The Last of Her Kind

Chapter 7

From the sea to the mainland, every creature great and small feels the Fireball's fury. The deep tremors and white-hot blast leave nothing untouched...not even the poor souls trying to escape...
For in its way the Fireball left its mark upon every living creature near and far. Those living in or near ground zero were wiped out immediately. Those dwelling hundreds of miles inland were affected as well, for the searing heat and violent earth tremors triggered a chain reaction of disaster upon disaster. A handful of creatures, who before now were separated either by choice or accident, were about to cross paths for the first time. Some would never survive the initial blast and earthquakes; others would wait years before learning the sacrifices ones made out of love.


Near the mainland shore...
Kenric, the lone brachiosaur who had only wanted to go home to his family, watched with utter shock and awe as the Fireball plunged into the sea. Darkness and silence had fallen again only to be replaced by a light more brilliant than the sun itself. Then that fiery cloud which spread out over the sea so eerily, so ominously. Then the jolt -- the ear-shattering, knock-them-on-their-butts wallop that seemed to shake the earth to it very foundations.

Brachiosaurs, being among the most massive animals ever to walk this planet, are not the easiest to bring down. Indeed, even the biggest meat eaters generally leave the imposing sauropods alone. It takes quite a force to knock down a eighty-ton animal, and that's what happened with the first shock wave.
The force was so great that it took Kenric by surprise and knocked him to the ground. He tried to pull himself upright -- that's a feat in itself, to gather all that bulk into a standing position. Then the second shock wave came, greater than the first, and sent Kenric reeling again.


His head struck a rock, and Kenric was considerably dazed. He tried to focus, to raise himself, only to be frozen in fear. His eyes glazed over as the wall of flames bore down upon him. Kenric could feel the intense heat searing his hide. O the pain!
The last thing Kenric did before being completely consumed by flames was call out to the one who he wanted to be with more than anything.


After the firestorm passed, nothing was left of the brachiosaur except a pile of ash and bone.

At that same time Kenric met his fiery end, a pteranodon family frantically tried to escape the blast, but the air was too hot, too thick with smoke. They became separated; one retraced her steps to find a friend, but it was too late. She felt the heat upon her as she desperately searched for the gentleman brachiosaur who had become a cherished friend.  The last thing Glennis remembered before her mate found her was wailing over Kenric's smoldering remains.

"Ah, Kenric! What a worst fate to befall one so!"

She was quite unaware that she was in pain herself, that half her body had been burned away by the blast. She ignored the searing pain as she mourned Kenric's death. It was Donovan, her mate, who finally found her wailing and bawling over the brachiosaur's burning remains.
"Glennis! There you are! The children...O Glennis, our wee ones got caught in the blast...Oh Glennis, the fire got to you! Oh my love..."

Yes, it happened: Glennis' children both fell victims to the Fireball's intense blast. The poor little fledglings couldn't keep up; both parents and children became separated. When Glennis flew back to check on Kenric, the blast had already reached them. Only Donovan escaped serious injury. It was he who finally convinced her to leave this madness; then he hoisted his mate onto his back and carried her all the way to the Nesting Grounds.

Not too far away, within that same time span, a lone male iguanodon, carrying his precious cargo, made a frantic, last-minute dash into the sea just before the blast consumed his island home.


Back near the hadrosaur camp, along the Nesting Grounds trail, hundreds of miles inland...
The far-off explosion sent forth shock waves that could be felt hundreds of miles away. The forces rumbling deep within cleaved the earth so violently, so suddenly. Within seconds the land convulsed violently. The winds, fanned by the Fireball's intense blast, picked up to almost tornado proportions. Animals screamed frantically while trying to escape the superheated rush of air and howling tempest.
From the hadrosaur camp, the one they called Sarama, the one with the visions, leapt upon a low rise and bellowed as loud as she could. Her mother and daughter still had not returned from their afternoon outing, and Sarama was becoming increasing concerned. To make matters worse, both elderly brachiosaurs, sisters Baylene and Ember, were no where to be found. The former had wandered to another part of the plains; the latter had accompanied Sarama's mother and daughter.

Ordinarily, Sarama's blasts could be heard for miles; however, on this night, they were of no use. The ear-splitting roar of winds and rumblings of the earth drowned out her loudest voice. Her heart ached for Ola, her mother, and Doli, her eldest child.

"Come, Sarama!," called her mate Hadron. "We must take cover!"
But she didn't listen; she insisted on staying on that hill, bellowing and calling out to her family.

"Will you come on!," Hadron shouted, finally nudging her toward a cave not too far away. "These winds will overtake us all! Don't worry about your mother and Doli; I'm sure they'll be all right..."

They huddled together in the snug confines of a small cave which served as shelter from the wind and heat. There they were, several Herd members who Sarama had known since childhood. There was Eema of course; then there was the usual number of iguanodons, chief among them were the Herd's leader Kron and his sister Neera.

But where was Baylene?

Oh, Sarama knew the brachiosaurs never migrated but she was worried about her friend. It would be well into the next day when reality would finally hit home. During that march toward what they thought was a now-devastated Nesting Grounds, the stranger appeared. Everything that Mother Adah foresaw those many years ago would happen.
Odd, how out of sorrow and tragic, hope grows and flourishes. Even in the face of catastrophe...


When dawn broke, the full impact of last night's destruction was evident. The ground was scorched, the air dry and dusty. There was no sign of life, not even a scraggly plant grew through hot rocky soil. There was no water, no cool moist forests in which to play. The plains and gently rolling green hills were no more. In a matter of minutes, Paradise had been transformed into an endless lifeless wasteland. How can anyone or anything survive this!


Fast forward to the present, as our narrators recount the loss, the pain, the regained hope, and, ultimately, the triumph of survival. But there is still a matter of atonement and forgiveness...
"Come morning, we looked for my mother and daughter. And we looked all over for Baylene and Ember, but..."

Sarama's voice cracked with emotion as she finished recounting that horrible night when fate changed everything so cruelly. By now, every Herd member – dinosaur and lemur – learned Baylene's entire life history, the fate of her family, and how she became the last of her kind. 
"Where the deep forest used to be, there was now a shattered wasteland. All the trees and greenery were gone. The earth was cleaved with such a force. Nothing was recognizable...."

"Our search ended when we reached the remains of the forest. Deep within a newly split chasm – and it was still smoldering – we found them...My mother, Doli and her mate, and Ember. Or what was left of them..."

Sarama could say no more; she immediately broke down as Hadron comforted her. It was his turn to speak.

"Sarama took it hard; she nearly went mad. But there was little time for grieving as Kron insisted that we get underway...But Baylene..."

Eema said, "Later on that day, we found Baylene wandering aimlessly. She babbled on and on...I think she knew that her sister was gone, as well as the rest of her kind. I took it upon myself to watch over her since she never traveled before. Poor old girl, to face the world without family or friends."

She then looked at Aladar, saying, "Honey, before you came along, Baylene would've died along the way. She seemed so out of it, so dejected. I guess she felt that it was her time, and the sooner she died the better."

Aladar pondered Eema's words. He then remembered Baylene's words to him that day she broke through the cave wall. He did inspire her, just as Mother Adah foresaw long before he was born. Aladar inspired the Herd; he inspired Baylene, who at this moment, relived painful memories. 
How uncanny, thought the idealistic iguanodon, that the very place which served as Baylene's turning point a few years ago would serve as stage for yet another confrontation. 
This time, though, Baylene confronted those from her past; she felt she had good reason to lash out. The Herd could hear her voice ring out from within the cave. It was an angry voice, full of fire and spit. After all these years, Baylene, who seldom allowed herself to "lose it", did just that.

Just who is she talking to?


Back in the cave, Baylene sees more faces from her past...She has a few choice words for them...
"How could you lay so much on me? Why didn't you at least say, 'Thank you, Baylene, for all you've done for us'?"

In uncharacteristic anger, Baylene, the elderly brachiosaur, lashed out at the apparitions before her. There they were -- her parents, mate, daughter, sisters, brothers -- appearing as they did in life. There was also someone else, a pteranodon, whose unlucky hunting expedition resulted in a dropped egg. That egg turned out to be none other than Aladar, just as Mother Adah prophesied.

Right now Baylene could care less about how Aladar inspired her life, for she dwelled upon the past and lashed out at those she perceived as causing a life of pain and misery.

"Baylene!," began an elderly brachiosaur couple, "We never meant for you to suffer as you did. We only put the responsibility on you because you were -- are still -- the most reliable, most giving, most selfless..."

Baylene glared at her parents' spirits, her eyes blazing the longest at her mother. She interrupted, ,"But I gave it all: my time, my love, my patience. And for what? So I could watch my own children die while they were barely hatchlings? So I'll take on the burden of counseling my brother who, incidentally, abandoned his family at worst possible time?"
Baylene's mother, Madame Sybille spoke up, "No, dear daughter, all your sacrifice was not in vain. Look what's become of you! You've matured in ways that makes me envious! You've earned your awards, Baylene. Enjoy life to the fullest! And you can do this once your mate reveals your lasting legacy."

Suddenly, all the apparitions disappeared, save one. That would be Quivier, Baylene's faithful mate. He and she stood by each other through good times and bad, through tender triumphs and painful loss. He appeared to Baylene as the elegant, stately gentleman, not the sickly, broken creature who literally died at Baylene's feet so long ago. "Baylene, my love, I believe it is time to forgive and forget. But not after you've seen your true destiny. Come along, dearest..."

What he showed Baylene would truly "blow her mind."



Copyright©2001 by "Sarama" (the FanFiction Diva)

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