making us laugh, toughening us up when you knew that we would have to face this on our own one day.” Nash’s lower lip wobbled from the strain of trying to talk and cry at the same time. “W-When you get to where you going w-would you say hi to mom for us? Please?” The young male scrunched his eyes tightly as he tried his hardest to keep it together.
“G’won, Arlo, Spot.” Ramsey encouraged barely meeting their eyes. “Say something that you would like for old dad to hear before…before he goes.”
Spot looked up at Arlo for permission to go first which he was granted with a nod. The human then walked up to large dinosaur and out stretched his arms as wide he could. “He’s giving him the biggest out he ever can give an old rancher like dad!” blubbered Nash.
Spot then threw back his head and gave a long and mournful howl that sent chills down the dinosaurs’ spines. Behind the howl, there was already a great amount of pain behind it, so Arlo, Nash, and Ramsey knew that someone that Spot knew had passed away too not long ago.
“My turn…” Arlo stated. He drew in a deep breath before speaking. “Hey, Butch? When…you get to the other side would…you say hi to my Papa for me?”
“Sure…I do that…for you...kids.” with those last words, Butch a hardened rancher passed on from the world.
ga1984: I really enjoyed it! Characters were deep and plot was pretty complex. A bit on the violent side but it doesnt detract from the story. Very dark but situations make sense. Ends kinda abruptly and later chapters will need some editing work. I'm assuming there's more in the works?
DennisT: This is an excellent story by an author who writes very well. the only problem areas that I see relate to proofreading and editing. All of the stories by Vanessa are excellent, and I have read them all more than once. I had hoped that they would be better edited and proofread on this site, but it...
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dragonswilleise: I loved this book, it was nearly impossible to put down from start to finish. It was fast passed without being overwhelming and slowed down where needed. Overall this was an amazing novel that I will definitely recommend to others.
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Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."