Skyhead The Dinosaur—a Children’s Short Story
~From the Children's Short Story Book: Cinderella Sarah (for 5-9 year olds) by Karen Cossey. Get your copy for free here, plus another free book for 9-12 year olds.~
Jack loved the walk home from school. He’d always take the shortcut through his favorite place, the forest. Though as he’d promised his Mom, he never left the path. Never, that is, until that one incredible day.
As usual, he walked along, scanning the path for any animal tracks. Just as the wind picked up, it happened. And so quickly, he had no time to think. Hearing a low grunting sound in front of him, he glanced up and saw a wild pig with a menacing look in his eyes, standing in the middle of the path. Jack made a run for a nearby tree, certain the pig was following, but he never found out. As he reached the tree, he tripped on its roots. He was falling; twisting and turning as he slid down the bank beside the tree. His head hit something hard and everything went black.
Something was prodding him. And slobbering him. It felt like a great big dog, not a wild-eyed pig. Jack’s eyelids flickered up then clamped down as a shaft of fear shot through his body.
It couldn’t be, it was impossible! He’d have to look again.
His eyes opened wide and he looked straight into the face of a giant Brontosaurus.
“At last, you’re awake,” it murmured.
Jack couldn’t believe his ears, or his eyes—it was a talking Brontosaurus!
“What did you say?” he asked.
“You’re awake. What’s your name?”
“Hmm, strange. Nice to meet you, Jack. I’m Skyhead. Tell me, Jack, why did you come tumbling down here? You almost landed on my nest. I could have squashed you if I hadn’t seen you rolling down the hill.”
“I don’t know how I got here. Are you really a dinosaur? I didn’t even think dinosaurs were alive,” Jack said.
“Dinosaur? What’s a dinosaur—are they dangerous?” Skyhead looked nervous.
“No, no, I mean, where I come from, we call you a dinosaur and I’m a person.”
“Well, I’m not dangerous—are you?”
“No, no,” Jack blurted as Skyhead hovered her foot above him. That would flatten him dead for sure.
“What are you doing here?”
“I was running away from a wild pig, and then I fell, and I can’t remember what happened next.”
“Hmm, you don’t look dangerous,” Skyhead said, putting her foot down again. “You better stay with me. Sharptooth Longneck comes around here sometimes.”
Jack imagined the worst—Sharptooth Longneck had to be a T. Rex.
“Do you have good eyesight?” Skyhead asked.
“Maybe you can help me find my little one, Squinty Eyes. He’s gone off exploring. I can’t see well, and I can’t smell him anywhere nearby because the wind stopped just after you appeared.”
Jack glanced around. “There are fresh tracks here. Looks like he went this way, Skyhead.”
“Wonderful. How about you run on ahead and I’ll follow you from a distance, so I don’t step on you?”
“Good idea,” Jack said. He followed the tracks for ages, then looked back. Skyhead took two steps and was almost on top of him.
The tracks changed direction and ran into the woods. They were easy to see; Squinty Eyes had broken branches and flattened the grass. Jack watched in panic as Skyhead came crashing towards him, toppling the surrounding trees. He waved his arms wildly, hoping she would see him. She came to a halt with her foot only a few metres from where he was standing.
“He better not be playing hide and seek!” Skyhead growled. “His eyesight is bad, like mine. He’ll get stuck.”
Just then they heard a piercing cry.
“Crouch down,” Skyhead commanded. She stepped over Jack and moved towards the noise.
When Jack reached her, she was leaning over a small, whimpering Brontosaurus.
“He’s caught in these vines,” Skyhead groaned. “I’ve got to untangle him somehow.”
“Or Sharptooth Longneck will eat me,” Squinty Eyes whispered. “He’s been here. I smell him.”
“No, I won’t let that happen,” Skyhead said, stretching her head up to peer over the top of the trees. She must be searching for a T. Rex, Jack thought.
“I can help,” piped up Jack.
“How?” Skyhead asked, bringing her head down level with Jack.
“I’ll use my pocketknife to cut through the vines,” Jack said.
“What’s a pocketknife?”
“You’ll see,” Jack said and set to work.
He was almost finished when he felt the ground shake. He looked up—Skyhead was trembling. “Someone’s coming,” she whispered. The branches swung in the breeze from her breath.
“Is it Sharptooth Longneck?” Squinty Eyes squeaked.
“I can’t tell from here. My eyesights no good.” Skyhead shook her head.
“I could take a look,” Jack said.
“Yes, that’s an excellent idea,” Skyhead said and gently wrapped her mouth around Jack’s body. That wasn’t what he had expected! And when he found himself lifted off the ground, he almost called out in fear, but then Skyhead placed him on a branch high in the tallest tree near her.
“If it’s Sharptooth Longneck, you’ll be safe in this tree,” Skyhead said.
Jack stared into the distance. Something was coming. It was another dinosaur.
“It’s a Triceratops,” he said.
“Try-Sarah-What?” Skyhead asked.
“You know, a three horned dinosaur with a big frill thing on his head.”
“Oh, you mean Bumpyhead,” Skyhead said. “She’s a good friend.”
As Bumpyhead got closer, Skyhead popped her head above the trees and called out.
“Skyhead. How are you?” Bumpyhead asked.
“I’m good. Have you seen Sharptooth Longneck recently?”
“He was here yesterday, but he crossed the river and headed towards the mountains. I don’t think he’ll be back for a while.”
“That’s a relief,” Skyhead said.
“I’ll say. I’m off to the river now. Goodbye.” Bumpyhead trotted away.
Jack watched her leave. He could see so much from this high up—he wanted to stay there forever.
Without warning he felt himself falling into Longnecks’ smelly mouth as she picked him up. His heart did somersaults as she lifted him off the tree and swung him through the air.
She put him on the ground. He took a few deep breaths to calm his nerves and went to work cutting the last vines away from Squinty Eyes.
“All done,” Jack said after a few minutes.
A very relieved Skyhead gently picked up Jack in her mouth and placed him on Squinty Eyes’ back. In no time, they were at her nest again.
“Thank you, Jack,” Skyhead said. “You know, I think I’ve worked out how you got here. Once a week, the wind stops for the afternoon and then it suddenly starts about now. If I put you up on top of the hill and you wait there, I’m sure the wind will take you back home.”
“But I just arrived!” Jack protested.
“Yes, but my guess is that your mother worries about you the same way I worry about Squinty Eyes. Don’t be sad, you can come another time, now you know the way. The wind will bring you.”
She picked Jack up and lifted him high into the air, placing him on top of the bank.
“Next time you’re here; we’ll go exploring together—Squinty Eyes will let you ride on his back.”
Jack sat down beside a tree that looked like the one he’d been running towards when the pig chased him. All at once a strong wind sprang up. He shut his eyes as it lifted him up and tumbled him about. Suddenly the wind stopped, and he dropped to the ground.
Ahead of him was the path heading for home, as plain as day. Behind him was the bank he’d slipped down. He crawled to the edge and peered over—nothing but undergrowth and bush. No clearing, no nest, no Brontosaurus. His watch said it was still the same time as when he’d entered the forest on his way home from school. He looked over to the path—the wild pig was gone.
Next week he would have to come back to this spot in time for the wind—he could hardly wait. But for now, he needed to get home and clean the dinosaur slobber off his clothes.
Story by Karen Cossey Copyright © Karen Cossey, 2014
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