Katashi sat by the pond in Grandfather’s garden, as Grandfather worked on his youngest bonsai. Katashi asked Grandfather when he could have his own bonsai to care for; pruning just so, the way he did.   Grandfather would tell Katashi, “soon, soon”  but Katashi did not know when soon would come.  Katashi asked Grandfather if his father came back from the war soon would that be the same soon when he could have his own bonsai?

Blinding flash of light filled the sky.  Intense heat.  The firestorm swept through Grandfather’s garden as Katashi and Grandfather turned to ashes.

Soon, Katashi.

Friday Fictioneers @ Rochelle Wisoff-Fields  Addicted to Purple
Photo Prompt:  Copyright  Douglas M MacIlroy
Word Count:  100

Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting Friday Fictioneers

FYI: On August 6, 1945, Little Boy, the nickname of the first A-bomb dropped on Japan, was detonated over Hiroshima.  On August 9, 1945, Fat Man, the nickname of the second A-bomb dropped on Japan, was detonated over Nagasaki.  The Emperor of Japan agreed to unconditional surrender after the second bombing.  If he had not, America would have used a third A-bomb on Japan.


When I was a kid I wanted to be an "atomic" scientist. Not anything my mother expected of me. Well, I became a scientist, just not an atomic one.

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Posted in A-Bomb, fiction, flash fiction, Friday Fictioneers
28 comments on “Bonsai
  1. Doobster418 says:

    “Soon,” in this case, never came. Sad, but well told story.

    • Lucy says:

      Thanks. I had to put that little blip of history in there because last time I wrote something in reference to Japan and the A-bomb, some younger folk weren’t familiar with it. You know, I really have to let this A-bomb thing go. Lucy

      • Doobster418 says:

        Well, the good news about the A-bombs in Japan is that man-made destruction of this magnitude has not happened again in almost 70 years, even though the technology for even more destructive catastrophes exists. Of course, with man-made climate change and global warming, the threat of anything like what happened in 1945 in Japan may be the least of mankind’s concerns.

      • Lucy says:

        I agree totally. Lucy

      • Sometimes that sort of thing just won’t let YOU go!

      • Lucy says:

        You’re right.. Sometimes it won’t let me go. Lucy

  2. Ellespeth says:

    Such a thoughtful piece. So much can change in an instant. Nice to read you again this week, Lucy.
    ps – I’ve wanted a bonsai for several years now. This encourages m to get one – perhaps on 8/6.

  3. elappleby says:

    Very sad. I love the innocence of Katashi and the many time-frames that ‘soon’ can refer to.

    • Lucy says:

      Thank you. unfortunately, adults often put off children saying “soon” or “later”. Children want a specific time, but if you give them a specific time and don’t follow through, they get so disappointed. Thanks for taking time to come by. Lucy

  4. Liz Young says:

    So sad – at least neither Kashai nor Grandfather were left to grieve alone.

    • Lucy says:

      True. The boy and his grandfather were the lucky ones. Gone in a blink of an eye. Others lingered with radiation sickness. Well, now that I’ve depressed everyone, I’d like to thank you for coming by. Lucy.

  5. Alice Audrey says:

    Sometimes it’s better not to wait.

  6. Kate Loveton says:

    Powerful, poetic, poignant. The imagery of the bonsai, the patient (eternal?) and careful tending of the plant, the forced control of the plant’s life to maintain a certain form and structure, the pleas of the young boy for his own chance to create, control… and in the end, there is no control over anything – form or structure or life.

    Amazing story. You’ve given me so much to think about, and all in just 100 words.

    • Lucy says:

      Thanks. I’ve tried to maintain bonsai trees over the years. Killed them all. I’m too attentive.Hiroshima and Nagasaki pop into my head now and then. I had to review data from Hiroshima for my Forensics training. The descriptions and photos remain in my head, always. There’s a good book written by one of the handful of doctors alive to help people in Hiroshima. he kept a diary. It was published in 1955, simply called Hiroshima Diary. It’s intense. Lucy

  7. Dear Lucy,

    A powerful piece and a sad commentary on history. As always the tragedy of war is its innocent victims.
    Your story’s joined at the hip with one I did in November.



    • Lucy says:

      Hi Rochelle:

      I followed your link and checked out your story. You and I have similar takes on that tragic time in history. Thank you for your comment. I always wait to see what you have to say about whatever I write.


  8. Dear Lucy, I’m glad grandson and grandfather won’t suffer. The horror of the reality is so sad – but inevitible. I don’t like what happened to end the war but it did end the war. Too bad two cities full of life had to die. Your story was well written! Nan 🙂

    • Lucy says:

      Thank you, Nan. Yes, It was a shame so many innocent people not only died, but truly suffered before dying. Thank you so much for your comment. Lucy

  9. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Lucy,

    Someday never comes.

    A very good story.



  10. Lucy, Lovely though sad story. I was too young at the time to know about the bomb being dropped, but I read a book about it afterwards. I don’t remember if it was the book you mentioned. It was quite descriptive about the aftermath and suffering. Oddly enough, my birthday is on Aug. 6th. I remember our family doctor saying that there was nothing glorious about war. That’s the way a doctor would look at it because they think about the damage that can be done to the human body. Well written. 🙂 —Susan

    • Lucy says:

      Your doctor’s a wise man. Sounds like we read the same book. The poor Japanese doctor didn’t know why people were having odd symptoms. They didn’t know about radiation poisoning. My birthday is on Pearl Harbor Day. Aren’t we lucky. Thanks for sharing your experience and your commentary. Lucy

  11. Nice! A sad bit of history I’ve studied in length. Cheers!

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