Chapter 3
Live Showing

"I'm going to do it," Anna told Sister Martha the next day. "I will do the live showing."

Anna waited behind a large wooden platform; hands shaking while holding her dear paint brushes. She absentmindedly fingered the bristles.

"Miss Jones," Anna heard Sister Martha's voice, then turned to see her teacher standing next to her. When did she get there? It must be the nervousness getting to her.

"Miss Jones it is time to begin. Have you readied yourself?" the aging nun asked.

"Y-yes. I mean-probably? I have my paint brushes and the easel is up there so-"

"Good. Now if you please, Miss Jones, follow me," Sister Martha led Anna up the small set of stairs, through a curtain onto the large wooden platform.

So many people... Anna's mind raced, her heart pounded. She was about to turn back when she noticed a particular someone sticking out of the crowd. It was Laura. Anna's brunette friend noticed she had caught her attention, then gave a thumbs up and winked. This small, reassuring gesture gave Anna enough confidence to walk swiftly to the easel, take out her paint brushes and-

Her paint brushes? Anna peered closely at the wooden media, they seemed to be... glowing? The ginger peered closer. Surely, the brushes seemed to be glowing! A faint blue light just barely shone out. How strange...

Seeming to remember there was an audience before her, Anna regained her composure and began to mark lightly onto the white canvas, the audience hushed. Not even the smallest of infants made a noise, which did not help the freckled teenager's nerves in the slightest. Swiftly she sketched out the initial image, being careful not to look the audience's way.

Little did she know, however, that a strange, scruffy man had been standing in the audience the whole time; not only surveying the artist, but the crowd's reaction towards her. He tapped on a man to the right's shoulder, yet the only response given was a swipe directed towards the scruffy man's hand. He apologized quietly, only to be shooshed by several other viewers. This certainly was not normal. Perhaps another force could be involved? He began edging through the crowd, much to their discontempt. The disturbed onlookers began mumbling at the man's seemingly rude action, catching the artist's attention. She turned to look, but accidentally dropped one of her paint brushes. Everyone gasped, the brush rolled. The teen tried to chase after it, only getting more and more flustered with every failed attempt to pick it up. Finally it dropped of the stage, and a tiny squeak was heard from the embarrassed girl.

"Ah, excuse me, would you mind getting my paint brush for me? I-It seems I've dropped it," a viewer in the front bent down and picked it up, yet when they erected their back the teen's expression turned into a look of shock.

"Um, sir, are you okay?" she asked, voice cracking.



"INNOCenCE?" he choked out, face contorting into a malicious grin. The ginger screamed-