Sammy the turtle gripped, slid; gripped, slid. The current path wasn’t too bad. It was just a dried, black dirt that may have made the tummy a little dusty, but was slippery enough to move on. The road about a hundred feet behind had been pebbles, and was slow-going. He had found himself elevating his stomach just a little, as he gripped, skidded; gripped, skidded. Still, though it had taken all his patience, he breathed a little sigh. He was so focused on his own path, that when Betsy the turtle had caught up to him, he was startled. She revolved her head to look at him and smiled. This was her first 5K.

The turtle histories told of 5K’s since the humans had become denser in the area. They ran along these trails and roads, with their loud thudding feet and
hurricane volume breathing. Sammy had heard stories since he was a tot of before the humans had come into the wooded area and cut down all the trees. They had used large, snorting, squealing objects to smooth a road where there was no business being a road. They had put colorful flowers, only here and there, where there was no business being flowers. This had confused the bees, who had had their pick of wildflowers before the humans cut them all down and put grass where grass hadn’t been before. Still, the nectar seemed as good, and they had adapted. Sometimes humans didn’t mess things up.

Sammy rotated his neck forward from Sally. His triangular tongue tip touched his lips, then retreated back into his mouth. His goal was the finish line ahead. His grandfather Bill and father John were waiting at the line. Betsy pulled ahead of him, dragging, dragging. There were maybe half a dozen turtles ahead of them. Each shifted, gripped, sighed, until Sammy, in last place, drug himself to the line. An eruption of cheers broke out, and he instinctively withdrew his head into his shell. He could feel the red heat creeping over his soft body and head when he realized it was only the other turtles. He had come in last! He was given headbutts in his shell and given the good news. He was the worst racing time ever!

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