First I think mushroom, then ping pong ball. I’ve had the same sequence of thoughts before, that’s how I know it’s a turtle’s egg.
When I pick it up one side is caved in, much the same way a ping pong ball crushes. A turtle couldn’t have gotten out of that shell. Someone must have eaten it.
It takes me a moment to realize the hole next to the egg doesn’t belong to a chipmunk. That’s it’s the nest where the mother turtle buried her eggs. I peer inside and see the rest of the shells, curled and in pieces.
Finally, I look around for signs of turtles. But I don’t know what to look for. Tiny footprints in the grass? Even smaller feces? I have no idea what turtle scat looks like.
I imagine the baby turtles hatching in the moonlight, digging their way out of the nest, climbing out the small hole in the ground. Instinct tells them where to go, what to eat, how to be safe.
But one egg never hatches and later, when the rest of the baby turtle’s are gone, a raccoon fishes the unhatched egg out of the hole, puncturing it with its claw as it does. It sucks the insides out, glad for the meal, leaving the collapsed egg for me to find in the morning.