Dec 02

Sunset in Shaximiao (Revised)


Sichuan, China

170,000,000 mya

 

Shadows lengthen as the great ball of fire lowers over the western horizon. In anticipation of the coming darkness, the forest is silent - save for tangible crack carried in the humid breeze. With a rustling of ferns small mammals scramble into their burrows. A lizard crawls into a rotted log.
Not a moment too soon.
Breaking tree limbs are followed by a muffled creaking as a large creature moves along with slow, heavy laden steps. Pushing through a swath of conifer branches, a robust, round snout appears. Its toothy mouth opens to grunt in protest as the branches slap against its scaly hide. A slender arm reaches up to part the plants with a trio of hooked claws, revealing the rest of the animal. 
Out walks a dinosaur.
Stomach full from a tender carcass and nostrils filled with the aroma of crisp pine, the Gasosaurus is content. She decides to stand in the clearing for a moment, relishing the warm rays as they run along the length of her hide. 
For all her reptilian ancestry, she is in all respects warm blooded; sunlight is a comfort rather than a necessity. And it makes her vulnerable.
The Gasosaurus’ broad head turns upon her stout neck. A smell from something wafts from within the forest. Something big.
Something coming closer.
It is indistinct, but the message is clear: prey wouldn’t approach hither.
Sensing the presence of another carnivore in the wind, the huntress retreats into the patchwork of dim foliage, slipping into the wooded backdrop once again. The sun sets on a Jurassic earth before surrendering to a night as deep as time itself.