“All right, we’re here at the cliffs. What is that sign?” Callum ran up to
it. “The Flaming Red Cliffs. Oh no! I hope that doesn’t mean we’re going to
have to deal with fire.”
“It looks like the cliffs are just so red that they look
like they are on fire, but you could be right,” Fiona said. “Who knows what
delightful thing will be our next trap. We came out of the first two all
right, aside from being nearly eaten by a snake and an eagle, being lost in
singing sands, and captured by heathen warriors. It’s a good thing we
brought my pack with water and stuff.”
They sat on a large reddish boulder and ate some
chocolate bars and bags of potato crisps while they rested. The Gobi Desert
spread before them. Large sand dunes lay in front of them in the distance
and grassy spots grew among the stones. Behind them stood the cliffs.
“Fiona, you said the alexandrite is inside a dinosaur
egg, right?” Callum swung around and faced the red cliffs. “Does that mean
there were dinosaurs here at one time?”
“I imagine they were. What did that sign say that you
were reading?” Fiona bit into a chocolate bar.
“It said there were dinosaur fossils here and had a map
of where they were.” Callum thought he saw something move to his right. He
didn’t say anything because he wasn’t sure.
“A map that shows all the places! That’s just what we
need. We have to go back to the sign and write down all the places and how
we get to them so we can find it without digging up the entire area,” Fiona
“Never mind. I’m not going to say it. I’m not going to
say it,” Elspet said.
“Say what?” Callum jumped up and brushed crumbs off his
“I wasn’t going to but since you asked, Callum, you ask
the dumbest questions. If there are fossilized dinosaur bones around here,
doesn’t it make a little itty bitty sense that those bones belonged to a
living dinosaur at one time?” Elspet shook her head back and forth. “You are
Callum saw something move out of the corner of his eye.
This time he was sure he saw something, but didn’t know what it was. “I saw
“Where?” Fiona looked around.
“Over that way, near those red boulders.” Callum
“What sort of something?” Elspet’s gaze darted about.
“I’m not sure. It looked big. Maybe there are other
people here digging up the bones. It is a tourist place. I’m sure that’s
what it must have been.” Callum didn’t believe a word he was saying.
“You’re probably right. It must have been a tourist.”
Fiona took a deep breath. “We’ve got about six hours before it will get
dark. That’s how long we have to find the jewel.”
“Look, Fiona. There’s a rainbow over there. It’s a
double rainbow.” Elspet took a photo of it. “The colors are so crisp and
clear. Oh, there’s another, and another. What is this, the valley of
“It must be an area that gets a lot of them. Enjoy them,
take some photos. Callum, show me where that sign was.” Fiona and Callum
walked ahead and stopped at the sign. “All right,” she said, opening her
pack. “Here’s a paper for you and one for me. Make a map of this half and
I’ll make a map of this other half. Put an X where the fossils are.” The two
of them scribbled for a few minutes and seemed satisfied with their maps.
“Let’s go and get Elspet and get to the first place.”
They ran back to where they had sat and ate. Crumbs lay
on the ground, so they knew they were in the right place. “Where’s Elspet?”
Callum shielded his eyes from the sun.
“She must have found something else to take photos of.”
Fiona turned in a circle. “Elspet? Elspet? Where are you?”
“She’s hiding from us. She’s trying to spook us out
because I said I saw something.” Callum cleared his throat.
“Is it working? Are you spooked?” Fiona giggled.
“Yes, because I just saw something move again and it
A shadow appeared behind one of the cliff walls. “What
is that?” Fiona fell to her stomach and pulled Callum down next to her.
“I’m not sure, but it looks like a dinosaur. It’s a big
one, like a tyrannosaurus; a t-rex.” Callum gulped.
“If we don’t move, we should be safe, right? I saw the
movie Jurassic Park and as long as they didn’t move, the t-rex
couldn’t see them,” Fiona said, her voice nervous.
“Callum! Fiona!” Elspet’s voice called to them.
“Oh no! Elspet is coming. I think the dinosaur saw her,
or heard her. It’s moving this way.” Callum rolled onto his back. “We’re
“Callum! Fiona! Where are you?” Elspet shouted again.
“I am going to find her. You stay here and if that t-rex
moves closer, throw rocks or something,” Fiona said. She slid down the hill
behind her and ran around searching for her friend. Elspet kept calling
their names and Fiona found her by following the voice. “Elspet, be quiet!
Shh.” Fiona put her hand over Elspet’s mouth.
Elspet pulled Fiona’s hand away. “What’s the matter? Why
do I have to be quiet? Did Genghis Khan find us?”
“Worse. I don’t think you want to hear this. It’s a
“A dinosaur? As in bite-my-body-in-half-tyrannosaurus
rex?” Elspet gulped.
“Exactly. There’s one over the hill. Callum is watching
for it. We have to be very quiet and move slowly. Once we reach the top of
the hill lie on your tummy and slide towards Callum. He’s hidden behind some
rocks.” Fiona whispered so softly that Elspet had to struggle to hear her.
The two of them ran across the grass and up the hill. At
the top they fell to their bellies and crawled over to Callum. “Shh,” he
said, putting his finger to his lips. Fiona and Elspet glanced over the
rocks. The giant dinosaur was sniffing the air, looking for them. It knew
they were there. He whispered, “I wrote down some stuff when we were at the
sign. It’s not a t-rex, but a close cousin called a tarbosaurus. They both
“What should we do?” Elspet laid her head back down.
“We stay hidden and hope it goes away. Whatever happens,
do not move, not even a finger.” Fiona warned Elspet, knowing she tended to
They watched in horror as the tarbosaurus turned and
moved in their direction. “He probably smells our lunch. There are crumbs
all over the place.” Callum started picking the tiny bits up. “Come on, you
two. Pick everything up and put it in a plastic bag. Fiona’s got one in her
Fiona helped, but Elspet didn’t. She peeked at the
dinosaur. “It’s coming closer. Its eyes are even with where we are right
now. Do you think it will be able to see us if it comes over here?” Elspet
stifled a scream. “It’s coming. You two lie down.”
Fiona and Callum froze. Elspet slinked down and curled
in a ball. They heard and felt the thuds as the tarbosaurus moved even
closer to them. Elspet was first to hear the breathing. Snorts burst from
Callum opened his eyes and looked. He could see the
monster through a crack in the rocks. It was level with them, searching,
sniffing. Wow! I am face to face with a t-rex. This is so cool.
Fiona read his mind and nudged him with her shoe. He
looked over to her. She shook her head in warning.
The tarbosaurus stayed for several minutes. Before it
left it let out a loud roar, blowing a mucus spray all over the rocks and
the three of them. Frustrated, the dinosaur ran off behind a cliff.
Callum stood first. “It’s gone for now. You can sit up
now. This is so gross! Dinosaur snot!”
“I am guessing that where there is one dinosaur, there
is another. What other types did you see listed?” Fiona looked at Callum’s
paper. “Velociraptors? Aren’t they the ones on the movie that stalked people
and saw very well in the day and night? They were the smart ones. Oh great!
What else? Protoceratops. At least those are veggie eaters. Oviraptors? What
are those? If it’s a raptor, that means it is a meat eater. So that’s three
types of meat eaters and one plant eater.”
Elspet, who hadn’t said anything, spoke. “Why are there
dinosaurs walking around? It said there were dinosaur fossils, not
“Now it’s my turn to say duh! Elspet, this is our third
trap. Get it? The dinosaurs are guarding the egg that has the alexandrite in
it.” Callum chuckled, glad to be right this time.
“The third trap. This one is a doozy, isn’t it? Anyone
have any idea how we’ll do this? We’re up against who knows how many
man-eating dinosaurs, whose only purpose for existing is to find us and eat
us and keep us from getting the jewel. I feel comforted,” Elspet said.
“We were warned, weren’t we,” Fiona said.
“There’s no time like the present. We might as well get
going. It won’t get any easier by waiting. A hungry dinosaur will only
become hungrier with time.” Callum jumped to a lower rock. “Come on. It’s
easy. We just climb down to the bottom and run into the canyon.”