Amy, who had not been watching her step, nearly fell into their camp’s fire ring. In her right hand was a stone, about the size of a football. The shape of it was nothing like an animal’s body part, like Peter would have expected from the area that Amy had been excavating. In fact, he never would have expected her to be carrying anything away from the dig site until they’d—together—determined whether it was safe to remove. Their work was called “laborious and painstaking” for good reason.
“What on earth do you have there?” he asked, a little harshly.
“Boy, the heat sure has gotten you sideways, hasn’t it?” she replied, flopping down in the other canvas chair.
“Yeah, I guess it has. Sorry.” Peter poured the remainder of his recently filled canteen onto his head and again shook the water out of his hair. “That’s better.”
Peering over Amy’s knees, which she had folded up in front of her to cradle the object in her lap, Peter again asked, “So, what do you have there?”
For a long moment, Amy did nothing. She said nothing. She continued to stare into her lap, at what it held. “Well, Honey,” she said quietly, “I don’t rightly know what it is. As I was brushing away the dirt around the end of the wing—you know, around the tip of the feathers,” she paused to watch Peter nod, “I could see a small crack in the rock face about an inch beyond the wing’s tip. So I brushed the area just a bit, wanting to see how serious the crack was and whether it might jeopardize my dig site…”
Her voice trailed off, and as she looked up at him, Peter could see Amy’s eyes sparkling in a peculiar way. He felt his breath quicken, and he gripped the arms of his dilapidated chair.
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