Stegatha and Al

Submitted into Contest #123 in response to: Start your story looking down from a stage.... view prompt

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Friendship Kids Fiction

“And it’s showtime!”

Stegatha, the stellar Stegosaurus stomped onto the stage. She was nervous to sing on a stage for the first time but was also confident in her musical ability.

When she looked out at all the dinosaurs in the audience, down from the stage, she froze.

“I don’t know if I can do this!” She thought and began to shake from nerves.

Al the aggressive Allosaurus, growled, watching this unfold from the wings of the stage. He didn’t know how long he could watch Stegatha flounder out there. She looked positively petrified. 

“Should I just grab her and refund all the dinos from Prehistoric Town?” He considered, but he wasn’t going to do that. He was the biggest, baddest dino around and to do that would show weakness.

Instead, and even though he had been friends with Stegatha for his whole life, he shouted, “Stegs, it’s go time! Get singing!” 

Al and Stegatha’s friendship seems unlikely, but it began many years ago while they were both very young. Stegatha was a few years older than Al, and when they were dino kids she was quite a bit bigger than him. When other dinosaurs came to scrap with Al, Stegs would protect him. Her spiked tail came in handy as defense against dino-bullies coming after Al.

Unfortunately some of those bullies had grown up into full grown predators and they were bearing teeth in the audience, scaring an already shell-shocked Stegatha even more, and no amount of prodding by Al was doing any good.

“Get off the stage!” A testy Torvosaurus yelled, “I came for a show and you’re wasting my time!”

“You’re lucky we ate already, Stegatha, because at this point, we’d put you out of your misery!” Shouted the ornery patriarch of a family of Orintholestes.

“Well, I haven’t eaten yet, and if you don’t start singing soon, I’ll rip you to shreds!” Threatened a particularly ravenous Creatosaurus.

Apparently that was the last straw for Stegatha. It isn’t clear what was worse being heckled by her predators or just the humiliation of it all but a single tear began to fall and although, he had his pride, that was too much for Al to bear. He raced onto the stage to break Stegatha’s frozen state. THE ICE AGE WAS NOT HAPPENING TODAY!

“Come here, Stegs,” Al said, putting a claw on her back.

Still partially frozen in place, she opened her mouth with eyes closed, trying to overcome her stage fright but nothing came out.

It was heart-breaking for Al to watch his friend struggle so, but it only egged those cold blooded dinosaurs in the audience on.

“Just give it up, Stegatha. We don’t know what we expected from a gentle plant-eater like you! You clearly need to work on your bravery. Go back to the jungle where you belong and go eat some LEAVES!” an especially mean Marshosaurus cackled.

That was it for Stegatha, and she fled. The makeshift auditorium erupted with laughter.

“Grow up you buffoons!” Al boomed and stomped off. He wasn’t reimbursing anyone. They had gotten their entertainment from all the jeering and he told them as much before going to comfort his friend. He knew where she’d be.

As Al stalked through the jungle to where his friend was, he grabbed an ornithopod that was taking a quick rest and ate it before it even got out a screech. He was more mad than hungry. Angry at his peers for finding humor in his friend’s evident pain. Sure, they were carnivores but did they have to be so blood-thirsty? Maybe he was the odd one for befriending someone that was ordinarily prey.

Getting even more frustrated, he yelled at a Brachiosaurus to get out of his way. The Brach made a mad dash - he didn’t want to end up being dinner.

Soon, Al turned a corner and could hear sobs. Stegatha was underneath a giant tree crying to herself. The giant tree with its weeping branches nearly eclipsed the sorrowful dino. This was a tree that Al and Stegatha always found themselves at when they needed to get away from danger or just the world at large. It was a kill or be killed world back then even for a predator like Al. He wasn’t always as big as he is now. Plus, it made for a great spot for hide and seek when they were kids.

“Don’t worry about them. You know what they’re like. Don’t take it to heart.” Al said soothingly.

“I do! And that’s the problem. I choked like I always do! I wanted to get out there and show this town what I’m made of. That even though I’m not a rough and tough killer that I can sing a great tune and that I matter. These dinosaurs have made me feel weak and meaningless my whole life and my singing voice is the one thing that’s been giving me strength and making me feel confident.”

Al felt puzzled. He had heard Stegatha sing many times in front of him when it was just the two of them. What had changed? He supposed it may have had to do with more dinosaurs in the audience than just him or that some of those dinosaurs hadn’t been very kind to Stegatha as a younger dinosaur and throughout her life. Maybe it had to do with being the center of attention with all those eyes on her. Al had always admired her and never regarded her as a pushover like all the rest. He’d even seen her defend him against predators using her spiky tail like a vicious bat! He just needed her to know how much her friendship meant to him. Maybe that would turn this around.

“Stegs,” Al said gently over cries that had quieted down. She slowly looked up.

“I want you to see yourself the way I see you not like how those bullies see you. I want you to remember how you looked out for me when you found me all my own when I was separated from my group of other Allosauruses. I never forgot that and even when I was reunited with my kind, we remained friends. My group also respected how even though we are predators of yours, you didn’t let fear get the better of you, you didn’t fear that my family would hunt you, all you did was show me kindness and protection. When we were older and larger dinosaurs would try to come after me, you’d defend me. You are so, so brave, Stegatha. Don’t ever let these bullies make you feel weak just because you’re a herbivore and you’re in the minority here. There’s nothing weak about you.”

Stegatha was silent for a couple moments. Her tears had stopped and it appeared as if she was letting all of Al’s powerful words in.

“I want to try again,” she replied.

Al wasn’t so sure if this was a good idea. What if they laughed at her even more? What if they didn’t even give her a chance once she got out there and she never sang again, but he didn’t want to dissuade her.

Instead he said, “OK, I will set it up.”

Al spread the word and resisted the urge to maim every dinosaur who laughed in his face and said of course they’d be back to watch Stegatha fail again. If he killed every dinosaur who did that, he’d be the only one as her audience like before her big debut.

Soon, the night was before them and the words, “it’s showtime!” Left his lips once more. 

Stegatha emerged on the stage and of course, the audience was a cacophony of jeers and cruel laughter. Stegatha turned to Al who was watching from the wings and she took a deep breath and closed her eyes and began to sing. A hush fell over the entire audience. They had never heard such beautiful singing and Stegatha had never believed in herself more.

December 10, 2021 03:31

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1 comment

Richard Hann
14:20 Dec 16, 2021

I absolutely love Al and Stegathas' unlikely friendship and the support they give each other to succeed , well done :)


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