Dr. Sadler,When Joseph returned to his stateroom, his wife Margaret, and children were already asleep. Not wanting to disturb them, he spent the remainder of the evening going over his notes and anecdotes concerning his recent fossil discovery. What was that discovery? A dinosaur skull a styracosaur to be precise unearthed long ago in Belgium, had made its way to England a few years earlier.
I have the good fortune to inform you that we are making excellent time. Word is that we may arrive in New York Tuesday morning instead of Wednesday as previously discussed. This ship is a marvel in technological achievement. Luxury and appointments are unmatched, even for second class...The purser insures me that the precious cargo is safe and secure...I wonder what they thought when they loaded that heavy trunk...I took care in wrapping the skull in a heavy leather bag to stave off ravages of sea air...
The skull is a curiosity...I will describe in detail once we are settled. My wife and children are anxious to return home, but they are so in love with this ship and have enjoyed our journey immensely...I am, sir...
Joseph Grant, Ph.D.
Joseph Grant, an ambitious and cutting edge scientist, who was in London at the time, took a particular even peculiar interest in the skull. He had seen such before but not one like this. From his drawings and written reports, Joe surmised that this had to be an aged animal, thus proving his theory that dinosaurs enjoyed a remarkably long life span, far longer than most modern day animals.
From the condition of the gnarled frill of the skull and deformed limb bones, Joseph estimated that this animal had to be more than one hundred years old when it died. The conditions of the limb bones suggested advanced arthritis and osteoporosis. It was a long shot theory on his part, and Joseph fretted over presenting his findings to Dr. Sadler's team.
Honestly, thought Joseph, some of those men are so backwards in their thinking, that dinosaurs were cold-blooded, clumsy beasts. Joseph, a maverick for his time, theorized that dinosaurs had to be quick, agile, intelligent even, or else they would not have survived so long...
Enough of this, thought Joseph, as he closed his journals and prepared for bed. However, he was rather restless thus decided to take a walk out on deck. To be sure, it had become brutally cold but Joseph felt the exercise and gazing out on the flat calm ocean would relax him enough for sleep.
It was nearly 11:40 P.M. when a warmly dressed Joe Grant ventured out
on deck. The frigid air sent blasts through his very body but he did not
mind. What a beautiful night! The clear star-studded sky and the brisk
night air did wonders for Joe's restlessness. Another walk around the deck,
then he'd turn in for the night. But something diverted his attention as
he made his way back to his stateroom.
Suddenly the entire ship shuddered as if it had struck something; at once Joseph turned back to see what was the ensuing commotion. His eyes widened in horror and awe as the ship passed the most enormous iceberg he'd ever seen. Surely we did not hit this! But this ship is unsinkable, and whatever is wrong can be fixed...Can it?
Without hesitation, Joseph hurried back to the suite. He had to be there for Margaret and the children. Then he thought of his precious cargo stashed in the hold far below decks. No! Tell me the worst has not happened!
Sarama knew she couldn't share this vision with the rest of the Nesting Grounds residents; it would only upset everyone needlessly. However, in that dream, it was seeing Eema standing there on deck watching over a strange creature and his family as chaos ensued. Why was Eema present? What does this vision mean?
Not wanting to awaken her mate Hadron, Sarama made her way to the lake's
edge and silently peered into the dark waters. In the reflection of a brilliant
full moon, deep within the ripples, she could see images of the tragic
A structure that Sarama or any of her kind had never seen before and never will gliding across a smooth glasslike ocean. The thing was massive beyond compare, its precious cargo not comprehending what awful events were about to occur. Peering deeper, Sarama could see the immense iceberg, and the ship that was about to collide with it. She saw the valiant attempts to avoid collision but it was too late. The damage was done, and now it was a matter of hours to save those poor souls on board.
Sarama saw those strange creatures, beings her grandmother envisioned inhabiting this earth long after the dinosaurs' reign. She saw them on deck, getting into smaller vessels, rowing away from the foundering ship. Then there was that one the one with whom she saw with Eema urging his mate and children to save themselves. The screaming, the rising panic and chaos, the rushing of ice cold waters overtaking the entire ship...
Then it split in two...The grand ship was torn asunder with such a ferocious force...Then she saw him, holding on for dear life, only to lose his footing and crash into the dark frigid waters miles below...And Eema was there, watching in horror...
Sarama shrieked and bellowed as the visions became more vivid. She didn't want to see more.
"Sarama! What is it?," asked Aladar, his sleep disturbed by the parasaurolophus' frightful bellows. The iguanodon rushed to her side quite alarmed. What has her so frightened? Could it be predators invading their peaceful valley?
"Oh, Aladar, I had the most terrifying visions!," she explained. "And somehow it involves Eema...Oh Eema! But how could she...What I foresaw will happen in the very distant future long after her death long after we're gone to be sure but why did I see her there?"
That said, Sarama began to relate those unsettling prophetic images to Aladar, who in turn could not quite comprehend what Sarama had told him. What visions her words painted seemed so vivid, yet so astoundingly foreign. Aladar had always held the clairvoyant hadrosaur in high esteem and trusted her wisdom. But what she related was no ordinary dream; it was a sure sign of tragic loss, heroic acts, and painful trauma of an event that would actually take place millions of years from now.
But, Aladar wondered, why did Sarama see Eema? What does Eema have to do with something that will happen eons after the dinosaurs' demise?
Finally Aladar comforted Sarama with these words: "Hey, why don't you try to get some rest. In the morning we can all sort this out. Tell everyone what you saw in that dream...Hmmm..."
Then it came to him. "Baylene...We can get her to keep Eema occupied with something...Don't want Eema to get all upset..."
Margaret Grant did not want to leave her husband and voiced her protests. She was thoroughly committed to Joseph and followed him everywhere, to every dig and exhibition. She supported him all during their ten years of married life and devoted herself to her family. Months ago, when Joseph told her of the magnificent dinosaur skull, and of his theories, Margaret was so pleased that her husband would surely make an indelible mark upon the scientific community.
She was even more pleased that Joseph decided not to wait until June to return the skull to America as previously planned. What joys when Joseph informed her that she and the children would return to New York in April aboard the new White Star liner Titanic. Oh, the unmatched luxury and accommodations were a dream come true. No wonder everyone called it the Ship of Dreams. Of course the Grant family traveled second class but it certainly did not seem like "second best" what with the interesting activities, scrumptious food, and fine suite of rooms. In fact, it was all Margaret wished for and more; she couldn't wait to tell her friends back home of this fabulous, wondrous luxury liner.
But, on this night, the Ship of Dreams transformed into a ship of nightmares; the ship was surely sinking, and panicked people scattered about searching for places in far too few lifeboats. She and the children were fortunate to secure a place in one of the last remaining boats; Joseph assured her that he would be next when the time came. However, Margaret had the gnawing feeling that her husband would not survive. Why else would he give her that portfolio containing his journals and drawings?
The last thing he said to her before the boat lowered away was, " My
dear wife, give this packet to Dr. Henry Clay Sadler. It contains all information
concerning the skull. I'm afraid that within a matter of an hour or so,
that skull, along with myself and all these poor souls, will be on the
bottom of the Atlantic..."
"I wonder," Joseph muttered to himself, "if it was a male or female. How old was it when it died? In what manner was the horn broken, if indeed it was broken in life? For that matter, what kind of life did it lead?"
He cleared his throat as if to speak again, still wandering the corridors aimlessly. Something made him glance about his surrounding; he realized that he had wandered into first class, and no steward there to stop him. No, now is not the time to revel in the rarefied luxury only affordable to the wealthiest people in the world. But Joseph wanted to explore this part of the ship before he and everyone else still on board faced death.
Joseph, in his wanderings, nearly collided with a young couple who were obviously rushing to the boats. He wanted to say something but...
No, let them be...They will find out when they reach the deck.
He decided to walk in the couple's direction, only to stop short of the gentlemen's lounge (as he called it) and eavesdropped on the couple's brief conversation with Thomas Andrews, the ship's master builder. Joseph overheard him say to the woman, "I'm sorry I didn't build you a strong ship, Rose."
He paused just outside the entrance and turned to find his way back to his room, but a voice called out to him.
He turned in the voice's direction only to see the entire corridor melt away in bright light. Awestruck, Joseph wondered if this was the voice of God calling him home, if this was his final moment on earth.
Now the voice grew stronger, and it had a form and name, but its form was not remotely human. The strange apparition that appeared to Joseph now became all too familiar. There was the knobby frill, the broken horn, the slow painful arthritic walk. An aged creature to be sure a dinosaur!
Joseph blinked in disbelief and the animal sensed this. Approaching Joseph, the dinosaur finally spoke again.
"Hello, Joseph Grant. My name is Eema, and I'm here to comfort you in
these final moments. Now, baby, don't be sad, because years from now everything
you've worked so hard for will come to fruition. Now, let me give you some
advice before you take that journey to the other side..."
To Chapter 2
Copyright©2002 by PR Parker ("Sarama")