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Rolfin's Orb
Book 12 -
Chapter 6

            “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 said.

     “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 legs.

     “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 so lame.”

     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 something move.”

     “Where?” Fiona looked around.

     “Over that way, near those red boulders.” Callum pointed.

     “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 rainbows?”

     “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 wasn’t Elspet.”

     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 dead meat.”

     “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 dinosaur.”

     “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 eat people.”

     “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 panic.

     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 pack.”

     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 its nostrils.

     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 dinosaurs.”

     “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.”

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