An epidemic hits fruit park - Part 1

Din Din felt a sharp pain in his abdomen. He woke up with a start, sweating. The pain passed as soon as it had struck. Lying back on his bed he let sleep overpower him.

His mother was too preoccupied the next morning to realize that Din Din did not eat at the breakfast table. In school too, he felt weak and numb. Even when he got home he went straight to bed instead of rushing off to tend to the beloved plants in his garden.

"What's the matter Din Din?" his mother said as she saw him toss and turn in bed. "It's not like you to skip lunch."

"Nothing." Din Din mumbled. "Just tired!"

That night Din Din could hear his younger brother Derek restless in bed too.

"Are you okay?" Din Din asked Derek who slept in the loft in their cave home right above his own bed.

"My stomach! It's killing me!" whispered Derek.

"Mine too," muttered Din Din.

"Don't tell mom otherwise she'll take us to Dr. Trish, the triceratops dinosaur doctor," urged Derek.

Din Din nodded. He and his brothers hated to go to the doctor, especially Dr. Trish. Infact, every dinosaur despised Dr. Trish who had a booming voice, a bad temper and foul-smelling medicines. They all avoided her clinic like plague!

The two brothers quietly bore their pain the next day too. Later that evening, the dinosaurs of Fruit Park received a message for an emergency meeting.

"I wonder what it could be," mused Mrs. Dee, Din Din's mother. And it's not just restricted to adults. Every dinosaur has been requested to attend."

So Din Din and his brothers followed their parents as they trekked towards the orange orchard near Old Rex's home where the dinosaur meetings were conducted. Din Din and Derek walked painstakingly as they tried to quell the shooting pain they felt occasionally.

Old Rex had been the leader of the dinosaurs for years. The orchard outside Old Rex's cave was crowded as dinosaurs of all sizes found a place to stand. Soon, Old Rex called the meeting to order and the crowd fell silent.

"There is a medical emergency," began the old tyrannosaurus in his gravelly voice. "Dr. Trish will brief you." he added motioning for the triceratops to stand and address the crowd. "The water which comes to Fruit Park has been contaminated," Dr. Trish began in her boisterous voice, coming right to the point without mincing any words.

She waited for the crowd to stop whispering. "The spring from where the dinosaurs of Fruit Park get their drinking water has traces of some chemicals which are causing severe stomach infections. I already have 10 young patients in my clinic who are in intense pain and are receiving medical attention. I have requested for this public meeting so that we can identify other patients who might be experiencing symptoms in the early stage of the infection. Such patients need to be kept in quarantine so as to not allow the infection to spread. Also, the spring has been cordoned off so that no dinosaur or other creatures are able to drink this contaminated water."

"Quarantine!" cried Din Din in alarm as he looked at Derek.

"Listen carefully! The symptoms are intense stomach cramps, vomiting or weakness." said Dr. Trish. "The victims have been seen to be younger dinosaurs whose immune systems have been exposed to these chemicals. Please, come into the clinic tonight if you suffer from any of these symptoms so we may examine you and treat you. Don't put the health of your near and dear ones at risk by exposing yourself to them."

The meeting broke up and the dinosaur families returned home, subdued.

At the dinner table, Din Din finally spoke up, "Mother, Father... Derek and I have been suffering from stomach cramps since the last two days."

"What!" cried Mrs. Dee, her face losing its colour.

"Calm down, Dee," said Din Din's father. "Okay son! Let's take you both to the clinic."

Soon Din Din and Derek found themselves standing in a line outside Dr. Trish's clinic. "Please, wait for your turn," they could hear Dr. Trish's voice rising as she tried to control the agitated crowd.

It was after a long wait that Din Din and Derek were ushered into the large cave which was the clinic in Fruit Park. Glass pots filled with fireflies lit the cave. There were at least twenty dinosaurs, many of them Din Din's school friends, who were lying on the bunks in the clinic.

After Dr. Trish examined them, she looked solemnly at their father and said, "I'm afraid they are both infected."

Mr. D swallowed hard trying to remain composed. "W...What is the treatment, Doctor?" he stuttered.

"Let me tell you frankly that we do not know the kind of chemical which has seeped into the water of the spring and its origin. I am so busy treating patients that I have not been able to complete the tests on the water samples. Until I find out the nature of the chemical, there is no way that I can create a drug or herbal potion which can cure it."

"Please tell us what we can do to help," said Mr. D urgently. "Do you need volunteers at the clinic?"

"Yes," replied Dr. Trish at once, relief evident in her voice. "You are the first creature to ask that! I need at least five volunteers to take care of the clinic and the patients. Patients have to be administered tonics and regular medicines to keep their pain at bay. Until then, I can spend time in my lab and find out what this chemical is. Later we will find the source of the chemical and remove it."

"I volunteer myself and my wife," said Mr. D, "And my two other sons."

"You are at risk of exposing yourself to this virus," reminded Dr. Trish. "It may be contagious."

"That is a risk we are willing to take," replied Mr D somberly.

End of part 1

The Adventures of D'Land
Animated Series

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