He walked out into the hospital garden to relax his mind, to escape. The garden was adorned with various flower beds, the vibrant colours radiating with a sense of warmth that soothed the soul; the mind. In the centre of the garden sits a small fountain, a neatly trimmed hedge ran down the path leading to it. A humble gathering of finches found comfort under the spray of water from the fountain, flicking up their feathers enjoying a morning bath before flittering away.
Around the garden were a few scattered patients, the freshly pressed white hospital issue clothing a giveaway, sat on benches, under trees, or trying to relax on the freshly mowed grass, the look of uncertainty marking their faces, the look of not knowing what is to come, the look of being unsure as to why they are ill to begin with. They never told us there were any dangers.
It was no later than nine a.m.; the sun was finding its place in the sky, gently nestled between a small gathering of ash black clouds. To him it seemed like a plague. He was unsure what it was within the winds or the air in which he had breathed the past days but he could feel it within his body, scratching, clawing, and ripping through him causing him to vomit blood and turning his skin a pasty grey.
He sat down on a bench shaded by a mid size oak tree. His body tensing with pain as he sat like he was walking on glass, a small tearing feeling ran down the front part of his leg like his skin was splitting. It was. A small blemish of blood soaked into the white fabric of the hospital whites just above his knee.
He slowly and gently peeled the legging up above his knee, a trail of blood now running freely down his leg. He sighed deeply unsure on what to do. He looked at the blood and then around the garden. The blood red, hospital whites and colours of flowers all a stark contrast to the billowing plume of smoke that blanketed the sky off in the distance.
He tried to stand, the skin on his upper thigh now to split, he fell back down missing the bench and landing on the grass, blood flowing like water from a faucet, coating the green grass below. He closed his eyes as a steady stream of tears ran down his cheek.
'He's opening his eyes Doctor' said the unknown voice.
He slowly opened his eyes, the world turning from a fuzzy mess to realisation that he was back in the hospital ward.
The ward was filled with people just like him, and they kept coming in each day. What was causing this?
'Comrade Stalkov, can you tell me where you are?' said the Doctor in a stern voice.
He didn't reply.
'Stalkov, we believe you are suffering from a heavy dose of radiation poisoning'
Stalkov didn't reply he just lay looking at his pale, soft, peeling grey skin. He lay for awhile longer before looking at the doctor and asking in a quiet undertone. 'Tell me, what is the date?'
The doctor looked at him puzzled then replied rather directly 'It is April 29 1986'
Stelkov began coughing violently coughing up a large quantity of blood, convulsing before falling still and letting out a final breath and closing his eyes quietly uttering the word