Research

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While Josh was busy worrying about getting home and playing tag with his new found friend, Tyler was busy researching. He had gone back to the old antique shop and spent hours talking to the old man and the guy's mother, who was surprisingly still alive.

They had seen this happen before, but according to them, the painting had given the people back within a few hours, and in some cases, mere minutes. The only other time someone had been trapped in there was because the girl didn't want to come back to the real world. Eventually her parents convinced her to leave the painting through bribery. It was hard for the girl to resist when her parents offered to pay her entire college tuition for her.

"But isn't there anything else you can tell me? Anything else you know?" Tyler pleaded. "I want my best friend back. He's supposed to be in my wedding. I need him."

The old lady sighed and rested her hand on Tyler's shoulder. "It will all work out in the end. If he never returns, maybe that's what his destiny is."

Tyler looked up from where his hands were buried. "And that's supposed to make me feel better how?"

"It will put your mind at ease so you will believe that everything happens for a reason and the universe is at balance with itself."

Tyler glared at the lady.

"Alright it won't. But it was worth the try. Figure it out yourself, kid."

And with that the old lady left the room, leaving Tyler to stand awkwardly with the shopkeeper as he tried to apologize for his mother's actions.

Tyler left the shop as soon as he could. He didn't know what to do. The painting wasn't open; he had tried to go through it at least twice every hour. It never gave way to his hand like it had the first time. Tyler kept having to fight back tears.

After a stop at the library and unloading at least ten thick books books from his car, Tyler took out five energy drinks and his laptop. He figured that if the shopkeeper and his mother weren't going to be any help, he would get Josh back himself.

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It's short but it's something

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