On the Way to a Smile – Episode: Denzel

All the adults were gone now and only around twenty children remained in the Seventh Sector Search Team.

They knew about the new town that was known as Edge and how it was developing very well. They also knew that there was a facility there for orphans. But in the town they built, they didn’t need to rely on adults to survive. There was no reason for them to leave. They also thought how bad it would look being treated as orphans who needed protection. But that didn’t stop the town from reaching a new level. Large machinery was transported there from different areas and they soon concentrated on manufacturing. The work that could be achieved was much greater than what Denzel and the children could do working together. Members were started leaving the Search Team in ones and twos. Before long, only six members remained. They were all going hungry. Eventually even the last girl in the team also said she would go to Edge.

* * *

Denzel laughed with a smile.

“What’s wrong?”, Reeve asked looking at him puzzled.

“I hated that girl. I let her join even though all the boys said girls would just be a burden. Work was hard since only around ten or less people were left.”

Reeve laughed.

“But I know now. About why I, how should I put it… Why I could get frustrated or angry about normal things.”

“You should be grateful to her.”

“She’s not around anymore.”

* * *

When I woke up, all that remained of the search team was only I and a boy named Rix.

“Now there’s plenty of bulbs and screws for us,” Denzel said and laughed.

“Not much profit in those you know,” Rick grinned.

“I’ll go buy us some breakfast and look for some jobs.”

“Hey, wait a sec.”

Rix went over to where they hid their safe and opened it.

“Hey, Denzel! We’re in trouble!”

Inside the safe was money that wasn’t even enough to buy a slice of bread. The two of them sat silently for a while. It was Rix who was the first to say something.

“We don’t have any choice but to live in Edge. We’ll get free food.”

“Yeah, we’ve lost. I don’t want to starve to death.”

Suddenly, Denzel remembered something his father said.

“Shall we catch rats to eat?”


“Yeah. I heard that in the slums everyone was so poor they ate rats. Dirty grey rats. This is the slums after all and we’re poor.”

“You serious?”

“Yeah, I’m going to eat rats. I’m going to become a real kid in the slums.”

Rix slowly stood up and dusted of his trousers. Denzel stood up too and looked around them.

“We’ll catch them with spears.”

“Do it yourself. I was a slum kid from the moment I was born.”

Denzel realized his mistake and was going to try smoothing things out again.

“…I didn’t know.”

“And what if you did know? We wouldn’t have become friends?”

“No way!”

“Who knows. You were a kid who lived on the wealthy Plate after all.”


“Remember this. All the rats around here are all contaminated by horrible bacteria thanks to the polluted waters you all ditched out. There is no one here who would be stupid enough to eat them.”

Saying that, Rix left Denzel behind.

* * *

Denzel sighed.

“I didn’t go after him. I thought he couldn’t have forgiven me…”

“And why was that?”

“I really was a kid from the upper levels after all. I was fine being used to the surroundings of the station and all the rubble in the Seventh Sector but, I never thought I would go to other slums. I didn’t go to Edge because I thought it would be another place like the slums. A poor and filthy place.”

“And Rix?”

“He’s fine. But I still haven’t heard anything from him.”

“That’s good. You still have a chance to makeup with him.”

* * *

Denzel sharpened the ends of the steel rods he gathered and using them as spears, he went looking for rats. He was planning to eat them once he catched them. Dad. The people in the slums never did eat rats. But I plan to eat them. I have no money and I have no job. This is worse than the slums. I’m a Seventh Sector kid and I can’t grow up.

Loneliness took away Denzel’s will to live. He was now like the way he was when the Seventh Sector was no more. But what was different this time was he remembered of a all the people that he met and who had supported him – his parents, Arkham, Ruvie, Gaskin and the search team. Nothing else could ever happen.

He felt that he couldn’t smile anymore. There was no meaning to life without smiles. Isn’t that right, mum. I’m sure I saved a lot of rats that had horrible bacteria in them.

* * *

“Hey, now hold on a sec there!”, Johnny interrupted. Without them noticing, he was standing next to them and listening to Denzel’s story.

“That’s what I thought at the time. But I was wrong. That’s why I’m here now.”

“Yeah, you’re right.”

“It was because of those great memories you had.”

“But I was in the worst state I could be in.”

* * *

There were no rats anywhere. Before long, he was looking in the areas of the Sector Five slums. There was a church in ruins. A bike was parked outside in front of the door. It was the first time Denzel saw something like that. But what really caught his attention was the mobile phone that hung on the handle.

A smile came to Denzel’s face. I’ll borrow it for a while. It would be fun it worked. He got near the bike and took the phone. As he dialed the number to his home in Sector Seven, he imagined the phone in the rubble ringing.

“All phones in Sector Seven are offline.”

During the time he worked together with the search team, he also looked for his parents but they couldn’t reunite. They must both be lying in the rubble he thought. He didn’t think they were alive anywhere anymore.

“All phones in Sector Seven are offline.”

With the phone still to his ear, he looked up. He could see the bottom of Sector Five’s plate. He realized that on top of that place, Mrs Ruvie was asleep. He was beneath a grave. That’s why it was so lonely.

“All phones in Sector Seven are offline.”

I hung up the phone and gave up the thought of stamping on the ground. Please let me borrow it again. He was going to dial Ruvie’s number but he never knew it in the first place. He looked at the phones list of calls.

He called the first number on the list. The tone of the line ringing could be heard. Someone picked up immediately.

“Cloud, it’s so rare for you to call me. Has something happened?”

Denzel listened to the woman’s voice silently.

“Cloud?” the woman asked suspiciously.

“…No, I’m not.”

“…Who are you? This is Cloud’s phone isn’t it?”

“I don’t know. I don’t know what I should do.” His voice was trembled.

“…Are you crying?”

He felt the tears flowing down his face. He closed his eyes to clear them away but a moment of pain struck his forehead. The pain made his body stiffen as he dropped the phone. He crouched there as the pain throbbed in his forehead. He noticed some sticky substance in the palm of his hands. He felt like shouting out he didn’t want to die. But the pain wasn’t going to go away as he prayed in his heart with all this strength. Don’t let it be black. Don’t let it be black. As he endured the throbbing pain, he opened his eyes. It was pure black.

* * *

“I don’t remember what happened next. When I came to, I was in a bed. Tifa and Marlene was looking at me. Then after that… You know what happened, sir.”

“Sort of.”

“I’m alive thanks to all sorts of people. My parents, Mrs. Ruvie, Mr. Gaskin and everyone from the search team. People that are alive, people that are now dead, Tifa, Cloud, Marlene and…”

Reeve understood and nodded.

“I want to become someone like them. This time, I will be the one on the lookout.”

Reeve was silent.

“Please let me join,” Denzel said leaning forward.

“No. No no!” said Johnny.

“You keep quiet!”

“You’re still just a kid!”

“That has nothing to do with it!”

“No,” Reeve began to say, “The truth is… WRO no longer lets children in.”

“You see!”

“Then why didn’t you let me know from the start?” Denzel blurted out.

“Well, I just decided that now. While I was listening to your story. There are things that only children can do. That’s what I want you to do.”

“…What do you mean?”

“Draw out the power in adults.”

Denzel waited for him to continue but Reeve stood up like he was finished.

“Oh, and…”

Denzel looked at Reeve hopefully.

“And thank you for taking good care of my mum.”

Reeve took a handkerchief out of his rear pocket and waved it about. It had a pattern full of flowers.

Once Reeve was gone, Johnny started clearing away the table. Denzel looked at his own handkerchief that was on the table.

“You know…” Johnny stopped and said, “You can fight whenever you feel like. There’s no need to join WRO. What are you so concerned about?”

“Cloud he…”

“What about him?”

“Long ago when he was in the military, he was strong. I too want to be strong.”

“Times… Have changed you know.”

“In what way?”

“Well, those who can soothe someone’s pain are popular in these times are more popular than those who yield weapons.”

“It’s not like they want to be popular, though.” Denzel coldly said to Johnny as remembered everyone who gave him encouragement. All those men, women, adults and children who had supported him greatly.


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