The Starfish Diaries

Shayla dug her toes into the sand while her friends splashed in the ocean. The damp sand was as close as she would get to the water. She ran a hand over the rough plaster cast on her wrist. Carnival horses weren't supposed to throw people. Maybe she was just cursed.

Her friends laughed. Shayla rolled over on her towel and put her back to them. There had to be something to do at the beach, even with a broken bone. She got up and pulled at her tank top to straighten it. Would they notice when she walked off down the beach? She glanced at the water, but they weren't paying any attention. Fine. She could have fun on her own. There was a hill of rocks a little ways down. It shouldn't take too long to reach it.

Twenty minutes later she finally leaned against a boulder. Her arm throbbed. Her feet burned. This had been a stupid idea. The whole trip. She would have had more fun at home rewatching the Vampire Diaries. At least seeing Damon's face made her happy, unlike everything here. Shayla tilted her head back when her eyes started to burn. Keep it together. Don't let them see you've cried.

There was a splash from the water's edge. So someone followed her. A couple minutes ago that would have made her happy. She wiped away a tear that rolled down her cheek.

"Excuse me," said a man she didn't know.

The shock of it made her tears dry up and she turned toward the water. A boy laid in the surf, propped up on his elbows. He had close cropped brown hair and a mouth that looked comfortable smiling. He pointed at something.

"I left my starfish. Would you toss it to me?"

A starfish? What the heck? But Shayla pushed off the boulder. It was something to do. She saw rocks. Seaweed. A broken shell. She paused to study the starfish, her brows drawing together in confusion. Was that real? She grabbed it with her good hand and held it up.


"Yes!" He sounded relieved.

"I didn't know there were starfish like this."

"He's special."

Apparently. Shayla turned the starfish over in her hand. Its whole body was a rainbow. "Did you tie-dye it?" she asked.

"No," he said. Then he laughed and slapped the water, sending a splash of spray her way. "Tie-dye. There's an idea."

Shayla almost smiled, but she didn't understand what he meant.

"Here." She wasn't sure how to throw a live starfish, but she gave it her best one-handed underarm toss. It flipped through the air and plopped in the water close to him. He fished around for it then smiled wider.

"Thanks!" He ducked under a wave and didn't come up. Then a finned tail broke the water's surface almost like a wave goodbye.

Shayla stared at the water with wide eyes. She smiled. Not a wasted trip after all.

Wordage: starfish, tie-dye
Genre: Young Adult
Wordcount: 495

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