Eema's Last Journey

Chapter 7


Several months have passed since Brock Lovett discovered the skull among Titanic's wreckage. Now it is time for celebration, not just for the people involved – 1912 and the present – but for certain residents of a long-gone place and time....
The sunshine streamed brilliantly through the tall windows, and made a lovely light play upon the marble floor. The entire museum burst with excitement and anticipation as the ceremony got underway. There was the usual crush of news reporters, photographers, people from the worlds of science and the media. All gathered for this unforgettable occasion. True, there has always been much publicity surrounding Titanic artifacts, but this was different – very different. Who would have thought that, aside from the luggage, china, jewelry, toys, and other relics long buried at the bottom of the Atlantic for nearly nine decades, a dinosaur skull would be among Titanic's treasure. What's more, the creature to whom the skull belonged had a name, and she had an artist who immortalized her for all generations.

In the glare of flash and video, the sheer swell of media people and scientists, Alan Grant, preeminent paleontologist, proudly opened the the festivities. In his unassuming, laid back manner, he addressed all gathered; among those were people directly or indirectly affected by Titanic's ill-fated voyage: Brock, Bodine, Rose Calvert, Lizzie, Carson, and Ellie.
"Ladies and gentleman, distinguished guests. Usually the discovery of new dinosaur remains is solely on people like Drs. Sadler, Hockley, and myself. We spend painstaking days – no, months and years – searching, digging, cataloging..."

He stopped himself as if a loss for words. Alan knew this moment really belonged to Rose, Brock, and, up to now, an unknown Titanic victim named Jack Dawson. Smiling, Alan continued.

 "When my great uncle, Joseph Grant, boarded that ship back in 1912, he had no idea of the fate awaiting him, or this skull. All he wanted was for the world to see dinosaurs in a new light. Quick, agile, highly intelligent. Yet, even after his death, Joseph's legacy apparently died with him, that is, until now. Thanks to Brock Lovett and his research team aboard the Keldysh, Dr. Joseph Grant's dream is finally a reality. Also, without the expert renderings of an unknown young artist, Eema, as she appeared in life, would've never been known to us."
Giving the nod to Brock and Rose, Alan Grant removed the white linen sheet that protected the skull. He then unveiled the now-framed drawings so lovingly rendered by Jack Dawson. "May I introduce to you...Eema"

Oohs and ahhs flooded the room; cameras flashed away; many questions were posed by reporters and scientists. All in good time, thought Rose Calvert as she surveyed Eema's skull and Jack's drawings. She knew she would have to make some sort of speech since she and Jack met Joseph Grant, and was there when Jack made those drawings. As Alan, Brock, and Ellie answered questions and spoke of the stryacosaur in very scientific details, Rose allowed her mind to wander back to that fateful Sunday in 1912, when her life took such a dramatic twist.

How she wished Jack was here now, basking in all this long overdue glory. His drawings had become so much the center of attention. The artistic community became highly interested in, and wanted to showcase, Jack's work. There was talk of articles for Time and People, a traveling exhibition of Jack Dawson's drawings, and even a permanent exhibit in the National Gallery in Washington. After more than eight decades, a penniless drifter, who won his passage on Titanic in a lucky poker hand, finally earned his accolades. Thanks to Brock's discovery – and of Joseph Grant's journals – the whole world would finally know Jack Dawson. And they would never forget him.
But something else was on Rose's mind, as if old Eema was calling from the grave. What if, as Rose saw in that dream, that Eema, after 65 million years, finally earned her absolution. After the ceremony, during the reception, Rose excused herself from the party. She wandered out into the large room housing many dinosaur remains as she wanted to see the skull and drawing again. Her eyes danced about the room, taking in the skeletal remains of long-dead animals.
Odd, thought Rose, that they situated Eema's skull near a complete brachiosaur skeleton. Somehow it seemed to fit. The brach's towering form dominated the room, lending it an air of dignity. Perhaps all these animals lived and played together, thought Rose as she continually stared at Jack's drawing. Perhaps they shared some sort of trauma that took millions of years to absolve. If Jack was here now, he'd draw renditions of these creatures as well.

Rose felt the room grow a little lighter, brighter. It was as if the walls glowed with a surreal wonderment. No one else was in that room other than Rose and 65 million year old bones. Suddenly, a voice...

"Rose? It's me..."

******
Rewind to the Cretaceous, where our Nesting Grounds residents sense something extraordinary...
"Aladar! Aladar! Come here and see this!"

Neera's voice rang out from the dense forest beyond the lake. She sounded frightened and unsettled. Whatever did she see that upset her so? Aladar hurried to the spot deep in the forest; so did the lemur clan who heard Neera's distressed call.

"What is it?," asked Plio. "Surely it's not predators invading our valley?"

Aladar shook his head. "No, it can't be predators because Neera wouldn't linger too long. Something's up in the forest."

When Aladar and company finally arrived, they were surprised to find others with Neera. In the forest clearing, many of the Nesting Grounds' leading citizens stood in deep, serious silence. Suri asked her mother why Eema and Baylene, Sarama and Url, along with Neera seemed to stare at a misty cloud rising out of the ground.

"Is it dangerous?," the lemur sprite asked somewhat frightenedly. It was Sarama, the clairvoyant parasaurolophus, who beckoned Aladar and his family to come closer.

"Come. It is the absolution someone's been seeking. Eema's future is secure, and so is a young man's. Don't worry. It's perfectly safe."

Eema finally spoke. "It's Gotoma. I knew he'd show himself to us in time. He has a message for us."

Now the others didn't quite understand what Eema meant, but Aladar and Yar knew. It was Gotoma's spirit that appeared to them not long ago and spoke of wonderful things borne out of tragedy. It was that very tragic event that would take place millions of years from now that the dinosaurs and lemurs were about to witness firsthand.
It didn't take long for the rest of the Herd to find its way to the forest clearing. It was a beautiful place, bright with sunny greenery and surrounded by tall trees. The sun illuminated that misty cloud and the Herd stood awestruck as a mystical form emerged. Surely, it was the legendary Gotoma, the fabled founder of the Nesting Grounds, who appeared in spirit. The animals were taken aback. Oh, they've heard of Gotoma's legend, and they accepted it as just that: a legend. But what Gotoma showed and told them was no legend. For the next few moments, the Herd got a real glimpse into the distant future and met face-to-face some of the 1500-odd souls who traveled the Atlantic only to meet a terrible fate on a frigid April night.

******

The spirit of Gotoma spoke in resonating tones that echoed throughout the valley. "This, as Sarama related to you, will indeed come to past. These future events cannot be changed by us, but they can change us in knowing one of our beloved member's legacy is safe."

The visions and voices experienced by so many Herd members – Sarama, Eema, Delsie, and Baylene included – soon came to life as another misty cloud rose from the ground. This time the cloud totally engulfed the Herd as a thick fog.

"Hey, what's happening, Aladar?," asked Zini, his "bug eyes" growing even larger. The usually jovial lemur grew serious as the fog grew thicker. "Something's up."

"Yeah," said Aladar. "I think we're about to see history before it happens..."

He turned to Neera, asking, "When you called out to me, what happened? What got you all distressed? Was it seeing Gotoma's ghost?"

Shaking her head, Neera only replied, "I saw him, Aladar. I saw Jack."



COMING UP: The joyous conclusion

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Copyrightę2002 by PRP ("The Fanfic Diva")


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