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School Years 6 to 7 Runner-up A War Without Guns by Jathan Duarte

Johnny Bugeja

I snuggled my grandson into his bed so I could tell him the story about the Virus in 2019.

"Grandad!" He shouted, waiting under his sheets with fear to hear what happened whilst he wasn't here.

"My boy, let's get you comfy and tucked in." I said.

"It all started like a war without any guns. The world was unwanted with curiosity of the danger we were facing in 2019. People were living their lives to the fullest, getting much bigger than we could have ever planned. We'd always had our wants, you could have anything you ever dreamed of in a day, and with just a click."

I went on, "We noticed families were going out for dinner and they wouldn't talk, not to say they never spoke, but the way their day to day life was moving on, was actually very sad. The children were growing up with squared faces, playing the PlayStation for hours each day and even toddlers had a phone! The skies were growing thicker, almost until you couldn't see the stars because of the number of cars that were driving around all day in circles." I shrugged my shoulders at the thought of how we had been living, "we had forgotten how to run, how to play and how to sing! Our parks shrunk till there were none, and we filled our seas with plastic because our waste was never stopped."

"But then in 2020," I continued. "A new virus came our way. The Government reacted and told us all to hide away, and whilst we were all hidden, facing the fear, people were remembering how to smile again." I smiled to myself and added, "they started clapping to say thank you to our Frontline workers, calling up their parents and grandparents to find out how they were. We noticed that our skies were less full of voyagers, it was as if the earth began to breathe again and the beaches bore new wildlife that scuttered off into the seas."

"Some people started dancing, some were singing, some were baking and parents were playing more with their children. Even though the world had to stay apart, in a weird but wonderful way it was bringing families closer together."

"Months passed, and whilst we had grown so used to bad news, some good news was in the making! They had finally found the cure, a vaccine, and we were allowed to go outside again. Although, we preferred the world we found to the one we had left behind."

"But why did it take a virus to bring the people back together, Grandad?" My grandson questioned me.

"Well, sometimes you have to realize that always having everything you think you want in life doesn't benefit you in every way." I replied. "Now go to sleep my boy, I hope your dreams come true."

"A Story based on how I wish to tell my Grandchildren about this Virus"

Judge Charles Durante’s comments:

“The pandemic and lockdown were certain to generate a spate of stories. Jathan’s is an example of the reaction of young people to the awful reality of the disease and its aftermath. A grandfather gives his grandson an account of what happened, but the difference here is that the arrival of the virus has shaken people out of their complacency and alerted them to the dangers of a lifestyle where all our needs were immediately satisfied and the environment was being ravaged right in front of us. For the grandfather, the pandemic has been a learning experience; it has restored our humanity and made us more attentive to the needs of others and the importance of maintaining a healthy environment. Every cloud as a silver lining, the saying goes. This story exemplifies this truth.”

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