The Turtle and Bruce
Heirlooming Threat: Chapter 2
Growing up in the rural town of Lampronshire was tough, but Milo was driven. Whether it was the image of his father with a bottle, fearing for his own future, or the seven younger siblings he looked after, something caused him to strive for more, to be better. Although they lived without running water or electricity, Milo found ways to learn beyond his 6th-grade education. The local library in the town center gave him access to a plethora of knowledge through books and the internet. That’s where he was headed now, to the town center, hoping to find some way into the city of Coltshire, further north. Milo had walked the dirt road into town many times to meet his siblings after school and pick up items from the general store. But, this time was different. He had a brand new motivation surging through him.
Milo didn’t blame his mother for the years of back taxes, but he did feel resentful towards his father. He wasn’t quite sure how he would come up with the hundreds of thousands of dollars needed to reclaim their home from the IRS, but he was going to try. Herman, Milo’s father, didn’t seem to do much in the way of trying. Even when he picked up odd jobs with the neighbors, doing maintenance or carpentry, the money would go right back into the bottle. At least he also purchased bread with the booze to soak it up. Otherwise, their food came from the farm, their cow provided milk, and the family qualified for minor welfare assistance.
Suddenly, as all vehicles appear on this seldom-used road, a car quickly approached Milo from behind, around a blind corner. Milo was caught unprepared, deep in thought, strolling down the narrow, unpaved road. He began to step to the side of the street, looking back over his shoulder, trying to allow as much space as possible for the car to pass. That’s when a small turtle caught his eye, standing in the middle of the road. Not only was he worried about the turtle, but also distraught that he was so deep in thought he completely missed the turtle on his way by. Milo spun on the ball of his foot and pushed off, intending to grab it. He waved his hands in the air to get the driver’s attention and ran as fast as his feet could carry him. Milo managed to gently pick up the small turtle, but hurriedly, just in time to hear the screeching of tires and feel the spray of dirt and debris in his face. Small rocks pelted Milo all over as he turned and ducked his head to protect himself and the helpless animal as much as possible.
“My god! What were you thinking running out in the middle of the street like that!” screamed the driver as he jumped out of his car in anger and fear. “I could’ve killed you!”
“You would’ve killed this turtle!” protested Milo.
“And that’s worth your life?!” he said back to the child, realizing he needed to take it down a notch. The man knew he was cruising a little quickly for a backroad and decided to offer Milo some help. “Can I give you a ride somewhere, kid? You can bring the turtle if you want.”
Wisely, Milo was skeptical. This was a random person he’d never met. Should he really get into his car, he wondered? “I seen the turtle at last second. I couldn’t let it die, you know?” Milo thought for a moment longer, looking at the spindly man in his puffy red vest, tank top, and swim trunks. “Any chance you’re headin’ to Coltshire?”
The man shook his head, took a deep breath. “I’m not heading out that way, but I am meeting up with some friends to go swimming. I know one of them is heading back that way after. I’m certain they could help you out. I feel bad, I got our hearts racing, and you’re covered in filth. C’mon, I’m going to the general store first, and then we’ll head out to the quarry, and you can meet my friends.”
Upon visual analysis, Milo decided this guy was probably only a couple years older than him, maybe 18, and not necessarily threatening. “Ok. I would appreciate the ride, but the turtle stays here.”
“Works for me, kid.”
Milo hustled his way up the hill on the side of the road in the direction the turtle was heading and set him down in a safe-looking location. “By the way, my name’s Milo.”
“Nice to meet you, Milo. I’m Bruce. And seriously, I’m so sorry I almost hit you.”
“It’s all been done,” said Milo as he wiped soiled hands on his shorts and scurried down the incline. “No worries.” Milo hopped into Bruce’s retro-looking, rectangular car, and they drove off towards the general store. Milo made sure he was paying attention to the road, looking out for any other animals Bruce may miss.
After a short drive, reaching pavement and leaving the dirt behind, they both got out to go inside and look around the store. Milo was familiar with the general store, and it seemed Bruce had his own agenda. So, Milo decided he would wander a bit until Bruce was ready. After looking around for a bit, Milo got bored and went back out to the car. It wasn’t exactly fun to look around a store when you had no money to spend. Bruce came out of the store another five minutes later carrying a 2-liter bottle of grape soda, some chips, candy, cookies, and something encased in a small to-go box.
“All right, ready to rock?!” Bruce said as he got into the car and turned, reaching between him and Milo to toss all the snacks into the backseat – all but the to-go box, which he handed to Milo.
“What’s this?” asked Milo as he thought about this being the second mysterious gift he’s been given recently.
“Uh, check it out. I was hoping the cake could say it better than I could.”
Milo looked down and opened the container to find a large slice of chocolate cake with the words “Sorry I almost killed you and a turtle” written across it in yellow icing.
About the Creator
Jesse Terrance Daniels
Jesse is the founder of Pied Raven Games, and his first card game, Hibernation, won Best Family Game in 2018. He currently has a book in the process about game design. The book, titled Make Your Own Board Game, will be available 08/2022.
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