Monday, August 6, 1945.
It was an ordinary day, like any other. Until it happened. Sure, he had read the warnings that literally fell from the sky. Everyone had. But Tsutomu never thought it could happen here. No one ever thought it could happen to him.
The day started with nothing out of the ordinary. Tsutomu Yamaguchi had been in Hiroshima for three months on a routine business trip and was set to return home today. The engineer was looking forward to having a productive day so he could get back home to his family.
It was 8AM. Yamaguchi had just boarded the tram and was headed toward the office building where the meeting was set to take place. He took his seat and quietly read through a newspaper he had picked up before boarding. He happened to look out the corner of his eye, and in the expanse of clear, blue sky, he made out a small, silver dot in the distance. Airplane. American. No Japanese airplane could've flown at that altitude. Not yet, anyway.
He continued to read over his newspaper as the B-29 nicknamed the Enola Gay flew overhead and dropped its payload, a four-ton nuclear bomb that was set to annihilate the entire city as well as everyone in it. The bomb roared down to its target, free-falling for a total of forty-five seconds before it exploded in midair.
The first thing Tsutomu and the other passengers noticed was the flash of blinding white light, brighter than the Sun and anything else he had ever seen. Then came the heat. The air around him was transformed into a giant furnace, burning him and all those around him. Tsutomu wasn't quite sure what was happening, but he did know one thing. It was definitely another bombing. And it was most assuredly an American attack.
Just as he came to that horrifying realization, the shock wave struck, sending the tramcar flying off the rails and into a nearby building. The scalding hot air was suddenly filled with the metallic shrieking of the metal being bent and ripped apart as the tram crashed into the stone exterior of an office building. And, just like that, it was over. The train had landed.
But that was only the beginning of the horror. Miraculously, Tsutomu had survived the explosion and the train crash. As he emerged from the wreckage and looked around, though, he wished he hadn't. The beautiful day had turned into a living nightmare. The once clear blue sky was now black with smoke, and the pristine buildings were now nothing more than piles of flaming rubble. And the people, oh, the people. Those who had survived were wandering the streets, the flesh hanging from their bones in ragged, charred strips. The people who were lucky enough to have been killed in the blast were nothing more than black carbon shells of their former selves, their bodies turned into charcoal cadavers.
Tsutomu looked around helplessly and wondered what to do now, where he could possibly go. He glanced at the survivors, trying to glean an idea of where to go. But it was hopeless. The people were meandering around in every direction. Those in the West thought the East might be safe. Those in the North thought the South might be safe. But they were wrong. They were all wrong. The devastation and destruction radiated out in every direction.
It wasn't long after that that the rain began to fall. Hot, black liquid made up of the smoke and ash from the explosion mixed in with actual rain water, a toxic mix of radiation and poison. But the people had no way of knowing that. They opened their mouths and began to drink, their throats burned raw, so very desperate for any water they could find.
Tsutomu didn't drink the water. Instead, he made his way to the remnants of the hospital, where he knew there was a small wading pool out back. He walked into the water, letting the cool liquid calm the burns that covered the top half of his body. He cupped his hands to his mouth to take a drink. Then another, and another. It wasn't long, though, until the others found his resting place and began to pile in.
The engineer knew it would be disastrous to stay here, so he quickly waded out of the water on the other side and watched as people threw themselves into the water in droves. Soon, those who had gone in first began to drown, trapped beneath the weight of the people on top of him. They had survived the explosion only to drown in a now-filthy wading pool. It was pitiful.
Tsutomu had to get home. He had to make it to his family, to lay eyes on them and know for sure that they were safe. He started walking in God only knows what direction, until he was lucky enough to happen upon a train that was still upright and in working condition. He climbed aboard and asked the operator where they were headed, and was overjoyed to learn that they were going to none other than Nagasaki, Tsutomu's home. He would see his family again soon.
It was one full day before Tsutomu crossed the threshold of his home again. His family was overjoyed to see him, and they were all relieved to know that he had only slight hearing loss and temporary blindness in addition to his burns. His wife quickly bandaged him up, and after a couple of days of rest, Tsutomu insisted on returning to work.
Thursday, August 9, 1945.
Tsutomu had gone to into work like it was any other day. His colleagues were both surprised and glad to see him, and he spent most of his morning fielding their questions with evasive answers, until, around 11:30, his supervisor asked him to recount the events of the American attack on Hiroshima. Yamaguchi had no choice but to oblige him, and began to recite his memory of the events.
Ironically, it was at this precise moment that the Americans struck again, dropping yet another nuclear device on Nagasaki. Tsutomu was forced to relive his earlier horror in strikingly vivid detail once again as the explosion rocked the city he called home
But this time he was even luckier still. Not only had he survived, he also failed to sustain any additional injuries. So he crawled out of the rubble of his office building and struggled to return to his home, where he found his wife staggering around, but it was too late. She was alive, but Tsutomu hadn't arrived in time to stop her from drinking the black rain.
He and his wife made it to the hospital, where their minor wounds were treated before they were released back into the wasteland that was once Nagasaki. They did what they could to help rebuild, both the city and themselves, and—not even a decade later—they began to add to their family, bringing three children into their world.
The cities may have been rebuilt; the rubble cleaned up, but for the survivors, the scars will never fade.
Tsutomu Yamaguchi lived to be 93 years old, and to this day he remains the only officially recognized niju-hibakusha (double explosion-affected person). Later in his life, he became an avid proponent of total nuclear disarmament.
Story by Rampage, a fictionalized account of the very real story of Tsutomu Yamaguchi.
Hiroshima has a minion!
Nagasaki the Whisper
Nagasaki the Whisper
Legacy Name: Hiroshima
The Nightmare Pherret
Age: 7 years, 7 months
Born: September 20th, 2013
Adopted: 7 years, 7 months ago
Adopted: September 20th, 2013
- Level: 1
- Strength: 10
- Defense: 10
- Speed: 10
- Health: 10
- HP: 10/10
- Intelligence: 0
- Books Read: 0
- Food Eaten: 0
- Job: Cleaning Crew
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