Sunday, August 27, 2006

Entry #54

The First Day
by Najoud Ensaff


May had never seen the sun.

‘It disappeared after the first explosion,’ her grandmother said. ‘A huge mushroom cloud grew above us; its dust fell down from the sky one piece at a time.’ She cast her eyes down. ‘To this day, I can still see it- that blanket of dust. I was indoors, the heat so intense my face blistered as sure as if my skin had been fried.’

May looked up at her grandmother; the scarred skin and vacant eyes stared ahead.

‘That blast took the light away.’

She nodded and stroked her grandmother’s hair. ‘Took more than that,’ May said.

‘That it did. Why your Grandpa, he was a fine man. Head and shoulders above any other. That man was all heart, and your ma…’

A tear traced its way down her cheek.

‘Out of doors when it happened-he and your ma getting into that rust bucket. I’d just waved ‘em off and, you, you were just a baby in my arms.’

She sighed. ‘Forty years, May. It’s been forty years- of darkness and cold, and now this.’

She smiled serenely.

‘I can feel the warmth again May, and God willing, now, your darkness will end.’

‘Ah Grandma, I wish you could see it,’ May said taking hold of her grandmother’s hand, but just as she did, it slipped from hers, and those vacant eyes slid shut.

May looked at the light in the sky, and back at her grandmother. ‘Now our darkness has ended,’ she said.

20 comments:

Joni said...

Nice change of genre. This is beautifully emotional. Good dialogue. Definitely enjoyed.

robert rohloff said...

This story pulls at the emotional strings of the heart and plays thos emotions like a classical guitarist would play his guitar.

nicholas abbot said...

This may sound strange, but when the grandmother used the term 'rust bucket' the whole thing became real to me. It's in the details...

anna said...

Wonderfully alive characters.
A definite tear jerker
Loved it!

Linda Fort-Bolton said...

Very emotional story. Sad.

Bofire said...

Nice change of pace. I have seen a lot of good writing in this contest including yours.

anne frasier said...

very nice, najoud.
such an air of sweet sorrow.

Robert Ball said...

A very concise but powerful statement on the perils of nuclear war.

Jude said...

Thankyou for your comments. They're very encouraging.

klgilbert said...

Liked the title tie-in. The grandmother hung in there just long enough. Bless grandmothers.
This was very thought provoking. Well crafted story.

Sam said...

Beautiful, Jude, simply beautiful.

Jim said...

Very bittersweet.

Scott said...

I'm glad that grandma got to see the proverbial light before she passed on. Hope prevails in a story of devastation.

Susan Abraham said...

Beautifully written. Poignant and reflective.

Amin said...

That certainly hit home in just a few words, Jude.

Lovely piece of writing, although I personally found it very said at the end, rather than hopeful, like Scott.

Wilf said...

Lovely emotion tugging piece, Jude. A great opening to a novel maybe...
Addy

The Wandering Author said...

Hey, Jude (sorry, couldn't resist!), I like the story. Although I can't help wondering how Grandma and May managed to live forty years, between radiation exposure and the collapse of civilisation. Is there more of a story there somewhere? I would think there would have to be.

Bhaswati said...

The pathos of the aftereffects of a nuclear explosion are so effectively portrayed in this small piece. Although sad, I really liked the ending. The motif of darkness giving way to light is very effective. Nice. :)

Saaleha said...

what a sad, touching tale. Poignant, emotional. Beautiful

jason evans said...

That was a really unique twist. A wonderfully human way to show a technical, sci-fi type moment. I loved that careful touch. High marks overall.