Treasure of The Bay

Max and Chloe Pirate Adventure: Treasure of The Bay

“Arg! Come back here, ye scaliwag!”

Max gripped her pirate bandana to keep it from blowing off as she quickened her pace.  Her other arm pumped furiously as the “treasure map” she had taken, clenched tightly in her tiny fist.  Max chanced a glance over her shoulder and immediately regretted it.  Chloe was hot on her heels, manic grin stretched across her face, and brandishing her cardboard sword in Max’s direction.

“No one steals from Captain Chloe!”

Still running, Max shook the map teasingly and stuck her tongue out to her pursuer.  Spurred by this perceived challenge, Chloe poured on the speed determined to reach her friend before she made it to the agreed upon safe zone.

Bursting from the tree line of the forest onto the sandy beaches of Arcadia Bay both girls had to push harder as the sudden change of terrain, their high tops sinking into the white sand with each step.  Max’s heart pounded in time with her footfalls as the fire pit which had been declared “safe” before the start of the game came into view.  Max made a final push unleashing the last of her strength toward her burning lungs and churning.  I’m gonna do it, her mind screamed.  I’m gonna make it! I’m gonna-

Max’s foot sharply snagged on something, the ground rushing up to meet her.  Sand filled her mouth before she could finish the last of her yell.  Still dazed from the fall the next and only thing Max recalled being aware of was a slender yet strong arms wrap themselves around her torso and pull her into a sitting position.

“Oh my gosh, Max! Are you okay?  Did you hurt yourself?”  Max spat out a mouthful of sand in reply.

Chloe slapped her back until, Max waved her off and rasped out an “I’m fine.”  Max scrapped the last remnants of the coarse grain from her tongue.

“Phew,” Chloe’s worried expression shifted to one of relief, and offered Max her hand.  “What happened?”

“I dunno,” she answered truthfully, taking Chloe’s hand and allowing to her to pull Max to her feet.  Rubbing sand from her unpatched eye, Max turned her attention to where she had fallen.  “I think I tripped over something.”  Chloe copied Max and looked back, her eyes immediately locking what had caused her friend to trip.

Matte black, slightly cubical, it stuck out of the sand like a half sunken ship, having been partially unearthed by the collision with Max’s shoe.  The two of them approached it cautiously, toy swords held at the ready.  Chloe, ever the braver of the two reached forward and gave the object a sharp poke with the end of her sword.  The black box shifted but didn’t do anything else.  “What is it?” Max finally asked.

Chloe scratched her head with the tip of her sword. “I’m not sure. Just something buried in the sand.”

Max cocked her head to the side, “You mean like buried treasure?”

Chloe’s face exploded with excitement, “Max, you’re a genius!” she exclaimed throwing her arm around the smaller girl’s shoulders.  “You found REAL buried treasure!” Chloe tucked her sword into her mother’s scarf which had been commandeered as a pirate sash.  She then pulled Max forward, closer toward their new found booty.  “Let’s dig it up and see what it is!”

Crouched together the two used their hands and began digging around the odd box.  After some very theatric digging mostly on Chloe’s part, Chloe managed to pull the object from its resting place in the sand.  Holding it by the nylon strap, the camera dangled perfectly between their faces.

“What is it?” repeated Max.

Recognition flashed across Chloe’s eyes.  “It’s a Polaroid camera.

Max gave a confused pout, “A Pola-wha?”

“Polaroid camera. My dad’s got one just like it at home.  You can take instant pictures with it.  Here watch.”  Chloe dug her dirty fingernails into the seam running horizontally along the cameras front and pulled hard.

Neither girl were prepared for the blinding flash or the accompanying electronic whir sound, and it was enough to startle the young Prince into dropping the camera back into the sand.  The camera stared up at them, the photo sticking out like a tongue, almost mockingly.  And on that tongue a copy of their stunned faces swam into view cutting through the fog of the developing picture.  “Wowsers,” breathed Max in awe.

Before Max could react further, Chloe snatched up the camera yet again and held it out in front of them.  “See cool, right? Let’s take another.” Chloe smushed her cheek against Max’s.  “Say ‘pirates’.”

Max could only get to the ‘pir-‘ before Chloe’s finger slammed down on the button.

No flash this time.  No sound either.

Chloe held her smile and pressed the button again.  Harder this time.  Chloe’s smile broke, “Aww, Man.” Chloe tried the button and third time.  Nothing.  “Don’t tell me it’s busted,” her finger continued to pump futilely.  “Oh well, I guess we can still take it back to the ship.  Maybe we can use it as a periscope or something.”

“Ship?” asked Max giving a perplexed look.  A moment later it was replaced by one of understanding.  ‘Oh right, I forgot,” she turned and cast a sullen look back at the forgotten treasure map rolled up on the ground, teetering lightly in the breeze.  She reached down and plucked up the paper roll then offered it to her friend.  “I guess you’re still the captain, Chloe.

A couple of seconds ticked by while Chloe studied Max, before she gently reached and pushed the treasure map back into Max’s chest.  “Nah,” she grinned at the surprised look on her friends face.  “You would have made it to the fire pit if you hadn’t tripped.  Plus you found real actual buried treasure. That’s pretty captain-y if you ask me!”  Chloe Snapped into a playful salute, “So what’s next captain Max?  You’re loyal crew await your command!”

Max looked at the map and camera in her, hands then up at Chloe.  Quickly regaining composure, she beamed brightly at her best friend.  “Like you said, our vessel could use a periscope,” she pointed north toward the lighthouse.  “To the ship!”

“Aye aye, captain!”  Together the two girls raced yet again along the shoreline.  This time toward the tall tower, whose beacon winked at them in the afternoon sun.

Chloe powered up the steep dirt slope of the trail, propelled by her long coltish legs, with Max bringing up the rear some thirty or forty feet below, taking much smaller steps with her shorter legs.  The race having been abandoned when the two had reached the foot of the rising path, Max had claimed to be too tired to continue racing.  In reality, Max hadn’t wanted to continue for fear of damaging her precious cargo which she secretly still in awe of.  Max had even rejected Chloe’s offer to give her a break and carry the bulky camera the rest of the way for her.

When Max finally did reach the lighthouse overlooking her hometown, it was just in time to see Chloe approach the bench with the words, “S.S. Misfit Skull” etched in cardboard and duct taped the its side.  Perched upon the railing upon the railing of said bench was the resident stray cat and acting captain, which Chloe had dubbed “Bongo.”

The tabby ceased his grooming as Chloe neared, offering its outstretched neck in invitation to be scratched and petted.  “Bongo, I hereby relieve you of duty as acting captain of the S.S. Misfit Skull.” Chloe stopped petting, and removed the tiny pirate hat from the cats head. She then ordered the demoted cat to follow her which miraculously he did, causing Max to snort in amusement.  Max never could figure out how Chloe made that cat do whatever she wanted, and Chloe never told her when she asked, always answering with a shrug and saying “My powers are many.”  Leaving Max to always chalk it up to Chloe just getting her way like always.

The visitors map at the observation point of the lighthouse had already at this point been thoroughly graphitized by the two, or as Chloe called it “augmented,” so it came as no surprise to Max when her friend withdrew a red magic marker and began working on marking the spot where they had found their treasure.  This left Max alone with her thoughts, as usual.

Except this time she had company in the form of the strange new device she had uncovered along with the picture it had produced.  It was a horrible picture really, Chloe eyes were pinched shut from blinding flash, and Max’s skin flared white making her freckles which she was already self conscious about stand out even more.  Yet Max couldn’t bring herself to hate the picture or even look away.

All she could think about was what had transpired in that split second between the camera opening, and it’s brilliant flash.  It was like a flower blooming to Max, or a lightning strike.  Beautiful, gone in an instant, and impossible to reproduce.  Something frozen in time, almost like magic.  Max ran her own fingers along same grooves Chloe had.  Tensing she slowly pulled at the unfolding mechanism, bracing herself for another flash.

It didn’t come.

Max sighed.  “Maybe you are busted.”  She was about to close the camera back up, when a strange glint caught her eye.  A pinprick of red light blinking at her bear the snub lens.  Max brought the camera in closer, holding it centimeters from her eye.  Next to the blinking light in what was perhaps the tiniest font Max had ever seen were the words, ‘Battery Life.’  The light then changed from flashing red to solid green.

Max sucked inhaled sharply.  “You just needed time,” she breathed.  Max’s heart started pounding like the drum solo from the Hawt Dawg Man theme song.  She sprang from her knees to her feet in the span of a second and charged toward her best friend.  “Chloe!” Max nearly collided with her, who was still hunched over her map work.

“Whoa, easy there Max, what is it?”

“I fixed it! I fixed it! Look!” she gushed pointing excitedly to the green light.

Chloe studied it for a moment, before giving an impressed look, more so at her normally shy and reserved friend’s enthusiasm than the actual camera itself.  “Wow, Max, that’s awesome!  It must like you are something.”

“I think I like it too!” Max hugged the camera tightly before an idea struck her.   “C’mon, let’s take another picture! I wanna remember this moment!”  This time it was Max held the camera out with one hand, and pulled Chloe’s cheek next to hers.  She tilted her head playfully, “Say ‘Pirates’.”

Another flash and another whir occurred as the camera released another picture, Max nearly yanking it out of the mouth and instinctively shaking it.  Both girls silently waited as the grey dissolved and the two smiling versions of themselves swam into sharper focus.  As it did, Max felt the same sensation rising up in her stomach, like a shook up can of soda, and didn’t know whether to laugh, or cry, or both.  When Max did finally open her mouth it wasn’t sobs or laughter, only words.

“Chloe?”

“Hm?”

“I think I want to take these kinds of pictures for the rest of my life.”

Chloe handed the selfie back to Max, wide eyed at her best friend’s declaration.  “Wow, seriously?  For real?”

Max nodded and grinned.  “I’m cereal.”

 

 

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