Many nights I could not sleep for the pain that occupied my body like a razing army, and for the news my grandfather had brought soon after he found us here, almost three weeks after the bomb. He told me that our parents had been killed. He told me he had found Mother lying in the street, and Father still in bed. There can be no mistake, he said. You must be strong. After he left that day I tried to destroy the image of their deaths that I held in my head. I did all I could to forget the feeling that came over me the instant the mud around us had turned to stone. But I could not dispel the burning heat in my lungs, and the pain I felt on my skin as it split when the flash of light burned across our path and seared our grandfather's resemblance into Mitsuo's flesh...
Copyright 2001 by Dennis Bock. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, Knopf.
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