Out of the Darkness

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The Enola Gay’s wings gleamed in the sun as it skimmed over the clouds on its way to the Far East. Its mission was one of mass destruction and the pilot, Simon Campbell had his own reservations about it but orders were orders. America had been fighting with Japan for close on four years now. Germany had recently surrendered but still the Japanese fought on. Consequently it was decided that in order to restore peace to the world, extreme measures would have to be taken. The plan was to drop an atomic bomb over the Japanese city of Hiroshima where its unsuspecting citizens were going about their daily business.

This bomb was to kill people, tear families apart and poison a fertile land for decades to come. Unaware of my peril, I placed the final card on my house of cards. My name is Hideo Koshima and at the time I was eleven years old, the youngest in a family of four which consisted of my parents, myself and my fourteen year old brother, Sangi. I had a close relationship with my older brother and without Sangi there to protect me, I would have been bullied at school because of my size. “Sangi, come quickly and see this. ” I called. But there was no response.

Oh well,” I thought to myself, “may as well get something to eat. ” I strolled into the kitchen and opened the larder. Empty shelves greeted me. “Typical. ” I thought to myself, “It’s was just like mum to get behind with the shopping. ” It was then that I heard a piercing sound, shrill as a whistle and as penetrating as nails on a blackboard. I immediately thought of a bomb and ran to our shelter. But before I could get there, there was a blinding light followed by a deafening explosion. Everything went white. I opened my eyes.

There were lots of people scurrying around like ants, each with his own task. The effort was too much. I closed my eyes. After what seemed like a short time, I reopened my eyes. The ants were gone. In their stead, was a kindly looking man in what I recognised as a radiation suit. He explained that his name was Dr Matthews, an American doctor sent to help in the aftermath of the nuclear explosion after the Japanese had surrendered. This was all news to me. I took in the information about the nuclear explosion without really registering it.

It was just a foreign word only real in a book. Its force too devastating to enter into my own safe environment which now lay in pieces at the foot of my hospital bed. Apparently I had slept for three days without eating anything. I was incredibly weak. I looked myself over. Apart from a few cuts and bruises I was perfectly fine. It didn’t make sense. They brought me in some food, which I devoured hungrily. My thoughts flicked to my family but an overpowering urge to sleep swept over me. When I awoke for the third time I felt much stronger and felt the need to do something.

I threw back the covers and slowly put my feet on the cold plastic flooring. I wobbled as I walked out of my room into the corridor. As I passed a window, I saw that the land which had once been so colourful and full of life, now lay smoking in ruins. I have to admit that at that moment I broke down into tears. To see my home, my birthplace and the only place I had ever known, devastated in such as way never to be rebuilt as it was before, all memories obliterated, was unbearable. Somehow, at that moment, I knew my family was dead. They couldn’t have survived such a blast. I didn’t even know how I had.

After I had pulled myself together, I set myself the task of finding out for sure whether my family was alive or not. I walked through corridor after corridor of bleak, grey walls and dull, brown doors. Finally I reached a door at the end of a corridor, different from all the rest. I went through and found myself in a huge room with thousands of people all milling around without any clear purpose. Almost all of them were burnt and scared and the smell was unbearable. I realised that these were the survivors. These were the few who remained alive whilst so many had perished.

I felt tears pricking my eyes again but I held them back. On the other side of the room I could see the main entrance and next to it was a desk where two men were sitting at computers. I walked over and asked one of them what was happening. He told me that because all the land was poisoned with radiation, the survivors had to stay here for shelter and food. I told him my name and asked for news of my family. He started punching the keys really fast and after a few seconds he looked at me and opened his mouth to speak but no words came out. He didn’t have to say anything, I knew I was alone.

I went and sat down on an empty makeshift bed and thought about the implications of my family’s death. I think the man at the computer must have felt sorry for me because he came over and said, “If it’s any consolation, they never found your brother’s body so he could still be out there. ” I smiled but we both knew my brother was dead. Then he said, ” I’m sorry about this but seeing as your almost healthy, we’re gonna have to ask you to leave. You can spend the night over at Yasu Shrine. ” There was no point in arguing so I just got up and left.

As I walked down the road, avoiding the craters caused by falling debris, I reflected on the world in general and decided that, for some reason, it didn’t like me. Whilst pondering these injustices, I failed to keep track of time, an d I realised with a start that it was dark so I quickly hurried to find shelter. I spent the night in Yasu Shrine in Gion. As a result of their burns, everyone was crying for water all night. I stared around at all the unhappy faces and realised that I recognised one of them. It was my brother. How can I describe the joy I felt as I was reunited with him?

Now I knew that it would be all right. No matter how hopeless things seemed, Sangi would look after me and somehow, we would survive. Four years later- “Phew, glad that’s over. ” I said to one of my friends. I had just finished the last of my O Level’s and I thought I had done well. Life was great. Sangi and I were now living with the Robert’s family in Leeds and as I walked home from school I reflected on Hiroshima. That bomb had thrust me into the darkness where no child should have to go but my brother had pulled me out again. I thought about this some more and I realised I had a lot to be thankful for.

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