A Story by Julia

A turtle's escape, written two different ways.


There are only so many places a turtle can be. And how did he get out of his tank, anyway? He’s practically a baby. He’s only two inches big! The tank is 20 times his body size! What, can he climb glass all of a sudden? Even if he scaled his filter he wouldn’t have been able to get out. How did he get past the screen on top? Oh my God�"what if he burned himself on his lamp? What if the light bulb that was supposed to keep him happy and warm burned his little body? What if burned himself, fell, and is now hiding somewhere feeling horrible? And what about the fall? To get from the tank to the ground a four foot fall. How strong is his shell? He is a snapping turtle…their shells are pretty strong. They live with alligators! And dinosaurs! Well, not currently, but they did! He’ll be fine…if he can outlive a t-rex, he can survive in my basement, right? Right. He’ll be fine. You know, I should have known something was wrong when he won hide-n-go-seek four times in a row. He’s pretty good at hiding in his pebbles, but not this good. I think he’s getting back at me for bragging…I swear, when I find him I’ll never mock his hiding skills again. I should get a flashlight, maybe he’s under the bookshelf. He does like to burry himself…God I need to clean around here. It looks like a set from the movie Saw. And his tank is filthy. It’s got so much algae…no wonder he ran away. I’m the worst turtle owner ever. Maybe he’s over there by the cat stuff? Oh no, what if Poe got him? No wait, Poe can’t eat him. He lives in a shell, Poe can barely eat hard cat food. And alligators can’t bite though their shells, Poe would never be able to hurt him. If anything, Poe would be on the defensive from him. Actually, I should probably worry about that…there’s a real chance that he would snap at Poe’s tail if he had the chance. I need to find him soon. Oh my God! He hasn’t eaten in days! Hopefully…he could be eating anything under here…what if he’s eating insulation? Or starving? I mean, he was pretty chubby the last time I saw him. He’s not like the other turtles, it’s not in his nature to stop eating. He could afford to go on a diet…and he can a few days without eating. You know, there was that story a little while ago…that family found their box turtle they thought they lost like 20 years ago was in a box in their closet and he was totally fine! Maybe he’s by my Dad’s desk. I mean, that’d be kind of crazy…this is all the way across the room. This would be like a marathon for him to make it this far. Though I have underestimated him before. I didn’t think he could get of this stupid tank, for instance. I swear, I’m going to duct tape the lid back on when I get him back in the tank. Why do we have so many fake turtles? What if he’s one of these things, pretending to be made of plastic to blend in better? Is he that smart? He is pretty smart, as far as turtles go, but is he smart enough to disguise himself? Hide in plain sight? Okay, this is the 53rd bookshelf I’ve looked under, he’s got to be here. Oh, he�"what if he was under these boxes and cords I’m leaning on? That would be horrible, like I’m crushing him. Alright, now I have to look. WHAT? HOW IS HE THIS FAR AWAY? Oh my God, is he dead? Is he dead is he dead is he�"he’s so dusty, and he isn’t moving…oh, NO! HE BLINKED! AHAHA! He’s covered in dust bunnies, though. And if he bites me I swear I’m leaving him to the bunnies.


The glass walls of the tank are dirty. The large shells and plainly-colored pebbles are bright green and fuzzy with algae. The water is clear enough, but it’s empty. Tiny brown fish, feeling safe in their home for the first time in days, swim around in circles with their friends.

The basement is torn apart. Books and computer parts are haphazardly strewn on the ground. A crazy family make the mess even worse: a 40-something year old woman gingerly move things about. A 16 year old boy with no neck violently and frantically throw things out of the way. A younger woman scampers about with a worried look, painstakingly checking every nook and cranny in sight.

Dust, dust everywhere. Little pieces of dirt from a land-turtle enclosure litter the hard gray cement floor. Bits of fluffy pink insulation are coming out of their silver paper lining on the walls.

A black and white cat meows excitedly, looking eagerly from his food bowl to the folks running around the room. He begins to grow impatient as his family keeps blowing past him without giving him so much of a sideways glance. Eventually he gets a dirty look and an accusation from his mama. The kitty mews on, unfazed, putting a paw in his food bowl as if to remind the humans of what he wants.

Several industrial-strength bookshelves line the walls, filled to the brim with decorative turtles. Some are ceramic, others filled with stuffing. Some are realistic, others bright and cartoonish. Some are children’s toys, tattered and worn from years of playtime. Others are untouched, pristine, toy turtles that have never lived out their true purpose. One wears a tan hat, another rides a wave on a bright red surfboard. A few of the turtles are huge, some even bean bag sized. Others are tiny, easily lost in the sea of their brethren. Some are recognizable, familiar faces; most are anonymous.

Suddenly, the young woman begins to scream excitedly. The rest of the family gather to where a small snapping turtle lies on the ground, covered in dust and little pieces of fur and hair. His nest of computer cords moved away from him, he remains motionless. One of the family members begins flapping their hands in fear until the tiny turtle winks up at them all. The man wraps his hands around his little shell and carries him gingerly back his tank, scolding him in a loving tone as he puts him back in the water.  

© 2014 Julia

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Added on January 30, 2014
Last Updated on January 30, 2014
Tags: escape, turtle, humor, animals, pet, pets



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