The Death of Coleridge

“I’ll go now!” Crouching down, Stefanie slid down the side of the rock on her bum, her black wellied feet landing with a splash in one of the many rock pools surrounding. Navigating her way between the rocks, avoiding the slimy seaweed that had so often caused her to slip, Stefanie reached the blue castle of Coleridge. Squatting down so the bucket was between her knees, she peered into the seaweed abyss that Jake had crafted for the starfish. Was it alive or was it dead? Stefanie really couldn’t tell. Reaching into the bucket, she carefully lifted the creature out and allowed it to rest on her open palm. Its five orange tentacles quivered momentarily before resting still. Turning it over onto her other hand, Stefanie inspected the reverse side of the starfish. Hundreds of tiny nodes protruded from its surface, each respondent to her touch as she past her little finger over their tips. Maybe you won’t be so bad after all. Then there was a scream. Instantly, Stefanie dropped the starfish and spun around. Moving over the rocks at a precautious but concerned speed, she tentatively called out to her brother, “Jake?”
“I’m ok!” The reply came from a cluster of rocks along the beach.
“What happened? You screamed.” Stefanie began to feel irritation itch up her skin as she anticipated the answer about to be given.
“I fell into a pool…” In the absence of being able to see him, Stefanie imagined the look of embarrassment on Jake’s face. “I’ll be back in a minute,” his voice sounded sheepish, reaffirming her depiction.
Taking a deep breath, Stefanie exhaled slowly. Turning around she looked up. A flurry of white surrounded the spot where she’d been examining Coleridge. She paused, taking a moment to admire the beach that had served as a back garden for her and her brother as they’d grown up. Feathered wings arched and fell, the sea moved back and forth across the sand, the rocks sat like giant silver eggs, the blue bucket lay on its side. Stefanie’s heart and stomach lurched as she focused and realised what she was watching. Jumping over rocks, splashing pools, and scraping her knee as she slipped, she raced towards the seagulls assembling around her brother’s starfish. Nearing the scene closer and closer, Stefanie began waving her arms and shouting at the white mass. “Leave him alone!” Her voice was desperate and thin as panic started to thread itself through her veins. But it was too late. As the last seagull took flight, Stefanie watched the bird pick up the remains of Coleridge the starfish, and skim out across the steely sea.

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