Pterodactyl; The Truth Without Context

Submitted into Contest #139 in response to: Format your story in the style of diary entries.... view prompt


Coming of Age Fiction Drama

This story contains sensitive content

Warning: Strong language, and references to self-harm and issues with mental health

2/12/07 Monday, 9:42 PM

Today’s my birthday. But can I really prove that? Can anybody? It says it on my birth certificate, wherever the hell that is, so I guess that’s technically proof, but honestly, it’s not like any of us can actually remember our birth.

You can trace some memories back, further and further into the foggy past, eventually fading into the mist and then suddenly you’re just sort of ARE. You can’t remember the exact moment you took your first breath and added one more tick on the national consensus, yet everyone celebrates it like that’s the second you became a person.

Meanwhile, your actual first memory is the cat clawing you in the face ‘cause you grabbed its tail. Both memories end with you as a bloody, sobbing curled-up blob, but after entirely different circumstances, and different beginnings. So which one am I supposed to say is right? You say it’s my birthday. Ok. If you say so. Yay.

But  you already know how I feel about that. You know everything about me. It’s what I like best about you. Also what I hate the most. I’m still not convinced writing in you is a good idea. Dr. Heshwha says it’s helping It seems weird to put what I’m thinking into words, into actual written text.

I know I’ve said it before somewhere in here, but even after a year, it still feels a little bit narsis narsa arrogant, you know? I still don’t understand the point, what Dr. Heshwa is trying to prove. Like, is this for me to look back through, see my progress of improving my mental health, or do I want some stranger to find this 100 years from now and publish it and turn it into a bestseller, people call it the greatest diary ever written and all that crap?


I don’t want people reading my secrets, sticking their greasy fat noses into my business, smudging my memories with their stains. I don’t have anything to hide ‘cause I didn’t do nothing, no matter what that fatass Judge Lange says, but I don’t really like the idea of someone finding this and just, I don’t know, I guess basically looking into my brain? Super invasive, total violation of my privacy, like I don’t already have enough of that to deal with right now.

I can just picture people reading this, perusing my thoughts and shit, trying to figure me out like this stupid little book is supposed to be a guide to everything about me. I could write in this diary until it’s fucking dripping with my secrets, and it still wouldn’t even make up a tiny portion of the smallest fraction of the most teensy-est part of who I am, so don’t think for a second that if you’re reading this, you know me. ‘Cause you don’t.


It’s taken a dozen doctors a dozen years to fig

My birthday was fine. A little better than last year, I guess.

4/15/07 Sunday, 3:22 AM

I had that dream again. Dr. Heshwha said I should write down the next time it happened, and I asked him what was the point, since I know I wrote about it somewhere in here, and I’m already writing everything else down in this stupid thing, but he just said his usual bullshit of it being good for me, that it would help me figure out what the dream means.

He said if it kept happening over and over, the same way each time, maybe it was my subconcish brain trying to tell me something about myself. I told him I don’t believe in that kind of crap, a dream’s a dream and that’s it, but he laughed and said trust him. He’d been right about the diary helping, he said, doing that lame wink he does whenever he thinks he’s outsmarted me.

I still don’t know if he’s got a defective face or if he just doesn’t know how to wink or something, but whatever the hell the reason is, he can never keep his other eye from closing halfway. It really looks like it’s a struggle for him too. I think he thinks it looks all cool and slick, like he's the baddest M.D. this side of Compton, but it just comes off as if in the middle of a thought he realized he was on the verge of crapping his pants. Maybe that explains his bullshit suggestion?

Damn I’m tired, the dream was the whole point of this entry, of being up right now, and I’m wasting ink on Dr. Heshwa. Granted I only got maybe 15 hours of sleep total last week ‘cause of it too, so I’m going to say it’s understandable that I’m EXHAUSTED. Still, for the sake of showing Dr. Heshwha how useless it is to write about something that I’ve already put in here, I’ll go ahead and talk about it again.

It’s sort of like a movie, with steady camera angles and tracking shots, and I’m watching myself explore a cave. I got rope, spullu spuhluhnk cave-climbing gear and a hardhat with the little flashlight on top and everything, and I’m slowly being lowered on a rope down to the bottom of this massive cavern. I’m pretty sure it’s me anyway, every time dream-me looks at the camera, the lights blinds the real me and I never see my own face. I reach the bottom, detach the rope and start wandering around, checking out the rocks and shit, (literally, batshit everywhere) and I eventually see some caveman drawings on the wall. So I go over to them

5/7/07 Monday, 9:73 PM

Dr. Heshwha said I should put my name in here more. I asked him why, since I already know my own name, and I don’t know, I guess maybe I said it more angry than I

I wasn’t trying to sound angry AT ALL, but he said to calm down, that he just meant it would good for me to see it sometimes, that it could help help me if i thouht about me myself in the 3rd person evrey now and then and yea maybe he could b write but i’m dont know my name isnt all that impor

7/7/07 Saturday, 2:39 AM

I’ve never read anything in here before. I wasn’t avoiding it or anything like that, I just thought if I ever did, it would be years from now, when I was old and withered, aching for a taste of a sweeter time in my life. I wouldn’t really call this period sweet, but you get the point.

But I had that dream again, and I went to write about it, and I thought what the hell, why not check if Dr. Heshwha was right and see if maybe some detail changed or something, but come to learn, I never finished writing about it last time, for some reason.

And on top of that, my last entry makes me look like I went insane and lost most of my brain cells, and ON TOP OF THAT I don’t remember writing it!! I think maybe that was the day they discovered my arm wasn’t healing right and they had to re-break it? I was pumped with enough painkillers to kill Keith Richards, so that’d explain it.

Not really sure why I didn’t finish the dream one though. Did I fall asleep??? Probably, I swear I’m ALWAYS tired. In any case, when I get a chance I’ll see if I can find the entry where I first wrote about the dream, but for the moment I’ll just talk about what I can remember before I woke up just now.

Everything I said last time was the same, the part where I’m spelunking (yes I learned how to spell it) and me finding the caveman paintings on the wall and then going over to them. There’s 3 of them total, one on the left, one right, one middle. The camera’s sort of mostly in my POV now that I’m looking at the drawings, and I look at the one on the left first, it’s these 2 stick figures of what I’m assuming are deer (deerS??) facing each other.

The left one’s got horns, a buck, and I immediately KNOW it’s supposed to represent me. The other one was a doe, and I think it was sort of just there. I thought at first maybe it represented you, but that makes 0 sense.

Didn’t seem to matter, ‘cause the camera pans to the one in the middle, and time this time it’s both deer running uphill through the snow, heading away from each other, and it looks like it’s real hard going and a tough on both of them.

But that part was kinda crazy, ‘cause the image sort of kept turning from the caveman drawing into an image of 2 actual real deers running uphill in the snow. AND THE REAL CRAZY PART, was that the image was upside-down.

But then I look at the 3rd painting, and it’s actually the image of the lake behind me in the middle of the cave, which wasn’t there when I first went down, but I turn around and there’s now this decent-sized lake behind me, covered with this beautiful green moss, super thick and over every inch, and as I’m watching it, the moss starts shining with this bright gold light, and the camera turns to my face but the flashlight’s still on and I can only see the lower half of my face, but I can see I’m smiling and it’s being lit up by the golden glow and then I woke up.

I’m pretty sure that’s everything. I don’t think it’s ever any different. As far as I can remember, anyway.

8/1/07 Wednesday, 12:47 PM

I finally found the entry when I first had the dream. I could’ve sworn it couldn’t have been more than a couple months ago, but believe it or not, the first one was back in November!!! I would’ve bet my entire life-savings that it’d be somewhere in January or around my bday, but nope, I would’ve lost all $63 in that bet.

To be honest though, as I was scrolling through looking for that entry, I realized there was a lot of things that weren’t in here that I thought were, so maybe I’m not as good at remembering everything as I thought. Touche Dr. Heshwha, touche.

But speaking of remembering shit correctly, turns out I was right that the dream hadn’t really changed. It was basically exactly the same, with the only change being the images didn’t become real like last time. So all in all I was right, but when I told this to Dr. Heshwha, he told me that maybe that little change was actually pretty major, and I should think about what it means.

I made a joke about it probably meaning that I’ve had the dream so many times that it’s starting to become real, but instead of laughing like I did, he just did this really weird gesture where he tapped the side of his nose, then he did that horrible wink thing again. I just stared at him for a while, until eventually he sighed and said I could go back to my room.

I guess I won that one?

10:02 PM

I watched this documentary earlier about what it looked like when dinosaurs were still alive. It was all computer animated obviously, but they did a damn good job, a couple genuinely looked like the real thing. I mean, I guess as far as we know, right? Hell, we’ve only seen their bones but somehow we think that’s enough to know what they looked like in the flesh? Now that’s arrogant.

But it was good enough to fool me, and they gave stories to some of the dinos, so it was actually pretty cool. There was this one though about a pterodactyl that was kind of sad. It was mating season and a bunch of them were on this beach pairing up, and this one male kept trying to win over a female but kept getting beat out by other males, and eventually all the females were paired and he couldn’t get a mate and then after a while was just all lonely and dead on the beach, drifting lifelessly in the shallow tide of the ocean.

It was just a story you know, something invented by the producers of the show, but man, I got to say, it was a good one. It’s amazing what someone can invent based on just the bare bones of something, isn’t it? They actually made me relate to a fictional creature.


10/30/07 Tuesday, 12:58 AM

Why is it always a deer?

If someone asked me what animal I thought of myself as, deer wouldn’t even come into the first 100. But dammit, at this point, me being that deer is the ONLY part of the dream I am sure of.

There still wasn’t anything different about it this time, or fuck I don’t know, if there was, then I sure as shit didn’t notice. The moss maybe looked a little brighter this time?


I guess if I think about it, there sort of was this weird feeling that the light was actually coming from underneath the moss, from the water itself, and it wasn’t actually moss but MOLD.

And was there a cup floating on top of the mold? 

3:30-ish AM

I watched that documentary again. I don’t know, something about the dream and the deer and the pterodactyl go hand in hand, I think. I noticed this time that the voiceover mentioned there was nothing wrong about the dactyl’s method of trying to get a mate, or about him in general, that for whatever reason it just wasn’t in the cards for him.

There’s a connection there, right?

I’ll tell Dr. Heshwha about it tomorrow, see what he thinks. Get a second opinion if need be.


The dactyl did sort of resemble a deer, come to think of it. Or maybe I’m reaching. 

12/31/07 Monday, 5:something AM or PM It doesn’t matter

The pterodactyl is just bones animated to look alive, and the flashlight is pointing at THE CAMERA.

Maybe there was a secret message there for me to decode the whole time, maybe it’s just coincidence happenstanced together by my subconscious, but I was there the whole time, if you want to look at it that way.

Buried underneath such an overabundance of useless information, the truth is difficult to decipher, even when staring directly at it.

But perhaps more worrisome is the immutable fact that the truth itself is only half the equation; its immediate surroundings must be taken into consideration as well if one is to reveal the actual, real solution. 

I’m going to tell Dr. Heshwha tomorrow that I pieced it together.

2/12/08 Tuesday, 12:07 AM

Sometimes I’m amazed how much room there still is in here. I was so sure I would’ve filled it up by now, but I don’t even know if I’m halfway through. Crazy, right? 

It’s my birthday again, as you know. Or so I’m told, anyway. Reminds me of this great joke I once heard. “I’m a victim of gullibility… or so I’m told.” Pretty funny, you ask me. Dr. Heshwha laughed at it once, so I’d say that’s proof enough.

Of the joke being funny, not my bday. Still on the fence about that one.

Speaking of changing the subject, I never did write about what Dr. Heshwha thought about my epiphany. He said it was very well said, and asked if he could read it, and obviously it’s really good so I said yeah, and he read it and said again it was well written and asked if he could keep my diary for a bit, and of course I said yeah.

I should’ve known he’d read the whole thing.

I’m not in trouble or anything, but he said the next time we meet up, he wants me to bring it so we can look at a few parts of it together, see if maybe I can see what he sees.

Honestly, I’m pretty skeptical, but I don’t know, maybe it could be a good thing? It kinda goes against my whole thing of not wanting anyone to ever look at it, but

Really, Dr. Heshwha isn’t just anyone. I think by this point 


He’s been right about a lot so far. He said I really should celebrate my birthday, not out of hubris or anything like that, but just that life is precious, and I should take that into consideration. I so wanted to tell him how lame that sounded, but I had to admit, he’s got a point. Again

I’ve made it a habit to consistently go back and read previous entries. I don’t choose any spot in particular, just random glimpses into my progression this year. Or lack thereof in some portions, I must say.

But more and more, as I read back, I’m starting to think Dr. Heshwha was right about the dream’s significance too. 

The spelunker, the cave, the lake, the mold, the light; it’s me they all share in common.

Both deer, too. It’s all ME.

Still unsure of the truth, though. I’ll ask Dr. Heshwha about it tomorrow. And I’ll make sure to bring you. You and him both probably know what it all means. 

Like I said, you know everything about me.

March 27, 2022 00:57

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