The painting – Part 2

Written by Isabella Thermes
Edited by Hassan Morsy

Henry was inside the painting.
He was sure he saw the Girl but as soon as he entered the poppy field, the elm tree seemed to get farther and farther and he could not see the Girl anymore.
He caught just a glimpse of her long raven hair swaying in the breeze. The Girl was keeping her back turned to him and continued to walk.
Although it didn’t seem that she was walking particularly fast, Henry could not keep up with her.
“Wait!” he cried but the Girl did not turn and did not speak.
Henry had to stop to catch his breath.
By then, the Girl became just a dot in the luxuriant landscape.
He sat on the grass and felt a sense of despair.
He was alone and lost in a place he did not know.
“I must keep going” he thought, “I will eventually find along the way some better friends than this Girl”. With this thought, he got up on his feet and restarted walking.
All of a sudden, he heard some distant voices. He walked a little faster in the voices’ direction and found himself in front of a strange Lady and her two companions, a giant Snail and a weary Turtle.
The Lady wore a long, puffy skirt entirely made of butterflies and her hair was coiffed to look big and fluffy like a cloud in the sky.
“Uh! What a peculiar creature!” exclaimed the Lady.
“Where do you come from?” asked the Lady getting closer to observe him,”we are sure we didn’t see you before”.
“No, most certainly not” added the Snail, “we would have remembered something like this”.
Henry timidly replied:”I think I am lost”.
“Uh, lost from where, exactly?” asked the Lady,”which entrance did you unlock to enter this place?”
“Are there many different entrances to this place?” asked Henry surprised, “I entered the painting.”
“Ah!” said knowingly the Snail.
“He must have followed Beatrice”, sighed the Turtle.
“Who is Beatrice?” asked Henry, more confused than ever.
“Beatrice is the girl you have probably seen in the painting. Not everyone sees her but those who see her, feel irresistibly drawn to approach her. She has fun luring curious people in and perfectly knowing that they will get lost without any indication. She does not speak so she is not able to give any indication anyway. Moreover, depending upon her mood, her features abruptly vanish, leaving her face as a whole blank. A deranging experience indeed for those people who are not use to it, I must say. We have given up on her a long ago.” replied the Lady.
“Where do I go now?!” Henry asked to the three odd creatures.
“I don’t suppose you want to exit the painting” said the Snail in a slightly plummy voice “you might die of boredom if you return to your world. There undoubtedly are far more interesting people and places in here. Starting from us, of course.”
“Could I perhaps join you?!” tentatively asked Henry.
The Snail looked at the Lady. The Turtle, too tired to say anything, sighed again.
“Well, well, well” said the Lady, “we have an important appointment but I suppose you can follow us to the next exit”.
Henry felt better and began to walk behind the three creatures.

2019 All images and content copyright Isabella Thermes