Some fiction: for the street children of Cambodia and elsewhere.

When the day had come for the old ways to pass, I watched the great march of children. Something wonderful had broken through a dark and dusty reality like polish on a brass trumpet, making the beauty and music more undeniable than before. A new reality was upon us, but where had it come from? I thought I saw a shadow darting this way and that the night before the festivities, bending down to whisper something to the little children, and others claimed to have seen the children clasp their hands over wide-spreading smiles, as if to keep a secret, but none of us knew who it was who came to make things right.

When morning did break, so too did a burst of beauty and celebration. It began with just a few voices laughing under dawn’s pink light as children began to gather in the streets. But the small cluster soon grew into the most beautiful parade of smiling young faces, bright enough to heal the sorrows of the world. Kings and queens and caped heroes. It was as though these children had been transformed into the characters of their dreams while they slept, so that they woke to the most delightful and eccentric costumes of leather and silk, feathers and bells, draped over their tiny frames. Capes and wings and wands abounded. Each was a sight to behold, bearing proud smiles and strides. They burst into the daylight, past the trash-filled canals that had once washed their ragged clothing and past all the shadows and sins of the old world, announcing their splendor with songs and laughter. They fled down the dusty streets past those crumbling sorrows to the most peculiar of staircases.

Where the staircase had come from, no one knew. Where the street had once been, a monstrous mountain had burst forth towards the sky and winding round and round to its peak was the staircase. Bizarre as it was, all who saw it could not deny that it filled the place with beauty.

I laughed with the children that day. Everyone did. Their joy was infectious and covered the place like spring rain that melts the last of winter’s ice-crusted snow. I saw the dancing figures of the children grow smaller and smaller into the lush highlands and I could only imagine what wonders greeted them there.
This was the new reality.


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