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"My turn to count in the game, I mumbled, ‘one, two, three’, and noticed a glint on the horizon. I studied it for a moment. The sky suddenly lit up like a million light bulbs, and I had to shield my eyes. Resembling a herd of mustangs, shock waves came whipping through the city. Thrown off my feet by the awesome surge of power, my head hit the fence of the backyard. I quickly curled up into a tight ball, paralyzed by the unknown for what seemed like an eternity. Silence finally followed. A slight breeze. A spell wanting to be broken. A moan.
Timidly popping out of my shell, I saw one of thousands of images I'd never forget. My house, just a pile of rubble. How could anything take down the three bedroom, brick home? My friends’ voices leaked through the cracks of the ruins. Clambering to my feet, I bonded towards the sounds. I began to move the blocks, but slowly, their voices began to subside. And the bricks were becoming heavier than the last. Panic seeped in as I realized I couldn't help them all. ‘My parents,’ I gasped. They had gone to the market to pick up dinner… Would I ever see them again? Hysterical, I ran around the remains of my home and to the street.
The waves had left a distinct trail of destruction. Others’ homes looked like mine, piles of crushed memories. Staggering in the street were the living dead. Their skin was peeling off in large chunks, reminiscent of zombies. Their moans only added to the effect. Randomly scattered, lifeless bodies tripped those not watching their step. Terrified, I took off. Keeping my face down, I just ran. In only a few minutes, I was caught in the current of car horns, shrieks, and shoving. Moving with the crowd, I saw shadows on buildings, but no people to cast them.
I crossed a bridge and stumbled into the park. The murky river was full of living and the dead. They drifted as one, and men along the banks fished them out to be buried. The sight was too much for me. I trotted deeper into the park, and fell face first into the grass.
Pain soaked in. I understood why those poor souls jumped into the river. It burned so much. I’d rather die than endure it… My skin felt as though it would peal off in mass with one wrong touch. My eyes bulged, and everything became unfocused. I felt dizzy. All sounds were blocked out. The crying, the screaming. All but one. Drip. Drip.
With my remaining strength, I crawled through the bushes, and discovered a leaking water fountain, trickling onto a slab of stone. Positioning myself underneath it, I let the water fall upon me. My eyes became weights, and I drifted into a sound slumber.
Coming in and out of consciousness, I captured shots of burly men carrying me, a hospital room, and finally, an orphanage.”
The reporter looks out the floor to ceiling windows to see the hypocenter looming out of the haze, a painful reminder of the city’s history. The older man has a tear forming in the corner of his eye, and lets out a sore cough. His face is rough and many scars crisscross along the left side. They continue down his shirt.
"Did you ever find your parents?" the reporter asks, trying to break the ice.
The reporter is lost for words. He doesn’t know what to do. So deeply immersed into the history of the bombing, he had missed his flight home. The older Japanese man stares at the reporter blankly, remembering.
"Well Mr. Saki, I think that's a wrap." He begins to get up, but feels a frail hand touch his shoulder. Turning, he sees Mr. Saki looking him straight in the eye.
“Remember... Remember and learn." He says hoarsely. Coughing, he hobbles away.