The gray leathery ball remained un-noticed through breakfast and most of the morning while the couple readied their belongings for a return to civilization. It might have been left in the shelter if Lydia’s favorite pen had not rolled off the table.
“Oh, my! I’d forgotten all about you,” she said to the orb as she reached forward to retrieve it from underneath the table. It reacted to her warmth by rolling into her outstretched hands. “What the…” she uttered as she pulled her arms away. The orb continued to roll forward until it reached her knees, gently bouncing against them. She gingerly placed her hand on top of the orb and found it surprisingly soft and giving. Its occupant moved toward her hand, drawn to the warmth of it. “Grant,” she turned to face her husband, “there’s something alive inside this.” The orb stayed close to Lydia, following her when she backed away.
“It could be dangerous.” Grant grabbed his revolver and started loading it; he wasn’t taking any chances. “Let’s see if we can get a look at what’s inside.” When finished with his gun, he grabbed a flashlight and came over to see if he could shine some light on the occupant. The leather shell was too opaque to allow any light through.
“Put the gun away,” she chastised her husband. “I think it just wants its mother. and it’s probably cold.” Lydia sat down and pulled the orb into her lap. A faint trilling could be heard coming from inside the egg as it occupant made itself comfortable in her lap. She stretched to grab a rolled up sleeping bag and spread it out on the floor.
Grant tossed her pillow and blanket to Lydia. He watched as she tucked the egg under the blanket next to her to keep it warm and lay down to get some sleep. Then, he took up a watchful position nearby, wrapped in a blanket and clutching the gun. He was soon overcome by the need to sleep.
High-pitched squeals of panic and frantic movement within the egg woke the couple. Lydia watched as the egg moved away and tumbled about the floor of the shelter. Grant sprang to his feet and followed the rolling egg with his gun. After nearly an hour, the activity suddenly stopped.
“I think it’s dead,” Grant poked the leather ball with his pistol. The orb remained still, “whatever it is.”
“Let’s find out what it is,” Lydia rummaged through a packed chest for her specimen kit.
Grant unpacked the super-8 camera and loaded a fresh tape on the recorder. “Ready when you are.”
“You’re taping this?” She scowled at him, “I must look a mess.”
“You’re beautiful,” he snapped back, “besides this could make us famous.”
Lydia took her scalpel and carefully sliced open the leathery sac. “Poor thing,” she sighed. She cut the infant free of its apparent tomb. “It was a reptile; about eighteen inches long and weighing maybe eight or nine pounds. It has a soft white skin and is cool to the touch.” Her description on the tape was very detailed.
Before she could slice it open to examine its biology, it blinked. “What the devil,” she lowered the scalpel to make her first incision, but as she applied pressure the infant squealed and rolled away. “It’s still alive,” Lydia stood up and backed away. “Now what do we do?”
“We wait,” Grant replied, “until it dies.”