Beatrice left the boy behind and kept on walking in the field, lost in her own world.
Thoughts were buzzing in her head like loud, annoying bees: she could almost see them as they appeared and wanted to wave them off.
Her head was the only part of her being that ever felt alive.
Beatrice had no feelings.
She was aware that her face would suddenly lose its features at times and that didn’t bother her but she always wondered if, beyond her features going amiss every here and then, something else, even more important to her, was missing.
This awareness started surfacing when she recalled the conversations about “feelings” those people inhabiting (or entering her world for the first time) had. She simply could not understand what they meant. What were ‘feelings’? Were they things? Human bits? How could she see them and observe them? Could she get them from somewhere? Curiosity finally pricked her and she had an idea.
The painting was a window from which to look at the outside world. Perhaps if she found a way to call people’s attention, she would be able to find out more about these ‘feelings’ and maybe even get hold of them.
So Beatrice started luring people in.
As soon as someone stepped into the painting, she could see through their body something softly luminous, like a source of light with a distinctive hue. Once that hue had begun to glow, she would walk towards it and touch it.
As a sense of warmth reached her hand, she would cup both of her hands, held it as if it were a firefly and start walking as fast as she could.
“Quick! Before it vanishes!”, she would tell herself reaching her favourite tree. Many glass jars were hanging from it.
Beatrice would open an empty one and let the little something pour into it. By doing that, she discovered that this ‘thing’ had a different hue every time.
With a satisfied expression on her face, she would then climb her tree, sit there and look at the different lights coming from the jars. At night the colours were beautiful and it was all so peaceful there: this was her corner.
Beatrice was stealing people’s feelings.
She soon discovered that if she held the jars close to her chest, their warmth would go through her. She liked that.
“Feelings are warmth and colours”, she would tell herself. “Now I know”.
But when she hung the jar back on its tree branch, that sense of warmth had vanished from her body.
Beatrice was cold and empty, that’s why she had her tree and her collection of jars.
Perhaps there were different, most powerful feelings she needed to find?
Warmth and colours so intense that could go through her cold skin?
It was a matter of keeping on searching, she told herself.

2018 All images and content copyright Isabella Thermes