Elizabeth’s new painting brings a surprise for Vincent.
Every Picture Tells A Story
Standing before the tunnelled stretch of grey wall, Elizabeth saw not dismal rock but her very own canvas. Her mind alive with memories, she spun a great landscape of rolling hills to mark the backdrop to a patchwork of pasture land, covered with lush green grass that swayed in the wind, like a shimmering sea, interspersed with wildflowers, daisy, poppy, wild primrose, kek and thistle. Up and down the valley, the meadows were bordered by hawthorn hedges, upon which trailed blackberry, honeysuckle and rose hip. Elizabeth could almost smell the sweet heady perfume of the honeysuckle, taste the bitter sweetness of the blackberry fruit. Here and there cattle or sheep grazed, the sun that blazed from a blue summer sky, warm upon their backs, their heads buried in the sweet grass, watched over by black and white border collies, tongues lolling in eager anticipation for a command from their shepherd.
Vast rivers ran through the valley, teaming with fish, their undersides silvery as they flicked themselves out of the crystal clear water. Damsel and dragonflies flitted over the rivers as the current took the ever-flowing water down to the sea.
A tiny kingfisher, head cocked to one side, sat motionless on a branch overhanging the river, waiting eagerly for a tasty morsel. If you were quiet, you could almost imagine you would see him dart into the water at any moment and bring from it a tiny minnow, flapping vainly in the grasping beak.
Frogs upon Lilly-pads. Their green and yellow shimmering bodies slick with the water, hopping in and out from the riverbank with a gentle plop, sending rings of bright water spiralling outwards from the centre.
A red brick cottage with a black slate roof complemented a white painted cottage with a red roof, spaced apart by many rectangle shaped fields, tiny swirls of smoke filtering from their chimneys, giving occupancy to the dwellings, a door ajar, leaving one in expectation of its inhabitant.
Elizabeth’s gentle fingers wove their magic with tender brush strokes bringing her memory to life before her very eyes, painting in a ginger cat laid full length on one window sill, behind the shade of blue wisteria that cascaded from the trellis attached to the white cottage wall.
Mile O’Minute rambled over the barn roof, a profusion of white flowers amid tiny tendrils of green stems and leaves, and climbing the wall of the red brick cottage, the thick carpet of Virginia Creeper, green in the summer, scarlet in the winter.
An inviting pathway of white and gold slate, snaked its way towards the red brick cottage, as it threaded through the country garden filled with gladioli, hollyhock, delphinium, golden rod and foxglove. While an archway covered in clematis and climbing rose beckoned one to stand beneath and fill lungs with the delicious fragrance.
Standing back to admire her work, Elizabeth was satisfied with her tapestry of England, the Emerald Isle, now painted upon the tunnel wall of her underground world for everyone to enjoy till time indefinite.
Such was her world, a landscape of memories. Places she had seen experiences she’d had, people she’d known. Walking along the tunnel she smiled as the scenes unfolded before her eyes, like someone who sees his whole life mapped out in the moment of tragedy, Elizabeth had captured every scene, every emotion, as it had happened, held now for all time, so as not to be forgotten.
Her favourite scenes of all, were of the one she held most dear, the one upon whom the entire existence of the tunnel dwellers depended, his beautiful leonine features mirrored by the stroke of a brush, capturing his whole life as a compliment to add to his own journals.
A blackened triangle, pierced by the single pinprick of light, captured the hope that desolate occupants new to the tunnel world felt, when first they arrived. A darkened circle, filled at its centre with glowing candles, that pushed back the darkness, revealed the very first Winterfest. And a square sectioned into four that told a story that no-one grew tired of hearing, the first frame depicting a snowy scene, a woman stooped low over a tiny bundle beneath a bush, a look of wonder upon her face. The second frame showed her pulling back the ragged shawl to reveal the strange yet cute features of the tiny child within. The third found the same woman standing side by side against two men, as their eyes gazed with tenderness upon the abandoned child, the forth, Elizabeth’s most treasured scene, depicting one of the men cradling the tiny baby with wonder and love in his eyes.
The next scene along the stretch of wall, showed that previous frame in full, taken from a different angle, as a tiny clawed hand reached out from the folds of the shawl to grasp the finger of the man’s hand. Blue eyes deep and penetrating gazed upwards with adoration at his newfound father. And all around the scene candles burned brightly, indicating the warmth for the child, and the light of hope for the man, as each found within the other an unbreakable bond of love, forever cherished.
A rustle from behind drew Elizabeth’s attention away from the wall, and turning she smiled to see the subject of the scene, now grown into a handsome man, with the most amazing facial features, that Elizabeth never grew tired of studying him. And she was one of the few people he allowed such open scrutiny, though often she had painted scenes of him, that at times he would have preferred kept secret. Somehow Elizabeth had always found out about his latest escapade, quite often much to his acute embarrassment.
“I suppose” he told her, his deep and gravely voice thrilling her, “I should never be surprised to find you beside this painting of me, but somehow, I always am.” His blue eyes twinkled, as he bent his head to kiss her cheek, “Elizabeth, I bring a message from Father that your new paints have just arrived from Above. Had I of known this I should have brought them with me, alas I was already on my way to see you, when Father tapped through the message to me.”
“Thank-you Vincent” she told him softly, her eyes never leaving his beautiful, extraordinary face, “Won’t you stay awhile, I was just taking a break.”
Tilting his head in the unique way, she loved so much, he told her, “I can see you have been busy today Elizabeth, and the light here is not so good, I think you could perhaps do with a day off rather than a mere break.”
“Don’t fuss so child, I will be fine. Though what you say about the light is correct, I have noticed that I could do with a lot more candles, but we already use so many here Below, I don’t like to ask for more.”
“Without your tunnelled tapestries Elizabeth, our world could be a dismal place, it is unthinkable that you should have to paint in such poor light. I will get on to it today, bringing the extra candles myself to see that it is done, and then those new paints will really be vibrant with colour.”
“Thank you Vincent. Now follow me, I have something I want to show you.”
Vincent walked with her along the painted tunnel, coming to stand before the latest scene of him, as yet unfinished. Only the outlines were in place. “This is different Elizabeth, are you trying out a new style?”
“In a way yes. This whole stretch of wall is dedicated to the story of your life, you know that, but these next scenes depict the outline to the rest of your life, only I cannot colour them in until you have lived it.”
Tilting his head again, Vincent waited for her to continue she went on. “Vincent, in many ways us older ones can see the way your life is leading, like an audience watching a well rehearsed play. Yet only you can actually fulfil our hopes and our dreams, once you have come to accept what has been obvious to many of us for so long.”
Curious, Vincent was compelled to ask her, “And that is?”
“It is my firm belief that in life, everyone has someone, out there somewhere, waiting for them, and despite what you think about yourself Vincent, I know that you harbour your own dreams of finding such a person to share your life.”
Vincent smiled knowingly at her, “Sometimes Elizabeth I think your eyes see as much as those of Narcissa, are none of my innermost feelings secret from you?”
Elizabeth laughed softly, “Anyone who reads poetry as you do, cannot hope to be unaffected by the verses about love, about life. You will have your own yearnings Vincent despite what Father tells you. And somewhere out there in this big wide world is someone who will love you for yourself. Believe me Vincent. See the outlines I have drawn, there is a woman here and she will come Vincent, she will come without a doubt, but until she does even I cannot begin to fill in her face, but I will know her when I see her, and so will you.”
Vincent exhaled a short sharp breath tinged with laughter, “You are right Elizabeth I do have these yearnings you speak of, but it is of no consequence. Your eyes see only what you want to see. You speak of my face being beautiful, while to me I see only a beast looking back when I look into a mirror. Who in their right mind would want to share their life with me?” he asked sadly, displaying his arms out to his sides in a gesture of defeat.
“You are an extraordinary man Vincent, and you deserve an extraordinary woman. Don’t ever despair that she doesn’t exist, for she does Vincent. I feel it in my bones, plus...” she smiled knowingly, “Narcissa has seen her.”
Vincent gasped, “She has?” A flicker of hope flared in his heart at this news.
“Oh yes, Vincent, and that is not all, this woman who will come into your life is not too far away, even now as we speak, and not many days after this one you will find her. Why do you think I have ordered those new paints, and am standing by at the ready to fill in these outlines?”
“Elizabeth you really are too much, you would have me believe in flying horses, you know that?”
“The expression actually Vincent, is pigs might fly.” She giggled, louder and longer as she remembered a verse that went along with the expression. “Oh Vincent whatever you may think of me, I simply have to tell you this.” And she began to recite, “One day above the world so high, a bird dropped a message from the sky, a passing farmer wiped his eye, thanking God that pigs don’t fly.” And she burst into peals of laughter again.
A great roll of sound arose from Vincent’s chest, and erupted from his mouth so that his lips curled back to reveal the whiteness of his fangs, as he joined with her in hearty laughter.
“I’ll fetch the paints and the candles Elizabeth and see you later,” Vincent told her as his laughter subsided; though his eyes twinkled with mischief, as he thought about repeating the verse to Father later.
“There is no need Vincent, the day after tomorrow will do. I think I will take that longer break as you suggested. I may even go to see old Narcissa, see what else she has to tell me.”
“I’m beginning to think Elizabeth that I have found the way in which you gain your knowledge of my secrets, I now lose hope that I will ever discover a way from hiding my most embarrassing moments from the pair of you.” Vincent told her tenderly with laughter in his voice, “I’ll see you on the 13th Elizabeth, unlucky for some, take care.”
Bending to kiss her fleetingly, he left her to watch his retreating back, a knowing smile upon her lips, as she whispered, “Unlucky for some Vincent, but not for you.”
It was a beautiful night. The 12th of April. Totally pitch black, still and crisp, and Vincent could see his own breath on the cool night air by the light from the lamps that lit up parts of the park.
Keeping to the shadows, his hood pulled tightly over his head, Vincent made his way deftly back towards the welcoming glow of the tunnel entrance, when the sound of a vehicle coming into the park at great speed, made him dive for cover behind a large shrub. The headlights dazzled him momentarily before he saw the door of a large van slide open and something long and large was thrown out, before the van sped away at high acceleration once again, far into the night.
As the silence enveloped the park once again, Vincent heard, with his acute hearing an afflicted moan, and leaving his place of hiding, he trod silently towards the maker of the sound.
Beneath his gaze, there lay the still form of a woman, well dressed, yet her clothing was torn, her bag and shoes carelessly flung from the van to lay around about. Her body battered and bleeding, her face slashed beyond recognition.
Vincent’s great heart somersaulted in his chest. He had seen victims of muggers before, but this tiny woman stole into his heart as tiny ethereal fingers crept into his very core and a spark of something he had never known took root and flared.
Bending he picked her up, cradling her still form in his arms, savouring the scent of her perfume, and carried her to his home beneath the city streets.
The following day Vincent took Elizabeth her new paints and an armload of candles with holders, and finding her place empty he put down his wares and walked along the stretch of tunnel while he awaited her arrival.
Coming to the unfinished piece she had shown him just two days ago, Vincent gasped to see the face of the woman as well as himself filled into the outline, and knew at once that it was the woman he had found in the park the previous evening.
Elizabeth, watching from a hiding place, saw the look upon his face loving every moment, until he told her, “I know you are there Elizabeth, and news certainly does travel fast, you’ve seen her then?”
“The woman I rescued last evening. Though you have very cleverly painted her without the wounds sustained to her face, did you help Mary change her dressings this morning?” he asked the question, but knew her answer, simply Elizabeth had not been near the home chambers in months, yet how else would she know?
Elizabeth came out of the shadows to stand at his side. “No, I haven’t met this woman you speak of, I painted only from what Narcissa’s old eyes told her as she related it to me. You say she is here Vincent?”
“Yes, resting in the my chamber.” Vincent found his heart plucked by those tiny ethereal fingers once again as he spoke.
Elizabeth smiled, “She is the one Vincent. The one that will bring you untold happiness, unmeasured love till time indefinite. This, Vincent, is the woman that was made for you, I know this, Narcissa knows this, but do you also believe this?”
Vincent looked at the painting for a long time. He could see the woman’s face clearly, more clearly than he had before Father had bandaged her. And there was something else, as he drew her image to mind, he could feel her lying upon the bed in his chamber, and a gentle thud began at the side of his own heart. Incredulous he knew at once that her own heart beat alongside his, and shaking his great head in disbelief and wonder, he could only remain silent, as no words would come, until Elizabeth’s gentle probing released the words he could not utter as she asked him. “Vincent, do you believe she is the one?”
Looking down at Elizabeth, then back across to the scene before him, Vincent finally accepted also what his heart was telling him, and slowly he nodded. “Yes, Elizabeth”, he told her with wonder in his voice, and as his blue eyes filled with tears, he whispered, “Yes, I believe she is.”
The stories found within this website have been written by and for lovers of the American television series Beauty and the Beast and no infringement upon the rights held by Ron Koslow, CBS, Republic Entertainment, Witt-Thomas Productions or any other Copyright holder to Beauty and the Beast is intended.
Furthermore all the stories found on this website belong to Wendy Tunnard de-Veryard, are protected by copyright and none should be copied, added to or subtracted from or altered in any way, without the prior authorisation of the author.