THE HURTING OF DESIRE
Deep within a cave that was dimly lit by shiny stones, a cerulean blue Flyer gazed at her own reflection on a patch of ice that was stuck against a rocky cave wall. Even this deep inside, it was unbearably chilly. The cold temperatures from outside had essentially filled the entire cave, and here felt no warmer than the outside world. Despite this, the Flyer ignored the pain coming from whatever frostbite she might have received and focused solely on her own reflection in this "wall of frozen water."
There was something very special about this patch of ice that no one had ever discovered, and when she examined this ice only a few days ago, she noticed something very perplexing about her reflection. She could see things within her reflection that weren't even there, as if she was looking into some sort of fantasy or experiencing a vision that only she could see.
After a few moments of staring, that magic moment happened again, just as it had done before …
Within her reflection, the Flyer saw several more Flyers appear out of thin air, appearing transparent at first before they became fully visible Flyers. Each and every one of these Flyers were those she knew from her past and her present. She noticed a brown Flyer standing next to her, placing an arm around her neck. She sniffled as she realized that this particular Flyer was her long-lost love, her mate she had lost so tragically right after their eggs hatched, the father her children never got to know.
Standing to her other side was another brown Flyer whom she had known since the day she hatched from her egg: her brother, Pterano. Even though he had become insane and committed numerous wrongdoings, she still missed him yet found it hard to admit to herself that she could forgive him for the harm he had done should he ever return to her.
The Flyer glanced down at the lower half of her reflection, and she spotted all five of her children looking so happy. It was a sight that brought a few small tears in her eyes, as such a sight was something she dreamed of, although it seemed impossible for it to become a reality.
The one she recognized the most easily was her son, Petrie, her youngest child, and he appeared to have a big smile on his face, something which these days he did not do often at all, even when he played with his friends. Lately, Petrie seemed to be glum and had started distancing himself from his friends just to be by himself. The only reasonable cause of that these days was that his siblings continued to treat him poorly, and that he often had night terrors which would cause him to jolt awake screaming in the middle of the night in his own puddle. His siblings always laughed at him whenever he did this and called him a "crybaby" or a "nest wetter." Other than that, two Cold Times had passed since his uncle's exile from society, and it had been a few Night Circle cycles since his mother admitted to him what had happened to his father. Petrie was very upset for several weeks afterward, but now he was slowly recovering from the terrible realization. At least, it seemed that way to her.
The Flyer struggled to comprehend why she was seeing this vision within the ice wall. On both occasions she had stumbled into this cave and looked into the wall, she saw exactly the same vision in her reflection; her family whole and without any suffering. All she knew was that this patch of ice had no way of telling the future. Her mate was long dead, her brother was a criminal, and her children, particularly her son, were far from happy most of the time. This vision was in no way a telling of the future, but rather something that she so desperately wanted to have; a complete, happy family. The thought of it made her tear up from the cruel reality that it was never destined to be the case.
Suddenly being reminded that she, in fact, had children to tend to, the Flyer snapped back to reality and reluctantly stepped out of the cave, back into the freezing cold world that was their now frozen, snow-covered Great Valley. She only hoped to find even the slightest signs of green food for her children so that they wouldn't starve to death. In the last two days, green food had become very scarce …
The Cold Time had brought with it a massive snowstorm that the Great Valley had to endure for two days before the frozen sky water finally stopped blowing viciously on top of everything in its path.
The Gang and their families found it very difficult to fight through the storm's brutal winds, pelting hail and frozen sky water, but all seven children within the Gang were able to survive the storm without any major injuries, although Cera received a bruise on her head after being hit by a large piece of hail, and Ducky came down with a fever but was ensured she would make a full recovery within a few more days.
Tragically, however, several dinosaurs living in the valley perished in the storm, either from sickness or from the damaging winds that brought trees down, and torrential frozen sky water that buried those who were unlucky. In a matter of days, the Great Valley suddenly felt like a depressing home for the many families living there, with temperatures below freezing and the weight of the weather crushing down on them. Those who survived the storm knew this would be the most intense Cold Time they had yet endured, but they were determined to persevere until conditions would improve.
On a large rock in the middle of the valley was a small cave. The whole rock had been coated in white, and only the entrance to the cave was recognizable. Within this cave was where a Flyer family had called their home. Five children were shivering in their nest, alone and stone cold, patiently waiting for their mother to bring them some food they so desperately needed during this chilly start to the Cold Time.
Of the five, one of them, a brown male, was sitting on the ledge in front of his cave. He always preferred sitting in front of the cave rather than stay in the nest since he never liked staying in the same space as his siblings for any lengthy period of time. He didn't care how cold it was outside nor what his mother would say about it, all that he wanted to be alone.
The young boy looked down at the snow-covered valley grounds below, and there suddenly came a sight that warmed his heart: that of a cerulean blue female Flyer soaring her way up to the nest. He managed to let the faintest smile creep its way onto his beak as he awaited his mother landing in front of him and his siblings with food of any kind.
As the mother touched down on the ledge, her children all looked at her beak and noticed something that could only excite them so much at a time like this …
A few of the last remaining tree sweets in the entire valley.
"Food!" the four children inside cheered with delight, while the boy simply stayed where he was, refusing to stand up from where he was sitting.
The mother gave one tree sweet to each of her four older children, then, with one tree sweet still in hand, she shifted her attention to her fifth child, sitting alone and looking rather depressed.
"Petrie?" she spoke gently to her son, "I have a tree sweet for you."
Petrie simply sighed before he looked up at his mother.
"Here, dear. You should at least have some food. It'll help cheer you up," she kindly insisted as she sat down next to him and placed the tree sweet in front of him.
Petrie eyed the red tree sweet for a moment and admired how shiny its appearance looked from the frozen water that had formed over it. Although it may have been cold, it could still be delicious.
"Thanks, Mama," he finally said after staying silent for almost a minute.
Mama Flyer patted her son on the head as he took a small bite from his red tree sweet. His mouth immediately gained extremely cold sensations, but he didn't care how much pain he'd get just to prevent himself from dying of starvation during such a harsh Cold Time.
Petrie slowly took his time eating his dinner, whilst his siblings were surprisingly quick with theirs. He murmured to himself that they'd be lucky if their heads and stomachs didn't get cold.
"Now then, kids, I think it's time we all got some sleep. It's getting dark," said Mama Flyer.
Her four older children all settled down in their nest, but Petrie had no interest in going to sleep at that moment. With so much on his mind lately, the last thing he wanted was to wake up from yet another night terror, wet himself from all the scares and get mocked and laughed at by his siblings.
"Petrie?" his mother called to him, "It's time for sleep. Come inside, please. You shouldn't be sitting out there when it's this cold."
Sinking his head in despair, the young Flyer finally gave in and made his way into their small cave. He refused to make eye contact with any of his siblings as he walked over to where his snuggling stick was and grabbed it. On an evening like this, he felt as if he so desperately needed it, but sometimes even that wasn't enough to stop the nightmares coming. He just hoped that tonight it would be.
"Goodnight, children," said Mama Flyer as she watched her kids settle down to sleep.
"Goodnight, mom," replied all her children except Petrie, who was sitting with his back against the wall next to her.
Mama Flyer noticed how sad Petrie looked as he held his snuggling stick tightly in his wings, and she pulled him closer to provide warmth and comfort to her precious son.
"Petrie?" she whispered to him, "Are you okay?"
"Me no know," said Petrie sadly.
Mama Flyer sighed sadly. Ever since Petrie had somehow fallen into this state of depression, it was becoming harder for her to figure out how she could help him feel happy again. Even his friends had no idea what was truly wrong with him.
"What is wrong with my poor Petrie?" she thought to herself.
"Petrie, … you know, … if you ever need to talk to somebody, … you have me," she said, "I'm your mother, and it's my job to make sure you're happy, because I love you very much. I know this may seem hard for you, but I want to know why you've been unhappy lately."
Petrie sighed and stared at a wall for a moment, appearing to be deep in thought, before he looked up at his mother.
"Well, … me just, … well, … ever since you tell me what happen to Daddy, … me keep having bad sleep stories sometimes, … and … me still miss me uncle Pterano," he murmured, "And then, …"
He then gazed at his sleeping siblings and gave them a hateful glare. His mother sighed in understanding. For as long as Petrie had been in this world, he was the constant subject of bullying and harassment from his siblings on a nearly daily basis for countless reasons.
"I understand, dear. I've tried everything to get them to stop, but I'll keep trying if I have to," she assured him, and she pulled him closer and wrapped her wings around him, "For now, please try to get some sleep, Petrie. It will do your world of good."
"Me not so sure," sighed Petrie despondently, "W-what if me … have another … n-night terror?"
"If that happens, I'll be right here to comfort you, dear," his mother assured him, and she soothingly kissed him right on his head crest, "I love you, Petrie."
"Me love you, too, Mama," replied Petrie as his mother's love for him managed to soothe him enough for him to close his eyes.
With those last few words, Petrie closed his eyes and slowly drifted off to sleep while his mother held him tenderly in her wings. She was disappointed that she still couldn't get her poor son to open up to her about what was truly causing his state of depression. This had been the same answer every time she asked him, but she was sure that at some point she would eventually get an answer and a new hope in restoring his happiness that she dearly missed seeing in him.
Soon, Mama Flyer fell asleep hoping that her son would have a sweet sleep story, for once …
Petrie woke up in what appeared to be the Great Valley, which was still covered in a large blanket of frozen sky water. Aside from the pinkish-blue clouds in the sky, there was almost nothing that wasn't white.
The little Flyer got up to his feet and brushed off any frozen sky water that might have gotten on his wings, and he noticed he was next to the river, except it looked anything but normal. It was completely unmoving as if it were stuck in place.
The river had been frozen solid by the extremely cold temperatures.
"Oh, my," gasped Petrie in disbelief, "Me wonder how any of us can drink from river now?"
It was only then that the harshness of the stone cold temperatures sent chills throughout his entire body, and he felt so cold that he almost couldn't move.
"W-why it have to be s-so c-c-co-old?" he stuttered as he covered his body with his wings and started walking around the place as there seemed to be no way he could possibly lift himself into the sky in such freezing conditions.
Everywhere he went, all the trees had been reduced to branches with not a single tree star or tree sweet to be seen anywhere. The frozen sky water had buried the entire ground. There was simply nothing green anywhere in the entire valley. More and more, this began to feel less like the Great Valley at all to the poor Flyer, but what terrified him even more was that he had not come across any signs of life anywhere.
"H-Hello?" he called weakly in the hopes that someone might have been around to save him from this somewhat dead world.
No reply came.
"Hello!?" Petrie called a little more loudly, "Mama!? Littlefoot!? Ducky!? Cera!? Chomper!? Spike!? Ruby!? Anybody!?"
Once again, the only reply he got was the whistling of the cold winds blowing around him.
"Anybody!?" he yelled, but still no one answered his call.
Then, Petrie suddenly heard a sound that just about petrified him. It was the sound of terror and pure horror awaiting any leaf eating creature.
"S-Sha-Sharptooth!?" he panicked, knowing that sound just about anywhere from all the adventures he had endured with his friends, and his instincts kicked into full adrenaline as he made a run for it, not daring to look behind him if a Sharptooth was lurking around the frozen valley.
Still unable to take flight, Petrie struggled his way through the frozen sky water as quickly as he could, panting heavily with each step he took, desperate to find shelter or anyone who could protect him if the monster found him.
Suddenly, the young Flyer came across a sight that made him gasp with horror …
Sitting in front of him were several dinosaurs all lying motionless on the ground, partially buried in frozen sky water. None of them moved a single inch, and none of them seemed to be struggling for breaths, either. It only took a few seconds for Petrie to guess that he had stumbled across a mass grave of dinosaurs whom had likely frozen to death, starved to death, or maybe even fallen victim to the Sharptooth that was apparently pursuing him.
"Um, h-he-hello?" Petrie called anxiously, but nobody moved.
Before long, a nasty scent hung in the air, one that sent chills up Petrie's spine. It was the scent of death and decay.
The Flyer walked across the mass corpses of dinosaurs, and he gasped as he recognized the faces of two Longnecks and two Threehorns among the dead.
"Grandma Longneck!? Grandpa Longneck!? Mr. Threehorn!? Tria!?" he screamed in horror, "No way! This no can be!"
He looked to his right and spotted both of Ducky's parents lying dead with a tree having fallen on top of them.
"Ducky Mom and Dad!?" he gasped, "Oh, me poor friends! What they say when they come here and find-…"
Suddenly, it dawned on him that his friends might be in danger as well.
"Me friends!" he panicked, and he jolted past the disturbing sights of the many decaying carcasses and raced his way to wherever his friends might have been hiding and maybe waiting for him, "Hold on, guys! Me coming!"
It was only now that the urge to find his friends gave him the strength he needed to flap his wings, and he jumped and flapped as hard as he could. To his surprise, he managed to lift himself off his feet and start soaring low to the ground. He didn't want to fly too high as he thought it could draw the attention of the Sharptooth chasing him, even though he hadn't seen the predator yet. All he knew was that he had to find his friends by any means necessary.
As Petrie flew, all he could find were more dead dinosaurs and bare trees. More disturbingly, some of the corpses were those of children, which made him cringe. Just the thought of children dying was something that greatly saddened him, and he shook his head in an effort to get those disturbing images of the dead children out of his mind and focus on locating his friends.
Eventually, Petrie spotted what looked like six children, all of them different kinds, sitting by a large rock. He recognized them almost immediately; a Longneck, a Threehorn, a Swimmer, a Spiketail, a Sharptooth and a Fast Runner, all of whom he recognized so easily.
"Guys! Me coming!" he called to them, and he soared his way down and landed in front of his friends.
However, none of them acknowledged his presence. From high up, Petrie hadn't been able to tell if they were standing up, sitting down or lying down, but once he landed, he saw that all six of them were lying down, and he soon began to smell that nasty scent again. In an instant, he feared the worst might have happened, and his heart nearly stopped as he dared himself to approach his friends and see if they were okay.
Petrie stepped into the circle made up of his friends, then he looked around and felt his heart skip several beats.
Chomper had been impaled through his chest with what looked like the tooth of a much bigger Sharptooth. Blood was oozing out of the wound and coating the frozen sky water below him in crimson red.
"Chomper!" screamed Petrie in complete despair, then he noticed Ruby lying next to the Sharptooth, having been ripped nearly in half by several bites.
Petrie turned around and saw Spike with several large wounds on his blood-soaked body. A few feet away from him were Littlefoot and Cera. The Threehorn had had her horn ripped completely off her nose, and her frill had several holes in it that were bleeding profusely. Littlefoot had a huge gaping hole in his chest, and Petrie immediately looked away at the gruesome sight of his dear Longneck friend's horrific wounds.
That was when he spotted Ducky …
The Swimmer was some distance away from the others, and when Petrie walked up to her, he saw what had been done to her …
Ducky had sustained bite wounds on her tail and chest. Both of her arms were barely attached to her body. Blood was oozing out of her mouth, and her chest was making rapid movements, indicating that she was still just barely breathing.
"Ducky!" said Petrie, shaking Ducky's body in an effort to wake her up, "Ducky! Wake up!"
Eventually, the Swimmer moaned in tremendous pain and slowly opened her eyes, but Petrie saw that her eyes did not look so blue anymore. Her pupils had darkened, and the whites in her eyes had turned dark purple.
"P-Pe-Petrie?" she spluttered weakly as blood continued to pour from her mouth.
"Oh, Ducky!" said Petrie as he finally burst into tears with the realization that all his friends were dead, bar one who was surely taking her final breaths, "What happen!?"
Ducky didn't answer for nearly ten seconds before she managed to blurt out, "S-Sharp-tooth … attack … all our … families."
"All our families!?" panicked Petrie, and his face paled, "This mean … he attack me family, too!?"
"I … heard-ed him … s-speak," panted Ducky as her breaths became more prolonged and she coughed violently, "He … said-ed … that he was … after … you. We refused-ed to … tell him, … and he h-hur-hurt-ed us all."
"What he want with me?" said a completely baffled Petrie, unable to imagine the idea that a particular Sharptooth was hunting particularly for him and was terrorizing everyone he knew just to get closer to him.
"He did not … s-say," stuttered Ducky before she coughed again.
"Me going to help you," said Petrie, even though he knew that such a thing like that would be impossible given the severity of the Swimmer's wounds. He knew that she probably had just mere seconds to live, and there was nothing and nobody around that could help them.
"N-no, Petrie," said Ducky as her eyes turned even darker from the lack of blood and oxygen they were receiving, "It is to-too late, Petrie. I am … s-so … sorry."
"No!" wailed Petrie, unable to accept the horrible reality, "Please no die, Ducky! Please, no!"
"Y-you must leave … n-n-now, Petrie," choked Ducky, "He … is … coming … back. You … must … save … yourself … and … your … f-fam-family … be-before … it … is …"
She couldn't finish her sentence as breathing was suddenly impossible to achieve, and not even a second later, Ducky's eyes closed one last time and her mouth opened with blood continuing to leak its way out. Her chest stopped heaving, and the Swimmer moved no more.
Petrie wept loudly as he watched his best friend's final movements, and he was about to start wailing with hopeless despair, when he suddenly heard a loud roar coming from behind him.
The Flyer dared himself to look back, and he was met with the sight of a massive Sharptooth towering right over him with an evil smile on his face. The vicious grin alone was enough to confirm to him that this was the Sharptooth that Ducky was trying to warn him about.
"So, I have finally found you!" taunted the Sharptooth, "Are you going to come quietly?"
"W-What you want with m-me!?" asked Petrie in utter shock and fear taking over his entire system.
"I have no time to explain!" the Sharptooth retorted, "Either you come with me, or I'll kill every last dinosaur, grownup or child, who dares try to shield you from me!"
Despite the tremendous fear within him, Petrie tried to gather as much courage as he could, and he screamed on top of his lungs, "NEVER!"
The Sharptooth promptly brought its head down and opened its jaws, but Petrie had already taken off before he could become its latest victim. There was only one place left he could think of going: home. He sensed his family was in danger, and they could very well be the next targets. The young Flyer flew as fast as he possibly could despite the intensity of the winds and the frozen sky water, and he didn't dare to look back for even a moment.
"Me coming, Mama!" he panted to himself, "Me no let Sharptooth take me family away!"
It took little time for the little Flyer to find the snow-coated rock he called home, and without any second thoughts, he made a dive with his beak pointing directly at the entrance. He didn't care if he crash-landed. All he knew was that he'd be safe once he was inside.
As the cave came nearer and nearer, Petrie closed his eyes and braced himself for the inevitable impact. Soon, he could no longer feel the blocked light of the Bright Circle penetrating his eyelids, and everything turned dark as he felt some sense of warmth just before he felt his beak smash against a rocky surface.
"OW!" he screamed as tremendous pain shot through his beak, and he kept his eyes closed until he felt himself plopping to the ground, "Ow!"
"Petrie!" he heard the ever-so-recognizable voice of his mother shouting to him.
Petrie opened his eyes and found himself in his home, but when he looked around he saw that only his mother was there. Amongst the nest, hundreds of small bones were scattered everywhere, along with the skeleton of one adult Flyer.
"Mama!" he panted as he got himself back on his feet.
"Petrie! You can't stay here! He's after you! You've got to flee the valley! It's not safe here anymore!" his mother begged him.
"No! Me no leave you behind, Mama! Me here to save you!" Petrie shot back.
"Petrie, he's … your brothers and sisters, … your uncle Pterano, … they're gone," said Mama Flyer before she burst into tears.
Petrie's heart skipped a beat. His brothers and sisters dead? Although he may not have liked them, they were still his family, and he couldn't bear the thought of losing anyone within his family. He looked around the nest, and he could tell that the bones of the smaller skeletons were, indeed, his siblings. He eyed the adult skeleton next to the cave entrance and was able to make out the bones as those belonging to his dear old uncle.
Still, the Flyer was puzzled as to why this Sharptooth was randomly killing off everyone he knew just to get to him.
"What Sharptooth want with me, Mama!? Please tell me!" he begged in desperation, "He kill all me friends, and he kill all me friends' families! What going on, Mama!? PLEASE!"
"I don't have time to explain, Petrie. You must leave now! You're the only one I have left, and I won't let you suffer the same fate!" cried Mama Flyer.
"Then come with me!" begged Petrie, "Me no care if me have to leave! Me no leave you behind! Me no want to lose you, Mama!"
At that very moment, the Sharptooth came within view, and Petrie's eyes went wide with horror.
"Hurry! Go! Me follow you!" Petrie shouted to his mother, but it was too late.
The Sharptooth brought his jaws right up to the entrance of the Flyer home, and the two suddenly found themselves trapped inside, with the only way out being a one-way trip to their deaths. The fearsome predator let out a huge roar that forced both Flyers to cover their heads so that they wouldn't go deaf.
"OOOOH, NOO!" Petrie screamed helplessly as he wrapped his wings around his mother's neck for what little warmth she would be able to give him.
"I've got you right where I want you now!" roared the Sharptooth, "Now, I'm going to make this very simple. Either you give yourself up to me, … or you will watch your mother get crunched into nothing but bones before your very eyes!"
Petrie felt his face turning pale as a chill went up his spine and stunned his entire body. There was no way this could be happening. Here he was, having to choose between his own demise right before his mother's eyes, or his mother's demise right before his own eyes. He looked up at his mother, and she looked just as scared as he was. Each was worried for the other's safety, and yet they knew that even if they begged for mercy, such a thing was in no way in the heart of such a vicious Sharptooth.
"I've been waiting for this moment for six Cold Times," sneered the Sharptooth, "I once had a delicious meal of a Flyer that looked so much like you, only much older."
A sudden realization dawned on Petrie as the Sharptooth spoke those words; a Flyer that looked so much like him, only much older. The only Flyers he could guess that matched such a description were his uncle Pterano and his father whom he never knew.
Petrie looked over at Pterano's skeletal form, then he gasped as the realization hit him like a ton of boulders.
"You mean, … y-you … kill me Daddy!?" he screamed in a fit of rage, and he was about to charge at the monster whom had just confessed to murdering his father when his mother pulled him back.
"Petrie, don't!" she begged.
"He kill Daddy!" cried Petrie, "Me no let him get away with this!"
"Stop!" his mother yelled, "You can't take on a fully-grown Sharptooth!"
"That what me going to do!?" argued Petrie.
He saw that his mother was trying to hold back tears as she looked at him with loving and worrying eyes.
"P-Petrie?" she whispered to him.
"Y-ye-yes, … Mom-Mama!?" stuttered Petrie.
"I'm … going to distract him. While I do that, I want you to fly as far away as you can," said Mama Flyer.
"NO!" wailed Petrie, his legs swinging back and forth as he cried within his mother's tight hold, "Me no let you get eaten by Sharptooth! Me no want to lose you!"
"Petrie, … I love you, … and I don't want to let this Sharptooth place a finger on you," his mother said, "Mothers are meant to keep their children safe, even if it means giving themselves up. I'm going to keep him distracted, and you are going to fly to safety. Don't stop flying until you're far away. Don't come back for me. Just fly. Please, … for me?"
"B-but, … what about you!?" protested Petrie.
Tears started pouring out of Mama Flyer's eyes as she struggled to contain herself.
"I'm so sorry, Petrie, but the only thing I want is for my last child to be safe," she insisted, her mind set only on saving her child, "Now, when I make my way out, just go, keep going, and don't stop or look back."
"M-me … love you so much, Mama!" cried Petrie despairingly as he couldn't find any more arguments that could change her mind, "Me will miss you!"
"I'll miss you, too, Petrie," sniffled Mama Flyer, and she placed her son back on his feet and made her way to the entrance to face the Sharptooth who still had the front of his jaw leaning against the bottom of the ledge, "If you want my son, then you're going to have to go through me first!"
"Oh, have I made the crybaby Flyer's caring mother beg for mercy!?" taunted the Sharptooth, "Well, don't you worry! I'll be giving you both very quick deaths! I assure you it'll hurt less if I eat you in one bite."
Just as the Sharptooth began to open its mouth, Mama Flyer immediately turned to Petrie and motioned for him to take off.
"Go, Petrie! Go! Fly! FLY!" she called.
Petrie didn't need to be told twice. He knew this regretfully meant leaving his mother behind to die in the jaws of a Sharptooth, but if this meant his survival, he had no other option.
So, with deep regret and sorrow, and with tears falling torrentially from his eyes, the little Flyer ran to the ledge as fast as his feet could carry him, and he flapped his wings to get himself airborne just as the Sharptooth made an attempt to snap at his mother, missing her by mere inches.
Then, just as Petrie was about to make his break for freedom, the Sharptooth's tail came up and whacked him so hard that he was thrown back inside the cave, screaming in pain.
"NO!" he heard his mother screaming in despair as his back crashed against the wall and he slid to the floor.
"OOWWW!" poor Petrie wailed in pain and with the unthinkable reality that his mother's effort to protect him had just ended in failure.
Barely a second later, the boy looked to see what was happening, and he saw that his mother had been caught by her feet within the Sharptooth's jaws, crying in unbearable pain.
"MAMA! NAAAOOO!" cried Petrie, and he ran to his mother and grabbed her hands in an effort to pull her back.
"Petrie!" cried Mama Flyer, "Please! Go! Save yourself! Don't worry about me! Just do as I say and get out of here!"
"NO!" begged Petrie, "ME NO LET HIM EAT YOU!"
"Please!" sobbed Mama Flyer, "Let go, dear!"
Knowing there was no way he could save his mother, Petrie reluctantly and regretfully released his grip on her hands, and the Sharptooth slowly pulled her away from him while she cried and moaned in pain.
"MAMA!" wept Petrie as he lied where he was and watched the Sharptooth open its mouth and tossed his mother inside before he began chewing on her. The poor kid watched with horror as with each and every bite, his mother's body was ripped to shreds until all that was left were the bones which the Sharptooth spat out right in front of the now-orphaned Flyer.
The bones landed all over the cave and left blood splattering all over the walls. Petrie saw it all happen, and he couldn't even gather the strength to get back on his feet. First, he had lost his friends, and now he had just lost his entire family, all in just a matter of moments. He seemed to have lost the will to live after losing everyone he had ever known in his short life.
"And now, you're next!" said the Sharptooth with an evil smile, and before Petrie could even make another attempt at escaping, he saw the monster's big, wide open mouth making its way down to scoop him up. He barely had enough time to take a single step before its teeth came in contact with his feet and trapped him in a dark, silent void.
He suddenly felt himself falling down into nothingness. He screamed and tried flapping his wings, but he couldn't stop himself from falling, and soon he landed in a red, sticky pool. He looked around and realized that he was in the stomach of the Sharptooth that had just consumed him. He also found, to his horror, the dead bodies of not just his six friends, but also his four siblings and his mother, all appearing to be as soft as tree stars since they were boneless.
"NAAAAOOO!" he wept, "Me so sorry, everyone! Me so sorry, Great Valley! You all dead because of me! Me worst Flyer ever!"
Petrie let out one final cry of despair before he looked up one last time and saw a slob of stomach acid falling directly toward him. He closed his eyes just as the acid splashed all over him and gave his body such burning sensations, and then everything fell silent …
Petrie opened his eyes and screamed so loudly that his voice echoed throughout the cave. He shut his eyes tight and grabbed hold of the first thing he could feel himself touch, not having any idea that it was his mother's chest.
"Petrie!" his mother gasped in shock.
"NAAAAOOOO!" wailed Petrie, clenching his mother's chest, "SOMEBODY HELP ME!"
"Petrie!" his mother shouted into his ear, "Snap out of it! Ssssshhh! It's okay, it's okay! Mommy's here. Sssh. Calm down, Petrie. Calm down."
The little Flyer stopped screaming once he recognized his mother's voice, and he panted heavily until he felt two very warm sensations …
One of them was his mother wrapping her wings tightly around him, but the other one was for all the wrong reasons …
With his eyes going wide, he looked down and saw the unthinkable happening before his very eyes; urine squirting its way out from between his legs … onto one of his mother's wings. It took no time at all before the scent spread throughout the cave, and sure enough, he heard that sound that told him he was in for big trouble, the sound of his mother and siblings sniffing the air.
"Eeeww!" his brothers and sisters all cried in disgust.
"Petrie's done it again!" said one of his sisters.
It was a few seconds later when Petrie stopped urinating from all the shock and scares he had just experienced. Mama Flyer opened her right wing and gasped as she noticed a wet spot on it that smelled repulsive. The other children saw the spot as well, and they all gasped in disbelief.
"Well, well, Petrie, thought you'd become a mom-wetter now!?" hissed the younger of his two sisters.
"Well, I'll be damned!" said the oldest brother, "Petrie, you really are such a baby!"
Petrie then saw for himself what he had just done to his mother's wing, and he gasped and covered his beak with his wings as his face turned pale. He couldn't even comprehend that he had probably just had the worst wetting accident in his entire life. He had done something a lot worse than wetting the nest; wetting on his mother.
"Petrie!" Mama Flyer gasped as she stared down at her son, who still had his beak covered with his wings and was now backing away from her, "I, … how could you … do this!? What in the world happened in your sleep story!?"
"M-Me so sorry, Mama!" cried Petrie before he noticed that his mother was looking at him not with an expression of anger, but of pure shock and worry for him, "Sleep story so scary! Everyone dead and we all get-,"
He couldn't utter another word from his beak as he turned to his siblings, all of whom were glaring at him with pure hatred.
"It's one thing to wet the nest, Petrie, but doing the same to your own mother!?" ranted the youngest of his brothers.
"You and all your sleep stories have gone on for long enough, Petrie!" added the oldest sister, "Always being scared of everything! You're a lot more of a scaredy-egg than we all thought you were!"
"I can't believe you, Petrie!" said the younger sister, "You've just proven to us all that you really are the stupidest Flyer of them all!"
"You're just a worthless freak and a wimpy, baby-talking, mom-wetting crybaby who doesn't deserve to be in this family!" proclaimed the oldest brother.
That last remark stopped Petrie's heart momentarily, and he burst into tears and started weeping as he lost control of himself completely. This triggered Mama Flyer into stopping the teasing before it got out of hand. She screeched so loudly that all her children screamed and were stunned into silence.
"That's enough, children! Leave your brother alone! I've had enough of all this bullying and harassment, and it needs to stop now! Petrie's just had a horrifying night terror, and you're making this a lot worse for him than it needs to be!"
"But look what he did to your wing!" said the younger sister accusingly, pointing to the wet spot on Mama Flyer's right wing.
"If you ask me, Petrie's as good as gone!" added the oldest brother, "I don't care what anyone else thinks! He's just a worthless, little beak brain who deserves to be thrown into a fire mountain!"
Before anyone could respond, the oldest brother walked right up to Petrie and punched him in the beak while his youngest sister threw an old tree sweet at his face. The tree sweet smashed against his beak and splattered juice all over his face. Then, the oldest brother kicked him in the crotch so hard that he was launched right out the entrance and fell about twenty feet into the snow-covered ground below, landing headfirst.
"AAAWWWOOOOWWWW!" he screamed as he pulled himself out of the frozen sky water and looked back up at his home that his siblings had just so harshly kicked him out of. Out of all the terrible things his siblings had done to him, kicking him out of his own home was the most heartless thing for them to have done. This felt like the equivalent of being disowned by a family or being left to die and rot into a pile of bones.
"HOW DARE YOU!" he heard his mother screaming to his siblings, but that was all he could make out as the distance between himself and the nest above drowned out her angry voice furiously reprimanding the other children.
Shaking the juice off his face, and feeling more tears welling up in his eyes, Petrie turned away from the home which he no longer felt welcome in, and he lifted himself into the sky and flew as far away as he could, crying the whole way he flew.
Now he really did wish he had a whole new family.
Petrie continued flying, and crying, not caring where he landed. He just wanted to get away from his horrible family life and start somewhere new. He didn't know where to start, all that he just couldn't bear the thought of ever seeing his heartless siblings again. The only thing he had ever wanted other than friends was to have a happy family life, but fate had been against him from the day he hatched, and after being kicked out by his brother, he took that as the one final blow that fueled his desire to run away and escape this miserable life.
Knowing he would have to land somewhere to find shelter from the bitter cold, the young Flyer noticed a large rock on the ground with a hole big enough to fit an adult Spiketail. It seemed to be the only shelter he could find for miles, and he didn't want to keep himself out in the cold longer than necessary, so he dived his way down and shot his way into the cave before he touched down and stumbled against a wall that was far from the entrance in an effort to find the warmest spot possible.
It was only then that he gazed at his surroundings and fluttered his eyes with wonder at what he saw …
Sky blue shiny stones were glistening on the walls, providing very dim light. It did little to improve Petrie's vision inside such a dark place in the middle of the night, but they still provided a wondrous sight for any who glanced at them with their curious eyes.
"What … place … this?" he asked himself as he brushed the last few tears from his eyes and looked at all the blue shiny stones lining the walls of the cave.
Then, he saw it …
A large patch of frozen water was stuck against one of the walls, with one shiny stone on each side. Petrie looked into the patch of ice and saw his own reflection within it. Curious, he took small baby steps towards this wall of ice until his beak was almost touching it. He looked all around this mysterious wall of frozen water and could tell that he was all alone in the cave. There was no sign of life anywhere, other than himself, and once he realized that he was the only one here, he stared at his reflection for a while, thinking that he could perhaps strike up a conversation with "himself."
"Um, … hello?" he spoke to his reflection.
Before he could utter anymore words, however, something completely strange and wondrous suddenly happened before his very eyes …
Within his reflection, several clouds of white suddenly appeared behind "him," and as the clouds dissolved, several more Flyers appeared as if they had come out of nowhere. Three of them were adults, while the four others were children whom were about his age.
Petrie was startled by this, and he immediately looked behind him to see whom had suddenly disturbed his loneliness …
… but nobody was there.
Baffled, he turned back to his reflection on the ice wall, and the Flyers were still standing there with him. He started to believe that this was another sleep story, yet when he closed his eyes tight and opened them again, he found out that this was no sleep story. This wasn't just happening inside his head. It was all real. Here he was, staring at his own reflection, and yet more Flyers had appeared within his reflection when, in fact, nobody was really in the cave with him. He began to wonder if he would have to question his own sanity, but he managed to calm himself down, and he cleared his throat so that he could see if he could interact with these … other Flyers.
"H-He-Hello?" he stammered nervously.
None of them answered and instead just smiled and chuckled without making any audible sound, and when Petrie got a good-enough glance at each of them, he realized who the Flyers were and gasped …
He recognized two of the three adults standing behind him as his mother and his uncle Pterano. The four children standing beside him were, much to his dismay, his siblings; his brothers and sisters whom had mistreated him so harshly without any shred of compassion for him.
It took a long while for Petrie to guess who the third adult was. It was a brown male, although in a different shade than Pterano, and his wings were not quite as transparent, either.
Then, a thought struck Petrie like a rock smashing him on the head. He came to believe that this Flyer he had no recollection of may have very well been his long-lost father. He had next to no memory of his father, so he couldn't even remember what he looked like.
"D-Daddy? That you?" he asked the male Flyer in question within the ice wall, and, to his surprise, the Flyer nodded and smiled at him without a word.
Petrie's eyes went wide with wonder. Here he was, for the first time in his life, seeing himself with his entire family, whole and intact. It felt like a sleep story come true, even if they weren't actually there.
What further amazed Petrie was that his four siblings were all smiling at him, too; something he had never recalled seeing them do, except for the Great Day of the Flyers. He could not understand how he could be seeing such a sight like this, one which he knew would never come true after being told the story of how his father died so tragically, and his siblings being so rotten to him.
"Me no understand," he whispered to himself, "How me see me whole family if Daddy … d-dead?"
Within the ice wall, Papa Flyer lowered one of his wings and gently pressed it against Petrie's chest. The real Petrie looked down and saw that there was nothing pressing against his chest, but he sensed that his father within his reflection was gesturing to him that he was with him in his heart. The young Flyer sniffled and chuckled a little at the answer, and he grinned at his father in the wall of frozen water. His father smiled back at him.
Then, suddenly, his mother's form within the ice wall began to turn transparent again, and within a few seconds, she vanished.
"Mama?" said Petrie as he became frantic, "Mama? Where are you?"
At that very instant, he heard footsteps crunching against the frozen sky water on the ground behind him, and he looked back and saw that he was no longer alone in the cave …
There stood Mama Flyer herself, truly in his presence, looking down at him with a gentle expression.
For Petrie, this was enough to explain why his mother's form had disappeared from the ice wall. The fact that she was actually here meant that it was no longer necessary for her form to remain with his reflection in the wall.
"So, … I see you've discovered it, too," said Mama Flyer as she slowly walked up to her son and patted his back.
Petrie was surprised by this revelation, and he stared at his mother, completely perplexed.
"Wait! You mean, … you see this, too?" he questioned her.
"In fact, I have," answered Mama Flyer, "I stumbled across this place not so long ago, as a matter of fact. Just a few days ago, I was looking for food during that terrible storm, and I happened to come in here, and when I saw this frozen water stuck against this wall, I didn't know what to make of it, … until … it happened."
"What happen?" asked Petrie curiously.
"When I looked at my reflection, I not only saw myself, but I saw you, too, … along with your brothers and sisters, your uncle Pterano, … and also your father," said Mama Flyer, holding back tears as the recent memory of seeing a vision of her long-deceased mate still melted her heart.
Petrie was stunned. He had no idea what to make of this. If his mother could also see their whole family within this patch of ice, then there had to be something special about it.
"Me think there something about this … mysterious … frozen water … that make it so special," murmured Petrie.
"I agree with you completely, dear," said Mama Flyer, "I don't know how to explain it, and I'm not sure there's a dinosaur alive today who can explain to us, … but the way I see it is this: the happiest dinosaur on the face of the earth … could look at his reflection here, and see himself exactly the way he is. No, this cannot tell the future, but perhaps it simply shows us something we so desperately wish for. In that sense, there is a wish and desire in our hearts we both share, and that is to have a whole, complete family, free of any pain or suffering, living so happily together in our Great Valley."
"You mean, … it show us … what we want?" said an astonished Petrie.
"Sometimes yes, and sometimes no," his mother chuckled, "I've only ever been in here three times, so I don't know the true nature of this wall of frozen water, but I do know that it's shown me something that I wish for but know will never come true."
"Then, … what meaning of this?" asked Petrie, scratching his head in confusion.
"It means that it shows us nothing more than the deepest, most desperate desires of our hearts," answered Mama Flyer, "In our case, we wish for more than just a happy family life. We wish for our family to be reunited, whole and complete, without pain or any form of suffering. Perhaps, that's why we see us all smiling happily together, including your father whom you never got a chance to know."
Petrie looked back at his reflection to take another glance at his family. His mother had reappeared within the ice wall, but instead of her previous form as a simple vision, her actual reflection had taken its place. Next to her was the image of his father, nuzzling his beak against hers as a sign of love and compassion. It looked almost no different than what Petrie saw when he first stumbled into the cave. It was simply him, his siblings, his mother, his father and his uncle all smiling at his real form.
Mama Flyer sat down and gently pulled Petrie onto her lap before affectionately rubbing his chest with her hands. Petrie giggled a little, but he was in no mood for laughs. He just wanted to cherish this moment of seeing his whole family for as long as he could.
"Petrie, … I've been meaning to ask you this for a while now, … but did you really mean it when you said you sometimes wished you had a whole new family?" asked Mama Flyer.
Petrie looked up at his mother with deep shock. He couldn't have imagined that she had overheard him that night after a failed practice session for the Great Day of the Flyers.
"You mean, … y-you?" he stuttered, so shocked that he couldn't finish his sentence.
"Yes, Petrie, … I heard you that night," sighed Mama Flyer, "I didn't press it at the time because I wasn't sure if you really meant it, and because I didn't want to place any more burden on you, … but it did hurt my feelings when you muttered that."
Petrie gulped and looked down shamefully, feeling more tears welling up in his eyes. He felt so ashamed of breaking his mother's heart in such a horrible way, even though he had never meant to do so.
"Me so sorry, Mama," he sniffled as a single tear escaped from his eye, "Me was so angry at me brothers and sisters, and they think me never do nothing right, … b-but … when me say me wish me had a whole nother family, … me no … mean … you. Me could never have another mom like you. Me love you, Mama. Me just want different brothers and sisters that be nice to me, instead of ones who make fun of Petrie me whole life. They make fun of how me talk, they make fun of how me no could fly when me try to learn how to fly, they tease me about how me miss uncle Pterano after he be banished, and they ridicule me for messing up when we practice for Great Day of Flyers. Even after Great Day of Flyers, … they still think me nest-wetting crybaby! Me no flightless, nest-wetting crybaby anymore! Me just want brothers and sisters who can be nice to me just like you when me do something wrong or mess everything up!"
The little Flyer couldn't bear to keep his eyes open, and he buried his face into his mother's chest and sobbed quietly, reflecting on all the misery his family life had brought him from the day he hatched. From the day he came into the world, the one thing he wanted more than anything else was a happy family life, but he was never given such happiness. Instead, he was destined to live with a broken, unstable family; his father having been brutally murdered by a Sharptooth only a day after he hatched whilst trying to find his family a safer home, his uncle becoming insane and almost inadvertently getting him and his friends killed, and his brothers and sisters feeling absolutely no love for him whatsoever, even after all the many adventures he had gone through with his friends. At times like these, he really felt as if his mother was all he truly had as family.
With her motherly instincts kicking in, and in full understanding of her son's pain, Mama Flyer slowly lifted Petrie up to the height of her shoulders and wrapped her arms around him in a soothing embrace.
"There, there, Petrie. I understand," she spoke softly, "I know you're not what your brothers and sisters say you are, and I know you didn't mean anything against me when you said what you said that night. I love you, too, Petrie, and you know I'll always be there for you when you're down. You should never be afraid to tell me what's wrong when I ask you so. As your mother, it's my duty to look after and protect all my children, including you, Petrie. No matter what your brothers and sisters say, you are you. In that sense, you are special, Petrie. Everyone is special in one way or another."
"Me never feel special until me finally get to fly, … and when we take part in Great Day of Flyers," admitted Petrie.
"But you've always been special, Petrie, even when you don't think you are," his mother assured him.
Petrie faintly grinned at his mother. He knew she had a point. Even if he didn't feel special, he knew deep down that he was special inside, just like his friends were.
"Now, Petrie, … about, … you know," said Mama Flyer, hesitant to bring up her son's night terror.
"Me sleep story?" finished Petrie, knowing exactly what his mother was about to bring up.
"Yes," sighed Mama Flyer, "What happened in your sleep story, Petrie?"
Petrie contemplated for a moment, unsure if he should share the gruesome details of his horrible nightmare, but he sighed in order to prepare himself mentally, and he told his mother everything that had happened: the Great Valley being covered in devastatingly cold frozen sky water and the river being frozen solid, the echoing roars of the Sharptooth stalking him, finding the dead bodies of his friends and their families, witnessing Ducky die a horrible death, flying home only to find his uncle and siblings' skeletons with only his mother still alive, the Sharptooth confessing to killing his father, his mother urging him to escape without her, the Sharptooth consuming them both, and falling into the stomach of the Sharptooth and seeing his family and friends' bloody, boneless corpses being devoured by the stomach acid.
Mama Flyer was deeply shocked, unable to even picture such horrific events taking place. She knew Petrie had seen his share of terrors in his past adventures and came close to being eaten many times before, he and his friends always being so lucky to survive, but the thought of a single Sharptooth devouring every dinosaur in the valley and Petrie being forced to see all the gruesome horror for himself was something she never could have imagined her son seeing in his sleep stories. It should have been no surprise then that he completely lost control of himself and accidentally urinated on her wing once the terror was all over and he was brought back to reality.
"My goodness, Petrie!" gasped Mama Flyer.
"It so scary!" cried Petrie as he tried to calm himself down after having to remember what he had just been through, "Me never wanna sleep again!"
"Aww, Petrie. It wasn't real," his mother assured him, "It was just one sleep story."
"Out of many bad sleep stories me have!" countered Petrie, "You no could ever imagine Sharptooth killing everyone you know just to hunt you!"
Mama Flyer sighed sadly and rubbed her son's head.
"True, but even if it ever did happen, I will be there to keep you safe, … always," she spoke with a soft smile, "I promise."
"Even if me have to leave you behind just for me own safety?" said a downcast Petrie.
"Only if necessary, dear," replied Mama Flyer, "You may not like the idea of me having to sacrifice my life for the safety of my children, but some parents will do just that in the most desperate situations."
Petrie sniffled, knowing he couldn't argue about that, and he leaned against his mother's right wing and noticed a not-so-pleasant smell. He blushed deeply and cringed as he knew exactly what it was. He turned his head back and saw the wet spot still on his mother's right wing. He looked down and saw that his legs were also still drenched in urine from that nasty accident that had been triggered by his horrific night terror.
"I'm really so sorry you've had to go through all that, Petrie," Mama Flyer spoke gently, "No one as young as you are should have to see such horrible things in their sleep."
Petrie gulped and shook, not from the cold, but from the nervousness he felt about saying what he was about to say …
"M-Me so sorry me, … um, … w-wet-," he started to say, but his mother gently closed his beak with one hand while hugging him with the other.
"Ssh. It's okay, Petrie," she softly replied, "I can forgive you for that. You were just so scared and had no control over it. I don't blame you, dear. Now, let's wash this stuff off."
Mama Flyer grabbed a handful of frozen sky water and rubbed it against Petrie's legs. The kid shivered and covered his legs with his wings as they felt immensely cold from having frozen sky water rubbed on them, but his mother continued to rub on each of his legs until they looked good as new again. She then performed the same process on her own right wing, not caring how cold it was, and before long, the wet spot was gone once she shook the frozen sky water off.
"There we go. Good as new, don't you agree?" she chuckled.
Petrie didn't feel much better, but he sighed with the slightest hints of relief that his legs looked clean again and that the smell was gone.
"Me guess," he murmured to himself before he looked at the ice wall again and saw that his family were still gathered around his and his mother's reflections, all smiling as if there was nothing to be so upset about. It was as if they were all living together in such a happy place. Petrie began to imagine how it would have been like if they were all living in the Great Valley together, and he asked himself how different it could have been if his father was still alive, his uncle hadn't been exiled, and his siblings weren't a bunch of pushy bullies to him.
Thinking once again of all the many times his family life had taken turns for the worse, the young Flyer couldn't bear to keep staring at his reflection, and he jumped off his mother's lap and walked over to a nearby cave pillar and leaned his back against it. He stared out at the entrance and gazed at the frozen sky water that was dimly lit by the Night Circle. His mother simply turned to face her poor son and kept her eyes fixed on him, asking herself the same question she had been asking herself for so long …
"What is wrong with my little Petrie?"
The little Flyer sighed sadly and shed a few more tears but quickly wiped his eyes. From the day his father had been killed, his life seemed to have slipped into a living nightmare, particularly with all the ways his siblings would laugh and berate him so mercilessly. Yet no one other than her seemed to have been able to understand his pain. Not even his friends had a clear idea about his tragic home life whenever they were not together.
He sighed as he stared off into space, looking at nothing in particular. When he noticed his mother standing up and walking over to him, he nearly jolted, having almost forgotten about her presence. He quickly calmed down as she sat next to him, gently wrapping her wing around his back. Petrie showed minimal signs of acknowledging his mother's presence, still staring off at the entrance and watching the cold winds pass.
Mama Flyer softened and sighed, and she stroked Petrie's wing to give him the slightest sensations of love and comfort. The boy leaned towards her and looked up at her motherly-loving eyes and genuinely-assuring smile.
"You know, … me find it … sad … that … me can sing good, but me still talk like baby," sniffled Petrie, "Me no baby, but why me still talk like baby? Why me wet the nest in me sleep, even when me no have bad sleep story? Why me always so scared of everything? Even sky puffies?"
His mother tensed only the slightest and gazed uneasily at him as if she was not willing to tell him something she had never wanted to tell him, even if he surely had the right to know. Although Petrie was six Cold Times old and not even minutes younger than his siblings, he still had a trait he felt he was cursed with: his speech was still like that of a baby or toddler's, and he showed signs of timidity and uneasiness from the very moment he hatched from his egg, a trait that had since not disappeared.
"It will be okay. Everything looks scary to you!" he heard Littlefoot's voice ringing in his head as he thought of how even his friends noted how timid he was compared to them. Truth be told, he was secretly offended by it, but he didn't want to tell them so. He didn't want them to see him as the emotionally broken Flyer he really was. He simply wanted to be seen by them as a friendly Flyer who was happy to have them as friends, whether they played together or occasionally made fun of each other just as a harmless joke.
"I'll have to confess, Petrie," his mother began with a long sigh of reluctance, gently pulling her son into her lap again, "You are not the only one in our family whom has had this problem."
Petrie gasped and stared at his mother in shock.
"Me not!?" he stammered.
"I once had a sister who had the same problem for a long time," recalled Mama Flyer, "She was a late nest wetter, kind of like how you have been, … and your uncle Pterano found it hard to endure living with her until she went off to live on her own. There were even a few on my father's side of the family who grew up with the same problems as you have. I've hesitated to say this for the longest time, … but as you, your brothers and your sisters grew up to the age you're at now, and you never stopped talking like a baby, … I came to fear that you had been born with the same problem that my sister, aunts and uncles had."
Petrie was speechless. He couldn't even begin to imagine that he had been born with some form of mind illness that apparently ran in the family.
"Me … sick … me whole life?" he murmured, horrified by the thought of it.
"It's not an illness, Petrie," his mother corrected him, "It's a kind of disorder that doesn't effect many dinosaurs at all. It's been very rarely seen, and most problems go away after the Time of Great Growing. No one knows what to call it. All it really does is delay your development somewhat, and it makes you more nervous than most your age. The way it affected you? Well, it's greatly delayed your speech development, which also happened to a few of my paternal cousins, … it's left you feeling afraid of trying something new most of the time, which may explain why you had a hard time learning how to fly, … and it can cause kids your age to keep wetting the nest in their sleep for some time."
Petrie's mind spiraled with this unpleasant revelation. He couldn't believe that he had hatched with an ailment within himself that had delayed his mental growth. It just couldn't be true. There was no way he had been destined to live this way. Although he was very smart for his age, he had been cursed with a developmental disorder that left him acting somewhat like a baby for his age.
"M-Me … still … like baby … inside?" he sniffled as the truth began to overwhelm him, the fact that this was what destined him to become laughing stock for his brothers and sisters throughout his young life.
"To me, no. I know you're not a baby anymore, but you still have late signs of it that should have been gone a long time ago," sighed Mama Flyer.
"And … you never tell me this?" accused Petrie.
"I didn't want to tell you because I thought you were too young to understand, dear," said Mama Flyer uneasily, fearing that he was about to lash out at her for keeping such a dark secret away from him, "I knew you'd have to know sooner or later, but I wasn't ready to tell you yet."
"How long me stay like this!?" panted Petrie in a mixture of angst and anger.
"To answer that question, dear, … I'm not really sure," sniffled Mama Flyer, "I … I'm really so sorry, my little Petrie."
"So, then me going to have me stupid brothers and sisters shoving me around until me Time of Great Growing!? Huh!? HUH!?" yelled Petrie.
"Hey, hey, hey! Calm down, Petrie!" his mother said sternly but softly, "Calm down. Please, don't yell at me. Just calm down. It will not continue to be this way forever. Once you reach your Time of Great Growing, it shouldn't be a problem anymore."
"It better not be!" retorted Petrie angrily.
"Okay, Petrie! That's enough yelling! Calm down, dear! Please, stop!" his mother spoke sternly, "I've warned you many times to not raise your voice at me like that."
Petrie panted heavily as he tried to maintain his furious look, but he soon remembered how wrong it was to yell at his mother, and his expression died down to one of regret and sorrow.
"M-Me so sorry!" he cried as more tears came down, "Me no mean to yell at you! Me just … get so upset."
"I know, dear. I know," his mother cooed him, "I'm very sorry you'll have to live knowing that you have a disorder that none of your friends or siblings have. You may still seem like a baby on the outside sometimes, but between you and me, you will always be my special little baby on the inside, my cute, little Petrie."
"Please no treat me like baby, though," said Petrie despairingly, "Me no like being treated like baby."
"I would never do that, Petrie," promised Mama Flyer before she sighed with a sniffle, "Sometimes, I forget how much you've grown. You've managed to overcome your troubles quite well in the past, and you've grown quite a lot on the inside. Your adventures with your friends have especially proven that. You are very brave … in a sense, … even when you don't think you are."
Petrie wiped his tears away just as his mother's beak came down and planted a tender kiss on one cheek, followed by another on his other cheek, then one more that pulled his beak in and coated it warmly, momentarily sealing his mouth shut as she hugged him tightly. When she raised her head back up and smiled at him, he smiled back and allowed her to cuddle him and nuzzle his face with her beak for as long as he wanted her to. For once, he didn't care how much she babied him by doing this. He just wanted that warm feeling of motherly love to soothe him and pamper him. It reminded him of times past when she would dote him and share such strong mother/son affection with him that it would soothe him to sleep with a bright smile. Nowadays, it embarrassed him, but just for this moment, Petrie truly felt once again that he was, and at heart, still was today, his mother's very special baby.
After several minutes, the two looked at each other with happy, teary-eyed smiles, and Petrie, with a very soft, cute chuckle, kissed his mother on her beak.
"That's my sweet, little baby," said Mama Flyer in much the same way she used to when they did this together.
Petrie blushed deep red in embarrassment, but he still felt so loved all the same.
"I love you, my special little Petrie," whispered Mama Flyer in that loving voice she used to soothe Petrie with all those Cold Times ago.
"Me love you, too, Mama," replied Petrie in a cute voice in an effort to mimic how cute his voice sounded back then, and they shared a laugh from their playful nostalgia.
Petrie turned to his right and once again took notice of the wall of frozen water. His family were still accompanying his and his mother's reflections within the wall, and he noticed them appearing to be gathering around them.
As Mama Flyer hugged Petrie affectionately in the same way she was doing right now, Papa Flyer wrapped an arm around the reflection of Mama Flyer and kissed Petrie's beak. His uncle Pterano appeared to be gently tickling him, and his brothers and sisters jumped onto Mama Flyer's lap to share the family love with their brother. The sight of it made the real Petrie tear up again, as he was once again reminded of the fact that it was nothing more than a desire to never be fulfilled.
Mama Flyer had watched it happen, too, and she shed a single tear from her eye with the same pain her son felt. It was especially heartbreaking to her that she was not the only one who had such a desire to have her family reunited, but to have her son share the same desire as her and to never get to have the chance to see it happen unless they looked into this ice wall.
"You know, Petrie, as much as this vision of our whole family together may seem happy, it is also a reminder of something that can never become reality. If I could ask you a favor just for me, it would be to not come looking for this mysterious wall of frozen water every so often. I don't want to see you wasting away in front of this thing, dreaming only of seeing your father and uncle reunited with the rest of us. It does not do good to dwell on something that cannot come true … and forget to live the life you're living now. You have friends you can count on … to help you be the 'you' you are now; … my special little boy whom I love so much."
Those last few words brought to Petrie another genuine smile, accompanied by another stream of tears. He felt happy that his mother loved him so much and was always willing to stay by his side no matter how many mistakes he made, or how many times he disobeyed her. This was more than just a mother's love. It was a very special kind of love a mother could give her child, a mother who was very understanding of her child's emotional distress and would always be there to guide him and dote him whenever he needed it, the kind of mother who knew that among her children, this one was very special to her and meant so much to her that she would do anything to give him the love and happiness he needed to live as much a happy life as he could, a mother who could help him overcome all their family problems and live life to the fullest with her, his friends and their peaceful valley.
He looked into the ice wall again, and he saw his father appearing to be nodding his head as if he was agreeing with what his widow had just said.
"I think your father would have agreed with me," remarked Mama Flyer, and the vision of Papa Flyer within the wall inaudibly chuckled in agreement.
"Me guess so," sighed Petrie sadly. He really did want to come here as often as he could, just to see his family whole and intact, happy to be together. However, he knew his mother was right. He could not dwell on something he could never have. He still had a long life ahead of him, and he had those who were around to care for him and guide him through this tough stage of his still-so-young life, particularly Littlefoot with his ever-so-humble words and leadership that would lead him to many more adventures still to come.
"Let me say this, dear," said Mama Flyer, "You may be willing to spend days coming here just to see your family, but this is not the only way. You have a very big heart for a Flyer your age, and even if you can't see those you've lost, they're always with you."
"What you mean?" asked Petrie curiously.
Mama Flyer gave her son a knowing smile.
"Some things you see with your eyes, others you see with your heart," she said wisely.
Petrie looked down at his chest and placed a hand over his heart. He closed his eyes for a moment, and in his mind, he could picture exactly what he had seen in the ice wall, his greatest desire throughout his childhood aside from his friends; his family reunited and whole, completely content with no form of any suffering; one big happy Flyer family, living in the Great Valley amongst his special friends and most of their families, together seemingly making one gigantic family, as if he and his friends themselves together made up a family of special children, each their own kind, always exploring their valley to discover so much more about their world.
Petrie's train of thought was interrupted when his mother tapped his chest three times to get his attention. He giggled a little from the very brief tickle before he looked up at her.
"Now, Petrie, … I know you may not like this, … but it's time to go back to the nest and get some more sleep," said Mama Flyer, knowing full well that Petrie would be dreading this.
Sure enough, he frowned and shivered as if he was frightened by such an idea. After his brother had so rudely kicked him out of their home and threw him into the snow, he didn't feel welcome in their warm cave that was meant to provide warmth and comfort to him instead of pain and suffering. He couldn't bear to face his siblings again after they witnessed his worst wetting accident yet.
"Me no feel welcome at home anymore," trembled Petrie with a quivering beak.
"I know, Petrie, but your brothers and sisters have no say in that. I am the only one who gets to decide that, and I say you'll always be welcome home, Petrie. I would never do such a horrible thing to you, and I'll make sure they never do it again," assured Mama Flyer, "That I promise."
This did just about nothing to comfort or convince Petrie, but once his mother lifted him off her lap and placed him on her back, he knew he couldn't argue then. She had made up her mind, and that was that.
"Come on, dear," Mama Flyer smiled, "Let's go home."
The two took one last look at their reflections in the wall of ice, just in time to see the forms of their family members turn transparent and vanish into nothingness.
Petrie frowned, wrapped his wings around his mother's neck and leaned his head against her, sighing sadly as she carried him out of the cave and back up into the sky to begin their flight back home.
The Flyer children were still awake, just staring off into space, awaiting their mother's return. Although they didn't care what happened to Petrie, they were still worried nonetheless that their mother would teach them quite a lesson when she returned. None of them said a word. They had been silent ever since their mother left to find Petrie. Although they felt lonely without her, they dreaded what would happen when she returned and would surely bring Petrie back with her.
Eventually, they could hear amongst the whistling winds the flapping of wings, and when they looked out the entrance to their cave, Mama Flyer hovered over the ledge and gently touched her feet down on the rocky surface. The children then looked at her neck and spotted a shivering Petrie riding on her back.
The little Flyer slowly slid down his mother's back and followed her from behind, not wanting to be visible to his siblings, but it was no use.
"So, the little freak is back," hissed the older sister, making Petrie cringe and hide himself inside his mother's wing.
"Well, well, well, I see she brought back the stupid cry-," said the older brother, before a stern voice cut him off.
"Ah, AHEM!" coughed Mama Flyer loudly and clearly for all her children to hear.
Nobody dared to say a word. They all looked directly at their mother's eyes as she protectively hugged Petrie.
"You have just earned yourself some very serious trouble, children!" she hissed ferociously, "I've had it up to here with all of you harassing your brother like a small pack of merciless wretches, and I will not endure or tolerate this any longer!"
"Really? Someone like him? He's just a-,"
"QUIET!" screamed Mama Flyer, and the children jolted and scrambled against the walls, "If you dare speak one more berating word to Petrie, or even about Petrie, … I will see to it that you are all punished in a way you won't even want to hear about! Do I make myself clear!?"
"Y-y-yes," trembled the younger sister.
"Now, … I would like for you to apologize to your brother for all the despicable lies you've said about him!" seethed Mama Flyer.
"Uh, … we-we're s-sorry, Petrie," stammered the younger of Petrie's two brothers.
Petrie just glared and let out a tearful scream at his siblings before he turned his back on them, folding his arms in disgust. He knew such an apology like that showed no remorse or mercy in their hearts.
"You know that won't be good enough, children," remarked an unimpressed Mama Flyer, "You've driven Petrie nearly to the point of insanity, and I will not let that befall my youngest child! We are a family, and as family, we are meant to trust each other and respect each other equally, not harassing those you feel aren't welcome in MY family! I am the one who makes those decisions, and you have no say in them! You understand me!?"
The younger sister nodded out of fear, while the three others stayed completely silent and still.
"You have been doing this for far too long, and it shall end now!" Mama Flyer continued in a deep, threatening voice, "Making fun of how he talks? Teasing him for not being able to fly when he couldn't do so? Making fun of how he misses your uncle Pterano? Berating him for all those Great Day of the Flyers practices? I was especially certain that you would forgive him and finally start treating him fairly after what he did to change the Day of the Flyers forever, but you went right back to harassing him for being a timid nest wetter!? That, I think, was the most disgraceful of all the things you've done to Petrie! Do you have any idea how this has been impacting him!? I haven't seen him smile for several Night Circle cycles because of YOUR inexcusable bullying! You've driven your poor brother into a severe state of depression that he may or may never recover from, and for that, … I … am … FURIOUS!"
The children screamed fearfully and buried their faces within their wings. They knew that when their mother got this mad, they had crossed the line and gone too far with what they had done.
"Since Petrie is refusing to accept any apology you gave him for all the absolutely blasphemous things you've done to him, you are all grounded!" finished Mama Flyer.
The four guilty children all gasped in unimaginable horror.
"Grounded!?" they all yelled.
"For how long!?" said the younger sister.
"Until I feel that you can finally learn how to respect Petrie and treat him the way he's meant to be treated!" answered Mama Flyer, "You have not been treating him like family, and we do not accept that in this valley!"
The children just sat there, awestricken with their beaks wide open. This couldn't possibly be true; not being allowed to fly for potentially a period of weeks, or even several Night Circle cycles.
"I will be allowing you to fly only for exercise," explained Mama Flyer, "Each morning, you will fly around in circles for a whole hour around the big tree a short distance away. There will be three grownups who will keep an eye on you at all times so that you don't fall out of line! Believe me, you won't want that to happen!"
"Three grownups?" whispered Petrie curiously.
"A few old friends of mine," his mother whispered back to him.
Petrie simply nodded as his mother instantly shifted her attention back to her other children. His siblings were gasping in utter disbelief. This seemed like such an unimaginable punishment, but Mama Flyer and Petrie felt that this was what they rightfully deserved for their appalling actions.
"No way!" gasped the oldest sister, "You can't do this!"
"Don't tell me what I can and cannot do, young lady!" hissed Mama Flyer, "I make the rules in this home! No arguments! It will be exercise flying around that tree for one hour every morning, and you will not be allowed to leave the cave for any reason for the rest of the day, and that's final!"
"Karma!" thought Petrie, feeling that this punishment could finally put his siblings in their place and stop the bullying once and for all.
"I hope this will teach you a valuable lesson to not pick on your brother the way you have been," said Mama Flyer with such a nasty glare, "Now, back to sleep, the lot of you!"
Shivering with fright, Petrie's four siblings all cowered back to their sleeping spots and didn't dare move from them. Eventually, they all fell asleep uneasily.
Petrie waited until they were all asleep before he cautiously walked through their cave and settled down in a warm spot in the back, grabbing his snuggling stick and wrapping it within his wings for comfort. His mother joined him and lied down next to him before she gently pulled him in for a hug. Although he felt so pleasantly warm from his mother snuggling him affectionately, he still couldn't find the bravery to close his eyes. The last thing he wanted was to have another sleep story and potentially wet himself again, or worse, wet his mother's wing again. Even his snuggling stick couldn't do enough to soothe him to sleep like it normally did.
Mama Flyer observed her son as he stared off into space, clearly not able to fight off his sleep anxiety.
"Are you ready to go back to sleep, Petrie?" his mother whispered to him.
"No," replied Petrie in a nervous whisper.
Mama Flyer sighed in understanding, and, suddenly pondering a potential solution, she reached for a pile of small tree stars and grabbed one of them.
"Could you stand up please, dear?" she instructed her son, and he promptly stood up, feeling a little confused.
Mama Flyer sat up and gently placed the tree star against Petrie's back and covered his crotch with one of the tree star's five points, stretching it up to his chest. She then strapped two more points over his waist and tied the two ends together very tightly so that they could hold in place the point that was covering his crotch.
"What point of wearing tree star like this?" a clueless Petrie asked his mother.
"This was just an idea I thought of, dear, … but just in case you end up waking up from another night terror and wetting yourself again, … this will, at least, prevent you from wetting the nest or my wing."
Almost immediately, Petrie realized exactly what her idea was, and he blushed in embarrassment.
"Oh, boy," he said sarcastically as he reached back for the two remaining unsecured points of his tree star and strapped them over his shoulders before tying them together, "Me have to sleep wearing this every night from now on?"
"Of course not, Petrie," chuckled Mama Flyer, "I just don't want you to have another accident in the nest, and I think this will help. If you don't like it, or if it doesn't work, we won't try it again. It'll just be for tonight unless it works, okay?"
"I guess," sighed Petrie, understanding that his mother was genuinely trying to help him.
"Come here, little one," said Mama Flyer in a loving voice, "Let's try getting some sleep."
Feeling indignant wearing his tree star in the way he was, but nevertheless tired from his lack of sleep, Petrie picked up his snuggling stick and once again allowed his mother to pull him back in for a hug.
Before long, the combination of the tree star, his snuggling stick, and his mother's snuggling hug brought him so much pleasant warmth that he yawned and sighed in relaxation.
"You know, … this not be so bad," he whispered.
"Of course, it won't, my little one," chuckled Mama Flyer, "We'll keep this between you and me, too. It'll be our little secret."
"Okay," grinned Petrie, "And, … Mama?"
Petrie gave his mother an adorable smile and, just to give her some more nostalgia, he spoke in a slightly higher-pitched voice, "Thank you … for everything."
Mama Flyer chuckled and kissed her precious little boy.
"You're very welcome, my little Petrie," she spoke to him in the soothing and loving voice she used to coo him with, "I know this has been a very trying time for you, but I'll be by your side every step of the way. I know you can pull this off, Petrie. You just have to believe in yourself every day, and you'll find, just as Littlefoot once told you, that you can do anything you put your mind to."
Petrie sighed thoughtfully as he looked up at the rocky ceiling. He thought of what he could do when the Bright Circle rose the next morning. He knew it would be a long path ahead of him before he would be able to rid himself of the burden from his recent depression and regain the happiness he missed sharing with his friends. He would have to take it one step at a time, and one day at a time, and perhaps one day soon, he could finally return to being the playful, adventurous Flyer he had been before this emotional turmoil had dampened him.
The little Flyer noticed his mother smiled at him, and he happily smiled back. Mama Flyer, unable to resist reliving her precious son's baby days for just another moment, lied on her back and held him by his sides. Petrie sensed this and playfully wiggled his toes much like he would back in those days, and his mother promptly tickled them with one hand, so she could hear those sweet, lovable laughs and cute chuckles from her special boy. She pressed her beak against his and pulled it in for a motherly kiss that coated saliva all over his face. Petrie sighed in relaxation and allowed the pleasant sensations to soothe him until his mother finished the kiss with a quiet, "Mwuah."
The two laughed quietly so as not to wake up the other children, and Mama Flyer lied on her side again and cradled Petrie and his snuggling stuck tightly in her wings while kissing him on the forehead.
"I love you, my special little baby," she whispered faintly in his ear, making him blush and smile sheepishly.
"Me love you, too, Mama," Petrie whispered in return, snuggling comfortably in her tight hug.
"Goodnight, Petrie," said Mama Flyer soothingly as she nuzzled Petrie's beak with her own.
"Goodnight, Mom," yawned Petrie as he closed his eyes and slowly let sleep take over him.
Assured that her "special little Petrie" was asleep, Mama Flyer watched him with a loving smile while lulling him with her steady heartbeat and her calm breathing, and the little Flyer smiled in his sleep and began to sleep rumble cutely.
Eventually, she let out a silent yawn and closed her eyes, falling asleep within moments, whilst never loosening her grip on her precious son for even a moment for the rest of that night.
Although Mama Flyer was still worried about how long it would take for Petrie to fight his depression, she knew that their special evening together in front of that mysterious wall of frozen water provided some form of closure to the loss Petrie had suffered just a day after he hatched. Even though it would never come true, just getting a glimpse of his family wish was enough for Petrie to find the strength to move on and continue living his life in the Great Valley to the fullest, no matter how many more emotional or mental obstacles would get in the way. This was only the start of what would be a long mental healing process that would change Petrie's life for the better and bring him back to his old happy, playful self; the Petrie that everyone knew him to be …
… simply Petrie.
So, this will wrap up my entry for the December 2018 prompt, in which I opted to go for the dialogue prompt, "Some things you see with your eyes, others you see with your heart."
This one I think was kind of a personal challenge for me to write. No, it is not based off of life experiences, because I have a good family life (for the most part), but I confess, I really liked LBT XII because Petrie truly is among my favorite characters in the series, and I disliked the way he was constantly shammed by his siblings. I'm sure it gave us all some good ideas for stories that give them the same role of treating Petrie like "the runt of the litter," as OwlsCantRead as worded it, so I knew I had to come up with my own way of portraying their relentless bullying of their brother, hence what you have just read.
I had such an idea throughout the winter holidays that what if Petrie were to look into something special, some sort of prehistoric "mirror," and see an image of his whole family, happy and intact. This was inspired by the Mirror of Erised from the Harry Potter series, a mirror in which one could look into and see his heart's most desperate desires. In fact, "Erised" is reverse for "Desire," which is how J.K. Rowling came up with the name for the mirror.
Although my theory for Petrie's father's demise differs from that of Sovereign's entry for this prompt, they do share common ground on how it negatively affects the family. For nearly two years, I had theorized that Papa Flyer would have overheard Bron discussing how he wanted to find a safer place for his family to live, even though they were already planning to find the Great Valley. Perhaps, Papa Flyer was inspired by this and told his mate that he would fly off and find a safer haven where his family would truly live safely and happily. He would have stayed to watch the eggs hatch and get to know his children. Then, on the very next day he would have flown off to find a new home, intending to return with news of a safe haven. Tragically, just mere hours into the journey, he was brutally murdered by a Sharptooth, and Petrie was not told this for years afterward. Again, this is purely my own theory, and it is in no way associated with anyone else's views on the subject.
Finally, the idea that Petrie has a mild disorder was entirely something that I theorized. I had discussed it in the "Character Discussion" section last year and voiced my opinion that Petrie may have signs of Asperger's Syndrome, which is what I have, or some other mild form of autism. The weird thing is that Asperger's Syndrome does NOT affect speech development, and yet Petrie, in my theory, has delayed speech development. Of course, in the age of dinosaurs, no one would have understood that, so I had to make it as primitive as possible, not giving any name for it, but only explaining what it causes in one's early stages of life. Do you agree with my theory? If not, then I understand why.
That final bit with Petrie and that tree star in the end was something I hesitated to add, but I wanted to make it cute for a happy ending, and I wanted to portray Mama Flyer as a truly loving and caring mother who would do everything in her heart and power to make Petrie a happy Flyer again. We've seen very little interaction between the two in the movies and TV series, save for "Great Day of the Flyers," and "The Days of Rising Waters," but I wanted to build on that and give a new perspective to their mother/son relationship that the continuity doesn't show us, like they did with Littlefoot and his family.
So, until next time, this is DiddyKF1 signing off, and I'll see you again soon with my next story!