Come closer, Oh Beloved. Hear my… Oh sod it.
It’s not as though I have an audience in here. It’s tight. Cosy. Space just for one. Me.
People would ask if I'm lonely if there were any people. There aren't. Haven't been for five hundred years. Maybe millennia. Hard to know after the first few decades.
I shift slightly, rub my neck. Sinuous, that's what the sultans called me. Don't much feel sinuous now. I feel... dusty. Mustn't think like that. Mustn't get philosophical. All that "If a tree falls in the forest" nonsense. I can see the trees. Hastate leaves, bristling like daggers. Rough bark, mottled with shadow. I can smell them. Damp, mossy.
They have to be real. If the trees aren't real then maybe I'm not real. No one can see me. No one can smell me. No one can hear me, cooped up in here.
Maybe I don't exist.
I open my eyes and my reflection stares back at me bulbous, distorted by the lamp’s curve. The metal is still bright, smudged a little by my toes. I draw pictures with them sometimes. Rub the shining gold, smudge it up a bit. Toe drawings. Stick men warriors and fat princesses.
And I dream. That's what I do most of all, dream.
When I dream hands curve around my home, warming the cold metal. Calloused and warm, the hands of a worker or a warrior, not a King. I smell olives and lemon rind, sweat and dirt from the marketplace. It's the dirt that brings him back to me, vivid and sharp-scented. Face streaked with sand, hair tangled by the desert wind.
I stutter into wakefulness and my skin feels hot, tight.
I gave him three wishes but he didn’t wish for me.