Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Prompt: Connoisseur of Emotions, Take 2 or Part 2

Beth-Ann stood on the carpet in front of the enormous dark wood desk. She had studied the intricate inlay, surreptitiously glanced at the man behind the desk and the decoration in the room, from the overloaded bookcases to the simple sculpture on a pedestal, to the large art hanging on the walls. In danger of becoming restless, she returned her attention to the man, to find him examining her.

He waved his hand at the row of decanters on his desk. “Do you know what these are?”

They appeared empty, though sealed. She wrinkled her nose. “How do you bottle emotions?”

He laughed. “Clever girl. Yes, these are some of my favorites. Would you like a sense?”

Wrinkling her brow in confusion, she leaned closer. “How can I--?”

He waved her to silence as he picked up a bottle and lifted the stopper, waving it in front of his face with an appreciative sigh. “Ah, yes, a delicate tristesse. Here, just wave it from the bottle toward your face. Close your eyes, and let your sense take it in. They’ll know what to do.”

Beth-Ann arched one eyebrow, then the other, trying to make sense of his suggestion that she could sense an emotion from the bottle he held. She shrugged and leaned forward, waving her hand from the bottle toward her face. Suddenly, she felt a frisson as a gentle sadness washed over her. But with it came a kind of quiet…not happiness…satisfaction?

She looked up to find him watching her closely. He leaned back with a broad smile. “Ah yes, you get it, That, my dear, is tristesse. We have no exact word in English. Happy sadness, some call it, but I prefer satisfied sadness—”

She started at his use of her own words, and he clapped his hands. “Excellent! You do indeed ‘get’ it, don’t you, my dear. Did you know there are over 100 different kinds of emotions? And while there are over a dozen kinds of love, there are far more kinds of fear. I am a collector. A connoisseur. My life’s work is to collect every different emotion that humans experience. Some are easier than others, you might imagine. And of course the inverse is also true: Some have much more value than others. Now, please, have a seat, and tell me what you want to sell me.”

Beth-Ann finally sat at his invitation, sinking into the soft cushion and leaning back against the perfect curve of the chair. Rubbing her hands along the velvet pile of the arms, she arched her brows again. “Oh, I don’t want to sell you anything…”

He leaned back in his own chair. “Well then, you are wasting my ti—”

“I want you to teach me. All of this.”

Without a word, he leaned down and opened a drawer behind the desk. Pulling out a glass decanter, he tugged at the lid and breathed deeply into it, sealing it tightly. Sliding it across the desk, he stared at her like a bug under a magnifying glass. “Here. Sense this. It’s not often I can capture genuine surprise…”

Dogs in House

May word count

1 comment:

  1. Writing report:
    Novel editing, Ch29. Not very happy with this material. This whole section will likely need another major edit, but I can't get there until I go through it once.

    Time: ~20min