The Dinosaur Keeper

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Chapter 9

Chapter 9

Awake long before the alarm had been due to go off, and now sitting silently on the porch, Rex stared at the forest.

The inescapability of what he had to do took up every second of his thinking.

The previous night had been restless. One spent turning, counting, staring at the clock and, at best, dozing. But more strangely, in the few short moments he had actually managed sleep, for the first time he could ever remember, the night had been dreamless.

So he sat arms around his knees, rocking slightly, in a newly laundered uniform.

Most people wouldn’t have taken much care getting dressed that day, not with their mind on the task that was to be undertaken.

Not so Rex. He had carefully picked out a new uniform, the one that he affectionately called ‘the spare’ and had taken his time putting it on, ensuring that all the buttons were done up and that it hung correctly on his slender frame.

The peak on his cap stood proudly in front of his face, pulled up slightly so not to restrict the view. As he rocked backwards and forwards, now vacant of all thought, he looked at his boots, and stroked the strap of a worn satchel..

It too was meticulous. There was a flask of coffee and two rounds of sandwiches wrapped up in paper. Rex had even been up early enough to bake the bread he hadn’t managed yesterday.

Apart from his food, he had packed a compass in case of misdirection, some empty containers so that if he got the chance he could pick some berries and seeds, even taking the time to jot down the parts of the forest that he seldom went to, presuming that must be where the Rogue Creature would be. Literally dissecting the satchel in two was his razor sharp machete, something he was certain to need.

So he waited.

And waited, still Immaculately dressed.

Yep, if Rex was to ripped limb from limb he was going to do it with a fresh pair of underpants on.

Besides what would his mother think, if attacked without clean undergarments on?

That’s presuming she was still alive and that he actually had a mother, for that matter.

Bringing a halt to the rocking backwards and forwards for a bit, unaware that he had started to do this, Rex decided to stare at the whistle willing it to go off and sound the beginning of another working day.

Now he was up and ready, the waiting for the start seemed worse than the actual task itself.

Looking at his watch, it said a quarter to nine, and for the first time he noticed that Pooetesleap was sitting silently beside him.

“You don’t have to come with me you know,” Rex said gently to him,

“You, out of anyone, should be the most fearful of a trip like this”.

Pooetesleap whined, in a high pitch whimpering kind of a way and so he ruffled his head and patted the dog’s silky coat.

The ground started to vibrate.

Increasing in volume, footsteps stamped steadily toward the house.

Pooetesleap began to shake a little, but stood his ground,

“Morning,” said Max, barely above a whisper, virtually mouthing the last part of the word and promptly sat down, joining in with the groups absolute silence.

Rex enjoyed the new company nevertheless and the faintest hint of a smile adorned his face.

Then a thought struck him.

He was coming with me!

Of course, Max wouldn’t let him go in on his own!

Rex began to feel a bit better after this and a full smile broke free, his mood slightly lightened by a less burdened morning laying ahead.

Deciding to stand he did a few stretches, limbering up for the days event.

The rest of the Dinosaurs, from what he could tell at this angle, were still fast asleep.

The Velociraptors definitely were, as occasionally a cry of, ‘At the top, THE TOP!’ was heard, the staple diet of sleep induced random shouting for them. They also said “tests will tell’ and more bizarrely ‘17’, every now and again whilst deep in slumber, which made Rex wonder just exactly what they were dreaming of.

But still the arbitrary shouting of a sleeping Velociraptor was ten times better the conscious mocking Rex had experienced from them last night.

Turning his gaze to the Total Fruit Tree he wondered if time would allow him to be back for the midday ripening, sure that he hadn’t had a strawberry in several weeks and therefore it must be time for them to make a reappearance.

Also Rex wanted to check on the lemons pickling in the jar on the porch, as at midday the Sun was so strong that it may shatter the glass. This last comment was untrue of course, although the jar could get pretty chunking hot. But Rex realised his musings for what they were, ready made excuses for him to come back if he felt too uncomfortable in the forest.

Turning round, he noticed that Max was starting to stand up, the great Dinosaur’s knees clicked as he made himself upright.

The expression of satisfaction, standing straight was only matched by that of the Total Fruit Tree’s stillness.

Max had leant on the tree’s trunk in order to steady himself, and Rex swore he could hear it let out a small squeal of pain as it bore the brunt of his weight.

A couple of leaves fell off in the meantime, but the tree altogether seemed fine, apart from leaning slightly to the left now. Max rectified this by pulling it towards him, until perfectly straight.

A second later and the whistle blew its high pitched snort, steam coming from the slit at the side of it , and the day began.

Smoothing the creases in his jacket, something regularly undertaken when approaching arduous tasks, Rex picked a small bit of fluff off his shoulder and crouched momentarily to ensure his laces were secure and tight. A quick glance to be certain that he had shut the front door and a pat on his trouser pocket to confirm the key was there.

Check and, indeed, check.

“Come on, come on!”, bellowed Max behind him, and Rex marched proudly and slightly defiantly into the forest, secure in the knowledge that he had his trusty friend beside him and his largest one to the rear.

It wasn’t until a good ten minutes later that Rex first felt it.

Turning round Rex was greeted with the sight of a tree.

He looked at Pooetesleap, who blinked right back at him.

He looked at the tree again and finally accepted what he saw.

A further ten minutes later and they broke through edge of the forest and faced the house again.

There at the side sat a dozing Max.

“I say!”, started Rex, “Aren’t you coming with us?”.

“Wha, wha, what?” was the reply as a sleepy Tyrannosaurus came round.

“Coming with us?” asked Rex again, “Are you? I mean with you being here and sort of keen to watch and everything, I thought you might be joining us”.

Max stood up again, using the guttering to support him this time, which promptly snapped off in his hand.

“Sorry about that”, he said trying to force it back on to the side of the house, before eventually giving up and hiding the metal half tube behind a nearby bush.

“Oh no!”, he continued “ that wouldn’t be appropriate at all”,

and with that he promptly sat down and fell asleep again, snoring slightly.

Rex was a little stunned but managed a,

“Sorry to go on, but why not?”

“Wha, wha, what” came the reply from Max again, slightly perturbed to be woken up twice in as many minutes.

“Why would it not be appropriate?” asked Rex.

Max eyed the guttering again, before deciding to stay put and simply talk in his seated position.

“Well you see I’m not the Dinosaur Keeper”, came the reply, and again Max was fast asleep.

“What’s that got to do with it?”, Rex enquired.

Max really was getting quite fed up. He had been up all last night and had risen early to make sure that Rex would go into the forest, he really didn’t need twenty questions. Not when he could be having a nice snooze and waiting for the Total Fruit Tree to present it’s gifts.

“Well,” Max began, thinking how he could put this in the shortest possible terms so that he could go back to the land of nod.

“You are The Dinosaur Keeper”, he continued, “And what is the rule of the Dinosaur Keeper?”.

“To look after the Dinosaurs?”, Rex enquired presuming this to be a trick question.

“Exactly”, came the reply “and what would be the very most effective way to look after the Dinosaurs? It would be to ensure they never came to harm” he continued without waiting for the reply.

“And the best way to prevent harm?”, again not waiting an answer, “To locate the one creature they fear the most. Don‘t worry I’ll wait for you here”.

With this Max fell soundly to sleep, determined this time not to be woken again.

Rex gulped. It was a large gulp that was helped by the small amount of sick that was currently fizzing at the back of his throat.

His stomach was back to what in all honestly now felt like normality, leaping up and down as empty as Santa’s sack on Boxing day.

Max had just come to make sure he went in.

There was no back up, no safety in numbers, nothing but him.

Pooetesleap, licked his hand and Rex leapt back about twenty metres.

Recovering from the shock Rex burst out laughing and rested a moment, his hands on his knees in order to take in deep breaths.

He looked squarely at the border of the forest.

Without thinking, he ran straight at it screaming and within seconds, Pooetesleap at his side, was back in the undergrowth.

Maybe not feeling invincible but determined, and determination cost nothing yet paid dividends, Rex relished the surge of feeling he suddenly had in abundance.

Back at the house Max half opened an eye, to ensure that they had left and a little remorseful tiptoed into the forest a few metres to the right of where they had gone in.

Rex was into the denser part of the forest now, hacking away at the thicker parts of the undergrowth and bushes with his machete, making the familiar way to the Circle of Light he had been to, but a few days ago.

Feeling the familiar crunch of leaves beneath his feet, Rex stashed some wild coffee in a tub and put it in a side pocket of the satchel.

Just about to grab some more, thinking that it would save a trip this way anytime soon, he suddenly felt the strangest sensation.

Guilt.

For the first time in, well ever to be honest, he felt guilty.

Everything started to race through his mind, the nasty comments last night from the Dinosaurs were first. Then he moved on to the terror he had seen in Rupert’s eyes, before finally remembering his last meeting with the Rogue Creature.

He looked at Pooetesleap and the guilt increased.

No, with Chunker as his witness he wasn’t going to pretend to look for Bob, he was going to actually do it.

Rex looked at a part of the Circle of Light he had never exited from before and promptly made his way through it.

It would have been a much more gallant action, to the casual observer at least, if he hadn’t slipped on a Dumdum carcass when leaving.

But still the sentiment was there.

After the Circle of Light the wood was gloomy, terrifyingly so.

Rex looked at his watch, which was glowing in the darkness and just managed to grasp a branch in time.

Chunk flipped to quarter to eleven, and he steadied himself.

Turning round, Pooetesleap just behind him, Rex marvelled at how his dog was so well equipped for this planet. His four feet always kept him steady, to the point where he didn’t even seem to brace himself for the turning, occasionally using it to his advantage, turning a run into a gallop.

The branch had come away as he grasped it and looking down for the first time, Rex noticed its hard chalky texture in his hand.

Pressing on, the blackness of the forest here wrapped itself around anything that happened to be passing.

The trees looked dead and the branches that lay in the little used path, snapped in Rex’s hands, turning to dust before hitting the cold, clammy floor.

Ahead of him he saw a fallen tree trunk, covered in the blackest, velvety moss Rex had ever come across.

Realising it had been a good couple of hours since the start of the walk, he decided to sit here, gingerly lowering himself on to the trunk, unsure as to whether it would take his weight.

Happy that he wasn’t suddenly going to disappear through the rotten wood, Rex turned his attention to his satchel and after a quick route around, pulled out the flask, pouring a steaming cup of coffee. Taking a deep swig from the cup, he observed the small clearing that was presently his snack stop.

Unwelcoming wasn’t the word, it was down right desolate, the tree’s were as black as a money lender’s heart. This was nothing new to Rex as they had been like that for the passed half hour, but it was their shapes that were most shocking. They looked petrified, as if somebody had thought of designing a tree, but instead of sweeping boughs and circular, plump leaves, had found that they only had the sharpest, straightest bits of wood left. The trunks shot into the sky like mountains and the branches came out like spears. But apart from the threatening weaponry that occasionally came in view at eye level, they looked brittle.

Each part of the forest seemed as if constructed by glass and every now and then, as if to emphasise the point, there would be broken sections of the tree, as if something very large had crashed through it.

Rex looked up to the sky, relieved to see some daylight and in the distance listened to the faint sound of a babbling brook.

Crack!

His ears were overtook with the sound of a snapping twig and he was to his feet, Pooetesleap barking nearby.

Rex shushed the dog and looked around, hurling the remaining part of his coffee to the ground.

Scanning the clearing, he was satisfied nothing was there.

Quickly deciding to press on, swearing the next time a break was needed it would be under cover, Rex concluded this was uncharted territory and he had no desire to become Bob’s midmorning snack.

An hour or so later and Rex was stood absolutely still in amazement, completely forgetting his earlier resolution of stopping only whilst under cover, silently marvelling in the middle of a vast clearing.

Previously going through quite a dense part of the woods, the branches had fallen to the ground the second Rex touched them.

The Dinosaur Keeper had started to feel hungry and decided that come the next suitable resting place, he would stop and have lunch. It was almost one o’clock and long passed lunchtime, not that he could hear the whistle this deep in the forest.

But the trees had got thicker and thicker, closing tightly together. Although it was no problem breaking a rotten branch here, or hacking at a stump there, it was quite laborious and Rex had tired of the monotony.

Just about to give up and have sandwich right there and then, he had suddenly broken through a clump of trees that to all intense and purposes seemed to be more like a fence.

Rex had chosen this way as he could here the running water getting louder and louder and thought that was as good a place to head for as any.

The babbling brook, that had appeared to gently trickled in the background, was in fact a massive river ferociously whooshing along at some pace.

Part of him had also hoped that it was the same river as the one that flowed near the plains and he could follow it home, not having a clue where he presently was.

Anyway, having broken through the fence Rex had found himself in a clearing.

Although clearing wasn’t quite the right description for it, it was more of a dried out field.

The field didn’t have any grass, although there was the odd leafless shrub here and there, but more striking was the carpet of orange leaves. It was about twice the width of Rex’s house and twice as long again, every inch golden in the tree’s cast-offs.

One side of the clearing seemed healthy and green, yet on the side that Rex had emerged, everything was blackened and dead. All of the trees, dead or blooming, grew straight up and then leant over the field, making a kind of roof over the whole of the area.

In the centre though was a large hole which let the Sunlight flood in, making this part of the forest seem quite homely.

Rex had looked at the source of the noise first. The river ran through the centre of the field and crossing that right in the middle, spotlighted by the Sunlight, was a wide stone built bridge.

The Dinosaur Keeper was suddenly not in the least bit hungry. Before his brain had fully comprehended his legs action, Rex was heading toward the bridge, stopping slightly short of it and going down a bank to the waters edge.

Cautiously at first, he took a small sip from the river.

Delicious! It was pure, ice cold water and gulping deeply Rex‘s thirst bubbled to the top of his throat to be quenched instantly.

Even Pooetesleap joined in, enjoying the new game immensely.

Wiping his mouth, Rex looked at the underside of the bridge and decided it was safe to cross.

Retracing his steps and approaching the start of the bridge, he noticed that the small cobbles which made up the walk way, were exactly like the ones that had been used to build his house. Unlike his house the sides of the bridge were made of much larger stones and rose a good three metres in the air, but the pathway was the same. On top of them was a thick, yellow banister with a gargoyle on either side of the crossing.

After a good few minutes of steady walking, Rex marvelled at the gargoyles at the other end of the bridge, their pointy feet jutting sideways and tongues extended to just the right side of menacing. He had to wonder why the builder had made the sides so tall. After all with such craftsmanship surely he should have put the gargoyles at eye level.

But this wasn’t the strangest of things on the other side.

First of all he saw a big pit and decided to have a look at what was in it.

The pit was on one side of the clearing, with a pile of branches on the other, and it was quite frankly disgusting! Filled with the foulest, sludgiest stuff Rex had ever seen, he instantly recognised the stench.

Dung!

Deciding to move away from that side of the field as quickly as possible, he made his way to the pile of branches at the other end.

The nearer he got, the more he saw that the branches were actually tree trunks. Or rather there were tree trunks round the outside, and smaller saplings making a pile in the middle. On top of the saplings were large lush leaves, some kind of enormous palm must of produced them Rex thought, and on top of them was the softest moss he had ever felt.

He turned and noticed next to the pile, was another pile.

This time it was not branches though, it was the biggest pile of Dumdums Rex had ever seen .

Suddenly remembering he was hungry, his stomach concurred by growling.

Whistling to Pooetesleap, who was on the other side of the field obsessively sniffing at the dung pit, Rex decided to take his own earlier advice.

With this he set off back to where he had started, down the bank again, turning to the right and decided to take shelter under the bridge. If he was going to have lunch, and this always took all his concentration, he would need to be hidden, as his attention couldn’t be spent on looking for the Rogue Creature as well.

Taking a Dumdum out of his satchel, snaffled from the pile he had just discovered, he enthusiastically stuffed it in his mouth, chewing happily and deciding to save his sandwiches for the afternoon in case he got back later than expected and needed a snack.

The mild flavour soothed his grumbling tummy as he tossed Pooetesleap a piece.

The dog just stared at it.

Rex watched for a few seconds, stopping his own chewing, curious as to why the ginger mutt hadn’t gobbled it down and demanded more.

“Go on then! Eat it!”, Rex eventually said, the words tumbling out through Dumdum filled cheeks.

Pooetesleap cautiously lowered his head, and sniffed at it, taking a step back and eventually leaving it untouched, exactly where it lay. Rex looked at the Dumdum in his hand, saw nothing wrong with it, and took another mouthful.

Licking his fingers, and shaking his head at his companions strange actions, Rex looked at the pile of Dumdums again, undecided on whether he could eat another, the remains of the first one still bloating his cheeks.

But then his chewing suddenly slowed and stopped.

Next to the pile of Dumdums, was a black circle, filled with ash. There was nothing unusual about this, Dumdums couldn’t resist a good fire.

But the fire was too perfectly round, it was deliberate.

Something had lit the fire to trap the Dumdums and Rex didn’t feel so hungry anymore.

He gulped, mouth full of Dumdum, but was unable to swallow, giving up and spitting the contents out.

The ground shuddered.

It was faint at first, but Pooetesleap had stopped silently still, staring back at Rex.

Gradually the noise increased, every two seconds or so there would be another pounding on the floor.

It stopped and Rex stood in the complete quietness, motionless with fear rising from his toes.

Then came a cracking, a creaking of something being forced open, until a snap echoed through the forest.

The pounding was louder and only a few feet away.

Rex grabbed Pooetesleap’s collar and pressing a finger to his lips, huddled into the crease, where the bridge met the floor.

There was a thud above them and dust fell from the bridge’s mortar, a snowstorm of grime.

Rex felt his nose tingle, letting out the faintest of sneezes.

The thud stopped.

Or rather the footsteps stopped and Rex prayed to almighty Chunker to help him.

An eternity passed, but eventually the walk carried on until it was clear of the bridge.

A sigh came from Rex’s mouth, until he noticed a head at the side of him.

It was facing the other way, but there it was, tongue darting in and out, lapping up the water.

He knew he shouldn’t, but like anybody who didn’t want to stare hard at something that would repulse or terrify them, his body took over, edging the way along the bridge side toward the beast.

It was a Tyrannosaurus!

With great relief Rex let out another sharp breath and started toward the animal.

He fell sharply, but silently to the concrete floor, grazing the palms of his hands.

Pooetesleap had snapped at the hem of his trouser leg, bringing him to the ground.

Rex was about to shout at his friends stupidity, when he saw that Pooetesleap was shaking from head to toe.

Fear was in the dogs eyes and the vibrations over his body increased as time slowly passed.

From this angle he could only see the tiniest part of Max’s foot, but it was enough however, to see it wasn’t.

Where the missing toe was meant to be, stood a fully formed, entirely working toe and claw.

It was Bob.

Rex quickly pressed himself against the side of the bridge, breathing in and even pointing his toes to the side, anything to make himself invisible to what he had just seen.

The trickling of water from the creatures mouth stopped and a small snort was heard, echoing around the empty bridge mouth.

Another snort followed before rustling could be heard and the pounding of steps quietened, moving some distance away.

Rex stood stock still and allowed himself the smallest indiscretion, to begin breathing again.

He was sure the thumping of his heart would give them away, but any noises from the creature stayed in the distance.

Without knowing it Rex had edged across the brickwork, to the bridges mouth, and was now peering at Bob, both curious and amazed at his own stupidity of making his face visible.

What he could see snapped into focus and sharp relief washed over Rex, as only the backside of Bob was in view, tail swishing gently from side to side.

He was too close, much too close, as the vastness of the field shrank with the size of Bob.

The hugeness of the Rogue Creature could not be overemphasised, scaly skin that was a bright hue of green, tightly pulled over a defined body.

Watching intently, Rex saw what the mound of branches, leaves and moss were for. Bob perched on top of them in a half sitting, half reclined kind of way, and from the sounds coming from him, he was already fast asleep basking in the sunlight.

Rex knew this would be the best time to depart, he had found where Bob lived and that was enough for now.

Again marvelling at his own stupidity, just like the last time at the perimeter fence, no planning had gone any further than the now. He’d found Bob, there was no mistaking that, but what was he to do?

Ask him to come quietly? Give him a sound telling off and sternly inform him that he shouldn’t be so nasty to the other Dinosaurs?

No, there was no thought passed locating the Rogue Creature and now he had done that no further plans sprang to mind.

That was until, and as quick as a flash Rex quietly rummaged around in his satchel and pulled out a note book and a pencil.

First he drew a small rectangle, on the right hand side in the middle of an empty page, and labelled it ‘house‘. Next was a larger rectangle, that took up most of the lower right hand side and spread just passed the middle crease, labelled ’the plains’ in his most legible scrawl.

To the left edge of the page he started to swirl and wind, until he came to the bottom of the plains.

He traced this line, parallel, all the way along and labelled it ‘river’.

To the side of the house he drew a fuzzy splodge, like a cloud or a blown dry sheep, deciding to call this ‘forest’. The forest was sandwiched below the plains and to the left of the house, with the river cutting right through it.

In the empty part of the paper, above the river he simply wrote two words, ‘Bob’s Lair’.

Quite pleased with his handy work, Rex decided on one more reference point, and drew a perfect circle in the middle of the forest. This was labelled ‘The Circle of Light’, and above it, within the boundaries of pencil edged forest, he shaded all of it in the darkest grey. It highlighted the dead part of the forest, and as Rex looked at it he did question the relevance of his heavy hand, sure that he wouldn’t forget such a gloomy and morbid place in a very long time.

Admiring the map, even though he knew it was slightly inaccurate, as the way he had drawn it meant that it looked like he had gone round in a three quarter circle. Meaning that they were presently a mile at the most from the other side of his house.

Chuckling at his feeble attempt at being an artist, Rex silently pulled at the page until the staples released it from the centre of the book.

Folding the paper gently, making perfect creases with his fingernails, Rex placed it securely in his breast pocket.

The map would come in handy if he got lost, even if it was slightly wrong, and would act as proof of his days whereabouts to Max.

He looked back at Bob, snoring loudly, and Rex saw his best opportunity to leave, but still did not.

The animal was mesmerising.

Not least because of all the time Rex had been fearful of Bob, he had never had the chance to look at him.

The temptation was too much, although he could see from this angle he would just be admiring the animals immense backside, which seemed a bit pointless and somehow wrong.

Rex moved along the tunnel of the underside of the bridge, until he came out the other side further away from Bob. He could see the dung pit, and just beside it was an assortment of bushes, the perfect vantage point to observe a slumbering Dinosaur.

The way there was not covered at all, an open field ,which meant that he would need to walk fully visible to anyone or thing that cared to notice.

No thought was further entered into and grabbing Pooetesleap, he pulled at the collar forcing the dog toward the foliage.

Pooetesleap widened his legs as far as possible, claws sliding along the concrete under the bridge, a slight whimper unable to be suppressed came from his mouth.

Rex stopped, peeped over the embankment towards Bob, making sure he was still asleep.

“Come on!”, he whispered sternly to the dog, “No, we’re here now, we have to make notes”.

But Pooetesleap remained unmoved, some how pinning himself in the grass verge with his claws, suddenly becoming a cemented post unable to be moved.

“Fine!”, Rex said in a voice a little louder than he ought and made his way alone toward the stinking pit.

About half way, he realised that perhaps it was a little more foolhardy than initially thought.

Bob, didn’t move, that wasn’t a problem, but as he made his way to the presumed protection of the bushes, so he came round to the front of the Rogue Creature.

He was still some distance away, more than the bridge thankfully, but Rex was now in plain sight should Bob suddenly awake.

Quickening his step and silently jogging the last few metres, safely in bushes now, Rex squatted as comfortably as possible, finding the densest part of the shrubbery. From this angle he could see Bob, through a small hole that the branches had not quite managed to fill.

He pulled out his pad again and began to sketch, estimating sizes as he went. He started with the legs, which he guessed would be about two metres long and at least half that thick.

The arms were just like Max’s, but he didn’t underestimate the ferocity of the claws and took extra time to get the contours just right. The head was huge, looking too big for his thick neck and the nostrils flared, as breath was taken in and bellowed out.

The eyes, he observed, were green and flecked with yellow and the detail was fascinating, Rex wishing he‘d brought some coloured pencils with him.

Who‘d have thought green with yellow flecks, just like…

But Rex stopped.

He gulped and stayed completely still.

If he had observed that the eyes were green, then they must be open.

Bob started to blink, yawned slightly and shook his head from side to side, his great jowls wobbling and the slightest traces of saliva were seen to jump free.

Rex moved slightly to his left, becoming conscious that if he could see through the hole in the branches he could be seen, snapping a twig behind him.

The sound ricocheted around the clearing and Rex prayed that he heard it’s loudness only because he was so close and that in reality nobody else would notice, least of all Bob.

In one sinuous movement Bob was standing, hunched over and breathing deeply.

Rex could see his head and shuffled slightly under the bushes cloak, fearing that he could be seen from above.

Bob let out an ear piercing roar and Rex clasped his hands over his ears, waiting to be found.

But then the tyrannosaurus seemed to become calm and relaxed again, normality coursing through his veins. Moving a couple of steps, shaking out the sleep from his legs and arms and going over to the Dumdum pile, his mouth opened ready to take several.

Just as his lips were within a millimetre of the carcass’ he stopped completely still.

First Rex presumed he had thought better of it, perhaps not hungry and just going through the motions, then deciding to not bother eating after all.

But then he sniffed, once and then twice.

It was muted at first but with the second snort he seemed to inhale all of the air surrounding the Dumdums.

Bob turned and surveyed the field, before settling on the dung pit, right where Rex hid.

Then slowly, but confidently, he moved toward him, eyes still on the bushes where Rex lay frozen in terror.

He stopped at the side of the bushes and sniffed the leaves slowly and carefully, ensuring every scent was taken from the atmosphere.

Then turning, raised his left leg high into the air.

Rex saw this after finally opening his terrified eyes and sat waiting to be squashed by the heavy foot, unable to move.

But then, nothing.

Bob stayed at this peculiar angle, balancing on one leg for some seconds, whilst Rex relaxed his whole body from the tense brace it had previously been in.

A minute passed and still nothing happened.

Then it came, worse than Rex could imagine, a force of nature.

Or rather a call of nature.

Bob relieved himself on the bushes of which Rex was sheltering under and a constant spray of yellow urine drenched his uniform.

Another penny for the dry cleaners, thought Rex, but at least he was confident of not being spotted now.

Two minutes later, and Rex was wondering how much liquid a Tyrannosaurus could store. Then as quickly as it had started it stopped and Bob shook his hips from side to side, turning his gaze back towards the large bed. Damp and smelling terrible, like milk that had gone off whilst mating with a bottle of vinegar, Rex looked the other way desperate to see if the woodlands offered any leaves or grass to mop up some of the liquid.

Having scanned the ground for a while, he resigned himself to the fact that a change of clothes and a hot bath when he got back to the house would have to do.

He turned his gaze toward the bridge, to see if he could spot Pooetesleap and it was at this point that he was greeted by the mammoth eye of a Tyrannosaurus.

“Haven’t seen you here before Rex”, said Bob.

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