An immortal recalls desire and pain through all her loves and lives.
The curtains flutter in the breeze although the windows are shut. No dust enters from the landscape that surrounds the white room; the dry, red dust of the desert and its low dunes. Occasionally, a glimpse of the endless sand, stretching into eternity.
I wake up to a rush of memories, most bittersweet, hidden behind a veil, the memories of another person that was once me.
The room is sparse. A single bed, although plain, is well appointed with the softest sheets and a billowing duvet, under which the temperature was always perfect. These I had brought from the 21st century, when fabrics reached their height of comfort. After centuries of rough bedding, even as a royal concubine, they had arrived into my life as one of its greatest pleasures.
A table, made of a light coloured pine, secreted away from the personal collection of Antoni Gaudí. A beautiful artefact made between World War One and Two, a period when craftsmanship and technology reached a harmonic apogee. On this table sat a thin book, its leather cover engraved with the date of my last death.
On one wall, a shelf that reached the height of the room, on which a select range of artifacts were displayed. I had lived more lives than I could count. From each I had taken a gift into this place beyond time. Often new things replaced older ones, but some will always remain with me.
A figurine of Alexander, riding his horse, the wild Bucephalus. It had been a gift to him from his beloved. Although it pained him to part with it, he’d gifted it to me through a veil of tears when he knew his time had come. The sinuous curves of man and animal, vivid motion frozen in stone, encapsulated everything he was, everything I remember him by. Although so many thousands of years have passed on Earth, in the white room, only a few weeks separate us. Between my sheets, I still recall the tenderness of his soul and the demands of his sword.
A pair of riding gloves by Cristina of Sweden. A memory of the crisp cool mornings when we would ride together in the godswood, racing each other to the ruined fortress where she would tackle me to the ground, stripping off my dress, plunging us both into the fountain that stood in its courtyard. I loved her warm breasts, her finely spun golden hair, her wandering tongue. Her cold hands when they found their way into the furnace between my legs. Her wild spirit took her away from me, to other lands, other women.
A stone vial no larger than my index finger, filled with a potent poison. This was no gift — I had taken it from the room of my mistress, the Byzantine empress, Theodora. It was meant for me, although she didn’t know it and suspected another of sleeping with her lover. It was a dangerous court they kept in Constantinople. I slept with every courtier, every general, learning all their secrets — who they fucked, who they murdered; everybody talks after sex, even me. Theodora knew that sex made a powerful truth serum; she was not jealous her lover shared his cock, she feared he spilled her secrets. The poison remains within the vial, untouched.
A scroll. A vulgar poem, written in blood, by the Marquis; in it, he details a hundred and one ways he would violate all my orifices and create new ones. His words still speak to me, bringing back violent memories of nights where all my holes were fucked and filled. He was a beautiful man, fine featured and boyish, his mind moulded in hell’s finest depths. Still the memory of his many tortures send shivers of delight through me. Very few men are capable of true violence; he was among these few. Yet, he had a tender side which never left him, even as he stripped the last inch of skin off my thighs and fucked me till I bade him goodbye.
But there were others, faceless men, and women — but mostly men — whose hands had roamed my flesh, whose tongues had tasted my sweat, whose cocks had filled my womb. So many over the ages that I’d lost count. From these some artefacts remain.
A necklace when I become of age among the Salewesi tribe — through there is not a trace of them left upon the Earth, I remember the pain and the pleasure I had lived through with the other girls who came into flower with me. The men who visited us in succession, their cocks still wet with the previous deflowering, their frenzied thrusts fired by the cocoa leaves they’d chewed, the distant pleasure in their eyes. To them, we were nothing but warm sheathes, but for us, this night was everything. Although, in the recesses of my memory, I knew I’d fucked a thousand cocks before, the first time in every life never ceases to be special.
A ticket stub dated 2017–4–1, the day I landed in Tokyo. I tasted all the city had to offer, and it was endless. I visited a young man in a suit who lived in a closet with no windows. He bade me remove my clothing and sit, bare bottomed on a cold metal chair, my feet propped upon his knees. He ate his dinner, which was noodles in a plastic cup, offering some to me. “Androids do not eat.” I reminded him. I think he believed me. He dressed me up in the prettiest dresses and ordered me not to move unless told. He fucked my warm, wet hole, telling me how it was a pleasure beyond compare. The Matsumosu corp had truly outdone themselves this time, women were no longer necessary for men to fulfil their basal needs.
I put these things things aside, these beautiful and peculiar things, and remove the loose robe upon my shoulders. The dress crumples upon the floor, rough cotton, scratching my bare feet. I do not enjoy wearing this robe, nor did I love the person who gave it to me. He knew desire burned in me like a furnace always, and I saw he surrendered to it in his sleep. But awake, he never touched me, although his eyes devoured me while his tongue bored me to tears with sermons drawn from the ether. The robe always brings with it all the frustrations that plagued me while I lived with the prophet.
Clasping my hands together, lest I should allow them to reach between my legs, I walk towards the door of the white room, making as if to step onto the scorching sand of the desert, only to find my feet on cool grass. A private garden; flowers mostly from Continental Europe, although there were a few exotic species from the Far East. I was somewhere in time around the Industrial revolution.
A handsome painter was seated upon the grass before me, his brush following the curves of my body, immortalising my form. Perhaps I have already lived to be older than the painting — I made a note to look for it the next time I was born into the future.
My beauty faded in the white room, just as any woman’s. Only there, did time truly touch me. Here, in the world, I always entered full of youthful lust and beauty. I’ve been told these things weren’t everything — perhaps so. Maybe in this life, I would allow myself to grow old.