by Chantal Biggar '19
You could hear each drop leak from the rusted pipe that hung loosely over the corner of the dim hospital room, where several hundred patients lay almost lifelessly, each covered with a white linen cloth in efforts to conceal and alleviate the amount of suffering seen by passers and the press. From the tiny window in my restricted field of view, I search for the sun, which would never show itself again. Life was shaken from the environment around me. This area became an attraction to tourists all over the world, flashing their cameras in an effort to capture the shock and horror of nuclear aftermath, then to continue on living their lives without a second thought. But for me, this was life now.
Every day had become bleak and mundane, nurses were drones coming in and out like clockwork and friendly neighbors around me that once welcomed my kids to family gatherings now lay beside me, as gray and frail as the cracked concrete floor of the Canterbury Mercy Hospital. Media coverage, news reporters, journalists everywhere wanted the scoop on the aftermath. Views, ratings, and money was the sole focus. Everything else? It didn’t matter. People sat comfortably from their warm homes, their green yards and birds chirping melodies of peace and tranquility while watching the world fall to pieces around them. Yet, they were oblivious. I see the melting, mutilated skin of my fellow acquaintances around me and the brittle hair that falls upon the floor and can’t help but to accept the indisputable truth. The warning signs couldn’t have been any clearer. With all the cameras and films documenting a plague promising mass extinction, the danger became washed over and buried in the shock value of articles and wasteful clicks. We too were once a thriving community, just as those on the other side of the glass. We had jobs, families, houses and the good old “American Dream”, just as everyone else. I thought about my wife, kids, and a notable profession of my own as a physician saving countless lives and what had I become? A few numbers written on the clipboard attached to the end of my fragile coffin. That’s all I was now and everything I held dearly was gone. With a combination of atoms and an impetuously loose trigger, it was taken away and only the remains could fizzle out and diminish, just like a firework. We never paid any mind to it, did we? You could hear the muffled dialogue from the other side:
“Look at the destruction, you can see the survivors dying!” One man in a sweater vest gasped to his colleagues.
“I’ve never seen anything quite like that in person” another muttered, followed with a few clicks of his Kodak.
My friends, this is what our species has inevitably come to. I shook and jolted my limbs beneath the white linen cloth, hoping to attract some sort of attention, although I knew through my various third degree burns and disfigurement, I would never again be able to enunciate the truth, leaving the ignorance to the outsiders who looked upon us. The thoughts ate away at my weary conscious. They were next. No one was able to see the signs before them, a thick glass barrier and silencing scars only barricaded the ability to open their eyes. This was the end, promising a blind and cruel life sentence that no one could see, unfolding blatantly in front of them.