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Charlie MacDuff and the Test of Time
by I. MacPenn

Chapter 7:

Charlie and Alice both arrived back this time. They smiled in relief and dusted the ash off their skin and clothes. As she sat down, Alice said, "I can't believe we made it out of there alive." She looked around and saw the people from the field trip far below the cliff. Charlie looked back at where the volcano had been, and shuddered, but the volcano was gone and so was the wall of mud. The dinosaurs were gone too, even the dead, ugly T. rex with the open mouth that had been lodged in the rocks just two feet away from them.

Charlie looked at the spot where the T. rex head had been, and Alice gave him a strange look. They both had the same idea. Could it still be there? Charlie jabbed at the soil with the heel of his shoe and Alice used a flat rock that she found nearby. In just a few minutes, they had dug down about 4 inches. They found a series hard, shiny, black objects. They uncovered more of it using their hands - the black objects were the tips of fossilized teeth. They soon uncovered even more of them.

They had found the T. rex skull, and they both started yelling. Their teacher, Mr. Ross, came running over to the area below the cliff, and started yelling up to them, "I told you not to climb up those cliffs. What do you think you're doing?" He stopped yelling - not because he was finished, but because he was out of breath, sweating, and red in the face from running.

"Don't tell them about my computer," Charlie told Alice.

"Why not?" she asked.

"Because if they know about it, they'll take it away. It wouldn't be fair - I only got it yesterday."

"Okay," she said reluctantly, "but you owe me big time."

After catching his breath, Mr. Ross started yelling again, "Get down here right now, you two. You both have detention for a week." He enjoyed this part of his job more than anything else.

After Charlie told him about the fossil teeth that he and Alice had just found, Mr. Ross reluctantly stopped scolding them and yelled, "This had better be good, or you're in deep trouble." He then called to Cordelia, the paleontologist, and gestured for her to come over to him. She ran there, and he talked to her for a few seconds. Then Mr. Ross and Cordelia climbed up the cliff to Alice and Charlie.

Charlie showed the fossil teeth to Cordelia. Mr. Ross was still struggling up the cliff. Cordelia took a small brush from one of her many pockets and slowly (way too slowly) cleaned the area around the exposed fossil teeth. She said to herself, "Tyrannosaur teeth, they're tyrannosaur teeth. An entire set."

"So why were you up here, anyway?" Mr. Ross demanded as he arrived at the top.

Charlie said, "Uh, I forgot that you said not to climb, and I thought it would be a good place to find fossils. We couldn't find anything down below and we looked for hours." Charlie was very good at weasely answers - he had had a lot of practice.

Cordelia blew a whistle that hung around her neck, and gestured to the other paleontologists to come over to her. Cordelia was grinning, "This is incredible - the lower part of the jaw seems to be intact, it's not just loose teeth. And they're probably tyrannosaur teeth."

Cordelia pulled out a notebook and a pencil from another pocket in her vest and asked Charlie and Alice for their names and addresses. As she wrote, she asked, "What made you climb up this cliff and dig in that particular spot?"

Alice said, "Well, we landed here and ..." but Charlie interrupted her saying, "We thought it just looked interesting."

Cordelia then took out a camera from another pocket and started photographing the fossil in the ground. She seemed to have completely forgotten about Charlie and Alice and the rest of the world.

As Charlie watched her, he noticed that she was wearing a red triangular computer around her neck; it was hanging on a beautiful gold chain. The computer had been hidden under her khaki vest before, but it was exposed when se bend down over the teeth. The computer was exactly like Charlie's time machine. Alice had noticed it too.

Charlie and Alice looked at each other in amazement.

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