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That picture is always changing, thought Sophie. Yesterday it had a bluish palette and today it seems browner. Maybe it looks different throughout the day or maybe it’s just fading in the sun. She looked at the picture more closely, “Hmmm…” she said to herself, “maybe it isn’t a drawing after all. Maybe it’s a cheap print.”

That would be very disappointing if true, as she’d spent $100 getting it framed. But what if it was an original artwork, a very fragile one that needed more care?

She removed it from the wall and put it behind her desk, to at least get it out of the sun. Maybe she should photocopy it before it changed some more. At least she’d have a reference. It was a big drawing though, three foot square; she would have to do it in sections.

Sophie turned the picture around and removed the back of the frame. Then she systematically copied each section. There was a little overlapping on each one, and she completed the job with a total of twenty copies. She taped them all together and folded the whole thing down to fit into a folder.

Sophie’s actions created panic in the drawing. Its citizens were dumbstruck by the overwhelming flashes of light that seemed never ending but eventually stopped. Then there was an earthquake that caused considerable damage. They prayed harder than ever to the Ancestors Aqu and Pani, who had once manifested in their city as Bobby and Naomi.

“Save us!” they cried. “Forgive us!”

Naomi and Bobby were stuck in the drawing. They decided to go into hiding for a while to think things through. They made camp in a cave on the outskirts of the city, near a source of fresh water. Bobby managed to find fruits and berries and catch some grouse – who virtually came and offered themselves up, stupid birds.

Naomi said, “Uncle Bobby, I’m feeling very strange since those flashes occurred. I hear echoes of my thoughts. “

“Echoes of your thoughts?” said Bobby.

“Yes, it’s like everything I think ripples outwards and returns. Right now, I’m feeling scared, and somehow feel that I’m scaring others…”

“Shhh!” said Bobby. “There are people coming. Be quiet.”

A crowd of men and women emerged from the forest and headed towards them. “There they are,” cried one of them. “Aqu and Pani are here!”

Bobby tried to shield Naomi but the crowd pulled her away. They were both held down and presented to a shaven-headed man in black robes. He said to them. “Excuse our rudeness, Holy Ones, but our need is urgent. I am Ozwald Malchizedek, prophet of Aqu, who like all others, is formed of dark ink and Ancestor’s blood. There have been powerful omens – both on land and in sky. They have spoken to me in divine language. They say you are required to complete your cycles of return.”

Bobby and Naomi were taken to the top of Mt Alba, where they had their throats slit. Naomi’s screams beforehand echoed throughout the valley and into the original drawing, where the genuine Naomi felt that a part of her somewhere had died.

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