(This story first appeared in the September 2010 issue of Spaceports & Spidersilk.)
Once upon a time in the Very Very Long Ago, the world was full of dinosaurs: Triceratops, Tyrannosaur, Iguanodon, Dromaeosaur, and biggest of all, Titanosaur. His head was like a tiny lump way out on the end of his neck. His back could scratch the highest boughs of the piney ferny forest. His feet left craters in the mud by the lake of water lotus. And his long, long tail waved high in the air behind him.
Now also in the Very Very Long Ago, there lived a hairy, hungry creeper named Rep … Repen … Repenomamus. But we shall call her Reppie. She had a snuffling nose and scritchy claws and sharp, sharp teeth. She was bigger than Titanosaur’s head (which didn’t matter) and smaller than his foot (which did).
One sunny morning, Titanosaur walked through the piney ferny forest. Boom, boom went the thud of his feet. He never saw Reppie in the trees, looking for eggs.
Then he snapped his tail, like that! CRACK! And he broke down all the trees and ate them. But Reppie tumbled down to the ground and landed with a thump, very annoyed.
One breezy afternoon, Titanosaur walked to the lake of water lotus. Boom, boom went the crash of his feet. He never saw Reppie looking for fishes.
Then he waved his tail, like this! WOOSH! And he scooped up all the water lotus and ate them. But Reppie was flung into the air and she landed in the mud with a sploosh, very, very annoyed.
So she jumped on his tail. And her claws on his scales caught them and stretched them, erk, errrk, and pulled them longer and thinner.
Titanosaur stopped eating. Something funny was going on. Reppie’s teeth were gnawing on his tail, ommm, nom-nom-nom-nom, chewing it shorter and thicker.
Now that felt really weird. Titanosaur shook himself all over, from his boxy head to his stompy feet to his long, long tail. He had to get away from there.
So he ate the rest of the water lotus, and drank the lake. Then he ate the rest of the trees and walked away looking for more. Reppie kept chasing him and jumping on his tail, no matter how far he went.
In the meantime, the empty lake dried up and turned to coal. Then a river flowed over it and wore a canyon through until there was a lake again, bordered with irises and covered with lily pads. A new forest grew around it, full of apples and raspberries.
And Reppie is still chasing him. You might have seen them go by. His head is tiny, and his feet are scrawny, and his wonderful long tail is just a stump. His scales are light and long as feathers. He isn’t big any more. He is a Tiny-saur.
In fact, he’s a bird. If you look very closely at a feather, you’ll see tiny fine lines. Those are the marks of Reppie’s teeth. And when she jumps on his tail, he opens his wings and flies away. And he sings:
The world will change, and we remain,
The chase that never ends.
You stole my tail to no avail.
Nice try, my hairy friend!