the Shattered Veil
a thirteen-year-old girl named Tennin runs for her life amidst a maelstrom of scattered stone and broken metal. Her feet move her forward as fast as they can because to not do so would let the past catch up, and she just can’t do that. Clouds of hot angry dust swirl around her as her little feet propel her forever onward to a future that she is unsure of because that future is a question mark, it’s an unknown but it’s better than what she left behind.
She awoke that morning at around six am perhaps to get ready for school that would start at eight thirty, she did her morning ablutions. Sat quietly and did not complain as her mother set her hair and got her ready for the day ahead. After that was done breakfast was probably on the agenda, she sat with her father and mother as they most likely ate a traditional meal of steamed rice, meso soup, and maybe on a good morning a little grilled fish.
Her mother and father walk her out and wish her well at eight o-clock in the morning, before she got on the bus she looked back and with a smiling wave bid her parents good bye for the last time … she would never see them again, not really any way. She would see them years later as shadowed silhouettes painted on a wall thirteen blocks from where they were going to their respective places … a silhouette that we call a “Shadow of Death”. She didn’t know it at the time but those two silhouettes would be the “residue” of the people left behind who were at or near ground zero for an atomic explosion.
A thirteen-year-old girl sits on a bus talking and joking with her friends as they are on their way to school. Its eight o-five, Tennin’s friend tousles her hair and makes fun of just how tight her mother made it that morning, she shot back. It’s the same as it always is, my mother is predictable if not anything. She sits back and begins thinking about the day ahead and as teenagers are want to do she becomes bored. She finally gets tired of the boredom and gets up from her seat and starts to move to sit next to her friend and stops as something awe inspiring catches her attention to her left. She stares opened eyed in abstract terror as the heavens are rent asunder and a new star is born.
So Tennin runs, after the blasted capsule that was her bus finally came to rest upon a sheet of blue-green glass that used to be sand, she runs, what she runs from she does not understand, she has no way of knowing that we mere mortals have harnessed the power of the Atom.
Tennin had no idea that uranium 235 had been harnessed as a weapon. That man could and would use it against a predominantly civilian population, that to end a war we would annihilate hundreds of thousands, how could she. She didn’t eve know that nuclear fission existed until a second star ignited in the sky above her (and even then she didn’t really know the cause) and hastened her to run and even then in her desperate frenzied flight from the chaos and devastation that was behind her, as her feet were ran bloodied and her lungs were inexorably scarred from every breath she took. Out of instinct she ran. She has seen the silhouettes of her parents and the blasted landscape that was made of her home and still she runs, will she ever stop running … well that’s up to us.
We shattered a veil that day, on august sixth nineteen forty-five we did something that no other civilization had ever done, we harnessed the power of the atom. We divided fissionable material and created a vast amount of energy from it and with about one hundred and forty pounds of uranium 235 we ended the life of one hundred or so thousand people, mostly noncombatants.
I can’t go back in time to tell you it was right or that it was wrong, it ended a world war that had raged for years so perhaps it was the right thing to do, I do however know this, that a thirteen-year-old girl named Tennin and a prominent scientist involved with the Manhattan project called Robert Oppenheimer that developed the bomb would agree that to see it unfold in the heavens above you would bring this quote to mind
I am become death, the destroyer of worlds