Black Event by Forest Issac Jones, Flash Fiction Finalist
On the evening of April 26, 1986, a series of explosions destroyed the reactor in the building that housed the #4 block of the Chernobyl nuclear station.
That morning my wife woke me up and said there was fire at the nuclear plant. I didn’t see the explosion. Just the flames. The whole sky was radiant.
I can still remember the bright, red glow and the smoke. It was nothing like I’d ever seen. That evening everyone stood outside and we had a great view. We stood breathing, staring at the black smoke. The heat was awful.
We didn’t know that the scenery of death could be so gorgeous.
I couldn’t sleep that night. Something had changed in our village, and it would never be the same again.
At seven in the morning there were military soldiers on the streets wearing gas masks. There was a black cloud and hard rain. The puddles were yellow, like someone had painted them.
I kept the radio on all day as they told us to prepare to evacuate. They told us we’d be back in a week. The only thing I took with me was a few personal items in our suitcase. That day we rode away from the village in silence. Everyone was afraid to talk about what had happened.
When we settled in our town and my wife started her new job, she came back the first day in tears. A woman said she didn’t want to work beside her, saying she was radioactive. The other workers were afraid of her.
I often think about our old village. It’s deserted now. It’s not just the land that’s contaminated, but our minds. I was naïve. My wife was trusting. We trusted the State and the military.
Nothing would ever be the same.