Currently I’m working on a book for my son. I have been telling him bedtime stories for years that featured a sort of dinosaur superhero, Ignacio the Iguanodon. Ignacio keeps his identity secret, working as the Masked Avenger. The Masked Avenger keeps the Iguanodon Village safe from the likes of Gaucho, the evil T-Rex, or his two velociraptor minions, Tinker & Trombone. Here’s a piece I did for my microfiction this week.
“Hey, Tinker,” said Tinker. “Let’s eat that one.”
Trombone, a velociraptor and Tinker’s brother, peered through the thick green vegetation providing the two carnivorous dinosaurs with a place to hide. “Which one?”
Tinker sighed and pointed, using his small but mobile claws. “The only one there, you dummy.”
The two velociraptors sat high on a hill, looking down at a watering hole. This watering hole had been slowly drying all summer long. The water pulled back from the shore, leaving a swath of thick, sticky mud. There were sets of bones, picked clean by the flying dinosaurs that could safely reach the carcasses. The smell of dead things mingled with the thick air of the Cretaceous period.
“I can’t see it.” Trombone strained his neck and squinted.
“He’s in the mud! Close to the water.” Tinker pointed again.
“Oh! He’s all mud colored.” Trombone said astutely.
“Well, that’s hardly going to be his problem for long.” Tinker sneered. “Let’s go.”
“He’s in there awfully far, Tinker. How are we gonna reach him?” Trombone asked, obediently following his brother down the hill. His tail lashed through the underbrush.
“Easy. There’s two of us. You’re going to go out a ways in the mud, and I’m going to stand on you for reach.” Tinker said, his red scales glistening in the sun.
Trombone stopped. “Then I’ll be all muddy!”
“You’ll be mud colored, like the iguanodon. Perfect camouflage.” Tinker grinned.
“Oh! Well, all right then.” Trombone agreed, and continued to pick his way down the hill, behind his brother.
The iguanodon let out a call, bleating like a caught sheep. It thrashed, weakly, struggling against the mud.
“I don’t like iguanadon. They’re gamey.” Trombone complained.
Tinker turned so fast that Trombone almost walked right into him. “Oh, you don’t like iguanodon? Hmm, let’s see. We’ve got some hadrosaur carcass ahead of us. Too bad it’s picked down to the bone. Oh, and I think that might have been a gallimimus at some point. If only it had some meat on its bones to be sure. I imagine you’ll get a great soup out of those bones, if you were so inclined.”
“I was just saying.” Trombone sulked.
They got to the water, and the iguanodon smelled them. It thrashed to get away, but it was stuck fast.
“How’m I going to get out to it?” Trombone asked, eying the mud distrustfully.
“Jump.” Tinker said, helpfully.
“Oh. Well. Right then.” Trombone backed up a few paces, got a running start, and leaped with his long, powerful legs.
“Great, now hold still!” Tinker said, running to follow his brother.
Several things happened in that moment. First, Trombone realized that he was stuck, and began jerking against the mud. Second, Tinker sailed through the air, aiming for his brother, but soaring right past him. Third, Trombone noticed that the strange iguanodon wore a mask!
“Tinker, it’s HIM!” Trombone shouted. “It’s the Masked Avenger!”
The iguanodon smiled. “That’s right!” He wriggled in the mud and with a loud sucking sound, popped his body free of the mud.
“You’re kidding me? Trombone, this guy’s real?” Tinker demanded.
Trombone nodded, cringing as the iguanodon strode past him, nimbly walking along the top of the mud, jumping in an odd sort of pattern. “I told you, but you didn’t believe me.”
Tinker and Trombone watched as the Masked Avenger made it safely to the land. “Now, if you two will excuse me, I need to rinse this mud off. I hope you too have learned your lesson! The iguanodons of Iguanodon Village are under my protection, and I will not rest until you leave our territory and stop preying on our weak, and our old, and our children.”
“We’re predators, mate. What do you expect?” Tinker shot back.
“For you to be predators elsewhere.” The iguanodon stated, and then disappeared into the vegetation.
Trombone shook his head, the only part of him free of the mud. He chuckled.
“What’s so funny?” Tinker demanded.
“For once, I was right!” Trombone said proudly. “I told you iguanodon were gamey!”