The prompt was “Insect, Dinosaur, Bird”. We all laughed as the random words were pulled out of the hat, and seemingly willed us to write Jurassic Park fanfiction. Having the names of three creatures put me in mind of those fun picturebooks that some children have, where you can mix-and-match the body parts of existing creatures to make myriad new freakish things. Oh, what fun could be had…
Charlie loved reading time at school.
His favourite book was “Dinosaur, Insect, Bird” because it let him mix up the body parts of loads of different objects and creatures by switching rectangular swatches over the book’s binding rings.
Charlie always started with Dinosaur (not only was it the first character in the book, but it was also his favourite), and would then change Dinosaur’s torso and legs to the torso and legs of other animals, or the middle and bottom parts of non-living things.
He really liked the look of the titular character, Diserd, whose name was made by taking apart the words “Dinosaur”, “Insect” and “Bird”, and then putting them back together again.
Diserd had the head of Dinosaur (a tyrannosaurus rex), the torso of Insect (a bee), and the legs of Bird, though Charlie couldn’t tell what kind of bird it was; it just looked like a bird to him.
Charlie also liked Kibresh the Kitten-Umbrella-Fish,
Aloct the Alien-Phone-Insect,
Fish the Fish-Bird-Bush,
and Dog, who was just a dog, but Charlie really liked dogs. Dog was his second favourite.
One day, during another exciting reading time, Charlie noticed something strange about the book that wasn’t there before: There were three completely blank swatches; one head, one torso, and one legs.
Charlie was worried that somebody might have rubbed-out three swatches of one of his favourite creatures, so he checked through the book.
Diserd, Kibresh, Aloct, Fish, and Dog were all there, as were all the heads, torsos, and legs of the creatures, and tops, middles, and bottoms of the objects that made up all his fantastical friends.
Charlie turned back to the three blank swatches and suddenly had an idea; he could draw a whole new friend to add to the book!
He looked up at Miss Finch to make sure she wasn’t watching. He was certain that she would not be happy with him drawing in any of the books, in fact it was one of the rules she read out at the start of every reading time.
After making sure extra that his teacher wasn’t looking, he pulled his felt-tip pens out of his pencil case.
But what to draw?
It couldn’t be something too difficult, or it might not fit with the other swatches in the book.
It couldn’t be something rude, or he would really get in trouble if Miss Finch found out.
That’s it! If he drew Miss Finch, then she couldn’t possibly get angry; she would be the main character in a book, after all! Practically a celebrity.
In about five minutes’ time, he doodled a perfectly respectable Miss Finch in the three blank swatches. If he sent his work to the school’s art competition, he would win first prize, for sure. He wrote her surname in the column, “Finch”, and hurriedly put away his pens before anyone saw.
He looked up one final time at Miss Finch, then smiled a secret smile before changing the head swatch in his book.
Dinosaur’s head appeared, and Dinch was born!
There came a blood-curdling scream from the front of the classroom, and Charlie looked up in surprise.
Miss Finch’s head had transformed into that of a tyrannosaurus rex, and she was frantically tearing up a few of the children in the front row.
Some of the children ran from the room in time, but Charlie was locked in place with absolute fear. The monstrosity that still had the torso and legs of his teacher turned to him and locked eyes. It approached him in a few dreaded strides.
“The Dinch…” Charlie’s last words, before his Dinosaur-Teacher-Teacher ate him all up.