Seated on a plain white wooden bench, tilting his head this way and that to consider the painting across from him, Henry found himself wondering if the creature in the image had been painted or photographed for a long moment. Whatever else Sasha Kowen was, she was one talented woman, he thought. It appeared to be a kind of tree-thing, but stunted and grotesque, bloated near its base and slimming out as it rose, its many branches looking more like clawed tentacles than branches, per se. In the painting, it was grabbing a non-descript man and opening its giant mouth, as if preparing to bite the poor fellow in half, streamers of greenish venom dribbling from its maw.
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