Nagasaki Survivor: Short Story.
It felt like morning as I woke up, but not the morning one may be used to, it was one full of dread with sky’s coloured in black, grounds comparable to the abode of the damned. I was a migrant from England who came to study the elegant aesthetics of which Japan had to offer, in the professional field I was referred to as a philosopher of ‘environmental’ aesthetics, but what lay before me contradicts my views of the country of which can now only be resembled to that of the bloodied wasteland’s. Nagasaki was an amazing place it was a community with the kindest of people, people who were able to accept a foreigner despite the ethnic prejudices that have now covered most of Japan as a result of the horrifying conditions which have arose due to what seems a perpetual war. This had been my twentieth-year in this country, a year which should have been a commemoration of my second decade in this seemingly blessed place.
It was the morning of the day before the incident, specifically, the fifth of August, 1945. Like usual I was traversing the Unzen Onsen, a communal bathhouse which utilizes the hot springs produced by Unzen Volcano, an interesting concept, one may perceive this uniqueness as a tradition, but for me, it is a tradition I would gladly accept. As many have and continue to do so, I felt these ‘Onsen’ were a great place to communicate with others with vulnerability, whilst achieving the added benefits that come along with the rare rejuvenising waters of the hot springs itself. I had this friend a Japanese-born around the same age as me, he was named Akihiko — name meaning ‘shining prince’, and indeed he was a shining person, he was the first person to abolish the stereotypes around me, accepting me as a friend despite our apparent differences.
Late in the morning, Akihiko and I would make the moderately long journey to the Nagasaki docks, an activity we would do once every fortnight. On our journey’s I was able to make a few stops to appreciate and study various flora and fauna aspects of Japan, a hobby if you will. Being human, we need to satiate our hunger, and to accomplish this, we would always stop at a Ramen stall run by an elderly couple, and in order to satisfy the Nagasaki’s roots, we would repeatedly order the Nagasaki original — Shikairo Champon Ramen. After savouring the ramen made by the unconditional couple we were once again wandering through the harmonious roads where we were surrounded by the almost unrealistic formations of nature.
Around Midday, we arrived at Nagasaki Port, and after an hour of a break from our long journey which included the eating of our weekly dose of sugar derived from the Wagashi — a beautifully crafted, sponge-like cake that just melts in your mouth. Not too long after that almost too good to be true a treat, we went in search of work at the docks, finally finding a large shipment that had come from the Netherlands, with some mates we met during this predicament we managed to haul all the cargo to various modes of transportation. A simple yet defining event allowed us, mates, to go out for a drink that night, we basked in the glory of sake, during our parade of drinking we saw a daredevil of a man chug down four to five bottles of shochu — hope he was okay. Anyhow, me and Akihiko finished a little earlier as we didn’t want to have too many migraines tomorrow being the day we were set to return to our hometown a little off of Nagasaki Port. We managed to find an inn to accommodate our minimum needs, this mainly consisted of sleeping.
The day seemed to be glowing, a day that would later be undermined by the horrific bombings of Nagasaki.
I woke to a screeching sound, a sound as loud and high as the collective weepings of orphan children. A horrible sound which would not even come close to comprehending the disaster of which I perceived on that fateful day. Half-twisted bodies, leering over me with bloodshot eyes and grey pupils, presumably that of the once wonderful family who welcomed me into this formerly peaceful inn. The children seemed almost unrecognisable as they lay with their blood muddied by the almost cratered road, a site that is incomprehensible for someone like me who prefers to appreciate the beauty of this world, not the cruelness. The heads of the workers crushed by various stray objects spaghetti like strings gawking outwards, hairs violated into what seemed an abnormal position. At one point I saw a half-clothed toddler poked with the splintered wood of a vehicles hull, it appeared like a demon as it leaked of red glistening blood. Dogs were wandering the streets, some with lost limbs, almost dragging themselves and uncontrollably digesting the dirt of the roads as they attempted to move. At this point I was on the brink of insanity; my only hope was finding Akihiko who I had forgotten due to the petrifying landscape which depraved my eyes. I went back only to see Akihiko with a dislocated foot and wounds all spilling with the gory blood like something out of a horror depiction…but worse.
I stitched up Akihiko’s wounds and relocated his foot, however, these images of the nauseating events will forever be burnt into my eyes, mind and heart. I believe this will be the same with all the survivors of the ordeal.
The shattered souls were all that was left after the hell on earth. Buildings were mutilated as were many people and animals, plants dispersed and what remained at the site was a crater, a crater that would normally only be viable if a meteorite would have crashed into the surface of the earth.
I was grateful yet burdened by my survival from the torment, the war allowed me to see the destruction man will create in the future, a world of ruins shall await us, atrocious humans. Akihiko was no longer a ‘shining prince’ he later passed away from cancer, as I was told he suffered until finally, he wore to rest.
Rest in Peace, Akihiko.