Chapter 10: The Plains
When she reached the door of the building, it had grown fairly large; far larger than she thought it had been on the road. She herself was a way off the road, and could barely see it, for the building was somewhat blocked from view of anyone on the road.
“Most likely meant to be that way,” she said. The door was steel, with a warm, metal handle. There were windows around the building, all barred, except for one wall on the closest side to the plains. Instead of a window, much of the wall was gone; replaced by thick bars allowing a view into the inside of the building.
She opened the door, listening to it creak open as she stepped inside.
The floor was concrete, and the air was rather dusty. Clusters of old, dry, dead hay were lying on the floor on her side of the bars. The bar-wall was to her right of the door, and she could see the plains she had crossed. Directly ahead, a huge machine took an expanse of the room on the far wall.
It was old and rusted. In the center of the machine, lying on the ground, was a system of dials, glass, and old lights on the exterior of the metal box. The box was several feet wide in every direction, and it fed through the wall to a conjoined room, hidden behind a brick wall accessible only by a door to the left of the machine, under a series of pipes.
From the box, metal chambers sprouted out. Most notably, a large vent drifted up the wall, making a u-turn, and dropping down the face of the wall again, next to the bar-wall. It turned away from its path down the wall to rest its opening several inches off the ground. A vent-cover was lifted up, resting on top of the opening.
“Maybe some of this hay came out of there,” she wondered. “A long time ago…”
To the left of the machine, several pipes led out, rising up the wall and over the door to the other side, where a conveyer belt stretched out through the wall next to the door through both rooms. The pipes hung over the conveyer belt opening.
The belt was three feet wide, and the opening was probably three feet as well, she thought. It ended several feet from the wall behind her, running directly next to the wall on the left.
Whatever cargo it carried dropped at the end, and she could see a dead bundle of hay near the base.
“Let’s see what’s in door number two.”
She walked up, putting a hand on the conveyer belt as she reached the second door in the far left area of the room, next to the belt’s opening. She quickly glanced out the barred windows on the wall above the belt, seeing the trees beyond, before pushing the second door open.
It stubbornly opened, needing a good nudge to finish its path. She began closing the door, leaving it ajar several inches.
The belt continued to her left, this time coming in within a foot of the far wall. The new room was half the size of the first, and barred windows were to the left and far wall. Replacing the wall of bars in this room were more windows, and Anne guessed that this room didn’t serve the same purpose as the first.
Directly to her right upon entry she could see an attached machine that continued the wall feed of the first room. Conjoined, the two machines were different: the one she had first seen was closed off except for the pipes, but this one had an angled opening wide enough to fit one of the bundles of hay she had seen into.
“That’s exactly what they did…They must’ve taken the hay, put it into this machine to chop it up, send it to the second machine, and then drop it out through that vent next to the wall of vertical bars…”
She came closer to the machine, peering down its grater mouth. “The dinosaurs must’ve come up to the feeder and taken the hay…If this had been for, say, Triceratops, the spread hay on the floor next to the bars was probably for the babies, since the adults would never be able to fit their heads between the bars. Not with those crests.”
The far wall was entirely covered by a huge machine, allowing only small glimpses of the wall behind. Its vertical face was lined with panels, and a shoot dropped out on the left above the conveyer belt.
Covered on the ground next to the side of the belt were pieces of dead grass, scattered about. “Hay,” she whispered, inspecting the machine. “This machine had to have manufactured hay and dropped it onto the conveyer belt. Took it through the wall to the opposite side and dropped the bundles together. If they needed to chop it up, they probably took it off and fed it into the grater.”
The last wall in the room—the one to the right, on the side of the bar-wall in the adjacent room—simply held a clipboard hung underneath the windows.
A dusty lamp was sitting there, with an assortment of papers and a file rack. The chair was pushed in, and when she checked, all the drawers were locked.
She inspected the two files left over in the file rack, reading the labels aloud. “’Triceratops Feeder Station Management’ and ‘Feeder Station Inspection Files.’”
She turned her head back to the machines. “So they fed them here. There’s got to be more around the Park, then.”
Anne set the files back in the rack, and looked up at the clipboard. Several fainted notes had been written on them.
In the corner of the board, a tacked up memo was still slightly visible:
”For Emergency: A Direct Station Trail Is Located Through the Interior at the Perimeter of the Surrounding Area of this Station.”
“Direct Station Trail?”
She began to turn back to the door, realizing she had spent far too long in the feeder station than she had planned. “Crap…”
When she re-opened the door to the first room, a loud, calling grunt rang from somewhere outside.
Her hands pressed against the thick bars running vertically from the ground to the ceiling that made up the wall in the first room. Her feet crunched on the remnants of hay that lay there, and she watched as the Triceratops herd she had seen coming to the building began grouping together, immediately closer to the building than they had before.
“They’re going to prevent me from getting back to the road…They don’t look very friendly right now, so if I get too close for their comfort…”
Then it’s all over.
“Unless I go for it now…I can’t keep wasting time like this! I’ll get close, try and arc them to the road. If they start getting mad, I’ll bolt for it if I’m close enough…”
She pushed away from the bars, making her way back outside. She began walking quickly in a line through the short grass, aiming for the road beyond the herd.
She could barely see where the road led off to, for plants blocked it entirely from view, since the building was built in a cove of forest.
The adults of the herd were grunting and snorting, forming a circle, facing the part of the road she couldn’t see. The younger Triceratops were in the center, protected by the ring of adults.
The front bucker their heads; horns rising up and down in the air. They grunted loudly, stomping their feet.
As she drew closer, and the road came closer into view, she heard a crash. She spun, keeping her gaze on the herd. But as she did, she glimpsed a tiny speck of light that was gone in a split second.
She ignored it, quickly forgetting it as the animals became more restless. She was getting closer to the herd and the road, but they barely seemed to notice her.
“Might make it…”
Anne stopped, frozen. A short, thunderous roar filled the air.
It was unmistakable.
The Tyrannosaurus was lingering just out of view on the road, but she could hear it clearly.
It roared, and she slowly backed away.
Great…Now I can’t get on the road…
She heard a crashing crack, as the forest ahead to the left split open; the Rex cutting through it from the road.
The sheer speed of it all made Anne trip back while she emanated an odd, quick mixture of a shout and a scream.
The Rex moved sharply across the plains: it had no doubt had years of skill and prowess in the hunt built up.
Anne lay still on the ground, her head angled upward to see what was ensuing. The Rex snapped its head in her direction, its gaze covering the landscape, but it seemingly did not notice her.
It took it a matter of seconds to come from the forest and start in on the herd, which continued to grow tighter as the adults backed together, protecting their babies.
The Rex kept its distance, smart enough to observe first. It roared, looming over the nearest adult, who reared forward, bucking its horns and grunting before ducking back.
Anne slowly began to get up as the Rex circled back in her direction, turning its back on her. It threateningly lunged forward, causing an adult to rear forward once more.
She stood, backing away as the predator slowly began to pivot around its prey, like a vulture swirling around a future snack with a hopeful eye.
It roared, and Anne was hit with memories of the past.
Memories of Isla Sorna.
She was hit with fear.
It’s okay Anne…It’s okay…
Nothing like what she was feeling then had entered her before, and she knew it wasn’t okay. It was the memories.
Memories that had left her with lasting dreams of unforgettable horror in 1998. Things that had stuck and wouldn’t let go. Things that had caused her to move from her home because of growing dread of memories.
At some point in her years after moving in with her parents, she had thought she had gotten over it, and in some recess of her mind she had, but things had changed.
They had changed into the present.
Now realization began to sweep her. A truth she had wanted to put away: that she most likely would never get off this island alive. She was stranded, no one knew she was here—and those who did would never tell.
On Isla Sorna, she had had hope. She believed that there was a way to survive and she did.
But now, as she watched a figure from her nightmares circling its prey from close by, she believed that was gone. There was no chance of her getting off this island, and for her to find the people who could get her off was now becoming impossible.
Guitierrez’s voice from her dreams filled her head. You’ll know when to stop running.
Her attention came back as she realized the Rex had spotted her, figuring the herd was temporarily impenetrable, but she was alone. Enough to suffice, she thought.
Just keep running.
The Rex roared, breaking past the herd toward Anne, who turned around, sprinting for the building.
When she was near the corner of the building, running to the door, she looked back, seeing the Rex closing in from behind.
She reached for the door, but quickly realized the second or two it would take to open it would still be far too long.
She continued past the door, spinning around the corner, pressing her back against the wall. She peered around the corner, seeing the Rex wasn’t there.
She could hear its footfalls. Her eyes skimmed the forest around her now, remembering the “For Emergency” sign she had read in the feeder station’s back room. The rex appeared to her right, around the opposite corner as she spotted the trail, almost unnoticeable leading into the forest.
It roared, cutting across to her, but she reached the beaten trail first. It was lined with pebbled dirt, as if whoever had begun setting it had performed it to the least of their efforts to keep the grass from growing up through it.
It was narrow, but it did show a line through the trees. Anne raced down it, listening as the Rex propelled itself into the forest alongside her, flanking her to the right.
The trail was diminishing, having been partially unfinished and due to growth from underneath. “Oh no…”
Her pace slowed, having to try and focus in on the path ahead of her, which was now becoming completely unresolved, replaced more and more by larger growing plant-life the further she got.
The Rex charged in from the right, veering in. She was forced off the trail, into the forest, unable to regain any path as she frantically made her way around tree after tree, the Rex still in pursuit, even though it too was getting slowed down by thicker trees.
Anne lost sense of direction soon enough, forgetting which way she had come, or which way the plains had been, but she did know that the plants were changing: every tree she passed was steadily becoming different than the ones when she had first entered, and the area was becoming far greener, instead of forest-brown.
The area began clearing up, the jungle setting filling in. Anne ducked out of view of the incoming Rex behind a fairly large tree, listening to the crack of branches as it searched for her.
She slid around it, finding a recessed hollow in the tree near a large grouping of thick, surfaced roots coursing over the ground. She wedged inside, practicing once to make sure she could get out before going back in.
She squinted her eyes, listening to the slowing pace of the Rex as it looked around the jungle for her.
Within moments, the Rex had come around the tree, looking past it toward the jungle beyond, standing next to the cluster of roots.
Don’t see me…Please, don’t see me…
For Anne, the Rex seemed to linger for the longest time, sniffing the air before it finally budged, moving on into the jungle. As it passed by, its shadow blanketed her in darkness, and she watched the muscles ripple in its powerful legs.
Waiting until it was completely gone, and not waiting for her in ambush, she finally pulled herself out from the hollow, remotely flickered with some sense of hope.
Maybe I can find another building…Or the Road…Anyplace where I can go without meeting an end in too much pain.
Her mind had once again been set on continuing. Maybe not to find the others; maybe that was hopeless, and probably was.
Her optimism in escape had not been welcomed back, and she knew her fear trouble was not yet over.
None of her troubles were.
But at least she was willing to go on.
Somewhere in her mind, she probably knew it was a start.