Tag Archives: dinosaurs

Story Soup 1.18


Welcome to Story Soup! If you need to catch up with the events so far, you can read the whole story in chronological order here. Thank you to everyone who voted for what Gregory and Penny should do next. 38% of you had ‘Other’ ideas. I quite liked the suggestion that they should ‘harness all the Darrens to a sleigh like Santa does with reindeer’, but then I noticed that two different voters had suggested that they ask Henry to ask the Darrens what they want to do… so since they have the majority, we’ll go with that!

The next instalment will be posted in the next week, but if you want to be reminded, then please subscribe using the links on the top left of the site or by joining the Story Soup Facebook page.

Gregory Bedcarrots; feeling snubbed.

Gregory, who was incredibly tired, stood with the prefect expression of vacant gormlessness.

“We should have just stayed at home,” he said dumbly.

“Yeah, smart thinking, Idiot!” the bag said wryly. He began to chuckle and then stopped as he caught sight of the multitude of Darrens surrounding them. “Blimey! What happened?” he asked in shock.

Penny and Gregory filled him in on all that had happened whilst he was laying in pieces on the floor. When they got to the bit about Professor Harvey’s plan to exchange their brains for those belonging to monkeys, the bag guffawed and said, “Would have been an improvement if you ask me!”

“Actually it was really frightening!” Penny said hotly.

“Ooh!” teased the bag, “Afraid of a little surgery are you?” He whipped out his sewing needles and waved them menacingly.

Penny glared at him and turned to Gregory. “What are we going to do?” she asked impatiently. “We can’t exactly take all these dinosaurs home!”

But Gregory did not answer. He was watching Henry very curiously. “Are they still speaking to you?” he enquired.

“Oh yes…” Henry said dreamily. “Wisdom more precious than rubies…”

“Oh good! That’s nice, isn’t it!” Gregory tried to sound cheery but the truth was he felt a little bit hurt that it was this strange man who could hear the Darrens and not him.

“Gregory!” Penny came over and waved a hand in front of Gregory’s face. “I said; what are we going to do?”

Gregory looked at her, gave a sigh, and said, “I don’t know.” Then, rather grudgingly, he added, “Maybe we should ask Henry to ask the Darrens what they want.”

“Good idea!” Penny said brightly.

Gregory gave a half hearted shrug and said, “Henry, could you please ask the Darrens if they want anything.”

Henry gave a solemn nod and then addressed the Darrens. “Dear friends,” he said seriously. “We would like to know whether you want anything.” He listened for a moment and then smiled.

“Well?” asked Gregory, rather tetchily.

“They would like to go to the Congo,” Henry said.

“The Congo?” repeated Gregory in bewilderment. “Why do they want to go there?”

Henry posed the question, listened and then smiled once more. “It is their home,” he said finally.

Gregory looked at him in disbelief and then looked at the crowd of Darrens. At the mention of the Congo they had begun to dance with glee. If only Gregory and Penny could hear them, they would have heard them bursting into delightful song. Henry heard it and was moved to tears.

“So they want us to take them back in time to the Congo…” began Penny slowly.

“No, no!” Henry said dreamily. “The Congo in your present day, they say.”

Gregory raised an eyebrow and Penny scratched her head but there was no denying the enthusiasm of the Darrens who were now bouncing up and down in wild excitement.

“Well if that’s where they want to go…” Gregory conceded softly. He was feeling rather wounded as he had secretly hoped that the Darrens might have insisted on coming home with them.

He hoped that at the very least they would be telling Henry nice things about Penny and himself, but all Henry kept repeating was, “The Congo. They seem very happy about going to the Congo…”

It seemed that Darren wasn’t as attached to Gregory as Gregory had grown towards him. Gregory gave a cough and said firmly, “Come on then, let’s go outside and make a wormhole.”

But at this, the bag gave a great howl of fury. “No!” he said petulantly, stamping its polyester foot. “No more adventures!”

“Oh come on,” Penny pleaded. “The Darrens really want to go there, and if it wasn’t for them you’d still be lying in a heap on the floor.”

“I don’t care,” the bag said priggishly. “Somewhere called Congo is bound to be horrendous. There’ll be insects and alligators and all sorts…” He began a spirited rant on the many treacherous and mysterious creatures they might face in such a place as the Congo.

“Trust me,” he concluded vehemently. “Only an idiot would venture somewhere so unknown! Are you an idiot?”

Gregory turned to him wearily. “I think I preferred you when you were torn to pieces,” he said nastily.

At this, the bag gave a gasp and then snapped back, “I wish that professor had succeeded in ripping your smelly brain out. If he was here I’d shake his hand!”

Gregory opened his mouth to reply but Penny put a hand on his shoulder and said wisely, “Don’t listen to him. He’s just a bag.”

The bag, who seemed rougher round the edges following his near death experience, spat some stuffing onto the floor and muttered, “Stupid monkeys.”

With a huff of annoyance, Penny ran to the far side of the room and retrieved Einstein’s brain.

“Oh!” the bag cried in protest. “Keep that thing away from me! It hurts my head! It’s like being suffocated with smog, watching paint dry, wearing socks on a beach, eating nothing but sprouts and sprouting nothing but—”

But before he could protest further Penny yanked his zip open and thrust the brain inside.

The bag gave a little shake and a swift nod. “Marvellous,” he said jovially. “Now look here comrades, I don’t see why persons with such high calibres as ours couldn’t have a jolly old time in the Congo! Now, I’m game if you are?”

“Yes,” Penny said, stifling a giggle. “We’re game!”

Henry (prodded by Gregory) led the way out of the laboratory and into the open air. Dreary clouds hung overhead and the bag murmured something about rain coming soon.

Gregory found a nice clean patch of soil and said, “This will do. Let’s get out of this place!”

Penny (being the better speller) wrote their destination in the soil; The Congo, 2010, and everybody watched in silence as Gregory retrieved a time worm from his pocket and placed it on the ground. The worm began to chew through the soil and when the hole was big enough they all jumped in. (Again, Henry needed a bit of prodding, fretting over whether he was about to be buried alive; but eventually one of the Darrens told him sternly to take heart and not be frightened, and he took a deep breath and followed the others in.) It was a little bit squashed in the wormhole what with three sweaty humans, one serious bag and one hundred smiling dinosaurs all jostling for space, but spirits were high and everybody was reasonably content, so the time passed quickly.

Within minutes they felt the humidity rising as a flash of tropical sun burst through the wormhole and sooner than you could say Um Bongo, Um Bongo, They drink it in the Congo, they found that they had arrived.


Story Soup 1.17


Welcome to Story Soup! If you need to catch up with the events so far, you can read the whole story in chronological order here. Thank you to everyone who voted for what Darren the diplodocus says to Henry. An ‘other’ suggestion was ‘Queasy secrets from Professor Harvey’s past’. ‘Quintessential truths’ was the most popular choice with 57% of the vote.

The next instalment will be posted in the next week, but if you want to be reminded, then please subscribe using the links on the top left of the site or by joining the Story Soup Facebook page.

Gregory’s nemesis: out with a bang.

Gregory stole a quick glance at Penny. She was looking as terrified as he felt. He bit his lip and tried to make himself look bolder as Professor Harvey came marching over to Henry and shook him by the arm.

“Invisible talking lizard? Have you gone crazy?!”

“I don’t think so, sir,” Henry said softly. “It’s the plainest thing I ever heard or saw. And now I come to think of it, it looks more like a dinosaur than a lizard— a diplodocus perhaps.”

At this, Darren gave a proud purr, though of course Professor Harvey did not hear it.

Professor Harvey snorted. “Well what exactly did this imaginary dinosaur tell you, then?”

“Well,” began Henry, quivering enormously. “First he told me to pull myself together because if a person falls to pieces in a crisis, then there can’t have been much to them in the first place. Then he told me not to follow the bad example of cruel people and that I could resist this evil if I wanted to. I thought to myself that maybe I could persuade you to abort this experiment, but he must have known what I was thinking because he replied by saying that… Erm…” He paused and scratched his chin sheepishly.

Professor Harvey looked livid. “Saying what?” he demanded furiously, spit frothing at the corner of his mouth.

“Er…” Henry gave a cough and then said quickly, “saying that you have been a fool bent on destruction ever since you cheated in your school science exams, and that even if a person beats a fool until he’s half dead, one still can’t beat his foolishness out of him.”

All colour drained from Professor Harvey’s face. He let out an awful roar and then lunged for Henry’s throat. Henry, caught by surprise, toppled over and landed in the space between Penny and Gregory. Penny began to scream, Gregory started to sob (though he said later that he hadn’t), and Darren (who lay beneath the brawling scientists) began to emit a very low, very strange, hum. Bearing in mind that Professor Harvey had just removed the brains of two small monkeys, there was a lot of blood and slime as the two men fought for the knife in Henry’s hands.

For fear of turning this fanciful tale into too much of a horror story, I will skip forward quickly. And for those of you who feel there is no hope left, it might stir your heart a little to know that throughout this ordeal, Gregory and Penny were holding hands.

It was Darren who saved the day. As Harvey and Henry continued to fight on top of him, he gave a long sorrowful hum, let out one final bubble and then… exploded.

The bang was so loud that both men fell off the table in fright. Penny let out a shriek and exclaimed, “Darren’s gone!”

The space in which Darren had been sitting was now empty, and all that remained were a pocketful of small blue bubbles.

Henry looked up and said aghast, “The dinosaur’s gone!”

Professor Harvey took advantage of the moment to seize the knife from Henry’s hand and said in a foul sneer, “Now you’re for it!”

But before he could do anything ghastly, one of Darren’s bubbles landed softly on the tip of his nose. In a sudden almighty bang— in the same manner as Darren— the professor exploded. In mere seconds, all that remained of him were a pile of clothes and a small fat cigar.

Nobody spoke for a long time. It is quite a shocking thing to see somebody explode and vanish into thin air.

Eventually Henry said tentatively, “I think he’s gone…”

Gregory and Penny looked at him slowly.

Finally Penny said meekly, “Can you please untie us?”

“Oh, of course!” Henry got to his feet and ran to untie the children, helping them down from the tables and apologising profusely for almost cutting out their brains.

“It’s alright,” Gregory said politely. “No harm done.”

“Poor Darren,” Penny said quietly. “I hope it didn’t hurt when he exploded.”

“I think he did it on purpose,” Gregory replied. “To save us.”

Penny gave a sad sigh. “But why couldn’t he have done it without himself disappearing?”

Gregory shrugged and looked away. Then he gasped and jumped to his feet. “Penny, look!” he cried in excitement.

Penny looked up and clasped a hand to her mouth.

All around the room in cages that were formerly occupied by animals, sat about a hundred small blue dinosaurs, each one joyfully bopping its head. Even the two small monkeys were gone and in their place (with their brains fully intact) sat two blue dinosaurs, heads bopping as they began to blow tiny carefree bubbles.

Penny and Gregory ran to the cages.

“They all look just like Darren!” Penny said gleefully.

At the mention of their name, the dinosaurs all rolled over and purred.

“I think they are all Darren… somehow,” Gregory said in confusion, marvelling at the sheer number of them.

“How do we let them out?” Penny wondered.

Gregory thought for a moment and then dug deep into his pocket. “The bag lady’s key!” he exclaimed triumphantly. He tried one of the locks and sure enough, the key fit. The Darrens began to topple out of the cages and trotted gratefully around Gregory and Penny’s ankles.

Throughout this, Henry sat exhausted on the floor, his jaw down to his knees as the many Darrens spoke many marvellous truths that he alone could hear. “Yes…” he said, delirious. “Yes, you’re right. I am… I can… I see…”

After releasing all the Darrens, Penny ran to the remains of the bag and scooped him up in her arms.

“Oh,” Penny cried with a sob. “Is he really gone too?”

One of the Darrens came forward and rubbed against Penny’s foot. Another came and started to blow small bubbles. Around the room, the rest began to purr. A small bubble came to rest on top of the bag.

Suddenly a little voice began to shout. “Ugh, my head’s spinning. Someone pass me my sewing kit!” The bag was back.

Gregory gave a grin and ran to embrace his polyester friend, who of course shoved him off and called him an idiot.

“Now what should we do?” asked Penny, tears of relief rolling down her face.