Author: Stephen C. Curro

It’s curious to look into the eyes of a dinosaur.
There’s life there, but not the cold reptilian shade you’d expect. You can see the theropod is assessing you with genuine curiosity.

Then it moves and its head bobs slightly like a bird, its foot drumming the ground with each step. The feathers of green and blue reflect the sunlight, making the body almost but not quite shimmer. It draws close and soon you’re almost nose-to-nose. The giganotosaur’s head is longer than your whole body, the teeth well past banana length. It sucks air into its massive lungs, and when it exhales you’re overwhelmed by the rot of the thousand carcasses it has fed upon.

You desperately want to run but you fight to keep still. Of course, it can see you, but the slightest twitch might trigger a predator response you can’t hope to defend against. Even so, you’re calculating the distance to the ship against the size and strength of a ten-ton theropod. No, better to keep still as a stone.

It’s unnerving when the beast growls as if thinking about you out loud. Your life doesn’t flash before your eyes; no, you see it reflected in the dinosaur’s eyes. You see all the things you’ve done, what you should have done differently. Words unsaid, risks avoided. You’re pale as clay, on the verge of hyperventilating. All of it comes down to this moment…

But then the giganotosaurus turns and lumbers off into the forest, probably in search of something larger to consume. You force yourself to gasp for air, processing how close you came to being an hors d’oeuvre. Apparently, a human just isn’t worth the trouble.

Just once, it’s a relief to be thought of as insignificant.