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#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 thoughts on “#FF — Ashes Like Snow

    1. 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

  1. 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. 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. 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…


      1. 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. 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. 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

  2. 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. 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.


  3. 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. 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. 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

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