Sammy had no idea how long they had been running, but nobody stopped. Eventually, the T-Rex's roars grew fainter and the remaining survivors all slowed down. Yaz put her hands on her knees as she panted.
The girl wheezed, "When we… When we do get out of here, I am definitely getting an unfair advantage over my opponents."
Gray gasped for breath, "What… What do you mean?"
"With the amount we've been running, it's definitely going to build up my stamina."
Brooklynn had a mischievous smirk play on her lips. She sauntered up to Yaz and held up an invisible microphone. She spoke in a mock serious voice, "Ms Fadoula, Brooklynn from the Brooklanders YouTube channel. Another dominant victory and you have just shattered a school record. What is the secret behind your training regimen?"
Yasmina caught on and replied in mock politeness, "First of all, I'm really happy I won. As for my secret, I spent months on a remote island running away from giant flesh-eating dinosaurs. You know what they say, Fear is a good motivator."
There was dead silence for a beat, before Brooklynn and Yaz snorted with laughter. Zach joined them and soon, all the kids were rolling on the ground and laughing.
Meanwhile, Eric and Kelly were observing their surroundings. They were in a moderately wooded area and not a dinosaur in sight. Frank, Tiff and the few hunters gathered in a circle and were in deep discussion.
When they were done, Frank tossed a weapon each at Sergio, Mariquetta, Esteban, Nico, Andrea, Mason, Henry, Kevin and Jordan. He groused, "I don't like this, but we're going to have to cooperate to survive and get out of this hell hole. I don't trust you, you don't trust me, both our groups have different agendas, but we have to cooperate to get out of here. Now we're going to do our own thing, as long as we don't get in each other's ways, there should be no problem."
Eric, Kelly, Jess, Tim and Lex rejoined the group and retrieved the giggling kids. Even they also had to chuckle at the exchange.
After a bit more walking, they finally reached a clearing and a vast expanse of tall grass lay before them. Kelly suddenly halted in her tracks and snapped, "OH HELL NO! There is no way I'm going in the long grass!"
Tiff drawled mockingly, "What's the matter? Don't be a wuss. At least we'll be able to hide from that bloody big T-Rex. The grass is tall enough to hide us."
Kelly shook her head, "It ain't the dinosaurs out there that I'm worried about. I'm more worried about the dinosaurs hidden in the long grass."
Tiff sneered, "Oh come on! That's bullsh*t! We haven't met any dinos that size. All that we've seen are a bunch of herbivores and that damn T-Rex!"
Soon, things descended into an argument about which route was the safest. The kids stayed out of it, because tensions were flaring. Eventually, Frank got fed up and fired a single round in the air.
He growled, "Shut up! All of you! It's obvious that arguing will get us nowhere. I suggest we split up. For once, I agree with Kelly and her group so I'll stick with them."
Frank pointed to three hunters, "Oi! You three are with me. The rest of you will go through the long grass, Tiff! You're in charge of the group. Also, I'd suggest you all go single file so that you don't lose sight of each other."
With that, the two groups split up, though Henry, Andrea and Mason decided to join the other group. Mason insisted that it was to make sure that the hunters didn't do anything stupid.
The first group entered the long grass single-file. Tiff and her gang walked normally, but Henry, Andrea and Mason cocked their weapons and were on high alert. Unbeknownst to them, there were four lines converging in on them from both sides.
Back with the other group silence reigned between everyone. The children huddled together as they walked. Sammy whispered to Zach," Are we ever going to get off this place?"
He murmured back, "I honestly don't know. I hope Henry, Mason and Andrea are okay."
Along the way, Kenji spotted something on the ground, a little further away from them. He pointed, "Hey, what's that?"
Everyone stopped and Eric looked on, "Those… look like eggs. Look… There are a bunch of nests."
One of Frank's hunters had a gleam in his eyes, "Hey boss. Let's swipe some. They're going to fetch a good price on the market."
However, Eric stopped him, "Are you mad? The last thing we need is an angry mama dinosaur after us."
Gray raised a hand, "Hold on… How are the dinosaurs able to breed in the wild? Aren't they all females? At least that was what Aunt Claire told us."
Kenji snickered, "Wow! I didn't know lesbian dinosaurs were a thing-OW!"
He yelped as Yaz smacked the back of his head, "Get your head out of the gutter! Idiot!"
Tim smiled, "Actually, you remember that Mr. DNA said that they used frog DNA to fill in the gene gaps? When we were last here, Dr. Grant explained that there are some species of frogs that could spontaneously change their gender in a single sex environment."
Kelly groaned, "Oh great! I can now hear my dad gloating in the background. He'll be like, 'See, Kelly? Life found a way!'"
Lex spurred everyone, "Hey! Let's go and get out of here before the adults come back!"
Before long, everyone had moved away from the nesting grounds. They walked in silence for a bit, fortunately with no more dinosaur encounters, apart from the occasional Compsognathus.
Suddenly, they heard some rustling in some nearby bushes. Tim, Lex, Kelly, Eric and Jess instantly surrounded the kids, along with Sergio, Mariquetta, Kevin, Esteban and Nico. Frank and the other hunters levelled their guns towards the sound.
The rustling got louder and then a female voice yelled, "Don't shoot! Friendlies!". Everyone relaxed and Andrea burst out of the foliage, with several bleeding cuts on her face and arms. With her were two hunters, who identified themselves as Joshua and Hawke.
Frank queried, "Are you all that made it?"
Joshua nodded, "Yeah, Kelly was right. It was an ambush. We were walking single file, and from almost nowhere. A bunch of dinosaurs attacked and picked everyone off one-by-one. Tiff was leading everyone when the first dinosaur attacked. She grabbed Henry and threw him towards it and he was the first casualty. Later on, a second wave of dinos came and Tiff was lost."
Andrea picked up when he left off, "They were all Velociraptors. Those damn things came in from all sides and it was a massacre. Mason… Mason died trying to save me."
Kevin hugged her as she broke down in tears. He whispered, "Come on… We got to keep moving. We don't want to be here when those raptors come back."
She nodded and wiped her tears away. With that, the reunited group set off once again.
After nearly hours of walking, a building loomed on the horizon, and not a moment too soon. Everyone was getting tired and hungry, and Yasmina's ankle was acting up again. Fortunately, they all made it inside and barricaded the doors.