Sam Hilbert skidded his bike to a stop, his tires sliding on the slick pavement.
“Look out!” his twin sister Emily screamed as she swerved to miss him.
She stopped her bike on the grass and turned angrily toward her brother.
“What were you doing stopping right in front of me like that?” she asked.
“Come over here and you’ll see,” Sam said.
He got off his bike and bent over to peer at something in the grass by the sidewalk. Emily put her bike down and walked over slowly. Her brother loved to play tricks on her, so she was careful as she came closer.
“It’s not a snake, is it?” Emily hated snakes.
She looked over his shoulder and smiled. It wasn’t a snake. It was a box turtle. Emily got down on her knees in the wet grass to examine the turtle. It was about five inches across. Its shell was dark brown with splotches of yellow. The turtle was trying to slowly walk away, but Sam put his hand in its path. The turtle immediately ducked its head and legs into its hard shell.
“It’s so cute!” Emily exclaimed. “Do you think it’s a boy turtle or a girl turtle?”
“I don’t know,” Sam said. “It’s pretty big, so I think it might be a male.”
“I bet Mom or Dad would know.”
“Probably.” Sam and Emily thought their parents knew just about everything, and if they didn’t know something, they always made it a point to help the kids find the information they were looking for.
“Should we take him home?” Sam asked.
“Yes!” Emily answered immediately.
“Do you think Mom and Dad will let us keep him?”
“Maybe,” Sam said, but he didn’t sound very sure of his answer.
“Let’s take him home and see what they say.”
“I have a better idea,” Emily said. “Let’s not say anything yet. We can keep the turtle in the basement for a few days while we figure out the best time to ask them.”
“Good idea,” he agreed.
The turtle stuck his head partway out of his shell and gave a quick peek around. When Sam reached his hand down, the turtle quickly pulled his head back into the shell again.
“It looks like he’s a little shy,” Sam said.
“Probably scared,” Emily replied.
“Wouldn’t you be if a giant hand came reaching for you?” Sam laughed.
“Yeah, I guess I would.”
He opened his backpack and carefully placed the turtle inside next to his binder and lunchbox. And with that, Sam and Emily became the parents of a box turtle. Whether or not their parents would let them keep him was still to be seen.
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