I fear this letter will never find you, as the raptors have surrounded our position. The last message-runner we sent out was a gutsy fellow from the Queen’s Own regiment, by the name of Bartleby Wilson. I regret to report he was thoroughly consumed.
Colonel Harrowgate has ordered the outer palisade to be reinforced and manned at all times. The sappers are doing sterling work, but being gentlemen accustomed to underground work, they have proven unusually vulnerable to the blighted winged creatures circling overhead. Just a few moments ago I saw another of their number plucked from his station atop the barricades and borne away on sweeping wings. The artillery spotters reported seeing him giving a good accounting of himself with his entrenching spade, but to little effect, I dare say.
Oh, Martha, how I hope you and young George are safe. We have heard such tales of plesiosaurs in the Thames and long-necked monstrosities laying waste to the forests of the Midlands. You must remind our son that if he finds any strange eggs in the brook, he is on no account to bring them home and nurture them to hatch. By all accounts that’s how we got into this mess. He is to summon the vicar and some local lads with rakes or mattocks to smash them to smithereens.
Do not give into the temptation to scramble them for supper. Sergeant Morley described them as rather unappetising, though not in those precise words.
I have volunteered to lead an expedition into the ruins of an old village uncovered near here. The Colonel believes, and I hold his judgment in the highest esteem, that there we shall locate the pestilential fellows responsible for this scaly uprising. Do not fear for me, for surely God will not allow good Christian men to come to ill at the hands of these reptilian devils. I shall be with you again anon.
Your loving husband,
Capt. Bernard Willoughby-Runce
Dear Mrs Willoughby-Runce
It is my sad duty to inform you that your husband, Captain Bernard Willoughby Runce, was killed in action this morning.
In the conduct of a mission of the greatest importance to the present difficulties, he was struck down, by which I sadly mean eaten, by a flock of winged and sharp-clawed predators known to the men here as “Bayonet turkeys”. While I can say little regarding the success or otherwise of your husband’s expedition, I am assured by the handful of survivors that he faced the end with the pluck and determination expected of an officer of his Majesty’s Royal Army.
Enclosed please find his regimental cap and part of a knucklebone recovered from the stomach of one of his assailants. His men took the liberty of cleaning it in the hopes it would bring you some comfort in this troubling hour.
Colonel Jeremy Harrowgate
My Dear Charlotte
There is still no word from Bernard’s company. All I am allowed to know is that they are stationed in some ancient village site in Orkney. It hardly seems as though they could be doing anything important there. Nobody has even lived there for a thousand years. I sometimes think these army officers keep their secrets wholly for the sake of it.
Well, what can’t be mended must be endured. It’s George I’m worried about. He has been acting very peculiar for weeks now. Ever since his dog went missing, he’s been obsessed with the horrible lizard things. He draws all sorts of fanciful pictures and tells the most frightful stories you’ve ever heard. Do you know he told me that the lizards have friends? What do you make of that? What’s more, he said he wanted to be their friend too!
Charlotte, I fear I am close to the end of my tether. Your nephew is such an imaginative boy; it is simply too much for me. All this country air is only feeding his silly notions.
And there’s more of the beasts wandering about now. Only yesterday something with quite extraordinary teeth made off with the postman’s satchel before he could complete his rounds. Who knows what vital correspondence has been lost, to say nothing of the postman himself?
I’m not too proud to admit you were right. We should have stayed in Birmingham where things are safe and sensible. If you still have space in the spare front room, George and I shall gladly accept your offer of refuge, at least until the government get affairs in order.
I have booked passage on the 10:13 express for the Tuesday after next.
Your loving sister
Martha Willoughby-Runce, Mrs
Dear Mister Growl
I have found thirteen eggs, just like you asked. It was dead easy because I am good at spotting them. Also they are everywhere.
I kept them warm in a secret place where Mother would not step on them by accident. My dog Crofty doesn’t use his dog house any more since he was eaten by an allosaur. I wrapped them up in his blanket.
When the eggs hatch will I really be their friend just like you? I want them to like me. I whispered to them with the words you taught me and I think they liked it. I think my scales are starting to grow like you promised. Though I might just be itchy from the dog blanket.
Mother says we must leave soon. I don’t want to. I am going to wait here for the eggs to hatch. I’ll be the first person they see. I just know they will love me.
George Willoughby-Runce, age 8