Thomas is consumed with guilt when his best friend, Annabelle, dies due to his negligence.
But he wakes up the morning after her funeral, and finds that she isn't completely gone...
Thomas had stopped crying exactly two days ago.
Now, as he sat in the front pew of the church, he couldn't muster the will inside of himself to cry again. The coffin was shut, and Thomas was eternally grateful for that. He couldn't bear the thought of the dead pair of eyes staring accusingly up at him.
A heavy weight was pressing down on his chest and the muffled sobs and apologetic voices around him seemed oddly far away. He couldn't concentrate on anything aside from the crushing guilt that was consuming him and eating away at his sanity.
He felt tired, and felt like he was fighting a constant urge to fall asleep. But he knew if he fell into a slumber, he'd wake up in a cold sweat; his ears ringing from the screams of his hellish dreams.
Being in the same room as the dead body of his best friend was starting to take its toll, and Thomas wasn't sure how much longer he could sit facing the coffin for without vomiting.
'Thomas?' The voice was audible, but only just. He was hearing it as though he were underwater, it sounded muffled and contorted. Thomas looked up at the front of the hall, Annabelle's mother stood looking at him expectantly, 'we're ready for your speech.'
The boy stood up, his legs felt numb and he feared they might not be able to suppourt him as he made his way to the front.
The people in front of him stared at Thomas with pink, puffy eyes. His eyes settled on his mother and she nodded at him, her lips pressed together in a thin line as she tried not to cry.
Thomas took a deep breath, but it was unsatisfying and he was unable to fill his lungs with the air he needed. 'Annabelle...' He said softly, his eyes stung as the tears threatened to spill, 'Annabelle,' he repeated, trying to remember what he wanted to say, but the thoughts had completely left his head.
He felt his hands start to shake violently, as the crowd gazed at him in a mixture of pity and worry.
'I had thought of so many things I could have said,' he mumbled into the microphone, his voice was raspy and sounded strange, 'but now... I feel like none of them would be able to do her justice... I'm sorry.' His breathing hitched and his vision became blurry with tears, 'I'm sorry.'
Shaking his head and biting his lip, he returned to his seat and bent over, his head resting in the palms of his hands. No one approached him in an attempt to comfort him, they just pursed their lips with pity, and a few people would mumble, 'poor lad' every few seconds.
The funeral of Annabelle had made everything so much more real. And it had finally sunk in: she was gone.
And she wasn't ever coming back.