English Writing Skills – Story on the First Image

Fukushima's D-day (One-shot)

The emergency warning on a nearby flat-screen in his daughter's kindergarten school lounge was the first shock Hiroshi Nakahara had to endure that afternoon. He had just come to retrieve her when all of the surrounding television screens' usual programming were interrupted by the appearance of a portly man in a black suit with a solemn but urgent demeanor. Everyone stopped in their tracks staring at the screens as this happened wondering what could be so important to interrupt their program expecting a speech from the president or something similar.

The man simply said: "This is a warning. Our technology tells us that a tsunami will engulf a large area of Fukushima in approximately one hour and we caution anyone who is watching this to get to safety as soon as possible. If you cannot get to the evacuation centers find a solid structure, with preference reinforced concrete, such as hotels, high rise condominiums, etcetera and get to the third floor or higher. If possible get out of the city. Again, we advise you to, at all costs, get away from the water or to evacuate Fukushima if possible and again it will hit Fukushima in approximately one hour".

As the intermission ended panic had ensued throughout the hallway. It was overwhelming and all Hiroshi could think about was finding his daughter and getting to safety. He ran toward the kindergarten classroom and frantically looked and called out for his daughter. In the confusion, of people running in all directions in panic, he could hardly see the small group of kindergarteners still waiting for their respective parents. When he got to it there was only his daughter, Suki, left. He took her hand, somewhat relieved, and told her not to be scared and that they needed to go. They ran to the car and he turned on the radio. It was constantly repeating the same warning message but was interrupted by tsunami news updates now and then. He was starting to really panic: he didn't know where these centers were, he never even thought about it before.

'The nearest hotel or high rise building that would have to do', he thought.

As they reached the Tatsumiya hotel he realized it was full because of the large amount of people bottling up the entrance trying to get in. So he continued on driving, calming his five-year-old down. He drove for half-an-hour before he reached the tallest standing high rise hotel in Fukushima, the Capital Front hotel. Leaving his car abandoned on the side of the street he took his child in his arms and ran as fast as he could for the sliding door entrance. The confusion was emense. Everyone slowly entered the building in a frenzy and took the stairs to the higher floors. As they reached the third floor relief spread through him once again but he kept on walking, determined to get as far away from the ground as possible. At the seventh floor the line stopped and so the surrounding crowd exited the staircase to the seventh floor landing and to individual hotel rooms, that had been automatically unlocked under the current circumstances. A man had brought a radio and a large group began to surround him, listening for news of the tsunami. The room was tense; hanging onto the radio presenter's every word, when it happened. The room's furniture, overhanging chandelier and the floor began shaking. Abandoned coffee cups and lamps started to rattle and flicker, slowly at first then violently. Terror and panic spread once more and he did what anyone in his position would do: look for the nearest shelter. A door frame, a table, anything would do so he pulled his daughter by the hand and quickly crammed her and himself under a table. The tremors became stronger and books and heavy objects began falling to the ground. The rest was a blur and all he could remember was the lights flickering off, the screams of panic and the radio host's voice - the only one that had remained calm, out of professionalism. Minutes later, a deafening crash of water and his daughter's screams were all he could hear.

Morning broke as sunlight entered through the shattered glass of the windows. People started to stir as they regained consciousness. Most of them overjoyed to still be alive hugged each other in celebration. Many stared out of the broken windows to the street where they contemplated in shock the quantity of water that was encircling them and they started to panic once more. How were they going to get out of there? They'd have to wait for the water to be pulled back into the ocean. But how long would that take? Would they be starved to death? These are all questions that started to hit them.

~ Two days later ~

The water level had lowered to one meter and seemed calm so many had started venturing out into the streets, starved. Hiroshi reached the exit of the hotel, with his young daughter on his shoulders, and started making his way out into the water (still very high as it covered most of his body). As the pull of the water was still very strong, he had almost fallen but a woman beside him had grabbed his hand to steady him. From a distance they saw a search and rescue boat heading in their direction as many of the surrounding people had already waved it down. It was finally over or at least he thought it was…