The crater was baked hard enough to be smooth as glass, still warm under his hands. Shane stopped breathing altogether, his mouth dry as he gaped in disbelief.
Jammed into the packed and melted dirt was a great, shining thing like a giant Easter egg wrapped in silver paper. He scrambled down the side of the crater, slipping and skidding. He couldn't take his eyes off it to look where he was going and tripped, falling against it.
It moved under his hand, tingling on his skin, pulsing up his arm like electricity. Shane snatched his hand away, almost falling again in his hurry to be away from it.
"Crap!" he said, his voice high and scared.
It echoed. The silver thing thrummed, picking up his voice and changing it, playing it back to him louder and louder until he had his hands over his ears and was screaming for it to "STOP!"
The thing stopped.
It stood as if it had never moved and Shane watched it.
"This isn't how it's supposed to go!" he thought. "This isn't how you find an alien ship. I'm not here. This is just not happening. I fell asleep and I'm dreaming this. Maybe I'm mad - like the kids say in school. Maybe it finally happened."
This was almost comforting, but not true.
A thing shaped like a silver egg should be funny. You could laugh at it, almost. But touching it felt bad. He could still feel the tingle on his palm, the way it had shuddered up his arm, like it was still there, still inside him. Should be a joke, but it wasn't. The silver arc of it hung over him, casting him in shadow; menacing; strange; alien.
His arm throbbed now.
"Is it getting worse?" he thought. "It's getting worse! Oh crap! Oh crap!"
His fingers were numb. He fumbled for his inhaler, had to use his other hand to get into the pocket. It dropped onto the glass dirt with a clatter, rolling. His eyes followed it, followed it to the dip at the base of the egg, where a black line was forming, growing, spreading up the pristine shining smoothness.
It was opening.