The first creature, its head covered in sleek green scales, sticks its head around the corner. Those big eyes, always in motion, immediately track onto my presence. Its mouth is hanging slightly open, showing off row after row of razor-sharp yellow teeth. It sucks in air, preparing to emit a piercing screech to alert its fellows as to my presence.
I put three rounds into its brain.
Now that I think about it, the AR-15 is not the best weapon for this. It is loud and powerful, sure, but that loudness keeps the beasts tracking after me. But as the monster collapses down to the ground, twitching slightly but unable to cope with its skull being spread across the wall, I have to admit that it’s crudely effective.
The other animals will have heard the shots, will already be moving in. They don’t seem to back down, no matter the odds. I grab the weapon and clamber to my feet. Time to move on.
As I hurry down the alley, ducking around sharp corners, I try and pull at those still-fuzzy memories of how I ended up in this place. I was fairly sure now that I was dreaming. The hollow quality of the sounds, the way that all the details I’d usually see blended together into smoothness, the way that the world sometimes seemed to lag, only to jerk into focus when I tried to pay attention to that lag – it all reminded me of dreams. I couldn’t be certain, but it was rapidly becoming the de facto truth in my head.
Yet, despite this conviction, I didn’t remember how I had gotten here. It was something white. Small and white. And there had been letters. Two Fs, stamped nearly on top of each other.
Ducking around a dumpster, I squeezed my eyes shut briefly and tried to concentrate, to pull up those memories. Small and white. And round. It had been a pill! A pill, with 2 Fs stamped into it, sitting in my palm.
There had been someone else there. A man, a sallow man. His skin had looked so yellow, especially compared to the whiteness of the pill in my hand. He had grinned at me with too many teeth, all pointed in different directions.
“Good shit,” the man had uttered, nodding down towards the little pill. “Franz Ferdinand. Lucid dreams, you see. Like the song.”
I had no idea what the man was talking about, but I nodded. I didn’t want to get him upset at me. “How much?” I asked.
I didn’t think it was possible, but the man’s grin grew even wider. “Sample,” he said, nodding towards my hand. “First one’s free. Try it. Good shit.”
As the baying of the velociraptors began to grow louder again, I curse at myself. That deal had shady written all over it! But I could remember now, the chalky taste as the pill had slid down my throat. Franz Ferdinand had given me lucid dreams, all right, but they felt more like lucid nightmares.
The damnable lizards were getting smarter. I could hear them now ahead of me as well as behind. They were getting their bearings in this ruined city, figuring out the side paths, moving in from multiple directions to corner me and trap me where I couldn’t escape.
I tilt my head back, gazing up. The buildings are brownstones, three or four stories with flat roofs. If I could just get on top of one of those, I think to myself. I could snipe down at the dinosaurs, not have to face them on flat ground. On top of the building, I might stand a chance.
I squeeze my eyes shut again. And when I open them, my feet are crunching on the gravel of the rooftop…
To be concluded!