Connor, Abby and Danny sat perched high up in a tree. The raptors below were not happy to be cheated of their meal. Their angry mixture of shrieks and snarls echoed throughout the forest but didn't seem to be drawing any attention yet. Connor looked at Danny.
"What do we do?"
"There's only one way out of this. Cover your ears!" Quinn replied retrieving the stun grenade weapon from his backpack.
Becker had made sure they came equipped. Abby knew what was coming and instantly obeyed as Danny threw it down. Connor however wasn't fast enough.
"Wait don't we need to – " he cut off mid-sentence as the deafening noise knocked him clean off the tree.
Connor tumbled backwards landing unconscious on the autumn leaves. His friends remained oblivious and clung to the tree branch, fingers in ears, reeling from the grenade's impact.
Finally they looked down at the destruction they'd caused together, removing their fingers from their ears. The four young raptors were completely knocked out by the blow. Abby almost laughed in relief but then she spotted Connor not too far away from the dinosaurs. He lay spread eagled against the orange background. Blood trickled from a cut on his forehead.
"Connor!" Abby yelled.
Danny helped her find her footholds as she climbed down before joining her by Connor's side. He placed two fingers on Connor's neck to check for a pulse.
"He's lucky to be alive." Danny announced. "That was some fall he took."
"Connor can you hear me? Connor wake up!"
Danny stood up and examined their surroundings. For a second he thought he glimpsed Helen. Abby looked up just in time to catch the recognition in his eyes.
"Go. I'll look after him."
"We need to move him somewhere safe – "
"Go!" Abby commanded. "Stop her!" Reluctantly Danny turned and ran. He knew Abby was right. "Wake up Connor!"
Realising that simply yelling at him was useless Abby got to her feet and started to pull Connor along. The raptors would be coming round soon, they needed to get under cover before then. This wasn't going to be easy. Abby glanced at his face as she dragged him along. For once Connor looked peaceful. He wasn't worried, scared or angry. Abby wished that she saw this side of him more often, just not under these circumstances.
She remembered how Connor had reacted to Cutter's death. He'd been working himself too hard, she'd come into her living room once to discover him asleep on the computer keyboard, his little black box by his side. Barely a few minutes later he awoke in a cold sweat still gripped by a nightmare. When she approached him he'd let out a small startled shriek before realising it was just her.
Abby propped Connor up by a tree trunk and sat down beside him. It felt too quiet. He ought to be yapping away by now.
All too soon the silence was broken by an oncoming raptor.
"Connor wake up!" Abby pleaded desperately. "Connor!"
She got to her feet and ran to the right of the trunk waving her arms. Abby was going to have to distract it until Connor came round. Then maybe he could lend a hand. Or they could run for it.
Almost as soon as this thought crossed her mind a stone hit the raptor on the head.
"Why don't you pick on someone your own species!" panted Connor.
He was supporting himself by leaning on the tree and was clearly in a lot of pain.
"Connor I think you're going to have to leave the saving to me." Abby pointed out. "You're in no state to do otherwise."
Connor ignored this and threw a fistful of leaves into the raptor's eyes. It reared back letting out a roar.
"That was a stupid idea, I've just aggravated it." he realised.
The creature charged towards him. At the last minute he noticed a large fallen branch by his leg. He picked it up and whacked the creature to one side. Then he collapsed against the tree trunk.
"Nice hit." Abby commented before sitting down next to him. "How are you feeling?"
"Horrible – but what else is new?"
She laughed at that.
"Come on. We need to find some cover." she announced standing up.
Abby began to walk away.
"Erm... Abby! I might need some help with that." Connor called.
Abby rolled her eyes and walked back over to him. She helped him up.
"I told you that I'd be the one doing the saving." she reminded him.
Connor was too busy concentrating on walking to laugh. Part of him leaned on the branch he'd fought off the creature with, the other part rested on Abby. He limped onwards.
"So where's Danny?" he grunted.
"Danny went on ahead of us. He was chasing Helen last time I saw him." Abby explained.
"Where are we going?"
"Anywhere that's not here. We need to get somewhere safe, away from predators."
They continued like this for another half hour or so, scouring their surroundings in their search for sanctuary. Connor hopefully looked for an anomaly but to no avail. It was this that made him trip. He received a faceful of autumn leaves. Hoisting himself up he turned to face Abby. She looked worried.
"Well I suppose I was lucky not to land in creature faeces." He pointed out in an attempt to lighten the mood.
"Very." Abbie replied.
Her eyes remained fixed on something behind him. He turned his head slowly to see a huge pile of stinky dinosaur dung. Flies swarmed around it happily.
"Ew, that's rank!" Connor exclaimed.
"We have to move."
Connor leant heavily on his branch and nodded.
They continued at a faster pace this time. Connor struggled to keep up with Abby and was relieved when she finally came to a stop. In front of them was a huge tree. It loomed before them and into the sky, it was easily the biggest they'd come across so far.
"It's perfect!" Abby murmured.
Connor glanced at her face and knew what she was going to suggest.
"I'm not going up there!"
She turned to him.
"Well – because –"
Abby started to climb. She knew why Connor didn't want to join her, it would obviously be painful. He could barely walk let alone climb. However they were running out of time and the light was fading. She knew he'd follow her, he always did. After all he did love her. Abby felt slightly guilty as she scrambled upwards about manipulating his feelings like and forcing him into this but if they didn't hurry they'd be sitting ducks.
Below her Connor realised he'd have to follow whether he liked it or not. Love was such an irritating emotion but he'd prefer it to loneliness any day. He grabbed hold of a nearby branch and began to scramble up. Abby was fast, she'd found somewhere for them to rest already and Connor kept her face in sight at all times. It helped to drive him on and to not look down. He grimaced as pain seared through his ankle but sure enough he was making progress. He was getting closer and closer to Abby. As he neared her perch she reached out for his hand. Then Connor felt something snap. It was a truly sickening noise. He yelled and almost let go. Then he grabbed hold of Abby's hand not bothering to compose himself, he was slipping off the tree. She pulled him into the leafy branches.
He now lay by her side gasping.
"Are you okay?"
"I think I've broken my ankle. If not it's a bad sprain."
Abby looked at his face in concern, he was very pale and sweaty. She shouldn't have made him follow her but it was too late now.
"Connor just breathe."
"What does it look like I'm doing?"
"Panicking." Abby stated.
"Well – yeah that too." he admitted.
"Close your eyes."
"Just close them." Connor obeyed as always. "Imagine you're in a happy place, you're on a beautiful beach."
She could tell from the smile on his face that this was calming him down. Abby closed her eyes and could see why.
"Are you there?" he asked.
Connor's voice temporarily jolted her back to reality.
"If you like." she responded.
"Are you wearing a bikini?"
At this question Abby opened her eyes.
"If you like."
"The water's all warm, it's lovely."
Connor opened his eyes to find her staring at him. She broke eye contact instantly feeling embarrassed.
"Abby?" he asked.
"Yes?" she replied sensing his nervousness in anticipation.
"Can I move back into the flat with you?"
"Yes." Abby laughed. "Of course! Rex has missed you."
She knew Rex wasn't the only one. He hadn't told her he loved her but hey - this was one step closer. Technically he'd already done that before anyways. Abby had waited for so long for him to make the next move, she could wait a little longer.
"Night night." she whispered settling down against the tree.
"See you in the morning," said Connor snuggling into the branch. "hopefully."
He snored, but Abby was not awake to hear it. They were exhausted enough to drop off almost instantly. As he slept Connor dreamt.
He was in a clearing below their giant tree home. Abby was singing as she scrambled down the bark to join him. It was the singing that attracted the creature. It swooped through the skies towards Abby. Connor tried to warn her but she couldn't hear him, he stepped forward and collapsed as he leg folded beneath him. The last thing he heard was the pterodactyl's cry as it ripped them to shreds.
"NO!" he yelled and sat up.
This woke Abby as well.
"Connor! What's wrong?" she spluttered in a half asleep daze.
He glanced at their surroundings in shock, then her before relaxing.
"Sorry it's nothing. Go back to sleep."
She rested her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes. Connor however couldn't sleep, one of them had to keep watch. Just in case. Abby dozed on peacefully.
The sky was a dark blue but was growing lighter. It was a sign of early morning. He could see a tiny sliver of the sun rising beyond the mountains in the distance. It was the crack of dawn and it was beautiful. Sure enough, the dawn chorus began. Connor covered his ears as the loud reptilian shrieks echoed through the forest. He preferred the tuneful cheeps of the birds back home. Reminded of his dream he looked down at his ankle. It would be stiffer than ever today. Then he heard a disturbingly familiar screech. Connor held his breath as the sound became louder. The pterodactyl swooped past their hiding place.
"It was just a dream. Pterodactyl's eat small reptiles anyways, not us." he whispered, he needed reminding.
"Abby!" cried Connor shaking her violently.
Her eyes snapped open.
"What!" she hissed, annoyed at being woken up again.
"We need to get away from here!" Connor insisted.
"Wait, it doesn't even know we're here. Maybe it'll just go away." Abby suggested.
"Or maybe it'll just sniff us out." Connor argued. All the same they waited in silence. The footsteps came closer. "Any other bright ideas?" Her answering glare told Connor everything he needed to know. He began to clamber out of the tree ignoring the pain. He tried to rest his body weight on his arms. Hanging from the branch below he gritted his teeth and beckoned to Abby. Connor could see her clear reluctance to follow him. "I can't hang around forever. Trust me, we need to get away from here." he pointed out.
"Yeah, you're right." She agreed.
Abby stepped towards him, the only thing separating them now was a thick branch. It served as a barrier during the night to stop them rolling out of 'bed'. Connor liked to think of this as the pair sleeping together.
All of a sudden the tree was bent back like a boomerang. Abby was flung onto the branch in front of her and she held on tight. Connor clung on for dear life. He felt his dangling feet touch the ground and caught sight of a shadow. Abby, who was now upside-down; found herself staring into a gigantic yellow eye surrounded by thick, leathery green skin.
"It's a G-rex Connor!" she warned.
Connor let go of the branch unable to hold on any longer. He fell onto the leaves a few inches below him. A G-rex? It made creature was bigger, more powerful and far scarier than the T-rex. The G stood for gigantic in Connor's opinion. Only a dinosaur of that stature was capable of tearing such a large tree from its roots. Now Abby was up there with it and he had no means of helping her. It was his worst nightmare come true.
"Abby you're going to have to jump!"
"WHAT!" she screamed.
"You're not too far from the ground now."
"No way!" she yelled.
"Which would you prefer: being eaten alive or possibly escaping?" Connor bellowed impatiently.
The tree was still bent over, its tip a metre above the ground. The G-rex opened its jaws and lunged forwards. Abby closed her eyes and jumped. Connor watched her fall onto a hill nearby, her impact was cushioned by the leaves as his had been. She appeared to be unharmed, just a little grubby. The dinosaur seemed to be playing with the tree as if it were a chew toy. Connor clumsily sprung to his feet. He cursed at his wretched ankle and proceeded to hop towards Abby. Neither of them saw the creature's tail swish their way until it was too late. Connor went flying and landed beside Abby. He clutched his head.
"Connor!" she exclaimed.
"What?" he groaned.
He drew his hands away. One was bloody. The cut on his forehead had started bleeding all over again.
"How am I supposed to heal in this stupid era!" he moaned.
"We need to move."
"Okay, brilliant. Just don't sing."
"Are you calling me a fat lady?" Abby joked.
"No. It's just – never mind. Long story." She helped him up and they set off. "Can we go back to the anomaly site? We could set up camp there." Connor suggested.
"How long have you been planning that for?" Abby asked.
"Long enough. Please?" he pleaded.
"Fine. If we ever make it there." she added grimly.
Connor felt worse and it showed. Their progress was slower than ever and he was as white as Abby's bleach blonde hair. She forced him to stop when he could no longer find the breath to argue back with. They sat by a river.
"What was the singing thing about?" she asked.
He held up hand. Abby waited as he got his breath back.
"I had a nightmare last night and you were singing. It attracted a creature. I couldn't do anything to help you." he summarised.
"What song was I singing?"
"Reach for the stars." Connor laughed. "Quite ironic really."
"How's your head?"
"You tell me, has it stopped bleeding yet?"
"Yeah." Abby confirmed.
"Then we should get moving."
Connor stood up and promptly collapsed onto all fours gasping.
"You need to rest; it's not healthy to walk on a broken ankle."
"I think I'm going to be sick – "
" – eat this." Abby quickly interrupted, passing him a sandwich.
They both ate realising only now how ravenous they'd been. Connor demolished his instantly; Abby however took time over hers. It might be the last proper piece of food they'd have for a while. She knew they'd have to make do in the wild, but for how long?
"Where did you get that from?"
"The backpack, all the essentials are there."
"Abby I could kiss you!" Connor smiled.
Abby was half tempted to tell him to go ahead, she was tired of waiting and the Cretaceous period only enhanced that. Maybe when he felt better she decided, now was not the time. She'd waited for so long and she was getting quietly impatient. Perhaps she should make the next move.
"How do you feel?"
"Much better thanks."
That was the all clear as far as Abby was concerned. She leant forward and kissed him. He melted into the kiss, it was brief but passionate. As soon as Abby broke away Connor started to stutter.
"Abby I think – erm – I er..."
"Shut up Connor. I know."