Chapter 1 ‘Yum Yum’ Page 2
Bright light pierced his eyes and he quickly clamped his hands over them. Slowly spreading apart his fingers Tommy saw the most extraordinary thing... a forest! There was a forest inside his bedroom closet! Tommy lowered his hands. He was surrounded by tall trees and a variety of incredible plants. Some of the plants looked like ferns he’d seen on a school trip to the Botanical Gardens. Only these ferns were much bigger, nearly the size of a car! The other plants had unusual and colorful flowers. Everything was so exotic. Tommy wandered into a small clearing not far from the closet. The trees around him were much like the ones in his backyard. The ground was covered with dark brown dirt and patches of stubby grass. The air was warm and fragrant. Tommy was so awed by what he saw that he hadn’t even thought about what he could hear. There were unusual sounds all around him.
Tommy found a fallen log and sat down. He still couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Was this place really inside his closet? Perhaps he was imagining the whole thing. Then he got an idea. Tommy pulled a leaf off a plant near him and put it in his pocket. Evidence he thought. If he went back to his room and the leaf was still there then that would prove this wasn’t his imagination.
Across the clearing a clump of bushes began to shake and a small creature jumped out landing nimbly on the ground. Startled, Tommy fell backwards off the log. Scrambling to his knees, he slowly peered into the clearing. The creature didn’t notice him as it wandered closer . It was about the size of a large turkey with a long tail, two short arms and four clawed fingers on each hand. It stood on thin hind legs with three clawed toes on each foot and was light green with dark stripes running across its back. A small head with beady little eyes and a narrow snout sat upon a long thin neck. Even from where he was hiding, Tommy could see it had sharp teeth. The creature's skin looked kind of scaly like a reptile, and Tommy wondered if he had seen this thing somewhere before. Without warning the reptile's head shot up into the air and tilted to one side. It appeared to be listening to something. Tommy crouched down further behind the log and hoped it wasn’t him it could hear. Just then another clump of bushes began to shake. The reptile noticed this as well and watched with great interest. A little mouse like creature darted out from under one of the bushes. The reptile quickly leaped into the air and pounced on the mouse. The mouse let out a squeak of terror as it was forcibly pinned to the ground. The mouse continued to squeak frantically but the reptile took care of that with one swift bite. It settled down to eat its meal.
Tommy watched with mixed feelings of amazement and horror. He’d never seen anything like this. Then he remembered where he had seen this creature before... in his Dinosaur Encyclopedia! Was this thing a real live dinosaur? Impossible! But there it was right in front of him! Tommy was having trouble remembering its name. As he racked his brain, the dinosaur finished its meal and scurried off into the surrounding bush. Tommy slowly stood up. Excitement raced through his body making his knees wobble. If that really was a dinosaur then there might be other dinosaurs! This could be the find of the century! Tommy jumped over the log, ran back through the plants, and into his room, slamming the closet door behind him. Screeching to a halt, Tommy turned around and opened the door again. The plants were still there but he would have to hurry. He had no idea how long this fantastic world would remain in his closet!
Tommy went straight for his book shelf and rummaged through until he found his Dinosaur Encyclopedia. He eagerly scanned each page for a picture of the dinosaur he had just seen and there it was! Its name was Compsognathus. Tommy sat on the edge of his bed completely stunned. Was this really what he saw? How could it be? The book said this dinosaur died out almost 200 million years ago. Then Tommy remembered the leaf in his pocket. He reached in. When he opened his hand there in his palm was a slightly rumpled leaf.
“Yes!” Tommy exclaimed, punching the air in triumph. It was real!
Retrieving the backpack from behind his bedroom door, Tommy shoved his encyclopedia and his camera into it. After all, there was no point going on such an adventure if he wasn’t going to come back with pictures. Then in went his flashlight, his sunglasses, and all his left over Easter candy. Tommy stood in the middle of his room trying to think of anything else he would need when in walked Jason.
“So do you still have carnivorous plants in your closet or is it tigers now?” Jason snickered.
“Neither,” said Tommy. “It’s dinosaurs.”
Jason shook his head in bewilderment at how strange his brother was, then walked over to the closet. He opened the door and several large green leaves hit him in the face.
“Hey you weren’t kidding!” he said pushing the leaves aside. “What are you doing?”
Tommy was zipping up his pack. “I’m going to explore my closet,” he said, slipping it on his back.
“Oh really,” said Jason. Exploring a closet didn’t sound like much fun to him.
“You can come if you want too,” said Tommy as he walked to the closet.
Jason shook his head. “No thanks Squirt.”
“Okay,” said Tommy. “But you don’t know what you’re missing.” Tommy stepped into his closet and disappeared.
A minute went by. Jason went over and stood in the closet doorway. That’s strange, he thought. He was sure Tommy would be standing right in front of him.
“Tommy,” he called out. No response. “Hey, Tommy. Where are you?” Still no response. After a minute or two Jason saw a light coming towards him. It was Tommy.
“Where were you?” asked Jason puzzled.
Tommy shone the flashlight around and explained about the plants. Jason didn’t believe what he was hearing but agreed to tag along anyway. This he had to see for himself. After closing the door behind them, the two boys disappeared into the darkness.