Friday, August 10, 2012

Dinosaur Ghost Chapter 7: Why Dinosaur Ghosts Run Amok

This story has been revised.  
Dinosaur Ghost is now available for free as a pdf!

Steve loped down the hall of his Soho apartment, his tail sweeping the hallway as he moved from room to room, straightening things up with his head while his back end knocked over lamps, tables, and poked gaping holes in the walls with his spikes.  Steve was anxious that everything be perfect for his and Rex’s anniversary dinner.  Things just hadn’t been the same since “the incident” and this would be an opportunity to put it behind them and give the relationship a fresh start.  Steve wouldn’t have admitted it to himself right then, but a part of him wondered if he could ever trust Rex again.  The image of Rex and that woman had become seared in his mind.  The woman’s expression of abject passion contrasted with Rex’s anger as he tossed her around like a rag doll.  It was a side of Rex he had never seen before, and it frightened him--the fact that Rex could go against his own natural instincts simply to inflict pain on Steve was one thing, but the intensity of that anger bordered on hatred--that was the truly frightening part.  A part of Steve had gone extinct that night, and he wondered if he’d ever be whole again.

He was putting fresh flowers in the bedroom when he heard the front door open and close, followed by Rex’s murmured greeting.  In that moment, he wanted to drop the vase, rush to his lover's side, and throw his hooves around him, but then he heard the sound of the television clicking on, and he knew that Rex would be settling into the couch--probably crushing it--and for the next thirty minutes or so he would be vegetating in front of the evening news.  His first words would almost certainly be to ask about dinner.  (Rex took it for granted that Steve would have prepared something, and yes, Steve had trapped a rather succulent goat that morning, and then stowed it in the bathroom.  Rex would probably scarf it down in one bite and then ask if they had any horse.)  Steve’s mood deflated.  Rather than rushing into Rex’s tiny forearms, he went to the bathroom to freshen up.

Ten minutes later, he cautiously ventured to the front of the apartment.  As he neared the living room, he heard the sound of hushed voices.  Who was Rex talking to?  He quickened his step, causing the apartment to shake violently as he thundered into the living room.

Rex was facing the window.  He turned when he heard Steve approach, a guilty smile affixed to his face. 

“Steve, Baby.”  He tried to guard the window with his massive bulk, but Steve tilted his head, and caught a glimpse of the pterodactyl on the fire escape.

“Who is that?  Who were you talking to?”

The pterodactyl squawked, “call me,” and then flew away.

Rex’s smile cracked momentarily.  “That’s no one, Babe. Just a building inspector.”

“Why did he tell you to call him?”

It was then that Rex’s green eyes narrowed into that look of pure reptilian hatred that frightened Steve so.  “I can’t win with you, Steve.  No matter what I do, you’re never going to trust me.”

“I just want to know why that stupid bird on the fire escape asked you to call him.  I think I’m entitled to a little information, that’s all.”

“Don’t worry, Steve,” Rex said, his roar dripping with sarcasm.  “I wasn’t going to make out with him like a diplodocus at an office Christmas party."

Steve recoiled.  “When are you going to stop throwing that in  my face.  I told you I was drunk.  I never would have given Allen a second glance in the sober light of day.”

“I’ve seen the way you look at him.”

Steve rolled his eyes and affected mock laughter.  “Oh my God.”

“Yes, oh your God.  Oh your God.” Rex paced the living room like he was stalking a kill.

Steve sniffed.  His eyes began to water.  “I don’t know what I did to make you hate me so much.”

“Oh, don’t start this again,” Rex said in a dismissive tone.  “You’re so damned manipulative when you do this.”

Steve sobbed uncontrollably.  “I’m sorry if my pain antagonizes you.”

“You know what, Steve?  You stay here and play the victim.  I’ve got better things to do.”  He stormed toward the door, tearing great clumps out of the carpet with his claws as he moved.

“Go on then.  Run off to your slutty pterodactyl.  See if I care.”

“Bah,” said the Tyrannosaur.  He took a swipe at the air with his tiny forearm, and then he was gone.

As the door slammed shut, Steve collapsed in a heap on the floor and sobbed.  He had planned the evening so carefully.  How had it come to this?

Slowly, he became aware of a voice in the room. It was a human’s voice.  A male human’s voice.  He looked up at the television and saw that it was tuned to a 24-hour news channel.  A pundit was railing against gay marriage.

“Marriage is supposed to be between a man and a woman.  It’s Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” said the talking head.

“Or Rex and Steve,” thought the dinosaur ghost.

“The gays are all getting married and it’s undermining traditional marriage.  When you get married, the preacher is supposed to say, ‘I now pronounce you man and wife,’ not man and man.  What does that even mean?  They’re already both men?  It doesn’t change anything.  See?  It renders the whole ceremony meaningless.”

Steve felt a flash of anger.  He reached out and stomped the remote control, smashing it into a thousand tiny pieces.  Despite the action, the talking head continued to drone on and on with ever more fallacious arguments.   Finally, Steve could take it no more.  He let out a roar.  His eyes burned holes into the image on the screen.  He was mad enough to kill and he knew just the person he wanted to start with.