And today - When Lockjaws Attack or Well, That Happened
Clan Brontosaurus was settling in to their new home. They knew there was still a lot to learn about the land around them, but they had so much to do
just to set up a basic living space that every day felt like a race against their own ignorance. They started planning to build some defenses, but
first they needed better living spaces chiseled out of the mountain.
Red, Bluto, and Lena got to work on that. Red was especially useful, mapping out an idea in his head for a rough set of rooms that could become
working or living spaces. Along the way, the colony got incredibly lucky and struck a vein of silver. They all knew that if they were successful, that
silver would someday help them trade with other tribes ... at the very least, they could make something pretty with it.
Black Dog worked hard at fishing trying to bring in enough blue blade to keep everyone fed. Most all the animals here were large and aggressive or
just plain vicious or ... rats, and no one was very keen on the idea of rat pie for dinner. Pan-seared blue blade? It hit the spot most nights so long
as he could catch it.
And then in the late spring, the colony received a surprise. Two young camels wandered into their midst. It was obvious they'd broken free of their
leads and wandered from somewhere, perhaps a caravan, but they'd strayed a long way. They were thin and covered in mud. One was nursing some sort of
animal bites while the other had damaged foot pads, and they were both relieved to find people again. Meg dubbed them Dugan and Rogan and decided they
would make useful pack animals along with Chonk the alpaca.
And that's when things turned ...
First it was the weather.
Up to that point, things had been uncomfortable and sticky, but not unbearable, but now the full brunt of summer heat laid itself over the land like a
thick wet blanket and it smothered everything. Even as far as they'd chiseled back into the hill couldn't cool them off enough. They build a small
cooler, but without being able to evaporate water in the humidity, it didn't do them much good. Sweat poured and tempers flared. There was water
everywhere, but it was still so hot you couldn't drink enough. Everyone had some kind of heatstroke.
And then the lockjaws got hungry.
Lena and Stan (that's what I named him over Buzz) went for a foraging trip one day, and an evil-tempered, massive reptilian mouth on legs dubbed a
lockjaw decided that terrier should be on the menu. Having lost her beloved cat Duchess not too many days earlier, Lena was determined not to lose
Stan too.She used her pila to try to fend the lizard off, but an awkward poke to the eye enraged the beast. Instead of running, it turned on her
grabbing her thumb and ripping it off.
And that's when things went seriously pear-shaped! The beast had a mate who came to help it out. Lucky for Lena, she was still close enough to the
colony that the others heard her panicked shouts and they came as quickly as they could. Bluto ... Red ... Meg ... and Black Dog all came through the
dense jungle trying to help Lena and Stan, but it was too late for Stan.
And soon the raging battle was just a defensive action trying to keep the massive beasts from finishing off the rest of the colony. One by one,
colonists were knocked out, so severely injured they couldn't move anymore, and the rest fought on to save their fellows. Finally it came down to
Black Dog, the last left standing. Injured, battered and bruised, he fired off arrow after arrow into the last massive lockjaw while it thrashed and
kept coming but finally, it succumbed at last to a final arrow ... in the eye (what you thought it would be in the knee?).
Now it was Flint's turn to shine. He'd kept clear of the fight knowing he had no skills there, but he excelled at medicine. Together, the two brothers
worked feverishly, well into the night, Black Dog taking instructions from his brother. They tried their best to stabilize their fellow colonists
enough to survive the trip back to their sleeping spots
But for some
it was too late. They just couldn't work quickly enough to save Meg.
And once they get everyone back to home, the other shoe dropped. Lockjaws are venemous. Black Dog managed to hold on despite his own injuries; he made
it just long enough to help Flint haul the last one back before falling onto his own spot in a delirium himself. Now Flint was alone with four
desperately ill and badly injured patients. Everything was one his shoulders: tending, food, everything ...
And he was tending a group of patients stricken with a toxin that locked their jaws into spasms preventing them from doing much more than uttering
agonized groans as they writhed on the hard ground sweating in the hellish heat, suffering the pain of their wounds and spasms from the poison.
And it was too much ... "I just can't! I can't!" he wailed finally, and walked out.
The only saving grace to it was that Bluto was just able to stagger back on his own feet and pick up. His skills weren't as strong as Flint's, but you
do learn a thing or two about battlefield medicine smuggling some of the items he had. The long hours of nursing in nightmare conditions continued as
one by one, Black Dog, Lena, and Red got back on their feet. None were by any means recovered, but at least they could help fend for themselves.
By now colony food stores were running dangerously low and the crops were nowhere near being ready for harvest. Hunting was out of the question, and
with the terrible and oppressive heat, the fish had stopped biting.
And no one knew what had become of Flint, but at least they could lay Meg to rest.
But the bad luck wasn't done with them yet. They weren't the only things in the jungle suffering from the heat. They had no way of knowing it, but
this was some of the worst heat the jungle had suffered in recent memory, bad enough to drive even the local animals mad. Not even two days after the
last straggler was up and trying to pick up the pieces, a strange spider creature came rampaging through the fields attacking everything in its
Black Dog was the first to be waylaid by it, and he didn't have a chance so fierce was its assault.
Lena, Red and loyal Chonk came to try beat it back, but it trampled them in its madness as well before tearing off into the dense bush. Maybe they
would have done better had Bluto not gone on a long scouting trip. At least, that's what he said it was, but the others privately suspected he was
just burned out after all those long, hard days having to pick up where Flint abandoned them so abruptly.
And Flint ... well, he got what was coming to him for abandoning his tribe.
Things were looking bleak. All they could do was lay there and call weakly to each other. No one could stand, let alone try to help the others. They
were too injured. It looked like this might very well be the end ...