There are real angels living amongst us. This is what they have been saying in Meng for a long time. Angels, with feathered wings and wondrous flight. Walking amongst us, living with us, they whisper excitedly.
It is always raining in Meng. What is Meng, but a broken mish-mashed dream, a patchwork of fallen buildings and artifices on the verge of deterioration? Stand on the roof and you will see its darkened skies, with the city lights making it look magical from above. Go to street level and it is simply detritus, roads choked with traffic and huddled people rushing past ancient buildings pre-war and pre-everything else. Old restaurants, redolent of garish traditional figures straight out from the legends and myths, dragon and phoenix pillars writhing in an eternal dance, temples tucked in the middle of back lanes with thick incense filling the air. And all the while, the rain falls, constantly, turning Meng into an always-night, always-dusk.
And yet, the angels live here, in Meng. Beauty in the middle of decay.
Where the angels came from is a mystery. How they became angels is another mystery. Some say that it is a gift from the gods, right from the Heavenly Jade Emperor. Some say that it is a virus, created to mess with DNA.
Some say that it is a curse, running in families. A shame hidden behind family pride and name.
I would say that all these theories are valid. Why? For I am one. An angel.
I became one when I was sixteen. I remember the day perfectly, because changing into an angel, wings splitting out from your back is something you will remember forever.
Growing up in Meng is not easy, for every child. More so when the child is known to be different or marked as different by his or her peers. A Meng-child lives in perpetual fear of his or her surroundings, ever watchful, ever alert, perhaps an unwitting trait passed down from war-scarred ancestors. So, a Meng-child always walks, hunched and eyes lowered. The back curves, becomes natural – and soon, you become part of the huddled crowd, walking in the ever-rain.