Sapphire knew she had to get all the details right if Ellie was to become sentient. The water droplet had to be harvested from the Alexandra Fjord on the spring equinox; it had to be kept in a damp, dark location until the summer solstice; it had to be transported by a horse no larger than 10 hands. Ellie had to sit on a north facing wall made of bricks and Sapphire had to wear a Bamilieke Elephant Mask from central Africa while she poured the droplet over Ellie’s head. All this was to take place when the sun was at its highest
Everything was close to ready. The droplet was safe in an abandoned well on Sapphire’s and Cricket’s property. Sapphire had borrowed a gentle Shetland pony from their neighbours; an old brick foundation wall down the road was ready to use, and an acquaintance in Cameroon had found a mask and was shipping it via the postal service. Cricket had gone early that morning into town to pick up the mail. But he had not returned yet. Sapphire paced the floor with Ellie under her arm, stopping occasionally to peer out the window towards where the car would appear on the dirt road. High noon was approaching fast.
Suddenly, Sapphire thought she saw plumes of dust and sure enough, Cricket’s car appeared over a hill and came veering crazily into their driveway. He jumped out of the front seat with the elephant mask.
It was a truly awe-inspiring experience to see a lifeless Teddy bear being transformed into a loud, exuberant creature. In a voice that could only be described as a cross between Phyllis Diller and Ethel Merman, Ellie loudly declared she wanted to write fiction.
Cricket took this photo of Ellie during the transformation.