Five Years On

memorial japan

In Namie Seiko Yoshida and her husband Tsutoshi offer a prayer for their late daughter Miki, who was killed by the tsunami while at work at a post office, in Ukedo district, 5km north of the nuclear plant – Photograph: Kimimasa Mayama/EPA

Mikiko Jahn and Brigit Monroe stepped out of the ruins as the older couple drove away. They’d placed flowers on the foundation of what used to be their home across the street.

“I had dinner with them every weekend. I’d just introduced my fiance’ Ichioka the Sunday before the accident.”

Brigit, Mikiko’s psychologist, touched her forearm and felt it trembling. This visit was dangerous, but Mikiko insisted on going home for the anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Five years ago, the reactor 3 hydrogen explosion injured eleven and killed one, except Mikiko was only presumed dead. Her injuries were catastrophic. The government covered up the events around her reconstruction as the first synthetic organism. Cybernetic brain implants regulated all of her emotions until this morning when Brigit ordered the firmware upload.

Now Mikiko could feel…everything.

“Ochan. Otousan.”

Brigit put her arms around Mikiko and let her sob for hours.

I authored this for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to take a Google maps image and location and use them to craft a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 150.

Today, the Pegman takes us to Fukushima, Japan. I couldn’t believe it. For just over a month, I’ve been writing a science fiction/espionage series about a woman horribly mutilated in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster which began with a devastating earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011 and set in this very location.

Mikiko’s latest published adventure is The Most Dangerous Predator but the events here occur after Woman Under Repair but before Woman in the Shadows.

It’s tough to compress everything that’s happening in this scene into 150 words and have it be a complete story. As readers of her series know, soon after the accident, her “designer” Dr. Daniel Hunt had several cybernetic chips implanted in various parts of her brain to regulate her emotions. Being horribly mutilated and then being the object of numerous, highly invasive surgeries, literally being rebuilt from scratch using synthetic materials based on artificial DNA would be emotionally intolerable to just about any human being. The chips regulate those emotions, allowing Mikiko to endure her state and her transformation with relative calm. Her emotions can be programmed to even allow feelings of well-being and happiness under the most horrible circumstances.

Brigit Monroe is Mikiko’s psychologist and in her opinion, sooner or later, Mikiko must learn to regain at least some control of her emotions and especially to be allowed to experience grief over her loss, not just of her original body, but of her former life. Even Mikiko’s parents don’t know she’s alive, and because she is regarded as most secret by both the Japanese and British governments, she can never tell anyone she survived.

So I wrote this. In a longer tale, perhaps a novel, I would expand upon these events quite a bit. For now, this is the best I can do. The photo at the top has a caption that tells the real story of the people depicted. At the bottom, I’m including another photo of a real person memorializing those lost in the tsunami, but one I hope will express how Mikiko eventually embraces her new life.

Oh, “Ochan and Otousan.” are the best I can do using Goggle to have Mikiko say “Mommy and Daddy” in Japanese. If anyone out there can offer a correction, I’d appreciate it.

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

flowers-memorial-fukanuma-beach-sendai

On Fukanuma beach, Sendai, a woman throws a bunch of flowers – Photograph: Ken Ishii/Getty Images

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Vigil

love prompt

© 2016 – Elaine Farrington Johnson

Several vigils were held Monday night to honor the victims of the shooting. Communities came out in Reno, Las Vegas and at the campus of University of Nevada Las Vegas.

Sandra Casey, a special education teacher in Manhattan Beach, California, was killed, the Manhattan Beach Unified School District said. “We lost a spectacular teacher who devoted her life to helping some of our most needy students,” school board President Jennifer Cochran said.

Sonny Melton also was identified as among the dead. His employer, Henry County Medical Center in Paris, Tennessee, said Melton was a registered nurse. His wife survived the shooting.

Police had no prior knowledge of the gunman before the attack, (Clark County Sheriff Joseph) Lombardo said. “I don’t know how it could have been prevented,” he said.

-from an October 2, 2017 report by CNN

“If they wouldn’t do anything when children were murdered I have no hope that Repugs will ever do the right thing. I’m actually not even sympathetic bc country music fans often are Republican gun toters.” -Hayley on Facebook

Yeah…I was thinking that since this directly hits the country-music population…maybe they will actually do something now. But after Sandy Hook, Republicans reacted by wanting to arm teachers. So lets see what today’s… -Erin replying on Facebook

It was night but she wore a large hat and sunglasses that covered most of her face. She didn’t want to take the chance of being recognized, but after what she’d said, she realized she couldn’t stay away, either.

She had been so focused on her anger at the people she thought were at fault, at all of those who she believed didn’t care about those twenty innocent lives who had been callously extinguished by a man and a rifle at Sandy Hook Elementary School. She had forgotten that the 59 people who died just yesterday and the hundreds whose lives still hung in the balance were people, too.

At first, all she thought of was that if a large group of conservatives were the victims of gun violence, conservatives would be forced to respond by enacting better measures of gun control. Obama hadn’t accomplished what she’d hoped for in his eight years in office and no one could count on Trump and a GOP led Senate to do what was right. But after she thoughtlessly made her own hateful comments in social media, she realized she wasn’t any better. She had chosen to devalue human lives just as she accused others of doing.

“It will never end…” she muttered to herself, hardly able to restrain her tears, “…until all of us value each other’s lives, not just lives like our own.”

Although I didn’t post this to today’s Linkup (since only one submission is allowed), consider it a “part two” of my response to Priceless Joy’s writing challenge. There are just too many ways to respond to such senseless violence, and I chose to leverage my previous commentary on the words of Hayley Geftman-Gold which drew a great deal of national ire less than a day ago.

I read that she has since apologized for her comments, and while I don’t believe she’d risk exposing herself any further by actually attending a vigil in Las Vegas, I sincerely hope in her heart she understands that the 59 dead were also the sons, daughters, parents, and siblings of people who loved and were loved, just like the rest of us.