The Men Who Saved the World - Part II-A : "The Beginning of The End"

Finally I could have some time to write and here we continue on the previous Chernobyl, The Men Who Saved the World serie with the second part. I write those stories in Turkish, so it takes some time for me to translate because I have limited time.. Actually second part was completed totally, and I posted it on my Turkish blog but I could not translate the second part totally. I could just complete the half of it so I share the half of Part 2 with you here. Soon, I ll complete translating the other half. Well, Part 2 is rather longer than Part 1, that is why..

If you have not read the Part I yet, here you can read it. Part I subjects one day before the Chernobyl nuclear explosion.

* Special Note for Ukrainian Readers; The names (of characters and the places..etc) and the sirnames here were picked/ and checked  in English resources. I decided to have the global versions of the names that I have checked in English references. So I did not convert the names in Russian/or other languages to Ukrainian format. When I have time, I may update those if necessary. Thank you for your understanding.

* Note; Sorry for the possible grammar or spelling mistakes; when I have time to revise the stories, I am going to fix the mistakes. I have limited time and I tried to translate quick so there may be some mistakes.

The Men Who Saved The World
Part-II : " The Beginning of The End "

"One death is a tragedy. A million deaths is just statistic.." Joseph Stalin

That is what the famous Soviet Dictator said once upon a time.. And such a bad coincidence; Countless people died in the country of Stalin years later. Even still, they could not reach the clear datas that can expose the number of deaths and contaminated people. So we can not even record the sharp statistics.. Although the officials had shared the numbers that minimize the dimension of the disaster, according to forecasts approximately one million people died after the Chernobyl Disaster. And in long terms, more than five million people got contaminated in deadly levels. Even today it keeps contaminating more people..

A monument in memory of the victims

Each person is a world and the apocalypse of millions of worlds is just much more than the statistics and the numbers.. Each of them was a mother, a father, a son, a beloved, a friend..

"..that day, the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.." (2 Peter 3:10 - The Bible)

The Monument Temple

Kiev Pechersk Lavra Monastery, April 26, 1986. 9 pm.

In a rainy night, the monastery which is centuries-old, is getting lightened by the lights of the Kiev city. The lights that hit its golden dome reflecting back by spreading as the stars on the Dnieper River.. On Berestov Mountain, it is getting wet like an angel whose head is through the sky, with praying open hands, salutes the light that has been raining upon him. He is sharing the rain that drops on his hands with the Kiev city.

The monastery was built by a Greek monk, on a cave that sees the Dnieper River, on Berestov Mountain at eleventh-century. It got its name from the word pechersky that means the cave. Several years later, it was honoured with the title Lavra that means highly-blessed by the Eastern Orthodox Church. The monastery that has witnessed many wars, disasters, kingdoms, goverments since it was built, never lost its glory as if declaring that it is the strongest and the only ruler of those lands. Several years later, that monastery has been rising in the middle of the Kiev city today. Its important geographical position has caused the monastery to become one of the protector symbols of Kiev.

Kiev Pechersk Lavra Monastery

One of the second floor corridor windows is being closed by nurse Darya.  "What kind of person leaves the window opened in that rain ?", Darya complains while closing the window. The corridor is getting lightened by dusky lights. A cold draught is moving slowly by touching the old wooden parquets and the centuries-old iconas on the stone wall of the corridor. And it is entering under one of the room doors in the corridor..

Vasily Iskra who is one of the oldest priests of the monestry, has been longing for the Holy Virgin to come and fondle his hair finally. That longing has become the inspiration of his prayers for long years. The diabet that he has been struggling against for a long time, has totally weakened his old body and jailed him on the bed. The old man whose daily night-care has just been done by the nurses, has been both praying and watching the rain outside. Today he feels that something goes wrong.. Just a few minutes ago, he has woken up because of a nightmare and turned a random page after he had got the Bible that was at his bedside. What could be the bad moment friend and the guide more than the book that he sacrificed his entire life for its sake.. In spite of all his pains and tiredness, he had clutched the book that was at his bedside, with a sharp dash as soon as he had woken up. What were written in the page that he had turned by his shaky hands, made him more anxious; "..that day, the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.." That is why he was sighing while watching the rain outside; "There will be something bad happened.. The Saints in the sky are crying.."    

After a little while, he was watching the rain with empty eyes, he also had stopped praying. As if he did fell asleep; no thinking, no action.. A few minutes later, finally he started to feel the touch that he has been waiting for a long time.  A hand was gently fondling his hairs, his all body pains were getting lighter. He felt so relaxed and light; Like a feather of a flying angel's wing that falls slowly downer through the eternity.. "Mum..", He muttered with a little smile. While he was flying through the eternity, the things that he experienced and the people he knew was passing one by one in his mind. He halted at a name; "Taras.."

 Taras Iskra was the only one alive blood-relative of priest Vasily. After his brother Lubomir had passed away, his brother's wife left Taras and ran away. For years, Vasily took care of Taras. Even Taras has been calling him dad. Since the teenager hood of Taras, Vasily wanted to make him a priest as himself but it was so hard to clean a teen from the mortal life and forward him to the way of  the divinity in the the Soviets period. Taras always paid attention to the life outside of the church and when he became a teen, he left Vasily and registered to Kiev Polytechnic Institute. After he had graduated and brought his engineering diploma to Vasily, Vasily felt proud of him but also he felt some sourness. He had same feelings when Taras had started to work in Chernobyl Nuclear Facility. But he was more disappointed.. Would it be worse if he would start to serve the monastery than working in the temple of the devil.. One day he complained him about that. But he did get an unexpected answer from Taras. "The monastery has been enlightened by the electricity we produce, not by the light of God." On the contraryVasily stayed quiet against that answer, he was a tolerant man. But he was going to have replied that years later at his last breath.

That moment, he wanted to see Taras once more for the last time. He bewailed : "I would wish you to come today.." Actually he had called Taras yesterday and had shared that wish with him on the phone but Taras said that he could only come two days later because of that he was busy at the work those days. Once more for the last time Vasily muttered Taras' name, he was anxious. He prayed the God that his bad feelings that day were wrong. But he was strangely certain about his feelings.. At his last breath, he did voiced the answer that he could not reply Taras years ago, for the humankind : "Father.. Forgive them.. They do not know.." (The last words of Jesus on the cross - Bible)

Prypiat River, April 26, 1986. 11 pm  

A pretty spring coolness and the smell of fresh soil that rises over when the rain falls the ground, has been cuddling the newly greened  grasses and the reeds. A few fishermen has taken their places on the river cost and on the boats as usual every night.  The silhouette of the Chernobyl Towers has been reflecting on the Prypiat River. The nature like a teenage girl, with its charming beauty has been carelessly watching the fishermen.. On the contrary, there is the smell of bread-care in the air..

Prypiat River

Actually when the Prypiat city was built, the Soviets' biggest dream was to unite the technology and civilization city with that unique nature and hereby building a heaven. That heaven was going to be a symbol of Soviet power and technology and their message to the world against all negative rumors about them. Prypiat River was an important piece of that project. That is why they had brought the high-tech trip yachts to river, they had built a small modern river port and river beaches for people. They had thought about all the details from picnic zones to beach volleyball courts. Even the people of Prypiat were able to surf on the river. Especially the fishermen of the sundry Chernobyl villages were so excited about that project. They had higher expectations on that city and the river. However they have not earned anything from that yet. But they were still hopeful..

Prypiat River

Fisherman Nazar Benko has been complaining to his best friend Mikhail about her wife, while  fishing. And Mikhail behaves as if he has just heard those for the first time and thinking inside in a bothered mood, "Even the fishes of that river are not as boring as you.."

Although Nazar Benko was a middle aged guy, he had the wrinkles of a sixty years old man' s face. Since he was 7,  he had to work in various jobs and he had met the life-struggle when he was a kid. His entire life was full of stress, tiredness and sadness. Aproximately seven years ago, he had married with a young girl from his village in order to be able to get some peace and happiness finally. But despite of his expectations, that marriage just made him more sad and hopeless. His responsibilities and economical weight had got heavier with the marriage. He was a fisherman for a long while, his dad was a fisherman too but nor him nor his dad could have got anything more than the amount of money that was enough to feed themselves. Many times he did plan to leave his wife and run to the Blacksea coasts but he could not do that for the sake of his three years old child. However  Blacksea was the salvation for him after he had heard a lot of stories about there from a few guys in his village. There were a lot of fishes there and all the fishermen were rich. He could never throw those Blacksea stories out of his mind and recently he talked about his plan to Mikhail. He was going to run away when the kid grew up a bit.

He has kept complaining to him for a while and then the silence appeared. He matched a cigarette and gave one to Mikhail. While waiting for the fishes to hit their fishhook, they focused their eyes on the facility. "They have been still working, also they have never stopped since that facility was built.." Mikhail had said. Then he thought about his secret love..

He saw her months ago. He was watching the facility workers and engineers who was running through the facility bus to catch it. And he caught eye a woman far away. Her straight breast lines and thin body had taken his attention, he could not see her face but he got so excited. He watched her for a long while. She was walking so cool and careless  while other people were running in panic. . She had totally taken his attention, he waited for her at the same time every day. Some days he could see her some days not. Weeks later, he started to watch her closer. She was so beautiful.. Emerald green eyes, her mouth, nose as if God gave those to her from an angel's face, her lips.. Her lips were cherry red..  He would give everything in order to kiss and taste..  That attention had become an obsession by time. He was always dreaming about her in the arms of the Belarrussian prostitutes.  He was climbing through the toppest point of the pleasures as if making love with her.. He should have learned something about her somehow and found a way to communicate with her. But he could never learn, there was noone that was working in the facility, he knew. How could he learn, who was that woman that has stolen his heart.. 

Reactor Number Two, Chernobyl. April 26,  1986,  12 pm.

"I am bored of this hell !" Nadija Pyirkalo has been both working and complaining.. She had just left that hell in that morning, she was so peacefull when she had reached her house and threw herself to her bed. Commands are as sharp as a sword.. She had to return back to work when time was eleven o clock in the night. Also this night is an important night.. If they can succeed she can get both raise on her salary and some days off..

Nadija Pyirkalo was also some worried. When she had heard the details about the experiment that would be done, she thought it was nonsense. But the Soviets would never make a concession to any kind of power shows. If those commands would be coming from higher places then they had to be done. Soviets had prepared a show against the western countries; they were going to proove that their technologies were as good as the westerns have. With that famous Soviet proud, their engineers were going to talk in front of the world press as a conqueror commander, "Our nuclear technology and engineering skills are better than the westerns have. These facilities can carry all kind of weight and handle with all kind of disaster scenerious."

Nadija thought about the nuclear disaster that happened in Russia' s Kyshtym city in 1957. She heard that story from her professors when she was studying at Atomic Institute of Soviet Russia. The radioactive contamination that was caused by the containers whose convers were opened, spreaded one thousand two hundred kilometersquares zone . The had to evacuate the villages and the towns so seventeen thousand people had lost their homes.. "Come on, not that bad.." Nadija said, she should have not been that pessimistic. Her tiredness and depressive periods should have been effecting on her scientific perspection, she thought.. Once more she has realised that she should get away from theres..

In that moment, what she needed was just a cup of hot coffee and smoking while watching the river scene. She did take her cup of coffee and go to the terrace as usual she does. She looked at the reactor number four and hoped, "I hope everything goes fine there."  Usually, young or trainee engineers as herself would stay for the night shifts. But it was strange for her to perform an important experiment with the hands of trainees. "It could be great if they would have done it in the morning.." But they could never take the risk of leaving the Kiev city without electricity, if something with the experiment would go wrong. That is why they decided to perform it in the night. She had tired her head a lot, it was time to get relaxed.. She yawned and stretched herself out. The rain was so beautiful. He drank a dram of her coffee and matched a cigarette, started to watch the river. She could see the fishermen on the river coast. She watched them for a short time, "Everybod is busy with something, everybody has own problems.." , she thought..

Prypiat City, Chernobyl. April 26, 1986. 12.30 pm.

Yuliya Iskra  is busy with a night problem again. Little Lyena is more crosspatch tonight.. "Yes, all we need was a thunder..", she grumbles while she was both trying to make Lyena sleep on her arms and watching the rain and the red blinky lights of Chernobyl Towers that she could see out side of the kitchen window. She had tried for hours to make her sleep but the thunder that shaked everywhere did wake up both her who felt asleep and the little Lyena. After she had taken the baby in her arms, she passed to the kitchen and she was waiting for the water got boiled in order to prepare baby food for her. Also she was thinking about her husband. Taras was at night shift again.

Prypiat City

He has already been working hard for a few days. He told that they were getting prepared for an important experiment, they had got sharp commands from Moscow, all the Red (Soviets) eyes were on them. She was hoping that Taras would come with good news that day. Already Lyena was crosspatch enough, she could not also handle with the crossnesses of Taras. Taras was always so aggressive and offensive in that kind of busy, stressing days.

Prypiat City

Once again in a similar period, Taras had come house from the shift in the morning and been so crosspatch, and so her nerves had got broken and she had to blow up on him with anger. "Your soul should have been captured by a devil inside, better we bring you to your priest uncle so he exorcizes and cures you.." She needled him.. She was connected to Taras with love, actually she never did mind the crossnesses of Taras, she was just feeling sad for him making himself tired and exhausted like that. That night all her prayers were for that he would come home in peace and safe.. 

*** The End of Part II-A ***

* Part II-B Coming Soon..
* Part III : "The Ghost", Coming Soon.. Part III includes a few days and weeks after the explosion.
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