Continuing our series of short fiction set in, or influenced by London. This week’s story is by Helen Craig.
Every Londoner knows that this is a crowded city. It’s hard to find a space to call your own. And one day, you might find yourself followed home by a dinosaur. In my case, I found myself trapped in the London area with a Tyrannosaurus Rex, my 11-15 oyster card, and no idea what to do. I thought I should publish this guide for any other young women who find themselves in this position. So, here you have it. Places you might try to hide a T-Rex in London, from personal experience.
This might be your first idea, but it is not a very good place to hide a T-Rex. It might seem good, in the quiet of morning in Regent’s park, but believe me. It gets busier. It’s very hard to hide in the zoo, even if no one sees you sneaking in, dragging claw tipped feet through the early morning mist. People will notice a dinosaur once the zoo opens. They will be scared. The Zoo is also full of mammals, which T-Rex find strange. Apparently they never used to be so big. The sensible dinosaur sized animals must find somewhere else to hide.
The Thames Barrier
This may be a good place for water dwelling dinosaurs. And after sneaking out of Regent’s Park under a pile of elephant poo, even non aquatic dinosaurs and their human friends might enjoy a cool swim down the Thames. A Spinosaurus could even think the flood barriers were shaped just like him. But I cannot recommend the Thames Barrier as a hiding place for a T-Rex, or for a human. It is very damp. I still don’t feel properly dry.
The London Underground
The buses and noise of the modern world may scare your T-Rex. She might even ask to go underground. This is not a good idea. Your T-Rex is 40 feet long, four feet tall, and weighs around seven tonnes. Even in the dark underground passages, she is hard to miss. Seeing the face of a Tyrannosaurus from the dark window of a carriage is scary for both Underground passengers, and for your T-Rex. They really do have feelings, you know. It is best to lead them to safety through a quieter station. Gloucester Road district line is convenient, and has a very high ceiling.
The Natural History Museum
This is a terrible place for a T-Rex. Sure, it’s close to the tube, and it looks so beautiful from the outside, with warm, gold coloured bricks, and carvings of animals on the outside. But once you get inside, it is full of skeletons! There are dinosaur bones everywhere, just openly on display. The T-Rex was sure she recognized an old friend. Should there not be a warning when a museum is full of bones like this? I do not approve.
Crystal Palace Park
Crystal Palace Park is beautiful. It is full of trees, and greenery, and even has a maze. But more importantly, there are dinosaurs in Crystal Palace Park. Big, proper dinosaurs. Now, I’ll admit, they are a bit quiet. And they don’t look quite like you might expect them to. But then again, my T-Rex probably doesn’t look like you’d expect either. I bet you didn’t even think she has feathers! (T-Rex are proud that birds are the descendants of dinosaurs. Apparently more dinosaurs than you’d expect had feathers.) Crystal Palace Park is a perfect place to hide a dinosaur. She can be with her own kind there. You will miss her, but it is probably for the best. You don’t want to be around when she gets hungry.
Authors note: This advice is not complete. When you think about it, there are probably hundreds of thousands of places to hide a dinosaur in London. I’m sure someone with a nice, dry, safe home to sit in can think of many more. But sometimes you’re not safe. Sometimes, a dinosaur follows you home — who knows why or how? It’s in times like that when I hope this guide will come in useful. If you’re out there, and you have a dinosaur, please, let me know. I know one T-Rex who would love some company.
We’re still after your stories, which you should send to email@example.com. Entries must be no more than 1,000 words, and must be set in London, or strongly inspired by the city. Full details here.
We’re also now looking for fairy tales of modern London in partnership with the British Academy’s Literature Week.
Previously in this series
For children/by children
General London fiction
- Mark: A struggling actor becomes a hero of the people.
- The Guardian of Travellers: Victoria Coach Station passengers take the advice of a sage.
- Graphic Novels: A celebrated novelist finds inspiration in Shoreditch Library.
London at Night
Christmas in London
- Two Four Eight: Lance V Ramsay envisions an Orwellian dystopia in the lingo of future London.
- Old Nichol: Jill Fricker evokes the woes of the old East End.
- Clissar: Grazia Brunello dips into the future of north London, through a glass darkly.
- The Perfect Gift: A Christmas fairy tale in which London’s statues come to life, by Katherine Wheston.
- The City Inside: Tom Butler has some curious metropolitan anatomy.
- Jazz Code and the Tube: The ambivalence of dating, by Jenny Mackenzie.
- A Free Man: Melanie White’s flash fiction piece considers a recently single guy at a bachelor party.
- Clean Living London: Ursula Dewey rolls her sleeves up for some housework.
- Swipe Right: Does Tinder have the answers? By Heidi Scherz
- The Writer and the Dancer: Close encounter at a flat party by Vincent Wood.
- St Peter’s Gate, Knightsbridge: A nocturnal romance at closing time, by Theo Klay
- First: A romance begins inside a London gay club. By Lance Middleton.
- Natural Disasters: Can you find love at the supermarket checkout, when your customer’s buying porn? Yoel Noorali enquires.
- NO! SUSHI: A relationship breaks down during a Japanese leaving party, by Clare Kane.