When I came to again, I was covered by debris. All I could see was a broken ceiling and through it, the grey sky. I assumed a bomb had fallen directly on our house.
In my mind, I heard tens of thousands of people in Hiroshima screaming. I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s what I remember.
My sister and I were clinging to each other. We tried to crawl out.
To make sure we were all right, we siblings were calling to each other: “Junko-chan!” “Tei-chan!” “Aki-chan!” “Where are you? We’re here.”
I found my eldest sister in what was left of the dining room. She was covered in blood.
I wondered why there was all that blood over her. She was hurt, and one of her teeth was missing.
The shock had sent one of the chopsticks she was holding through her cheek, poking out the tooth.
Our brother was in another room. The window behind him had shattered. When the window broke with a bang, his back was pierced by splinters of shattered glass.
We were all in a panic. To get out into the yard, we were treading on the shattered glass barefooted. I heard my brother cry my name “Junko!” “Sister!” “Are you all right?”
That’s when we saw everything had been flattened. There was nothing left.
Across the street was a neighbour’s farm, where they grew vegetables. There had been a big cherry tree—that was now smashed. The farm had completely disappeared.
We could see Hiroshima on the horizon, which seemed to be on fire. Everywhere to the horizon were fires.
We were all worried about father. Then we saw him wheeling his bike through all the debris under the railway. His face was strange – a deep glowing red.
We realised later he’d been burnt. His face, hands, any part of him that was exposed was burnt, and so were the black parts of his clothes.
Father said we had to get away from the house. Even though we had no shoes, we had to flee.
We needed to get to the river.