Billy was in what his mother called 'his dinosaur phase'. He'd been firmly ensconced in this phase for the past six months, ever since his Dad had taken him to see the Natural History Museum in Oxford. The first thing he'd seen on entering was the huge bones of the Tyrannosaurus Rex glaring down at him, and that was it; he'd been hooked ever since.
In the time since then his entire room had been re-decorated with a Jurassic theme. Dinosaurs were on the bedsheets, the curtains, the posters on the walls, and little plastic ones covered his floor to the point where it was dangerous to walk across it. Unless you were Billy, of course. No dinosaur would dare to harm Billy, who reigned supreme among them and controlled their every move. Billy was in his element and entirely at home within his dinosaur-infested room.
Every now and then the dinosaurs would venture outside of Billy's room, in an effort to invade and infest the rest of Billy's house. On one such occasion his mother inadvertently wandered into their midst and carelessly got her foot bitten. She was lucky she hadn't suffered any more serious injuries, but she didn't seem to see it that way.
"Billy!" She screeched in a shrill and piercing voice that sounded suspiciously and wonderfully like a pterodactyl to Billy's ears; pterodactyls were his favourite. "If I step on these dinosaurs one more time you'll be grounded for the next month! Come clean them up!"
Billy grudgingly obliged, grumping all the while that his mother wouldn't survive two whole minutes with dinosaurs around before she got eaten.
Billy was right. Not two minutes had passed before she stepped on another one, in a different part of the house, and screeched again, "Billy! That's it, go to your room! You're going straight to bed without any supper!"
Billy gathered up his poor trodden-on dinosaurs and headed off to his room to do as he was told. He didn't mind too much about missing supper. His mother would only insist on him eating healthy things while he persisted in hiding them under the table and begging her for dessert, and he was quite happy about skipping that charade for once. What he did mind about was going to bed so early; he was sure he'd never get to sleep.
Thoroughly convinced of his impending insomnia, Billy lay down on his bed, closed his eyes, and tried to will himself to sleep anyway, chanting under his breath. Gotosleep, gotosleep, gotosleep, gotosleep, gotosleep, gotosleep, gotosleep, gotosleep.
Some time later his chanting was interrupted by a scratching at his window. Confused but curious, and bored of trying to sleep, he got up to investigate. It was too dark outside for him to see anything properly, so he opened the window up and stuck his head through to get a proper look. It was still too dark to see. Looking down, he found he could see the ground beyond his garden in the moonlight, and the walls to either side of him. But directly underneath him was just plain dark - the moonlight didn't touch it.
He looked up, and fell backwards with a yell more of surprise than fear; Billy had never had anything to fear from his dinosaurs before, and even if this one was a real, lifesize pterodactyl he wasn't afraid of it. After all, it had come to his bedroom. It knew who the master of the dinosaurs was. All the dinosaurs knew that.
He recovered quickly enough, getting to his feet and glancing around furtively, suddenly worried that his parents might have heard him yelling or falling or both. The rest of the house was still quiet though, and he breathed a sigh of relief. The pterodactyl dipped its wings and dropped in height until it was right outside his window looking in at him. It cocked its head and gave a quiet - quiet for a pterodactyl, that is - questioning trill. Billy smiled at it in wonder and reached out of the window to stroke its head. Its skin was smooth like silk - not at all what he was expecting, but the joy of being so close to a real live dinosaur was enough that he didn't question it.
The pterodactyl stuck its head through the window and head-butted Billy in the chest playfully. He grinned, and without a moment's hesitation climbed through the window and crawled onto its back, settling himself comfortably in-between its wings, his legs hanging either side of its neck. He was just wondering how he would manage to steer without any reins when the pterodactyl took off of its own accord, taking care of that dilemma for him. It flew high and fast over the houses, swiftly reaching the edge of town and onwards towards the forest. Billy had never travelled this far out of town, unless you counted long journeys where he slept in the back of the car. Billy didn't count those; it didn't feel like travelling when you simply went to sleep and woke up somewhere different. He wanted to see the sights, and the view from atop the pterodactyl's back was amazing.
The canopy of the forest stretched beneath them like a giant green carpet. Billy stared in awe, trying to take it all in at once - not just the trees but the movements of all the creatures of the forest. The carpet writhed with them, and in front of them a huge flock of birds took to the skies and hurried away as fast as birdly possible to escape the strange flying reptile they'd never seen before.
Eventually the carpet ended, but the pterodactyl kept on flying. Billy wasn't sure how long they'd been in the air for, but it felt like it had been hours, and he was just starting to worry about how far from home they were getting when all of a sudden the pterodactyl wheeled to the right, nearly dropping Billy, who only managed to stay on by instinctively gripping its neck with his knees just as it did so. The pterodactyl carried on wheeling round in a circle, getting lower and lower as it did so, until it was the same height as the cliff ledge it had been flying above.
The pterodactyl landed in a nest that looked remarkably similar to the bird nests Billy had seen before, only bigger. Three eggs were in the nest - two already hatched and cracked open, lying in pieces on the floor of the nest, one unhatched looking lonely and forlorn at the back. The two hatched baby pterodactyls trilled as their mother approached and were rewarded with regurgitated food almost as soon as she landed. Billy rolled off into the nest, glad to be back on solid ground for a moment, and lay there massaging his knees where he'd been holding on to the pterodactyl for hours. They were going to hurt on the flight back, he knew.
When he'd recovered a bit and felt more like himself, he sat up and found two baby pterodactyls looking at him curiously. He held out a hand to them and they seemed to take this as a sign that he was safe, and proceeded to climb all over him, investigating. Billy laughed and tried to stroke them but they were far too interested in his hands and wouldn't keep their heads still.
The mother pterodactyl spread her wings out over the nest, enclosing Billy and the babies inside a dark, warm tent of skin. Billy found himself yawning before he could stop himself, and the baby pterodactyls curled up next to him, radiating sleepiness that he didn't have the energy to fend off. He pulled the unhatched egg in towards him to give it some extra body heat and fell fast asleep holding it, with the biggest smile on his face that he'd ever had.
Billy woke up the next morning to the shriek of a pterodactyl, and for one wonderful moment thought he really was in that nest with his dinosaurs still, but then he caught the words behind the shriek and realised it was just his mother telling him to get up for school. He yawned and stretched, sorry to leave his perfect dream behind.
As he did so, his outstretched fingers brushed against something hard, and he looked around to see an unhatched pterodactyl egg sitting in the corner of his bed, carefully balanced against the wall.