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Story Starter 1

Nia swam rapidly towards her.


“Hey, Layla, come and look!” she called urgently. “There’s a creature down there, trapped on the reef.”


Layla held her breath and followed her friend below the waves. Nia elegantly displaced the water. Layla followed, wiggling her legs clumsily. Soon her muscles ached and lungs burned. She resurfaced panting. Nia broke the water, flipping back her hair.  


“Did you see it!” Nia asked, eyes wide.


“It’s just plastic, let’s go back,” Layla said, trying to unplaster hair from her cheeks.


“No, it’s not!” Nia exclaimed, diving back down.


Butterflies squabbled in the pit of Layla’s stomach as she noticed how far they had swum. Diving down, she followed Nia’s gaze, spotting a turtle desperately trying to untangle itself from the plastic bag snagged on the coral. Suddenly, bubbles burst from Nia’s lips and she bolted to the surface. Layla joined her.


“Are you okay?”


“I cut my leg on the coral” Nia cried out, stretching to show off her wound. “I’m going back,” she said. Layla’s heart pumped faster. She didn’t like it on her own but didn’t want to give up. She turned to call Nia back, but she’d already swum away.


Layla mustered up all her courage, gulped the biggest breath she could, clenched her jaw and plunged below the surface. Dragging herself through the water, she reached out, stretching her fingers. Barely brushing the coral surface, she frantically kicked her legs, ignoring her muscle ache. She grasped the plastic, splitting the bag as the water tugged her backwards. Gripping with both hands she peeled it from the coral. Furiously exhaling, she floated up, glimpsing the turtle gliding away without a backwards glance.

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