A Clever Carol

So you thought I was done giving you gifts, huh? You were wrong; I wrote you guys a special blog-exclusive Christmas story. I’m going on vacation and I won’t be back until after New Year’s, so I hope this’ll do until I get back. Enjoy!

One night in late December, Christmas came to Isla Nublar. It was a truly magical day because, although the dinosaurs there had spent a few Christmases there, now they were free to roam around the island and celebrate however they wanted. Almost all of the dinosaurs came out of their respective territories to spend the day together, and there was a general feeling of love, warmth and family in the air—dinosaurs still ate each other, of course, but for one day they sort of felt guilty about it. There was even a thin layer of snow all over the ground. Well, it wasn’t exactly snow; pretty much every animal on the island was going through the molting cycle at the same time, causing pileups of flaky white scales, but it looked a little bit like snow if one squinted a little.

In the afternoon, a raptor named Shredder woke up his pack leader, Clever Girl, from her napping place in the forest. He poked at her with his claw, chirping, “Hey, Clever, wake up!” Clever raised her head, snarled menacingly and laid back down, but Shredder persisted. “C’mon, wake up! It’s Christmas eve!”

She looked up, blinked a few times and shook her head. “Oh, yeah, that’s today,” she sighed. She got up, scratched the back of her head with her claw and looked around expectantly. “So? What am I supposed to do?”

“What are you supposed to do?”  Shredder stared at her. “It’s Christmas eve! You know, Christmas stuff! You wanna go out and sing carols with me?”

“Why would I bother singing carols?”

“Okay, we don’t have to do that,” he said. “Why don’t we go kill some stuff and give it to each other? You know, for presents? That’s what the rest of the pack is doing tomorrow.”

Clever narrowed her eyes. “Are you trying to take my kill?”

“No, no, I’m not! I just want to have a good time, Clever, that’s all.”

“Well, no one’s having a good time if I don’t get enough sleep,” she told him, lying back down on her bed of ferns.

“C’mon, Clever, it’s Christmas!” Shredder said, but Clever had already curled her tail around her body and fallen back asleep. He sighed, looked at her for a minute and dashed off to join the rest of the raptor pack.

“Clever Girl!”

Clever awoke with a jolt. “Wha? Who’s that?” The booming voice didn’t sound familiar.

“Wake up, Clever Girl! I am the Ghost of Christmas Present!” Clever hopped to her feet and braced herself to attack the intruder who’d disrupted her nap. A familiar-looking man, tall, muscular, blonde and wearing a ranger’s uniform, stood in front of her with his arms crossed. “Clever Girl,” he said again, and Clever suddenly realized who he was.

“Oh, hey, you’re that guy,” Clever realized. “You’re that ranger guy who kept bugging me. Didn’t I eat you a few months ago?”

“Unfortunately,” the man said in his thick accent, “you did, and seeing as I wasn’t given the option to haunt you for the rest of your natural life, I am the Ghost of Christmas Present!” He paused. “Am I frigtening you?”

“No.”

“Not even gonna let me have that, huh?” he sighed heavily. “All right, fine, let’s get on with it. Clever Girl, I’m here to show you what’ll happen tomorrow, on this very Christmas—”

“Wait,” she cut in. “If you’re the Ghost of Christmas Present, isn’t there supposed to be a Christmas Past? Or was that not in the budget or something?”

“All of your past Christmases were bloody boring,” the Ghost said. “I know, ‘cause I had to spend ‘em watching you. You want a recap? You napped all day and then ate a cow, every single Christmas day you’ve been here. Now come on, let’s get going, I’ve got three more dinosaurs here to enlighten when I’m done with you.” Before she could respond, he grabbed her claw and pulled her forward. Clever felt for an instant like she was being pulled through a tunnel of wind, and then all of a sudden, she was in the middle of a grassy field. “Take a look around you,” the Ghost told her. “See the herd over there?”

Clever saw where he was pointing; there was a small group of triceratops grazing in the taller grass, cheerfully chatting and singing Christmas carols, a few feet away. She snarled menacingly and raised her sickle claw to attack, but the Ghost put his hand on her back. “They can’t see you.”

“Even better!” She bared her teeth.

“And you can’t eat them!” Clever growled in frustration. “Now look in the middle of the group. See that little one there?” In the center of the herd was a smaller animal, one that looked like it could only be a few weeks old. “That’s Triceratops Tim. See how small and vulnerable he is?”

Clever licked her chops. “Ooh, I do.”

“In a few years’ time, if one of his horns is leaning against a tree, the most horrible of all Christmas events will have occurred,” the Ghost said in his booming voice, obviously attempting to sound ominous. “Someone will have gotten to Triceratops Tim and eaten him… before you could!”

Clever stared at Triceratops Tim and felt her eyes start to water. “But… that’s horrible! I would never want that to happen! want to eat that triceratops! Please, Mr. Ghost, what can I do to keep this from happening?”

“Not my problem,” the Ghost said, shrugging. “That’s for Future to take care of. Later, stupid raptor, I’ve got work to do.”

“Wait!” Clever called, but the Ghost was already gone, and when she looked around she saw that she was back in the jungle, on her bed. Well, that was weird, she thought, and curled back up to resume her nap. But no sooner had she closed her eyes when something tapped her on the back. “What is it this time?” she hissed, annoyed. “If this doesn’t involve food, I hope you know you’re getting the business end of the claw.”

Before her stood a wide-framed human figure. His face was covered in shadow, but he was wearing a yellow rain coat, and goopy green stuff that looked like a dilophosaur’s spit was dripping down his front. He didn’t speak; he just extended his hand. Clever sunk her sickle claw into it, but it went right through him. “Oh, another stupid ghost. You here to show me another meal I might not have?” The ghost responded by doing the weird wind-tunnel thing to her again. Suddenly, she was in the middle of her forest, but it looked a lot different. It was very dark, it looked overgrown and it was completely silent, free of dinosaur calls or bird sounds. “The heck is this?” Clever asked.

Suddenly, there was a mechanical roaring sound, and a bright beam of light pierced the darkness. A human tore past her, wearing a vest and riding some kind of motorcycle. “Is this supposed to scare me or something?” she asked the ghost, who simply pointed to the man on the motorcycle. “Whatever,” she said, and watched the human race by. Then she gasped.

Running alongside the man were several velociraptors, an entire pack’s worth. In the blur of activity, Clever thought she saw one of her pack mates, although she wasn’t entirely sure. Then, everything was clear to her. A mottled green raptor was sidled up next to the motorcycle, running right next to the man and adoringly chirping up at him. “Aw, crap,” she said as she watched the raptor that looked exactly like her. “That’s not me, is it?” The ghostly figure nodded. “Ugh, humans,” she grumbled. “Why haven’t I slaughtered that guy yet? Hey, future me! Eat him! Eat him!” The specter of her future self did not respond, continuing to follow the motorcycle man closely. A few seconds later, the man and the raptor pack roared out of sight.

“Well, that sucks,” Clever said, turning back to the ghost. “Take me home now, all right? I might as well get this Christmas thing over with, because obviously you people won’t leave me alone if I don’t.” The ghost shook his head and pointed to a nearby tree.  Clever squinted for a second, trying to discern what was so significant about it, when she froze. “That—against the tree! That’s Triceratops Tim’s horn!” The ghost slowly nodded. “Oh, no! No, no, no! I can’t believe someone else ate him before I could! I’m so sorry, Mr. Ghost! I was wrong! I was so wrong! I can’t—”

BAM! She was back in her fern bed in the blink of an eye. Once again, Shredder was standing over her, shaking her awake. “Clever! Hey, Clever, it’s nighttime. You want to go see the tree we all decorated?”

She jumped up. “It’s still Christmas eve?”

“Of course it is. How long did you think you were asleep?”

“I can’t believe it! There’s still time!” Clever jumped up and hugged Shredder as tightly as she could without stabbing him with her claw.

“… Time for what?”

“Time to party and hunt stuff before I get all trained and stupid! Come on, let’s go see that tree!” The two of them dashed away toward the center of the island, Clever elated and Shredder confused in a mostly happy way. After a minute, they reached the tallest tree in the forest, around which every dinosaur on the island was gathered. They all turned their heads to see who was coming, and all the carnivores cheered when they saw who it was. The herbivores swiftly relocated themselves to the opposite side of the tree.

“It’s so beautiful,” Clever said in wonder, staring up at the tree. It was festively decorated, parts of a Jeep and human bones hanging from every branch, three shirt buttons stuck to the trunk and an amber cane at the top. “You guys did such a great job! I’m so glad I didn’t miss out on Christmas this year,” she said as her heart filled with warmth and tears sprung to her eyes. All of the other dinosaurs smiled and joined claws, and began to sing a carol. It was a gorgeous, peaceful song, and Clever didn’t know the words, but she could definitely appreciate it nonetheless. Once it was over, Clever felt a tap on her side. She looked down and instantly met the wide, sparkling eyes of a tiny triceratops.

“Merry Christmas to all, everyone,” the triceratops said in a sweet voice, blinking up at her.

“Oh, there you are,” she said. “I was so scared I wouldn’t find you. Hey, pack! I found Triceratops Tim! He’s gonna be good, I got a tip-off from some ghost!” The rest of the raptor pack all dove forward and, at the risk of ruining this heartwarming holiday tale, let’s just say that a good time was had by all except one.

Above Isla Nublar, Santa Claus sailed through the air in his magical sleigh. “All right, what’s our next stop?” he chuckled, checking his itinerary. “Hmm, Isla Nublar.” He looked down and saw the festival going on below him. “Nope,” he said, immediately spurring his reindeer on. “Nope. Big fat nope to that. Let’s just get out of here.” And then, on that magical Christmas night, Santa Claus hauled out of there as fast as humanly possible, disappearing into the night sky.

The End. Merry Christmas!

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