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Contemporary Christian Fiction


The semi idled in the rush-hour traffic, the driver occasionally swiping an arm across his perspiring forehead. β€œMan, I hope that thing’s alright,” he muttered. The vet sat tight-lipped and silent beside him.Β 


Inside the trailer, the raptor stirred. He’d been sedated for this trip. If he were awake, he’d try to move within his crate. He could break his long, stiff tail, or give himself a head wound, rubbing and bashing against the metal walls, or injure himself in a myriad of other ways. And so he’d been forced into slumber.


Dreams played across his unconscious mind, memories confused and chaotic.Β Β 

One memory that often came was filled with pain and fear:Β 

Waking from the first forced slumber he had ever known, waking to find that his great curving claws were gone, and all he had left were the painfully smarting stubs. He knew very well that they had been there, and he knew the claws being gone was very bad. He knew the purpose of his claws: to fight, to injure, to kill. He had battled his brothers and sisters, all of them clumsily leaping and kicking. And he knew that now, because he had no claws, he was in peril. He could not hunt, could not even defend himself.Β 

Or so he thought.Β 


The traffic began to loosen up. Xavier decreased his pressure on the brake, allowing the truck to inch forward. He blew out a breath. Dr. Esther Crane sat tranquill beside him, unflappable as usual. β€œBetter late than never,” she said with a smile.

The 28-year-old woman’s long hair was dyed bright pink and rich purple, and was often woven into a braid, as now. Intense was the best word Xavier had found to describe her. She took her job very seriously, and took the best possible care of all her charges. And yet she rarely showed any anxiety.Β 


The unexpected congestion on the freeway had alarmed Xavier Nichols, and as the minutes had dragged by, he’d grown more worried. If they took too long reaching the Cypress Complex, the sedative would wear off. Judging from the behavior he’d already seen, this animal could prove difficult to unload awake. Esther could give it another dose, but he knew as well as she that the less drugs in its system, the better. The raptor was already very stressed, and sedation only stressed it more.Β 


The vehicles in Xavier’s lane sped up and dispersed. Pressing the accelerator down, he prayed that they would make it before the raptor woke up.Β Β 


As the truck began moving in earnest, another memory, tied to the first, surfaced in the raptor’s mind. He was larger, but still growing, not as quick or agile as a hatchling, and still without the wisdom of an adult. New humans had taken him. He was no longer free to roam about their house. He was confined, a hard plastic floor beneath his feet, steel grid-patterned bars hemming him in.Β 


The human started tossing in small creatures purchased from pet stores: gerbils, guinea pigs, mice, lizards, rabbits. As much as possible, the man fed the raptor live food. It needed to learn how to kill without its claws.Β 


A live gerbil was thrown in with the young male raptor. He had only ever eaten dead food, and was intrigued by the moving, breathing, not-human, not-kin creature. He approached, and the thing ran. Instinctively, he leapt.

The gerbil held firmly beneath one foot, the raptor bent his head, his jaws worked, and the small thing’s life ended. His first kill.Β 


<><><><><><><><><><><><><><>


Beeep beeep beeep beeep. The semi sounded its warning as it backed up. Xavier Nichols menuevered carefully, aligning the back doors with the pen’s gate, getting as close as he could. Finally, he parked and, pulling the key from the ignition, jumped down from the cab. Hurrying around the front, he opened the door and offered a hand to Dr. Crane. Graciously taking it, she alighted, then strode purposefully towards the back of the trailer, where a cluster of employees had already gathered. A young woman hurried past Xavier, and he greeted her. β€œHello, Ms. Holling.” 


β€œHi, Mr. Nichols,” she replied, continuing past him. Xavier could already see Fatima Villa, the manager of Dinosaur Conservation & Rescue League’s Cypress Complex, standing ready to meet the vet.Β 


<><><><><><><><><><><><><><>


β€œHe’ll be waking up soon,” Dr. Crane informed the DCRL employees. Xavier Nichols stood apart from the group, leaning against his truck. The 30-year-old man had just helped to unload the heavy metal crate, and was still breathing heavily. Mercifully, the occupant hadn't needed a second dose of sedative. Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β 


The raptor woke slowly; the forced slumber loosened its hold.

He was in a crate.Β 

The door was open.


He rose sluggishly, and took a step forward. Then another. And another. Smells poured into his nostrils. Humans. Many. Alive. He took another step towards the door, and his toe stubs collided with the unyielding metal sill, sparking pain and a growl. Carefully lifting his feet over the sill, he placed them on something soft and green. Lowering his head, the raptor examined the ground. The green was alive, but not a creature. He vaguely remembered his first home, how there had been green alive not creatures scattered throughout the house. A strong smell came, very close. Creature. Dead. He approached the animal carcasse warily, looking around for a challenger. He wasn’t usually fed until after a fight. He couldn’t sense any creatures close enough to be an opponent. Neither could he sense the man who fed him. He was always close.Β 


The raptor began to eat.Β 


There are cries and murmurings as the raptor emerges. Since Xavier had already seen the animal’s condition, he wasn’t surprised, though he definitely had been earlier.Β Β Β 


The raptor’s appearance was a strange mix of beauty and unsightliness. A Utahraptor, his body was larger and heavier-built than other raptor types. Because of rapid breeding by illegal owners, colors that wouldn’t have been dominant in a wild setting had become prevalent. This male was a metallic, albeit dull, dark silver. Running along the top of his body, from the tip of his tail to the end of his snout, was a streak of blue scales about a foot wide. He was thinner than he should have been, but Dr. Crane had declared that overall, he was healthy, and what he needed most for a successful recovery was plenty of food and as little stress as possible. One more detail, not immediately apparent, added to the already shocking impression he’d made . . .Β Β Β Β Β Β 


β€œLook at his toes, Rachel!” A young man exclaimed.


Fatima Villa, the manager, turned to Dr. Crane. β€œCan you amputate those stubs?” 


β€œNo,” the vet answered, her colorful braid swaying as she shook her head. β€œHe needs those to balance. He’s having a hard enough time without the sicles.”


Fatima frowned. β€œYou’re sure he won’t do better without them? He just looks like he’s in so much pain.” 

β€œYes, I’m sure. We need to leave them.” 

December 24, 2021 22:36

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70 comments

Palak Shah
21:23 Jan 26, 2022

Nice story Guadalupe, I enjoyed reading it very much and your plotline was awesome. Please let me know when you write another story as I would very much like to read it. Also, your bio is awesome and I hope Mr.T recovers and btw I liked the joke ;)))

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I will definitely let you know! Glad you liked my bio. Is there any dinosaur you like? I could include it in a future story.

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Palak Shah
19:17 Jan 28, 2022

:)))))))) I am not sure, I like all the classics lol :))

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Hey Palak, a while ago I wrote another story, but I forgot to tell you, so I’m telling you now. It’s not another DCRL story. How are you doing?

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Palak Shah
17:17 Mar 15, 2022

That's nice, I will try to read it :)) I am good hbu?

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00:43 May 16, 2022

Have a good night/day I will try to critique this in the morning.

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04:34 May 16, 2022

Hello!! (Decided to stay up aha) Comma's that are NOT needed! "And he knew that now, because he had no claws, he was in peril." (the now) "The 28-year-old woman’s long hair was dyed bright pink and rich purple, " "She took her job very seriously, " "He had only ever eaten dead food, and" "The 30-year-old man had just helped to unload the heavy metal crate, " "He rose sluggishly, and took a step forward. " "He approached, and the thing ran. Instinctively, he leapt." The correct grammar "he leaped" "pet stores: gerbils, guinea pig...

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Philia S
04:20 Mar 28, 2022

Hey! I loved this story. You switched between the driver's POV and the raptor's so nicely. I don't really have any critique except perhaps, the ending was a wee bit abrupt--a finishing description of the raptor or something would be nice, perhaps? Btw, is there gonna be a second part? I would love to see one! :) Hope you're well.

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Hi! Thank you for the critique. I am planning a sequel. This is #2 in my DCRL series, #1 is Tour Guide. I’m so happy that you want more! Do you have any favorite dinosaurs you would like to see? I am well.

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Philia S
16:36 Apr 03, 2022

I see. I will surely read the 1st part when I get the time. :) I believe I will once I read over the series properly. Will let you know! XD Good to know!

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Philia S
06:11 May 07, 2022

Cool! I'll check it out asap. :D

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Pippin Took
23:41 Jan 30, 2022

πŸŒ‹πŸŒ‹πŸŒ‹πŸŒ‹

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Okay, thank you for putting up with my Gollum goofing for so long, Wynn. I see that you like Pippin. Some of my favorite passages concerning him are: > The part where he takes the palantΓ­r from Gandalf. > When he's standing on the wall of Minas Tirith and hears the horns of Rohan wildly blowing, and can never hear horns for the rest of his life without getting tears in his eyes. > All of his actions in the Scouring of the Shire, and everything for the rest of his life. ;) You can guess one of my favorite characters from my pen name, ri...

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Pippin Took
00:58 Feb 11, 2022

haha np XD I do... yes, that's a memorable part yesss i love that too haha yes he's such a lovely character :D my favorite part concerning pippin is his interactions with Treebeard in TT. i like when he asks about Fimbrethil, and when he makes up the line in the creature song about hobbits. it's a simple thing but i feel like it shows how pippin is adept at music, how he doesn't mind the overlooking of hobbits. it just puts a bit of a warm feeling in my chest, you know?? haha yes...i know that this is from the movie, but the part where ...

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Yes we are Tolkien scholars, cooler than geeks, no? No offense taken! I'm exited, too! Pippin was the one who collected all those books of the history of the kings, right? And I love that he named his son Faramir! You are the first person on Reedsy to tell me yes, you have read Lord of the Rings. You are also the first person to use my book = emoji chart.

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Pippin Took
01:39 Feb 13, 2022

Haha yes...very pro :D YES THAT PART IS SO PRO i relate to pippin hands down- Yes i have also read the hobbit and i'm chipping away at the silmarillion haha xD

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I haven't read the Silmarillion yet, but I do own it. I'm still working my way through LOTR's appendixes, I'm currently in B. I have read The Hobbit. I love their songs! I was thinking about taking down my book=emoji chart until you used it. Now I'm definitely leaving it up!

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I just love everything about Aragorn. I can't even say "These are some of my favorite things he did . . ." Another Pippin part I like is ". . . I shall knock your head against the gates, and if that does not open them, perhaps I shall have some peace and quiet." Speaking of movie differences, one movie-only part that I like is in TFOTR, when Boromir is teaching Merry and Pip how to use their swords, and he looks so happy. Then he accidentally pokes one of them, they tackle him, and he just laughs. I wonder if maybe he laughs because he's ...

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Pippin Took
01:43 Feb 13, 2022

That's like me with Legolas & Pippin... That part is so memorable...it makes me laugh in a scholarly way... Exactly...it's sad to think that's the last time he experiences true, carefree happiness. It's a speck of joy in a dark world. Ooh, I never thought of that! Or maybe he wanted children or something...Idk EXACTLY LOLOL

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Pippin Took
01:56 Feb 13, 2022

What is your favorite Tolkien story/legend, for example the mythology behind the Dead Marshes? Mine is the Fall of Gondolin or Ancalagon the Black.

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Tommie Michele
22:25 Jan 25, 2022

Cool story, Guadalupe! I loved the raptor's pov--it brought a really nice touch and a new depth to the story. I read your bio, and as a fellow chronicles of narnia fan, I must recommend a series that has the same kind of symbolism, in a different way: the Circle series by Ted Dekker. The best way I can think to describe it is narnia, but for adults (and I know CS Lewis meant narnia for all ages, but in terms of characters and plot, it does remind me of a children's book). Anyways, the Circle has been my favorite series for a few years now an...

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Thank you so much, Tommie! I really enjoyed writing the raptor’s POV, and I’m glad you enjoyed reading it. You probably already saw, but I’ll tell you just in case you didn’t: this is the second installment in my DCRL series. The first one is Tour Guide. However, you don’t have to read that one for this one to make sense. I’ve loved Narnia ever since I was little, when my Dad read the whole series out loud to me and my sister. Thank you for the book suggestion! I always like finding a cool new story to read.

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Tommie Michele
01:04 Feb 05, 2022

hmm...I really do like raptors because of Jurassic World, but I also like T-rexes for some reason.

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Alex Sultan
21:24 Jan 15, 2022

This was cool! I don't have the time for in-depth feedback, but I did enjoy reading this, and it seems like a big step up with your writing style. I like your sentence structure for this piece, using the occasional single line and such. My favourite part was when you went into the mind of the raptor as the truck went along. It's a unique pov. For a bit of feedback, I'd say watch for adverbs - you didn't use too many, but there are still a few here and there. 'The raptor woke [slowly]; the forced slumber [resignedly] loosened its hold.' -Sl...

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Thank you so much! Getting inside the raptor's head was really fun to write, and I'm glad you enjoyed it. I was a bit concerned about using the words [slowly] AND [resignedly], but I was running out of time, and decided to just leave both of them. I'm relieved you pointed this out. Do you have any suggestions for what to replace [resignedly] with? More imagery here, something about the raptor's senses being dulled from the drug, or just cut it altogether?

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Alex Sultan
21:54 Jan 16, 2022

I'd personally cut 'resignedly' altogether. There'd be more emphasis without it > The raptor woke slowly; the forced slumber loosened its hold. I read through the story slowly, and didn't have an issue with the clarity of the pov switch, so I wouldn't worry too much about it. However, I'd be careful with introducing too many characters in a short story - readers may struggle to keep up.

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I edited this a few minutes ago. Regardless of my sister’s comment, I decided that I, personally, did not like the POV switch, and made the whole piece third-person. I like it better now.

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Alex Sultan
22:16 Jan 16, 2022

It's good you changed it! Having intuition toward what is good as an author on your own work is important. I look forward to reading the next part of this series 😁

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Yay another Dino story :D it’s cool to me how something so prehistoric can seem to easily fit with the modern day world. Very nice job :DDD

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Yeah, I thought a lot about how to fit them into a contemporary setting - smartphones, cars and trucks, zoos, conservation, vets, etc. I want to find a way to include my explanation in one of the stories.

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