She twisted and whirled in an elegant dance of violent beauty. The colors of her hair and clothes blended together, and she looked like a pagan goddess. People stopped to stare at the dancing beauty. Some clapped. Others threw coins into the small hat that had flown off her head. She couldn't care less. She was having the time of her life!

When she finally stopped dancing to collect the money they had given her, the crowd took a collective step backwards.

One small child dared to approach, asking with a quivering voice, "Are you a goddess?"

She chuckled slightly, throwing her rainbow-streaked brown hair over a chocolate brown shoulder. "Why would you say that, little one?" she asked, kneeling down to look him in the eyes.

"Because you're so beautiful, miss!" he said, grinning. Several of his teeth were missing, and he spoke with a slight lisp.

He suddenly looked to the ground, worried she'd think him stupid and turn away.

Instead, she ruffled his hair and asked,"Do you have any parents, kid?" When he shook his head, she gripped his hand firmly. "Would you like to come with me, then?"

"Sure!" he exclaimed, and off they went.