Steggy lifted her head and listened. Familiar voices. Voices that meant food. She gurgled a low rumble deep in her scaly, armored throat, and watched the blurry distance she knew was the barn door.
The muffled voices came closer, and she grunted. A low, gumphing sound that made the rounded scales on her thick neck blow in and out like a bellows. The voices answered back, friendly, and then came the scraping of the barn door sliding on its track.
Cold, bitter wind blew in through the door, and Steggy snorted in protest. But the cold didn’t go away. With grunts of effort, the voices pushed at the barn door, and it squeaked as it slid open wider. A gust of wind hit Steggy in the face like tiny needles, and she shook her head to get the sting out of her eyes. The triangular plates of bone and horn that ran along the back of her neck rattled.
“It’s cold, isn’t it big girl?” One of the voices, soft and soothing. But he wasn’t close enough yet. She could smell the bag of feed and hear the high squeak of a wheelbarrow, but she could only see a fuzzy tan and blue blob where he stood. She heard the barn door slide closed, and she gurgled as the bitter wind was cut off. The second set of footsteps shuffled off to one side, and she heard the scraping of the muck rake on the soiled floor.
With surprising speed for an animal her size, Steggy rose up first on her shorter front legs, then on her much longer back legs. Her small head held low to be level with the smell of feed, she ambled forward on feet surprisingly small for her large size. The large, horn plates along her back leaned gently from side to side as she moved.
“It’s your turn today Steggy,” the first voice said, and Steggy skipped a little step at the sound of it- raising her body up on her hind legs and tossing her head. She could see him now. A thin man with silver, parted hair and handlebar mustache, his eyes crinkled in a smile.
“I know it’s a bit cold outside,” the man was saying. “But they’re waiting for you. Some food will warm you up.” He kept the wheelbarrow between himself and the large dinosaur as he wheeled it to a large trough by the wall. Steggy didn’t wait. She stuck her small head in the feed pile and munched while the man took a pitchfork and started filling the trough.
Before long, the trough held more feed than the wheelbarrow, so that looked a lot more appetizing. Steggy’s spiked tail slowly waved back and forth as she ate. She nipped at the long, dried stalks with her beak, shook her head to separate a mouthful, and then pushed it to the back of her long, narrow mouth with her tongue to grind down with her flat back teeth. She didn’t bother chewing very much unless she came across something woody.
While she ate, the silver-haired man brushed her thick, scaly hide with a round, bristled brush. Steggy closed her eyes.
This was what she loved most. The smell and taste of food, the soft scraping and shf, shf, of the muck rake, the soft bristles of the round brush against her thick scales…Just another familiar day in the life of a stegosaurus.
It’s crazy cold out here! Steggy takes a little while to eat, so I’m afraid this week’s COTW is going to be a little late.
I’m working on a special update this time, and with all the holiday time with family and extra baby appointments, I haven’t been able to make as much progress as I would like. I have a good start on it though, and today I have more time than usual to get things done, so I should be able to put up Steggy’s COTW post tomorrow.
So keep your fingers crossed! I’ll do everything I can to help Pete get Steggy out of the barn. Even with a nice warm bellyful of fermenting food, she’s not going to like stepping out into the cold!