Gone in an Instant
'Explosive munitions could be buried here.' Ayumu gasped and had a look of fright upon her face. She couldn't believe what she had just read. Her dad was digging for Japanese yams in a dangerous place and he could hit a deadly explosive at any moment. She now was about to go and warn her father when she saw and heard a huge explosion. She saw her dad's scarf flying in the wind. She then remembered a brief conservation she had with her dad about yams years ago when she was little. It was too late for him now. Still she had to try. She started to climb the chain link fence.
"DAD!" She screamed. Namani ran to try to bring Ayumu back down.
"Ayumu, no!" She cried out. "It's too late. Your father's dead. I'm sorry. No one could've survived that blast. Ayumu, don't be stupid!"
"I have to try!" She shouted back. "If he's still alive, I have to go save him!" The middle schooler jumped down from the fence and ran off. "DAD, PLEASE BE ALIVE!"
"Ayumu!" But it was too late. The girl was already gone. She sighed to herself. "Poor Ayumu."
"DAD, DAD!" Ayumu shouted when she made it to the hole that her father dug up. "Dad!" She gasped as she saw the awful sight of her lifeless father laying down below. She shook her head in disbelief. "No, no!" She felt tears on her cheeks and sat down to cry. Not her father! Why didn't they see the signs earlier? 2020 was bad enough with a lot of events being called off due to the ongoing pandemic, including the Olympics in Tokyo and the year was getting worse by the day. It just wasn't fair!
Mari dropped what she had been carrying to the ground. She couldn't believe it. She was now a single mom raising two kids on her own. And she didn't need to know who the decapitated hand that just landed on to the ground next to her and her son belonged too. She already knew, it belonged to her now late husband.
"Mom?" Her young son, Go, asked. "What was that?" He then saw the hand and gasped. "Is that Dad's?" His mother shielded his eyes from it.
"Don't look at it, son." But she knew that it was pointless. Go has already seen a dead body, maybe millions by this point. She didn't want to, but in her heart, she knew the worst was yet to come. Go ran off.
"DAD!" He screamed.
"Go, no!" His mom shouted after him and ran after the boy.
"Go, he's dead!" Namani said to him as she tried to pull him off of the fence when he climbed it but failed as well. Haruo was there and saw the whole thing. Mari raced in.
"I'll handle this." She told them and she too climbed the fence.
Go stopped dead in his tracks when he saw his sister crying where their father had been digging. She looked up at him, still in tears.
"Dad's dead, Go." She sobbed. "He's dead. There were signs everywhere confirming that this place was dangerous with explosives, but none of us paid attention and now it's too late." She cried in her lap again. Go began to cry as well.
Go remembered his dad had helped him get through the water earlier and that he killed that boar with his bare hands. He also remembered his sister puking and being sick at the sight when they ate the pig. He didn't imagine that those would be the last moments that they shared together. And if he didn't go to help his mom, he would be dead alongside his father. He was very lucky to be alive.
This is why Go didn't like living in Japan. In school, he was taught that Japan is situated in the Ring of Fire, where a lot of earthquakes frequently happen. He was also taught about tectonic plates and that Japan has about 1,500 earthquakes each year. He wanted to go to a different country with fewer earthquakes like England or Estonia, or better yet, none at all. That way he can play his video game in peace without having to worry. They were scary and unpredictable. If they lived someplace else they would be safer and lives wouldn't be on the line all the time. They wouldn't be on this journey, his dad wouldn't have been digging for yams, he wouldn't have died and they would've shared many more memories together. But now, that won't happen. Go really hated earthquakes and since this one led to his father's death, he really hated them. He wished they never happened at all and people will be safe and happy. Even though the an earthquake didn't end his dad's life, he still blamed them for everything else.
Mari rushed in and saw Ayumu crying with Go crying beside her. Her daughter looked up at her.
"He's dead, Mom. Dad's dead."
"I know." Mari responded. "Come on, we need to go." Ayumu looked at her mom in shock. How can she not be sad about this? He was her husband; the love of her life. How can she not feel any emotions? Didn't see love him? Ayumu stood up slowly.
"I don't understand, Mom. Dad's dead. Why aren't you crying?" Mari sighed. She hated this and was very sad, but she can't cry. Not in front of her children and not when another quake could happen at any moment. She had to be strong like her husband was.
"Ayumu, we need to go. Another quake could happen at any moment. We can't stand here and cry until it does."
"But Mom..." Mari raised her voice.
"Now, Ayumu!" Ayumu was scared, so was her brother. She knew her mother was right. She wanted to argue but knew it was pointless, so she sighed instead.
"Yes, Mom." She moved her feet back to the fence, followed by Go and her mother.
The three of them met up with Namani and Haruo and they all continued on their way.