In the Dinosaur Museum, the Bones are Exposed

Competition Nine Highly Commended: In the Dinosaur Museum, the Bones are Exposed by

The bones are mostly scarred and ancient-beige, not science-white, like in the books I used to read with Ma.

The signs say, ‘do not touch the displays.’

I want to touch them, to pull out the sharp wires holding the vertebrae together and breathe long breaths into the hollow, empty bone-spaces. I want to give the bone-dinosaurs life, wake them, and watch them roam free.

I think, at first, the bone-dinosaurs will be slow. They might need to stretch and curl, until their beige-bones creak-click back into place. They’ll raise their great heads, shake out their sails and horns and spikes, and bellow out dino-greetings.

Maybe, after an hour or two, they’ll grow fresh new skin that stretches across their beige-bones. I’ll be the first to see their colours emerge, scute and scale in brilliant blues, forest greens, autumnal yellows.

The bone-dinosaurs – with patchy blue-green-yellow newly grown skin – will gather in the huge lobby and marvel at each other.

I’ll buy dino-kibble from the gift shop, pour great heaps of it into dino-bowls. The bone-dinosaurs will feed – sauropods, therapods, ornithopods together – forgetting that, maybe, they should be eating each other instead.

When the guide tells us that sixty-six million years ago an asteroid smacked into Earth and vaporised the dinosaurs, I cry. How scared they must have been, looking up to the night sky, hearts thumping with fear.

When Ma undressed you could see her beige-bones too, hollow and sharp, under patchy blue-green-yellow skin.

Maybe she should have worn a sign that said, ‘do not touch the display.’

Maybe she left because she was afraid an asteroid would hit?

I think I see her sometimes, at the park, on the street, in the lobby of the dinosaur museum. She’s roaming free and happy, in newly-grown skin.

 

 


 

 

Kathy Hoyle’s work has appeared in literary magazines such as Ellipsiszine, Virtualzine , South Florida Poetry Journal, Cabinet of Heed and Lunate. She was the winner of the Retreat West Flash Competition, took second Prize in The Edinburgh Award for Flash Fiction, and third prize in the Cambridge Flash Fiction Prize and the Hissac Prize. Other stories have been long or short listed in competitions including, The Bath Flash Fiction Award, the Fish Publishing Flash Fiction Prize, Flash 500, LISP and Strands International.
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