The Hatching Field

This short story was part of a Writing Prompt from a Facebook Group I am part of. I hope you enjoy it.

The machines did not notice the sulfuric smell as they moved among the still orbs of the bog. Their long spindling legs sinking a few feet into the soft moist earth before emerging with a thick sucking sound. Their monitors whirled and the hydraulic presses that moved their legs thumbed as they moved, ever observant of the orbs floating on the bog. At any sign of movement one of the sentries would stop and focus on the disturbance, ever watchful for their charges to emerge. Protecting and guarding the precious life forms that they had been set to watch eons ago.

One machine let out a screech that split the air, sounding the alarm to the other sentries that there was a predator in the hatching grounds. The creature screeched in return and tried to scurry out of the muck but it was trapped, and within a moment its cries were silenced as the sharp blade of a sentry’s leg impaled its back. The alarm stopped and silence once again fell over the hatching field, only the whirling of machines and the sucking sound of the bog remained.

It had been millennia since the makers had tasked the sentries with guarding the hatching grounds. The makers had died out not long after, never knowing if their creations would ever hatch and if their sentries would stand the test of time. The planet had change drastically since that time, where there was once a desert it was now a bog, and the bog would flood every season, occasionally burying or sweeping some of the orbs away. Yet the machines kept their vigil, waiting for the beings within the orbs to awaken and take their place within the world.

A soft crack split the air, the machine closest to the sound stopped and turned its dust covered red lens towards the orb that the sound had come from. Its monitors registered movement, it bobbed its large orb head up and down scanning for any signs of external life, but the only movement came from within the orb it had guarded its entire existence. The sentry let out a high pitch chirping noise to alert those around it. This was the moment they had been waiting for, they did not have any way of knowing how long they had stood watch but this was what they had waited for.

The orb shook and the engraved lines along the sphere began to glow, after a moment part of the top split off and tumbled to the ground. The interior of the drab gray orb was red and purple, the surface grooved and sharp with strange gelatinous formations. A thick orange fluid spilt from the interior and mixed into the green and brown stagnant water of the bog. Something within the orb moved.

Pale flesh shrunk away from the light and the stench of the bog. Two large round eyes peered out from the dimness within, and slowly two think arms reached out into the light, fingers stretching and bending trying to capture the light as it spilt into the containment orb.

The machine peeked up as other sentries around the field began to alert with the high pitch chirp. Others were hatching as well, but she, she was the first.

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