Meet Bowser. Those horns may look intimidating, and his toothy grin can be downright fearsome. But you know what they say about books and their covers… 😉
Crouched in the dappled shade of a gnarled cedar tree, Bowser inhaled a long, slow breath.
The bitter tang of oily sap that bubbled from a gash in the tree’s trunk.
The dusty heat from sun-baked rocks and chalky, clay-hardened soil.
The earthy spice of charcoal and wood smoke…and a sweetness so tantalizing he could almost taste it as the scent filled his sinuses.
He opened his yellow eyes, and unfolded up off the ground to stand on two powerful hind legs. Three-toed, clawed feet padded forward. Nostrils flared as he breathed. He could smell the murky, moist, greenness of a muddy creek bed. Musky, overripe animal droppings in the prickly undergrowth.
But he wasn’t thirsty, and he was after a bigger prize than any rodent.
Birds twittered in the trees, and insects hummed in the heat, but the large, padded feet didn’t make a sound. Big as he was, he knew to avoid dry twigs that could snap, or rocks that could roll. He held his head low and level with his spotted body, and he was careful not to break the dry, low-hanging cedar branches with his thick, muscular tail. He moved through larger spaces between the trees where he could.
Walking downhill, the scent grew stronger. But up ahead, cycad fronds rose up like daggers from the ground, and a thick cover of young cedar saplings separated him from the crackling of fire. He cocked his head to one side, birdlike, as he listened. The clang of metal hitting metal. The murmur of voices.
He knew that voice…or at least one of them. Bowser’s mouth watered as the scent lured him closer, even as new intrigue sparked in his reptilian mind. That voice always meant good things. But that smell…
He swung his tail slowly to the left, pulling his right leg back and pushing him forward. He used the three stubby horns on his head to gently nudge green branches aside. He was barrel-chested, but if he hugged his short, muscular arms close to his body, he could still creep forward without disturbing the vegetation. Thick, scaly hide was impervious to the sword-like sharpness of the cycad fronds. So long as he was careful not to brush against them too closely.
“Oh my gosh, that smells amazing!” She was young. Her voice was bright, and she smelled of earthy florals. Possibly tasty, but not the source. Through the branches, he watched her hold a flat, round object towards the older man. He smelled like charcoal, wood smoke, and earthy spices that made drool run down Bowser’s many dagger teeth. The man was standing at a large, black stand, and flipping small discs of meat onto the plate held out to him.
“Thank you,” he said, and he chuckled. “I’d expect they’ll attract every theropod for miles. Might be watching us now, as a matter of fact…” His eyes looked up to the thicket of trees where Bowser hid, and the woman sucked in her breath.
“Really? Let’s hope they don’t want to include us in the barbecue then.” She squinted at the scrubby trees, and Bowser slowed his breathing…never twitched when a fly landed on his eye. Her gaze swept past him, distracted by the people and music behind them.
“Not to worry,” said the man as he slid his flat stick under some meat. “It’ll be just fine.” The man flipped the last morsel onto the plate. Bowser’s eyes followed it. “You go on and take that to the table.” The woman nodded and turned away, taking the pile of meat with her. It wasn’t what brought him here, but it was closer, and it smelled rich and warm and he just had to get at least a nibble-
Bowser bumped into something cold and hard. A concrete wall that was just high enough to brush against his chest, waist-high for the silver-haired man walking towards him.
“You want to join the party boy?” The man was almost bent over with the weight of the bucket in his arms. Bowser took a deep breath, and a low guttering rumble echoed from his throat. There it was! Rich, ripe, sweet…whatever was in the bucket. That’s what his nose led him to. He followed the man and his bucket along the wall, away from the party, and the man heaved it up onto the wall and dumped it. Sweet, sun-ripened meat and offal tumbled to the ground.
It’s good to see you here! I must say I’m feeling quite well this month. Baby girl is almost 4 months old now, and we’re past the newborn phase! Just a couple of weeks ago, it’s like someone turned the lights on in her little brain. 🙂
She’s been alert and interactive from day one of course (generally a very pleasant and happy baby), but over the past two weeks or so it’s like someone turned on the music. She’s smiling, laughing, cooing, and trying her very best to reach for her toes (she usually misses, better aim comes later 😀 )
And that’s not even the best part…sleep! Sleep is beautiful! It’s not through the whole night yet, but a solid 5-6 hour stretch is pretty good in my book. It makes a big difference, I can tell you that! 😀
So that means I have more energy for fun stuff! I’m not so dependent on afternoon naps, and sometimes I can actually wake up earlier to get a few things done before the kids get up.
If you’ve been watching my Instagram feed, you’ve seen that all my most recent doodles are ammonites. These are all for a pattern I’m working on for Redbubble.
It’s hard to know when to stop since I keep finding more ammonite shapes I want to add to the mix! For example, I found this cool ammonite…
This ammonite, known as Nipponites mirabilis, is so twisted and unusual I just have to include it in the pattern! So now you know why it’s taking me so long to do a simple pattern. Too many cool and unusual ammonites! Most of the really crazy ones are from the Cretaceous, but there’s a few from the Jurassic in there. 🙂
Also, who knew it’d be so hard to get a pattern to repeat seamlessly? It’s surprisingly tough to get things to align properly. Youtube tutorials only get you so far y’know. 😛
But now I just need to finish coloring all the little sea critters. (oh yes, and add that new pretzelly one) 😀 I’m really having fun with these little guys, and I may actually create a whole series of stuff with them. They are all inspired by real species, no matter how crazy and surreal they look, so it would be pretty cool to acknowledge that and have them feature individually with their names.
For example, the little pretzal in the picture above- Nipponites mirabilis: pretzel snail-squid. The color pattern would indeed be pretzel inspired. 🙂
There are a few more ammonites that I’ve dubbed food-based nicknames…like ice-cream swirl, cinnamon roll, and jellybean. Can you guess which ones they are?
Just a thought. Let me know if you like that idea or not. 🙂
In other news, Bowser is now available for adoption at my Redbubble shop! 😀 He’d love it if you stopped by.
I think I’ll need to grab a notebook, or another mug. 😀
Eventually I may need to completely redraw him…he’s not exactly helping his tough reputation with that dreamy smile. 😛
I had a lot of fun with Bowser’s story, and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. 😀
Coming June 1st…
A giant with a heart of gold, life is never boring when this big guy is around. Nothing is out of reach! He’ll stick his nose into everything until every mystery is solved.