Surprised I haven’t seen this topic yet.
Being an old Lit student I have a soft spot for creative stories and writing them. I have a few floating around on my laptop, they’re fairly general in context or a response to a particular writing style so I’m sorry if anything I post is hard to interpret or follow. I also like to write in Stream of Consciousness (Basically more pain for non-Lit students) which is a narration told through the inner thoughts of characters rather than an established narrator. It’s purposely hard to follow and the flow of time is ‘jumpy’. If you’ve ever read Mrs Dalloway or (attempted to read) Ulysses then you may know the style.
Anyways, I digress.
Story: Response to Nam Le’s short story ‘Hiroshima’
Style: Nam Le/Stream of Consciousness
Info: Basically a social twist on Le’s original story. Same setting, which is the days leading up to the bombing of Hiroshima, however from a different character persona (An indifferent teenage girl). Reading his version would give more context but I know none of you will bother looking it up (lol) so just enjoy
A light breeze tapped my skin and blew my hair gently, the open window shone with the rays of an early morning sun. My body rested upwards on the velvet couch in the spacious white room as I stared towards the ceiling. There was nothing to do. A girl that’s seen 64 seasons should be able to have something to occupy herself. All my friends were running around in their hard hats spouting the words of our nation; childish games. Humming? No shuffling, Grandfather is finally awake. I know where he’s going. I used to ask everyday but it was always the same answer, the shrine to pray. Grandfather is boring. Another sound comes from my right. This time I look over. It’s my twin brother Kyoya. People always tell us that we are like the same person. They call us the Gemini Twins, identical in thoughts, feelings and looks. I hate it, especially when we were younger and others would mistake me for my brother. That’s why I grew my hair out, that way no one will call me Kyoya. He gets up from the window sill; Brother is always at the window, looking at the sky for planes. He’s been doing that a lot lately. He shuffles after Grandfather, muttering quiet prayers. Kyoya loves the spirits, thinks that they will come and save us from the enemy. How foolish, Brother reads too many ‘sky papers’. I should tell Father when he gets home from work. He would be furious if anyone found out his son was reading the forbidden words of the American Swine. He has a reputation to uphold! Father is the Head Chairman at the Funitsu Steel Company! He provides important resources for our courageous army, loyally fighting for our Emperor and the Fatherland. Looking up again at the white ceiling, I see the images of the Emperor’s West Eleventh Division, overpowering the weak and poor enemy, taking swift victory on the Shanghai coast in the latest movie that Nanny took me to see. The guns were firing. Anaei! What a strange sound, I’ve never heard a gun make such a high pitched sound before. Anaei! Is it calling my name? Anaei come here! What? Nanny? The calling was coming from the kitchen. My rush to stand before Nanny was clumsy and I caught myself on the doorway. I hope I didn’t tear my new dress. Nanny is standing there, behind the kitchen counter, her face is bright red, and it always is when she yells. A tomato is what she looks like, her rounded face matches the fruit beneath her finger tips, and the red stained apron surrounding her large stomach doesn’t help her image. I hate tomatoes. A thinner object sits on the kitchen table; Step-Mother is painting her fingernails again. I wonder how many times she has done that today. Probably as many times as she has fixed her hair or caked her face in make-up. Nanny clicks her fingers, holding up a small piece of paper. What is this? Nanny echoes my thoughts with that piercing reply.
"Read this carefully as it may save your life or the life of a relative or friend. In the next few days, some or all of the cities named on the reverse side will be destroyed by American bombs. These cities contain military installations and workshops or factories which produce military goods. We are determined to destroy all of the tools of the military clique which they are using to prolong this useless war. But, unfortunately, bombs have no eyes. So, in accordance with America’s humanitarian policies, the American Air Force, which does not wish to injure innocent people, now gives you warning to evacuate the cities named and save your lives. America is not fighting the Japanese people but is fighting the military clique which has enslaved the Japanese people. The peace which America will bring will free the people from the oppression of the military clique and mean the emergence of a new and better Japan. You can restore peace by demanding new and good leaders who will end the war. We cannot promise that only these cities will be among those attacked but some or all of them will be, so heed this warning and evacuate these cities immediately."
Everything was in English, Nanny couldn’t read it but she knew what it was. Brother was getting careless, or Nanny was onto his fixation for the propaganda and was actively searching for them. I shrugged under her gaze; I wasn’t in the mood for her authority games, acting like she was my parent. A small laugh came from the other figure in the room. Step-Mother always laughs at me with her white face. Like that doll she bought me, the one that now sits in the garbage. I wish that bomb would drop right on her head. Her excess make-up would swallow it and save us all. Nanny’s girth could probably do the same thing. Respect your elders, respect the Fatherland. The chant instilled at boarding school rang in my head. It’s for your own good. Father brushed my hair gently as he said that. Back when he dropped me off at the gates for the first time. That was shortly after Mother went away, a nurse for the Sixty-Seventh Division fighting in eastern China. I loved her for her bravery, her courage and her sacrifice. It didn’t take Father long to remarry a women half Mother’s age. He has a reputation to uphold.
That night I slept alone in our room. Brother’s bed was empty. He and Grandfather were trying to convince Father again. I lay there catching parts of their conversation. ‘Danger, warning, threats’; in Grandfather’s voice. ‘Leave and safety’; in Kyoya’s voice. ’Business, money and reputation’; in Father’s voice. The voices stopped. Why? The sound of a plane engine could be heard moving overhead. Hurried footsteps must be Kyoya. Silence fell throughout the house. But my mind was screeching. Everyone was silent during such an event. Whether you believed in a bomb drop or not, a single plane could rack the soul in fear. I found myself praying to the spirits, any spirit. The last time I prayed was long ago when Grandfather taught me about the spirit of forgiveness. Hold out your palms, relax and sit still. Think of your bad deeds and let them flow out from your fingertips. I couldn’t. My hands were together in prayer. How can I atone myself and pray at the same time? I asked Grandfather the next day. He mumbled something about Spirits knowing our true intentions in prayer. But that soon bored me and Brother insisted that I came with him into town. I had nothing better to do. We walked amongst the dusty streets. The heavy smell of earth, the cries of the people in hard hats and the shouts of the patriarchal youths, like shrieking spirits, the Yamato Spirit on their faces; surrounded me. They acted like a bomb had dropped, frantically pulling down buildings and wailing their mottos. Faces I knew were amongst the Yamato. Brother called them ‘mubou’, reckless. Their rubble ruined my dress. I wanted to go back home. But Brother needed to buy his ‘supplies’. He seemed to be getting more food every day and I only remember seeing half of it on our dinner table. Kyoya was up to something but I didn’t ask him or tell father about it. It would have been a waste of my time. Like making me carry the food into the kitchen was a waste of my energy. Like having Nanny boss me around while I was there, was a waste of my hearing. And like step-mother was a waste of space. When all that time I could have spent my day on the velvet couch. Humming to my left, tapping on the window sill to my right. The roar of the plane engine overhead. No-one seems to rush this time, we felt safe in the light of the sun spirit; it was probably a ‘sky paper’ plane.
Come with us. It’s not safe here. I’m shaken awake by a blurry form. Brother sits beside my bed. He and grandfather have decided to go to the shrine in the mountains today. Kyoya knew I had no interest in the spirits or prayer but kept asking, hounding me. I told him no countless times until he gave up. I didn’t miss the downcast look on his face. Brother and Grandfather left in the morning. They didn’t tell me how long they would be gone when I asked. Father wasn’t there to see them go. Two large bags of varies shapes were in their wagon. They never came back.
Days felt much longer. The air felt hotter. And Nanny got redder, we had another argument today. She called Kyoya and Grandfather cowards in front of me and I lost it. I didn’t care, it wasn’t like she could get me into trouble or do anything to me. Besides, I don’t hear her calling Step-Mother a coward; she left a day after they did! Father paid for her ticket across to Tokyo. The heat of the sun matched my fury. The grass stained my dress but I didn’t care. I hate you. I hate Nanny. I should have gone with Brother. My hands came together. The sound of the plane matched the screaming in my head. Father is never here. I wish he was here, I miss him. Screw his reputation. My face grew hot and my vision turns white. The phrase ‘blinded with rage’ sings to me. I cry.