Of all the ways one could die at the dinosaur zoo, Death prefers the T-rex. Three to four people can fit inside the jaws of a full-grown T-rex. The animal can eat upwards of 800 pounds of flesh in a single sitting. Consequently, Death can immediately recognize the scene of a T-rex attack — not from any telltale bite-marks or lacerations — but by the conspicuous absence of any remains whatsoever. Clean up is a snap.
On the other end of the spectrum, the scene of a raptor attack is a mess. Don’t even ask Death about the aftermath of a triceratops stampede.
But with the T-rex, Death doesn’t have to wait around for the victims to finally succumb to their wounds. There’s no lingering. No false hope of survival. Death can be quick and painless. And if Death can admire anything at all, it admires efficiency.
But Death doesn’t show up at the dinosaur zoo all that often. Especially compared to other major zoos. Contemporary, run-of-the-mill animals kill all the time. People are mauled by their pet dogs on a daily basis. The lowly honey bee kills a hundred people a year. If you take a look at Death’s Timeless and Eternal Ledger of All Things Passed, only a handful of people can say they’ve ever been attacked by a dinosaur — much less killed.
Most of the time an incident at the dinosaur zoo isn’t even dinosaur-related. Death is much more likely to make an appearance because someone got run over by a tour bus or drowned in the hotel pool than at the behest of one of the dinosaurs.
That’s not to say nobody gets killed by the dinosaurs. It happens. No doubt about it. We are talking about gigantic prehistoric reptiles after all. They are always escaping and running amok. A fuse blows and the electric fences go down. Malicious software takes out the security protocols and the raptors get loose. A sauropod steps on someone. Darryl forgets to lock the pterosaur cage.
But more often than not it’s a dinosaur that Death has come for. When the T-rex escapes (and she always does eventually), she ends up killing a few of the dinosaurs as well as a handful of visitors.
But many of the dinosaurs die accidentally. An iguanodont gets hit by a maintenance truck. One of the sauropods slips and breaks its neck. The duckbills are always catching bird flu.
Of course, all of the dinosaurs on the island were dead at one point. For millions of years, they were in the Great Unknown that Lies Beyond the Veil of Mortality. Death had no reason to think they wouldn’t be there for the rest of eternity.
That is, until the dinosaur zoo came along.
Much to Death’s annoyance, whenever a dinosaur dies these days, they don’t stay dead for long. It’s only temporary while the technicians regrow the dinosaur in a lab somewhere. They brought them back once. They can do it again and again. Their main attractions at the theme park can be resurrected indefinitely — snatched from the cold clutches of Death by cutting edge science. Besides, the zoo shareholders wouldn’t tolerate the lost revenue caused by a dead dinosaur.
Bringing the dinosaurs back might protect the zoo’s bottomline but it is a real hassle for Death’s accounting. Some of the same dinosaurs appear three or four times in Death’s Timeless and Eternal Ledger of All Things Passed. When the ultimate day of reckoning comes at the end of time itself, when the entire universe is finally ushered into the Great Unknown, it’ll be a real headache getting all the numbers to add up.
It’s enough to make Death resent the dinosaur zoo.
Theoretically, the same technology that brings back the dinosaurs could bring back the visitors who died at the zoo. But nobody’s done that. Nobody’s going to. First of all, they’d be just an embryo, then a baby. They’d have to be raised all over again. Nobody’s willing to do that. Nobody’s willing to invest that kind of time and effort into a single person. Not even their parents. Not again. And unlike the dinosaurs, the zoo visitors don’t have the benefit of being financed by a wealthy venture capitalist worried about getting a return on his investment.
When Death comes to the dinosaur zoo, it’s the humans it looks forward to seeing. With the dinosaurs, Death has to temper expectations. Not get too attached. They’ll be back in the zoo in a matter of weeks. In the Great Unknown that Lies Beyond the Veil of Mortality, it’s the dinosaurs who are the visitors — transients who come and go, never staying for long. Humans are permanent residents. The main attractions. With them, Death doesn’t have to worry about the bottomline.
So when a person inevitably tries to bargain or beg for their life back, Death can console them with this piece of wisdom gained from the dinosaur zoo: Everything dies. There’s no avoiding it. But not everything stays dead. Maybe someday, in the distant future, someone will think you are valuable enough to be brought back to life. Just like the dinosaurs, you too can escape and maybe run amok. Until then, try to enjoy your time here. Who knows how long you have. Tomorrow could be the day someone brings you back to life because they think you can give them a return on their investment.
Watch the visual story thing here: