‘This is going to be fun.’
‘It’s amazing!’ gasped Rosalie.
‘I’ve never seen anything like this before,’ I laughed in delight.
We were in a science research facility along with Rosette, Kate, Donia, Elena and Iris. The seven of us had been invited as test matter for a new prototype.
‘This,’ said Dr. Fabien, ‘Is the place where the experiment happens.’
We were led into a sealed room, which had walls lined with supercomputers. Each one had numbers flashing across them at a stupefying speed.
‘The experiment involves sending you back in time,’ began Dr. Fabien.
‘A what now?’ interrupted Kate while the rest of us looked confused.
‘We have created a simulation of what we think it would be like in the Jurassic Age, when dinosaurs existed. It’s been tried and tested but only by people who understand the scientific workings. We now need to test it on some guinea pigs with no scientific understanding. That’s where you come in.’
‘Hey!’ I cut in before Elena shushed me.
He led us to where seven chairs stood in the centre of the room and urged us to take a seat. As we did, he connected electrodes to our legs, arms and heads. I raised my eyebrow at Iris in alarm.
‘This will convert your nerve impulses into electrical ones that get fed into our computers and into the simulation. It will be as if you are really in the past but your bodies will remain here. So if you die,’ he said, putting his hand on a lever, ‘you’ll return to your body here. However, it might hurt. We don’t know yet.
‘The object of this test is to see if this can be used in historical tours. You will be left inside there for an hour to see if you can survive. Good luck!’
And with that, he pulled the lever.
I don’t remember what exactly happened next but my next memory was that of coming to in a jungle, surrounded by the sounds of wild bird calls and chirping insects. The sky was a pale yellow colour with the first tints of pink rising on the clouds, making them looks as if they were blushing.
My friends were all standing around, looking as dazed as I felt.
‘So, what now?’ asked Rosette, ‘Do we just sit down and wait for the hour to be up?’
‘No!’came a voice from the clouds, making us all jump.
Then I recognized it. ‘Dr. Fabien!’ I cried, rolling my eyes.
‘You must walk around for the hour. Follow the path which is what the tour will follow. We will use you to identify any dangers along the way.’
‘No!’ grumbled Donia. ‘I’m not going anywhere that will get me killed. I’m taking a stand right here.’
And with that, she ironically sat down on a fallen log.
‘Careful you don’t fall off,’ laughed Rosalie, knowing Donia’s track record for sitting without falling.
‘Oooh, I’m going to fall,’ mocked Donia, lifting her feet of the ground to show she had control. ‘I’m not that bad Rosal– ahh!’
‘Donia!’ yelled Elena, rushing to grab her hand.
But it was too late.
Donia had fallen backwards into a swamp which quickly swallowed her before we could pull her out. We stood back in shock for a minute before Iris said, ‘Well, that was quick.’
‘At least she didn’t really die,’ I began.
‘And it can’t have hurt that much…’ said Kate doubtfully.
‘All the same, let’s try and be more careful,’ warned Elena, as she began going down the path.
We’d barely taken ten steps when we felt the ground shake.
‘What was that?’ asked Rosalie, her eyes opening wide in terror.
‘Please don’t be a dinosaur, please don’t be a dinosaur,’ I prayed under my breath. ‘Please don’t be…’
‘A dinosaur,’ I heard Iris whisper beside me.
From behind the trees loomed a giant, a T-Rex, taller than the tallest tree, a creature out of my worst nightmare. Everyone froze in their tracks and we held our breaths, hoping this monster wouldn’t spot us so far down below it.
No such luck.
A glittering red eye swiveled to the ground and saw us. It up reared its head and roared loud enough to wake the dead.
‘Should we run?’ I asked because I was currently paralyzed with fear.
‘No,’ whispered Rosalie. ‘Quick, lie down and play dead.’
She dropped to the ground like she’d been shot and we all followed suit, knowing we had no place to run to because if we ran forward, we’d meet the T-Rex and if we ran back, we’d fall into the quicksand.
The T-Rex got closer, and bent down to sniff us. I shut my eyes tight as I felt its hot breath sweeping over us and prayed it would think we didn’t look like dinosaur grub.
Again, no such luck.
I heard Rosette squeak as the T-Rex picked her sister up with its lacerated teeth and toss her effortlessly into the air. We all watched in horror as it then opened its mouth and Rosalie fell straight into its jaws of death.
‘We should’ve run!’ said Elena.
The T-Rex looked down at us again.
‘Um guys,’ interjected Kate. ‘I don’t think Rosalie was enough to satisfy that guy’s appetite.’
Normally I would’ve laughed but now I leapt off the ground and sprinted into the forest. I could hear Elena and Rosette hot on my tail, jumping over the fallen branches and vines.
‘Are Kate and Iris okay?’ panted Elena, as we stopped after running full tilt for about three minutes.
‘I’m here,’ gasped Kate, jogging up behind Rosette. ‘I lost Iris.’
‘Yeah, she probably died,’ I said blatantly.
All three of them shot me disapproving looks.
‘What?’ I cried. ‘She went back to the real world while we have to suffer for’ I checked my watch, ‘half an hour longer.’
‘What now?’ asked Kate.
‘Go back to the path,’ came Fabien’s voice again.
‘Is the dinosaur still there?’ asked Elena nervously.
‘Doesn’t look like it,’ said Rosette.
‘I’m not going back till we know for certain,’ said Elena firmly.
‘I’ll climb up a tree and check if you like,’ offered Kate.
Elena smiled as Kate nipped up a nearby tree and looked in the direction we’d just come from.
‘I can see it going away from the path,’ she called down. ‘I think it’s safe to– ahhh!’
‘Oh no!’ cried Rosette, as our friend was whipped out of the tree in the beak of a pterodactyl. It flew upwards, wings beating strongly. Then it tossed her up in the air and opened its beak to catch her but mistimed it, resulting in Kate landing in a heap on its back.
I watched through my fingers as she gripped the skin on its neck to steady herself and Rosette cheered her on.
‘All that horse riding came in handy, huh?’ grinned Elena.
Then she gasped. The giant bird decided to do a loop-de-loop, throwing Kate off into the air. This time it timed its descent perfectly. I groaned as Kate fell into its open mouth and prayed it didn’t hurt.
‘Well, she was going to get eaten either way,’ shrugged Elena. ‘At least she put on a show for us first!’
‘If I die and find out that it hurts,’ growled Rosette. ‘That Fabien is in for it.’
‘Same,’ I added, through gritted teeth. ‘We should probably head back for the path now. Only 20 minutes left.’
Then something made us turn our heads. It was a hissing sound that made my skin crawl.
‘Not more dinosaurs,’ groaned Elena.
‘Not just any,’ I whispered. ‘They’re raptors.’
‘Climb a tree, quick!’ yelled Rosette and we all bounded apart, shinning up the easiest trees we could find.
‘Don’t climb all the way to the top or the pterodactyls will get us!’ I called out but I wasn’t sure if they heard me.
I could hear the raptors’ shrill call below me and then it died away. After waiting a couple of minutes, I warily slid down to the ground and then nearly jumped out of my skin when I heard a twig crack behind me.
I whipped around and breathed a sigh of relief.
‘Where’s Elena?’ asked Rosette, dusting herself down.
‘I’m here,’ we heard a muffled cry from above us.
We followed her shouts till we found her, trapped in a tangle of branches and woody lianas.
‘Can you help?’ she said sheepishly.
I laughed and went to move towards Elena but Rosette suddenly pulled me back in alarm. ‘Look!’
Behind Elena, was a gigantic mutation of a Venus Fly Trap. What we’d mistaken as lianas were actually its tendrils, wrapping Elena in a deathly grasp. Then it opened its clam-like mouth and swallowed Elena as if she was no more than an insect.
‘Don’t we have anything we can fight it with?’ I asked in despair.
Rosette shook her head, clearly mad. ‘How long do we have left?’
‘Five minutes,’ I said, checking my watch.
The ground began to shake again.
‘Really,’ said Rosette, deadpan. ‘Again?!’
The T-Rex roared, its huge foot coming down right next to us. I noticed it had giant feathers sprouting out of its leathery skin and I yelled, ‘Grab on!’
Rosette leapt onto the foot beside me, both of us grimacing at how slimy the feathers were.
‘We only have to hold on for four minutes!’ I called as the dinosaur shook its foot in an effort to throw us off.
‘It’s like a rodeo!’ screamed Rosette. ‘Except… uh-oh.’
The monster was heading for a lake and, clearly in an attempt to drown us, strode deep into it. I opened my eyes underwater, letting go of the feathers to swim to the surface when I saw a school of evil looking piranha mutants swimming our way.
Then, in the following few seconds of blinding pain and floundering in red water, all went black.
‘That hurt SO MUCH!’ groaned Rosette, waking up beside me back in the lab.
All our friends were gathered around us, nodding in agreement.
‘Once we died,’ said Donia, ‘we could watch you on the screens so I saw everything that happened after I died.’
‘If you had just stuck to the path,’ shrugged Fabien emotionlessly, ‘You might have stayed alive.’
I looked at Rosette.
Rosette winked and cracked her knuckles.
Then we all pounced.
‘What are you doing?!’ Dr. Fabien cried, struggling against 14 arms.
‘Giving you a taste of your own medicine,’ smirked Iris as Elena and Rosalie connected the electrodes to him and the rest of us held him down.
‘Enjoy,’ said Donia, pulling the lever.
Kate sat down at a computer and began typing something.
I laughed, ‘Clever girl.’
‘What?’ asked Rosette.
‘She’s changed the algorithm so that Dr. Fabien has to stay there for a full hour, no matter how many times he dies.’ I explained.
‘Does anyone have popcorn?’ Rosalie laughed.
We all crowded around the screen, evil smiles playing at our lips.
‘This is going to be fun.’