Pangaea, Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fourteen

Deinonychus?” he reads out loud, disbelieving. “There’s a Deinonychus in there?”

“Yeah,” Anna says, following his gaze. “I don’t know why they need a Deinonychus when they have Velociraptor, but-”

“What did you just say?” Ian cuts in.

“They have raptors here,” she informs. “I’ve seen at least two doors with ‘Velociraptor‘ on them.”

Ian puts his forehead in his hand. “You—you mean they… This building, it’s all…”

“Carnivores,” she says. “Filled with carnivores. The ones on the doors that I read, at least. I was kind of in a hurry. I’m sure you don’t mind.”

“How many?” he asks, that horrible feeling of overwhelming fear seeping into his mind again.

“How many doors are there?” she says, throwing her arms out.

“She said they didn’t have any,” Ian says, voicing the most obvious of the conclusions swirling in his mind.

“I called her bullsh-t,” she says matter-of-factly. She glances back. “I think we better go.” She grabs her father’s arm and starts running; he immediately follows.

“Hey!” a voice barks from behind them; Anna increases her pace. “Stop!” the voice shouts, and Ian hears a clicking sound that makes him pull Anna to a stop and turn around. A muscle-bound man in a green uniform with the Pangaea logo on it is striding towards them, pointing what appears to be an automatic weapon in their direction. “What the hell are you doing here?” the man demands. “Who are you? This is a highly-classified area!” He points the gun back and forth at the two of them. “Answer me now!”

“Emma—Emma brought us here,” Ian stammers, moving between the path of the man’s weapon and his daughter. “She brought us here. We didn’t break in.”

Unsurely, the man keeps his silver weapon in the air. “Brought you here for what? Where’s your security clearance?”

“We don’t have any,” Ian says. “But Emma took m—took us here. Both of us.”

“Where’s Ms. Ludlow?” the man asks, his tone steady.

Ian looks down at Anna; she shrugs, her face pale. “We don’t know,” he says.

“I don’t know what you’re trying to pull,” the man says through gritted teeth, “but stay right here and put your hands up, or I’ll protect trade secrets on my own. Now!” he barks, and they do as he says.

“Don’t worry,” Ian whispers to Anna, who’s staring right ahead, shaking slightly. “We’re gonna be fine, I promise. Ms—Ms. Ludlow is still in the building,” he says to the man who, upon further examination, appears to be a guard of some kind. “At least, she should be.”

“I’ll radio her,” the guard says, reaching for a black box on his belt and keeping the gun pointed at them at the same time. “Move and I’ll shoot!” he shouts at Anna, who’s looking back for a possible escape route; she snaps back. He dials something on the radio, holds it up to his ear and says, “Ms. Ludlow?” There’s a pause, and Ian can swear he feels the ground very slightly start to vibrate. “Yes, we have two intruders in containment sector A. A little girl and an older guy,” he looks at Ian’s face for a moment, “who looks pretty familiar.” Another pause; the vibrations begin to grow stronger and stronger. Ian glances behind them and sees another corner leading to another hallway, and considers whether they should risk making a run for it. “I think it’s the guy you invited,” the guard says. “Says you brought him here.” He pauses. “I thought so. What should I-” The voice on the other end of the radio shouts something. “I don’t know. I don’t know how they found it. Should I-” Another yell from the other end. “Both of ’em? I-” He pauses. “Okay.” He puts the radio in the crook of his neck and addresses Ian and Anna again. “Stay right there,” he orders. “Ms. Ludlow is on her way.”

“Ah—maybe we should-” Ian begins quietly.

“Don’t try anything,” the guard warns, and then he hears the bellowing sound just as the others do. It’s all too familiar to Ian—he’d recognize it anywhere—and he starts to shake, taking the risk of grabbing Anna’s arm and preparing to turn and run. “Oh, hell,” the guard mutters, and says into the radio, “We have a containment breach. There’s an animal loose in here. Ms. Ludlow, if you don’t mind, I’m taking these two and getting the hell out of-”

He’s cut off by the roar that they all hear before they see the animal that produces it. A bellowing roar, like a low scream, echoes through the hall, followed by a boxy head coming around the corner, followed by the rest of the tyrannosaur stomping towards them. Anna starts to turn and run, but Ian grips her arm hard and tells her, “Don’t move! Don’t move!”

The guard faces the rex and points his gun at the rex, shifting it around as if unsure where to shoot the animal. “I’m trying to disable it!” he shouts into the headset. “We have others! Dammit, I’m trying to-” Probably by accident, the gun goes off, and the bullet lodges in the rex’s scaly tail. The animal roars again, in pain, and the guard starts backing up, still holding up the gun.

“Just close your eyes,” Ian says quietly. “Don’t look, and do not move. We’ll run in a minute.”

“I’m not, I’m not,” Anna whimpers.

The rex steps forward and furiously roars at the guard, who waves his gun and yells, “Stay back, dammit! Get away from-” He cuts off into an interminable scream, one that only comes from a person in indescribable pain, when the tyrannosaur lunges forward and grabs him in its jaws in one bone-crunching snap. It lifts its head and thrashes the man’s body back and forth in jerky motions while the horrific scream continues. After a moment, the screams turn to gurgles and then stop altogether. The rex swallows something and lets something else drop to the floor, a mangled piece of meat that starts to let out a pool of blood and that Ian looks away from, sickened. Anna, who still has her hands in the air, looks very much like she would like to throw up, and Ian lowers her arm and gets ready to run when the tyrannosaur hears something and turns its head. There’s a moment of silence, and the rex makes a noise in the direction of a door in front of it. From behind the door, inside whatever room it leads to, they hear a loud roar not unlike the one they heard seconds ago. The rex bellows in response, bringing about another roar from inside the room.

“Should we go?” Anna whispers.

“Wait a second,” Ian answers. “‘Til it turns around.” He reads the label on the door; it says TYRANNOSAURUS. He curses under his breath.

Some kind of smashing sound comes from the other room, and the tyrannosaur roars again, encouraging the other animal. There’s a much louder pounding noise followed by a cloud of plaster dust, and just as the second reptilian head pokes out through the new hole in the wall, grunting, a black-suited figure appears at the other end of the hall and freezes. “Emma!” Anna shouts over the crashing of the second rex’s body through the high wall, her voice muffled as she puts her hand over her mouth and nose to keep away plaster dust. “What are we gonna do?”

Emma isn’t what Ian is worried about, so he keeps his eyes on the dinosaurs. As the second tyrannosaur emerges from its cage, roaring triumphantly, he catches a glimpse out of the corner of his eye of swishing blonde hair and a black streak before chunks of the wall start falling everywhere. The two rexes see the movement as well, and both turn their heads to the other end of the hall. “Go,” Ian says urgently, grabbing Anna and running for his life into the next part of the white labyrinth of doors.

“Why aren’t we following her?” Anna asks loudly, coughing, as they run.

“Haven’t you had enough T-rex for one day?” he shouts back.

“She ran the other way,” she answers. “Maybe she knows the way out.”

“I’m not risking it,” he says. He looks ahead and halts abruptly; another few steps and they would have run into the gargantuan double doors that the hallway terminates in. “Bingo,” he breathes. “Have you seen these? Are they, ah, locked?”

“All the other doors are,” Anna pants. Malcolm pushes on one of the doors and, with a lot of effort, it swings open. They sidestep through the small gap, and the door neatly shuts behind them, sealing them into a gray-concrete-walled room that looks for all the world, at least in Ian’s science-fiction-loving mind, like a holding bay on a spaceship. On the walls above, the words CONTAINMENT SECTOR A—THIS WAY TO MAIN ENCLOSURE are stenciled in red paint, followed by DECONTAMINATE ONCE THROUGH AIRLOCK. They sprint through the room, and he can’t help thinking briefly of A New Hope despite the circumstances. They reach another set of double doors, glass this time, which appear not to have any handles or locks. A moment of looking along the sides yields a button emblazoned with the words PUSH TO OPEN—TWENTY-SECOND DELAY, which Ian presses. With a hiss, the doors open, and when the two of them pass through a comparatively small, clean room and into a tunnel, it takes them a moment to realize that the heaviness in their lungs and slight sense of unprecedented happiness has returned.

“Oh, wow,” Anna says, looking around. The tunnel they’re in is just as wide as any of the other rooms they’ve been in, and Ian can’t see where it ends—it just leads to blackness. A variety of long metal bars, thick chains and sharp objects are hanging from the wall on their left, and on their right, there are little hoses mounted on the wall, devices that look like hands and shoes are meant to be inserted, a few other hygiene-related apparatuses that Ian can’t bother to identify and twenty unusually thick surgical masks, hanging neatly on a row of pegs along the wall. “What’s that all about?” Anna asks, not about anything in particular. “It looks like they bring dinosaurs through here, but…”

“They have the room, they have the equipment and they sure as hell have the animals,” Malcolm says, giving the metal hanging on the wall a glance. “And those were built for something big. Why would we need to decontaminate?” He starts thinking out loud as Anna further inspects the left wall. “It’s like, uh, it’s like a hospital. Twenty people would be enough to keep tabs on a rex, right? Yeah, I think so. That’s who these are for… Why would they need to clean off? What, is there a contamination? We can’t just wait around in here, we have to follow the tunnel.” He starts to pace. “But there might be more carnivores on the other end. What if-”

“These are for holding dinosaurs,” Anna interrupts. “They look like dog chains. Like someone wanted to keep an animal in place while they… while they…” She sees the sanitation area and snaps. “While they cleaned off!”

“Must be important, then,” Ian decides. “I—I don’t know how long we have, so just, uh, wash your hands and throw on a mask. Should keep us clean enough.” Very quickly, they both wash their hands at the little metal sinks and throw on surgical masks; once Ian has his adjusted, he finds it a lot easier to breathe and decides that the mask must be filtering his oxygen supply to something more breathable.

“Ready to go,” Anna says, her voice slightly tinny through the mask that’s a little too big for her face but somehow still fits.

“All right,” he says, grabbing her hand and heading down the tunnel. A few lights go on, and they’re heading down a ramp, which flattens out after a long, not-very-steep descent. As they stride ahead, fluorescent lights go on above them, probably motion-activated; the lights are stark and only serve to make the gray concrete tunnel look smaller, in spite of the fact that it must be five stories high at the very least. Anna stays quiet and grim, her face set, and Ian wonders what will happen if they come to a dead end or a place they couldn’t possibly enter. If they do, he decides, they’ll go back, very cautiously, and try to slip out of wherever they are undetected. Emma—or anyone working for her, for that matter—wouldn’t be much help, and since there seems to be a sizable amount of staff around, they created the whole rex situation and they can deal with it by their damn selves. They’ll go through Islands of Adventure and tell whatever management people they can find about the escaped rex, and then they’ll board a plane and get across the country as fast as they can. Whether or not people know what happened doesn’t even matter anymore, only whether they can get out of this place with their lives.

And then the impact of the words escaped rex hit him like a ton of bricks. “We’ve gotta call someone,” he says out loud. He sticks his hand in his back left pocket; it’s empty. “S—t, my phone’s gone,” he exclaims. “Do you have yours?”

She whips out a blue-cased phone from one of the pockets in her shorts. “Who are we calling? I have a little reception. Not much.”

“Someone at IOA. Do you, ah, have Internet? Look up their number. Get someone at the park.”

She expertly swipes and presses at the touch screen, waits for a Web page to load and squints. “I can get their customer service line or their complaints department.”

“Customer service. Just find someone in the park.” A thought strikes him. “What time is it?”

“Eight-forty-five,” she says.

“Eight-forty-five A.M.?”

“Yeah. Park’s almost open.”

“Good. Call ’em. Someone’s got to be there,” he tells her.

She dials a number and puts the phone to her ear. She waits for a minute, tapping her foot, and then says, “Hello? Is this Islands of Adventure?” She pauses. “Yeah, I’d like to report that, um, something’s going on… I’m calling from the park. From the Pangaea section. No, I’m not staff, I’m a visitor… Is anyone else in the park right now?” She listens for a moment. “People coming in soon? Well, I’m here with my dad, and I think we need the police?”

“Tell them someone’s just been killed,” Ian whispers. “Just say that.”

“Yeah, we just saw someone get killed,” Anna says. “There are a lot of people here, and we’re all in danger… I don’t think you’d believe me. We just need some security guys in here, ’cause pretty soon-” She pauses and sighs, exasperated. “We just need help, okay? I’m not joking. Just call the police or something!”

“This is Ian Malcolm,” Ian says into the phone. “She’s not joking. We have a major threat to the lives of a lot of people here. We need help as soon as possible.”

“I’ll call our security team,” says a muffled male voice on the other end of the line. “We have people to handle stuff like this. Just sit tight. What’s the problem?”

“There are dinosaurs in here,” Anna says, “lots of them. And a T-Rex is coming for us right now. Send as many people as you-”

“Ma’am, there aren’t any T-rexes there,” the man says. “Are you sure there’s a-”

Ian pulls his head away and starts walking again when he starts to feel tremors beneath his feet again. There’s no doubt in his mind about what that means. “We’re in danger,” Anna says, her voice rising. “We’re gonna die in here. Seriously! Send security! With guns!” The man on the other line says something and hangs up. “He said he’ll make a call,” Anna says.

“To who?”

“Security team.”

“We need the cops,” he says firmly. “Call 911.”

She punches in three numbers and puts the phone back to her ear. “Hello?” No matter how fast they walk, the tremors in the ground keep getting stronger, and Ian’s sure he hears stomping in the distance behind them. “We’re here in the Pangaea part of Universal,” Anna says, talking quickly. “Someone just died and we need help. Send the police. As many as you can. Send lots of police with guns. And animal control.” She’s panicking and starting to babble. “Send help. Someone just died. We need a lot of people here, we’re at Islands of Adventure, send help, please. Come get us, please, we need help…” She’s started to cry.

“It’s okay, honey, it’s okay,” Ian pants as he keeps running. “Are they coming?”

“I don’t know!” Anna cries. “You know there are dinosaurs here? One of them’s gonna eat us! Come help us, please…”

Ian pulls her to a halt, seeing the end of the tunnel just as they’re about to hit it. Another tall set of doors, not unlike the ones they passed through a few minutes ago, tower above them; they seem to be a lot sturdier than the first set. He’s about to push them open when, not far at all behind them, he hears a roar, followed by distant but noticeable footsteps. “Let’s go,” he says, shoving one of the doors open. It takes a lot of effort, but it squeaks open, and Ian stares at what’s on the other side for a second before he comes to his senses and pulls Anna through the doorway. As he’s yanking her through, another roar comes from behind them, louder this time, and Anna screams and drops the phone as the door slams behind them. Ian’s brain reels as he looks around them, his body somehow finding even more adrenaline to pump into his veins. Because this isn’t anywhere near what he expected.

They’re in the jungle.

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