#FF — Ashes Like Snow


PHOTO PROMPT © Fatima Fakier Deria

The BOOM pulled us out into the night. At first they said it was a fire, but the colors looked all wrong. It felt like a holiday, and the children chased each other in the dewy grass as we watched the glow reach heaven. The ashes fell on us like snow.

Thirty-six hours later buses came. Loudspeakers said we all had to leave. Each family was allowed one suitcase. Crammed into the buses was the easiest part of our new journey.

Our pets were left behind. Later we learned soldiers were ordered to shoot them.

Firefighters’ coffins were buried in concrete.

[101 words]

I’m in the process of watching the HBO mini-series, “Chernobyl” (now available on DVD.) My mind rebels at what I’m learning, and my dreams have been filled with nightmares.

From Mental Floss.com:
About 115,000 people were evacuated in 1986, and another 220,000 in the following years, creating a desolate landscape of abandoned towns and villages. Thirty years after the disaster, much of the Exclusion Zone—now encompassing 1000 miles and also called the Zone of Alienation—is still strictly off-limits.

Rochelle is the inspiring host of Friday Fictioneers.

61 Comments Add yours

  1. Sadje says:

    Heartbreaking story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Yes it is and it is far from over…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. neilmacdon says:

    “the ashes fell on us like snow” is such an understated ominous line

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Iain Kelly says:

    I watched Chernobyl (it’s brilliant) recently too, and immediately saw it when reading your story. Good take.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Iain. It’s haunting me. They did, as you said, a brilliant job of piecing this thing together. Every person on the planet needs to learn about Chernobyl and every nuclear power plant needs to be decommissioned. No exceptions.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. trentpmcd says:

    Great description of the awful event.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Trent.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Carol Anne says:

    that was a great series! really eye opening! Great story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Carol Anne. Haunting event in human history.

      Like

  6. I never get nightmares.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      You’re blessed. I normally don’t either, but taking in those images is creating disturbing dreams.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. 4963andypop says:

    You capture this awful scene so well. It is awful not because of the festive behavior, though that wrings our hearts out. It is awful because the people seem so innocent, and have no inkling of what is coming .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thanks, and the credit for the images go to the producers of the series. They have crafted an extremely impactful recreation of the horrors, known and unknown to the innocent 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I immediately thought of Chernobyl… 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  9. granonine says:

    Nightmare stuff, only it’s real. Awful.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. badfinger20 says:

    Not something you would want to wake up to…if you woke up

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Max, if they made the actors look like what the actual firefighters who were sent in looked like, I think they should have given them something to instantly die. Nobody should have to go through that, especially when they were sent in completely ignorant of what they were dealing with.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. badfinger20 says:

        That was so terrible. I do remember the news when it happened. Just awful. It’s so spooky over there now.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. memadtwo says:

    Even with all we know now, there are still those who claim nuclear energy is safe. It’s frightening. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Kerfe, they need to shut them all down. Now. We’ve already had two major disasters with them and who knows how many minor ones. As if Mother Gaia doesn’t already have enough to deal with…

      Like

    2. pennygadd51 says:

      It’s not safe, but many other forms of energy are even more dangerous. Every year the pollution from coal-burning kills tens of thousands worldwide. We need to eliminate that as well.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. memadtwo says:

        Most people could drastically reduce their carbon footprint if they wanted to. But we need help from our governments. I’ve never owned a car, but I live somewhere that’s walkable with good public transportation, in housing that’s abutted to other housing which also conserves fuel.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          I agree on reducing the carbon footprint. I just read an article yesterday where NYC is starting to be served by electric bike delivery in lieu of big trucks and are letting the bikes park in the loading zones without a fee. Have you seen any in the city, K?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. memadtwo says:

            I haven’t, but I see a lot of kids delivering Amazon from their cars–those bikes would be an improvement–I saw the photos too.

            Liked by 1 person

  12. Dale says:

    Beautifully done and a series I want to watch – was told it was rather disturbing but a must-see

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thanks Dale, and yes, it is x 2.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. draliman says:

    Scary and sad. Nicely described!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. pennygadd51 says:

    Very well written indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Penny.

      Like

  15. Sandra says:

    It was a horrifying event. We watched that too, there were so many brave people who did what they had to do regardless of the horrifying consequences.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Yes, Sandra. Time and again!

      Like

  16. Powerful story about a terrible event. Very well written.

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Susan.

      Like

  17. bearmkwa says:

    It is a very tragic reality. I’ve seen a few docu’s on it, too. Appalling. The photos that come out of there are haunting to say the least.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      2600 km (1000 square miles) is the exclusion zone. some are going into it and giving tours. i’m thinking that’s madness…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. bearmkwa says:

        Limited exposure, for sure. Mostly only those who can prove residence within the zone. the really cruel thing is that they can visit their homes, but they’re not permitted to take any of their things…not even a picture, with them. That must be so very painful.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          😦 it has to be agonizing

          Like

  18. plaridel says:

    it only goes to show nuclear power can be both a blessing and a curse.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Nuclear power is no blessing in my book. Icon of evil is more like it.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. A tragic story and so much loss. Skillfully written! I’d like to see that series. I heard it was very well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      It’s an exceptional series that does a great job of showing a big picture on the devastation through small images.

      Like

  20. I ‘d heard about Chernonobyl but had no idea just how appalling it was before watching the series. Your story sits alongside it perfectly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Keith. It was a direct steal from the show.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Dear Lisa,

    Such a tragic incident. You brought us back to the moment and put a human face to it. Well done.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Rochelle, thank you.
      Shalom,
      Lisa

      Like

  22. ceayr says:

    Great piece of writing, Lisa, much of it understated.
    And yet your emotions are very clear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Ceayr. I’m glad the message came through.

      Like

  23. A powerful story Lisa, you convey the feeling of dread most skilfully.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Jules says:

    I watched a show many years ago about something like that happening to our part of the world…I stopped watching those kinds of shows. There is only so much the majority can do preparation wise. I think that was also close to the time I stopped watching horror… granted one can see horror on the news any day of the week. But I don’t get entertained by horrors.

    Try repeating something nice before sleeping; like: “I will not dream of fluffy bunnies.”
    Then maybe that is what you will dream of!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      I appreciate your way of looking at things, Jules.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Chernobyl always interests me. I have seen images of houses left in a state of use, as if the occupants were still there. The firefighters being buried in concrete was evocative.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      I was just reading about an artist that took photographic x-ray sheets into Chernobyl and attached them or weighted them down on the ground and left them there for a long time. She was able to capture the invisible menace on the film sheets and has an exhibit of them, not sure where, but I’d like to see them.

      Like

  26. magarisa says:

    What’s most horrifying about the disaster is the decades-long effects on the health of every single living being in the area.

    Your story has made me think of the Estonian town of Sillamäe, which I had the chance to visit a few years ago. The town was closed off during Soviet times to hide the secret uranium concentration plant located there. As recently as in 1989, a commission investigating why children were losing their hair pointed to uranium waste stored at a factory as the likely culprit. Remediation of Sillamäe’s radioactive tailings pond did not take place until 2008; reinforced concrete buttresses were built on the sea-side of the pond to prevent waste from seeping into the Gulf of Finland. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t give me any peace of mind.

    Such a well-written, poignant tale, Li. If only it weren’t based on reality.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Magarisa, I remember writing a research paper I’d researched for a speech at college back in 1980 about using power generated from nuclear fission power plants. A woman in the front of the class was weeping by the time I was done. There is no safe aspect of nuclear power, from the building of the plant to the containment of the rods, to keeping all equipment in working order, to disposing of the waste water, trailings, etc., not to even mention the potential for a China effect (where the core melts and keeps traveling downward into the earth and heads towards the other side of it.) Why morons and monsters keep these agents of evil operating is a mystery. Not sure if you watch any anime, but Princess Nausicaa is one where the powers that be try to revive ancient evil to fight on their side. To me that is nuclear power.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. magarisa says:

        Li, thank you for taking the time to share your perspective so candidly. I must admit that I have not given nuclear power much thought, except during the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster in 2012. (The Chernobyl disaster occurred when I was a child, so it didn’t leave a big impression on me.) From what you have written, it seems that the risks of nuclear power far outweigh its benefits. Incredibly frightening!

        Liked by 1 person

  27. Laurie Bell says:

    Terrifying how everything can change in an instant

    Liked by 1 person

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