Lara peered anxiously through the fence. Although she couldn’t see anyone in the thick blackness of the night, she quivered nervously just the same.
Lara had lived beneath the shadow of Mt Prosperity all her life. While she and the people of Town Not-Enough lived simply in the valley, Mt Prosperity boasted unimaginable wealth. Lara did not know this firsthand of course. None of the townsfolk did. No one from the town had ever crossed beyond the barricade that separated them from the affluent city. Their only knowledge of Mt Prosperity came from the distant sights and sounds of the city itself. The towering minarets and magnificent mansions of Mt Prosperity could be seen lofting above them, scaling the upper reaches of the mountain slopes. The people of Not-Enough could hear the laughter, music and joyous festivities of the city the entire year long. Those sounds would roll across the valley and sweep through the town of Not-Enough as the townsfolk toiled and laboured.
With Lara crouching timidly behind the fence, all that was about to change. Weeks earlier, Lara had discovered a chink. Although not large, it was generous enough for someone of her size. She squeezed through, checking each direction for the crowds of celebrators she expected to see revelling in the city streets.
To her astonishment the streets were bare. The noise though continued, and she followed it upward through the wide and unadorned mountain avenues. The absence of people was not the only strange sight Lara noticed as she trod the empty streets. All of the buildings were incomplete. They were hollow facades, with only a front wall and supporting beams.
A lengthy walk eventually led Lara to a shack, cruder and more rustic than any in Not-Enough. Inside the shack was a broad panel covered with dials and switches. Each was labelled, some with lighting instructions and others with sound effects. There was one for every function in the city.
A stiff wooden chair sat facing the panel. Sitting down, Lara began turning the city off, flipping switches one by one. After the last switch had been thrown, she stumbled through the pitch black darkness back to Not-Enough.
The township was in a great uproar when she returned. It appeared that all of Not-Enough had gathered in the marketplace to argue over the darkness above in Mt Prosperity. After a long night of dispute and debate, and after hearing Lara’s story, a group was sent from the town to discover the secrets of Mt Prosperity. They returned later in the day with a shrivelled old man, who turned out to be the only resident of the entire city, and the sole controller of the subterfuge of Mt Prosperity.
It was not long after that night that small changes began spreading through the town of Not-Enough. Previously, the townspeople had always looked to Mt Prosperity with great envy, longing for the same lifestyle as the city dwellers. Now they began to appreciate what they did have. Their food tasted sweeter, the scenery was more spectacular, and the companionship of family and friends more wonderful than ever.
One year later, Lara sat on a knoll above the township, thinking about the transformations that had altered her home. The town of Not-Enough no longer existed, following a radical unanimous decision. After realising the truth about Mt Prosperity, the townspeople couldn’t live as the people of Not-Enough any longer. So the town’s name was changed, becoming instead Prosperity Village.
It was true that the people still laboured each day to provide their needs. They continued to live simply without all the fineries and festivities they had imagined existed in Mt Prosperity. But they now knew what they did have: loving hearts, good friends and cherished families. The town that had always longed for more
And as for Lara? She couldn’t have been more delighted with what her night-time escapade had reaped.
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