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His head hurt like hell. As he slowly came back to consciousness, he began to grasp and cling at his skull, trying to suppress the throbbing. Too much to drink, you moron, he thought to himself. The thought hurt. Any kind of mental activity, he found out, simply hurt his head more. Once he realized this he tried to stop thinking. But that combined with his growing consciousness only made him think more, and he soon found himself with a pounding hangover.

"Dear God, never let me drink again," Alan moaned. He began to feel nauseous and rolled over onto his stomach. He opened his eyes slowly, but the light of day was too much for them even at a squint. The taste of bile filled his mouth and he got to his feet slowly. He did not want to barf on the carpet of… wherever it was he found himself. He could not quite remember where he was, or even whose party he had been at. But judging by the hangover, it had been a good one. I hope somebody taped it, he thought,  because I'm not going to remember it.

He could not hold the vomit any longer. He flashed his eyes open for a moment just long enough to see a nearby tree. He rushed to it and braced his hands against it. With an awful retching noise he hurled onto the ground. His body stiffened and convulsed, and while the vomiting lasted only about ten seconds his convulsions lasted thirty more. Once it was over, though, he rested his head against the tree. "Oh God," he muttered. He raised his voice. "Sorry about your lawn! I'll clean it up!" He wished he knew who he was apologizing to. Of course, whoever it was happened to not be around, so he could not know then.

Better open my eyes and see where I am, Alan thought. He forced his eyes to open slowly, looking at the tree which did not reflect much of light in the air. Once he had his eyes opened entirely, he looked around.

He wasn't at anyone's home, he was sure of that. He wondered why he hadn't realized it earlier, what with the bizarre noises. He was in a forest, and not just any forest. This was a lush, green, vibrantly colored, tropical forest. The air was hot and humid, almost exactly like a sauna. The smells were alien and unusual. There was nothing he could really compare them to, and the only ways he could describe them were in the most basic of terms. There was a musty smell, a sour smell, a sweet smell and so many other different smells that he wondered if he was just smelling one combined super smell or if these bizarre odors were really all unique. The noises were strange too. Instead of the chirping of birds, there were numerous guttural growls everywhere combined with the mixture of croaking noises and squeals.

That National Geographic stuff is full of shit, Alan thought, looking around. He was surrounded by massive trees and dense foliage. But he himself was in a narrow clearing, which he recognized as a game trail. Animals followed this path regularly, he knew that much.

Okay, how did I end up here? he wondered. He thought hard, trying to get past his massive headache and overloaded senses. The last clear memory he had was of driving home, tailgating some moron who was doing fifty in a fifty-five zone. After that, though it got fuzzy. He did remember getting back home. At the time he had been exhausted, so he went straight to bed. Other than that though, he remembered nothing else. Unless he was drawing a complete blank on the day after he went to bed, which seemed possible considering how hung-over he was, then he had somehow been transported from his bed to this tropical forest, all without being awoken. Yeah, the alcohol wiped my memory, he thought. Which could very well mean I'm on candid camera and not even aware.

"Hey! Who's there?!" he shouted. "I'm not going to play your damn hidden camera deal! So just get me the hell out of here!" When nobody revealed themselves, he grew frustrated. "Come on! I'm not going to do anything until you show yourself!" And with that he sat down, right in the path. In the game trail. Where animals traveled. And predators hunted. God damn it, he thought upon the realization. He was not about to wait around for some jaguar or something to pick him off. He stood up and began heading down the trail. "This better go somewhere," he muttered to himself. He looked around. "Hey! Mind telling me which way is this nearest town?!" He hardly waited, knowing there would be no response. "I thought not! Bastards!"

A sound suddenly rung out that chilled Alan to his bones. It was probably the most terrifying and unusual noise he had ever heard. The best he could describe it as was as a raspy shrieking growl with a low undertone that resonated throughout the area. Alan stopped in his path as he felt his blood go cold. That better not be a damn jaguar or something, he thought. He looked around carefully, scanning for any sign of a giant cat that might be ready to pounce on him. When he saw nothing, he began his trek along the game trail once more. Please let this take me somewhere, he thought.

Something jumped through the branches over his head, causing him to jump in fear and look up. He did not see the cause of the noise, but after a moment he heard and saw that something was moving away from him through the branches. Whatever it had been was uninterested in him. "Shut up!" he screamed.

Something rustled in the bushes behind Alan then. This time he did not even turn to see what it might be, but instead broke into a run. When he heard the sound of something following him, he only pushed himself to go faster. The sound of something coming after him did not get further away though, but it seemed to keep a constant distance behind him.

Alan saw a break in the trees ahead and pushed himself to go faster. A few moments later he was out of the trees… and into a stream. The ground dropped out from underneath him by about a foot so he flew head over heels into the water, nearly striking his head and twisting his ankle as he landed against the large round rocks in the riverbed. He struggled to get to his feet only to find it would not support his weight without sending bolts of pain through him.

Something made a funny croaking noise behind him. Standing on just his good leg now, he turned around and looked at the bushes where he had come from. He did not like what he saw, because he had no idea what it was he was looking at. Staring at him from out of the bushes was some kind of large lizard. But it was the strangest lizard he had ever seen. It's head was bald, covered by tiny pea-sized scales which were colored a light pink with two green stripes running up the top of its snout. It's face was long and featured two forward-facing eyes on either side of its head. The nostrils were long slits on its snout, and he could see several sharp teeth from the upper jaw hanging out from its slightly open mouth as it panted slowly. But the strangest part was when he realized the neck was not covered in scales, but in feathers. He could only see a little bit of the neck and none of the body, but the feathers he did see were pitch black with some silver highlights and a red crest on its underside. They were matted closely to the creature's skin, so they looked almost like fur instead of feathers.

"What the hell are you?" Alan muttered. The creature moved at the sound of his voice, it's eyes focusing more towards his face now. They then moved back down, focusing on the leg he was no longer putting his weight on. "Get out of here!" he shouted. It was not a particularly large creature. Its head was about four feet above the ground, so he was much larger it. It seemed scrawny anyways, and he knew that predators did not like picking on large, noisy foes. "I said get going!" he shouted. The creature seemed to retreat a little bit, but it stood its ground. He picked up a rock and threw it at the creature. When the rock struck its head, the creature gave off a loud squeal and disappeared instantly. "Yeah! Get going you ugly freak!" Alan shouted after it. He stood still for a moment, looking to make sure the creature did not reappear. When it did not, he turned around and limped out of the stream. To his dismay however, the other bank was covered in more dense foliage. This was not the edge of the forest he had been hoping for.

He spotted a tree with low branches and went to it. He doubted he would be able to get high enough to see around, but he figured he had to try. If he just kept running in what was possibly the wrong direction, he would be lost forever and just end up an easy meal for something as small as that creature.

Alan began to climb, but he did not get very far. He was not a man in the best of shape, and his hangover did little to assist in his efforts. He eventually gave up when he looked straight up. He had not realized how humongous these trees were. Even if he did not have to suffer with his bad ankle and his horrendous headache, his stamina would never enable him to climb above the canopy. Not only that, but he was hardly a master at climbing trees or remaining calm when fifty feet off of the ground. These trees had to be two hundred feet at the very least.

Okay, so climbing is out, he thought. He looked back down at the game trail. He noticed it did not continue on the other side of the stream. That had to mean animals used this game trail to reach the river, and once they had drunk their fill, they turned around and went back to wherever it was they came from. I guess I'm going back… in the direction that thing came, he thought. He felt a stab of fear at running into that feathered lizard again. It had seemed curious about him, but the fact that it kept staring at his wounded ankle had not escaped him. It knew he was wounded, and predators loved going after wounded prey.

I'll need a weapon of some kind, he thought. He figured he could craft a club using the stones in the river and the wood of these trees, maybe even using the bark as rope to hold the rock on. His childhood boy scouts camp had been a long time ago, but he trusted his memory enough to craft such a rudimentary weapon.

Alan began crawling back down the tree. However, he stopped a moment later when he heard something large moving through the foliage. Not just large, but massive. The footsteps were like that of an elephant, making the ground rumble with each impact. A loud cracking sound broke the calm, obviously a massive fallen branch that had been stepped on and broken. Alan looked towards the source of the noise but did not see anything. How can something that freaking big be so hard to see? Alan wondered. He knew elephants (that was all his mind figured it could be) could be aggressive if provoked, so he remained still. He may not see it, but he did not want to risk it seeing him.

Whatever it was made a series of guttural growls, followed by a loud snort that was almost like a sneeze. He saw some of the foliage move as the animal passed through it. He also thought he saw what looked like a low curved back colored a dull gray. It had to be an elephant. That means I must be somewhere in Africa or Asia. Holy crap, how did I get out here? he wondered.

The elephant suddenly made a loud bellow, a sound unlike any elephant sound Alan had ever heard. At the same time, he heard several of the blood-curdling shrieks that that feathered lizard had made nearby. The footsteps of the elephant sped up even as Alan heard sounds of more movement in the foliage, all moving towards the elephant. A moment later he heard snarls and shrieks as the predators reached their prey and began attacking. The elephant began howling as it tried to run away, but somehow Alan knew it was done for. A moment later he heard something that sounded like a knife stabbing into flesh and then the splattering of a thick liquid on the ground, all of this about thirty feet away. There was a resounding crash as the elephant came down and the triumphant shrieks of the feathered reptiles. These shrieks instantly became hungry snarls as the pack of animals began feasting on their kill, and he could distinctly hear what sounded like the predators snapping at each other.

Despite his fear, he wanted to get a closer look. Nobody had ever seen animals like these reptiles, and he wanted to be the first to discover them. When he finally got out of this backwoods rainforest, he would be the first person to have discovered such a unique new species.

Alan did not want to approach the predators on foot. The foliage was too thick for him to make a stealthy approach, and if these things could take down an elephant, he was not about to risk becoming their next easy meal. The only way he would be able to get close was through the trees. Fortunately the trees here were plenty thick enough for him to grab onto the next one over and get into it. He decided he could face the pain in his ankle if only to see these fascinating animals.

The smell of the creatures' kill met his nose and his face instantly contorted into one of revulsion. That had to be one of the most putrid scents he had ever encountered (he realized he was finding a lot of 'worst evers' on this excursion).

The fourth tree Alan reached was close enough that he could see the lizards. His eyes widened in shock as he saw everything. Whatever these lizards were eating was definitely not an elephant. Yes, it was grey and large, but that was the end of its similarities with an elephant. This creature was long, with a tail longer than its body and a tiny, pointed head. Ridges ran along its spine from its neck to the tip of its tail. Its feet had large, almost claw-like toes. It also had some colors besides gray. Its head was bright acid green, and the bases of its feet were brown instead of gray. It did not have skin either. Instead, it was covered in scales.

What the hell is that thing? he thought. He had an idea, but he was not about to think it to himself. He was not going to bring such an insane thought to his conscious mind. It was an impossible idea anyways.

The feathered reptiles were stranger than he had thought, now that he could see their entire body. They were bipedal with clawed hands and feet. The feathers on their arms were large and looked like wings. He could see from the way they jabbed their heads into the carcass that their bald heads probably resulted from the same reason vultures had bald heads. The lizards were short but had very long bodies with long tails. Their tails were perfectly straight and seemed to be more like a long solid bone than an extension of the spine.

Then there was one other thing he noticed about them that only wanted to make his crazy idea even more prominent in his mind. He noticed a bizarre feature of their feet, one that he had only seen on an animal in a movie. They had three claws, but only two of them were on the ground. The inner most toes were raised up above the ground, not supporting any of the creatures' weight. The claw on that toe was also significantly larger than the other two, and was curved like a sickle.

He could not hold back the idea from the front of his mind any longer: dinosaurs. He cursed at himself for thinking such a thing, but it was the only thing that made any sense. The dead prey looked like a dinosaur almost to the letter, what with its scales and size. And while he had never seen them feathered like this, the predators were very famous where he came from: raptors. Because of their feathers, he did not think they were the velociraptors of the movies, but their massive sickle-shaped claws and overall body shape suggested they were related. They were some kind of raptor.

A bark-like snort caught Alan's attention. He looked at the raptor that had made it and was terrified to find it was staring at him. It 'barked' at him again and this time all of the raptors looked at him. He recognized one of them, mainly from the gash in its snout, as the one that he had encountered before. Please don't be grudge holders, he prayed. After a few seconds the raptors decided he was of no concern however and resumed their meal.

There were are a few reasons Alan was still not ready to accept that these were dinosaurs. First off, that meant traveling through time, an impossibility with mankind's current technology. Second was he did not think he could be alive if this was the age of dinosaurs. The atmosphere he knew back in the time of the dinosaurs was so very different that he should not be able to breathe as easily as he did. The different varieties of bacteria should have killed him in an instant as well, what with no natural defense against them. Therefore, he could not actually be in the dinosaur age. That left only a couple of possibilities, as he saw it. Either he really was on some candid camera program deep in the jungles of Africa where exotic, unknown dinosaur-like creatures existed, or he was a raving lunatic locked up in a mental asylum somewhere, suffering from delusions of traveling back to the age of dinosaurs. What sucked of course was that neither of those was likely. No candid camera show would put their participants in some exotic jungle around a bunch of dangerous predators with no protection, and his family had no history of mental illnesses. So unless there was something else he had not thought of, there was no explanation for what the hell was going on here.

Alan studied the raptors (he was going to call them that even if it turned out he was somewhere deep in the heart of Africa) inquisitively. They seemed like wolves, and they did not seem to have the remarkable intelligence of raptors were supposed to have according to the movies. It really was like watching a pack of feeding wolves. The way the dominant individual kept the largest portion of the kill to his or herself, the way the others snarled and snapped at each other when one got too close, and even the way they never stopped watching each other were all so much like wolves that he was amazed at the similarity.

So what does one do when trapped in the dinosaur age? he wondered. Let's see, what do I need? Food, water, shelter, and a good weapon will keep me alive. Fire would be nice too. Thank you human intelligence for that ability. Water he had, what with the creek only a few feet away. Shelter would probably have to be the trees. And as he had thought earlier, he would have to make some kind of club using his old boy scout techniques, and maybe eventually some kind of knife. As for food, he figured he would either have to become familiar with the plants in the area, or he would have to get some fire and become a skilled hunter. Dinosaurs, he had read, were not very intelligent, so he doubted it would be as hard as hunting modern day game like deer. Or at least he hoped so.
A man wakes up with a hangover to find himself in a world he could never have imagined being in.

I started writing this after taking an introductory Geology class. I got the idea sometime in the first few weeks and started paying extra attention to class so that I could write the geological aspect of this accurately.

Feedback welcome and wanted. Thanks!

Chapter 2: [link]
Chapter 3: [link]
Chapter 4: [link]
Chapter 5: [link]
Chapter 6: [link]
Chapter 7: [link]
Chapter 8: [link]
Chapter 9: [link]
Coffeespiller87 Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2011  Student
That was dang good. Jonathan thats a suspenseful chapter. Amazing writing.
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