It was about noon-ish; I was wandering around this abandoned, ready-to-be-demolished, three-story high building. I don’t know how I got there, but I must have been on about the third floor, in a large conference room with large windows. I could see the clear blue sky with the stunning cityscape. Almost all of the windows were shattered, and broken glass was all over the floor. As I walked out of the room, I tried to stroll on the fence-less ledge. A strong gust of wind pushed me back to the cooler concrete wall.
Then I thought I heard someone whispering, saying, in Japanese, "Welcome home." I looked around to see if anybody was there, but I saw no one. As I walked down what seemed like an exiting staircase, I was thinking: where was I and why was I wandering in this building? The building must have been built around the 1950s or an even earlier period. When I reached the ground floor, I finally realized that this was the school I went to in my elementary school years.
As I was staring at the school, an old man, who appeared to be drunk, approached and asked me if I was familiar with the school. I told him that I was one of the graduates. Then he asked if I knew so and so; I said yes and was surprised by the familiarity.He kept on naming names of people whom I recognized, but at the end, his face turned gloomy. All of those kids died, he said. Apparently, one afternoon, when the kids were playing in the school playground, a jumbo-jet sized meteor fell on them, killing every one of them instantly. I uttered some words that didn’t make sense, because I was in a state of shock with disbelief.
"Just kidding!" The old man burst into laughter and said what really happened was a giant marshmallow landed on them while they were playing; they decided to eat the darn thing. One of the kids suffered from gallbladder disease after eating that, and the other became diabetic, but managed well with medication. The school is to be demolished because it’s contaminated with high levels of radiation, making it too hazardous for anyone to be in. Some years ago, a group of political rebels came and took over the school, held forty or so children hostage, trashed, and barricaded the school. They declared their protest against the government-established educational system. That hostage crisis lasted for three days and ended when tiny aliens came, invading every one of those thugs’ brains, implanting powerful bombs the size of a grain of salt. The old man paused for a moment and said that when those bombs went off, not a single soul had survived their impact.
On my way back home, I was reflecting on that beguiling old man's story but also thinking about how memories slip away at times; even the painful events we remember turn into tolerable disturbances. It’s like the turbulence of an airplane ride: only temporary bumps on the road.
I was reflecting on my travel itinerary, over a week long, on the flight back home. I noticed the flight attendants were handing out snacks and drinks. "Would you like a snack and or something to drink?" asked one of the attendants, handing me a package of marshmallows.
I thanked her and took a bite of marshmallow. I warped back inside the elementary school, standing in the same conference-like room as before, in the blink of an eye. Only this time, I wasn’t alone. There was a room full of children, about 10 to 12 years of age. Their eyes were like ravenous wolves, and each one of them held a small Swiss knife in their hands. Just then, they charged at me. I ran away, but tripped over something, and fell on the floor. Shocked from the impact, I warped back into that airline seat. Looking around, relieved, I thought I must have been very tired from the trip. I closed my eyes, tried to relax, and thought to myself that I just had some kind of temporary hallucination. Flight attendants were distributing some refreshments and snacks. One of them asked if I liked snacks and something to drink as she handed me a package of marshmallows.
-Yukio Kevin Iraha
P.S. Yes, it's a fiction.
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