DREAM OF STONE

Deathmasques IV

I am beautiful, O mortals!

As a dream of stone.

– Baudelaire

 

               Yes, she was coming to life!
              I stood back, my face twitching with excitement.
              Those granite limbs – blood flowed beneath their impregnable gloss, through her iron arteries.
              Behind her was my workbench. A skull. My books. My instruments. On the wall was a chart – the internal labyrinth of the body in grey and pink.
            Her cheeks were so pale, almost transparent. Her bones were visible through her translucent flesh.
            She stood before me on the plinth. And I knelt down before her on the bare boards of the studio where, for exactly twelve months, I had laboured in solitude and rigorous asceticism: the studio-prison which I hated and loved.
          She was coming to life!
          Incredible!
          Scattered about on the floor were my drawings, the sketches that preceded the Magnum Opus. There were my notebooks – a commentary on my anguish – sallow pages, devoid of sentiment. In the corner, leaning against the wall, were several metal limbs, two hands made of marble, a thigh carved from jade and part of the female skeleton cunningly articulated.
         Before me a veined, marble hand was raised with a mechanical jerk. The mirrors, inlaid only the previous morning dazzled me as light bounced from their polished surfaces.
          I gasped.
        I hid my face.
         But I had to look, I had to see.
         Fantastic!
          Her body moved. The filigree globe of the stomach revolved within the flawless structure of her granite pelvis. You know, I had to admire the craftsmanship – the craftsmanship that had created this vitrified vision now waking before my very eyes.
        Eight foot tall, she towered over me. Her thighs were impregnated with the fires of domination. Her massive breasts contained curdled ecstasy.
        For six weeks I had laboured, inscribing passages from The Astral Beastiary on each eyelid. Her limbs were ingeniously interlaced with the finest platinum wire. Her eyes were dead white. Scarabs clung to her ears.
         And now she was coming to life!
         She was alive.
         Her huge wings cast a shadow across my face as I hurriedly traced a giant crescent on the floor before advancing with instruments for The Delivery. I was about to unleash my work upon the world.
        I had lined the ceiling with black velvet. I had placed a bed in the exact centre, decked out in purple and blue. Outside, beyond the orange blinds the city lay in darkness, restless, reeking.
       There was a scream. I had never heard such a scream. She lurched forward, thrusting me aside with an aristocratic gesture, treading heavily on the boards of my humble studio where I had shunned daylight and friends for too long.
      Now she stared at me without feeling. She looked about her. She glared into the mirrors and fell to her knees with a crash. She ran her hands across the surface of the floor, as if unable to accept the materiality of existence.
       A moaning wail assaulted my ears, teetering across the threshold of sound. Sniveling and panting she lurched to the window. Anxious, aghast, I leapt to my feet in time to see her dive headlong to the pavement, a mile below.
       There was a crash of seismic proportions. A wisp of purple smoke drifted up outside the shattered panes.
       I looked down.
       A crowd had begun to gather, gesticulating and complaining. They stared uncomprehending at the pile of mute jetsam marking the spot where she had fallen.
      Some of them looked up with expectation – waiting, no doubt, for the repetition of her descent which I am now bound to make.

 

 

 

 

A.C. Evans

Drawing: The Debris of a Poet by A.C. Evans

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