Shigeko Matsumoto – Nagasaki
August 9, 1945
“Then, at 11:02am, the sky turned bright white. My siblings and I were knocked off our feet and violently slammed back into the bomb shelter. We had no idea what had happened.
As we sat there shell-shocked and confused, heavily injured burn victims came stumbling into the bomb shelter en masse. Their skin had peeled off their bodies and faces and hung limply down on the ground, in ribbons. Their hair was burnt down to a few measly centimeters from the scalp. Many of the victims collapsed as soon as they reached the bomb shelter entrance, forming a massive pile of contorted bodies. The stench and heat were unbearable.
My siblings and I were trapped in there for three days.
Finally, my grandfather found us, and we made our way back to our home. I will never forget the hellscape that awaited us. Half burnt bodies lay stiff on the ground, eye balls gleaming from their sockets. Cattle lay dead along the side of the road, their abdomens grotesquely large and swollen. Thousands of bodies bopped up and down the river, bloated and purplish from soaking up the water. ‘Wait! Wait!’ I pleaded, as my grandfather treaded a couple paces ahead of me. I was terrified of being left behind.”