Annabelle Pearson, Grade 6, Thomas Chirnside Primary School
Excellence Award in the 'The Inside Story 2020' competition
It was just Sunshine and Annabelle. One squirmed tirelessly in the corner of his fish tank - the other was sitting about a metre away on her bed, clicking a pen in her hands.
Tears had made wet trails down her face. The girl's sniffles continued to puncture the silence between the two. She wanted to switch her bedroom lights to darkness, Annabelle didn't want to see her friend struggle any longer.
Yet Sunshine wasn't leaving this battle without a couple wounds. He continued to writhe in the rocks' nonexistent hands at the bottom of the tank.
Annabelle watched him, knowing that every movement Sunshine fought, was making his pain much worse.
"You're doing great, Sunny," She softly muttered. Annabelle chose not to raise her voice above a whisper, but she couldn't speak any louder even if she tried. And then she realised she was clicking her pen again.
Sunshine wriggled and squirmed in his spot until he could, at last, see his friend. This, Annabelle found, was particularly hard to watch,and with her free hand she flicked another salty tear away.
"Look, I know this is all pretty hard for you," Annabelle said quietly. "It's okay to stop fighting now."
Oh, how she wished Sunshine could stay for just one more day. He was her trusted friend. Now it was Annabelle's turn to comfort him.
Her gaze now fixed on Sunshine, Annabelle noticed something. He was waving his fin back and forward, as if beckoning her over. Annabelle hesitated slightly, then slid down her ruffled duvet and settled in front of the fish tank.
A fish's lips will often move, opening and closing, at a rapid speed. But never sound. This is just how it is. So, although Sunshine was doing just that, Annabelle could "hear" something.
Maybe it was her sensitivity to noise getting the better of her, but she swore she was listening to, to a voice!
The voice sounded light, as if it wasn't coming from someone on the line of death. Annabelle could make out the tiniest rasps, so there was the proof it was, indeed, Sunshine, and he spoke with an eerie dignity.
"Now don't you worry," He reassured her, with a tone that represented no less than a smile. "I'll be okay. I do appreciate your sympathy, though."
Annabelle stared at Sunshine, struggling in the rocks' grip. This small, remarkably short message seemed to have quelled the water in her eyes.
"I understand," Annabelle whispered, caressing the glass pane with her fingertips, "Everything will be alright."
She slowly returned to her bed. More pen clicking. Her eyes flickered over to her friend. He was staring her in the eye, coldly but not unkindly. Startled but slightly amused, Annabelle let out the shadow of a laugh and looked at her writing journal.
Then finally, as if making a long-thought decision, she put her pen on the first page and began writing their story.