Simba's Journey part II
Simba knew that his last journey to find his daughter would be the most challenging yet, not because of the route he must take, but to enter an old capital city which was now a famed for it's evil as any other in the world, a truly dangerous place to be alone, let alone the necessity to make contact with other survivors to gain any scrap of evidence of his daughters whereabouts or her fate.
If she survived she would surely be a valuable commodity to any group of survivors, a sixteen year old female was now one of the most precious possessions anywhere on the globe.
He had prayed for years that her mother would be strong enough in body and character to protect her from the fate that had been so many surviving parents worst nightmare. His Ex wife was truly a beautiful woman and would have been considered an asset to most groups, rather than the sad end for so many others, simple nutrition.
Over the years the simple fact of skin deep beauty had given him hope that his daughter would still be drawing breath. Even as a child his daughter had been blessed with her mothers good looks and as he had found throughout his journey over ten years beautiful women and children were rarely killed, there was overwhelming need to repopulate the world and carnal desires for beauty were stronger than for intelligent females, almost all the men running the gangs around the world and warring gangs could make peace simply by bargaining such assets.
Simba had never come up with a plan on how to take his daughter away from such a gang if he ever found her and would she want to leave with him ? Would she remember him ? All he knew was long ago she loved him more than anything else in the world.
If she still lived was she happy ? was she a bad person ? could he change her ? these questions filled his mind as cautiously approached their old neighbourhood on the fringe of the Bristolian countryside. Burnt out cars and debris filled the streets and Simba felt a huge pang of sadness and nostalgia as he passed the old cycle track which was the route he would take his daughter on her first year of school which she loved so much. Could he handle the pain of seeing the family home ? He stopped before the house came into view and took a long while to muster the courage to turn the corner where the house would be in plain view.
He had come here for a reason not to dwell on distant memories that can never return, he came for the box !!! He must find it, it contained three photos of his daughter and him when he still had a face with out the scars that if his daughter still lived could remember.
Before he had left for Africa he had hidden an old chocolate box under the patio slabs in the garden, his true treasures were contained in that small tin capsule of his life. photos, a knife given to him by his father, his daughters milk teeth and his wedding ring.
as he approached the shell of his home he prayed the patio remained intact along with it's hidden secret. He walked through the opening which once held the front door to his little castle, the stairs were gone long ago, along with all the timber materials, no doors architraves ,skirting boards and the entire kitchen had been gutted in the past to used a fuel to keep somebody warm through the cold nights.
His scarred cheeks twitched as he walked into the garden under debris and weeds the patio seemed intact. " Thank you " he whispered trying to hold back the smile that was beginning to creep across his face. His smiling made him nervous, he was showing emotion again there could be on lookers, they would want to know why somebody would smile these days. He decide not to lift the sixth slab from the door until he was sure he was alone.
After an hour of exploring the old neighbours homes and surrounding streets Simba was sure he was alone and on the old floor of his kitchen he lit a small fire , laid out his blanket placed down his rucksack and took his machete to the back garden. " One,two,three,four,five" He paused and place the tip of his machete on the sixth slab. He dropped to his knees and glanced around for one last time, "Nobody watching " he grunted to himself and prised up the slab, trying not to smile he lifted out the tin which held his life's treasures from a long ago age. He started to laugh and sob all at once while he held the rusty old tin tight to his chest.
Sitting crossed legged in the firelight he wiped his hands on his legs and with a deep breath he popped up the lid of the tin. It's contents seemed to be undisturbed still sealed in plastic bags. One by one he pulled out the treasures, the knife was as wonderful as he remembered, such a blade could surely not be made today, would anybody even know what Damascus steel was?
He found his wedding ring made from pure Asian gold this was now a valuable piece of metal that could buy a lot of food. and most precious of all three photographs of his daughter and himself. As he saw the warmth and happiness on the faces in the photos his vision blurred as his eyes again filled with tears in the firelight. Guilt crushed his heart as he saw how safe she looked and felt in his arms and where was he when the Fall came ? not 40 miles away in Bristol but 4000 miles away in Africa. Ten years of travel across two continents while she was left in a city with an alcoholic mother in a world of war disease and cannibalism.
He knew he had been a good father and fate and greed had torn them apart, but still he felt the guilt that he did not tear his daughter away from the mother all those years ago and do what he knew was the right thing.
But he was here in his family home, lying on his floor, 4000 miles from his first step towards his daughter and only 40 miles from the city she was last known. It felt good to be home to have his treasures in the rucksack beneath his head as he gazed into the flames. Today had been a good day, they had been so rare in the past ten years, he feel into a deep sleep with a smile pushing up the scars on his face.