Fallen Star, Rising Star

What happens when two boys find a meteorite that isn't a meteorite?

My sci-fi short story Fallen Star, Rising Star appears in an anthology called The World Outside the Window.

Blurb:

While playing catch, two boys spy a falling star. When they investigate, they discover that the meteorite is much more than they bargained for. In fact, the fate of all humanity depends on what they do next.

Excerpt:

"Be careful!” Joey cautioned, stepping back. “It might still be ho—”

Paul clutched the shape before Joey could finish his warning. “Nah, it’s fine. Well, it’s a little warm, but not much. C’mere and look at this! It’s so cool!”

He held it out in both hands for Joey to admire. It was roughly baseball-sized, but not spherical—more egg-shaped. Paul brushed off some of the soil that still stuck to it, revealing what lay beneath. The object was multifaceted, like a giant emerald, but unlike any emerald the two boys had ever seen or heard of. The gem glowed with an internal fire, pulsing like a heartbeat, first brighter and then dimmer.

“Here, hold it.” Paul offered.

“Nuh-uh,” Joey replied. “I don’t like the looks of it.”

“Chicken. Bawk-bawk—”

“Shh! Someone might hear you!”

“Yeah? Who? There’s no one around here but us. Bawk-bawk—”

“All right, all right!” Joey reached out and touched the object with the tip of a finger for the briefest instant.