Keo woke in the midnight darkness. An awful smell filled the room.
"Kes," Keo shouted, trying to cover his nose and talk without actually breathing. "Are you sick?"
There was no response.
Kestrel had left with his creature companion earlier that day, as had everyone in the core.
"My egg." Keo sat up and scrambled for a striker to get the tinder going again.
He panicked. This smell could only mean that his creature must have died and the shell had finally cracked and leaked the putrid fluid out, releasing the odor. He leapt for the end of the bed, snatched up his hose, and held them across his mouth and nose. He crawled back up the bed toward the table where the lamp waited for a spark. Had rotten liquid leaked out of the bowl and onto the floor? He hoped not. It would be terrible to try to clean up.
The striker sprayed sparks onto the tinder and Keo blew. One burst into a small flame which Keo used to light a straw and transfer the fire to the lantern’s wick. Light filled the room and Keo was filled with horror.
The upper half of the shell had broken and fallen to the floor leaving the glass bowl filled to the brim with a clear liquid, obviously the source of the smell, but what frightened him most was a large pair of round eyes peering at him from the slime. The eyes were spherical and bloated from death, yet they appeared clear and conscious.