Life at the base in Georgia had been like any life in a normal neighborhood, with more discipline and expectations, but very similar to what is called a normal life. Every kid of an airman took flying lessons, even if father wasn't an airman; it was still tradition for the Hallaway family to fly. Even before the family came to America, we flew. I guess you could say it's in our blood.
I had always been the family oddball. I was the only granddaughter first of all. This meant that not only did I get southern belle lessons from every woman in the family, but I was forced to learn how to defend myself from my brothers and cousins. I was given the choice to either become a housewife, forever doomed to stay in the house and do all I was bid to do, or I could pretend I didn't have a vagina or boobs and join the ranks of boys ready to fly. I of course chose the latter and was treated as one of the boys.
I was also a quiet kid when I was young. At one point, I'd even refuse to speak when questioned by a teacher. I grew out of it when I reached high school, but once and quiet kid, always a quiet kid. I tried to open up to people only to be shoved back inside myself and told to stay in my place. That's one of the disadvantages of living on base, no one takes change well. The real problem didn't appear until I turned sixteen and was allowed to start flying lessons. My brothers had already run off to live their lives, leaving me alone to fight myself out of here.
The real problem was that I had a fear of heights, no one knew where it had come from, it surely wasn't expected of a daughter in a long line of pilots. I was constantly ridiculed for my fear, and it only got worse when the panic attacks started. The flying lessons may have ended, but the ridicule never did. You may ask how I flew myself here to Dinotopia when I didn't finish my lessons, my answer being that I apparently still had a natural talent for learning on the job, and for sneaking around the hangar.
I graduated high school and was prepared to leave hours after. Most high school seniors spend the night before graduation celebrating the accomplishment, I spent it writing my goodbyes and packing what I needed to fly wherever I ended up. The event that triggered my need to leave immediately was the news of my brothers' disappearance over the ocean and no wreckage, nor bodies, found. This gave me one last surge of adrenaline to give me the final push to do something and get out. Croco especially protected me from whoever dared to hurt me, including my own brothers. I never paid him back and the only way to do it now was to do whatever it took to find him.
All of this was running through my head while I waited in the library to meet my host until I could continue on to Treetown. I did make an attempt to read, more like decipher, the books, only to look up and see a Triceratops laughing at me.
"Oh, sorry about that, you must be Amelia judging from your lack of ability to read a child's book. I'm Nan by the way, and I'll be your host while you live here"
"Yep, that's me. You wouldn't happen to have a key to decipher this would you? I do enjoy reading, something that actually made me standout and shine bright through the great shadows of my brothers."
"We'll find you a key once you get settled in; we live a few houses down the road." She replied quieter than before. You could almost see a hint of sympathy on her face.
"But first we must eat and have a grand tour of the city. You'll love the place", more boisterously put than before, she must have realized her face gave away what she was obviously thinking.
Nan hurried me out of the peacefulness of the library and into the chaos of the city. We passed so many people in clothing that resembled that worn at a Renaissance fair. I contemplated being a polite young lady and starting a conversation, but the large birds I soon found out were skybax had me staring in amazement at the sky.
"Come Amelia, people are staring. The skybax are amazing aren't they? It takes a special person to fly with them, any ordinary person could ride on them, but there seems to be a few who were born to fly. Maybe you'll be up there one day."
"Oh I doubt that," I scoffed, "I may come from a long line of pilots, but my fear of heights has overwhelmed me too many times."
"There are plenty of other important habitats for you even if you don't get to fly. I could definitely see you raising a baby dinosaur as your saurian partner."
We stood there for a few more moments marveling at the beauty of the skybax and their riders until they made an abrupt landing. There were four of them, three guys and a girl.
"That man there in front is Oono, he teaches all the new recruits in Canyon City. On his right are David and Ramona, David and his brother and father also arrived here by plane crash, Ramona, as I'm sure Kaala has told you is the daughter of one of the very best skybax riders to ever live. And lastly on his left is Croco Hallaway who also happens to be a dolphinback, the most recent besides you in fact."
I hardly heard her over my mind trying to comprehend that that guy, that man standing there just yards away was my brother. He looked older and more mature than he had when he left. It's almost as if the death of his brother and best friend and crashing his plane in the ocean, almost drowning, and washing up on an island full of dinosaurs made him grow up. This was the brother I missed, the one who swore to protect me, the one who had to leave everyone and everything he knew behind to finally stop being a boy and become a man.
Nan must have seen something on my face that showed I'd been staring longer than intended at Croco.
"I know he's attractive and all and anything could happen, but your chances of getting him are very slim."
I couldn't help but bust out laughing at that one. I didn't notice the stares nor the skybax riders walking in our direction until Nan nudged me. I looked up and realized that I was getting an odd look from my long lost brother and his friends.
"You know, you look a lot like my sister, but" he started with a sarcastic hint to his voice. He never got to finish because of his sister hugging him so tightly.