The prologue to a story
The television droned a low, incomprehensible monologue. It provided a soundtrack to the ceaseless imagery of devastation and destruction flickering across my screen.
There was nothing new, or surprising, in watching high definition film of my home town reduced to a wasteland of ash and rubble.
The volume was almost muted, as I could not bear the juvenile rantings of whichever idiot was currently at the electronic bully pulpit called live news. It didn’t make the images themselves any less compelling.
Once-wide streets were graveyards for the rusted, skeletal remains of long-dead motorcars, giving a visual tally of long-dead motorists. Each burnt-out hulk was a death marker for at least one poor soul who met their end being flash-boiled in a metal shell.
Once-proud buildings were no more than jagged, arthritic middle fingers, raised in accusation towards aloof, or more likely non-existent, gods.
The once-blue sky was now darkened by regular, almost-mournful columns of smoke. They rose to the heavens like grimy pillars in some once-proud, long-abandoned hall of the ancients, making the sky a dusky mishmash of grey smoke and black smog.
From every camera angle, Harare was burning, although I could not bring myself to care. Where I say burning, some would say burnt, abandoned and forgotten, but I alone held a solitary hope that anything could be salvaged from the detritus.
There was something of immense value here, and I was not leaving until I found it. The solution to my current predicament lay somewhere in the ruins of this stinky, smog-covered hell.
Not that I knew just what that solution was. I had neither clue nor inkling what it is I was looking for, or even where to begin the search. All I had was this memory disk, a parting gift from my father delivered ten years after his demise.
When it finally came to me, it revealed a trove of valuable information – knowledge we thought irretrievably lost. Including a sometimes dull, sometimes engaging history lesson disguised as the intimate personal journal of a complicated man.
Perhaps I should explain, because I’m sure that last bit has you feeling a touch curious. Allow me to introduce myself.
I am your father, and if you are reading this it means I am finally, irrevocably, convincingly, conclusively, belatedly, inexorably, decisively, inescapably dead.
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