Author's Note: This is more or less an experimental writing. I would love it if you reviewed this piece and shared your thoughts. I'm not sure if I'll keep going with this, but I've done a lot of research for this piece.
A knock at the door startled the man at the desk, making him jump and accidentally scatter the piles of papers and fossil casts that called his desk home. Looking up, he called the visitor to his bungalow in, while attempting to straighten up the mess of items around the room. The man, Nigel Marvin, picked up a cast of what looked like a forearm. The park's curator, Bob, closed the door as he walked into the room.
Open walls allowed for the day's warm sunlight to poor in. A scarlet macaw made itself comfortable on a branch affixed to a pole near Nigel's desk. Posters were affixed to posts along the bungalow's walls. A large board with a hand-drawn and watercolor map of the park became a nice basking place for a large rosy boa.
"Oi! Nigel! When was you thinkin' of headin' off? Me an' the staff be wonderin' when you're headin' out."
Nigel looked up from the stack of papers he'd been trying to coerce into standing upright without his help. Smiling at the question, he looked up at Bob. "Do you have the aviary I asked for ready?"
"Yea, one be almost up… but what's going i' it?"
As a response, Nigel's eyes quickly scanned the room until he found the poster he was looking for. The poster showed a grey stone with what looked like a velociraptor look-alike bent back on itself and with strange impressions around the arms. The arms themselves didn't look right, either. The hands bent at odd angles, and the fingers were long and straight.
"This, Bob. I'm planning to go back to the late Jurassic to see if I can get one or two archaeopteryx."
"A'ight, when you plannin' to head out?"
"'Bout an hour."
Bob nodded and closed the door behind him, leaving Nigel to his thoughts and to begin preparing for his adventure into the past.
A few minutes later, Nigel decided that the desk was clean enough for the time being, and grabbed the few essentials he'd need in his backpack for handing the European Jurassic forests.
An hour later, Nigel pulled up with his Prehistoric Park Jeep. An assortment of bags sat in the back. He slid out of the Jeep and grabbed three bags. One was his backpack, filled with food and water. Another was a small one-person tent compacted into a light bag to be slid over his shoulder. The third was another small bag of food that could possibly be used as bait to get dinosaurs into the portal.
Behind him, a small team of assistants gathered their medical gear amongst other things. No one on the staff was stupid enough to let anyone go into the past, something no one had ever attempted before, without backup in the form of a small medical team and a few military guns in case a predator attempted to eat anyone.
Nigel and the rest of the crew stood facing the end of the pathway. The path was a good few hundred yards long, branching off into four main holding pens. The pens and path were fenced in by incredibly tall wooden fencing that would be used in the enclosures around the park. Usually everything was open-aired, but in preparation for the avian creatures Nigel hoped to bring back, the fences were being covered in a mesh netting that was tough enough to not be clawed through but soft enough to not rip out said claws. The "ceiling" was also being constructed of the same material. About ten feet in front of the time travelers, the path ended in a dead-end. The time portal was set up, waiting for the go-ahead from the crew. Bob stood at a watch post near the portal, making sure that everything went as it should.
A few silent seconds went by before the main crewman gave the thumbs-up. Moments later, the dead end vanished behind a light blue, shimmering field. On the other side, everyone could see the faint impressions of a beach near a thick, primeval forest.
It was Nigel who took the first step into the time portal. Taking one last look behind him, he watched as his time faded away.
"Well, boys. We're on an island destined to be part of twenty-first century Germany. What we know of as Europe has been flooded into warm, shallow seas. We should be seeing a lot of marine reptiles. Be wary of shorelines and the forest."
The place they'd landed was an island about a mile long and two miles wide. The forests were filled with a mixture of conifers and ferns. Near the beach, the forest was more open; the branches didn't start growing until at least seven feet above ground level. Farther in, the branches started to grow lower to the ground and scrub started to occupy the few places sunlight breached the canopy.
The beach, on the other hand, was open and such a pure white that it was dazzling. The sand was broken up by a large rock face along the eastern horizon. Crystal blue waters surrounded the island. A few large, light grey rocks shot above the smooth waves and looked like a small collection of dinosaur teeth planted in the ocean.
Although the land was still, the waters were quite the opposite. Medium-sized pterosaurs flew amongst the waves while some perched on the rocks in the water. Their bodies were a dark brown color, with a bright red head. Their tails were straight as an arrow, ending with a diamond-shaped vane.
"Those over there are probably rhamphorhynchus, a pretty common sight around the shores of what will be Europe," Nigel called back to the crew. "They're harmless. Unless you're a fish."
The group broke up. The medical team went along the beach, looking for a secluded spot to set up camp. They took all but one of the military team to help them. The last man left went with Nigel as he went to have a look around the island. Within ten feet into the forest, he was also sent away because he was so loud he'd scare every creature away.
Back at Prehistoric Park, Bob was surveying the finishing of the first aviary. Although up until three hours ago, he had no idea what was going into this specific building, Nigel had specified exactly what to do with it. The building was large; a dome with a circumference of about sixty feet and a height of thirty feet, more than enough space for a small colony of the animals it was going to hold. Ferns and sapling pine trees were being planted, along with a very rare oak or sassafras tree to help aid in the leaf litter as time progressed. Other small bushes like yew were also being added near the middle of the aviary.
The air in the aviary was near-tropical, and within half an hour, Bob was sweating as he added in a few of the trees himself. The construction team was split in three; one was finishing this aviary, another third was finishing construction of a second aviary, and the last third was finishing the walls of an enclosure in the fields of the park. There was a lot of work to be done, and Nigel had a lot of plans for the park. The teams were working near all-hours to meet the man's demands. At least their work would pay off in the end, right?
'Oi! You there! Tha' tree should be o'er there!"
A few hours had gone by, and still he hadn't seen any dinosaurs. He could hear the almost always-present calls of the pterosaurs that populated the beach as they flew over the forest but apart from that the forest was silent. He'd seen a lot of shaking bushes but no actual reptile or mammal ever showed itself. The only things that had shown up, unfortunately, were the biting insects that Nigel had to swat at every few minutes.
The sun was starting to set, so Nigel decided it was probably best to go back and find camp and try again in the morning. He'd taken two steps in the other direction, back to the beach, when another bush started rustling from something within. Nigel froze, hoping to not scare whatever was in the bush.
Time stood still for him as he watched the bush. Slowly, a head popped out from the branches. The head was small, although very long, with a tapered nose. The skin was a mottled grey, and a small flap of skin that looked like the flaps of skin on the underside of a rooster's beak, although on this dinosaur, it was near the connection between skull and neck and much smaller. The wattle on its neck was a deep red in color and its eyes were bright yellow.
The dinosaur squeaked and a few more heads popped out. The heads seemed to come in three varieties; two were the mottled grey and one was a deep brown color. Some of the grey heads had wattles but most lacked them. Within a few moments, a few stepped away from the bush, showing a thin and agile body that was about the size of a turkey. The group continued to speak and chirp to each other as if they didn't see the man standing there.
When Nigel attempted to sit down in order to be less threatening, the group scattered back into the underbrush. Nigel knew it was smarter to not chase after them, but he was determined to find these little guys again. If anything it lifted his determination in finding what he really came here for; archaeopteryx.