|art by Luna Gale|
"Because we need the money," answered the mother. "They'll just waste it. That's the way they are. And we can't go around saving everyone. You don't make that much."
Their daughter wasn't listening to them. She had noticed the worms that had come up from the ground and covered the sidewalk.
She had been the one who'd asked to go outside, although she hadn't expected to find anything so interesting. Her father had turned from the wide, grassy path by her house onto a narrow, paved path through the park. There, she could see the earthworms that had emerged from the bracken on either side of the path.
"Yuck!" said the father as he stepped around the first cluster of worms.
The girl stopped. She let go of her mother's hand. She crouched down to touch a puddle.
"Look at how many!" she exclaimed.
"It's just rained, honey," her mother replied. "This is what happens."
"We have to save this one," she said. "It's drowning."
"Don't be ridiculous." Her mother didn't look down. She followed her husband along the path. "Why save one worm? There are thousands."
"Can we save thousands?" the girl said eagerly.
"No." Her mother turned back to give her a stern glare. "We don't have time."
"Then I want to save this worm," she asserted. Before her mother could protest, she scooped it up.
"You're worse than your father!" her mother exclaimed.
The girl set down her rescued worm in a dry spot. Then she rushed to catch up.