Tuesday, 6 October 2015

[Fiction] Return to Jurassic Park


Billy stared eagerly out of the window of the car, wincing as the harsh afternoon sun stabbed at his eyes. He focussed his attention on keeping them open despite the pain, keen to be the first to spot their destination. Mum had always claimed that looking at the sun would make you blind, but she also claimed that the tooth fairy was real, drinking milk made you grow up handsome, and the man that sometimes comes round the house when dad was out was just a 'mattress engineer'.

He squealed in delight as he finally saw the sign. That huge red, black and yellow sheet of metal with the familiar logo on, that had haunted his dreams ever since he had seen the picture in his dad's newspaper.

JURASSIC PARK

"We're here! We're here!" he cried, bouncing uncontrollably in his seat to tuts of dismay from his parents in the front. "Do you think there'll be Stegosaurs? Or Anklyosaurs? What about Kentosaurs??" He kept witting on with that odd childhood skill which enables one to effortlessly reel off list after list of obscure dinosaurs, a skill which by the onset of puberty is reduced to "that one with three horns, and the one that looks like Godzilla, I dunno".

As the car slowly parked itself in the frighteningly expensive car park, Billy tugged impatiently on the child-locked door before giving up and throwing himself out of the window. "This is gonna be the best day ever!" he squealed as he landed face-first on the gravelled car park.

Without a word, his father got out of the car and pulled Billy to his feet by the scruff of his neck. "I'm sure it will be, son," he smiled down grimly, ruffling his son's hair. Life had been tough for little Billy after his best friend Miranda had mistook a packet of Angel Delight for milkshake mix. She had been found too late, having swallowed a pint of frothy flavoured milk that all too quickly solidified into a delicious custard-based dessert in her throat. What made it worse was that the paramedics left the scene carrying spoons and rubbing their tummies in a self-satisfied manner.

Billy's mum paid no attention to the father-son bonding going on. She was more concerned with checking the messages on her phone to ensure that the mattress engineer had been booked for next Wednesday.

"Dinosaurs! Dinosaurs!" Billy ran as fast as he could towards the impressively large park entrance, waving his arms about and screaming in unrestrained joy, his little heart thumping hard, mouth frothing with anticipation. He then was forced to wait an agonizing five minutes as his parents very slowly sauntered over to him as if they didn't care about the amazing land of dinosaurs that lay within.

"Calm down, Billy!" His dad stood by the ticket booth, pulling out his mighty wallet. "Don't worry, only the best for my son!" He peered closer at the prices. "One family bronze pass, please."

The second the ticket was pressed into his hand, Billy raced forwards into the park. He closed his eyes to heighten the sensation of the smells as he breathed in deeply. "Dinosaurs!" he choked out happily. He staggered to a halt and opened his eyes in case he accidently fell into a raptor pit. Jurassic Park spread out in front of him, trees and dense foliage stretching as far as his eyes could see; every single shade of green and then some, with various paths stretching enticingly into the forest.

There was only one thing missing though: no cages. Billy frowned in alarm - could the dinosaurs be loose? He ran over to his dad, hugging his leg for protection, in case a herd of T-Rex descended on them. "Careful, dad!" he squeaked. "Watch out for the dinosaurs! They're loose!"

His dad looked down and laughed merrily. "Don't worry, Billy, the guide will protect us!" He motioned towards a fat looking man squeezed into a grubby safari suit. Milling about them were a mixture of bored looking parents with excited kids, and confused elderly folk.

As the trickle of tourists from the ticket booth dried up, the guide cracked his fingers and gave a wide grin. "Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Jurassic Park!"

They moved into the forest at a stride, Billy racing to keep up with the guide, head dashing from side to side in case of any ambush, giddy with breathless anticipation.

"And here we have genuine Jurassic ferns," the guide continued as Billy raced around his legs. "Exactly the same type as those that bloomed millions of years ago!"

"Very good!" One of the old men raised his glasses to peer at a fern. "And the trees?"

"All genuine too!" The guide smiled. "This is, after all, Jurassic Park! We aim for authenticity!"

Billy trampled over some authentically sourced Jurassic weeds. Behind him stretched a forest. In front of him stretched a forest. There was a distinct lack of any dinosaurs. In fact, it looked suspiciously like another 'fun family walk' of the type he was forced to trudge on a weekly basis. "Is... is it all forest?" he asked in concern, tugging on the guide's trousers.

The guide looked down in surprise. "Why, of course! Jurassic Park is a carefully controlled and developed forest that accurately contains the plants which would have been in a real Jurassic park! It’s a Jurassic park! Hence the name!”

"Quite so!" The elderly man piped up again. "A real botanical achievement!"

Billy sunk to his knees, a sick feeling rising in his stomach. "But... but..." he squeaked, looking up in betrayal at the guide.  "What about bringing stuff back to life with a fossilised mosquito trapped in amber?" His bottom lip started to wobble.

"Oh, that!" The guide's eyes sparkled. "Well, yes, obviously we're doing all that cloning stuff too. We keep them in that building over there." He pointed towards a non-descript hut nestled in between a clump of trees. "Would you like a look?"

"YES!" Billy wept in joy, racing over to the hut. He tugged at the door, failing to wait impatiently as the rest of the group caught up. His little hands found a grip against the wooden bar of the door, slowly pushing it open. "What dinosaurs did you clone off the mosquitos?"

The guide looked surprised at the question. "Dinosaurs?"

Billy pushed open the door with a cry of triumph that soon turned into one of terror, as a big black cloud of authentic Jurassic-era mosquitos swarmed out to meet him.

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