An egg that their grandfather, who knows a bit about everything, can’t identify.
But when the egg starts hatching in the middle of the night, Tom and Clare are in big trouble.
Not just from Mum and Dad, but from the owner of the egg – who might be a little unhappy that the twins have dug it up…
Tom and Clare found the egg the third time they went geocaching.
The instructions on the app they’d downloaded to the phone they shared took them from their home in the tiny tourist town of Splinter Beach out along the main road which led to the long stretch of sand. They left their bikes chained to one of the posts in the Splinter Beach Caravan Park’s carpark and followed the geocaching directions along the beach, their feet sinking into the hot, dry sand.
‘There’s the big rock that looks like a frog,’ said Clare finally. She wiped a hand across her face and pulled it away dripping with sweat. Typical Tom, wanting to go geocaching on the hottest day of the year. At least the rock was shaded by a group of tall casuarina trees. ‘Should be around here somewhere.’
Tom squinted down at the phone, its screen almost invisible in the afternoon sunlight. ‘It says to look down.’
Clare looked down. Sand.
‘He’s dug it in,’ she said with disgust, grabbing the phone away from Tom and reading the directions. ‘Didn’t you read it first? It’s difficulty level two. We should’ve brought a shovel or something.’
‘Can’t be that far down,’ Tom said, snatching back the phone. ‘Look, the GPS says it’s right here. And the site says someone found it seven months ago.’
‘Within five metres of here,’ Clare retorted. ‘So what do we do, dig up five metres of sand?’ She sighed. It had been Tom’s idea to start geocaching. There was pretty much nothing to do in Splinter Beach when school was out. It had taken them almost a day to find the first cache, and only a few hours to find the second. But they’d both been above ground, one hung with a short length of rope from a tree branch, the other almost hidden by the rainwater tank of the pizza shop.
Not buried who-knew-how-deep in the sand.
Clare pulled off her tiny backpack, dropped it on the sand and crouched beside her brother. The afternoon sun beat down on the back of her neck and sweat trickled down her back beneath her shirt as she dug her hands into the sand, its coarse grains hot against her fingers. Tom was digging like a giant puppy half a metre to her left, sand flying out to either side. Clare shook her head and scooped out another handful. They were twins – Tom was older than she was by all of twenty minutes – but sometimes she felt years older than him.
‘Found it!’ Tom yelled triumphantly, and Clare sat back on her heels as Tom brushed off the remaining sand and lifted the geocache out of its hole.
It was about fifteen centimetres long, mottled green and brown, and looked like an egg.
Clare frowned. The other two had been boxes, one plastic which had fit on her palm, the other an old-fashioned metal box. She watched as Tom turned the egg back and forth, trying to open it. This just felt… wrong.
‘Give it here,’ she said finally, and he handed it over. It was heavy in her hands, the surface smooth but kind of rough at the same time. She shook it, holding it beside her ear. Nothing. No sound, no movement from within.
And it definitely was an egg. An unhatched egg. Who would geocache an egg? No way to log it at all.
‘Check the site again,’ she said. ‘The cache was supposed to be bigger than this, wasn’t it?’
Tom poked at the phone. ‘Medium,’ he said, and looked back at the egg. ‘That’s not it.’
‘Well, duh.’ Clare rolled her eyes. She unzipped her backpack and nestled the egg inside. ‘Let’s look for the real cache, then we’ll take this egg in to Harry. He might know what it’s from.’