They came for the coffee and wound up in the Cretaceous.
A ticking sound fills the air as Tim MacGregor enters The Daily Edition Café, hoping to meet his new girlfriend for coffee. Moments later, a chunk of building is transported 67 million years back in time, along with everyone inside.
Ten unlikely companions find themselves in a world of dinosaurs and prehistoric reptiles. Several survivors compete for leadership as they search for a way home, while one member of the group plots to keep them all trapped in the past…
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
The Dinosaur Four was the sort of story I wanted to read – an “R-rated” dinosaur thriller about real people instead of scientists and mathematicians, where the plant eaters are just as dangerous as the meat eaters.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The characters in The Dinosaur Four are inspired by the characters you might find in a classic disaster film like The Towering Inferno or The Poseidon Adventure. They are everyday people stuck in a terrible situation.
The film Alien was also an inspiration. The true hero of the story isn’t who you think it is in the beginning and one of the characters turns out to be working against the others.
THE DINOSAUR FOUR
I – THE CAFÉ
The ticking sound began while Lisa Danser counted out change at the register. Dammit, what now? Strange noises usually meant something was about to break. She had sunk every last dollar into The Daily Edition Café and could not afford any serious repairs. The sound made her think of a pilot light, but she couldn’t remember anything in the store that used gas. If it’s a gas problem, won’t the city take care of it? Considering all the fees and taxes she paid, they better.
Tick Tick Tick.
She remembered the cases of wine in the back closet. If the city sent someone out, would they care about the alcohol on the premises? Lisa had recently applied for a liquor license, hoping to sell wine and cheese in the afternoon, when business was slow. She didn’t think anyone would mind that she had alcohol in the building as long as she wasn’t selling it, but she was not certain.
Tick Tick Tick Tick Tick.
Lisa looked over at her barista, Beth, who chatted away with a tall man in a UPS uniform while she tamped grounds in an espresso filter. The law said that Beth was old enough to sell wine, even though she was still a year away from being able to buy it.
The delivery man smiled at Beth. Attractive baristas sold more coffee and earned better tips. Lisa knew it was discriminatory, but she only hired cute young women. Beth fit the bill. She was thin, flirtatious, and bubbly.
“Good day today?” Beth asked as the espresso brewed.
“Good enough. Almost done with my route.” The delivery man had a friendly face.
“Not too many, but I still have one that’s pretty large and has to go up three flights of stairs.”
“Sorry.” Beth turned off the espresso machine. “But it sounds to me like you are complaining that your package is too large.” She shook her head and made a tsk tsk sound in mock contempt.
His eyes grew wide and his brown skin darkened as he blushed. Lisa froze for a moment, wondering if the girl had crossed a line, but the man broke out in warm laughter. Lisa’s current customer, the woman waiting for her change, gave the UPS man a sidelong glance and pressed her lips together.
Lisa really wanted a classier establishment, where the staff did not sass the customers. She wanted to charge a little more and begin paying off her debts. Once the liquor license came through, Beth would need to act more professionally.
TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK.
Two men standing in line craned their heads, also looking for the source of the sound. At least she wasn’t imagining things. This made Lisa feel better until she recognized one of them, a regular who always seemed on the verge of asking her out. If he ever actually did, she owed Beth ten dollars. She hoped he wouldn’t. She did not know how she would answer him. The guy was decent looking and seemed nice enough, but he repeated the same conversation day after day.
The UPS man stopped chatting with Beth and looked from side to side as the noise grew louder.
Distracted, Lisa lost count of the bills in her hand. She began again. This earned a loud exhale from the woman waiting for her change. She wore a tailored blazer and designer jeans. Lisa could tell she would not be leaving a tip.
TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK TICK.
The sound seemed to come from all around. No matter how she turned, Lisa could not pinpoint the source. “Ok, what is that?” She threw the money down in the register and looked out the windows on the front and left side of her café, hoping to spot something that might be causing the noise. As usual, she saw only the intersection of two streets right near the edge of downtown Denver. Bright light from the low morning sun reflected off the windows on the building across the street.
The woman in the blazer looked down at the register and up at Lisa. Her mouth formed a small round circle and she looked as if this was the first time in her life she had ever been ignored.
The hair on Lisa’s neck stood on end as the ticking grew louder. Suddenly the noise ended with a pop. It felt as if all sound had been sucked out of the air.
Outside the plate glass windows, the city vanished.
Geoff Jones graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Creative Writing from the University of Colorado. His honors thesis was a novella about dragons taking over the world.
After graduation, Geoff worked as a video game designer, writing story and dialog for licenses such as Star Wars, Indiana Jones, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Conan the Barbarian, LEGO, and Marvel Superheroes.
Geoff lives in Colorado with his wife and two daughters, and has begun work on his next novel, also about everyday folks trapped in an extraordinary (but quite different) situation.
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