Roman’s Artificial Fear

      Roman’s roommates saw it first. A big mushroom cloud quickly climbing upwards. “Roman, come on here quick” they called. To the balcony.

      Maybe the boys have spotted another Racecar. Thought Roman.

      Looking at the immense structure Roman got transfixed. It’s quickly gaining clouds. Looks like white clouds are growing from the ground moving straight up forming the stem. White fume. So clear. Moving rapidly upwards. White fume is moving! Like waves. Waves of moving white cloud. Going up to the sky. Roman was staring.

“I heard nothing. When did it happen?

“Just now. No sound”.

“Why no sound? Where is it?”

“Not in our country man. See news”.

“It looks so near.”

      Who will be mad enough to bomb with nukes? One direct hit on their State Capital. It won’t remain the only one. Other bombings must be happening right now around the World.

      This quick? This quick.

      Roman read somewhere the missiles are kept always at standby less a switch. Will their clouds be seen from here? This balcony? Roman looked around.

      Now there will come down the fallouts from that mushroom cloud. Roman went on. Radioactive radicals will spread around by air. Water, livestock, and tree plants will be poisoned. Who’s mad enough dropping nukes? Do those people know what a ‘free radical’ is? What were they thinking? It’s war now. Every country will start throwing warheads. It’s a matter of time. To die by a bomb. Or by free radicals. Roman came down. To the road.

      Somehow it seems dark here outside. Might be that bomb cloud absorbed all the light. Roman thought. It feels like nothing Roman knew before. The unease at the sight of a nuclear blast. The terror Roman found- this new panic was completely unknown to him until today. Roman knew many kinds of fear. Fear of depth, fear of fire, fear of heights, even fear of people. Those were somewhat built-in. This new fear feels so artificial. Roman quickly surmised- the other fears are rooted on water and soil, whereas this nuclear fear is more based upon concrete and steel. (Is he himself built upon concrete and steel?) Because the street people seem to be quite composed. They are moving around, talking calmly about the blast like it’s another crazy news, and the roommates are arguing on that balcony like they always do after sport matches.

      Roman clearly felt the second bomb detonated nearby. Like before there was no sound. Nobody noticed the new rapidly climbing cloud moving up towards the evening sky. Two miles radius. Two miles radius will turn into ash. Is it here within two miles? Five? Ten? Just outside of two miles range is safe? Roman ensured, he is standing just beyond the two miles threshold from the second cloud.

      Did the first cloud go straight up? Wasn’t that somewhat slanted? The globe is round after all. At a distance it should look slanted. Roman checks out. Yes, that first cloud seems to be slanted now. That mushroom cloud at the horizon is climbing at a slanted direction. Looks unreal. Looks okay.

      Should Roman go back to Apartment? Phone calls are coming into handset. Phones are radioactive knew Roman. How many phones will equal to one bomb?

      Roman heard the chaos of his friends on the porch from roadside. Street people are busy taking photos of the monstrosity at horizon. It’s already dark now. The day could get no darker. Now the nearby mushroom cloud quickly absorbed the apartment building, Roman’s chaotic friends in there, street people with cameras, but not Roman. Roman was standing just beyond the two miles threshold from the second cloud.