RETURN TO THE BIG APPLE
Afterwards, Kark didn't want to waste any more time, as he felt he needed to get back to the future and New York City to attend the hockey game. The entire Pteranodon family escorted him back to the train station; and when the Dinosaur Train arrived, they exchanged goodbye hugs all around with well wishes and an invitation to come back soon.
"ALL ABOARD!" Mr. Conductor cried as he emerged from one of the passenger cars. Kark climbed on board and grabbed the nearest seat he could find. As the train whistle blew and the train started moving, the entire Pteranodon family waved to him. He smiled and waved back until the train rolled out of sight.
A short time after, Mr. Conductor emerged into the passenger car crying "Tickets! Tickets, please!" Kark fished the appropriate ticket out of the white envelope and handed it to the troodon once he got next to him. "Hmmm... Going back home, are we?" Mr. Conductor asked as he punched the ticket with his toe claw.
Kark nodded. "Yeah... Don't wanna miss the hockey game tonight..."
"So, how was your day in Dinosaur Land?"
"INCREDIBLE! I learned many things I never even KNEW about dinosaurs before!"
Mr. Conductor chuckled. "That's what Dinosaur Land offers you: Many opportunities to learn; and plenty of adventures to be had..."
"Yeah... If only I had more time..."
Mr Conductor was pensive. "Hmmm... I have a feeling we won't be seeing the last of you..."
"What do you mean?" Kark asked.
"I'll just let Sparky decide..." Mr. Conductor smiled and winked. He then moved off towards the caboose area before Kark could say anything else.
A short while later, Mr. Conductor emerged through the front double doors of the passenger car. "Time tunnel! Time tunnel approaching! Next stop: Cenozoic Station!"
Kark looked around and raised his hand. "Uhh... I'm the only one here..."
"OOPS... Sorry... force of habit..." Mr. Conductor said in embarrassment.
It was true that he was the only one left on the Dinosaur Train. Everybody else had gotten off wherever it was they needed to go. He was the only one headed to the station Mr. Conductor announced, which was in his time period.
"Want to see the time warp one more time?" Mr. Conductor asked.
"Wouldn't miss it for the world!" Kark smiled.
"Well... get ready... Here it comes!"
As the train disappeared into the tunnel under a flash of light, the scenery outside the train's windows was replaced by the pitch black background with intermittent flashes of light streaks that looked just like colourful shooting stars.
"Truly amazing, isn't it?" Mr. Conductor said.
"I could never grow tired of it!" Kark commented with his eyes glued to the window seat.
Moments later, the train reemerged from the tunnel and started slowing down until it stopped completely in front of the train station which was Cenozoic Station.
"This is your stop!" Mr. Conductor said as he guided Kark outside the passenger car. "Now, once you reach the path behind the station, keep to the left until you see the tunnel that goes underneath the mountain."
Kark nodded. "Got it!"
"Hope to see you again, Kark!" Mr. Conductor said.
Kark smiled and stuck out his hand. "Thanks for everything. It's been fun!"
Mr. Conductor gladly shook his hand and gave him the wink and the gun.
Kark was still smiling as he turned and left for the path he was told he had to go down. As he was walking down the path, which was parallel to the train tracks, he heard the sounds of the locomotive steaming past with the accompanying whistle. He waved to the Dinosaur Train where he was sure Mr. Conductor was waving at him. He watched the train disappear under the flash of light of the time tunnel that sent it back to the prehistoric era. He soon reached the tunnel disappearing inside the mountain that would lead him back to New York City where he would arrive just in time at Nassau Coliseum for the hockey game.
After the game, Kark met up with Sparky one last time. They went to his private office where Kark relayed the story of his incredible day in Dinosaur Land.
"Wow! Sounds like ya had an amazing adventure!"
Kark nodded. "It was! Who knew such a world existed?"
"It DID exist, Kark! What you saw was way in the past... 'round 70 million years ago..."
Kark blinked. "You mean... with the TRAIN and everything?"
Sparky laughed. "Oh, no! That's something they BORROWED from our time... I helped a bit with THAT."
Kark chuckled. "I'm sure you did!"
"SO, one last round o' beer and nachos at the pub?"
Kark politely shook his head. "No. My flight leaves for Raleigh, North Carolina early tomorrow morning, and I need to turn in early. Thanks anyways."
Sparky smiled. "All right... OH! One more thing..." He reached down into one of his desk drawers and pulled something out. "A departing gift..." He smiled as he handed it to Kark.
Kark examined it. "A key?" he said with a puzzled look.
"Not just ANY key, that's a MAGIC key... or a MASTER key..."
"What's it for?"
Sparky grinned. "I'm pretty sure the dinosaurs over there liked ya. Am I right?"
Kark nodded. "Yeah... you could say that..."
"Thought so... Anyway, that key opens up the doorway to their world... Use it anytime you wanna pay a visit to Dinosaur Land... Just insert it in the lock of ANY door, and it'll open up the porthole for you to just walk on through..."
Kark smiled slowly as he eyed the key. "Wow! I... I don't know what to say..."
"Hey! Just consider it a gift of eternal friendship from me to you..."
Kark grinned. "Thank you."
"C'mon... I'll walk ya to the doors... Don't forget your things!" Sparky said as he handed Kark's gifts from Dinosaur Land: The two wooden statues, the beautifully crafted goalie's stick Derek the Deinonychus carved for him, the velociraptor feather, and the Dinosaur Train punched tickets. Kark kept them in Sparky's office for safekeeping. Since Sparky wasn't there when he arrived for the game, he asked a kind security guard if he could store them there. The guard unlocked the door for Kark, but couldn't help but admire the find wooden statues that were in his possession. When the guard asked Kark about them, Kark simply shrugged and said that Sparky arranged to have them carved especially for him. The guard seemed satisfied with that answer.
Sparky stopped just before opening the door to his office. "Oh! I just realized... the guards are still out there... Maybe you should, uhh..."
"OH! Right..." Kark said as he realized he was still in his dragon form. He set his gifts down then proceeded to change back into his human form. Once it was complete, both walked out of the office.
When they reached the doors to the coliseum, they exchanged one last goodbye. "Hey! Sorry ya team lost tonight... But you're still in sixth place overall in the Eastern Conference, right?"
Kark nodded. "Yeah... I think so... But two nights from now, we're playing against the Carolina Hurricanes, and they've always been a thorn in the Canadiens' side ever since they started playing in the NHL..."
"Well... Ya always gotta believe... like I do when it comes to the Islanders..."
Kark smiled. "Yeah... I know..."
"So, you think you're gonna come back next season?"
Kark shrugged. "Who knows? Maybe... Hey! Thanks for everything..." He stuck out his hand.
Sparky pushed it aside and game Kark a big hug. "Take care, my friend!"
"You, too!" Kark reciprocated.
Then he walked out the doors of the Nassau Coliseum. Sparky watched him leave.
A short time later, Kark made it back to his hotel room where he crashed into bed and slept until his wake up call the next morning to catch his flight to Raleigh, North Carolina where he would take in some of the sights of the area before attending the hockey game between his beloved Canadiens and the Carolina Hurricanes.