The Gang of Five
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Shorty's Dark Past 3.0


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Previous versions of the story:

SDP - actually bad but feel free to read if you're interested in how this started way back in 2013. Just don't expect much.

SDP 2.0 - major revamp that ran into time and motivation issues before it ever really got going, but it's a major uptick in quality in comparison.

I recommend reading the following two posts in the 2.0 topic before starting here for context.

Ducky brainfart - early 2023 post when I began to realize a 3.0 may be necessary, skip the life updates if they don't interest you.

3.0 Announcement post



Prologue (see below)

A child wakes up in an unknown location, a mysterious but very inviting valley. After looking around, the child feels a sense of adventure and starts exploring. Gradually, the child begins to realize that things are slightly different than they are used to. Could longnecks always fly? Why were they all heading to the exact same location? What’s this eerie feeling? Eventually, a catastrophe happens, which is when the child realizes that it was all just a dream. A dream shared by three little longnecks soon destined to meet through the guidance of the sleep stories…

Chapter 1: Shorty’s Everyday Life Pt.1 - Shorty and Bron GoF

Perfect family life? Hardly! When Shorty wakes up from a bad sleep story one day, he runs into a fight with his caretaker, Bron. Now in a foul mood, the boy escapes the scene to go about his daily activities while also thinking about the grander scale of things not quite working in his favor. Could his troubled past be blamed for the problems he is facing today? What role do the sleep stories play that keep pestering him? As the day matures, Shorty realizes that a lot of his priorities and desires don’t go hand in hand.
Meanwhile, Bron reminisces about how he came to live together with the troublemaker he’s taking care of, as well as his past failures. That is, until herd duties catch up to him…

Chapter 2: Shorty’s Everyday Life Pt.2 - Relicts Of A Dark Past GoF

A random encounter with a kid he doesn’t know raises Shorty’s awareness of the reputation he has built over the years. While he enjoys the many facets of being a bully, his image leads to a number of issues, and Shorty begins to realize that some things could quickly spiral out of his control if he continues to act in this fashion. Determined to make amends and get involved in a casual game, he sets out to meet the group of hatchlings he once protected, but will they even listen to the bully?


Shorty's Dark Past 3.0


The child opened their eyes, groggily rubbing the sleepy grains out of their eyes as drowsiness gradually gave way to a growing level of consciousness and awareness. Uttering a hearty yawn in a final if futile attempt of its body to retain some sleepiness, it rose to its feet, taking in its surroundings. The soothing warmness on the child’s back was a firm sign that it must have terribly overslept. A brief skyward glance revealed that the Bright Circle had already moved well past its morning location, approaching its noon position with reliable determination.

“Damn, already this late?” the young kid lamented as a fleeting feeling of guilt engulfed them. Indeed, there’d be no breakfast today as lunchtime was approaching quickly already. At the prospect of food, the child felt prompted to look for something to eat, its desire soon highlighted by a nagging stomach growl. The child took note of its body’s antics with a brief giggle before casting their gaze into the surrounding area.

Wait, what?

The child blinked as if double-checking whether the grains of sleep were still perturbing its vision. Finding its eyes perfectly clean and unobstructed, however, a haunting realization dawned on the tiny dinosaur.

I do not recognize this place at all!

For some moment, a silent battle was raging on their face. Excited squeals and its gaping mouth competed with worried frowns stirred by the fear of the unknown and unfamiliar. It seemed as though it had woken up in a valley the child had never been to before.

Mountains, so steep that climbing them seemed futile, were towering above the whole location, with rare vegetation somehow holding onto the bare, jagged rock. Forests were growing at the edges, and the grass beneath the child’s feet was green and moist. At the valley's center, a medium-sized, gently flowing river meandered its way through the inviting landscape presented to the curious child. If they followed its path upwards, eventually, their eyes would be greeted by the vista of a splashing and cascading waterfall poring over the crooked rock, a beautiful display of Sky-Colors capturing its attention and awe for some moments.

Only after some time did they decide to look the other way. Already relatively narrow, the valley appeared to be narrowing further downstream. A massive, rocky wall eventually blocked the river, bottling the continuously pouring water  into a small lake.

The child watched the water gently flowing downstream as if enticed by an invisible force. With no apparent outlet, they could only assume the existence of an underground passageway; otherwise, the valley would flood entirely sooner rather than later. Still searching for an answer to this water problem, its eyes fell on what appeared to be a small gap in the rocky walls that quickly led out of the child’s sight. Could this be the entrance and exit of this mysterious location?

Seeing such a wondrous environment distracted the child momentarily from some finer details that had initially failed to register in their mind. Its hunger was already long forgotten and buried by the amount of curiosity this unknown place was sparking. Leaving such a place unexplored seemed like a terrible waste. Thus, the youngling promptly set into motion. They had hardly begun to move their feet when figures they hadn’t noticed before appeared in front of their eyes.

Longnecks, hundreds of them, it seemed, could be seen lumbering through the valley at a gentle pace. Being a longneck themselves, this brought great relief to the child. After all, longnecks in such numbers also meant safety! They were all headed towards what seemed to be an exit somewhere ahead - towards the exit the child was keen on exploring anyhow.

Looks like they’re all heading to the same place, guess I’ll just tag along!

Hopping around happily, the child began to steer its feet in their general direction, feeling soft grass on their toes while breathing in the humid air. The scent of adventure lay in the air, luring the young longneck like a trapping tree. It hadn’t occurred to the child at all that it could neither recall its family, friends, or even its name. Their adventurous spirit was tremendously stronger than any other emotion, overriding its basic needs.

Initially, the child didn’t notice the oddity during its trek as it was constantly gawking awe-struck at random sights. Trees it had never seen, flowers more colorful than it could ever recall, and rocks in various shapes, too. The child took in all these visual inputs, further enhancing the experience as it traveled. However, eventually, its gaze returned to the herd of longnecks to check their positions. Surprised, the child came to a halt. Its eyes widened when it finally noticed  something fundamentally different about those longnecks.

Huh? Are these longnecks… flying?

For the third time today, the child questioned its eyes, but no amount of blinking or rubbing could alter the vision it was seeing. There was no point in denying the obvious. Although a greatly obscure thing to occur, these longnecks were undoubtedly walking through the air, hovering just a little over the ground.

Since when can longnecks fly? Only flyers and some bugs can fly. Maybe I’m actually dreaming all of this right now?

The child was still perplexed and awe-struck all the same by this discovery when, suddenly, it felt a sudden force taking hold of its body, first pulling on its long tail, then on its even longer neck until it, too, was hovering a little bit above the green grass.

“Whoa!” it thought, simultaneously scared and amazed by the sudden ability. A careful kick of its leg thrust it further skyward. Experimenting with its newly acquired skill, it soon knew how to navigate and aimed for a hovering rock (since when could rocks hover in the air?) not too far away. As it leaped onto the rock, it began spinning really fast, momentarily confusing the child’s head. A magnificent view greeted its eyes as soon as the rock halted again.

The Bright Circle had been obscured for a while now, but just as the child set its eyes upon the sky, the fiery orb appeared behind a random Sky Puffy, shining brilliance upon the whole valley. Abruptly, without the child’s consent, it began hovering towards the mysterious exit of the valley that everyone seemed to head to. But, strangely enough, the child was in the least worried. Some subconscious feeling was whispering in an alluring tone that this must be a great thing to happen. A great adventure, a new ability… what could possibly not be great about it?

It didn’t occur to the child at all that the Bright Circle was hovering just above the apparent destination of all those longnecks. Gradually, the herd was pouring towards the small lake at the end of the valley, much akin to the waterway they were roughly following. Although the excitement and utter joy never quite waned during this journey, gradually, a somewhat eerie feeling began to take root in its chest, growing slowly but steadily in intensity the closer they got to the exit of the valley, growing ever more intense as the towering walls of the surrounding mountains came closer and closer with the narrowing valley as if about to embrace them, squeeze them until they could no longer breathe.

Regardless, the child hovered on. Being guided by an unknown force, there wasn’t anything the kid could do to alter its speed and course. Soon, they had reached the narrow and steep passageway that led across the humongous walls of the valley. Thanks to their flying ability, ascending the challenging, heavily sloping path wasn’t arduous at all, but, hardly in, the situation rapidly began to change.

Without warning, the light began to dim, the warm rays of the Bright Circle no longer bringing pleasure to the child’s back. The eerie feeling spiked suddenly, finally overthrowing the call of adventure. The child dared to cast a skyward gaze as fear crept into its legs.

The Bright Circle was slowly disappearing not behind clouds but behind what they could only describe with their childlike mind as a black “ball” in the sky, absorbing almost all light and thus appearing as dark as a cloudy Night Circle-less night.

Clouds, resembling smoke much more than anything, began rapidly developing around the weakening Bright Circle, spiraling closer and closer.

What is happening!?

The child could only watch helplessly as the mysterious black orb approached the bright, familiar one. Upon contact, sparks were splattering all over the horizon. Initially, the crowd appeared mesmerized by the display. However, their awe quickly transmuted into fright as streaks of fire and pebble-sized, fiery rocks began raining down on the land, increasing in size and intensity the more these two orbs interacted.

The child panicked, but their unsatiated curiosity kept its eyes firmly directed at the frightening spectacle. Darkness gradually spread over the crowd as the Bright Circle was consumed.

After a short but ferocious battle, the Bright Circle lost completely to this mysterious black orb, going into complete hiding and turning noon into nighttime. Rocks the size of large boulders were crashing down, occasionally impacting the nearby walls and causing rockslides to ride downhill. Even now, the sky continued to blacken until only the streaks of fire could give the child a sense of orientation.

Panicked screams sprung up everywhere as the herd of longnecks began to grasp the very danger of this situation. Readily, the child tuned into the concert of ever-increasing screams mingling with the rumbling of falling rocks. Terrified by the events, terrified by the darkness that had spread over the land quickly, it closed its eyes.

However, children were too curious for their own good. They always were. This young fellow, too, couldn’t quench its thirst for knowledge entirely, even at the prospect of acute danger.

If only a little bit, it opened one eye only to see the Bright Circle reappear. But something was wrong. Terribly wrong. It went too fast for the child even to realize what was happening. One moment, it saw a ball of fire approaching fast until it filled the sky. There was a brief moment of unbearable light and heat and then… nothing.

It was at this precise moment that the child screamed at the top of its lungs…


Three little longnecks harshly rose from their sleep with little warning, uttering a panicked scream as they did, heart pumping, breath going fast, legs ready to sprint at full speed, only to realize they had once again had the very same sleep story which had been bothering them for a good while. Little did they know that those were no ordinary sleep stories… and little did they know that these sleep stories would one day lead them all to the same place in a fateful twist of events...

Grunting in annoyance, Littlefoot, Ali, and Shorty slowly calmed down before they went back to sleep.


As announced, here it is! The first chapter of SDP has always historically being the prologue. At first, it was just a few sentences written in rather poor grammar. And now, it's a fleshed out dream with many descriptions to give a sense of what the anonymous longneck child is seeing, feeling and experiencing in this fantastical dream!

For those of you who are new to the story, here's some quick context:

Shorty's Dark Past reinterpretes the entirety of movie 10, turning a 80 minute movie into a tale that, if ever seeing completion, could easily reach the complexity and word count of some of the most established fanfictions the LBT community has brought up yet. It will be a dark tale featuring many themes such as friendship, family and romance but also frequently delves into dark topics, mental disorders and violence that occasionally goes a little graphic.

At its core, it explores Shorty's canonically unknown past, the reason why he ended up being a bully adopted by Bron and all these other things the 10th movie never bothered to explain (like why didn't they bring back Ali or this guy?  :DocSerious ) but it is so much more complex than that. If you're new to the story, I invite you to stick around for (hopefully) regular uploads and if you're a long term follower, I hope I can make the reuploads of improved old chapters as entertaining as possible.  :^^spike

First regular upload will be on January 01st so stay tuned for that and feel free to leave a review, thoughts, theories and feedback  :yes

« Last Edit: April 17, 2024, 09:45:30 AM by Ducky123 »
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Chapter 1: Shorty’s Everyday Life Pt.1 - Shorty and Bron

Shorty couldn’t recall screaming like a hatchling, but when he came to, the sound echoing back to his ears was a little too reminiscent of his voice to mistake it for someone else’s. Although attempting to deny it, his heavy breath counteracted every doubt that he’d been having a nightmare once again - and a pretty bad one at that.

The soft feeling of wet grass under his belly felt much more comfortable than the blazing heat he’d been. facing in his dream. Moreover, the ever-reliable tug of gravity felt tremendously more natural than hovering through the air without the ability to steer.

Grunting, the boy got to his feet as the echo of his pathetic scream finally subsided. Typically, a freakish sleep story like this wouldn’t bother him much at all. Shorty wasn’t the type to dwell much on these things, but lately, he’d been having this very sleep story or slight variations of it almost every night, much to his dismay.

Randomly waking up because of them while screaming like a maniac wasn’t exactly his idea of starting a morning, but it had become a routine rather than an exception. He often found himself restless and felt powerless over the phenomenon. He hated not being in control.

Shorty cast a glance into the distance to get a feeling of time and, more importantly, remind him that he was no longer at that place with its high, towering mountains and narrow valleys but at his home - the Land Of Many Skywaters. Quite unlike the place he kept seeing in his nightmares, his home featured a far-stretching expanse of endless forests rather than a thin valley.

His nest perched on one of many smaller hills that occasionally broke through the foliage here and there, giving him an excellent view over the surrounding area. Trees towering taller than the largest longnecks broke through the green foliage in many places, though a thin layer of morning fog still embraced their silhouettes. The Bright Circle hadn’t quite risen yet, though daybreak would arrive very soon, given that the darkness of the night had largely retreated far beyond the horizon.

The Land Of Many Skywaters didn’t have an actual name as far as Shorty knew as it was a place so far-stretching that no one really knew its actual extent, but everyone just called it that because it genuinely described his home well. Hardly a day went by without rain falling from the skies - the secret to the forest’s immense fertility, which was second to none he had ever seen. The drought that was said to ravage large parts of the known world hadn’t found its way into the paradise he was lucky to call his home, and he hoped that it would never find these endless forests.

A sudden thirst prompted him to move to a little puddle next to his nest, which formed almost every night due to the frequent rains. His eyes fell on his reflection. A longneck stared back at him, sky-blue eyes mustering him skeptically. He wore dark green scales on his back, a more leafy shade of green adorning his flanks, and a very light shade of beige across his belly and the frontal parts of his long neck.

Quite unlike many other longnecks he knew, Shorty sported a bony crown on his head, which he simply regarded as a ‘bump’. While not entirely unheard of, this variation within his kind appeared to be a relatively rare sight in the lands he lived in now, leaving him with mixed opinions about his unique feature.

For a boy his age, just a little shy of entering the growth spurt that determined the beginning of the age of growing up, his body was surprisingly well-built and muscular. One didn’t become a strong longneck by idling about. Shorty had learned this fairly early in his life and had been training his body whenever he had time to kill, putting special effort into his tail skills to fight like his big idol one day.

“G’morning, Shorty.”

…who also happened to be his biggest nuisance and nemesis. Shorty froze in his tracks as a deep voice echoed through the quiet morning air, the source right behind him. Could he have heard him scream just earlier?

“Mornin’...” Shorty muttered quietly, taking a few sips of water as originally intended before turning his head towards the source of the voice who had addressed him just now. An adult longneck lay on the ground a little distance uphill, grinning at his younger self. A brown palette painted the scales of the adult male, and Shorty could feel himself being scanned by his keen blue eyes, though they also had a bit of a green color mixed in, unlike his own. 

If someone asked him about their relationship, he’d probably tell them that the adult was just ‘someone he’s living with’, but could he say this straightly without disregarding his true feelings?

“Had a good rest, Shorty?” the grown-up wondered casually while unlimbering his four large legs to rise to his full, fairly impressive height. “Almost thought I heard you scream in my sleep, but I was probably just hearing things…”

So he DID hear it! Urgh…

Shorty grunted audibly at this.

“... You know, sometimes the silliest things happen when we sleep,” the grown-up said, realizing that Shorty had seen through his words, but the young boy’s grumpy face strafed him quickly, so he decided to change the topic.

“A-anyways, what about breakfast?”

“I can grab it myself, Bron,” Shorty growled, turning tail and heading downhill toward the extensive forests below.

“I never doubted that you could, Shorty, but let’s have breakfast together,” the adult longneck called Bron appealed, but his words fell on deaf ears. “You know, other families do that all the time. I think we should also…”

At this, he got the boy’s attention. Shorty wheeled around as if preparing to strike an opponent with his. tail and yelled.

“Oh yeah? Too bad we aren’t a REAL family then!”


Bron sighed heavily as the longneck watched the boy storm off into the shadows of the large trees below. As much as he wanted to say otherwise, Shorty hadn’t chosen these words carelessly.

Feeling quite downcast, the adult walked to the top of the hill to cast a view into the vast lands he called his home. It was a habit of his that always came to view when he needed to remind himself of the sheer magnitude of the problems of the past, which made his little fight with Shorty seem ridiculously insignificant in comparison.

Had someone told him a few years ago that he would be living a fulfilled life ever again, he probably would have smacked them senseless with his tail for it. His home had been taken by the drought when it emerged everywhere in the known dinosaur world, and his family had been taken by a sharptooth when he wasn’t there to protect them. Everything else got ripped apart by the most descriptive and fatal earthshake remembered in their generation, only a gaping slash in the landscape remaining of the place he used to call his home.

Bron had lost everything that ever mattered to him. After walking for years searching for a place to call home only to realize such utopia no longer existed anywhere in their world, he had found their home destroyed and abandoned. Most dinosaurs likely would have surrendered to the cruelty of life, but Bron carried on even after learning about the fate of his loved ones from a stranger he had met.

Bron could still feel a force tug at his heart as he briefly allowed himself to remember these dark times. Had it not been for a certain hope he still carried up to this day, maybe he would have never ended up becoming the kind of dinosaur he had ultimately become.

His gaze now traveled across the limitless greenery of the Lands Of Many Skywater, which he could now call his home. Slowly but surely, these lands stretching as far as the eye could see came to life as hundreds of longnecks gradually woke up to the first rays of morning light. And he was their leader, a longneck who used to be on the brink of giving up just a few years ago. Now, his life had a new meaning: to lead and protect hundreds of strangers who became the family that he had lost.

And, to some, he was even a little more than that.

A small smile appeared on his face as the thought tickled his mind. Indeed, coming here and gazing across these lands always helped him appreciate life's gifts, even though he deserved none. But his smile didn’t last long as the issue of Shorty resurfaced in his mind.

That boy…


That Bron…

A pebble went rocketing into the scrub, adorning a loose path countless feet had paved over time. Shorty was still stuck in the motion of shooting it, his tail tip nearly reaching past his head as his eyes followed the little object zip out of sight. Finally, he lowered his tail, releasing the tension he had built up in his muscles. A grim expression painted his face as he angrily spat on the ground.

“Seriously, what’s his problem?!”

After practicing his swing one more time, he aimed his tail at a nearby palm tree carrying some fruits at the top. Upon impact, the whole plant shuddered and released a tremendous amount of its treasures, dropping to the ground next to the green-colored longneck.

“I CAN get my own food. He doesn’t need to babysit me anymore!”

Shorty ranted at no one in particular, for very few dinosaurs would care if they overheard. While digging into the food he obtained for himself, Shorty mused that Bron rarely ever truly cared for him. He often used the pretense of trying to be more like a family as he did earlier, but when it really mattered to him, the grown-up never lived up to his words.

Quite frankly, the boy was sick of playing this little pretend game. If he just grew a little larger, he’d likely no longer need the adult to supervise him. He could already care for himself, fend for himself, and make his own decisions. He prided himself in these abilities just as he prided himself in having just about enough common sense to keep playing this game however long it would be necessary.

…which still didn’t mean he played it happily.


While Bron knew the fate of his former mate, who died protecting their son Littlefoot from a sharptooth, no one had ever been able to tell him about his fate. At least, reports seemed to agree that his mother had spared him a gruesome death by the teeth of that sharptooth, but no one knew what happened to him beyond that.

Had he been crushed during the earthquake? Had another sharptooth found him soon after, or was the boy lucky enough to find someone to take in an orphaned child like him? Bron had dedicated the remainder of his life to finding his son. At some point along this hopeless quest, he found the longneck who set the incredible chain of events into motion that ultimately led to his current life.

Bron could still remember vividly. He had found Shorty in the deepest parts of the drought-stricken deserts, orphaned and gaunt. Despite his tender age and critical situation, the boy had somehow managed to keep a flock of hatchlings alive. Back then, Bron could only see a child that wasn’t the lost son he hoped to find and decided to leave them to their fate. But the children followed him, and he eventually agreed to take care of them.

While the task of guarding the orphans gave him a new sense of duty, replacing his growing depression at the time, a thought had crossed his mind back then, which still resurfaced at times like these. What if someone else found Littlefoot orphaned and alone? Would he have wanted some other dinosaur to take him in? Love him like he was their son while he so desperately tried to find him?

To this day, Bron hadn’t found a satisfying answer, but if he had to be honest with himself, he couldn’t entirely regret all his decisions. Life was a little too full of what-ifs to always walk the correct path. What truly mattered was how he dealt with the detours and fallbacks that the Great Circle of Life would often throw at him randomly.

He’d never know if he would have found his lost son eventually, but Bron knew that Shorty and the other longnecks he protected wouldn’t have survived in the long run. Meeting the green little troublemaker gave him a new purpose to carry on, which, in time, led him to become the strong and charismatic leader he had become. And, just perhaps, somewhere out there, someone might be happy about his efforts to look after him, even if it wasn’t always easy…

“Oh Shorty…”

A sigh escaped the grown-up as his thoughts shifted back to the present. Despite his best efforts, he could only describe their relationship as strained. He had never attempted to act as the child’s parent fully. Neither could he. Being a herd leader came with a wide range of responsibilities. Besides, a small part of him still carried some small hope of seeing his lost son again one day, sabotaging his commitment to the task at times.

The smaller hatchlings all ended up being adopted by fellow herd members. Still, no one seemed to show any interest in adopting Shorty, a boy who had already developed a distinct and sometimes problematic personality at the time. Bron didn’t particularly mind, though. Shorty could be good company if he wanted to, and the adult would be lying if he claimed he hadn’t grown attached in some ways.

Regardless, there were… issues…


It would be preposterous to say Shorty didn’t care about Bron. After all, Bron had saved his life. Even someone as proud as Shorty couldn’t just pretend it didn’t happen to save face. Bron saved him and gave him a place in the herd, a place to sleep, and something as close to home as he could call it. However, Shorty couldn’t really say the adult tended to his remaining needs.

There used to be a time shortly after they decided to travel together as a herd when Shorty actually felt something akin to a bond forming between them. Nowadays, he wasn’t so sure anymore. He was no longer a stupid kid, and Bron became increasingly caught up in his duties, occasionally forgetting that someone special like him was worth much more than the average herd member.

Grumpily, he bit into a fruit so passionately that the juice splattered all over him, but Shorty paid the incident no heed. When he was younger, he secretly craved Bron's attention, admiration, and affection, but the adult only ever had scolding and reprimands left for him if he had time to spare. And even when he was available, Bron could never give him what he truly wanted.

A family. A loving, understanding family. Affection. Shorty didn’t like sounding sappy, but if he had to be honest with himself - if he had to dig really deep down into the depth of his heart… then those were the words bubbling forth like a hot spring. Then again, he didn’t have to look too far into the past to realize he could be off much, much worse…

Shorty would discredit his caretaker if he claimed he didn’t try to offer him a family. He’d be lying, too, if he claimed Bron was unable to show kindness. But could he even call his style of pretending to care, but being distant when it mattered an attempt? Especially when, officially, Bron had never formally offered him adoption? Especially when various adults took in the kids HE had protected while no one seemed to want or credit him for the deed?

Ever since learning about these things, Shorty gave up. Unable to get what he wanted and needed, he learned to live without relying on others more than required. Kindness and nice words just weren’t meant to be given to him, no matter where he went. No one saw his qualities or the effort he put in day after day either. No one gave him the attention and respect he desired so much.

Some may have given up, crushed by the harshness of reality, but not Shorty. The young longneck knew he could always rely on his strength. If there was nobody to rely on, he just had to learn to depend on himself while crushing those who opposed him. Over time, he had built an impressive amount of confidence, believing and trusting himself over others.

He didn’t have any real ambitions yet, but there were a few things he just liked to do occasionally. Finishing his meal, he began strolling through his home's sheer, endless greenery. Seemingly at random, he walked, leaving the paths his fellow herd members had waltzed through the forest and slipping into the undergrowth which hid him perfectly…


Keeping Shorty in line hadn’t always been easy. As a matter of fact, it was nearly impossible. The boy had quickly begun to assert dominance over those beneath him. Bron caught him mocking, harassing, or outright abusing other children in his herd more often than he could recall. In particular, he seemed to target the hatchlings he used to protect, and Bron was at a loss as to why he did any of it.

It pained him to admit, but the boy he looked after bullied his fellow peers as opposed to building productive social ties. It also pained him to admit that he lacked a good response. Bron had never quite had a chance to grow into the role of a parent, which left him with some deficits. Deficits that came to haunt him in situations like these.

While he knew he had to rebuke the boy for his actions, Bron often found their relationship to be at odds whenever he did. Turning a blind eye to his activities, in turn, vastly improved the likelihood of Shorty not giving him the cold shoulder. Unfortunately, this threatened his legitimacy as the leader of the herd. As such, when someone really got hurt, he had to act but usually stopped at warnings, rarely ever sentencing the boy to anything unless things got out of hand.

Bron could only muse about the boy’s motifs. His urge to prove himself better than anyone else around him often reached a concerning level. Meanwhile, Bron knew very little about the time before Shorty joined him. At some point, the boy disclosed having a poor family life, which eventually prompted him to become a runaway. Bron had made sure to lecture him about it, but Shorty never mentioned his past again. Bron hadn’t inquired about it again.

…which didn’t stop him from theorizing occasionally. What could he have experienced to arrive at such a personality, which only seemed to grow worse with age? What past trauma could cause this behavior, and how could he go about it? What did Shorty actually want from him? What did he lack?

Bron sighed. There were so many things he didn’t know about the boy in spite of living together for nearly. half of the boy’s lifetime. He caused him more trouble than anything, yet Bron couldn’t stop feeling indebted to the boy for opening his eyes and prompting him to quit his fruitless search in favor of a life he was now content living. He could never tell the boy, though, for their relationship never pierced deeper than the shallowest surface.

Shorty rarely shared his feelings with him even if he asked him nicely, so Bron had always assumed the boy wasn’t interested in his feelings either. Bron didn’t feel happy about all of these things, but he accepted Shorty as long as Shorty accepted him, too. Frankly, it wasn’t exactly the happy family life he envisioned, but neither had any reason to dig deeper. And, partly, both knew of the other’s past hardships just enough to know digging things up wasn’t an excellent way to start a conversation.

Bron struggled with many negative emotions whenever the past came knocking on his door. Everything that happened back then - the loss of his family and the failure of his journey to find better lands for their son to grow up, all boiled down to a single conclusion: It had been his fault. He failed to protect them. Everything he ever aspired to be died on the fateful day he wasn’t there to protect his family.

He had a new family now. But most of them didn’t know of his past failures. They didn’t know that there was once a time when he wasn’t the glorious, brave, and charismatic leader he chose to become for their sake. Shorty, on the other hand, knew all of it and never blamed him for any of it in spite of his foul mouth.

While Bron felt a certain sense of encouragement as the thought brushed his mind, he couldn’t help but wonder if Shorty might have encountered things even worse than this. Things that caused him to be so wary and distrusting of him that he even had to hide his secret idolism. After all, Bron wasn’t just the leader of the herd. He was their strongest, most experienced fighter, too. Shorty admired him for it, but he never quite liked to be open about it.

Bron felt another sigh escape his throat. While he stood up here on this hill, momentarily observing the Bright Circle starting its journey across the horizon, Shorty was likely up to some mischief, and there was little Bron could do about it. If only they shared a stronger bond,  if only he could be a better role model for the boy, then perhaps he could guide him to a better future, but, alas, things never quite seemed to go the right way between them.

Guess I’ll have breakfast on my own again. Wonder if he’ll agree to dinner later?

Bron was still pondering how to get Shorty to agree to a family meal when the telltale sound of a large, quadrupedal creature making its way up his hill disturbed his breakfast before it had a chance to begin.


Gradually, as Shorty snuck past countless trees, ferns, and bushes, his anger diminished somewhat as his hunger was now taken care of. Yet, his mind continued to churn at the prospect of the damaged bond he shared with Bron.

Shorty sighed. He didn’t know if he could judge Bron for his relative lack of ambition when it came to their family life. Bron didn’t fully commit to their relationship, but could he blame him when considering that he, too, preferred to wait for something to happen instead of taking the initiative?

He honestly didn’t hate Bron, but could he really see them as a family due to the distance they both kept between them? Obnoxious and trying to act like a supervisor more than a parent, he ultimately wasn’t. any more or less than someone looking after him, which Shorty didn’t desire. At times, it drove him mad, but he already had bad enough of a morning to bother dwelling any further on it.

Moreover, when he thought back to a time before Bron had joined his life, he had to admit that the current state of things wasn’t nearly as terrible as he made it sound. At least he had some freedom in his shitty life and didn’t need to worry about his next meal or his next punishment. Even though he hated to admit it, things could indeed be worse.

Instead of complaining any further, Shorty began to enter a walk as the day started to mature into that sweet time between morning and noon when the temperature and humidity were still comfortable. Occasionally, he would slap or shove random rocks and trees, testing if he could move them. He would randomly enter sprints or repeatedly slam to the floor before pushing himself back to his feet.

This behavior may look ridiculous to an outsider, but it was training for Shorty. Strengthening his body had a purpose, unlike many of his other pastimes. Thus, he preferred filling his idle time with exercises like this. A longneck who was strong, fast, and quick to react was less likely to end up in a predator’s. stomach. Besides, they were also more likely to emerge victorious in a fight among peers.

Few children in his herd dared to stand up to him. They were too big and old to care about someone as short as him, or they were intimidated into avoiding him or doing whatever he told them if they crossed paths. His short-for-his-age size could be considered a problem he’d like to do something about, but, more importantly, he truly yearned for a dinosaur to compete with.

For someone as underappreciated and commonly ignored as him, nothing hurt more than not getting any credit whatsoever. Not having any friends was one thing. Playing and goofing around, while nice and fun, was a waste of time. But a rival to spar with, yell at, and mutually respect…

Well, one couldn’t ask for too much, Shorty thought. The green longneck was used to having it rough, and he knew how to deal with not getting what he wanted. It wasn’t pleasant, granted, but his current abilities, strengths, and priorities were limited to what he could achieve. A friend likely wouldn’t save his ass but their own. But he could save himself when the time came to prove it. He knew that one day, he wouldn’t be Shorty, the longneck always drawing the short stick anymore.

While spinning all these thoughts, Shorty unknowingly approached a group of children playing Hide and Seek until he nearly stumbled upon one of the kids hiding in a bush a little off a nearby path…


Bron’s neck craned around to meet a familiar face approaching him. A large male longneck had entered his realm, briefly nodding when they established eye contact. Bron returned the nod.

“Deputy Will, it’s nice to see you,” Bron spoke as he invited the other adult into his nest. “What brings you here so early in the morning? Don’t tell me, did Shorty hurt someone again?”

Bron had to admit that he was always a little on edge when Will approached him for a report. He held significant authority in his herd as the leading deputy and de facto second in command. He would often gather intel from other sub-deputies to present the information to him for evaluation. It wasn’t rare that such information entailed the vast diversity of Shorty’s mischief.

“Not yet, but the day’s still young,” the male grunted sternly. Bron could feel some relief as Will wasn’t someone he wanted to get on the wrong side of. Although the dark-grey-colored longneck wasn’t much taller than him, Will’s body was unusually massive in every sense, which translated to strength visible enough to scare many sharpteeth away without risking a battle.

While Bron fought with technical skill and an exceptional dose of trusting his gut, Will was a brute force to be reckoned with. Together, hardly a sharptooth stood a chance against them. Bron had chosen him as his primary deputy for those qualities, although he had to admit that Will had a few shortcomings. On a personal level, they just didn’t get along. Though, in terms of work, they complimented each other brilliantly.

“Hate to bug yer so early in the morning, but the herd’s in unrest lately,” Will explained, glancing into the distance, seemingly beyond the visible horizon.

“Yes, I know,” Bron replied, following his example. “The sleepstories, right?”

“Ye, damn them,” Will cursed, shaking his neck as if to shake the very memory out of his mind. “Haven’t spoken to everyone yet, but there’s an alarming amount of longnecks saying they wanna follow their instincts, yer know? Those blasted nightmares are on a good path of tearing the herd apart if we don’t do something about it.”

Bron nodded in silent agreement. None of this was news to him because he could feel the effects these dreams caused. Deep down, he wanted to leave this place to go on a vast journey to lands unknown. Historically, he had been quite the adventurer, so, at first, he hadn’t thought much about it, blaming these emotions on the relative lack of thrill and excitement in his stable life. However, they were a little too persistent to be a mere craving of his mind.

These sudden urges coincided with the rise of those night terrors that caused Shorty and him trouble each night. Bron couldn’t understand what was happening to him and his herd, but he knew it was far from a trivial disturbance in their daily lives. If the reports were accurate, nearly every member of his herd shared these odd cravings. Bron couldn’t fathom the forces at work here, but that didn’t change the responsibility that resulted from it.

“Do you think we should discuss this in a herd meeting, Will?” Bron pondered as his gaze returned to the present. “I think this is something the herd needs to decide together.”

“If ya ask me, Bron, this is probably all rubbish, and we shouldn’t listen to this nonsense,” Will elaborated agitatedly. However, the large longneck couldn’t deny that, sometimes, the things that were right and best didn’t align, prompting a tough decision. “Hate to say it though, it’s tempting even reasonable folk such as me, so I think I know where the vote will be going…”

“Let’s announce a meeting for tomorrow then,” Bron suggested, sighing at the prospect of a possibly life-changing decision. “I’ll help you spread the news once I’ve had a meal.”


Apologies for skipping the first upload date but future installments should be on schedule. The nature of this chapter and the changes it brings to the story forced me to seek a 2nd opinion on a few things before publishing this.

There are a few things that ran through my mind when designing this entirely new beginning to Shorty's Arc.

1.) I found Shorty's version of the pre- going adventurung time to be lacking in 2.0, especially considering that Ali and Littlefoot got much more fleshed out scenes despite not being the main character of the story. We never really learned what kind of home he lived in and what kind of daily life (and related problems) he had there. This is now fixed and this chapter and the ones to follow aim to build the world and his character before sending him on his way.

2.) I strongly disliked my take on Shorty's relationship with Bron and vice versa. This chapter is centered around the conflict between these two and why it exists. Both characters kind of want to live as a family but neither fully commits to it which leads to an awkward circle of "if you don't like me, I won't like you". Both of them have reasons to act the way they do and it is not yet clear if they are planning to resolve their alienated relationship.

3.) Some characters have begun writing themselves throughout the duration of this project which raised their importance to the plot of the story massively up to the point where it may become feasible to introduce them earlier than originally planned. While this doesn't apply to chapter 1 yet (minus Will, but he's been introduced early even in version 1), I'm sure you'll see a familiar face in the next chapter  :exactly

4.) Future arcs demand that the previous introduction scene (Bron and Shorty meeting in the past) needs to be moved into the far future of the story. I do not want to spoil anything important for new readers which limits my ability to explain this decision. Let's just say, there will be a time when Shorty is forced to look into his dark past (similar to how it went in version 1.0, just 10x more extensive and detailed) and his meeting with Bron just needs to be there because it will teach him an important lesson which I cannot teach with summaries of what happens. Unfortunately, this also forced me to write a chapter, that's very heavy on "telling" stuff because showing the details comes muuuuuuuuch later. It's an issue I'm aware of and I'm planning to write the coming chapters more interactively. There's just a lot of information needed here to give context to Shorty and Bron's relatinship and why it evolved the way it did.

5.) I also intend to write the story chronologically whenever possible. Old versions often swapped back and forth for the sake of alternating between certain arcs that ran simultaneously. Therefore, I no longer wish to start the story in the past but in the present when the sleepstory situation is about to become acute. I consider Shorty's home (designed after modern tropical rainforests) to be the furthest from the location which means their journey needs to start first. And he's the main character, cut him some slack  :exactly

Some other things on my mind:

You may have noticed, that the story now features Acts or Arcs, however you want to call them. This is purely a stylistic decision of mine, it doesn't change anything in the story other than making it a little more clear in what phase of the story we are. And I daresay we won't see Act 2 before 2025  :bolt

The story will be lagging behind by one chapter on

Thanks to rhombus & my good friend Mr. Ajax, who's not on the GoF, for helping me with this chapter!  :bronGoodJob

I think that's it. Please let me know what you think about this new start of the story, yep yep yep  :duckyhappy

Inactive, probably forever.


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Chapter 2: Shorty’s Everyday Life Pt.2 - Relicts Of A Dark Past

Shorty wouldn’t have noticed the kid if the light-gray-colored longneck hadn’t spotted him. Upon realizing who he was, the kid panicked and jumped out of their hideout, prepared to run if they needed to. Shorty jerked out of his gloomy thoughts upon seeing the trembling kid.

The green longneck didn’t even recognize them by name like so many dinosaurs who never bothered to care about him, prompting him to be mutual about it. Usually, he’d come up with a witty way to mock or harass the kid, but he didn’t quite feel like it today. Too heavy were the worries he carried with him, but perhaps some distraction could help him focus later. With this in mind, he opened his mouth to speak up.

“Whatcha’ doing?” he asked the timid longneck boy, who grew more panicked by the minute. Shorty immediately noticed the kid’s shaky knees. “Is this some kind of workout? What part of the body does it strengthen?”

As Shorty chatted casually, the sound of the kids' teeth clattering rang through the air at an increasing volume, even overtaking the screeches of the flyers who roamed the skies above. He knew very well why the child was trembling at the sight of him, but he did his best to address them without malice. Right now, he didn’t want to hurt the boy. He just wanted to chat, maybe play a game or two. But the child didn’t look like they were in any shape to talk or play.

“Sorry, did I interrupt you? What were you doing? Perhaps doing business down there?”

Shorty had to force himself not to laugh out loud. The comment slipped from his mouth out of habit before his brain could interrupt. Usually, he would have said stuff like this at the first opportunity. Only now, as the kid instinctively ducked even lower in his presence, it occurred to him that his question might come across as offensive. Then again, in the back of his mind, he already knew the foolishness of his attempt at peaceful communication with the child.

“N-n-n-n-no, I w-w-wasn’t d-d-doing t-that,” the kid stuttered, giving Shorty an even harder time staying serious. “H-h-hide and S-s-s-seek, y-y-you know?”

“Well, if you shake any harder, you might do business anyhow.”

Shorty couldn’t help but blurt it out, seeing tears pop out of the kid’s eyes as he ridiculed him. But Shorty didn’t do it on purpose, harassing the child instinctively. Like hatchlings who learned to walk without thinking about every step they took, he had learned to insult and mock others. Although he knew it was too late to fix his faux pas, he nonetheless made an offer.

“Hey, how about it? You let me play a few Hide and Seek games with you, and I won’t tell your friends you nearly made a mess? Do we have a deal?”

Unfortunately, the kid was already petrified in fear, unable to move his lips and limbs and trembling so hard that Shorty reckoned a mere breeze would be enough to push him over.

“I take that as a ‘yes’?” Shorty prompted, giving the boy just a little poke, which indeed tripped and fell him. The resulting eruption of hysterical cries quickly alerted whoever the boy was playing with. Before Shorty knew it, another longneck, pinker than healthy for a longneck, stormed into view, yelling as she did.

“Leave my dear Skitter alone, you bully!”

Shorty had never seen the girl before but couldn’t be bothered to correct her presumptuous accusations, for his point had already been proven.

“You can have him; I don’t need a loser who c-c-can’t t-t-talk p-p-p-properly.”

Shorty truly wasn’t in the mood to bully the kids around but didn’t like the thought of the girl having the last word over him. Thankfully, the newcomer didn’t seem interested in a fight, instead patching up the damage he had caused.

“Come, Skitter, don’t listen to this bully, let’s just play somewhere else…”

Right, that’s who I am — a bully.

Resigned, Shorty watched the two children retreat out of sight until he could no longer hear the pathetic chokes of the crying boy. Finally, an audible exhale left his throat. Somewhere deep down, he actually wanted to play.


“I try to be nice and play, but what do I get?!”

A juvenile tree was snapped clean into two as a green tail slammed into it and cut it like a blade. Shorty paid the dying tree no attention as he pressed forward to make room for the anger he harbored in his heart. While playing bully brought him great joy, it didn’t leave him satisfied. Today, he didn’t want to be a bully, yet others seemed to trust their prejudices more than the words he spoke and the messages they carried.

“It truly doesn’t matter, or does it?!” he yelled into the empty jungle after ensuring he was alone, for a stranger mocking him for his outburst would only contribute further to his terrible mood. “Whether being a bully or trying to be nice, others never offer what I truly want from them! Can’t they just do what I want them to?! Can’t they just fucking play along?!”

He had to take in a fresh breath of air before yelling louder than before.

“Can’t I just get it right just once?!”

Quite frankly, Shorty had enough of this. While he’d love to have someone to play games with, such a dinosaur didn’t exist - certainly not within his herd. Shorty hadn’t realized it for quite a while, although he was fully aware of it now. Unknowingly, he had built a reputation over the years that preceded him no matter where he went in these lands. Worried parents who swarmed around their offspring at the first mention of him, oblivious old farts who shunned him by default, and even the youngest of children who shouldn’t know better; it didn’t matter.

Everyone knew his name, and everyone only ever looked down on him rather than seeing his vast qualities as a longneck. They saw a pitiful kid no one wanted, a bitter loser, a rambunctious troublemaker, and a nuisance best to be avoided. No one knew he had feelings, too; no one considered what he had had to live through to become who he was. Just thinking about it made him furious. With no apparent outlet available, he pushed a nearby boulder across the muddy ground until shoving it tired the boy, leaving it far from its original position.

Once he caught his breath, he glanced grimly into the distance. Even if he tried to change his ways, others wouldn’t look at who he was but instead rummaged in their brains until they found the image of him they wanted to see. The little longnecks he didn’t even know were perhaps the best example. Quite likely, they had seen him for the first time today yet their initial reactions had been fearful and contemptuous. Frankly, it drove him mad.

The recognition of his strength filled Shorty with pride but left a taste much more bitter than the sweetness of victory on his tongue. He didn’t feel any happiness as he thought about it. The contradictions between the things he valued and those he desired were alarming, sending him on a spiraling path that never led to the results he wished for. Frankly, it was infuriating.

Regardless, Shorty felt like his point needed further validation. He really desired to play an ordinary game like an ordinary child today and would see to it that he could experience it, no matter the cost. If random strangers got petrified like a mountain at the mere sight of him, what about kids he knew? What about the insufferable hatchlings, for example? Those hatchlings he used to protect? Those hatchlings he particularly liked to bug when he was bored?

Like they’ll play with me… but what have I got to lose?

He knew his odds of succeeding, but he had to try nonetheless. Shorty had a rough idea of where they all lived and knew they often played together. A grim, borderline evil expression briefly flashed across his green face as a plan forged underneath the big bump on his head. If he couldn’t get to invite himself into a game of theirs by playing the nice guy, then he might as well stop trying and keep working on his reputation.

And if, for some reason, his quest failed entirely, he still had a plan B.


Although the dinosaurs he wanted to meet didn’t live too far away, it still took Shorty until noon to arrive in the general area where the children would most likely be playing or hanging out. These were arguably the busiest hours of the day, and Shorty knew better than to take the common pathways through the forest. While technically, there was no need to be secretive, Shorty still avoided populated areas and other herd members’ nesting areas, regardless of whether people were at home. He truly didn’t need disdainful glances and hissed insults to send his mood further plummeting today.

Besides, what reason did he have to hurry? The average day just kept on dragging on and on with nothing significant to do. Time passed awfully slowly, with nothing particular to do or particular events to look forward to other than finally growing up and becoming independent. He only ever had a schedule or appointments if Bron took care of that. Consequently, no amount of detours deterred him in any way as long as it spared him the trouble of running into folks he didn’t like.

Shorty began evaluating his chances of success while wading through a waist-deep, gentle-flowing brown soup of a creek that had flooded following a likely overnight rainstorm. The eight hatchlings he used to protect had grown into fine children now. By now, they were likely older than he had been when he started caring for them. As soon as he reached the other side, faint, distant laughter told him they were home today. Grimacing, he shook the water off his scales before following the laughter.

When he considered how they would always goof around with no worry in the world, he couldn’t help but feel envious of their carefree lives. Many years had gone into these lands, but Shorty still often caught himself remembering things he’d rather have forgotten from his early childhood — things that would make many a folk’s blood freeze in shock if he told them he’d seen and experienced them at such a young age. Shorty was accustomed to the trauma, but situations like these made him wonder…

Could he have been a carefree child, too, if things had gone a little differently?

Shorty suddenly had second thoughts about wanting to play with these kids. As he gradually got closer to their playgrounds, he spotted a group of adults who stood in a circle a little distance away, seemingly engaged in lively chit-chat. Their mere sight reminded him brutally of several reasons that led him to hate these kids with a deep passion. Had Shorty already grown to their size, he would immediately give them a piece of his mind. Unfortunately, they still towered above him tenfold, prompting him to brood silently over his misgivings.

If he looked at the bigger picture, he could only conclude that the eight females were the main culprits behind Shorty’s many setbacks in his recent life. When Bron had offered him and the hatchlings for formal adoption, they had taken them under their clutches, each of them adopting one of them. On the other hand, he had been left behind in the commissary care of Bron, who, thanks to his duties as a leader of their newfound herd, rarely had time to spare for him.

To this day, Shorty couldn’t fathom how anyone could decide to love a constantly crying hatchling that wasn’t even their own. Bron hadn’t been able to love him like that, even though he had been so far above them then. Why couldn’t there have been a ninth female taking him in, too, loving him just like a parent, encouraging him for the silliest nonsense he did…

Alas, neither of these females was interested in taking him in. Shorty reckoned his life could have seen significant changes, taking better directions. He may be a very different longneck today. Maybe he’d have friends instead of sending everyone running in fear; maybe he’d be popular rather than a hermit avoiding others; perhaps he’d even have a girlfriend looking up at him. As he thought about it, Shorty couldn’t help but wish for all these things, wished he didn’t have to play the tough guy to get any kind of recognition and attention.

He could have a very different life right now. Therefore, he was very passionate about holding that grudge, spitting in their general direction from a safe distance. He knew their decision wasn’t the only reason for being who he was today, but he felt too bitter to consider that his troubled past likely had a role to play, too. Regardless, he had more than one reason to hold them accountable, for they had not only offended him personally but denied their children knowledge, which was so crucial that it made his blood boil just thinking about it.

Shorty hated these little pests with a passion. The laughter the light breeze carried to his location instilled fury into his hurt heart. He wanted to laugh too and enjoy himself. They were adopted into families he could only dream of, enjoying their childhood while he was just waiting to outgrow his. Regardless of his deep hatred for these kids, he still deemed it unfair that nobody had ever told them.

They were all siblings. They didn’t know they were family.

Only Shorty and Bron knew about it, and Shorty knew that Bron had told them all about it, too. It couldn’t be a coincidence that they all ended up building their nests in close proximity, that they all decided to be buddy-buddy with each other, or that these kids always played among themselves.

When Shorty thought about it, it honestly made him sad. Siblings, for better or for worse, were something special. To withhold such crucial information from these kids was truly cruel. Even if he lost his memory today, he’d want someone to tell him he used to have siblings long ago. But that was a story he didn’t want to bring up right now.

One could argue that it was just as cruel of him not to tell them, and they would be right. Even Shorty couldn’t deny such a thing. He had tried telling them several times. They just wouldn’t believe him. Shorty had many reasons to feel hatred towards these kids, but the great ignorance of their ancestry truly tested his limits. They essentially denied him the credit for keeping them alive all this time, and Shorty did not appreciate being denied the credit he deserved.

Had he made a different decision back then, they wouldn’t be so carefree today and possibly not even alive, but how could they know about all of this? Child amnesia was scary; they had been too young to remember, just as he couldn’t remember his mother. However, that was also a story he’d rather not reminisce about right now.

Regardless, Shorty had played a vital part in their lives, and unless adequately credited for it, he would continue to exert revenge for their ignorance. However, today, he had different plans. Sighing after making sure the adults hadn’t noticed him, he followed the hearty sounds of laughter and chatter until he found the source.

Well, here goes nothing…


When Shorty broke through the foliage, he wasn’t surprised to see only seven kids; one of the eight was a bit more… unique and rarely hung around the others. His sudden entry was met with varying levels of shock, fear, and surprise on their faces, their laughter dying faster than he could blink at them. Shorty had already anticipated such a reaction. While slithering through the jungle earlier, he had prepared his mind for the conversation to come, lest it escalated too.

“Relax,” he said, wiping his mind clean of all his hatred and masking his disdain with a cloak of laid-backness. “I’m not here to trouble you. Today, I just wanna play a few games.”

Even though Shorty made his best effort to look unsuspecting and act honestly, his offer fell on deaf ears. A trio of three girls all wearing varied shades of subdued pink hues, were the first to recover. Shorty didn’t even remember their names, for they were of little interest. Though, back when he still led them around the deserts, he called those “the troublesome pinks” and he hadn’t been too far off with that name choice.

“Oh no, guys, look!” the first one shouted.

“It’s him!” the second one added dramatically.

“You know what that means?” the third girl prompted.

“Green loser alert!” they announced together as they shared brain cells, prompting everyone to shake out of shock and begin laughing.

The nerve…

Shorty could feel his brow twitching, but he knew better than to cause a scene where the adults were close enough to hear them cry if he made them.

“Ha ha, very funny,” he mused, attempting to keep his hatred in check. “I didn’t call you “troublesome pinks” for nothing when you were still soiling the nest, that’s for sure.”

Shorty couldn’t help hinting at these past times, but, just as always, they wouldn’t even give it a thought.

“Oh, you and your delusions again!” a kid in grayish color patterns complained, nudging his brother wearing the same colors but with dark and light tones inverted instead.

“Yeah, stop spilling nonsense that never happened, you freak!” his sibling added, nodding back at his brother.

“Go play hero somewhere else and stop giving us these weird nicknames; they’re not funny,” another boy in pale green demanded.

Oh, you little shits…

Shorty had expected things to fail, but he hadn’t expected that they would also begin to gang up on him when they were all together like that. As a matter of fact, he was on enemy territory, and these pests knew it. Whenever he caught any of them alone or far away from their parents' reach, they weren’t nearly as brave.

Stupid brats, don’t get cocky just because your mommies are around!

He wanted to lash out and smack their faces, but he knew that wouldn’t solve anything. If they didn't even give him a chance, he would use one of the comebacks he prepared for this occasion.

“So that’s a “no” from you? Not even some good ol’ Hide and Seek?” he prompted.

“Y-you’ll just shoot rocks at us again when we’re n-not looking!” the last of them, a completely white, rather skittish boy, accused. The entire group huddled together and resolutely nodded at that statement.

“Yeah, like I’m gonna do that with your mommies right around the corner; I’m not that stupid,” Shorty retorted, growing more angry by the second, but instead of making room for it, he decided to try to play his last trump card.

“Alright, what if I promise to leave you alone if you let me play for a while today?”

The offer should have sparked their interest, but he underestimated their distrust and the fact that they were starting to be old enough to use their brains instead of being gullible like they used to be. After a quick moment of hushed conversations he couldn’t catch, one of the pink girls announced their reply.

“If you’re oh so desperate to play Hide and Seek with us, you’ll have to play by our terms instead of making empty promises you won’t keep anyways.”

Listen here, you little shit…

“Chant, ‘I’m a loser with no friends,’ three times while chasing your tail or try making us play with our mommies around.”

Shorty deadpanned. They had him, and he knew it the moment he realized it. Lashing out at them and making a scene would mean he had never been serious about it in the first place, and accepting their terms would just be a free humiliation ticket - one he’d never hear the end of if the tale spread among the other youngsters. A violent clash ran its course in his brain for a few seconds. Declining would mean defeat. Accepting would mean losing face. Neither option was an option, but he had to choose regardless. Defeat or loss of pride? Which was it?

“I’m a loser with no friends,” Shorty said as neutrally as he could while beginning to chase his tail half-heartedly. “I’m a loser with no friends.” Shorty began to feel terrible, his voice trembling as his mind continued to fight his decision, but he forced himself through a third lap anyway to get it over with. “I’m a loser with no friends.”

Shorty honestly just wanted to disappear at that moment, but the heavy surprise on the children’s faces meant at least that they never expected him to do it in the first place.

“Not it,” he added quickly. Their hushed voices immediately exploded, and the whole group suddenly fell into disarray. The boy could vaguely retrieve mentions of a plan B before everyone tried to beat each other, repeating after him.

“F-fine, we’ll play with you then,” one of the pink girls announced, who also happened to be ‘it’ for this round. “I’ll count one hundred treestars; you better be hidden by then!”


Little later, Shorty cowered underneath a blanket of large-sized ferns he had chopped down to build a failure-proof hideout. He still felt a hotness in his face, which had nothing to do with the sweltering heat that came with the early afternoon. When was the last time he had done something this embarrassing? He honestly couldn’t remember.

Shorty felt terrible, but he got them to play with him, although he no longer felt the urge, thanks to his embarrassment. Still, if he wanted to appear any more trustworthy than he was commonly seen, he needed to stick to his words and keep playing until he was found. As such, he waited. And waited. And waited some more. He waited until he was certain of it.

They had ditched him.


The small longneck stood perfectly still, her emerald eyes intently observing her target as she waited. The mossy smell of damp wood and wet greenery that usually hung in the air in the dense jungle she lived in was replaced by a flowery scent sticking to her snout. She had seen her target indulge itself in the huge, vibrantly orange-colored petals of a pleasant-smelling, fairly sizable flower, so the girl had decided to rub her little snout in this type of flower as well.

Now equipped with its heavenly perfume, the child hoped her target would find her snout just as enticing as a natural flower. Seated on a nearby log, it rubbed its many tiny legs together while preening its delicate, two-rowed wings. The child attempted to edge a little closer, hoping that such creatures had a poorly developed sense of hearing, as the fallen leaves and the many twigs crunching underneath her toes were sure to give her intentions away otherwise.

Suddenly, the air brimmed with the sound of the insect taking to the skies. It had noticed her! The noisy, buzzing sound these impressively large but ultimately harmless insects made led to the origin of the name everyone called them: Thunderflies. Of course, their noise couldn’t even compete with the booming, crashing, or rolling thunder frequently carried through the air by storms in these lands. Regardless, folks called them Thunderflies, for they lacked a better term to accurately describe the large variety of these often overlooked and underappreciated creatures.

The young girl could hardly contain her fascination, following the insect's fast-paced air maneuvers with her green eyes and forcing her little legs to remain where they were lest her illusion of being a flower be ruined. For a few moments, it seemed as though the insect would take its ultimate leave. The young dinosaur already felt the familiar emotion of disappointment knocking on the fence of her fragile mind, but then…

Oh, it is coming back!

The child rejoiced when the insect abruptly changed its flight course, heading directly toward her. Excitement replaced the fleeting disappointment she had felt before. Would it actually touch down on her snout? Had she finally discovered a foolproof technique to attract these wondersome creatures?

Yes! Just a little closer!

The insect now loomed large in her vision as it hovered mere centimeters from her nose as if double-checking its decision. The insect’s confusion came hardly as a surprise. While she gave off the smell of a beautiful flower, she certainly didn’t look like one. The Thunderfly in front of her belonged to one of the larger kinds. It grew to the size of an average treestar, and, provided it decided to land on her snout, its lengthy, stick-like body wouldn’t even fit entirely onto the platform that her snout provided. But then again, she could still count the cold times she’d lived with her forepaws…

While she wiggled six of her eight forepaws as if to remind herself of her age, the insect decided as it lowered the speed at which its fragile wings were humming. It landed on the tip of the child’s nose without creating a sound.

W-whoa, it worked! It really landed–hey, that tickles!

Immediately upon taking perch, the insect began working on every bit of her scaly skin with its many legs. A set of stick-like extensions at its face simultaneously began to probe her skin for anything edible. The girl felt overwhelmed at the sudden influx of stimuli and barely managed to stay still as the actions of her little friend tickled quite a bit. From up close, she could see things that usually escaped her eyes.

She already knew from previous observation that Thunderflies — or most insects, for that matter, sported eye-like features that often covered large portions of their faces. But only now did she discover that they were split into countless segments, each appearing to be an independent, if unmoving, eye. The creature crawled a little closer in its search for food, exposing the grotesque details of its mouth. Had these creatures decided to grow a few magnitudes larger, they would be material for the scariest nightmares she could think of.

From a distance, most kinds of Thunderflies appeared black, but up close, she could tell that, when interacting with the light of the Bright Circle, the surface of their bodies shone with a multitude of shiny colors. Green was especially prevalent in her little friend. Still, some parts of their segmented body also had a bit of orange and blue mixed in, resulting in a colorful display that matched the beauty of a flower - except these creatures weren’t pretty at all but grotesque in every sense.

Grotesque, despised and ignored. Just like me, huh?

The girl sighed as she locked her two big eyes with the countless small eyes of her little friend. Creatures like these were commonly overlooked by the average longneck she knew. These simple-minded folks only cared about anything edible and those things that could eat and harm them. Some had a family, children, or lovers to worry about. They didn’t care about the beauty of the world and the many plants and creatures that populated it, though. They only cared about things they found helpful. Frankly, it saddened her.

Things like you and me are not deemed valuable, huh?

The girl had kept these words hidden in the depths of her mind, yet she felt as if her little friend understood her. The Thunderfly stopped looking for the food that didn’t exist on her snout, tilting its head, its wings vibrating as if warming up for take off. The little longneck felt a stinging sensation as she realized the crime she had committed. Deceiving others wasn’t an act of kindness. The insect had turned around hoping to find a meal, but instead, she had fooled it by the smell she had stolen from a flower.

I am very sorry for being a bad girl. You can take off now if you want, Mr. Thunderfly.

Again, she hadn’t spoken these words in any way the insect could have heard or understood, yet the moment her inner voice spoke them, the insect took off, hovering shortly in front of her face as if to say goodbye before leaving and gaining altitude. The girl followed her little friend with her eyes, wistful yet knowing that she couldn’t ever be friends with a creature like it.

That is right. Go! Fly back to your family if you have one or to Ms. Thunderfly if you have one. Thank you for being my little friend, even for a brief while…

Suddenly, the girl’s emotional landscape changed rapidly. Where excitement and joy realm just moments ago, now only a crippling sense of melancholy remained. The size of the world she lived in and the multitude of life it harbored exceeded her ability to imagine and picture it by many magnitudes. Its beauty dazzled her, and its mysteries tickled her curiosity, and yet… even though the world was so big, beautiful, and lively… she was alone.

All alone.


Well, it was a stupid idea to begin with…

Shorty had returned to his feet upon realizing he had been abandoned by the little longnecks in his hideout. Despite the atrocity of the act, he didn’t feel nearly as angry as he thought. If anything, he regretted humiliating himself in front of those losers instead of showing them their rightful place. Indeed, he wouldn’t be able to show his face around them for a good while now. Not until he re-installed the fear and restored his dignity, anyway.

Honestly, what was I thinking? If a bully suddenly started playing nice, I wouldn’t trust them either. I’ve been there many times and even made this mistake several times while still with my family! This sucks, but it’s on me…

Dinosaurs just couldn’t be trusted. From earliest childhood, Shorty knew that trusting others was a telltale sign of weakness. Trust yourself, not others. Today’s events had reminded him just how much truth these words held even though they had been installed into him by someone he hated a lot more than those stupid brats who were likely brimming with a sense of victory just about now, laughing their asses off imagining him waiting all day to be found when in truth no one was looking for him to begin with.

Well, it’s not like this is the first time no one bothers to look for me when I run off. If it didn’t make me so mad, I’d even get a bit nostalgic!

Now that the thought had crossed his mind, memories began to hammer in — memories of a time when things were a lot worse than they were now… but also a lot less lonely. Faces flushed past his inner eye. Some he wanted to punch with his tail, some he just wanted to forget, and one face he wished he could still look at today.

Shorty exhaled sharply as a moment of weakness overcame him. He had never once truly regretted running away from that place, but moments like these made him wonder if it had been the right choice. Those brats wouldn’t have upset him because they’d be either dead or living shitty lives, and he’d never have found that useless Bron thinking he could replace the things he had lost. But, alas, some things were beyond recovery. Some things couldn’t be undone, and his running away was one of those things.

Even if he wanted to meet with HIM again and see HER again, he’d have to find them first. In other words, it wasn’t going to happen nor worth the effort. Life wasn’t great, granted, but his circumstances didn’t warrant such drastic and reckless actions. Going on a journey like that would just get him killed. Even Bron hadn’t found what he had been looking for. What were the odds when Shorty didn’t want to find 80% of what he sought? Shorty wanted to see the day he’d grow up and escape this hellhole, finally able to depend on himself. Maybe then he could give it a try. Or perhaps they were long dead by then.

Another sigh escaped his throat. Ultimately, they were mere relics of his past now, for good or for bad. Shorty knew he should have graduated from having these thoughts, but he also knew that there were a lot of things that couldn’t be erased from one’s mind once engraved into it. There were things one couldn’t escape from no matter how hard they tried. His past trauma was one of those things, his bottomless restlessness another.


Time is a scary thing, especially if one has to split it up between various interests. I had hoped this wouldn't happen but other interests and my job soaked up more time than I anticiated. Ducky falling into old habits again, huh? Oh well, here's another chapter anyway  :rhett_smile

While the first chapter dealt with Shorty's relationship with Bron, this one explores his relationships with his environment. He's a bully and disliked by many, and he has no friends. He's avoided, feared, looked down on. Shorty has always been distrusting of others and very proud, which led to him not having the best social interactions. Now, he is isolated and he is beginning to realize that things may be beyond repair once again just like the family he abandoned for reasons that will remain unknown for a while longer. He's frustrated, angry and sad. A dangerous state of mind that can quickly deteriorate if one isn't careful.

I felt that this never really came across in the previous version of the story. The 10th movie only vaguely hints at Shorty being a bully and one could only speculate if he's a loner. Considering the many things the movie forgot to consider, any side characters from Bron's herd naturally wouldn't have fit into the story anyway so I've been wondering how Shorty may have spent his daily life. Shorty is a largely misunderstood character both canonically and within the narration of this tale. I hope the chapter shows some of that. Even Shorty doesn't always understand himself, one time being a horrible bully (even if he didn't do anything here) and then craving love and affection like any normal dinosaur would. It's his complicated history that leads to all these desires counteracting each other and worsening his situation over time as his priorities antagonize each other for the most part.

The story starts in a fairly introspective sense but worry not for there will be more interactive scenes soon (however soon that will be, lol  :bolt). Once the framework is done, I also hope my speed will increase as these chapters take a lot of mental energy to make sure they're progressing logically without plot holes and other errors

I'll leave the mysterious scene uncommented for now. Some of you may be able to tell who it is, everyone else will find out in a chapter or two  :exactly

The next chapter will possibly be posted with less of a break as it's actually mostly done and might see completion if I have a good writing session later today. It'll cover the sleepstory thematic in more detail and contribute more to the worldbuilding of the place Shorty and Bron live in. Please look forward to it  :duckyhappy
« Last Edit: April 17, 2024, 09:33:58 AM by Ducky123 »
Inactive, probably forever.