A Daughter and Father Examine a State of Panic (after John Ward McClellan)

Where are we? It is a place called an "art gallery". What are we doing? It is time to look at a picture. Why? It is a good thing to do now that you have had another birthday. Which picture is it? It is this one. What is that? It is a wood. What is a wood? It is a collection of bare branches, crackling in the wind. Why are the branches bare? It is possible that it is winter. What is winter? It is the time of year when it is cold. Who are they? It is a group of people picnicking in the wood. What is picnicking? It is eating food in a place unprotected from the wild elements. Why are they eating outside when it's cold? It is because they do not have houses.

Why are the branches so straight? It is the sort of branches that this sort of tree has.

What is the thing with squares? It is the board for a game called "chess". What is chess? It is a game where people try to be more intelligent than the person they are playing against by moving people and animals around.

Who are the man and the woman in the middle? It is the people in charge. Why are they not doing anything? It is because they are in charge, so other people do things. Why? It is the way that things are.

What is that thin thing over there on the tree? It is called a "tendril". It is like a branch, only thinner: there are lots of them, if you look carefully. Why is it there? It is there to prove that the tree is alive even though the branches are bare. What are the things on the tendrils? It is a type of fruit, but it is poisonous.

What is that? It is a sheet that they have placed on the ground, to eat their food from. Why do they have such big sheets? It is because they use those sheets to make the things that they sleep in when they stop for the night.

What is that? It is an animal called a deer. Why is it hiding? It is because they might catch it, kill it and eat it.

What is that face on the ground? It is a thing called a "mask". What is the mask for? It is made from the face of the man she loves, who has had to go away to war. What is war? It is a thing where old men tell young men to kill other young men.

What are those things over there in the back? It is a pair of horses. What is a horse? It is a type of animal. Why do they have the horses? It is a tradition of people who keep travelling. What are they for? It is their function to carry people and to carry the food for the picnic.

Why have the branches gone so twisted? It is an attempt to block out all the light possible, because something is happening. What? It is something that we have caused.

What has made the people and the animals go away from the chessboard? It is the wind that has blown them away.

Where has the deer gone? It has been blown by the wind against a tree and sucked underneath the bark of the tree.

What is wrong with the horses? It is fear and anxiety to leave.

What are the people doing? It is an attempt to escape. What are they trying to escape from? It is a change in the natural order so that the branches are quiet and the wind is cracking. What are they carrying? It is the food that they have wrapped up because they cannot afford to waste it. What is that coming through the trees? It is the sheet. What is the sheet doing? It is coming from elsewhere. It is rustling in along the forest floor and bending in around the trunks. It is attempting to get bigger. Why is it like that? It has turned into a sea and it is trying to drown them before they can escape from the wood.

Where are the people now? It is the same place, but it is different. How is it different? It is not a wood. It is no longer a collection of trees. What is it? It is someone's scalp. What is a scalp? It is the skin of somebody's head. What is on the scalp? It is a collection of hairs that look like crooked branches. What is the sheet doing? It is actually a towel that is being scraped across the head.

Why are the people in charge in front of everybody else? It is because are they not carrying anything. Why are they not carrying anything? It is because they are in charge, so other people carry things. Why? It is the way that things are.

What is the woman doing, stretching out to the mask? It is to an attempt to pick up the mask and save it. Why is she trying to save it? It is an attempt to save the man she loves as well.

Why does that man have his head in his hands? It is an attempt to protect himself from the scraping sound that is filling his ears.

What are those people putting into the bags? It is all the sheets that make their homes.

What will happen now? It is too late for everybody: the towel will sweep them away. Where are we? It is a place called "the heaven". What are we doing? It is the fact that we are looking at it that has caused it to change. How is it changing? It is changing towards the worst. What is that called? It is a word called "annihilation". What does that mean? It is all over. It is the end.

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