A Storyby Tina Nettesheim
Riley knew that the warning probably meant she needed to pick up the twins but she had five pet turtles to collect before they got washed away. She’d built them an enclosure, the pond turtles and painted turtles and the red-eared slider, filling a blue plastic wading pool with the swampy vegetation they liked. She set out cinder blocks where they could bask in the sun because what kind of life was there for them in the murky water and the rotten stuff at the bottom? They’d left on an adventure, in search of sycamore leaves where they could burrow, looking for warm mud. They were hard to find. Riley was heavily pregnant and she didn’t even really like turtles. She’d been dreaming up names and building castles in the air for the new baby all afternoon. Calliope and Stella were favorites. It was January, her favorite month, when the ocean stayed put and the view from their property was clear, not like in June when summer evaporated the ocean enough to erase the Channel Islands. In December the fire had scorched the Santa Ynez Mountains behind their neighborhood and the rain, which was coming, would mix with the unanchored soil on the denuded slopes and rush to the shore in a slurry. What Riley really wanted to do was go into town and watch people batten down the hatches.