Terrordactyl

“Dad, are you sure this is a good idea.”  Janice shouts from the back seat of the old Escort.

“Hey, hey.. enough shouting already.  Little car big ears remember?”  Darrin replied as he grabbed his right ear.

“Why do you have such big ears?”  A smaller version of Janice asked.

Tracy chuckled then swallowed hard.  She turned and faced the two young girls in the back seat.  “There is a kinder way to ask that Sarah.  You are so blunt…”

“Hold up…” Darrin began, “…you may want to turn around.”

Parked on the side of the road was a rusty old truck, with the hood open.  A pair of blue-jeaned legs, waist and shirt were visible but the rest of the man was out of sight.

“Looks like he is having car trouble.”

“You’re not going to help him are you?”  Tracy asked.

“It’s dangerous to be out here too long.  If I can help I would like too.”

“But Darrin… there are Pterodactyl outside.  They are always hungry and pick people up all the time.”

“..but..” Darrin protested and slowed as they approached.

The man stepped from the truck.  He had a full beard, orange and grey with age.  His hair was thin and his hands were dirty.  He began to flag them down.

Darrin slowed to a stop looked behind and saw no traffic.  On the right was a row of trees and the left was a field of half-grown corn.  Above the field he could see a pair of Pterodactyl circling.  These large reptiles were at least five hundred feet away.

“What’s going on with the truck,” Darrin asked as the older man approached.

“Well, I lost a belt… I think.  I’ve been here all day.  Do you have a splash of water?”

“Sure.. sure,” Darrin turns toward the back to ask the girls for a bottle of water.  The older man pulls a knife from his pocket.  With a single motion he opens the car door and wraps the knife around Darrin’s neck.  Tracy, strapped into the passenger seat, grabs the man’s hand and wrist and pulls long enough to allow Darrin to push the knife into the steering wheel.  Darrin punches the underside of the elbow causing the knife to fall to the car floor.  He then shoves the older man onto the street.

Darrin unbuckles his seatbelt and steps outside.  He kicks the man in the gut and tries to shove him out of the way.  The man fights back and sweeps a leg causing Darrin to stumble.  Tracy unbuckles and closes the driver’s door.  She then steps out of the car.

“Get back in the car,” Darrin shouts.

“No, I’m going to help.”

“I got this,” Darrin said as he grabbed the man’s legs and dragged him toward the culvert on the opposite side of the road.  The man struggled to free himself as Darrin watched Tracy from the corner of his eye.  He watched as she walked toward the back of the car.  He knew she was looking for the rifle.

Determined to control the situation, Darrin threw the man’s legs toward the culvert and waited for the weight of his body to take him.  Tracy opened the truck and fished for the rifle.

“My wife is going to shoot you.  Stay still and you might live.  We just want to pass.  We are heading to Ohio.  I was being nice and you just pissed that away.”

The man lay still.  His orange-grey beard flecked with dirt.  Darrin could feel the growl before the man showed it.

“Don’t you move,” Darrin warned.  Tracy inched closer with the rifle.  He caught sight of his children plastered to the inside of the closed car windows.  His youngest daughter had climbed into the front seat.

“Damn,” he thought as he ran through a scenario of running and driving away.  “Tracy would have to get in plus Sarah in the way…”

Tracy stepped forward.  The rifle sits just below her shoulder.  Her right eye zeroed in.

“We are going to walk away,” Darrin stated as both he and Tracy stepped back.

Darrin could hear a banging from behind him.  He tried to ignore it.  “Kids,” he thought.

He turned to see them pointing upward.

Circling above him were the giant predatory reptiles.  The large pointed heads and leather wings left a massive shadow that circled both cars.

“Tracy!”

Tracy and Darrin ran for the car.  Darrin watched as Tracy disappeared behind the car.  The old man punched him in the kidney.  The pain sent him into the side of the car.  The girls screamed.

The fright shot up Darrin’s back.  The thought of a crazed man free to kill his children.

The pain disappeared and Darrin turned.  He forced his right fist into the man’s jaw.  Tracy fired a shot at the same time but it missed.  Darrin opened the driver’s door as the man stumbled backward.  He sat inside, shoving Sarah into the center of the seat.  Her small leg pinned underneath him.  Tracy placed the rifle onto the back seat and sat in the passenger seat.  She wrestled with Sarah’s legs as Darrin tried to put the car in gear and sit up at the same time.  The old man banged on the driver’s door, trying to bust it.  Darrin barely clears the old man’s truck when he realizes the man has a pistol.  He used it to bang on the window but now he is standing alone behind the Escort.  His front foot set and the pistol pointed at them.

“Get your heads down!”  Darrin yelled.

Tense and ready for the explosion Darrin drove around the truck with his head down as much as possible.  A large shadow hovered over him for moments then disappeared.  The explosion of gunfire never stuck the fragile glass of the Escort.  Darrin looked into the rearview mirror to see the thin leather back of a Pterodactyl pecking away at something lying in the road.  He slowed the car then turn to get a better look.  The two girls followed his lead and squealed in disgust.

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