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Shifting Seasons 2018 Writing Contest: Ana and the Exciting Excavation

Ana and the Exciting Excavation
By: Laz

“Ana, my dear,” Polaria welcomed with open arms as Ana hopped out of her winged carriage. “I’m so glad you were able to come. I do apologize for pulling you away from your Serpent Festival and Gala preparations, but I greatly appreciate your attendance.”

“The timing may be inconvenient, but science and discovery are not concerned with our petty festivities,” replied Ana with a smirk as she shook Polaria’s paw. “Besides, I’ll be damned if that blasted cat gets to see this excavation before I do.” She gave a dirty look to Chester who was socializing with Minstrel and Octavia.

“Well, if that is a concern for you, I can assure you that so far the only eyes that have been set on these fossils have been my own and those of my Tigereye paleontologists.”

Ana laughed and placed a paw on Polaria’s shoulder. “I kid, I kid. Our rivalry is quite professional, I assure you.”

Polaria chuckled nervously, then cleared her throat. “I believe we’re ready to head towards the excavation site, if you are ready.”

“Quite ready, yes. I’ve been looking forward to this since I received your invitation.” Ana shook paws gently with Octavia and Minstrel, then grabbed Chester’s paw with an extremely forceful squeeze and shake that made the cat wince through his cheshire grin. “Shall we?”

The gaggle of mayors ooh’d and ah’d their way through the mountain’s canyon. Octavia matched pace with Polaria to ask a stream of science-minded questions as they passed previous sites of archaeological findings. Chester stuck by Minstrel, who seemed very ill at ease; Ana wasn’t sure if it was due to the looming and intimidating cavern walls or the looming and intimidating cat. Ana herself walked a few paces behind the group, unwilling to let any of her colleagues out of her sight, as was her habit. Her eyes drifted up the canyon walls as she admired the aesthetically-pleasing banding of the sedimentary layers.

At the end of their path was an open area with several tents, tarps, and lighting set up as Polaria’s workers hurried to harvest and study their findings. A fox with a dusty lab coat greeted Polaria and led them towards the center of the camp. The visiting mayors gasped when they beheld what was laid out on display:

Newly discovered dinosaur bones! When Ana received Polaria’s letter explaining that the findings indicated these bones to be the missing parts of the dinosaur they’d been trying to piece together for decades, she knew she had to come see it for herself. She had only ever seen dinosaur replicas in an Olde Foxbury museum, and since childhood, she had harbored a secret fascination with bones and fossils. “It feels like such a great privilege to witness something so extraordinary in person,” she spoke softly as the mayors huddled around the arrangement of bones.

“It is humbling indeed,” Polaria nodded. “I’m sure you are all aware of the earthquake that struck through the mountain recently. The rift that opened up after that incident revealed a nearly perfect specimen that matches our previous discoveries and answers several questions we’d been struggling to answer for many years.”

Ana crouched down and touched a paw to the tarp upon which the bones were all laid out. As Polaria gestured towards and named each of the bones, Ana stared at them with a fiercely intense expression. Octavia slowly meandered around the tarp from the other side and leaned over so her face was near Ana’s ear. “Ana, darling… You have something on your chin,” she whispered. Ana wiped her chin with the back of her paw and discovered it was a little wet; her tongue had lolled out at some point. A little embarrassed, she gave Octavia a thankful nod.

Polaria delicately lifted a pale white bone from the tarp. “We believe these belonged to ancient arctic velociraptors as well as those who would migrate south to become the velociraptors who are now native to Olde Foxbury.” Minstrel folded their arms knowingly. “It’s possible that they may even have branched off to evolve into our modern gem raptors as well,” Polaria speculated.

“M-may I see?” Ana suddenly blurted out. The other mayors turned to her incredulously. Normally so stoic or standoffish, it was a bit unusual to see Ana express such excited interest in something other than battle. “That bone, I mean,” she said, attempting to maintain her composure.

“Ah, of course, my dear,” Polaria smiled. “You will all have a chance to hold it.” She passed the bone to Minstrel who was just to her left. “It’s quite special, isn’t it?” Minstrel, being as small as they are, could barely hold the bone, so Chester bent over to give them a hand.

Ana could hardly bear the suspense as the mayors murmured their small talk. She glanced back at the path towards the entrance of the cavern, then glanced at Octavia who was looking back at her suspiciously. There was a look on her face which somehow said:

Don’t do it.

But Ana, always one for a challenge…

When Minstrel was done admiring the fossil, they gave it to Chester, who stood up and held it up close to his face, examining it curiously. Suddenly, breaking the calm atmosphere of the excavation site, Mayor Ana barked at Chester and lunged at him with her teeth bared.


Before Chester could react, Ana had grabbed the bone in her jaws and broke into a mad dash back to her winged carriage. A nearby paleontologist growled in disgust and several workers attempted to give chase, but Ana’s wildly wagging tail and fluttering wings only helped to propel her faster. Chester stood dumbfounded as the other three mayors couldn’t help but laugh at their ridiculous colleague.

“Sh-shouldn’t we be, you know, panicking or something?” Chester inquired of Polaria, amazed that she could somehow be in good spirits despite the apparent sabotage.

“Oh, Chester, dear,” Polaria spoke through her laughs as she placed a paw on the cat’s back. “Don’t worry one bit. These are merely replicas.”