An Unexpected Adventure


“PSST, HARLEY.” CHERISE’S voice, although quiet for her, was loud enough to get us into trouble with Miss Smith. “Harley!”

I looked up with an internal sigh, but what else was I supposed to do? Cherise was one of four girls in my eighth-grade class, and my best friend, Chace, had a crush on her. I couldn’t make her mad.

“What?” I whispered back, making sure Miss Smith wasn’t watching us yet.

Cherise placed both hands on the back of her desk and leaned her pixie face over mine, her big eyes eager.

“Whatcha doin’ after school today? Can you come over?”

“I don’t know. I’ve got track practice, and then I have to help Mom and Dad with the B&B.”

“Ooh!” Her brown eyes got even bigger, which should have been impossible. She leaned even further onto my desk. “Anyone famous staying there?”

I shook my head. My parents ran, Aidan’s Keep, one of the two bed and breakfasts in our little town, and Cherise always expected someone famous to come through. We got our tourists for sure—they came to fish in the ocean or up Myrtle River, windsurf in the lake north of town, or bike the Pacific Coast Trail. Why would anyone famous want to come to little ol’ Myrtle Beach, Oregon? Sure, it was rumored that Brad Pitt (or his mom, depending on who you talked with) had a house in the town south of us, but that wasn’t Myrtle Beach where the sheep, cattle, and cranberries outnumbered the people.

Cherise’s face fell at my answer, then lit up again, and, in a logic all her own, she said, “Then you can come over tonight!”

I was saved a comment by Miss Smith.

“Cherise and Harley, stop talking. And Cherise, please sit

correctly. In your own desk.”

“Yes, Miss Smith,” we said in unison.

No one messed with Miss Smith, not even Tanner and Peter, the duo that gave every teacher a headache. She used to teach first grade, but due to budget cuts she was moved to the junior high Language Arts class. She still had a no-nonsense way about her that made us all pay attention.

Cherise gave me a wink as she turned around, and I almost laughed out loud at her expression. I rolled my eyes instead and focused back on the class.


You’d think that Cherise would have been satisfied and not bothered me again, but no—not her. Later, on the bus to the high school where we had PE, Spanish, and our elective, I was sitting chatting with my two friends, Will and Chace. We were interrupted by Cherise’s head popping up and over the seat in front of Chace and me. Across the aisle, Will laughed. Cherise and Chace glared at him, while I just shook my head.

“What?” Will protested. “You should have seen the two of you jump.”

Cherise just tossed her head, her hair bouncing around her chin.

“Hey, guys, want to come over tonight? I’ve got Cabela’s Hunt for Wii.”

I could tell Chace was tempted. He loved hunting, probably more than any of us.

“I’d need a ride home,” he said.

I groaned. Since he lived twelve miles up Myrtle River on a windy, narrow road, that meant I’d have to ask someone from my family to give him a lift. Mom and Dad would be busy with Aidan’s Keep B&B, and my older sister, Karis, wasn’t a fan of playing chauffeur. “Oh, all right,” I said to spare his dignity. “I’ll see what I can do.”

Cherise’s big brown eyes beamed at me. “Thanks, Harley. You won’t regret it.”

Oh, maybe not because of anything she or my buddies would do, but I’d have to do extra chores tomorrow to make it up to my family. I didn’t have time to answer, though, because the bus pulled into the high school, announced by the speed bump and the groans as our classmates were tossed about. Our driver had hit the pot hole right after the speed bump.

“Sure wish someone’d fix that.” Chace rubbed his chin where it had bumped against Cherise’s seat.

“You know what they say about the school not having money.”

Will shrugged.

“They’re going to have less when they have to replace my

tooth,” Chace grumbled.


“Harley Maegher, get in here right now!”

That didn’t bode well. When anyone used my last name, I knew I’d done something wrong. When my mom used it, I’d usually left something in the way of guests.

“What is it, Mom?” I asked, all innocence, as I rounded the

kitchen door.

I was greeted not by a smiley, happy figure welcoming me home from school, but by one with a frown on her face and hands on her hips.

“How many times do I have to tell you to put your breakfast bowl in the dishwasher before you leave for school?”

“But, Mom—“

“No ‘But Mom’s.’ Professor Raleigh was greeted by a messy breakfast table when he came down today. He’s a long-term guest. You can’t keep doing that.”

“Yes, Mom.” I knew the opportune times to argue with her, and this wasn’t one of them, especially if I was going to try to get Chace permission to spend the night and go over to Cherise’s house, too.

“I’ll put the dishes away for you.” The open dishwasher had inspired me.

Mom looked at me with a question on her face, but didn’t say anything. She was busy getting dinner ready.

About halfway through the job, I asked Mom about our family plans for the evening.

“What’s up your sleeve, Harley?” she replied.

I looked up my t-shirt sleeve exaggeratedly. “An arm?” “Very funny. What do you want to do?”

I told her about Chace wanting to come over and Cherise’s invite to play games. She eyed me, a spatula in one hand and her other on the counter.

“What kind of games, Harley?”

“She said she’d gotten the newest Cabela’s Hunt.” “You know our rules; nothing over E10+ ratings.”

“But, Mom, it’s hunting! It’s going to have a T rating for the shooting.”

Mom nodded, turned, and stirred the meat frying in the skillet.

When she was done, she turned back to me.

“I know I can’t control your friends in their own homes.” She stirred the meat again and then clicked off the stove. “You can play the Cabela’s game, but not anything else above E10+. How’s Chace getting here?”

I shrugged. “I don’t know.”

“Uh-huh. I thought so,” she said knowingly as she poured sauce over the freshly cooked meat. “You’ll have to see if Karis will take you to pick him up.”

I nodded. “Thanks, Mom.”


We had a great night. The game was fun, but Cherise’s parents kicked us out by eight o’clock. It was still light out, so we walked down to the docks where Will spent most of his waking hours when he wasn’t in school or hanging out with us. The Crab Shack was closed, though, so we didn’t stay for long.

Once the twilight started to deepen, we walked Will home. Sometimes I felt sorry for him. His parents both worked to make ends meet, but it didn’t give them any energy left over to parent him. His house had the feel of a morgue—not that I‘d ever been in one—and we made a pretty quick exit once we’d seen him safely to the door.

When we got back home, we tried to come in quietly, but were met on the porch by Professor Raleigh.

“Hi, Professor,” I greeted our wiry guest. “How was your day?” “Quite fine, Harley; quite fine,” he said as he pushed up his glasses.

He paused at the door and turned. “You have a friend with you.” I nodded. “Chace, this is Professor Raleigh.”

The professor nodded and stuck out his hand.

“Nice to meet you, Chace. I’m Dr. Winston P. Raleigh, Professor of Geology at UC Berkley.”

Chace was thoroughly impressed. “Whatcha doin’ here in Oregon, Professor?”

“Looking for thundereggs, young man. Looking for thundereggs. Rather magnificent creatures if you ask me.”

I looked at Chace and raised an eyebrow. I’d never heard rocks being called creatures before.

“They tell us so much about the area when we cut them open,” he clarified. “Say!” His face brightened, lightening his dark eyes and skin. “I could use help searching for them. They’re quite rare, but I’ve been told there are some in the area. Would you boys want to help me look? If you found one, I would pay you for it.”

Chace and I looked at each other dumbfounded. We really didn’t have anything else planned in the morning other than helping clean the bed and breakfast. If I told Mom I was going with a guest, I could probably get out of chores.

“Sure, I’d be interested.”

Chace nodded. “I could look upriver on the ranch. Dad might know of some places to look, too.”

“Good. Then I will see you in the morning and we’ll talk. I’ll have to give you some instructions on what to search for.”


“COME ON, CHACE,” I called. “Hurry up!”

Chace groaned. “Harley, you’re not going to find one by rushing around.”

We’d been out on the beach for the past hour. I’d roamed ahead of Chace, but Will was even farther up the shore. It was a gorgeous May day on the coast. The surf fell lightly against the rocks, and the wind barely moved Chace’s hair, though I knew that’d change by the afternoon.

A shout from Will sent us both running. Chace arrived behind me, out of breath. Track had kept me in shape, but even so, I was slightly winded.

“Whatcha… got?” Chace leaned on his thighs to catch his breath. “I think I found one.” Will smoothed sand away from an oblong area as big as a backpack.

The object blended in with the cream of the sand and rocks. Whatever it was, it didn’t look like a rock. It was too smooth.

“That looks like an egg.,” Chace bent down to examine it closer.

I nodded. It did.

“But that’s why they’re called thundereggs.” Will didn’t even pause as he continued to excavate the item in question.

I shrugged, and Chace shook his head while pushing up his glasses.

“We might as well help him.” I bent down and began gently uncovering the stone.

Professor Raleigh had been very particular about the condition in which he wanted his thundereggs delivered. In my opinion they were just large rocks. Sure, they’re the state stone, but you really couldn’t harm them. The point was to crack them open and find the geode inside. But since the professor was the one paying us for the rock, we followed his orders to dig carefully and not damage the rock.

After a few more minutes of digging, the stone came free. Will wriggled it until we could get a grip underneath and lift it out. I really had my doubts we could pick it up; I was sure it’d weigh close to a hundred pounds or more. However, to my surprise, it came free and up without a hitch, absurdly light for its size.

“Should it be this light?” I squinted at the rock in our hands. “I don’t know.” Will shrugged his shoulder.

Chace shifted his grip. “I’ve never seen a single rock this big before. But it should weigh more than this. I still say it’s an egg.”

I was beginning to believe him, but there were some good reasons to doubt it, too. “What bird’s this big, and how did it get here? We’re a long way from the game park.”

The game park was the closest thing to a zoo we had. They had wild animals and some pet deer, sheep, donkeys, geese, goats, and peacocks to feed. They even had an emu and an ostrich, but I still couldn’t imagine either one having an egg quite this size.

Chace shook his head. “I don’t know, but listen.” He took a free hand and tapped ever so gently on the surface.

It echoed hollowly. Before anyone could say anything, a second fainter tap came as if in reply.

“What in the world?” I exclaimed, jumping and almost dropping the thing.

“It’s an egg,” Chace said with firm conviction. “I don’t know what kind yet, but it’s an egg.”

“Wh-what do we do with it?” Will looked like he wanted to toss it in the ocean.

“We keep it.”

Both Will and Chace looked at me as if I had just turned down a shot at a five-point deer during hunting season. I don’t know what I was thinking, but suddenly a fierce desire to protect the creature inside came over me.

“We what?” At that moment, Will’s eyes were as big as Cherise’s. “Where?” Chace was more reasonable. “Your mom won’t let you.” “It’s not staying at my house!” Will’s voice quavered ever so slightly.

We stood holding the strange egg, each of us with a hand on the shell, and when Chace and Will started looking first at me, then at each other, I knew they felt it, too. Wherever our palms rested, there was a pulse of warmth. Chace looked away first, his green eyes focusing on the mystery we held. I couldn’t see them behind his glasses, but his face softened. He nodded his head.

“I’ll take it.” Will and I looked at him with expressions somewhere between relief and uncertainty. “I’ll do it. There’s the barn that old man Thompson hasn’t used in years. No one ever goes in there. There’s old hay for a nest, and I can check on it every day.”

“Are you sure?” I asked. “I can always try it for a few days.” “Yeah, and what happens if it hatches while we’re at school,

huh? What then?”

He had me, and he knew it, but I didn’t want to give up. Just as I had wanted to protect it, now I found that I didn’t want to let it leave my sight.

“What if I keep it for the weekend, bring it to school, and let you take it home?”

Chace eyed me. It was the same calculating look he gave me over a game of soccer. He wondered how serious I was. I began to wonder if he had experienced the same surge of protectiveness for the creature. He nodded.

It was a lot harder to do than to say. The egg was probably a couple of feet long and more than two hands wide. Its surface was smooth as the handlebars on my bike. Only Will’s backpack was big enough for it, but he didn’t want anything to do with carrying it and made that known in no uncertain terms. In the end, we switched packs. I let him have mine for the weekend.

At home, I took it upstairs to my room where I hid it in a pile of blankets in my closet.

Later that night, Professor Raleigh greeted me on his way to his room. “Any luck today, Harley?”

I shook my head. “No, sir. We didn’t find any thundereggs.

What about you?”

“Not yet, son. Well, keep looking. I know there’s one out there.”


My backpack felt awkward as I stepped onto the bus on Monday. I just knew someone was going to notice the odd shape, and we’d lose our egg. All weekend long I’d been nervous. I’d been afraid Mom or Dad would think I was acting strange and get me to confess. They hadn’t, but I’d be glad to hand it over to Chace, protective instinct or no.

One look at Will’s face, and I knew he hadn’t forgiven me for keeping the egg. He hadn’t said a word to me at church yesterday, but I’d hoped he’d give in. It didn’t look good.

“Hi!” I greeted him as I sat down.

He turned and looked out the window. Great. Kids might not look at my backpack, but they most certainly would notice Will was in a tiff. With a sigh I leaned back for the half-hour bus ride.

It was a quiet, awkward trip. Will talked over the seat with Cherise once she got on, but he ignored me. I don’t know how Cherise didn’t notice, but then again, it was Cherise. No one ever knew what she was thinking.

The students filed off the bus with the typical complaints of junior highers mingling with the enthusiasm of kindergartners. Once in the halls, the elementary kids split off down their corridor and the junior high students went to their lockers.

Chace wasn’t anywhere to be seen. I had a dilemma on my hands—the egg barely fit in my locker, and I didn’t want to leave it unattended, but the rules said no backpacks in the cafeteria, which

was where we spent the first fifteen minutes before the bell rang. I decided to chance it and left the bag in the cramped steel confines, feeling a spike of guilt as I walked away.

Even though Mom had fed me breakfast at home, I decided to grab a bowl of cereal and a carton of milk. If we had to sit in the cafeteria, I might as well eat, and besides, breakfast was free. I grabbed my food and headed to the eighth grade table. To my relief, I spotted Chace finishing his bowl of cereal as I sat down.

“How was your weekend?” I peeled the cover off the cereal packet and opened my milk.

Chace eyed me, but shrugged. “Okay, I guess. Saturday afternoon I helped Dad worm sheep.”


Chace grinned. “It’s better than docking tails.” “True,” I agreed. “But I’d rather be beach combing.” Chace pushed up his glasses. “How was yours?”

I twitched a shoulder. “Okay. Nothing exciting.” Chace nodded. “Do you have your backpack back?” I shook my head. “Probably after school.”

“Any problem using the other one?”

I knew what he meant. He was asking about the egg. I shook my head. My mouth was full of cereal. He rolled his eyes and dropped his elbows onto the table. I swallowed and looked around. Everyone else was at the other end of the table chatting.

“It’s fine. I have it in my locker,” I said in a conspiratorial tone. Even behind his glasses I could see the surprise register in his eyes. “I wasn’t going to break school rules to bring it in here.” I glanced around nervously.

Chace relaxed. “Bring it to class.” “Of course.”

I knew it was risky, but I’d just have to take that chance. I couldn’t leave it alone all day.

When the bell rang, I grabbed my garbage, tossed it in the trash, and got in line. I found myself next to Chace at the end.

“What’s up with Will?” He nodded toward our friend. “He’s still mad. He’ll come around.”

It wasn’t what Chace wanted to hear; he disliked conflict more than the average person. Usually we all got along, but sometimes Will could be, well, Will, and Will had a mind of his own. Chace and I both knew to give him a few days, and he’d likely come around.


Between second and third period we had our break. I took my backpack toward the restroom.

“Harley,” Miss Smith called from her doorway. “You know better than to take your bag into the restroom, or to class for that matter. What’s so important that you can’t leave it in your locker?”

“Ah, nothing, ma’am.”

She gave me her famous stare, the one that made first grade students cry and hardened junior high boys shake in their boots.

“We found a rock on the beach on Saturday,” I said, scrambling for a plausible excuse. I was surprised and a little impressed with my own ingenuity when the next words that came out were: “We wanted to show it to Mr. Behr to see what kind it is.”

She nodded. “It must be pretty big. Go ahead and take it to him then.”

“Yes, Miss Smith.”

My heart sank. What had I done? But there was no backing out now. Miss Smith was watching me like a hawk. I had to go to Mr. Behr’s room now, so I crossed my fingers and hoped he just wasn’t there.

“Hi, Harley; hi Chace,” Mr. Behr’s deep and kind voice greeted me. I was surprised to turn and see that Chace was, indeed, behind me. “What can I do for you boys?”

I looked to Chace, but he hid behind his glasses and bangs.

There was no help there.

“We were wondering if you knew what this was.” I said setting the backpack on one of the lab tables.

Mr. Behr taught both math and science, and he was one of my favorite teachers. He genuinely liked the students, and it showed. Right now, he stood waiting with his hands resting on his ample stomach. Give him white hair, and with his round belly and beard he’d look just like Santa Claus.

Chace cleared his throat, and I swallowed. After a furtive look, I unzipped the backpack and carefully began to reveal the egg. Chace reached out a hand and caressed it. The gesture surprised me. Our eyes locked. An understanding passed between us, a pledge in the midst of a tense and uncertain moment.

“That’s some find,” Mr. Behr said. “Where’d you get it?”

I told him about Professor Raleigh and how he was looking for thundereggs.

Leaning in closer for a look, Mr. Behr asked, “May I?”

At a nod from both of us, he reached out and touched the shell. After a brief moment of contact, his bushy eyebrows suddenly leapt up as if trying to jump off his face. Without a word, he walked to the door and shut it. Returning, he placed both hands on the egg.

“Boys, what do you know about thundereggs?”

Both Chace and I shrugged, intrigued by Mr. Behr’s behavior. “They’re large rocks?” Chace finally voiced his thoughts.

Mr. Behr nodded, waiting.

“Sometimes, they can have quartz inside of them,” I said. “And they’re the state rock.”

Mr. Behr nodded again. “You have been paying attention in class. Now, I’m going to ask you to apply what you know. Where are thundereggs found?”

I looked to Chace. He didn’t remember. I paused, trying to think back to sixth grade science class. It seemed so long ago.

“I knew it!” The words seemed to explode from Chace. “Something didn’t seem right, Harley, when the professor said he was looking for thundereggs. We have agates on the beach, not thundereggs. Those are found in the center of the state!”

Mr. Behr shifted to readjust his weight. We looked to him. “Boys, feel the outside of this.”

Chace and I caressed the egg. It was silky smooth.

“Thundereggs are rough until polished. This shows no signs of

polishing. It’s way too big to be an agate. How heavy is it?”

I shrugged. “I don’t want to carry it around all day, but it’s not bad in the backpack.”

“It’s mainly bulky,” Chace’s words had shifted to what they were like during science class, all business and thoughtful. Mr. Behr had trained us to talk like scientists. I picked up on the cue.

“Then why would Professor Raleigh say he knows there’s thundereggs here? He’s a professor at UC Berkley.”

“Remember, Harley, even teachers and professors can be wrong.

We’re all learning,” Mr. Behr reminded us.

The bell rang, causing us all to jump.

“Would you trust me to keep it here?” Mr. Behr asked.

I looked to Chace.

“I’m taking it home tonight,” he said.

“What if I drop it off at the high school for you before you get on the bus?”

Chace’s eyes got large. “You’re serious?” “Come in at lunch and we’ll talk about it.”


WHEN THERE ARE only eighteen people in your whole class, they notice when one of your best friends doesn’t hang out with you. By lunch, everyone was talking about Will not talking to me. I was glad the egg was with Mr. Behr—I was afraid Will would say something out of spite. I should have known better, but sometimes Will could get snippy, and I never knew what he’d do.

“Hey, Harley,” Tanner called from a table where he sat. “Come eat over here. I can be your new friend.”

Peter and the other boys at the table laughed. I ignored them and waited for Chace to grab his lunch. Once he was through the line, we headed for the door.

“Boys.” Claudia, the lunch lady, stopped us at the door. “You know you can’t take food out of the cafeteria.”

“Mr. Behr wants us to see him.” Chace juggled his lunch tray to push up his glasses.

Claudia steadied his tray.

“Thanks,” he mumbled.

“Go eat then,” she said. “But make sure this tray comes back here.”

“Yes, ma’am.” We agreed and hurried past her.

Once we were settled in the science room with the egg on the lab table, Mr. Behr asked, “What do you boys think this is?”

Chace spoke up before I could. “When Will found it, he thought it was a stone, but I knew it was an egg.”

I stared at my best friend, dumbfounded. I thought we were going to protect the egg, and here he was telling a teacher what we thought it was. I kicked him under the table. He glared at me, but continued talking.

“What I don’t know is what kind of animal would lay an egg this huge.”

“Good question, Chace.” Mr. Behr nodded. “What about you,

Harley? Do you agree with Chace?”

I looked at the egg, trying to decide what to do. We all liked Mr. Behr, but could I trust him? He waited for my answer in his relaxed manner, as if he had all the time in the world. Chace didn’t push, waiting for me to make my own decision.

“I guess there’s no point denying it now,” I sighed. “Yeah, I agree with Chace.”

Mr. Behr shifted his position. “Based on what you know, what animal could it be?”

That question had been floating around my head all weekend.

“I’ve been thinking about that.” Chace set his fork down. “The only animals I know of that can be that big are emus, ostriches, and tortoises. Tortoises probably have a smaller egg because they get bigger as they get older. Emus and ostriches aren’t this big.”

“So, what is it?” I opened my milk and took a drink.

Chace shrugged. “The only thing that makes any sense is something that no longer exists.”

I wanted to look at him as if he’d grown horns, but the same thought had come to me. I hoped Mr. Behr would set us straight.

“And what would that be, Chace?”

I couldn’t believe our science teacher was encouraging this line of reasoning.

“Dinosaur eggs would be this big.” Chace shoved his last bite of food into his mouth.

“A dino?” I asked, trying to sound like I hadn’t pondered the idea as well. “How could it be?”

“I don’t know.” Chace stood and dropped his trash into the garbage can.

I finished my sandwich, hopped down from my chair, and walked over to the egg. Seemingly of its own accord, my hand began caressing its smooth surface. Chace and Mr. Behr joined me.

“Boys, you’ve done an amazing job of setting out a hypothesis. Now it’s time to prove it. I could have a friend at the university test it for age and scan it for clues.”

My mind shrank away from the suggestion. I didn’t want to hurt the egg that way. Before I could answer, Chace shook his head.

“I don’t think so. Thanks for the offer, but. . .” he trailed off.

Mr. Behr nodded. “I understand. Really the process couldn’t hurt the egg.”

Unless it’s alive. The words floated through my mind unbidden. Chace laid his hand on the egg as he thought. Mr. Behr added his. We stood looking at it, trying to puzzle out the mystery. What could it be?

While we pondered, a quiet, pulsing sound filtered into my conscious hearing. It started low, but built in intensity, until I recognized the pattern. It sounded like a heartbeat. Chace stirred beside me, but Mr. Behr held a finger to his lips and shook his head. The beating continued, calm and steady. Mr. Behr was the first to move. I had never seen his face so amazed, peaceful, and curious all at the same time.

“Chace,” his voice cracked like a teenager’s. “I think I understand your hesitation. Are you still sure you want to take it home tonight?”

Chace nodded. “I can’t leave it here.”

“Okay.” Mr. Behr’s voice was back to its normal bass timbre.

“Just promise me you’ll let me know if you need any help.”

We both nodded.


THE NEXT MORNING as I ate breakfast, Professor Raleigh came into the dining room. I greeted him but made sure to take another bite so I didn’t have to talk to him; unfortunately, it didn’t work.

“Harley, why didn’t you tell me you boys found a thunderegg this weekend?”

I almost upset my breakfast bowl in shock. “What do you mean?” “I said I’d pay you for the rock if you found one, but you didn’t tell me.”

“We didn’t find a thunderegg.” My mind raced to catch up and hopefully get a step ahead before I let something slip.

“Now, don’t lie to me Harley. I know you and your friends found one on Saturday.”

“But, honestly, Professor—“

He held up a finger. “Someone who was with you told me all about it. So, before you dig yourself into a hole, why don’t you answer my question?”

“Professor, I don’t know who you talked to, but Chace and I did not find a thunderegg.” I gathered the remains of my breakfast. “If I don’t take care of this, I’ll miss the bus.”

I loaded my dishes into the dishwasher, grabbed my backpack, and headed out the door. When the bus came, I greeted the driver and then headed back to where Will sat. He didn’t give me any room to join him, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. I pushed him over and thumped my bag down at my feet. He glared at me, then looked down. I must have looked as intimidating as a bull elk whose harem had been threatened.

“Why’d you tell Professor Raleigh that we’d found a thunderegg?” My voice was just loud enough to be heard over the

bus engine, but my frustration was completely evident. “What were you thinking?”

“I found a thunderegg and you and Chace took it from me.” Will’s back stayed straight as a board despite the jolting of the bus.

“It’s not a thunderegg!” I exclaimed. “Think about it. Have you ever heard of one to be so smooth on the outside? Besides, you felt that tap; a thunderegg doesn’t tap back.”

“You guys aren’t going to cheat me out of that money, Harley. If you don’t want it, I’ll take it. You know how much we need it.”

I flopped back, surprised and a little chastened. I knew money was tight for his family, but I didn’t think it was that bad!

“Will,” I said, softer now, “what if I told you Mr. Behr agrees with us?”

Will’s head whipped around to look at me. “Mr. Behr?”

I nodded.

“What about Mr. Behr?” Cherise’s voice startled me.

I turned toward the aisle to see her pixie face resting on her hands with her elbows on her knees. Her big brown eyes looked inquisitively at us.

“He doesn’t think the rock we found this weekend is a thunderegg.” Will glared at me, daring me to contradict him.

Great. Another unknown quantity in on the secret. Knowing Cherise’s propensity for chatting, I figured it’d be better if she heard it from Mr. Behr; maybe he could convince her of the seriousness. “Why don’t you two talk to him at break?” I suggested, giving in to the inevitable. “Chace and I’ll come with you.”


Never had the first two periods dragged by so slowly. I don’t think Will heard a single word in Language Arts or Social Studies. Every time I looked at him, he was gazing out the windows. All I could think about was the beating of the heart we had heard and felt yesterday at lunch.

As soon as the bell rang, we bolted from our seats. I was glad

Miss Smith didn’t stop us. We found Mr. Behr in his classroom. “What brings you all to my room on this fine spring day?” Mr.

Behr relaxed with his hands folded on his belly.

Chace shut the door and nodded to me.

“Mr. Behr, Will was the one who found the egg, but he’s convinced it’s a thunderegg. Can you tell him why it isn’t? Oh, and Cherise wants to know, too.”

Cherise smiled at me and turned to our math and science teacher. “What he’s trying to say is that I’m nosey, and I want to know what the boys are up to.”

Mr. Behr’s deep, hearty laugh filled the room. “Well what they found is a very rare object. At first they thought it was a thunderegg.”

He went on to outline how we had ruled out the possibility.

When he finished, Will looked up at Mr. Behr.

“What you’re saying is that what I found is a dinosaur egg? And not only that, but it’s living?”

Mr. Behr nodded.

“I think you’re all missing something,” Cherise surprised us by saying. “Why does it have to be a dinosaur egg? Why not a griffon, or a dragon, or a phoenix?”

I stared at her, dumbstruck. “Really?”

“Is it any more crazy than a living dinosaur?” She lowered her

big innocent eyes into a direct challenge, looking at me unblinking.

“I. . .” I closed my mouth.

“Okay, if we assume that our legends of dragons are from dinosaurs, you may be right, Cherise, but I doubt it could be any of the other mythical creatures,” Mr. Behr said. “Chace, be careful, and let me know as soon as it hatches.”

“Yes, Mr. Behr.” Chace stood taller. “I will.”

The bell interrupted our conversation. With dragging feet, we headed to our lockers.

“Now I have to see this egg,” Cherise said.

Chace and I nodded in agreement.

Go back to the New Classics Book Excerpts ➡️