Deep in the heart of the museum, on the night of the new moon, the little dinosaur skeleton woke up. It opened and closed its mouth and whipped its tailbones back and forth. Everything seemed to be working fine.
It climbed off its pedestal and started exploring the rest of the museum. It found rocks in rainbows of colors, and long swords that looked like long metal claws, and vases like large deep flowers made of stone.
The dinosaur spent the most time examining the new pirate exhibit. It looked at everything several times, head tilted to one side and the end of its tail hitting the ground with a soft pat, pat, pat.
And then, a little bony paw reached out and snatched a hat, sword, and eye patch. It took a bit of a struggle, but the little dinosaur skeleton managed to put on the eye patch and hat. Then, with a squeal of delight, it skipped out of the museum.
Once outside, the dinosaur sniffed the air. It turned, and keeping to the shadows, it hurried to the river. Bouncing on its back feet, it looked back and forth. It darted towards a boat tied up nearby. Once it had bitten through the rope tying the boat to the dock, the little dinosaur jumped in and dropped the sword in the bottom of the boat.
Paddling with its front paws, the little dinosaur skeleton launched the boat out into the river. The current caught the boat and the dinosaur stopped paddling. It waved its sword around and squealed again.
Eventually, the current pushed the boat ashore. It ran aground at the end of a long green stretch of neatly mowed lawn. The little dinosaur skeleton leapt from the boat and looked around.
It studied a flock of plastic flamingoes for a moment. Then it snatched two of them and raced back to the boat. The dinosaur launched out again and examined its newest treasures under the stars.
Waving a flamingo in one paw and the sword in the other, the little dinosaur danced a happy, hoppy dinosaur dance. The boat paused on the shore a few more times, and the little dinosaur skeleton ran off with a garden gnome and a flag and a watering can full of water.
The dinosaur danced and played and squealed until morning. When dawn came, the magic keeping it together faded away. The little dinosaur skeleton collapsed into a pile of bones, its tail giving one last wave to the world as it fell.
The boat drifted to shore one last time. The farmer who found it called the police. The police called the museum. A museum official came to gather their missing property. “What happened?” he asked.
“Who knows?” the policeman said. “Sign here and here and here.”
“Not all of this is ours,” the museum official said.
The policeman sighed. “Of course not. Just leave the rest here and we’ll take care of it. If we find out anything more, we’ll let you know.”
But of course they never did. And deep in the heart of the museum, the new moon after next, a preserved rainbow-colored moth woke up. It waved its antennae and wiggled its legs and then it flew up out of its display case.