Special thanks to Emma Thompson for the use of her photograph in this week’s episode art, featuring her three adorable dinosaur lovers.
And if you’ve a hankerin’ for a weird western that lets you fight an undead T-Rex, check out Deadlands! And tell Shane, Clint and Jodi I sent you.
by Craig DeLancey
The fossil mages gathered in the shadow of the gully. Four of them: three old men and a young woman. Old Jim lifted and replaced his wreck of a straw hat and then spat at a scorpion. John Bloodeye and Harry watched the dark spot in the sand evaporate in the heat, until finally, as they’d all been hoping, the young one spoke.
“I found it near here,” Karyn Thomson said. She put her hand into her pocket, fingering the bone there, but not drawing it out yet.
The three old men waited. This was hard for them. They’d all been famous, in their day. They had their pride still.
Finally Karyn tugged the bone out. A hooked talon, as long as her own hand. The old men leaned forward, careful not to show excitement but unable to keep their eyes from popping.
“T rex,” Bloodeye said. “Manus claw. Left interior.”
Karyn nodded agreement.
“It looks big,” Old Jim said. “It looks as big as the claw on that old girl your Pa found out here.”
“Bigger,” Karyn said. “Two centimeters longer.” She pushed her hat back with the point of the claw. Blond hair spilled out over her eyes.
Harry reached toward the claw. Karyn flinched, but did not draw back. He touched the fossil with two dry fingers. “Lot of hum to it,” he whispered. The other men did not comment. They knew there’d be magic in the bone. No need to taunt yourself, like hungry men poking another man’s fat goose.