Jurassic Park’s 25th Anniversary

25 years ago today, our favorite movie first appeared in theaters! Fans have been putting together tributes all day, so here are my contributions to the celebration. Photography, as part of my ongoing Jurassic June project:

And a short fanfiction about the time that’s gone by. Here it is:

The sun is beginning to go down. Once, this would have meant that the people would be leaving soon, and that she would finally be allowed some peace and quiet. She’s free to walk around for as long as she wants now, but old habits are hard to break.

Since the sun began to dip lower today, she’s felt that restless buzzing in the back of her mind that tells her it will begin to rain soon. She glances upwards and sees dark clouds beginning to gather. Tonight she’ll need to stay somewhere safe and covered. The canopy of trees don’t provide enough shelter, and she despises waking up on the soggy ground. There are a few structures with enough cover, but most of them aren’t tall enough for her, and the others are the crumbling remains of prisons. The ones on the lower end of the island still have their fences up, still sparking with occasional bursts of electricity and topped with wire that slices like teeth. Those won’t do, and she is far above places like that now anyway.

Though she knows the layout of her home by heart, she finds it easiest to follow the path of the track that once carried vehicles—like armored dinosaurs, almost, but much more effort to take down—through the park to gawk at her. As she passes the embankment that she was once contained to, she notes that almost none of the metal from the former fence structure is visible anymore. The platform which used to deliver her only source of food has been entirely reclaimed by plant life. After she was freed the first time, she tried to destroy her cage in a fit of wrath, but the place barely interests her anymore. That captivity is becoming more of a distant memory day by day, year by year.

If it weren’t for the track, it would seem like this place has never been anything but a jungle, save for a few remaining details. Atop an old, moss-covered red and black sign, a group of compies is gnawing at the half-eaten body of a hypsilophodon; the little green creatures instantly scatter when they see her coming, but she has no interest in their meager prey. Her mind flickers back to the initial scope of the island she did when she first got the chance to demarcate her territory, trying to remember which dinosaur was once kept in this area, but the effort proves futile just as quickly. The old occupant is more than likely gone, lost to time and buried under layers of moss and earth, in the process of returning to the island that nurtured it.

Finally she reaches the stagnant pond in front of the giant grey building, its ceiling falling in and its sides draped in ivy, and knows she’s reached the place. There’s a front door with a stone arch above it, a carving of her skeleton adorning the top, one of the humans’ only mockeries that has refused to succumb to nature through all this time. That entrance is too small, so she heads around to the larger hole on the other side. Sniffing around as she goes, she ascertains that no one has been here in a fair amount of time, and no one will bother her as she rests. At the back of the building, she ducks her head through the gap in the walls and enters the darker, cooler area that has become almost a miniature jungle within a jungle.

The deep orange rays of the sunset shine in through the high windows, and she can still see the ruins that litter the floor. She comes here only occasionally, and each time she sees the progression of its decay. Bones still litter the floor, both the remains of her enemies and the ones that the humans once displayed with such hubris, but they’re just more debris to step over now. The smell of death dissipated from them a long time ago. The stairs remain, and she remembers that they provide excellent shade; grunting with the effort of twisting into a comfortable position, a reminder that her body isn’t as lithe as it used to be, she lowers herself onto her side and rests her head on a patch of ferns. She sighs, stretches her tail out, adjusts a little. The smell of the place brings a trace of a distant memory.

Though far away now, the first time she came to this building, it was the day of her greatest conquest; after having just been freed, she asserted her place on the island by taking out parts of herbivore herds, a hunt that had culminated here. The scars on her snout have long since ceased to hurt, and sometimes she even forgets they’re there. But here, in the place of their origin, they feel once again like trophies. As cunning as those little raptors were, in the end they were no match for her ruthless final attack. That was also how she secured her place as the top predator, the most feared and respected. Even her recent defeat of the unusual white creature didn’t make her soar the way that day did. It just doesn’t carry the same glory.

Time passes while she’s lost in thought, and soon the light is low, another day well-lived. As it grows dark, the jungle sounds from outside become a lull, and the peace that she came here for descends upon her. Her mind doesn’t carry much of a capacity for measuring time, but in the twilight moments as her eyelids get lower and lower, it occurs to her just how long has passed. The building is in ruins, her face is gaunt and grey, and generations of dinosaurs have come and gone. The weight of the years descends comfortingly on her. She has been on this island for as long as she can remember, and once either she or it is gone, it will have been permanently altered by her presence. She carries the weight of so many years on her shoulders, and it has been longer than she can comprehend. Now, finally, it is time for her to rest.

Happy 25th birthday, Jurassic Park! I hope all my readers are enjoying the celebration as much as I am.

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