The names of Simba, Scar, Nala, Sarabi, Mufasa, and the trademark geography’s are copyrights of Disney and may not be used at will without recognition of the Disney Co. as its owners.

 

 


Goodbye mom, goodbye Nala. …goodbye dad                           By Matthew Zu © 2004

 

 

“Run! Run away, and never return!”

            Frightened, he scampered off without further thought. Run away? There was no place to go. He couldn’t go home, not after what he had just done. Simba was sure his mother would never forgive him, and he couldn’t stand wondering what the others would think of him once they found out. Tears drew fresh paths in the dust on his face as he ran through the canyon.

“It’s not true”, he panted, “it’s only a dream.”  His mind was in shock.

What was that!

            Simba reeled at the blood curdling growls. He looked back and saw three hyenas bearing down on him with murderous eyes. Without further thought he dashed away for his life. His short legs helped little though, and the hyenas gained on him. The terrified cub came face to face with a fallen part of the canyon wall, jutting with granite teeth all the way to the top of the canyon. Ledge upon ledge he scurried, with the menacing creatures close on his tail. He knew if he slowed down, his days would end like Mufasa’s. Dad! No! Help me…it…it can’t be true!

Wham! Claws crashed down behind Simba. DAD! Where are y-! Why…?

            Finally Simba gained the top of the jagged rock pile and onto the canyon flats drenched in red light. A cliff! As he looked for a way down the hairs on his neck stood up at the venomous growls. With no choice, Simba jumped. His small form crumpled against the cliff face and he rolled, spinning his world into a cyclone. He felt a sudden change in direction and found himself airborne. What's that below?

“Ouch!”

            Despite the pain he did not stop. His small size helped him navigate the rasping thorns and he felt a surge of relief at the sound of the hyenas being left behind him. Once out of the patch he faced an endless sea of sand. Run! Run away! The words echoed inside his head, and he obeyed willingly. Chest heaving, he ran as fast as ever. It felt good to run. As long as he kept moving he could run from reality itself; the trauma was just too great.

            Alas his strength began to dwindle. The sun had set to a sliver of light on an empty horizon that seemed to mark the ends of the earth. Simba trotted to a stop and looked over his shoulder. The Pridelands appeared as a scraggly line in the distance, with nothing between it and him except the hard packed expanse of earth on which his shadow grew. Evening was near. Still breathing hard, he looked at the sky. It was a wash of red aura to blue marine above him and onto black beyond his home. Home. With quivering forlorn eyes he pictured what he knew must be happening. He knew all the lions were mourning, but not for him. “No, they would only cry for dad,” he thought, “they’d probably kill me if I was there.” His thoughts wandered to his friend Nala. He gasped. What would she think of him? He laid his head down on the ground and continued to let his mind wander. The memories of the day were a previous life to him, dredged repeatedly over his being until it had grown callused. Simba’s mind went on roaming through the faces of his pride, those friendly faces he knew so well, lionesses who always had a kind word for him or company when he felt lonely. Mom.

Simba bolted to his feet, his heart quaking.

“Simba. Why must you always disobey us? You keep doing whatever we tell you not to. Why? Why must you do that?

            It was early morning. The feathery shadows cast by acacia trees shortened under the sun’s piercing arrows, and the blanket of evening mist inched back to the sky like a curtain rising to reveal a new day. He knew it was coming, just not when. Now he cringed.

“I don’t do it on purpose, mom. It’s just that I’m not allowed to do anything. You guys won’t let me have any fun.”

“Fun!” Sarabi was perplexed. “What fun don’t we let you have?”

“Well…”

“The things you think fun are dangerous, Simba. Don’t you understand? You’re the only son we have, and the only heir. Please stop running around pretending to be brave!”

“Pretend! I am brave!”

“Simba, I know that. But what I’m trying to tell you is…you don’t know how to be brave yet. You’ll learn one day, but please just listen to our words in the mean time…for once.”

Sarabi got up and walked back toward the cave. Simba hunched his shoulders and stared at the ground.

“Pretend. Huh. I can take care of myself,” he whispered. His mother caught the words.

“No, you can’t!” she was desperate. “If you could I wouldn’t be saying this to you.”

Disgusted, the young lion got up and stalked down the path.

“Simba! Simba! You come back here right now!”

He put his ears back and walked faster.

“Simba, you’re going to be in big trouble!” She started after him.

“It’s okay Sarabi.” Mufasa joined her at her side. “Let him go. He had a rough day yesterday. I’ll talk to him later.”

            Sighing deeply, she closed her eyes and leaned her head against him. “What are we going to do? Sometimes I worry about him so much my head hurts”

“It’s all right.” Mufasa nuzzle her gently, “he’ll learn in time.”

With a heavy brow and tight lips Simba came to the watering hole. He found a patch of shade by a log and lay down with his chin on his paws. “Pretend!” he mumbled. “How little does she think I am? I’m not a baby anymore.” The tall grass hid his small form from view, letting him watch the other animals coming for a drink, unseen. He watched them thoughtlessly through the grass until a memory crossed his mind. “That’s right,” he remembered, “Uncle Scar told me to meet him in the gorge today. Said something about a surprise. Wonder what it is.” His spirits a little lifted, Simba got up and headed for the appointment.

 

            The sun had long disappeared below the horizon and it was now dark. Ethereal clouds taking their evening stroll glowed under the African moon. A breeze picked up, and Simba shivered in the cold night wind. He shook his head and blinked his eyes hard. It had been a long day. Despite the cool night air, the ground still radiated the day’s stored heat. Simba laid down for warmth. As numb and exhausted as he was, he did not feel sleepy. He lay where he was a long time, reviewing everything that had happened. Sadness was still somehow amiss, and he still felt isolation toward what had occurred. He rolled onto his back, yet sleep continued to elude him like an uncatchable phantom. He opened his eyes , then at once squeezed them shut. The night sky was ablaze with the fires of a million stars. His father’s words drifted back. “…and so will I”, they echoed.

Simba gritted his teeth and peeked one eye at the sky, as if it would reach down and smash him. The kings burned as bright as ever. This time the floodgates of pain opened, carrying with it shame and guilt. He couldn’t stand it. The though that he had caused his father’s death, who now was looking down on him, was too much. With nowhere to hide from the unseen eyes, Simba got up and ran, trying to escape his father. Why was he running? Dad was who he wanted-needed-and all he could do now was run from him. It didn’t make any sense. But then again, nothing at this point made sense to him. For all he was concerned the world had already ended, and that end now awaited him. The evening made it hard to see, as did the shimmering beads that dropped from his eyes. But a flat desert wasteland holds few obstacles, and Simba ran with all his might. He knew he would never see his home again. He knew he probably wouldn’t see anything ever again, except for a few days of endless desert.

Never see home again. The thought rather shocked him. But he kept going. The sun- cracked earth was beginning to transit into something else. Simba strained to see through his tears and saw before him an undulating gray sea alight with a billion sparkles of sand dancing beneath the moon. He splashed onto it and found it much harder to run on. The soft sand exhausted him, and he fell down with a plop as the last ounces of strength left his legs. His family flashed through his mind as he lay there, wetting the sand with his sobs.

“Goodbye mom,” he whispered, “goodbye Nala. …goodbye dad.” Unconsciousness took him.

            Simba awoke late into the morning, but before opening his eyes felt something warm was wrapped around him, just like the arms of his mother when she cradled him to sleep at night. “Am I home?” he half-wondered. He continued to lie there as he was, not moving a muscle. If his mother had rescued him last night, then getting up would mean facing her inevitable wrath. But at last he could stand it no longer. “Mom! Mom!” he jumped to his feet. But there was no mom. There wasn’t anyone around for that matter; nothing but the desert upon which he had collapsed. He looked down and understood; at his feet was a pile of sun warmed sand that had collected around him from the night wind. His beam of hope died and once more became the sullen deportment of despair.

            Simba tried to swallow back the tears, but his parched throat made him writhe in pain as he struck out again, ambling off in the direction he had faced when he awoke. He lifted his head and looked around with lifeless eyes. The mischievous twinkle that was always there had burned out. His dry tongue dangled out of his mouth, and his gold fur was in tangles all the way from his drooping ears to the proud tail now dragging behind. Anyone who saw him would have thought he was a stray, a rejected wanderer; not a king’s son.

            “But the king is dead”, came the haunting words’ “if it weren’t for you…”

            “No!” Simba whimpered and ran from the memories. The merciless sun was now burning from full height like a fire consuming everything it touched. The heat and his thirst soon nauseated Simba, and despite a realm with no obstacles to run into, he tripped over a crack in the ground and lay where he fell, utterly exhausted. He opened his eyes one last time to see the shadows of vultures, circling overhead as if winding out time’s hands through the last moments of their prey’s life.

            “This is it”, he thought. The throbbing pain in his head cresandoed and he lost consciousness.