There’s a bright flash and the smell of ozone. I try to take a good look around as my eyes adjust. No seven foot Amazons with spears or rabid alien River Otters, so that’s nice.
The kid has his arms wrapped around my waist. His death grip is starting to cut off circulation to my lower extremities. “You ok?” He looks up at me, wide eyes over top of his fogged up glasses, “Yeah, I think so.”
I turn back to our surroundings. A wide body of water is off to our right. Plenty of trees and large leafy plants are scattered behind us and to our left. We’re right out in the open, standing in a field of scraggly grass mixed with sandy bare spots. The sky is clear and blue, but there’s something not quite right about it. It’s like a ceiling that’s been painted to look like the sky, but more hi-tech. I scan the horizon and then it comes to me. The thick border of tree line all around us confirms it. We’re in some kind of enclosure. I look back to the bright but sunless sky and I get the feeling it’s some sort of aviary, and it’s really big.
I’m working things through in my mind, but I’m distracted by an abuse to my olfactory senses. “What the hell is that smell?” A rustling to our left catches my attention. Suddenly I’m face to face with this big freaking bird, staring me down with huge yellow eyes. It’s about eight feet tall and covered in fine feathers, with its stunted wings stuck out from its sides. I scream. It may or may not sound like a young girl whose brother has just jumped out at her from a dark closet, but there’s no time to be embarrassed. Plus it scared the creature enough for it run for cover. I’m latched on to the kid like he was to me only a few moments ago.
“What the… That’s a… It’s… That was an Ornithomimus! Cool!”
It takes me a minute to compose myself. “Oritho what?”