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Submitted by Dave Free on 11 May 2007 - 2:48pm.

Jeremy jumped down off the side of the wash and called to Fuji. As the dinosaur stood Jeremy jumped on his back. He thought about giving Fuji his head and running away, but he hadn’t succeeded in destroying Stutts’ dinosaur bones. They may be putting them in the pool right now. Jeremy spun Fuji around and backed him just a little ways down the wash. His hope was that the man would come into the wash without looking and they could ambush him from the side before he could get his gun around on them.

Fuji snorted and pawed the ground sensing someone approaching. Jeremy held tight to the reins and his stick. He patted Fuji on the neck, “Not yet boy, not yet.”

The man tracking them did just what Jeremy hoped he would and jumped into the wash without looking. Jeremy kicked Fuji in the sides and the dinosaur leapt forward. Jeremy slashed down hard with his stick but missed his target as the side of the wash gave way under the man and he slipped down on his back under them. Jeremy pulled Fuji to the side hoping to get a clear shot, but Fuji had another idea. He balanced on one leg and delivered a knockout kick to the man’s head with his right foot. The man lay still, his automatic rifle still in his hands.

Jeremy slid off Fuji’s back and checked the man’s pulse. He was still alive. Jeremy looked up at Fuji with a smile. “You didn’t tell me you could kick,” he said.

Fuji just snorted and sniffed at the man. Jeremy scrambled up the side of the wash and looked toward the bowl and the burning remains of the truck and helicopter. Dark smoke continued to rise into the sky. There was no one in sight.

Jeremy slid back down the side of the wash. He was about to jump on Fuji but turned to the thug instead. He pulled he pulled the weapon from the man’s hands and then searched his pockets for additional clips of ammunition. He found two of them. Quickly he stuffed them in his backpack and then pulled the backpack on. He picked up the rifle and slung it over his shoulder then picked up his lacrosse stick and mounted Fuji.

“C’mon boy, we haven’t stopped them yet,” he said.

He urged Fuji up out of the wash and they circled the bowl to the north. Jeremy kept Fuji well back from the edge. He looked to the south where he had dropped Elena off. Was that a flash of light he saw? He found some shade next to a large sagebrush and pulled Fuji to a stop. He climbed down and looked up. The sun was now at about the nine o’clock position. Despite the wind and the early hour, he was already sweating in his lacrosse gear. He pulled one of the water bottles out of the backpack and took a couple of quick gulps. Then he held the bottle up to Fuji. Fuji took the opening in his beak and tipped his head back. Water dripped everywhere, very little of it getting in the dinosaur’s mouth.

“I need you to wait here boy,” Jeremy said, “lay down here and wait for me.” He pulled the reins down and Fuji slowly lowered himself on to the ground. “Good boy. I won’t be long.”

He took off his helmet and tossed in on the backpack that was already on the ground. Then he picked up his stick and automatic weapon and ran toward the bowl. When he reached the embankment he hit the dirt and belly crawled up to the edge so that he could see what was going on.

Stutts and his three remaining men were unloading the crates. They already had a stack of white bones lying on the trampled green grass and they continued to unload more. Jeremy studied the bones closely. He couldn’t see the skull yet but they were obviously dinosaur bones. It looked like there were only a few boxes left to open. Jeremy looked hopefully across the bowl to the dry creek bed. There were no signs of Sheriff Brown or anyone else coming to the rescue.

He pulled the automatic weapon up to position. He’d done a lot of target shooting and was even pretty good at shooting skeet out of the sky but he’d never shot a machine gun before. He only knew what it was because he had seen them in movies, but he had no idea how to use it or what to expect. He aimed well above the men and squeezed on the trigger. Nothing happened.

He rolled over on his back and held the gun above him trying to figure out if there was a safety. He found a lever on the right side of the gun and pulled back on it. Wasn’t that what they did in the movies? He rolled back over and squeezed the trigger again. The gun leapt to life and nearly out of the hands of Jeremy. He tried to hold it steady and move it back and forth above the heads of the men.

His shooting had the desired effect. The men forgot what they were doing and dove on the ground. Jeremy let go of the trigger. There was silence except for the ringing in Jeremy’s ears. He rolled two or three times to his right and looked into the bowl again. One of the men darted for a gun where it had been left leaning against a crate. Jeremy aimed for the gun and pulled the trigger. The first few bullets kicked up dirt just in front of the gun. Jeremy kept his finger on the trigger and lifted the muzzle just a little. The next six slugs crashed into the gun causing sparks and a flurry of swearing from the men pinned down behind boxes.

One of the men pulled a handgun and started shooting in Jeremy’s direction. Jeremy rolled back to his left, raised up and sent another flurry of slugs over their heads. The hand gun popped a few more times and Jeremy heard the slugs whiz over his head. He ducked down and rolled over on his back waiting. What now?

He wasn’t left to think for long. There was a “Thunk!” Something landed on the ground about ten feet to his right. He looked and then looked again, unwilling to believe what he saw. It was a hand grenade! It felt to Jeremy like he took forever to decide what to do, but in a split second his body was already in action. He dropped the rifle, picked up his lacrosse stick, ducked low and took three quick steps toward the grenade. He had scooped lacrosse balls from the ground so many times. He didn’t even have to think how to do it. The net went under the grenade. Jeremy pulled the stick back, spun it slightly to cradle the grenade and then flung it with all his might back into the bowl.

The force of Jeremy’s throw knocked him off his feet. Bullets from the handgun hissed passed but missed their target. Jeremy rolled onto his stomach and put his hands over his head. There was a massive explosion. The ground under Jeremy shook.

He scrambled up the embankment and looked into the bowl. The grenade had exploded at the base of the wall near the pool. The explosion blew away a great section of the lower part of the wall leaving a precarious overhang. It didn’t hang for long. As Jeremy watched, the face of the wall crumbled and crashed into the pool. The underwater tunnel collapsed and the entire face of the wall crumbled down into the pool completely covering it.

Stutts’ men stared in awe when they should have been running. By the time they could see the danger it was too late. The avalanche caught all of them. A few of them were only partially buried and screamed for help. Sirens could also be heard in the distance. Jeremy looked toward the main road and could see a column of dust approaching.

Jeremy jumped up, “Help is on the way!” he yelled to the men. He couldn’t see Stutts but was sure he hadn’t escaped. He grabbed his stick and ran for Fuji, yelling as he ran, “Fuji! C’mon boy!”

Fuji came crashing out of the bushes. Jeremy grabbed his reins, Fuji knelt and Jeremy leapt on his back. “Let’s go help mom and dad!” he said and pointed Fuji for the ranch house. As they approached it, he didn’t waste any time circling the house but ran Fuji straight up to the shed and jumped off.

There were no sounds. Jeremy crept around the corner of the shed. The black Hummer was parked in the driveway. Blue’s kennel was empty. Jeremy ran from the shed to the kitchen door of the house. He stood next to the door listening. It was all quiet. Carefully he pulled open the screen door. The inside door was slightly ajar. He used the end of his stick and pushed it open and great burst of steaming water shot out the door and whipped the screen door out of Jeremy’s hand slamming it back against the wall of the house. Jeremy pulled back.

“Mom! Dad! Are you in there?” The water continued to shoot out the door.

“Jee? Is that you?” It was dad’s voice.

“Yeah dad, it’s me.”

The water shut off and dad came rushing out the door followed by mom. “Jee! Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine! Everything is good. Sheriff Brown is at the bowl. He should have Stutts.”

“Oh thank heavens!” mom exclaimed and then asked, “What about Elena?”

“I’ve got to go get her,” Jeremy replied. “I just wanted to make sure you guys were okay.”

“We’re great,” dad replied. “We’ve got three guests resting comfortably in the family room. A couple of them are kind of wet, but they’ll dry!”

“I can’t wait to hear,” Jeremy said. They could now hear sirens approaching the ranch house.

Jeremy ran for the shed. “I’ve got to get Fuji out of here and go get Elena.”

“Be careful son!” mom and dad said in unison.

Jeremy found Blue playing with Fuji when he came around the corner of the shed.

“C’mon boy, you can go with us!” he said as he climbed up.

When they reached the trail at the base of the wall there was no sign of Elena. Jeremy called at the top of his lungs but there was no response. He had left his radio with his backpack at the bowl. Jeremy slid off Fuji’s back and said, “I’m going up there, you two stay here.” The dog and the dinosaur were too busy playing to even look up at him.

It took Jeremy about twenty minutes to get to the top. The sun was now high in the sky and he was sweating profusely when he reached the top and found Elena trying to stay cool in the shade of a pinion pine.

She jumped up and ran to him. “Jee are you okay?”

“I’m fine!” he said, “and mom and dad and Maddie are all safe too.”

“Stutts?” Elena asked.

“Thanks to you, Sheriff Brown is here I’m sure has him in custody.”

“Oh, I’ve been so worried!” Elena said, “Nobody answered their radio. I saw black smoke and heard an explosion. It was all I could do to just sit here and wait.”

“Well we’re all fine,” Jeremy said. He walked to the tree and picked up her backpack. “C’mon, Fuji and Blue are waiting for us at the bottom.

They rode Fuji to within seeing distance of the ranch then found a nice shady wash to leave him in. Blue stayed with him and Jeremy and Elena walked into the ranch yard alone.

There were three Sheriff SUVs in the driveway. A few deputies were leading Petey, Jackal and Bull from the front door of the house. Their hands were cuffed behind them.

“That’s him officer!” Petey exclaimed nodding toward Jeremy. “That’s the one that broke my nose and rides a dinosaur!”

The deputy looked up at Jeremy and Elena and smiled, “Either of you kids got a dinosaur for a pet?” he asked.

“Right!” Jeremy said sarcastically, “we keep it around back with our dragons!”

The deputy laughed, gave Petey a shove and said, “Let’s go! Maybe you can convince the judge you are insane.”

Jeremy and Elena slipped in the front door and found mom, dad and Maddie in the kitchen with Sheriff Brown. Mom jumped up and ran and hugged both of them as they came in.

“Oh thank heavens!” she said gratefully. “Are you both okay? Is anything broken?”

“We’re fine mom,” they both replied. “Just tired and thirsty,” Jeremy added as they both collapsed on to chairs at the table.

“Sounds like you’ve had quite a night and morning,” Sheriff Brown said.

Jeremy nodded. “Did you get Stutts?” he asked the sheriff.

“Stutts is dead,” the sheriff replied. “We won’t know till after the autopsy, but it looks like he might have taken a stone to the head in the blast.” He paused for a moment before adding, “You are all lucky to be alive. We ran Stutts’ name through the system. The FBI and four other countries wanted him for murder and smuggling national treasures. Seemed to have a knack for killing people, stealing important things, and shipping them around the world. There’s a half million dollar reward on his head that you folks should see coming your way.”

Jeremy was suddenly very tired. He put his head down on the table. The sheriff stood. “I can get my questions answered later. Looks like you all could use some sleep.”

Dad stood, shook the Sheriff’s hand, and thanked him. The Sheriff headed for the door. “If you folks will come by my office tomorrow morning I’ll take your statements and we can get this thing wrapped up.”

Dad nodded. “We’ll be there,” he said.

Jeremy suddenly sat up, “Sheriff?”

The Sheriff turned and looked at him.

“Sheriff, there were other men trapped in the avalanche at the bowl?”

“They’re fine,” the Sheriff replied. “We dug one out that was tied up and had a sock in his mouth,” the sheriff continued. “The hay he was covered with saved his life. Held the dirt away from his face so he could breath till we got to him.”

Jeremy breathed a sigh of relief.

The Sheriff went to leave once more, then turned around again. “Oh, we left your dinosaur bones at the bowl. I guess we can close that case.” Without waiting for a reply, he turned and walked out the door.

Jeremy staggered to his feet and stumbled toward his bedroom. He had just enough energy to pull off his lacrosse jersey and pads and fall into bed.

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