The Rugged Explorer
Jack dropped the empty machinegun and sprinted for the nearest alleyway, his head start rapidly diminishing. As he ducked between two buildings, pushed forward by the concussive blasts of air from each of the dinosaur’s footfalls, he allowed himself a sigh of relief. It was a short alleyway, but it was too narrow for the tyrannosaur to follow, and Jack planned to hide as soon as he made it to the other side. But as he ran, the alley around him suddenly went dark.
Briefly, he wondered if night had suddenly come to the land of eternal daylight, but when he looked up he saw that the sun was blocked by a massive, streamlined shape soaring just overhead. As the shadow passed him by, his mind reeled in confusion as it grappled with the truth: the tyrannosaur had jumped over the building.
Just before it touched down, the dinosaur whipped its tail to spin itself in mid-air. When it landed, it was facing him, its massive maw open wide to fill the end of the alleyway.
The impact of the tyrannosaur’s landing shook the ground so badly that Jack lost his footing and spilled to the earth, but his fall may have saved him from being carried into those teeth by his own momentum. Cold, fetid breath washed over him and tennis ball-sized globs of spittle splashed at him from the beast’s lolling tongue. The jaws came closed with such force that it made Jack’s ears ring, and then it pushed closer, cracking the corners of the building with its massive snout.
Scrambling backwards on his heels and palms, Jack knew he couldn’t escape through either side of the alley, but he also knew he wouldn’t be safe for long in between those two buildings. As the tyrannosaur rose up and delivered a splintering kick to the building on his left, Jack darted through an open doorway to his right. Inside it was dark—a sensation he was not accustomed to after uncounted days beneath the ever-present sun of the Hollow Earth. He groped wildly through a series of rooms as the building bore the brunt of the dinosaur’s fury. Masonry spilled from the ceiling and cracks opened in the floor, threatening to swallow Jack whole. Finally he found a window and dove through it, scraping his arms miserably but managing to get himself free and outside before the ceiling collapsed behind him.
He rolled to his feet to find himself only a few yards from the tyrannosaur. He backed away, hoping to get out of sight before it detected him, but before he could reach the next building the gigantic beast wheeled to fix him with its orange eyes.