‘Whatcha dooin’?’ asked a voice through Davis’s privacy fence. It was Gwendolyn.
He had been poking the unconscious Sam with a stick. The rock was still glowing a little bit. ‘Hey, Gwen!’ he said. Jump the fence! Check this out!’
The sound of squeaky metal springs compressing, a momentary silence, some more squeakiness, except faster, and then a ‘humph!’ sound. Gwen was now in the backyard.
‘Whoa, damn hell! What is it?’ She said, savoring the bawdier aspects of kid-speak.
‘I don’t know. I think it’s from space! It hit me in the hand and knocked me on my ass!’ Davis said.
‘Yeah. Whoa is right.’
‘It has a face!’
‘You bet your damn ass it has a face.’
‘Is it alive?’
‘It was like a minute ago.’
Davis looked at his hand. Yes, he was bleeding. The rock thing had scraped past his hand on its way to the ground. His hand was bleeding, and sore now that he noticed it, but this information was eclipsed by the fact that Gwendolyn was holding his hand, inspecting the wound. Her hands were warm and wet. Davis imagined she had been gripping the handlebars of her bicycle rather tightly. He pictured her white knuckles wrapped around the little rubber stoppers, her face an expression of pure determination (as always) as she pedaled furiously towards her chosen destination.
‘Woah, dude. You’re bleeding a lot! You didn’t know that?’ She said.
‘I didn’t really notice, I guess.’ He said. ‘It’s not that big of a deal.’ Davis said.
Gwendolyn nodded appreciatively. Toughness was a virtue to her. They locked eyes momentarily.
‘ugh.’ Came a voice from the hole. It was the rock.
‘Hello?’ said the children as they approached the steaming hole in the ground.
The creature’s eyes were open. They stared intently at the children, thinking they were quite ugly, but would do.
‘It’s coming!’ he said rockily.
‘What’s coming?’ asked Gwen.
’Nothing.’ Said the rock, and passed out again. Davis and Gwendolyn exchanged glances, but were interrupted in whatever they were going to say by the sound of gravel crunching in the drive way. The kids’ eyes widened, and they knew what they had to do.
‘Get something to pick it up with!’
“I don’t know! Use your shirt!’
‘No, it’s too hot! It’s still glowing!’
‘What! That will kill him?’
‘What makes you think it’s a boy?!’ Car doors shut. The sound of gentle adult laughing wafted over the fence. Davis’s parents were home.
‘…Okay! Get a shovel! Over there! By the shed!’ Gwen ran over to the shed and picked up a small gardening spade. She threw it—saying that she ‘tossed it’ would be too generous—at Davis, who ducked, turned around and picked it up, and began frantically filling in the hole with surrounding dirt. He tried to leave a little space that Sam could breathe through. The gate to the fence opened, and Davis’s parents walked in. They had bags in their arms that were full of colorful drinks and foodstuffs for the night’s cocktail party.