The Drache Girl – Chapter 7 Excerpt

The Drache Girl (New Cover)The two constables walked past the triceratops pen, and blew a happy cloud of relief in the cold air as the wind swung back around from the west again. The next pen was the home of the colony’s iguanodons, and most of the green and yellow striped beasts were in their barn. One specimen, more than half grown at about twenty feet long and weighing more than two tons, was running around on its hind legs, still hunched over with its tail sticking straight out the back. Upon its back was a heavy set pre-teen boy.
“Woo-Hoo! Look at me, guys!”

“Go boy, Go!” shouted Eamon. Saba slapped him on the back of the head.

“Get down, Graham! You’re going to get yourself killed!”

The iguanodon slowed and came to a stop just on the other side of the fence from the two constables. Graham tossed his left leg over the back of the great beast and slid to the ground.

“Get on inside,” he said, slapping the beast on its side. It honked, and then walked toward the barn. “It’s alright. Stinky would never hurt me.”

“I know Stinky is friendly. I used to take care of him,” said Saba. “In fact, I’m the one who named him. But you could fall and break your leg. He might fall on you and crush you. Look around. There’s no one here to help you if that happened.”

“I had to come when nobody else was here. Otherwise they wouldn’t let me ride him.”

“Well, there you go. Rules are made for a reason.”

“Come on! Nothing’s going to happen to me.”

“Why?” asked Saba. “Cause you’re so jammy?”

“Huh?”

“I heard your girlfriend calling you Jammy Graham.”

“She’s not my girlfriend,” said Graham. “She’s just my friend—who’s a girl. She’s my friend-girl, not my girlfriend.”

“How come you’re not working at the dock, Graham?” asked Eamon.

“Don’t need me till tomorrow. They’re not going to put off any freight today.”

“Well, why don’t you head back with us anyway,” said Saba.

“Alright, it’s past lunch time,” said Graham. “Hold on a minute though. I’ve got to go make sure that Stinky’s back in his enclosure.”

Saba and Eamon waited as Graham jogged to the iguanodon barn. A few minutes later, they saw him closing the barn door, and then jogging back to where they waited. He climbed through the fence and stood beside them. Graham was on the short side, not even reaching Eamon’s shoulder. He was a sturdy boy though; no doubt from working on the docks, and muscles stretched the sleeves and chest of his shirt.

“Kafira. Don’t you have a jacket?” asked Saba.

“What are you—my mother?”

“Watch your mouth. Do you have a jacket or not?”

“Yes. Hold on.” Graham retrieved a light coat from the fence post thirty feet away, and threw it on. Once he had returned, the three made their way southeast from the animal pens.

“Might as well finish the circuit, right?” said Eamon.

“Sure,” said Saba.

“I’m thinking of becoming a cop,” said Graham. “I’ll bet the cops will all be riding dinosaurs in a few years when Stinky and Sparky get big enough.”

“They look pretty damn big already,” said Eamon. “They need a proper bridle though. You can’t steer them without a bridle.”

“I can make them go where I want most of the time. I steer them by pressing on their sides with my knees, and talking to them. If they would put me in charge of training them up, I could have them ready in no time.”

“Doesn’t your dad want you to work in the lumber yard with him?” asked Saba.

“Sure, but my Ma’s not so keen since Da sliced those two fingers off.”

“But she won’t mind you being a cop?”

“Na. Cops never get hurt.”

The area directly across from the park was reserved as the colony cemetery, though relatively little of it had so far been utilized as such. Though it had been denuded of ninety percent of the trees, there were still several large copses amid a park-like meadow. People used the cemetery in the summer for picnics and outdoor fun almost as much as they did the actual park, especially since it had easy access to a beach just to the east. Snowflakes were falling even more heavily, and a pattern like the waves of the ocean covered the empty spaces between the few trees. Though it was close to noon now, the sun was just a slightly brighter place in the cloudy sky.

The first building beyond the cemetery was a large workshop built to hold the many inventions of Professor Merced Calliere. It was a two story tall, dark and brooding edifice of stone and wood, more than two hundred feet on each side. It was usually easy enough to tell when the professor or one of his helpers was there working. Most of the machines inside made an ungodly racket. All was quiet now.

“I wonder where everybody’s at,” said Graham.

“They’re all at home, snuggling by the fire,” said Eamon.

“Oh, it’s not that bad,” replied Graham, though he sounded as though he didn’t quite believe himself.

“You know as well as anyone how the weather can change here,” said Saba. “If you expect to be a constable some day, you’ve got to keep your eyes open and your wits about you.”

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