The hose squirms in my hands, a fat serpent. Water hits concrete, whirlpools in the chasm below, and steam mixes with smoke that smells like burning tires. The wind drifts the cloud over me, over the ocean and smudges the coming night. Two days ago when authorities called for all firemen to report to reactor No. 3, I wanted to hide. My wife whispered, “Be a savior for Japan.”
When I drink my tea, steam caresses my face, reminding me of Misaki’s hands cradling the bowl as she places it before me. Outside I am surprised at the sky’s brilliance. I gather stones, not smooth river rocks but sharp angular ones that sparkle with mica. I build the cairn under a wild cherry tree sheltered from wind. In the yellowed photograph, my grandfather’s face calm, serious under the scarf of the rising sun tied around his forehead. He flew his ninth flight 67 spring times ago; when he returned, they shot him for failing to dive into the enemy ship with open eyes. I weight the picture with the top stone, reach for blossoms fragrant, wilted, and lay them prostrate before the tower.
My arms ache. I think of my wife pouring tea, of my grandfather unable to fling himself to his death. I think of flowers already withered and the invisible seeds of energy falling around me, on me, swallowed by me. I think of honor. Below, steam still rises.
April Fools! The piece you have just read was written by Linda Simoni-Wastila and appears here as a part of the Great April Fool’s Day FridayFlash Blog Swap, organized by Tony Noland. You can find my story for today, A Delicate Flower, at Linda Simoni-Wastila’s website, leftbrainwrite.To read all the dozens of stories swapping around as a part of the GAFDFFBS, check out the GAFDFFBS index over at Tony’s blog Landless. For hundreds of thousands of words of fantastic flash fiction stories, check out the #fridayflash hashtag on Twitter. It happens every Friday!
14 Responses to Divine Wind – #fridayflash
Woah. That was really powerful. The line “I think of flowers already withered and the invisible seeds of energy falling around me, on me, swallowed by me” really struck me, too.
This was beautifully evocative. The call to serve (and perhaps, to die for) one’s country is written out in a lot of ways. You captured this one perfectly.
That was truly beautiful.
Oh. Oh. Oh.
Linda, LInda, Linda.
What can I say that I haven’t already said about your writing.
Relevant. Gorgeous. Painful. Sweet. All at once.
Thanks all for reading and thank you Dan for ‘hosting’ my story. I actually tied in another prompt — another world — from my 52/250 flash group. The devastation in Japan has preyed on my mind, so I write it out. Peace…
Yes, I can see the authentic Linda writhing of language in this, from the first sentence on.
Such a tale of loss. Interesting how you both had similar angles from the prompt. 🙂
Simply wonderful, as always, Linda… A great write, indeed… Poetic and gorgeous.
A beautiful piece. I love the imagery of the invisible seeds of energy falling all around.
brilliant Linda, beauiful with calm as is itself a Japaneese trait.
This was powerful stuff. I enjoyed it.
Wow, Linda. Incredibly powerful stuff here. The juxtaposition of two duties is incredible and the language is exquisite.
Beautifully poignant story Linda, this brought tears. Thank you for sharing such a deep part of your heart.
Beautiful. And very likely to be a true story. Wonderful illustration of the people giving their lives to save Japan right now.
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