This book is an excerpt from “Bk.: A Not-so Novel”. Coming in ’23.
This book will scare you. This book will give you bad dreams. I wish I could say it’s just a story. I wish I could start “Once upon a time…”
This is an H-bomb. If one of these was dropped on you it would blow up your whole town. Not just you and your house, not just your block or neighborhood but your whole town. It would kill all your family and it would kill all your friends.
You say you have a friend in the country and that friend won’t die.
Not right away. But the bomb spreads a poison dust as far as the wind blows.
Your country friend would breathe the poison and drink it in water. She will hurt and be sick before she dies. She might wish she lived in a town so it wouldn’t take so long to die.
This is what it looks like when an H-bomb blows up. If you are 20 miles away and see this, your eyes will melt. The town is smashed and catches fire.
The bombs come in rockets that fall out of the sky. Right now in Russia there is a rocket pointed to your town.
Some Russians are waiting to launch it.
At night while you’re asleep and all day while you are at school or playing these Russians are waiting to kill you.
If they launched right now your town would blow up in half an hour. If your family got in a car and tried to drive away you would be blown up in a traffic jam of frightened people. You can’t drive far enough in half an hour to get away from the explosion.
Don’t worry, though. There are American rockets aimed at Russian cities. Right now Americans are waiting for a signal to launch our rockets to kill Russian families.
Does this make you feel safer?
Let’s pretend the war is over. All the Russian and American rockets flew through space and most landed on the people they were supposed to kill.
You and I were lucky. You were exploded into small pieces and I was burned to death in the fire in my basement.
Let’s pretend we’re ghosts and float over to Russia to see if we won.
It looks like other countries got bombed.
This is the face of Brian Doyle lying in a refugee camp near Dover in the United Kingdom. He lived in a little town near a big English city.
His skin got burned on his arms and the back of his neck.
He can still see because he was looking the other way when the bomb blew up. He breathed too much poison dust, though.
We’ll see a lot more like him.
We cross over the English Channel to France. Everywhere we see ashes and smashed houses, burnt trees, dead animals and people.
This is the worst war ever and it only took 3 hours to happen.
This little baby is Bridgette Poulenc.
She has vomited on the first day because of poison from the H-bomb.
Her mother carried her out into the country and died.
No one hears her crying.
We float on to Germany.
There are some tents with lots of people around them. It is a hospital camp.
Most of the doctors were killed in the war. The doctors who can still walk try to help, but each of them has hundreds of burnt, broken, and poisoned patients.
The doctors work very hard but they can only help those who aren’t hurt very badly.
They are sad because they know most of their patients will die.
This is Dr. Kirstin Baum taking care of some of the sickest patients on their pallets.
She hasn’t slept in two days.
She works harder because she feels sick from the bomb poison. She knows she will soon be too weak to help anybody.
Then she knows she will die.
It smells bad now. There are too many dead and not enough people to bury them all.
Wild dogs and cats get fat and then sick from the poison they ate in the bodies.
Not many of the dead are wearing soldier’s uniforms. Didn’t you think wars were for soldiers to die in?
In World War I most of those killed were soldiers.
In World War II half the killed were civilians, not soldiers.
In Your War, World War III, almost all those killed won’t be soldiers, but ordinary people.
This is progress.
Many of the smartest people in the world spend their lives inventing weapons that can kill more and more people. We pay them with our taxes.
What would the world be like if those smart people were paid to invent things to help us–new medicines, new energy sources, new ways to grow food?
You say, “I’m too sad. I don’t want to look any more.”
But we must go to Russia for this book to end.
[Illustration of Sasha goes here.]
Here is a boy called Sasha, about your age. He was too near the bomb that came from America. He spent 2 days trapped in a basement until he dug a hole outside.
In about 2 weeks he will begin to bleed inside his body and blood will appear under his skin.
But now he feels better and for 2 weeks he will feel well, although important changes are occurring inside his body.
Sasha liked to play soccer. He wanted to be an astronaut someday. He liked chocolate bars best of anything and his favorite toy was his bike.
While he was in his basement digging out, Sasha listened to his dad cry for one whole day before he died.
His mom never came to the basement. She ran off to find Misha, his little sister, when the war sirens started to howl.
Sasha is looking for them both, his mother and his sister.
He is so hungry he eats leaves and dead birds, which lie on the ground everywhere.
Sasha can’t see us because we’re ghosts. We see him and we smell the bad smell from all the dead people.
His hair begins to fall out in patches and he gets tired and fevery. In the third week his mouth begins to hurt, his throat burns, and he has diarrhea. He is very skinny.
At night Sasha hides to sleep. The people who didn’t die seem angry and crazy when he meets them.
Sasha dreams of his father crying.
During the day we watch him hunt for his mom and sister.
We never see him smile.
Sometimes he throws up and lies down for a while. Sometimes he seems dizzy. The bomb poison is in him.
Ulcers grow around his mouth and then they spread to his stomach.
In the 4th week he will die.
When this book is over ask your parents what they’re doing to make sure you don’t die this way.
I’m sure they are very busy people.