Memories of nuclear bomb survivors - Part 1 Chapter 2

Right under the musroom cloud


The 9th of August 1945 was a hot day. On that day Chizue was also working in the office at Oohashi which was located in a wooden building near the foundry. There were about 10 people in the office room on the 2nd floor. Chizue had her desk next to the entrance. After 11o’ clock Chizue had just picked up the attendance list and had stood up when she heard a man shouting loudly: "I just saw from the roof terrace a B29 bomber dropping something that was hanging from a parachute."
At that instant a bright light burst through the open windows into the office. Before Chizue could scream everything disappeared from her sight. In her waning consciousness she did not hear the roar that must have followed the flash. Despite every effort she could not remember later on whether she had heard anything.

When she regained consciousness she didn’t know how much time had passed.

She opened her eyes and found herself in the middle of a pile of rubble. All around everything had totally changed. There was nothing that had remained standing. Shaking off debris and glass splinters from her body she stood up. She was totally confused and needed some minutes to grasp the situation.

Nothing was moving. No one could be seen. "Is anyone there?" She wanted to call out loud, but her voice failed her. Everything that was there before had gone, just vanished! "What had happened? Where had they all gone? " All around her were only heaps of rubble. Everything was torn to pieces.
The only exception, that she could recognise, was the bizarre curved iron skeleton of the foundry. Then she thought that a bomb must have exploded quite nearby.

Semi-conscious she looked down and saw two feet sticking out of the rubble. A little way off she saw half a body lying motionless on the floor.
Startled, she looked at herself. The right side of her pantaloons and blouse was scorched, the torn blouse was hanging around her shoulders leaving her upper body half exposed. Her knees and hips were smeared with blood. When she first saw the blood she felt pain. "I am the only survivor," she thought and this incredible idea made her dizzy. "In any case, I have to get out of here ...", she thought but when she turned to the exit she didn’t know where she was. With the buildings and roads destroyed - it looked like the entire city had gone - she lost her sense of direction and distance and couldn’t find her way. Luckily there was no fire nearby, but a little further she could see flames. Chizue wanted to go home as quickly as possible, but despite this strong desire, she could only make painfully slow progress.

On the way she saw three men trying desperately to free themselves from a collapsed wooden building. Chizue managed to free them by painfully moving aside boards and debris. Two of them left straight away but the third man remained huddled where he was and motioned to Chizue with his hand that she should continue her way. She had no other choice but to leave him to his fate and continue on her way home.