My name is Bast,
and I am time.
It is ‘now’ again, and I place my stockinged feet upon my wooden window ledge, and I stand to my full height of one hundred and fifty five centimetres, five feet five inches to anyone else.
With my auburn hair left down I step off the ledge into the deep and rich blood red carpet. An indulgence from what is now another time. The skirt of my ankle length, shapeless, red dress attempts to swirl about me, only to be caught on a wicker chair to my left.
This room within my vast apartment is cloaked in the shadows cast by a single, filthy, candle. The light it throws enhances the darkness more than it illuminates the gloom. There are shadows cast by once vogue furniture. My apartment’s high ceilings writhe and twist under the shifting candle light, and I gaze at all of that that once was, and see all for sadly what is.
I hear sound of the rain intensify, even now it evokes sensations of warmth and comfort in me. After living so long in a world where water is a recognised, and oft hard fought luxury, the sound of rain on a gloomy evening has a certain homeliness and comfort about it. Rarely did the things that go bump in the night come out on an evening like this.
This apartment, I had once described as ‘Victorian burlesque’ to a friend who shared similar attributes to my own. Unfortunately for me, the ‘Victorian’ comparison left a series of polite, yet utterly blank looks on the combined faces of the Parisians I was entertaining at the time. The ‘burlesque’ however, was right up their alley.
My dwelling is a Henri IV (1553-1610), king of France and Navarre, era brown bricked building in Paris. The whole building at one stage or another, had been gutted and rebuilt by a party of delightfully destructive Napoleon era renovators, leaving it expansive, opulent, and decadent. It was once a place for people. Those people who enjoyed people and excess.
The room I find myself wandering about tonight, as with every other night for the past hundred years, is biped free. Once upon a time I would have had the staff light every candle in the place; many hundreds of candles lighting every aspect of this once perfect sanctuary. My beloved candle light, flickering, soft and embracing; there is not a substitute close to it.
The now long gone the tinkle of glass against glass, ghost like fills my ear. There, do you hear it? The voice of an angel in company with a pianist? Or a quartet of alabaster skinned nocturnal inhabitants perhaps? Possibly some other lively late notice troubadour? I can hear their ghosts now, do you? Yet what is really missing is the laughter, the sounds of unadulterated delight roiling around you, enhancing the feeling of belong among those from the outer reaches of society. Creatures more than people, but in their own way, people nonetheless, once strolled and cavorted within the wee sanctuary I had created for them; created for me.
The pressed tin ceiling mouldings, which cost me an absolute fortune, are circular and ornate. When you look closely enough, you will see creations in the shape of angels, demons, man and beast. It was done deliberately, to create a mixture of the multitudinous real, the few imagined, and the reality of horrors in between.
Many an unfortunate, predominately African and Indian creature had lost its skin to furnish my floorboards, forever fighting for prominence against large and small magnificent rugs, pilfered and pillaged from the finest souks and bazaars of Persia.
An eclectic collection of over stuffed lounges and chairs, combined with a variety of tables, coffee tables, and a solitary billiard table fill lesser voids. A piano stands open at the northern of this room; pianola to the south. There is an oak dance floor in a corner of the room, shimmering still beneath the dust; Romanesque satyrs were always the very best dancers you know.
Anterooms, closed up for half centuries or more, still furnished as I had left them. Bedrooms sporting brass bed ends, canopies, and even hammocks can be found. Beds still made up with fine swan and goose down eiderdowns, sheets of Egyptian cotton, pillows one could not use to hide a pea. Knowing the crowd so well over the three millennia that I entertained those peculiar folk, I had had two coffins discretely housed within the deepest reaches of a room of incredible opulence directly beneath my feet.
The most significant feature in this little world of mine, is the dust. Grotesque. Thick. Heavy. Foreboding. Everywhere, and on everything. Including me.
But I don’t mind, Death herself has just dropped by.
Finally I am dead.
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