by Neal Krafthefer
"Is this hell... is this what it's like? There's so much smoke... so much
fire. I don't want to die!" I keep telling myself as I run, fleeing for
Well, this is another fine mess you've gotten yourself into, Mr. Eric Thompson!
When you've lived in Los Angeles long enough, you realize there are a lot
of ways you can die if you're not careful in that town. So when I took
this business trip to Tokyo, Japan, I thought I was heading for a nice,
safe, quiet city. BOY, WAS I WRONG!!!
Behind me, an unbelievable beast is lumbering through downtown Tokyo, destroying
everything in its path. I had heard talk about this creature before even
coming to Japan but I never believed any of it until now. When they first
broadcast those warnings saying that the monster had come ashore from Tokyo
Bay, I thought it was some kind of joke. Only now, I realize it's no laughing
matter! It has charcoal colored skin, three rows of jagged dorsal plates
on its back and a giant reptilian head with rows of sharp teeth.
What was it they called it? I think it was... Godzilla? Anyway, my current
number one priority is putting as much distance between myself and it as
I can. That and perhaps setting a new land speed record!
There are several other people running from the devastation it's causing
as the monster continues moving behind us. I look over my shoulder just
long enough to see the creature's dorsal plates light up as a powerful
blast of some kind practically explodes from its jaws, leveling everything
it hits! Debris is raining all around us as we run; chunks of concrete,
brick, mortar, steel and glass. Someone catches up and comes up alongside
of me. I look over just in time to see the individual cleaved in two by
a flying windowpane! A terror filled panic threatens to overtake me but
I simply try focusing on running harder and faster than I ever have in
my life. I pull the hood of my jacket up over my head, believing for some
stupid reason that it will protect me from injury. I keep running as fast
as I can. Maybe, just maybe, I can outrun the falling debris before something
hits and then, WHAM!
* * *
My eyes slowly flutter open as I take notice of a throbbing sensation in
the right side of my head. I groggily sit up, realizing that I was obviously
hit by something. Rubbing the sizable bump on my skull, I take a look around
and check myself over for other injuries. Miraculously, I have survived
somehow. I don't know how long I have been out but I can no longer see
Godzilla. Just then, I hear a roar in the distance, followed by some explosions.
Apparently, it had moved to a different part of the city, luckily for me!
But my smile of joyous relief is quickly wiped away when I see the bodies
scattered all around me of those who were not nearly as fortunate as I.
It is truly a gruesome sight as I turn away, feeling a wave of nausea sweeping
over me. Deciding not to stick around, I pick myself up off the ground
and start walking. As I pass between two buildings, the monster comes into
view again in the distance. Even miles away, I could still see it clearly
because of its enormous size. It had to be at least three hundred feet
I watch as the Japanese Self Defense Forces move a tank battalion in to
combat this walking nightmare. Again and again, shells are fired into the
monster's hide but Godzilla continues moving forward, undaunted. Then its
back lights up once more as the the behemoth wipes out the entire squad
in one shot as it unleashes its fire like a malevolent force.
Just then, something else grabs my attention as I look off to my right.
I see firefighters running in and out of a building being consumed by fire.
Some have injured people with them while others are trying to fight the
blaze with their hoses. Next to the inferno is another building that is
partially demolished and beginning to sway and teeter dangerously. It had
been struck by a glancing blast of Godzilla's fire. My worst fears are
confirmed as it begins to fall towards the building with the firefighters.
I scream at them at the top of my lungs but for some reason, they don't
seem to hear me or react in any way.
I look on in utter horror as the falling building smashes into the other
one, surely killing most, if not all of the firefighters as well as anyone
else who was still inside or too close for their own good. A split second
later, a fireman's body lands near where I am standing. He is badly burned
and has also been impaled through his chest by a steel I-beam. The poor
soul must have been on one of the higher floors when the building came
"NOOOOO!" I scream out in anguish, not wanting to believe what I am seeing.
Finally giving in to panic, I take off running blindly through what remains
of a once proud city. Everywhere I look, there is nothing but flames! As
I run, I spot a little girl kneeling by the side of the street, crying
hysterically as she clutches the hand of her dead mother lying next to
her on the pavement. I start to move towards the girl when a sudden firestorm
practically explodes out the front of the building she is in front of,
completely engulfing both of them in an instant.
I fall to my knees as I begin to lose my grip on sanity. All around, I
hear cries of agony and misery coming from people who are burned or buried
alive in buildings they did not escape from in time. I asked myself before
and hadn't been sure of the answer but now I was. This was Hell and Godzilla
had to be the devil himself! And here I was, trapped in the center of it
all! Was I damned? What had I done to deserve this? What had these other
innocent people done to suffer such a fate?!
But just then, through the smoke I can see someone walking towards me.
Meanwhile, a few miles away...
"Chief! Over here!" a firefighter calls.
* * *
"Hello, Eric," a strangely familiar female voice says to me.
* * *
"Some more casualties, Roji?"
* * *
"Hello? Who are you?" I ask as the woman approaching me comes into view
* * *
"I don't suppose I should even ask if..."
"No, chief, no survivors."
* * *
"Th-this can't be... yo-you ca-can't... b-but that's impossible... Sa-Sam-Samantha?!"
"Yes, Eric... it's me."
* * *
"None of them stood a chance, sir. With this kind of destruction, we shouldn't
have expected to find anyone alive."
"Such a waste... well, we've got a job to do, men. Start loading the gurneys."
* * *
"This can't be real."
"I assure you, Eric... it is."
Standing before me is a woman named Samantha who shared my last name in
the bonds of holy matrimony.
"It's time to come home, Eric."
But she shouldn't be here... she can't be here...
"I don't understand."
"You will, once you take my hand."
...Because I lost her five years ago to brain cancer.
"Am I... dead?"
* * *
"What a horrible way to die," the Fire Chief murmurs, looking down at a
body in a brown hooded jacket.
"My god!" another firefighter says, staring at the man whose skull had
been crushed by a chunk of concrete.
* * *
Samantha reaches out her hand to me. At first I am unsure but my loving
wife's warm smile convinces me to go to her. She looks so beautiful, like
an angel! I smile at myself over the irony of that thought. Then suddenly,
standing next to us is the man I saw cleaved in two earlier. With him are
the little girl and her mother and several firefighters and civilians as
"I had no idea..."
"You just needed someone to show you the way, my love." The other people
"What happened to them?"
"They've gone to a better place."
"What about Godzilla?!"
"That isn't your problem anymore."
"So what happens now?"
Another pleasant smile is the only answer I get as Samantha puts her arms
around me and kisses me as we both close our eyes. The woman I had loved
more than life itself takes me into her heavenly embrace as everything
around me begins to seemingly fade away.
* * *
"At least it was quick," a fireman says as they load the corpse onto a
"Chief? Do you believe in heaven?" Roji asks.
"...I don't really know how to answer that. I was never a religious man.
Why do you ask?"
"Oh, I don't know. I... I guess... I guess things like this... make you...
want to believe there is."
"I understand. And I agree with you." A few moments of silence pass between
them. "Lets keep it together, men! There are still more people out there
that need our help!" the Chief shouts in a commanding tone, trying to keep
them focused on what they have to do, despite the terrible carnage.
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to all, two ghosts silently vanish, still holding
on to one another. One had been lost and was now found and the other had
come to claim him. And to take him home.