WORSE THAN RADIATION
and 7 odd Chernobyl stories
Part 2. The Night
I'm sifting through the last pile. I'm desperate for sleep, back of my neck aches...
I divide the work mentally in into components. I am in a fury dissecting crushing smelting it piecemeal until it's done...
Every line of doses is a line of attack.
Every crew registered an exhalation.
One, one more, another one...
... to lay my head on my hands on the cosy polythene of the table and sleep, sleep...
'Hi there, father-commanders!'
A white moon of a face looms in the black opening of the window.
'Hi, Stasik!','Hi! Come in.'
Stasik is the dosemetrist for the whole camp. He's from our company, there was a moment when we pushed hard to have our man in this position.
Stasik comes in, the instrument on a strap over his shoulder.
'You going out or coming back from your round?'
'How much is it?' Valera asks.
'0.3, I reply confidently. Since Ive been here the camp background has never varied we're a good distance from the NPP.
'0.3 milliroentgens an hour,' Stasik confirms.
'How much ... compared to the normal background... Valera screws up his eyes.
'20 pre-war levels. More.'
'And in the tents?'
'And where is it highest?' Valera keeps up the questioning.
'At the compound gate 0.5.'
'Vehicles bringing it in.'
'Don't worry, villages get evacuated at 0.7.'
'Can I have one of your nice white man's fags?'
We present Stasik with a filter cigarette.
'Merci. By the way Special Section ordered me to turn up tomorrow morning after breakfast at the vehicle compound. With the instrument.'
We prick up our ears:
'To measure the armics. To find out who's been slipping past the PUSO on the way out of the zone.
I whistle that's all we need!
'Part of a campaign against over-irradiation.'
'Why don't they stick to catching spies...'
We're in a real mess. The number of times I said we should leave them in the parking area in Chernobyl... And now well catch it.
'Did you see that new camp over beyond ours? Three tents behind barbed wire with a sentry didn't even let our people go near it... Military prosecutor's.'
It's started... Life was too good to be true, too peaceful.
Design by: M.Opalev
Studio ARWIS Kharkov, 2001