The Imperiled Actress
Celeste had been observing quite a light-show beneath her as the portal had remained open, but then the tyrannosaur slammed into the side of the pillar and the gateway through space snapped shut as if someone had pulled the plug on the movie projector.
The impact warped the pillar on which she and Thelonius were perched, and the two skidded towards the edge. Celeste dropped off the side, her legs dangling down the side as her palms slipped along the smooth stone. She would have dropped like a stone had not Thelonius managed to grab the higher edge with his prehensile feet and pull her in with his uninjured arm.
Celeste righted herself just in time to see the biplane heading back in for a low strafe, its guns blazing as it skimmed over the roofs of the ancient city. But the tyrant king of dinosaurs wasn’t about to let this insult pass. With a tremendous lunge, the beast propelled itself high into the air. The pilot of the biplane must have seen it coming, because he stopped firing and banked sharply upwards. It wasn’t enough: the tyrannosaur had probably hunted flying reptiles larger than the biplane, and it had aimed itself like an arrow. As it passed, it snagged the plane’s starboard wings in its massive jaws and ripped them cleanly free of the fuselage.
The tyrannosaur landed with an eerie grace that belied its ten-ton body. The biplane slammed into the ground behind it. For a moment that seemed to stretch into eternity, the cloud of black smoke and orange flames framed the dinosaur’s gigantic brown body, projecting its long, powerful shadow towards Celeste. Slowly, deliberately, the tyrannosaur turned back towards the pylon. It eyed the members of the expedition—the last human beings unlucky enough to remain within the tyrannosaur’s new hunting ground. It licked its lips, allowing chunks of the wood and metal that had been the airplane’s wing to fall to the ground at its feet.