The music rises and falls as my fingers tease the clay upwards and away from the spinning base. I splash water from the bowl below the stand and focus my attention on creating short sausages atop the turning tower. I take my time with each delicate movement. It’s important that I’m precise with this work.
The needle of the gramophone scratches slightly, and the next song spills from its polished speaker. The cheerful warbling of the Fab Four pours into my large lounge, and I ease back, not needing to look at what I’m doing. I enjoy watching dust particles as they dance through the sunlight streaming through the immense windows. They twist and turn perfectly in time with every rise and fall of the Beatles’ upbeat tune.
I stretch out and enjoy the freedom of the moment. Deep within me, I can sense my emotions clamoring for release. They are a tickle of annoyance, enraged at how little impact they are having on me. My mind is finally free of the whimpering and whining. All that’s left is a detached sense of peace. I feel them push at my insides, but they can’t gain any traction, no purchase. Nothing exists for me but the music and the clay. My focus returns to my pottery, extending, defining it.
I’ve always found working with clay soothing. In my early days on, Earth it gave me a sense of purpose. Something to focus on. Now, it’s almost a hobby. A way to relax. It helps that my skill has improved over time. These days manipulating the soft substance is even easier than influencing the mortals. Not that both don’t hold their similarities. Sometimes I’m direct, applying pressure in exactly the spot I want to work. In other situations, I adjust one part to help another bend as I wish it to. My creation continues to take shape, and I lean closer, giving my full attention to the finer points of my work.
My attention is broken as my one true friend appears from behind one of the five large packing crates scattered around the living space. Three of the misplaced delivery boxes have been opened, and Wylie trots through the discarded packaging, assessing everything around him before pausing and sniffing at a random piece of wrapping. He pushes his little nose against the scrap, nudging it intensely before finally getting bored of its inaction. He saunters over and nuzzles in against my leg, grey eyes staring longingly at me. I try to ignore him, finish what I’m doing, but eventually, his persistence pays off. Right or wrong, I reward his actions with a pat of his smooth head.
Wylie has been with me for a very long time. He was one of the first clay pieces I brought to life. Back then, it was a little easier. I had more energy to give. That’s why he’s stayed mobile for so long. Unlike other creations I have utilised over the years. They have been grander, more involved, required more of my essence to spur them into action. Eventually, though, they have cracked and crumbled, but not Wylie. Yes, he’s smoother than he was all those decades ago. His tail is cracked, and his nose is missing its tip he’s still as lively as ever. Even now, he alternates between playfully pawing at my feet and pouncing on some tiny bit of dust that catches his attention. I give in, deciding to treat myself to a short break and let my clay’s circular movement slow.
I move across to the large breakfast bar and am surprised to note the time on my phone. I’ve been hard at work for way too long. All night, in fact. I do, however, have plenty to show for it. Six and a half large sculptures loom over my seating area. Almost three-quarters of the way there. Then the really hard work begins.
I will need to breathe life into each and every one of my constructions. It drains me to bring something like my four-legged friend into action nowadays, and with the size of my latest work, I will be out of commission for quite a few days. It’s lucky that everything else is in place. Okay, not luck. All my efforts have borne the fruits I intended.
As the gramophone’s needle runs out of groove, my hand comes to rest on the slim envelope containing the all-important title deeds. It’s only a small piece of land, half the size of this penthouse, but it’s mine. A piece of property in my name, that I bought with my own money, no tricks. I finger the paperwork, still unable to believe that I’d bought the little plot outright, fair and square. Okay, if you trace the funds back, they probably came from some scheme somewhere in my past but the point stands. A small niggle knots my stomach and a strange feeling of disappointment creeps up my spine. That’s all it is, though. There are no words to accompany it, not now that I’m in full control of myself.
Of course, I didn’t need to pay for the land and certainly not for the actual asking price. But I wanted this part of my plan to be certain. I needed to ensure there could never be any dispute over my ownership of the contents of that ground. When I unearth the Rod of Asclepius, it must belong to me without dispute. It’s another reason why I’m happy about the fact I’m building my workers. It might have been helpful if my former accomplice could have recruited some cut-price assistance for me, but that always posed a risk. This way, I can ensure secrecy. Okay, it may have taken more time to acquire the clay I needed to create my little army, but they will do their work, provide me with what I want, and then they will disintegrate and float away on the breeze.
Wylie nuzzles at my leg, and I stoop down, stroking his hairless back. He lets out a low murmur, his eyes rolling upwards in appreciation. He means a lot to me, and he has a big job ahead of him. I need him to stand guard. Breathing life into my army of clay figures will take a toll on me and leave me out of action for a long time. I’ll be dependent on him to ensure I’m safe while I lay on the sofa and the transfer completes between my workers and me. Then, when I have some muscle, I will be ready to bring in the digging teams to open up the ground.
Once I have one of the most powerful items in the mortals’ history in my hand, I will have the ability to cure any ailment, and I shall have everything I need. I will finally be able to throw off this curse of always lying. Then I can go to Lily and tell her what she means to me, how I really feel about her. Everything will be perfect and, as soon as my creations are complete, nothing can stand in my way. I am almost certain of it.