The Day Victor Hatched

By Joanna Sears

Dated March 15th 2015

(C) Copy write The Monster Zoo

Tales from the Monster Zoo

The Day Victor Hatched

The egg was bought to the Monster Zoo by the police. Who had found and seized it when they had raided the home of an illegal poacher. To be honest no-one was sure if the Chick inside the shell was actually alive, or even how long the avaricious collector had, had the egg.

Never-the-less an attempt had to be made to save the rare egg's occupant so it was passed across to the Avian Department. The Senior Keeper quickly placed the fragile endangered baby into an Incubator. Every habitat within the Monster Zoo had its own Nursery section, the Avian one consisted of a metal box with a single glass side. Five heat radiating lights were fitted into the box lid and a robotic arm was programmed to turn the egg every few minutes just as a mother bird would. This was essential to ensure the chick within was kept warm regardless of

what position it was laying in. The Keeper Isaac Fischer smiled at his ten year old daughter Samantha, as she stood watching the egg. She sensed his presence and asked

"Do you know what sort of bird it is?"

"It is mostly likely a Raptor," he answered

"Like a hawk?"

"Possibly but I actually think it's a Psittacine Vulture the size and colour of the egg

suggests it."

"So really rare then?"

"Yes!" Several other people came to look at the egg but as the days passed and nothing happened hope of it hatching began to fade. At length Isaac gave up and began preparations to quietly dispose of the egg. Samantha was horrified when her mother gently broke the news at lunch time on Saturday. Only the night before She had actually been allowed to touch the egg for the first time. Naturally she was very upset and deeply disturbed to be told the Chick had died. She left her half-finished meal and dashed from the house crying as she fled out into a nearby field It was at that moment that she saw her father, he was carrying a small wooden box. She swallowed back her tears and stepped behind a bush before he saw her then she became curious as to what he planned to do with the egg. Keeping to the shadows and tip toeing carefully she followed her father to the lower East Meadow. At its furthest end was a close growing thicket Sammi's heart sank she knew what it contained most of the kids did. The wooded copse was know as the Graveyard. It was where a lot of dead animals were buried. The young girl slid as close as she could without exposing herself then waited. It took her father just over five minutes to dig a hole and bury the box containing the egg. He rose to his feet sadly shook his head then dusted the soil from his hands and walked away. Sammi chaffed impatiently as he completed the procedure and then for several minutes longer until she was sure he had left.

Finally judging it safe she scuttled forward, inwardly glad she grabbed the small trowel she'd

seen at the bottom of her garden. For with it she was easily able to unearth the recently buried bird. She opened the box and felt the egg. It still retained some residual heat from the

Incubator but not much. Moving carefully so as not to crack its shell Sammi slid the egg

into her inner coat pocket, to keep it warm for the journey back to her house. Hurrying now she reburied the box than walking as fast as she dared she began the journey home.

She grew cautious as she approached the cottage and peered anxiously around the back door before entering. The kitchen was deserted so was the dining room beyond. A minute later Sammi was up the stairs and safely in her bedroom. Luckily being Saturday Hayley her big sister was out with her friends so not around to question Sammi or report her actions. Working quickly the young girl laid the egg between the covers of her bed while she made provisions for it. She opened the bottom drawer of her dressing table and extracted a old jumper she had grow out of the previous summer. Sammi could tell the egg was growing cold as she wrapped it in the woollen which was worrying. Working ever faster she took a jigsaw puzzle box from her shelf and emptied the contents into a paper bag then placed the swaddled egg in the lower half of the cardboard container but she knew this wouldn't be enough to keep the infant warm. There was only one place that would provide the necessary heat and shield the baby from prying eyes. Squirming on her tummy Sammi pushed the box, jumper and all under her bed and up against the wall mounted radiator. She had just got it wedged under the heater when she heard her mother calling her for the evening meal. Isaac tried to smile at his youngest daughter as he sat down to dinner, he knew she was upset that the Chick had died without hatching in a way so was he. But he reasoned she would forget about it in a few days as other things distracted her especially as a lot of other birds in his Sector were nursing egg clutches. Inwardly he was fuming, angry at the uncaring collector that had raided the nest in the first place. His greed had led to the death of the chick, a chick whose species was already ready teetering on the edge of extinction.

Sammi checked on the egg just before she climbed into bed that night. It was the same as

normal silent still.

"Please hatch little bird! Please hatch!" she softly prayed, but deep down she was starting to think her father had been right and she wished she'd left the egg buried. That was until five

am the next morning. The whole house was awoken by a loud squawking. Hayley sat up confused. Sammi began wriggling under her bed just as her parents rushed in. Isaac had

known straightaway what the sound signified and what room it was coming from. He looked at Hayley

"I know that sound you have a hungry baby bird in here," Hayley pointed to Sammi's bed. All that could be seen of her were two small feet but her voice held triumph.

"Its hatched! Its hatched! I knew it wasn't dead." She slowly backed up from under her divan gently cupping a squalling, squawking chick in her cupped hands. Her father frowned

"Samantha did you dig up that egg after I buried it?"

"I had to Daddy I knew it wasn't dead I felt it move when you let me hold it on Friday evening." Her mother intervened Sammi's disobedience had in fact been providential and now all that mattered was the starving infant. Isaac wasn't angry he couldn't be Sammi's actions had saved the Chick. His wife was well used to raising orphaned babies and was already steering her daughter down to the kitchen. Hayley got up too. Suddenly it was a very exciting

morning but Isaac now insisted that Sammi had to assume full responsibility of the infant she'd saved not that she minded becoming its sole carer. She was just happy it had hatched although both her mother and father laughed when she named the baby Victor! Victor the Vulture.

Epilogue

Director Rackton gave a long hard sigh. He was faced with a difficult and unpleasant task

He had to prepare a statement for the press. A lot of Media attention had been focused on the stolen egg and he knew the public had expected the Monster Zoo to save the rare chick inside it. He turned to his computer and slowly began typing.

"It is with a heavy heart that I Michael Rackton Director of the Monster Zoo," he got no further as at that moment the door to his study flew open and Isaac Fisher burst in, his face was red and excited. Rackton gave him a tight smile and waved to his PC.

"I am just about to post the Obituary on our Web Page,"

"Don't!" Isaac almost shouted.

"Why not?" Mike could tell something had happened.

"It's Alive! It's hatched,"

What? But I thought you'd buried it?" Isaac gave a rueful grin

"My youngest has more faith than me,"

"I'm confused? Do we have a Psitticine Vulture or not?" Isaac nodded then beaming the biggest smile ever he related the tale of Samantha's disobedience and its very happy conclusion." Rackton began to smile too. He sat back down and scrubbed the notification he'd spent an hour agonising over. He felt joy rushing through him as instead of a sad announcement reporting the death of an animal, he posted a short message calling for a Full Press Conference.

The next morning reporters from fifteen national and local newspapers plus four television companies turned up at the zoo. Isaac stood proudly at the Director's side as he made the

Good News official.

"Ladies and Gentlemen," Mike Rackton began "It is with a large degree of pride and satisfaction I can now announce that yesterday morning just after five am the stolen egg donated to us last Monday finally hatched." A buzz went around the room most of those present had expected to be told the Chick had died. Rackton waited for the murmur to die then continued. "The Chick is a male Psitticine Vulture just as we hoped. He shows every sign of being strong and we are confident that he will survive into maturity and in a year or so be ready to become part of our Captive Breeding program." his words lifted the mood of the whole country as within minutes news of the Monster Zoo's Triumph was being flashed from coast to coast and before an hour had passed across the seas to America and beyond.