Stacy gripped her mechanical pencil tight. If she failed this Algebra test, her mother would be so very upset with her. Stacy already had a low C in the class, but if she failed this test, it would mean her grade would slide to a D. there was a very good chance she might fail the whole class. And that would mean having to repeat the class in summer school. To her teenage mind, the embarrassment of failing in front of her friends and disappointing her parents felt like the end of the world.

Still, this test felt agonizing. Stacy was stuck on problem three out of twelve and almost half her testing time was passed. The other problems past three looked even harder. She had studied and been tutored, but the material seemed to disappear from her mind when it came to testing times.

While stacy had been staring at her half done work for problem three, almost on its own, her hand doodled in the margin of her test paper. The doodle took the form of a small moose.

As stacy stared at the algebra problem bedeviling her, she became perplexed at her doodle from minutes ago. She could swear she had drawn the little moose on four feet, but now it stood on two in profile as if also looking at her work.

Stacy dropped her pencil in startlement when the doodle moved right before her eyes! It was still a two dimensional line drawing, but it walked across her paper to get a better look. It bent to examine her work for problem three and a whisper in her ear said, “You need to use the completing the square method to finish this one.”

Stacy was so desperate that she would try anything, even if it was taking advice from an hallucination. By applying the drawn moose’s advice she quickly found the answers that had eluded her.

“See, wasn’t that easy?” asked the whisper in her right ear. “Hold on. Let me get a bit more free of these constraints and we can see about finishing the rest of this test!”

The small line art moose seemed to shrug and then pull himself up off the paper. Stacy could see him standing on the surface, complete with shadow. He stood there on her test, a now three inch tall collection of lines in a three dimensional figure of the ordinary seeming doodle from minutes earlier.

Stacy put her pencil down and glanced up at the clock. She finished the test with five minutes to spare. With the aid of her new math tutor she was able to complete the problems with confidence. The little moose had not given her the answers, merely prompted her at critical points when her mind seized up with doubt.

Now she was most definitely in doubt, but of a different sort. If she turned in her test, the strange moose might go with the paper she drew him on and she was just experiencing hope again in math class. As she might have expected, the little moose noticed her hesitation. “Don’t worry. I am not going away.” With those words the three dimensional moose jumped off her paper, gaining color and detail to stand with a stocky body and strong legs on her desk. The moose had grown again to a sturdy eight inches high and he studied her with a tilt to his head. Stacy quickly looked around to see if anyone else noticed, but no one else seemed to see the strange sight.

“You can call me Marius. I’ll just climb in your backpack. Go on up and turn your test in, Stacy. I’ll be helping you with your math from now on.”

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