Pangaea, Chapter Twelve

Chapter Twelve

The lights are entirely too bright. As soon as Ian opens his eyes, they glare into his face, feeling like laser beams shining into his skull. He groans and sits up, rubbing his eyes and pushing his glasses into place. It takes a minute for him to completely wake up; he’s been drifting through vivid darkness for what feels like a very long time. Before he figures put his surroundings, he looks himself over for clues about what could have happened. His shins are sore, and his head feels like it’s been hit a few times—not hard enough to cause a concussion, but enough to cause a hell of a headache—but other than that, there doesn’t seem to be much damage done. He notices that the air is heavier in his lungs than it should be, and it’s a little hard to breathe, but he adjusts his breathing and feels okay after a moment.

Okay, he thinks, trying to stay calm. Where was I last? Vague thoughts of an office float to mind, and he remembers that he’s someplace called Pangaea shortly before remembering what and where Pangaea is. Can’t be in the hotel room, he thinks, looking around; the huge, clean, all-white room is too bare, the lights are too stark, the ceiling is way too high. It’s nowhere he recognizes—could it be a hospital, or a mental hospital? That’s what it looks like. He scans the room. He seems to be sitting against a wall in the center, and nothing else occupies the room except—

He freezes.

Against the far wall, to his left, is a gigantic, slumbering animal. Its huge, square head rests on the ground, its scaly body lies on its stomach and its thick tail is curled on the ground behind it. The creature must be at least twenty feet tall, and it looks like an unusually proportioned crocodile, lying motionless on the floor. Regardless of the fact that it’s sleeping—its eyes are closed, and its tiny, forked arms wiggle, grasping at something unseen—Malcolm begins shaking. He keeps his eyes trained on the Tyrannosaurus rex—it couldn’t be mistaken for anything else—as he slides along the ground, keeping his back to the wall, to the opposite end of the room from the animal. His legs are still like jelly and his body is still waking up, and when he tries to get up and run, his legs give out under him. Some part of his brain is telling him that he’s in a nightmare and another part is bringing back memories to help him get through this new reality, and both are telling him that he needs to get away from this animal as quickly as he can. He drags himself across the room, driven by panic that’s still forming, until SMACK, he hits something and falls to the ground again.

Ian pulls himself up, rubbing his forehead and groaning, and finally sees the glass wall. Behind it, sitting in a chair, in a room as clean and white as the one he’s in, is a blonde woman in a suit, holding the handle of a briefcase on the floor. “Emma?…” he gets out as her face is accompanied by a name.

She lifts a small white box connected to a thin wire to her mouth, and when she speaks, her voice comes through a speaker mounted high on the wall. “Hello, Dr. Malcolm,” she says calmly. “You don’t need to worry. The rex is sedated. For now.”

He looks at the rex behind him; it’s still sleeping, undisturbed by the sound of Emma’s voice. Its presence is surreal. He’s only seen these animals when they’re hunting, killing or rampaging, and it seems entirely unnatural that one should be so close to him without lunging at him or even seeing him. It should be in a jungle, trying to eat him, or at least looking for prey; its mostly unmoving body against the stark, white wall looks like a painting, too strange and uncomfortable to look at to be real. “What… what am I…” His voice comes out weak. “What is this? Why is there a…”

“I gave her a few sedatives so we could chat,” Emma says. “I do hate to sit down and explain, but an imminent-doom speech is, in this case, somewhat necessary, I think.” She looks over at the sleeping rex. “She must look familiar. I wish we could have gotten a rex with feathers, like they originally would have looked, but the frog DNA didn’t allow for that. I tried to get my geneticists to work that out, but they couldn’t—”

“Shut up about DNA,” Malcolm says, louder than he intended. “What am I doing here?”

“Oh, right,” she says, perking up. “Well, if you’re as bright as you’ve claimed to be, you should have figured it out. But I might as well say it. You’re here to die, Doctor.”

What?”

“Should have gotten that out of the way first, I suppose.”

Something in Malcolm’s brain immediately switches to thoughts of imminent death whenever he sees a tyrannosaur, but he didn’t expect to hear it said out loud, so matter-of-factly. In other situations, there were possibilities of escape when a rex was around, but now that Emma seems to be in control…

“The sedative should last about thirty or so more minutes,” she continues, “which is just enough time for me to tell you exactly what’s going to happen, and exactly why you deserve it.” She stops, looks right at him, and a smile grows, unrestrained, on her face. “You’re going to die,” she says, looking him right in the eyes. “God, I’ve waited so long to be able to say that. You’re going to die, you bastard.”

He gets up and slams on the glass as hard as he can, over and over, desperately trying to get out of that room; he might have to deal with a complete sadist once he gets through, but it’s better than being stuck with a tyrannosaur. “Don’t bother,” she says, completely calm. “Soundproof, bulletproof and incredibly thick. And there’s no one around to hear you.” He keeps pounding at it, and Emma sits, calmly watching, until he gives up and slumps to his knees. “Done yet?” she asks.

F—k you,” he says through gritted teeth.

“That’s nice,” she says, unfazed. “I’d love to hang around, but I’ve got other things to do, so I may as well tell you now.” She leans forward and looks him in the eyes with an unsettling intensity. “You killed my father, you son of a b—h. My father is dead because of you. You killed him, and you’re going to die now, you bastard. And the last thing you’ll ever do is regret it.”

“I didn’t kill… I didn’t kill your father,” Ian says, caught completely off guard. “I… I was bringing the baby back to the ship. He climbed in the cargo bay of his own-”

And you let him, you son of a b-h!” she screams, jumping up and knocking the chair back. “He was right behind you, and you let him go in there,” she continues. “At least, that’s your story. I know what you did, you sack of rot. You pushed him in there, didn’t you? You knew the rex was in there. And you pushed my father in!” she screams.

“What the hell makes you think that?” Ian shouts, getting to his feet. “You’re out of your f-ing mind. That’s not what happened at all. I—I had no idea he was even on the ship. Why would I let him die?”

“Because he made you look bad,” Emma says, barely able to contain her rage. “Because he had reasonable doubt about your crackpot Jurassic Park stories. You thought a sullied reputation was worth killing him for, didn’t you? Are you happy now?” she yells.

“You’re lying to yourself and you know it,” Ian says. “I’m sorry about your father. But this,” he gestures to the sleeping rex, “is just a—a coping mechanism, and you know it. You read Dr. Harding’s book. You know what actually happened on that boat!”

“Yes, I do,” Emma says, very deliberate. “I know exactly what happened on that boat. You pushed my father into the cargo hold, you coward. He wouldn’t have wandered in on his own.”

“Yes, he did,” Ian says, looking her in the eye, “because your father was an idi—

Don’t you dare!” Emma screams. “Don’t you dare talk about him that way! He was a better man than you. That’s why you did what you did. You knew what a worthless coward you are, so you killed my father and told your idiot girlfriend to cover it up.” She stands up straight. “You told her to tell a different story in her book so nothing would happen to you. So you wouldn’t get what you deserved. Well, this is what you get, f-er!” she shouts, pointing at the rex behind him.

“I’m telling you, this is crazy,” Ian says, slamming his fist on the glass wall. “You know and I know how wrong this is. You’ve done all this on—what? A vague suspicion? You have no proof behind this, no evidence, no basis for—”

“I don’t need it,” Emma hisses. “Because I know what a pathetic piece of garbage you are. Because I know exactly what you’ll do to prove a point. That’s all I need to know. And you know it, too. You know what you did. You know I’m right. The only reason you’re denying it is because you want to run like a coward from what’s coming to you.” She looks him in the eye. “But it’s all too late for that now.”

“Let’s ignore the fact that you, ah, won’t even consider rational thought here,” Ian says furiously. “You’re angry at me because you think I killed your father.”

“I know you did.”

“My daughter is somewhere around here. Are you really about to do what you’re accusing me of doing? Are you really about to kill a little girl’s dad? I mean, if her dad dies, she might grow up to be like you someday, and my God, imagine how awful that—”

“I don’t want to take Anna’s father away,” Emma says, her voice raw, “but this is different than what happened to me. My father was innocent, and her father is a murderer. This is a different matter. Justice is being done here.”

“What makes you think you’re the one who can judge, then? You aren’t law enforcement, you aren’t-”

“Law enforcement didn’t do their job,” Emma says, “so I’m doing it for them.”

“The police saw the security tape of what happened when Sarah and I got on the boat,” Ian says forcefully. “You—you do know there’s a tape, right? Video evidence that I didn’t do anything wrong, that—that Peter went into the hold after we jumped ship? Proof that you built this entire park, cloned all these animals, because of something that never happened? If you’d bothered to-”

Emma laughs, a short, mirthless bark. “I did all of this for you?” she says. “Don’t flatter yourself, Doctor, you’re not worth that much. I built this park because I wanted an opportunity for science to study dinosaurs. I would have opened Pangaea whether you came or not.” She smiles. “And now that you’ve endorsed it, I will.”

“What do you mean? I didn’t endorse this!”

“You signed a pre-prepared statement in my office,” Emma says, gesturing to the briefcase on the floor, “saying that Pangaea is safe and that you fully endorse my business venture. Signed and ready for the press.”

“And the second I get out of here, I’ll tell the same press what you did to get me to sign it. What the hell makes you think you can get away with this?”

“I do have sufficient cause.” She smiles and looks back at the rex; it’s still comatose.

“Just stop and think about this for one minute,” Ian says, looking back at the rex as well. If he doesn’t move, it won’t see him, right? But it’ll be able to smell him, and there’s no doubt in his mind that it’s hungry.

“I have been,” Emma says, completely normal and polite once again. “For six years, Doctor.” She pauses. “It should wake up soon. Tranquilizers don’t usually last so long. Pity.”

“What should?”

She points to the tyrannosaur. “That. Pretty impressive, isn’t it? Just look at the teeth. I almost decided to kill you myself, but I thought it’d do a better job. Besides, it’ll make sure you die the same way my father did. It’ll tear you limb from limb.” She sighs sentimentally. “And I know what you’re thinking—I’ll drop your body near the iguandon and say you found a way to jump into the habitat. Just decided to go kill yourself in the middle of the night. Nothing I could do about it, very sad indeed. No one will ever know what happened here, not even if you came back from the dead. Isn’t that fitting? No one ever believes you, do they?”

“I have a daughter,” Ian says, trying not to sound desperate but not doing well. “I have—I have three kids. Think about them…”

“They’ll be all right,” she sighs. “They’ll believe you committed suicide, just like everyone else will. Would you forgive your father if he killed himself without saying goodbye? I don’t think so.”

“Anna, uh, she’ll know-”

“Anna won’t miss you,” she says matter-of-factly.

That’s enough for Ian to hear. “Shut the hell up!” he shouts. “You don’t know what you’re doing. I’ll shut your whole goddamned place down, do you hear me? You f—ing lunatic!”

“I think I’ve made my point,” Emma says. “I’ll be around to pick up what’s left of you later. I wish I could stay and watch, but I must go and check on the other carnivores. Enjoy your death, you bastard,” she says cheerfully. “My father’s going to look down at your bones and have a good laugh, I know it.”

Ian thinks suddenly of the last time he saw a tyrannosaur, and of Kelly, and suddenly feels a lot weaker. “Don’t you dare lay a hand on any of my kids,” he says quietly. “You—you want to kill me, fine, I’ll help myself. But please, I—I beg of you, don’t do this to Anna.”

“I don’t care enough about her,” Emma says lightly. “I wouldn’t go to all this effort. But I’ll leave her alone. She hasn’t done anything.” She turns to leave.

“You did all this,” Ian points out. “You cloned a rex just so it could eat me.”

Emma turns to look at him. “I told you, Doctor,” she says. “Don’t flatter yourself.” And she puts down the little microphone device, turns a key in the lock on a door and leaves the room, letting the door slam behind her. Malcolm doesn’t hear the sound.

He puts his face in his hands for a moment, trying to collect his strength, but the fear that was suspended when he was talking to Emma has returned. He avoids looking at the rex, knowing that the sight would just bring back more terror and would interfere with his concentration, but even as he looks through the room for any possible way to get out and pounds on the glass some more, he knows in the back of his mind that it’s worthless. Emma is a maniac, he knows that now, and if she’s been planning this for as long as she says she has, it’s all been thought out. She did everything he can to make sure that he has no way to get out of this room. He still tries as hard as he can, but his anger and strength quickly sap. He doesn’t want to give up without a fight, but he doesn’t want to fight an uphill battle, either. So, once he’s tried everything he can possibly try, once he’s done everything he can possibly do, he sits down against the wall. He looks away from the rex, pulls his knees up to his chest, closes his eyes, tries to keep his thoughts on the three children that he loves, and waits to die.

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