Gooseneck barnacles covered every inch of the moored boat. A storm carried it to shore the night before. The girl, Max, spotted it as soon as she came over the grassy dunes. She ran past knots of bull kelp, driftwood, and crab shells as fast as she could. Perhaps she would find treasure aboard.
Just out of reach of the surf, the shell heads of the barnacles gently squirmed and stretched in the naked air. She poked at them with a piece of driftwood and stuck out her tongue. Gross. But she had to peer inside.
She pushed the biggest piece of driftwood she could manage to the side of the boat and clambered on top of the slick wood. And her eyes grew wide.
Inside lay a girl, the perfect image of Max but salt-bitten and tangled in kelp. Her chest rose and fell, rose and fell. She was alive.
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