N Cozz: A dragon who fears becoming an outcast lays a wrong color egg. It’s not in her nature to destroy it. Is that alien machine outside her cave her answer?
Earth: What happens when a young woman born to die and an impossible beast fall in love?
Damaged by several collisions with space debris, Collector Dog 3173 limped into Earth’s orbit with the transmitter considerably damaged. Those tracking it lost contact as it veered end over end, smashing down in a remote wooded area of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula The collision broke it apart, burying parts of it and strewing the contents of the collection pod over the ground between the trees. The egg landed on a patch of soft moss in a small clearing near a creek. The sun’s rays warmed it out of hibernation and though it was still hard, the cells inside began to multiply.
* * * *
Eleven-year-old Nahma Marten, searching for wild strawberries, had found some along the creek last year, so followed the bank, becoming more and more disappointed when she didn’t find any—strawberry plants, yes, but no berries. Grandpa would remind her they were to be shared with the birds, chipmunks and rabbits, which she knew anyway, but they could have left her a few.
About to turn back, she caught a glimpse of an unusual color. Turquoise? Nothing that color grew around here. She hurried to see what it could be, but once she was staring down at the oval-shaped turquoise egg, she couldn’t believe her eyes. No bird around here could possibly have laid an egg that big!
She put her berry pail on the ground, reached down and picked up the egg, cupping the turquoise find in both hands, and muttering, “You’re a strange color and size for an egg, but you sure look like one. Wonder what you’ll be when you hatch? Big, that’s for sure.”
Thrilled with her find, she laid the egg back on the moss and gathered a nearby large withering blue leaf with a soft pod attached to the stem and laid them in the bottom of the berry pail to cushion the egg. It barely fit in the pail sideways.
“Wait till I show Gina,” she said. As soon as the words left her lips, she realized who she wasn’t going to show it to—her grandfather. She almost never kept anything from him. He’d taken her in years ago, after her folks died in that accident. She loved him dearly, but she also knew how his mind worked.
He’d want to take the egg somewhere to be examined—and what if someone wherever he took it, decided to cut it open? It might not hatch anyway, but she wanted to give it a chance. Chicken eggs hatched if they’d been fertilized and the hen kept them warm. But no hen could ever keep this big an egg warm.
Nahma had no idea if the turquoise egg had been fertilized, but she hoped so. She’d have to keep it warm while she waited to see if it would hatch and that posed a problem. A heating pad would be too hot. Maybe a lamp. Yes! Grandpa had put his sunlamp away till next winter and it was flexible. She could fix up a nest in her room and bend the lamp down to shine on the egg, close enough to keep it warm, but not hot. In her closet, if she meant to keep it a secret.
If it did hatch, what would come out of it? She could hardly wait to find out.