Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #099: The Secret of the Black Water

Monday, January 4, 2021 at 8:00 am Comments (0)

Turok: Son of Stone #53


Turok and Andar wish they took that crash course in water dowsing.


Yeehaw! Ride ’em, cowboy! And other turns of phrase that colourfully downplay the fact Turok and Andar are about to freakin’ die a death. It’s just in medias res, though, don’t sweat the small stuff.


A drought has struck the Lost Valley, drying out every last watering hole they can find; whatever honkers haven’t perished have been driven to mania, rearin’ to tussle with anything that’s got even just the smell of water on it — Andar included. If they’d sooner draw blood than pass them by, then clearly there’s no water to be found!


Their search takes them to the barren desert, where a crowd of cave dwellers rustle them up for their last drops of H2O, and then kidnap them to be their water seekers: if they don’t find more, they’ll die! I mean, no duh, but the cavemen intend to club them to death if the thirst doesn’t kill them first.


They venture out, and it looks like they’re in luck — there’s a dried-up lagoon with just enough water to spare! Turok tries his best to educate them about the merits of environmental storytelling, that these dinosaur skeletons all situated in and around the water bank might be a clue towards something… but a few lads find out for themselves anyway, their lifeless bodies now new additions to the poisonous set dressing.


Their next watering hole doesn’t last long — it’s quickly contested by a herd of styracosaurus who slurp up the whole thing, and the same fate looks like it may befall the next one, this time by pteranodons. Beat their asses! Their fragile wings are no match for our clubs! At last, the crew have their water… but not enough to quench their thirst.


A brushfire suddenly breaks out, but that’s of no importance — it’s the resulting stampede that interests Turok! If they can keep pace without getting trampled, the honkers could very easily lead them to water! There are probably safer, more sensible ways of doing such a thing, but as the star of a 1950s adventure comic, it’s built into Turok’s DNA that he’s just gotta make a lasso at some point.


As has already been spoiled for us, the two find themselves tangled in their own tether, and free themselves just before their duck-billed dino takes a dive. Quite literally, it seems — that cliff was right above a fresh pool of water! The honker gets to walk it off while Turok, Andar, and their unruly captors stock up on refreshments… and as luck would have it, they’re soon blessed with rain; they will have water for days to come. Mother nature has blessed them, and they won’t have to play gofer for argumentative hostage-takers anymore.


What’s Young Earth up to today? It’s telling wacked-out stories about dudes clubbing bear cubs to death and putting their decapitated heads in coffins. Okay. Didn’t ask for that, but I’ll leave you to it.


Our heroes’ next destination takes them to an oily swamp, where the locals coat themselves in the sticky black gunk to deflect attack, becoming too slippery to be manhandled. And guess what? They hate strangers! They are, however, courteous enough to take Turok and Andar back to their camp to let the chief decide if they’re worth kicking out. They only only hate strangers that they put in their list of enemies first, apparently.


While cooking their own meal, the pair accidentally set a gas vent alight, producing a veritable tower of fire that even sets the oil aflame! This funky phenomena is their claim to fame; chief Kalog believes they’ve got some mighty keen magic! He wants the two to stick around; it wouldn’t hurt to have a couple of fire-brewin’ magic boys on site just for backup, y’know? The two think otherwise; come nightfall they give another demonstration, using the fiery plume to obscure their escape.


Wandering around the swamp at night is always asking for trouble, especially in Lost Valley — an oil-soaked honker’s got the midnight munchies! The pair throw their torch hoping to scare it off, and the whole thing goes up in smoke, setting the rest of the black goop ablaze as it stumbles in its death throes. If the locals hadn’t given up looking for them already, they have now!

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